Week of June 5, 2006

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Canada

Regional

General

Illinois

Indiana

Michigan

Minnesota

Pennsylvania

Wisconsin

Ontario

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National

IJC seeks input on Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Study

The International Joint Commission will hold a 60-day public comment period on the report of its International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Study Board. The report, released today, presents the Commission with options for regulating the outflows from Lake Ontario through the international hydropower project at Cornwall, Ontario, and Massena, New York.

 

The Commission, which is now considering changes to the current regulation plan (Plan 1958-D) and to its Orders of Approval, will draw on the Study Board report, public comment and any other relevant information it receives before releasing

a preliminary decision.

 

Comments, which must be received by July 31, 2006, can be submitted online or sent by letter, fax or email.

 

For full information about the comment period and the process for reviewing the Orders of Approval, and to view the report, go to http://www.ijc.org/en/activities/losl/index.php , or contact

•         Frank Bevacqua, (202) 736-9024, bevacquaf@washington.ijc.org

•         Paula Fedeski-Koundakjian, (613) 995-0088, fedeski-koundakjianp@ottawa.ijc.org


Kempthorne sworn in as interior secretary

 WASHINGTON (AP) - Dirk Kempthorne was confirmed by the Senate and sworn in as Interior secretary Friday, overcoming objections from a small number of Democrats. The two-term Idaho governor and former Republican senator won approval on a voice vote after eight Democratic senators registered their opposition in an earlier test vote.

 

Kempthorne told senators earlier this month he was eager to

expand oil and gas development on public lands and waters that already are producing 30 percent of the nation's domestic supply of energy.

 

President Bush said Kempthorne, 54, would work to effectively manage national parks, support historic and cultural sites and pursue energy development that would treat the environment responsibly.


National Kids Fishing Month 2006

Celebrate National Kids Fishing Month in June!

TULSA, Okla. (May 31, 2006) - As schools across the country turn their students loose for the summer, many families are working on their plans for what to do during the time off. Hooked On Fishing International (HOFI), the country’s largest and oldest organizer of youth fishing events, says fishing should be considered at the top of the list because it is something that kids of all ages can enjoy.

 

 “We’re proclaiming June as National Kids Fishing Month because lots of good things happen in the month,” said Daniel Johnson, HOFI president. “June is when thousands of communities across the country host youth fishing events, and it’s the most popular month for Wal-Mart Kids All-American Fishing presented by Zebco (KAAF) activities. It is also the time that many states offer their ‘free’ fishing days, typically a designated weekend, when no fishing license is required. Additionally, National Fishing and Boating Week is June 3 - 11, and there are lots of hands-on festivities associated with it,” he said.

 

Whether participating in a Wal-Mart Kids All-American Fishing derby event (visit the derby locator at the KAAF Web site, www.kids-fishing.com , to find more than 1,000 scheduled June KAAF events), or venturing off on a family outing of your own, Johnson says plan ahead. HOFI offers these ideas to make the most of the quality time together. If youngsters under age 8 are along, include additional items to keep them entertained beyond just fishing tackle because their young minds run as fast as their legs. Things like squirt-pistols, butterfly nets, bubble makers, etc., are good options.

 

Make sure everyone has appropriate clothing for the day’s weather forecast. An extra change of clothes or footwear is never a bad idea.  Apply sunscreen before leaving home, and

take the bottle along to reapply as necessary. Take insect repellent as well, and keep in mind that using the rub-on kind after applying sunscreen will usually require a follow-up coat of the sun protectant. Pack plenty of drinks, especially water, and nutritional snacks to cover the duration of the outing. Staying hydrated on a hot, summer day is important for health and comfort.

 

Make the bait selection process a family affair, and it’s hard to beat live worms. And when purchasing hooks, sinkers and bobbers, it is better to think smaller instead of bigger. Small hooks, size 8 or 10, are great for catching little sunfish that are often plentiful in city park ponds, yet are still capable of landing a big fish too.  Don’t forget to bring a camera to take a picture of the ‘big fish’ the kids caught and capture the fun-filled family memories.

 

The most important tip of all - approach the day with the intentions to make it fun for everyone. Be patient and flexible in dealing with the kids and keep an eye out for when their interest starts to wane. Call it a day before the kids tire.  They’ll be even more ready for the next trip if everything concludes on a positive note.

 

Fishing is a perfect outdoor activity for kids and families whether it’s during the June National Kids Fishing Month, or anytime throughout the summer. It requires little in the way of investment, helps youth to experience and appreciate the outdoors, and most importantly, gives families something to do together.

           

Kids All-American Fishing’s corporate partners include marquee sponsors Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Zebco, along with Banana Boat, Castrol, Eagle Claw, FishingWorld.com, FLW Outdoors, Fujifilm, Keebler, Kellogg’s, Laker Fishing, Repel and Wet Ones.


Regional

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for June 2, 2006

Lake Level Conditions: 

Water levels on the Great Lakes now range from 2 to 7 inches below the levels of a year ago; however, all of the lake levels are currently above chart datum.  Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are expected to rise 3 and 2 inches, respectively, during the next month.  Lake St. Clair is expected to rise 1 inch, while Lake Erie is projected to drop 1 inch over the next month.  Lake Ontario is forecasted to rise 1 inch within the next 30 days.  Water levels over the next few months on all the Great Lakes are expected to remain similar to or slightly lower than 2005. 

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions:

The Lake Superior outflow through the St. Marys River into Lake Huron was below average during the month of May.  Flows in the St. Clair, Detroit, Niagara, and St. Lawrence Rivers also were all below average during May. 

Alerts:

Users of the Great Lakes, connecting channels and St.

Lawrence River should keep informed of current conditions before undertaking any activities that could be affected by changing water levels.  Mariners should utilize navigation charts and refer to current water level readings.

 

 

Superior

Mich-Huron

St. Clair

Erie

Ontario

Level for June 2

601.4

577.9

574.0

571.7

245.6

Datum, in ft

601.1

577.5

572.3

569.2

243.3

Diff in inches

+3

+5

+21

+30

+28

Diff last month

+5

+4

+4

+3

+2

Diff from last yr

-2

-2

-4

-4

-7

 


Canada

Canada Troops Mount Big Arctic Sovereignty Patrol

RESOLUTE BAY, Nunavut (Reuters) — Canadian forces on April 9 wrapped up a two-week exercise designed to assert sovereignty over the Arctic at a time when climate change is fueling international interest in the desolate, mineral-rich region.

 

Five patrol groups started off at separate points in the west and central Arctic and traveled a total of 2,800 miles by snowmobile over snow and jagged sea ice through a region that is almost totally uninhabited. Most members were part-time rangers recruited from the Inuit, the aboriginal people of the Arctic. The patrols met up Sunday near the hamlet of Resolute Bay, some 2,100 miles northwest of Ottawa and 555 miles north of the Arctic Circle.

 

"You have helped maintain Canadian sovereignty over the Arctic. This was an unprecedented operation," Canadian army Lt. Col. Drew Artus told the cheering rangers, some of whom had frost-covered faces. Domestic critics accuse Ottawa of all but ignoring the Arctic, which is experiencing rapid changes due to development and climate change. Three diamond mines are now operating in the Arctic and some experts predict the region could be home to significant oil and gas deposits.

 

The new Conservative government is promising a more muscular presence in the Arctic to deter intruders.

 

"I think the operation was a complete success. We've demonstrated the ability to move around the truly remote places of the Arctic," said Artus, acting commander of

Canada's forces in the north. "This land is ours," he told Reuters. Although the patrol groups totaled only around 50 people on snowmobiles pulling wooden sleds, it was the largest tour of its kind in the Canadian Arctic for 60 years.

 

Canada is embroiled in territorial disputes with the United States over the Beaufort Sea in the Arctic -- the site of right deposits of natural gas -- as well as with Denmark over which country owns Hans Island off the coast of Greenland. Ottawa is also sparring with Russia as to how far its control stretches up to the North Pole. The result could be worth billions of dollars in oil and gas revenue.

 

The rapid pace of climate change means the usually ice-clogged Northwest Passage -- a shortcut through the Arctic between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans -- could be free of ice in summer by the end of the century.

 

Canada claims ownership of the waters in the passage and says it does not want to see foreign ships using it at will, since this could increase the chances of a disaster in an environmentally fragile region. The United States and others reject the claim.  Canadian officials said another important reason to carry out the exercise was to discover exactly what was there. Haphazard record keeping means there are runways and buildings in the Arctic which the government knows nothing about.

 

These could be invaluable in case of a major airliner crashed, something military officials say is likely. Some 400 civilian aircraft pass over the Arctic every week.


General

Fish Consumption Linked to Heart Abnormality

BOSTON  (HealthDay News) -- Putting a confusing twist on the health value of fish oil, a new study suggests that eating lots of fish may actually boost the risk of atrial fibrillation, a potentially dangerous heart condition, in certain people.

 

However, the heavy fish eaters in the study still had a lower risk of sudden death from heart problems, and the study's lead author said the research shouldn't stop anybody from eating fish.

 

In recent years, many doctors have urged patients to eat oily fish -- such as mackerel, herring, albacore tuna and salmon -- or take fish oil supplements. Both contain omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to better recovery from heart disease and a lower risk in older people of atrial fibrillation, in which the heart's electrical system malfunctions, and the muscle fails to beat in an orderly fashion.

 

But it's not entirely clear that omega-3 fats are good for the general population without heart disease. And some research has suggested they may actually boost the risk of atrial fibrillation in certain people, such as those younger than 60.  In the new study, researchers analyzed data from nearly 17,700 U.S. male doctors who took part in the Physicians' Health Study. The men answered questions about their fish consumption in 1983 and were asked in 1998 if they had developed atrial fibrillation.

 

After adjusting the data to account for factors like existing heart disease, the researchers found that men who ate fish more than five times a week were 61 percent more likely to develop atrial fibrillation, compared to those who ate fish once a month. In total, about 7 percent of all the men in the study said they developed the condition, which is somewhat common among the elderly but rarer among younger people.

 

The findings were released recently at the Heart Rhythm Society's annual meeting, in Boston.

 

What could explain the seemingly contradictory finding?

 

It's possible that omega-3 fatty acids may actually promote the

development of atrial fibrillation in younger people but prevent it in older people who have other medical conditions, said study author Dr. Anthony Aizer, an electrophysiologist at New York University Medical Center.  He added that atrial fibrillation isn't as great a risk in people who don't have conditions like congestive heart disease and high blood pressure. "Younger people are significantly less likely to have these additional medical conditions," he said. "As a result, the risk in younger people as a whole is likely to be significantly lower."

 

Aizer acknowledged that the study didn't rely on "gold standard" methods, such as double-blind, placebo-controlled research. So, it's possible that another unknown factor could explain the rise in atrial fibrillation cases seen in study participants, he said.  That possibility makes sense to Dr. Marie-Noelle Langan, chief of electrophysiology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. She said it's possible that the male doctors who ate a lot of fish each week were health-minded athletes, who can be prone to atrial fibrillation.

 

"It's possible this is a group of very fit people who run like maniacs," Langan said. "It doesn't take that many patients to throw off the statistics." Langan's hospital plans to launch its own study into fish oil and atrial fibrillation.

 

So should you take fish oil supplements or eat a lot of oily fish?

 

"There is no evidence that it's dangerous for your life," said Dr. Francesco Santoni, who's also an electrophysiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital. However, "it's unclear what effect it has in the general population on arrhythmias," or heart rhythm disturbances.

 

Aizer had similar views. "The message of this study is not to stop eating fish," he said. "Fish may have different effects on different people. Lifestyle and dietary habits need to be tailored on an individual basis to promote overall health."  For now, he said, "clearly, more investigation is needed to reach a more definitive answer about the multiple effects of omega-3 fatty acid on the heart's electrical function."

 


Whirling Disease detected at Montana’s Miles City Hatchery    

Annual fish health tests in November, 2005 detected a low level of whirling disease infection among rainbow trout at the Miles City Fish Hatchery. The facility, which is Montana’s first hatchery to test positive for whirling disease, has been placed under quarantine. The Miles City Hatchery raises warm-water fishes like walleye, northern pike, smallmouth bass and others that are not susceptible to the disease. Rainbow trout are raised onsite as a food source for their bass brood stock, and it was among these fish that whirling disease was detected.

The source of infection is unknown at this time, but officials suspect that the fish were exposed to Myxobolus cerebralis in the hatchery’s rearing tanks supplied by Yellowstone River water. Investigations are underway in the facility and in the Yellowstone River drainage to determine the extent and source of the infection. The quarantine will be lifted once the parasite has been eliminated from the hatchery. Montana Department of Fish Wildlife and Parks Hatchery Bureau Chief Gary Bertellotti stressed that no infected fish would be stocked into Montana waters.

 


Scientists Mobilize Fungus to Fight Hydrilla

Even the toughest weeds have their mortal enemies. For hydrilla, it's Mycoleptodiscus terrestris. Now, scientists' efforts to turn this fungal foe into a biological control agent could prove even deadlier to the aquatic weed.

 

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) microbiologist Mark Jackson and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) plant pathologist Judy Shearer chose the fungal pathogen for its specificity and cell-wreaking attacks on hydrilla. Mark Heilman of SePRO Corp., Carmel, Ind., is collaborating with them to try and commercialize the fungus as a biological herbicide.

 

Originally sold in the 1950s for aquarium use, hydrilla has become a noxious weed of lakes, rivers, canals and other water systems across the southern United States and in Atlantic and Pacific coast states. Its dense mats can clog drainage and water-intake systems, impede boating and degrade fish and wildlife habitat.

 

Herbicide spraying is the chief means of battling hydrilla, though few herbicides are registered for the task. Fluridone is among the most effective, but in parts of Florida and Georgia,

prolonged use has brought about resistant strains of hydrilla, increasing treatment costs and impacting performance, notes Shearer, with USACE's Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Vicksburg, Miss.

 

Since 2000, Shearer and Jackson, with ARS' National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research, Peoria, Ill., have collaborated on developing M. terrestris for integration with chemical and cultural hydrilla-control strategies. In May 2003, their efforts led to a patented new method (6,569,807) of culturing the fungus and "coaxing" it to form tiny, filamentous clumps called microsclerotia. Studies have shown that microsclerotia withstand the rigors of drying and prolonged storage better than the fungus' spores.

 

Fortunately, they're just as deadly to hydrilla. When dusted onto potted hydrilla in aquarium trials, the microsclerotia reduced plants' above-ground growth by 99 percent. In December 2005, SePRO licensed the scientists' formulation techniques, though testing continues to determine which bioherbicide formulation works best. Once found, it'll undergo larger-scale testing, including small ponds at USACE's Lewisville (Texas) Aquatic Ecosystem Research Facility.


Did You Know?

►Economic output produced by America’s saltwater anglers- $31 billion

►Number of jobs supported – 300,000

►Number of participating saltwater anglers – 9 million plus

►Number of federally-permitted commercial fishing boats in

Alabama, Mississippi, Florida and Louisiana – 5554

►Amount of salmon caught in 4 hours by gillnets in Bristol Bay, Alaska – 1 million

►Violations found on a Florida commercial vessel – 262 undersized grouper, 63 shark fins, 7 cobia over limit, undersized amberjack and no federal permit.


Protein Found That Explodes Anthrax Bacteria on Contact

NEW YORK (ENS) - A protein that can fight dreaded anthrax infections and decontaminate large areas where anthrax spores have been released as a bioweapon has been discovered by scientists at Rockefeller University.

 

The protein was identified by Vincent Fischetti, professor and co-head of the Laboratory of Bacterial Pathogenesis and Immunology at Rockefeller, who has been studying bacteria, including anthrax-related organisms, for the past 45 years. His results are published in the April issue of the "Journal of Bacteriology."

 

“Anthrax is the most efficient biowarfare agent," said Fischetti. "Its spores are stable and easy to produce, and once someone inhales them, there is only a 48 hour window when antibiotics can be used."  “We’ve found a new protein that could both potentially expand that treatment window and be used as a large-scale decontaminant of anthrax spores,” Fischetti said.

 

Because it is deadly, noncontagious, and dispersed by spores, anthrax is considered a good candidate for a bioweapon. Late in 2001, letters containing anthrax spores were sent to several U.S. news reporters and two U.S. senators.

 

Five people died of inhalational anthrax as a result, about 24 people developed infections, and many more were exposed, but were treated in time to avoid becoming ill. The culprit has never been found.

 

Now, Fischetti and his team intend to mix their newly found protein into a solution that could be used in buildings, on transportation equipment, on clothing, even on skin, providing a safe, easy way to fight the spread of anthrax in the event of a mass release. All bacteria, anthrax included, have natural predators called bacteriophage, Fischetti explains. Just as viruses infect people, bacteriophage infect bacteria, reproduce, and then kill their host cell by bursting out to find their next target.

 

The bacteriophage use special proteins, called lysins, to bore holes in the bacteria, causing them to explode.

 

In 2004, Fischetti and colleagues identified one of these

lysins, called PlyG, and showed that it could be used to help treat animals and humans infected by anthrax. They now have identified a second lysin, which they have named PlyPH, with special properties that make it a good therapeutic agent and useful for large-scale decontamination of areas like buildings and military equipment.

 

The new protein has several advantages. Most lysins, including PlyG, are only active in a very specific pH range of six to seven, so that they work effectively in the human bloodstream, but may not be useful in many environmental conditions.

 

“PlyPH works in an extremely wide pH range, from as low as four to as high as eight,” says Fischetti. “I don’t know of any other lytic enzyme that has such a broad range of activity.”  Both lysins are highly specific in terms of the types of bacteria they kill. When Fischetti and colleagues added PlyPH to different bacterial species, only the anthrax bacteria were killed.

 

The PlyPH protein would be combined with a non-toxic aqueous substance developed by a group in California that will germinate any anthrax spores it touches. As the spores germinate, the solution would kill them on contact within minutes.

 

This is a great benefit over antibiotics, which kill many different bacteria, including many helpful species.

 

Anthrax is resistant to many of the antibiotics currently available to treat it, but because PlyPH is so specific, anthrax is not likely to develop resistance to it, the researchers said. “We have never seen bacterial resistance to a lysin,” says Fischetti. “PlyPH and PlyG are probably the most specific lysins we, or anyone, has ever identified. They only kill anthrax and its very close relatives."

 

"This feature, and the wide pH range offered by PlyPH, is why we think it could be used as an environmental decontaminant,” he said.

 

Fischetti hopes to create a solution based on the newly found protein that would be a powerful tool for cleaning up after an anthrax attack.

 


 

Illinois

DNR announces Free Fishing Days June 9-12

Special events planned throughout the state

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Youth groups, civic organizations and recreation agencies throughout Illinois are planning fishing derbies, clinics and a host of other activities as part of Illinois Free Fishing Days June 9-12 announced Illinois Department of Natural Resources Acting Director Sam Flood. The annual celebration allows anyone to fish without the need for a fishing license, inland trout stamp or salmon stamp.

 

"We encourage everyone to participate in Free Fishing Days each spring with the belief that those youth and adults who try fishing will like it," said Flood.  "Fishing is a fun way for families to get together and spend time together outdoors."

Organizations throughout the state plan special events during Free Fishing Days weekend and at other times throughout the spring and summer to focus on fishing.  While anyone can fish without a license during the four days of Free Fishing Days, anglers fishing in fishing derbies, tournaments and other special events held prior to or after Free Fishing Days are required to have a fishing license, unless they are otherwise exempted. 

 

For more information on Free Fishing Days events in Illinois, contact the Illinois Department of Natural Resources at 217/782-9990.

 


Indiana

Kids Fishing Derby at Patoka June 10

The annual Kids Fishing Derby is set for Sat., June 10, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Patoka Lake Kids Fishing Pond at Newton Stewart State Recreation Area in Wickliffe. Children 12 years old and younger, accompanied by an adult, should meet at the Modern Campgrounds Center Shelterhouse for this friendly fishing competition.

 

Prizes will be awarded for the biggest and the most fish

caught. Participants may bring lawn chairs, insect repellent and coolers. The Dubois County Sportsmen will help identify and measure the children's catch, plus offer fishing tips. Derby certificates will be awarded at 11:30 a.m.

 

This and other programs at the recreation area are free, except for a $5 per vehicle ($7 out of state) gate fee. For information, call (812) 685-2447.


DNR signs contract for centralized reservation system

New pact brings call center operation and jobs to Indiana

Governor Mitch Daniels and DNR Director Kyle Hupfer announced that the Indiana DNR has entered into a new contract with InfoSpherix, Inc. for the operation of the centralized reservation system for campsite, cabin and shelter house reservations.  As part of the contract, InfoSpherix will open an operations center in central Indiana and will be required to employ at least 34 full time employees. 

 

In addition to the required jobs, InfoSpherix plans to bring its operations for South Dakota and their National Park Service

contract to Indiana by year's end.  By the end of 2008, InfoSpherix projects 230 employees at its Indianapolis operation handling both reservations and other governmental contracts.  Total capital investment in Indiana by InfoSpherix through 2008 is estimated at $3,510,000.

 

In addition to the new jobs it brings to Indiana, the new contract also reduces the cost to the state for each reservation made through the Centralized Reservation System.  The DNR projects between 450,000 and 525,000 night stays per year during the term of the new contract and anticipates an annual saving of $50,000 to $90,000.


Michigan

Becoming an Outdoors-Woman Aug 18-20

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) program announced a fun-filled weekend for any woman, 18 or older, who is interested in learning a new outdoor skill, improving existing skills or simply sharing a fun outdoor experience with other women.

 

The new location for this three-day BOW weekend, Aug. 18-20, is the Kettunen Center near Tustin (south of Cadillac). The program includes classes in basic fishing from a pontoon, beginning shotgun and handgun instruction, archery, deer hunting, map and compass, GPS, kayaking, water survival, cast iron cooking, backing up the boat and more. Participants also will have a special opportunity to sign up for a TREE (Teams Recreational Environmental Experience). This program is a teambuilding/low ropes initiative program designed to help build communication skills, trust, self-esteem, and decision-making and problem-solving skills.

 

The workshop cost is $235 and includes all meals, lodging and instruction (TREE course is an extra $25). Accommodations are dorm-style rooms shared by three people and with community bath arrangements. All facilities

are air-conditioned and very nice. The grounds include 160 acres of rolling hills and forest situated on Clear Lake. Check out the Web site at www.kettunencenter.org .

 

"This program is an especially good opportunity for women wishing to learn new outdoor skills and to gain confidence in using firearms, fishing tackle, kayaks and other outdoors equipment in a non-threatening, friendly atmosphere," said Lynn Marla, DNR BOW coordinator.

 

Marla said the program, limited to 80 women, typically fills up fast. "Women need to act now if they wish to get a chance to join other adventurous women and enthusiastic instructors in a great 'up north' setting."

 

For more information and the registration form, visit the Becoming an Outdoors-Woman page on the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnr , or contact Lynn Marla, state BOW coordinator at marlal@michigan.gov .

 

For more info on the BOW program, click on the BOW logo on our home page – www.great-lakes.org .


2006 Cormorant Control Actions Announced

The Michigan DNR, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services, has identified several areas in the state where double-crested cormorant control activities will occur this year.

  

Once extirpated in the state due to DDT, PCBs and other contaminants, cormorants have increased to record numbers in the Great Lakes region, according to DNR wildlife officials. In response to the potential damage these high numbers could have on fish, wildlife and other resources, the USFWS authorized the local control of populations in areas where cormorants are causing damage. Under these rules, USDA Wildlife Services control activities began in 2004 at the Les Cheneaux Islands and Drummond Island. Activities were expanded in 2005 and will again be expanded this year.

 

"It appears cormorants have the highest potential to cause negative impacts to fish or other natural resources in two situations," said Raymond Rustem, Wildlife Division natural heritage unit supervisor. "The first is the migratory flocks of birds that move through Michigan. During this period, large flocks of birds may feed in shallow waters of lakes during the brief period they move through Michigan."

 

The second situation is when cormorants have established breeding colonies. Research indicates that cormorant breeding colonies may play a role in reducing game fish populations in localized areas.

 

One strategy to help with cormorant control is harassment reinforced with a limited take of birds. USDA Wildlife Services are working with local volunteer agents to conduct these

activities at Long and Grand lakes in Alpena County, Potagannissing Bay on Drummond Island, Brevoort Lake, Manistique and South Manistique lakes in Mackinac County, Indian Lake in Schoolcraft County, and Lake Huron off Rockport in Alpena County.

 

Three sites in Michigan are targeted for egg oiling and reductions in adult breeding birds by USDA Wildlife Services. The Les Cheneaux Islands will continue as one site of population reduction attempts. Nesting colonies in Thunder Bay and Bays De Noc will also receive treatment.  The DNR will be monitoring fish populations at sites with control actions to document how fish populations respond to cormorant control activities.

 

"Our goal is to use the best scientific data (fisheries and wildlife) available to manage cormorants at biologically and socially acceptable levels," said Bill Moritz, chief of the Wildlife Division.

 

The DNR is cooperating in a survey to identify and count breeding pairs in the state.  Survey data will be combined with information from other Great Lakes states and Canadian provinces to obtain a full breeding population count of double-crested cormorants on the Great Lakes.

 

The DNR has developed an online form for citizens to report cormorant activities. The department will use this information to identify cormorant migration patterns and locations where large concentrations of birds cause concern. Citizens are encouraged to report such sites at www.dnr.state.mi.us/cormorantobs/ .


Minnesota

DNR stocks lake sturgeon into Red Lake and Roseau rivers

 DNR Fisheries staffed stocked 220,000 lake sturgeon fry in the Red River system in May.

 

As part of a 20-year program to re-establish lake sturgeon into the Red River basin, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) stocked 220,000 lake sturgeon fry into the Red Lake and Roseau rivers in May.

 

Stocking and barrier removal are the two primary components of the restoration plan for lake sturgeon in Minnesota. This is the third year these waters have been stocked. The DNR purchased "eyed" eggs from the Rainy River First Nations fish hatchery in Emo, Ontario. The eggs, which are partially developed fish embryos with developed eyes, were transported to the DNR fish hatchery in Detroit Lakes. Hatched over the May 20 weekend, the fry are approximately 5/8-inch long when they were stocked. Both of the sites stocked – near Red Lake Falls on the Red River and near Caribou on the Roseau River – are historical spawning locations for the once-abundant Red River lake sturgeon.

 

In late September, the DNR will be stocking Big Detroit Lake, Otter Tail Lake, Buffalo River and Otter Tail River with 6- to 8-inch sturgeon fingerlings. These fish will come from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service hatchery in LaCrosse, Wis., as part of a cooperative fish rearing agreement. The stocking program has been coordinated through the Red River Fisheries Steering Committee and approved by natural resource officials from Minnesota, North Dakota and Manitoba. The goal of the stocking program is to establish a self-sustaining

population in 20 to 25 years. The long recovery timeframe is a consequence of the slow sexual maturity of lake sturgeon; females mature when they are about 26 to 27 years old and only spawn once every four to nine years.

 

Recently, an angler reported catching a 9- to 10-inch sturgeon at the North Dam in Fargo. A large sturgeon was observed by DNR Fisheries staff in the Pelican River near Detroit Lakes. These sightings are encouraging and provide evidence the restoration program is working.

 

If anglers catch or observe a sturgeon in the Red River or one of its tributaries, DNR fisheries managers encourage them to contact a local fisheries office to report the sightings. These observations are very important to tracking the success of the restoration program.

 

Anglers are also reminded that there is no open season for lake sturgeon on the Red River or its tributaries.

 

Along with stocking of sturgeon, the DNR is working with many partners to remove or modify dams blocking fish passage to critical spawning sites in the Red River basin. The Crookston Dam was recently removed on the Red Lake River. This opened the Red Lake River to fish passage up to Thief River Falls. The Argyle Dam on the Middle River is scheduled to be removed in 2006.

 

These projects will make the Red River system a more productive fishery. Additional benefits of dam removal include increased public safety and the aesthetic appeal of the constructed rapids.


Pennsylvania

Simple Tips to select a Life Jacket for kids

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is encouraging all boaters to check their equipment thoroughly before heading out on the water, with a special emphasis on one piece of gear in particular: life jackets.

 

The PFBC estimates that at least 80% of the 114 recreational boating fatalities in the Commonwealth over the last 10 years would have survived the accident had they been wearing a properly fitting life jacket. That makes life jackets the single most important piece of safety equipment on board any boat. But even the best ones don’t work if they’re not being worn. In that regard, putting on a life jacket is a lot like wearing a seat belt in an automobile. And just like seatbelt and car seat laws for children, there are special regulations for kids and life jackets. In Pennsylvania, all children 12 years of age or younger are required to wear a life jacket when underway on a boat that is 20 feet in length or less and all canoes and kayaks. Beyond being a statewide regulation, however, ensuring youngsters are wearing a properly fitting life jacket is also common sense.

 

With the vast array of sizes, shapes and makes available, selecting the right life jacket for a child can seem like a daunting task. The wide variety of life jackets is a bonus,

 

however, increasing the odds you'll find a proper fit. Consider fit first when selecting a life jacket for youngsters. When selecting a life jacket for a child, bear in mind the following guidelines:

• At home, be sure to measure the child's chest (underneath the arms.) Many manufacturers include a chest size. Be sure the chest measurement is accommodated by the life jacket when selecting a purchase.

• If the child has a fear of the water or does not know how to swim, a Type II Child or Infant life jacket is recommended.

• While at the store, have the child try on the life jacket and make sure it fits snugly. To determine fit, lift the shoulders of the life jacket to make sure it does not slip over the chin or ears. The life jacket is too big if there is more than three inches between the child's shoulders and the device.

• Choose brightly colored life jackets. Children are more likely to wear devices that are attractive to them. And bright colors are also more readily visible on the water.

• Crotch straps are an important feature on life jackets for young infants. For the child's protection, be sure the crotch straps are used at all times.

• A parent or other adult should assist the child in testing their life jacket in the water. Adjust the life jacket so that its optimum performance is achieved. Let the child indicate when the device needs to be tightened or loosened.


Wisconsin

Early salmon reports raise season's hopes

By Kevin Naze

It's hard to imagine topping last year's record-breaking salmon catches on Lake Michigan, but it could happen.

Reports of an occasional chinook or steelhead taken by trollers 3 to 6 miles offshore began to trickle in weeks ago.

 

While the deep-water haunts are producing, some anglers have been catching fish even closer the past couple weeks — right off the piers some mornings.

 

Ideal water temperatures, plentiful bait and stirred-up water from rain and runoff are possible factors in the near-shore success at spots like Algoma, Kewaunee, Two Rivers and Manitowoc. Many anglers say they're seeing plenty of alewives in the clear water off the pier, on their fish locators while trolling and in the bellies of salmon they fillet.

 

Wisconsin DNR fisheries biologist and avid angler Paul Peeters of Sturgeon Bay has heard the encouraging reports, but isn't ready to make a proclamation that everything is back on track.  "The only thing that's guaranteed in Lake Michigan is change," Peeters said. "We will continue to adapt our management to the ever-changing conditions, but we have no effective control over the number of exotic species that keep coming in, or things like the weather."

 

Chinook salmon catches have improved steadily the past four years. More than 400,000 kings were caught last year, nearly 250,000 combined off Kewaunee, Door and Manitowoc counties.  Stocking peaked at more than 2.7 million chinooks a year three times between 1984 and 1989. However, those salmon nearly ate themselves out of their favored food; an oily, exotic forage fish known as an alewife.

There have been three substantial stocking cuts since, in 1991, 1999 and 2006. With this year's 21 % reduction, Wisconsin will be stocking fewer than half as many chinooks as it did in the mid-1980s.  Peeters said an increase in natural reproduction on the Michigan side of the lake makes it difficult for fish managers to keep salmon numbers in line with the forage base. Additionally, an alewife crash in Lake Huron in recent years resulted in an unknown number of salmon migrating into Lake Michigan.

 

Declining body weights and fat content in salmon in recent years was a red flag to Peeters and other biologists that the forage base again may be in trouble. The last time alewife populations crashed in the late 1980s, stressed chinooks began succumbing to bacterial kidney disease. It took nearly a decade to get the fishery back on track.

 

"We first stocked fewer salmon within the past couple weeks," Peeters said. "The first year, they don't even eat alewives, so the true impact of our reduced stocking effort won't be seen for several years." Peeters is cautiously optimistic about a combination of lakewide acoustic and bottom trawl assessments last fall that showed good numbers of young alewives, rainbow smelt and yellow perch. "But we've frequently seen good year classes of alewives that don't make it to the next year," he said.

 

Peeters said the size and condition of the alewives is more important than the numbers. "Even a fairly small alewife year-class can bring off a huge hatch if conditions are correct," he said. "But then, they have to be able to find enough to eat, too. And we have no control over that, or how cold the winter is, or any of a number of other factors."


Ontario

Commercial fishermen hit with $485,000 fines

Inland Sea Products, two captains falsified reports and violated licence conditions

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources reports three commercial fishermen and their Southampton-based company received penalties and fines totaling $485,000 after they pleaded guilty to deliberately overfishing Lake Huron in 2003 and 2004.

 

The cost to the defendants is believed to be the highest in Ontario for such an offence, according to a spokesperson for the Upper Great Lakes Management Unit.

 

A news release from the Ministry of Natural Resources said William R. Jackson, 64, of Southampton, owner of Inland Sea Products, pleaded guilty in provincial offences court last week to 10 counts of making false statements and violating the conditions of his commercial fishing licence.

 

Gregory Jackson, 44, of Southampton, and Richard Leeder, 43, of Port Elgin, both pleaded guilty to two counts of making false statements and contravening conditions of their licences.  They were captains of two of the three gillnetting tugs operated by Inland Sea Products, which also runs a retail/wholesale store in Southampton.

 

"All commercial fishing licences have allocated quotas set for different species and for different areas of the lake," said the news release. "Commercial fishermen must submit accurate daily catch reports. This information is used to determine total catches in comparison to allocated quotas and to calculate royalties due to the Crown. "Fisheries management decisions are also based on the information submitted by the licensed commercial fishermen."

 

The news release said the MNR began an investigation in 2004 after officers with the Upper Great Lakes Management

Unit noticed discrepancies between the fishing locations reported by the company.

 

The officers obtained a warrant to place a tracking device on one of the tugs. The device confirmed that whitefish were being caught in one zone of Lake Huron and reported as having been caught in another zone.

 

"Search warrants were executed on one of the tugs and at the offices of Inland Sea Products where business documents were seized," the release said. "This evidence revealed that more than 15,454 kilograms (34,000 pounds) of whitefish had been taken over the quota in 2003 and more than 88,181 kg (194,000 lb) in 2004."

 

"It was a lot of work," lake manager David McLeish said Wednesday in an interview. "There was quite a team involved and they used everything from new technology to forensic accounting to carry this one off."

 

Al Ryan prosecuted the case for the MNR. A plea bargain saw the company ordered to pay $300,000 in restitution. William Jackson and Inland Sea Products were also fined $175,000 while Gregory Jackson and Leeder were each fined $5,000.

 

"(Ryan) has been a prosecutor for the ministry for many years and he said it's the largest he's seen," McLeish said of the total penalty. "I don't have statistics in front of me to confirm it, but Al would know and he said it was a record."

 

In addition, William Jackson was barred for two years from any involvement in commercial fishing operations. Inland Sea Products must also install and maintain GPS tracking devices on all its fishing vessels and use hundred-pound tubs to land fish to ensure compliance.

 


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