Week of July 13, 2009

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National

Clean Water Restoration troubles Act SB 787

A nightmare for sportsmen and conservationists

At first glance, the CWRA appears to advance the interests of American hunters, fishermen and other outdoor enthusiasts, given the connection between wildlife and water quality. In reality, the CWRA would threaten these interests.

 

Hunters: Beware the CWRA
Prairie potholes and sloughs, particularly those found in the prairie pothole region in the upper Midwest, constitute perhaps the best duck breeding and hunting grounds in the United States. As such, in 2006 nearly 1.3 million hunters flocked to North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota and Montana, the five states that comprise the prairie pothole region.

Under the Clean Water Restoration Act, however, something as simple as constructing a duck blind on private land on or near these prime hunting waters could require hunters to submit to a costly and time-consuming permitting process.

Both "prairie potholes" (depressed areas that temporarily hold rainwater and snowmelt) and "sloughs" (swampy depressions typically comprised of stagnant water or mud) are specifically named in the CWRA as "waters" that would be subject to regulation - a departure from the original Clean Water Act. As a consequence, driving posts into water and mud near a prairie pothole for construction of a duck blind could constitute discharging dredged or fill material into the "waters of the United States," which is illegal under the CRA without a permit.

In addition, hunters who fire shot over and near prairie potholes, lakes, rivers, ponds and wetlands could be considered polluters under the CWRA. In 1996, a U.S. District Court in New York ruled against a shooting range when it found that expended shot, even non-toxic steel shot, is considered a pollutant under the current CWA.

Limiting or barring access to the prairie pothole region and other popular hunting areas throughout the nation would not only spoil a rich tradition, but threaten regional economies. In 2006, hunters spent nearly $1.4 billion on hunting purchases in prairie pothole region states alone.  In the same year, hunting expenditures nationwide totaled $22.9 billion.

Off-road use of all-terrain vehicles or trucks, which is sometimes necessary to transport gear to hunting spots, might be forbidden or require a special permit under the CWRA. Traversing a wet meadow or intermittent stream in a four-wheeler could be deemed a threat to the "waters of the United States."

In addition to limiting access to hunting lands, the CWRA poses a threat to the activities of hunters and wildlife enthusiasts who wish to construct food plots on their land to attract deer, ducks and other wildlife. Clearing scrub or tilling soil to plant such plots could be barred, or require landowners to embark on a lengthy permitting process under the CWRA if the proposed plots are in the vicinity of any wetlands, drainage ditches, wet meadows, intermittent streams, ephemeral lakes or ponds. Indeed, there is precedent for such heavy-handed regulation under the original CWA.

In 2002, in a rare 4-4 tie, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a lower court's ruling that a property owner had violated the CWA when he plowed his dry land in order to convert it from cattle grazing land into vineyards.

Robin Rivett, an attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation who worked on the case, found the court's broad interpretation of the CWA troubling. "Congress never intended the Clean Water Act to regulate customary farming practices or the planting of new crops," he said.

Under the CWRA, an even wider array of basic farming practices, including habitat creation and conservation, could be heavily regulated or restricted. According to the Texas Wildlife Association - If the government expands its jurisdiction [under the Clean Water Act], not only will federal agencies lose their administrative direction, but will likely create regulations that actually limit private conservation...

In addition to expanding the federal government's jurisdiction, [the Clean Water Restoration Act] eliminates permitting exemptions for agriculture, ranching, wildlife management and forestry. The cost of permitting can be prohibitive in terms of money and time.

When Congress fails to clearly define regulatory parameters in the legislation it passes, and instead defers to the courts to divine congressional intent, everything from the practical to the absurd becomes fair game for lawsuits. Any land use activity that could possibly impact the "waters of the United States," as broadly defined in the CWRA, could be subject to environmental lawsuits and regulatory scrutiny. This should be of utmost concern to hunters, who could find themselves, and their pastime, in the crosshairs should the CWRA become law.

Fishermen and Boaters: Beware the CWRA
Like hunters, fishermen and recreational boaters would also find it more difficult to engage in their sports under the CWRA.

For example, the construction of fishing piers and boat docks, which can already require a permit under the CWA, would likely see enhanced scrutiny under the CWRA. Such construction could be regulated in nearly every instance, as nearly every body of water would qualify for federal oversight.

Though certain activities that affect navigable waters are already regulated under the current CWA, the CWRA would place even more activities under the regulatory microscope. This is because the CWRA not only broadens the jurisdiction of land and water to be regulated, but leaves it to the courts and federal regulators to determine "the fullest extent that these waters, or activities affecting these waters, are subject to the legislative power of Congress, under the Constitution."  Because specific activities are not defined in the bill, all activities could be examined and potentially banned or regulated.

This means trout and small-mouth bass fishermen could lose access to their favorite rivers and streams, as wading in these waters necessarily disturbs rocks and sediment, and therefore could be considered harmful to fish and other wildlife. Lead lures, sinkers or split-shot could be deemed pollutants.

Recreational boating could be restricted or banned in certain waters due to the incidental discharge of engine cooling water, bilge water, deck runoff or ballast water. In fact, environmental litigators have already struck a blow against recreational boating under the current CWA.

In 2003, several environmental organizations filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the agency's refusal to repeal its three-decade-long exemption for certain discharges, specifically, those that are incidental to the normal operation of boats, from requiring a permit under the CWA.  According to the EPA, such exempt discharges include "any discharge of sewage from vessels, effluent from properly functioning marine engines, laundry, shower, and galley sink wastes, or any other discharge incidental to the normal operation of a vessel."

 

In September 2006, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled in favor of the environmentalists, forcing the EPA to begin regulating incidental discharges from boats by September 30, 2008.22 Though the EPA is currently appealing the court's decision, it is also preparing to implement a new CWA permitting process for all U.S. boat owners.

"Because the Court's decision is not limited to vessels with ballast water tanks," the EPA reports, "it appears to implicate an extremely large number of vessels and a range of discharges."  The agency includes all "State-registered recreational boats" in its tally of vessels that could now require a CWA permit for operation.

The pending regulations prompted U.S. Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL) to introduce legislation that would exempt recreational boaters from having to acquire a CWA permit simply to operate their boats.

"Requiring family boaters to secure a Clean Water Act permit so that they can wash their boat, fish, or go waterskiing is ridiculous," said Martinez. "This permit requirement is unnecessary and onerous. If allowed to take effect, it will be costly and essentially unenforceable."

Considering the CWRA would encourage a courtroom examination of all activities that affect all waters of the United States, fishing, pier and dock construction and recreational boating could all come under increased fire from litigious environmental groups.
 

Shooting Sports Enthusiasts: Beware the CWRA
Already a target of the environmental movement, skeet and trap shooting ranges will likely see increased scrutiny should the CWRA become law. In fact, environmental activists have already successfully sued outdoor shooting ranges under the current CWA.

The CWA makes it illegal for anyone to discharge pollutants from any "point source" into "waters of the United States" without first obtaining a permit. A "point source" is typically a discernable source of pollution such as a factory discharge pipe. However, much like the definition of "waters of the United States," what constitutes a "point source" has been subject to broader interpretation. The EPA and courts have determined that outdoor shooting ranges loosely qualify as a "point source" of pollution into our nation's navigable waterways, and, therefore, are subject to permitting requirements under the CWA.

EPA notes that lawsuits "have been the driving force behind most legal actions against outdoor ranges." For example, in 1994, the Long Island Soundkeeper Fund, an environmental organization, successfully sued the New York Athletic Club under the CWA because the club had been operating a trap shooting range on its property. In this case, the court found that debris from clay targets and expended shot, including non-toxic steel shot, are pollutants under the CWA. According to EPA, "Based on the court's decision... any range whose shot, bullets or target debris enter the 'waters of the United States' could be subject to permitting requirements as well as governmental or citizen suits."

More recently, Blue Eco Legal Council, an environmental organization, filed a lawsuit under the CWA against the United States Department of Justice, Coast Guard, Navy, Marines and Department of Defense, alleging that an FBI shooting range in North Chicago is endangering Lake Michigan with stray bullets.

The CWRA would create more opportunities for environmental activist groups to sue shooting ranges for Clean Water Act violations. No longer would a range's activities need to pose a threat to mere lakes and other navigable waters. An intermittent stream or nondescript drainage ditch in the vicinity of a shooting range could be sufficient ground for a crippling lawsuit.

Though Representative Oberstar claims the Clean Water Restoration Act would simply restore the original intent of the Clean Water Act, the reality is much different. By expanding the federal government's regulatory reach beyond "navigable" waters to all "waters of the United States" - including every prairie pothole, isolated pond, wetland and intermittent stream under congressional authority - Oberstar's bill would truly enter uncharted territory. Moreover, by inviting judicial review of all "activities affecting these waters," the bill would open the door to a dizzying array of lawsuits that could challenge virtually any activity, no matter how benign, that takes place in or near any so-called "waters of the United States."

The results could be disastrous for sportsmen, our nation's frontline conservationists, who since the inception of the Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Programs over 75 years ago have contributed more than $10 billion for wildlife conservation efforts through excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, archery and fishing equipment.  Hunters and fishermen annually provide more than 80 percent of the funding for most state fish and wildlife agencies, and in 2006 contributed over $76 billion to the economy through expenditures related to their sports.

Congress should not reward sportsmen with a measure that threatens to limit access to fishing holes and hunting grounds, and to heavily regulate or ban the use of boats, bullets, shot and tackle.

 

Congress is trying to pretend that S 787 "clarifies" the Clean Water Act and the Supreme Court cases. It does the exact opposite. It greatly expands the power of the Corps and EPA.  Besides private property, the Clean Water Restoration Act threatens businesses, agriculture, small communities, grazing,  forestry, mining and many other uses on private and Federal land. It will affect many kinds of manufacturing companies and businesses.

 

The Real Goal of the Clean Water Restoration Act is to give Corps and EPA Control over your water and all your watersheds. That  means National Land Use Controls as well as control over all your water and land. That's because all land is in a watershed. (emphasis ours)

 


USEPA proposing problems for boaters

A proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency has boating organizations up in arms. The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and the Boat Owners Association of the United States (BoatU.S.) have taken serious exception with a proposal that would allow an increase in the amount of ethanol allowed in gasoline to rise from ten to fifteen percent.

 

That was proposed in March after Growth Energy, a pro-ethanol group collected fifty four other groups and petitioned the EPA to allow what is a fifty-percent bump in ethanol and reclassify E-10 fuel as E-15.

 

One small problem for boaters: engines are not designed, certified or calibrated to run with more than E-10 fuel. Recreational boat warranty documents and manufacturer’s owner's manuals currently advise boaters not to use more than ten percent ethanol. The end result could be a forced change that would void warranties and potentially damage fuel systems.

 

"This is not about growing renewable energy," says BoatUS Vice President of Government Affairs Margaret Podlich. "This is really about a group of investors attempting to profit at the expense of 13 million recreational boat owners. We had significant problems with the nationwide roll-out of E10 a few years ago, and without further independent testing of E15 with marine engines we are very likely to see similar issues."

 

Podlich's comments refer to the widely known problem with ethanol's ability to attract water into gasoline or "phase separate" which has led to major problems and repair and replacement costs for boaters. Another problem is ethanol degrading fiberglass boat gas tank walls.

 

The proposal for the ethanol increase could also pose problems for a myriad of other small engines, from boats to chainsaws, lawn mowers, ATVs and virtually any other gas-powered engine.

NMMA Legislative Director Mathew Dunn offers what he calls a simple solution: "Science -- not politics -- should ultimately determine EPA's decision on whether to allow the sale of any increased ethanol blend that's more than 10 percent," he says, "At present, it is clear there is insufficient scientific and technical data to justify granting the increase, and EPA should therefore deny it outright."

 

Testing prior to implementing a content standard for gasoline seems to be a reasonable request, especially when it could radically impact the performance of both civilian and military engines.

 

The challenge is to get the message to the EPA before their extended public comment period ends on July 20.

 

And the boating industry isn't the only one concerned about the E-15 proposal. A national association representing convenience stores and gas stations says they're concerned about lawsuits from car owners claiming their cars were damaged by E-15 gasoline.

 

Underwriter's Laboratories (UL) which certifies gas pumps and safety for a wide range of products says it will not provide that UL certification to E-15 pumps. UL's safety director says the maximum level that would be certified was always set at E-15. The problem is the potential for slight variations in the mix of ethanol and gasoline. In other words, it's not going to be possible for operators to say without fear of error that their pumps are absolutely dispensing no higher than E-15 mixtures.

 

For more info and to send comments to the EPA and request a denial of the waiver for increases to E15 until further testing can prove the safety of the mixture, go to:  http://www.BoatUS.com/gov or http://www.capwiz.com/nmma/home.

 

 


House Climate Bill Called "Immoral" By Major Civil Rights Leader

Washington, D.C. (June 25, 2009) -- The Waxman-Markey climate bill is "an immoral assault on poor Americans" because it is designed to purposely raise the cost of energy in order to force the working poor to reduce their standard of living, according to one of the nation's leading civil rights champions.

 

Roy Innis, Chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality -- one of America's oldest civil rights organizations -- made the allegation in a letter to all members of Congress on June 24. CORE has been heavily engaged in the national energy policy debate since the publication of Innis' 2007 book, "Energy Keepers, Energy Killers." The book was a Washington Post non-fiction best seller.

 

"In my 40-plus years as the Chairman of CORE, I have seen few federal bills that would do more harm to America’s working class and low-income citizens and families than the Waxman-Markey climate tax bill," Innis wrote to Members of Congress.

"The Waxman-Markey bill is designed specifically to make the use of fossil fuels more costly," Innis said. "That will have a 

disproportionate and negative impact on those who now benefit most from the affordable and reliable power that fossil fuels provide: poor and working-class families."

 

"In fact, an underlying goal of this legislation is the morally repugnant concept that constricting sources of domestic energy and raising energy costs is a good thing because it will force conservation by consumers," Innis said. "That elitist view assumes that poor, working class families have the ability to bear that 'social cost.'"  "The plain truth is this: the poor and working families we represent cannot bear that luxury," Innis told Congress.

 

"Americans don’t want 'energy welfare' payments from the government to help ease the sting of these government-driven cost increases," Innis wrote. "They want continued affordable and reliable energy, which this bill will constrict."

Innis concluded: "This is an explicitly anti-consumer package that will have huge impacts – both direct and indirect – on the struggling families we represent."

 

CORE said it plans to launch a national public education campaign against the Waxman-Markey legislation. CORE has more than 100,000 members nationwide.


EPA Suppresses Internal Global Warming Study
CEI Calls for Agency to Release Concealed Report
Washington, D.C. -- The Competitive Enterprise Institute on June 26 charged that a senior official of the U.S. Environment Protection Agency actively suppressed a scientific analysis of climate change because of political pressure to support the Administration’s policy agenda of regulating carbon dioxide.

As part of a just-ended public comment period, CEI submitted a set of four EPA emails, dated March 12-17, 2009, which indicate that a significant internal critique of the agency’s

global warming position was put under wraps and concealed.
 

The study the emails refer to, which ran counter to the administration’s views on carbon dioxide and climate change, was kept from circulating within the agency, was never disclosed to the public, and was not added to the body of materials relevant to EPA’s current “endangerment” proceeding. The emails further show that the study was treated in this manner not because of any problem with its quality, but for political reasons.


6 million people to attend fall hunting classics across N. America & Canada

Hunters & Anglers are ‘Economic Powerhouse’, Bass Pro Shops event features pro’s, seminars, craft activities and more

Springfield, Missouri (July 12, 2009)—During this economic downturn when everyone is having to tighten their belts a bit, it’s nice to be able to still do things you enjoy or continue traditions that are a part of your families’ heritage.  And, it’s even better if it’s free!

 

The Fall Hunting Classics are such a tradition at Bass Pro Shops.  This year, nearly 6 million people are expected to attend the 2009 Fall Hunting Classics August 7 - 23.  This 17-day event will be held at 51 Bass Pro Shops retail locations across the United States and Canada and it is all free.

 

“This event is huge and hunters and other outdoor sportsmen and women look forward to it all year long, said Bass Pro Shops spokeswoman Katie Mitchell.  “Outdoor enthusiasts will be able to learn the secret techniques and strategies used by professionals to gain a better advantage in the field; see all the latest products and attend workshops and seminars.  And, there is a ‘ripple effect’ as other area retailers, gas stations, hotels and restaurants benefit as well from the increased traffic the Classic generates,” Mitchell added.

 

But why does Bass Pro Shops go to all the time, trouble and expense, especially in these gloomy economic times, to host such an event?  According to Mitchell, ‘hunting is big business.’  And, indeed it is.  A report by the Congressional Sportsmen Foundation cites America’s 34 million hunters and anglers are an economic powerhouse—spending some $8.6 million an hour.  If this $76 billion-a-year industry were a corporation it would be among America’s 20 largest, ahead of Target, Costco and AT&T.

 

Hunting and fishing sportsmen directly support 1.6 million jobs, spend more than a billion dollars just on licenses, stamps, tags and permits, and they generate $25 billion a year in federal, state and local taxes.  More than 12.5 million hunters and shooting sports enthusiasts pump $24.9 billion into the economy each year.  Where do those billions go?  They spend $2.4 billion on guns and rifles, $203 million on binoculars, field glasses and other optics, decoys and game calls equate to $187 million, hunting apparel takes up $459 million and ammunition purchases equate to $696 million.

 

Just food and drinks consumed on hunting trips eats up $2.1 billion.  And, on lodging alone, hunters spend $614 million—more than the combined annual revenues of Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, Quality Inn, EconoLodge, Rodeway Inn and Sleep Inn ($482 million).

 

But the buck doesn’t stop there.  It is vitally important that today’s youth get involved in the outdoors so they can become the stewards and conservationists of tomorrow to insure the maintenance and well-being of our natural resources.  “I’ve heard it said that if you don’t have a fishing rod in the hands of a youngster by the time they are 8 years old, the chances of getting them to go fishing later in life diminishes dramatically,” said Mitchell.  “I would think the same applies to getting them introduced to hunting and shooting sports,” she continued.

 

Why is this so important?  The sale of hunting licenses, tags and stamps is the primary source of funding for most state wildlife conservation efforts.  Hunters and anglers have always  been, and continue to be, the largest contributors to

government wildlife conservation programs.  Through excise

taxes and license revenues, these sportsmen have contributed more than $10 billion dollars to conservation and provide more than 80% of the funding for most state fish and wildlife agencies.  Just from hunters alone, nearly $200 million in hunters’ federal excise taxes are distributed to State agencies to support wildlife each year.

 

Success stories of these wildlife restoration projects are exemplified though the ‘bringing back’ of dozens of species such as ducks, wild turkeys and white-tailed deer.  In 1900 there were less than 100,000 wild turkeys in the nation.  Today there are 7 million.  (All statistics are from the Congressional Sportsman’s Foundation report “Hunting and Fishing: Bright Stars of the American Economy ~ A force as big as all outdoors.” It can be accessed online at www.sportsmenslink.org)

 

Some of the special events during the Bass Pro Shops 2009 Fall Hunting Classic include:

►    Aug. 7-9 – Bass Pro Shops Free Hunting University; Nationally recognized professional hunters and outdoorsmen will be at stores to give seminars and talk about their experiences. Friday 5-9pm, Saturday and Sunday Noon – 5pm

►    Aug. 7 – Preferred Rewards Night

►    Aug. 22-23 – Next Generation Weekend; Noon to 6pm.  Activities include free Shooting Arcade*, BB gun/pellet gun range*, archery range*, paintball cage, (*in stores where available), leather stamping craft (Saturday only, starts at noon, while supplies last), animal track mold craft (Sunday only, starts at noon, while supplies last), and seminars for youths given by associates or conservation groups Saturday and Sunday at 1pm and 2pm.  Youths will receive a punch card to be punched once for every activity they complete.  Once the card is full youths will receive a “Bass Pro Shops Next Generation” DVD. (While supplies last) 

►    Aug. 7-9 – PictureU Free Photo; Picture yourself on the cover of an Outdoor Life Magazine!  Friday 5-9pm Saturday and Sunday Noon – 5pm

►    Aug. 15 -16 -   PictureU Free Photo; Saturday and Sunday Noon – 5pm

►    Aug. 22 -23 -   PictureU Free Photo; Saturday and Sunday Noon – 5pm

 

In addition, customers will be able to register August 7th – 23rd for a sweepstakes featuring a trip to the Professional Bull Riders Finals.  Winner of the First place prize (one winner selected from each store) will win tickets for two for three days at the PBR Finals in Las Vegas, and a two-night stay for one customer and one guest at the Silverton Hotel and Casino.  A Grand Prize Winner will be selected during the PBR finals and will receive an API Outdoors™ Alumi-Tech® Climbing Treestand (retail $269.99), Arctic Cat Prowler (retail $10,995.00), Grizzly Boat Package (retail $7995.00) and a RedHead® Hunting Package valued at $1000.00.  (Contest rules: Customers may also enter to win online at www.basspro.com.  51 First Place winners will be drawn and one Grand Prize winner will be drawn nationally.  NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR CLAIM PRIZE.  Open to legal residents of the 50 United States and District of Columbia who are 18 years of age or older at time of entry.  Void where prohibited.  Sweepstakes begins 08/07/09 and ends 08/23/09.)

 

For more information on the free Bass Pro Shops Fall Hunting Classic go to www.basspro.com/classic.


Regional

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for July 10, 2009

Weather Conditions

The Great Lakes basin experienced sunshine and unseasonably cool temperatures most of this week. To date in July, precipitation is much lower than the average, but this weekend thunderstorms are expected throughout much of the basin. Next week, temperatures should warm up to more seasonable readings. Later next week may also see a few showers throughout the region.

Lake Level Conditions

Lake Superior is 2 inches below the level it was a year ago while Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are 8, 6, 2 and 1", respectively, higher than their levels of a year ago.  Lake Superior is expected to rise 2 inches over the next month, while Lake Michigan-Huron is predicted to remain steady.  Lakes St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are predicted to decline 4 to 5 inches over the next 30 days. Over the next several months, Lake Superior is predicted to be near its level of a year ago. Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, and Erie are forecasted to remain at or above last year's levels.  Lake Ontario is forecasted to be at or below its levels of a year ago over the next six months. 

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions

In June, the outflow from Lake Superior through the St. Mary's River was near average, while the outflow from Lake Michigan-Huron through the St. Clair River was below average.  The

Detroit and Niagara Rivers carried near average flows during June.  The outflow from Lake Ontario through the St. Lawrence River was above average. 

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

Levels for July 10

601.48

578.87

 

575.03

572.31

246.52

Datum, in ft

601.1

577.5

572.3

569.2

243.3

Diff in inches

 

 +5

 

   +16

 

+33

 

+37

 

+39

Diff last month

 

+1

 

 +2

 

+2

 

0

 

-1

Diff from last yr

 

-2

 

+8

 

+6

 

+2

 

+1


General

Simple Tips for Teaching Kids to Fish

There are many things in this life that can test your patience; traffic, downloads, the DMV, but teaching your kids to fish should not be one of them. Here are a few things to keep in mind when trying to educate kids to fish that will benefit all.

 

1. Keep it simple. You can't cram years of fishing experience into one day on the water, it is unproductive and violates rule number one.  Instead, pick a couple of things that you want to teach them to focus on. Maybe it is casting or fighting a fish... you can and should do

 

2. Keep it productive - catch some fish! This is a hard thing to arrange sometimes, but if you can, make sure that you and your kids can be successful on the water. Nothing will create a more positive lasting impression than catching a fish or two, no matter the species - many a bluegill have been caught by first time anglers.

 

3. Document the experience - take pictures! Even if all you

catch is a minnow, play it up. Blow up the picture and put it on

the wall.

 

The size of the fish isn't important. The smile on the face holding the fish IS. 

 

4. Lastly, quit while you're ahead. Don't continue to fish if the fishing is slow or slowing down. When the fishing takes a turn, or you start to see a lack of interest in your young pupil don't forget rule number one. Skip some rocks, have a stick race down the stream, chase some butterflies, have a snack and keep the whole thing to a few hours tops.

 

Follow these rules to enjoy a fun and productive fishing experience with your little ones. Seem too complicated? Check out Angling University's Kids Fishing Camps. We facilitate a fun, hands on learning experience that will create lasting memories for years to come.

Ethan Emery

Angling University Director


Illinois

Conservation Police Officers Crack Down on Drunk Boating

Operation Dry Water results in over 600 citations over 2 weekends

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois DNR announced that this past 4th of July weekend was one of the safest on Illinois waters in recent years. Conservation Police report there were no fatal boat accidents on Illinois waters during the three-day holiday weekend.

 

“We are thrilled that people for the most part decided to put safety first this past weekend,” said IDNR Director Marc Miller. “I encourage all boaters and anglers to keep that frame of mind the rest of the summer as they head out to have a good time on the water.”

 

“This is the first 4th of July holiday since 2005 that we have not had a boating-related fatality during the holiday weekend,” said IDNR Illinois Boating Law Administrator, Sgt. Joe

Morelock. “While there were still quite a few people who made the poor decision to operate under the influence, over all it was a very safe weekend.”

 

Operation Dry Water was a stepped up enforcement over the past two weekends to crack down on those operating under the influence (OUI) of alcohol or drugs. Over the course of the two weekends (June 26-28 and July 3 – 5), Conservation Police Officers (CPO’s) issued 38 citations for OUI, 30 of which came during the 4th of July weekend.

 

“Our officers issued a total of 603 citations over the two weekends for everything from OUI to not having enough life jackets on the vessel to other safety issues,” said IDNR Conservation Police Chief Rafael Gutierrez. “Officers also issued 581 written warnings, but we feel that all in all, most of the people out on the waters were doing their part to play it safe.”


Hunters Encouraged to Sign Up for Hunter Safety Education Courses

Traditional and Online Courses Now Available

SPRINGFIELD – Hunters of all ages and all levels of experience are encouraged to focus on safety and to take a free Illinois Hunter Safety Education Course coordinated by the Illinois DNR. Hunters now also have the opportunity to go online to sign up for one of two new web-based hunter safety courses to earn their hunter safety certificate.

 

“The busy fall hunting seasons are on the way and summer is the perfect time to sign up for a free hunter safety education course – or to go online for one of the two new hunter safety course options on the web – to get ready for spending time in the field this fall,” said IDNR Director Marc Miller. “We want hunters and their hunting partners to be safe. First-time hunters and those with years of experience can benefit from taking a safety course.”

 

Illinois law requires that anyone born on or after January 1, 1980 must successfully complete a hunter safety education course before an Illinois hunting license can be issued. The traditional courses, which are coordinated by the IDNR, are taught by volunteer safety instructors. The courses include instruction on hunting regulations, hunter ethics and responsibility, archery, firearms, ammunition, first aid, wildlife identification and conservation. A minimum of 10 hours of instruction is involved.

 

While the courses are a requirement for many young and novice hunters, many states now require hunters of all ages to furnish evidence of having completed a hunter education course before they will be issued a non-resident hunting license.

 

Starting this month, the IDNR is offering hunters two new convenient ways to familiarize themselves with hunting safety information through the internet. The IDNR has partnered with online companies HunterExam.com and Hunter-Ed.com to provide necessary coursework to help complete hunter safety education requirements in Illinois.

"Young people have been exposed to incredible advances in technology and they have a lot more activities competing for their time. That’s why offering a way for them to learn about hunting safety and prepare for hunter safety certification at their own pace makes sense,” said Director Miller.

 

Students may opt to take the coursework section online using either of the two new interactive hunter education courses. Students are still required to attend a one-day field day to finalize their certification.  "We recognize families have chaotic schedules, and that learning styles can vary considerably," said IDNR Safety Education Administrator Jeff Hopkins. “By offering both the traditional, lecture-style course and the opportunity to learn the material online, parents and students may select the option that works best for them."

 

Reviewing the online safety coursework is free to anyone, making it a tremendous tool for seasoned hunters to refresh their skills or learn about new programs and equipment each year for free.  Anyone interested in reviewing the online coursework can to do so through the IDNR web site www.dnr.state.il.us/safety. Those who complete the hunter safety education course and pass the final exam receive a certificate of competency. Last year, more than 17,200 students completed the course in Illinois.

 

The IDNR Safety Education office reports there were 38 hunting-related accidents in Illinois in 2008. Of those accidents, eight resulted in fatalities (six involving tree-stand falls). To date in 2009, there have been three reported hunting accidents and no reported fatalities.

 

“The Illinois Hunter Education Program is an ideal way for young people and first-time hunters to learn about ways to be safe while hunting, how to enjoy the shooting sports, and to have respect for wildlife and the environment,” said Hopkins.

 

For more information on IDNR safety education programs – and a schedule of the traditional, in-person safety education courses, check the web site at http://dnr.state.il.us/safety  or call toll-free 1-800-832-2599


Indiana

Online reserved-hunt applications now available

Hunters may apply for a reserved hunt online by visiting www.IndianaOutdoor.IN.gov and clicking on the “Register for a Reserved Hunt” link, beginning July 1. The online method will be the only way to apply.

 

All applicants must possess a pertinent hunting license for the hunt for which they apply. All applications must be completed by the application deadline to be eligible for the drawing. Hunters will be selected through a random drawing. All drawing results will be posted at www.IN.gov/dnr/fishwild (or www.wildlife.IN.gov) within a week after application deadlines.

 

Military/Refuge Deer Hunt Draw

Online application must be completed by Aug. 28, 2009

Dove Hunt Draw

Online application must be completed by July 31, 2009

Indiana State Park Deer Reduction Hunts

Online application must be completed by Aug. 28, 2009

Pheasant Hunt Draw

Online application must be completed by: Oct. 2, 2009

Wild Turkey Hunt Draw

Online application must be completed by: March 26, 2010

 

Applications for waterfowl draw hunts typically begin in late August. Pheasant put-and-take will be available Sept. 1. Additional Military/Refuge hunts this year include a firearm hunt at Naval Support Activity Crane, and archery and firearm hunts at Newport Chemical Depot. Permit allotments and/or dates for other military and refuge areas are also being expanded.

 

For answers to questions about military/refuge hunt opportunities, call (812) 334-3795 from 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. on weekdays. Note that this is not a toll-free call.  See more information in the Hunting & Trapping Guide online.


Upper Wabash Outdoor Cooking, Aug. 1

No one is more popular in camp than the cook. Come out to the Upper Wabash Reservoirs to learn more about outdoor cooking and to compete for culinary honors at an outdoor cooking event, Aug. 1 at Salamonie. The event is open to both campers and day visitors.

 

The event is held at the campground’s program shelter. The day begins with outdoor cooking class from 1 to 2 p.m. The cooking competition follows from 2 to 5:30 p.m. There is a $10 entry fee per individual/team.   Competition requires each entrant to cook one entrée and one dessert. There must be

enough of each dish to allow eight judges to sample.

 

All cooking must be done in a Dutch oven. Entrants are responsible for supplying all food ingredients, cooking utensils, charcoal and starter. All foods must be prepared on site.  Judging takes place at 6 p.m. An awards ceremony follows. The first-place team wins a new Dutch oven and qualifies to compete in the Oct. 24 championship cook-off at J. Edward Roush Lake. The championship winner will earn a tripod, lid lifter and other outdoor cooking accessories.  These events are sponsored by Bozarth Country Store.


Lake Michigan Coastal Program Supports Local Projects

Indiana's Lake Michigan coastal area will benefit from the approval of 14 projects to receive $635,232 in federal funds.

Grant recipients will provide the equivalent in local match for a total of $1,270,464 that will be invested in projects that will improve public access and protect and restore natural areas in the Lake Michigan watershed.


Indiana Finds Unwanted Pike and White Bass in Lakes

Two species of fish, although popular among Hoosier anglers, are not what biologists wanted to find in three lakes

north of Columbia City in Whitley County. Northern pike were netted at Loon Lake, while a white bass was captured in Big Lake during surveys by the Department of Natural Resources.


Michigan

Ludington dredging begins

Stimulus money will be used to dredge Ludington Harbor deeper than usual.  Ludington harbor’s bottom will soon be

deeper than it’s been in years after the current dredging project ends. The $1.3 million project started last week and is expected to last until late July.


Rush Lake Boating Access will undergo Paving Improvements

The DNR announced that Rush Lake Boating Access Site, located in Hartford Township in Van Buren County, will undergo paving improvements and site redevelopment beginning the week of July 20.

 

It is anticipated that construction activities will necessitate closure of the site Monday through Friday and will last three to four weeks. Only the boat ramp will be available on Saturdays and Sundays. The parking area will be closed at the site during construction.

 

Upgrades will include asphalt paving, improved vehicular circulation, larger parking area, barrier-free accessibility and the handling of surface water runoff in an environmentally friendly manner. The improvements will benefit site users by 

providing a more efficient use of parking space, as well as enhanced accessibility for persons with mobility impairments. Asphalt paving of boating sites saves public dollars in the long run, as most gravel-surfaced sites require continued maintenance, including grading, erosion repair, and regular replenishment of aggregate surfaces.

 

This project is being funded through the Michigan State Waterways Fund, a restricted fund derived from boat registration fees, and a portion of the Michigan marine fuel tax for construction, operation, and maintenance of recreational boating facilities, harbors and inland waterways.

 

Double Construction of Martin, MI, is the project's general contractor. For additional information or updates on the status of this site, contact Joe Strach, DNR Parks and Recreation Division district planner, at (517) 641-4903, ext. 227.


New York

DEC completes Freshwater Angler Survey

The 2007 New York State Freshwater Angler Survey, which provides valuable insight on fishing trends and resource management, is now available. The survey reflects information collected from nearly 20,000 completed questionnaires from a random sample of licensed anglers and offers a snapshot of the tremendous positive economic impact of angling on the state.

 

The information contained in the survey resulted from a total of approximately 20,000 completed questionnaires from a random sample of licensed anglers. The results indicate that anglers spent an estimated 18.7 million days fishing New York's freshwaters in 2007. This is a slight increase from 1996*s estimate of 18.6 million, though lower than the 1988 peak of approximately 21 million. Water bodies that had significant  increases in the number of angler trips in 2007 included Oneida Lake and the Hudson River -- each had a jump of approximately 200,000  additional angler days over 1996*s estimates. Smaller increases were also noted for Lake Erie, Cayuga Lake and Lake Champlain. Lake Ontario remained the top fishing water, though there was a 177,000-angler-day decrease compared to 1996*s estimates.

 

Black bass continues to be a top favorite among many anglers. Other species, including walleye, yellow perch, and bluegill/sunfish, all saw  increases from 1996 levels in the number of days they were pursued by anglers.

 

The survey gives insight not only into fishing preferences, but also the impact fishing has on state and local economies. New York's resident and non-resident anglers collectively spent an estimated $331 million at fishing sites and an estimated $202 million en route to fishing sites.  The Great Lakes fishery alone generated an estimated $98 million in at-location expenditures.

 

*New York has some of the finest freshwater fishing in the country, with a wide range of angling opportunities that are the 

backbone of a substantial economic engine,* Commissioner Grannis said. *The angler survey is an important tool that will help build upon our success in managing fisheries and create new fishing opportunities. We thank the many anglers that participated in providing this information and look  forward to working together to protect, restore and enhance freshwater fishing in New York.*

 

The survey was carried out by Cornell University*s Department of Natural Resources in cooperation with DEC*s Bureau of Fisheries and was funded by a federal *Sport Fish Restoration* grant.

 

Results of the survey are compiled in four reports:

 

Report 1 contains estimates of angler effort (i.e. days fished) and expenditures made by anglers; statewide, by region, and by major water body. It also provides estimates of angler effort for specific game fish species such as black bass, trout and walleye.

 

Report 2 assesses angler preferences for freshwater fish species and water bodies, characteristics and preferences of anglers, as well as satisfaction levels associated with some specific fishery management objectives.

 

Report 3 provides estimates of angler effort and expenditures by county.

 

Report 4 provides an assessment of recall bias by comparing the results of the two survey methodologies used in 2007. The report also provides an analysis of trends in fishing effort.

 

Each of the four reports, as well as a summary report that highlights significant findings, are available on the DEC website (as PDF documents) at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/56020.html. Questions pertaining to the survey can be directed to Shaun Keeler in the Bureau of Fisheries at (518) 402-8928.


Wisconsin

   

 

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