Week of July 21 , 2003

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National

Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus Gets Invasives Update

On July 9, members of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus including Senate Caucus Vice-Chair Senator Mike Crapo joined agency officials, conservation organizations and CSF supporters to learn about the increasing problems with invasive species. Across the country, invasive species - foreign insects, plants and animals - are wreaking havoc on America's public and private lands.

Federal and state land management agencies partnering with conservation organizations have been working together to prevent the introduction and spread of invasive plants and aquatic species in the United States, while simultaneously working to eradicate invasive species on federal lands and restoring ecosystems with native plants and species. For a full story go to: http://www.sportsmenslink.org/briefings/Invasives.html.

 


NOAA Establishes National Center for Research on Aquatic Invasive Species

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has established a new NOAA National Center for Research on Aquatic Invasive Species in Ann Arbor, Mich.  NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

 

The Center will allow NOAA to more effectively organize and coordinate its aquatic invasive species research efforts while assuring that NOAA resources are focused on priority problems nationwide, and where appropriate, form partnerships with other agencies, academia, and the private sector.

 

"Each year, aquatic invasive species wreak billions of dollars in damages on the U.S. economy, much of which is passed on to the consumer," said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph. D. undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.  "If we are to effectively deal with this threat we must coordinate our science in order to provide the best information and most appropriate ways to reduce the impact of invasive species and stem their spread, or prevent introduction of new ones."

 

Under NOAA's plan, the agency's National Center for Research on Aquatic Invasive Species will be established at NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental search Laboratory (GLERL) in Ann Arbor, Mich.  Lautenbacher said there were many reasons GLERL was selected including:

* The lab's extensive in-house expertise, and proven 14-year track record of conducting aquatic invasive species research, including prevention, ecosystem impacts and forecasting, as well as monitoring;

 

* The network of collaborative partnerships that GLERL has developed with universities, government agencies, and the private sector; and

 

* The unique link that the lab has developed with the  National Sea Grant College Program through

 

establishment of a GLERL / Great Lakes Sea Grant Network Extension Agent.

 

Lautenbacher said the center will work across NOAA under the matrix management approach he recently implemented throughout the agency.  Center director, Dr. David Reid, a senior physical scientist who has served at GLERL since 1985, will develop programs and priorities with a team representing the three units of NOAA that carry out NOAA's marine science mission: the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, the National Ocean Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service.  Reid will also be a member of NOAA's aquatic invasive species matrix management team.

 

Dr. Stephen Brandt, acting deputy assistant administrator of NOAA's Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) and GLERL director, said that the Center will establish NOAA regional coordinators in six major aquatic coastal regions around the United States, ensuring that the coordination would be NOAA-wide and fully national in scope.

 

"Since NOAA co-chairs the Aquatic Invasive Species Task Force, the research identified by the center will be easily coordinated with the research priorities identified by the task force and the Invasive Species Council," Brandt said.

Lautenbacher noted that Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), the Canadian federal department with a mission closest to NOAA's, expressed interest in the center when he described it during a visit to Ottawa in May.  In early June DFO indicated plans to develop a similar Canadian Aquatic Invasive Species Research Centre and expressed the desire to have the two centers work cooperatively.

 

Brandt said that GLERL's close proximity to Canada and its many interactions with the Canadian scientific community will help develop links between the NOAA Center and the new Canadian Centre sought by the DFO.


 

 

Anti-Bear Hunting Bill Withdrawn from Resources Committee

Washington, DC: Sponsors of H.R. 1472, the "Don't Feed the Bears" legislation that would prohibit the practice of regulated use of bait in hunting bears on federal public lands, withdrew the legislation from consideration by the House Resources Committee today. The withdrawal of the bill was a victory for sportsmen, led by the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, SCI and the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance, who have worked against the legislation because of the implications to state-based wildlife management. Sponsors of the bill may look to amend another bill on the House floor with H.R. 1472, but CSF and its partners will work against this effort.

 

After the bill was pulled, Caucus members on the committee, Reps. Don Young (R-AK), Ron Kind (D-WI), Jim Saxton (R-NJ), and Barbara Cubin (R-WY), spoke in opposition to the bill stating their strong concerns about the precedent it would set for wildlife management. The Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus worked to defeat this legislation through Dear Colleague letters and targeted meetings with committee members.

 

"The Don't Feed the Bears Act is an affront to state's rights, contrary to sound wildlife management practices, and an insult to law abiding sportsmen across the country," stated Congressman Richard Pombo, Chairman of the House Resources Committee and a member of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus. "These constituencies have spoken and Congress is listening, but we must continue to guard against measures in the future that would seek to undermine our rights."

 

Congress specifically and repeatedly has affirmed the states' rights to manage non-migratory wildlife, including on most federal lands except for National Parks. H.R. 1472

would have preempted these rights and removed science and professional wildlife management as the cornerstone of America's successful wildlife management program.

 

Recent studies have shown that black bear populations in the U.S. are increasing, and that the major problem facing black bears is the growing number of conflicts with humans. Keeping black bear populations in check is a primary goal of bear management for most states and they must be permitted the latitude to manage their resident populations in the manner that their state wildlife agencies deem appropriate. The biologists and professionals from the state wildlife authorities in the nine states that allow regulated baiting have determined that baiting for bears is an appropriate method of harvest, and in some cases virtually the only viable means to manage population densities.

 

"At no time in its history has Congress selected an individual species for federal management, and it should not start now," stated CSF Director of Policy, Jeff Crane.

 

In a final attempt to move the legislation after it was withdrawn from the House Resources Committee earlier this week, sponsors of "Don't Feed the Bears" legislation H.R. 1472, sought to attach the bill to the Department of Interior Appropriations funding bill. Thanks to the efforts of key Sportsmen's groups, the backdoor effort by the sponsors was defeated on the House floor by a vote of 163-255 and effectively ends consideration of the legislation this year.

 

H.R. 1472 would have set a bad precedent because it would have allowed the federal government to preempt the states' rights to manage non-migratory wildlife, including on most federal lands, and removed science and professional wildlife management as the cornerstone of America's successful wildlife conservation program.


U.S. judge issues injunction against Clinton Forest rule

WASHINGTON — Green groups vowed to appeal a Wyoming federal court's decision Tuesday blocking a Clinton-era plan to protect millions of acres of U.S. forest land, saying it violated environmental rules.

 

In a 100-page ruling issued July 14, U.S. District Judge Clarence Brimmer said the U.S. Forest Service made "a thinly veiled attempt to designate 'wilderness areas' in violation of the clear and unambiguous process established by the Wilderness Act for such designation." The land in question comprises 58.5 million acres.

 

The injunction was a victory for the state of Wyoming, which filed the suit, and it marked another setback for the so-called roadless rule since it was implemented by Clinton days before leaving office. A May 2001 decision by a Idaho federal judge halted the Clinton plan, but the decision was overturned in December by the 9th Circuit Court.

 

The latest decision on the controversial rule halts it nationwide, including within the 9th Circuit, according to Jim Angell, an attorney with Earthjustice.  "We are going to appeal immediately," said Angell. "The Idaho district judge enjoined the rule on some of these same grounds,

and the appellate court lifted that injunction. We are confident that the 10th circuit will do the same."

 

The Clinton plan aims to prevent road construction and the removal of oil and lumber in 58.5 million acres of federal forest land, unless needed for environmental reasons or to reduce the risk of wildfires.

 

Republican lawmakers said the inclusive roadless rule was not an effective way to manage public lands because it would block recreational uses and thinning measures needed to prevent forest fires on a case-by-case basis.  Wyoming Republican Craig Thomas said "If you have no roads, then you suddenly eliminate access for a lot of people."

 

In his decision, Brimmer said the roadless rule violated a host of environmental rules, including the National Environmental Policy Act because it was driven by "political haste" and failed to allow the public sufficient time to comment. "In the Forest Service's desire to create a 'legacy' for itself and the Clinton administration through the Roadless Rule, the Forest Service lost sight of its mission," said Brimmer.

 

Under the Wilderness Act, only Congress has the power to designate wilderness area, the judge said.


Corps of Engineers refuses to drop Missouri River levels

Contempt hearing scheduled on  judge's order
WASHINGTON — The Army Corps of Engineers refused on July 15 to reduce water levels on the Missouri River despite a federal judge's order to cut flows to protect endangered birds and fish.  The corps said the judge's order, issued July 12, conflicts with a federal court ruling last year that there must be enough water in the Missouri for barges to navigate and power plants to operate.

"It is impossible to simultaneously comply with the conflicting flow requirements obtained in the two orders," the corps said in a statement. The corps said the administration will ask Congress for $42 million next year for an unprecedented effort to restore the Missouri River ecosystem.

A spokesman for the conservation group American Rivers called the move "too little, too late." A lawsuit by American Rivers and other groups prompted the judge's order for low flows.  On July 12 a federal court in Washington ordered the low flows to comply with the Endangered Species Act. But a federal court in Nebraska ruled last year that the river must have enough water for barges to navigate and power plants to operate.

At issue is an effort to restore the Missouri to more natural high spring and low summer flows to encourage fish spawning and bird nesting by threatened and endangered species.

Such a change would also benefit the lake recreation industry upriver in Montana and the Dakotas, but farmers and residents along the lower reaches of the river in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri worry a spring rise would flood homes and farmland and low summer flows would devastate the barge shipping industry.

On July 15, U.S. District Judge Gladys Kessler in Washington denied a request by the Justice Department and the state of Nebraska to suspend her ruling ordering the low flows.  In her order, Kessler acknowledged barge companies will lose revenues, water quality may suffer, and consumers may pay more for power this summer along the Missouri River. But she said that injury to wildlife — the least tern, piping plover, and pallid sturgeon — will be irreparable without curtailing the Missouri's flow.

 

Kessler had ordered the Corps to reduce the flow of the Missouri River to protect nesting areas of the piping plover and the least tern.  Her order conflicts with last year 's Nebraska District Court's ruling ordering the Corps to maintain enough flow to allow barge traffic, power generation and other needs.  The Justice Department has asked Judge Kessler to stay her injunction since the Corps cannot comply with both rulings. 

 

Environmentalists, who brought the suit, claim that the Missouri River is kept artificially high to benefit the barge industry that hauls containers of grain and other products downstream to consumers.  Kessler believes the environmentalists will win because in 2000, the USFWS ordered the Corps to reduce the Missouri 's flow for the two birds and the pallid sturgeon. 

 

Kessler admits that her ruling will cause financial hardship for the barge companies, negatively impact water quality, and increase power costs for consumers, but "There is no dollar value that can be placed on the extinction of an animal species - the loss is to our planet, our children and future generations," she wrote.

Kessler has ordered the Corps to respond to a contempt citation in a hearing scheduled for next month.

 


Electric Utility Industry, FWS team to protect birds

New voluntary guidelines for protecting birds from electrocution and collisions with power lines now being developed  by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Avian Power Line Interaction Committee (APLIC) promise improved safeguards for migratory birds.

 

Electrocutions and line strikes are a particular threat to birds with large wingspans, such as eagles, hawks, and owls ? all species protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.  Avian interactions with power lines also cause power outages, which represent added cost and inconvenience for electric utilities and their customers.

 

The new guidelines will give electric utilities a framework to use in developing voluntary Avian Protection Plans (APP) tailored to their specific operations.  The APP guidance document, which will be posted on FWS' and APLIC websites, will reference the latest industry standards for preventing avian power line interactions, including recommendations from the most current edition of APLIC's "Suggested Practices for Raptor Protection on Power Lines."

"A voluntary approach protects birds through industry cooperation, rather than through mandatory 'one-size- fits-all' agreements," said Jim Burruss, APLIC chair and a representative of PacifiCorp.  "Customers expect utilities to provide a reliable source of energy, and the public expects the Service to protect the Nation's wildlife resources.  Our collaborative work on voluntary guidelines for Avian Protection Plans should help safeguard birds, enhance energy delivery, and cut costs for electric utilities."

 

The new guidelines, like those already published by the Service for the communication tower industry, outline practical tested ways to reduce threats to birds.  Similar recommendations have just been released by the Service for the wind turbine industry.

 

APLIC members include representatives from the Edison Electric Institute, 18 investor-owned utilities, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (which represents nearly 1,000 consumer-owned electric utilities), the Electric Power Research Institute, two Federal utility agencies and USFWS.  APLIC continues to sponsor short courses, fund research, and update guidance materials designed to protect birds and enhance energy delivery.


Canada

Canada tries to sell Gun Control to the World

That Canada's gun registry is a waste of money - incomplete, inaccurate, worthless from the perspective of law enforcement - is beyond doubt.  That it's made masses of newly minted criminals out of law-abiding Canadians through its administrative regulations is also a dead certainty.  Ottawa is now trying to convince the rest of the planet to repeat its ghastly mistake.

 

Recently, Canadian government representatives at a UN conference on gun control sang the praises of the registry project, basically encouraging other nations to adopt the

model as their own. What worries the UN delegates most, of course, is the international traffic in military hardware.

 

There are two possibilities here. Possibly, the feds are hoping they can interest enough foreign governments in copying the Canadian program to deflect criticism at home: "If it's good enough for Belgium, it ought to be good enough for you."  Or too gutless to do the right thing and scrap the program, they may see this as a cheap way of saving face by exporting Canada's national embarrassment.


  

Regional

Great Lakes Fish Stocking Database

By species, state or agency, and lake back to 1950

Searchable by year, fish species, state or agency, and lake, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC) has established a site that provides fishery managers, scientists, the angling community and other interested parties with access to a centralized, comprehensive database of all fish stocked into the Great Lakes from artificial propagation.

 

The Great Lakes Fish Stocking Database (GLFSD) is a continuation of a project initiated by the GLFC to provide a database of all fish stocked into the Great Lakes – beginning with the year 1950 and continuing thru and including 2002. Species include all trout and salmon, as well as all bass, perch, walleye, herring, sturgeon, muskie and northern pike.

 

Click here for the database  http://www.glfc.org/fishstocking/


General

Peak time here for West Nile

Mosquitoes infected with the West Nile virus and birds that have died from it are showing up in Chicago and other areas of the country.

           

Public health officials say the virus is definitely in the environment now and it is time for heightened vigilance.

The message from health officials is to get rid of the standing water that mosquitoes breed in and get out the insect repellent. In theory, people can be infected by West Nile whenever mosquitoes are biting, which generally starts around May 1 in the Chicago area.

           

But the culex mosquito, the best-know transmitter of West Nile, generally feeds on birds at the start of summer, then birds and other mammals - including humans-sometime in July, entomologists said. The prime time for human exposure to West Nile begins in the middle of July, officials said. That risk will end in October, when cooler weather kills the bugs or sends them into hibernation.

           

Now is the time to check yards for standing water-in flowerpot drip pans, unused swimming pools or children's pails or toys - where mosquitoes lay eggs. In addition, people should try to avoid going out at dusk and dawn, when mosquito activity is highest. If that's not possible, wear long sleeves and pants or an insect repellent with a concentration of about 30 % DEET for adults and about 10 % for children.

 

Last year, more than 4,000 people were sickened nationally and 284 died of West Nile. In Illinois, more than 800 people became ill from the virus and 64 people died with most cases in Cook County.  Most people who are infected develop no

symptoms. About 20 % will have mild symptoms, such as fever or headache.

 

Fewer than one in 100 people infected will develop meningitis or encephalitis, which is swelling of the brain or brain membranes, diseases that can cause death or long-term problems such as paralysis, memory loss, confusion and weakness. Though the greatest chance for death or serious disease is among people older than 50 or people with compromised immune systems, health officials point out that even younger, healthy adults have been hit by the virus, finding themselves staying home with a throbbing headache.

   

Last summer, there were 23 cases nationwide in which West Nile was passed on through a blood transfusion, and four cases in which organ recipients contracted the virus. The nation's blood banks in recent days began testing donated blood for West Nile. Last week, the first unit of infected blood was found in Texas, the FDA reported.

           

West Nile is not a great threat to children-only 2 % of the known human cases of the virus were in children younger than 14, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. And doctors said that when children do contract West Nile, they have a much less serious illness than adults.

           

Overuse of DEET-spraying on so much that it runs down children's legs-has the potential to cause a central nervous system problem. To avoid that risk, parents should first make sure children wear socks, long sleeves and long pants when outdoors at dusk. Then, apply a light spray of insect repellent to clothing and exposed skin.


Water Works Wonders-Boating & Fishing Experience

Making tour stops across the U.S.

CHICAGO, July 18, 2003 - - The Water Works Wonders Boating and Fishing  Experience is cruising across the U.S. on it's five  month interactive  mobile marketing tour promoting boating, fishing and aquatic stewardship.  Launched at the ESPN Great Outdoor Games, in Reno, Nevada, this 48 ft  semi-trailer, that is converted into a "mini marina" is bringing the boating and fishing experience to hundreds of thousands of consumers.

 

Upcoming tour stops include:

 

Washington County Fair     West Bend, WI     July 23- 27        

McHenry County Fair         Woodstock, IL (Chicago)            July 30- August 3

Federated Auto Parts      Nashville, TN           August 8-9   

Kentucky State Fair          Louisville, KY       August 14-24   

Minnesota State Fair     Minneapolis, MN  August 28-Sept1       

Norwalk Oyster Festival     Norwalk, CT        Sept. 5-7 

Sounds of Freedom Air Show   Willow Grove, PA            September 12-14          

NASCAR Dover 400       Dover, DE        September 19-21          

North Georgia State Fair    Marietta, GA     Sept. 26-28          

State Fair of VA             Richmond, VA  October 1-5       

Shrimp Festival            Gulf Shores, AL          October 9-12     

Oyster Festival       Oyster Bay, NY (Long Island)   Oct. 17-19   

 

For complete details on each event go to www.discoverboating  and click on the Boating & Fishing Experience logo.

 

 


Lake Michigan

NOAA Lake Level Forecast For Lake Michigan Right On Target

GLERL uses meteorological forecasts from the National Weather Service to forecast the lake levels six months out.  Back in January, GLERL's Lake Michigan forecast was 176.61 meters - about 579 feet; in July the actual level was 176.65 meters -- approximately 2 inches higher than the forecast.

 

Since 1997, Lake Michigan has dropped 4.1 ft, the largest drop in that short of time span since records have been kept.  Lakes Michigan and Huron are often considered one body of water as they are connected by the Straits of Mackinac, located between the upper and lower peninsulas of the state of Michigan.

The other lakes are more difficult to forecast, because the water flow of Superior and Ontario are regulated by power companies and Erie gets 80 percent of its water from Michigan and Huron.

 

Lake levels have been dropping for the past six years and lake evaporation has increased significantly, exposing and destroying some vital breeding habitat for lake wildlife.

 

Lake levels have been forecast before GLERL was formed in 1974.  Part of the laboratory's mandate is to provide the lake level forecasts, a task  that was given to GLERL when the research arm of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was transferred to the laboratory.


Indiana

IN - Aquatic exotic control planning underway

Monkey pox, toxic algae and flying carp.

It sounds like a bad horror movie, but they are real problems for Indiana. Increasing global trade and travel have brought hundreds of exotic species and diseases to Hoosier doorsteps.

 

"Introduced species are a form of biological pollution that can damage public health and our economy," said Bill James, DNR fisheries chief.  "Our waterways are at an especially high risk of irreversible damage." Aquatic invaders such as zebra mussels, bighead carp, purple loosestrife, white perch and sea lamprey cost Hoosiers millions of dollars each year in control measures and lost natural resource value.

 

Indiana DNR biologists, university researchers, industry leaders, and conservation and environmental groups have joined together to address the problem.  A group of people interested in control of aquatic nuisance species (ANS) met in April to begin developing a long-term ANS management plan for Indiana.

A draft plan will be reviewed and discussed at a public meeting on July 29, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Garrison Conference Center near Fort Harrison State Park on the northeast side of Indianapolis.  The meeting is open to any interested groups or individuals.

 

Once finalized, the plan will be used as a road map for guiding nuisance control efforts and enable Indiana to apply for federal funding of around $100,000 per year to support nuisance aquatic species control projects. The Indiana state legislature also recently approved an increase in the Lake and River Enhancement (LARE) boater fee to generate about $1.1 million annually for sediment removal and control of nuisance plants and animals in Indiana waters.  The plan will provide a basis for targeting these and other state actions on invasive species.

 

The draft plan is available online at: http://www.invasivespecies.IN.gov   or call Gwen White:  317-931-0908.

 


IN - 2003 Indiana wild turkey season results

Indiana wildlife biologist Steve Backs has tabulated check station reports from this spring's wild turkey hunting season and found hunters harvested 10,366 wild turkeys in 82 of the 90 counties open to hunting, compared to 10,575 birds harvested in 2002. This two-percent decrease broke a 20-year streak of increasing turkey harvests.

 

Counties with the highest turkey harvest included:

 

Switzerland - 462

Warrick - 396

Harrison - 387

Jefferson - 383

Perry - 373

Orange - 322

Crawford - 320

Washington - 319

Greene - 316

Franklin - 308

Dearborn - 304

Parke - 301

 

About 55 % of the wild turkeys were taken during the first five days of the season. About 80 percent of the turkeys were killed before noon. Backs says the counties with older, more established turkey populations that traditionally have had higher harvests were generally the counties that had decreases in their harvests. 

 

He speculates the decrease could be because of lower turkey production due to a cool and wet June 2002, a "leveling population", accumulative hunter pressure, inclement hunting weather, or a combination of factors.


IN -  Riverwatch volunteer stream monitoring workshops July 29 - 30

The old song calls for us to go "down by the riverside" and this year more Hoosiers will be heeding that message. Hoosier Riverwatch, a DNR/Purdue University sponsored education program, are continuing to hold workshops around the state.

 

The next volunteer stream monitoring workshops will be held at the Hoosier Energy Environmental Education Center on Turtle Creek Reservoir in Sullivan County on July 29 and 30, 2003. The training is free, but class sizes are limited to 24 participants for level one, and 16 participants for level two. Persons interested in participating must make a prior reservation.

 

"Education is an important mission of the DNR," said John Goss, DNR director. "These local stream monitor volunteers will take home knowledge and a commitment that they will pass on to others who will, in turn, bring more people into the circle of those committed to protecting and improving our resources. When we accomplish widening that circle we are successful."

 

A level one training workshop will be held Tuesday, July 29, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The workshop will provide general education in water quality issues and introductory-level training in monitoring the health of rivers and streams through physical, chemical, and biological testing. After completion of this training, volunteers can perform stream testing, submit data to the statewide volunteer stream-monitoring database - www.HoosierRiverwatch.com , and teach students how to monitor.

A Level II training workshop will be held Wednesday, July 30, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Level II training includes a complete review of Level I training, hands-on practice using the Hach Stream Survey chemical testing kit, learning advanced water quality monitoring techniques, and training in quality assurance procedures to ensure the validity of collected data. Level II certification is available only to those who have completed a full-day level one introductory workshop.

 

Hoosier Riverwatch, jointly sponsored by Purdue University and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, through its division of soil conservation, is a statewide education program that focuses on local river and stream stewardship. To date, approximately 3000 people have participated in the program.

 

"The training is for anyone interested in learning about water quality and gaining hands-on experience in monitoring rivers and streams," according to Lyn Hartman, Hoosier Riverwatch coordinator. People interested in the environment, especially local educators, are invited to attend the workshop.

 

"The volunteer stream monitoring program fits easily into elementary, middle and high school classes, including biology, chemistry, math, language arts, and social studies," Hartman said. 

 

For reservations and directions, contact Michalene Reilly at the Hoosier Energy Environmental Education Center on Turtle Creek Reservoir at mreilly@hepn.com  or 812/876-0360.   www.in.gov/dnr/soilcons/riverwatch 


Michigan

MI - Fish Festival returns to Wolf Lake Hatchery 

WHAT:        4th Annual Fish Festival

WHEN:       July 26-27, noon to 5 p.m.

WHERE:     Hatchery Road and M-43, six miles west of US-131, Mattawan, Michigan.

WHY: Michigan DNR's six fish hatcheries produce over 750,000 pounds of fish every year for stocking Michigan's lakes, rivers and streams. The annual fish festival at the Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery is a fun and educational experience for hundreds of families, celebrating outdoor recreation and the demonstrating the vital role of hatcheries in providing recreational opportunities statewide.

 

This free-admission festival features tours of the hatchery

and renovated visitor center, catch-and-release fishing (kids only) on the hatchery's show pond, guided nature hikes, a trap net display by the DNR Fisheries Division and presentations by several local conservation organizations. There will be live music and refreshments.

 

The DNR manages the aquatic life found in Michigan's 11,000 lakes, 36,000 miles of rivers and streams and 43 % of the Great Lakes. This is the largest freshwater fishery managed by any state agency, and Michigan ranks 4th in the nation in numbers of resident and nonresident anglers who contribute $4.3 billion annually to our state's economy.

 


Minnesota

MN - Eurasian watermilfoil found in four more lakes

DNR urges continued precautions

The Minnesota DNR has confirmed the discovery of Eurasian watermilfoil in four additional lakes in 2003. The latest discoveries were made in Lake Alexander in Morrison County, Coon Lake in Anoka County, and Howard Lake and Mink Lake in Wright County. Mink Lake is connected to Buffalo Lake, where Eurasian watermilfoil was discovered in 1999.

 

Despite the annual spread to more lakes, DNR officials encourage  boaters not to become apathetic about precautions they should take. "There are still many thousands of waters in the state without Eurasian watermilfoil," Welling noted. DNR staff and others are continuing prevention efforts for Eurasian watermilfoil, zebra mussels and other harmful exotic species.

To help remind boaters, exotic species alert signs will be

posted at public water accesses on lakes with newly-discovered infestations. Watercraft inspectors will continue to educate boaters about the importance of removing all aquatic vegetation and emptying water bait buckets, livewells and bilge pumps prior to leaving water accesses.

           

DNR biologists will inspect each infested lake to determine the extent of the infestation and the potential for control.

           

"Experience has shown that even the most aggressive control efforts undertaken in past years have failed to eliminate milfoil or even limit its spread within a lake," Welling said. "There is one key lesson from this fact: Prevention efforts by boaters and others are critical."

           

Eurasian watermilfoil, a nuisance exotic species that can grow into thick vegetative mats under certain conditions, now infests 145 Minnesota lakes, wetlands and rivers. The first Minnesota discovery was in Lake Minnetonka in 1987.

 


MN - Dozens of fish improvement projects to be funded

Minnesota anglers will benefit from dozens of new projects that will be completed over the next 12 months by the DNR Fisheries Division. The projects aim to improve habitat, refine management, shore up walleye production infrastructure, and generally put more and larger fish on the end of anglers' lines.

 

"July marks the beginning of our new fiscal year," said Ron Payer, DNR Fish Chief. "This year, in addition to the core work we always do, we will allocate more than $3 million toward additional local projects throughout Minnesota. This is an increase from last year and one of the highest dollar amounts in many years."

 

Projects range from restoring lake sturgeon in the far northwest to reprinting trout stream maps for anglers in the southeast. Central to many projects is a commitment to the walleye. "We'll undertake many projects that ultimately benefit the walleye angler," Payer said. "For example, we will improve hatcheries, rearing ponds and temporary structures at egg-taking sites. We will also fund additional labor for walleye pond harvest and to conduct creel surveys on key lakes so that we can better assess and manage our walleye populations."

           

Highlights of regional projects to be implemented between now and next July:

 

Northwest: The DNR will continue to restore lake sturgeon in the Red River Watershed, where the species is recovering as a result of habitat improvement, dam removals, stocking, and significant improvements in water quality throughout the Red River system. Specifically, the DNR will collaborate with the White Earth Indian Reservation, USFWS and private contractors to collect sturgeon eggs, raise fingerlings and release them into native sturgeon waters.

           

"As the sturgeon population has grown, so too has the number of anglers who fish for this species," said Henry Drewes, the DNR's northwest regional fisheries manager. "The sturgeon is a fabulous fish, Strong fighter and important part of our natural heritage. And because the restoration is working, the fish should be a significant part of our future as well."

 

Other projects in the northwest include fish production improvements to the Park Rapids hatchery, a new fishing pier on the Fishhook River, specialized "lunker structure" habitat for trout along the Straight River, and beaver dam management on the Necktie and Clearwater rivers in the Bemidji area.

 

"We also intend to conduct creel surveys on Cass, Leech, Lake of the Woods, Rainy and about a dozen other lakes," Drewes said. "Much of this work aims to determine if dozens of special or experimental regulations implemented in the mid-1990s have accomplished their desired intent of improving the quality of the fishery and angling experience. The data will help us determine whether the regulation should remain, be fine-tuned or removed altogether."

 

Northeast: The DNR will implement a number of projects

related to trout and salmon populations in Lake Superior and related streams. Projects include a tagging study of steelhead smolt released into the Knife River, mapping critical springs and habitat for coaster brook trout, and an autumn creel survey of anadromous fish that will focus primarily on collecting information about Chinook salmon. DNR crews will also survey and model lake herring - a key forage species - in Lake Superior and continue to stock Kamloops, a trout strain that now fuels a very popular winter fishery along portions of the North Shore.

 

"We'll be putting a lot of additional effort into the North Shore this year," said Tim Goeman, northeast regional fisheries manager. "This will include everything from contracting with the University of Minnesota on genetic variability of fish stocks to counting and tracking steelhead by using tiny electronic coded tags."

 

The DNR will also hire help to post trout stream easements in the Duluth area, improve the walleye egg-taking platform at Cutfoot Sioux on Lake Winnibigoshish, increase walleye hatchery capacity at Grand Rapids, reclaim North Shady Lake (a stream trout lake in the Grand Marais area), and conduct a number of creel surveys, including surveys on St. Louis River Bay and Rainy, Farm Island and Saganaga lakes.

 

"One of our more interesting projects involves rerouting the stream channel around a major logjam on the Sturgeon River in Koochiching County," said Goeman. "Once complete, the project will allow lake sturgeon to migrate to historic spawning sites."

 

Central: The DNR will initiate a number of projects in the heart of the Twin Cities, including trout stream enhancements to Eagle Creek in Scott County and the Vermillion River in Dakota County. Dirk Peterson, central regional fisheries manager, said these projects, which relate primarily to habitat improvement and protection, build on the success of previous work.

"Today, anglers can find more than 20 miles of designated trout stream on the Vermillion River," Peterson said. "We've also acquired and protected a significant amount of trout habitat on Eagle Creek. These are exciting projects. They are adding quality trout fishing to a metropolitan setting."

 

Fishing is also expected to improve at Cleary Lake in Scott County, which will be the site of a proposed reclamation project this autumn. The DNR, in cooperation with the Three Rivers Park District, will reduce the lake's water level, treat it, remove dead fish and restock it.

 

"We are looking to do two things," Peterson said. "One is to eliminate the black bullhead, whose vast numbers have greatly reduced angling quality and opportunity. And two, we hope to reduce an overabundance of curly leaf pondweed. This plant makes a real mess of the park's shoreline when it breaks apart and floats to shore July."

 

Other projects include purchasing angler easements on trout streams in Pine County, sturgeon sampling on the Kettle River and ongoing habitat improvements to Mill Stream in William O'Brien State Park.

 


New York

NY -  Sea Grant Offers New Clean Boating Program

Free Products Promote Clean Boating

Oswego, NY, July 8, 2003 - New York Sea Grant has partnered with four business owners, a marine products manufacturer, the Boating Industries Association of Central New York and the Western New York Marine Trade Association to distribute free goods and information to boaters on Lake Ontario, Oneida and Skaneateles Lakes, and the Niagara River. The objective is to promote clean boating.

 

"We have made more than 2,700 clean and safe boating bags filled with environmentally-sound boating products and clean and safe boating information available to four marinas on four different waters as part of a pilot project," says David White, NY Sea Grant's Great Lakes Program Coordinator and National Chair of the Marine Environmental

Education Foundation (MEEF).

 

"Our goal is to encourage environmentally-friendly and necessary boating practices to keep New York's waters clean," says White.  The clean boating bags include an oil absorbent bilge sock and a fuel nozzle bib manufactured by Anchor Environmental of Ohio, a New York State Boating Guide, a list of pumpout stations and other boating information.

 

For more information on NY Sea Grant's clean and safe boating project, contact Dave White, Great Lakes Program Coordinator, New York Sea Grant, SUNY-Oswego, 62B Mackin Hall, Oswego, NY 13126, 315-312-3042, SGOswego@cornell.edu ; www.nysgextension.org . Anchor Environmental Solutions can be reached at PO Box 800, Troy, Ohio 45373, 937-559-0379.


Pennsylvania

PA - Cast a line to a million Anglers in Summary Book

What do the one million plus licensed anglers in Pennsylvania do before their first cast of the season?  They pick up a copy of the Summary of Fishing Regulations & Laws.  Businesses who want to reach those anglers have until September 22, 2003 to submit advertising copy for the 2004 Summary Book.  Interested advertisers should contact Outdoor Group Incorporated at 800-564-6818 for rate and placement information.

 

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC), which establishes the text of the Summary Book and distributes it through its fishing license issuing agents, uses revenues from ad sales to offset production expenditures.  Ad sales will offset at least $50,000 of the cost of publishing 1.3 million 2004 Summaries.

 

"The use of advertisements in the Summary Book allows the Commission to keep production costs down - another example of our long-standing commitment to managing

anglers' and boaters' dollars prudently. Accepting ads provides us with other editorial opportunities in the Summary, including full-color printing of a fish identification guide for popular sportfish," said PFBC Deputy Executive Director Dennis Guise.

 

A copy of the Summary Book is provided free of charge to everyone purchasing a Pennsylvania fishing license at the 1,500 license issuing agents throughout the Commonwealth.  A copy is also posted in the "fishing" section of the Commission's web site at www.fish.state.pa.us .

 

 Outdoor Group Incorporated serves as the Summary publisher and handles all advertising accounts.

 

For as little as $400, advertisers can place their message into the 2004 Fishing Summary by contacting Outdoor Group Incorporated.  Acceptance of promotional advertising does not constitute endorsement by the PFBC or Outdoor Group Incorporated.


PA - Trout's Traditional Opening Day to Stay,

And other Commission July action

With a nod to tradition, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) has opted to maintain a single, statewide opening day in mid-April for the trout fishing season.

 

Following-up on angler input received at the PFBC's 2002 Trout Summit, the Commission this spring solicited public comments on the potential for opening the trout season in some southern counties two weeks earlier than the remainder of the state.  With angler reaction mixed, however, the Commissioners voted at their summer quarterly meeting July 18-19 in Harrisburg to maintain a single, statewide opening day.  The statewide opening day of the Pennsylvania trout season is established by regulation as the first Saturday after April 11. 

 

The Commission also voted to create a new category of special regulations aimed at enhancing wild brook trout populations.  Under the program, select waters and their tributaries will be managed for catch-and-release fishing only for all wild brook trout, without a special tackle restriction.  The approach will allow for year-round brook trout fishing.  The Upper Kettle Creek basin in Tioga and Potter counties was designated at the first watershed to be managed under the new regulations category.

 

In other action at the meeting, the Commission:

-designated  Raccoon State Park Upper Pond, Beaver County, as a no-kill zone returned Irena Lake, Luzerne County, to the Select Trout Stocked Lake Program approved moving management of a 5.4-mile stretch of Cross Fork, Potter County from the Heritage Trout Angling Program to a Catch-and-Release Area  added a 0.75-mile reach of the Little Juniata River, Blair County, and a 1.3-mile reach of Lycoming Creek, Lycoming County to the Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only Area special regulations program

 

-tabled consideration of a special regulations designation change for a 5.5-mile stretch of Young Womans Creek, Right Branch, Clinton County

adopted amendments making it unlawful to sell, offer for sale, purchase, possess, introduce, import or transport

black carp, silver carp, bighead carp, zebra mussel, quagga mussel, round goby, tubenose goby and European rudd in Pennsylvania. (Note: possession of dead gobies, especially those. legally caught via  hook and line by Lake Erie anglers would not be a violation of this new rulemaking.)

 

-moved to seek public comment on a regulation banning the practice of "teak surfing" where an individual hangs or rides on the rear swim platform of a boat,

 

-authorized staff to pursue securing an access to a portion of Commission property south of Oswayo Creek at its Oswayo Fish Culture Station directed staff to solicit public comments on a proposal to create a new permits for pest control agents approved a $30,000 grant to American Rivers for the removal of Charming Forge Dam and stream restoration work on the Tulpehoken Creek, Berks County ,

 

-adopted for a notice of proposed rulemaking an amendment to impose a 2 fish creel and 28-inch minimum length limit for striped bass taken during the harvest seasons on the Delaware River and estuary,

 

-proposed rulemaking that owner of a boat shall surrender the certificate of title and the validation decals to the Commission within 15 days after the boat becomes federally documented.  The Commission is also seeking public comment on a proposed regulation that the PFBC would not issue a certificate of title for a boat that is registered in another state or that is documented by the US Coast Guard unless the application for a Pennsylvania title is accompanied by the current certificate of registration and/or title or evident that the marine document for the boat is no longer in effect,

-proposed rulemaking that would add crossbows to the list of equipment legal for the taking of carp, gar, suckers and eels.  If adopted on a final vote, the need for a special permit for disabled individuals to use a crossbow for these species would be removed,

 

-adopted for a notice of proposed rulemaking regulatory language making it clear that is unlawful to use any type of net or seine to catch or take game fish.  A landing net may be used to land game fish legally caught by hook and line.


PA -  PFBC News - Commission Officers, Awards

Sam Concilla elected president of PFBC

Commissioner Samuel M. Concilla of North East (Erie County) was elected President and Commissioner Paul J. Mahon of Clarks Summit (Lackawanna County) was elected as Vice President of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission at the board's quarterly meeting July 18-19.

 

Commissioner Concilla was confirmed as the Commissioner for the First District of Pennsylvania on June 4, 2001.  He was first appointed a member of the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission on May 4, 1993. He ha previously served as President of the Commission from July 1997 to July 1998. 

 

Concilla has been active in many fishing and sportsmen's clubs over the years.  He was instrumental in the recent public acquisition and protection of 20 Mile Creek, a tributary stream to Lake Erie.    A U. S. Coast Guard licensed charter captain, Commissioner Concilla owned and operated fishing and pleasure boats on Lake Erie for over 30 years.  He currently is co-owner of Erie Promotions & Exposition, Inc., which engages in the market research, promotion, and production of consumer sport shows.

Commissioner Paul J. Mahon is one of two boating

commissioners at large.  He was first appointed a member of the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission on July 11, 1991.  He served as President of the Commission from July 1994 to July 1995 and was also Vice President from July 2002 to July 2003.

 

The highlight of his ongoing career with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission has been his efforts to ensure accessibility to the waterways of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for all individuals interested in fishing and boating.  He has been instrumental in the construction of numerous accessible fishing piers and boating ramps in the Commonwealth.

 

 Concilla succeeds William J. Sabatose of Brockport (Jefferson County),  who was selected as president July 27, 2002.  Sabatose also served a term as Commission President from July 1990 to July 1992.  Sabatose has been a member of numerous conservation and sportsmen's organizations. He served a President of the Toby Creek Watershed Association, Inc. where he led an effort to plant almost two (2) million trees.  He has done numerous studies of acid mine drainage in the Clarion River Basin and has worked with government agencies such as the Department of Environmental Protection to reduce acid mine drainage on both the Toby Creek and Clarion River watersheds.

 


PA - New antlerless hunting opportunities

HARRISBURG - Beginning Aug. 4, Pennsylvania hunters will have an unprecedented opportunity to apply for antlerless deer licenses that will permit them to hunt more territory than ever. This marks the first time the Pennsylvania Game Commission will issue antlerless licenses using a system that isn't based on the state's 67 counties since it began selling them 80 years ago.

 

In addition, hunters, for the first time since 1952, will not send their antlerless license applications directly to county treasurers. Rather, they will mail them to the Game Commission via 22 different Post Office boxes. The agency, in turn, will forward them to county treasurers for processing.

 

Some of the changes in the application process include: hunters are applying to hunt in Wildlife Management Units (WMUs) now, not a specific county; applications are mailed to the Game Commission, not county treasurers; pre-printed mailing labels are provided to affix to the application envelope; and the application envelope is now yellow, not pink.

 

The Game Commission has developed an "Antlerless License Update" page on its website www.pgc.state.pa.us  to provide hunters additional information about the changes in the antlerless license application process and updates on available antlerless licenses once sales begin. Information on the website will be updated weekly beginning Aug. 7; sell-outs for wildlife management units will be posted immediately.  Look under "Hot Topics" on the agency's homepage.

"With the new WMUs in place for this year's deer seasons, hunters will no longer be restricted to unmarked, political county boundaries when hunting antlerless deer," Ross said.  "Antlerless licenses will be issued for WMUs, which are defined by easy-to-recognize geographical boundaries - such as major roads and rivers - rather than political lines on a map that can't be seen in the field."

 

Ross emphasized that, as required by state law, county treasurers will continue to issue antlerless deer licenses.  Except for the "over-the-counter sales," county treasurers will receive applications from the Game Commission for a percentage of a WMU's total antlerless license allocation based on the county's representation in the WMU.

"The new mailing labels and bar coding have been incorporated to speed up the processing of applications,"Ross said.  "Hunters should ensure that the

label is securely placed on the envelope before mailing it.  If it appears that the label is not affixed properly, the U.S. Postal Service will allow applicants to use transparent tape over the label to secure it to the envelope."

 

The Game Commission will begin accepting antlerless license applications through the mail from residents on Monday, Aug. 4; nonresident applications will be accepted through the mail starting Monday, Aug. 18.  The Game Commission will begin accepting resident and nonresident hunter applications through the mail for the first round of unsold licenses on Monday, Aug. 25; and the second round will be accepted through the mail beginning Monday, Sept. 8.

 

Over-the-counter applications will not be accepted by county treasurers until Nov. 3, except in Wildlife Management Units 2B, 5C and 5D, where county treasurers will begin accepting over-the-counter applications on Monday, Aug. 25.

 

Applications that do not include return postage will be placed in a "dead letter" file maintained by the Game Commission's Licensing Division in the Harrisburg headquarters.  Applicants who believe that their antlerless license application may be in the dead letter file may contact the License Division toll-free at 1-877-331-GAME (1-877-331-4263) during business hours of 7:45 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.  This line will be activated after Aug. 18.

Regular and first round unsold antlerless licenses will be mailed to successful applicants by county treasurers no later than Monday, Sept. 15.  Second and subsequent rounds of unsold antlerless licenses will be mailed to successful applicants by county treasurers no later than Monday, Oct. 1.

 

The Board of Game Commissioners approved the 2003-2004 antlerless deer license allocation of 973,000, which is a decrease from last year's allocation of 1,029,350.   Last year, hunters purchased 1,010,693 antlerless deer licenses, which resulted in a harvest of 352,113 antlerless deer.

 

For a description of each of the new WMU boundaries, please refer to pages 48-52 of the 2003-2004 Pennsylvania Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations, which is presented to each license buyer along with their harvest report cards, antlerless deer license application and envelopes.


 

Wisconsin

WI - Fish consumption advisory updated

MADISON – Wisconsin’s fish consumption advice has been updated to reflect new data for dozens of waters and is now available in hard copy and online. The state issues the advice to help anglers and their families enjoy eating fish caught from Wisconsin waters while reducing their risk of exposure to environmental contaminants that may have built up in some fish. 

 

The fish consumption guide, "Choose Wisely: A health guide for eating fish in Wisconsin," can be found at DNR Centers and online at: www.fishingwisconsin.org , then click on "consumption advice." 

"Fish are an excellent source of low-fat protein, and studies are increasingly documenting the benefits of eating fish including lowering the risk of heart disease," says Dr. Henry Anderson, chief medical officer of the Division of Public Health, which issues the advice with DNR.   

 

"The average person does not eat sport-caught fish frequently enough to create a health risk," Dr. Anderson says. "But for those who eat a lot of sport and commercial fish, following this advice will maintain the benefits of eating fish while reducing dietary exposure to environmental contaminants such as mercury or PCBs."


WI - Concealed Weapons Measure Planned

lawmakers to introduce bill that would create permit system
Legislation that would create a permit system allowing Wisconsin residents to carry concealed weapons will be introduced July 16 after the state Supreme Court this week called for lawmakers to adopt such a system.

 

Rep. Scott Gunderson (R-Town of Norway) said the measure is needed in light of the court ruling that the state constitution guarantees homeowners and shopkeepers the right to carry concealed weapons on their own property, and the justices' call for a permit system.

 

Under the bill, county sheriffs would issue licenses to carry concealed weapons to state residents 21 and older who pass criminal background checks. Felons, violent criminals and individuals who are mentally incompetent or drug- or alcohol-dependent could not obtain a permit, under

the measure.

 

To obtain the $75 license, which would be valid for five years, applicants would have to complete a 22-hour firearms training and safety course.

 

The Supreme Court on July 22 said the state constitution affords Wisconsin homeowners and shopkeepers the right to carry concealed weapons on their property for a lawful purpose. The court urged the Legislature to adopt a permitting system to further clarify who was entitled to carry concealed weapons.

 

The bill is opposed by Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle.  "The governor has long opposed concealed carry in Wisconsin, and that has not changed," Doyle spokesman Dan Leistikow said. "It's not in the best interest of public safety."


Ontario

ON -  Lake Erie commercial fisher fined $6000 for using illegal gill nets

WINDSOR - A Kingsville commercial fishing licence holder has been fined $6,000 for using illegal get nets.

 

Edith Penner of Kingsville, one of the licence holders of the commercial fishing vessel 'Edith Marie,' has been fined $2,500 after pleading guilty to one count of possessing illegal gill nets.  The court has also ordered another $3,500 be paid to the Ministry of Natural Resources' Fish and Wildlife Special Purpose Account.  The seized nets have been forfeited to the Crown.

 

On August 27, 1998, MNR Conservation Officers boarded the 'Edith Marie' on Lake Erie, off Essex County. They found 19 gill nets with a mesh size smaller than 57 mm, with the smallest mesh size averaging 54.7 mm. The legal minimum size is 57 mm.

 

In 1998 and 1999, Conservation Officers from the Lake Erie Management Unit targeted the use of illegal gill nets to catch yellow perch. Their investigation has resulted in 16

 

convictions and $214,000 in fines.

 

Yellow perch stocks and harvests declined dramatically in the early 1990s. Smaller mesh nets catch large numbers of small yellow perch that are too young to spawn. This can seriously damage efforts to rehabilitate yellow perch stocks. The minimum mesh size is in effect because most perch caught in a gill net with a mesh size of 57 mm are about 20 cm in length and have spawned at least once.

 

Justice of the Peace Ryan-Brode heard the case in the Ontario Court of Justice in Windsor on July 10, 2003.

 

The Ministry's Special Purpose Account was established in 1995 to enhance angling and hunting opportunities in Ontario. All revenue from fishing and hunting licence sales, commercial fish royalty and court fines is used solely for fish and wildlife conservation and management.

 

The public is encouraged to protect its natural resources by reporting violations to their local MNR office or to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).


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