Week of July 28, 2008

Fishing beyond the Great Lakes
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Fishing beyond the Great Lakes

European Fish Stocks at risk from cormorants

Angling Trade calls for action

Europe's fish stocks may be at risk from almost 2 million cormorants, the European Parliament was told recently. Dr Franz Kohl of the European Anglers Alliance presented a call for a Pan-European Cormorant Management Plan to the parliament's Committee on Fisheries on June 26.

 

He told members that there were approximately 600,000 breeding cormorants across Europe. When offspring and non-breeders were taken into account, referring to scientist wildlife biologist W. Suter's estimation model, Dr Franz Kohl showed that a cautious estimate for the total number of cormorants in Europe, excluding Russia, is between 1.7 and 1.8 million birds.

 

Dr Kohl stressed the importance of treating the rapid growth of the numbers of cormorants as a problem for society - not just for anglers. It is not only anglers who are concerned about fish fauna, it is a general objective of the European society as a whole that fish stocks are able to reach and stay at healthy self-sustaining levels to provide enough fish for both fish-eating animals and human fishermen. And in turn, the angling society is also interested in the overall well-being of the European environment and bird fauna.

 

He also added that it would be counter-productive to give absolute priority to any particular aspect; a well adjusted balance between the differing objectives is needed.

 

Dr Kohl stressed the need for more accurate ‘authoritative’ information on the total numbers of cormorants in Europe, as figures for the total European population used by interested parties differs grossly. He asked for a Working Group to more clearly define what was meant by "serious damage" in the EU Birds Directive 1979 and for another Working Group to clarify the criteria and the thresholds for securing the "Favorable Conservation Status" of the cormorant.

The European Fishing Tackle Trade Association (EFTTA) has backed Dr Kohl's call for a more far-reaching and detailed plan to manage cormorants.

 

Jean-Claude Bel, EFTTA CEO, said: "While we have the interests of the recreational angler foremost in our minds, the rapid growth of cormorants and the whole effect they are having on the environment is clearly an issue which needs to be addressed at European level.

 

"We support Dr Kohl's call for a Pan European Cormorant Management Plan. At the moment, there are differences in opinion on the total numbers of the birds - and we believe the judging criteria for what constitutes 'serious damage' should be clarified.

 

"The Birds Directive is essentially a balanced document but it is interpreted differently from region to region and country to country, and as a result there is widespread legal uncertainty as to what can be done legitimately to control cormorant numbers.

 

"Clarity in all these areas would certainly be welcomed by EFTTA, its members and recreational anglers in general."

 

As a result of the hearing on June 26, German MEP Dr Heinz Kindermann has produced a paper on the cormorant issue to the Committee on Fisheries, which contains several of the arguments highlighted above. The paper has been circulated to the Members of the Committee on Fisheries serving as an additional information source to the cormorant report Mr Kindermann is working on now. This report suggests a Pan European Cormorant Management Plan is put in place. The report will be voted on by the Committee on Fisheries on November 5th and by the European Parliament’s plenary on December 4th.

 


National

Congress approves Clean Boating Act

House Approves Bills to Prevent Excessive Regulation of Fishing Vessels, Commercial Vessels & Recreational Boats

Washington, DC --­ The U.S. House of Representatives on July 22 approved bills to ensure that millions of recreational boaters, fishermen and small commercial vessel operators will not be newly subjected to massive fines for the normal operation of their vessels.

 

The House passed the Clean Boating Act of 2008 (S. 2766) and another bill (S. 3298), under suspension of the rules. The Clean Boating Act provides a narrow Clean Water Act exemption for incidental discharges during the normal operation of recreational vessels. S.3298 establishes a two-year moratorium on the pending requirement for all fishing vessels and small commercial vessels to obtain permits for similar incidental discharges. Both bills, which had identical companion bills in the House, are now cleared for the President's signature.

 

"The Clean Boating Act will prevent America's 16 million recreational boaters from being subject to federal fines of up to $32,500 per day for discharges, including rain that falls on the decks of their boats, and release of water from a marine sink or shower," said Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee Ranking Member Steve LaTourette (R-OH), who introduced the House version of the legislation, H.R. 5949, also called the Clean Boating Act of 2008. "This is a commonsense solution to the present situation which has been forced upon us by a single federal judge from Northern California. For more than 30 years, these discharges have not been classified as pollutants, and this bill will protect the original intent of the law."

 

The Clean Water Act requires a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for the discharge of any pollutant into navigable waters. However, in 1977 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exempted 'discharges incidental to the normal operation of a vessel' from that permit requirement. Court rulings in 2005 and 2006 determined that EPA had exceeded its authority when it granted this exemption and ordered that the regulatory exclusion for discharges incidental to the normal operation of vessel be revoked as of September 30, 2008.

 

Without last week’s Congressional action, recreational boaters, fishermen and small commercial operators would be unnecessarily subjected to those penalties under the Clean Water Act.

 

"The court ruling that would require EPA permits for the incidental discharge of even rain water from recreational and commercial fishing vessels was silly and I am pleased that we are able to fix this problem," said U.S. Rep. Don Young (R-AK). "In a state like Alaska, where fishing is one of our biggest industries, such a ruling could be detrimental to our entire economy. While I would have preferred legislation that treats recreational and commercial fishing vessels in the same manner, this package of bills will ensure, at least for the next two years, that commercial fishing vessels are not required to obtain EPA discharge permits for incidental discharges which

have never been shown to cause significant harm to the marine environment. When the EPA shows that there is no harm, I expect Congress to act swiftly to clarify that no EPA permits are necessary for incidental discharges from commercial fishing vessels."

 

"The Clean Water Act never intended for recreational boats to be forced to comply with an extensive federal permitting process," said U.S. Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI). "The Clean Boating Act represents a compromise with Senate leaders which will ensure that millions of recreational boat owners do not need to acquire an EPA permit before heading out on the water."

 

"Like many, the decision by a federal court in 2006 to require all 16 million vessels in the United States to obtain permission from the EPA to operate their boat came as an unpleasant surprise to me," said U.S. Rep. Henry Brown (R-SC). "Today, however, both the House and Senate did the right thing and set up environmentally responsible exemptions and standards for incidental discharges from recreational boats. This measure will prevent the thousands of recreational boaters who enjoy the waters of my district, as well as millions of others, from obtaining a permit or being subject to costly fines.

 

Additionally, it sets up standards that ensure the protection of our environment." While the Clean Boating Act provides an exemption for recreational boaters, S. 3298 provides a two-year moratorium for requiring discharge permits for all fishing vessels and other commercial vessels under 79 ft. "S. 3298 will exempt small commercial vessels and all fishing vessels from obtaining EPA permits for two years while the agency studies the nature and impacts of discharges that are normal to the operation of these vessels," LaTourette said. "Following the submission of the required report, Congress will have better tools to determine if these discharges should be regulated or exempted, as will be the case for recreational vessels."

 

"These bills are an important and significant first step. Our commercial fishing industry is suffering from increased fuel costs, catch limitations and the economic slump," said U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ). "At a time when our economy is experiencing a downturn, it is critically important Congress approve legislation that will protect both the recreational and commercial boating industries and the millions of jobs they support."

 

"Enactment of these bills will carry out an agreement made with Transportation Committee Chairman Oberstar to address the entire scope of vessels that will be impacted by the pending EPA permit program," LaTourette added. The Clean Boating Act also requires EPA to develop reasonable and practicable management practices to mitigate the adverse impacts that may result from discharges from recreational vessels. In addition, the legislation requires EPA to develop performance standards for management practices based on the class, type, and size of vessel.

 


Clean Air Act All Wrong for Greenhouse Gases 

EPA Treading Correct Path with Recent Report

Washington, D.C., July 22, 2008—This morning the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will be investigating the White House’s strategy on the regulation of greenhouse gases and, in particular, the Environmental Protection Agency’s response to the Supreme Court verdict in Massachusetts v. EPA (2007).

 

Earlier this month, the Environmental Protection Agency released a “staff draft” for public comment on possible ways to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, in response to the Supreme Court’s verdict. In the preface, EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson makes clear that the document, known as an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR), demonstrates that the Clean Air Act is ill-suited for the task of regulating global greenhouse gases (GHGs).

 

“Johnson not only affirmed that the regulatory alternatives discussed in the ANPR are not EPA decisions or policy recommendations, he also attached to his preface the reviews of several other agencies — all sharply critical of proposals to regulate GHG emissions under the Clean Air Act,” said

Competitive Enterprise Institute Senior Fellow Marlo Lewis.

 

Johnson warned that if EPA were to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles under the Clean Air Act, as sought by the plaintiffs in Mass. v. EPA, regulation of smaller GHG sources, such as apartment buildings, large homes, schools, and hospitals, could also be triggered. The potential regulation of GHGs under the Clean Air Act could result in an unprecedented expansion of EPA authority.

 

“The ANPR, along with Johnson’s preface and the accompanying agency comments, all make one thing very clear — setting GHG emission standards for new motor vehicles under Section 202 the Clean Air Act would open a regulatory Pandora’s Box,” said Lewis. “It would trigger a regulatory cascade through multiple Clean Air Act provisions that would dwarf in cost and intrusiveness every climate bill that Congress in its wisdom has so far declined to pass.”

 

CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government.  For more information about CEI, please visit our website at www.cei.org


ICAST celebrates fishing equipment history

Ten influential fishing products created over the past 75 years, from rods to reels to electronics, have helped make fishing the great sport it is today, according to a new survey from the American Sportfishing Association (ASA).

 

The Anglers' Legacy Innovations Awards were unveiled at the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades (ICAST), the world's largest annual sportfishing trade show. More than 7,000 members of the sportfishing community were gathered in Las Vegas to see the latest innovations in gear and accessories.

 

EFTTA members featured highly in the final top ten list which spanned six categories, including accessories, electronics, lines, lures, reels and rods:

 

Original Floater Minnow (1936) remains one of the most successful and widely copied hard lures in sportfishing's history.

Original and current manufacturer: Rapala

 

Spring loaded Bobber (1947) made suspending a baited hook at a desired depth simpler and easier. Even today this item is virtually in every angler's tackle box.

Original manufacturer: Nibble Nabber

Current: Various companies

 

Mitchell 300 (1949) was the first commercially successful spinning reel, and is still one of the most common reels used today.

Original manufacturer: Mitchell

Current manufacturer: Pure Fishing

 

Creme Plastic Worm (1949) changed the sport forever as the first, and still famous, long-lasting artificial worm that both looked and felt real.

Original and current manufacturer: Creme Lure Company

 

Closed Face Spincast Reel (1949) made fishing easy and affordable to everyone regardless of age, size, gender and expertise.

Original manufacturer:  Zero Hour Bomb Company

Current Manufacturer: ZEBCO Brands

 

Lowrance Fish Lo-K-Tor (1957), the "Little Green Box" introduced anglers to the use of sonar in locating individual fish.

Original Manufacturer: Lowrance Electronics

Current: Lowrance/Navico

 

Monofilament Line (1958) improved the durability, affordability and casting ability of fishing line while reducing its visibility to fish

Original manufacturer: DuPont Stren

Current manufacturer: Pure Fishing

 

Minn Kota Trolling Motor (1958) was the first electric gear-driven trolling motor gave anglers the ability to quietly maneuver and position their boats.

Original manufacturer: Minn Kota

Current manufacturer: Johnson Outdoors

 

Fenwick High Modulus Graphite Rod (1972), with its super-sensitive carbon (graphite) fibers, revolutionized the method of making fishing rods and how anglers fished.

Original Manufacturer: Fenwick

Current Manufacturer: Pure Fishing

 

Shakespeare Ugly Stick (1976), with its special construction, created an affordable, unbreakable and dynamic fishing rod still in use today.

Original and current manufacturer: Shakespeare


Regional

U.S. and Canada Strengthen Great Lakes Cooperation

TORONTO, Ontario, Canada, July 21, 2008 (ENS) - The Ontario Government and municipal officials from around the Great Lakes on both sides of the border have begun a new era of working together to restore, protect and conserve the Great Lakes Basin ecosystem.

 

A memo of cooperation signed July 17 by provincial ministers and Ontario representatives of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative commits them to consulting and cooperating on issues of municipal interest and responsibility around the Great Lakes. The signing took place at the annual conference of the Cities Initiative, in Toronto.

 

The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative is a binational coalition of over 50 mayors and other municipal officials from Canada and the U.S. interested in the health and well-being of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River system.  The memo was signed by Ontario Environment Minister John Gerretsen, Natural Resources Minister Donna Cansfield and

Leona Dombrowsky, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Signing on behalf of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities initiative was Mayor Lynn Peterson of Thunder Bay, incoming chair of the Cities Initiative.

 

"By signing this agreement today, we are ensuring that our joint efforts to protect the Great Lakes, provincially and locally, will have the greatest positive impact for our communities," Peterson said. "The Cities Initiative looks forward to working closely with Ontario municipalities and the Ontario Government on future Great Lakes decisions."

 

Toronto Mayor David Miller, founding Canadian chair of the Cities Initiative and conference host, said, "This memorandum of cooperation represents the beginning of an important strategic partnership between the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, Ontario Great Lakes municipalities and the Ontario government. From Nipigon in the North to Toronto in the South, Ontario municipalities are investing over $2 billion to protect the Great Lakes every year."


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for July 25, 2008

Weather Conditions

Following a wet start to the week, high pressure arrived in the Great Lakes basin leading to very nice weather.  To date in July, only the Lake Superior basin has received lower than average precipitation.  A weak system will bring a slight chance for showers and thunderstorms to the region Friday and early Saturday.  Then another large dome of high pressure will keep conditions very pleasant through mid week.

 

Lake Level Conditions

All of the Great Lakes remain higher than they were at this time last year.  Lake Superior is 16 inches above last year's level while lake Michigan-Huron is 8 inches higher than it was a year ago.  Lakes St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are 10 inches, 9 inches and 11 inches, respectively, higher than they were last year.  Lake Superior is projected to rise 1 inch over the next 30 days, while Lake Michigan-Huron is predicted to remain around the same level.  Lakes St. Clair, Erie and Ontario, however, are forecasted to fall 4 to 5 inches during the next month.  All of the Great Lakes are expected to remain above their water levels of a year ago over the next few months.  

 

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions

In June, outflow through the St. Mary's, St. Clair, and Detroit

Rivers was below average. Niagara River's outflow was near average, while outflow from 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

Level for July 25

 601.8

 578.2

 574.6

 572.1

 246.5

Datum, in ft

 601.1

577.5

 572.3

 569.2

 243.3

Diff in inches

  +8

 +9

 +28

 +35

 +38

Diff last month

 +4

  +2

 +3

  +2

-1

Diff from last yr

 +16

 +8

 +10

 +9

 +11

 


General

Olympics Spur Record Year for Scholastic Shooting Program

NEWTOWN, Conn. -- As the Olympics prepare to showcase shooters among the world's athletic elite, America's "Little League of Shooting Sports" is celebrating record participation as well as its influence on the Games in Beijing.

 

The U.S. Shooting Team has just eight spots for shotgun shooters. In trial competitions, 25 percent of those spots were won by alumni of the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP), a national youth shooting league that's become a phenomenon across the country.

 

U.S. Shooting Team Coach Lloyd Woodhouse credits SCTP with introducing and developing shooting skills in America's youths—whether or not they become Olympians.  "I've not observed any other shooting sports program that touches so many young people in this country. I don't know of anything that even comes close. It's just incredible. It's the greatest program that I can think of in the shooting world," said Woodhouse.

 

Managed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) in partnership with USA Shooting and other governing bodies for shooting sports, SCTP is enjoying record participation in 2008 with 9,135 student competitors and 1,562 adult volunteers nationwide.  "The anticipation and excitement of the Olympics and two SCTP heroes competing in the Olympics appear to be helping drive interest in our program this year,"

said Steve Sanetti, president of NSSF.

 

Sanetti said the future of shooting will be on full display before the Olympics. More than a thousand youngsters from across the country are expected to compete in the SCTP National Championships in trap, skeet and sporting clays. The big event is July 31-Aug. 5 at the World Shooting and Recreational Complex in Sparta, Ill.

 

SCTP was developed to provide school-age participants in grades 12 and under with opportunities to showcase competitive shooting skills, earn recognition and win scholarship awards. The program is designed to instill safe firearms handling, commitment, responsibility, leadership and teamwork.

 

Many SCTP shooters go on to compete at the collegiate level. Olympians are more rare, but former SCTP stars Corey Codgell and Vincent Hancock will represent the U.S. in Beijing in women's trap and men's skeet, respectively.  SCTP teams compete in the sports of trap, skeet and sporting clays as well as the Olympic versions of trap and skeet.

 

USA Shooting, the Amateur Trapshooting Association, National Skeet Shooting Association and National Sporting Clays Association partner with NSSF in support of SCTP.   Visit SCTP online at www.nssf.org/sctp.


Illinois

Proposed $14 million Budget Cut for DNR threatens conservation efforts

Cuts could drastically impact state's ability to conserve natural resources

Springfield Ill. - Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich recently unveiled a proposal to cut the Illinois DNR budget by $14 million. The cuts could severely hamper the DNR's conservation efforts and their ability to partner with conservation organizations.

 

The dissipation of funds would result in a loss of 20% of the general fund budget for the IDNR, an agency that has already been stripped of 25% of its staff due to budget cuts and hiring freezes since 2001.

 

With Illinois’ state budget awash in red ink, a Chicago Tribune investigation reveals State Senate Democrats inserted questionable grants into the state budget even though a previous Tribune investigation in 2006 revealed similar abuses. The Tribune adds The Democrat controlled Senate is

squandering nearly $9 million in tax dollars by handing out sweetheart grants to politically connected groups and individuals.

 

Among the more shocking findings by the Tribune: Grantees wrote in their applications that they would tutor students on a "dailey bases" and teach "fluenty in speaking;" One applicant promised to tutor up to 50 high school students, but after visiting the supposed tutoring site 10 times, the Tribune never found The Al Malik Temple for Universal Truth spent $20,000 to teach children how their birth date and name influence their destiny. Interestingly, the Temple got a similar grant two years ago for the same purpose, but ultimately ended up monitoring a lunchroom. When the Tribune visited another tutoring site, they found two children playing on unplugged computers waiting for the “tutor” to arrive.

 

Most of the pork – and the worse abuses – were in Chicago, but the State Senate has to share the blame with Blagojevich.


Governor signs bill expanding Apprentice Hunter License opportunities

HB 2825 allows potential hunters from out of state to participate in once-in-a-lifetime program

SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich last week signed legislation expanding eligibility in Illinois’ Apprentice Hunter License Program to out of state hunters. The Illinois Apprentice Hunter License Program grants limited hunting privileges to residents – and now non-residents – of the state interested in trying hunting, before buying a regular Illinois hunting license. House Bill 2825, sponsored by Representative Mark Beaubien, Jr. (R-Wauconda) and Sen. J. Bradley Burzynski (R-Sycamore), unanimously passed both the House (108-0-0) and the Senate (58-0-0).

 

“The Apprentice Hunter Program allows people who may not otherwise get a chance to hunt to participate in a safe and fun way with an experienced, licensed hunter,” said Governor Blagojevich. “Now, people of all ages from out of state can enjoy what Illinois has to offer.”

 

The Apprentice Hunter License Program was signed into law by Governor Blagojevich in July 2006. This program allows youth, ages 10-17, to hunt when supervised by an Illinois licensed parent, guardian or grandparent before purchasing a traditional hunting license and allows apprentice licensees aged 18 or older to join any licensed Illinois hunter. The expansion allows non-residents to take advantage of these same opportunities. The program has a $7 fee which is paid to the Wildlife and Fish Fund, which supports the activities of the Department of Natural Resources.

 

“This bill gives hunters from around the Mid-west and the

country a chance to sample Illinois hunting and to help stimulate local economies,” said Representative Mark Beaubien, Jr. (R-Wauconda).

 

“This bill is a practical way to show off the great hunting Illinois has to offer to those from around the state, and now around the country, who might not otherwise have the chance to experience it,” said Sen. J. Bradley Burzynski (R-Sycamore).

 

Individuals are allowed only one apprentice license per lifetime. The license is only valid for the license year that it is purchased. Illinois joins Kansas, Ohio and Tennessee which currently have similar programs. There were 1,660 apprentice licenses issued last year and 232 have been issued so far this year.

 

Safe hunting remains a priority in Illinois, as the IDNR offers free hunter safety education courses throughout the state. Illinois law requires that anyone born on or after January 1, 1980 must successfully complete a free hunter safety course, before a regular Illinois hunting license is issued. The courses, coordinated by the IDNR and taught by volunteer safety experts, include instruction on hunting regulations, archery, firearms, ammunition, first aid, wildlife identification and conservation, and hunter ethics and responsibility. A minimum of 10 hours of instruction is involved.

 

Those who complete the course and exam receive a certificate of completion. More than 17,000 hunters completed the course last year. For the license year ending March 31, 2005, Illinois issued more than 334,000 hunting licenses.

 


Controlled Pheasant Hunting Reservation Info Available Online

Online Applications for IDNR-Managed Sites Begin Aug. 4

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Controlled pheasant hunting opportunities will be available at 18 Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) sites this fall, and the 2008-09 season dates and permit reservation information are now available online.

 

Fourteen of the sites will be operated by the IDNR (applications accepted starting Aug. 4), while four other sites will continue to be operated in a public/private partnership arrangement between the IDNR and concessionaire T. Miller, Inc. (applications now being accepted). 

 

“We are pleased to announce that the controlled pheasant hunting program will again be available to hunters in Illinois this fall,” said IDNR Acting Director Sam Flood.  “The program has been a popular one over the years and we continue to hear from hunters who value this hunting opportunity.  I 

encourage hunters to check our IDNR website now for details on the upcoming season and how they can reserve their permits.”

 

The controlled pheasant program is continuing for the 2008-09 season with nearly 78,000 birds produced at IDNR pheasant propagation facilities during Fiscal Year 2008.  T. Miller, Inc provides an additional nearly 20,000 pheasants acquired from other sources for the public/private partnership areas.  Funding for the controlled pheasant program next year may be subject to approval of proposed fee increases for the program that are pending in the Illinois General Assembly.

 

Online permit reservations for the first drawing period on IDNR-operated sites will be accepted from 8:30 a.m. on August 4 through midnight on August 17.  Two additional drawing periods are scheduled thereafter.  Hunters need to review the application instructions and season information on the controlled pheasant hunting website at www.LRSIDNRPermits.com prior to submitting an application.


Michigan

Carl Johnson Hunting & Fishing Center in Cadillac Offers Outdoor Recreation Programs

The Carl T. Johnson Hunting & Fishing Center, located at Mitchell State Park in Cadillac, is offering an array of outdoor recreation programs in August.

 

The programs include:

►Picnic in the Park. On Saturday, Aug. 2, there will be a picnic on the front lawn of the center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Donations are welcome.

 

►Nature Discovery - Wildlife Sampler. On Saturday, Aug. 2, Jim McGrath will present programs on a variety of wildlife. The programs will be offered from 10 a.m. to noon and again from 1 to 3 p.m. at the center.

 

►Archery and Pellet Gun Ranges. Also on Saturday, Aug. 2, the center’s archery and pellet gun ranges will be open from 6 to 8 p.m.

 

►Float Fishing; Archery and Pellet Guns; and Laser Shot. On Saturday, Aug. 9, the center will offer float fishing from noon to 2 p.m.; the archery and pellet gun ranges will be open from 3 to 5 p.m. and laser shot will be offered from 6 to 8 p.m.

 

►Archery and Pellet Guns, Fishing Simulations and Float

Fishing.  On Saturday, Aug. 16, the center will offer archery and pellet guns from noon to 2 p.m.; fishing simulations from 3 to 5 p.m. and float fishing from 6 to 8 p.m.

 

►Hunter Safety Class.  On Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 23 and 24, there will be a hunter safety class offered at the center. For more information and to pre-register, call the center at 231-779-1321.

 

►Nature Discovery - Michigan Turtles. On Saturday, Aug. 30, the center will host Jim McGrath, who will be presenting programs on Michigan turtles. The programs are offered from 10 a.m. to noon and again from 1 to 3 p.m.

 

►Float Fishing, Archery and Pellet Gun Ranges, Adult Laser Shot. On Sunday, Aug. 31, the center will offer float fishing from noon to 2 p.m.; archery and pellet gun ranges from 3 to 5 p.m. and adult laser shot from 6 to 8 p.m.

 

All programs are free, and there is no requirement for a state park Motor Vehicle Permit to visit the Carl T. Johnson Hunting & Fishing Center. The center is located next to Mitchell State Park on M-115 in Cadillac. For more information on any of the programs listed above, call the center at 231-779-1321.

 


2008 Fall Turkey Application Deadline Approaching

DNRofficials would like to remind hunters that the deadline for applying for a 2008 fall turkey permit is Friday, Aug. 1.

 

A total of 59,050 licenses are available through a lottery for the units open to hunting -- 12,350 are general licenses that may be used on public or private land and 46,700 are licenses for private land only. Twelve wild turkey management units totaling 34,976 square miles are open to fall turkey hunting during the Oct. 6 to Nov. 14 season, The units include most of southern Michigan, five counties in the northern Lower Peninsula and the entire wild turkey management area in the Upper Peninsula.

 

Regulations are unchanged from 2007.  “We are in the second year of a three-year period of stabilized regulations, which were developed by working with turkey hunting groups,” explained Al Stewart, the DNR’s upland game bird specialist.

“A three-year period gives sufficient time to evaluate our

regulations and make appropriate changes if necessary.”

 

Hunters may apply for a turkey hunting license at any authorized license dealer, at DNR Operations Service Centers or online at www.michigan.gov/dnr using the E-License system. The application fee is $4. Drawing results will be posted online beginning Thursday, Aug. 28.  Applicants who did not apply online will be notified of drawing results by mail before Sept. 5.

 

If any licenses remain after the drawing, unsuccessful applicants may purchase one leftover license in person, at any license dealer on a first-come, first-served basis for a one-week period beginning Sept. 11 at 10 a.m. (EDT). Any licenses that remain as of Sept. 18, 10 AM (EDT) will be available for purchase over-the-counter by any hunter. The licenses will be sold until the quotas are met.


Pigeon River Bridge Collapses in River

DNR officials warned canoeists, kayakers, tubers, and those fishing that the footbridge over the Pigeon River in Cheboygan County on the High Country Pathway in the Pigeon River Country State Forest has collapsed and is blocking the river.

 

"River users will need to portage around the collapsed bridge until the debris can be safely removed, or completely avoid this part of the river," said Laurie Marzolo, DNR Pigeon River Country Unit Manager.

 

The DNR announced in June that the Pigeon River footbridge and the Black River footbridge on the High Country Pathway were both closed for repairs. The Pigeon River footbridge has a 7.5-mile temporary reroute in place. This detour takes trail users on Campsite Road, the north spur of the Shore-to-Shore Trail and on Tin Bridge Road. Camping at Pine Grove State Forest Campground is available using a one-mile connector. The north spur of the Shore-to-Shore Trail is a

hiking and horse trail. Mountain bikers need to keep in mind that other than on this temporary detour, the north spur of the Shore-to-Shore Trail is closed to mountain bike use in the Pigeon River Country State Forest.

 

The Black River footbridge has a 3.7-mile temporary reroute marked so pathway users can go around the bridge. This detour takes trail users on Tin Shanty Bridge and Sawdust Pile roads. The pathway and roadways will be posted with signs to assist users in following the detour.

 

The DNR continues to work to repair the bridges. For more information or questions regarding the status of the bridge repairs or about the High Country Pathway, contact the Pigeon River Country Forest Headquarters at (989) 983-4101. Currently, the Black River footbridge remains closed and should be considered unsafe. Fording/crossing the rivers is not recommended, because the river currents can be strong at these locations.


Minnesota

Biologists discover bird die-offs in Faribault, Meeker counties

Hundreds of double-crested cormorants, American white pelicans and other water birds were discovered dead or dying at two Minnesota lakes early last week. The discovery was made by the Minnesota DNR staff who were in the area banding pelicans.

 

The dead and dying birds were found on islands where pelicans, herons, egrets and gulls traditionally nest. As of Friday, 687 cormorants and 37 pelicans, three ring-billed gulls and one great blue heron had been found dead.

 

Jeff DiMatteo, a wildlife biologist working with pelicans, said staff saw the same thing happening at both lakes. “We saw dead and dying adult cormorants, with the live ones unable to hold their heads up” at Pigeon Lake, DiMatteo said. “There were old carcasses that would suggest that it has been going on for at least a couple of weeks.” USFWS in Litchfield is looking at sites in the vicinities of both lakes for any additional die-offs.

 

Initial tests for avian influenza were negative. The specific  

cause of the bird illness remains undetermined at this time. Officials from the Minnesota DNR, USDA USFWS are conducting site clean-ups, and collecting swab and carcass samples for lab analysis. Some early lab results should be available later this week, although it might take longer to determine the exact cause of the bird illness.

 

While the die-off so far has been detected only in wild water birds at the two locations, wild birds can be a potential source of disease when they come into contact with domestic poultry.  For that reason, state animal health officials remind farmers to practice sound biosecurity, including monitoring their poultry flocks for signs of illness and taking steps to prevent wild birds from having contact with their domestic birds. If birds show sign of sickness, producers should contact their veterinarian or the Minnesota Board of Animal Health at (320) 231-5170.

 

There are approximately 39 nesting colonies of double-crested cormorants in Minnesota, 87 percent of which occur along with other colonially nesting water birds. Most active nesting sites have a long history of use, being utilized by the birds since the 1960s and 1970s.


DNR seeks designs for first walleye stamp

Wildlife artists can submit entries for Minnesota’s first walleye stamp, which will be available to anglers when they purchase a 2009 fishing license. Earlier this year, the Minnesota Legislature passed a law creating the voluntary walleye stamp, which will add $5 to the cost of a 2009 fishing license if an angler chooses to purchase the stamp. Revenue from stamp sales is dedicated to walleye stocking and directly related activities.

 

The walleye now joins the trout and salmon, migratory waterfowl, wild turkey and pheasant as a species that offer a DNR-sponsored wildlife art contest.  Entries for the walleye stamp design will be accepted Monday, Oct. 13, to Friday, Oct. 24. Artists must mail or hand deliver their entries by 4 p.m. on Oct. 24 to: 2009 Walleye Stamp Contest, DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife, Box 20, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN, 55155-4020.

 

Designs should be securely wrapped and enclosed in an envelope or other container. The words “Walleye Stamp” should be clearly marked on the outside of the container. Late entries will not be accepted.  The walleye (Sander vitreus vitreus) must be the primary focus of the design. Other fish 

species may be included in the design if they are used to depict a common interaction between species or are common inhabitants of Minnesota’s lakes and rivers.

 

Artists are prohibited from using any photographic product as part of their finished entries. Any entry that contains photographic products will be disqualified.  The contest, which offers no prizes, is open to Minnesota residents only. Winning artists usually issue limited edition prints of the artwork and retain the proceeds.

 

A contest entry form and reproduction rights agreement, which grants the DNR the right to use the design for the stamp image and other promotional, educational and informational purposes related to walleye, must be signed and submitted with the design.

 

Judging will take place at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 30, at DNR Headquarters, 500 Lafayette Road in St. Paul. Contest judges will have expertise in art, ichthyology, fishing, aquatic habitats and/or printing.

 

For more info: 651-296-6157 or toll free at 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367), or on the DNR Web site at www.mndnr.gov.


New York

DEC Investigating Fish Die-off on Lake Erie Shore

Public Advised To Take Care in Handling Fish and Game, Call DEC If Dead Wildlife Is Found

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is investigating the deaths of mudpuppies and fish washing up on the shore of Lake Erie. Mudpuppies, an aquatic salamander, along with smallmouth bass, catfish and sheephead are among the species that have been found dead at locations including Point Gratiot, Sunset Bay, Evangola State Park, and Sturgeon Point.

 

The mudpuppy and fish die-offs can be caused by a number of factors, such as water temperature changes or various diseases. DEC has collected a mudpuppy sample and has sent it to a lab for analysis and to potentially determine a cause of death.

 

Based on the characteristics of the species found to date, there is the potential that the mudpuppy and fish deaths are being caused by Type E botulism toxin, a poison produced by Clostridium botulinum. This bacterium is common in the environment and can produce harmful levels of botulism toxin under some conditions. This specific strain of botulism has affected fish, birds and other species in Lake Huron, Lake 

Erie, and Lake Ontario in recent years. The disease results from the ingestion of the toxin produced by the botulism bacterium and can be harmful to humans who eat birds or fish that have been poisoned by this toxin.

 

There have been no reports of any human illnesses associated with this recent mudpuppy and fish die-off.

 

DEC is continuing to gather sick and dead fish and other species to check for botulism and other potential diseases. The public is urged to contact DEC if they discover any dead wildlife along the lake shore by calling DEC's Fish and Wildlife office in Buffalo at (716) 851-7010 or Allegany at (716) 372-0645.

 

Although botulism has not been confirmed, DEC is encouraging the public to take certain steps to help reduce the potential of the disease to harm humans. Pet owners should prevent their animals from ingesting or having contact with dead wildlife along the shore, as the disease could also harm pets. People are not at risk for botulism when swimming in areas where fish kills have occurred, however swimmers should avoid swimming in water where there are large numbers of dead fish.


Ohio

Boating generates More Than $3.5 Billion for Ohio’s economy

Numbers show marked increase over similar data from 1999 

COLUMBUS, OH - The recreational boating industry generates an estimated $3.5 billion for Ohio’s economy and supports more than 26,000 jobs, according to a new study by the Great Lakes Commission and the Recreational Marine Research Center of Michigan State University.

 

The new study shows a significant increase in recreational

boating’s impact, as compared to similar data compiled in 1999 by Ohio State U. That year, recreational boating’s impact was set at $1.4 billion in Ohio, with support for 19,500 jobs.  Titled as “Great Lakes Recreational Boating’s Economic Punch,” the study uses 2003 watercraft registration data compiled by the U.S. Coast Guard, as well as economic data from individual states. Ohio had a near record 418,300 registered watercraft in 2003.

 


Pennsylvania

Trout regulations modified

Harrisburg – At its summer quarterly meeting last week, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) voted to allow anglers to fish in lakes and ponds approved as year-round trout waters without possessing a trout/salmon permit, as long as anglers are not fishing for trout or salmon. Commissioners also voted to open 31 additional approved trout waters to year-round fishing.  The changes to the lake and pond regulations were made after several individuals submitted public comments noting that anglers often fish these waters for species other than trout. Both changes will take effect Jan. 1, 2009.

 

At the start of the meeting, Commissioners Leonard L. Lichvar and Thomas C. Shetterly were elected President and Vice President, respectively, of the PFBC. New Commissioner

Norman Gavlick, of Kingston, was also introduced. He was appointed by Governor Edward Rendell to serve as the Seventh District Commissioner.

 

In other action, the Commission voted to add regulations to further restrict the interstate sale, introduction and transportation of fish susceptible to the infectious disease viral hemorrhagic septicemia, or VHS.

 

Outdoor enthusiasts in Erie County will have more opportunities to fish, boat, and hike with the Commission action to approve a cooperative agreement with North East Township that commits $43,000 for the acquisition of an access easement located on 20-mile Creek, a popular steelhead fishing location.


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