Week of August 9 , 2004

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World

Beware Of The Sea

Rogue waves are real

Rumors of giant waves suddenly appearing in otherwise calm seas have persisted for years, but most scientists pooh-poohed the idea as something that happens only once in a millennium.

 

Those scientists were wrong; giant waves do exist. In December 2000 the European Union initiated a scientific project called Project MaxWave and assigned two satellites to look for giant waves. In one three-week period, the satellites spotted 10 of them, all more than 81 ft tall. Once dismissed as a nautical myth, freakish ocean waves that rise as tall as ten-story buildings have been accepted as a leading cause of large ship sinkings. Results from the European Space Agency's ERS satellites helped establish the widespread existence of these 'rogue' waves and are now being used to study their origins.

 

You were probably unaware that during the past 20 years, more than 200 super-carrier cargo ships have been lost at sea. These losses do not get the study or attention that airplane crashes get. They are usually just written off as due to "bad weather." Now scientists think that these mysterious giant waves might be a factor in some of the losses.

 

Sizable ships are lost on an average of two a week, according to Wolfgang Rosenthal of the GKSS Research Center in Germany, where the MaxWave project is headquartered. He said that recently two cruise ships were badly damaged in the South Atlantic by giant waves.

 

Mariners who survived such encounters have had remarkable

stories to tell. In February 1995 the cruiser liner Queen Elizabeth II met a 29-meter (95 ft.) high rogue wave during a hurricane in the North Atlantic that Captain Ronald Warwick described as "a great wall of water… it looked as if we were going into the White Cliffs of Dover."

 

And within the week between February and March 2001 two hardened tourist cruisers – the Bremen and the Caledonian Star – had their bridge windows smashed by 30-meter rogue waves in the South Atlantic, the former ship left drifting without navigation or propulsion for a period of two hours. 

 

Offshore platforms have also been struck. On 1 January 1995 the Draupner oil rig in the North Sea was hit by a wave whose height was measured by an onboard laser device at 26 meters, with the highest waves around it reaching 12 meters.

 

Objective radar evidence from this and other platforms – radar data from the North Sea's Goma oilfield recorded 466 rogue wave encounters in 12 years - helped convert previously skeptical scientists, whose statistics showed such large deviations from the surrounding sea state should occur only once every 10,000 years.

 

The fact that rogue waves actually take place relatively frequently had major safety and economic implications, since current ships and offshore platforms are built to withstand maximum wave heights of only 15 meters.

 

The Europeans are continuing their study, hoping to learn what causes these mountainous waves to arise suddenly out of a calm sea and to find out where they most often occur.


 

National

A Priceless Look at Radical Environmental Lawsuits during the 1990's

Number of radical environmental lawsuits filed where the taxpayer paid attorneys' fees: 434

 

Attorneys for environmental groups are not shy about asking for money. They earn $150 to $350 an hour, and sometimes they get accused of trying to gouge the government. In 1993, three judges on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington were so appalled by one Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund lawyer's flagrant over-billing that they reduced her award to zero. [Sacramento Bee, April 24, 2001] 

 

One lawsuit in Texas, involving an endangered salamander, netted lawyers for the Sierra Club and other plaintiffs more than $3.5 million in taxpayer funds.

 

"A flawed law always breeds disrespect for and manipulation

of the law," House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo (R-CA) said.  "And that is exactly what we have under the Endangered Species Act.  The species are not being recovered, as the law intended, and taxpayers are being robbed by radical, politically-motivated interest groups.  Congress has a responsibility to address and correct this outrage."

 

"Facts show that the Endangered Species Act has successfully recovered only one percent of all species on the list," Pombo continued.  "These results are terrible, especially given the massive amount of hard-earned taxpayer money that is spent on ESA programs.  We can do much better than this if we focus on science instead of politics and endangered species recovery instead of litigation."

From News from the Committee on Resource.  Ed

 


Potomac Snakehead Roundup draws blank
Last week's Potomac River Snakehead Roundup drew a blank., even though many believe the effort was a success.  Organizers of the roundup, 130 strong, said they wanted to increase awareness of the hazards of nonnative species in general, warning people not to release pets, live bait or food fish into the wild.

 

James Frye, whose Marina Operators Association of America

helped stage the event, said he believed the roundup had been a success even without any snakeheads. But he said he hoped there would be no need for another one next year. The Marina Operators Association of America and the National Marine Manufacturers Association, in partnership with state and federal agencies, hosted the 2004 Potomac River Snakehead Roundup.

 


Gander Mountain Grand Opening – Corsicana, TX - September 11

Gander Mountain will open its brand new 87,245 sq ft store in Corsicana, Texas this month, with the Grand Opening event scheduled for September 10-12, 2004. 

 

This Gander Mountain super outdoor store is like no other, not only does it carry the latest gear for fishing, hunting and camping, but it also has a large sales and service department of ATVs.  One of the most notable additions is at this facility is

an ATV outdoor test track! At the Gander Mountain's Kayak Test Pond, not only are you able to try your kayak before you buy it,

but their kayak pond also allows them the opportunity to provide casting clinics, and dog training demonstrations, along with the occasional Eskimo-roll.  There is also an in-store professional gunsmith on staff backed by a full service firearms department.  The archery shop also has shooting lanes to let you test all the latest in archery products and equipment.

 


'Dead Zone' Spreads Across Gulf Of Mexico

HOUSTON -- A huge "dead zone" of water so devoid of oxygen that sea life cannot live in it has spread across 5,800 sq miles of the Gulf of Mexico this summer in what has become an annual occurrence caused by pollution.  The extensive area of uninhabitable water may be contributing indirectly to an unusual spate of shark bites along the Texas coast, experts said.

 

A scientist at the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium said last week measurements showed the dead zone extended from the mouth of the Mississippi River in southeastern Louisiana 250 miles west to near the Texas border and was closer to shore than usual because winds and currents.  "Fish and swimming crabs escape (from the dead zone)," said Nancy Rabalais, the consortium's chief scientist for hypoxia, or low oxygen, research. "Anything else dies."

 

In the last 30 years, the dead zone has become an annual summer phenomenon, fed by rising use of nitrate-based

fertilizers by farmers in the Mississippi watershed.  The nitrates, carried into the gulf's warm summer waters by the river, feed algae blooms that use up oxygen and make the water uninhabitable.   The dead zone's size has varied each year depending on weather conditions, but averages about 5,000 square miles and remains in place until late September or early October.

 

Virtually nothing is being done to stop the flow of nitrates into the river, meaning the dead zone will reappear every year, Rabalais said.   The dead zone forces fish to seek better water, which may be a reason for the recent shark bites on Texas beaches.   Three people have been bitten by sharks along the upper Texas coast this year -- a high number for a state that has recorded only 18 shark attacks since 1980.

 

Terry Stelly, an ecosystem biologist with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, said increasing numbers of sharks have been found in recent years in the waters along the Texas-Louisiana border, near the edge of the dead zone.


Canada

Gun registry used for U.S. bungling study:

OTTAWA - Canada's $1-billion gun registry is being used by a U.S. project management centre for senior corporate executives as a case study in incompetence and financial mismanagement. New York-based Baseline, which conducts case studies on information technology, has published an analysis of the gun registry titled: "Canada Firearms: Armed Robbery."

 

The study examines how the gun registry developed from a simple $119-million system to track firearm ownership into a large, complex electronic database with a $1-billion + price tag.

 

"What was supposed to be a relatively modest information technology project ballooned into a massive undertaking. At last count, the program had amassed more than $1-billion in costs, and the system has become so cumbersome that an independent review board recommended that it be scrapped," Baseline said on its Web site.

 

The study said Canada's firearms registry project offers multiple lessons for government and corporate project leaders on the difficulties involved in undertaking such a controversial project.

 

From the start, the U.S. study said, Ottawa failed to develop a clear understanding of the project's scope and made a serious error in having the Justice Department manage the registry when it had never undertaken a technology initiative of this size and complexity.  The government first set up a simple database where firearms owners would register their guns, but this quickly expanded into a large, complex computer network after Ottawa changed the criteria.

The study said ongoing maintenance, development and support costs also flew out of control, rising to $688-million by 2001 and now hovering close to $750-million. "Of that amount, $250-million went to the computer systems. Support, such as call centres, accounted for $300-million. The remaining $138-million went to advertising and public outreach programs to encourage compliance."

 

Annual maintenance costs amounted to 55% of the operating budget, significantly higher than the industry norm of between 10% and 20%, while the anticipated revenue from the controversial program evaporated. "Those costs were to be offset by $117-million in gun-owner registration fees, leaving taxpayer with a bill of $2-million. Instead costs have soared to more than $1-billion."

 

The U.S. study does not draw conclusions on whether the gun registry is effective in crime prevention, although it notes police rely on the database to determine if weapons are present before entering homes.

 

Prime Minister Paul Martin has refused demands from the Conservative party and six provinces to scrap the gun registry, but he has capped funding for the program at $25-million a year, starting next fiscal year. The cost of the registry is currently $33-million annually, down from $48-million in 2001-02. Gun registry fees -- in the range of $18 to $25 -- will also be reduced to encourage compliance with licensing.

 

As of May, seven million guns have been registered out of the estimated 7.9 million in circulation. More than 12,000 licence application were revoked due to public safety concerns while two million Canadians had filed and received licences to own firearms.


Regional

Your help is needed

We need your financial help to fund the operations of the Illinois Waterway electronic barrier – to prevent Asian carp and other nasty critters from entering our lakes

 

A second larger, longer-life barrier is now under construction, but the cost of the design exceeds available funds by $1.8 million.

 

Illinois has contributed $2 million to the project, but the other Great Lakes Governors say they are not able to contribute the balance – $1.8 million. Their states do not have the money. The need for the additional $1.8 million is critical.

 

Contributions from any non-federal source will help. That’s where clubs, individuals and corporate America can help

 

Use of Contributed Funds

Funds will be held by the Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council and distributed based on the direction of a board of non-agency trustees including the president of the GLSFC.

All contributions are tax deductible and will only be used to:

 

1)     Implement the Asian Carp Rapid Response Plan

2)     Improve or operate Barrier I

3)     Construct and operate Barrier II

 

Send your donations to:

GLSFC – carp fund

P.O. Box 297

Elmhurst, IL  60126

 

Or use our PayPal for credit card donations. 

Go to www.great-lakes.org/carp

 

For more information and photos go to: 

www.great-lakes.org/carp

 

Thanks for your help in preventing the invasion

of these harmful critters into our lakes.

 


Angler honored for outstanding contributions to the Great Lakes

Richard Reuss of blue Island, IL honored by Great Lakes Fishery Commission

ANN ARBOR, MI—The Great Lakes Fishery Commission presented Richard (Dick) Reuss of Blue Island, Illinois, with the Buzz Besadny Award for Fostering Great Lakes partnerships.  This top award, presented annually, recognizes Mr. Reuss’ work in building and maintaining partnerships for the protection of the Great Lakes resources. Mr. Reuss, a long-serving advisor to the commission (nominated by Illinois’ governor), received this honor for his efforts to protect the Great Lakes from invasive species, for his support for sea lamprey management, for his active work in strengthening the Committee of Advisors, and for his overall enthusiasm for the resource.  The award was presented during the commission’s annual meeting in June.

 

“Among his many contributions, Dick has been an outspoken advocate for effective invasive species measures, whether they be measures to control sea lampreys, to prevent Asian carp, or to address the ballast water vector,” said former Chicago Alderman Bernie Hansen, chairman of the commission’s U.S. section.  “Dick energetically has communicated Great Lakes needs to elected officials, to state authorities, to fishing clubs, and to the public-at-large.”

 

“Dick’s love for the Great Lakes and his willingness to participate in management have been tremendously beneficial to the resource,” Hansen added.  “He is always

ready to volunteer his time, to talk with others about the Great Lakes, and to get people involved in protecting the resource.  Dick has worked extremely hard and effectively over the years to keep people engaged in the Great Lakes and to direct their energies to areas where they can make a difference.  The award Dick received acknowledges his outstanding contributions to developing and maintaining the partnerships we all rely on to improve the Great Lakes.”

 

Hansen continued:  “Dick’s knowledge about the Great Lakes fishery runs deep and is reflected in the invaluable advice he provides as a member of the Committee of Advisors, a committee of citizens who helps guide fisheries policy in the Great Lakes region.  He has significantly aided the Great Lakes Fishery Commission in the fulfillment of its duties to protect and improve the binational fishery.  Although he represents Lake Michigan [the only Great Lake entirely within the United States], Dick appreciates the bi-national nature of Great Lakes.  He has worked particularly hard to build effective and enduring partnerships with his peers in Canada.”

 

Hansen concluded:  “Dick Reuss is known for being enthusiastic, passionate about the Great Lakes, consistent in his beliefs, and highly committed over the long-term.  He continues to work hard for the fishery. He remains an invaluable advisor to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and to the Great Lakes fishery management community as a whole.  The Great Lakes Fishery Commission is particularly honored to recognize Dick’s many contributions to the Great Lakes.”


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for August 6, 2004 

Current Lake Levels: 

Currently, all of the Great Lakes are higher than the levels of a year ago.  Lakes Michigan-Huron and Lake St. Clair are 10-12 inches higher than a year ago.  Lake Erie is currently 6 inches above, Lake Superior is 5 inches above, and Lake Ontario is 3 inches above last year’s levels.  Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron, however, are still below their long-time averages by 5 and 9 inches, respectively.  Presently, Lake St. Clair is 1 inch above its long-term average.   Lake Erie is 5 inches above its average level and Lake Ontario is 9 inches above average.


Current Outflows/Channel Conditions: 

The Lake Superior outflow through the St. Marys River into Lake Huron is expected to be near average during the month of August.  Flows in the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers are expected to be below average. The Niagara and St. Lawrence River flows are projected to be above average for the month of August.

 

Temperature/Precipitation Outlook: 

A strong dome of high pressure will control the weather in the Great Lakes basin through the weekend. Mostly sunny skies will lead to temperatures in the 70s and 80s throughout the region.  The next chance for inclement weather will be early next week. 

 

Forecasted Water Levels: 

Lake Superior is expected to continue its seasonal rise over the next month, increasing by approximately 1 inch.  Lakes Michigan-Huron and St. Clair are near their seasonal peak and will drop 1 and 5 inches, respectively, over the next month.  Lakes Erie and Ontario will continue their seasonal decline, dropping 5 and 7 inches, respectively, over the next month.

 

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.


Carp Corral/Goby Roundup
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service again began searching the Illinois Waterway from the western Chicago suburbs to the La Salle-Peru area for invasive fish.   The event, scheduled for Aug. 10-13 after being postponed in June because of flooding

in the waterway, will offer biologists the opportunity to determine the relative abundance and upstream distribution of the bighead and silver carp - two invasive Asian carp species - and chart the downstream leading edge of the round goby.


United Way still boycotting Boy Scouts

Last week, yet another United Way chapter cut off funding to the Boy Scouts of America. United Way of Northwestern Michigan in Traverse City will entirely remove the Scenic Trails Boy Scouts Council from its charitable giving campaign.

 

Since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2000 that the Scouts have the right to exclude homosexuals from leadership and membership, the anti-Scout backlash has been most vicious at the hands of the United Way. Over five dozen other United Way chapters around the country have excluded the Boy Scouts from fundraising efforts.

 

In Northwestern Michigan, fourteen counties and several thousand Boy Scouts are affected by the United Way decision to deny funding. The Scouts' application for $30,000 was rejected on the basis that the application was "not compelling." That's a simple way of saying that the Scout Oath and Law are not good enough qualifiers for financial support.

 

United Way of Northwestern Michigan isn't the only United Way to declare war on the Boy Scouts in recent weeks. So too have the United Way of Austin, Texas and the United Way of Central Ohio. The largest United Ways in the largest cities have all broken ties to Scouting. San Francisco was the first to exclude

the Scouts in 1992, followed by cities like Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Madison, Sacramento, Hartford, Seattle, Dallas, Tucson, Providence, Santa Fe, Miami, Portland, Maine, and Portland, Oregon.

 

Today, more and more, United Way is ditching the Boy Scouts, abandoning honor, utterly despising America's finest youth organization.

 

It's time for Americans who care about the Boy Scouts to stop giving to anti-Scout United Ways. Even if it's convenient to make contributions through your workplace or if you've always supported the United Way, discontinue giving to the United Way if it no longer gives to the Scouts. Until we stop supporting anti-Scout United Way chapters, the United Way will increasingly de-fund the Boy Scouts in cities and towns across the country.

 

The Boy Scouts have the First Amendment right to say who can and cannot be a part of their organization. And the United Way has the right to determine which groups it will fund, but the United Way is making poor choices. May it suffer the consequences, and may the Boy Scouts reap new rewards from Americans who believe in character and honor.


Illinois

Hunting Heritage Protected in Illinois

FAIRFAX, VA -- With solid support from the National Rifle Association, Illinois has enacted the Hunting Heritage Protection Act into law, safeguarding the state’s public hunting land. The Act mandates that state public land management actions should result in no net loss of land available for hunting. It also instructs the Director of Natural Resources to submit an annual report citing the areas closed to hunting and the areas opened to compensate for the loss.

 

"The Hunting Heritage Protection Act ensures there will never be any less public hunting land than there is today in Illinois," said Chris W. Cox, NRA’s chief lobbyist. "NRA applauds the Legislature, especially bill sponsors Sen. John O. Jones (R-54) and Rep. William J. Grunloh (D-108), for their decisive action to protect hunters’ rights.

 

"Anti-hunting groups have long fought to dismantle public

hunting land in a backdoor effort to eradicate America’s

sporting heritage," added Cox. "This law guarantees that the hunters of tomorrow will enjoy the traditions and learn the skills their fathers and grandfathers mastered in the woods of Illinois."

 

NRA has successfully worked to enact a number of pro-hunting measures this year, including establishing dove hunting in Minnesota and Michigan, and placing a "Freedom to Hunt and Fish" Amendment on the Louisiana ballot.

 

"Hunting is a fundamental element of conservation and a vital asset to the economy. Saving this important heritage not only benefits sportsmen and the environment, but business owners as well. This is why NRA will continue to fight for similar hunting protection and conservation laws in all fifty states," concluded Cox.


Michigan

Electronic system clips & tags finglerlings

Commission says it's more efficient and cheaper

Ann Arbor -- The Michigan DNR, through the Great Lakes Fishery Commission is experimenting with a 30 year old, high-tech method of marking young fish that makes fin clipping obsolete.

 

Long desired as the preferred fish marking tool by many of the western states and for years promoted by the Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council to maximize the survival of marked fish,  the GLFC and Northwest Marine Technology, Inc joined forces to promote the sophisticated that will enhance our fishery, give us more and healthier stocked fry/fingerlings and save money.  

Northwest Marine Technology, Inc. has developed an automated mass-marking device capable of coded-wire tagging and adipose clipping between 4,000 and 6,000 hatchery fish per hour. This technology has been successfully implemented by the states of Washington, Idaho, and Oregon, who collectively coded-wire tag and fin clip approximately 100 million hatchery-reared salmon each year.

 

The CWT is a length of magnetized stainless steel wire 0.25 mm in diameter. The tag is marked with rows of numbers denoting specific batch or individual codes. Tags are cut from rolls of wire by an injector that hypodermically implants them into suitable tissue. The standard length of a tag is 1.1 mm. For very small animals half-length (0.5 mm) are used. For larger specimens or improved magnetic detection, one and a half  (1.6 mm) or double length (2.2 mm) may be utilized.

 

Salmonids are usually tagged in the snout, but "cheek" muscle and certain other tissue offers superior sites for many other species.

 

One has to wonder why the system in existance for over 30 years, hasn''t been implemented in the Great Lakes region long before this. NMT has on many occasions been called upon by the Commission to make presentations to the GLFC annual meetings and to the annual lake committee meetings. This is the first concerted effort by any Great Lake State to implement this high-tech system.

 

Michigan is using the equipment trailer, on loan from

Washington State, to clip the adipose fins and insert coded wire tags into the noses of 350,000 coho salmon fingerlings here. The machine, which is capable of handling up to 6,000 fish per hour, eliminates man-power demand, excessive handling of the small fish and reduces fish mortality.

 

The machine is self-contained in a 32 ft trailer. The machine automatically sorts fingerlings by size, clips the fatty adipose fins on their backs and inserts the coded-wire tags. Any fish that slip through the system untagged or unclipped are sent to a holding area so they can be re-run through the system or handled by hand.

 

The system handles fish with less trauma to them thus affording a greater percentage of survival, has a 99%+  success rate in fin clips, and reduces mortality to the fingerlings to less than 0.1 percent. Because of the speed of the mechanical process, anesthesia is unnecessary, and the cost per fish is reduced by up to 40 %.

 

The machines, which can be run by two people -- one technician, one laborer -- cost $750,000. But state fisheries officials are hopeful that the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, can secure federal funding for the equipment. Because the units are mobile, biologists believe a total of six machines could be used to handle all the trout and salmon stocked in the entire Great Lakes basin.

 

Not only would the system provide better marking and tagging, but it would help fisheries agencies develop better data on length-frequency of the fingerlings they produce, as the machine collects data on every fish handled.

 

The DNR says clipping and tagging all fish could produce a wealth of data to agencies about how well stocked fish survive, where they roam, whether they stray to different streams to spawn and numerous other questions. In addition, it could help to develop harvest management techniques. Some steelhead anglers, for instance, have proposed that anglers be allowed to keep only clipped fish so that naturally produced fish could be released to spawn. Such a strategy would be fruitful only if all fish are clipped.

 


Fire danger very high statewide

Michigan wildfire officials late last week announced that fire danger is very high in various locations throughout Michigan. Recent rains and have not produced widespread, adequate rainfall in all areas.

 

Local fire danger conditions vary widely due to this type of spotty precipitation. While the fire danger is moderate in some locations, much of northern Michigan will experience High and Very High wildfire potential until those areas receive significant rainfall. Dried grass and pine needles easily ignite, creating conditions for fires to spread rapidly.

 

While lightning has been the cause of several fires, improperly extinguished campfires and debris fires have been the leading cause of wildfires so far this season. To maximize safety during outdoor burning, remember to: completely extinguish debris fires and/or campfires; never leave a fire

unattended; use plenty of water to extinguish your fire and wet everything thoroughly, especially the undersides of unburned pieces; stir the ashes to find any remaining hot spots and extinguish them with more water; do not simply bury your fire with soil as, in most cases, dry soils present in most areas will not extinguish the fire; never leave a child unattended near a fire; and, have a garden hose or other source of water nearby in case your fire begins to escape. If your fire does escape your control, call for help immediately.

 

DNR officials urge everyone to exercise extreme caution with all outdoor fires, and remember to obtain a burn permit before doing any outdoor burning. Burn permits are required for any outdoor burning, and are issued only for burning leaves, brush or stumps. Burning of other materials is prohibited. During periods of high fire danger, permits may be restricted or not issued at all.


TowBoatU.S Opens 9th Port On Lake Michigan

Covers Muskegon and Grand Haven Areas

BoatU.S., the nation’s largest on-the-water towing service for recreational boaters with more than 500 towing assistance vessels, announced that TowBoatU.S. has opened another

TowBoatU.S. on-water assistance operation in the Great Lakes region — this one in Muskegon, Mich. The port is owned by Gregory Hibbard, and is located on the Muskegon Channel adjacent to Coast Guard Station Muskegon. It is the 36th TowBoatU.S. operation servicing the Great Lakes area.


Michigan hires state wolf coordinator

State wildlife officials announced the recent hiring of a State Wolf Coordinator to assist Michigan’s wolf management efforts.

 

The action comes as the USFWS proposes to remove the gray wolf from the federal Endangered Species list. The proposal, when finalized, allows the Michigan Department of Natural Resources full management authority for Michigan’s wolves. Last winter’s survey documented at least 360 animals throughout the Upper Peninsula.

 

Brian Roell, formerly a DNR wildlife technician and a life-long Upper Peninsula resident, was selected as Michigan’s wolf coordinator following a lengthy search. The position, housed

at the Marquette Operation Service Center, oversees education and outreach efforts, population monitoring, depredation investigations, and communication with other agencies and groups working with wolves.

 

The USFWS is accepting comments on the proposed delisting until mid-November. The federal agency will conduct public hearings at three sites in Michigan to provide interested people the opportunity to learn more about the proposed delisting, and provide input on the proposal. The specific cities, locations, and times will be announced soon. That information and additional details on the delisting proposal can be found on the USFWS web site, http://midwest.fws.gov/wolf .


Minnesota

Lake Superior Coastal Program announces addition to Split Rock Lighthouse State Park

Minnesota's Lake Superior Coastal Program, in conjunction with MN DNR Parks and the Parks and Trail Council of Minnesota, announce the completion of the Jenson property addition to Split Rock Lighthouse State Park.

 

A celebration and brief program will take place on Friday, August 13, 2004 at 12:00 pm at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park to mark the official transfer of the property. The Northern Lights Roadhouse and Rustic Inn Restaurants will serve lunch. This event is a part of the Parks and Trails Council of  

Minnesota's "50 Parks & Trails in 50 Days" event.

 

Please pre-register for lunch by calling 1-800-944-0707.

 

Minnesota's Lake Superior Coastal Program provides grants to the coastal community to preserve, protect, restore and enhance the natural, cultural and historic coastal resources for present and future generations.

 

For more info: Tricia Ryan,  218-834-6625 or: http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/waters/lakesuperior/index.html


Early Youth Antlerless Deer season

A special youth antlerless deer season was established by the Minnesota Legislature for Kittson, Roseau, Lake of the Woods, Marshall and Pennington counties on Oct. 23-24. Youth ages 12-14, with a valid Minnesota firearms deer license, valid for any zone or season, are eligible to hunt antlerless deer in these five counties. Participating youth must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult and must get a free Northwest Minnesota Youth Antlerless Deer Season endorsement from an Electronic Licensing System agent prior to the hunt. There are no limits on the number of youth who may participate. Participants may take only one antlerless deer during the hunt. Party hunting is not allowed.

While the special hunts have been on fairly limited parcels of land that are largely closed to hunting, the northwestern Minnesota youth season is open in an area that encompasses more than four million acres.

   

Deer hunting organizations in the area, including the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association and Minnesota Quality Deer Management, will be working to pair willing landowners with young hunters. Later this summer, a Web site will be available that both landowners and potential hunters can access to get together.

 


Special hunts, youth season provide numerous opportunities for novice hunters

According to Minnesota DNR officials, a booming deer herd and a strong commitment to the future of hunting, have led to the expansion of special youth deer hunting opportunities this fall. Seven special youth deer hunts and one special youth deer season will be held in October at locations throughout the state.

 

Applications for the three archery hunts and four firearms deer hunts are available on the Electronic Licensing System. Applications for the hunts are due Aug. 20. Lotteries will be held to select participants.

 

Youth ages 12-17 as of Oct. 7, who have their Firearms Safety Certificate, are eligible to apply for one of the special youth archery deer hunts. Hunts will be held at: Camp Ripley, Oct. 9-10; Arden Hills Army Training Site A, Oct. 21-22; and Arden Hills Army Training Site B, Oct. 23-24. Participants will have to obtain a valid archery license at least two days prior to the hunt.

    

Youth ages 12 to 15 as of Oct. 20, who have their Firearms Safety Certificate, are eligible to apply for one of the special youth firearms deer hunts. Hunts will be held at Whitewater  Wildlife Management Area Refuge near Winona Oct. 21-24;

Lake Bemidji State Park, Oct. 21-24; Rydell National Wildlife Refuge near Crookston, Oct. 30-31; and St. Croix State Park near Hinckley, Oct. 30-31. Blaze orange requirements will be in effect for these areas during the youth hunts. Participants

will have to obtain a valid firearms license prior to the hunt. Youth may hunt with bow and arrow or a shotgun in the Whitewater Wildlife Management Area Refuge hunt.

 

Participating youth must attend a pre-hunt orientation and safety session, and must be accompanied by a parent or guardian during the hunt. If the parents or guardians are inexperienced hunters and would like help during the hunt, volunteer mentors from sponsoring  organizations are available to accompany the hunter/parent teams in the field. Sponsoring organizations include the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, Minnesota State Archery Association and the Bluffland Whitetails Association.

 

"The research on youth participation in hunting and fishing is conclusive," Bronson said. "Youth become hunters and anglers because they are taught how by someone close to them, so we require a parent, guardian or other adult mentor to accompany kids on these hunts so they experience the hunt together. Usually participants report that the time they spend together is the most valuable part of the hunt."


New York

Dec announces revised angler catch limits for Fluke

Changes bring NY Into Compliance with Federal Regulations

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation last week announced the adoption of a revised emergency regulation on recreational fishing for summer flounder (fluke) needed to bring New York State into compliance with federal regulations.  Effective July 30, 2004, and for the balance of the 2004 fishing season which ends on September 6, 2004, the minimum size limit is raised one inch to 18 inches.  The possession limit remains at three fluke. This action is necessary to avoid a federally-imposed closure of New York’s recreational and commercial fluke fisheries. 

 

Fluke are managed through an Interstate Fishery Management Plan (IFMP) for Summer Flounder developed by   

the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC)New York is a member of the ASMFC, along with the other Atlantic Coast states.  Under provisions of the IFMP, ASMFC determined that New York must adopt regulations that reduce the projected 2004 fluke harvest by 48.5 percent from the estimated 2003 harvest level. 

 

To prevent the negative economic impact to New York’s fisheries that a closure would trigger, DEC has adopted the new 18-inch size limit that will ensure meeting the 48.5 percent reduction and place the State in compliance with the IFMP. DEC continues to oppose the use of the annual state-specific MRFSS harvest estimates to manage fluke quotas and will pursue all available options to reform the fluke quota management process.


Ohio

Deadly Lake Erie algae back early this year

Deadly algae that has appeared in western Lake Erie almost every summer since 1995 has emerged more than a month ahead of schedule this year.

 

Known as microcystis, the algae is the same as that linked to as many as 75 deaths in Brazil in 1996. Some people who have come in contact with it have complained of illness, but no deaths in the Great Lakes region have been attributed to it.  Municipal water plants are effective at removing it from public water supplies.

The algae all disappeared from the Great Lakes for more than twenty years after approval of the Clean Water Act and the U.S.-Canada Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement..  Regional municipalities spent billions on sewage plant improvements, but records show that phosphorus has steadily increased in Lake Erie every year since 1997.

 

Health officials want to know if microcystis is being created in the Maumee, Sandusky, and Portage rivers before going out into the lake, he said.


Pennsylvania

Non-Resident Antlerless deer applications to be accepted Aug. 16

HARRISBURG - Beginning Aug. 16, the Pennsylvania Game Commission will accept antlerless deer license applications from nonresident hunters.  Resident hunters were permitted to begin applying on Aug. 2. 

 

The Game Commission has developed a "Doe License Update" page on its website www.pgc.state.pa.us  to provide hunters additional information on the changes in the antlerless license application process.  The site also provides regular updates about the number of antlerless licenses available by Wildlife Management Unit (WMU).  Look for it under "Quick Clicks" on the agency's homepage.

 

Hunters must mail their applications to the Game Commission  in the official yellow envelopes provided when they purchased their license.  The envelope contains pre-printed address labels for each of the 22 Post Office boxes established for the state's 22 WMUs.  As required by state law, county treasurers will continue to issue antlerless deer 

licenses, and, except for the "over-the-counter sales," the agency will forward applications to county treasurers.  County treasurers will receive a portion of a WMU's total antlerless license allocation based on that county's representation in the WMU.

 

The Game Commission will begin accepting resident and nonresident hunter applications through the mail for the first round of unsold licenses on Monday, Aug. 23; and the second round will be accepted through the mail beginning  Sept. 13.

 

Over-the-counter applications will not be accepted by county treasurers until Nov. 1, except in Wildlife Management Units 2B, 5C and 5D, where county treasurers will begin accepting over-the-counter applications on Monday, Sept. 20.

 

Applying for and receiving more than one antlerless license at a time is against the law and carries a $100 fine.  While individuals are permitted to mail up to three antlerless deer license applications in one envelope, the applications must be for different individuals.


Wisconsin

Brown trout, other species killed off in two stream dumpings

Farm manure spills blamed in massive fish kills

Two major fish kills were reported in southwestern Wisconsin, and state officials say it will take years for the damaged waters to recover. The Wisconsin DNR is putting the blame in both cases on cow manure that leaked into local streams and killed thousands of fish.  DNR officials said they are shocked by the extent of the damage to a highly prized trout stream in Richland County and portions of the Pecatonica River in Lafayette County.

 

Officials believe that 90% or more of the brown trout - almost 700 trout in all - were wiped out along almost 12 miles of Willow Creek, and less than a mile of adjoining Smith Hollow Creek, after manure was spread on a field July 15 before a heavy rain. Also dead: smaller fish such as creek chub, sucker and sculpin, and aquatic bugs, all food sources for the trout.

 

The Willow is a magnet for trout fishermen, drawing anglers from around the Midwest. The DNR says it is one of the top five trout streams in southern Wisconsin.

On the Pecatonica, thousands of fish were killed on 30 miles of the river and 10 miles of a tributary, Otter Creek, after a farmhand on July 20 left a pump unattended, spewing tens of thousands of gallons of liquid manure across a field and into Otter Creek. The length of that kill is the longest in southern Wisconsin in more than 30 years, according to the DNR.

 

By  the weekend, the DNR had found more than 2,000 dead fish - 27 different species - on the Otter and Pecatonica. Many more are believed to have died.  DNR fisheries biologist Gene Van Dyck said it will take two to three years for the fish population to recover on the Pecatonica. Catfish, walleye and smallmouth bass are known to have been killed by the spill, the DNR said. Nine- to 12-pound walleyes were found dead. Two flatheads - 20 and 35 pounds - also were killed by the spill, the DNR said.

 

Van Dyck estimated it could take six to eight years for the cold-water Willow and Smith Hollow streams to return to their former splendor. He called the devastation "the most complete trout kill that I've seen during my last 36 years in southwest Wisconsin."


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