Week of August 17, 2009

Beyond the Great Lakes
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National

Sam Hamilton Confirmed as FWS Director

Sam Hamilton, President Obama's nominee for Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), was confirmed with strong bi-partisan support by the U.S. Senate July 31st. Formerly the FWS Regional Director for the Southeast, Hamilton has worked for the Service in an array of capacities

for the last thirty years. From his early days building fences on refuges with the Youth Conservation Corps, to restoring vital habitat in areas such as the Florida Everglades, to managing over 128 wildlife refuges in the Southeast, Hamilton has acquired a wealth of experience in both acquiring and reconstructing habitat.


Boating fatalities increased in 2008

The Coast Guard reported a rise in recreational boating fatalities in 2008.

The fatality rate, a measure of the number of deaths against the number of registered recreational boats, increased from 5.3 in 2007 to 5.6 deaths per 100,000 registered recreational boats in 2008.  During this time, the Coast Guard recorded 709 deaths, 3,331 injuries and about $54 million in damage to property, stemming from 4,789 recreational boating accidents.

 

Operator inattention, careless or reckless operation, no proper lookout, operator inexperience and passenger or skier behavior, rank as the top five contributing factors to recreational boating accidents.  Alcohol consumption continues to be of major concern in fatal boating accidents and is listed as the leading contributing factor in 17 percent of the deaths.

Rear Adm. Kevin Cook, the Coast Guard's director of prevention policy, emphasized the importance of boating education. "The 2008 report shows a clear link between safety and boating education by highlighting that only 10 percent of deaths occurred on boats where the operator had received boating safety education," he said in a statement.

 

"This statistic indicates that boaters who have taken a boating safety course are less likely to be involved in an accident," he added. "In addition, two-thirds of all fatal boating accident victims drowned and, of those, 90 percent were not wearing a life jacket."

 

Click here to view the statistics.

 

 


Regional

Asian Carp found closer to barrier

USACE increases electric barrier voltage

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced August 12 it planed to increase the operating voltage for the electric fish barrier system in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal near Romeoville, Ill. 

 

The Corps made the decision based on the latest information, including results from preliminary genetic water testing (eDNA) obtained July 31st which indicate that Asian carp are closer to the barrier than previously thought. Preliminary findings of the genetic testing of water samples ''indicate there may be silver carp in the Brandon Road Pool, including at a location just downstream of the Lockport Lock and Dam.''

 

 Recent research undertaken at the Corps of Engineers research laboratory indicates that the optimal operating parameters are two volts per inch, 15 Hertz frequency and 6.5 milliseconds pulse rate.

 

To prepare the barrier for the increase, the Corps initiated operational testing of the equipment at 8 AM August 12 for three days.  In coordination with the Coast Guard, the Army Corps will then conduct navigation safety tests at the new operating parameters as early as practicable.

"Once we received the genetic testing results on July 31st, we immediately began making preparations to be able to increase the operating parameters,” said Maj. Gen. John Peabody, commander of the Corps of Engineers Great Lakes and Ohio River Division. "The earliest we could make the changes was this Friday, so we used the available time to consult with other state and federal agencies and partners. It is clear to us that this is the appropriate action."

 

"If they had any sense of urgency, this "operational testing" would have been done long ago, instead of waiting until an emergency comes up," said Dan Thomas, president of the Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council. "We're waiting until it may be too late."  The Corps and Coast Guard were cautioned back in April when Barrier IIA was turned on permanently that operating the system at one volt per inch would not be sufficient to stop a carp incursion, and waiting till they were observed closer may be too late.

 

The Corps of Engineers, who by law, are designated the barrier managers, arrogantly and ignominiously chose to ignore the advisory panels' advise. Let's hope that advice doesn't prove prophetic.

 


Barrier Safety Zone Established

USCG Bulletin August 14, 5:10 PM

A Safety Zone has been established in the Chicago Sanitary Ship Canal from Mile Marker 296.0 to 296.7 to allow testing of the Fish Barrier System.

        

The Portion of the Canal between these mile markers is closed to all vessel traffic from 8 AM to 8 PM daily, from August 17th thru August 21. The Captain of the Port may temporarily or permanently suspend enforcement of the safety zone or may permit vessels to enter the Safety Zone. On each day of enforcement, the Captain of the Port intends to temporarily suspend enforcement of the Safety Zone as the USACE testing schedule allows, so that vessel traffic may pass

 

However, this temporary suspension is subject to the operational and technological constraints imposed by the USACE tests.

Therefore, the periods of suspension may not be possible at all. Vessels requesting passage through the Safety Zone should call 630-336-0296. The Captain of the Port will have an on scene representative standing by on either side of the

closure.

 

If you have any questions or for further details, contact the on-scene Captain of the Port Representative via Channel 16 VHF or Sector Lake Michigan at 414-747-7182.

 

Illustration of the Chicago Sanitary & Ship canal Aquatic Nuisance Species Dispersal Barrier, located in Romeoville, IL


USGS Predator diet study- update

and first observations

We are halfway through the fishing season, and things are going well. This is a transition time- fewer tournaments, and possibly fewer anglers during the heat of August, but it is a very important time for collections, so keep collecting if you can. We want to see how and when predators respond as the young of the year fish hatched become large enough to be eaten. We can then compare those results with our trawl data to determine if predators prefer certain prey species over others.

 

We have crew of three going through stomachs madly, and are eliminating the backlog. I think we have processed over 250 stomachs so far, and the pace has picked up. Normally, when doing a study like this you wait until all data are in before releasing any results. The reason is that your first impression can be dead wrong, and you really don't know until you have seen all fish what trends are present. But, people are anxious for some results and we decided to share some very preliminary observations with the caveat that we are less than 1/3 of the way through the stomachs we have collected to date, more stomachs are coming in every week, and diets will change through the season.

 

Round gobies are the most common fish species eaten by far, and they will likely dominate lake trout diets if their prevalence continues. A few alewives have been observed, but they are sparse in diets and were only seen in Chinook salmon taken near Rogers City recently.

 

We sampled a tournament that occurred several days after a lake trout stocking. The most common prey of large lake trout was, you guessed it, recently stocked lake trout. Not every adult lake trout had cannibalized the juveniles, but there was little else in the diets.

Saginaw Bay walleyes have a diverse diet that includes yellow perch, shiners, and round gobies, but they are also eating invertebrates. We found several that eaten midges and mayfly

nymphs. These are spring samples, and we have not gotten to the summer collections yet. The mayfly observation was interesting because mayflies have not returned to the Bay the way they have in Lake Erie, and many people wonder why. In fact, it is difficult to find any mayfly nymphs in the bay at all. Yet walleyes found some.

 

We also found whole worms in walleye stomachs. These were undoubtedly stolen from anglers, but the fish did not quit when they were ahead and were subsequently caught later that day.

 

We found that some lake trout collected this spring near Rogers City had eaten large numbers of terrestrial insects. Some stomachs contained over 1,000 insects. We actually looked at the individuals, and found beetles, flies, wasps, and leafhoppers. You would expect this type of diet in a steelhead, but not a lake trout. This has gotten us thinking about terrestrial insects as an energy source that may have been underestimated ... it also makes us believe that lake trout were foraging at the surface similar to the way steelhead behave in scum lines. Go figure.

 

So we learned all this via the May and June collections, think of what we may learn if we can keep this going for the entire season! Keep up the good work!

 

Jeff Schaeffer

USGS Great Lakes Science Center

1451 Green Rd. Ann Arbor, MI 48105

734-214-7250 (voice)

734-994-8780 (fax)

Jeff_Schaeffer@usgs.gov


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for August 14, 2009

Weather Conditions

After a rainy, hot, and humid weekend, the Great Lakes basin did not receive much rain this past week. This upcoming weekend the basin should experience warm weather with little chance of rain. Next week holds a chance for scattered thunderstorms throughout the entire week with the temperatures becoming unseasonably cool late in the week.

Lake Level Conditions

Lake Superior is 2 inches below the level it was a year ago while Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair and Erie are 8, 7 and 4 inches, respectively, higher than their levels of a year ago.  Lake Ontario is 2 inches below last year's level.  Lake Superior is expected to remain steady over the next month. Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are predicted to decline 2, 6, 3, and 8 inches respectively over the next 30 days. Over the next several months, Lake Superior is predicted to be near its level of a year ago. Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, and Erie are forecasted to remain at or above last year's levels during the same time period. Lake Ontario is forecasted to be near or below its levels of a year ago over the next six months. 

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions

In July, the outflows from Lake Superior through the St. Mary's River and the outflow from Lake Michigan-Huron through the St. Clair River were below average.  The Detroit and Niagara

Rivers carried near average flows during July. The outflow from Lake Ontario through the St. Lawrence River was above average in July. 

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 Aug 14

601.61

578.84

 

575.00

572.08

246.26

Datum, in ft

601.1

577.5

572.3

569.2

243.3

Diff in inches

 +6

   +16

+32

+35

+36

Diff last month

+2

      0

+1

-2

-2

Diff from last yr

-2

+8

+7

+4

-2


Beyond the Great Lakes

Bass Pro Shops Opening In Altoona, Iowa

An all-star cast that reads like a who's who in the world of sports, entertainment and the great outdoors joins together to help Bass Pro Shops celebrate a spectacular Evening for Conservation, Wednesday, August 26 at the new Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in Altoona, Iowa.

 

The new 145,000 sq ft store is located at the southeast corner of the I-80 and Highway 65 by-pass. The store will officially open its doors for a preview celebration during the fundraising event and ribbon-cutting ceremony August 26th from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM. The event is free and open to the public.

The Grand Opening Celebration begins Thursday, August 27th and will continue through Sunday, August 30th. The store will open at 8 AM Thursday and at 9 AM (normal opening hours) Friday and Saturday and 10 AM Sunday. The celebration includes special exhibits, more celebrity guests, store wide savings and fantastic giveaways.

 

Altoona is Bass Pro Shops 56th store in 26 states and Canada

 

 


General

Collegiate Target Shooting On the Rise

NSSF provides Grants for teams

NEWTOWN, Conn. -- Participation in target shooting sports is growing at colleges, and the launch of a new grant program by the National Shooting Sports Foundation will provide even more opportunities for student-athletes to hit their targets.

 

The assistance comes at a time when increasing numbers of scholastic target shooters want to continue participating in their sports when they go off to college. In some cases, students are applying to colleges and universities based not only on a school’s academic offerings but also on the quality of its intercollegiate target shooting programs.

 

NSSF’s Collegiate Shooting Sports Initiative will provide financial and informational support to strengthen existing target shooting programs and help form new club and varsity teams in shotgun, rifle and pistol. NSSF announced the program today in Sparta, Ill., at the national championships of the American Trapshooting Association’s youth program called AIM.

 

“During my college years, I competed on the varsity rifle team and eventually became coach of the team. The friends I made in those times, the matches we competed in and the equipment we used are the source of vivid memories today,” said Steve Sanetti, president of NSSF, trade association for the firearms and shooting sports industry. “With this grant program, the National Shooting Sports Foundation is helping to ensure that students can carry on the tradition of target shooting in college and enjoy the many benefits the shooting sports provide.”

 

Participation in college shotgun sports has grown remarkably in recent years. Between 2006 and 2009, the annual ACUI Intercollegiate Clay Target Championships has seen a 40 percent increase in participation, with 37 schools and 337 clay target shooters competing in last spring’s championship. Much of the increase can be directly attributed to high school students graduating from programs like the NSSF-developed Scholastic Clay Target Program and 4-H, and then continuing to compete in college.

 

More than 30,000 youth have participated in clay target shooting in the Scholastic Clay Target Program alone, so it’s 

only natural that athletes from that program would jump at the

chance to continue competing in the collegiate ranks, just as athletes in other sports want to do.

 

“Scholastic target shooting programs are popular nationwide with students in grades 12 and under,” said Zach Snow, NSSF’s senior shooting promotions coordinator. “The Collegiate Shooting Sports Initiative will provide the assistance colleges need to accommodate students who want to participate in the shooting sports whether for pleasure or in competition.”

 

Collegiate target shooting comprises activity, or club, teams through full-blown varsity programs. “The NSSF Collegiate Shooting Sports Initiative should breathe life into underfunded activity teams that would have to go scratching for funds in order to compete with recognized varsity teams,” said Bruce Hering, coach at Southeastern Illinois College. “This grant program looms big for those schools.”

 

Hering said the grants will also help schools with new or fledgling programs to meet the growing demand among students for target shooting. Following the recently completed national championships for the Scholastic Clay Target Program, Hering said, “You wouldn’t believe the number of parents and high-school students asking about college teams and scholarships. There’s great interest out there in pursuing target shooting after high school.”

 

A total of $75,000 will be made available to qualifying colleges or universities to start new competitive shooting teams or support existing teams. Each grant recipient will receive up to $7,500 in matching funds from NSSF.

 

“Competing in a college target shooting program allows student-athletes to advance their skills and compete at higher levels,” said Sanetti. “Colleges are seeing that target shooting is a popular and legitimate sport in which both men and women can compete. NSSF stands ready with funding and expertise to help any interested college further its shooting sports program.”

 

Anyone interested in starting or strengthening a college shotgun, rifle or pistol team or club can find resources and grant opportunities at www.nssf.org/college.


Buck to produce more knives locally

Will reduce offshore production and work

Buck has implemented what it calls an "American Commitment" program aimed at making more of its knives in Post Falls and reducing offshore products and work.

 

As a result, the company says ninety-five percent (95%) of their new knives for 2009 and 2010 will be produced domestically.

All of the company's hunting knives are currently U.S. made, but about thirty-percent of their overall products were produced offshore prior to their American Commitment program.

 

Buck Knives began more than 100 years ago after company founder Hoyt Buck sold his first knife using worn-out file blades to get a tempered steel that would hold a better edge.


Illinois

Illinois State Fair - Aug 14-23

Lumberjacks, Cool Dog Trick Show, Fishing and Hunting Activities

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Traditional state fair favorites including the Timberworks Lumberjack Show and the Cool Dog Productions Trick Dog Thrill Show, as well as fishing and

hunting activities are featured as part of a full schedule of family-oriented activities and entertainment during the Illinois State Fair, Aug. 14-23 in Springfield.

 

For more info go to the official Illinois State Fair web site: www.agr.state.il.us/isf/conservation/


DNR to Conduct Auction of Confiscated and Abandoned Property

Merchandise Available at Pawnee Warehouse on August 29

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois DNR will conduct an auction of its inventory of confiscated and abandoned property on Saturday, August 29 at the IDNR Jack Perschbacher Service Center warehouse in Pawnee, Illinois. 

Bidder registration for the auction will begin at 7 a.m., with the auction beginning at 10 a.m.  Potential bidders may inspect the merchandise beginning at 7 a.m. the day of the sale.  The auction merchandise will not be available for inspection prior to the gates opening at 7 a.m. on August 29.

 

No firearms or vehicles will be sold. 

 

Among the items offered at the auction:

15 fishing tackle boxes with contents; 20 commercial fishing trammel nets; 8 commercial fishing hoop nets; 109 sport fishing rods and reels;

24 leghold traps; five box-style live traps;

Five crossbows; 23 compound bows; 27 handheld spotlights; 223 assorted deer hunting tree stands and ladders;

One aluminum 17' canoe; one ABS plastic 15' canoe; eight small aluminum flat bottom jon boats (10'-14'); two small aluminum V-bottom row boats (10' &12'); two flat bottom “bass buddy” boats (9' & 12') – (Note:  None of the boats at the auction have trailers or motors)

Several assorted coolers and five boxes of cut up deer antlers   

 

All property at the auction will be sold as is and all sales will be final.  Payment may be in cash, cashier’s check, money order, or traveler’s checks in increments of $100 or less.  Personal or business checks will also be accepted, but only if they are accompanied by a letter of credit from a bank stating the bidder’s credit is in good standing and that the bank will guarantee the check to a specific amount through a specific date. 

 

Buyers must take immediate possession of property purchased, and unclaimed items will be disposed of.  Auctions are conducted by the IDNR approximately every five years.  As required by law, all proceeds from these auctions are deposited in the State Wildlife and Fish Fund.  The last auction conducted in 2005 brought in $18,421.50.


Indiana

Mountain Bike at the Hoosier Outdoor Experience, Sept. 26 - 27

Indiana is quietly becoming a mountain bike Mecca for riders east of the Mississippi River. Come to the Hoosier Outdoor Experience and learn how to ride a mountain bike, so you can take advantage of Indiana’s highly acclaimed off-road trails.

       

“Contrary to what the name implies, mountain biking does not have to involve mountains or traversing incredibly difficult terrain,” said Steve Morris, director of the DNR Division of Outdoor Recreation. "A well designed trail will carry you smoothly through many of Indiana's favorite natural places."

           

At the Hoosier Outdoor Experience, the Hoosier Mountain Bike Association will provide bikes for participants to ride on a short skills course that will include logs, ramps, rocks, and more. 

Instructors will be on the course to help riders.   

 

Indiana was recently recognized by Bike Magazine for having some of the finest mountain bike opportunities in the country.   The Hoosier Outdoor Experience is presented by the Department of Natural Resources and the Indiana Natural Resources Foundation, with sponsorship support from the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, Ball Brothers Foundation, WXIN-Fox 59, Indianapolis, and numerous other sponsors.

 

Parking, admission, activities, demonstrations and seminars are free to the public, but online registration is required. To register, or for event updates go to: www.hoosieroutdoorexperience.IN.gov and click on the yellow registration icon.


Michigan

State responds to Major Fish Kill on Black River

The Departments of Environmental Quality and Natural Resources have responded to a significant fish kill along a 12-mile stretch of the Black River in Sanilac and St. Clair counties, officials announced.

 

The DEQ is conducting an investigation into the cause of the fish kill, including reviewing an apparent discharge of manure from an agricultural field adjacent to Seymour Creek upstream from the Black River.  The DEQ cautioned however that it will need to thoroughly review all possible sources of contamination before making any final determinations as to the cause of the fish kill.

 

"The damage caused by this incident is not only unfortunate, but completely unacceptable," said DEQ Director Steven E. Chester.  "While we cannot undo the damage that has already been done, the DEQ will continue to investigate the cause

behind it and hold those responsible for it accountable."

 

DNR Fisheries Division biologists responded to count and categorize the fish killed. High numbers of various game fish species were killed, including smallmouth bass, northern pike, channel catfish, and rock bass, along with greater redhorse, a rather rare species, especially in southeast Michigan. It is not yet known how the incident will impact the mussel population in the river.

 

“Many of the fish lost in this incident were larger, older fish,” said DNR Director Rebecca Humphries. “This is a significant loss of a very diverse fishery in the Black River.” In 2007, a DNR survey of the river noted there were at least 25 different species of fish in the river. The Black River is this area is noted for its strong fish habitat, consisting of cobble, boulders, gravel and sand.


Lake Chemung Boat Access Site Ramp Replacement

The Michigan DNR announced the Lake Chemung boating access site, located in Livingston County, will undergo the replacement of the site's boat ramps beginning Monday, Aug.

10. During construction, efforts will be made to keep one ramp lane open for visitor use and the parking area should not be affected.  For more info: Joe Strach 517-641-4903, ext. 227.


Hartland Teen Wins National Archery Title

Jessica Nystrom, a freshman at Hartland, Michigan High School, set a female world record at the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) championship recently. 

 

Nystrom, one of 138 Michigan students in the competition that drew nearly 5,000 students from across the U.S., hit 28 of 30  bull's-eyes, and two nines from 10 and 15 meters, to capture the national championship in the female High School Division with a score of 298  (out of a possible 300).

 

Since 2006, Mary Emmons, a Michigan DNR staff-person has been assigned fulltime to coordinating archery in the state. Emmons was recently honored for her efforts to coordinate and grow the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) Now 10 more archery-focused, regional staff members are in the pipeline, and the $3.5 million Michigan State University  Demmer Shooting Sports, Education and Training Center is set to open in September. The Michigan DNR partnered with Michigan State University in 2006 to develop the center, with a large contribution from the Demmer family. Archery became a viable part of the facility through contributions from the ATA and Easton Sports Development Foundation.

    

Nystsrom, A second year archer, collected more than $40,000 in prizes, including a two-year scholarship to Hocking College in Ohio.  The DNR began the school archery program in 12 Michigan public schools in 2004. Five years later, 335 schools statewide participate.

 

The elementary school state champion was 11 year old Lindsey Loress, a first year archer.

 

Emmons, Michigan's chief archery coordinator, was recently 

honored for her efforts to coordinate and grow the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP). The award also ultimately recognizes the Michigan Department of Natural Resources' collaborative efforts to grow archery.

 

"Your work for the state of Michigan is an inspiration to us all," wrote Governor Jennifer Granholm in a letter recognizing Emmons. "Thank you so much for all the big and little decisions you make every day in service to the citizens of the great state of Michigan."

 

The governor also noted that NASP in Michigan has grown to involve more than 60,000 students from more than 300 schools in 56 counties, and that it continues to grow. In fact, NASP has grown so much that Emmons is in the process of hiring 10 regional coordinators.  The Archery Trade Association recently contributed $30,000 to the Michigan DNR to help fund these part-time positions. Before this investment, the ATA invested $250,000 to fund Emmons' position, filled in 2006, bringing its total contribution to date for staff and the Community Archery Program funding to $585,000.

 

"The deeper we grow archery across the state, the more important it becomes to provide staff support," said Rebecca Humphries, MDNR director. "Mary is a dedicated, enthusiastic leader, but she can only train so many people herself to teach archery. These regional coordinators aren't full-time positions, but they'll help Mary carry out her work."

 

Rapidly expanding NASP archery is currently presented in more than 5,000 schools in 46 states and five countries by nearly 16,000 teachers. Archery is ranked safer than every ball sport taught in schools except table tennis.

 


New York

Black Bear Forum August 29

Black bears will again be the order of the day at the New York State Black Bear Forum, to be held on Saturday, August 29, at the White Otter Fish and Game Club in Woodgate.  Presentations by specialists from the NYSDEC will be augmented by displays and talks on a couple more general topics.

 

Special for this year’s program will be a talk about the endangered spruce grouse, a very rare bird of the deep Adirondack woods.  Another talk and slide show will give tips on wildlife photography.

“Bear essential” topics will cover this animal’s life history, information on problems with nuisance bears and more.  Taxidermy and other displays will highlight the black bear.  Displays from the North American Bear Foundation and Bear Hunter magazine will also be available for viewing.  If children are present, a Walt Disney Nature Film called Bear Country will be shown in an adjoining room.

    

The forum will run 10 - 2 PM.  A $5.00 entrance fee includes lunch.  For more info: coordinator Howard LaFave 315-942-2487.


Wisconsin

Will a warmer lake doom invasive fish?

Smelt, an invasive fish that threatens native species such as walleye/perch, may soon be feeling the heat - literally.

 

In an experiment that could show the way to evicting the unwanted fish from Wisconsin lakes, UW-Madison scientists and engineers hope to experimentally warm Crystal Lake in Vilas County in an effort to selectively wipe out the smelt. Using a device known as a GELI, an apparatus that looks like a submerged trampoline, researchers will mix the waters of the 83-acre lake to warm the cool, deeper waters where the rainbow smelt thrive.

 

"As far as I know, this is a completely new idea," according to UW-Madison researcher Steve Carpenter, a world authority on lakes and a leader of the new study along with civil and environmental engineering Professor Chin Wu. "For it to work, one needs rather special circumstances," Carpenter explains. "The species you want to eliminate must be intolerant of warm water, and the warm water must not harm the native species that you wish to keep. That is the case in Crystal Lake and perhaps some other lakes in northern Wisconsin that have been invaded by smelt."

 

The idea, according to engineering graduate student Jordan Read, is to use the GELI — which is propelled up and down in the water column using compressed air and pushes water much like the bell of a jellyfish — to warm the deeper waters of the lake by a few degrees to a temperature the invasive fish is unable to tolerate.  "The main goal of the project is to mix the water column to the point where the deeper cold water habitat refuge for smelt is gone," says Read.

 

Using the device, the Wisconsin researchers will warm Crystal Lake by about 6 degrees Fahrenheit, bringing the average July temperature of the lake to nearly 66 degrees Fahrenheit, a temperature intended to make things uncomfortable for the invasive fish.

 

The rainbow smelt is a native of the northeast coast of the United States and was brought to the American Midwest in the 1920s as a potential food source for walleyes, one of Wisconsin's most prized game fish. But the smelt spread to Lakes Michigan and Superior and is now finding its way to many of Wisconsin's smaller inland lakes.

 

"Rainbow smelt are delicious, and many people know them as fried smelt," says Carpenter. "They are also voracious

predators that gobble up juveniles of many fish species. They are particularly effective at eating walleye juveniles, and walleyes are often eliminated from inland lakes that are invaded by rainbow smelt."

 

The idea behind the Crystal Lake experiment, says Read, the graduate student directing the fieldwork, is to determine if artificially mixing the lake and warming its deeper waters will cause thermal stress for the smelt. The hypothesis, he explains, is that increased temperature will either kill the smelt outright or stress them to the point that survival and reproduction rates are greatly reduced. "The goal is to alter the thermal habitat the fish needs to survive," he notes of the experiment.

 

"Fish and most other aquatic invaders take on the temperature of their environment," says Carpenter, who explains that the rise in temperature should not harm native species such as walleye and bass. "If you warm the lake above the upper lethal temperature that the invaders will tolerate, they will die off."

 

The GELI is a radical departure from traditional methods of mixing lakes, says Read. Ordinarily, to alter the water temperature of a body of water the technique of choice is aeration, where compressed air is circulated through the water. The GELI technology could also potentially be used to restore oxygen to small areas of oxygen-depleted water.

 

"Preliminary measurements found the GELI technology to be much more efficient in comparison with traditional aeration techniques," says Read, of the 8-meter diameter membrane fitted with a hose-like collar which is alternately filled and emptied of air to raise and lower it in the water column. What's more, the GELI technology is more environmentally friendly as, unlike aeration, it does not stir up sediments.

 

Jordan Read, a doctoral candidate in civil and environmental engineering, explains the mechanics of a water-mixing experiment as equipment is tested near the Limnology pier on Lake Mendota on July 9, 2009. The experiment, which involves a device that resembles a parachute with an inflatable ring, brings water from the bottom of a lake to the surface and raises the temperature of the deeper water. The experiment has implications for studying the effects of global warming as well as the effects of water temperature change on invasive species in lakes.

 


Gov Signs Bill to bring new Hunters into Field

Madison - Governor Jim Doyle signed legislation that will enhance opportunities for sportsmen to pass their hunting heritage to the next generation.  With Doyle’s signature, Wisconsin becomes the 29th state to lower barriers preventing new hunters from entering the field. The new law will take effect September 1.

 

Key safety related provisions that are intended to focus the mentor’s full attention on the person being mentored include:

A mentor can only assist one person hunting under this program at a time;

The mentor must be within arm’s reach of the hunter at all times while hunting, and

Only one firearm or one bow may be carried between the mentor and hunter

 

The new law allows persons 10 years of age and older, as well as adults who were born on or after 1/1/73 and have not taken hunter education, to participate in a mentored hunting experience. The law makes it possible for aspiring young hunters in hunting families or youth and adults who may have grown up in a non-hunting family to “test drive” the hunting experience. People who decide they want to pursue hunting beyond the controlled conditions of the Mentored Hunting program will be required to pass an approved hunter education course.

 

New hunters and mentors must follow all existing rules and

regulations regarding appropriate hunting licenses, permits and tags, season dates, bag limits and clothing requirements. A mentor must be at least 18 years of age, must have a current year’s hunting license and if born on or after 1-1-73, must have successfully completed a hunter education course or have completed basic training with the U.S. Armed Forces. Additionally, if the mentored hunter is under age 18, the mentor must be the hunter’s parent or guardian or have permission of the hunter’s parent or guardian to take the person under 18 hunting. A mentor is allowed to serve as mentor for only one hunter at a time under this new law.

 

All people hunting with a “Mentored Only” hunting license must be within arm’s reach of a qualified mentor at all times while hunting, and only one firearm or bow can be possessed between them. If the mentor chooses to hunt at the same time as the mentored hunter, the mentor must have the appropriate license for the species being hunted, and the single firearm or bow rule still applies.

 

Interested persons can obtain a mentored hunter’s license at any license sales agent, online and at DNR Service Centers. Reduced rate licenses are available for those who are 10 and 11 years of age.  More information on Mentored Hunting in Wisconsin is available on the DNR Web site or call toll free 888-936-7463 from 7 AM-10 PM seven days a week.

 

 


Two new dog training caution areas identified

PARK FALLS – Wildlife authorities have identified two new bear hunting dog training caution areas after confirming the killing of two hunting dogs by wolves in Burnett County on August 6 and in Ashland County on Aug 7.

 

The dogs killed were a 6-year-old male Bluetick hound in the Town of Rusk in Burnett County and a 3-year-old male Walker in the Town of Chippewa in Ashland County.  Adrian Wydeven, DNR mammalian ecologist, said wolves have pups in rendezvous sites at this time of the year. It is probable the wolves were protecting their young.

“We advise all citizens to exercise caution and avoid training dogs in areas of recently confirmed wolf depredations on dogs. Hunters should be familiar with caution area maps on the DNR wolf web site,” Wydeven said. All packs involved with dog incidents likely produced pups this spring.

 

Hunters may train dogs by pursuing bear from July 1 to August 31 each year. The gray wolf currently is listed as a federally endangered species and persons convicted of killing a wolf are subject to possible jail time and fines.

 


2009 Wisconsin waterfowl hunting seasons set

HAYWARD – The Natural Resources Board has approved the 2009 fall Wisconsin waterfowl season framework.

Highlights include a one-bird bag on canvasback ducks and a full 60-day two bag limit on scaup, both increases over 2008.

 

Season Structure

60-day season, the overall daily bag limit for ducks is six, no

more than four mallards of which only one can be a hen, three

wood ducks, two redheads, one black duck, one pintail, two

scaup and one canvasback. In addition, five mergansers to include not more than two hooded mergansers. Coot daily bag of 15.

Northern Zone – Sept. 26 at 9 a.m. – Nov. 24.

Southern Zone – Oct. 3 at 9 a.m. – Oct. 11, and Oct. 17 – Dec. 6


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