Week of August 18 , 2003

National

Regional

Illinois

Indiana

Michigan

Minnesota

Ohio

Pennsylvania

Wisconsin

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National

FWS releases Final Environmental Impact Statement on Cormorant management

Final countdown - 30 days after EPA publishes required notice in Federal Register

The USFWS on August 11 released a Final Environmental impact statement (EIS) on the management of double-crested cormorants in the United States.

               

The document analyzes various options for managing rapidly growing cormorant populations to reduce resource conflicts.  Cormorants have been documented to have negative impacts on resources such as commercial aquaculture, recreational fisheries, vegetation, and the habitat of other colonially-nesting birds. 

               

The preferred alternative in this EIS will give local authorities a more active role in double-crested cormorant management.  Next week, the Environmental Protection Agency will publish a mandatory notice in the Federal Register, marking the beginning of a 30-day comment period on the EIS.  After this period, the Service will publish a final rule and record of decision. 

               

The EIS evaluates six management alternatives including continuing current management practices, implementing only non-lethal management techniques, issuing depredation permits with more flexible criteria, issuing a "public resource depredation order" to address public resource conflicts, reducing regional cormorant populations, and establishing frameworks for a cormorant hunting season.

               

The Service believes a "public resource depredation order" will be the most effective alternative. (Emphasis ours. Ed)

"Since populations are increasing and cormorants have been shown to cause localized impacts to natural and economic resources, we believe local management is the best approach to reduce conflicts," said Service Director Steve Williams.

               

Under the EIS's preferred alternative, a new "public resource depredation order" will authorize States, Tribes, and U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services to manage and control double-crested cormorants to protect public resources (fish, wildlife, plants, and habitats).

 

The order applies to the Great Lakes States – except Pennsylvania and 173 other states: (Alabama, Arkansas,

Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin).

               

Agencies acting under the order must have landowner permission, may not adversely affect other migratory bird species or threatened and endangered species and must satisfy annual reporting and evaluation requirements.  The Service will ensure the long-term conservation of cormorant populations through annual assessments of agency reports and through regular population monitoring.

               

In 1998, the Service issued an aquaculture depredation order authorizing commercial freshwater aquaculture producers in 13 States (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas) to shoot double-crested cormorants without a federal depredation permit when the birds were found committing or about to commit depredations to aquaculture stocks. Under the EIS's preferred alternative, the Service will modify the aquaculture depredation order to allow control of cormorants at winter roosts near fish farms and to allow fish hatcheries to protect their stock from cormorant predation.

               

Cormorants have been federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act since 1972 after their populations dropped precipitously due to factors such as the use of the pesticide DDT.  Today, the population is at historic highs in many areas due in large part to the presence of ample food in their summer and winter ranges, federal and state protection, and reduced contaminant levels.  The total estimated population of double-crested cormorants in North America is approximately 2 million birds.

Requests for copies of, or comments on, the EIS may be mailed to the Div. of Migratory Bird Management, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MBSP-4107, Arlington, Virginia 22203. In addition, comments/requests may be submitted by email to: cormorants@fws.gov , or via fax at 703/358-2272. 

               

The Final EIS can also be downloaded from the Division of Migratory Bird Management web site at: http://migratorybirds.fws.gov/issues/cormorant/finaleis/

CormorantFEIS.pdf , however the PDF document is 208 pages long.  For further information, call the division at 703/358-1714.

 


Using Americans with Disabilities Act to end discrimination in the woods

Members from the Coalition for Disabled Hunter Rights have filed, or are in the process of filing, formal ADA discrimination complaints with the US Department of Justice against the states of New York, West Virginia and Nevada.

 

Complainants represent a large variety of disabilities, from a variety of locations across the United States, including from within the state of New York. These complaints stem from New York’s unwillingness to allow all disabled hunters full participation in the archery hunting season through the use of a crossbow.

 

A few months ago, the Coalition reported that Florida was going to start offering non-resident hunters the crossbow accommodation. Today, Florida finally updated their website with the new crossbow application. We would like to thank the Florida Fish & Wildlife for their cooperation in this manner.

 

Formed in the spring of 2003, the mission of The Coalition is to coordinate the ongoing efforts of disabled and able-

bodied individuals working to achieve equal hunting opportunities for all hunters, in all states, during all hunting seasons. We want to ensure that disabled hunters in all states have access to necessary weapons accommodations, mobility accommodations, and accessibility to public lands.

 

The Coalition’s primary goal is to reform disabled archery regulations nationwide to ensure that disabled archers are afforded the opportunity to choose a weapon that best accommodates their needs – this will include the legalization crossbows, Draw-Loc devices, mouth-tabs, and body braces.

 

The Coalition’s secondary goal is to standardize crossbow regulations across all states, as well as bring reform in states where current regulations are unfairly restrictive for disabled hunters – this includes eliminating strictly defined, “no exception” permit eligibility requirements.

 

For more info about the Coalition for Disabled Hunter Rights, visit  www.disabledrights.org or contact our spokesperson, Tom LaQuey, via Tom@disabledrights.org or (719) 378-2107.


NOAA reports July cooler, wetter than average

In much of the East, rainfall was unusually heavy and average monthly temperatures were generally cooler than average.  Record and near-record heat affected a large part of the western United States in July, and below-average precipitation contributed to persistent or worsening drought conditions throughout much of the region, according to scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. 

 

Seventeen states east of the Mississippi were significantly wetter than average in July, and May-July was the wettest late spring-mid summer period in four states (Alabama, Tennessee, Virginia and Ohio).  The same three-month

period was the second wettest on record in four other states (Georgia, South Carolina, West Virginia and Indiana).

 

The same ridge of high pressure that brought record heat to the West also resulted in below average precipitation in many states.   Fourteen states west of the Mississippi were significantly drier than average for July. The persistence of unusually warm and dry conditions over the last several years has created conditions that rival those experienced during the drought years of the 1930s and 1950s in parts of the West.

 

To learn more about NOAA's Satellite and Information Service, visit http://www.nesdis.noaa.gov .


FWS releases Wind Turbine Guidance

to help energy companies minimize wildlife impacts

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently published in the Federal Register voluntary interim guidelines to help energy companies avoid and minimize wildlife impacts from wind turbines.

 

These guidelines will help energy companies locate and design wind energy facilities in a manner that ensures protection of wildlife resources, while streamlining the site selection and facility design process and avoiding unanticipated conflicts after construction.

 

The guidelines focus on three key areas; the proper evaluation and selection of potential wind energy development sites, the proper location and design of turbines and associated structures within sites selected for development, and research and monitoring to identify and assess impacts to wildlife.  The guidance is intended for land-based wind turbines and wind farms on all Federal, State, and private lands within the United States.

 

"Clean renewable energy is very important for America; however, improperly sited or designed wind energy facilities can adversely impact wildlife, especially birds and bats, and their habitats," said Service Director Steve Williams.  "With voluntary cooperation from the wind industry in implementing these guidelines, we can avoid impacts to wildlife, streamline the environmental review process, and increase the availability of renewable energy resources."

 

The Service encourages immediate use of the guidelines

by the wind energy industry and solicits comments on guideline effectiveness.  The guidelines will be evaluated over a two-year period, and then modified as necessary based on their performance in the field and on the latest scientific and technical discoveries developed in coordination with industry, states, academic researchers, other federal agencies and the public.

 

Examples of the guidelines include avoiding the placement of turbines in documented locations of any species protected under the Federal Endangered Species Act; avoiding fragmentation of  large, contiguous tracts habitat; using tubular supports with pointed tops to minimize bird perching; and avoiding solid red or pulsating red incandescent lights as they appear to attract night-migrating birds.

 

Commercial wind energy facilities have been constructed in 29 States, with developments planned for several other states, as well as coastal and offshore areas.  As more facilities with larger turbines are built, the cumulative effects of this rapidly growing industry could potentially contribute to the decline of some wildlife populations. The potential harm to these populations makes careful evaluation of proposed facilities essential.  Due to local differences in wildlife concentration and movement patterns, habitat types, geography, facility design, and weather, each proposed development site is unique and requires detailed, individual evaluation.  The guidelines will also assist all Interior Department agencies in providing technical assistance to the wind energy industry.

 


Regional

Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council Annual meeting Oct 17-18-19 at Stone Lab on Lake Erie's Gibraltar Island

What's going on in Lake Erie ?   What about the decline in catches on Lake Ontario? Or the possible declining health of Lakes Michigan and Huron?   Come to GLSFC's  annual meeting – which is being partially sponsored by Ohio Sea Grant.

 

It's going to be held at Ohio State University's Stone Lab on Gibraltar Island in Lake Erie - just off Port Clinton.  The dates are  October 17-19:  Friday evening  -  reception, Saturday -meeting with meals, speakers, and tours on Stone Lab's research vessel, and Sunday - meeting continued - w/breakfast

- to 12 noon.

For agenda, registration and fees for lodging and meals on the island click here

 

Because of limited space pre-registration & pre-payment will be necessary. 

 

Issues to be addressed include Lake Erie resource levels, as well as the status of Lakes Ontario, Michigan and Huron.  More details will be posted here next week and in the Great Lakes Basin Report 

 

Contact: Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council Office for more info 630-941-1351, Fax 630-941-1196  E-mail GLSFC click here

 


Regional - GLC gets $315,000 for Great Lakes Restoration Program

A Great Lakes restoration initiative has received a grant of $315,000 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Sea Grant College Program. 

 

Awarded to the Great Lakes Commission and the Northeast-Midwest Institute and administered by Michigan Sea Grant, the grant will be used to develop science-based restoration priorities and understand successful strategies used by other regions.  With matching support from the Commission and the Institute, the total funding for the initiative will be $473,000.

 

The Great Lakes congressional delegation asked the area's governors to develop a long-range restoration program for the five Great Lakes.

 

The Great Lakes Commission, in partnership with the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network programs, will provide technical and scientific support to the region's leadership in the development 

of a comprehensive ecosystem restoration plan.  The two-year initiative will research ecosystem problems and needs, assess existing restoration initiatives, conduct focus groups that build on the development of state and provincial priorities, and convene a restoration planning forum to assemble outcomes.

 

"Sea Grant's seven Great Lakes programs are uniquely suited to assist in the identification and ranking of regional policy issues and research needs and capabilities," said Ronald C. Baird, Ph.D. director, National Sea Grant College Program and associate director of ocean research for NOAA Research. "We look forward to being a partner in this initiative."

 

 So far this year, NOAA has awarded more than 475 grants totaling $204.2 million to members of the academic, scientific and business communities to assist the agency in fulfilling its mission to study the Earth's natural systems in order to predict environmental change, manage ocean resources, protect life and property, and provide decision makers with reliable scientific information. 


Illinois

IL - Electronic barrier could be in place by next summer  

A $1 million electronic barrier to prevent invasive species from swimming to the Great Lakes is expected to be installed by next summer.

The barrier, an electronic field fence, on the Chicago Sanitary & Ship Canal in Romeoville would be the second barrier on the man-made canal, and its purpose is to act as backup and reinforce the first fence. It will offer added insurance if the electricity of the first barrier fails to prevent invasive fish from passing through to Lake Michigan.

 

Funding for the second barrier, a permanent structure, was approved by the U.S. House and is expected to clear the Senate. The first barrier, a temporary structure, was installed last year. Another $800,000 to keep it operational was approved by the House.  The barriers are designed to keep nuisance fish - at this particular time, Asian carp, out of Lake Michigan.

 

The fish are traveling north via the Sanitary & Ship Canal — the only aquatic link between the Mississippi River and the Great

Lakes. Experts fear that if they reach Lake Michigan, they would devastate its ecosystems and threaten the multibillion-dollar recreational and commercial fishing industry. "We simply can't allow that to happen," U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert (R-13th) of Hinsdale said in a statement.

 

Biggert said the funding is important so the fish get into the Great Lakes and devastate its preferred population of fish.  Asian carp can weigh up to 100 lbs, and eat up to 40 percent of their body weight every day, and each female can carry up to a million eggs.

 

Known as the last line of defense, the barrier is 60 ft by 120 ft and emits electric transmissions to repulse the fish. Since the canal is a man-made waterway, it is not a natural habitat for fish. The barrier does not kill the fish but the increasingly more powerful electronic surge is meant to repel them as attempt to move through it.

 

The Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council has been an active representative on the Electronic Barrier Waterway Committee.


 IL - Waterfowl seasons recommended for 2003-'04

SPRINGFIELD, ILL. - The Illinois DNR is recommending a 60-day duck hunting season statewide, along with 90-day Canada goose seasons in the north and central zones and a 61-day Canada goose season in the south zone for the 2003-2004 waterfowl season.

 

The Natural Resources Advisory Board will consider waterfowl hunting season dates and bag limits when it meets at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Springfield. Waterfowl hunters and the general public are invited to comment on the proposals at the NRAB meeting. In consultation with the advisory board, the Department’s final recommendations will be forwarded to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for approval.

 

“The Department’s recommendations regarding season lengths, dates and bag limits take into consideration factors including aerial waterfowl survey data, historical average freeze-up dates and the preferences of waterfowl hunters,” said IDNR state waterfowl biologist Ray Marshalla. “Based on the best scientific information available, we hope to provide hunters with as much opportunity as possible during the upcoming waterfowl seasons.”

 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is again allowing a 60-day duck season with a daily bag limit of six ducks. (IDNR recommendations regarding pintail and canvasback seasons will be announced at a later date).

 

The proposed Illinois duck season dates are as follows:

North: Oct. 16-Dec. 14

Central: Oct. 25-Dec. 23

South: Nov. 13-Jan. 11

The daily limit is six ducks, which may include no more than four mallards (two hens), three scaup, two wood ducks, two redheads and one black duck (details regarding pintails and canvasbacks will be announced at a later date).

 

The statewide 16-day teal season is Sept. 6-21 from sunrise to sunset. The daily bag limit is four teal with a possession limit of eight. Last year’s teal season was nine days.

 

Illinois will again offer a September Canada goose season in all zones Sept. 1-15. The daily bag limit is five geese for the northeast zone and two geese for the north, central and south zones. The possession limit is double the bag limit. Hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset.

 

Hunters are reminded that regular snow goose (includes snow, blue and Ross’ geese), white-fronted goose and brant seasons will close with the Canada goose season if the quota is reached earlier in the zone. The Conservation Order snow goose season will open the day after Canada goose season ends if the Canada goose season closes early due to the quota being reached.

 

Based on Illinois’ harvest derivation figure for the 1999-2001 waterfowl seasons, the state’s Canada goose quota will be 126,400, compared to 64,100 last year. Some hunters may be surprised at the large increase in the quota, but it should be considered a baseline quota as part of the new Canada goose harvest strategy being used. The allocation of MVP Canada geese to Illinois increased from 28,200 in 2002 to 55,600 this year. The non-MVP allocation (mostly giant Canada geese) is 70,800. Zones that harvest more non-MVP geese than MVP geese see larger percentage increases in their quota zone allocations.


 

Indiana

IN - 2003 early migratory gamebird hunting seasons

Indiana DNR biologists have set 2003 early migratory gamebird hunting season dates. The early migratory bird hunting seasons are set each year in July, and are based within a framework provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Late season waterfowl hunting dates will be announced in mid-August.

 

Sora rail - Sept. 1 - Nov. 9

 

Mourning dove - Sept. 1 - Oct. 16, Nov. 7 - Nov. 16, Nov. 27 - Nov. 30

 

Common moorhen - Sept. 1 - Nov. 9

 

Woodcock - Oct. 3 - Nov. 16

 

Common snipe - Sept. 1 - Dec. 16

Blue and green-winged teal - Sept. 1 - Sept. 16

 

Canada Goose - Sept. 1 - Sept. 15

 

Teal and early-season goose hunting is not allowed at Kankakee FWA. Hovey Lake FWA does not offer early-season goose hunting.

 

Dove hunters at Jasper-Pulaski, Hovey Lake, Kankakee and Willow Slough FWAs are required to use non-toxic shot while hunting some fields.

 

Indiana migratory bird hunters must register each year with the National Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP) before hunting migratory birds. Hunters must call 1-800-WETLAND and provide the information requested or register with HIP online at:  http://www.IN.gov/dnr/fishwild/huntguide1/hip.htm

 


Michigan

MI - DNR Plants coho in Paw Paw River

"Construction at the Platte Hatchery created a problem with space in the outdoor raceways," said DNR spokesman Brad Wurfel.  "We had more fish than room, and trying to keep them would have jeopardized the entire stock. We thought one of the other Lake Michigan DNR's would want them, and by the time we got responses back from all of them the situation was such that we needed to put them somewhere."  Wurfel commented, "they were earmarked for Lake Michigan anyway, so we stocked them early, in the Paw Paw River."

"We normally keep coho in the hatcheries for a year and a half," said Wurfel, "but because of renovations at the Platte River State Fish Hatchery, these fish had to be moved out of the hatchery six months early." The fish are expected to remain in the river until next spring before migrating to Lake Michigan.

               

"We'll still be in our target stocking range for the year. This is a one-time situation,"  he added.

 


MI - DNR seeks public input on Natural Rivers proposal

State conservation officials last week announced the public availability of proposals to protect two Michigan rivers, and invited the public to review and comment on the measures.

 

The proposals would designate portions of the Pine and Upper Manistee rivers under Michigan's Natural Rivers Program. The program was developed to preserve, protect and enhance Michigan's finest river systems for the use and enjoyment of current and future generations by allowing property owners their right to reasonable development, while protecting Michigan's unique river resources.

 

Michigan is home to more than 36,000 miles of rivers and streams, including 12,000 miles of coldwater trout streams and 1,000 miles of blue-ribbon trout streams. Nearly 1,700 miles of rivers throughout Michigan are now designated

Natural Rivers.

 

Each Natural Rivers designation is an individually-tailored plan, written to address local needs and reflect local and statewide input. The DNR has held more than a dozen public hearings statewide in the past two years, receiving more than 1,000 public comments.

 

"Our rivers are enjoyed by diverse user groups throughout the state," said DNR Director K.L. Cool. "The process of designating Natural Rivers is specifically designed to maximize public input, and I encourage everyone to share their thoughts and concerns as we review the proposals to protect the Pine and Upper Manistee rivers."

 

To receive a copy of the Natural Rivers proposals, visit www.michigan.gov/dnr  or call program manager Steve Sutton at 517-241-9049.


MI - Open houses to focus on Sault-area forests

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced two open houses, Aug. 19-20, to provide information and receive public comment on forest management treatments proposed for 2005 in the Sault Ste. Marie Management Unit.

 

The Aug. 19 open house, from 4-7 p.m. at the Kinross Town Hall in Kincheloe, focuses on Chippewa County. The Aug. 20 open house, from 4-7 p.m. at the DNR Naubinway Field Office in Naubinway, focuses on Mackinac County. Both are an opportunity for the public to review proposed treatments, provide input toward final decisions on those treatments, and talk with foresters and biologists about issues of interest.

 

Each year DNR personnel inventory and evaluate one-tenth of the state forest. The information gathered includes the health, quality and quantity of all vegetation; wildlife and fisheries habitat and needs; archaeological sites; mineral, oil and gas activities; recreational use; wildfire potential; social factors, including proximity to roads and neighborhoods; and use on adjacent lands, public or

private. Proposed treatments are then designed to ensure the sustainability of the resources and ecosystems.

 

Each forest management unit is divided into smaller units or compartments to facilitate better administration of the resources. The Aug. 19 open house and compartment review will focus on: Drummond Island, Kinross, Pickford, and Raber townships in Chippewa County. The Aug. 20 open house and compartment review will focus on: Moran, Hudson, Hendricks, Portage, Garfield, and Newton townships in Mackinac County.

 

Maps and information regarding the proposed treatments, available at each open house, also can be accessed at www.michigan.gov/dnr , or by calling Karen Rodock, assistant unit manager, at 906-477-6048.

 

The formal compartment reviews to finalize prescriptions for these areas begins Sept. 4, at 9 a.m.  at the State Street Village Inn, St. Ignace. Persons with disabilities needing accommodations for these meetings should call Pat Hallfrisch, Sault Ste. Marie unit manager, at 906-635-5281.


MI - 2003-04 waterfowl season dates set

The Natural Resources Commission at its regular monthly meeting for August approved waterfowl hunting regulations for the 2003-2004 season.

 

DNR staff presented the NRC with three season options, based on a set number of hunting days for each species. Ducks, geese, and other migratory waterfowl are regulated by Federal authorities, but states select seasons within set Federal frameworks.

 

Early goose hunting season will be the same as last year (Sept. 1-10 in the North Zone and Sept. 1-15 in the Middle and South Zones). The late goose season in southern Michigan is Jan. 3-Feb. 1.

 

Goose season dates for the Mississippi Valley Population (MVP) Unit, which encompasses the northwest two-thirds of the state, are Sept. 20-Nov. 6 and Dec. 13-19. The Southern James Bay Population (SJBP) Unit dates are set for Sept. 20-Oct. 12 and Dec. 13-19. This unit encompasses the southeastern third of the Lower

Peninsula.

 

The 2003-2004 hunting dates for ducks (except pintails and canvasbacks), mergansers, coots, and moorhens are:

 

* Upper Peninsula (North Zone): Sept. 27-Nov. 25

* Lower Peninsula (Middle Zone): Oct. 4-Nov. 30 and Jan. 3-4.

* Lower Peninsula (South Zone): Oct. 11-Dec. 7 and Jan. 3-4

 

Pintail season dates are Sept. 27-Oct. 26 (North Zone), Oct. 4-Nov. 2 (Middle Zone), and Oct. 11-Nov. 9 (South Zone).  Canvasback season is Oct. 27-Nov. 25 (North Zone), Nov. 3-Nov. 30 and Jan. 3-4 (Middle Zone), and Nov. 10-Dec. 7 and Jan. 3-4 (South Zone).

 

Additional details on the goose and duck seasons are available the DNR web site, www.michigan.gov/dnr , and in the Michigan Waterfowl Hunting Guide, available Sept. 10 at local DNR offices and wherever licenses are sold.


Minnesota

MN - Updated Public Recreation Information Maps now available

The Department of Natural Resources' Public Recreation Information Maps (PRIM), which cover the entire state of Minnesota, have all been updated and are now available at locations statewide.

 

The set of 51 separate maps contains a great deal of public ownership data, including federal, state and county lands. The maps include a wide variety of recreation information for activities such as hunting, fishing, camping, hiking and boating. The maps also indicate public water access sites, fishing piers, state trails, forests, parks, wildlife refuges and much more.

 

"About half of the 51 maps for the state were printed this year, with the remainder of the maps being from the year 2000 or newer," explained Amy Ellison, cartographer in the DNR's Recreation Mapping Unit.

The first set of PRIM maps was produced in 1990. They have been a work in progress ever since. In 1997, maps for the entire state were completed, but they had not been updated until now.

 

Another new feature of the updated PRIM maps, which will particularly interest vendors who sell the maps, is the addition of UPC numbers (bar codes) for each of the 51 maps. This will allow business owners to use digital technology to keep their inventory up-to-date.

 

PRIM maps are available from the DNR, Minnesota's Bookstore, the Explore Minnesota Store at the Mall of America, and at sporting goods, station stores and map stores around the state. The cost for each is $4.95, with special discounts when purchased in bulk.

               

Maps may also be purchased by logging onto the DNR's Web site at:  www.dnr.state.mn.us/maps/prim


MN - New sturgeon regulations proposed for northern border waters

In a move that aims to protect a recovering fish population, the Department of Natural Resources announced today it is proposing new lake sturgeon regulations for 2004 on Minnesota's border waters with Ontario. The regulation would reduce the length of the fishing season and limit harvest to those fish between 45 and 50 inches in length. The limit will remain at one fish per year.

               

"The proposed regulation is based on a single principle," said Ron Payer, DNR fisheries division director. "We want to continue to provide sturgeon anglers with a quality experience without jeopardizing the recovery and long-term health of lake sturgeon stocks on border waters."

               

The proposed regulation calls for a spring harvest season of April 24 - May 7, a summer harvest season of July 1 - Aug. 31, and a catch-and-release season from Sept. 1 - April 23. The season would be closed May 8 - June 30 to protect spawning fish. Anglers who harvest fish will be required to register their catch similar to the way Minnesota hunters register large game animals. The registration process will be developed in the months ahead. The new regulation will allow anglers to harvest about 7,600 pounds of sturgeon per year while also ensuring full recovery for a species that has been in decline for most of the 20th century.

               

"The sturgeon population in the Rainy River and Lake of the Woods systems is in the midst of a dramatic recovery due, in part, to significant improvements in river water quality over the past two decades," said Payer. "Still, this a young, recovering population rather than a mature, stable population. In order for anglers to catch 60- and 70-inch fish tomorrow conservation must come into play today."

The proposed regulation marks the sixth time sturgeon regulations have changed on border waters since 1952. The previous regulation required all fish less than 45 inches or greater than 55 inches to be immediately released. The fishing season was July 1 through April 30.

The swelling sturgeon population has generated a corresponding interest in a species that can reach 13 ft in length and up to 400 pounds. DNR surveys indicate sturgeon fishing pressure has doubled over the past six years and annual harvest has increased from 3,657 pounds in 1998 to more than 15,000 pounds this year. That amount is nearly double the recommended annual harvest of 7,600 pounds, according to a government technical committee comprised of Minnesota and Ontario fisheries managers and biologists.

               

"Clearly, sturgeon fishing is better than it has been in decades and that's great," said Payer. "However, perspective is important. Eight-five to ninety percent of the population is not yet sexually mature. That means we are at the front-end of recovery rather than the middle or end."

               

Lake sturgeon mature at an extremely slow rate. Males do not mature until about age 17 and 45 inches in length. Females do not mature until about age 26 and 55 inches in length. Males spawn once every two to three years; females may spawn as infrequently as once every nine years. The fish can live 150 years or more.

               

Stable sturgeon fisheries, such as the one in Wisconsin's Lake Winnebago, have high numbers of middle-aged fish and lower numbers of young and very old fish. By comparison, Minnesota's recovering population has high numbers of younger and smaller fish and fewer middle-aged and old fish.

               

The DNR will begin its formal regulation change notice by posting signs at Lake of the Woods and Rainy River system public water accesses. After a 90-day posting period, public input meetings will be held in Baudette, International Falls and St. Paul. Public comment will be officially accepted up to 10 days following the final meeting.

The lake sturgeon is one of the largest freshwater fish in North America. It is listed as a species of special concern in Minnesota.


MN - Boaters asked to slow down and use caution during high water

High water levels on many lakes and rivers in Minnesota are expected to remain for several weeks according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Recreational boaters and anglers, canoeists and kayakers  who are heading out this weekend, should be aware of high water conditions on many lakes and rivers and take precautions. This is especially the case across the central part of the state from the Twin Cities north through the Brainerd Lakes area. This region received a large amount of rain the past few weeks.

 

"High water has made certain shoreline areas extremely vulnerable to erosion from boat wakes," said Tim Smalley, DNR boating safety specialist. "It's amazing how much erosion can happen as a result of boat wakes. Foundations of homes, trees, and the shore are all subject to washout."

It is strongly recommended that boaters not exceed a slow-no wake (5 mph) speed on the lakes where high water exists, especially near shore, and be aware of the damage that wakes can cause to shoreline property. Boaters are responsible for any damage caused by their wakes.

               

The safety issue comes from debris that is washed into the water by rain and higher lake levels. The debris includes tree branches and man-made items that have been swept in by the high water. Since some of the debris floats at or just below the surface, a boat that is moving fast may not see it in time to avoid a collision - resulting in a broken propeller, capsizing, damaged lower unit on the motor or worse.

 

"Boaters need to keep careful lookout to avoid floating logs and other debris (whether they are on rivers or lakes) and wear their life jackets at all times," he advised.


Ohio

OH - DNR holds public meetings on Walleye proposals

Angler shares concerns for Lake Erie walleye management  

My name is Tom Mayher; I am the Chairman of the North Coast Sportfishing Council. 8 organizations make up the Council; we represent over 1500 members from Lorain to Ashtabula.

    

Before most people realized the danger of introducing exotics into our lakes, we wrote to all the Governors of the Great Lake States , asking them to stop the invasion and come up with one set of rules. We proposed using a chlorine compound or other chemicals to kill creatures in the ballast before they were dumped into our lakes. We also suggested the use of pump-out stations to exchange the infected ballast.

   

A couple of years ago, we ran a petition drive to ban the gill nets in Lake Erie and have them converted to trap nets, we collected nearly 10,000 signatures.

   

At the Bill 241hearing , we proposed a buy out of the Ohio seine netters during the months of March and April to protect the spawning walleyes.

    

At a Director’s meeting in 1995 we challenged the model used to estimate the walleye’s population in Erie, we stated that it produced twice as many walleyes as it should, resulting in a TAC that was too high. This meant that we were killing too many walleyes. In 1999, I wrote an article called ‘86 million fact or fiction’. We believed that our reasoning proved that there were far fewer walleyes in the lake then we were told. It was our belief that the bloated figures used resulted in an inflated TAC allowing for the harvest of 10 million, or 30%, of the 2 year old or older walleyes for 1998,  that there was overkill.

 

We have relied on the harvesting of fish smaller that 16 inches for years. In 1969 the Great Lakes Fish Commission stated that a fishery that relays on harvesting small fish is a boom and bust fishery and is economical unsound.  These statements have proven to be true.  

   

Earlier this year the prestigious Polish Fishermen’s Club conducted a petition drive to ban drilling under Lake Erie.    

We have written and talked about the disappearance of young smallmouth bass on the major reefs more than 10 years ago and several years ago we asked the Chief to reduce the daily bag limit from 8 to 6

    

As you can see the organizations  East of Lorain are very active and have a keen interest in the state of our lake and its fisheries.

   

Nearly 1/4 of Ohio’s population lives in close proximity to Lake Erie from Lorain East. Last year was the poorest walleye fishing in Lake Erie in modern times and walleye fishing was nearly non-existent in this area. The average Private Boater had to fish more than 4 days to catch his one days limit of 6 walleyes and the average Charter Boat had to fish more than 3 days to catch his one days limit.

   

In order to have a good chance of catching walleyes in Lake Erie, the little guy had to trailer his boat a100 miles or more and the sportfisherman who docked his boat from Cleveland east was had to run his boat 60 of 70 miles across the lake to get to good fishing grounds. The Charted Boat industry in this area is really suffering because of the lack of walleyes in Lake Erie. Every day that a single boat has to sit at the dock because of no bookings the surrounding community loses more than $500.

 

Lets look at some facts as we know them; Ontario claims that there are only about 26 million walleyes in Erie and that the state of the walleye fishery in the Western Basin is precarious.  According to a Michigan newspaper their biologist feel the that today the number is only 19 million. From the peak years according to Ohio’s ODNR State of the Lake publication there were once 145 million walleyes in the lake. This means that we lost over 75% of our walleyes from the peak years, resulting a decline of about 84% in our harvest last year, economic impact has declined by about 75% and about a 75% decline in the number of days spent fishing for walleyes in Lake Erie.

 

It is obvious that our walleye fishery has a major problem with an inconsistent and inadequate hatch> We have read that a god hatch would produce at least 1 out of every 20,000 eggs also that 2 walleyes will produce 2 adults in a period of 5 years. Read that a DOW biologist claims that there is no need to       

protect our spawning walleyes because The Lake Erie walleyes lay over 600 billion eggs laid each year.        

 

Obviously these theories don’t work in Lake Erie because they do not take into consideration the killing of spawning fish; Erie’s fishing pressure, the world's largest fresh water commercial fishing industry and the introduction of very harmful exotics.

    

To counter these short comings the Commission lowered the TAC to 3.4 million for a 3 years to save our walleyes, we wrote to the Governor dated 9-10-02 stating that we believe that the 3.4 TAC was all spin and was not designed to put more walleyes into the lake, but only to slow its decline. We also stated that we believed that the 3.4 TAC was it self too high and would lead to a further decline in our walleye’s population. Unfortunately our position proved to be correct.

    

We are now told to tighten our belts, for the coming years, because we had possibly 3 rather poor hatches lately. Hear that the Ontario Gill-Netter’s quota will be greatly reduced next year and their gill-netters will take a big hit. They are losing about 3 million dollars a year, dockside, because of  their reduced quota.

 

Recently I read that an Ohio Charter Captain claims that that only 1 out 0f 10 walleyes harvested in April  on Western Basin reefs are females and that does not have an impact on our fishery’s population. He neglected to mention that there are about 22,000 walleyes harvested each April. If 1 out of 10 are pre spawn females this means that about 2,200 females are killed resulting in a loss of about a billion eggs and that does not include the river kills.  Taking into consideration the present state of our walleye fishery, killing a pre-spawn female walleye on our productive spawning grounds is like shooting your self in the foot.

     

Hear that lowering  the limit to 3 will mean a loss of trips booked by walleye fishermen from the states that have a closed season. That may not be true because if a fisherman wants to catch walleyes in the spring and he can’t in his own state he probably will still come to Ohio to catch 3 walleyes a day. Otherwise he will have to sit at home after a boring winter and pursue another springtime sport.

    

Surely coming off of the poorest season in modern times and the state of the economy play a part in the number to bookings for the Charter Boat Industry, seems as if there are a lot of charter boats sitting at dock on very good days.

     

We must realize that a female walleye is programmed to spawn on a specific location and some spawn  along the lakeshore on unfavorable habitat, resulting in lost spawn. A female spawning on our best habitat, such as Crib Reef should be treated as a sacred thing. Killing her means that her future generations will not be spawning on Crib in the coming years. Another way at looking at this is that killing one female may result in the killing of 100’s of her genetic make up, because her off spring will not be returning to continue what they would have been programmed to do.

 

Our ODNR must shoulder the responsibility for the huge decline in Ohio’s most valuable fishery, we pay them to protect our natural resource and they have refused to do so. Ohio owns most of the best walleye spawning grounds and as Ohio goes, so goes the Lake Erie walleye fishery.

    

Using the figures available to us we believe that during the previous Chief’s tenure Ohio lost the better part of a couple billion dollars because they continued  the Lake Erie walleye management policies that were a proven failure. We now have a Chief who is interested in restoring our walleye fishery.   We should all support him.

                                                                                     

The new proposed regulations will not be the solution to all of the walleye’s problems. They certainly are a giant step in the right direction.

    

We would like to have the state stop their bizarre practice of interfering with spawning walleyes in the rivers with their electro shocking, tagging practice. Some females are killed and we do not have any data to prove that after the shocking and tagging stress, the females will continue their spawning run, no doubt they are disorientated at best.  

 

Tom Mayher

Chairman NCSFC-8-11-03


Pennsylvania

PA - Anglers And boaters propose new license fees

Commission Welcomes Proposal from Sportsmen's groups

The Fish and Boat Commission welcomes the efforts of angler and boater organizations, key legislators and their staffs to develop new concepts for future fishing license and boat registration fees.

 

Meeting on August 4 at the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs' offices in Harrisburg, representatives of several sportsmen's organizations worked together to fashion a new fee proposal.  They were joined by Chairman Bruce Smith and Minority Chairman Ed Staback of the House Game and Fisheries Committee, together with staff of the House and Senate Game and Fisheries Committees.  Key elements of the fee proposal were made available to the Commission for comment.

 

"This is a great start," said Samuel M. Concilla, President of the Commission.  "The Fish and Boat Commission greatly appreciates everyone's efforts to develop consensus fee proposals that can attract widespread sportsmen and legislative support. By moving forward with consideration of a detailed fee proposal, the anglers and boaters of Pennsylvania are focusing on the future of fishing and boating and trying to ensure we have adequate operating funds for years to come. We want to particularly thank Chairman Bruce Smith and Chairman Ed Staback and the staffs of the House and Senate Game and Fisheries Committees for their interest and support," Concilla concluded.

 

The fee concepts advanced by the workgroup include the following:

Fishing Licenses            2003 Cost       Proposed Cost

Resident                          $16.25                    $20.00

Nonresident                      $34.25                    $40.00

Resident Senior (annual)       3.25                    $10.00

Resident Senior Lifetime    $15.25                    $50.00

3-day tourist                     $14.25                    $25.00

1-day resident (after May 1 only) New               $10.00

Trout Stamp                      $5.00                    $8.00

Lake Erie (Steelhead) Stamp New                   $8.00

Combo Lake Erie Stlhd/Trout Stamp New       $12.00

 

Boat Registrations   Current Price (2 years)  Proposed Cost

Un-powered                     $10.00                         $24.00

Less than 16'                   $20.00                        $26.00

16' to 20'                         $30.00                         $39.00

20+' to 40'                       $40.00                         $46.00

40+' to 65                        $40.00                         $46.00

65'                                  $40.00                         $56.00

 

According to Dennis Guise, Deputy Executive Director of the Commission, "The staff have estimated that the workgroup proposal will raise between $4 and $4.5 million per year for the Fish Fund and over $1 million per year for Boat Fund.  The main variable in estimating the amount of Fish Fund revenue is estimating the reduction in license sales.  Based on past experience,  we estimate a reduction of between 8% and 10% during the year the increase takes effect, but we are going to work hard with Pennsylvania anglers to minimize the loss of sales," Guise noted.

 

"We hope the General Assembly will consider fees for charter boats and fishing guides and special activities permit fees for tournaments and other activities as part of the package,"Guise added.  "We'd also like to be able to develop some license marketing efforts aimed at families and those who want to purchase multi-year licenses.  When combined with an adequate alternate source of funding for major capital projects for state fish hatcheries and dams, this fee proposal should sustain the Fish Fund and Boat Fund for up to seven years," Guise concluded.

 

The Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs hosted the August 4 meeting, which included representatives of Pennsylvania Trout, the Coalition of Concerned Pennsylvania Anglers, Traditional Anglers of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania .


PA - '03-'04 Waterfowl seasons and bag limits

Offer expanded Canada Goose hunting opportunities and new zones

HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania Game Commission will send its selections for 2003-2004 waterfowl hunting seasons and bag limits to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service next week, according to Vern Ross, agency executive director.  Annual waterfowl seasons are selected by states from a framework established by the USFWS, and with the input of waterfowl hunters and the public.  Final approval from the USFWS is expected by late September.

 

In addition to releasing waterfowl seasons, Ross also noted that the Game Commission again has posted the waterfowl seasons brochure and maps on its website (www.pgc.state.pa.us ).  The agency currently is mass-producing brochures to be distributed to U.S. Post Offices within the next two weeks.

 

"Many hunters already have purchased their hunting licenses and federal waterfowl stamps in anticipation of the season," Ross said.  "For their convenience, in addition to being able to pick up the waterfowl brochure and maps at post offices and license issuing agents, hunters can obtain this important information from the Game Commission's website."

 

John Dunn, Game Commission waterfowl biologist, said Canada goose hunters should pay special attention to new harvest zone boundaries, especially the division of the "Atlantic Population Zone" into North and South zones.  These changes follow last year's creation of the "Resident Population Zone," which comprises most of central and western Pennsylvania.  The new boundaries, while unfortunately adding complexity to goose hunting regulations, allow for increased hunting opportunity, Dunn noted.

"Again this year, hunters in the Resident Population Zone will again enjoy a 70-day season and five-bird daily limit," Dunn said.  "The North and South Atlantic Population zones, which comprises much of eastern Pennsylvania, will have a 45-day season with a two-bird daily limit, which is similar to last year.  In addition, the North AP Zone will have a 30-day season with a five-bird limit, beginning Jan. 15."

 

Resident Canada geese breed locally throughout the Atlantic Flyway extending into southern Ontario and Quebec.  They are largely non-migratory, moving only slightly in winter depending upon the severity of weather.  Surveys of nesting Canada geese have been conducted since 1989 in Atlantic Flyway states from Virginia to New Hampshire, including Pennsylvania.  The total spring population estimate was 1,083,200, which is statistically similar to 2002 and the previous 10-year average.

 

The 2003 Pennsylvania Canada goose population estimate of 254,200 is similar to the 10-year average of 216,100, and the 2002 estimate of 234,700. 

 

"As expected, the highest densities of geese were observed in the southeastern portion of the state," said John Dunn, Game Commission biologist.  "The number of breeding pairs and total population of Canada geese have increased significantly in the state since 1989. However, estimates appeared to have stabilized over the past six years.

 

"Based upon production observed during annual goose banding operations in early summer, production of resident geese was similar to past years in Pennsylvania and the Atlantic flyway.  Hunters can expect a large fall flight of resident geese this hunting season."

 

The Southern James Bay Population of Canada geese, which is the predominant migratory goose population in northwest Pennsylvania, nests on Akimiski Island, Nunavut and in the James Bay lowlands of Ontario.  There were 106,611 Canada geese counted on aerial surveys this spring, which is 40 percent higher than in 2002, and

similar to the 1990 to 2002 average.  However, hunting regulations for SJBP geese in this three-county area - all of Erie, Mercer and Crawford counties - will be similar to previous years.

 

As announced on July 30, the early statewide season for resident Canada geese will open Sept. 1, and continue through Sept. 25.  Bag limits remain five daily and 10 in possession for most of Pennsylvania, but have increased to eight daily and 16 in possession in the South AP Zone.  However, State Game Land 46, which includes the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area in Lebanon-Lancaster counties will be closed during the early season.  In addition, the Pymatuning Wildlife Management Area in Crawford County and the entire Pymatuning Zone remain closed during the September goose hunting season.

 

"For the first since 1995, there will not be a September goose hunting season anywhere on State Game Land 46, which includes the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area," Dunn said.  "The goose harvest and hunter success rates have declined by roughly 50 percent over the past 10 years in the controlled goose hunting area of Middle Creek.  Liberal seasons and bag limits during the September season are thought to have contributed to this decline.  In order to give the local resident Canada goose population a chance to increase to provide improved hunting opportunities at Middle Creek, we are closing the September season for this year."

 

Dunn stressed that this change does not affect surrounding private lands, where the daily bag limit will be eight Canada geese, and the possession limit is 16.

In addition, the bag limits for Canada geese on all of State Game Land 46 has been reduced to one daily and two in possession during the regular goose season (Nov. 15-29, and Dec. 15-Jan. 20).

 

Dunn pointed out that the 2003-2004 duck seasons include a limited season for canvasbacks, due to an increased breeding population and improved production this year.  Also, the season for pintails remains at 30 days with a one-bird daily limit.  While the breeding population for pintails increased this year, it still remains a concern since the species is below the population goal by 40 percent.

 

"A continental resource, canvasbacks are extremely sensitive to changes in breeding habitat conditions," Dunn said.  "Reopening a limited canvasback season has been made possible by improved breeding and habitat conditions.  However, we are continuing to keep a conservative season in place for pintails as we closely monitor the population.

 

"Overall, habitat conditions throughout the range of species important to Pennsylvania have improved from last year.  The increased precipitation has resulted in much improved habitat conditions, which is a dramatic improvement over the droughts that were prevalent during the previous two years."  Dunn noted the Atlantic Brant hunting season has remained 60 days with a three-bird daily limit.

In addition to a regular Pennsylvania hunting license, persons 16 and older must have a Federal Migratory Bird and Conservation Stamp, commonly referred to as a "Duck Stamp," signed in ink across its face.  All waterfowl hunters, regardless of age, must have a Pennsylvania Migratory Game Bird License to hunt waterfowl and other migratory birds, including doves, woodcock, coots, moorhens, rails and snipe.  All migratory game bird hunters in the United States are required to complete a Harvest Information Program survey when they purchase a state migratory game bird license.  The survey information is then forwarded to the USFWS. 

 

"By answering the questions on the survey card, hunters will improve survey efficiency and the quality of information used to track the harvest of migratory birds for management purposes," Dunn said.

 

Hunters must use non-toxic shot while hunting ducks, geese or coots in Pennsylvania.

 


PA - Hunters encouraged to report Banded Birds

Waterfowl hunters are encouraged to use a toll-free number, 1-800-327-BAND to report banded ducks, geese and doves they harvest. Callers will be requested to provide information on where, when and what species of waterfowl were killed, in addition to the band number. This information is crucial to the successful management of waterfowl.

 

Hunters also may report banded birds via the Internet by going to the U.S. Geological Survey's website (www.pwrc.usgs.gov), click on "Bird Banding Laboratory," and select "How to Report a Bird Band."

 

John Dunn, Game Commission waterfowl biologist, also stressed that reporting leg-bands and web-tags helps the Game Commission and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service learn more about waterfowl movements, and survival and harvest rates that are critical to population management

and setting of hunting regulations.  Each year, nearly 380,000 ducks and geese are banded across the United States and Canada.

 

"Information provided by hunters is essential in our efforts to properly manage this resource," Dunn said.  "By reporting your recovery of a leg-band or web-tag, hunters not only assist in managing the resource, but also have an opportunity to learn interesting facts about the bird they harvested."

 

Dunn noted that the toll-free reporting program is beginning to pay big dividends.  Under the old reporting system, less than one-third of the birds banded were reported by hunters. Now, with the new toll-free system in place, band reporting rates are estimated to have increased to 70 to 80 percent.  This increase allows more information to be obtained from the program and can reduce costs associated with banding waterfowl.


PA - Waterfowl Hunters cautioned about eating Mergansers

To minimize potential health impacts, Pennsylvania Game Commission waterfowl biologist John Dunn suggested that hunters should not eat merganser ducks, especially those harvested in the Lake Erie and northwestern Pennsylvania hunting zones.

 

Based on studies conducted in the past two decades by PA and NY, mergansers, especially common and red-breasted mergansers, in the Lake Erie region have been found with varying levels of contaminants, including PCBs.

"Mergansers consume fish and other aquatic organisms that may cause a concentration of contaminants in body

tissue," Dunn said.  "Health officials have issued similar consumption advisories for certain species of fish found in these same waters."

 

For this reason, the Game Commission cautions hunters not to consume any mergansers.  Other waterfowl should be skinned and the fat removed before cooking.  Stuffing should be discarded after cooking and should not be consumed.  Hunters should not eat more than two meals of waterfowl per month.

 

"Since mergansers from the Lake Erie area are likely to migrate to other areas of Pennsylvania, the Game Commission felt it was important to make all hunters aware of these basic health guidelines," Dunn said.


PA - Hunters urged to take precautions against West Nile Virus

Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Vern Ross reminded hunters going afield to take basic steps to prevent insect bites thereby eliminating the possibility of contracting West Nile virus.

 

"West Nile virus is no reason to limit your outdoor activities," Ross said.  "However, you can and should try to reduce your risk of being bitten by mosquitoes.  To combat the spread of West Nile virus, which is transmitted by mosquitoes, Pennsylvania has developed a comprehensive program that covers all 67 counties and includes trapping mosquitoes, collecting dead birds and monitoring horses, people and sentinel chickens."

 

West Nile virus can cause encephalitis or meningitis.  The virus is spread to humans, birds and other animals through the bite of an infected mosquito.  A mosquito becomes infected by biting a bird that is carrying the virus.

 

- Crows and blue jays are the most susceptible to the virus.  There is no major risk of infection for game bird species.  Game birds can contract the virus, but the virus

usually clears the bloodstream in a short time.  Thus the bird is no longer infectious.

 

- There is no evidence that humans can contract the disease by touching or field dressing a bird.  As a precaution, wear rubber gloves when handling or field dressing an animal, and wash hands and tools thoroughly after field dressing.

 

- There is no evidence that a dog can become infected by flushing, retrieving or eating a bird.

 

- There is no evidence that the virus is spread through consumption of meat, or that meat is even affected.  As with any wild game, always cook meat thoroughly.

 

- Wear long sleeves and pants and use insect repellent containing DEET while outside where mosquitoes are present.

 

For more information about West Nile virus, contact the state Department of Health at 1-877-PA-HEALTH (toll-free); or visit its website (www.westnile.state.pa.us ).


PA - Goose Blind Application Deadlines for controlled hunting areas

Application deadlines are fast approaching for waterfowl hunters interested in being selected for the limited number of goose blinds at the controlled hunting areas at the Pennsylvania Game Commission's Pymatuning or Middle Creek wildlife management areas during the regular Canada goose season.  A goose blind application must be submitted on the form that is found on page 91 of the 2003-2004 Pennsylvania Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations. 

 

Hunters may apply only to one area per year and may submit only one application, which must include the individual's 2003-2004 hunting license (back tag) number.

 

Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area will accept applications through the mail until Sept. 9, at: PGC Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area, P.O. Box 110, Kleinfeltersville, PA  17039-0110.  A public drawing will be held at 10 a.m., Sept. 10.

Applications for the Pymatuning Wildlife Management Area

will be accepted through the mail until Sept. 13, at: PGC Pymatuning Wildlife Management Area, 9552 Hartstown Rd., Hartstown, PA  16131.  A public drawing will be held at 10 a.m., Sept. 20.

 

Blinds at Middle Creek and Pymatuning will not be operational during the September season.  Shooting days at Middle Creek during the regular season are Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Shooting days at Pymatuning during the regular season are Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

 

A separate drawing is held for blinds that accommodate hunters with disabilities.  Applicants must submit a current copy of their Disabled Person Permit (to hunt from a vehicle) issued by the Game Commission.

 

Successful applicants will be mailed a hunting reservation entitling them to be accompanied by up to three guests.  On hunting days, hunters also may apply, in person, for a chance at any blinds unclaimed by a reservation holder.

 


Wisconsin

WI -  Whittlesey Creek fish rehabilitation gets a boost
Natural resources agencies have been working for a decade to reintroduce coasters into streams feeding into Lake Superior. The work paid off at the Whittlesey Creek National Wildlife Refuge during the National Wildlife Refuge Centennial celebration  on August 9, when 75 adult coaster brook trout were experimentally released into the creek as part of a partnered effort of several government agencies and private groups.

Iron River Fish Hatchery served as the growth center,

where a generation of fish was raised successfully, the offspring of which are being used for the Whittlesey Creek reintroduction effort. Successful rehabilitation takes fish management, habitat restoration and protection, and patience, explained Mark Dryer, station chief of the USFWS Ashland Fishery Resources Office.       http://midwest.fws.gov/ashland/whitt-crk/whit_crk.html

 

Whittlesey Creek National Wildlife Refuge and its new Visitors Center are located just east of Ashland, WI on Rte US 2.


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