Week of August 31, 2009

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National

Coast Guard restricts boating near Romeoville

Establishes safety zone and regulated navigation area

CHICAGO - The U.S. Coast Guard has issued a safety zone closing a portion of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, in Romeoville, IL between mile marker 296.0 and 296.7.

 

The waterway is closed to all non-metallic hull vessels, and all vessels under 20-feet.  A decision to open the waterway will not be considered until the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completes safety tests on the barrier at the increased operating voltage of two volts per inch. 

 

Violation of this safety zone is punishable by a maximum civil penalty of $32,500 for each violation.  A willful violation of the safety zone may also constitute commission of a Class D felony.  A Class D felony is punishable by a fine of no more than $250,000 and/or imprisonment for not more than six years.

 

The USACE build the Aquatic Nuisance Species Barrier to protect the Great Lakes from the threat of Asian carp.  The construction was completed in 2002.  The barrier was initially operated at one volt per inch, but was increased to two volts per inch to repel juvenile Asian carp, that may require greater voltage to deter, or another smaller invasive species that may be identified in the future. 

 

The U.S. Coast Guard's major concern with the increased capability is the real risk of severe injury or possible death that may occur if someone comes in contact with the waterway while the barrier is operating.

 

"Safety of the recreational and commercial mariners that transit the waterway is the Coast Guard's primary concern," said CAPT Luann Barndt, Captain of the Port and Commanding Officer of Sector Lake Michigan. "To promote safety and keep the public informed, we are engaging in an aggressive public awareness campaign to alert waterways users of current restrictions to certain vessels so they can make plans or alternative arrangements to reach their southern destinations."

 

For other pertinent sites:  

http://www.uscg.fishbarrierinfo.com

http://www.piersystem.com/go/site/1295/

http://www.lrc.usace.army.mil/projects/fish_barrier/index.html

 

Specifically- The Chicago Sanitary Ship Canal in the vicinity of mile marker 296 near Romeoville, IL is closed to the following vessel types until further notice:

 

►Commercial tows carrying flammable or combustible cargo more than one barge long

►All non-metallic hull vessels

►All vessels under 20-ft

 

For Recreational vessels wanting to transit the Safety Zone:

You must contact the Coast Guard Captain of the Port On-Scene Representative at (630) 336-0296 to obtain permission

to transit the Safety Zone.

 

To transit through this safety zone, you must obtain the services of a commercial towing operator.

This towing vessel must meet the following requirements:

(1) Be a vessel of at least 20' in length with sufficient horsepower and an entirely metallic hull;

(2) Have a valid Certificate of Documentation with the appropriate endorsement or State Registration and be under the direction of a properly licensed operator;

(3) Be powered solely by diesel fuel;

(4) Use non-metallic line to secure the towed vessel to the towing vessel. There should not be any bonding straps, metallic lines or electrical connections between the towed vessel and the vessel conducting the dead-ship tow;

(5) All crewmen on the vessel conducting the dead-ship tow must remain inside a deck house or superstructure during the transit through the electric fish barrier and should not make contact with the towed vessel;

(6) All tows must be made up and broken down outside of the Safety Zone in a location that does not block the channel or impact other vessels transiting the area.

Your vessel – THE VESSEL BEING TOWED - must be completely dead ship, with no electronic or electrical equipment powered up, and the vessel’s batteries should be physically disconnected at the battery terminals. Alternatively, all circuit breakers and battery selector switches may be shifted to the “open” position. No persons may be on board your vessel during the transit through the safety zone.

NOTE: The vessel operator is responsible for all costs incurred in obtaining a tow.

Direct questions regarding the enforcement of this safety zone to USCG Lake Michigan Command Center at (414) 747-7182

 

 


EPA May Ax Key Internal Review Office after Whistleblower Incident

Report Suppressed by EPA Showed Agency Disregarded New Climate Research

 Washington, D.C., August 24, 2009—.Following a whistleblower report that criticized a global warming rule, the Environmental Protection Agency is reportedly considering shutting down the agency office in which the critical report originated.

 

Dr. Alan Carlin, the senior analyst whose report EPA unsuccessfully tried to bury, worked in EPA’s National Center for Environmental Economics (NCEE).  According to a story in last Friday’s Inside EPA, the agency is now considering shutting that office down. CEI General Counsel Sam Kazman was sharply critical of the proposed EPA move.

“Economists are the most likely professionals within EPA to examine the real-world effects of its policies,” said Kazman.  “For this reason, the NCEE is a restraining force on the agency’s out-of-this-world regulatory ambitions.  EPA would love to get that office out of the way, especially since it has within it civil servants like Dr. Carlin, who are willing to expose the truth about EPA’s plan to restrict energy use in the name of global warming.”

 

Carlin’s study found that EPA failed to consider recent science data showing that global warming is not the problem the Administration claims.  For example, the study found that ocean cycles, rather than anthropogenic carbon dioxide, appear to be the single best explanation of global temperature variations.  


USFWS online help for Hunters

Will help you find a place to hunt

Where is the closest National Wildlife Refuge that offers turkey hunting for people with disabilities? You don’t need to guess or start phoning names on a long list. A new National Wildlife Refuge System interactive Web site, Your Guide to Hunting on National Wildlife Refuges,(http://www.fws.gov/refuges/hunting)

provides hunters with an easy search mechanism to find a refuge by special interest, such as game species (i.e. deer, waterfowl, big game), zip code, youth or special needs (universally accessible), or using any combination of topics. Go to: www.fws.gov/refuges/mediatipsheet/August_2009/05.html


Montana prepares to challenge U.S. gun laws

'This is an issue where the federal government has no business'

Supporters of a first-of-a-kind law in Montana that declared weapons or ammunition made and kept in the state were exempt from federal rules are preparing for a court challenge to the federal government's insistence it will regulate those items.

 

The Montana Shooting Sports Association and the Second Amendment Foundation have formed a strategic alliance with plans to litigate over the Montana Firearms Freedom Act. The bill was passed by the 2009 Montana Legislature and signed into law by Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer.

 

Montana drew a line in the sand and challenged the federal

government to follow the U.S. Constitution with the law, which exempts from federal regulations any gun, gun accessory or ammunition made in the state and intended for use there. The new state law provides guns and ammo made, sold and used in Montana would not require any federal forms; silencers made and sold in Montana would be fully legal and not registered; and there would be no firearm registration, serial numbers, criminal records check, waiting periods or paperwork required.

 

The idea is spreading quickly. Tennessee already has a similar law, and similar plans have been introduced in Alaska, Texas, Florida, South Carolina, Minnesota and Michigan. Lawmakers in nearly 20 other states have such plans in the works.


Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery Named 2009 Hatchery of the Year

The USFWS award recognizes environmental leadership The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has named the Leavenworth  National Fish Hatchery Complex in eastern Washington Hatchery of the Year for its innovative achievements in environmental leadership.  The hatchery complex was praised by agency leaders for eliminating all hazardous waste streams, removing invasive plants without the use of pesticides and operating an on-site alternative high school that teaches natural resource education.

 

The selection was made by a committee of representatives from the National Fish Hatchery System, the National Wildlife Refuge System and the Service’s Division of Engineering.

 

Located in Washington’s Icicle Valley, the Leavenworth complex consists of three hatcheries, one each in Entiat, Leavenworth and Winthrop.  The hatchery raises more than 1.6 million juvenile spring Chinook each year for release into Icicle Creek.  Entiat and Winthrop produce an additional 1.3 million salmon each year.  After their short stay at the hatcheries, the fish begin a 500-mile journey to the Pacific Ocean, which includes navigating as many as nine dams along the Columbia River.

 

Managing the environment surrounding the hatcheries is crucial to the survival of the salmon, the award selection committee noted. At the Leavenworth complex, this is accomplished through implementation of the complex’s Environmental Management System (EMS). The complex was one of four national fish hatcheries from around the nation selected to participate in the Service’s pilot EMS.

 

The Leavenworth complex staff instituted a policy of pollution prevention in line with green principles. No pesticides are used on the facilities. Instead, goats and hand-pulling are relied on to eliminate invasive plants.  Energy conservation is

attained through the use of solar panels and energy-efficient pumps.  The complex’s backhoe hydraulics have been converted to use vegetable oil and forklifts are expected to be converted this year.  Three production wells and a re-use pump house now use variable-speed motors that run at 93% or better efficiency and use 75% less energy.

 

The hatchery complex has a large recycling program for antifreeze, cardboard, fluorescent tubes, metal and steel, oil, paper and plastic. The cabinets and countertops in biologists’ work stations are made from recycled materials. Park benches and picnic tables are made of recycled plastic.

 

The Leavenworth hatchery purchased seven bicycles for employees to ride while working at the 170-acre facility. Three workers ride the bus to work, which reduces the number of vehicles typically used for commuting.

 

More than 150,000 people visit the hatcheries annually. The complex uses this opportunity to reach out to the community and promote green principles. The Leavenworth Hatchery is home to the Cascade Discovery High School. This accredited high school provides students the opportunity to receive mentoring from hatchery staff, learn the principles of hatchery landscaping and natural resource education and provide support for the recycling program. Solar panels at the Cascadia Discovery High School provide electricity back to Chelan County Public Utility District.

 

The staff at the hatchery complex conduct community outreach programs year-round.  Environmental education is promoted through tours, special events, classroom education, workshops for teachers, Kids in the Creek programs, fishing events, recreation and a public outreach program.   The Wenatchee River Salmon Festival provides the biggest opportunity for the staff to speak to the public.  More than 10,000 people attend the celebration each year.


Regional

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for August 28, 2009

Weather Conditions

A high pressure system moved over the Great Lakes basin mid week bringing sunny skies and cooler temperatures.  A system working its way into the basin this weekend that could bring up to 2 inches of rain to some of the area.  Expect unseasonably cold temperatures and scattered rain showers.  This system also brings the threat of a thunderstorm or two as well, which could bring about the opportunity for localized flash flooding.  With just a few days left in the month and considering the expected rain event, the Great Lakes are seeing above average precipitation for the month of August.  An extended period of dry weather is expected to return for the start of the work week, yet the cooler temperatures stay.  Expect clouds and sun with mild daytime temperatures.

Lake Level Conditions

Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St. Clair and Erie are expected to be 1, 11, 7 and 6 inches, respectively, higher than their levels of a year ago.  Lake Ontario is at the same level it was a year ago. Over the next month Lake Superior is expected to remain steady.  Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are expected to decline 2, 4, 4 and 7 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 years levels over 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 28

601.80

578.94

 

574.80

571.95

246.00

Datum, in ft

601.1

577.5

572.3

569.2

243.3

Diff in inches

 +8

   +17

+30

+33

+32

Diff last month

+3

 

      +1

0

-3

-6

Diff from last yr

+1

+11

+7

+6

0


General

Catch and Release tip

What does an angler do if a fish swallows a hook and he does not want to kill the fish?

Answer: Cut the line, leave the hook in the fish before you release it. A much higher percentage of fish that are hooked deeply survive when the hook is left in and the line cut compared to those where a deep hook is removed. In the few scientific studies where the fate of hooks that were left in fish released by anglers were tracked, it has been learned that hooks were eventually shed by the fish or surrounded by new tissue. 

 

One study found that rainbow trout shed hooks in about 40 days. The study of 200 hundred trout released without removal of hooks 66 % survived; of the 200 where the hook was

removed 11.5 % survived.

 

In a 1989 study of smallmouth bass, study mortality ranged between 32.5 and 47.3 % (depending upon hook size) for hooks that were immediately removed, whereas mortality for hooks that were not removed was 4.2 %. In the case of juvenile smallmouth bass, the study found that upon dissection, some hooks were lodged in internal organs but that new tissue surrounded the hooks. The study further noted that dissected hooks exhibited minimal corrosion after 20 days.

 

You are wise to cut the line and leave the hook in; the fish will likely survive to be caught another day.


New Group Will Organize at County Level to Help Head off Federal Water Bill

National Water & Conservation Alliance - Grassroots Approach to Water Quality is Better, Faster, Cheaper

A new organization established to seek alternatives to the proposed Clean Water Restoration Act (CWRA) will organize at the county level in  order to help head off a massive federal land and water grab, according to founders and co-chairs Don Parmeter of St. Paul, Minnesota and  Kathy McDonald of Vancouver, Washington.  The National Water & Conservation Alliance (NWCA), established as a Political Action Committee in March, has been lobbying aggressively to help defeat a bill that would dramatically expand federal control over all waters and related lands in the U.S.  It is being widely viewed as perhaps the biggest federal power grab in American history. 

 

The legislation would amend the 1972 Federal Water Pollution Control Act by replacing the term 'Navigable' with 'Waters of the US,' which would include wetlands, mudflats, sandflats, prairie potholes, playa lakes, ponds, meadows and sloughs.  The bill would also expand federal control over land use activities that affect these waters. 

 

Parmeter and McDonald say that empowering people and communities at the local level will lead to more common-sense and less expensive solutions to water quality and other environmental problems.  "We do not need more power and control concentrated in Washington, D.C.," said Parmeter.  "It's time to trust local people and start governing from the bottom up, instead of from the top down."  According to McDonald, it's important to start focusing on our local communities across the country.  "Giving the federal government the kind of control recommended in this bill would be a major barrier to that effort." she said.  "This bill is not about clean water, it's about top-down power and control," she added. 

 

The National Association of Counties (NACO) has strongly opposed the legislation and reinforced that opposition at their recent annual conference in Nashville.  Don Munks is a retired County Commissioner from Mount Vernon, Washington.  As Chairman of NACOs Water Quality Subcommittee, Munks was a leader of the organization's policy on the proposed legislation. He testified at an 11-hour Congressional hearing on the bill last year.  "Expansion of federal authority under the Clean Water Restoration Act will create a cumbersome permitting process, resulting in unnecessary and costly delays," said Munks.  "It should be obvious that County Commissioners and their constituents are strong advocates of clean water," Munks added.  "But as first responders, we must retain the ability to address and resolve water quality problems in a timely and efficient manner," he concluded.  

 

Parmeter and McDonald say that focusing on counties makes sense since, with the exception of Massachusetts (where counties were dissolved), everything is within a county boundary (all land, water, people and communities), and everything is within a watershed.  They say that efforts to resolve environmental problems by local people, County Commissioners, and other local officials have proven successful and popular in various parts of the country.  

 

John Vogel of Duluth, Minnesota is a retired County Land Commissioner, and was a District Ranger with the U.S. Forest Service during the intense political battles over the Boundary Waters Wilderness in Northern Minnesota.  Later, as St. Louis County Land Commissioner, Vogel was responsible for managing almost a million acres of natural resources. He stated "If made into law, this legislation and subsequent rules to follow, would empower federal bureaucrats to reach into the homes and property of every citizen, urban as well as rural, ignoring the complexities and unique differences of regions and people. 

 

"Decisions will be made in sterile environments and carried out by fiat in distant places and not by those who know and love the lands and waters on which their lives depend," Vogel said.  "There's a better way, and everyone benefits," he added.  "Knowledgeable, caring and  committed local citizens and elected officials are already in place and can play a meaningful role in solutions, with technical help from the  private sector and state and federal agency personnel," he added 

 

Vogel worked with Parmeter on a joint powers initiative that replaced a federal wild and scenic river proposal in the     

1990's.  The program was approved with policy and financial support from the Minnesota Legislature.  "There's no reason why this non-partisan approach can't work on a watershed level," Vogel concluded.

 

In addition to local elected officials, the CWRA has been opposed by virtually every sector of the American economy including agriculture, forestry, mining, manufacturing, home building, and small business.  According to Parmeter and McDonald, the legislation is being driven by the multi-billion dollar environmental lobby in order to overturn two recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions (SWANCC--2001 and Rapanos--2006) that ruled the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and US. Army Corps of Engineers had exceeded their authority under the 1972 Federal Water Pollution Control Act. 

 

The major proponent of the legislation is Minnesota Congressman James Oberstar, Chairman of the powerful Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which has sole jurisdiction of the issue in the House of Representatives.  Despite having 175 co-sponsors for the legislation last year, Oberstar failed to get the bill approved by his own committee because of concerns expressed by some members of his own party.  After attempts to get the bill approved without a hearing, Oberstar ultimately conceded, and held a hearing in April of last year.  Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold authored a companion bill in the Senate, and California Senator Barbara Boxer, who chairs the Environment and Public Works Committee, held a hearing in January of last year.  The hearing lasted less than half an hour. 

 

Senator Feingold reintroduced similar legislation this year (S 787).  A slightly modified bill, known as the Baucus-Klobuchar Substitute, was approved by the Environment and Public Works Committee in June without a hearing.  The bill is named after Montana Senator Max Baucus and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar.  Ironically, water rights have been considered sacred in both Montana and Minnesota.  The Montana Legislature recently approved a strongly worded resolution in opposition to the CWRA.  And in Minnesota, water rights have been supported in statute by the legislature, and by key Democratic Party leaders, including former Speaker of the House Irv Anderson and former Attorney General Mike Hatch. 

 

Oberstar is expected to reintroduce a bill after the August Congressional recess.  He recently received a green light to move forward from high level officials of the Obama Administration including the Secretary of Interior, Secretary of Agriculture, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Chairman of the President's Council on Environmental Quality.

 

Chuck Cushman, founder and executive director of the American Land Rights Association (ALRA), based in Battle Ground, Washington, said this legislation has more broad-based opposition than any other issue his organization has been involved with in his 35 years as a grassroots activist "People at the grassroots level, regardless of their political persuasion, don't want this kind of federal control over their lives and their communities," said Cushman.  "Citizens do not want the Environmental Protection Agency and the Corps of Engineers in their back yard," he added.  He said his organization has sent out more than 2 million e-mails and faxes on the issue so far.   

 

Parmeter and McDonald said that the key to a solution on this issue is a viable, grassroots effort that will allow people and local officials to empower themselves.  They say that this can be done through formal and informal arrangements among counties and other local units of government, and can be applied virtually anywhere in the country.  They emphasize that federal authority and federal legislation is not necessary or appropriate to make this happen.  "I think most people are tired of Washington D.C. solutions to problems," said McDonald.  "It's time for a community-based approach," she added.  Parmeter said "The Ivory Tower approach doesn't work.  The best solutions come from people who live in or visit an area and are familiar with the natural resources of that area." 

 

The Alliance plans to lead a lobbying effort in Washington, D.C. next month, with a news conference tentatively scheduled for September 16th.    www.nationalwaterconservation.org


RFA Wins Favorable IRS Decision

Following over a year of intense work by the Renewable Fuels Association with the Internal Revenue  Service, the agency on August 24 issued a Notice of Proposed Revenue Ruling clarifying that it will not seek to impose a change in the cost  recovery periods used by most ethanol producers. Historically, most ethanol producers have used cost recovery (or depreciation) periods of five years. About 18 months ago, IRS advised the industry that the cost recovery period should be seven years instead of five years, and that had to be retroactive, and would apply to all tax returns of ethanol producers that were still open for examination by the IRS. The RFA succeeded in persuading the IRS not to make their decision retroactive.

 

“This decision by the IRS to propose changes only on a prospective basis is not only correct but essential in today’s economically challenging climate for America’s ethanol industry,” said Ed Hubbard, RFA Director of Government Affairs, Tax and International Trade. “We are gratified that the IRS was willing to listen and accept to our arguments on this

critical issue.”

 

The RFA told the IRS that their the ruling should not apply retroactively since it would result significant costs to producers who, in good faith,  relied on the IRS’ previous acceptance of the 5 year depreciation recovery period for such assets. In response to RFA’s position, the IRS has proposed that the depreciation classification would apply to assets placed in service on or after the publication of a final revenue ruling. To  prevent such retroactive application, the IRS specifically provided that it “will not require taxpayers to adopt this depreciation classification for  tangible assets used in converting biomass to a liquid fuel such as fuel grade ethanol that are placed in service prior to the publication of a  final revenue ruling.”

 

The IRS has invited public comments on the proposed revenue ruling. Comments are due by November 23, 2009. A final revenue ruling will not be issued until the comments have been considered.


Boat Wakes Make People Angry - And Can Injure
ALEXANDRIA, VA (BoatUS) - Boat wakes -- those long, frothy, V-shaped waves trailing from the stern of a powerboat as it slices through the water -- have a sinister side. When other vessels encounter them, they can hurt people. They can make people angry, and they can bring the wrath of law enforcement, for good reason.

BoatUS recently looked into the issue of boat wakes by combing through the insurance claims case files, where swampings, broken teeth, and back injuries are found. "You avoid being the recipient of gestures from other skippers by using a little common sense and courtesy," says BoatU.S. Director of Damage Avoidance Bob Adriance. "This means coming completely off plane when you enter a no wake zone or anywhere your wake could compromise the safety of other boats," he adds.

Here are some tips to help prevent boat wake injuries to you and other boaters:

Slow early: Boat wakes travel distances, so slow down before you reach a slow-speed zone, not as you pass the marker.

Just a little slowing down isn't good enough: Upon entering a no wake zone, some boaters react by only slowing the vessel slightly, and then plow through with the bow way up and stern dug down, actually increasing the wake. Come completely off

plane.

 

Make her level: Without using trim tabs, a slowed vessel should be level in the water. With some smaller boats, shifting passengers around can help, as too much weight aft increases wake size.

Watch the shallows: Shallow water increases wake size.

 

Small boats aren't innocent: Wakes are not just a big boat issue -- small vessels in the stern-down position can throw surprisingly large wakes.

When approaching a wake, slow down but don't stop: Motorboats are more stable when underway, so stopping could make things worse. Avoid taking a wake on the beam or head on. The best approach is at a slight angle. This will keep your passengers in your boat.

Take care of older crew: The BoatU.S. insurance claim files show that persons over the age of 50 have the most personal injuries, mostly as a result of being seated near the bow when the boat slams into a wake. It's best to seat passengers -- especially older passengers -- amidships.

Warn the crew: A simple "Hold-on. Boat wake" should do the trick, just as long as you shout the warning well before the wake arrives.


Illinois

Victory for Illinois Gun Owners

Gov signs HB182 and HB3714

HB182 and HB3714, thanks to the many phone calls, have paid off and the bills have now been signed into law.  The two new laws which IL firearm owners fought hard for will offer increased protection for law-abiding Illinois gun owners.   

 

HB182 - Until HB182 was signed into law IL firearm owners could be in possession of a loaded firearm in their own home, on their own property, or in their own fixed place of business.

HB182 will now extend lawful possession to other legal "dwelllings" to which you are invited such as a relative's or friend's home.

 

HB3714 Until HB3714 was signed into law it was a mandatory condition of probation for a FOID card to be revoked.  HB3714 now states the mandatory revocation of a FOID card would apply only when the offense is a felony or involved intentional or knowing infliction of bodily harm or threat of bodily harm.


Conservation Village at DuQuoin State Fair, Aug 29-Sept 7

Focuses on the Outdoors and Kids Fishing Clinics

DUQUOIN, IL – Visitors to the DuQuoin State Fair are invited to stop by Conservation Village on the DuQuoin fairgrounds for information on Illinois outdoor recreation opportunities and natural resources protection.

 

The Conservation Village area – hosted by the Illinois DNR – is open from noon - 7 p.m. each day of the DuQuoin State Fair, August 29- September 7. 

 

Information tents at Conservation Village are located in the center of the DuQuoin fairgrounds on Expo Drive just south of the Expo Hall.   Conservation Village will feature information and displays on a wide array of IDNR programs and outdoor recreation opportunities.  Visitors will have a chance to talk to natural resources professionals about state wildlife, fisheries, forestry, parks, restoration ecology, mines and minerals, and other programs.

Visitors to Conservation Village can also talk with IDNR Conservation Police Officers about the regulations and laws governing fishing, hunting, and boating in Illinois. 

 

Also featured will be the beautiful woodwork of “Come See What We Saw” Bear Tracks Chainsaw Carving by Mike and Wendy Rhodes.

 

Youngsters will want to stop by the lake on the DuQuoin fairgrounds located between RV World and the Expo Building where the IDNR Urban Fishing Program will host kids casting clinics during the fair.  The clinics are scheduled for each weekday of the fair from 4 - 7 p.m. and on the weekends and Labor Day from noon - 7 p.m.  Adults and youngsters can practice their casting techniques and view fish displays. 

 

The IDNR will also host fishing clinics for area school groups at the DuQuoin State Fair on Wednesday through Friday, Sept. 2 - 4, from 10:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. each day.  Each clinic will last approximately one-half hour.


Indiana

Try fly fishing at the Hoosier Outdoor Experience, Sept 26-27    

If fly fishing looks like fun but you don’t know where to begin learning the sport, here’s your chance. Fly fishing will be one of more than 50 events you can try at the Hoosier Outdoor Experience, Sept. 26-27 at Fort Harrison State Park. 

       

Instructors from Reel Women-Reel Men, Indy Flycasters and Tippecanoe Fly Fishers will be on hand at the Hoosier Outdoor Experience to guide participants through the basics of fly fishing, including casting, equipment, and fly tying. Plus you’ll have the chance to catch a fish.

       

“Each participant will have an opportunity to gain valuable knowledge, and hopefully experience the joy of catching a fish on a fly,” said Patti Beasley, president of Reel Women-Reel Men, an Indianapolis-based fly fishing club.

       

Fly fishing isn’t as difficult as it looks, and it isn’t limited to trout or western locales.  “I’ve been fly fishing my whole life, and I’ve never lived outside Indiana,” said Ben Shadley, managing editor of Outdoor Indiana magazine. “Most Hoosiers have great fly fishing opportunities for bass, bluegill, wipers or other warm-water fish species within a short drive of home.”

The Hoosier Outdoor Experience is a family friendly event that is the first of its kind in Indiana. Unlike traditional trade shows, visitors will  be able to enjoy hands-on experiences in a wide range of outdoor activities, such as fly fishing, target shooting, archery, kayaking, mountain  biking, hiking, rock climbing, camping and much more.

 

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, go to www.hoosieroutdoorexperience.IN.gov and click on the yellow registration icon.

       

Event updates can be found at www.hoosieroutdoorexperience.IN.gov

 

 


Michigan

DNR Confirms VHS Virus in Baseline Lake and Lake St. Clair

The Michigan DNR announced last week that it has confirmed the presence of Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia virus (VHSv) in samples of fish collected this spring in Baseline Lake in Washtenaw County and in Lake St. Clair. Baseline Lake becomes the second inland lake in Michigan in which VHSv is present.

 

“These are the first positive detections since 2007 in Michigan’s waters,” said Gary Whelan, fish production manager for the DNR’s Fisheries Division. “The fish that tested positive were collected this spring during routine surveillance efforts, and were confirmed positive by multiple laboratories.”

 

After VHSv was first detected in Michigan, the DNR began a surveillance program to collect fish from a range of waters for testing each year.  This program has been funded in part by grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS).  Through June 2009, VHSv surveillance efforts have been conducted on 45 water bodies throughout Michigan.

 

Baseline Lake was sampled for the first time in 2009, and VHSv was found in brown bullheads that were collected during the survey.  Baseline Lake is the second inland water body in Michigan in which fish have been found to be positive for VHSv -- the first was Budd Lake in Clare County in 2007.  Other fish species sampled, including bluegills and rock bass, tested negative for the virus, Whelan said.

 

“There was no reported fish kill in Baseline Lake associated with these findings.  These fish were simply collected as part of a routine survey program to look for VHSv around the state,” said Steve Hewett, Lake Erie Basin coordinator for DNR’s Fisheries Division.  “The future threat of this virus in Baseline Lake is not known, but we will be more closely monitoring fish for signs of VHSv in both the lake and adjacent waters to determine any effects of the virus.”

Anglers and boaters are reminded to visit the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnrfishing for specific ways to reduce the risk of spreading the disease.

 

“Detection of VHSv in brown bullheads in Baseline Lake means that anglers and boaters must continue to be vigilant and work collaboratively with us to prevent the spread of this virus to other waters.  It is our opinion that their efforts to date have helped significantly to reduce the rate of spread of this virus, and we thank them for their efforts to date,” Hewett said.

 

The virus was also detected in smallmouth bass and muskellunge from Lake St. Clair, which has been positive for VHSv since at least 2003.  The smallmouth bass were sampled during a fish kill in early June in Lake St. Clair, Whelan said.

 

“It is highly likely that VHSv played a part in the fish kill and allowed a bacterial infection to become a disease agent by lowering the immune system’s ability to respond to the bacteria,” explained  Whelan.

 

The muskellunge were sampled in mid-May during their spawning period as part of the surveillance effort for Lake St. Clair.  No mortality of muskellunge was observed this spring, and the last significant mortality of muskellunge that was attributed to VHSv was in 2006.  “This result is not surprising and means that muskellunge in Lake St. Clair are still carrying VHSv,” Whelan noted.

 

Anglers are reminded to refrain from moving live fish between water bodies and to use and dispose of bait and baitfish properly.  Boaters need to make sure their bilges and live wells are emptied prior to leaving a boat launch site and equipment must be cleaned and disinfected after use.  The DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnrfishing also contains information for anglers and boaters on rules that have been in place to limit the spread of VHSv.

 


Hoffmaster State Park hosting 16th Annual Sportsmen for Youth Day Sept. 12

P. J. Hoffmaster State Park, in cooperation with the Muskegon Area Sportsmen for Youth, will host the 16th Annual Sportsmen for Youth Day on Saturday, Sept. 12, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

 

This event is hosted each year with the cooperation of area sportsmen and women who volunteer to introduce young people to outdoor sports. The park's large beach area parking lot will be converted into an outdoor sports show where young people are given the opportunity to try their hand at archery, shooting sports, fishing and many other outdoor activities.

 

There will be special live animal programs, such as Birds of Prey by the Michigan United Conservation Clubs and Michigan Snakes by Nature Discovery.

 

Participants under 17 years of age will receive a t-shirt and

other souvenirs, a lunch coupon and raffle tickets. Raffle prizes include outdoor equipment and other items. 

 

Overflow parking is being provided by the Muskegon Motor Cycle Hill Climb Association at their Hill Climb location on Lake Harbor Road. A shuttle service will move participants the short distance from the overflow parking area to Hoffmaster State Park.    

 

Hoffmaster State park is located at 6585 Lake Harbor Rd., southwest of Muskegon. Those planning to visit the park should be aware that construction is planned for Pontaluna Road from US 31 west to Wood Road. The detour will be well marked and will only cause a slight inconvenience to travelers.

 

For more info, contact the park manager at 231-798-3711 or www.michigan.gov/hoffmaster.

 


DNR Plans First ‘Becoming an Outdoors-Family’ Event Sept. 21-22

Families who want to learn more about how to hunt deer are invited to participate in a two-day workshop Sept. 21-22 hosted by the DNR at Omega Farms in Williamston. Omega Farms is located at 4900 M-52 in Williamston, just east of Lansing.

 

This is the first in a planned series of workshops to provide families with the opportunity to learn outdoors skills, modeled on the DNR’s popular "Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program."

 

On Monday, Sept. 21, participants will check in for the workshop at Omega Farms at 6 p.m. Presentations will include deer hunting equipment  and stands, scouting tips for deer habitat and signs, scent control, hunting rules and regulations and deer health. The program will conclude at 9 p.m.

 

On Tuesday, Sept. 22, participants will once again check in at 6 p.m.

 

Workshop sessions include firearm and field safety, shooting skills, sighting, marksmanship, clean harvest and caring for

your game after the harvest. The program will conclude at 9 p.m.

 

“This program is designed for families - fathers, sons, mothers and daughters - who want to learn new outdoor recreation skills they can engage in together,” said Dennis Fox, manager of the DNR’s Recruitment and Retention Section. “It is an excellent opportunity to enjoy Michigan’s great outdoors and participate in our state’s long-standing hunting heritage.”

 

Cost for the workshop is $20 for each adult and $5 for each child ages 12-17. Costs include all instruction and materials. Light snacks and beverages will be available; however, no evening meals will be provided.  Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or adult.

 

The workshop will be held rain or shine, and some class time will be spent outdoors. Participants should dress appropriately. Participants are asked not to bring their own firearms. All equipment will be provided.

 

For more information on this program or to register for it, go online at www.michigan.gov/bow.  Pre-registration is required.


MI Sets 2009-2010 Waterfowl Seasons

Youth Waterfowl Weekend is on Sept. 19-20

Michigan duck hunters will enjoy three opening days this fall as the Natural Resources Commission set waterfowl seasons at its meeting Thursday in Lansing.

 

The seasons, which were recommended by DNR biologists, correspond to the recommendations of the Citizens  Waterfowl Advisory Committee, which met Aug. 8.

 

Duck seasons will run Sept. 26 - Nov. 20 and Nov. 26-29 in the North Zone (Upper Peninsula), Oct. 3 - Nov. 29 and Dec. 5-6 in the Middle Zone, and Oct. 10 - Dec. 6 and Jan. 2-3 in the South Zone.

 

Early Canada goose season opens Sept. 1 and runs through Sept. 15 statewide, except for the Upper Peninsula and Saginaw, Tuscola and Huron counties, where it runs through

Sept. 10. The daily bag limit is five.

 

Regular goose seasons are Sept. 16 - Oct. 30 in the North Zone; Oct. 3 - Nov. 9 and Nov. 26 - Dec. 2 in the Middle Zone; and Oct. 10 - Nov. 12  and Nov. 26 - Dec. 6 in the South Zone, except for designated Goose Management Units (GMU). The daily bag limit is two.

 

Hunters are also reminded of the Youth Waterfowl Weekend on Sept. 19-20.  This hunt is statewide for licensed youths 10 to 15 years of age.  Youths must be accompanied by a parent, guardian, or someone 18  years or older.  The adult will not be allowed to hunt waterfowl and is not required to have a waterfowl hunting license.  The daily limits are the same as those allowed for the regular duck season.

 

To learn more about hunting opportunities in Michigan, visit the DNR’s Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnrhunting


Perch Lake Boating Access Site temporarily Closed

Perch Lake Boating Access Site, located 25 miles north of Newberry in Luce County, will be temporarily closed beginning

Aug. 31 through Sept. 17.  The closure is due to the reconstruction of the boat ramp and parking lot. The site will be open for public use during the Labor Day holiday, Sept. 3-7.


Green Lake Boating Access will undergo improvements

The Department of Natural Resources announced today that Green Lake Boating Access Site, located in Leighton Township in Allegan County, will undergo paving improvements and site redevelopment beginning the week of

Sept. 7. It is anticipated that construction activities will necessitate closure of the site Monday through Friday, and will last three to four weeks.  Only the boat ramp will be available on Saturdays and Sundays. The parking area will be closed at the site during construction.


Feds give $142,000 for Saginaw River Watershed Dam Removal

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that Alpena National Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office in Michigan will receive $142,000 in funding for the removal of the Chesaning

Dam in Saginaw County, Michigan. It will restore fish passage to 37 miles of upstream habitat historically available to aquatic species in the Saginaw River Watershed. Restoration of fish passage will be accomplished by removal of the dam and construction of a low slope rock ramp with boulder arch weirs.


Ohio

Tribe loses claim to Lake Erie Fishing Rights

6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rules unanimously

The Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma lost a big one on August 18, when the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously the tribe did not retain the right to fish in Lake Erie, and held no occupancy to any lands in Ohio.

 

The tribe claimed a series of treaties reserved its right to fish on Lake Erie. The tribe also said it owned part of Bass Island. But the 6th Circuit said the tribe gave up its rights when it was forced to leave Ohio. "We hold that, because the tribe, under these treaties, retained at most a right of occupancy to the lands in Ohio, and this right was extinguished upon abandonment, any related fishing rights it may have reserved

were similarly extinguished when the Tribe removed west of the Mississippi," the decision stated.

 

The three-judge panel unanimously said The Tribe, through a series of treaties executed during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, was displaced from northern Ohio to Kansas and then later to Oklahoma, where its members currently reside. Some options remaining to the tribe includes an appeal to the full Circuit or the US Supreme Court; and the tribe had made no decision on either yet.

 

Complete 6th Circuit Decision: www.ca6.uscourts.gov/opinions.pdf/09a0294p-06.pdf


Pennsylvania

Artificial Feeding Confirmed In Deaths of Four Elk

HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania Game Commission officials recently reported that there have been four cases involving elk that have died or  rumen acidosis, which is directly related to artificial feeding that causes an abrupt change in an elk’s diet that wreaks havoc with its digestive  system.  Feeding elk is illegal, as it causes problems by habituating elk to find food around homes and can be dangerous to those who attempt to feed elk by hand.

 

“So far, we have been able to document four cases of such deaths,” said Dr. Walter Cottrell, Game Commission wildlife veterinarian.  “There have been other deaths that we believed may have been caused by such feeding, but, in those cases the animal was either decomposed or other circumstances prevented it from obtaining the carcass in time for laboratory analysis to take place.” 

 

Dr. Cottrell explained that elk, as well as white-tailed deer, adapt to a winter diet of primarily woody vegetation and they will die of acidosis  caused by a build up of lactic acid in the rumen, chambers of its four-part stomach that is responsible for fermentation of food.  If they consume too much high-

fermentable grain, such as corn, which is the most common

artificial feed put out by local residents, the pH level falls quickly and a shock-like syndrome can occur.

 

Local residents have been issued citations for the illegal feeding.  In one case, an elk was found lying dead on a pile of corn.  In another case, a resident dragged the carcass of a dead elk into the woods in an attempt to conceal the situation.

 

“We need to have local residents and district justices understand that the well-intentioned individuals are actually killing elk,” Dr. Cottrell said.   “For those who truly enjoy seeing elk it is best for them to stop artificially feeding elk and other wildlife.  It would be far more beneficial if they were to implement some form of habitat improvement producing cover to reduce weather-related stress or food in the form of digestible native plants on their property.”

 

For more information on the problems associated with feeding deer and elk, please visit the Game Commission’s website www.pgc.state.pa.us, click on “Wildlife” in the left-hand column, scroll down and choose “Please, Don’t Feed the Deer.” 


Wisconsin

State announces settlement in Marinette County wetlands violations case

MADISON - Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen announced that Richlen Excavating, Inc., and Steven W. Stock have agreed to pay penalties and costs totaling $45,000 for their alleged unlawful dredging and enlargement of two ponds and their disposal of eroded soils into the North Branch of Beaver Creek, a Class I brook and brown trout stream in Marinette County.

 

After the Wisconsin DNR conducted an investigation and referred the matter to the Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) for prosecution, Stock and Richlen Excavating, Inc., Stock’s contracted excavator, were named as defendants in a civil enforcement action for these alleged 2006 violations of  

environmental protection laws.

 

Both defendants agreed not to contest the civil charges, and to pay these penalties.  Before the case was filed, and at the DNR's request the defendants cooperated with the DNR and agreed to restore the stream and wetland areas. 

 

On August 24, 2009, Marinette County Circuit Court Judge Tim Duket approved the settlement agreements entered into between the defendants and DOJ.  In addition to paying penalties, the two defendants have agreed to monitor the site on an annual basis as part of their efforts to prevent the introduction of undesirable invasive plant species in the disturbed areas of the wetland. 


New campground at Harrington Beach State Park

Provides easy access to the one- mile long Lake Michigan shoreline

BELGIUM, WI-- The first new campground that has been built in the Wisconsin State Park System in more than 20 years is about to open for  business.

 

A new campground at Harrington Beach State Park will be open to the public beginning on Wednesday, August 26, at 8:00 a.m.  All of the sites will be available on a first come, first serve basis. There are 31 electric sites, 33 non-electric sites, five walk-in sites, a group campsite, and a kayak site. The campground provides easy access to the one- mile long Lake Michigan shoreline.   

 

“Harrington Beach is currently one of the busiest day use parks in the state, and by adding the campground we can provide a whole  new experience for park visitors,” according to Dan Schuller, Director of the Wisconsin State Park System.  “We are excited about the potential to welcome new visitors to Harrington Beach State Park and Wisconsin State Park System.”

Each campsite has a gravel driveway, a fire ring, and a picnic table. Visitors to the campground will find new amenities such as a shower building, restroom facilities, and water fountains. Ayres Associates of Waukesha, Wisconsin, designed the 3.2 million dollar campground, and Buteyn-Peterson of Sheboygan, Wisconsin constructed the facilities.

 

Reserve America, the statewide campground reservation system, will begin accepting camping reservations on Wednesday, September 9. The campground will close for the 2009 season on Sunday, November 1. The campground will reopen for the 2010 season on Wednesday, May 5, for first come, first serve camping, with reservations available after May 14, 2010. 

 

Campers can check for availability and make camping reservations by calling toll free at (888) (WI PARKS) or on the Web at  www.reserveamerica.com.  For more information about the new campground, call the park office at (262) 285-3015.

 


 

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