Week of September 13 , 2004

Fishing the Great Lakes

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Fishing the Great Lakes

Fishing the Great Lakes

Record brown trout Wisconsin’s fifth to fall in 2004  

ALGOMA, Wis. -- Reporters’ calls, the ribbing, and the congratulations are still coming in a week after Richard Crowe hauled in Wisconsin’s latest state record fish.

 

The Ankeny, Iowa, man on Aug. 23 landed a 36 lb 8.9 oz,  brown trout from the Wisconsin waters of Lake Michigan, setting a new record for browns. Crowe’s catch broke the previous record by more than a pound and, at 40.5” in length, was 2” longer, according to Karl Scheidegger, Wisconsin’s DNR  fish biologist who maintains state fish records for the DNR. 

 

“I knew I had something big,” Crowe said in a telephone interview. “I certainly didn’t know it was a state record, but he was stripping out a lot of line.”  Crowe and three friends had been finishing up a morning of charter fishing near Algoma when the fish hit his old size 4 pearl J-Plug, with a bit of blue tape added,   in shallow water off Algoma.   Crowe added: “That was my first trip to Lake Michigan, but I’m going again.”

 

Crowe’s record was the fifth to have fallen this year, but the only new record set for game fish.

 

  • Jamie Slifer of Eau Claire set a new spearing record for common carp with his 48-3 lb haul from Lake Eau

             Claire on June 15.

  • Michael Matthew of Buffalo City set a new spearing record for bowfin with the 7-6.9 lb fish he caught in the Mississippi River in Buffalo County on May 27.

  • David R. Tilton of Janesville caught a 73-1.6 lb bigmouth buffalo on Lake Koshkonong in Jefferson County on March 22 that demolished the previous record of 54 lbs. Ripe with eggs, the fish was nearly as wide as it was long, 38”.

  • Glenn F. Fields of Berlin caught a 1-13 lb northern hog sucker with a hook and line in the Fox River in Green Lake County on March 17.

 

More than 25 records have fallen since 1999, many of them for more unusual fish, Scheidegger says. That trend may partly reflect the public’s increased awareness of existing state records, thanks to the DNR Web site listing of state record fish. It also reflects the state’s diversity of fish. Wisconsin boasts 159 fish species in 27 families, with 145 of those species native to the state. Fourteen are introduced nonnative species. State records have been established in recent years for the quillback carpsucker, the mooneye, the American eel and the burbot, among others.

 

For more info on state record fish, go to www.fishingwisconsin.org, then look under “Wisconsin fish” for “record fish.”


National

State Fish Consumption Advisories – All (most) states have them

But are they fact or fiction?  Minnesota has 1,114 (36% of nation’s total), Wyoming has none !

So, is Wyoming a safer place to live than Minnesota?  Or a safer place to fish?

 

Look at the recent news headlines that hit our region two weeks ago:: Lead the charge against mercury (Indianapolis Star), Mercury Contamination Widespread( Great Lakes Radio Consortium), Pollutants linger in lakes, EPA report says, (Toledo Blade) and not too long ago: Wisconsin Tightens Mercury Advisory on Fish- lists all 15,057 state lakes (WI Dept of Public Health) . Sounds like we poor folks here in the Great Lakes Region are living in a cesspool of pollutants, and our very lives are at risk. 

 

It gets worse. In one Indiana tabloid, its editorial claimed “Tuesday's report from the Environmental Protection Agency states that mercury has contaminated fish in virtually all the nation's lakes and rivers.”  Now that’s a real stretch, but it sells and some misguided folks – ours too, are swallowing this stuff. But it’s just not true.

 

What EPA said in its news release was: 

“The number of fish advisories is increasing even as emissions for major pollutants are decreasing and as pollutants such as DDT and chlordane are banned in the United States. In 2003, 48 states, the District of Columbia and American Samoa issued 3,094 fish advisories, 280 more than the previous year. With these additions, 35% of the total lake acres and 24 % of the river miles in the nation are now under advisory. Since 2002, the number of lake acres under an advisory increased by 2 %, river miles by 9 % and coastline by 4 %. A large part of the increase in lake acres and river miles under advisory occurred because Montana and Washington issued statewide advisories for all their lakes and rivers in 2003 and Hawaii issued a statewide advisory for its entire coastline.  

 

There’s really something amiss here. First, the USEPA doesn’t generate or create any consumption advisories. That is the privilege and responsibility of the individual state, its health dept, and ultimately the governor. He has the responsibility for the health and well-being in his state’ constituents. Much as the USEPA would like to have the privilege of establishing fish advisories on a national basis, they have never figured a way to wrest that responsibility from the states.   Their function here is only to act as a collection agency and report the individual state actions on an annual basis.

 

By EPA’s own admission “The National Listing of Advisories is a compilation of fish advisory information provided to EPA by States, tribes, territories, and local governments. The information is voluntarily submitted to EPA in an effort to provide a central repository of fish consumption advisories information for the U.S. The USEPA formats the data and makes the information available via the EPA website.”

 

To suggest otherwise is to create confusion. And it occurs every year when the USEPA makes its annual announcement about the nation’s fish consumption advisories.  Environmentalists, do-gooders, and extremists jump on the report and distort both the actual data and the message of  intent in most all advisories.

 

Despite all the saber rattling and doomsday predictions, "Scientists from the National Academy of Sciences say that people should continue to eat the fish they catch because its nutritional and other benefits outweigh the health risk it poses, but that people should follow consumption advice to reduce their expo-sure to mercury."

 

States follow relatively simple guidelines and “if elevated concentrations of chemicals, such as mercury or dioxin, are found in local fish and certain water-dependant wildlife (such as ducks or turtles), then they may issue health advice to the public in the form of a fish consumption advisory.” The USEPA adds “A fish consumption advisory may include recommendations to limit or avoid eating certain fish species caught from specific waterbodies or, in some cases, from specific waterbody types (e.g., all lakes). An advisory may be issued for the general population, or for specific groups such as recreational and subsistence fishers, or for sensitive subpopulations such as pregnant women, nursing mothers, and children.”

 

The EPA does not analyze the data nor does the EPA require that data be gathered in a specific way. It simply provides as a service to the public as a central "one-stop' repository for the convenience of the public. EPA has issued guidance that provides information for the states to assist in developing methods of monitoring, gathering and assessing information about their fish populations, but it is not mandatory. The States have primary responsibility for these decisions. Thus the basis for each State fish advisory variation..

 

EPA also draws no conclusions or identify trends from this National Listing. Again, EPA's sole role is to provide a central repository. Each State determines the scope and extent of monitoring, how to decide which waters should be placed under advisory, etc., thus the information is highly variable and difficult to draw conclusions or trends.

 

What about recent advice from EPA and FDA about mercury in fish? For most people, the risk from mercury by eating fish and shellfish is not a health concern. Yet, some fish and shellfish contain higher levels of mercury that may harm an unborn baby or young child's developing nervous system. The risks from mercury in fish and shellfish depend on the amount of fish and shellfish eaten and the levels of mercury in the fish and shellfish. Therefore, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are advising women who may become pregnant, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and young children to avoid some types. 

 

One study after another supports the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in their position that the benefits of eating fish outweigh the risks. Here are a few of some very relevant studies that are never referenced by state health departments yet they support the NAS – and most anglers who refuse to recognize some of the strident positions taken by their state agencies:

 

Fish Intake Lowers Risk of Stroke in Men

Men who eat fish once a month or more have a reduced risk of

stroke.

December 2003, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)

 

Salmon consumption reduces risk of Prostate Cancer

Eating fish more than three times a week, was associated with a reduced risk of prostate cancer

January 2003, Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention 

 

Eating Fish Lowers Heart Disease Risk in Women

Regular Fish Eaters Had Biggest Reductions in Heart Disease Risk

April 2003, Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health

 

Fatty Fish Consumption Lowers the Risk of Endometrial Cancer

January 2002, Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention Vol. 11, 143-145,

 

Eating Fish Cuts risk of Alzheimer Disease

Dietary intake of Omega 3 fatty acids and weekly consumption of fish may reduce the risk of Alzheimer disease

2003 JAMA, Archives of Neurology - American Medical Association

 

National Academy of Sciences rejects New Dioxin regulation

Dioxin risk found to be too small to merit new government regulations

July 2003, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences

 

Study Finds No Health Risks for Above-Average Mercury Levels

Study calls into question ongoing state and federal efforts to further regulate mercury emissions, which have already

sharply declined by 50% in recent years.

May 2003, University of Rochester Medical Center

 

Mercury in fish may be less toxic than Feared

Some forms of Mercury less harmful than others, scientists say

August 2003, Stanford University Synchrotron Radiation Lab

 

Fish Oil Benefits eyesight

People who eat most fish have fewest eye problems.  Fish oil protects against Macular Degeneration and Dry Eye Syndrome

May , 2003 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology

 

►Science Community rejects new Dioxin regulation

The National Academy of Sciences found Dioxin’s risk too small to merit new government regulations. Dioxin levels have declined by 76% since the 1970s. NAS says “The health risks posed by the levels of Dioxins in foods have yet to be ascertained… ”

July, 2003, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences

 

So, Dioxin levels have declined by 76% and since 1990 Mercury emissions by over 50%, yet the number of state fish consumption advisories continue to mount annually. Well, most of them. In 1999, Minnesota had 854 , 941 in 2000 and 1,114 in 2003.  The national total in 1999 was 2,651, in 2000 it was 2,838 and last year it was 3,089. Wyoming was 0 in 1999 and still is. 

 

So, why do the number of fish consumption advisories continue to increase annually?  The science community has developed increasingly sophisticated research and laboratory equipment that can isolate and reveal more minute particles giving them samples they were unable to retrieve a few short years ago. Data that fifteen years ago used to be reported in parts-per-million (ppm) are now often stated in parts-per-trillion (ppt).

Although combustion of coal from power plants releases traces of mercury into the air, power plants are but a relatively small contributor of mercury. They account for less than 5 % of mercury in the environment.  Natural sources of mercury and manmade sources other than U.S. power plants account for most of the mercury in the environment.

In February 2001, the USEPA said it did not know how much, if any, mercury in fish comes from power plants, and commissioned a five-year research program on the subject.  USEPA’s benefit analysis, released in June 2004, conceded it is "unable to model the impacts of the mercury ... emissions reductions that may result from this regulation." The Utility Air Regulatory Group, which represents utilities affected by the proposed rule, stated in its comments, "EPA readily admits that it cannot quantify the linkage between mercury levels in humans and mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants."

 

Combined, the eight Great Lakes States have 2,031, that’s 66 % of the nation’s 3,089 fish consumption advisories.

 

Back in the mid '90s the Great Lakes states were “encouraged” by EPA to tighten their action levels on fish contaminated with PCBs. Those action levels went from 2.0 ppm to .05 ppm, a magnification of 40. The other 42 states still use FDA's action level of 2.0 ppm for PCB advisories, and apparently were not pressured or encouraged to change their action levels as the Great Lakes States did. To many observers these activities of seven years ago were in part politically inspired, and there is a concern similar motives exist today.

 

See related article on mercury “Proposed EPA Mercury Rule Garners Comments, Controversy”

 

Total Number of Fish Consumption Advisories-2003


Proposed EPA Mercury Rule Garners Comments, Controversy

The public comment period for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's proposed power plant mercury rule closed on June 29 after much controversy. Most of the record-breaking 600,000 comments came from environmental groups and their members, attacking the Bush administration EPA's proposed 70 % reduction in mercury emissions by 2018 as being far too lenient. A number of comments, by contrast, raised doubts that any further action regulating mercury is justified.

 

EPA puts the price of the proposed rule at more than $1 billion per year, and others think it could cost considerably more. "Clear Skies would reduce mercury emissions by 70 percent, [but] at a cost of about $4 billion per year," noted American Enterprise Institute visiting scholar Joel Schwartz regarding a similar plan to cut mercury emissions by 70 percent, proposed by the Bush administration in 2003.

 

Comments on the EPA proposal raised questions regarding whether U.S. utilities are a logical target for mercury reductions. Combustion of coal from power plants, for example, releases traces of mercury into the air, but power plants are a relatively small contributor of mercury. Natural sources of mercury and manmade sources other than U.S. power plants account for most of the mercury in the environment, noted Schwartz.

Recent research indicates even a "complete elimination of mercury from coal-fired utilities would reduce mercury deposition in the U.S. by at most about 10 percent," said Schwartz in comments submitted to the agency.


Current Mercury Levels No Danger

Mercury emissions are the subject of public health debate because some airborne mercury is deposited into bodies of water, where it is transformed into potentially dangerous methylmercury, which is taken up by fish. Of greatest concern is the potential effect on neurological development in children whose mothers ate substantial amounts of contaminated fish during pregnancy. The scientific research is decidedly mixed as to whether consumption of such fish is harmful.

 

The strongest scientific case for concern about mercury has been made by a 2004 study in the Faroe Islands. The study, conducted by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and institutions in Japan, Denmark, and the Faroe Islands, followed the progress of children born to mothers exposed to relatively high levels of methylmercury through whale meat consumption during pregnancy. The study concluded there was a modest loss of neurological development in the children. "The implications for neurological and cognitive health are relatively minor," noted Schwartz in his comments to EPA, even assuming Faroe Island results are indicative of harm to American children whose mothers ate fish during pregnancy.

A University of Rochester Medical Center study, conducted in the Republic of the Seychelles and published in May 2003, is probably more applicable to the United States. Unlike the Faroe Islands study, the residents of the Seychelles ate ocean fish similar to those consumed by Americans, rather than whale meat. In addition, whereas whale meat is also contaminated by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which may also cause health problems, there were no potential contaminants in the Seychelles fish other than methylmercury. The Seychelles study, which has tested the same group of children five times from the age of six months to nine years, has uncovered no evidence of developmental or other problems.

 

The Center for Science and Public Policy concluded in May 2004 that the Seychelles study found "no observable health effect associated with fish consumption in which methylmercury is present" and "the Faroe Islands study should not be the sentinel study upon which assessment of methylmercury intake via fish consumption should be gauged." EPA, however, has chosen to rely on the Faroe Islands study rather than the Seychelles research.

 

Proposed Rules Have Questionable Legality

EPA itself has lent credence to concerns about the strength of its case for the proposed rule. The agency's benefit analysis, released in June 2004, conceded it is "unable to model the impacts of the mercury ... emissions reductions that may result from this regulation." Instead, the agency assumes mercury controls will also reduce other power plant emissions, and it calculates the potential benefits based on declines of those emissions.

 

For that reason, the proposed mercury rule may be on shaky legal grounds. Under the Clean Air Act, EPA is to set power plant mercury standards only if the evidence shows they are "appropriate and necessary" based on evidence of a public health threat. The Utility Air Regulatory Group, which represents utilities affected by the proposed rule, stated in its comments, "EPA readily admits that it cannot quantify the linkage between mercury levels in humans and mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants."

 

Hence, the group argues, "EPA's conclusion that regulation of mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants is appropriate and necessary is not supported by the factual record."

 

Though far outnumbered by comments urging aggressive action against power plant mercury, EPA's docket also contains comments raising serious concerns whether any power plant emissions reductions are warranted. EPA is now obligated by administrative procedure law to address those concerns before moving forward with its proposed rule.

Courtesy: The Heartland Institute Environment News 09/01/2004


Mercury warnings should not keep anglers from fishing

ASA/DNRs says it is still safe and fun to fish and to eat your catch 

The American Sportfishing Association and the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies assure anglers that it is still safe and fun to fish and to eat their catch. 

           

Sport anglers need not put away their fishing gear because of the recent flurry of fish consumption advisories and discussion about mercury in fish tissue according to a joint statement issued by prominent a fishing tackle trade association, the national DNR association and conservation organizations.           

           

“We are concerned that recent announcements concerning mercury in fish will cause anglers to believe fishing is no longer one of America’s great past times,”  said Gordon Robertson, Vice President of the American Sportfishing Association.  “While mercury, if consumed in high quantities, can have a health impact, the likelihood of a typical sport angler consuming enough fish to have a health impact is minimal.” No scientific evidence links eating recreationally-caught fish with mercury poisoning. 

           

State fish and wildlife agencies concur that recreational angling should remain a healthy and popular activity.  “We want anglers to continue to enjoy fishing and wisely eating fish,” said Eric Schwaab, Resource Director for the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.  “Many of our member agencies, in conjunction with state health departments have posted health advisories about fish consumption.  While the states participate in efforts to fully inform anglers about potential consumption risks, such advisories are intended to provide a basis for informed risk analysis, not frighten people away from a healthy recreational pursuit.

        

It is important to note that the number and type of new advisories do not indicate the situation is worsening. To the contrary,  in most cases, new advisories result from additional sampling, stricter risk standards and more sophisticated and high-tech laboratory equipment. State agencies regularly expand the range of environmental sampling efforts over time, leading to consistently increasing number of advisories. 

        

In addition, one challenge in understanding the current approach is that assumptions are made in the Human Health Risk assessment about the frequency and duration of 

consumption patterns. These assessments are based on much more regular consumption of fish than that exhibited by most recreational fishermen.  Schwaab also explained that current EPA  standards, on which some state advisories are based, set a stricter standard that, in the case of mercury, is four times higher than the threshold used by the Food and Drug Administration, which governs the fish Americans purchase off their grocery store shelves.

 

At a minimum this discrepancy presents a confusing basis for risk based decisions by the American public. “The topic of mercury in the environment and in fish is very complex”, said Noreen Clough, Conservation Director for BASS, the Nation’s largest individual angler membership organization.  “Certainly, there can be situations where anglers should heed consumption advisories, but we know of no studies of mercury induced health problems from eating sport-caught fish in the U.S.  Much of fishing is about catching the fish, sharing the experience with family and friends and building on our outdoor skills.  Many anglers practice catch and release and the current discussion surrounding mercury should not deter anyone from enjoying the great sport of fishing and the great out-of-doors.”

           

Most organizations stressed that scientific work directed at health risks associated with mercury and fish consumption has focused on subsistence cultures with high lifelong rates of consumption of fatty fish or marine mammals.  The highest mercury concentrations are known to exist in fatty tissue of older, top level predatory fish, which subsist on diets of other fish.  Eating younger, lower level predator fish, avoiding fatty tissue and using proper cooking procedures all reduce health risks from fish. 

 

Sportfishing generates approximately $116 billion each year for the Nation’s economy and is responsible for over one million jobs. Most importantly, the tradition of sportfishing brings enjoyment, a learning experience and strong social bonds to over 44 million Americans each year.

           

The American Sportfishing Association is the sportfishing industry’s trade association, uniting more than 600 members of the sportfishing and boating industries with state fish and wildlife agencies, federal land and water management agencies, conservation organizations, angler advocacy groups, and outdoor journalists.  The American Sportfishing Association safeguards and promotes the enduring social, economic, and conservation values of sportfishing.


Help Protect the Great Lakes - Your help is needed

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Use of Contributed Funds

Funds will be held by the Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council and distributed based on the direction of a board of non-

agency trustees including the president of the GLSFC.

 

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

 

1)     Implement the Asian Carp Rapid Response Plan

2)     Improve or operate Barrier I

3)     Construct and operate Barrier II

 

Send your donations to:

GLSFC – carp fund

P.O. Box 297

Elmhurst, IL  60126

 

Or use our PayPal for credit card donations. 

Go to www.great-lakes.org/carp

 

For more information and photos go to: 

www.great-lakes.org/carp

 

Thanks for your help in preventing the invasion

of these harmful critters into our lakes.


Asian Carp Prevention Fund

Asian Carp and other invasive species are approaching the Great Lakes via the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. You may have seen video clips of these jumping fish on TV. Though humorous to watch, these large plankton-eating fish have the potential to wreak havoc on the Great Lakes ecology and commercial and recreational fisheries. Although it is unlikely they would be come abundant in the middle of the lake, they almost certainly would do well in near shore areas, river mouths and shallow productive bays. Not only would this add an undesirable component to the ecosystem but these fish add an element of personal risk to boaters and others using recreational watercraft. We must do whatever we can to keep these fish out of the Great Lakes.

 

The electric fish barrier in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal stops the passage of large fish. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built this as a temporary project with only a three-year life span. The electrodes in this barrier are expected to wear out in about April 2005. Asian carp have been captured only 22 miles downstream of the barrier. We have a monitoring plan in place to determine the leading edge of the Asian carp population as they move closer to the barrier site and are working on a rapid response plan to kill the fish if they begin to accumulate in number below the barrier.

 

A second larger, more powerful barrier has been designed and construction will begin in July 2004. However, the cost of the barrier design to stop Asian carp from entering the lake exceeds the available funds by $1.8 million. We need funding to help support construction of the barrier and to help pay for the rapid response plan if it has to be used.

 

We Need Your Help to Protect the Great Lakes

The Second Barrier

A second larger, longer-life barrier is planned for construction in July 2004. The cost of the proposed design, which has been recommended by the Dispersal Barrier Advisory Panel, exceeds the available funds by $1.8 million. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers program under which the project is being constructed limits the federal contribution to the project to $5 million.

 

The State of Illinois has already contributed $2 million to the project and it will be difficult to obtain the entire balance from a single entity. Governors of most of the other Great Lakes do not feel they are able to contribute the balance of the funds at this time, yet the timing of these additional contributions is critical. If the funds can not be secured the cost of construction will increase by 30% or more and we will not have the two-barrier system needed to prevent small Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes until the second barrier is complete.

 

We are applying to other sources for the needed funds, but every contribution from any non-federal source will help.

 

Asian Carp Rapid Response

A Rapid response Committee has developed a Rapid Response Plan to address the presence of Asian carp in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal if they begin to congregate below the existing barrier before the second barrier is constructed.

The Asian Carp Rapid Response Plan would involve eliminating Asian carp from 5.5 miles of the Sanitary and Ship Canal. Current estimates for implementation of the plan place the cost at about $450,000. There are 18 agencies involved in the response planning effort but none of them has the funds to enact the plan if it is needed. Funding for the plan is not covered in any Congressional Act or other agency mission. The response plan is a vital action which must be used if the carp appear in the Canal before Barrier II is in place.

 

We need your financial support to help keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. The most immediate need is to gather enough money to make the rapid response happen if it is needed. The large-scale response if needed would most likely occur this summer or fall. Once Barrier II is online the response would be scaled back to treat the 1000 foot distance between the barriers if fish were found between the barriers.

 

The second use for the funds would be to maintain and improve Barrier I. Barrier I will still be needed after Barrier II is built. We need your help to ask Congress to extend that authorization indefinitely and to provide the Corps with the directive to construct improvements to Barrier I. These improvements would increase the effectiveness of Barrier I and the service life of the project. Right now, the Corps of Engineers does not have the authority to operate Barrier I after September 2004.

 

Use of Contributed Funds

The collected funds will be held by the Great Lakes Sportfishing Council and will be distributed based on the direction of a board of non-agency trustees including the executive director of the Great Lakes Sportfishing Council. All contributions are tax deductible and 100 percent of the contributions will be used towards Asian carp prevention. Contributions will be used to:

 

1)     1)Implement the Asian Carp Rapid Response Plan

2)     2)Construct Barrier II

3)     3)Improve or operate Barrier I

 

The funds will not be used for agency labor or overhead and will not be used for research. Collected donations will be used to pay for barrier construction, carp control chemicals or if absolutely necessary, for operating expenses of the barrier.

 

 


Regional

Help Protect the Great Lakes - Your help is needed

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Use of Contributed Funds

Funds will be held by the Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council and distributed based on the direction of a board of non-

agency trustees including the president of the GLSFC.

 

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

 

1)     Implement the Asian Carp Rapid Response Plan

2)     Improve or operate Barrier I

3)     Construct and operate Barrier II

 

Send your donations to:

GLSFC – carp fund

P.O. Box 297

Elmhurst, IL  60126

 

Or use our PayPal for credit card donations. 

Go to www.great-lakes.org/carp

 

For more information and photos go to: 

www.great-lakes.org/carp

 

Thanks for your help in preventing the invasion

of these harmful critters into our lakes.


Asian Carp Prevention Fund

Asian Carp and other invasive species are approaching the Great Lakes via the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. You may have seen video clips of these jumping fish on TV. Though humorous to watch, these large plankton-eating fish have the potential to wreak havoc on the Great Lakes ecology and commercial and recreational fisheries. Although it is unlikely they would be come abundant in the middle of the lake, they almost certainly would do well in near shore areas, river mouths and shallow productive bays. Not only would this add an undesirable component to the ecosystem but these fish add an element of personal risk to boaters and others using recreational watercraft. We must do whatever we can to keep these fish out of the Great Lakes.

 

The electric fish barrier in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal stops the passage of large fish. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built this as a temporary project with only a three-year life span. The electrodes in this barrier are expected to wear out in about April 2005. Asian carp have been captured only 22 miles downstream of the barrier. We have a monitoring plan in place to determine the leading edge of the Asian carp population as they move closer to the barrier site and are working on a rapid response plan to kill the fish if they begin to accumulate in number below the barrier.

 

A second larger, more powerful barrier has been designed and construction will begin in July 2004. However, the cost of the barrier design to stop Asian carp from entering the lake exceeds the available funds by $1.8 million. We need funding to help support construction of the barrier and to help pay for the rapid response plan if it has to be used.

 

We Need Your Help to Protect the Great Lakes

The Second Barrier

A second larger, longer-life barrier is planned for construction in July 2004. The cost of the proposed design, which has been recommended by the Dispersal Barrier Advisory Panel, exceeds the available funds by $1.8 million. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers program under which the project is being constructed limits the federal contribution to the project to $5 million.

 

The State of Illinois has already contributed $2 million to the project and it will be difficult to obtain the entire balance from a single entity. Governors of most of the other Great Lakes do not feel they are able to contribute the balance of the funds at this time, yet the timing of these additional contributions is critical. If the funds can not be secured the cost of construction will increase by 30% or more and we will not have the two-barrier system needed to prevent small Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes until the second barrier is complete.

 

We are applying to other sources for the needed funds, but every contribution from any non-federal source will help.

 

Asian Carp Rapid Response

A Rapid response Committee has developed a Rapid Response Plan to address the presence of Asian carp in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal if they begin to congregate below the existing barrier before the second barrier is constructed.

The Asian Carp Rapid Response Plan would involve eliminating Asian carp from 5.5 miles of the Sanitary and Ship Canal. Current estimates for implementation of the plan place the cost at about $450,000. There are 18 agencies involved in the response planning effort but none of them has the funds to enact the plan if it is needed. Funding for the plan is not covered in any Congressional Act or other agency mission. The response plan is a vital action which must be used if the carp appear in the Canal before Barrier II is in place.

 

We need your financial support to help keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. The most immediate need is to gather enough money to make the rapid response happen if it is needed. The large-scale response if needed would most likely occur this summer or fall. Once Barrier II is online the response would be scaled back to treat the 1000 foot distance between the barriers if fish were found between the barriers.

 

The second use for the funds would be to maintain and improve Barrier I. Barrier I will still be needed after Barrier II is built. We need your help to ask Congress to extend that authorization indefinitely and to provide the Corps with the directive to construct improvements to Barrier I. These improvements would increase the effectiveness of Barrier I and the service life of the project. Right now, the Corps of Engineers does not have the authority to operate Barrier I after September 2004.

 

Use of Contributed Funds

The collected funds will be held by the Great Lakes Sportfishing Council and will be distributed based on the direction of a board of non-agency trustees including the executive director of the Great Lakes Sportfishing Council. All contributions are tax deductible and 100 percent of the contributions will be used towards Asian carp prevention. Contributions will be used to:

 

1)     1)Implement the Asian Carp Rapid Response Plan

2)     2)Construct Barrier II

3)     3)Improve or operate Barrier I

 

The funds will not be used for agency labor or overhead and will not be used for research. Collected donations will be used to pay for barrier construction, carp control chemicals or if absolutely necessary, for operating expenses of the barrier.

 

 


Research Suggests Lamprey May Be Native to Lake Ontario

Management policies aimed at suppressing them may need reevaluation

Research funded by New York Sea Grant suggests that the parasitic sea lamprey, an eel-like species that attaches to and damages important fish in the Great Lakes, may not be an “invasive” creature as thought, and instead may be native to Lake Ontario.

 

In research described in the recent Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, John Waldman of Queens College of the City University of New York and colleagues analyzed DNA of sea lampreys from 10 locations along Great Lakes and Atlantic coasts. Their findings strongly support the idea that, following the retreat of the glaciers, lampreys colonized Lake Ontario by one of three hypothetical pathways: the Delaware-Susquehanna drainage, the Hudson-Mohawk

system, or the St. Lawrence River, the lake’s present outlet.

 

Sea lamprey live throughout the North Atlantic Ocean, spawning in rivers in Europe and North America, and parasitizing a wide variety of fish, including salmon and lake trout. Because the first sighting of the species in Lake Ontario was 1835, 12 years after the completion of the Erie Canal, many investigators have concluded that the canal was the fish’s conduit into the lake. Throughout the Great Lakes, parasitic sea lampreys cause a loss of revenue in both the commercial and recreational fishing industries. Many programs to eradicate or at least deplete their numbers are in effect.

 

The New York research suggests that if sea lampreys are actually indigenous to Lake Ontario and therefore part of the lake’s ecosystem, management policies aimed at suppressing them may need reevaluation.


MN Rock bass ties state record

A lot of anglers on Lake Winnibigoshish would throw back a fish like this because they are seeking walleye, but William Young from Waukesha, Wis. recognized a record-sized rock bass when he caught it.

 

"We know there are some big rock

bass in Winnie," said Chris Kavanaugh, Grand Rapids area

fisheries supervisor. "But, most rock bass caught by anglers are overlooked because people are fishing for walleye, northern pike, or perch on most lakes."

 

Young's rock bass is tied for the record. It weighed 2 lbs even with a length of 12 5/8" and a girth of 12 3/8". Young caught the fish while trolling with a minnow on Aug. 3.


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for September 10, 2004

Current Lake Levels: Currently, all of the Great Lakes are higher than the levels of a year ago. Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, and Erie are 9 to 14 inches higher than last year. Lake Ontario is currently 6 inches above last year’s level. Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are still below their long-time averages by 4 and 10 inches, respectively. Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are above their long-time averages by 1, 6, and 7 inches, respectively.

 

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

 

Temperature/Precipitation Outlook:

The remnants of Hurricane Frances will push east of the Great Lakes basin by  late Friday. The weekend weather is expected to be mostly dry and comfortable except for the slight chance of a shower on Saturday. Pleasant conditions will continue into next week, with mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s.

 

Forecasted Water Levels: Lake Superior is approaching the end of its seasonal rise and is expected to remain steady over the next month. Lake Michigan-Huron is in its seasonal decline and its level is expected to fall 2 inches over the next month. Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are expected to drop by 6-7 inches over the next month.

 

Alerts: Users of the Great Lakes, connecting channels and St. Lawrence River should keep informed of current conditions before undertaking any activities that could be affected by changing water levels. Mariners should utilize navigation charts and refer to current water level readings.

 


Illinois

Ruff named World Shooting Complex manager

Bob Ruff, an Illinois DNR employee for 13 years and former supervisor with the Office of Special Events, has been selected to oversee operation of the World Shooting & Recreational Complex.

 

According to DNR Director Joel Brunsvold, Bob's knowledge of the shooting sports industry, along with his many years of experience at DNR, made it an easy decision to name him as project manager. As the Director of Special Events, Ruff and

his staff successfully organized the Governor s Cup Shooting Challenge, the Celebrity Quail Hunt and the Avery International Goose Calling Contest, to name a few. These events occur on an annual basis and participation has steadily grown over the years.

 

Ruff can be reached at 866-850-2564, worldshooting@dnrmail.state.il.us  or by sending an inquiry to The World Shooting & Recreational Complex, Illinois DNR, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, Ill. 62702


New Sparta-based facility will provide economic, employment and recreation boost

A World class opportunity for Illinois

Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich, DNR Director Joel Brunsvold and area officials broke ground on August 28 near Sparta in Randolph County for the World Shooting Complex (WSC). Planning is well under way to facilitate opening the 1,200-acre WSC for the 107th Amateur Trapshooting Association’s (ATA) Grand American World trapshooting competition in 2006.

 

From that single, 10-day event, the largest such competition in the world, Illinois can attract 8,000 participants, 15,000 spectators and realize $2 to $3 million in revenue. Other national groups have been invited to bring their outdoor events to  this facility. The National Sporting Clays Association and National Skeet Shooting Association have committed to bring major events to Illinois, and numerous other programs are slated for the multi-purpose facility.

 

Avid shooters will be able to enjoy more than 100 trap fields extending nearly the 3.5-mile length of the facility. There also will be two sporting clay courses, a skeet range, an all-terrain vehicle demonstration area, a cowboy action shooting corral and a championship 3-D archery course. Permanent structures will include a multi-use recreation center and a building to house exhibitors, vendors, concessions and restrooms.

 

For the first time ever, the Illinois state park system will have a site capable of hosting large numbers of campers. Under the initial development phase, 600 full-service RV campsites will be constructed, with adequate space existing to expand with several hundred additional spaces. Additional tent campsites will be developed around a large lake. Construction of cabins similar to those found in other state parks is also under consideration.

 

While the DNR is coordinating development of the project and will ultimately manage the facility, a project of this size cannot be accomplished without partners. The Illinois National Guard has graciously exchanged a parcel of land with the state to

allow the WSC to be on a 1,200-acre contiguous tract. Working with monies set aside annually for development and maintenance of state park roads, the Department of Transportation is helping to develop an internal road infrastructure to handle thousands of vehicles and improve county and state access roads. Assistance from the City of Sparta and local officials will ensure timely development of electric, sewer and water services.

 

Wisely managing Illinois’ natural resources requires exploring new opportunities for programs inviting all age groups to pursue a variety of outdoor activities. The World Shooting Complex will be the largest multi-purpose shooting sports complex in the United States and will bring expanded recreational shooting opportunities and new jobs to Illinois, boosting local and state economies. The Sparta project is an example of excellent management of our natural resources for future generations.

 

This unique site will be located in Southern Illinois near the City of Sparta, near three airports and less than 50 miles from three metropolitan areas including St. Louis, MO. Visitors will have access to a variety of amenities from quaint local restaurants and shops, to the bustling activities of the St. Louis area.

 

The complex will feature a variety of activities for the avid sportsman, including:

● 1500+ acres including 250 acres of water

● 100 trap fields extending 3.5 miles

● 2 sporting clay courses

● skeet

● ATV demonstration area

● Cowboy Action Shooting corral

● Championship 3-D archery course

● Permanent exhibitor building

● 600 RV campsites with electric and water, and potential for camping jamborees accommodating 1000+ campers

● Recreational center building

● Multi-purpose, multi-use recreational facility


Indiana

2004 Indiana wild turkey season results

Indiana wildlife biologist Steve Backs has tabulated check station reports from this spring's wild turkey hunting season and found hunters harvested 10,765 wild turkeys in 78 of the 90 counties open to hunting, compared to 10,366 birds harvested in 2003. This four-percent increase over 2003 was a new high for turkey harvests.

 

Counties with the highest turkey harvest included: Switzerland - 436, Perry - 401, Jefferson - 396, Harrison - 381, Warrick - 370, Greene - 359, Parke - 346, Dearborn - 325, Franklin - 324, Orange - 317, Crawford - 306, Spencer - 301

 

The majority of the birds were harvested in the earlier part of

the season and the morning hours. About 72 percent of birds were taken by 10:00 am and 80 % were taken by noon. Approximately 56 % of the wild turkeys were taken during the first five days of the season and 33 % of turkeys were harvested on weekends.  Juveniles made up 24 % of the harvest, while 49 % of birds were 2-years-old and 27 % were 3-years-old or older.

 

Backs speculated that the 4 % increase in turkey harvests probably reflect a continued increase in the turkey population and turkey hunter numbers.

 

A detailed turkey harvest report is online at:  www.IN.gov/dnr/fishwild/hunt/turkey/turkeydata.htm


Learning about aquatic resources is fun

The Indiana DNR Go FishIN education program is offering free workshops to Hoosiers interested in using sport fishing to teach youngsters about resource conservation.

 

Sept./Oct. Go FishIN workshops:

-Sept. 14, Upland

-Sept. 17, Versailles

-Oct. 14, Gene Stratton Porter Historical Site, Rome City

 

All workshops run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

 

"The training is for anyone interested in teaching and sharing fishing with their local youth groups, school or community organizations," said Go FishIN coordinator Amanda

Wuestefeld. "People interested in fishing and the environment, especially educators, are invited to attend."

 

The program offers textbooks, loaner educational equipment and fishing equipment for volunteers to use in their community.  Go FishIN fits easily into elementary, middle and high school classes, including biology, chemistry, math, language arts, and social studies.  Workshops are offered at various Indiana locations throughout the year.  Class sizes are limited and reservations are required.

 

For more info, reservations, workshop hours and directions, contact the Natural Resources Education Center at 317-562-1338 or http://www.in.gov/dnr/nrec/


Michigan

Meeting set for Rifle River Recreation Area management plan Sept 15

State recreation officials announced a Sept. 15 meeting to gather public input on a proposed management plan for the Rifle River Recreation Area.

 

Management plans help to guide future uses of parks and recreation areas by identifying their unique purpose and significance to visitors.   The Rifle River meeting will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Rose Township Hall, 3380 Lupton Road, in Lupton.

 

Co-managed for wildlife habitat with the DNR Wildlife Division,

the management plan for Rifle River balances timber management in the park with habitat needs for the endangered red-shouldered hawk and bald eagle, as well as with increasing demands for canoeing, camping, hunting, wildlife viewing, hiking, biking and snowmobiling.

 

Ten scenic lakes and the Natural River-designated Rifle River, located within the recreation area's nearly 4,500 acres, provide fishing opportunities and support fish research and management efforts. After a review of the planning process and the significant qualities of the park, attendees can ask questions and provide comments about the park, the resources found there, and planning efforts underway.


Meeting set for Fayette Historic State Park management plan Sept 16

State recreation officials announced a Sept. 16 public information meeting to gather public input on a proposed management plan for Fayette Historic State Park, located in Delta County's Garden Peninsula.

 

Management plans help to guide future uses of parks and recreation areas by identifying their unique purpose and significance to visitors. The meeting will be held from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the park headquarters.

 

Operated in coordination with the Michigan Department of

History, Arts and Libraries, this historic site was once a bustling industrial community that manufactured charcoal pig iron from 1867 to 1891. With ecologically-sensitive limestone cliffs, a historic harbor and verdant forests, this well-preserved museum village recalls another time and an important chapter in Michigan's manufacturing history.

 

After a review of the planning process and the significant qualities of the park, attendees can ask questions and provide comments about the park, the resources found there, and planning efforts underway.

 


Minnesota

Lake sturgeon restoration takes another step forward

The Minnesota DNR is taking another step forward in the restoration of lake sturgeon in the Red River Watershed. On Sept. 2 - 3, DNR fisheries crews released approximately 10,500 lake sturgeon fingerlings at two locations in the watershed. About 9,500 fingerlings roughly six inches long were stocked in Otter Tail Lake and the  remaining 1,000 were released into the Otter Tail River below the Orwell Reservoir near Fergus Falls.

    

The reintroduction of sturgeon is part of a comprehensive plan to restore a species that was once abundant in the Red River, its tributaries and the many lakes in the Red River Watershed. Sturgeon, some weighing more than 200 pounds, were once caught throughout the Red River Basin. The construction of dams, poor water quality, loss of habitat and over harvest decimated sturgeon populations by the early 1900's.

    

During the past five years the DNR, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other local units of government have partnered to remove or modify a number of dams on the Red River and its major tributary streams. Five of the eight dams on the Red River's main stem have been converted into rock rapids, and numerous smaller dams have been removed or modified to

allow fish passage into the tributary streams.   

The removal or modification of dams also improves public recreation and eliminates safety concerns that dams once caused for anglers, boaters and others. DNR regional fisheries manager in Bemidji Henry Drewes said plans to address fish passage and public safety at the remaining three dams on the Red River are in various stages of development.

 

The Sept. 2 sturgeon release at Otter Tail Lake and the Otter Tail River were the fourth such release in the watershed since 1998. The sturgeon were raised by the USFWS at the Genoa National Fish Hatchery in LaCrosse, Wis. Recovery plans call for stocking efforts to continue for 20 years.

 

Anglers are reminded there is no open season for lake sturgeon on inland lakes and streams, or on the Minnesota-North Dakota border waters. Anglers catching a lake sturgeon from any of these waters are encouraged to contact their local DNR fisheries office. Angler reports are very helpful in evaluating the stocking program.

    

An additional 5,000 fingerlings will be stocked later this month in the Buffalo River and Big Detroit Lake. Those fish are being raised by a private aquaculture firm in Minnesota from eggs purchased from the Rainy River First Nations Hatchery at Emo, Ontario.


Rock bass ties record

A lot of anglers on Lake Winnibigoshish would throw back a fish like this because they are seeking walleye, but William Young from Waukesha, Wis. recognized a record-sized rock bass when he caught it.

 

"We know there are some big rock

bass in Winnie," said Chris Kavanaugh, Grand Rapids area

fisheries supervisor. "But, most rock bass caught by anglers are overlooked because people are fishing for walleye, northern pike, or perch on most lakes."

 

Young's rock bass is tied for the record. It weighed 2 lbs even with a length of 12 5/8" and a girth of 12 3/8". Young caught the fish while trolling with a minnow on Aug. 3.


Minnesota fall color info/photos available on DNR Web site

Minnesotans can follow the changing fall colors online this autumn on the DNR Web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us . The color reports on this site are gathered from information provided by color observers in state parks across Minnesota.

      

 Fall color information can be accessed from the DNR home page by selecting "Fall Color Reports 2004." Click on a region of the color report map to be linked to complete reports from state parks in that region. Detailed color reports for individual

state parks also are linked from each state park home page.

These reports are updated weekly throughout the fall color season. Web site photos illustrate current fall color status

 

Typically, colors peak in along the Canadian border in mid-to-late September. Peak colors come to the northern third of Minnesota the last week in September or early October. The following weekend should bring peak colors in central Minnesota. By mid October, peak colors reach the Twin Cities area. Southern and southeastern areas of the state usually

have good color through the third week in October.


New campground opens at Lac qui Parle State Park

A new full-service campground at Lac qui Parle State Park will open Thursday, Sept. 2. According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the campground will accommodate campers on a first-come, first-served basis for the Labor Day weekend and into the fall season.

 

"Plans have been underway since 1991 to create a new campground for the park," said Kerry Christoffer, park manager. "Although our original campground is one of the most beautiful in the state park system, it is located on a floodplain and has a history of frequent flooding. We were hoping to find a site for a new campground that would give us a scenic view but on high ground." According to Christoffer, the new campground fits the bill.

"It is located on a bluff area overlooking the lake," Christoffer said. "Although it will take a few years for shade trees and natural growth to give the area a more 'established' look, the larger campsites and availability of full hookups for campers with RVs will be a big draw."

 

The new area offers a trailer dump station for RVs, cart-in sites for tenting, some side-by-side double sites, and pull-through sites for trailers. Beginning Sept. 2, 37 electric sites, including nine sites that have full sewer and water hookups, will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. For the time being, the old campground will continue to be available. Campers who had reservations this fall for the old campground can choose to camp at the new campground or remain at the old site.


DNR seeks input on walleye regulations Sept 20, 21, 24

Grand Rapids, MN -- The Minnesota DNR has scheduled two public open house meetings to gather input on walleye regulation proposals for 10 lakes in Itasca County.  Lakes being considered include Swan, Trout (near Coleraine), Splithand, Moose, Island (near Northome), Bowstring, Sand, Jessie, Round (near Squaw Lake), and Deer/Battle/Pickerel (near Effie). 

 

The proposed regulation on each lake is a 17-26" protected slot with one walleye longer than 26" in possession, meaning all walleye between 17 and 26 inches long must be immediately released.  "This regulation is part of the new fisheries toolbox, a streamlined process for proposing experimental or special regulations," said Chris Kavanaugh, Area Fisheries Supervisor.  

 

"A specific goal has been established for each lake which includes improving angler catch rates and contribution of naturally reproduced fish through catch and immediate release of medium and large walleye."

 

The public comment period began in May and will end 10 days

after the meeting.  "This is not a done deal," said  Cavanaugh.  "The comment period and the meetings are extremely important to us so that we can make the best decision on implementing the regulation on any of the lakes."  The comments will be reviewed and a decision on implementation will be made by early December.  If implemented, the regulations would become effective at the beginning of the 2005 fishing season.

 

The first open-house meeting will be held Monday, Sept. 20, 2004, 7 - 9 pm at the Minnesota Interagency Fire Center (MIFC),  402 11th Street SE, Grand Rapids. The second open-house meeting will be held Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2004, 7 - 9 pm at the Squaw Lake Community Center, Highway 46 in Squaw Lake.  An additional open house meeting will be held on Sept. 27, 2004, from 8 am to 4:30 pm at the DNR Headquarters, 500 Lafayette Blvd, St. Paul.  

 

Comments may be directed to Chris Kavanaugh, DNR Area Fisheries, 1201 E Highway 2, Grand Rapids, MN 55744 or e-mail chris.kavanaugh@dnr.state.mn.us .  Written comments will be accepted until October 4, 2004.

 


New York

DEC announces public meetings on Great Lakes Annex agreements Sept 14,15,16

Sessions Provide Opportunities for Public Input for Future Resource Management

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced it will conduct public meetings in Niagara Falls on September 14th, Rochester on September 15th, and Watertown on September 16th to solicit comments from all interested parties about the draft Great Lakes Water Management Agreements, referred to as the Draft Annex Implementing Agreements.

           

Governor George E. Pataki, in conjunction with the Council of Great Lakes Governors and the Premiers of Ontario and Quebec, released the draft agreements on July 19, 2004 for a public comment period that closes October 18, 2004.  The proposed protective measures on all future water withdrawals, which will provide historic protections for the waters of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Basin, are the result of

three years of efforts by the eight Great Lakes States and Provinces to address conservation and usage issues in the Great Lakes Basin.

 

For background information and copies of the draft documents, visit the NYSDEC website at :

http://www.dec.state.ny.us/website/greatlakes/index.html

 

Specific meeting dates, times, and locations are:

Tuesday, September 14, 2004, 6 - 8:30 p.m.    

Niagara Falls Public Library, 1425 Main Street, Niagara Falls

 

Wednesday, September 15, 2004, 6:30 - 9 p.m.

R.I.T. Inn & Conference Center, 5257 West Henrietta Road, West Henrietta           

 

Thursday, September 16, 2004, 6:30 - 9 p.m.

Dulles State Office Building, 11th Floor Conf. Room, 317 Washington St., Watertown


DEC releases draft wild turkey management plan

Public Comments Sought on Plan to Manage New York’s Turkey Population

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Erin M. Crotty today announced that a draft “Wild Turkey Management Plan” has been completed and is now available for public review and comment. This management plan will provide a blueprint to guide wild turkey management in New York for the foreseeable future.

 

For the last half century, DEC’s wild turkey management plan has focused on restoring the wild turkey.  Due to extensive clearing of habitat and unregulated hunting in the 19th century, the wild turkey disappeared from the State.  After the Civil War, agriculture shifted to the mid-west. Abandoned farm fields were gradually replaced by young forests and the turkey population began to spread back into the new habitat from northwestern Pennsylvania.  The return of the wild turkey sparked an interest in the continued restoration of the species and in 1952 the DEC- then the Conservation Department- started a formal wild turkey restoration effort.  The effort included inter-state transfer of wild turkeys as well as habitat protection and preservation. 

 

Today, wild turkeys have been successfully reestablished and

are abundant in nearly all areas of suitable habitat in New  York State. As the wild turkey population has grown, DEC recognized the need to develop a long-range management plan.  DEC reached out to the sporting community, birding groups, and the agricultural community for issues that should be addressed in the plan. 

 

The plan contains background information on the wild turkey in New York and an assessment of the current wild turkey management program. In addition, it addresses population monitoring and protection (including methods for determining harvest), public use, nuisance and damage management, and outreach efforts. It also features a systematic approach to decision-making that assess a wide variety of factors when management changes are being considered by the Department’s wildlife biologists and policy makers.

 

View the draft plan at www.dec.state.ny.us/website/dfwmr/wildlife/turkey/turkplan.htm and print copies are available by writing NYSDEC, Wild Turkey Management Plan, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4754. Public comments will be accepted until October 15, 2004 and can be sent to either the address above, or by email to  MACROBUTTON HtmlResAnchor fwwildlf@gw.dec.state.ny.us with "turkey plan" in the subject line.

 


State continues Lake Champlain Lamprey Control program

Treatments Will Enhance Lake Trout and Salmon Populations and Sizes

New York State DEC Commissioner Erin M. Crotty announced that sea lamprey control treatments are being conducted in two tributaries and one delta of Lake Champlain in September as a continuation of a long-term effort to protect the lake's fishery from the non-native, parasitic fish.  Trout and salmon populations, native to Lake Champlain, will benefit from this action.

                                   

This year's treatments were begun  September 7, and are expected to be completed by early October.  Staff from DEC, the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the USFWS will administer the treatments and will target the larval stage of sea lamprey.  A third tributary in Vermont, the Winooski River, will also be treated this fall.

 

In the Lake Champlain system, most immature sea lamprey live in streams for four years before descending into Lake Champlain to prey on other fish like trout and salmon.  Under the sea lamprey control program, a pesticide, TFM (trifluoromethyl-nitrophenol), is applied in precise concentrations to the streams in a continuous, metered manner over a period of approximately 12 hours in order to kill the immature, larval form of the sea lamprey.

 

In certain cases, larval sea lamprey also inhabit the lake

bottom near the mouths of rivers.  On these delta areas, where TFM is not effective, another pesticide (Bayluscide - niclosamide) is applied by boats equipped with agricultural spreaders.  This granular compound sinks to the lake bottom where it dissolves to treat the larval sea lamprey.

 

DEC has set up a toll free number (1-800-638-5432) for the public to obtain information on the lamprey treatments.  Callers can receive information on the treatment schedule for the specific waters, progress reports, updates on treatments and water use advisories.

 

DEC studies have shown that sea lamprey control results in decreased wounding and scarring rates to other fish and can increase populations of lake trout and landlocked salmon.  Department surveys of anglers showed that more and substantially bigger trout and salmon were caught as a result of the previous treatment program.

 

Sea lamprey control also generates a favorable economic benefit/cost ratio as angling opportunities increase.  According to Benefit Cost Analysis of the Eight-year Experimental Sea Lamprey Control Program on Lake Champlain, a study conducted by Alphonse H. Gilbert, a researcher from the University of Vermont, sea lamprey control generated benefits of approximately $29.4 million with costs of about $8.4 million.  These benefits were the result of the increased number of boaters and anglers spending longer periods of time in the Lake Champlain area.


Pennsylvania

National Hunting and Fishing Day to be held at Middle Creek Sept 26

HARRISBURG -- Have you ever wanted to try outdoor recreational activities but never had the opportunity?  Do you have an interest in the outdoors, wildlife, and conservation?  If so, plan to visit the Pennsylvania Game Commission's Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 26, to help celebrate National Hunting and Fishing Day.

 

Planned events include hands-on activities for people of all ages, such as: educational programs and exhibits throughout the day; a fishing area; and opportunities for adults and children to shoot a BB gun and bow and arrow, cast a fly fishing rod or learn how to call in wild turkeys.

 

Several local outdoor groups will have food and refreshments for sale, as well as a free taste of "Pennsylvania surf and turf" (panfish and venison).

 

"Educational programs will showcase outdoor recreational opportunities in south-central and southeastern Pennsylvania," said Adam Hostetler, event chairman.  "There will be a live Pennsylvania birds of prey display including a

great-horned owl, red-tailed hawk, barred owl and turkey vulture, as well as a live reptile and amphibian display. There also will be a demonstration of birddogs in action."

 

National Hunting and Fishing Day is open to the public free of charge and will be held rain or shine.  The Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area is on Hopeland Road on the Lancaster/Lebanon county line, two miles south of Kleinfeltersville, Lebanon County.  For more information, contact the management area at (717) 733-1512.

 

Programs include: "Pennsylvania Birds of Prey" by the Red Creek Wildlife Center; "An Introduction to the Wildlife at Middle Creek" by Bert Myers; "Introduction to Kayaks" by Sean Christian; Lancaster County Bassmaster's Kids Casting Competition*.

 

Other Activities (* denotes hands-on activities): exhibits/displays from local sportsmen organizations; birddog demonstrations; archery shoots*; muzzleloading rifles*; BB gun shoots*; fly rod casting instruction*; introduction to turkey calling*; fishing* (under 16 years of age); fly-tying instructions; trapping demonstrations; and wild game cooking instructions.


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