Week of September 27 , 2004

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National

Your help is needed

Help keep the Asian carp out of the Great 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


Asian Carp Prevention - The effort continues

Our Asian Carp fund drive continues, and with many clubs beginning to hold their monthly meetings again, our drive picks up momentum.  But we need your help.  If the states do not pick up the tab for the missing $1.8 million and the feds don’t appropriate the necessary funds to keep this program alive, we are the ones that will feel the impact of any invasion of Asian carp.  It’s our resource – and recreation, that will be affected.

 

We need everyone to help.

 

 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. These large plankton-eating fish have the potential to wreak havoc on the Great Lakes ecology and our 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 three electrodes in this barrier are expected to wear out in about April 2005. One is already gone, the second will probably break down by the end of the year.

           

Asian carp have been captured only 22 miles downstream of the barrier. Involved agencies 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 is scheduled for completion by December 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 scheduled for completion by the end of this year,  but the construction cost 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 completed.

           

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 fall. Once Barrier II is online the response would be scaled back to treat the 1000 ft 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 2005.

 

Use of Contributed Funds

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

1)         Implement the Asian Carp Rapid Response Plan

2)         Construct Barrier II

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

 


Why Anglers & Hunters Don’t Wear Life Jackets

Two hunter and angler focus groups commissioned by the BoatU.S. Foundation for Boating Safety & Clean Water reveal the top three reasons sportsmen don’t wear life jackets while boating - and why some choose to.

 

"The number one reason for not wearing a life jacket was lack of comfort," said Chris Edmonston, Director of Boating Safety Programs. The second reason for not wearing a jacket was that this group rarely sees professionals on TV wearing their life jackets. The third reason for not wearing them was that sportsmen feel comfortable with their swimming ability.

 

Why do some hunters and anglers choose to wear a jacket?

A  close call on the water by a friend or family member was the top reason given in the study. A second reason to wear was to present a positive role model for children or grandchildren. The third reason was that it’s simply a common sense precaution.

 

The focus groups were commissioned by the Sportsman’s Forum, a coalition of sporting organizations. Full reports of both studies, along with practical boating tips for hunters and anglers, are available as a free CD by e-mailing name and mailing address to BoatingSafety@BoatUS.com . Contact Joni Turken, 410/897-0514, JoniT@BoatUS.com .

 


Vermont biologists shoot 208 cormorants

MONTPELIER, Vt. Vermont wildlife biologists shot or trapped more than 200 cormorants on Lake Champlain this summer. The action was part of an attempt to slow a population explosion of the large, fish-eating birds that turn islands into a wasteland of dead trees and guano.

 

Environmental groups support efforts to control cormorants but oppose the shooting because they say it could drive the birds elsewhere to nest.  Wildlife officials are also working to

decrease the number of cormorants on the New York side of the lake by shooting birds and oiling eggs to kill the embryos. There are more than 5-thousand cormorants on Four Brothers Island near Willsboro, 120 miles north of Albany.

 

New York is one of 24 states given federal permission to take harsher steps against the waterfowl. The state is focusing on cormorants in Oneida Lake, Lake Ontario, and the Buffalo Harbor-Niagara River in addition to Lake Champlain.


Administration gives big bucks to preserve open spaces

The Bush Administration has provided more than $1.3 billion to states, tribes, local governments, conservation groups and landowners that preserve open space, restore wildlife habitat, and protect endangered species.

 

Working in partnership with states, tribes, local communities and private landowners, the Department of the Interior is achieving conservation that protects homes in the West from wildfire, restores millions of acres of wildlife habitat, improves national parks and provides more hunting, fishing and recreational opportunities.

Interior manages, in an environmentally responsible fashion, more than 20% of America’s lands.

 

1. Interior is rapidly advancing the President’s commitment to restore, improve and protect more than three million acres of wetlands over the next five years.

 

2. By 2005, the Administration will have entered into more than 17,000 conservation partnerships with private landowners to protect habitat.

 

Improving National Parks. Record levels of funding are being invested in national parks. The 2005 National Park Service operations budget of $1.8 billion is 20 percent higher than when President Bush took office. This is more funding per acre, per employee, and per visitor than at any other time in the history of national parks. 

 

3. President Bush is meeting his commitment to invest $4.9 billion over five years to address the backlog of maintenance needs he inherited.  More than 4,000 improvement projects are completed, planned or underway.

 

4. In three years, funding has nearly tripled to preserve and study the natural resources in national parks.

 

5. The Administration has established or proposed new national parks, including the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in Colorado and the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park in Oregon and Washington, and has accepted the World War II Veterans Memorial. Secretary Norton created the first historic preservation and technology training center, designated 43 new National Historic Landmarks and transferred 18 lighthouses to local preservation groups.

 

Restoring Healthy Forests and Improving Public Lands. America’s forests are healthier and communities are safer due to the implementation of President Bush’s Healthy Forests Initiative.

 

6. Interior and the Forest Service have treated more than 10 million acres to reduce the threat of catastrophic fire and reestablish natural healthy forest and rangeland conditions.  This is double the rate of past fuel reductions.  Half of these acres are near communities at risk of wildland fires.

 

7. Answering President Bush’s call to service, Secretary Norton introduced Take Pride in America to achieve greater stewardship of public lands through volunteerism. Governors from all 50 states are helping implement Take Pride.  More than 200,000 volunteers work with Interior on federal lands.

 

Expanding Hunting and Fishing. As lifelong sportsmen and recreationists, President Bush and Vice President Cheney are working with Secretary Norton to enhance hunting and fishing access for all Americans.

8. The Fish and Wildlife Service has expanded hunting and fishing access at more than 60 National Wildlife Refuges.  Today, 325 refuges are open to hunting and 282 are open to fishing.

 

9. A Fish and Wildlife Service agreement with 17 major outdoor sports and conservation groups is improving hunting and fishing access to federal lands. A separate cooperative agreement is improving facilities and access for disabled men and women.

 

Producing Energy; Enhancing Protections.  Over 30% of America’s energy production is from federal lands.

 

10. Clean burning natural gas production is increasing through new offshore production incentives.

 

11. Oil and gas development is now being guided by site-specific best management practices developed with input from conservationists, ranchers, and western governors.  In addition, Interior expanded the role of states and counties in land use planning decisions.

 

12. Renewable energy production from federal lands is increasing significantly under the Bush Administration.  317 wind and geothermal leases have been issued by this Administration as compared to only 29 issued by the previous Administration.

 

13. Interior proposes to reclaim abandoned coal mine lands at less cost and in half the time as the current program.

 

Managing and Protecting Water in the West. The new Water 2025 program assists the West’s drought stricken areas by helping to prevent crisis and conflicts over western water.

 

14. Challenge grants are helping communities with water efficiency and water enhancement projects.

 

15. Secretary Norton signed the Colorado River Water Delivery Agreement, a landmark action advancing cooperation among Colorado River users.  The agreement helps bring certainty to long term water supply for seven western states.

 

Improving Quality of Lives for Indian Communities. The Interior Department is also working with more than 500 Indian tribes to provide education and economic development services.

 

16. President Bush provided $1.1 billion for Indian school replacement, improvement and repair projects.  This is more money in the past four years than in the previous eight years.  Four new schools are built and 21 are under construction.

 

17. Interior is working to assure that 48,000 Indian students receive quality education as a part of the President’s No Child Left Behind initiative.

 

18. After extensive consultation with Indian tribal leaders, Secretary Norton is improving financial management and providing better customer service to Native American beneficiaries.

 

Management Improvements. Interior has implemented technology efficiencies projected to save $250 million over four years.

 

 


GPS Technology puts Invasive Plants on the map

Washington, DC - A weed might be the last thing you'd expect global positioning system (GPS) technology to track, but that's exactly what's happening at America's wildlife refuges across the country. To assess the harm done from non-native plants to native ecosystems, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Wildlife Refuge Association (NWRA), The Nature Conservancy (TNC), and the National Institute of Invasive Species Science of the U.S. Geological Survey have launched the Cooperative Volunteer Invasives Program, a pilot program to track the invasives threat on six national wildlife refuges located in California, Florida, New Hampshire, Montana, Texas, and Ohio.

 

"Global positioning system technology can be found almost everywhere, whether it's in cars or on cell phones," said Steve Buttrick, director of science and stewardship for The Nature Conservancy in Oregon. "It only seems natural to use GPS to help solve environmental problems too."

 

Non-native invasive species crowd out native wildlife and damage valuable habitat. These invaders spread at an estimated rate of 14 million acres per year, making them the number one threat to the nation's 100-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System. Although exact mitigation strategies are specialized and depend on the ecosystem and the species involved, the total estimated cost of fighting these invaders on refuges is believed to be more than $150 million.

 

"When it comes to environmental threats, everyone knows the usual suspects - dirty air, polluted water and suburban sprawl - but invasive plants are strangling the life out of our precious wild lands right in our own backyards," said Evan Hirsche, president of the National Wildlife Refuge Association.

 

The pilot program involves training local volunteers to identify invasive plant species and use hand-held GPS devices to

pinpoint the location and extent of the spread of the target species. Collected data will be entered into a national database built and maintained by the National Institute of Invasive Species Science in Ft Collins, Colorado, and used by the US Fish and Wildlife Service to prioritize its efforts in controlling invasive species. An important component of the program is the early detection of incipient infestations. Volunteers are notified of invasive species present in the surrounding area and asked to be on the look out for these species on the refuge. Rapid response to small infestations is generally much more cost effective than waiting until a population gets out of control.

 

"The Refuge System is a uniquely American concept that protects our national heritage of splendid biodiversity," said Bill Hartwig, chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System. "If we don't act soon to stem the devastation invasives can do, the very life will be choked out of some our most wondrous wild places."

 

The six geographically and biologically diverse refuges chosen for this initial stage of the program are National Bison Range Complex in Moiese, MT, San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Newark, CA, San Bernard NWR in Brazoria, TX, Hobe Sound NWR in Hobe Sound, FL, Pondicherry NWR (a unit of Silvio O. Conte NWR) in Jefferson, NH, and Ottawa NWR in Oak Harbor, OH. On June 7 and 8, 2004, National Bison Range was the first of the six refuges to hold a two-day training session. Volunteer Training at the remaining refuges followed in June, July, and August.

 

By early September, the more than 30 volunteers trained through the program had mapped the spread of the invasive species of most concern in over 400 acres of refuge habitat. As these and other volunteers continue their work, they will add to the collection of data essential to effectively meeting this threat to our diverse natural heritage.

 


USFWS awards four states boating infrastructure grants

The USFWS has awarded nearly $4 million in Boating Infrastructure Grants (BIG) in Texas, Illinois, Oregon, and

Nebraska to improve marina facilities.

 

Funded Projects include:

 

Corpus Christi Marina, Corpus Christi, Texas 

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will receive $450,000 to help this marina develop 48 transient boat slips.  The BIG award is a part of a major renovation and addition being completed by the city of Corpus Christi.  The new transient boat slips will provide access to the area for off-shore fishing tournaments, special events, regattas, and other events.

 

Grafton Harbor Project, Grafton, Illinois 

The Illinois DNR will receive $996,000 for transient boat slips and facilities as part of the city's development of a new marina for boaters along the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers.  The new marina and transient boat slips will provide boaters access to Grafton that was previously not available.

 

Sandy Beach Project, Columbia River, Oregon

The Oregon State Marine Board will receive $749,138 to help this project develop a 520-ft. concrete breakwater and docking facility for transient boaters at the Sandy Beach Access area on the Columbia River.

NP Dodge Park Marina, Omaha, Nebraska

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will receive $930,692 to help the marina provide docking facilities for up to 40 transient boats at this marina.  The BIG award is part of a larger project being completed by the city of Omaha.  The new slips will provide transient boaters a link for their travels along the Missouri River.

 

The BIG proposals are reviewed by a panel of representatives from the FWS, as well as a committee from the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council.  The Council, a federally chartered body which advises the Secretary of the Interior and the Service on recreational fishing and boating issues, made an initial funding recommendation to the Service based on a review of project proposals by a Council-appointed committee. 

 

The Council's Boating Infrastructure Grant Program Review Committee members this year were: Mike Hough representing the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources; Ryck Lydecker of BoatUS; John Hardin representing Grady White Boats; Jim Frye of the National Marine Manufacturers Association; John Schwartz of the Michigan Sea Grant Extension Program; and Doug Boyd of the Coastal Conservation Association.

 

For more information, contact the Boating Infrastructure Grant Program, USFWS, Div of Federal Aid,  703-358-2156.

 


Pombo Gets under Skin of Environmentalists

California Republican Richard Pombo has been using the power of his office to sound off on “radical environmentalists,” an approach that has some in the movement huffing and puffing with indignation.   His press releases have gained momentum since early June when he launched a broadside against the Southern Appalachian Biodiversity Project for filing “frivolous, politically motivated lawsuits.” 

 

“I have never seen a law so abused in the name of a good cause,” said Pombo, chairman of the House Resources Committee..  Next, he blasted the left wing League of Conservation Voters for giving President Bush an “F” on the environment and, in another release, Pombo chastised the

Pew Ocean Commission for exaggerating problems they said existed along the nation’s coasts.

 

Marty Hayden of Sierra Club’s Earthjustice criticized Pombo for using tactics usually reserved for environmental groups.  “If anyone disagrees with you or has a different point of view, you demonize them and label them as extremists,” he said.  Pombo says he is merely trying to counter the environmentalist’s accusations that Republicans are anti-environment.

 

“The truth is, everyone cares about the environment,”  responded Pombo.


Regional

Lakes' restoration agenda defended

EPA chief says study needed before action

EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt defended the Bush administration's plan to study the Great Lakes before the government spends additional money on restoring it.

 

In May, Bush signed an executive order that created a federal interagency task force that is trying to understand the myriad responsibilities of dozens of government programs that deal with the Great Lakes.  Only after learning more about how all the programs work can officials in the region make a case for funding a cleanup, Leavitt said in a meeting with Journal Sentinel reporters and editors.

 

But some officials in the region, including Gov. Jim Doyle, and many environmental groups have argued that the time for study is over, and say the Bush initiative is little more than an election-year ploy for votes.  The lakes face an array of problems: beach closings, the threat from invasive species, overtaxed sewage systems and mercury pollution from smokestacks. In response, Congress has two bills for Great Lakes restoration - $4 billion in the House and $6 billion in the Senate.

But Leavitt said past measures have failed because members of Congress have worried about only their parts of the lakes. "One thing I am hearing is that the Great Lakes ought to be the next Everglades," Leavitt said, referring to the $7.8 billion restoration plan for the Florida Everglades.   But Leavitt said there were sharp differences between the Everglades and the Great Lakes.

 

The Everglades is entirely in Florida and under the control of federal agencies. The Great Lakes, bordering the U.S. and Canada, are part of eight states, hundreds of municipalities, and on a federal level alone, intertwined in some 140 government programs.  "To be frank with you, I'm not sure that there is any human on the planet who knows how much is spent on the Great Lakes now," Leavitt said.

 

Last year, Congress reported that $1.7 billion had been spent on about 50 state and federal programs between 1992 and 2001 to restore the Great Lakes, but there was little coordination of those cleanup efforts.    Leavitt said he expects a final report 12 months after the election.

 


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for September 24, 2004

Current Lake Levels:

Currently, all of the Great Lakes are higher than the levels of a year ago, ranging from 8 to 12 inches higher than last year’s levels. Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, and St. Clair are still below their long-time averages by 3, 11, and 3 inches, respectively. Lakes Erie and Ontario are above their long-time averages by 2 and 8 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:

A fast moving cold front is forecasted to push into the Great Lakes basin on Friday. This front will most likely not touch off any showers or thunderstorms. The weekend and next week are expected to be dry with seasonable temperatures.

 

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 continuing their seasonal decline and are expected to drop by 4-9 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.


Ruffe in Big Bay de Noc

A terse e-mail reports USFWS  collected the first ever Ruffe in Big Bay de Noc recently. In one of three 10-minute trawls on September 9 Fisheries Biologists collected a single 4.3"

female with eggs.  It had 3 hexagenia (mayflies) in its stomach. This was the first known Ruffe found in Big Bay de Noc.

 


General

Coast Guard praises E-TEC technology
Outboard engine manufacturer BRP Inc. (formerly called Bombardier) has received a key endorsement from the U.S. Coast Guard for its Evinrude E-TEC engines.

The Coast Guard praised the E-TEC engine as a “valuable control strategy” in addressing the level of carbon monoxide exposure to people in and around recreational boats, BRP reported last week. A recent CO study by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health documented the low levels of CO coming from an E-TEC engine, according to Capt. S.H. Evans, chief of boating safety for the Coast Guard.

“Such technologies will greatly aid in our goal of minimizing, if not eliminating, CO hazards associated with recreational boats,” Evans wrote in a letter to BRP. “The Office of Boating

Safety is hopeful that E-TEC-type outboard engine technology
will be promoted to recreational boats, both in new and re-powered boat installations.”

 

BRP is encouraging its dealers to post copies of the Coast Guard letter for consumers to see.

 

“If you’re looking for a third-party endorsement of E-TEC, I cannot think of a stronger one than this letter,” Roch Lambert, BRP’s executive vice president of product development, sales and marketing for North America, said in a statement.

In related news, Lambert said the company would begin delivering the E-TEC V-6 engines Oct. 4, one month ahead of schedule.  “We’ve completed our full test program and are ready to ship on Oct. 4,” Lambert wrote.


Virgil Ward, famous fisherman, dies at age 93

AMSTERDAM, Mo. (AP) -- Virgil Ward, who started making fishing lures as a side business and became one of the nation's best-known fishermen through his syndicated television show, has died at 93.  Ward died Monday of cancer at his home in Amsterdam, said his daughter, Barbara Ward.

 

Ward won a number of national and world fishing championships and received the Dolphin Award, the highest award in sports fishing. He was a member of both the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame and the International Fishing Hall of Fame.

 

"Virgil was one of the best fishermen in the country, and I've fished with a lot of them," said Frank Fensom, who had worked for Ward and owned a sporting goods store in Raytown. "He was honest and he didn't exaggerate. He just went out and backed up what he said."

 

Ward started a plumbing shop in Amsterdam in 1950, and added an appliance business to supplement it. He and his son Bill then started up the Bass Buster Lure Co. in the back

of the shop, patenting several fishing lure guards and jigs. They eventually sold the company to Johnson Fishing, now Johnson Worldwide Associates.

 

Ward began hosting a radio show that was broadcast on more than 200 stations and he also wrote a widely used newspaper column on fishing. His television show, "The Virgil Ward Championship Fishing Show," began in 1964 and was syndicated to stations throughout the country. Ward filmed fishing trips throughout the United States and in other countries, often joined by celebrity guests.

 

His daughter said he stopped doing the show about 10 years ago when he was first diagnosed with cancer. "He was just a really good fisherman," Barbara Ward said, and he went out for the last time on a lake behind his home a few weeks ago.

 

Ward and his wife, Cleda, observed their 70th anniversary last December. She survives, along with the daughters Barbara, of Amsterdam; Sandy Curnutte, of Drexel; and Karen Brown, of Appleton City; son Bill, of Warsaw; and nine grandchildren.

 


Indiana

Williams Dam repair to begin September 27

Repair will begin September 27 to Williams Dam, which is located on the East fork of the White River in Lawrence County. Access to the river immediately upstream and downstream of the dam will be restricted until the work is complete.

 

Williams Dam is the site of a public fishing area managed by the Indiana DNR. Bedford uses water impounded by the dam as a source of drinking water. The repair will not interfere with the supply of water to the city.  Signs will be posted in areas that anglers and boaters must avoid so workers can move their equipment and do their jobs. There will be no public access on the dam, on either bank of the river for 50 yards downstream of the dam, or on the catwalk over the dam.

 

Boating access also will be limited. With the exception of residents with riverfront property, no watercraft will be allowed between the Spice Valley boat ramp and the Williams Dam

ramp. People who live within this temporary no watercraft zone may move through the zone in a direct line between their residence and the Spice Valley ramp, which is upstream of the dam.

 

Weddle Brothers, a Bloomington, Ind. construction firm, will repair  a nine-foot by 14-foot concrete hole in the downstream face of the dam. The work is expected to be complete by Nov. 6. The lower than normal water level in the river makes this fall an opportune time to work on the dam.

 

The dam was built in 1910 and was used for many years to supply water for a hydroelectric plant. The dam has bulkheads inside the structure that reinforce concrete faces on the upstream and downstream sides. Engineers do not believe there is an immediate threat to the structural integrity of the dam.


Michigan

ORV planning meetings announced Oct 12, 13, 14

The Michigan DNR announced three October meetings to provide information and gather public input to update Michigan’s statewide Off-Road Vehicle Plan.

 

The plan guides state land managers’ decisions regarding ORV use on public lands administered by the DNR. The department is working to update the 25-year-old plan to reflect changes in public land use, as well as looking ahead to ensure appropriate ORV recreational opportunities are provided without negatively impacting the state’s natural resources. 

 

The DNR has contracted specialists from Michigan State University to facilitate public input through a series of public forums and surveys. The October meetings include a presentation to provide an overview of past plan efforts and issues, outline the status of the current planning, and gather public input.

 

Meetings are held from 7-9 p.m. at the following locations:

 

* Lansing – Oct. 12, Holiday Inn Lansing-South, 6820 Cedar

St.

* Grayling – Oct. 13, Holiday Inn Grayling, 2650 Business Loop S. I-75

* Marquette – Oct. 14, Ramada Inn, 412 West Washington St.

 

More information about the ORV plan, public meetings and how to participate are located on the DNR web site, www.michigan.gov/dnr .

 

“The process of updating Michigan’s ORV plan is specifically designed to maximize public input,” said Jim Radabaugh, state trails coordinator. “We encourage everyone to share their thoughts during this process.”

 

Those who cannot attend the meetings but would like to submit comments should email kubisias@michigan.gov , or mail written correspondence to Forest Mineral and Fire Management Division, C/O Steve Kubisiak, PO Box 30452, Lansing, MI 48909. A draft of the ORV plan will be posted on the DNR web site in January for public comment.

 

The ORV program is supported, in part, by the Michigan Off-Road Vehicle Trail Improvement Fund, which uses ORV license fees.


Top DNR enforcement chief named

The Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Division has a new chief, according to DNR Director Rebecca Humphries. Alan H. Marble assumed his new post as head the enforcement arm of the agency Sept. 13.

 

In addition to serving as acting chief for the division since January, Marble’s background includes time as a

conservation officer in White Pine and Cadillac and as a district law supervisor in Newberry and Bay City.  “Given that kind of experience, Alan has the ability to reach across division lines and geographic boundaries, and has established a wide network of connections outside the DNR,” Humphries said.

 

Marble, a resident of DeWitt, holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan.


Minnesota

Early youth antlerless deer season on tap for N.W. Minn. Oct 23-24

Innovative efforts to connect landowners and hunters

Minnesota's first-ever youth antlerless deer season will be held Oct. 23 - 24 in Kittson, Roseau, Lake of the Woods, Marshall and Pennington counties.

 

The state Legislature created the special deer season during the 2004 session. The law opens the five counties to antlerless deer hunting on the Saturday and Sunday coinciding with the annual school break for the state teachers' union convention. The hunt is limited to youth ages 12 to 14, who must be accompanied by a legal guardian. Participants may take one antlerless deer.

 

To participate, a youth must have a firearms safety certificate and purchase a valid Minnesota firearms deer license. The license can be valid for any Minnesota firearms zone. Every participant must register for the hunt through the Electronic License System (ELS) prior to the hunt by obtaining the free northwestern Minnesota youth antlerless deer season endorsement from an ELS vendor.

 

Participating in the special youth season does not disqualify youth hunters from hunting during the regular season. However, if they harvest a deer, the tag they use would not be available for them during the regular season. A bonus permit may be used during the youth season to tag deer to avoid using the primary firearms license.

 

The DNR has been working to prepare for the hunt with the legislation's sponsor, Minnesota Quality Deer Management. A Web site bulletin board has been set up by Minnesota Quality Deer Management to help landowners and potential hunters

get together. Landowners who wish to harvest additional antlerless deer from their property can post messages to attract hunters, and hunters looking for places to hunt can post and respond to messages. The Web site is www.mnqdm.com

 

According to Ryan Bronson, the DNR's hunter recruitment and retention program coordinator, special youth-only hunting opportunities are emerging in most states as a way to attract and keep more young people in the sport of hunting. Such hunts provide higher quality introductory experiences for new hunters, and provide adults with better opportunities to mentor potential hunters because they are not hunting themselves.

 

While Minnesota holds several special youth hunts for deer and turkeys, the northwestern Minnesota youth antlerless deer season is different in both scope and breadth. In general, DNR special hunts are held at locations that are otherwise closed to hunting. The numbers of participants are limited to safely operate within the hunt area. The northwestern Minnesota youth antlerless deer season is more akin to the regular deer season.

 

"Our largest special hunt area is 15,000 acres and limited to 150 participants," Bronson said. "This special youth season potentially encompasses millions of acres and has no limit on the number of participants. It has the potential to provide hunting opportunities for thousands of young hunters."

 

The northwestern Minnesota youth antlerless deer season endorsement is available through the ELS, wherever Minnesota hunting licenses are sold. There is no limit to the number of participants. The endorsement is available free of charge.


Lake Superior Coastal Program holds public meetings Sept 27, 29

Minnesota’s Lake Superior Coastal Program will undergo a performance evaluation by the National Oceanic Administration’s (NOAA) Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (OCRM) during the week of September 27-30, 2004.  This Coastal Zone Management program evaluation will be conducted pursuant to section 312 or the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972 (CZMA) as amended. Evaluations include site visits, consideration of public comments and consultations with federal, state and

local agencies and members of the public. The following public meetings will be held:

 

September 27, 7 PM, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Office, 525 Lake Ave South, Suite 400, Duluth, MN

September 29, 6 PM, County Board Room, Cook County Courthouse, 411 West 2nd St., Grand Marais, MN

 

Minnesota’s Lake Superior Coastal Program mission is to preserve, protect, enhance and restore coastal resources for present and future generations.


Meetings on proposed bass regulation changes set for September 29 at Orr

The Minnesota DNR will be hosting public meetings to gather input on proposed bass regulation changes on several Namakan Reservoir lakes.  The local meeting will be held at the Orr City Hall, September 29, 2004 at 7:00 pm. 

 

DNR staff will provide background information on the proposed regulation changes, answer questions, and take public input. The DNR has proposed a 12-inch maximum size limit for largemouth and smallmouth bass on all five lakes of the Namakan Reservoir: Kabetogama, Namakan, Sand Point, Crane, and Little Vermilion.  Under the proposed regulation,

anglers would be allowed to keep up to six bass less than 12” long.  The proposal is aimed at maintaining and improving the quality bass fishery that exists on these lakes and increase opportunities to catch large bass. 

 

People can send comments on the proposal to the DNR Area Fisheries Office in International Falls, 392 Highway 11 East; (218) 286-5220;    PRIVATE HREF="mailto:kevin.peterson@dnr.state.mn.us" MACROBUTTON HtmlResAnchor kevin.peterson@dnr.state.mn.us .  All comments must be received by October 13, 2004.

 


New York

DEC releases 25,000 pheasants for 2004 season

Pheasant Raising Programs Bolster Hunting Opportunities

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced that approximately 25,000 adult pheasants will be released on lands open to public hunting for this fall’s pheasant hunting season. The pheasant hunting season begins on October 1 in northern and eastern portions of NY; October 18 in central and western portions; and November 1 on Long Island.

 

The pheasants were raised at DEC’s Reynolds Game Farm in Ithaca. The majority of the pheasants will be released on State wildlife management and cooperative hunting areas prior to and during the fall hunting season. All release sites for pheasants provided by State-funded programs are open to public hunting.  A list of statewide adult pheasant release sites can be found by visiting the Department’s website at:

 www.dec.state.ny.us/website/dfwmr/wildlife/pheasant/

rnpstock.html

 

Hunters who plan to use private lands should ask permission from the landowner. In addition, hunters are also encouraged to hunt with a trained bird dog to improve their chances of finding pheasants and locating downed game.

 

Boundaries for pheasant hunting zones conform to Wildlife Management Units used for management of other upland wildlife. Hunters should review the 2004-2005 New York State Hunting & Trapping Regulations Guide for complete regulations and other important information before going afield. Wildlife Management Unit boundary descriptions can also be found on DEC’s website at: www.dec.state.ny.us/website/dfwmr/wildlife/wmunits.html


Pennsylvania

Point Access Closed Due to Flood Damage

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is advising anglers and boaters that the Point Access Area in Huntingdon County was extensively damaged by floodwaters and is being closed to the public.

       

Commission engineering staff will evaluate the damage at the site to determine a future course of action, but until further notice, those hoping to use the access will need to seek

another alternative.  Maps showing public accessible boat launches can be found in the “County Guides” section of the PFBC web site at www.fish.state.pa.us .

 

The Point Access Area is located off Route 22 east of Huntingdon.  It provides access to the Juniata River for public fishing and the launching canoes, kayaks and small powerboats.


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