Week of November 17 , 2003

National

Regional

Lake Ontario

Michigan

Minnesota

Pennsylvania

Wisconsin

       Weekly News Archives

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National

Salmon – benefits the prostate and heart

Helps regulate depression, and may reduce arthritis pain

The overall health-boosting, heart-smart benefits of this cold-water fish ― along with mackerel, sardines, and herring ― are well established. But bet you didn’t know that salmon may help fight prostate cancer.

 

In a 12-year study published in January in Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention, researchers from Harvard medical School and the National Cancer Institute discovered that men who eat fish, including salmon, more than three times a week were less likely to develop prostate cancer.

Most of the health-boosting credit in salmon goes to its treasure chest of omega-3 fatty acids, which also regulate depression and other mood disorders and are believed to reduce arthritis pain. “The acids in salmon and other fish help fight inflammation, so they are good for aches and pains,” says Kiefer. Other studies show frequent fish consumption may protect against Alzheimer’s.

           

May we suggest: Canned pink salmon has the highest amounts of omega-3s ― but also the most salt. Sockeye salmon has the most vitamin B12, important for nerves and blood cells.

 


Great Lakes Center a USCG certified testing center

Want to become a charter captain? – check them out.

If you're looking for nautical training, your search is over. Great Lakes Charter Training (GLC) offers a complete selection of courses, including USCG Captain's License Prep, Loran-C & GPS navigation, radar operation, marine electronics installation, marlinspike seamanship and recreational boater safety.

 

But GLC Training is more than just nautical training and services. Their mission statement reflects the full scope of their educational commitment.

 

Great Lakes Charter Training is one of the leading nautical training providers for a number of Fortune 500 companies, including Ford, GM, Daimler-Chrysler and LTV Steel. They have trained thousands of students since opening their first facility in Harrison Township, Michigan, in 1984. They now offer training centers throughout the USA. Training classes can be offered in any of the Great Lakes States, Florida, California, or any state in the country.

 

GLC Training Courses are intense, goal-oriented classes comprised of classroom, computer-aided and hands-on training by professional instructors. Their most popular course by far is their Captain's Course. Upon successful

completion, you will receive a Certificate of Achievement, preparing you to successfully complete the United States Coast Guard examination to operate vessels-for-hire, such as:

 

Fishing Charters, Marine Salvage, Rescue Vessels, Dive Boats, Sailing Charters, Towing, Cruise Ships, Ferrying, etc.  Their winter schedule of classes is:

 

December 6, 2003 –  Rockford, IL

January 17, 2004 – Harrison Township, MI  (Detroit area)

January 31, 2004 – Harrison Township, MI  (Detroit area)

February 21, 2004 –  Two Rivers, WI

February 28, 2004 – Harrison Township, MI  (Detroit area)

March 13-14, & 20-21, 2004 – Grand  Rapids, MI

March 27, 2004 – Harrison Township, MI  (Detroit area)

May 22, 2004 - Harrison Township, MI  (Detroit area)

 

Since 1984, thousands of GLC Training graduates have successfully achieved their dreams in the Marine Industry. As many of our alumni have observed, they are "getting paid to play with boats."

 

Call, write or e-mail for more information.  Tuition Assistance is available for all their classes. 800-227-.8635,  info@glctraining.com   http://www.glctraining.com/ 


Federal Aid dollars; is USFWS misspending it again?

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service recently gave $126,000 of our excise tax money to the Invasive Species Council of New York state. They also gave $40,000 of these tax dollars to the Congressional Sportsman’s Caucus Foundation. This last is a good bunch of Congressional ladies and gentlemen who hunt, shoot, and fish and should be appreciated and supported. That said, how unethical is it for state and Federal agencies to give tax money to legislators? Legislators, no more or less than judges, have no business getting tax funds no matter whether they call their front a "Foundation" or not.

 

These excise tax dollars, better known as Federal Aid in Sport Fish & Wildlife Restoration Funds are paid by you and me every time we purchase any fishing or boating product or marine gas.

 

Six years ago the USFWS was found (by the General Accounting Office) to have illegally taken and spent more than $45 million dollars from the $400 million dollars collected each year and authorized to ONLY be spent by state fish and wildlife agencies for wildlife and sport fish. The FWS used the ill-gotten money to do things like pay top people bonuses, to open an office in California after being forbidden to do so by Congress, and to introduce

wolves into Yellowstone also after being denied money by Congress to do so.

 

Admittedly, this occurred under the Clinton administration, however, some of the same folks involved in these thefts of federal monies are still holding onto their jobs in the USFWS under the Bush administration.  No one was ever punished for this massive breach of the public trust and the loss to hunting and fishing. States were reluctant to object because they get so much other Federal money that they didn’t want to jeopardize "working relationships" with fellow "fish and wildlifers" and other "partners." 

 

When Congress rewrote the law to prohibit future access to these funds by anyone but state agencies, they were resisted behind the scenes by the states own lobby group (who obtained more of the funds for their Washington office), and "conservation" stalwarts like the Wildlife Management Institute (who recommended letters of admonishment) to the sport fishing group that wanted to avoid further scandal and remain upbeat and happy. Fortunately Congress was outraged and voted 234 to 2 to tighten access to the funds by the FWS.

 

Maybe we need another GAO investigation into the expenditures of our Federal Aid dollars.


Nature Conservancy under federal investigation

Senate panel intensifies its probe

A six-month inquiry into the Arlington-based Nature Conservancy by the Senate Finance Committee has raised "new questions in a wide range of areas," leading investigators to intensify their pursuit of internal audits and property records they have been seeking, unsuccessfully, since last summer, according to committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa).

 

Committee investigators, who have been looking into the charity's management and real estate sales, are now particularly interested in the "valuation of land donations and the conservation-buyer program," Grassley said. The charity uses that program to sell property to private individuals, including Conservancy members.

 

In a statement, Grassley said he is reserving judgment until the investigation is concluded, but added: "I expect it

will become even clearer that reforms to existing law should accompany any new incentives for taxpayers to donate land for conservation." Grassley is sponsor of a bill backed by the Conservancy that passed the Senate earlier this year and which would provide hundreds of millions of dollars in new conservation tax breaks.

 

"There are some areas where the Finance Committee has yet to receive a complete response or will require additional information," Grassley and ranking Democrat Max Baucus (Mont.) wrote to the Conservancy last week. The Conservancy had said it could not hand over some of the records because it was bound by confidentiality agreements or did not want to release proprietary information. In its letter, the committee offered to subpoena the documents.

 

With $3 billion in assets, the Conservancy is the world's largest environmental group.


Regional

Dispersal Barrier Update

"No tagged common carp have been found past the barrier since last April," reports Dr. Philip Moy, chairman of the Barrier Advisory Panel and a Wisconsin Sea Grant fisheries biologist.  "Last week (Oct 20) Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS) researchers  Drs. John Dettmers and Rip Sparks and Tracy Barkley implanted transmitters in 15 more common carp obtained by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD). These fish were released below the barrier."

 

Created by the Illinois Legislature in 1889 to protect the water quality of Lake Michigan, the MWRD is a separate government agency — neither a part of the City of Chicago nor Cook County government. The District serves an area of 872 square miles which includes the City of Chicago and 124 suburban communities. The District's 547 miles of intercepting sewers (large pipes underground) range in size from 12 inches to 27 feet in diameter, and are fed by approximately 10,000 local sewer system connections.

 

The contract for the submerged hydrophones was awarded late September. Once the boring is complete and the hydrophones are installed the fish tracking ability at the site will be greatly improved. Funding for the hydrophones was provided by USEPA; MWRD is handing the on-site work through an agreement with the University of Illinois.

Asian Carp Monitoring

No Asian carp have been found at any of the four monitoring sites. There are three sites in Brandon Road Pool and one site in Lockport Pool. Monitoring is performed by MWRD, ILDNR, Chicago Army Corps and USFWS. Methods used include electrofishing, mini Fyke nets and trammel nets. The nets and anchors were purchased by the GL Fishery Commission.

Dispersal Barrier Contracts

The Corps awarded Smith-Root two contracts in October. One contract is for testing the effect of barges on the electric field at Barrier I. The field effect study will use two barge hulls both full and empty in various configurations and positions in the canal. The barges will be rigged with sensors to provide a three

dimensional map of the electric field as the barges move into, through and out of the array. Smith-Root will work with Dettmers and Sparks to assess the effect on caged live fish as well. Smith expects the field effects study to begin early in November and be completed in about 10 days. The results will be used to improve the design of Barrier II.

 

The second contract is to begin the design of Barrier II. Smith-Root is concerned about the restricted space between the road and the canal at the proposed second barrier site. They have suggested that the second barrier may have to be located nearer to the first barrier than originally thought, 600 ft rather than 1000 ft. Smith-Root, the Corps and the Barrier Advisory Panel will examine options for siting of Barrier II.

Bighead Barrier Tests at Havana

INHS station supervisor, Mark Pegg is continuing to test the electric barrier and acoustic-bubble barrier at Jake Wolf Fish Hatchery in Havana, IL. In tests with large bighead carp (600 mm) the electric barrier was100% effective and the acoustic array was 95% effective. In tests just begun with smaller silver carp (120 mm) the fish are staying away from the acoustic barrier but have been able to get past the electric barrier. Mark is working with Smith-Root to improve the apparent effectiveness of the electric array on smaller fish in the test troughs.

 

A gnawing problem are the river barges using the waterway; the ballast they carry and discharge, the shadow they cast, and the bow and stern thrusts generated by their movement.   Any one of these can aid in the movement and/or transfer of invasive species beyond the barrier – or even between the two barriers, if the barriers are placed within a 1,000 ft. of each other.  Often times, barge units extend 1,000 ft. or more, enhancing movement of aquatic species within the shadows of these barges.

 

The committee is still seeking funding for the Asian carp audiograms that will allow focusing of the acoustic array to the most sensitive range of Asian carp hearing. This will in turn, provide a better repel effect for the acoustic array.


Asian Carp Contract Fishery

Reducing the population to reduce the

threat

The Illinois Natural History Survey and IL DNR are examining ways to fund and most efficiently carry out an Asian carp removal project designed to reduce population abundance at the upstream end of the Asian carp distribution in the Illinois River.

There are processing plants along the river that are interested in purchasing commercially caught Asian carp. Contracting with commercial fishermen to remove Asian carp at the northern end of the Asian carp range may help delay the spread of the fish into the Des Plaines River and Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal.


Asian Carp numbers growing

Asian Carp numbers in the Illinois River are climbing.  Between 1988 and 1992, few bighead and silver carp were caught in the Illinois and Mississippi rivers, according to Illinois Natural History Survey biologists. Now, more than 55 tons a year have been pulled out of the rivers since 1994.

On October 30 this editor visited the Havana, IL River station for

a regional media outing and watched a survey gill net lifted. It had been set for 20 minutes; a few hundred yards north of the Havana, IL Natural History Survey station and it produced a net full of bighead and silver carp. It filled the survey boat's bow with the invasive critters. 

 

This is pretty scary stuff if these critters ever make it beyond the barrier and get established in the Great Lakes.

 


Asian Carp Rapid Response Plan

"The IL DNR is working with a rapid response subcommittee of the Barrier Advisory Panel to develop a plan to prevent the spread of Asian carp past the electric barrier at Romeoville, IL", says Dr. Philip Moy, chairman of the Barrier Advisory Panel and a Wisconsin Sea Grant fisheries biologist.  "In its present form, the plan involves ongoing monitoring for the presence of Asian carp in the Lockport Pool. Once Asian carp are found in the Lockport Pool during the normal monitoring effort, enhanced monitoring would be used to confirm the presence and determine the abundance and sizes of fish present".

 

"The objective of the response plan is to eliminate Asian carp from the lower Lockport Pool rather than responding to the fish once they are past the barrier. With approval of the rapid response subcommittee, the IL DNR would have the lead role in taking the rapid response action. At this time, the proposed action would involve dosing the canal with a fish toxin for 8 hours at a point just upstream of Barrier I and detoxifying the agent at Lockport Lock." added Moy.

 

Dennis Schornack, chairman of the U.S. section of the International Joint Commission and member of the Barrier Advisory Committee, said that if Asian carp were found above the barrier, "We'd nuke the river with rotenone and kill everything in about a five-mile stretch downstream. It would be a terrible public relations problem, but we'd have no choice. We don't want to see the Great Lakes as a giant carp pond."

Schornack, who participated in the recent media outing at the Havana, IL Illinois River Research Station on October 30, added that biologists from the Illinois DNR Natural History Survey and

 

the USFWS will watch for signs of carp in a large pool on the canal just downstream from the barrier. If an Asian carp is seen there, commercial fishermen will be hired to bring in nets, and "if we caught more than one or two of them, we'd treat the whole pool with rotenone," he said.

 

The USGS laboratory in Columbia Missouri is conducting tests on the effect of rotenone and antimycin on bighead and silver carp. Rotenone and antimycin are two fish toxicants commonly used by fish managers for sampling and fish eradication efforts. The tests are expected to be completed in November. The results will be used to calculate how much of the toxicant and detoxifying agents will be needed to achieve the desired effect for Asian carp elimination. Costs for the control effort may exceed $500,000. At this time, a source of funding for the effort has not been identified.

 

Major concerns surrounding the control effort involve the effect on barge operations in the area as the canal and Lockport Lock may have to be closed for as much as 36 hours. Personnel at the Midwest Generation power plant also have expressed concerns for the potential effect of fish impingement on their intake screens.

 

We are working with a communication strategy team to develop an outreach program to inform elected officials and residents in communities along the San-Ship Canal as well as regional interests about the need for and effects of the proposed Asian carp control effort. We are developing a fact sheet on the proposed control effort and anticipate holding a series of town hall meetings at four or five locations along the canal in late November and early December.


Regional - Weekly Great Lakes Water Level Update for Nov 14, 2003

Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, and St. Clair are 11, 22, and 11", respectively, below their long-term average.  Lake Erie is 6" below its long-term average while Lake Ontario is 3 inches above its long-term average.  Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron and St. Clair are currently 6, 6 and 3" respectively, below last year’s levels.  Lake Erie is at the same level as last year while Lake Ontario 10" above last year’s level.

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions:

The Lake Superior outflow through the St. Marys River into Lake Huron is expected to be below average during the month of November.  Flows in the St. Clair, Detroit, and Niagara Rivers  are also expected to be below average, while flow in the

St.Lawrence River is expected to be near average in November.

Forecasted Water Levels: 

All of the Great Lakes are into their seasonal declines.  Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are expected to decline 3 and 2", respectively.  Lakes St. Clair and Erie are both expected to decline 1".  Lake Ontario is expected to decline 4"  over the next four weeks.

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.


Lake Ontario

Toxic Chemicals killed all young Lake Trout in Lake Ontario for 40 years
Claim by  EPA Researchers disputed by other studies, researchers and agencies
MADISON, Wis. (Nov. 5, 2003) - A team of researchers has determined that dioxin and similar toxic chemicals were high enough in Lake Ontario to kill virtually every lake trout that hatched there from the late 1940s to the late 1980s. 

 

The findings differ from traditional explanations for the collapse of lake trout populations in Lake Ontario that focus on overfishing and attack by the parasitic sea lamprey.  EPA researchers are also challenging the many published studies that dispute their own findings, including those published by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab (NOAA), and Great Lakes Science Center (USGS) as well as traditional Great Lakes Sea Grant studies.

 

The researchers concluded that dioxin levels in lake trout eggs reached the 30 ppt mortality threshold in the early 1940s.  By the late 1940s, concentrations reached 100 ppt.  At that concentration, 100 % of juvenile trout can be expected to die, the authors reported.

The findings also suggest chemical contaminants may have complicated efforts by the U.S. and Canada to restore healthy populations of lake trout across the Great Lakes basin, according to Philip Cook, a research chemist and environmental toxicologist at the USEPA in Duluth, Minn., and lead author of the study.

The research results also show the importance and the feasibility of investigating possible harmful effects of other contaminants that haven't been studied well, Cook said.  The research was published in the September issue of the journal Environmental Science and Technology.  The report details results from a 15-year collaboration among a team of toxicologists, chemists, chemical and environmental engineers, and sediment dating experts.

 

Cook's study seems to be challenging  widely held scientific beliefs that many sources contributed to lake trout and other species declines and extirpation. Those other sources include: over-exploitation of lake trout and other fish stocks by commercial fishers, introduction of the sea lamprey, loss of habitat and spawning grounds, other industrial pollution and contaminant dumping from aerial non-point source pollution.


In one part of the work, a group of researchers led by toxicologist Richard Peterson at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that, in their early life stages, lake trout are among the most sensitive fish to dioxin (specifically, 2,3,7,8-TCDD), PCBs and similar chemicals.  At concentrations as low as 30 parts per trillion (ppt) dioxin in egg tissues, mortality of newly hatched fish exceeds normal rates.

"Thirty parts per trillion is an extremely small concentration, approximately equal to one drop in 500,000 gallons of water," said Peterson, who directed the UW-Madison component of the

study with support from the UW Sea Grant Institute.

 

Dioxin, PCBs and similar chemicals pass from water and sediments into small plants and animals near the bottom of aquatic food webs.  Because they are retained in tissues, they accumulate as they are passed to higher levels of food webs.  Animals near the tops of food webs, like lake trout, generally have the highest concentrations of such chemicals in their body tissues, Peterson said.

In their component of the study, Cook and his colleagues measured dioxin and other chemicals in samples of sediments, herring gulls, adult lake trout, other fish species and lake trout eggs from Lake Ontario. They used mathematical models to estimate from these measurements the concentrations in lake trout egg tissues between 1920 and 1990.

The researchers conclude that dioxin levels in lake trout eggs reached the 30 ppt mortality threshold in the early 1940s.  By the late 1940s, concentrations reached 100 ppt.  At that concentration, 100 % of juvenile trout can be expected to die, the authors reported.

Concentrations remained at or above these levels until about 1976, by which time environmental regulations had sufficiently reduced toxic contamination levels to again allow some egg survival, according to the study.  By 1982, egg concentrations had dropped to the point that no measurable direct mortality from dioxin was expected.

"That's the good news of the study," Cook said.  "It shows that pollution regulations can really be effective."  Cook points out, however, that researchers know much less about so-called "sub-lethal" effects of contaminants on lake trout, doses that do not kill the fish in laboratory tests but do impair critical functions like vision or swim bladder inflation.

"In natural environments, these low levels of contaminants could impair the recovery of lake trout populations," Cook said.  "Young fish may not be able to flee from predators or find food, and that could be happening out there today in the Great Lakes.  We don't know for sure about that - we're in a grey area with these low levels."

The work is an "elegant piece of science" that drew upon multiple sources of evidence to support its conclusions, according to Donald Tillitt, an environmental toxicologist and chief of the ecological research branch in the Biological Resources Division of USGS lab in Columbia, Missouri. of the USGS, Colombia, Mo.   "It allows us to quantitatively look at the effects of these chemicals [on lake trout]," Tillitt said. "It's a very significant piece of research." Tillitt at one time worked for the Michigan DNR (pre-DEQ days) and is a Ph.D. from Michigan State.

"It's one of the nicest case studies that have been done," agreed Scott Brown, an environmental toxicologist at Environment Canada's National Water Research Institute in Burlington, Ontario.


Those Old Dioxin Blues

Some small fry are exquisitely sensitive models of dioxin vulnerability

By JANET RALOFF

Since the 1940s, a wildlife poisoning episode has quietly been evolving in the Great Lakes. The problem has garnered almost no public notice, even though it may have contributed to the downfall of a 10,000-ton-per-year fishery -- one that today would be valued at $40 million annually.

 

While local communities have decried the loss of their prized lake trout -- one of the top aquatic predators in the Great Lakes -- scientists had until recently all but brushed off the possibility that the fish might have been poisoned. Instead, the majority had attributed the extinction of this trout in most of its range to more conventional causes, principally overfishing, predation by lampreys, and oxygen-depleted water, or eutrophication.

 

Over the past decade, however, teams of aquatic toxicologists headed by Philip M. Cook of the Environmental Protection Agency office in Duluth, Minn., and Richard E. Peterson of the University of Wisconsin-Madison have been investigating a curious coincidence. The lake trout's demise began at about the same time that large amounts of dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and their chemical kin were pouring into these lakes. What's more, concentrations of these pollutants peaked around 1970 -- just when fisheries managers began noticing that, although restocked lake trout had reached sexual maturity, their lake-spawned young were not surviving.

 

Dioxin like toxicants sabotaged these efforts to reintroduce a self-sustaining population of the fish, Cook and Peterson argue in several studies to be published later this year. They even

make the controversial claim that exposure to these pollutants before 1960 "probably contributed to the decline and virtual extinction" of this trout in Lake Ontario and perhaps in the other lakes.

 

There's good news, however. After more than 25 years of restocking the trout, "we are just beginning to see success," says Cliff Schneider, a biologist at the Cape Vincent (N.Y.) Fisheries Station. In Lake Ontario, historically the most dioxin-contaminated of the Great Lakes, "each year now, for the last 4, we've had successful reproduction that's gone beyond the fry stage."

 

Still, the fish may not be home free. As pollutant concentrations fall, new laboratory tests suggest that less-than-lethal amounts of dioxin like pollutants may cause harm. Moreover, several newly identified lake contaminants appear at least as harmful to fish as the 2,3,7,8-chlorinated dioxin (TCDD). Until recently, TCDD was considered the most potent dioxin like toxicant.

 

The five Great Lakes constitute the world's largest freshwater system. Until midway through this century, the silvery lake trout, which can live to 30 years and grow to more than 30 pounds, reigned as undisputed king.

 

"The importance of lake trout in the food web cannot be overstated," says Marc Gaden of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission in Ann Arbor, Mich. This trout's collapse "allowed alewife and smelt populations to expand, which set off a disruptive chain reaction." Today, the Great Lakes' fish population is less diverse than it was before the trout's decline, Gaden notes, and species abundances oscillate far less predictably.


Michigan

MI - Lake trout survey to begin in Marquette area

Michigan DNR Fisheries Research personnel, aboard the State Research Vessel Judy, began conducting a survey of lake trout in Marquette’s Upper Harbor and in the area around Partridge Island near Presque Isle on October 26. Survey completion is planned for mid-November, weather permitting.

           

The primary objective of the study is to determine the abundance of spawning lake trout, then tag and release the fish. Additionally, Marquette State Fish Hatchery personnel will be using the lake trout tagging process as an opportunity to collect eggs from wild lake trout.  A temporary work station for egg collection will be set up at the Lake Superior and Ishpeming Railroad access area near Presque Isle.

           

The tagging study is part of a cooperative project with the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission that has been ongoing for over 15 years. The effort provides regular and valuable biological data that allows researchers to monitor the health, abundance, distribution and age of the lake trout population in Lake Superior. Data collected in this and similar studies are used to determine allowable harvest levels for sport and tribal fisheries as well as contribute to other research.

           

DNR nets will be set to capture lake trout, collect data and attached numbered tags to the fish. The nets, which are 1,200 feet long and set six (6) feet from the lake bottom, will be marked with black-flagged buoys as well as DNR identification. The nets will be checked often by DNR personnel. Additionally, separate black buoys, marked

with a blue “X” will be set around the nets as part of a study to determine relative water temperatures.

 

Anglers are asked to not fish between the black flags marking the ends of the nets, or too close to the marker flags, as their fishing tackle may become entangled in the research gear.

           

Those who catch a tagged fish are asked to contact the DNR Fisheries Research Station at the Marquette State Fish Hatchery or any DNR office. Anglers will be asked to provide information on when and where the fish was caught as well as the tag number. Biologists can then respond with information on where and when the fish was tagged. Some of the tags have a $5.00 reward for this information. There are also some tagged fish that have a $100 reward if the entire fish is turned over to researchers. These fish carry a surgically implanted device that logs temperature and depth data. The reward opportunity will be clearly marked on the tag. These fish should be kept whole and not frozen.

           

Fish tagged around Marquette have been found in Keweenaw and Whitefish Bays, while fish tagged in Wisconsin and Minnesota waters are commonly found in the Marquette area, indicating that fish tend to migrate great distances, and most often with the currents of Lake Superior, which tend to flow counter-clockwise.

           

Questions or comments about the survey or egg collection can be forwarded to Shawn Sitar, State Fisheries Biologist, Marquette Fisheries Research Station, 906-249-1611, ext. 310.


MI - Lake trout limits may be adjusted

MUNISING — Michigan DNR officials may consider relaxing lake trout regulations for Munising Bay early next year. But for now, stricter rules put in place over recent months will remain in effect until sportfishing catch quotas determined from computer models are known in March.

 

The current regulations are a daily possession limit of two lake trout. The minimum size limit is 15" and the maximum size limit is 29". However, one fish in the daily bag limit may be 34: or greater in length. Fish that are greater than 29" and less than 34" may not be kept.  The season is open all year.  These regulations cover an area referred to as MI-6, which stretches from Au Sable Point west to Laughing Fish Point in Alger County and north to the international boundary with Canada.

 

For the past two years, the sportfishing quota for Munising Bay was exceeded, which forced penalties on the fishermen there. To prevent a third year of exceeding the total allowable catch, the DNR put the special regulations in effect. Even stricter penalties are put into effect for

exceeding a quota for three years in a row, Scott said.

 

The DNR said that dropping the daily bag limit from three lake trout to two seems to have had a positive effect on reducing the number of fish taken and has helped anglers avoid surpassing the quota. The number of fish caught by anglers is partially determined by creel census figures from boat ramps. DNR officials also assume a 15% mortality rate for fish caught and released back into the lake. An estimate of fish caught by charter boats is also included in the catch figures.

 

Last week, the Natural Resources Commission agreed to continue the current special regulations until March 31, 2005. But that could change next spring, depending on the quota set for MI-6, which is determined in March via computer modeling techniques.

 

Last year’s sportfishing quota for MI-6 was 25,000 lbs of lake trout.  The basis for the quotas and penalties is the 2000 Consent Decree. Parties to the decree include the DNR, anglers, commercials and five Michigan tribes.


MI - Tribal rights again at issue

A long-awaited legal battle over the rights of Native Americans to hunt and fish according to their own rules in 37 Michigan counties is underway. State attorney general Mike Cox filed pleadings in federal court asking for judicial resolution of a dispute over whether provisions of an 1836 treaty between the U.S. and five Michigan Indian tribes remains in force.

 

The treaty dispute could have long-range implications for the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians as well as recreational hunters and fishermen, both Native American and non-Native, who enjoy the county’s natural resources.

 

Officials of state and county law enforcement agencies and the Michigan DNR say the move will break a legal logjam that has resulted in confusion over which set of natural resources regulations should be enforced, and by whom.  Tribal attorneys agree the issue should be decided in federal court, but disagree on the state’s interpretation of the treaty.

 

According to "Article Thirteenth" of the 1836 Treaty of Washington, Indians retained the right to hunt on lands they ceded to the U.S. "until the land is required for settlement." The 1836 treaty led to statehood for Michigan in 1837.

 

Since 1996 the GTB and other tribes have been issuing their own hunting and fishing licenses and enforcing rules that sometimes allow greater opportunities to tribal members than to state-licensed hunters and fishermen, according to state officials.

 

Confusion over enforcement of natural resources regulations came to a head most recently in Leelanau County when a tribal member licensed by the GTB shot and killed an antlerless deer in Nov. 2001 on private property without permission of the land owner. A Michigan DNR officer cited the tribal member, and Leelanau County prosecutor Sara Brubaker authorized criminal charges against the tribal member in March 2002.

 

However, state and tribal officials convinced Brubaker that a potentially lengthy and expensive individual "test case"

 was not advisable. In September 2002, the tribal member

ended up pleading guilty to a charge of  "recreational trespass" in 86th District Court, but Brubaker’s charges of  "unlawful taking of an antlerless deer without a proper permit" were held in abeyance pending resolution of inland rights issues in federal court.

 

The tribal member also pleaded guilty in Tribal Court to violating the GTB’s hunting regulations which also prohibit hunting on private property without permission of the landowner. The tribal member ended up paying fines in both Tribal Court and the state court.

 

Litigation over the meaning and effect of the 1836 treaty began in state courts in 1971 and federal courts in 1973 in connection with disputes over Tribal member use of large mesh gill nets on the Great Lakes, according to a news release from the attorney general’s office. Issues involving the commercial Great Lakes fishery were resolved through a federal court consent agreement in 1985 which was updated in 2000.

 

"Both court systems found that the Great Lakes would never be 'settled' within the meaning of the Treaty and, therefore, that these tribes’ right to fish in those waters would always exist,” according to the AG’s statement. "The courts, however, did not address the question of inland hunting and fishing rights."  Tribal members feel strongly that provisions of the 1836 treaty are being misinterpreted by the state.

 

Tribal attorneys and state attorneys alike speculate it will likely take several years for the issue to be resolved in federal court. The five Michigan Indian tribes will first need to confer with the U.S. Government, then decide on a course of action before U.S. District Court Judge Richard Enslen hears the case. Attorneys said they expected to meet a series of filing deadlines over the next year, and the case will not likely go to trial until sometime in 2005.

 

"Having these issues in limbo has not been good for anyone, Indians or non-Indians," said Jim Eckdahl, head of the Native American Affairs Division of the Michigan DNR. "Eventually, we hope resolution of this case will eliminate some of the confusion and uncertainty that his been in evidence for a number of years. It will be helpful for everybody to know exactly what the rules are."


Minnesota

Critics say carp barrier proposal is all wet

Mississippi River barrier too costly, may not even work

ST. PAUL - An underwater electric barrier across the Mississippi River to stop the northward spread of Asian carp would cost $15 million to $25 million, according to a preliminary report, and some experts doubt it would even work. The report was presented last month to natural resource officials from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and several federal agencies.

 

Jeff Smith, president of Smith-Root Inc., a fisheries technology company in Vancouver, Wash., which prepared the study, cautioned that the construction price is an early estimate.  No decision has been made on whether to build the barrier, said Mark Holsten, deputy natural resources commissioner for Minnesota

 

Two dozen officials at a four-hour meeting in St. Paul

formed a steering committee to look at ways to block the carp on the Mississippi River, and to pay for a comprehensive study.

 

The underwater barrier would be similar to one that Smith-Root built last year in a canal near Chicago that connects Lake Michigan with the Illinois River. The barrier's underwater electric cables send out shocks that repel fish.  Smith has the contract to build the second one also.

 

Some DNR officials raised concerns about the feasibility of any electric barrier in a river as large as the Mississippi. Sediment and debris could cover the electric cables or damage them, they said, and high water might interrupt the curtain of electricity. Other officials said that a barrier would prevent native migratory fish from moving upstream to spawn.

 


Pennsylvania

PA - Fish sampling on the Monongahela and Ohio Rivers

Biologists with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission directed a multi-agency state and federal work force performing fisheries sampling on the Monongahela and Ohio Rivers last month. Sampling took place in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lock chambers on the Monongahela River at Braddock Lock and Dam, Maxwell Lock and Dam, Grays Landing Lock and Dam, and on the Ohio River at Montgomery Lock and Dam.

           

A fish toxicant was used to collect all fish in the lock chamber to determine total fish species present, their

lengths, and their weights. The data will be used to document current conditions and then link them to historical sampling data from numerous years collected back as far as 1968. This work, along with fish sampling by electrofishing in Spring 2003, will be used to document the quantity and quality of the fish populations in the Monongahela River.

 

The sampling work is part of a larger Monongahela River Watershed study. Agencies involved in the fisheries work will include the PFBC, PA Dept. of Environmental Protection, W VA DNR, Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission, USEPA, and the USACE.


PA - Concilla favors lake stamp

"I want a Lake Erie stamp, not a species specific stamp" said Sam Concilla, president of the state Senate and House Game and Fisheries Committee. "The Lake Erie stamp would support all the programs in Lake Erie." According to SONS president, Jerry Skrypzak, the group is in favor of a Lake Erie stamp, if the money Is used for the Lake Erie watersheds; if the regular budget would stay the same and not be reduced by the stamp; if the stamp

would not be more than $3 to $5; and if there would be no special steelhead stamp.

 

Concilla thought that an $8 stamp would not go over, but that a $5 stamp would probably be accepted by anglers. The nearly half million dollars that a $5 stamp would raise each year could be a great benefit to the Lake Erie programs if those funds actually are used for the lake area.


PA - PFBC Photography Competition

Fall fishing and boating shots perfect for Photography Competition

There is still plenty of time to participate in the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission's annual amateur photography contest. 

           

To enter, amateur photographers may submit original works taken in Pennsylvania that illustrate the beauty of the Keystone State's fishing, boating, and aquatic resources. Images may be entered in one of five categories: seasonal fishing/boating, family fishing/boating, young anglers/boaters, fishing/boating resources and

reptiles/amphibians/ aquatic invertebrates. Applicants are limited to a maximum of two entries per category.

 

Contest winners will receive a set of limited edition PFBC patches. Winning photographs may be featured in Pennsylvania Angler & Boater Magazine, the Keystone State's Official Fishing and Boating Magazine, on the Commission's web site, and in publications and exhibits.

           

For full contest rules, and an entry form, visit the Commission's web site at www.fish.state.pa.us. Entries must be received on or before December 31, 2003.


Wisconsin

WI - Communities receive funds for boating projects

MADISON –The DNR recently announced that 4 Wisconsin units of government and 3 lake protection and rehabilitation districts will receive grants totaling $391,594 to make improvements for recreational boating in their communities.

 

The grants were approved at the October 22 meeting of the Wisconsin Waterways Commission, a five-member commission appointed by the governor to determine the need for recreational boating facilities and to approve financial aid to local governments and agencies for the development of recreational boating projects. Funds for grants come from the state Water Resources Account and are raised through a formula transfer of excise tax on gasoline used for marine purposes.

 

Units of government and qualified lake associations interested in applying for matching funds for recreational boating projects should contact the community services specialist at their regional DNR office. Eligible sponsors also include town sanitary districts and other local governmental units established for the purposes of lake management.

 

The commission approved 6 new projects and 1 cost overrun request to an existing project. Grant agreements for the approved projects will be released by the

Department over the next several weeks.

The following is a list of projects:

 

City of Chetek, Barron Cty: $52,500 to replace the existing boat launch and accessible boarding dock at the Ski Site boat launch to Chetek Lake.

Calumet Cty: $81,492 to dredge navigation channels between the boat launch lanes and Lake Winnebago at the Calumet County Park Access.

Big Cedar Lake Protection & Rehabilitation District, Washington Cty: $62,927 to acquire a mechanical weed harvester, a shore conveyor, trailer and transport barge for use on Big Cedar Lake.

City of Oconomowoc, Waukesha Cty: $92,500 to acquire a mechanical weed harvester, trailer and shore conveyor for use on Fowler Lake.

Chute Pond Lake District. Oconto Cty: $43,075 to acquire a mechanical weed harvester for use on Chute Pond Lake.

Williams Lake Protection & Rehabilitation District, Marquette County: $40,000 to acquire a mechanical weed harvester for use on Williams Lake.

Town Of Bailey’s Harbor, Door Cty: $19,100 to amend the existing Bues Pont Access to Moonlight Bay on Lake Michigan.

 

The next meeting of the Commission is tentatively scheduled for February,  2004.


WI- Boats, snowmobiles and ATV online registered renewal available

MADISON – Owners of approximately 104,000 snowmobiles looking to renew their registration will be among the first to have the opportunity to try out a new Online Recreational Vehicle Registration Center for Wisconsin.

 

The online service now allows owners of snowmobiles, boats and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) to renew their existing registration 24 hours a day, seven days a week with the Department of Natural Resources via the Internet through state of Wisconsin Web site.

 

“Our customers have been asking for this service,” said Rita Harnack, chief of the DNR Registrations and Permits section. “While at this point the service is for renewals only, our ultimate goal is make this renewal Web site the foundation for all recreational vehicle transactions. As more work is completed, customers will eventually be able to register new vehicles in addition to renewing their current registration.”

This DNR Web site is the latest in customer-friendly and efficient offerings from DNR aimed at those who not only enjoy life in the great outdoors, but who also surf the Web. Registration pages can be accessed through any of the web sites: www.snowmobile.wisconsin.gov , www.atv.wisconsin.gov , www.boat.wisconsin.gov, www.recreationalvehicle.wisconsin.gov .

 

Master Card® or Visa® credit cards may be used to pay renewal fees. An additional $1 fee will be charged for renewals over the Internet that will help support the costs for this service. Any expired recreational vehicle can be renewed no matter when it expired. Decals and registration certificates are processed and mailed within seven days.

 

"A real incentive for using the new service besides convenience is that customers may print a validated receipt after completing their online registration renewal," says Harnack. "Having that receipt in hand means you may legally operate your recreational vehicle while waiting for registration documents to arrive in the mail.


WI - Angler education workshops being held around state

MADISON – Anglers can learn more about passing on their love of fishing -- and of Wisconsin lakes and rivers -- to youngsters a by attending one of a number of angler education workshops that began statewide Nov. 15.

 

These DNR angler education workshops train volunteer instructors who can then offer programs in their own communities to introduce children to basic fishing skills and knowledge of Wisconsin lakes and streams, says Theresa Stabo, DNR aquatic resources educator.

 

"An important goal of the angler education program is to help people make the connection between our actions on the land, how they affect aquatic habitats, and the health of Wisconsin's fishery,"  Stabo says. "So workshop participants will learn how to teach youngsters to tie knots, cast a line, and reduce and improve fish habitat in their community."

 

Adults who attend the day-long workshops receive free materials that they can use to teach their own angler education courses. Materials are aligned with Wisconsin state academic standards and link one of Wisconsin's most venerable traditions to social studies, language arts, fine arts and physical education. Fishing equipment and other materials are available on loan to the instructors for their programs.

 

Because DNR relies on volunteer instructors to arrange and teach the angler education courses, people who already work with children are particularly good candidates to attend the workshops, even if they don’t have advanced fishing skills.

 

Teachers can receive five Department of Public Instruction clock hours by completing the workshop.

 

The national program, Hooked On Fishing, Not On Drugs (HOFNOD), complements Wisconsin's Junior Angler Program. While Junior Angler focuses on fishing skills and Wisconsin waters, HOFNOD focuses on life skills to help kids learn to make healthy lifestyle choices, Stabo says. Training and materials for HOFNOD are available upon request when registering for scheduled workshops.

 

Stand-alone DNR angler education workshops are free but

angler education workshops done in combination with other aquatic resources education programs such as Project WET (Water Education for Teachers) have fees to cover the cost of the additional materials.

 

Choose the workshop nearest you and register with the local contact at least two weeks in advance. Unless otherwise noted, all workshops are free of charge and include lunch or dinner. Workshop dates and other details are listed below; more workshops are always being planned so continue to check the Fish and Habitat Program’s Web pages for additional event dates.

 

2003-2004 Angler Education Workshops:

Nov. 15, Fennimore. 9-3 p.m., CESA 3 Office, 1300 Industrial Dr. Contact Lisa Schaefer (608) 822-3276  lschaefer@cesa3.k12.wi.us  . (Note: Hooked On Fishing, Not On Drugs will be presented at this workshop for no additional charge.)

 

Dec. 13, Ashland. 9-3 p.m., CESA 12 Office, 618 Beaser Ave. Contact: Sharon Huybrecht (715) 682-2363. (Note: Hooked On Fishing, Not On Drugs will be presented at this workshop for no additional charge.)

 

Jan. 8, 2004, Delafield. 5-9 p.m., Lapham Peak Nature Ctr, N846 W329 Hwy C. Contact Melissa Brunner (608) 261-6431 Melissa.Brunner@dnr.state.wi.us  .

 

Feb. 24, 2004, Hubertus. 4-8:30 p.m., Camp Minikani, 860 Amy Belle Lake Rd. Contact Steve Mahler (262) 628-5000, ext. 122 smahler.mi@ymcamke.org . (Note: Project WET training will also be conducted at this workshop. There will be a $20 fee for the Project WET materials.)

 

March 13, 2004, Milwaukee. 9-3 p.m., Great Lakes Water Institute, 600 E. Greenfield Ave. Contact Melissa Brunner (608) 261-6431, Melissa.Brunner@dnr.state.wi.us .

 

April 21, 2004, Spooner. 4-8:30 p.m., Tommy G. Thompson State Fish Hatchery, 951 W. Maple (Hwy. 70). Contact Gary Lindenberger (715) 635-4149, Gary.Lindenberger@dnr.state.wi.us . (Note: Project WET training will also be presented at this workshop. There will be a $20 fee for the Project WET materials.)

 

For more info: Theresa Stabo - (608) 266-2272


WI - 2003 regular gun deer season runs Nov. 22-30

Special rules apply in CWD management zones

MADISON -- Wisconsin regular nine-day gun deer season opens statewide Saturday, Nov. 22, and state wildlife officials say, if weather cooperates, hunters should have plenty of opportunities to fill deer tags and continue to help reduce the size of the state’s deer herd.

 

Wildlife officials estimate the state’s deer herd is about 1.4 million animals statewide, with more than a third of the state’s 135 deer management units estimated to be more than 20 percent over their population goal.

 

Last year, hunters registered 277,755 deer during the regular nine-day season, according to Brad Koele, assistant deer ecologist for the Department of Natural Resources.

 

“The 2003 gun opener will be one day earlier than last year, but still is a late opening date compared to most years,” Koele said. “Therefore, like last year, hunters will not likely see bucks in the rut during the gun season. The rut -- or deer mating season -- was reported in full swing over much of the state in late October and early November.”

 

Many deer management units in Wisconsin continue to be significantly above population goals, which Koele said take into account such things as deer habitat, agricultural damage, and vehicle deer accidents. In addition, wildlife officials are continuing efforts to drastically reduce the deer herd in a large section of southern Wisconsin surrounding the area where deer infected with CWD have been found.

 

As a result, extra permits are available for hunters to shoot deer in designated units. Hunters receive one free Zone T permit with each deer hunting license (gun and archery) they purchase that can be used to shoot an antlerless deer in any of the 47 designated Zone T units during any deer hunting season. In addition to Zone T, many DMUs will have bonus antlerless permits available for hunters who wish to harvest additional antlerless deer. Bonus antlerless deer permits are available for purchase ($12 resident, $20 non-resident) from any license agent.

 

For the CWD management zones, hunters can acquire up to four free “earn-a-buck” permits a day that can be used throughout the CWD zones to shoot antlerless deer. Upon registering an antlerless deer, a hunter receives a free

buck permit that can be used to shoot an antlered deer in the CWD zone. These permits are in addition to the regular license permit, which allow hunters to shoot one deer of either sex in a Zone T unit or the unit in which a hunter applied for and received a hunter’s choice permit. However, within the CWD management zones, hunters must fill an “earn-a-buck” permit before filling their regular license permit with an antlered deer.

 

The high deer populations also triggered two special Zone T antlerless only hunts this year. The first was held Oct. 30 to Nov. 2, with preliminary numbers indicating hunters registered almost 38,800 deer. The second Zone T hunt will be held Dec. 11 to 14. To minimize conflicts with other winter recreationists in the northern part of the state, Zone T DMUs north of Highway 8 will not participate in the December Zone T hunt again this year. There is also a muzzleloader deer season from Dec. 1 through 10.

 

Thirty-one of this year’s Zone T units have been designated as Zone T for a second or third consecutive year. If a sufficient level of herd reduction is not achieved in these units in 2003, they may be subject to earn-a-buck season regulations for the 2004 season.

 

CWD management zones

Hunters in southern Wisconsin need to pay close attention to the season structure and boundaries in the CWD Intensive Harvest Zone and the Herd Reduction Zone. The Intensive Harvest Zone has more than doubled from last year and portions of some units have been added to the Herd Reduction Zone this year. The season structure and regulations in both zones are similar to last year, with hunters being required to earn-a-buck by shooting an antlerless deer first.

 

Deer management units, including state park units, located in the chronic wasting disease Herd Reduction and Intensive Harvest Zones will again have special regulations for the 2003 season. The CWD Zones include DMUs 54B CWD, 70 CWD, 70A CWD, 70B CWD, 70C, 70D, 70E CWD, 70F, 70G CWD, 71 CWD, 73B CWD, 73E CWD, 75A CWD, 75B, 75C CWD, 75D CWD, 76 CWD 76M CWD, and 77A CWD. In addition to the earn-a-buck season structure these units have extended gun and archery seasons that run through Jan. 3, 2004.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Brad Koele (general deer hunting) (608) 261-7589 or Jenny Pelej (CWD information) - (608) 266-0920


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