Week of December 13 , 2004

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National

Regional

General

Indiana

Minnesota

Pennsylvania

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World

It’s OK to say Merry Christmas


National

Barrier II Construction under way

Funding & for Barrier I unsettled

Barrier II construction is finally under way and after a recent site inspection by the Barrier Committee, it appears we will have a barrier that will last significantly longer than Barrier I.

 

Jeff Smith of Smith-Root, the general contractors of the project tell us the capacitors of Barrier II are 20 times the size of Barrier I, and the electrodes are built to last at least 50 years. Photos show the level of construction and quality of thematerials being used.  The electrodes – sixty of them, are each 160 ft long, and weigh 88 lbs per lineal ft.   

 

Questions now remain “Will Barrier I be permanent?”  We need Congressional support for funding and establishing the first barrier as a permanent barrier and not just the demonstration project it was ultimately relegated. . The letter must clearly state why we need Barrier I to be permanent. Barrier I has had no problems, though one of the electrodes is corroding.  The Corps received no funding to operate Barrier I in FY05. They are absorbing those costs right now (~ $1800/mo).  Meanwhile we still need O&M money for Barrier II.

 

Construction of Barrier II began the last week of October. Some of the ground clearing is complete and work has started on welding together the steel billets that will comprise the electrodes. The boring for the electrodes is being done. Smith gets weekly aerial photos of the construction site. The next step will be forming and placement of the concrete sleepers that hold the cables in place on the bottom of the canal. The pulsators are being built at the Smith-Root plant in Washington. The US Army Corps of Engineers expects the buildings to be erected in January and that the barrier will be turned on for the shake-down in February 2005.

 

The full funding for barrier II will be provided by the GreatLakes states and additional federal funds. The GL States will provide $575,000; Illinois will contribute $100,000, the other GL states will each contribute $67,857. Illinois has signed an agreement with 4 states (NY, MI, WI and MN). Ohio is in the process of signing the papers; Pennsylvania wants to pass the funds thru Sea Grant. Indiana has had an administration change since the election which may generate some questions. IL has set up a non-appropriated account to hold the funds.

 

The federal funds will come out of Construction General money; this moved the project from 1135 funding though the cost share stayed the same. However, this does not mean the barrier will be a federal project unless there is some legislative change. Ownership of Barrier II will fall to IL legislation is approved, then it will become a federal project. We need legislation to make the project fully federal. Committee members should,

as they are permitted to, push for federal legislation to make the barrier a Corps-operated project.

 

There is no specific money for the barrier project within the CG funds. The Corps will have to carve money out of other projects. The Corps will be able to operate Barrier II during the shake-down phase and safety tests. Once barrier II is up, barrier I will be shut down. The Corps needs a letter from the Committee justifying and recommending continued operation and maintenance of Barrier I.

 

The Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS) has released 118 tagged common carp below Barrier I since the start of monitoring. The hydrophones installed in April have helped track fish near the barrier; monitoring occurs on a 24-hour basis. Manual monitoring is still performed too. Seventy-five of the fish have left the barrier area. The fish do seem to learn that they will not be able to get through the barrier. Many of the fish are found downstream near a warm water discharge and near a grain elevator and sunken barge.

 

The INHS plans to release fish between Barrier I and Barrier II once both are fully functional. Barrier II will have a hydroacoustic monitoring system as well as the telemetric monitoring. The hydroacoustics will track whether fish are probing the barrier; the telemetry tracks individual fish. Currently there are no plans to release fish above the barrier. The monitoring is currently funded by USEPA – GLNPO and the Corps.

 

No Asian carp have been seen or captured during the monitoring effort from March, 2002 to October 2004. Four stations (Mile posts 292.4, 290.0, 280.9 and 286.0) are monitored using electrofishing, trammel nets and mini-fyke nets.

 

In November 2004 a dead silver carp was found floating in thecanal about 1.5 miles downstream from the barrier site. The fish was 32 inches long and estimated to be 5 to 7 years old. There is no way to tell how the fish got to where it was found; it could have been lying dead on a barge having jumped onto the deck and fell off in the vicinity.

 

From the early days of  Committee discussions it was envisioned a two-barrier system with a control area between.  Only through the maintenance and continued operation of Barrier I will we be able to achieve the two-barrier array originally recommended by the Panel.  It was agreed that barrier I should be maintained / improved and should continue to operate for the foreseeable future as part of a two-barrier system.


Reform act a boost to migratory birds

Bill's passage stops protection of harmful species

A piece of federal legislation titled "Migratory Bird Treaty Reform Act of 2004." was designed to clarify, in statute, that the protections and programs outlined in the watershed Migratory Birds Act of 1916 and the Congressionally approved regulations attached to the Act in 1918 apply only to native birds, not the continent's increasing and increasingly problematic alien or exotic bird populations.

 

Triggering the legislation was a legal confrontation over how to address problems created by the booming population of mute swans along portions of the Eastern Seaboard. Mute swans are not native to North America, as are tundra and trumpeter swans. And they have become a problem.

 

The large waterfowl were introduced accidentally or purposely released in several areas over the past century. In one of the most publicized infestations of mute swans, a population of as many as 4,000 mute swans now live year-round in the Maryland reach of Chesapeake Bay, having started from a flock of five mute swans accidentally released in 1962.

 

When state and federal agencies began trying to address the issue by reducing the number of mute swans — killing them — swan protectors filed a lawsuit.

A federal court in Washington, D.C., ruled in 2002 that the Migratory Bird Treaty Act covers all migratory birds, even if they are invasive aliens. As such, any attempt to control mute swans must go through the extensive and expensive procedures involved in the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Eliminating the mute swans would be prohibited.

 

The federal court's interpretation of the law meant the protections offered by the MBTA were extended to all non-native avian species in this country. In the wake of the federal court ruling, conservation organizations seeing the threat such a ruling posed lobbied Congress to address the issue.

 

The Migratory Bird Treaty Reform Act of 2004 was the result. The legislation, which drew bipartisan support, sought to amend the Migratory Bird Treat Act to specify that non-native or alien bird species were not covered under its protective wing.  

 

The bill had considerable support — nearly two dozen conservation groups publicly supported the change.  Backers of the Migratory Bird Treaty Reform Act got the bill attached to the omnibus spending bill, legislation Congress has to pass or face the federal government shutting down.  Congress last Tuesday passed the spending bill, and with it the Migratory Bird Treaty Reform Act.


Officials call for reform of Endangered Species Act

(AP) - Several Western governors called for a reform of the federal Endangered Species Act that would promote conservation while giving states a greater say in how their lands are managed.

 

‘‘What I believe is we want to recover the species,'' said Colorado Gov. Bill Owens, a Republican. ‘‘Let's not use the act as a way to try to manage private and public properties. Let's use the act to help us learn how to recover the species.''

 

The 18 states that make up the Western Governors Association, which opened its winter meeting in San Diego last Friday, say they are uniquely affected by the 30-year-old law. Nearly 70 % of the nation's endangered species are located in the West, according to the association.

 

Owens, the association's chairman, supported efforts by House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo, R-Calif., to change the law. Pombo hoped to line up support for his legislative effort to reform the act, which remains at the top of his agenda again when Congress reconvenes next month.

 

Pombo wants to require scientific peer review for any major decision under the act, including listing species. The congressman also wants critical habitat to be designated for species to be done more efficiently and with better scientific data.   ‘‘These governors will be very important to his goal and

their goal of improving and modernizing the act,'' said Brian Kennedy, a Pombo spokesman.

 

Republican Govs. Linda Lingle of Hawaii, Mike Rounds of South Dakota, Kenny Guinn of Nevada and Judy Martz of Montana also joined the call for reform of the act at a news conference at the opening of the two-day session in San Diego. California's Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, was due to attend the session Friday night.

 

Gov. Bill Richardson, D-New Mexico, however, said a major overhaul of the Endangered Species Act wasn't needed. He said Pombo was setting the bar too high by calling for "stronger science'' instead of "sound science.''   "I think you need sound science,'' Richardson said. "I don't think what we want to do is create a scientific definition that increases the possibility of extinction.''

 

David Hogan, of the Tucson, Ariz.-based Center for Biological Diversity, an endangered species and habitat protection advocacy group, said most of the Western governors, with a few exceptions, want to gut the act.

 

‘‘What's clear from this meeting and other legislative proposals is that many lawmakers are mounting a campaign to really eviscerate our nation's strongest wildlife protection law solely to benefit their cronies in the timber industry, mining industry and others,'' he said.


Regional

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for December 10, 2004

Current Lake Levels: 

All of the Great Lakes except Lake Ontario are 6 to 7 inches above last year’s levels.  Lake Ontario is 7 inches below its level of a year ago.  Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron and St. Clair remain below their long-term averages by 1, 12 and 4 inches, respectively. Lake Ontario is at its long-term average and Erie is above its long-term average by 2 inches.


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 December.  Flow in the St. Clair River is expected to be below average and the Detroit River is expected to be near average in December. The Niagara and St. Lawrence River flows are projected to be near average for the month of December.

 

Temperature/Precipitation Outlook: 

Snow is possible in the Great Lakes basin on Friday as an area of low-pressure tracks through Indiana and Ohio.  Rain will change over to snow as cold air filters into the region.  An arctic front will race across the basin on Sunday, bringing the chance for more snow and much colder air.

 

Forecasted Water Levels:

Lake Superior and Michigan-Huron are in their seasonal declines and the levels are expected to fall 4 and 1 inches, respectively, over the next month.  Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are continuing their seasonal decline and expected to drop by 1, 1, and 2 inches, respectively.

 

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.


Help protect the Great Lakes

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


General

Sell your boat online – on our web site

Have a boat to sell?  Use our new web page at: http://www.great-lakes.org/Boats/ . To cover costs there is a $25 fee, and we will display your boat photo and information for 90 days with a 90 day extension.

 

You must include the following information with your request:

  1. Your full name

  2. E-mail address

  3. Phone number

  4. Photo of boat

  5. Full description of boat

  6. Equipment on boat

  7. Price of boat

  8. Location of boat

 

Send a check for $25.00 per listing - Make payable to GLSFC and mail to GLSFC, P.O.Box 297, Elmhurst IL 60126.


Building a Better Fish Using Embryonic Stem Cells

In the world of medicine, research on embryonic stem cells offers the possibility of curing fatal and debilitating diseases. In the world of aquaculture, embryonic stem cell research may enhance production and reduce environmental risks.

 

With funding from Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, a team of Purdue University scientists have developed fish embryonic stem cell lines that can potentially be used to modify the genetic characteristics of any fish species. Paul Collodi and his team established these cultured cells from zebrafish that can form viable eggs or sperm when transplanted into an embryo. The cells may be used in the future to introduce specific alterations into the fish chromosomes.

 

One of the ultimate goals of this research is to use these cell lines to grow fish that are lacking the hormone necessary for fertility (which can be reversed by adding the hormone to the fish’s diet). Controlling fertility in aquaculture production offers a way to reduce the threat of non-native species escaping and disrupting the balance of local waterways. A prime example of an invasive species escaping from aquaculture production is Asian carp. These fish have moved up the Mississippi River and pose a threat to the Great Lakes.

 

“If this technology is successful, it also offers many possibilities of enhancing aquaculture production through the manipulation of specific desirable genes. In an aquaculture setting, we may be able to control growth, disease, and reproduction rates, or change species characteristics and improve survival capabilities,” said Collodi. “Zebrafish possess a number of characteristics that make them ideal for developing this technology, including that they are relatively inexpensive and easy to maintain in the laboratory, but once we successfully develop gene-transfer methods, they will be

applied to commercially important species.”

 

“This work may also have implications for research into the genetic basis for human disease and the development of new drugs,” said Collodi. “We are doing very basic research into gene function during embryonic development, which may offer insight into developmental abnormalities and help pinpoint which genes play a role in disease.”

 

This project has involved a series of difficult steps. First, the scientists developed a technique to grow zebrafish embryonic cells in a culture dish long enough to be practical for genetic research. Stem cells have the ability to develop into any kind of tissue, which makes them particularly useful for introducing genetic alterations. For example, it is critical that when these cells are transplanted into a host embryo, they have the ability to differentiate into sperm or egg, providing the means to pass on the altered trait.

 

The next step was to make specific genetic alterations in embryonic stem cells and to isolate these altered cells in a culture dish. The researchers used a red fluorescent protein gene as a way of identifying these cells. Now Collodi’s team is working to transfer the selected cells that carry the genetic alteration back into an embryo to produce fish with the altered trait. “We are using pigmentation pattern to determine if the embryonic stem cells contributed to the germ line of the host embryo and the genetic alteration was transferred to the next generation,” he said.

 

Collodi now has funding from the USDA and the National Institute of Health to continue this work. “The initial support from Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant allowed our lab to generate this promising data that has led to much larger funding opportunities,” he added.


Anti-hunters create litigation division
Humane Society of the United States to challenge hunting via courts
The nation's largest anti-hunting group has launched a new legal department to challenge sportsmen in the courts.

 

An Animal Protection Litigation section was created in the wake of the recent merger of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the Fund for Animals. Attorney Jonathan Lovvorn was selected to head the department. The organization intends to add four litigating attorneys by the end of the year.

 

"The animal rights movement sees the courts as the easiest way to realize its anti-hunting agenda," said U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance Senior Vice President Rick Story. "Anti-hunters are in court right now to halt black bear hunting and kick sportsmen off of public lands. The move to implement an HSUS Animal Protection Litigation function so quickly and the commitment to

the program's expansion prove that it is a priority for the newly formed mega-anti-hunting rights group."

 

Lovvorn has been a partner with Meyer & Glitzenstein, the Washington, D.C. law firm used by the Fund for Animals in legal battles against sportsmen. He will assume his duties as vice president on January 1, 2005.

 

The merger of the two anti-hunting groups was announced on November 22, 2004. It will formally occur on January 1, 2005. The new group will have as much as $98 million in annual support to derail hunting and traditional wildlife management in the United States.

 

After the merger, the new organization will continue to be known as the Humane Society of the United States. It has stated that the abolition of hunting and trapping will be priority issues. Bowhunting is the first form of hunting that the group has vowed to eradicate.


"Ladies, Let's Go Fishing!" 2005 Schedule
Here's the Spring, 2005 schedule for the "Ladies, Let's Go Fishing!" seminar series

 

Full weekend seminars:
Ft. Lauderdale: Mar. 4-6
Stuart: April 22-24
Sarasota: Aug. TBA
Islamorada: Oct. 14-16

Special Events:
Costa Rica: Jan. 10-15
Ocean Reef: July TBA
Alaska/The Cove Lodge: July 7-11


For ladies who are interested in learning or fine-tuning their fishing skills, check out the "Ladies, Let's Go Fishing!" 

seminars and events scheduled in 2005. Hosted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and presented by Mercury, the full-weekend seminars begin with a welcome reception on Friday evening. On Saturday morning, classroom sessions on offshore, inshore, bottom and fly fishing are conducted at beginner and advanced levels. Lunch and an afternoon of hands-on skill practice follows, featuring catch and release, spin, net and fly casting, boat handling, knot tying, trailer backing and more.

 

Registration must be made in advance and costs $120 per person including meals, T-shirts, goody bags, door prizes and more. The Fishing Adventure, with tackle and bait provided, costs an additional $35 to $180, depending upon the category of charter vessel selected. For more information, call 1-888-321-5543 for toll free information, (954) 475-9068 or email billfishbetty@hotmail.com Or, www.ladiesletsgofishing.com .


Big Name Seminar Speakers To Highlight 2005 Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show           

HARRISBURG, Pa. --  Anglers Keith Eshbaugh, George Acord, Jr. and hunters Chuck Adams, David E. Petzal, Jim Shockey,  and Jim Zumbo are some of the big-name seminar speakers on tap for the 2005 Eastern Sports Outdoor Show presented by Field & Stream and Outdoor Life, February 5-13, at the State Farm Show Complex, Harrisburg, PA.        

 
FISHING SEMINAR SPEAKERS
Keith Eshbaugh
- Champion walleye fisherman.
George Acord, Jr. - Bass Masters Classic competitor.
Ken Penrod – Bass specialist

 

HUNTING SEMINAR SPEAKERS
Chuck Adams
- One of the top bow hunters in North America with 5 world records and 122 animals listed in Pope and Young (as of this writing).
David E. Petzal - A deputy editor at Field & Stream and one of the magazine’s most  popular writers.

Jim Shockey - A muzzleloading world-record holder, is the first and only hunter in the world to complete the North American Super Slam and Ultimate Slam using only a muzzleloader.
Jim Zumbo - Hunting Editor, Outdoor Life,  is widely regarded as the foremost authority on North American big game hunting.
 

Other hunting seminar speakers currently scheduled to present on the Field & Stream and Outdoor Life Fishing Stage include:
 

Michael Hanback - modern whitetail hunting speaker, columnist and contributing editor for Outdoor life.
Peter Mathiesen - featured gear editor & photographer for Field & Stream and former fishing guide.
The Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show, the largest consumer event of its kind in North America, attracts outdoor sports enthusiasts from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey, New York and Washington, DC who come to view hunting and fishing products, plan outdoor sports and camping vacations, shop for boats, RVs, SUVs, motorcycles and ATVs, and enjoy a wide range of family entertainment offerings. The 2005 Show includes: seven different venues including a Fishing Pavilion, Archery Pavilion, Travel Pavilion, Boat Hall, Hunting Halls, Vehicle Showcase, and Outfitters’ Halls
.
SHOW DATES & HOURS
Show hours have been extended for 2005:                       

 

February 5                      9:00 - 7:00                       

February 6                    10:00 - 5:00                   

February 7 - 11              9:00 - 8:00                       

February 12                    9:00 - 7:00                       

February 13                  10:00 - 5:00
 
Special Attractions Provide Day-Long Entertainment For the Whole Family.
"The cats are back! Exotic Animal Adventures, featuring African lions, and Great Lakes Timber Show are two of our most popular attractions ever," says Sandy Pochapin, Marketing Director for the Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show.                       

 

NEW! The Great Elk Tour is the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s premier traveling conservation exhibit showcasing mounts of the largest and most unique bull elk in the world. The Great Elk Tour is a must see for hunters and wildlife enthusiasts!                       

 

Exotic Animal Adventures will feature African lions, reptiles and rare small animals. Some of the clients that Exotic Animal Adventures has worked with are Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom and All Creatures Great & Small of NY.  The animals have appeared on The Regis and Kelly Show, The Today Show, and National Geographic Explorer to name a few.                       

 

The Great Lakes Timber Show is an exciting, educational adventure into the past. Professional lumberjacks provide a

unique blend of sport, history and comedy that’s fun for the whole family. Watch them compete daily at logrolling, axe throwing, axe chopping, and chain saw versus two-man buck saw, plus perform chain saw carving and springboard chopping demonstrations. 

 

Taste of the Outdoors On Tuesday, February 8, from 5 to 8 PM, students from the culinary school at Harrisburg Area Community College will be cooking up a variety of delectable game recipes in the Small Arena. Attendees can sample these free, wonderful treats and learn some new techniques. Past entrees have included elk, caribou, duck, wild turkey, bear, moose, and mule deer.
 

Other entertainment for 2005 includes:  
• 3-D Laser Sport Target Shooting*
• Trout Pond*
• "Hawg" Tank
• Casting Stream
• D.A.R.T. System-courtesy of NWTF
• Tomahawk Throw-presented by PA Federation of Muzzleloaders*
• Decoy Painting Auction-Saturday, February 5 at 4 PM in the Contest Room
• Gunning Decoy Auction-Saturday, February 12 at 12:45 PM in the Small Arena
• PA Outdoor Writers Association Auction-Sunday, February 14 at 1 PM in the Contest    
  Room
• Kids 3-D Archery Shoot Sunday, February 6 from 4-6 PM in the Large Arena. Kids do
  not need to bring equipment as it will be supplied. Sponsored by the Pennsylvania 3-D Bowhunters.  
• There is an additional fee for participation.  
 
Carving, Casting, Calling, Shooting and Painting...Contests Bring Out the Best.
There's nothing like a little competition to bring out the best, and the 2005 Eastern Sports Show will draw some of the best callers, shooters, painters, and carvers in the country.  
 

2005 contests include:  
Daily Antler Scoring
Bassmaster Casting Kids Competition
PA State Finals for the Bassmaster Casting Kids competition
PA 3D Bowhunter Challenge
Decoy Painting Contest  
Susquehanna River Gunning Decoy Contest
Amateur Wildlife Photography Contest
Childrens Photo Contest
Knife & Hawk Championship
Owl Hooting Contest
PA Turkey Calling Contest
Keystone Regional Duck & Goose Championships
Northeastern States Elk Calling Contest (in Small Arena)
Professional Taxidermy Competition
Kids 3D Archery Shoot

 

Auctions.           

Attendees can take home a piece of the Show by bidding on unique, one-of-a-kind items at three popular auctions. Decoys from the carving, painting and gunning contests are auctioned off to raise money for the Susquehanna River Fowlers Association. The Decoy Painting Auction is Saturday, February 5 at 4 PM in the Contest Room. The Gunning Decoy Auction is Saturday, February 12 at 12:45 PM in the Small Arena.          

 

The POWA Auction, Sunday, February 14 at 1 PM in the Contest Room, lets attendees bid on various works of art, trips and products, while raising money for college scholarships for future outdoor writers.
 
Ticket Information
$10.00 for Adults
$ 9.00 for Seniors
$18.00 for 2-Day Pass
$ 4.00 for Children 6-12 years old
Children under 6 are free.  
On-Line Ticket purchasing is available at www.easternsportshow.com


Donate to USO receive free gift wrap!

Bass Pro Shops and the USO Will Send Needed Reminders of Home

Springfield, MO and Washington, DC - Make your donation to the USO Operation Care Package and Bass Pro Shops will do your holiday gift wrapping for free!  See your local store for details.

 

Bass Pro Shops is continuing their partnership with the United Service Organizations (USO) to carry out the "Reelin' It In for the Troops" program. This is the second year Bass Pro Shops has supported the USO in this program.  Last year, Bass Pro Shops and their customers around the nation contributed over $280,000 to sponsor USO Care Packages delivered to deployed troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

 

This years Reelin' it in for the Troops program provides the opportunity for individuals to support America's men and women in uniform deployed overseas by visiting any Bass Pro Shops retail location. $1 or $5 donation cards are available at several locations throughout the store. Just choose the amount you want to donate and take it to the nearest cashier. The cards are also designed for customers to complete a personal greetings to the troops.

Donations may also be made by calling 1-800-BASSPRO or on the Bass Pro Shops web site at www.basspro.com  where you can also find the location of the nearest Bass Pro Shops retail store.  Bass Pro Shops also salutes the men and women of the Armed Forces by offering a 10% military discount, excluding certain items, at all their retail stores.

 

Bass Pro Shops stores across the country will host various events throughout the year to support the 'Reelin it in for the Troops' program. These events include USO Care Package "Stuffing Events" which recruit local volunteers to assemble care packages sent to the troops.

 

About USO

The USO is chartered by the Congress as a nonprofit charitable corporation and is not a part of the United States Government. It is endorsed by the President of the United States and the Department of Defense. Each President has been the Honorary Chairman of the USO since its inception. The USO mission is to provide morale, welfare and recreation-type services to uniformed military personnel. The USO operates over 120 international centers, 27 centers in the United States and mobile canteens in locations such as Iraq and Afghanistan.


Reporters Trail Badly (Again) in Annual Poll on Honesty and Ethics
Once again, newspaper reporters score poorly in the annual Gallup Poll, released today, on “honesty and ethical standards” in various professions, as judged by the American public. They rank even lower than bankers, auto mechanics, elected officials, and nursing-home operators.

To put this in perspective: Newspaper reporters are even less

respected than their TV counterparts. Somehow, however, they top lawyers, car salesmen, and ad directors. And they also edge business executives and congressmen. Nurses top the list as most honest and ethical.  If there's any good news for newspapers, it's that since 2000, the number of those saying that reporters have high or very high ethical standards has climbed from 16% to 21%. In 2000, reporters were behind even lawyers in that category.

 


Indiana

Williams Dam open for fishing

The Department of Natural Resources is reopening Williams Dam on the East Fork of the White River in Lawrence County to anglers and sightseers. The area around the dam had been closed since September for repair work to the face of the dam.

 

Construction equipment will be removed from area over the winter, which will allow additional access for fishing and boating upstream and downstream of the dam. New signs have been installed in the area advising anglers and boaters of changes.

 

DNR patched a 9-by-14-foot hole in the downstream face of the concrete dam. Minor surface repair will be completed in August 2005 when river water levels are expected to again drop to workable stages. The project cost $406,600.

"The most important part of the project, repair of the hole, has been completed. The remaining work is minor surface repairs," said DNR Chief Engineer Tom Hohman. 

 

Williams Dam was built in 1910 and for many years was part of a hydroelectric plant. Bedford uses water impounded by the dam as a source for drinking water.  Williams Dam Public Fishing Area is in Williams, Ind., nine miles southwest of Bedford on State Road 450. The public fishing site includes a boat launch and is noted for drum, catfish and panfish fishing.

 

The site is also a good place to try fishing for late-winter sauger. Wait for a clearing and dropping river and fish with chartreuse or white 1/4- to 3/8-ounce jigs downstream of the dam where these camouflaged members of the perch family congregate during spawning migrations.


Minnesota

Number of walleye fingerlings stocked nearly doubles

State and private fish hatcheries produced three million walleye fingerlings for stocking in more than 250 lakes this year, almost twice last year's total of 1.7 million fingerlings, according to the Minnesota DNR.

 

The number of fingerlings increased because the average size and weight of fingerlings decreased. This year's fingerlings averaged four to six inches or about 21 fingerlings per lb. Last year's fingerlings were six to eight inches, or about 10 fingerlings per lb

 

"Fingerlings stocked at a rate between 10 and 35 per pound provide the maximum benefit to anglers," said Roy Johannes, who coordinates the statewide fish stocking programs for DNR. "At that size, the fingerlings are large enough to avoid predation from other fish species and plentiful enough to provide a good return to anglers."

 

This year's total of approximately 144,000 lb represents 90 % of the annual walleye-stocking goal, which was increased from 130,000 lbs to 160,000 lbs this year. State and private hatcheries have produced about 139,000 lbs of walleye. Private hatcheries are under contract for an additional 5,000 lbs.

 

Ron Payer, program chief for the DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife, is optimistic that in future years, the DNR and private fish producers will meet the goal of 160,000 lbs called for in the Conservation Agenda, a report that contains natural resource indicators and targets for 2003-2007.

"We have the capacity," Payer said. "When weather conditions are good, we will likely meet or exceed our goals. There will also be years when production might be below the goal. Over time we'll meet the goal on average."

 

Under the Accelerated Walleye Program, the DNR has stocked an average of 136,000 lbs of fingerlings, including 113,000 lbs in 2000 and 161,000 lbs in 2001, 98,000 pounds in 2002, 165,000 lbs in 2003 and 143,000 lbs this year. Raising fish in natural ponds will cause annual production to fluctuate, because environmental variables cannot be controlled.

 

"We are somewhat at the mercy of the weather," Payer said. "The upside is that it's a low-cost way to produce fingerlings because we use the pond's natural productivity to grow the fish."

 

In addition to stocking walleye fingerlings, the DNR also stocked also stocked other cool-water species, including:

- 2,830 lbs of walleye fry in 242 lakes this past spring. Each pound contains approximately 100,000 walleye fry.

- 22,000 lbs of muskie fingerlings to be stocked this fall, which includes 2,100 fish purchased from a private fish hatchery. Each year, the DNR stocks between 20,000 and 30,000 fingerlings in 15 to 40 designated muskie lakes.

- 30,000 lake sturgeon fingerlings were stocked in four lakes and two rivers as part of the Red River restoration project in northwest Minnesota. The DNR stocked 17,867 fingerlings and the White Earth Reservation stocked the remaining fingerlings. Sturgeon stocked by the DNR included fish reared by the USFWS and in the private sector.


Pennsylvania

Hunters wrap up bear season with 4th best harvest ever

HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania Game Commission reported hunters took a preliminary harvest of 493 black bears during the special six-day bear season that ran concurrently with the first week of the white-tailed deer firearms season (Nov. 29-Dec. 4). When combined with the earlier preliminary harvest of 2,419 bears during the three-day statewide bear season, the state's total preliminary black bear harvest totaled 2,912.

 

Once a final review of all bear harvest reports is conducted the agency will release the final harvest results.

 

In 2003, hunters killed 3,000 black bears during the state's bear seasons. The best bear harvest in state history occurred in 2000, when hunters took 3,075 bears. The 2001 bear harvest closely followed the state's best year when hunters took 3,063.

 

"Pennsylvania bear hunters definitely had a fine season," noted Game Commission Executive Director Vern Ross. "Not only did bear hunters manage to get the 2004 season harvest placed fourth on the all-time list, they also took a tremendous number of large bears. There were 56 bears that tipped the scales at more than 500 pounds estimated live weight taken

in the harvest."

 

Based on preliminary reports for the six-day extended season, Wayne County led all others with 78 bears. Statewide, the top five counties were: Lycoming, 229; Clinton, 215; Pike, 154; Luzerne, 131; and Wayne, 129.

 

One bear exceeded 800 pounds during the state's bear seasons. It was an 834-pound (estimated live weight) male taken by 17-year-old Jeremy B. Kresge of Blakeslee at 4:15 p.m. Nov. 23, in Tunkhannock Township, Monroe County. Other top bears taken in the harvest included 671-pounder taken by Ray H. Reed of Howard at 7 a.m. Nov. 22, in Howard Township, Centre County; a 660-pounder taken at 7:30 a.m. Nov. 22, in Goshen Township, Clearfield County, by Ritchie L. Kitchen of Clearfield; and a 660-pounder taken at 8 a.m. Nov. 22, in Black Creek Township, Luzerne County, by David A. Benjamin Sr. of Weston.

 

Two exceptionally large bears also were taken in the extended season. The largest was a 658-pounder taken Nov. 29 in Kidder Township, Carbon County, by David R. Horvath of Springtown. Another larger bear, a 631-pounder, taken Nov. 30 in Cold Spring Township, Lebanon County by Irvin L. Horst of Myerstown.


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