Week of January 21, 2008



Lake Superior



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States passing hunter-friendly laws see upswing...

The latest National Hunting License Report released from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows a slight increase in the number of paid hunting license holders, from 14.57 million in 2005 to 14.62 million in 2006. Encouragingly, seven states that passed youth- and apprentice-friendly hunting laws between 2004 and 2006 saw increases -- Kansas, Minnesota, Florida, Kentucky, Michigan, Tennessee and Utah.

Through 2007, Families Afield -- an initiative of NSSF, the National Wild Turkey Federation and U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance -- has helped create new hunting opportunities for youths and other newcomers in these and 14 other states. The latest National Hunting License Report also shows a 4.1 percent increase in gross dollars reported for the purchase of hunting licenses, tags, permits and stamps, from $723.71 million in 2005 to $753.57 million in 2006.

D.C. Court upholds dismissal of lawsuit against gun makers

A unanimous District of Columbia Court of Appeals upheld a May 2006 decision dismissing a lawsuit against the firearms industry filed in January 2000 by the District of Columbia and the families of nine victims of criminal shootings. The district and the plaintiffs had sued 25 manufacturers under D.C.'s so-

called Assault Weapons Manufacturing Strict Liability Act.


"This ruling is very gratifying to members of the firearms industry," said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel. "The District of Columbia lawsuit was like blaming car makers for drunk-driving accidents."

Texas Tops Nation in Ranking of Hunting/Fishing Economic Impact

Florida Lands No. 2 Spot

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A ranking of states in categories including total number of hunters and anglers, spending by sportsmen, jobs supported, taxes generated, number of days spent hunting and fishing and the most traveled to states by hunters and anglers has been released for the first time.


Nationally, Texas is at the top of the pack. It is No. 1 in total hunters and anglers (2.6 million), money spent ($6.6 billion), jobs supported (106,000) and tax revenue generated ($1.3 billion). Florida lands the trophy for the No. 2 spot.  The new state-by-state rankings were compiled to complement a national report, "Hunting and Fishing: Bright Stars of the American Economy ~ A force as big as all outdoors," which spotlights the immense impact hunters and anglers have on the economy at the national and state level, as well as a constituency.


What states have the most hunters and anglers? Texas is No. 1 (2.6 million), Florida No. 2 (two million), California No. 3 (1.7 million), Ohio No. 4 (1.48 million) and Pennsylvania No. 5 (1.41 million).


What states are the big spenders? Texas is No. 1 ($6.6 billion), Florida No.2 ($4.8 billion), California No. 3 ($3.6 billion), Pennsylvania No. 4 ($3.5 billion) and Minnesota No. 5 ($3.4 billion). 


What does this spending support?  Jobs of course. Texas is No. 1 (106,000 jobs), Florida No. 2 (85,000), Wisconsin No. 3 (57,000), Minnesota No. 4 (55,000) and California No. 5 (53,000).


However, when it comes to who spends the most time in the 

field and woods, Pennsylvanians beat out Texans, spending 16 million days hunting compared to the 13.4 million that Texans spend.


Leaving a wide wake, Florida is out in front for the number of days spent on the water (41.5 million), compared to the No. 2 state, Texas, with 38.9 million days. Not surprisingly, Florida is also the No. 1 destination state for fishing, with North Carolina showing up at No. 2.


When it comes to the most traveled to state for hunting, Georgia is No. 1, followed by Colorado in the No. 2 spot.


It is a simple fact: hunting and fishing have a major impact on every state in the country. When you analyze the amount of money spent on these activities, as well as the jobs and taxes created, the impact becomes much more tangible. Every single state makes a contribution through revenue, taxes and jobs.


"The economic impact that sportsmen have on state economies should be a wake-up call to state governments to welcome and encourage hunting and fishing in their state," commented Jeff Crane, president of the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation. "The evidence is clear: states that encourage hunting and fishing by providing access and maintaining healthy habitats and fisheries benefit many times over through jobs and taxes as well as enjoying a boost to travel and tourism.


When you compare spending by hunters and anglers to other sectors, their impact on the state's economy becomes more tangible. Sportsmen support more than twice the jobs in Texas than Dell Computer Corp., Lockheed Martin, Electronic Data Systems and Dow Chemical Co. combined (106,000 jobs vs. 49,000).


CG holds Small Vessel Security summit in Cleveland

The U.S. Coast Guard hosted the Great Lakes Small Vessel Security Summit, Wednesday, January 16 in Cleveland.  The objective of the one-day summit was to focus the broad Great Lakes stakeholder community on a range of issues and to launch continuing interactions regarding management of small vessel security risk in the U.S. maritime domain.


The Summit format consisted of plenary addresses by distinguished government leaders including Rear. Adm. John E. Crowley, Jr., Commander of the Ninth Coast Guard District; panel discussions by federal, state and local maritime leaders of the Great Lakes; followed by a facilitated small vessel threat workshop by those attending.


The activities are centered on providing a regional forum for small vessel operators, both commercial and recreational, to identify their U.S. maritime domain security issues and concerns specifically in the Great Lakes.


The consensus finding of the Summit was that the most effective and efficient option is America’s Waterway Watch program.  This is an outreach program where boaters are encouraged to call 1-877-24WATCH if they see suspicious activity. This program can be found in great detail at www.americaswaterwatch.org .  This site also includes a video that can be downloaded and viewed.   There was consensus that this program needs far greater exposure. 

Suggestions included leveraging organizations like Boat US, West Marine, etc. that send out publications and also have web sites. In addition, it was suggested that local organizations be tapped to help publicize the program and that a pamphlet or flyer outlining America’s Waterway Watch program could be included in boat insurance renewals.


There was significant opposition to expanded boarding or additional regulation for boaters. This was viewed as expensive and of dubious effectiveness.  One question asked was the rationale of the new requirement for 6-Pack Captains to have a TWIC card.  The response was that the Coast Guard’s interpretation of the legislation passed by Congress required it. (Not exactly a good answer).  This card could also be required for other personnel aboard commercial vessels at a cost of about $100 per card.


The Summit ended with a facilitated, small vessel threat workshop.   In this workshop, participants were provided a fictitious terrorist attack scenario.  They were then asked what things might have been done to interdict the attack.   Again, most of the responses/ suggestions centered upon local boaters and marina operators reporting suspicious activity. 


A follow up Summit is planned in Orlando later in the year as the US Coast Guard and Homeland Security formulate their small vessel strategies.  

MI DNR Announces Online Fisheries Newsletter

for Southeast Michigan Fisheries Activities

A new online newsletter that details the fisheries activities in Southeast Michigan, specifically in the Lake Erie Management Unit (LEMU) is now available on the Department of Natural Resources Web site. The newsletter can be found at www.michigan.gov/dnr , in the Fishing Section.


“This document is intended to inform anglers about fishery management activities and surveys during the 2007 field season,” said LEMU Supervisor Gary Towns. “Lake and stream fish surveys, along with fisheries habitat construction and evaluations, are included. We hope to make this an annual publication which will keep anglers updated on what we have been doing to manage fish populations in this area.”


Largely authored by DNR Fisheries Technician Dennis Tar and Fisheries Biologist Jim Francis, the newsletter is a collection of specific findings from fish surveys on local waters and of fish plantings and other activities conducted in 2007 in all or part of 10 southeastern counties of the state. The LEMU includes all or part of Sanilac, St. Clair, Lapeer, Macomb, Oakland, Livingston, Wayne, Monroe, Lenawee, Hillsdale or

Jackson counties. The LEMU manages lakes and streams within the Black, Clinton, Huron, Rouge, Raisin, Pine and Belle river watersheds.


The newsletter will also contain information on fishery activities on the Great Lakes waters in southeastern Michigan, including the Detroit and St. Clair rivers, Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie.


The newsletter will explain why certain samples are taken in fish surveys and what the resulting information can tell the DNR fisheries managers. The history of fish management on some lakes and streams also is included. This collective information leads to specific actions like fish plantings, special regulations on some waters, and the protection or rehabilitation of certain habitats.


Anglers also should note that a map showing the walleye regulations for the 2008 fishing season on the Detroit and St. Clair rivers, Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie - for Michigan, Ontario and Ohio - is also posted on the DNR Web site under the Fishing section.

Great Lakes Water Levels for January 18, 2008

Weather Conditions

Colder air returned to the Great Lakes basin this week, breaking a run of much above average temperatures. Precipitation was generally light during the week, with snow falling in the major snowbelts of the lakes.  A potent winter storm is forecasted to bring heavy snow to the western Great Lakes basin late Thursday and into Friday.  The coldest air of the season will arrive in the wake of the storm.  Temperatures this weekend will struggle to reach 0° F in some locations.  This outbreak of cold air may lead to increased evaporation on the Great Lakes, as the ice cover was largely lost during last weeks record warmth.

Lake Level Conditions

Currently, Lake Superior is 4 inches higher than it was at this time last year. The remaining Great Lakes are 8 to 11 inches below their levels of one year ago.  Lakes Superior, St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are predicted to fall 1 to 2 inches over the next month. Lake Michigan-Huron is forecasted to remain at its current level.  Lake Superior is projected to stay above last year's water levels through June, but the remaining lakes are predicted to remain below their levels of a year ago over the next few months. 

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions

Outflow from the St. Marys River is predicted to be below average for January. Flows through the St. Clair, Detroit, and Niagara Rivers are also predicted to be lower than average

this month. Flow in the St. Lawrence River is forecasted to be above average. 


Lake Superior and Lake Michigan-Huron are below chart datum and forecasted to remain below datum through June.  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.  Ice information can be found at the National Ice Center's webpage.





St. Clair



Level for Jan 18






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Diff last month






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Lake Superior

Freighter runs aground, sinks in Duluth-Superior Harbor

Walter J McCarthy salvage plan approved by officials

DULUTH, Minn. - The U.S. Coast Guard, and the Dept. of Natural Resources in the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin, have approved the salvage plan for the motor vessel Walter J. McCarthy Jr.


The 1,000-foot vessel, operated by the American Steamship Company, struck a submerged object, on January 14 while backing into Hallet Dock #8, in Superior, WI.  The object punctured the stern causing flooding in the engine room.  American Steamship requested to de-ballast and re-float the vessel as quickly as possible to ensure freezing temperatures do not cause structural damage.  De-ballasting involves removing water in designated tanks to help stabilize the vessel.  The vessel will utilize shore power to operate internal and external pumps.  Engineers, involved in the salvage, believe it will take two to three days to complete the de-ballasting.


Once re-floated, an evaluation of the damage will begin.  The

plan includes repairing the damage and properly disposing

the remaining water at a waste treatment facility.  The salvage plan does not require divers; however they may be used in future operations. 


Approximately 450 gallons of miscellaneous oils have been removed from the flooded engine room.  Adjacent tanks, engines and generators contain an additional 2500-3000 gallons of oil and fuel, but pose no threat for release. EMR, Inc. has been hired to act as the vessel's pollution control company and will monitor clean up efforts in conjunction with local Coast Guard officials.


Water samples were collected, Tuesday, from both inside and outside the vessel and tested to determine quantity and type of pollutants in the water.  Results were passed to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on Tuesday afternoon.  Wisconsin DNR issued a permit to allow for release of lake water trapped within the engine room.  All levels in the initial tests met Wisconsin thresholds for legal release. Throughout salvaging, water samples will be taken to ensure environmental impact is minimal.


Candlelight Cross-Country Ski Evening at Sleeper State Park Jan. 26

Sleeper State Park will hold a “GO-Get Outdoors” candlelight cross-country ski evening on Saturday, Jan. 26, from 6 to 10 p.m. Beginning at the park headquarters trailhead on State Park Road, skiers will find approximately 1.5 miles of groomed and track-set trails lit by luminaries every few feet.


"If a person has not skied by luminaries, they will experience a unique adventure when they find the woods on each side of the trail aglow by candlelight," said Park Supervisor George Lauinger.  Skiers may enjoy a warming station with a modern restroom, bonfire, snacks and beverages. Snowshoers are also welcome, but are asked to keep to one side of the ski



The park is open throughout the day for skiing as well. If there is insufficient snow, the event will be cancelled, so call ahead for updates. If adequate snow cover persists, additional candlelight ski evenings will be scheduled.  Ski equipment rentals are available in Port. Austin.  Contact the park at 989-856-4411 for more information on rentals and updates.


Sleeper offers winter lodging in the form of several semi-modern cabins. For reservations, 800-447-2757 or go to: www.michigan.gov/dnr . Sleeper State Park is located at 6573 State Park Rd., just outside of Caseville, MI.

Volunteers Needed for Stewardship Workdays in Southeastern Michigan

 The Michigan DNR announced the schedule of volunteer stewardship workdays to be held throughout February in southeastern Michigan state parks and recreation areas.


Volunteers are needed to help cut invasive shrubs, haul brush and make brush piles in natural areas within state parks and recreation areas. These activities will help protect and restore the unique natural areas in these southeast Michigan state parks.  Volunteering for these workdays is a great way to GO-Get Outdoors, breathe some fresh air and get a little bit of exercise.  Volunteers will also be able to experience Michigan’s early winter splendor.


Dates, times and locations of the workdays are as follows:

►Saturday, Feb. 2, Island Lake Recreation Area (Livingston Co.), 1 to 4 pm

►Saturday, Feb. 9, Bald Mountain Recreation Area (Oakland Co.), 9 a.m. to noon

►Sunday, Feb. 10, Algonac State Park (St. Clair Co.), 1 to 4 pm

►Saturday, Feb. 16, Highland Recreation Area (Oakland Co.) 9 a.m. to 3 pm

►Saturday, Feb. 16, Pinckney Recreation Area (Washtenaw Co.), 1 to 4 pm

►Sunday, Feb. 17, Waterloo Recreation Area (Jackson Co.) 1 to 4 pm 

►Saturday, Feb. 23, Highland Recreation Area (Oakland Co.) 10 a.m. to 1 pm

►Sunday, Feb. 24, Brighton Recreation Area (Livingston Co.) 1 to 4 pm


Volunteers should bring appropriate clothing for outdoor work, including long pants, boots, gloves and drinking water.  For more info and directions,  www.michigan.gov/dnrvolunteers  and link to the “Calendar of Volunteer Stewardship Workdays”. All volunteers are asked to register using the form available on the website. For questions call Laurel Malvitz at 248-359-9057 or [email protected] .

DNR Reminds Deer Hunters to Participate in Online Survey

The Department of Natural Resources is reminding deer hunters that they can report their deer harvest success online. Accurate and complete information on hunting activity is vital for sound deer management.  To improve the amount and accuracy of information on hunting activities, the DNR offers this option for deer hunters to report their hunting activity over the Internet.  


All deer hunters are invited to complete an online survey between now and April 1, 2008. After April 1, survey analysis will occur.  The survey is available on the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnr under the Hunting and the Deer sections. The DNR is requesting information from all deer

hunting license buyers, even if they did not hunt or harvest a deer this year.  Once hunters submit their answers, they will not be able to change their survey or enter new information. 


Traditionally, the DNR has estimated deer hunter effort and success using surveys that are mailed to a sample of randomly selected hunters in a scientifically designed manner. These traditional mail surveys have been sent to randomly selected hunters and they will continue; however, the new online reporting option allows all deer hunters with Internet access to participate. The on-line reporting option began in 2007 and the information from the on-line source will be compared with the established mail survey process.


Ohio Boat owners find online registration renewal

COLUMBUS, OH - Ohio boat owners with registrations set to expire March 1 are encouraged to visit ohiodnr.com on the Internet to conveniently renew their registrations well in advance of the summer boating season.


Last year, more than 10,000 watercraft registrations were renewed through the online system, which can be accessed 24 hours a day through September 30, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Watercraft.  Watercraft registrations in Ohio are valid for a period of three years. Renewal notices recently were mailed to boat owners whose registrations will expire this year. Fees remain unchanged from last year.

Ohio registered more than 414,000 watercraft in 2007 a slight increase from the 412,578 registered in 2006. 


Address changes for boat owners also can be made through ODNR's online system. Incorrect or outdated boat registration information must be corrected by directly contacting a watercraft registration agent. New registrations and those renewed online must include a 12-character Hull ID #.  A listing of Ohio watercraft registration agents is available at www.ohiodnr.com  and by calling the Division of Watercraft toll-free at 877-4BOATER (877-426-2837).



Ground Breaking for New Camp Perry Indoor Range

On December 14, Brigadier General Jack E. Lee, Deputy Commander, Joint Force Headquarters (Ohio), OH ARNG, joined Civilian Marksmanship Program Director Gary Anderson, and COL James Chisman, OH ARNG, Fort Ohio Installations Commander, in a ground breaking ceremony at Camp Perry for a new indoor range and marksmanship training facility.

The Civilian Marksmanship Program is partnering with the Ohio National Guard in constructing the facility, which will provide expanded electronic skills training for National Guardsmen and an 80-point air gun range for CMP training and competition programs. Construction is starting this month and is scheduled for completion in June 2008.



Angler education workshops set for Jan. 30

and Feb. 2

MADISON – Fly fishers and other anglers can help get kids off the couch and out fishing Wisconsin’s lakes and streams by attending workshops Jan. 30 and Feb. 2 on starting youth fishing programs.


DNR angler education workshops set for Jan. 30 in Oshkosh and Feb. 2 in Stevens Point are aimed at training volunteer instructors who can then offer programs in their own communities. Participants will hear how to introduce children to basic fishing skills and provide information on Wisconsin lakes and streams, says Theresa Stabo, DNR aquatic resources educator. Participants also receive instructional materials to help them start their own program, and access to DNR loaner equipment.


“We need to coax kids outside and away from their electronic gadgets. We want to help them make that important connection to the natural world,” Stabo says. “Through the DNR's angler education fishing program, we want kids to think of wetting a line as a viable choice for spending their free time and to cultivate a passion for protecting fisheries and other aquatic resources.”


Fishing programs provide a recreational link to learning about 

local waters. Ideally, adults who attend this workshop will form

partnerships to help provide kids with repeatable fishing opportunities through school studies and clubs, Stabo says.


The Feb. 2 workshop is a fly fishing instructor certification session and represents a partnership with Trout Unlimited. Stabo will be joined as an instructor by Dennis Vanden Bloomen, UW-Stout fly fishing instructor and president of the Wisconsin Clear Waters Chapter of Trout Unlimited.


Details on the two workshops are provided below. The workshops are free of charge and include lunch or dinner, however, there is a $15 workshop commitment fee to ensure good attendance by registrants. Registration forms and more information are available on the DNR Web site.


►Jan. 30, Oshkosh, Angler Education Workshop runs from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the DNR Service Center, 625 E. County Highway Y, Suite 700.


►Feb. 2, Stevens Point, Fly Fishing Instructor Certification Workshop runs from noon to 5 p.m. at the Holiday Inn, 1001 Amber Ave. Banquet dinner to follow, compliments of Trout Unlimited


Shoe weaving, timber wolf tracking workshops offered

BABCOCK, Wis. – People interested in building their own snowshoes or learning about the ecology of gray wolves in Wisconsin as well as how to track wolves can participate in upcoming workshops scheduled at the Department of Natural Resources Sandhill Outdoor Skills Center.


Snowshoe weaving

Snowshoeing as a form of outdoor recreation has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years. People can join the craze by weaving a pair of their own traditional snowshoes. A two-day snowshoe construction workshop will be held Saturday and Sunday, March 1-2.


Participants must select from two basic snowshoe types: Alaskan or Ojibway styles. Kits include wooden frame and nylon lacing, plus instructions. Instructors will be on hand to guide participants through the process.


Registration is limited on a first-come, first-served basis so mail in your registration fee by Feb. 8. The $165 fee includes the snowshoe kit (wooden frame, lacing and written instructions), bindings, instruction, Saturday evening supper and Sunday breakfast, plus the Saturday-night dorm lodging. Skills Center staff will contact participants upon receipt of registration with information on selecting snowshoes (Alaskan or Ojibway) so that they can order and receive them in time for the workshop.


Timber wolf ecology and tracking

The Sandhill Outdoor Skills Center and Timber Wolf

Information Network are co-sponsoring a Timber Wolf Ecology

Clinic on Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 16-17 from 9 a.m. Saturday to noon on Sunday.


Area biologists and volunteers from Timber Wolf Information Network will team up to provide instruction on aspects of wolf ecology, including status, population biology and field study techniques. Saturday afternoon will be spent outdoors exploring wolf habitat.


Registration is limited to 25 people ages 12 and up on a first-come, first-served basis. Register by mailing in $75 per person by Feb. 6. This fee includes instructional fees, transportation on Saturday afternoon, Saturday supper and Sunday lunch, and for dorm use.


People may register for either workshop by sending a check made out to DNR-Skills Center. Include the name of each participant, and the address and daytime phone number of one person in each party. Participants in either workshop may stay in the dorm prior to or following either event for an additional donation of $15 per person per night.


Send registration information and fees to: Sandhill Outdoor Skills Center, PO Box 156, Babcock, WI 54413. Inquiries on the status of registrations may be sent via e-mail to: [email protected].


The Sandhill Outdoor Skills Center is located 20 miles west of Wisconsin Rapids on County Highway X, 1 mile north of Highway 80 near Babcock, Wisconsin on the 9,000 acre Department of Natural Resources Sandhill Wildlife Area.


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