Week of January 25, 2010
|Other Breaking News Items|
NEW YORK –Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced the USFWS will propose to list the Burmese python and eight other large constrictor snakes that threaten the Everglades and other sensitive ecosystems as “injurious wildlife” under the Lacey Act. The proposal, which will be open to public comment before Salazar makes a final decision, would prohibit importation and interstate transportation of the animals.
The nine species proposed for listing are: the Burmese python, northern African python, southern African python, reticulated python, green anaconda, yellow anaconda, Beni or Bolivian anaconda, DeSchauensee’s anaconda, and boa constrictor.
Many of these large snakes are popular as pets, and are associated with a large domestic and international trade. Over the past 30 years, about a million individuals of these nine species have been imported into the United States, and current domestic production of some species likely exceeds
import levels. Salazar strongly encouraged pet owners not to release snakes or any other pets into the wild.
“People may think that this is a convenient and humane way to be rid of unwanted animals, but as in the case of pythons and other constrictors, it can lead to devastating consequences for local wildlife populations and the ecosystems they depend on,” Salazar said.
Salazar said he has directed the Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct a comprehensive review of existing legal and regulatory authorities to address the invasive species issue on a broader scale.
“I’ve asked the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to make recommendations regarding the potential tools we need to address the invasive species challenge – both to combat existing invasive species problems and act more effectively to prevent the introduction of new invasive threats into our country,” said Salazar.
Associated Press Writer
MISSOULA (AP) -- Montana doesn't have the authority to exempt itself from national gun control laws, the federal government argued in new court filings, hoping to beat back a movement from states adopting the Firearms Freedom Act. The Department of Justice, in a brief filed this week in U.S. District Court in Missoula, said that federal gun control is a "valid exercise of Congress' commerce power under the Constitution."
The agency asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed last year by gun advocates in Montana who argued the state should decide which rules, if any, would control the sale and purchase of guns and paraphernalia made in Montana. The state would then be exempt from rules on federal gun registration, background checks and dealer-licensing.
The lawsuit followed overwhelming support in the state Legislature for an act that declared Montana's sovereignty on the issue. That Montana Firearms Freedom Act was subsequently signed by Gov. Brian Schweitzer.
Gun advocates want a court declaration preventing federal agents from enforcing federal gun laws on Montana-made
equipment. They said it's disappointing the Justice Department would seek a dismissal of the suit rather than arguing its merits. "The first import of this response is that the legal game is now on," said Gary Marbut of the Montana Shooting Sports Association.
Tennessee adopted a clone of the Montana act, which has been proposed in many other states.
The Justice Department argued in its brief that the state act is pre-empted by federal gun control. It also said the advocates don't have standing to bring the lawsuit. The brief said the 1934 National Firearms Act was first put in place to regulate guns that could be "used readily and efficiently by criminals or gangsters." Congress followed it in 1968 with a gun control act aimed at decreasing serious crime, and further strengthened its control over interstate commerce, the brief points out.
Those laws and others all mean to keep tabs on guns that easily pass between state borders, the Justice Department argued. "To achieve this goal, Congress put in place a comprehensive scheme to regulate the movement of firearms in commerce," the government lawyers wrote in their brief.
Agencies accelerate action in response
(Chicago) – The multi-agency Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee (RCC) has received information from the University of Notre Dame about one positive environmental DNA result for silver carp in Calumet Harbor approximately one-half mile north of the Calumet River and one more at a location in the Calumet River north of O’Brien Lock. These samples were collected on December 8 and recently processed. Two previous tests of multiple water samples from this area were negative.
Dr. David Lodge, director of the eDNA project at the University of Notre Dame, said that only a portion of the samples collected have been analyzed, but he cautioned that there is no known correlation between the number of positive samples and the quantity of Asian carp. “Our current eDNA process provides indications of likely presence, but it does not yet provide information about Asian carp quantity that may be present, age, size, how they got there or how long they may have been there,” said Lodge. Lodge further iterated that if Asian carp are present it is vital to keep the barriers operating in a continued defense. “It is important to keep additional fish from migrating into the lake to lower the possibility that a self-sustaining population will result,” said Lodge.
“Clearly this is not good news,” said Major General John Peabody, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Great Lakes and Ohio River Division. “But eDNA technology provides the advanced warning of the possible presence of Asian carp, so that all agencies supporting the RCC can focus their efforts and resources to optimal effect. The Corps of Engineers will continue to collaborate with our partners to urgently execute already planned actions, and further develop other multi-agency measures that will defeat this threat to the Great Lakes,” said Peabody.
The Regional Coordinating Committee (RCC) is comprised largely of agencies that participated in last month’s successful “rapid response” action. It is now working to respond to the most recent eDNA results, including consideration of:
►Rapid deployment of intensive netting, including electrofishing and specialized netting alternatives, in the area near O’Brien Lock to reduce the possibility that a self-sustaining population might be established,
►Continued research into scientific advances to apply detection systems that will allow participating agencies to pinpoint the exact location and numbers of carp; current eDNA testing does not yet provide this information,
►Planning to develop the concept of how existing structures, such as locks, could be operated in a way that would minimize the risk of carp migration while the U.S. Coast Guard, local public safety and emergency responders, needed cargo, and other traffic transits the waterway;
►Expedited construction of new electric dispersal Barrier IIB to complement existing barriers, and severance of culverts and other bypass routes in the event of flooding, that might allow carp entry from adjacent waterways. Interim obstructions will be completed this year;
►Accelerate development of possible biological controls for Asian carp; and
►Continued efforts to assess “ecological separation” as a long-term strategy that blocks invasive species from transferring between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds while still allowing cargo and “clean traffic” to pass, leveraging the Corps of Engineers’ Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Transfer Study.
“The IDNR is committed to working with all of our partners in the coming weeks and months by using conventional sampling methods in the Chicago waterway system and near shore areas of Lake Michigan to help determine locations and abundance of Asian carp and try to confirm this new Environmental DNA evidence,” said John Rogner, Illinois Department of Natural Resources Assistant Director.
Participating agencies will continue using eDNA and other monitoring methods to provide early warning about possible Asian carp presence. The cooler water during the winter months reduces the likelihood of Asian carp detection because of reduced algae and other food sources, and fish tendency to slow down their activity and reside in deeper waters. With decreased metabolism Asian carp are less active and, therefore, harder to detect. Still, participating agencies continue to view their top priority as keeping Asian carp from becoming established in Lake Michigan.
“From what we have seen in other parts of the country, Asian carp could out-compete our native, sport and commercial fish in southern Lake Michigan,” said Charlie Wooley, Deputy Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “We call them an aquatic vacuum cleaner because they filter important food resources out of the water and turn it into carp biomass,” said Mr. Wooley.
“The Service remains committed to supporting our partners by assisting in intensified field monitoring and focused fish sampling, exploring new methods of Asian carp control, and engaging community stakeholders.”
“Defeating Asian carp will require working together,” said Cameron Davis, senior advisor to USEPA Administrator Lisa Jackson on Great Lakes issues. “We have a strong, committed team in place that acted collaboratively and successfully during December’s rapid response action. That’s what it will take now.”
“The Great Lakes Fishery Commission has more than 50 years experience controlling the invasive sea lamprey” said Dr. Michael Hansen, chair of the commission. “The commission fully recognizes the necessity to prevent Asian carp from establishing populations in the Great Lakes and strongly supports the efforts of the participating agencies to this end.”
Additional information about the recent sampling efforts is available on the Army Corps of Engineers' website at www.lrc.usace.army.mil.
Additional information about multi-agency efforts is at www.asiancarp.org/rapidresponse.
LANSING, MI (AP) -- The White House, on January 21 said it wants to hold a meeting in early February with Great Lakes governors concerned about Asian carp invading the lakes.
The Democratic governors of Michigan and Wisconsin requested the summit Tuesday after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Michigan's request for a preliminary injunction to temporarily shut the shipping locks near Chicago and work out a way to stop the carp.
On Wednesday, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm's spokeswoman called the White House Council on Environmental Quality's proposal to hold a meeting the first week of February in the Midwest or Washington a welcome move.
"The Obama administration clearly understands the urgency of this critical issue, and we look forward to meeting with them on the threat the Asian carp poses to the Great Lakes," Megan Brown said.
Concern about the progression of the Asian carp toward the Great Lakes increased this week after DNA samples taken beyond the final barriers between Chicago-area waterways and Lake Michigan tested positive for the aggressive fish.
A Michigan congressman introduced legislation Wednesday to immediately halt the potential entry of the carp into the Great Lakes.
U.S. Rep. Dave Camp, the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, titled his bill the CARP ACT, which he said stands for Close All Routes and Prevent Asian Carp Today.
"The failure of the Supreme Court to act yesterday jeopardizes the future of the Lakes and it is clear we must take additional steps now," Camp said in a statement.
Under his bill, the Army Corps of Engineers would be directed to close the O'Brien Lock and Dam and the Chicago Controlling Works until a controlled lock operations strategy is developed. Additional barriers would be erected in nearby waterways to keep the carp from getting into Lake Michigan.
The corps would be directed to develop a strategy to mitigate the effects of closing the waterways on the state of Illinois and the businesses that use them, and also to figure out how the effects on Chicago flood control can be addressed.
Camp said the state of Illinois has legitimate concerns over having to block off nearby waterways, but "they do not outweigh the potential loss of a $7.5 billion industry and ecological devastation of the entire Great Lakes region."
Brown said Granholm has not had time to review Camp's legislation, but supports doing everything possible to protect the Great Lakes.
By Joel Hood, Chicago Tribune, January 24, 2010
For biologists searching for the presence of Asian carp in the twisting rivers and channels that flow into Lake Michigan, it's helpful to view the entire Great Lakes watershed as a crime scene.
Asian carp, the invasive species that has left a trail of destruction on its 30-year migration up the Mississippi River and into Illinois, naturally leave behind tiny cells as they move through the water. These cells, most commonly found in fish scales, feces and urine, contain carp DNA that distinguishes them among millions of other fish in Chicago waterways.
Like investigators reconstructing a crime scene using fingerprints on a doorknob or lipstick smudges on a wine glass, biologists are using Asian carp DNA found in these cells to track the carp's movement. Using DNA to monitor aquatic life is not new, but this method has never been used in a freshwater environment like the Great Lakes, officials said.
Because experts haven't yet seen an Asian carp within about 40 miles of Lake Michigan, the DNA evidence is central to the legal and political firestorm that has put Illinois' carp crisis in the national spotlight. That has brought the reliability of environmental DNA, or eDNA, under scrutiny and prompted some to wonder if bad science is perhaps driving the Asian carp controversy.
"Some people hear about carp DNA being found near Lake Michigan and they just think the threat is imminent, which isn't exactly the case," said state Sen. Susan Garrett, D-Lake Forest. "We need to be careful about how we talk about what we've found and what it means."
An invasive species expert and one of the architects of this eDNA method told Garrett and other state lawmakers that the science is sound. It's the interpretation of the DNA evidence that's up for debate.
"In terms of reliability, we know what we're picking up is big head or silver carp DNA. We're confident in our methods," said Lindsay Chadderton, the aquatic invasive species director at the Nature Conservancy. "The question people seem to be asking is whether the DNA could have gotten there by other means."
Since summer, researchers have combed Chicago's waterways north of the underwater electric barrier near Romeoville collecting more than 700 DNA samples. Water is scooped up in two-liter bottles and taken to a laboratory for analysis. Water, which acts like liquid cement keeping the cell structure intact, is filtered through a fine glass filter paper. The remaining solids are examined for the presence of DNA under a microscope, Chadderton said.
When DNA from one of the four varieties of Asian carp is detected, the results are compared with known carp DNA markers and matched against a global database for aquatic DNA. The results are independently verified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Chadderton said.
Asian carp DNA has now been located in five locations north of the electric barrier, built in 2002 to keep the carp from advancing into Lake Michigan. One sample has been found in Calumet Harbor, inside the rim of the lake, a troubling sign that the millions of dollars spent to deter the fish haven't worked.
"As a tool, we're excited by what (eDNA) has been able to show us," Chadderton said. "But the results have been bittersweet since it's showing us something we never wanted to see."
While eDNA cannot definitively say whether a carp is alive or dead, Chadderton, who helped develop the science in partnership with the University of Notre Dame, believes the samples indicate the presence of live fish. Some have speculated that passing boats may have collected carp tissue in their ballast water downriver, where Asian carp are known to be in abundance, and carried it across the electric barriers. Others say Asian carp being used as bait in the canals and along the lakefront may trigger a positive result.
Chadderton said those scenarios are unlikely. Cell tissue, he said, typically breaks down between six and 48 hours, meaning there is a small window to collect usable tissue. An even bigger indication, though, is that positive samples have been found in locations that follow the known movement of Asian carp upriver, Chadderton said.
"The other (scenarios) people are talking about simply don't explain that pattern," he said.
DNA sampling has other limitations as well, like determining the sex of the fish or shedding light on how many there are in one location. Those are important details, Chadderton said, to understand the scope of the problem.
Now that the Asian carp crisis has caught the attention of the U.S. Supreme Court and the White House, a large-scale effort is under way to confirm these DNA findings with a sighting of the fish. Crews could hit the water as early as this week with nets, using electric shock to stun fish and bring them to the surface. Without that confirmation, Chadderton said, the science will always have its detractors.
"Clearly there is a lot we know and a lot more we need to know," he said. "But this is the best tool we have and we have to trust what it's telling us.
USMA Chicago is offering U.S. Coast Guard approved Captains classes, starting February 16, 2010 at Chicago’s Columbia Yacht Club. 1st Night Registration and information meeting is Thursday, February 11th, 7 PM. Free to all interested parties
The tuition of $1,250 includes all texts, application preparation and Training Certificates for both 100 ton 6-pack and Masters licenses). The program is Veterans Administration (VA) approved.
Classes are open to the Public
The Yacht club address is 111 N. Lake Shore Drive Chicago,
Ill. 60601. Free parking is available
For more info: www.chicagocaptainsclasses.com
Captain Al Grigalunas 312-259-5125
Captain Fred Swastek 773-578-6852
USMA Home Office 360-385-4852
Click here for the class Registration Form Registration Form
Eight public hearings scheduled to present preliminary 2010 mapping
COLUMBUS, OH – Property owners along Ohio’s Lake Erie coast have received letters from the Ohio DNR identifying whether their property is preliminarily located within a coastal erosion area. The letters initiate a 120-day comment period for an updated set of coastal erosion maps originally released in 1998.
Maps released by the ODNR Division of Geological Survey are available online at www.ohiodnr.com/CEAm and in print at affected counties, municipalities and townships in Ohio’s coastal counties. Ohioans may learn more about the preliminary 2010 Coastal Erosion Area maps at eight public hearings scheduled across the coast beginning January 25 (see full schedule below).
Under Ohio’s Coastal Management law, ODNR is required to measure coastal recession rates along the state’s Lake Erie shore. Land areas predicted to erode within a 30-year period, if additional approved erosion control measures are not completed, are included in designated coastal erosion areas. Ohio law defines a coastal erosion area as beginning at the water’s edge and extending landward a specific distance based upon the rate of recession along that stretch of bluff, bank or beach ridge.
Following the procedures outlined in Ohio Revised Code (O.R.C.) 1506.06, the 2010 maps should be finalized in early 2011. However, until the 2010 maps are finalized, the 1998 Coastal Erosion Area designations and maps will be in effect and enforced for construction and property sale purposes.
The objective of the Coastal Erosion Area program is to promote wise land use. Property owners considering a construction project along Ohio’s coast or selling littoral property may visit the ODNR Office of Coastal Management’s Web site at www.ohiodnr.com/coastal or call (419) 626-7980 to learn more. Staff members will assist landowners in determining if a property is within a 1998 designated coastal erosion area. The Office of Coastal Management can also guide property owners through the permitting process and advise about Ohio’s Residential Property Disclosure law.
Property owners, municipalities, counties and townships with
questions about the 2010 preliminary Coastal Erosion Area maps can visit the ODNR Division of Geological Survey’s Web site at www.ohiodnr.com/geosurvey or call (614) 265-6595 for more information. Pursuant to O.R.C. 1506.06, affected parties may file a written objection to a 2010 preliminary coastal erosion area identification with the Division of Geological Survey at any of the public hearings listed below or at any other time within 120 days from the date indicated in their certified letters.
Courtesy letters also will be sent to owners whose properties were not within a 1998 coastal erosion area and are not in the preliminary 2010 boundary, as well as owners whose properties are within a 1998 designated coastal erosion area but are not within a coastal erosion area based on the 2010 preliminary maps.
In addition to the letters, ODNR is providing property owners with fact sheets and information on what the Coastal Erosion Area Program is and what a designation means for their properties. This information may also be found by visiting www.ohiodnr.com/CEAm.
The following is a list of public hearings by county. All meetings are scheduled for 6:30–8:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted.
• Ashtabula County - Tuesday, January 26. Kent State U, Ashtabula Campus, Blue and Gold Room, 3300 Lake Road West,
• Cuyahoga County - Thursday, January 28. Don Umerley Civic Center Memorial Hall, 21016 Hilliard Boulevard, Rocky River,
• Erie County - Monday, January 25. Old Woman Creek National Research Reserve, Visitor Center,, 2514 Cleveland Road E, Huron,
• Lake County - Wednesday, January 27. Painesville Township Park Community Center, 1025 Hardy Road, Painesville,
• Lorain County - Tuesday, February 2. Sheffield Lake, Community Center, 4575 E. Lake Rd, Sheffield Lake,
• Lucas County - Monday, February 1. Toledo City Council Chambers, 1 Government Center, Suite 2120,
• Ottawa County - Wednesday, February 3. Ottawa County Court House, Emergency Operations Center, 315 Madison St, Port Clinton,
• Sandusky County, Wednesday, February 3, 1–3 p.m. Sandusky River Watershed Coalition, WSOS Community Commission, 219 S. Front St,
Hayden, Jadel, Sands and Trimble to be honored at HOF banquet on March 13
SPRINGFIELD, IL – Four individuals with decades of dedicated commitment to promoting outdoor recreation and stewardship have been selected for induction into the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame, a program of the Illinois Conservation Foundation.
Alfred Hayden, John “Jack” Jadel, Denny Sands, and Mary Jo Trimble have been selected from among dozens of nominees for the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame submitted by citizens from throughout Illinois. They will be inducted during ceremonies at the annual Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame Banquet, to be held on Saturday, March 13, 2010 at the Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles, Illinois.
Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame Class of 2010:
►Alfred Hayden, Dahinda
Al Hayden is one of west-central Illinois’ leading advocates for youth participation in the outdoors and a tireless promoter of hunting, fishing, and other natural resources-based outdoor recreation. The owner of Al’s Sporting Goods in Galesburg, Al Hayden is the longtime outdoors columnist for the Galesburg Register-Mail newspaper and has hosted an outdoors radio program.
►John “Jack” Jadel, Wilmette
Jack Jadel is a longtime supporter of conservation education in Illinois, donating funds used by the Illinois Conservation Foundation to support the Illinois DNR Schoolyard Habitat Action Grant program.
►Denny Sands, Shabbona
Denny Sands’ love of fishing has helped tens of thousands of other anglers enjoy enhanced fishing opportunities in Illinois for three decades. Denny Sands was the founding president of the Shabbona Lake Sportsman Club, which has conducted projects and provided support to enhance the fishery and recreation opportunities at Shabbona Lake State Recreation Area in DeKalb Co.
►Mary Jo Trimble, Carterville
Mary Jo Trimble is one of Illinois’ best-known and most forceful advocates for the preservation, protection, and enhancement of public lands for multiple recreational uses, devoting much of her effort at encouraging more recreational access for sporting dog field activities.
For more info on the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame Banquet, contact the Illinois Conservation Foundation, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702-1271, phone 217/785-2003, or check the ICF web site at www.ilcf.org.
Into New Restricted Gear Category
The Michigan DNR has reclassified trout streams with differing gear restrictions into a single “gear restricted” category.
The new category - the major first change in the DNR’s stream classification system that was adopted a decade ago - will allow for more flexible fishing regulations on the streams that have been classified as Type 5, 6 and 7 streams in the past. No immediate regulation changes have been proposed for specific streams.
“Combining the Type 5, 6 and 7 streams into one category simplifies our regulatory framework and creates flexibility for protecting trout populations while allowing diverse fishing opportunities,” explained DNR Fish Chief Kelley Smith. “With
this change, we’re ready to work with trout anglers to review appropriate regulations for specific streams.”
State law allows up to 212 miles of gear-restricted streams statewide.
Anglers who wish to comment on appropriate regulations or to nominate additional waters for the Gear Restricted Category can forward their comments online to [email protected] through Feb. 12.
The DNR’s Coldwater Regulations Steering Committee will review all comments and make proposals available for public comment before making any regulations changes. DNR recommendations are expected to be sent to the DNR director this fall for implementation on April 1, 2011.
Sturgeon season is slated to begin Feb. 6
The Michigan DNR has announced new regulations for sturgeon spearing at Black Lake designed to allow more people to participate.
Anglers who want to try their hands at sturgeon spearing season will be required to register on-site at Black Lake the day they plan to fish. They will be required to register any sturgeon speared immediately.
Sturgeon season is slated to begin Feb. 6 and will run through Feb. 10 or whenever the quota is reached, whichever comes first.
The new harvest strategy replaces the system that has been
used in recent years that required anglers to draw for permits and limited the number of participants. Under the new system, the five-day season will close as soon as the quota is reached. Anglers on the ice when the quota is reached will be notified that the season is closed.
Biologists believe the new system will allow greater participation but will protect the Black Lake sturgeon population from over-harvest. The change was developed in conjunction with Sturgeon For Tomorrow, a conservation group centered at Black Lake.
"With the authorization of the State Assembly, I moved expeditiously in the United States Supreme Court to join the State of Michigan’s request for emergency relief aimed at preventing the invasion of Asian carp species into Lake Michigan. That motion was denied.
The order denying the motion for a preliminary injunction does not end this case. The underlying petition remains pending, and I will continue to pursue legal remedies to stop Asian carp species from entering Lake Michigan and protect Wisconsin’s
I continue to be concerned about the economic and environmental threat these fish pose to the Great Lakes and to Wisconsin specifically. The threat is real. Just yesterday, the Army Corps of Engineers announced two positive eDNA results for silver carp, both lakeside of the O’Brien Lock. I am pleased by Governor Doyle’s announcement demanding a meeting with the Obama Administration to address this issue. Perhaps he can convince the President of the gravity and urgency of the threat Asian carp pose to the Great Lakes."
This is a potential new record Northern Pike in Canada, caught on Rainy Lake. The man (in the photos below), was fishing and caught a 36" Pike. As he was reeling it in, a 56" - 55 lb Pike tried to eat it! He landed them both in the same net.
At a recent meeting of the International Joint Commission (IJC) in Ottawa, ON, the Hon. Joseph Robert Comuzzi formally assumed the responsibilities of Commissioner to the Canadian Section, and the commissioners of the Canadian Section Comuzzi as the Chair of the Canadian Section of the Commission. The Chair of the Canadian Section acts as chair at all meetings of the Commission held in Canada and in respect to all matters required to be done in Canada by the chair of the Commission.
Joseph Comuzzi served six terms as a member of Parliament
for Thunder Bay-Nipigon. He chaired numerous committees,
including the Standing Committee on Transport, the Subcommittee on the St. Lawrence Seaway, the Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary Group, and the Cabinet Committee on Canada-US relations. Comuzzi also served as minister of state of the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario.
The International Joint Commission prevents and resolves disputes between the United States of America and Canada under the 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty and pursues the common good of both countries as an independent and objective advisor to the two governments.
The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the GLSFC, its officers or staff.
Reproduction of any material by paid-up members of the GLSFC is encouraged but appropriate credit must be given.
Reproduction by others without written permission is prohibited.
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