February 3, 2003

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Last year's mild winter impacts fall walleye stocking

   Last year's mild winter weather limited walleye fingerling production in state rearing ponds this summer and will result in fewer walleye being stocked this fall, according to the Minnesota DNR.


   With the harvest of rearing ponds completed, about 1.1 million fingerlings weighing 91,000 lbs. have been stocked, said Roy Johannes, who coordinates the DNR's statewide walleye-stocking program. This year's goal was to stock between 120,000 to 130,000 lbs. of fingerlings. Although this year's stocking effort fell below the goal, it is offset by last year's near-record stocking effort, when 4.4 million fingerlings weighing 161,000 lbs. were stocked.


   "The reason for the big difference between the two years is the difference between the two winters that preceded them," said Johannes. "Last winter was extremely mild, with a late freeze-up, little snow cover and an early ice-out.

When that happens, our rearing ponds don't winterkill and we end up with poorer survival of the walleye fry that we stock in the spring."


   The DNR expects to purchase about 3,800 lbs. of fingerlings from a private producer. "We tried to increase our fingerling purchase to about 7,500 lbs., but private growers had the same problem we had," Johannes said. "I'm not sure we'll get the extra fish."


   Ron Payer, Minnesota's Fish Chief, is optimistic that good numbers of fingerlings will be available for stocking over the long run, thanks to the extra rearing ponds added through the Accelerated Walleye Program. "A key factor is that we now have about 330 rearing ponds compared with only 195 before the accelerated program began," Payer said. "This means that when conditions are good, as they were last year, we will produce high numbers of fingerlings."

Mudpuppies must be returned safely to the water

   Michigan DNR officials are reminding anglers to return to the water any mudpuppy caught while fishing.


   DNR Fisheries managers recently investigated several reports that Michigan ice anglers  have been catching large numbers of mudpuppies and leaving them on the ice to die. While perhaps not the most appealing creatures to look at, these salamanders serve an important role in Michigan's aquatic ecosystem and are protected under state law.


   In southeast Michigan, mudpuppies often are caught on Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River.


   Anglers often leave mudpuppies on the ice to die, because they think they are competitors for popular game species and feed on fish--which is not true--or because they think they are worthless," said Robert Haas, research biologist at the DNR Mt. Clemens Research Station. "Their

diet consists of crayfish, snails, insect larvae, worms

and some fish eggs, but there is no evidence they damage fish populations."


   If a mudpuppy is caught during the ice-fishing season, the law requires its release back into the water. They cannot be taken out of Michigan waters from Nov. 15 through the last Saturday of May. Those caught by anglers typically are 8-12-inches long.


   Mudpuppies are native to North American lakes and streams, but their populations have been declining severely in recent decades. They have flattened heads, slimy skin and four legs with four toes on each foot. They also have bushy, reddish gills behind their heads. Their color varies, ranging from a brown to a grayish-brown with scattered dark spots or blotches. For more information on mudpuppies, click the following link:


Minnesota snowmobile maps now available

   Snowmobile maps for Minnesota's 2002-2003 season are now available from the DNR. The four different maps show trails in the Northeast, Northwest, Southeast and Southwest sections of the state.


   Minnesota has a system of about 20,000 miles of public and private snowmobile trails throughout the state, most funded through snowmobile registration fees and gas taxes. The maps

are available at no cost.


   To order trail maps, or for other snowmobile information including rules, regulations and snow reports, call the DNR: 651-296-6157 or toll free 1-888-MN DNR (646-6367), or write to DNR Information Center, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-4040. Snowmobile info is also available online at:  www.dnr.state.mn.us

Registration underway for Indiana's outdoor skills camp for women

   "Becoming an Outdoors-Woman" is a weekend-long event offering an opportunity to learn and improve outdoor skills such as canoeing, horseback riding, fly fishing, camping, birdwatching, hunting, outdoor cooking, shooting and mountain biking.


   The camp is scheduled for May 2-4 at Ross Camp near West Lafayette.


   "It's a low pressure environment, but its intense fun.  You can try new things, learn new skills and meet new friends.  When the weekend was over I felt excited, challenged and relaxed at the same time," said Dawn Krause, past BOW participant.

   Workshop enrollment is limited.  The $160 workshop fee covers lodging, meals and equipment. Some partial scholarships are available for students, single parents and low income first-time participants.  Participants must be 18 years or older. 


   The workshops are sponsored by the Indiana DNR, Indiana Hunter Education Association, Galyans and Indiana State Park Inns. For more information or to register, visit Indiana's Becoming an Outdoors-Woman web site at: http://www.IN.gov/dnr/outdoorwoman/


Download a registration form at: http://www.IN.gov/dnr/outdoorwoman/workshops/   Or contact Theresa Mack at (317) 232-4194.

DNR seeking members for coastal advisory board

   The Indiana DNR is looking for members to serve on an advisory board that will help implement the Lake Michigan Coastal Program, which will include grants to protect and improve natural and cultural resources in Lake, Porter and LaPorte Counties.


   The Coastal Advisory Board will represent local communities and other stakeholders, set priorities for grants, set project criteria, and plan public involvement. The board will be made up of 19 voting members and

6 non-voting members. Voting members of the board must live or work in Lake, Porter, or LaPorte counties.


   The director of the DNR will make the appointments to

the board and the department is accepting nominations

from the public. The 19 voting members of the board will be made up of local government officials and one citizen at-large; coastal land use representatives; environmental and recreational representatives and others. The non-voting members will be from state and federal government agencies.


Complete details can be found on DNR's Web site at  www.IN.gov/dnr/lakemich/news/advisory.html  or by writing Laurie Rounds, Lake Michigan Coastal Program Manager, Department of Natural Resources, 402 W. Washington St., Rm. W265 Indianapolis, IN, 46204 or calling 317-233-0132. Nominations should be received at the DNR no later than February 10.


DNR to hold public meeting on central Minnesota wildlife issues

   The Minnesota DNR will hold a meeting to hear from the public, hunters, and trappers about the issues and challenges they believe the DNR's Division of Wildlife will face over the next 10 years. The meeting will be on Thursday, Feb. 6, 7 – 9 p.m., at the Learning Center of Bunker Hills County Park, 550 Bunker Hills Blvd., Andover.


   At the meeting, participants will have an opportunity to describe what they expect from the Division of Wildlife, and to comment on what they think the Division is doing well and not so well. People attending will work in small groups and then share group findings with everyone at the meeting. The planning process will provide a new way to talk about wildlife management work in the state. 


   Information from the public meetings, internal staff

meetings, and the wildlife roundtable will be used to create

a strategic plan. The draft plan will be available for public review in May when people will have a chance to make sure their ideas and concerns are represented.


   A recent reorganization of the DNR created the new Wildlife Division. The strategic plan will be a direction-setting document to reaffirm the identity of the Division.  At a strategic level, it will provide guidance for work planning, priorities, outcomes and evaluation of work.


   The plan will help the Minnesota Legislature and stakeholders know what to expect from the Wildlife Division. It will also help the Division prepare for possible future reorganization and/or funding changes so that they are based on solid wildlife needs, customer expectations and needs, and a future vision for wildlife.

Fuel tax refund

   All legally registered Michigan charterboats are entitled by law to receive a refund for the Michigan road tax applied to the fuel they purchase. Applications must be filed within six months of use. Captains on record with the Michigan 

Department of Treasury Motor Tax division should have been sent a form for this year with last year’s refund. New captains should call 517-373-3180. At 18.3 cents per gallon, it may be worth hundreds of dollars to you.

Obtaining 501(c)(3) Status

PA to hold six evening workshops

   Mark your calendars. The Susquehanna River Basin Commission will be conducting six evening workshops in 2003 to instruct community and watershed organizations on how to become a non-profit organization by obtaining 501(c)(3) status (Articles of Incorporation).


   These workshops are being funded by a grant from the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection’s Growing Greener

Technical Assistant Program.

http://www.dep.state.pa.us/growgreen/ , 877-PA GREEN

The dates and location of the workshops are:

       March 11  York

       March 13   Camp Hill

       March 18   Altoona

       March 25   State College

       March 27   Wiles-Barre

       April 1       Towanda

Cabela’s to open new store in Pennsylvania

   Cabela’s is opening an outlet in Pennsylvania. The outfitting giant plans to open a 225,000 sq ft store near Hamburg, PA by late fall 2003. The new store, the company's ninth, will be built on a 100-acre site near the 

intersection of I- 78 and Rte 61. Its floor space will be

roughly the size of four football fields and will be built in Cabela’s trademark style, which evokes the feeling of the outdoors. Cabela’s also recently opened a store in Kansas City, Kansas. The 185,000 sq-ft facility opened in August.

Property-rights advocate to head House Committee on Resources

Rep. Richard Pombo strong advocate for property rights, resources, public lands
   A California congressman well-known for his strong advocacy of property rights and access to federal lands has been named to the top post that handles legislation dealing with environmental and land use-related matters.


   The Republican leadership on January 8 appointed Rep. Richard Pombo, 42, as chairman of the House Committee on Resource.


   The Resources Committee has jurisdiction over a wide range of issues vitally important to private property rights and use of federal lands, including Interior Department agencies like the National Parks Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and legislation involving the Endangered Species Act, water, timber, mining and fisheries management.


   "Richard Pombo is straight from the grass roots," said

Chuck Cushman of the American Land Rights Association.

"He has been there for us time and time again in Congress, from adding common sense to the Endangered Species Act to stopping attempted land grab legislation to promoting multiple use of federal lands. With Richard Pombo as chairman, everyone will be heard from and the grass roots will have a seat at the table."


   G.B. Oliver, president of the Paragon Foundation in Alamogordo, N.M., in effect seconded Cushman's remarks.  "This is the most exciting news that private land owners and resource producers have had in 10 years," he said. "We know first-hand from experiences that range from Klamath Falls, Ore., to Dade County, Fla., that Mr. Pombo stands for the rights of small-property owners."


   As part of his congressional responsibilities Pombo chairs the Western Caucus, a group of 55 members of Congress who work to create a unified voice on such issues as Endangered Species Act reform, water rights, private property rights and other issues affecting congressional districts in the West.

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