Week of February 14, 2005




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Lake Erie





New York



       Weekly News Archives


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Breakthrough in the fight against zebra mussels

Often considered just a Great Lakes pest, zebra mussels have since spread through major U.S. waterways to plague numerous industries.


One of the most damaging of North Americas non-indigenous waterborne species, zebra mussels, have caused increasing expenditures to both government and industry. Facilities affected by the Zebra mussel include: nuclear and fossil fuel power plants, industrial facilities and drinking water treatment facilities. Other industries affected include shipping, transport,

 canals, sewage treatment, marinas, educational institutions,reservoirs and hatcheries.


Canadian researcher B. Richard Cameron recently created a proactive, starch-based zebra mussel solution that is generally nontoxic in aquatic environments and can safely control fouling caused by the non-indigenous pest. The starch solution is triggered by a non-chemical technology; the resulting reagent interrupts the zebra mussel’s life stages.


For more info: www.Barkley-Distribution.com

US Coast Guard Safety Alert - GPS Position Offsets 

GPS Receiver Manually-Entered Position Offsets May Cause Safety Hazard when Interconnected to Navigation Devices

It has come to the attention of the U.S. Coast Guard that certain Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers do not provide a proper indication to other connected equipment when manually-entered position offsets are entered into the GPS receiver.  Even a small offset could result in danger of collision or other navigation safety hazard when the receiver is interconnected to devices such as an automatic identification system (AIS), Electronic Chart Display and Information System (ECDIS), integrated navigation systems (INS) or track control system (TCS).


The problem is caused by an error in the NMEA 0183/IEC 61162 data interface Datum Reference ("DTM") "local datum" field.  Navigation systems interconnected to the GPS receiver use this field to determine whether the position received is referenced to World Geodetic System 84 (WGS84) or something different.  AIS equipment, for example, disregards external position information for reasons of safety if the "local datum" field does not indicate WGS84.  As a result, equipment that is interfaced to GPS receivers having this problem would act as if the position were referenced to the WGS84 datum, when in fact the position differs from the WGS84 datum by the manual offsets entered by the vessel's crew or captain. 

The problem can be identified if own ship position displayed on an AIS changes in proportion to manually-entered offsets entered into the GPS receiver interconnected to the AIS.  The GPS is operating correctly in such a situation if the AIS reverts to its integral GPS and disregards the manually-entered offsets sent from the externally-connected GPS.


GPS Receivers identified having this problem:

            Furuno GP80

            Furuno GP90


Mariners having these receivers are advised to either take steps to ensure that the manually-offset feature is never and can never be used, or to disconnect these receivers from the AIS, ECDIS, INS, TCS or other navigation or communications system.


Technical questions relating to this alert may be addressed to Mr. Lee Luft at (860) 441-2685 or [email protected] .


Distributed by: Office of Investigations and Analysis U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters


For additional safety alerts:  http://marinesafetyalerts.us

For marine casualty information: http://marineinvestigations.us

To subscribe: [email protected]


NMCA and NMMA File Joint Request on ADA Standards for Small Vessels

 Alexandria, VA—The National Marine Charter Association (NMCA) and National Marine Manufacturers Association  (NMMA) have jointly asked the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board) and for an extension of the public comment period on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Accessibility Guidelines for Small Passenger Vessels.


NMCA and NMMA asked for a 90-day extension to the comment period and for the Access Board to schedule at least one additional public meeting.  The groups jointly sought the extension in order to be better able to help the Access Board understand the difficulties seen in adopting the proposed guidelines, and the particular concerns for extending the large vessel guidelines to small passenger vessels.


The marine charter industry utilizes a wide variety of vessels from a wide variety of boat manufacturers and an extended research period is necessary to thoroughly study how these recommendations would affect both manufacturers and operators.


NMCA and NMMA immediately alerted their memberships when the Access Board’s documents were published in the Federal Register on the day after Thanksgiving. The timing did not allow the associations or their members to focus on the proposals until after the first of the year. In addition to the  holidays, the comment period falls during the hectic boat  

show season making boat manufacturers and operators largely unavailable.  Furthermore, while the Access Board has been working on this issue for a number of years, neither the boat building nor marine charter industries have been involved in this process until now. Indeed, the Passenger Vessel Access Advisory Council did not include any representative from the recreational or marine charter communities.


The public comment period is currently scheduled to close on March 28, 2005.  More information on the rulemaking and the full text of the request can be found at www.marinecharter.org  and www.nmma.org/government .


NMCA provides a unified and effective voice for the full spectrum of over 40,000 companies in the marine charter industry. Marine charterers who provide sailing, fishing, diving, eco-tours, water transportation, bareboats, and other excursion vessels up to 150 passengers are represented in NMCA, a national non-profit organization fully representative of their interests.


NMMA is the nation's largest recreational marine industry association, representing more than 1,500 boat builders, engine manufacturers, and marine accessory manufacturers. NMMA members collectively produce more than 80 percent of all recreational marine products made in the United States. With nearly 13 million registered boats and almost 72 million boaters nationwide, the recreational boating industry contributes $30 billion annually to our nation's economy.


President's 2006 Budget Request More Than Doubles Great Lakes Legacy Funding

(Washington, D.C. – President Bush is requesting $50 million in the FY 2006 Budget to implement the Great Lakes Legacy Act.  This is an increase of nearly $28 million and more than doubles the level funded by Congress in FY 2005.
Some of this money will help continue the remedial work at one of the major Great Lakes Legacy Act projects ---the Black Lagoon---located near Trenton, Michigan.  Dredging and disposal of approximately 73,400 cubic yards of the contaminated sediment is currently under way.  The dredging will be followed by spreading layers of sand and gravel over the affected area.  Restoring the aquatic habitat within the Black Lagoon and preparing the site for recreational and economic redevelopment are the beginnings of revitalizing this valued area.  Removing the contamination in this riverbed and providing a natural process for
keeping it healthy mean every drop of water flowing through the lagoon will be cleaner.

The natural beauty of the Great Lakes is only one aspect of this vital national treasure.  More than 30 million Americans

located in cities and communities around the Great Lakes depend on the Great Lakes for their drinking water.  The five Great Lakes make up the largest surface freshwater system on earth and are home to more than $1 billion dollars in the recreational fishing industry.  Restoring and making the Great Lakes cleaner is essential to support the culture and ways of native communities.  The Lakes support billions of dollars in shipping, trade, and fishing and provide food and recreational opportunities for millions of Americans.


President’s Executive Order 13340 is, in part, being implemented through a large-scale collaboration among the federal government, the Great Lakes states, local communities, tribes and others in the Great Lake region.  The collaboration is working toward a December deadline for presenting a plan that will focus the efforts of all toward making the Great Lakes cleaner.

For additional information about the Legacy Act, the Black Lagoon, the Executive Order and Great Lakes collaboration visit: http://www.epa.gov/greatlakes

Great Lakes Water Levels for February 11, 2005

Current Lake Levels: 

All of the Great Lakes except Lake Ontario are 8 to 15 inches above last year’s levels.  Lake Ontario is 2 inches above its level of a year ago.  Lake Superior is at its long-term average.  Michigan-Huron is 9 inches below its long-term average. Lake St. Clair is 8 inches above its long-term average while both Lakes Erie and Ontario are 10 inches above their long-term averages.

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 February.  Flow in the St. Clair River is also projected to be near average.  Flows in the Detroit, Niagara, and St. Lawrence Rivers are all anticipated to be above average in February.


Temperature/Precipitation Outlook: 

Warmer than average temperatures are once again on tap for

the weekend. Sunny skies on Saturday will give way to increasing clouds and the chance for rain on Sunday.  Flurries and near normal temperatures are forecasted for next week.


Forecasted Water Levels: 

Lake Superior is forecasted to continue its seasonal decline and decrease 1 inch over the next month.  Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are all nearing the end of their seasonal decline and they should rise 1 inch by the first week of March.  Note that ice conditions on Lake St. Clair may create rapid fluctuations in the levels over short periods.



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.


Canadian Police report on Crime in Canada 1962-2003

There were more than 300,000 violent crimes reported by police in  2003.  This translates into 963 violent incidents per 100,000 population.  Violent crime includes homicide, attempted murder, assault, sexual assault, other assaults, other sexual offences, abduction robbery.  Three out of every five violent incidents are classified as Level 1 assault.


The rate of violent crime has been generally declining slightly (-11%) over the past decade, after having increased steadily through most of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.  In 2003, the total violent crime rate remained relatively stable.  All violent crime categories recorded declines, except robbery (+5%) and attempted murder (+4%).  The 2003 violent crime rate was 11% lower than its near-peak in 1993, but still 66% higher than 25 years ago.


1962: 221 Violent Crimes per 100,000 people

2003: 963 Violent Crimes per 100,000 people


1962: 1,891 Property Crimes per 100,000 people

2003: 4,121 Property Crimes per 100,000 people

1962:    659 Other Crimes per 100,000 people

2003: 3,478 Other Crimes per 100,000 people


1962: 2,771 TOTAL CRIMINAL CODE OFFENCES PER 100,000 PEOPLE (Excluding Traffic Offences)

2003: 8,132 TOTAL CRIMINAL CODE OFFENCES PER 100,000 PEOPLE (Excluding Traffic Offences)





1962: 19.7 Criminal Code Incidents per Police Officer

2003: 43.3 Criminal Code Incidents per Police Officer








Canadian Sinker issue another fabrication of the imagination

Get ready for another round of the lead-tackle debate with the Canadian Wildlife Service. The CWS is again proposing to ban the importation, manufacture and sale of (but not the use of existing) lead fishing sinkers and jigs less than two centimeters (.788 inch) in length and weighing less than 50 grams (1.765 ounces).


The ban is based on concern over an annual average of six reported wildlife deaths, mainly common loons, across Canada from 1987 to 1998 because they ingested toxic lead sinkers or jigs.   The CWS claims this translates into "20% to 30% of adult loon mortality."


Yet, far more loons died recently in Ontario alone from botulism on the Great Lakes. Even CWS pegs those numbers at "hundreds or thousands" from 1999 to 2002.


The CWS tried to push a ban through last year, but stalled when Minister of the Environment David Anderson was replaced in that post by Stephane Dion, MP for St. Laurent-Carterville, after the past election.  The new proposal, however, is broad-sweeping. It also would apply to spinners, lures, spoons, and other tackle that "attaches to a fishing line" and "contains more than 1% lead content."


This means all those crankbaits, spinnerbaits, and other lures you use that contain even miniscule amounts of lead in any metallic combination also might be the last of their kind.


Phil Morlock, chair of the Canadian Sportfishing Industry Association (CSIA) Legislative Committee, says this could even eventually apply to fishing reels and other gear if they contain lead, brass, or white metal.  

To back its proposal, the CWS is again using the two-year-old "Occasional Paper 108," an internal report still not published and peer reviewed scientifically outside of Environment Canada. After following this issue for more than a decade, anglers and other conservationists are convinced that there is no smoking gun with the sinker issue. Loon deaths in Canada from lead ingestion are insignificant to overall population levels.


Even the CWS pegs the Canadian common loon population at nearly 600,000 birds and stable or increasing, and is making a comeback in many areas of the U.S. where they were wiped out.


The World Wildlife Fund has been behind the push for a lead-tackle ban, but the real issue isn't about loons and wildlife – it’s a worldwide look at the unnecessary use of lead.  Even the tackle industry agrees lead is toxic and its use should be limited where deemed necessary. That was the case when leaded gasoline, paints, and other products were spread widely in the environment at toxic levels. But, with fishing tackle, that is undetermined in Canada.


In a position paper, the CSIA recommends that government invite expert toxicologists from the medical profession and independent wildlife scientists to participate in discussion on this issue prior to forming a final policy.


The public can comment on current proposals by March 15 at Lead Free Fishing Consultations, 3rd Floor, 351 St. Joseph Blvd., Gatineau, Quebec, K1A 0H3 or e-mail Lead Free [email protected]



Job Available

Summer Research Assistants - Wadable Stream Habitat Sampling (6 positions)

Non Wadable Stream Habitat and Fish Sampling (4 positions)

Location:   Two crews will be based out of The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor:  one wadable stream habitat sampling crew (3 people) and the nonwadable stream habitat and fish sampling crew (4 people).  One wadable stream habitat sampling crew (3 people) will be based out of Marquette, Michigan.


Responsibilities:   Successful applicants will assist researchers from the University of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) with the collection and analysis of field data related to the quantification of stream habitats throughout the state of Michigan.


Salary:      $10/hour for field personnel (7), $12/hour for crew leaders (3)


Closing Date:  February 28, 2005.  We reserve the right to close this position earlier based on the volume of applicants.


Contact:    Send cover letter, resume or curriculum vitae, transcripts (unofficial acceptable), and a minimum of three references to:


Dana Infante

Institute for Fisheries Research

Michigan Department of Natural Resources

212 Museums Annex

Ann Arbor, MI  48109-1084

[email protected] (e-mail)

Phone: (734) 663-3554 ext 115


In the cover letter, applicants should indicate their preferred work location (Marquette or Ann Arbor), their preferred project (wadable or nonwadable streams), and any special skills relevant to their preferred project.


Wadable Stream Habitat Sampling


Objective:     The objective of the wadable stream habitat assessment project is to develop and refine habitat assessment methods and protocols for the MDNR’s standardized, statewide Stream Status and Trends monitoring

program.  Data collection will involve rigorous habitat assessments in a variety of stream types throughout Michigan’s Upper and Lower peninsulas.  Two of the advertised positions will serve as crew leaders responsible for the day-to-day coordination of field sampling.


Qualifications:    A minimum of junior/senior standing in B.S. program in fisheries or related field and available at least from May 23, 2005 through August 26, 2005.  Criteria for selection of crew leaders include, but are not limited to, completed coursework and previous fisheries-related experience.  Knowledge and/or experience of habitat assessment techniques preferred but not necessary.  All applicants must possess a valid driver’s license and be able to work extended hours in remote locations in all types of weather.  Travel will be extensive.  A vehicle and lodging will be provided for work-related travel, although field sampling in some locations may require overnight camping.  Successful applicants will be required to provide their own housing and meals.


Nonwadable Stream Habitat and Fish Sampling

Objective:    The goal of this project is to develop and refine a protocol to assess habitat in nonwadable rivers to determine its suitability for native game and nongame fish.  Data collection for protocol development will involve rigorous habitat assessments in large rivers throughout Michigan’s Upper and Lower peninsulas.  Fish assemblages will also be assessed by electrofishing.  One of the advertised positions will serve as a crew leader responsible for the day-to-day coordination of field sampling and a crew of three additional field personnel.


Qualifications: A minimum of junior/senior standing in B.S. program in fisheries or related field and available at least from May 23, 2005 through August 26, 2005.  Crew leader must have a minimum of junior/senior standing in B.S. program in aquatics or related field, masters or Ph.D. students preferred.  Knowledge and/or experience of habitat assessment techniques, electrofishing, and identification of aquatic macrophytes preferred but not necessary.  Experience identifying fish in the field and operating and trailoring boats desirable.  All applicants must possess a valid driver’s license, be able to work extended hours on a boat in all types of weather, and be able to travel most of the summer.  A vehicle and lodging will be provided for work-related travel.  Successful applicants will be required to provide their own housing and meals.

Summer Research Assistants (7 positions) Fish and Habitat Sampling in Lakes

Location: The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Responsibilities: Successful applicants will assist researchers from the University of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) with the collection of fish and habitat data from lakes throughout the state of Michigan.  The objective of this project is to inventory inland lakes and to develop and refine assessment methods for the MDNR’s statewide Lake Status and Trends monitoring program.  Data collection will involve rigorous habitat assessments, lake mapping, and fish surveys in a variety of lakes throughout Michigan’s Upper and Lower peninsulas.

Qualifications: Successful applicants will be selected based on extent of completed coursework and previous aquatics-related experience.  Crew leaders must have a minimum of junior/senior standing in B.S. program in aquatics or related field.   Applicants must be available at least from May 23, 2005 through August 26, 2004.  Knowledge and/or experience of

habitat assessment techniques, identification of fishes and aquatic macrophytes, and experience operating boats preferred, but not necessary.  All applicants must possess a valid driver’s license, be able to work extended hours on a boat in all types of weather, and be able to travel most of the summer.  A vehicle and lodging will be provided for work-related travel.  Successful applicants will be required to provide their own housing and meals.


Salary: $10/hour for field personnel, $12/hour for crew leaders

Closing Date: February 28, 2005.  We reserve the right to close this position early based on the volume of applicants.

Contact: Please send cover letter, resume or curriculum vitae (including a description of relevant coursework), and a minimum of three references to: Glenn Carter, Institute for Fisheries Research, 212 Museums Annex Bldg, 1109 North University Ave, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1084.  Phone: (734) 663-3554 ext 115, e-mail: [email protected] .



Court Expels Anti's from Case to Block Maryland Bear Hunt

Maryland circuit court judge has removed two anti-hunting groups from a case that challenges black bear hunting regulations.


Circuit Court Judge Thomas Smith, Prince George’s County, has granted the state’s motion to dismiss the Fund for Animals and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) from the case.  The anti-hunting groups failed to demonstrate to the court how they will be affected by the black bear hunt.  Three local anti-hunting plaintiffs remain in the case.


“The anti-hunting groups had charged that the Maryland Department of Natural Resources had violated state law by not setting seasons and bag limits by an April deadline,” said Rob Sexton, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation vice president for government affairs.  “Judge Smith stated that the deadline was merely a guideline.  Setting season dates and bag limits at a later date did not cause harm to the plaintiffs, but he stated that stopping the hunt would cause harm to potential bear hunters.”


The anti’s other argument was that state wildlife biologists

were wrong in their assessment of the bear population.  Judge Smith ruled that the agency gave “due regard” to science on population figures and other biological factors and deferred to the wildlife agency’s expertise on the matter.


The U.S. Sportsmen’s Legal Defense Fund (SLDF) and the Maryland Sportsmen’s Association filed to intervene in the case on behalf of sportsmen.  While awaiting the judge’s decision, both groups have been working with the Maryland Attorney General’s office on the case.  On October 18, 2004, Judge Smith denied a request from anti-hunters for an injunction to stop the 2004 bear hunt.  The season opened on October 25 and lasted a single day.


The Department of Natural Resources had established a harvest objective of 30 bears and 20 were taken on opening day.  Wildlife experts were concerned that a second day of hunting would put them over the target and possibly jeopardize future hunts.  Biologists say the hunt is needed to help reduce western Maryland’s skyrocketing black bear population.  There has been a recent increase in human-bear conflicts in the state.


Worms hooked on fishing feel no pain
OSLO (Reuters) - Worms squirming on a fishhook feel no pain -- nor do lobsters and crabs cooked in boiling water, a scientific study funded by the Norwegian government has found.


"The common earthworm has a very simple nervous system -- it can be cut in two and continue with its business," Professor Wenche Farstad, who chaired the panel that drew up the report, said last week.


Norway might have considered banning the use of live worms as fish bait if the study had found they felt pain, but Farstad said "It seems to be only reflex curling when put on the hook ... They might sense something, but it is not painful and does not compromise their well-being."

The government called for the study on pain, discomfort and stress in invertebrates to help in the planned revision of Norway's animal protection law. Invertebrates cover a range of creatures from insects and spiders to mollusks and crustaceans.  Farstad said most invertebrates, including lobsters and crabs boiled alive, do not feel pain because, unlike mammals, they do not have a big brain to read the signals.


Some more advanced kinds of insects, such as honeybees which display social behavior and a capacity to learn and cooperate, deserve special care, she said.


"We have particular responsibility for animals that we have in our custody. That is not a scientific opinion, but the ethical side of the issue," Farstad said.


Lake Erie

Open houses to discuss management options for walleye and yellow perch in Lake Erie 

MNR meeting dates are February 15, 16 and 22

The Ministry of Natural Resources has been managing the fisheries in eastern Lake Erie for the past five years to support rehabilitation of the walleye and yellow populations. The ministry is now ready to report on the status of these fish populations and is looking for public comment on management options.


How walleye and yellow perch in eastern Lake Erie will be managed is the main topic of three open houses being hosted by the Ministry of Natural Resources. Open houses are being held from 2 to 5 pm and 6 to 9 pm at the following locations:


            February 15 – St. Patrick’s Parish Hall, 123 King St., Port Colborne

            February 16 – Dunnville Recreation Centre, 218 Main St. E, Dunnville

            February 22 - Travelodge Motel, 385 Queensway West, Simcoe


Eastern Lake Erie is the area of the lake from Long Point in the west to the mouth of the Niagara River in the east. Lake Erie, from a fish’s point of view, can easily be described as being three separate lakes – the western basin west of Point Pelee, the central basin between Point Pelee and Long Point, and the eastern basin. Where, when and how many fish are caught in the eastern basin are some of the questions being asked at the open houses if fish populations are to be maintained at levels that provide stability of supply and income for commercial fishers, local anglers and tourists.


A report has been prepared detailing what has been learned over the past five years about the eastern basin fisheries.

Some of the highlights from the report are:

•      The eastern basin fish stocks have different reproductive success, growth rates and production when compared to the other areas of the lake. These differences are the result of the habitat conditions and lower productivity in the aquatic food web of eastern Lake Erie.

•      Genetic studies have found that there are two, and potentially four, distinct walleye stocks in the eastern basin, originating from spawning areas in the Grand River, Ontario shoals, New York shoals and Cattaraugus Creek in New York. Eastern basin origin fish are very important to fisheries in the Port Colborne and Port Maitland areas. As you go west, these walleye are less prevalent in the catch and more of the walleye in the angler and commercial catch originate from the western basin.

•       The Grand River is not realizing its potential for contributing fish to the eastern Lake Erie fishery because of poor water quality and impediments to upstream migration by fish.

•      Angler surveys show that the walleye fishing is most successful in the Port Colborne area and declines as you go west. For yellow perch it is the opposite – the best sport fishing for perch is in the Long Point Bay area and angling success declines as you move east.

•      Yellow perch abundance declined dramatically during the 1990s, but has now recovered to historic levels. Walleye abundance continues to be lower than what was seen in the 1980s, mainly because of the lack of fish from the western basin migrating eastward during the summer.

•      During the five year plan, commercial fishing for walleye and yellow perch was restricted in terms of how much fish could be caught and from specific areas of the eastern basin. Restrictions were in place for sport fishing as well.

•      The report reviews the status of other species such as smallmouth bass, rainbow smelt, salmonids, lamprey and fish species at risk.


DNR opens Cache River Visitors Center

Visitors to Learn About Wetlands

Belknap-The Henry N. Barkhausen Cache River State Natural Area Wetlands Visitor's Center is now open on a limited schedule.  The 7,500 square foot facility will provide resources to educate the public about the Cache River Wetlands, an internationally significant resource.  The $4 million state-of-the-art facility is expected to attract thousands of tourists to Johnson County and the surrounding region.


"We are thrilled to be able to welcome visitors from around Illinois," said DNR Director Joel Brunsvold. "Cache River Natural Area is one our greatest natural resources in the state. This center fosters an appreciation for wetlands through interactive experiences."


The center includes a wildlife viewing area overlooking a wetland, a 2,000 square foot exhibit area, and an audiovisual room.  Another feature is a handicapped-accessible hiking trail that is 2,600 feet long, and includes a wildlife-viewing mound overlooking the restored wetland of cypress creek.


Cache River State Natural Area is one of just 17 sites in the United States designated a Wetland of International Importance, or "Ramsar Site."  It offers a wide diversity of habitats, including wetlands, upland forests and limestone barrens.  The area contains one hundred threatened and endangered species.


"Cache River State Natural Area is a great example of the Illinois DNR accomplishing its mission," said Brunsvold. 

"There is a true stewardship of natural resources."  In addition to protecting endangered, threatened and rare plants and animals, the 14,247-acre site attracts a host of outdoor enthusiasts.  Activities popular at Cache River State Natural Area include hiking, canoeing, bird watching, nature viewing, fishing, and hunting.


The opening of the visitor center is complemented by completion of the Tunnel Hill State Bicycle Trail, which is 45 miles to Harrisburg.


Specific site features include:

21 miles of designated foot trails, ranging from 250-feet to 5.5 miles long.

1000-year-old bald Cypress tree, with a buttress circumference of over 40 feet.

Canoe trail through a true cypress-tupelo swamp.

Floating boardwalk into Heron Pond-cypress swamp.

Rare aquatic species, such as green tree frog, bird-voiced tree frog, cypress minnow and gar.

Mammals, such as foxes, squirrels, mink, beaver, muskrat, coyotes, deer, bobcats and otter.

Three types of venomous snakes: copperhead, timber rattler, and cottonmouth

Eleven State Champion trees


The center is currently open on a limited schedule, Fridays and Saturdays, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.  It is open to organized groups on those days with advance confirmation.  Group reservations should be made in advance by calling 618/634-2231.


DNR license purchase system gets faster, easier

Licenses or list of retail outlets now available on-line

The days of carbon copy license books and lick-and-stick wildlife stamps are gone.  There's now a better way to buy an Indiana fishing, hunting or trapping license.


The Indiana DNR is launching an electronic licensing system that is faster, more accurate, and provides the DNR better fish and wildlife management data.  Known as Indiana Outdoor, all annual Indiana sport licenses will be available from local license retailers or from www.indianaoutdoor.IN.gov.


Most Indiana residents need only a valid driver's license to use Indiana Outdoor. Residents without a driver's license will need current address information and a Social Security number.  Licenses are also available for non-residents, and requirements – besides your money – is some home address info and SS#


"We are very excited to bring Hoosiers this quicker, easier licensing system through Indiana Outdoor," said Glen Salmon, director of fish and wildlife. "Gone are the days of searching for a license because retailers have a "no more deer licenses" sign on their door. Our folks can get the license

they need in less than two minutes so they can get out into the woods or onto the lake."


Almost 600 bait shops, sporting goods stores, DNR offices and even grocery stores across the state will offer Indiana resident and non-resident hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses as well as sport stamp privileges from Indiana Outdoor.  The new electronic system will allow people to purchase licenses more quickly, as information for multiple license types can be entered electronically and printed on one easy-to-carry sheet of paper. 


Licenses may now be purchased online with no additional user surcharges. In the past, online license buyers were charged a transaction fee in addition to the license fee.


Lifetime hunting, fishing and trapping licenses are not available through Indiana Outdoor.


Find the nearest license retailer, purchase a license online, or sign up to become an authorized Indiana Outdoor retailer  by calling 866-859-0028, or go on-line to: http://www.indianaoutdoor.IN.gov


Anti’s Tout Intentions to End Michigan Dove Hunt

The nation’s largest anti-hunting organization is spearheading an aggressive campaign to ban dove hunting in Michigan.


The Humane Society of the United States’ (HSUS) new political arm,  HSUS Fund for Animals, has announced its campaign to raise $100,000 to collect the 225,000 voters’ signatures necessary to put the future of Michigan’s dove hunt on the 2006 ballot.


In previous anti-hunting campaigns, HSUS has used paid signature gatherers to qualify issues for the ballot.  The anti’s appear to be employing the same tactic in Michigan.  This action contradicts the antis’ claim that the Michigan anti-dove hunting campaign is a locally-driven, grassroots effort.   


The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance and its partners in the Michigan Hunting Rights Campaign worked with key lawmakers in 2004 to pass legislation that made Michigan the 41st dove hunting state.  Sportsmen are now being called to action to save the hunt.


“Michigan sportsmen must quickly mobilize their defense against the anti’s,” said U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Vice President for Government Affairs Rob Sexton.  “The merger of the HSUS and the Fund for Animals and changes in the

organization’s structure allow the group to utilize a significant amount of its reported $95 million in financial resources on anti-hunting issues.”


Sportsmen previewed changes to the antis’ strategies when HSUS and the Fund for Animals pumped nearly $800,000 into a 2004 anti-bear hunting ballot issue campaign in Maine.


“The flood of money that the anti’s put into the Maine campaign was unlike anything sportsmen had seen,” said Sexton.  “Fortunately, we organized early and raised money throughout the campaign to ensure a victory.  Michigan sportsmen will need to muster even greater effort to protect dove hunting.”


To get involved in the fight to defend Michigan’s proud hunting heritage, contact the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance at (614) 888-4868 or e-mail [email protected].


The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance protects the rights of hunters, anglers and trappers in the courts, legislatures, at the ballot, in Congress and through public education programs.  For more information about the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance and its work, call (614) 888-4868 or visit its website, www.ussportsmen.org.


Trapper faces nearly $28,000 in fines, restitution; 195 pelts seized

Several Minnesota DNR) officers recently checked on complaints of untagged traps and snares, trappers not tending traps, and snares and trap tampering in northeastern Minnesota.


Minnesota law requires traps or snares be marked or tagged with the number and state of the person's driver's license, or the person's Minnesota identification card number, or the person's name and mailing address. No one may remove or tamper with a trap legally set to take furbearing wild animals without authorization of the trapper, a DNR agent, the owner or lessee of the land where the trap is located.


In December, conservation officers Kipp Duncan (Two Harbors) and Marty Stage (Babbitt) were working fur trappers and trap sites near Isabella.  With Stage in the woods checking a possible trap site, Duncan noticed a vehicle traveling in their direction. He believed it to be a trapper and wanted to do a license and trap site check when the vehicle turned down another road. While Duncan was turning his vehicle around to follow, he noticed fresh vehicle tracks and footprints leading into the woods.


About 300 yards from the site, he found two undisturbed leghold traps surrounded by fresh snow.


The officers were about to check a possible trap site when they saw a vehicle driving slowly in their direction. The driver stopped and said he was checking his traps; he had three pine marten in the truck box. At the next intersection, the officers conducted a check of his trapping license and the pine marten which identified the person as Fred Paul Precht, 49, of Soudan. A pine marten was still in a conibear trap located in the box of his truck. Precht said he had no other leghold

traps in the field.


Duncan asked Precht the last time he checked his traps in the area. He said he checked them two days before, so the officers knew he had not checked the traps daily as required by law. They all left the area.  


Duncan and Stage noticed Precht quickly changed the subject each time they asked questions about the traps. They talked about matching footprints at the trap site and the license check location. Driving back to the trap site, they took photos of the footprints and noticed a unique star pattern that matched

the tracks at the site of the license check.


They caught up with Precht later and again asked him how many traps he had in the field. This time he said six or eight. He admitted he wasn't honest earlier because he was having trouble checking the traps daily since it's about 45 miles from Soudan to Isabella.    


Becoming increasingly suspicious of Precht's responses and actions, Duncan took Precht's trapping and driving license. He and Stage discussed the chain of events and the possibility of Precht having more fur pelts. Precht said he had several more fur pelts at home that belonged to him and several friends. He would not provide their names, but he agreed to let the officers follow him home and check the fur pelts.


When they arrived, Precht walked to the garage where several fisher pelts were hanging from the ceiling and several pine marten pelts were leaning up against a wall. A large freezer was also in the garage. Because Precht would not allow the officers to look inside the freezer, they contacted an assistant St. Louis County attorney for a search warrant. Precht also said he had a freezer in the house and at his work place.


After obtaining the search warrant, the officers searched the garage, chest freezer in the garage, work place, and kitchen refrigerator and found 44 pine marten, 13 fisher, eight otter, 12 mink, 85 packages of beaver (some packages have more than one beaver), 31 muskrat, and two raccoon.


An individual's season limit of fisher and pine marten combined is five. The otter season limit is four. There is no limit on mink, beaver, muskrat or raccoons. All of Precht's pelts were seized since the legal and illegal fur was commingled. The restitution value on the over-limit of 52 martin/fisher and four otter is $100 per animal or $5,600.


Under the state's enhanced gross overlimits regulations, Precht was charged with seven counts of small game gross overlimits and faces a fine of up to $3,000 and/or one year in jail on each of the seven counts, and 90 days jail and/or $1,000 on an eighth count of failure to comply with game and fish laws. If convicted on all charges, he faces over seven years in jail and fines and restitution totaling $27,600. In addition to stiffer penalties, Precht could have his hunting/trapping and fishing licenses seized.


NWTF targets school archery program for support

$25,000 donation underwrites DNR equipment grant program

With an eye to the future, the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) has made a major commitment to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' (DNR) burgeoning Archery in the Schools program.


During awards ceremonies at the 10th Annual NWTF State Convention in Rochester, NWTF CEO Rob Keck and state president Dave Mahlke presented a $12,000 check to the DNR to continue its efforts to get target archery programs into Minnesota physical education classes. The donation from the Minnesota NWTF is the second contribution the organization has made in the last year, bringing its support of the program to $25,000.


NWTF members aim to help DNR share this healthy life-long sport with young people in communities throughout the state.


According to Ryan Bronson, the DNR's coordinator of the Archery in Schools Program, the donation from NWTF will be used to underwrite equipment costs for schools enrolled in the program. The DNR has provided grants to 54 participating schools to reduce equipment costs during the program's pilot phase.


The National Archery in the Schools Program was developed in Kentucky to overcome barriers to implementing school

archery programs. After extensive research, educators and archery advocates in Kentucky developed an equipment package, curriculum and training regimen that addressed most major concerns of administrators.


With an emphasis on safety and versatility, the National Archery in the Schools Program utilizes universal draw length Genesis Bows, full-length aluminum arrows, Olympic-style bulls-eye field targets, Kevlar backstop nets and a basic repair kit. Through support from the archery industry and national conservation partners, the equipment is available at very low costs. A complete school archery package can be purchased for about $2,400. Schools that apply and receive a DNR grant pay only $1,300.


With more than 50 schools participating in the pilot phase of the program, the DNR hopes Minnesota will become a national leader in youth archery programs.


While the DNR's long-term goal is to increase participation in archery, and consequently increase funding for conservation programs funded by excise taxes on archery equipment, schools have more urgent short-term goals they hope to achieve. Studies in Kentucky indicate that student behavior and attendance improve during archery units. Many students who don't feel engaged by other school programs, or who can't compete in more traditional athletic activities may excel in archery. The education benefits carry over into the classroom from the gymnasium.

New York

State to modify Steelhead creel limit proposal at March meetings

Based on the response received to date, and the ensuing animosity that has developed, NYSDEC  has decided to modify their proposal to change the creel limit for rainbow trout on Lake Ontario. The new proposal increases the minimum size for rainbow trout to 21”,  as  had been originally proposed last December.  State fisheries managers anticipate that this proposal will be more acceptable to the open lake interests

 while making progress toward objective of conserving a depressed resource and providing some special status for rainbow trout.  This proposal will include all waters of Lake Ontario and tributaries including the Niagara River.

The DEC will provide substantial information supporting this proposal at their upcoming state-of-the-lake meetings that are scheduled for March 8 in Rochester, March 14 in Lockport, and March 16 in Mexico.


Wayne County Incident results in numerous charges

HARRISBURG -- After a lengthy investigation stemming from a road-hunting incident during the firearms deer season, Pennsylvania Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officer James P. McCarthy filed charges against several individuals for unlawful taking or possession of game or wildlife (deer), using a motor vehicle to locate game, hunting in a safety zone, alighting from a motor vehicle and shooting from the roadway, having loaded firearms in a motor vehicle, lending a license to another, possessing a tag or license of another, and failure to report big game kills.


Those charged were: Harry Francis Sinawa, 33, Forest City; Joseph Ronald Sinawa, 31, Jermyn; Rodney Sinawa, 46, Waymart; James Sinawa, 53, Waymart; Jack E. Sinawa, 58, Waymart; and Edward D. Sinawa, 63, Somerville, New Jersey.


The violations occurred on Dec. 10, in Mount Pleasant and Clinton townships, Wayne County.  The charges were filed before District Justice Ron Edwards, Lakewood, Wayne County. If convicted on all counts, the men together face a total of $26,025 in fines and revocation of their hunting privileges for several years.


The investigation began when a concerned citizen made a call to the Game Commission Northeast Region Office.


"The witness saw a deer shot from the roadway and decided that it wasn't right, and something needed to be done," WCO McCarthy said.  "After preliminary interviews, more and more information about other incidents were uncovered. Basically what happened was, some of these men would drive around 

in a pick-up truck until they spotted a deer, then they would stop, and shoot the deer.


"I have never encountered a group that was so brazen in its actions. There even was one individual sitting in the open back of the pick-up truck with a firearm, so he could shoot sooner. It didn't seem to matter where the deer were either; the deer could be next to someone's house or in a wooded area. It doesn't appear the size or sex of the animal was important. They seemed to shoot at any deer they saw. At least four deer were killed, and two other illegal deer -- or at least parts of deer -- where discovered during the investigation.


"These men displayed a total disregard for safety, and the laws of the Commonwealth.  Thankfully, a citizen chose to get involved before someone was shot or more deer were illegally killed."


During the course of the investigation, a search warrant was served at the Sinawa residence in Waymart borough with the assistance of the Pennsylvania State Police. Seized was a large amount of venison, deer in various stages of butchering, firearms, licenses, and assorted parts of deer. Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Waterways Conservation Officer David Kaneski assisted during the interview process.


"This was truly a multi agency effort, with help from the Pennsylvania State Police from the Honesdale Barracks, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, and Game Commission Deputy WCOs," McCarthy noted.  "These charges likely could not have been brought if not for the help of several agencies, and their officers."


State discovers cormorants may be threat to fishery

State researchers seem to be amazed that this black critter is such a predator of fish

Wisconsin is now taking center stage in the cormorant controversy. A state-funded study to determine if the resurgence of cormorants is contributing to the decline of yellow perch in Green Bay is at its midway point, with early results showing that the birds eat fish, a lot of fish.  And if perch are around, they'll definitely eat those.


The Journal Times reports the two-year study, conducted by University of Wisconsin researchers and mostly funded by the Wisconsin DNR , is looking at cormorant predation patterns on fish in Green Bay.


Even though hundreds upon hundreds of studies conducted at the state and federal level and funded by our tax dollars show the double crested cormorant to be a highly prolific and intense consumer of fish, Wisconsin researchers seem to have made a startling discovery that this is a similar and recurring problem in Wisconsin waters as well.


The Times further reports researchers examined the stomach contents of 436 birds in 2004 that revealed that of the 4,712 fish counted, 1,743 were yellow perch. That number was higher than for any other fish species counted, but yellow perch ranked second by weight as a food source, at 17 percent, behind white suckers, which comprised 40 %  One cormorant had 80 fish in its stomach. Another had eaten a 22-inch walleye.


The average cormorant contained 11 fish, including such species as gizzard shad, spottail shiner, round goby and alewife.  The study will now focus on whether the number of perch the birds eat is statistically significant, says Sarah Meadows, a UW graduate researcher and the study's principal investigator.


"I'd be reluctant to draw any conclusions before the model has factored in cormorants as a source of yellow perch mortality, so we can have an accurate picture of the effect they're having on the perch populations in Green Bay," Meadows says. She hopes to have an answer to the significance question after data have been analyzed from the 2005 field season.


The DNR contracted with Meadows and Scott Craven, a UW wildlife ecology professor, to examine the food habits of the cormorants nesting in Green Bay, where more than 80 percent of Wisconsin's breeding population occurs.


The study was prompted by concerns among commercial fishermen and recreational anglers that cormorants prey on yellow perch, which may be causing or contributing to a 90 % drop in yellow perch populations between 1988 and 2000. Declining yellow perch populations spurred the DNR to reduce sport bag and commercial harvest limits for yellow perch, at the same time populations of the federally protected bird rebounded in Wisconsin and elsewhere.


A quarter-century after cormorants were added to the state endangered species list, populations of the bird are at historic highs. There are more than 1 million cormorants in the United States and Canada, and more than 11,000 breeding pairs in Wisconsin.


Of this there is no doubt - cormorants can alter their ecosystems, so much so that the big birds were the subject of a 2003 federal environmental impact statement. The EIS recommended control measures, including oiling eggs and killing adults, in certain circumstances.


Cormorants have not been listed as a significant factor in the decline of perch in the Racine County waters of Lake Michigan, where researchers believe the problem lies in the early life history of the perch, most likely due to a lack of food.  But in Green Bay, where most of the state's 11,000 breeding pairs live and raise offspring, cormorants could have a significant impact on the perch population.


"Cormorants have no natural predators so the population has exploded since the DDT ban and that's having devastating effects on the natural system," said Dan Thomas, president of the Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council. "All cormorants eat is fish and they are voracious feeders. But they also crowd out desirable water birds from nesting sites and destroy natural vegetation wherever they roost."


The big birds have led some to unlawful action. In 1998, 10 New York state residents were given fines and home confinement sentences for the killing of more than 850 cormorants on Little Galloo Island in Lake Ontario. Too late to help these sincere if not misguided conservationists, the EIS has now given states the ability to kill cormorants if deemed necessary.


"If you go to areas of Green Bay like Marinette, it's really evident

as a problem," said Craig Bender, an avid angler and president of Salmon Unlimited of Racine, Inc. "Whatever is in their path, they're going to gobble it."


According to data derived from the DNR's creel survey, the estimated harvest of yellow perch by sport anglers in Green Bay was 67,543 fish in 2003, the last year for which data are available. The estimated sport catch of yellow perch for the same period in the Wisconsin waters of Lake Michigan, including Racine County, was 88,788 fish.


So, if there are 11,000 breeding pairs of cormorants in Wisconsin, and a single cormorant was found in the UW study to have 80 fish in its belly on a single day, it's easy to see why sport and commercial fishers are concerned about the impact the birds are having on the resource.


Expert divers, foragers Cormorants are expert divers, adapted naturally to forage under water for fish. Fully-webbed feet propel slim, streamlined bodies on dives usually from 8 to 20 feet, but greater depths are possible. Feathers absorb moisture, helping cormorants to stay under water for about 30 seconds. After foraging, cormorants often dry their feathers by perching in a distinctive wing-spreading posture.


The Great Lakes population of double-crested cormorants was devastated during the 1960s, primarily by the effects of chemical contamination, especially DDT. Because they are fish-eating birds at the top of the food chain and long-lived (up to 20 years), adults accumulated pesticides and other toxins from the bodies of their prey.


In the early 1970s, the Great Lakes population had plummeted, with few birds remaining or breeding successfully. In Wisconsin, the species was placed on the list of threatened and endangered wildlife. Nesting platforms were erected to aid their recovery.


Today, the Great Lakes population of double-crested cormorants is at historic highs. Pollution control has lowered concentrations of toxic contaminants in their food supply, food is ample throughout their winter and summer ranges, and they are protected by federal and state laws.


The UW researchers' work in Green Bay focuses on cormorants in an area running from the mouth of the Fox River at Green Bay northwest to Peshtigo Point and northeast to Sturgeon Bay, and includes a cormorant breeding colony at Cat Island.


After getting approval from the USFWS, employees of the USDA's Wildlife Services program shot 436 cormorants between mid-May and mid-September. Meadows noted that the colony size increased in 2004 despite those losses; it contained about 2,000 breeding pairs at the end of summer.


Meadows also saw a seasonal change in forage species. Perch numbers in the cormorants' stomachs peaked in mid-June, then dropped off as the perch moved from shallow to deeper water. By mid-July, other species were much more common in the birds' stomachs. She also noted seasonal peaks in numbers of gizzard shad and round gobies, an invasive species.


Researchers will now try to determine whether cormorants eat enough perch to prevent the robust numbers of young fish hatched in 2003 and 2004 from reaching a fishable size. To learn the answer, Meadows and Craven will plug their data into a computer model that FWS scientist John Netto developed, drawing on yellow perch data that DNR fisheries biologists Brian Belonger and Justine Hasz had collected over the last 25 years.


"The timing of this study is really fortunate," said Bill Horns, a DNR Great Lakes fisheries specialist. "We had the money set aside, excellent scientists available with an interest in this work, a strong year class of yellow perch coming through, and a well developed model of the yellow perch population."


Money for yellow perch work was earmarked from settlements reached with paper companies for damage caused to natural resources from historic discharges containing PCBs.


Craven conducted research in the early 1980s into the eating habits of cormorants nesting on the Apostle Islands, and Meadows has studied the food habitats of different kind of cormorant in New Zealand.


Horns says that if the study demonstrates that cormorants are a problem for perch and the control measures would help, the agency would probably turn to USDA's Wildlife Services for help with control under a Public Resources Depredation Order issued in 2003 by the FWS.

(Paul Smith, The Journal Times)


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