February 17, 2003

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Duluth City Council Wants to Ban Your Right to Self-Defense

   The Duluth City Council is expected to vote February 24, 2003 on an ordinance that would ban handguns in city buildings, city vehicles and in parks -- even if a person has a concealed carry permit.

   This ordinance was introduced January 27, 2003.  Please contact your City Councilors and urge them to oppose this ordinance.  Remind them that Minnesota has a law prohibiting local governments from enacting their own ordinances prohibiting firearms in any area.  This is known as the Minnesota Firearms Preemption statute.

DNR seeks input on hiking in state forests – Forum to be held Feb 22 

   The Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry will be holding a forum on Saturday, February 22, 2003 to hear what users consider the "desired future condition" of hiking opportunities on Indiana's state forests.  The forum will be held from 1:00 to 3:00 PM, at the Eagle's Hideaway facility that is located in Eagle Creek Park on the west side of Indianapolis.

 

   "Hiking has always been one of the important activities provided by our state forests," said state forester, Burney Fischer. "In these meetings we are looking for people to tell us what they would like to see in hiking opportunities in our state forests in the future. People may be interested in the length of the trails, how rugged the trails are accessibility for hikers with special needs, and multiple-

use trails. Are there too few trails or too many? Any and all of these issues plus many others could be considered at the forum."

 

   Indiana's 16 state forests and state forest recreation areas provide hiking trails that range from long distance overnight hiking like the Adventure Hiking Trail and portions of the Knobstone Trail to shorter interpretive and nature trails. Everyone who has an interest in various pedestrian activities on state forests is urged to attend this forum and share your opinions. No reservations or pre-registration are required.

           

For further info about this forum contact: Ben  Hubbard, program director or Tom Lyons, assistant state forester at 317-232-4105, or email at: bhubbard@dnr.state.in.us  

Michigan State U hosting Animal Rights Center

Promotes anti-hunting and fishing opportunities

   Officials at Michigan State University (MSU) have balked at requests by the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance and Michigan sportsmen to stop operation of the Animal Legal and Historical Center. The school is partnering with the Animal Legal Defense Fund which provides legal services to animal rights extremists.

   "It really disturbs me that public dollars would be used in something as political as this," said State Representative Susan Tabor (R-Lansing).  MSU receives $654 million, or 45% of its budget from taxpayers. Tabor has called on MSU President Peter McPherson to meet to discuss the issue. Sportsmen can contact McPherson to voice their concerns at (517) 355-6560.

IJC extends public comment period– now due March 3 - For International Water Uses Review 

   In response to requests from the public, the IJC has extended its public comment period regarding the International Water Uses Review Task Force's report until March 3, 2003.

 

   In February 2000, the IJC published a comprehensive report entitled Protection of the Waters of the Great Lakes.  In that report, the IJC recommended that it review the issue after three years to provide an update on how matters had changed over that period of time. The governments subsequently agreed. 

 

   Last summer, the IJC appointed the International Water Uses Review Task Force to review the many technical, policy and legal developments that have taken place in the basin since the IJC 2000 report. The Task Force report is available on the Commission's website at www.ijc.org , or

from the IJC.

 

   The IJC invites all interested parties to submit written comment on this review for receipt by March 3, 2003 at either address below.  Due to the security clearing of mail, communications with the IJC Washington office should be by fax or email to ensure timely receipt.

 

Secretary, Canadian Section

234 Laurier Avenue West, 22nd Floor

Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5M1

Fax: 613.993.5583

Commission@ottawa.ijc.org

 

Secretary, U.S. Section

1250 23rd Street NW, Suite 100

Washington, DC 20440

Fax: 202.736.9015

Commission@washington.ijc.org

Agreement allows flexibility for Mille Lacs walleye

MN DNR - tribes move to a less restrictive slot limit

   The Minnesota DNR will move toward a less restrictive slot limit and more stable regulations for walleye on Mille Lacs Lake, thanks to a recent agreement with eight bands of Chippewa that exercise adjudicated federal court rights in the 1837 ceded territory.

 

   The agreement, reached in a mediation session, is a five-year plan to address overages that occur when recreational anglers exceed the state’s allotment of the safe harvest level of walleye. It also establishes a limit on the amount that anglers can exceed the state’s share in any year. The plan is now being formally adopted by the bands, many of which have already done so.

 

   According to the state’s five-year management plan, which corresponds with the five-year harvest plan developed by the bands, the DNR will regulate recreational walleye harvest with a 17-28" protected slot limit and four-fish bag limit, with one fish more than 28".

 

   "This plan was very carefully crafted," said DNR Commissioner Allen Garber. "It allows the state to continue to manage the Mille Lacs Lake walleye population at sustainable levels while minimizing the impact on the business community and providing the greatest opportunities for our anglers. It gives us the flexibility to avoid in-season regulation changes in most years, collect valuable long-term data, and effectively manage walleye populations."

 

   The new regulations will be implemented in 2003. However, the current 14 -16" harvest slot will stay in effect throughout the winter fishing season.

Depending on feedback gathered at today’s meeting of Mille Lacs Lake Fisheries Input Group (composed of local business operators, guides and other interested parties), the new slot limit will go into effect at the start of the open-water fishing season in May 2003 or when the night-fishing ban is lifted in mid June.

 

   "We are going to listen and make the decision in coordination with the people who live and work in the area," said DNR Fish Chief Ron Payer. "Certainly, everyone looks forward to a less-restrictive slot limit, but a conservative approach might be best in the first month of the season."

 

   The agreement reached with the bands allows the DNR to combine and average years when anglers exceed the state’s allocation of walleye with years when the anglers

are under the states allocation over a five-year period. It will also allow the state to apply the bands’ unused portion of their allotment, if any, to any overage.

 

   The agreement includes last year’s harvest, when walleye mortality exceeded the state’s 300,000 lb. allotment by 73,000 lbs. Taking into account the bands’ unused portion of their allotment for the past year, the remaining approximately 30,000 lbs. will be applied against the state allocation over the next five years, about 6,000 lbs. per year.

 

   "The key to this plan is that total walleye mortality from recreational angling cannot exceed the state’s cumulative allocation over the five-year period covered by the plan," Payer said. "This gives us a lot of added flexibility in setting and maintaining stable regulations. In addition, we will benefit from collecting data under stable regulations and have a much better idea of what impact our regulations are having on the walleye population."

 

   The DNR and the bands also agreed on a series of harvest caps that will be determined by the health of the lake’s walleye population. If walleye populations are considered healthy (condition one), the state harvest will be capped at 30% over its allowable share of the safe harvest level for any single year between 2003 and 2005. The percentage drops to 22% from 2006-2007. Last year, anglers exceeded state’s share by 24%. In years of less healthy walleye populations (condition two), the state harvest will be capped at 10% over its allowable share of the safe harvest level for any single year. In years of poor population health (condition three), the state cannot exceed its share of the harvestable surplus. In the past 20 years, Lake Mille Lacs has never been in condition three, while Condition two has occurred three times.

 

   The state will continue to manage its fishery to remain within its share of harvestable surplus. If walleye mortality due to recreational harvest appears to be too high during the fishing season, a series of more restrictive regulations will be implemented to insure anglers do not exceed the state’s allocation of walleye in an individual year or across the five-year average.

     

   "With this plan, we have the ability to be more flexible with regulations and avoid in-season regulation changes in most years," Payer said. "We feel this plan does a much better job of providing a reasonable, stable regulation while still addressing the rights of the bands in a framework that protects the resource with sound biology."

Anti’s outraged over make-up of Ontario’s Nuisance Bear Panel

   A political leader in northwest Ontario intends to use his position on a nuisance bear committee to push for the reinstatement of the province’s spring bear hunt. This has animal rights advocates calling for his removal from the panel.

 

   OMNR Minister Jerry Ouellette appointed Glenn Witherspoon, mayor of Fort Frances, ON, to the provincial government’s Nuisance Bear Committee in September. Witherspoon said that arguing in favor of the spring bear hunt was the key reason he agreed to sit on the

committee. This statement has anti-hunting groups including the Animal Alliance of Canada, Animal Protection Institute, The Bear Alliance and World Society of the Protection of Animals Canada calling for his removal.  Witherspoon is not disturbed by their request.

 

   “Nuisance bears are what we’re concerned with,” said Mayor Witherspoon. “My mandate is to look at the numbers and do what’s best for the safety of residents”.  Witherspoon noted that he did not know the background of the groups that oppose his position on the committee, but concluded, “They can be assured there will be no resignation from me.”

Global declines in yellow perch populations

   "We have witnessed global declines in yellow perch populations over the past two decades, and the Laurentian Great Lakes are no exception" says Christopher Heyer, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Resource Assessment Service. "Drastic reductions in population size in Lake Michigan and Lake Erie have raised awareness of the need for information and improved management at the whole-lake scale. Recent research has addressed questions such as life-history dynamics, maternal effects, overfishing, predator-prey dynamics, genetic population analysis, foraging dynamics, and the impact of environmental stressors such as global climate

change."

 

   Heyer went on "In addition, extensive research has been conducted on yellow perch in other systems and on the European perch, Perca fluviatilis, which can provide valuable insight on how percids respond to ecological variability. Given this wealth of information it is now appropriate to ask, 'What have we learned?' More importantly, how can this collection of new information be used to enhance population recovery where it is needed, and to develop more effective management strategies for percids, particularly yellow and European perch?"

Genmar acquires fish hawk line

   Genmar Holdings, Inc. announced in early November the addition of an 18th brand, acquiring the Fish Hawk™ fishing boat line from Bombardier Recreational Products.

Production will move from Benton, IL to Genmar’s Sarasota, FL facility, home of Wellcraft, Aquasport and Hydra-Sports. Contact Troy Bergstrom, troy.bergstrom@genmar. com  612-337-1956.

IJC 2003 Biennial Meeting on Great Lakes Water Quality

To be held in Ann Arbor, September 19 - 20, 2003

The IJC plans to provide a forum that energizes and educates the Great Lakes basin community to work together along with govern-mints at all levels to carry out the purpose of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. It is a forum for people of the basin to come together and celebrate progress, assess and question current action,

discuss new and emerging issues regarding the cleanup and restoration of the Great Lakes, and share successes and road blocks toward restoration of Areas of Concern. Meeting details will be posted on at www.ijc.org as soon as they are available.

 

   Hopefully, it won't prove to be the three-ring circus all previous IJC biennial meetings have turned out to be.

Grey new Ohio DOW Chief

COLUMBUS, OH – Steve Gray, 49, has been named chief of the Ohio Division of Wildlife, effective Saturday, succeeding Mike Budzik, who retired January 31, after seven years in the state’s top wildlife post.

 

As chief, Gray assumes one of the most highly visible administrative posts in state government, his actions and decisions closely watched by hundreds of thousands of avid fishermen, hunters and wildlife enthusiasts whom he ultimately serves. He has served as assistant chief for 11 years, including four years as one of two assistants under former chief Dick Pierce.

 

Gray will oversee Ohio's fish and wildlife management programs, as well as its more than 170,000 acres of state wildlife areas.  It has five district or regional offices, some 450 staff members, and a $44 million annual budget.

 

   "Steve Gray has played a significant role in his 27 years

with the department, helping create one of the finest fish and wildlife management programs in the country," said Sam Speck, director of the Ohio DNR. "Steve is very well respected in Ohio and across the nation as a leader in wildlife issues, and I am extremely confident that he will continue to build upon the strong outdoor opportunities we have here in the state."

           

Recruitment and retention of hunters, trappers and anglers may be his most important overall task, Gray said, noting that they carry the bulk of the financial burden in supporting the division’s programs through their annual license and permit purchases. "The budget will be the biggest challenge," said Gray. "We will be in much better shape than many state agencies, though, because we have been steadily trimming our staff, and we are funded by hunting and fishing license fees, which have remained steady."

 

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