Week of February 27, 2006

World

National

Canada

Regional

General

Boating Issues

Indiana

Michigan

Minnesota

Ohio

Pennsylvania

Wisconsin

Ontario

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World

Most Reefs Damaged by 2004 Tsunami Will Recover in a Decade

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) — Most coral reefs escaped "serious damage" from the 2004 tsunami and should recover in less than 10 years, though much will depend on local government's protecting marine ecosystems, according to a report released February 13

 

The report, compiled by Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network, found that reefs in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand were hardest hit, with damage reaching up to 30 percent in some places. But much like earlier studies, it found that human activities like illegal fishing and climate change pose the greatest risk to the future of these reefs.

 

"Most coral reefs will recover from these stresses in five to 10 years, provided that there are no other major stresses," according to the report released in the Thai resort island of Phuket, which was damaged by the tsunami. "The tsunami caused some localized damage, but ongoing human stresses pose a far greater threat to the survival of Indian Ocean coral reefs and mangrove forests," the report found, adding "stronger conservation and protection of coral reefs and other coastal resources" is needed to enhance their resistance to future disasters.

 

The Dec. 26, 2004, Indian Ocean tsunami devastated mostly rural, coastal communities in 12 countries, leaving at least 284,000 people dead or missing and more than a million homeless.

 

The coastal ecosystems were spared some of the worst

damage, partly because they have been so badly damaged over the years by dynamite fishing, coastal runoff and development. Some reefs also had suffered bleaching in 1998 from warming ocean waters, and had barely begun to recover when the tsunami hit.

 

The hardest hit animals were turtles, which lost nesting sites in Thailand and India's Andaman and Nicobar islands, said Clive Wilkinson, the report's lead author. "There were at least two key nesting sites lost in the Andaman's but now we're seeing these turtles just go to other beaches and find new nesting sites," he said.

 

The report called on tsunami-devastated nations to proclaim exclusion zones to protect people from future tsunamis and storm surges, and to adopt government policies that better protect the reefs. It also called for the development of alternative livelihoods for coastal villagers so they put less stress on the marine ecosystems.

 

The report also called for relief agencies to ensure that rebuilding supplies are not taken from coastal forest or the reefs, noting that sand and rock have been dredged from some coral reefs, and that construction is occurring in vulnerable areas.

 

"These practices could lead to future damage including landslides in the forests, sediments flooding onto reefs, and coral reefs with reduced potential to protect shorelines from storm surges," the report said.

 


National

The Outdoor Channel's 2005 Golden Moose Awards

TOC recognizes the best programming and the fan favorites

Temecula, Calif.—At the sixth Annual Golden Moose Awards Party held during the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show in Las Vegas, The Outdoor Channel (TOC) presented awards to the producers, editors and other team members who produced the best and most favorite outdoor shows of 2005.  An estimated 2,500 outdoor industry leaders, television personalities and outdoor community friends joined TOC in the celebration.

 

This year’s winners are listed below by category (followed by the shows that were nominated for that award.)

 

General Categories:

 1.  “Best Open”—Winner: Track and Trail Adventures with Wally Dallenbach. (Adventures North, North American Whitetail TV, Professional Walleye Trail, Realtree Roadtrips with Michael Waddell)

 

2. “Best Graphics”—Winner: Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World—Hunting (Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World—Fishing, The Next Bite, Professional Walleye Trail, Thompson Center Game Trails)

 

3.  “Best Camera Work”—Winner: Outdoor Passion (America’s Outdoor Journal, BackLand Outdoors, Hunting the Country, Turkey Call)

 

4.  “Most Informative”—Winner: Turkey Call (Engel’s Outdoor Experiences, Game Trails, In-Fisherman Television, Limb Saver’s Outdoor America)

 

5.  “Best Editing”—Winner: Realtree Roadtrips with Michael Waddell (Bio Logic and Drury’s Wildlife Obsession, Deer and Deer Hunting, Jack Brittingham’s World of Hunting Adventures, NeWave Motorsports Hour)

 

6. “Best Freshwater Footage”—Winner: The Next Bite (Bass

Pro Shops Outdoor World—Fishing, Fishing Across America, Fishing and Outdoor Adventures with Keith Warren, In-Fisherman Television)

 

7. “Best Saltwater Footage”—Winner: Mark Sosin’s Saltwater Journal (Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World—Fishing, Fishing and Outdoor Adventures with Keith Warren, Limb  Saver’s Outdoor America, Shallow Water Angler)

 

8. “Best Commercial”—Winner: Scent Blocker’s Body Lock Fleece (Scent-Lok Stampede, CXT, Quackhead Calls, Hunters Specialites)

 

9. “Best Waterfowl Footage”—Winner: Primos’ Truth About Hunting (Hunting Across America, Hunters Specialities, Jack Brittingham’s World of Hunting Adventures, Shotgun Journal)

 

10. “Best Turkey”—Winner: The Wild Outdoors (Bowhunter Magazine TV, Hunting the Country, Primos’ Truth About Hunting, Realtree Roadtrips with Michael Waddell)

 

11. “Best Big Game Footage”—Winner: Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World—Hunting (Getting Close, Ghost Stories, Track and Trail Adventures, Wild Outdoors)

 

12. “Special Interest”—Winner: Championship Bull Riding (4X4 TV, ATV Television, Gold Fever, World of Outlaws)

 

13. “Variety”—Winner: Jackie Bushman Show (Cabela’s Memories in the Field, Call of the Wild, Jimmy Houston’s Outdoor Adventures, Limb Saver’s Outdoor America)

 

14. “Fishing”—Winner: Hank Parker’s Outdoor Magazine (Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World-Fishing, Fishing and Outdoor Adventures with Keith Warren, In-Fisherman TV, America’s Outdoor Journal)

 

15. “Hunting”—Winner: Archer’s Choice (Hunting and Outdoor Adventures with Keith Warren.


Early West Was Native American Killing Field

LOS ANGELES (Reuters )— Ancient Native Americans hunted some species of birds and fish almost to extinction in parts of California, according to research that challenges the Utopian myth that native people always lived in harmony with the land.

 

University of Utah anthropologist Jack Broughton concluded in a paper published this month that California wasn't always a lush Eden before settlers arrived in the 1700s to find an astonishing abundance of wildlife. Instead, from 2,600 to at least 700 years ago, native people hunted some species to localized extinction and wildlife returned to "fabulous abundances" only after European diseases decimated Indian populations starting in the 1500s.

 

"Since European discovery, California has been viewed by scholars and scientists, as well as the general public, as a kind of Utopia or a land of milk and honey, a super-rich natural environment," Broughton said. But his study challenged the "common perception about ancient Native Americans as healthy, happy people living in harmony with the environment. ... Depending on when and where you look back in time, native peoples were either living in harmony with nature or eating their way through a vast array of large-sized, attractive prey

species."

 

Broughton spent seven years studying thousands of bones of birds found in a Native American garbage dump in San Francisco Bay dating back 1,900 years.  In research published in the Spring 2006 issue of the University of Utah magazine Continuum, he concluded that ducks, geese, cormorants, fish such as sturgeon, mammals such as elk and "anything big and juicy" were regulars on the menu for the state's early peoples.

 

Broughton said large birds and birds that lived closer to humans were hunted first and as their numbers shrank native Americans went further afield for geese, sea ducks and cormorant chicks on island breeding colonies.

 

He believes California's wildlife rebounded only after early European explorers came into contact with natives in the 1500s and infected them with diseases such as smallpox and malaria that killed off up to 90 % of the population.  As a result, hunting diminished and by the mid-1800s geese and ducks "were so abundant you could kill them with a club or stick," Broughton said.


Hunting Accidents Decline in Nation

Hunting mishaps are at historic lows throughout the country after many states started requiring gun safety classes for new hunters.

The International Hunter Education Association has reported a broad decline in injuries and death throughout the United States and Canada for the 10-year period from 1989 through 1998. Fatal and non-fatal accidents declined by 41 percent.

 

The association also reported that shotguns, the weapon Cheney was using Saturday, accounted for 71 percent of the 

casualties when one hunter shot another. The group reportedthat bad judgment was the cause of 73 percent of the casualties.

 

Vice President Dick Cheney's accidental shooting of a hunting companion in Texas comes at a time when hunting mishaps are at historic lows throughout the country after many states started requiring gun safety classes for new hunters.  It is not known whether Cheney has ever taken formal safety instruction. The White House did not immediately answer that question.


Image is Key for Firearm Industry Future

LAS VEGAS—Image is everything. And some observers believe the firearm industry has some work to do to build customers for the future. Surveys show a majority of today’s Americans support hunting, shooting and Second Amendment freedoms. But our society is changing, warns business growth expert Steven S. Little.

 

The perception of sportsmen and sportswomen among the non-shooting and non-hunting public—or bluntly stated, “overcoming the bubba factor”—will play a big part in attracting tomorrow’s new hunters and shooters, he said.  Little delivered his message to an audience of the shooting industry’s future leaders at last month’s Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show.

 

Little—a senior consultant for Inc. Magazine and a non-hunter and non-shooter—said spotlighting hunters and shooters as conservationists is one way to reach the mainstream.  “It was news to me that hunters and shooters consider themselves to be conservationists. I did not know that. And whose fault is that? Is it my fault for not knowing it, or is it your fault for not telling me?” he asked.

 

“The people who care about the wetlands are the ones who are in them every day. The city people who say they care about the wetlands, they’re not there. You are. Let them know that

you are the ones doing what’s right,” said Little.

 

Another strategy for the firearm industry is to create an image appealing to women and minorities, whose influence in American society will continue to grow.  Little used NASCAR as an example of achieving monumental growth through restructuring its image. In the last 10 years, NASCAR has reached out to minorities, women and others outside its majority fan base and its popularity and sales have skyrocketed as a result, he said.

 

“In 10 years, they took NASCAR from redneck to chic,” Little said.

 

The face of the American customer is changing quickly, Little said, noting that by 2050 only 4 % of the U.S. population will be white. And the impact of global forces like China is already affecting the way U.S. companies do business and it will continue to do so.

 

“China is huge and it will continue to be huge in this industry,” Little said. “There are 300 million people in China who live in a higher standard of living than people in America. It’s the greatest wealth creation in history.”  “Your job as the future leaders in this industry is to spend 50 percent of your time on tomorrow,” Little said.


President's Emergency Request for Wildlife Refuges

Bush budget provides $132.4 M for Gulf Coast national wildlife refuges damaged by hurricanes

Washington, D.C. The National Wildlife Refuge Association (NWRA) today called on Congress to follow President Bush's leadership in addressing 2005 hurricane damages to Gulf Coast national wildlife refuges. As part of the president's new $72.4 billion supplemental funding request, including funding for Iraq, terrorism and hurricane recovery, $132.4 million is requested for clean-up and facility repair needs at 61 Gulf state refuges.

 

Last year's hurricanes devastated wildlife refuges in the Gulf States, said NWRA President Evan Hirsche. We applaud President Bush for his comprehensive proposal to repair the 

damages and address a fundamental need for our national wildlife refuges.

 

In an earlier emergency supplemental request to Congress, the Administration asked Congress for $60 million for hurricane recovery on national wildlife refuges. This second supplemental brings the presidents total request for refuges to over $190 million.

 

The president has sent a clear message to Congress that repairing hurricane ravaged refuges is a national priority, said Hirsche. For the sake of America's wildlife heritage and the millions of annual Gulf Coast refuge visitors, we urge Congress to approve the President's request.   For more information, visit www.refugenet.org .


Regional

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for February 24, 2006

Lake Level Conditions: 

All of the Great Lakes are 4 to 8 inches below the levels of a year ago except Lake Ontario, which is similar to last year’s level.  Lake Superior is expected to fall an inch over the next month.  Lake Michigan-Huron is below chart datum and should rise an inch within the next 30 days.  Both Lakes St. Clair and Erie are expected to rise 2 inches over the next month.  Lake Ontario is expected to rise one inch over the next month.  Due to a warmer than average January, some of the Great Lakes seem to have begun their seasonal rise earlier than normal, but levels over the next few months on all the Great Lakes are expected to remain lower than 2005. 

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions:

The Lake Superior outflow through the St. Marys River into Lake Huron is projected to be near average during the month of February.  Flows in the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers are anticipated to be below average during February.  Niagara River flows are expected to be above average in February.  St. Lawrence River flows are projected to be near average in February.

Alerts:

Users of the Great Lakes, connecting channels and St. Lawrence River should keep informed of current conditions before undertaking any activities that could be affected by

changing water levels.  Mariners should utilize navigation charts and refer to current water level readings.  Ice information can be found at the National Ice Center web page.

 

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels Data Summary

 

 

Superior

Mich-Huron

St. Clair

Erie

Ontario

Expected level for 2/24 in ft

600.9

577.2

573.5

571.2

245.7

Chart datum, in ft

601.1

577.5

572.3

569.2

243.3

Diff from chart datum, in inches

-2

-4

+15

+24

+29

Diff from last month, in inches

-3

+2

+2

+4

+7

Diff from last year in inches

-4

-7

-8

-8

0


Canada

BC to allow private resorts in provincial parks

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, (ENS) - For the first time, the British Columbia government is planning to allow commercial resorts to be developed in provincial parks, according to confidential government documents released to the Western Canada Wilderness Committee under Freedom of Information legislation. The documents show that the BC government is preparing to expand commercial development in provincial parks under its Park Lodge Strategy initiative.

 

Golden Ears in Maple Ridge, Duffey Lake between Mount Currie and Lillooet, and Wells Gray north of Clearwater are among the first proposed sites for commercial lodges in parks under a controversial new B.C. government policy, according to provincial freedom-of-information documents.

 

The process of granting permits for commercial lodges would likely be opened up to competitive bids only where there is more than one application at the same location. And lodges are not meant to be exclusive to guests, but open to the general public, including restaurants. Government income from such operations, amounting to perhaps 3-5 % of lodges' gross revenues, should go back into park management, according to the draft policy dated May 2005.

 

Conservationists have decried the provincial policy as an ill-

advised effort to commercialize wilderness areas. WCWC campaigner Gwen Barlee said in an interview that lodges should be located on the periphery of parks, not inside where they compete with natural values.

 

The FOI documents suggest an 80-bed four-season resort is in the works for Golden Ears, a park that is extremely popular with family campers from the Lower Mainland in summer, along with a "high-end" lodge for Stevens Lakes in eastern Wells Gray park. The FOI documents also suggest the province views lodges in parks as "part of a strong and sustainable tourism industry."

 

But the documents also warn that permits will only go to "appropriate and viable" operations where issues such as access -- which could range from road to helicopter and float plane -- as well as water and waste management have been resolved.

 

Currently there are 165 "roofed accommodation facilities" in the provincial park system, including 92 cabins or huts, 50 lodges, 17 shelters, five resorts and one ecolodge. The province's new commercial lodge strategy is designed to provide clearer ground rules for future such developments in parks.


General

Women's number's growing in Hunting and Shooting Sports

LAS VEGAS—Participation by women in hunting and shooting sports has jumped in recent years, and may jump even higher in years to come.

 

Christine Godleski, vice president and general manager of ESPN Outdoors, predicts that growth will continue thanks to the television shows, magazines, grassroots programs—and especially the many new products—that appeal to women.  Godleski made her prediction during her keynote address to a capacity crowd last week at the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show’s annual Women in the Industry luncheon at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

 

“Participation among women in hunting and target shooting rose from 4.2 million to 6.3 million between 1999 and 2004,” Godleski said. “It’s the grassroots initiatives and volunteers that encourage women to go out and try it and from positive exposure by the television media and all the women’s publications that are out there.”

 

Godleski said programs like the National Shooting Sports

Foundation’s STEP OUTSIDE, the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Women in the Outdoors, the National Rifle Association’s Women on Target, and Becoming an Outdoors Woman are just some of the initiatives that are helping women become more involved in the outdoors.

 

Television programming like the ESPN Great Outdoor Games, ESPN 2’s Get Wild with Cindy Garrison and other ESPN Outdoors shows are seen by millions, shining a spotlight on women who enjoy hunting and shooting, Godleski said.  “The numbers are up, participation is up and we have plenty of opportunities to take that six million to a much higher number,” Godleski said.

 

Garrison—who travels the country and the world on hunting, shooting and fishing pursuits on her show each week—said a lot of women are intimidated by shooting and hunting, but they shouldn’t be. “What a lot of people don’t realize is that it’s not just about killing something or shooting a gun, it’s about conservation and it’s about just getting out there—getting out of the city, getting out of the house and enjoying the outdoors,” Garrison said.


Tennessee allows Cross-bows for all to use

Crossbow Harvest Small Compared to Total

After the first year where all hunters were eligible to use crossbows during any deer hunting season, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) considers the harvest by crossbows to be minimal when compared to the total deer harvest.

 

“Some hunters expressed concerns that deer harvest would increase dramatically, due to the legalization of crossbows,” said Dan Gibbs, TWRA biologist in Region IV. "After reviewing the harvest report figures, that is not the case." "The statewide and WMA figures for 2005 show deer harvests of: gun 109,339; muzzleloader 35,065; archery 17,355; and crossbow 3,968. The total harvest for all seasons was 165,727 deer,"

said Gibbs.

 

"For several years handicapped hunters could use crossbows and the last two years, all hunters could use crossbows during gun or muzzleloader seasons," said Gibbs. "This is the first year that crossbow harvest was recorded separately from regular archery harvest."

 

Over the past ten years, total archery harvest has fluctuated from a high of 23, 846 in 1997 to a low of 19,176 in 2002. The total archery harvest in 2005 was 21,323 including regular archery and crossbows. The legalization of crossbows has allowed some hunters that where unable to shoot recurve and compound bows, to take up archery hunting.


 

Boating Issues

Auto Clubs May Fall Short protecting Trailer Boaters

BoatU.S. Trailer Assist & Tow Ready to Help

When a motorist towing a boat trailer has a breakdown on the side of the road or becomes disabled on a busy launch ramp you'll likely get no from your auto club, and find you are on your own, according to BoatU.S.  That's because most auto club towing plans only cover vehicles - not boat trailers.

BoatU.S. "Trailer Assist & Tow" is a service that will provide assistance when either the trailer or the towing vehicle suffers a breakdown while trailering a boat.  Labor charges for flat tire assistance, fuel delivery, lockout service, or jumpstarting of the towing vehicle are included.  For more info: www.BoatUS.com/trailerclub  800-245-6923.


Trailering: It’s a skill that needs to be practiced

Ever spend some time at the boat ramp?  It can evoke all the emotions of the theatre.  Pathos, humor, drama, action, and a whole lot of the “Worlds funniest video’s” thrown in for good measure.

           

Why do many people make the boat ramp a day’s entertainment, at rock bottom prices?  Because many boaters just don’t practice, don’t plan, and don’t expect the unexpected.

 

Practice

To do something well, you need to practice.  Whether it’s playing the piano, using your jig saw to cut a straight line or backing up a boat on a trailer, you need to practice the skills that will make you an impresario. 

           

And, if you took piano lessons as I did, I’m sure you heard your teacher say, “It takes more than one time.”  This of course was in response to your emphatic statement that you played it once!

           

Pick a large parking lot and set-up cones or empty plastic garbage pails and practice backing into a “spot”.  This spot could be a parking spot or the side of a boat ramp.  In either case, you need to be able to control your vehicle and trailer to make an effortless entry into the ramp, and then releasing your boat.

 

Planning

Plan each step of your boat launch, before you leave your driveway.  Do you have new crew with you?  If so, spend some time with them so they know exactly what will happen at the boat ramp, and what is required of each of them.  It is s a great idea to perform this in an out of the way place (not on the ramp itself) , so your tires and bearings cool down before entering the water. 

           

Make sure you’ve prepared the boat before you head down the ramp, by removing the tie-downs, placing lines in the

appropriate places, and double-checking your sea-cock and drain plug.  Make sure your crew knows exactly where they will walk the boat, and remember to secure the boat to the dock, so it doesn’t float away.

 

Safety

Every step of the way, during planning, during practice, and especially during execution, you need to be ever mindful of safety.  Remember the safety chain (making sure it’s either secured when trailering or unsecured at the bottom of the launch ramp, as determined by what you are doing).  And don’t let your crew get behind the boat and trailer, or between the boat and the dock. 

           

Before you leave home, make sure you check your tires, and hubs/bearings.  Make sure they are greased, filled and in good working condition.  Also make sure to check your lights and  your breaks.  Remember, a safe trip is the best trip.

 

Courtesy and Common Sense

It never hurts to be courteous to your fellow boaters.  These people are a great resource while you and your boat are in the water or at the ramp.  You’ve heard of road rage.  There is also “ramp rage.”  Don’t hog the ramp.  Don’t hog the parking lot.  Don’t tie up the wash station.  If everyone shows a little courtesy, the process of unloading and loading of all the boats will go smoothly and safely.

           

Last and certainly not least, use common sense.  Don’t use your hands and feet, or life jackets, to fend the boat off from the dock – use high quality fenders instead.  You’re your cool, even if someone cuts in line.  Any confrontation isn’t worth the trouble. 

           

To learn more about trailering and boating safety, why not take a boating safety course?  For more information about safe boating courses, why not contact the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary at www.cgaux.org  or call 1-877-875-6296.


Simple Tips for Selecting a Life Jacket for Children

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is encouraging all boaters to check their equipment thoroughly before heading out on the water, with a special emphasis on one type of gear in particular: life jackets.

 

PFBC estimates that at least 80% of the 112 recreational boating fatalities in the Commonwealth over the last 10 years would have survived the accident had they been wearing a properly fitting life jacket. That makes life jackets the single most important piece of safety equipment on board any boat. But even the best ones don’t work if they’re not being worn. In that regard, putting on a life jacket is a lot like wearing a seat belt in an automobile. And just like seatbelt and car seat laws for children, there are special regulations for kids and lifejackets.

 

In Pennsylvania, all children 12 years of age or younger are required to wear a life jacket when underway on a boat that is 20 feet in length or less and all canoes and kayaks. Beyond being a statewide regulation, however, ensuring youngsters are wearing a properly fitting life jacket is also common sense.

When selecting a life jacket for a child, bear in mind the following guidelines:

► At home, be sure to measure the child's chest (underneath the arms.) Many manufacturers include a chest size. Be sure the chest measurement is accommodated by the life jacket when selecting a purchase.

► If the child has a fear of the water or does not know how to swim, a Type II Child or Infant life jacket is recommended.

► While at the store, have the child try on the life jacket and make sure it fits snugly. To determine fit, lift the shoulders of the life jacket to make sure it does not slip over the chin or ears. The life jacket is too big if there is more than three inches between the child's shoulders and the device.

► Choose brightly colored life jackets. Children are more likely to wear devices that are attractive to them. And bright colors are also more readily visible on the water.

► Crotch straps are an important feature on life jackets for young infants. For the child's protection, be sure the crotch straps are used at all times.

► A parent or other adult should assist the child in testing their life jacket in the water. Adjust the life jacket so that its optimum performance is achieved. Let the child indicate when the device needs to be tightened or loosened.


 

Indiana

DNR issues combine recreation/fishing guide

Annual report available on DNR Web site

In a move to provide easier access to Indiana recreational information, the Department of Natural Resources has issued its first combined recreation guide and fishing guide.

 

The 70-page publication "provides everything you need to enjoy the Hoosier outdoors," said DNR Director Kyle Hupfer. "Included are fishing fees and size/bag limits; state park facility information and phone numbers; where to camp and where to fish. We even have a list of DNR law enforcement offices."

 

The new publication combines two long-time annual publications, the annual fishing and recreation guides into one full color, glossy, high-end publication. The previous

guides were black and white and printed on low quality paper. The sale of advertising space has reduced the production cost of the new guide. Additional savings will be realized each year through the lower costs in shipping one publication rather than two.

 

Copies of the new guide are available at all DNR properties, business locations that sell fishing licenses and at the DNR customer service center in the Government Center-South or by calling 317-232-4200.

 

The report is on-line at www.in.gov/dnr/2005_DNR_ANNUAL_REPORT-hi-res-tagged.pdf . The full-color report gives Hoosiers an in-depth view of the activities and projects on-going at the DNR.


Michigan

High Court won’t take up beach walking case

The U.S. Supreme Court last week refused to consider whether people have a right to stroll along private property aligning Great Lakes beaches in Michigan. Justices left undisturbed a state Supreme Court ruling last year that found beach walking is a right.

In its 5-2 ruling, Michigan's highest court said the area between the water and the ordinary high water mark on shore is accessible to all under the common-law doctrine of natural resources as a public trust.  About 70 % of Michigan's 3,200 miles of Great Lakes shoreline property is privately owned.


Minnesota

DNR to stock up to 23 million walleye fry in Leech Lake

In an aggressive effort to improve walleye fishing in Leech Lake, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will stock up to 23 million walleye fry in the lake this spring.  The stocking, part of an intensive management approach that includes cormorant control, special fishing regulations, and habitat protection, aims to improve a fishery that has relatively few small- and medium-sized walleye and a dwindling population of large-sized breeding walleye.

 

"Because Leech Lake walleye fishing isn't what it should be, we are committed to making it everything it can be," said Ron Payer, DNR fisheries chief. "Our goal is to develop several new strong year classes of walleye so that when these fish have grown to catchable size, the lake will once again be among the state's premier angling destinations."

 

Payer said the combination of strong natural reproduction in 2005 as well as experimental fry stocking in 2005 appears to have brought about the largest year class of walleye in many years. The 2005 walleye year class - plus the upcoming stocking, are the underpinnings of what the DNR and local citizens hope will spark the turnaround of a lake whose management has been complicated by thousands of fish-eating cormorants.

 

"Typically, large walleye lakes take care of themselves because of abundant habitat and female walleye deposit more than enough eggs to produce healthy year classes," said Payer. "But what's been happening at Leech hasn't been typical and therefore we are taking unprecedented steps in the name of the local community, its economy and the health of

the fishery." Payer noted the lake's westerns bays continue to produce small walleye and good walleye fishing.

 

Specifically, the DNR will stock 20 million fry from the Boy River spawning run this spring. If available, an additional 3 million fry will be stocked after all priority needs are met from the Boy River spawning run. All fry will be marked with oxytetracyclene, a chemical that allows biologists to determine whether the fish were raised in a DNR hatchery or naturally produced in a lake or river. Stocking in 2007 will be contingent upon the abundance of 2006-year class. If DNR surveys indicate a good year class, no stocking will occur in 2007. Conversely, if the 2006-year class is poor, the DNR will stock another 20 million fry, plus an additional 3 million fry if available.

 

"Leech Lake is important to us," said Payer, who noted about 9 % of the state's total walleye fry production will be diverted to the lake. "Moreover, the DNR has made a commitment to move an additional staff position to the Walker fisheries office, fund pioneering rusty crayfish research and fund on-going cormorant control efforts." The two-year crayfish study will seek to answer questions related to the crayfish's affect on walleye reproduction. The study will be done in collaboration with Bemidji State University. Similarly, Payer said the DNR will collaborate with the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe to explore the potential of stocking some of the 20 million fry later in the summer to determine if survival is better.

 

The DNR's plan for Leech Lake follows several meetings with the Leech Lake Fishing Task Force and other interests in the Leech Lake area.


Port Authority calls for feds to take lead  in regulating ballast

Nationwide approach best, Duluth Port Authority says

The Duluth Seaway Port Authority is calling for a national approach to regulating ballast water discharges by saltwater ships visiting the Great Lakes.

 

They say it is a national problem, and it requires a national solution, they don't want an uneven playing field. And they certainly don't want the states to pass their own legislation to control and manage ballast water dumping. That scares them, so much so that they fear state initiatives may force them to start managing ballast dumping in compliance with the Clean Water Act of 1972.

 

But state legislators in Minnesota are developing companion bills in both Houses that could clamp down on oceangoing ships that call on Duluth-Superior. If passed into law, those

bills would require salties to obtain permits from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency before they could discharge ballast tanks in state waters.

 

Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch has thrown his support behind the efforts.  "These species are ripping apart the Lake Superior ecosystem, and we all pay the costs" he said, adding that the federal government has done virtually nothing to regulate ballast discharges.   "If the federal government won't address this problem, it's incumbent on states to do so," Hatch said.

 

Adolph Ojard, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, believes technological solutions to the issue of invasive species are close at hand. He pointed to a promising system that Fednav Ltd., a Montreal-based carrier, has been testing on one of its oceangoing ships.


Lake Sturgeon harvest tags available March 1

In an effort to gain better information on total lake sturgeon harvest statewide, any angler intending to harvest a lake sturgeon during open seasons in 2006 needs to purchase a $5 lake sturgeon tag from an electronic licensing (ELS) agent, according the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

 

The tags, which will be available beginning on March 1, must be purchased prior to possessing lake sturgeon. In addition, anglers applying for a tag must either possess a valid fishing license or must be specifically exempt by law from the fishing license requirement.

 

The lake sturgeon tag allows an angler to harvest one lake sturgeon per license year under the existing seasons. If the tag is lost or destroyed, a duplicate tag will not be issued. Anglers not intending to harvest a lake sturgeon may practice catch and release for the species during the open season.

 

Open seasons and regulations for sturgeon are as follows:

MINNESOTA-CANADA BORDER WATERS

- April 24 - May 7, July 1-Sept. 30, possession limit of one, 45-50 inches (inclusive) or greater than 75 inches

- May 8 - 15, Oct. 1 - April 23, catch-and-release only

MINNESOTA-WISCONSIN BORDER WATERS

 - Sept. 2 - Oct. 15, possession limit of one, minimum size of 50 inches. The tag is similar to the tag that deer hunters are required to use and is subject to the following conditions:

- anglers may only tag fish they personally catch

- immediately after reducing a lake sturgeon to possession, the angler must validate and attach the tag to the fish

- to validate the tag, the angler must cut out or sign off the time, day and month when the fish was taken

- the angler must then attach the validated tag to the caudal peduncle (narrow portion of the body just in front of the tail fin) using string,

  wire, plastic tie, or a similar device so that it can not be removed or lost

- Tag holders are required to register their catch within 48 hours by mailing in the registration card to the DNR Northwest Region Fisheries

  Office in Bemidji. An ELS agent will print a registration card for anglers when they purchase their lake sturgeon tag.

 

The new ELS-based system will allow the DNR to gain better information on lake sturgeon harvests statewide. Keeping harvests within sustainable levels will allow this unique fish species to continue to recover.

 

For more info go to: www.dnr.state.mn.us/areas/fisheries/baudette/sturgeontag.html

Ohio

Spring Trout release

Provides fishing opportunities        

COLUMBUS, OH - Public fishing opportunities will be enhanced this spring when more than 80,000 rainbow trout, measuring 10 to 13” long, are released into 45 Ohio lakes and ponds from mid-March through mid-May, according to the Ohio DNR Division of Wildlife.  Anglers are reminded that the daily catch limit for inland lakes is five trout per angler.

            

Some of the trout locations will feature special, youth-only angler events the day of the scheduled release.

      

 Anglers age 16 and older must have an Ohio fishing license to fish the state’s public waters. The 2006-2007 fishing license can be purchased now and is required on March 1. An annual resident fishing license costs $19 and is valid through

February 28, 2007. A one-day fishing license is available and may be purchased for $11 by residents or non-residents. The one-day license may also be redeemed for credit toward purchase of an annual fishing license.

 

Resident anglers born on or before December 31, 1937 may obtain a free fishing license where licenses are sold. Persons age 66 and older who were born on or after January 1, 1938, and have resided in Ohio for the past six months, are eligible to purchase the reduced cost Resident Senior License for $10. 

 

For more info call an ODNR Division of Wildlife district office in Akron, Athens, Columbus, Findlay, and Xenia, or by call toll-free 1-800-WILDLIFE.


Pennsylvania

Game Commission files charges against deer farm

HARRISBURG - As part of an ongoing investigation, Pennsylvania Game Commission officials have filed more than 2,300 wildlife-related and criminal charges against Jeffrey Dean Spence, of Cemetery Road in Reynoldsville, Jefferson County, for operating an illegal white-tailed deer farm and hunting operation. 

 

On Feb. 14, charges were filed in the office of District Justice Richard Beck of Brookville, and a preliminary hearing has been scheduled for March 31.  If convicted of all counts, Spence faces fines and penalties in excess of $16 million.

 

Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officer Roger Hartless, who filed the charges and led the investigation, noted that other charges may be filed as the investigation continues.  All charges were filed after consultation with Jefferson County District Attorney Jeffrey Burkett.

 

Spence was charged with 1,284 counts for allegedly selling or bartering, offering for sale or barter, conspiring to sell and 

barter and having in possession for sale or barter white-tailed deer or the edible parts of white-tailed deer.  It also is alleged that Spence propagated these deer at an unpermitted facility.  If convicted of these violations of the Game and Wildlife Code, Spence faces fines up to $1,027,200.

 

It is alleged that Spence unlawfully used a computer to sell or offer for sale the white-tailed deer being propagated at the unpermitted facility, resulting in 960 counts of unlawful use of a computer and other crimes.  If convicted of these violations of the Pennsylvania Crimes Code, Spence faces up to seven years in prison and $15,000 in fines for each count.

 

Lastly, it is alleged that Spence unlawfully obtained payment for selling white-tailed deer he was not lawfully permitted to sell and that he raised at an unlawful facility, resulting in 74 counts of theft by deception.  If convicted of these violations of the Crimes Code, Spence faces up to seven years in prison and $15,000 in fines for each of 10 counts, five years in prison and $10,000 in fines for each of 34 counts and two years in prison and $5,000 in fines for each of 30 counts.


Wisconsin

Free Angler Education Clinics March 21, 25, April 1

MADISON – People can assure Wisconsin’s good fishing legacy and the health and well-being of young citizens by attending one of the free angler education workshops. Teachers who want to be fishing instructors can mark their calendars for June multi-day workshops at which, for the first time, they’ll be able to receive stipends to help defray tuition for continuing education credits.

 

Department of Natural Resource angler education workshops train volunteer instructors to offer community programs to introduce children to basic fishing skills and knowledge of Wisconsin lakes and streams, says Theresa Stabo, DNR aquatic resources educator.

 

“Today’s children are tomorrow’s anglers and stewards of our aquatic resources,” Stabo says. “We’re looking forward to training more people who will take the angler education program into their schools and communities. When we get kids excited about fishing, they realize their connection to the resource.”

 

Adults who attend the day-long workshops receive free materials that they can use to teach their own angler education courses. Materials are aligned with Wisconsin state academic standards and link one of Wisconsin's most venerable traditions to science, math, social studies,

language arts, fine arts and physical education. Fishing equipment and other materials are available on loan to instructors for their programs.

 

Last year, 156 enthusiastic volunteer instructors introduced more than 7,000 children and 300 adults to fishing and aquatic resources in DNR angler education workshops, Stabo says.

 

Because DNR relies on volunteer instructors to arrange and teach the angler education courses, people who already work with children are particularly good candidates to attend the workshops, even if they don’t have advanced fishing skills, Stabo says.

 

The one-day workshops are free but require a $15 commitment fee, which is refunded at the workshop, to assure good attendance. More information, including registration materials, are available on the DNR’s fishing Web site.

 

March 21, Fitchburg, DNR Service Center, 3911 Fish Hatchery Rd, Beth Bernhardt (608) 261-6431.

March 25, Rhinelander, Oneida County Extension Office, 3375 Airport Rd, 10 - 4 PM. Jim Winkler (715) 365-2750

April 1, Milwaukee, Great Lakes Research Institute, 600 E. Greenfield Ave., 9 - 3 PM Mark Baldock, (414) 333-1183.


Ontario

Province Expands Sunday Gun Hunting

Expanded opportunities help manage wildlife

TORONTO — The province of Ontario is helping control wildlife populations by expanding Sunday gun hunting to 67 more municipalities in southern Ontario and all or part of 14 geographic townships near the French River, Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay announced last week.

 

“We believe these expanded hunting opportunities will help address concerns about vehicle-wildlife collisions and crop damage caused by burgeoning wildlife populations in some areas of Ontario,” said Ramsay. “They will also provide an economic boost for communities.”

 

The province consulted with communities in southern Ontario

last year and posted the proposal on the Environmental Bill of Rights Registry. Only communities that expressed an interest are included.

 

These new opportunities will take effect September 1 of this year. It will mean an extra one to three days of gun hunting for deer and 12 to 15 days for small game during the fall. The public can learn more about the decision notice by visiting the Environmental Bill of Rights Registry at www.ene.gov.on.ca/samples/search/  and entering Registry Number RB05E6807.

 

Hunters can already gun hunt on Sundays in northern Ontario and in 25 other municipalities in southern Ontario.


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