Week of March 2, 2009

Fishing beyond the Great Lakes
World
National

Regional

Beyond the Great Lakes
General
2nd Amendment issues
Lake Erie

Illinois
Indiana
Michigan
New York
Ohio
Pennsylvania
Wisconsin

 

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Fishing beyond the Great Lakes

Commercials Plead Guilty to Illegally Overfishing Striped Bass

Five St. Mary's County, Maryland, commercial fisherman pleaded guilty Friday, February 20, to illegally overfishing

striped bass also known as rockfish. According to authorities, the five took an excess of fish with a market value of approximately $2,150,000.


World

Last Year Was Earth's Coolest Since 2000

NEW YORK - Climatologists at the NASA Goddard Institute for

Space Studies in New York City said on February 25 that 2008 was the planet's coolest year since 2000.


Beyond the Great Lakes

Illegal Gill Netters arrested

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers arrested two Palm Beach County men early Wednesday and charged them with a variety of offenses related to the constitutional ban on the use of gill nets in state waters and illegal possession of fish. Arrested were Charles Christopher Mischloney, 37, of 3072 Walker Ave, Green Acres and David Allen Tortorice, 25, of 4648 Sunset Lane, West Palm Beach.

 

According to the FWC, Charlotte County Deputy W. Weisspsennig Jr. notified FWC Officer Daniel Cantu of gill netters in the Pirate Harbor canal system. At approximately 1:15 a.m., Cantu and Weisspsennig saw the two men gill-netting from their vessel. The officers ordered the vessel operator to idle the vessel and secure it at a dock.

After inspecting the vessel and interviewing the subjects, officers charged the men with illegal use of monofilament net, transit violation, operating a vessel less than 22-feet-long in possession of gill net, using an unmarked gill net, possession of goliath grouper, possession of out-of-season and oversized snook, using an illegal method to take snook and possession of oversized black drum. Officers booked both men into the Charlotte County Jail.

 

Officer Cantu seized the vessel, a 16-foot, fiberglass, center-console model, two snook, one black drum and one goliath grouper and destroyed approximately 75-100 pounds of mullet, sand bream, sheepshead and spadefish.

 

 


National

EPA chief reconsidering ship ballast permit

TRAVERSE CITY, MI (AP) — The new head of the Environmental Protection Agency says the Obama administration will reconsider rules that  critics say do too little to prevent cargo ships from dumping invasive species into the nation's waterways.

 

The EPA in December released a general permit for cargo vessels entering the Great Lakes or other U.S. waters from overseas that includes rules for 26 types of discharges, such as ballast, oily bilge water and "gray water" from showers and sinks.

 

Breaking with the Bush administration, EPA head Lisa Jackson said on February 24 the permit "doesn't begin to address some of the concerns that are out there."  "I don't have an answer for you today but I want to you know that's very much on my radar screen," she said during a meeting of the Great Lakes Commission in Washington, D.C.

 

Ballast water, which keeps vessels stable in rough seas, is a leading pathway for zebra mussels and other aquatic invaders, which have overwhelmed native species and cost billions in economic damage.

 

The EPA permit requires vessels heading for U.S. ports with full ballast tanks to exchange the water at least 200 miles from shore. Ships with empty tanks must rinse them with salt water to kill freshwater organisms lurking in residual puddles or sediment.  But those measures already had been required by Canada and the U.S. Coast Guard, and critics say they still could let some invasives get through.

 

Several environmental groups sued EPA last month, saying 

the permit did not meet requirements of the Clean Water Act. They want shippers to install systems for sterilizing tanks, which the maritime industry says are being developed but remain unavailable.

 

Jackson also told officials and activists from the region the administration would honor President Barack Obama's campaign pledge to pump more federal money into Great Lakes restoration, despite the staggering budget deficit. 

 

As a candidate, Obama proposed a $5 billion "down payment" toward implementation of a $20 billion restoration plan released by the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration in 2005.  It includes drinking water and sewage system upgrades, toxic site cleanups, improvements to wetlands and wildlife habitat and continued efforts to keep foreign species out of the lakes.

 

Jackson said she was optimistic about prospects for progress toward those goals.  "I don't think there's any reason to question the president's continued commitment to the Great Lakes," she said.

 

Officials expect the region to get nearly $2 billion for wastewater and drinking water system upgrades under the recently enacted stimulus package. Jackson acknowledged more was needed.  "Investment in water infrastructure has tremendous payoffs" in improved water quality and job creation, she said.  Jackson also promised to seek more money for removing toxic sediments from highly polluted harbors and rivers across the region.

 

The House authorized boosting the program's budget from $54 million to $150 million last fall. But the bill died in the Senate after EPA turned against it.


Congressmen to Advocate Animal Rights Agenda

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) couldn’t be happier with the formation of a new group of Congressmen that will promote its agenda.

 

On February 18, U.S. Representatives Jim Moran (D- VA) and Elton Gallegy (R- CA) announced the formation of a new Congressional Animal Protection Caucus. The goal of the group is to get like-minded members of Congress together and promote animal rights policy in Washington, D.C. through forums and briefings.

 

According to the Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF), the legislative wing of the HSUS, the new caucus will “take lawmaking for the animals to the next level.” HSLF went on to gush in its blog, “we could not be more excited about their leadership of this new organization of humane lawmakers.”

HSUS President and CEO, Wayne Pacelle was also prominently quoted in  Rep. Moran’s press release announcing the caucus’ formation. Pacelle stated, “The newly constituted Congressional Animal Protection Caucus will help better align our federal policies with public opinion, and we are excited to work closely with its leaders and with the entire Congress to combat cruelty and abuse."

 

As of press time, a full list of other U.S. Representatives joining the caucus was not available. However, the USSA will let sportsmen know as the names become available. Each member of the caucus should be contacted by constituents in their districts.

 

Representatives should be made aware of HSUS’ radical anti-hunting agenda. They also need to be aware that sportsmen expect their representatives not to cow tow to that agenda.


Regional

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for Feb. 27, 2009

Weather Conditions

A major winter storm took aim on the Great Lakes basin this week.  Heavy snow fell across much of the northern basin, with rain and thunderstorms occurring in the south.  Temperatures reached the 40s in many locations in the southern third of the region on Thursday.  Much colder air is expected to return the Great Lakes in the wake of this storm.  Ice cover on the Lakes continues to increase.  Lakes Superior and Erie are largely frozen over and a large amount of ice is present on Lake Michigan-Huron.

 Lake Level Conditions

Currently, Lake Superior is 4 inches higher than it was a year ago.  Lakes Michigan-Huron and St. Clair are 11 and 4 inches, respectively, above what they were at this time last year. Lake Erie is the same as last year's level, while Lake Ontario is 2 inches above last year's level. Over the next 30 days, Lake Superior is projected to remain steady, while Lake Michigan-Huron is predicted to rise 2 inches.  Lake St. Clair is forecasted to remain steady over the next month.  Lake Erie and Lake Ontario are projected to rise 2 and 1 inches, respectively, over the same time period.  

 

Over the next several months, Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are predicted to remain at or above their levels of a year ago.  Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario, however, are projected to be at or below last year's levels for the next few months.  See our Daily Levels web page for more water level information.

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions

In January, the outflows through the St. Mary's and St. Clair

Rivers were lower than average.  The outflow from the Detroit and Niagara Rivers were above average.  The outflow through the St. Lawrence River was near but still lower than average.

Alerts

Lakes Superior is below its chart datum elevations and is expected to be below datum over the next several months. Also, water levels on Lake St. Clair can fluctuate greatly due to ice in the connecting channels.  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's webpage.

 

 

Superior

Mich-Huron

St. Clair

Erie

Ontario

Level for Feb 27

600.7

577.6

573.9

571.3

245.6

Datum, in ft

601.1

577.5

572.3

569.2

243.3

Diff in inches

 -5

   +1

+19

+25

+27

Diff last month

-2

 +2

+1

 +5

+2

Diff from last yr

+4

+11

+4

 0

+2

 


General

Bass Pro Shops Spring Fishing Classic

All 50 Stores are running a promotion in conjunction with the Bass Spring Fishing Classic, February 27 - March 15

 

►Week 1: Feb 27-Mar 4, they are holding Pro Seminars, with

over 40 national pros, events and displays

►Week 2: Mar 7-8, Boat Show - more than 500 boats on sale

►Week 3: Mar 14-15, include Daily Specials, boat shows, meet vendors, thousands of items on sale.


2nd Amendment issues

Appeals Court rules for workers guns in employer parking lots

Major Victory for American Workers' Right to Self-Defense

Fairfax, Va. – On February 16 a three-judge panel of the U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously in support of allowing employees to store legally owned firearms in locked, private motor vehicles while parked in employer parking lots. The Denver-based court’s decision overturns a ruling by U.S. District Judge Terence Kern in Tulsa, who barred enforcement of the law. This decision upholds NRA-backed legislation passed in 2004.

 

“This is a victory for the millions of American workers who have been denied the right to protect themselves while commuting between their homes and their workplace,” said NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre. “This effort was aimed at skirting the will of the American people, and the intent of legislatures across this country while eviscerating Right-to-Carry laws. This ruling is a slap at the corporate elitists who have no regard for the constitutional rights of law abiding American workers.”

 

In March 2004, the Oklahoma legislature passed an

amendment holding employers criminally liable for prohibiting

employees from storing firearms in locked vehicles on company property. A number of corporations subsequently filed suit in opposition to the new laws, alleging they were: unconstitutionally vague; an unconstitutional taking of private property; and preempted by various federal statutes. The lower court ruled in favor of the injunction.

 

“This issue was contrived by the gun control lobby who goaded corporations into doing their dirty work for them,” said Chris W. Cox, NRA chief lobbyist. “However, this ruling is a vindication for every hardworking and lawful man and woman whose basic right to self-defense was taken away on a whim by corporate lawyers. NRA is prepared to defend this right and to ensure the safety of every American worker.”

 

In October 2008, Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry and Attorney General Drew Edmondson appealed to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals the lower court decision to strike down the NRA-backed worker protection laws. Today’s proceedings handed down by Circuit Judges Paul J. Kelly, Bobby R. Baldock, and Michael W. McConnell reversed the lower court’s grant of a permanent injunction


Boren to help lead new task force on gun rights

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Rep. Dan Boren, a board member of the National Rifle Association, announced Wednesday he will serve as  co-chairman of a new task force on gun rights.

 

"I am afraid we could witness a significant tilt to the left on gun issues in the current climate in Washington and that has me greatly  concerned,” the Oklahoma Democrat said. "I believe members of the Second Amendment Task Force will serve a critical role in preventing overreaching by those who would seek to enact anti-gun policies.”

 

Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia will be the group's Republican co-chairman.

 

Boren said the task force will be charged with monitoring legislation regarding the Second Amendment during the 111th Congress.  He said it will act as a unified and proactive force to promote legislation that protects the Second Amendment and to fight legislation that  poses a threat to citizens’ constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

“As a member of the National Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association and co-chair of the Congressional Sportsmen Caucus, I am  proud to co-chair this task force with Congressman Broun and to take a leadership role on these important issues on behalf of my fellow  Oklahoma gun-owners,” said Boren.

 

Other members of the task force were chosen, he said, after a thorough review was conducted of their voting records on Second Amendment  issues, and working in close consultation with gun rights groups such as the NRA and Gun Owners of America.  Boren described the carefully selected group of lawmakers as “true believers” in the constitutional right for Americans to bear arms.

 

Other Democrats chosen for the group include Reps. Jason Altmire of Pennsylvania, Travis Childers of Mississippi, Brad Ellsworth of Indiana, Jim Matheson of Utah and Mike McIntyre of North Carolina. Other Republicans include Reps. Rob Bishop of Utah, John Boozman of Arkansas, Steve King of Iowa and Steve Scalise of Louisiana.


Lake Erie

Ohio Lake Erie Commission Seeking Submissions from Shutterbugs

TOLEDO, OH - Camera buffs who want to capture the essence of Lake Erie life on film - or on memory card in this digital age - and share the wonders of the lake can enter the Ohio Lake Erie Commission (OLEC) 2009 photo contest. Winning images will be displayed as part of a traveling exhibit and in an online photo gallery.

 

The 2009 "Life on Lake Erie" photo contest is an opportunity for amateur photographers, age 18 and older, to reveal their passion for one of Ohio's most valuable and dynamic natural features, Lake Erie. Photographs taken between July 9, 2008 and July 12, 2009 in and around the Lake Erie watershed can be submitted to the OLEC through July 16, 2009.

 

Submissions must be the original work of the photographer and can portray sustainable use, development or protection of Ohio's Lake Erie coastal resources. They can incorporate shoreline landscapes, wildlife, plants or even people enjoying various coastal activities. Black and white and color photographs will be accepted. Digitally altered photos will not be accepted. All submissions become the property of the Ohio Lake Erie Commission.

 

Winning photographs will be featured on the OLEC web site

and will be part of the Commission's traveling photo gallery. The inspiring art display will appear at prime Ohio shoreline locations throughout the year, including University of Toledo's

 

Lake Erie Center in Oregon, Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center in Oak Harbor and the Lake Erie Shores & Islands Welcome Centers in Port Clinton and Sandusky. The outstanding images may also be used to promote Lake Erie through environmental and educational programs and publications.

 

To enter, send a 5 x 7" print and a completed entry form, available at lakeerie.ohio.gov, to the Ohio Lake Erie Commission, One Maritime Plaza, Fourth Floor, Toledo, OH 43604. No more than five entries will be accepted from one household. Individuals can win up to two times.

 

The Ohio Lake Erie Commission was established for the purpose of preserving Lake Erie's natural resources, protecting the quality of its waters and ecosystem and promoting economic development in the region. The director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources serves as the commission's chairman. Additional members include the directors of the state departments of Transportation, Health, Development, Agriculture and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.


Illinois

Get a jump on spring at Cabela’s Great Outdoor Days offer a cure for cabin fever

HOFFMAN ESTATES, IL– Cabela’s invites you to celebrate spring during Great Outdoor Days, the retailer’s biggest in-store event of the season, starting March 5 at the Cabela’s retail store in Hoffman Estates. With seminars, product demonstrations, giveaways and activities for the kids, this free-to-the-public, multi-day event offers families a great way to get a jump on everything great about the great outdoors.

 

During Spring Great Outdoor Days, Cabela’s will help you maximize your budget by getting you started on an outdoor adventure close to home  or even in your own backyard. Whether you’re a hardcore end-user, casual enthusiast or planning your very first outdoor experience, Cabela’s is the

place to start your year off right.

 

►Pro staff and Mfg. reps will be on hand to answer questions and give advice to maximize your next outdoor adventure

►Learn the newest tips and tactics through hands-on demonstrations and try before you buy on select items

►Cabela's largest sale of the year, with great prices on hunting, fishing and outdoor gear

►March 7-8, Captains from Lake Michigan, Lake Erie, and Lake Geneva will have a series of seminars

►March 8 & 15, Kids Casting, Walleye and Muskie seminars by pros Aaron Hogland and Rich Gallagher, US Coast Guard  boating safety course, and Free Vessel safety checks

 

For more info: www.cabelas.com.


High Schools hold nation's first high school fishing tournament

 On April 24, the Illinois High School Association will hold the sectionals leading into the nation's first statewide high school fishing tournament on May 8-9.

 

The state action will unfold on Carlyle Lake, the largest manmade lake in Illinois. Carlyle Lake spans more than 26,000 acres of water and 11,000 acres of land, while its 3,260 pounds of fish per water-acre makes it one of the most productive fishing areas in the state.  “We had three other strong bids in the running for this event, but in the end Carlyle clearly separated itself from the others,” said IHSA Bass Fishing administrator Dave Gannaway. “They have their entire

community involved and we look forward to conducting a first-class championship event during our first year.”

 

The Illinois High School Association’s Board of Directors had approved a recommendation from the Executive Director to add a bass fishing tournament as an IHSA activity beginning in the spring of 2009, provided that adequate sponsorships are secured in advance for the tournament.

 

The IHSA became the first high school state association in the country to sponsor a bass fishing tournament.  The IHSA recently announced that Plano Molding Company, a fishing supply company located in Plano, Illinois, will join Country Insurance as a bass fishing title sponsor.


Ducks Unlimited donates Illinois River property to DNR

New site will serve as waterfowl refuge and waypoint on National Scenic Byway

East Peoria, IL - Ducks Unlimited (DU) donated 370 acres along the Illinois River to the Illinois DNR on February 21 during its annual state convention in East Peoria. A crowd of about 250 DU volunteers were on hand to applaud IDNR Director Marc Miller as he signed an agreement accepting title to the property on behalf of the state agency.

 

The property, known locally as Wightman Lake, is approximately 20 miles north of Peoria near Sparland, IL. Over the past three years, Ducks Unlimited has invested more than $400,000 in habitat improvements to turn Wightman Lake into a wetland conservation showcase. Designed for use by both waterfowl and people, the project represents a new era of cooperation between Ducks Unlimited and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

 

“Our members are delighted with the renewed commitment to

conservation that Director Miller has helped bring to IDNR,” says Eric Schenck DU Regional Biologist. “Partnerships like the one here at Wightman Lake have become increasingly important to Ducks Unlimited.”

 

In addition to serving as a waterfowl refuge, Wightman Lake is designated as a “waypoint” on the Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway.  At Wightman Lake travelers will have a chance to observe 84 species of birds, as well as the false aster, a federally listed threatened plant that flourishes in the restored wetlands. Part of the tourism experience will include a lesson on the State Wildlife Action Plan—a statewide blueprint for conserving fish and wildlife in Illinois.

 

Sensitive to the budget issues that IDNR currently faces, Ducks Unlimited has agreed to continue management oversight of the property during a three year transition period. This will provide time for newly restored habitats to become fully established and to phase in public access that is expected to help boost the local economy.


Indiana

New DNR fishing and recreation guides available

The 2009 Indiana DNR Fishing Guide is now available, free of charge, at most DNR properties, various sporting goods stores, fishing license vendors and other locations around the state. The 2009 Recreation Guide is at many of the same places or will be shortly.

 

In addition to providing fishing rules and regulations, the new Fishing Guide includes articles on Indiana's fisheries program, fishing for walleye, and research on catfish done on the Wabash River.

 

The 50-page Recreation Guide includes everything you want

to know about DNR properties, including state parks, lakes, state forests, state  park inns, fish and wildlife areas, state museum and historic sites and nature preserves, plus articles on mountain biking, exploring the outdoors  with kids, camping for beginners, and more.

 

You can also obtain a copy by e-mailing DNRGuideRequests@dnr.IN.gov. Both guides also can be viewed in their entirety at www.dnr.IN.gov  by clicking on the appropriate link. Both are musts for those new to the state and fitting additions to any neighborhood welcome package.

 


Canada goose control seminar in Columbus, March 10

Five other seminar dates and locations also available

Area residents can learn how to legally and effectively control local Canada goose populations at a seminar March 10, at the Bartholomew County extension service office.

 

The free program, which runs from 9 a.m. to noon CDT, is the second of six being presented at different locations around the state in March and April by the Department of Natural Resources' Urban Wildlife Project. Interested landowners, managers of corporate campuses, golf courses or park employees, as well as anyone in the general public with an interest are invited.

       

The first part of the program will cover various aspects of Canada goose management, including relevant laws, basic biology, and methods to control damage caused by geese. A demonstration on the proper techniques for egg and nest destruction will follow.  Simply breaking eggs or removing them from nest is not effective because the females will just lay another clutch of eggs, so following proper techniques is vital.

           

The population of Canada geese in the Mississippi Flyway exceeds 1.5 million birds and is growing at a rate of 6 % per 

year. Destroying eggs and nests in urban areas is helpful in controlling goose populations and reducing goose/conflict in areas where hunting cannot take place. Federal rules allow landowners properly registered at: www.fws.gov/permits/mbpermits/gooseeggregistration.html  to complete Canada goose egg and nest destruction on their own property.

 

Registrants must provide a summary report of their Canada goose nest destruction activities to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by Oct 31. Failure to report can result in privileges being revoked for the forthcoming year.

        

Other seminar dates and sites include March 12, at the Wesselman Woods Visitor Center, Evansville; March 19 at the Recreation Building inside Fort Harrison State Park, Indianapolis; March 31, at the Tippecanoe County Extension Service Office, Lafayette; April 1, at the Potato Creek State Park Nature Center near North Liberty; and April 2, at the Salomon Farm Visitors Center in Fort Wayne.  All seminars run from 9 to noon local time.

 

No registration is required at any of the sites. For further information, call the Urban Wildlife Biologist, (812) 334-1137 or e-mail mswinks@dnr.IN.gov


Michigan

Recent Ice Rescue Highlights Importance of Having a Plan

A recent ice rescue on Hubbard Lake in Alcona County by Michigan conservation officers highlights the importance of knowing what to do if you find yourself in an emergency situation while enjoying Michigan’s winter recreation opportunities.

 

In the early morning hours of Thursday, Feb. 19, a concerned mother called the Department of Natural Resources’ Report All Poaching (RAP) Line, the 24-hour law enforcement hotline, to report that her son had not returned home from ice fishing on Hubbard Lake. The man had planned on being home by 7:30 p.m., she said.

 

Conservation Officers Brian Engelhard and Warren MacNeill both responded. Weather conditions on the lake were severe - temperatures below 10 degrees and blowing snow with visibility of less than 40 feet.

The officers proceeded to perform a grid search on the lake.

 

At 4:45 a.m., the officers located the man in his pickup truck,

 

cold but alive. The truck had become stuck and the man made the decision to stay inside the vehicle. Eventually the truck ran out of gas, but he remained in the truck, using a small portable propane heater from his shanty until it ran out of fuel. The man then piled articles on top of himself to conserve body heat.

 

As the officers were searching the lake, the man’s family retrieved global positioning system (GPS) coordinates of the location where the man was previously fishing with a friend. This information was invaluable in this situation, said Lt. Creig Grey, DNR law enforcement supervisor in Roscommon.

 

“This situation easily could have ended in a tragedy, but this man and his family knew the importance of being safe when going out on the ice,” Grey said. “His family knew when to expect him home, they knew approximately where he was going to fish, he made the decision to stay in his vehicle to try to stay warm, and the family knew that with recent warmer weather and the current weather conditions they needed to contact authorities for help These are all important reminders for anyone venturing out on the ice this winter.”


Help Wanted: DNR Hiring for Summer Positions at State Parks and Visitor Centers

The Michigan DNR is now hiring to fill many interesting and educational jobs at state parks, visitor centers and fish hatcheries.

 

“We offer several positions in the summer in our State Park Explorer Program, which is aimed at providing educational nature programs to state park visitors,” said DNR Education Services Manager Kevin Frailey. “We also have summer jobs available through our Interpretative Services for positions at visitor centers, fish hatcheries and gift shops. These positions provide summer job opportunities for people who are interested in working for the DNR and helping educate and inform the public about Michigan’s natural resources.”

 

Anyone interested in working for the DNR Interpretive Services may apply by filling out an employment application at one of 10 major interpretive sites: The Carl T. Johnson Hunting and Fishing Center near Mitchell State Park in Cadillac; the Gerald E. Eddy Discovery Center at Waterloo Recreation Area near

Chelsea; the Gillette Sand Dune Visitor Center at Hoffmaster State Park near Muskegon; the Great Lakes Visitor Center at Ludington State Park in Ludington; the Michigan Forest Visitor Center at Hartwick Pines State Park near Grayling; the Saginaw Bay Visitor Center at Bay City State Recreation Area in Bay City; Tahquamenon Falls State Park near Paradise in the Upper Peninsula; Wilderness Visitor Center at the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in Silver City; Oden State Fish Hatchery Visitor Center in Oden, about six miles east of Petoskey; and Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery located in Mattawan.

 

Positions at the visitor center and interpretive sites include nature program presenter, visitor center maintenance crew and gift shop clerk.

 

For the State Park Explorer Program, a list of 41 Explorer Guide sites is listed on the DNR Web site under the Education and Outreach menu. For more information on the State Park Explorer Program, please contact Karen Gourlay at 248-349-3858.


Natural Resources Commission to Consider Crossbow Changes

The Natural Resources Commission will vote at its March 5 meeting on a proposal to allow additional use of crossbows by hunters. The proposal, which is based upon recommendations by a committee considering crossbow regulations for more than six months, would allow the use of crossbows:

 

►During any season, in which a firearm may be used, for both big game and small game,

►For deer hunting from Dec. 1 - Jan. 1 in southern Michigan, with an archery deer license, and/or

►By anyone 65 years of age or older during any deer season

The NRC may accept any, all, or none of the elements of the proposal and could modify them as it deems fit.  It is already legal to use a crossbow during the firearms deer season. In addition, hunters with certain physical disabilities can apply for permits to use crossbows during archery seasons.

 

Any change in crossbow regulations is likely to be in place for a period of time and then be evaluated for its impact on the resource and its potential to recruit or retain hunters. The Department of Natural Resources will collect and analyze data, after which, crossbow hunting opportunities could be further expanded or restricted, based upon the findings.

 


New York

DEC Seeks Public Input on the Future of Lake Ontario Fisheries

Public Meetings to Assist in development of Fish Community Objectives

ALBANY, NY Feb 20, 2009;-- The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will hold a series of public meetings in March to obtain comments on the Lake Ontario fishery as new "fish community objectives" are being developed. Fish community objectives are broad-based goals that guide DEC and the Province of Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources in managing Lake Ontario fisheries.

 

DEC biologists and staff from cooperating agencies and universities will present information describing the current status of the Lake Ontario fishery. The public will have an opportunity to ask questions and discuss information presented. Following the question-and-answer session, participants will be offered an opportunity to provide written comments to assist DEC and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources with planning efforts for the future of the Lake Ontario fishery.

 

New York State's public meetings will be held at the following times and locations:

 

Monday, March 9, 7 - 10 PM

Oswego County BOCES, County Route 64, Mexico, NY

Info - Dan Bishop 607-753-3095, dlbishop@gw.dec.state.ny.us

 

Tuesday, March 10, 7 - 10 PM

 Ingle Auditorium, Rochester Institute of Technology

 Info - Linda Vera, 585-226-5324

Wednesday, March 18, 6:30 - 9:30 PM

Niagara County, 4H Training Center Auditorium

4487 Lake Avenue (Route 78), Lockport, NY

Info - Paul McKeown, 716-372-0645, pemckeow@gw.dec.state.ny.us  

Mike Wilkinson, 716-851-7010, mawilkin@gw.dec.state.ny.us

 

DEC encourages those with an interest in the Lake Ontario ecosystem to participate in this process. Prior to attending a meeting, participants may review the fish community objectives document prepared in 1997 and a brief summary of ecological changes that have taken place in the Lake Ontario ecosystem www.seagrant.sunysb.edu/glsportfish/pdfs/LOnt-EcoIndicators-Fall08.pdf. This background material also can be obtained from the Cape Vincent Fisheries Station by writing to:

 

NYSDEC Cape Vincent Fisheries Station

P.O. Box 292 Cape Vincent, New York 13618

(315) 654 - 2147

 

Anyone who is unable to participate in a public meeting, but wishes to submit comments should send them to the fisheries station at the above address or via e-mail to srlapan@gw.dec.state.ny.us

 

In addition to the New York meetings, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources will host a series of meetings to obtain public comments on the fish community objectives. Once this process is completed, revised draft fish community objectives will be made available for public review and comment.

 


Ohio

Spring Trout Releases provide fishing opportunities

Releases start March 13 and continue through mid-May

 COLUMBUS, OH - Public fishing opportunities will be enhanced this spring when more than 80,000 rainbow trout, each measuring 10 to 13 inches long, are released into 45 Ohio lakes and ponds, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. The releases will take place between mid-March and mid-May; anglers are reminded that the daily catch limit for inland lakes is five trout.

 

Some locations will feature special, youth-only angler events on the day of the scheduled releases. Anglers age 16 and older must have an Ohio fishing license to fish the state's public waters. Once the youth-only events have concluded, all other anglers may fish.

 

The 2009-2010 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, 2010. 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 towards purchase of an annual fishing license.

 

Ohio residents 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.

 

Additional information about spring trout releases is available by calling toll-free 1-800-WILDLIFE. Information is also available from Division of Wildlife district offices in Akron, Athens, Columbus, Findlay, and Xenia.


State Tournament Will Showcase Archery in the Schools Program

48 schools to participate, nearly 850 students will compete

COLUMBUS, OH - The third annual Ohio National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) State Tournament will be held on Friday, March 6 at the Ohio Expo Center's Lausche Building, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. The tournament is held in conjunction with the Arnold Classic Sports Festival in Columbus.

 

Ohio NASP participating schools will compete for team and individual awards in high school, middle school and elementary school divisions. Qualifying teams and individuals in each division will represent Ohio as they challenge for a national title at the NASP National Competition this summer in Kentucky.

 

"The tournament is an excellent opportunity for students and teams that participate in the program to showcase their hard work and dedication," states Kevin Dixon, shooting sports

coordinator for the Division of Wildlife. "The event not only gives students the chance to experience competitive shooting, but also brings together like-minded students from across the state who are interested in archery."

 

Ohio launched the NASP program to a pilot group of 12 schools in 2004. Five years later, there are 307 schools in Ohio with teachers certified to instruct target archery through the NASP program; a program which is rapidly growing and gaining popularity among students and educators.

 

The NASP program teaches target archery to elementary, middle and high school students in the school gym. Curriculum covers archery, safety, equipment, technique, concentration skills and self improvement.

 

Often when students are introduced to the sport of archery, the in-school educational component is only the beginning. Many NASP participating schools start after school programs and archery teams. For more info, go to:  www.ohionasp.com and www.arnoldsportsfestival.com.


Lottery Scheduled for New Docks at Cowan Lake

Boaters have until March 13 to apply

WILMINGTON, OH - A lottery will be conducted for boaters interested in docking at Cowan Lake State Park's 48 new boat docks. The lottery drawing will be held on March 25 at the park office.

 

Boaters who are interested in registering for the lottery may do so by calling the park office at (937) 382-1096 on the following dates: March 2-6  and 9-13 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Applicants

 

must furnish a copy of their most recent boat registration prior to the lottery drawing. Boaters do not need to be present for the lottery drawing.

 

Boaters who receive a dock in the lottery have until April 1 to complete the dock rental agreement and make payment at the park office. The annual fee for a dock is $270 and only the registered boat applied for in the lottery may be docked. There are no security gates at the docks.


Pennsylvania

Commission releases 2008 Bear Harvest

HARRISBURG – According to official 2008 bear harvest figures released today by the Pennsylvania Game Commission, hunters took a total of  3,458 bears, which included 69 bears during the second archery bear season,

Nov. 19-20; 2,951 bears during the statewide 3-day season, Nov.  24-26; and 438 bears during the extended season, Dec. 1-6, that was open in select areas of the state.  This harvest ranks second among Pennsylvania’s annual bear harvests.  In 2005, hunters set a record harvest of 4,164 bears.


Wisconsin

Eighth Annual Muskie School March 21

The Capital City Chapter of Muskies, Inc. will hold their eighth annual Muskie School at Waunakee High School in Waunakee, Wisconsin on March 21, 2009. The school features the latest tips and techniques as well as pointers on muskie fishing in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Admission: Adults - $29 ($39 if you register after March 15, 2009) Kids (18 and under) - $5 Enjoy lure demonstrations, hands-on workshops, "How to" classes, panel discussions, and much, much, more. You won't be disappointed!

For more info go to www.capitalcitymuskiesinc.org, crandall@msbnrg.com, or call 608-831-6020 (evenings)


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