Week of March 3, 2008

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Beyond the Great Lakes

The Roanoke River American Shad Restoration Program

At one time, annual  shad runs supported important commercial and recreational fisheries along the East Coast as millions of American shad  came in from the sea and up rivers to spawn; however, overfishing, water quality degradation and dam construction contributed to depleted  populations.

 

Due to the importance of American shad as a recreational and commercial fishery as well as juvenile American shad as a forage base,  several states have taken measures in the last two decades to restore the American shad population.  In 1998, N. Carolina Commission biologists, fearing that a population crash was inevitable, partnered with the USFWS to begin the  Roanoke River American Shad Restoration Program. In the 10 years since, the two agencies have stocked more than 18 million “OTC-marked” shad fry in the river in the hope of restoring the fishery. Before stocking the fry, hatchery staff immerse the tiny fish in OTC once if they will be stocked at Weldon and twice if they will be stocked upstream 

above the reservoirs and dams. 

 

Previously, biologists captured a total of three single-marked adult fish on the spawning grounds; one adult shad in 2005 and two adult shad in  2006. These adult American shad were the first documented hatchery-reared fish from the program that had survived to spawning age,  indicating that the propagation program was working and that a few of the stocked fish were surviving three to four years in the ocean and  then returning to the Roanoke River to spawn.

 

While the appearance of those fish was good news, the double-marked American shad captured in March 2007 is better news because shad fry  stocked in the upper Roanoke River are able to utilize nursery habitat that has long been blocked to the spring migration of spawning American  shad.  Prior to dam construction in the upper Roanoke River, American shad were able to migrate and spawn in the extreme headwaters of the  Roanoke River as far as Salem, Va.


Restoring American Shad on the Roanoke River One Fish at a Time

RALEIGH, N.C. – The American shad collected from the Roanoke River by N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission biologists in March  2007 looked like any other American shad. However, this fish was anything but ordinary.  The 20-inch female American shad, captured near Weldon, was the next chapter in an ongoing story about restoring a historic species in a river  that at one time harbored a thriving commercial and recreational fishery.

 

The fish’s otolith (ear bone), no bigger than the head of pencil eraser, told biologists a lot about this fish and its remarkable journey that lasted  three to four years and spanned thousands of miles. More importantly, the otolith told biologists that the Roanoke River American Shad  Restoration Program implemented more than 10 years ago to enhance the depleted fishery continues to demonstrate signs of progress.

 

The fish began its journey at the Watha State Fish Hatchery as a 1/2-inch long fry where it was marked twice with oxytetracycline (OTC), a  common antibiotic, to stain its otolith and then released in the upper part of the Roanoke River above John H. Kerr Reservoir near Alta Vista,  Va.  The journey ended in March 2007 when Commission biologists recaptured the fish and noted a double mark after examining the otolith under a  microscope. 

This first documented return of an adult American shad stocked in the upper Roanoke River indicates that stocked fry can pass downstream through three reservoirs and dams (Kerr Reservoir, Lake Gaston and Roanoke Rapids Lake) and return upstream as adults to their  native spawning grounds.

 

“Capturing an adult American shad that was initially stocked at our upper location is exciting news,” said Kevin Dockendorf, district 1 fisheries  biologist. “With passage through the dams and the reservoirs, this fish outmigrated through the Roanoke River and Albemarle Sound, spent  three to four years in the ocean and came back up the Roanoke River, making it through the whole American shad life cycle.”

 

The life cycle of an American shad is an arduous one, beginning in the freshwater rivers of North Carolina, where adult shad spawn to produce  millions of eggs, which eventually hatch as fry. The fry then attempt to make their way hundreds of miles downstream to the Atlantic Ocean,  where they spend several years growing into adults before heading back up the rivers to spawn the next generation of American shad. 

 

 “Because the maturation period of American shad is rather long – returning three to four years after hatching to spawn – we would anticipate  a lag from stocking of fry to recapture of adults of hatchery origin,” Dockendorf said.


Bald Eagles Stay for the Winter…

How do you describe something that is almost too amazing to put into words?  While gliding high above the open water of the Missouri River,  a bald eagle searches for her next meal.  Like a fireworks display on the fourth of July, onlookers can’t help but stare in amazement as the  graceful bird dances in the currents of the wind.

 

At least 200 bald eagles were documented along the Missouri River in the 2008 mid-winter survey of wintering bald eagles.  Drawn by the open  water, abundant waterfowl, and proper nesting habitat, many of these birds of prey will take residence in the Mount Rushmore State year  round, with many more coming in the winter months.  Located on the Central Flyway, South Dakota is one of the best areas in the country to  view the nation’s symbol of freedom. 

 

There are four main areas to see bald eagles in South

Dakota.  Oahe Dam, Big Bend Dam, Ft. Randall Dam and Gavins Point Dam, all located on  the Missouri River, and provide excellent eagle viewing opportunities.  Their tailwaters remain unfrozen all winter long, allowing the eagles to easily  find dead or dying fish, waterfowl and a variety of mammals.  One of the best viewing areas in the state is at the Karl E. Mundt National  Wildlife Refuge, just south of Fort Randall Dam.  While the Refuge is closed to the public, these impressive birds may be seen from a variety of  observation points around the refuge. 

 

Due to population recovery, the bald eagle has been removed from the Endangered Species Act on a national level.  It is still, however, listed  and protected as threatened in the South Dakota.  The Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act  provide federal protection for the eagles. 

 


National

FWS to remove gray wolves from protection of ESA

A USFWS press release

The gray wolf population in the Northern Rocky Mountains is thriving and no longer requires the protection of the Endangered Species Act, Deputy Secretary of the Interior Lynn Scarlett announced today. As a result, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will remove the species from the federal list of threatened and endangered species.

 

“The wolf population in the Northern Rockies has far exceeded its recovery goal and continues to expand its size and range. States, tribes, conservation groups, federal agencies and citizens of both regions can be proud of their roles in this remarkable conservation success story,” said Scarlett, noting that there are currently more than 1,500 wolves and at least 100 breeding pairs in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming.

 

Service-approved state management plans will provide a secure future for the wolf population once Endangered Species Act protections are removed and the states assume full management of wolf populations within their borders.

The northern Rocky Mountain DPS includes all of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, as well as the eastern one-third of Washington and Oregon, and a small part of north-central Utah.

 

“With hundreds of trained professional managers, educators, wardens and biologists, state wildlife agencies have strong working relationships with local landowners and the ability to manage wolves for the long-term,” said Lyle Laverty, Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. “We’re confident the wolf has a secure future in the northern Rocky Mountains and look forward to continuing to work closely with the states as

we monitor the wolf population for the next five years.”

 

The minimum recovery goal for wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains was set at a minimum of 30 breeding pairs (a breeding pair represents a successfully reproducing wolf pack) and a minimum of 300 individual wolves for at least three consecutive years. This goal was achieved in 2002, and the wolf population has expanded in size and range every year since.

 

“These wolves have shown an impressive ability to breed and expand – they just needed an opportunity to establish themselves in the Rockies. The Service and its partners provided that opportunity, and now it’s time to integrate wolves into the states’ overall wildlife management efforts,” said Service Director H. Dale Hall.

 

Gray wolves were previously listed as endangered in the lower 48 states, except in Minnesota, where they were listed as threatened.  The wolf population in the western Great Lakes was delisted in early 2007.  When the delisting of the Rocky Mountain population takes effect 30 days from its publication in the Federal Register on February 27th, the Service will oversee the only remaining gray wolf recovery program, for the southwestern U.S. wolf population.  The delisting announced today affects only the northern Rocky Mountain population of gray wolves.  Gray wolves found outside of the Rocky Mountain and Midwest recovery areas, including the southwest wolf population, remain protected under the Endangered Species Act and are not affected by actions taken today.

 

For more info: www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/mammals/wolf/


Administration strips legal protections from Northern Rockies Wolves

An environmentalist's perspective

SILVER CITY, NM — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the removal of wolves from the Endangered Species Act's list of endangered and threatened species in a vast area of the northern Rocky Mountains and adjoining regions Thursday. The move will strip wolves of federal protections throughout all of Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana and portions of Utah, Oregon, and Washington. Officials from both Idaho and Wyoming have made clear that they intend to dramatically increase the numbers of wolves that are shot and killed.

 

Over 85 percent of the area where wolves will soon be officially "recovered" has no wolves in it, but any wolves traveling to those regions may be subject to aerial gunning, trapping, and even poisoning.

 

"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, decades before passage of the Endangered Species Act in 1973, exterminated wolves from the West," said Michael Robinson of the Center for Biological Diversity. "The Bush administration, acting on behalf of the livestock industry, is attempting to thwart recovery and bring wolves back to the brink of extinction."

 

Although there are more than 1,500 wolves in Idaho, Montana,

and Wyoming, only a fraction of those animals reproduce, since within each wolf pack only the alpha male and alpha

 female breed. Thus the genetically effective population is much lower than the total number of wolves. Furthermore, Wyoming and Idaho intend to kill approximately half their wolf populations, to reduce them to 15 breeding pairs in each state.

 

Wolves in Yellowstone are completely isolated; since reintroduction in 1995 there have been no wolves documented to have traveled from elsewhere into the Yellowstone ecosystem and successfully bred. Recent peer-reviewed research predicts genetic "inbreeding depression" and resulting lower litter sizes in wolf packs in Yellowstone within a few decades.

 

The Center for Biological Diversity and allied conservation organizations sued the Fish and Wildlife Service over its April 1, 2003 rule downlisting wolves from endangered to threatened - a prelude to removing them entirely from the list of protected species. A federal court reversed that downlisting on January 31, 2005.

 

"The Fish and Wildlife Service is making the same legal mistake now as it did in 2003, and imperiling wolves' survival," said Robinson. "This time, just like last time, this illegal action will not stand in court."


TWIC offers new website

The TWIC has launched a new website: http://twicinformation.tsa.dhs.gov .  This website was created to help stakeholders easily find information relating to TWIC Enrollment Center locations and hours of operation, access port-specific and generic communication materials that can be printed and distributed around the port community, and find answers to common FAQs relating to enrollment. It contains links to other important TWIC-related websites such as the TWIC Pre-Enrollment website, TSA's TWIC Program website, and the USCG Homeport website.

 

Included below are tips to help TWIC stakeholders navigate

the website:

1. Do not type "www" before the website address. The full address is http://twicinformation.tsa.dhs.gov  

2. Under the Schedule tab, ports are listed alphabetically. If a port is open for pre-enrollment, stakeholders will be able to click on the port's name and access port-specific materials as well as a map of the enrollment center location.  . Twicinformation.tsa.dhs.gov will continually be updated to reflect possible changes to enrollment center addresses and hours of operation. TWIC officials are asking you check in frequently for updates on the TWIC program and for your specific port location. www.tsa.gov/twic will continue to operate as an additional source of information for the TWIC program.


Regional

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels  for Feb. 29, 2008

Weather Conditions

A storm system tracked along the Ohio River valley earlier this week and brought a good deal of new snow to the southern Great Lakes basin.  Colder temperatures also set in across much of the region following the storm.  The return to colder temperatures allowed ice cover to increase on all the Great Lakes.  An Alberta Clipper is forecasted to bring still more snow to most of the Great Lakes Thursday night and into Friday. A warm up is on tap for the weekend along with a chance for some significant rainfall.

Lake Level Conditions

Currently, Lake Superior and Lake St. Clair are 8 inches and 5 inches higher than they were at this time last year, respectively. The remaining Great Lakes are 2 to 5 inches below their levels of one year ago.  Lake Superior is predicted to hold steady over the next month.  Lake St. Clair is predicted to drop 2 inches over the next 30 days, but weather conditions such as ice or precipitation may cause the lake to fluctuate greatly.  Lakes Michigan-Huron and Ontario are predicted to rise 3 inches over the next month while Lake Erie is projected to rise 1 inch.  Lake Superior is predicted to stay above last year's water levels through July while the remaining lakes are forecasted to remain below their levels of a year ago over the next several months. 

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions

Outflow from the St. Mary's, St. Clair, Detroit, and St. Lawrence

Rivers was below average for January.  Outflow from the

Niagara River was above average for last month. Ice buildup in the connecting channels can cause large short-term water level fluctuations.

Alerts

Lake Superior and Lake Michigan-Huron are below chart datum and forecasted to remain below datum through June.  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 29

600.4

576.7

573.6

571.4

245.4

Datum, in ft

601.1

577.5

572.3

569.2

243.3

Diff in inches

-9

-10

+16

+26

+25

Diff last month

-3

+2

+5

+9

+6

Diff from last yr

+8

-5

+5

-2

-4


Canada

Statistics Canada study confirms firearms and violent crime not linked

Ottawa – Saskatchewan M.P. Garry Breitkreuz says a new Statistics Canada study proves that hunters and sport shooters have nothing in  common with violent criminals. Breitkreuz started his fight against useless gun control laws in 1994 and part of that fight has been to  relentlessly expose the truth about the relationship between violent crime and guns.

 

Last week, Statistics Canada released its study for 2006 entitled: Firearms and Violent Crime. It reported that firearms  were used in only 2.4 % of all violent crime in Canada in 2006. It also reported that handguns (which have required registration since 1934)  made up nearly two-thirds of all firearms used.

 

CanWest news summarized the Statistics Canada report this way: “In 2006, three-quarters of all violent crime victims were attacked by people  without any weapons at all. Knives, clubs and other blunt instruments were used against 9.2 per cent of victims, while guns were used against  only 2.4 %. Knives were used to commit more murders, robberies, sexual assaults and assaults than guns.”

 

“In December 2006, I released unpublished Statistics Canada 

tables showing that of the total homicides committed between 1997 and 2005,  only 2.27 % were committed with a registered gun,” explains Breitkreuz. “Only 1.21 % were committed with a firearm registered to the  accused murderer, and 2.14 % were committed by a person that held a valid firearms licence. Obviously, law-abiding gun  owners aren’t the problem and yet the Government of Ontario and the City of Toronto want to ban the handguns owned by honest citizens.

 

“Why is there a Liberal, NDP and Bloc preoccupation with guns owned by citizens that aren’t the problem?” asks Breitkreuz. “Remember that  102 of 108 handgun homicides (94 %) in 2006 were committed with unregistered handguns or the registration status was unknown. We  need mandatory minimum sentences for using weapons in violent crimes. Knife and club attacks occur at a rate almost four times higher than  guns.

 

“That’s why the federal government introduced Bill C-2, our Tackling Violent Crime Act,” he adds. “Statistics Canada tables also show that  knives and clubs result in more injuries than guns. This study makes it obvious that we need all governments to focus on the  real problem of violent crime and especially target those criminals that use any type of weapon in the commission of an offence.”


General

Alton Jones Plays Pigskin to Win Bassmaster Classic

The Bassmaster Classic is often called the Super Bowl of Bass Fishing, so why not break out the Pigskin?  That’s what Alton Jones did, and his throws of BOOYAH’s new Pigskin Jig resulted in enough catches to earn Jones the title of Bassmaster Classic champion – along with a check for $500,000.

 

Jones used a ¾ oz Pigskin Jig and a ½ oz AJ’s Go2 Jig, both of which will be available from BOOYAH this spring, as his primary weapons to bring 49 lbs, 7 oz the scales in Greenville, South Carolina’s Bi-Lo Center Feb. 22-24.

 

Jones also spent a little time jigging a ¾-oz Cotton Cordell CC Spoon, the same bait he used to find most of his key spots during the tournament’s official practice period. The CC Spoon produced an almost immediate limit on Day 1 to get things started, but the bulk of the fish Jones weighed came off the Pigskin Jig and AJ’s Go2 Jig, both coupled with a Black Blue Flake 3 ½-inch YUM Chunk and fished at a painfully slow pace.

The Pigskin Jig utilizes BOOYAH’s existing Football Jighead, but is built with a hand-tied skirt that combines round rubber and silicone strands.  AJ’s Go2 Jig has a similar skirt but is tied on the head used for BOOYAH’s popular Boo Jig. Jones used a few different colors during the tournament, but his top producer was Ozark Craw, which utilizes brown and purple strands.

 

“The fish I was catching were right on the bottom, and an extremely slow presentation was critical to getting bit,” Jones said. “The skirts of the new jigs, combined with the profile and claw movement of the YUM Chunk, created a perfect imitation of a slow-moving crawfish.”

 

Jones fished both jigs on 14-pound-test Silver Thread Fluorocarbon, and he said the line was critical. “Any heavier, I wasn’t getting bit.  Any lighter, I couldn’t get the fish out of the trees.”   Jones is a five-time BASS winner, with more than $1.58 million in career BASS earnings.

 


Anglers, Hunters provide huge financial boost to local economies

Springfield, Missouri --According to a report by the Congressional Sportsman’s Foundation if the $76 billion sportsmen spend nationally on  hunting and fishing were the gross domestic product of a country, sportsmen as a nation would rank 57 out of 181 countries. Clearly, the  economic impact of sportsmen is a force to be reckoned with.

 

In fact, in many states, sportsmen spend more money, support more jobs and pay more taxes than most industries and attractions in the state.   For example, Florida sportsmen support more jobs than Disney World, and the annual spending by Florida anglers is three times greater than  the cash receipts from the state’s orange crop.  That spending results in some 85,000 jobs, $2.5 billion paid in salaries and wages, $608 million  in Federal taxes, and $484 million in state and local taxes.

 

In Texas, sportsmen support twice the jobs as Dell Computer

Corporation, Lockheed Martin, Electronic Data Systems, and Dow Chemical  Company combined (106,000 jobs vs 49,000).  Annual spending by Texas sportsmen is greater than the combined cash receipts from the state’s  cotton, greenhouse/nursery, broilers, dairy and corn production, ($6.6 billion vs. $6.1 billion).

 

These are big numbers.  And there’s a way to help build on this already huge economic impact – and help children – by supporting the  Anglers’ Legacy program. Anglers’ Legacy, which is a program created by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Alliance, asks anglers to  share their knowledge and expertise by taking a novice fishing in the next year. Every new person who takes up fishing funnels an average of  $268 into their community each year.

 

Statistics are from the Congressional Sportsman’s Foundation report “Hunting and Fishing: Bright Stars of the American Economy ~ A force  as big as all outdoors.” It can be accessed online at www.sportsmenslink.org .


Families Afield Progress Continues

Recent and Pending Legislation

The success of the Families Afield initiative continues.  Three states have enacted new laws to remove barriers to new hunters.

 

Virginia Governor Tim Kaine on Feb. 22 signed House Bill 1175 into law. The bill creates a two year apprentice hunting license to allow  newcomers to take to the field with a licensed adult hunter prior to the completion of hunter education. 

 

In Indiana, House Bill 1046 has passed both Chambers of the legislature and awaits the signature of Governor Mitch Daniels.  The bill creates  an apprentice hunting license allowing resident or nonresident newcomers, who are accompanied by a licensed adult hunter, to hunt for 3  years prior to the completion of a hunter education course.

 

South Dakota House Bill 1263 passed the Senate on Feb. 26 by a vote of 24 – 11 and will now head to the governor for his approval.  The  measure allows those aged 10 through 15 to hunt without a license if they are accompanied by a licensed 

hunting mentor.  The mentor must be  unarmed and any game taken by the youth counts against the mentor’s tag. 

 

In Maryland, House Bill 655 flew in the face of the national trend of removing barriers to hunting.  The measure would have instituted a  minimum hunting licensing age of 13.  It was scheduled for a hearing this week.  Due to pressure from sportsmen, the hearing has been  canceled and the sponsor has withdrawn the bill from further consideration, leading USSA to believe that the measure never had much support  in the first place.

 

The efforts in Virginia, Indiana, and South Dakota are part of the national Families Afield campaign, established by the USSA, National  Shooting Sports Foundation, and National Wild Turkey Federation to urge states to review and eliminate unnecessary hunting age  restrictions.  Together, with the support of the National Rifle Association and state and local sportsmen’s organization, the partnership has  worked to ensure support for these measures. With the addition of Virginia, a total of 22 states have now enacted Families Afield style bills  since the program was launched in 2004. 


Daylight Saving Time March 9

In 2007, the start and end dates for daylight saving time (DST) in much of the US and Canada was changed, extending the overall duration. DST now begins on the second Sunday of

March (in 2008, March 9), several weeks earlier than in years prior to 2007. DST will end later than usual, on the first Sunday of November (in 2008, November 2).


Illinois

Earth Day in the Parks

Event for Illinois school children taking place in April

Earth Day in the Parks is an event to promote stewardship of our natural resources by Illinois school children. Last year, in the pilot phase of the project, 10 state parks participated and held events for 650 students.

 

This year, on April 17, 2008, students and their teachers from throughout Illinois will come to 26 participating Illinois state parks to take part in natural resources stewardship activities such as: planting native trees and wildflowers; building and installing nesting/roosting boxes; removing invasive exotic species; and constructing woodland ponds for salamanders.

 

Students will be helping the environment and wildlife, participating in outdoor activities to increase their fitness, and learning that their actions can make a difference in the world. Some of the student goals for Earth Day in the Parks include: learning the importance of habitat to wildlife; becoming shareholders in a natural resources stewardship activity; 

encouraging students, their teachers and parents to return to the park for further study of their work and its affect on wildlife; participating in a service learning activity; benefiting wildlife directly and the general public indirectly; assimilating techniques and skills that can be applied in other ways; and reducing fear of being outdoors.

 

Earth Day in the Parks is sponsored by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources in cooperation with the Illinois Conservation Foundation. The IDNR will allow the use of some park land for implementation of the projects, provide necessary materials and equipment, prepare the site as needed, and maintain the project as necessary.

 

Teachers can apply for participation now. The selection for each park will be determined by a random drawing on March 3, 2008. Applications must be mailed to the IDNR Division of Education and be received by February 29, 2008. More info, and the application: www.dnr.state.il.us/lands/education/CLASSRM/EDITPinstruct.htm


Indiana

Scholastic state archery tourney in Kokomo, March 7

Indiana’s second annual National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) state tournament is March 7, at Johanning Civic Center in Kokomo.

 

More than 180 students representing eight schools participated in the inaugural tournament last year. This year’s tournament has 23 schools  represented and nearly 500 students participating in this unique program.  Doors open at 7 a.m. Flight times are 8 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.,  with a shoot-off to follow the third flight. An award ceremony is scheduled at the end of the competition. Admission is free.

 

The tournament would not be possible without the generosity of many groups, organizations and businesses. The Indiana Field Archery  Association will be providing its expertise in running the tournament along with many volunteers and Indiana DNR conservation officers. The Indiana Hunter Education Association is the underwriting sponsor for the tournament.

Supported as a joint venture between school corporations throughout Indiana and the DNR, NASP provides international target archery  training in Indiana’s physical educational classes, grades 4-12. NASP supports student education and introduces many life skills through  the  lifelong sport of archery.

 

“It is our hope that this will lead to many new indoor and outdoor activities,” Indiana NASP coordinator Tim Beck said.  Tournament  competition is open only to schools that have received the archery training provided by the DNR Law Enforcement Division.  The program is  supported and often funded through local school corporations, the Indiana Hunter Education Association, individual donations, conservation  organizations and corporate sponsors such as the National Wild Turkey Federation.

 

For additional information contact: Tim Beck, Indiana Hunter Education, Indiana NASP Coordinator, (812) 482-3093.


Michigan

State Designates Potential High-Risk Area in Shiawassee County

Hunter-harvested deer is confirmed positive for bovine TB

LANSING - The Michigan Department of Natural Resources last week announced a deer harvested in late December in Shiawassee County that was suspect for bovine Tuberculosis (TB) has tested positive for the disease. Further testing is needed to determine the exact strain of TB.

On March 3, 2008, the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) will designate any cattle, bison, and cervid farms within a 10-mile radius round where the deer was taken to be in a “Potential High-Risk Area.”  The Shiawassee Potential High Risk Area is over 100 miles south of the northern Lower Michigan bovine TB zone. “Further strain typing of the isolated bacteria to determine the strain of bovine TB will take a few more weeks,” said DNR Wildlife Veterinarian Steve Schmitt.


Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery Announces Spring Programs

A variety of spring programs are slated to begin in March at Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery in Mattawan,  covering steelhead fishing,  gardening and butterflies.  Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery is located at 34270 County Rd 652 in Mattawan. All programs are free.

 

On Saturday, March 8, anglers of all ages are welcome to join DNR Fisheries Biologist and avid steelhead angler  Matt Hughes to learn the basics of steelhead fishing. The program begins at 10 a.m. at the hatchery and will cover basic steelhead fishing  techniques, proper equipment and good fishing spots in southwest Michigan. The program is approximately 90 minutes.

 

On Saturday, March 29, a two-part workshop called Who’s That Growing in Your Backyard will cover many aspects of gardening and  landscaping, including how to landscape for

wildlife; how to add color to your yard; growing your own fruits, vegetables and berries; and  identifying both native and non-native plants in your yard. The first part of the workshop, Trees and Shrubs with Mary Ann Menck of Mary  Ann’s Michigan Trees and Shrubs, will start at 10 a.m. The second part, Flowers and Herbs with Victoria Larke of Glorious Gardens, will start at  12 p.m. Each session lasts approximately 90 minutes, and is open to all ages.

 

On Saturday, April 5, Ilse Gebhard of the Audubon Society of Kalamazoo, will help participants learn about the life cycle of the monarch  butterfly and other wildlife in the area at her program called Monarchs, Milkweeds and More, which begins at 10 a.m. The program will cover  information about monarch butterflies, including their annual migration from Mexico. The program is one hour in length and all ages are  welcome.

 

For more information on any of these programs, call DNR Interpreter Shana McMillan at 269-668-2876.


Fisheries Visitor Center Announces Spring Nature Programs

The Michigan Fisheries Visitor Center, located in Oden near Petoskey, has announced its spring nature programs schedule. All programs are  free of charge.  The Michigan Fisheries Visitor Center is located on US-31 in Oden, approximately five miles east of Petoskey.

 

On Saturday, March 8, join the center’s staff for a program called Lichen of the North Woods. This program will be an in-depth look at the tiny  world of lichen, and it will start at noon at the visitor center.

 

On Saturday, March 15, join DNR staff for a nature hike called What’s in the Woods starting at the visitor center at 12 p.m. On Saturday,  March 29, the staff will present Birding 101, which includes a walk on the center’s nature trails and tips on how to identify birds. The program  starts at 2 p.m. at the visitor center.

 

On Tuesday, April 22, the visitor center will celebrate

Michigan’s No Child Left Inside Day. The program will include Earth Day activities for  local schools. For more information, call Maureen Jacobs at the visitor center at 231-348-0998. On Saturday, April 26, the center will celebrate  both Michigan’s trout season opener and Earth Day. The center and museum will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and an entire day of nature  programs is being planned.

 

On Saturday, May 3, the center will host the third annual Youth Fishing Clinic with the Miller Van Winkle  Chapter of Trout Unlimited from 10  a.m. to 3 p.m. Pre-registration is required and can be completed by

calling the visitor center at 231-348-0998.

 

Starting on Saturday, May 24, the Oden State Fish Hatchery will be open for a regular schedule of tours.  Hatchery tours will be offered at 11  a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.  For more info, contact DNR Interpreter Maureen Jacobs at 231-348-0998.

 

 


Courchaine Named Acting U.P. DNR Field Deputy

Thomas Courchaine, a 27-year veteran DNR employee, has been named acting field deputy for the Upper Peninsula.  Courchaine replaces James Ekdahl, who retired in January following 33 years of service to the department. As Upper

Peninsula field deputy, Courchaine will serve as DNR Director Rebecca Humphries’ chief representative in the region and will have administrative responsibility for all department operations in the U.P.  He will be stationed at the Marquette Operations Service Center.


Minnesota

Minnesota 2007 fishing licenses valid through April 30

A legislative change effective Aug. 1, 2007 extended the expiration date of 2007 fishing licenses for resident and nonresident anglers through April 30, 2008, according to the Minnesota DNR. Any stamps or tags to harvest particular species also are valid through April 30, 2008.

 

Licenses, stamps and tags for 2008, which will be effective from March 1 through April 30, 2009, went on sale Feb. 18. 

Fishing licenses are required for resident anglers age 16 and older and all nonresidents. Nonresidents younger than 16 may fish without a license if a parent or guardian who is licensed accompanies them.  Licenses can be purchased in person at one of 1,750 statewide Electronic License System agents, online at mndnr.gov or by phone at 1-888-MNLICEN (665-4236). There is a $3.50 convenience fee for phone or online purchases.


Ice fishing shelter removal dates approaching

DNR reminds anglers to pick up litter

Dark houses, fish houses and shelters must be off the ice of inland waters no later than midnight on Friday, Feb. 29, in the southern two-thirds  of the state and midnight on Saturday, March 15, in the northern third, according to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

       

The Feb. 29 removal deadline applies to waters south of a line starting at the Minnesota-North Dakota border near Moorhead along  U.S. Highway 10, then east along Highway 34 to Minnesota Highway 200, east along Highway 200 to U.S. Highway 2, and east along Highway  2 to the Minnesota-Wisconsin border near Duluth. The March 15 deadline applies to waters north of that line.

 

For border waters, the remaining ice shelter removal deadlines are:

• Minnesota - Wisconsin, midnight, March 1

• Minnesota - North Dakota and South Dakota, midnight, March 5

• Minnesota - Canada, midnight, March 31.

The DNR also reminds anglers to keep waterways clean by picking up litter around their shelters. Litter on lakes tarnishes nature's beauty,  destroys wildlife habitats and ruins many opportunities for recreation. Litter is a misdemeanor with a fine of up to $1,000.

 

If houses or shelters are not removed, owners will be

prosecuted and the structure may be confiscated and removed or destroyed by a  conservation officer. Contents of the structure may be seized and held for 60 days; if not claimed by the owner within that time, the items  become property of the state of Minnesota.

 

After the date when ice or fish houses or shelters must be removed, portable shelters may be placed on the ice and used from one hour before  sunrise to midnight, but only if there is an open fishing season on the lake. Storing or leaving fish houses or dark houses on a public access is  prohibited.

 

Anglers are encouraged to monitor ice conditions on lakes and make arrangements to remove their houses before travel on the ice is  dangerous. The DNR recommends a minimum

of 4 inches of good solid ice for ice fishing; at least 5 inches for snowmobiles or ATVs; 8 to 12 inches for a car or small pickup; and 12-15 inches for a medium truck.

 

Ice conditions can vary greatly, so anglers should know about the different types and characteristics of ice. Slush shows weakening of ice and should be considered a danger sign. If ice at the shoreline is cracked or soft, people  should stay off. People should not go on the ice during thaws, and should avoid honeycombed ice and dark ice. Ice is generally weaker where there is moving water, such as near inlets and outlets, bridge abutments, islands and objects that protrude  through the ice.


DNR offers handgun-hunting seminar

Grand Rapids Shooting Sports Center

A seminar that takes an in-depth look at hunting big game with a handgun will be offered by the Minnesota DNR Shooting Sports Education Center in Grand Rapids from 5 to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 19.  Scott Talbot, Trophy Game Records of the World’s Handgun Hunter of the Year for 2006-2007, will discuss his first-hand field experiences and  explain what he believes are successful and unsuccessful approaches.

 

Handguns will be on display so participants can match the proper firearm to game they plan to hunt and learn about the

advantages and  disadvantages of each. Holsters also will be

displayed and discussed.  A DNR conservation officer will explain hunting regulations regarding  handguns and be available to answer questions. The range also will be open so participants can test several handguns to determine what  model and caliber best fits their needs.

 

The event is free but pre-registration is required. Seating is limited to 30 individuals. Register by calling the DNR Shooting Sports Education  Center, 483 Peterson Rd in Grand Rapids at (218) 327-0583 or e-mailing kraig.kiger@dnr.state.mn.us


 

New York

NY Proposes new fishing regs for 2008

Public Encouraged to Review and Comment thru April 8

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Pete Grannis today announced proposed changes to freshwater fishing regulations to enhance fishing opportunities and protect fisheries resources statewide. DEC will be accepting public comments on the proposals until April 4, 2008.

 

New York provides some of the best fishing in the nation, and every two years DEC modifies existing sportfishing regulations and proposes new regulations to help ensure that this remains the case, Commissioner Grannis said. “I encourage interested anglers to review these proposed changes and provide us with their comments.”

 

The proposed regulations are the result of a careful assessment of the status of existing fish populations and the desires of anglers

utilizing these resources.  This formal review follows discussions held with angling interest groups over the past year. Prior to the

announcement of today's proposed regulations, DEC made the regulatory options the agency was considering available on the DEC website and took comments.  The feedback received was integral to developing the regulation changes that are now being formally proposed.

 

To request copies of the regulation proposals contact: Shaun Keeler at (518) 402-8920, or by e-mail to skeeler@gw.dec.state.ny.us.  The

proposals will also be posted on DEC’s website at www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/34113.html.

 

Comments may be submitted by e-mail to fishregs@gw.dec.state.ny.us  or mailed to Shaun Keeler, New York DEC, Bureau of Fisheries, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4753.  Regulations, reflecting public comments, will go into effect October 1, 2008.

 

The following are highlights of the proposed changes:

►Prohibit the act of chumming with fish eggs to protect against fish being harvested specifically for purposes of taking eggs, and using

them as a method to aggregate and concentrate fish to assist in their fishing success,

►Provide clarity on what constitutes a tip-up by defining it as any device used for fishing through the ice that has a signaling device  attached, except a bobber or other floating object on the water, that will visually or audibly signal a strike. The draft regulations also clarify tip-up restrictions.

►Prohibit the sale of trout eggs to prevent the harvest of trout for the purposes of selling eggs for the use in tributary fisheries by

anglers.

►Establish a specific list of bait fish to help clarify and define what bait fish species are acceptable for use,

►Remove American eel from the list of fish that can be spearfished to reduce fishing related mortality for American eel,

►Clarify that whitefish in the Statewide Angling Regulations does not include round whitefish - an endangered species in New York - to reduce the likelihood of illegal harvest of round whitefish.

►Restrict the use of weight on the line, leader, swivels or artificial flies used in the Salmon River Fly Fishing only area to reduce snagging of Salmonids and provide consistency to the Great Lakes regulations.

►Refine the allowable fishing tackle that may be used in the special regulations fly fishing catch-and-release areas on the Salmon River in Oswego County to offer an unimpeded traditional fly fishing experience.

►Extend the winter catch-and-release only black bass season in Suffolk and Nassau counties to provide additional

angling opportunities,

►Establish a special regulation for kokanee salmon in Glass Lake in Rensselaer County with a minimum creel limit of three fish and

12-inch minimum size limit to reduce harvest and protect the kokanee salmon population,

►Establish a three fish creel limit with a minimum size limit of 12 inches for trout in Beardsley Lake in Montgomery and Herkimer counties, Kyser Lake in Fulton and Herkimer counties, and Stillwater Reservoir in Herkimer County, to enable the harvest of larger size trout in waters capable of growing large fish while providing sufficient protection for these quality fisheries.

►Reduce the creel limit on walleye and sauger in Lake Champlain to three fish in combination to provide better protection of walleye and sauger stocks and provide consistency with Vermont regulations,

►Provide clarity to the description of the Boquet River portion of the Additional Lake Champlain Tributary Regulations,

►Prohibit the use of bait fish in waters such as Henderson Lake in the Town of Newcomb in Essex County, and in Giant Mountain Wilderness Area to prevent more non-native fishes from becoming established which impairs the ability to restore native Salmonids.

►Prohibit the use of bait fish in Wheeler and Clear Ponds in the Town of Webb in Herkimer County to protect these reclaimed brook trout waters from non-native fish introductions.

►Add the ponds and streams in the Raquette-Boreal Wilderness Area to the list of waters that restrict the use of bait fish to minimize the potential of introducing competing species to these sensitive brook trout ponds

►Create a three-fish creel limit with a minimum size limit of 12” for trout in the ponds contained with the Massawepie Conservation

Easement Area in St. Lawrence County (Pine, Boottree, Town Line, Deer and Horseshoe ponds) as well as within Tamarack Pond in St. Lawrence County to provide for a trophy brook trout water by protecting excessive harvest and to protect these heritage brook trout brood sources,

►Create a catch-and-release, artificial-lures-only regulation in Wheeler and Clear Ponds in the Town of Webb in Herkimer County to

protect against harvest of fish that are needed for an ongoing heritage brook trout evaluation study.

►Eliminate the special regulation for walleye on Lake Bonaparte in Lewis County and on Trout Lake in Lewis County as the five-year

stocking effort to establish a walleye population has ended.

►Create a special trout regulation consisting of a creel limit of five fish with no more than two fish longer than 12 inches on the

Lansing Kill in Oneida County to protect larger trout and provide an enhanced quality trout fishery.

►Extend the catch-and-release section for trout on West Canada Creek in Herkimer and Oneida counties to increase the number of fish

available to anglers and reduce overcrowding on the creek.

►Extend the current catch-and-release season for trout on the West Branch St. Regis River in St. Lawrence County to all year, thereby

increasing angling opportunities.

►Eliminate the special regulation requiring catch-and-release fishing for trout on the South Branch of the Grasse River in St.

Lawrence County, and replace it with the statewide regulation,

►Eliminate the special regulation requiring catch-and-release fishing for trout on Allen Pond in St. Lawrence County and replace it with a three-fish daily limit and 12-inch minimum size limit, which will allow for the harvest of trout, while still providing sufficient protection to this quality trout fishery.

►Establish a special regulation for Ellicott Creek in Erie County to provide anglers the opportunity to harvest trout within Amherst State Park.


Ohio

Spring trout releases provide fishing opportunities

Releases start March 6 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. The 2008-2009 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, 2009. 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.

 

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.


North Pool launch ramp at Caesar Creek State Park closed for renovations

COLUMBUS, OH - The North Pool Boat Launch Ramp at Caesar Creek State Park in Warren County is closed for the upcoming recreational  season while workers upgrade and expand the popular recreational facility. The launch ramp will close April 1 and remain closed through the  Labor Day weekend, according to the Ohio DNR.

 

Boaters will have continued access to the park's four other launch ramps: Furnas Shores Ramp off State Route 73, Wellman Meadows Ramp off  Oregonia Rd, the ramp located

in the park's main campground, and the Haines Road Ramp, located in the adjoining state wildlife area.

 

Slated improvements include a new launch ramps, courtesy docks, vehicle and trailer parking, sidewalks, curbing and  lighting.  The traffic pattern will also be modified to accommodate access to the new parking.  Caesar Creek State Park's 3,741 land acres surround a 2,830-acre lake. It offers a variety of outdoor recreation, including fishing, hiking,  horseback riding, swimming, boating, hunting and camping, to nearly 2 million visitors annually.


Wisconsin

Annual hunting and fishing licenses go on sale March 10

MADISON – 2008-09 Wisconsin hunting, fishing, trapping and other licenses and harvest permits for fish and wildlife activities in Wisconsin  go on sale Monday, March 10. Annual licenses are valid from April 1, 2008 through March 31, 2009. Hunting and fishing licenses for the  2007-08 license year expire on March 31, 2008.

Hunting and fishing licenses can be purchased: over the Internet through the Online Licensing Center; at DNR service centers during their  regular business hours (check service center link for hours of operation, which vary by service center; service centers are closed Saturdays); at  automated license issuance system sales locations; or by calling toll-free 1-877-WI LICENSE (1-877-945-4236).


The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the GLSFC, its officers or staff. 

Reproduction of any material by paid-up members of the GLSFC is encouraged but appropriate credit must be given. 

Reproduction by others without written permission is prohibited.

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