Week of March 7, 2005

Club News

World

National

Canada

Regional

2nd Amendment issues

Lake Superior

 

Lake Michigan

Illinois

Indiana

Michigan

Minnesota

New York

Wisconsin

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Club News

Hatchery updates for Browns, Chinooks

Lake Huron Fishing Club annual rearing program looking good

Latest reports show the brown trout fry are really starting to grow now that they are on the feed. The crews have been doing a great job. If you would like to join one of the daily Hatchery crews or if you would like a tour of our Hatchery give Al a call at 519-396-9764 or Wayne at 519-396-7980.

 

The Trout hatchery was designed and built by Lake Huron Fishing Club members and is located in the Kincardine area.

The salmon are growing good and now weigh .5 grams. There has been a little more of a die off than was expected which may be due to an uneven hatch. Thanks to the volunteers that showed up sat. Feb 12/05 for the cleanup. The hatching trays and troughs are all cleaned and stored till next fall, and the big rearing tanks are clean and ready for the transfer of the salmon when they reach 1 gram or so.

 

The Lake Huron Fishing Club's Chinook Hatchery is located on Upper Ave. in the town of Port Elgin. It was built in 1985, and construction was completed using only volunteer labor.


World

Don’t wipe out bass, NMMA urges Japan

The National Marine Manufacturers Association has written the Japanese Ministry of Environment, urging it to conduct more scientific evaluation before ordering the eradication of black bass, essentially destroying bass fishing in that country.

 

The Japanese government was spurred to take actions to remove the invasive species by pressure from the commercial fishing industry, which argued that the bass were depleting the stocks of valuable, native fish species.

 

However, NMMA says Japanese sport fishermen have enjoyed catching black bass since they were first imported in 1925,

and that eliminating the species would have a “devastating impact” on the sport and related industries. Japan is the world’s second-largest market for bass fishing gear and equipment, with sales of nearly $600 million per year, according to NMMA.

“The forced extinction of the black bass will have the unintended consequence of destroying a major industry in Japan, as well as an important recreational activity,” Monita Fontaine, NMMA vice president of government relations, wrote in the letter. “NMMA strongly encourages the ministry to reconsider this policy and remove the black bass from the list of species to be exterminated.”


National

Federally managed public lands target of  fee increases

Congress headed for increasing usage fees of RAT Tax

A new fee scheme for recreational use of federally managed public lands has started a firestorm of opposition among Western elected officials. Known as the Recreational Access Tax, or RAT, the measure was buried as a rider in a 3,000-plus page appropriations bill in the waning days of the last congress.

 

Officials, especially in states with significant federal acreage, are outraged that a major change in public land policy was made behind closed doors, without congressional debate.

 

U.S. Representative Ralph Regula (R-OH), who has no federal public lands in his district, originally introduced the RAT, officially known as the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act, as H.R. 3283. It allows the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, USFWS, National Park Service, and Bureau of Reclamation to charge fees for recreational use of vast tracts of federally managed land by the general public. H.R. 3283 passed the House Resources Committee on a voice vote in September, but never passed the floor of the House and was never introduced into the Senate. It became law nevertheless by being attached as a rider on the huge Omnibus Appropriations Bill, which must pass in order to keep all government operations funded.

The RAT supersedes the Recreational Fee Demonstration Program (Fee Demo). Fee Demo was originally a two-year test program but was repeatedly renewed and expanded and ran for eight years. Regula attached Fee Demo to the 1996 Omnibus Appropriations Bill as a rider, so that it, too, never was subjected to hearings or a vote on its own merits.

 

Western state legislatures are asserting that their culture, quality of life, and traditions demand free access to public lands, and goes on to say that they "demand that H.R. 3283 be repealed by the United States Congress." Various state legislatures note that H.R. 3283 was never approved by the U.S. House and was never introduced, never had hearings, and was never approved by the U.S. Senate.

 

Federal public lands account for 28 % of the Montana's geography, Washington it is 27 %, New Mexico 34 %, Colorado 36 %, Arizona 45 %, California 47 %, Wyoming 50 %, Oregon 60 %, Idaho 62 %  and Nevada 93 %. Public sentiment against the legislation is strong in all the states.

 

"A law that criminalizes unfettered access to public lands would never pass muster in the normal congressional vetting process, but it was slipped in as an appropriations bill rider which circumvented the careful work Western congressmen and senators did last year," said Funkhouser.


Congressional leaders outline new approach to Endangered Species

Pombo, Walden, Crapo, and Chafee announce House-Senate partnership

Washington DC - A new approach to improve and update the Endangered Species Act was presented at a news conference last week with House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo (R-California) and Representative Greg Walden (R-Oregon),  along with  Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Lincoln Chafee (R-Rhode Island),  the chairman  of the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Fisheries,  Wildlife, and Water. The members signaled the start of a House-Senate partnership approach to addressing the issue.

 

 "The ESA desperately needs an update and a renewed focus on species recovery," Chairman Pombo said. "Its one-percent recovery result over the past thirty years has failed to live up to the Act's noble intent and our intrinsic values as Americans. These are vital statistics that no individual can support. As such, I am eager to continue the work that is being done between our chambers and optimistic that we can breathe new life into this law for the 21st century."

Since 1973, the Endangered Species Act has worked to protect thousands of species and the habitats upon which they depend,” Chairman Chafee said. “Across the nation, there are new and innovative approaches to advancing species conservation and recovery. We will be taking a hard look at ways to improve the Act in the subcommittee this year by holding hearings that involve a broad group from the environmental and business communities. I look forward to working with Senator Crapo, Chairman Pombo and Representative Walden to craft legislation that enhances recovery of species and the conservation of habitat.”

 

"Americans want the Endangered Species Act to achieve its purpose of recovering species,” said Interior Secretary Gale Norton. “Today’s announcement that these key members of Congress will be working to update and strengthen the ESA is noteworthy and encouraging We are prepared to work with Congress and stakeholders to identify ways to  improve the recovery of endangered species."

 

The members focused on issues like addressing priorities, increasing funding, and more inclusive participation in scientific questions.


Bush selects Steve Johnson to head EPA
WASHINGTON - President Bush turned to a career scientist Friday to head the Environmental Protection Agency and push changes Bush wants in air pollution and clean water programs.

 

Bush nominated Stephen L. Johnson, a biologist and pathologist by training, to become the first person in the agency's 35-year history to rise from within its ranks to the top job of administrator. The nomination must be confirmed by the Senate. Johnson's first task will be to sell air pollution regulations - expected to come out within the next two weeks - aimed at reducing mercury emissions from power plant smokestacks and other pollutants carried by winds across state lines.

 

Johnson will succeed former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt, who last month became head of the Health and Human Services

Department. Johnson would take the reins of an 18,000-employee agency with an $8 billion budget.

 

Johnson, 53, has been with the agency 24 years. He is well-respected among the agency's career employees and on Capitol Hill, where he is viewed as having succeeded recently in mixing professionalism with increasing political astuteness. He led the pesticides office until 2003, when he became EPA's No. 2 official, taking on more public duties.

 

Johnson replaced Leavitt as acting administrator in January. In nominating him Friday to fill the job full-time, Bush called Johnson "a talented scientist and skilled manager with a lifelong commitment to environmental stewardship." "He knows the EPA from the ground up and has a passion for its mission," Bush said. "He will listen to those closest to the land because they know our environmental needs best."


Bill Introduced to Expand Funding for Anglers and Boaters
Last week avid fisherman Congressman Clay Shaw (R-FL), along with the full leadership of the House Sportsmen's Caucus, introduced legislation that will significantly improve funding for fishing and boating in America.

 

Currently, only 13.5 cents of the 18.3 cents per gallon for motorboat fuel is targeted towards the Sport Fish Restoration Act's Aquatic Resources Trust Fund. The funding is used for

state based boating safety, fisheries conservation and boating access programs as well as to support coastal wetlands and marine sanitation device facilities. Representative Shaw's bill, the Sportfishing and Boating Equity Act of 2005 (HR 1063), would direct the additional 4.8 cents per gallon towards fishing and boating adding approximately $110 million a year to the Trust Fund.

 

The Senate version of the bill, S. 422, was introduced by Senator Trent Lott on February 17.


Navy to Sink Retired Carrier USS America

WASHINGTON - The Navy plans to send the retired carrier USS America to the bottom of the Atlantic in explosive tests this spring, an end that is difficult to swallow for some who served on board.

 

The Navy says the effort, which will cost $22 million, will provide valuable data for the next generation of aircraft carriers, which are now in development. No warship this size or larger has ever been sunk, so there is a dearth of hard information on how well a supercarrier can survive battle damage, said Pat Dolan, a spokeswoman for Naval Sea Systems Command.

 

Since its decommissioning in 1996, the America has been

moored with dozens of other inactive warships at a Navy yard in Philadelphia. The Navy's plan is to tow it to sea on April 11 -possibly stopping at Norfolk, Va. - before heading to the deep ocean, 300 miles off the Atlantic coast, for the tests, Dolan said.

 

There, in experiments that will last from four to six weeks, the Navy will batter the America with explosives, both underwater and above the surface, watching from afar and through monitoring devices placed on the vessel.

 

These explosions would presumably simulate attacks by torpedoes, cruise missiles and perhaps a small boat suicide attack like the one that damaged the destroyer USS Cole in Yemen in 2000.


2.4 Million Veterans to Pay New Health Fee
Veterans affairs committees vote to impose enrollment fee of at least $230/yr on 2.4 million veterans

Republican majorities on the House and Senate veterans' affairs committees have voted to impose an enrollment fee of at least $230 a year on 2.4 million veterans -- one of every three now eligible for Veterans Affairs Administration health care.

 

Those targeted are in priority categories 7 and 8, meaning they are neither poor nor suffering from service-connected

disabilities. Half of the 2.4 million used the VA health system last year. The Bush administration proposed the enrollment fee to hold down costs. The VA committees rejected another Bush proposal to raise co-payments on VA-filled prescriptions for these same priority 7 and 8 veterans. The House committee, chaired by Rep. Steve Buyer, R-Ind., voted to set the fee for priority 7 enrollees at $230, matching the enrollment fee of under-65 military retirees using Tricare Prime, the military managed care program. For priority 8 veterans, Buyer proposes a sliding scale fee of $230 to $500, depending upon veteran income.

Armed Forces & Veterans Licensing
The service of our armed forces and past service of our many veterans is being honored and rewarded by legislation in at least sixteen states. Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi,

Nebraska, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, and West Virginia all will be moving forward with legislation that acknowledges military service through programs such as reduced hunting and fishing license fees.

Voter Registration for sportsmen
In an effort to expand the strength of the sportsmen's voice, five states - Arizona, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, and Tennessee - will be reviewing legislation to allow persons to

register to vote when they purchase a hunting, fishing or trapping license. By simplifying the voter registration process, these efforts will make it easier for sportsmen to participate in the political process.

Constitutional Amendments to Protect Hunting, Fishing & Trapping
Building on the success of several states in recent years, sixteen states are considering legislation this year that would amend their constitution to protect hunting, fishing and

trapping. These proposed amendments guarantee the citizens' rights to hunt, fish, and trap in an effort to curtail efforts to undermine our outdoor traditions through anti-sportsman ballot initiatives.

Regional

Carp Fund Barometer

Donation          Ranking

$    1 – 10   Alewife

 

$  11 – 20  Yellow Perch

 

$  21 – 50   Black Bass

     Berg, Jeffrey W.

     Cozzie, Ken

     Fuka, John J.

     Gold Coast Charter Service

     Reider, Robert

 

$  51 – 100   Coho Salmon

     Couston, Tom

     Yahara Fishing Club

$  101 – 200   Walleye

     Chagrin River Salmon Association

 

$  201 – 500   Brown Trout

     Northeast Wis. GL Sport Fishermen

     Detroit Area Steelheaders 

     Klavon, Patrick  

 

$  501 – 1000   Steelhead

 

$  1001 – 5000   Chinook Salmon

 

$  5001 – UP   Lake Trout

 

Current Total= $1,315.00


Miller wants federal study of erosion link to lakes' water loss

Whether St. Clair River erosion has permanently lowered Great Lakes water levels is the question that could be answered by a $2.5-million federal study proposed by U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township, MI.

 

An engineering study commissioned by a homeowners group concluded earlier this year that lakes Michigan and Huron have permanently lost a foot of water since 1970. Ongoing erosion in the riverbed, caused in part by dredging shipping lanes and other manmade changes, has allowed more water

to rush downstream, said W.F. Baird & Associates Coastal Engineers of Toronto. The study cast doubt on the prevailing theory that recent low lakes levels are due solely to long-term fluctuations, which typically run in 30- to 40-year cycles.

 

The study estimated the lakes are losing the equivalent of one Lake St. Clair every year. Miller's plan would add money for the study to the Water Resources Development Act reauthorization, which will be taken up by House committees this spring. The proposed study would be conducted by the Army Corps of Engineers and the IJC.


Dispersal Barrier Update

Barrier II is currently under construction and on target for completion early this spring..  The fiscal 2005 funding bills include the federal $$$ needed to complete Barrier II, and the State of Illinois, along with the other Great Lakes states, have provided the requisite cost-share.  The Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council is also raising private funds to supplement the non-federal contribution.

 

Operation and Maintenance funds of Barrier II (and Barrier I for that matter) have not been identified.  The Great Lakes Fishery Commission is working with Congress to make this a “federal” project.  Once it’s federal,  O & M become the responsibility of the US Army Corps of Engineers.

 

Authorization and funding is still needed to make Barrier I permanent.  This barrier is failing.  (It was temporary and experimental to begin with.)  Again, we are working with Congress to authorize and fund this project.

The committee is thinking beyond the barrier.  Specifically, Mayor Daley, from his AIS conference in 2003, has challenged the Great Lakes community to look at a hydrological separation of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal and the Great Lakes.  The GLFC, the IJC, and the Great Lakes Fishery Trust have agreed to fund a study to take the first look at separation.  The GLFC and others have also asked Congress to authorize a “reconnaissance” study by the Corps to look at this.

 

The specific GLFC request to Congress is attached.   This request asks Congress to authorize Barriers I and II as federal projects (i.e., it authorizes funding and it makes it clear that the Corps is to operate and maintain the barriers).  The appropriation requested ($6.5 million) might be high, though it is in the ballpark.  GLSF staff is working with others to refine that number.  The GLFC request also includes the language for a reconnaissance study.


7 Ft sturgeon found near Niagara Falls

The Niagara River Anglers Association reports a  7 ½ Ft. sturgeon was found floating in the upper Niagara River recently by area resident Tom Colley.  The 235 lb monster was in distress and Colley and friend Vince Scalzo tried valiantly to revive it but to no avail.

The men contacted the folks at New York Department of Environmental Conservation who estimated the prehistoric fish to be more than 100 years old.  DEC personnel shipped to Cornell University for examination. Photo can be seen at www.niagarariveranglers.com  by clicking on the index.

4th Annual Western Great Lakes Research Conference - March 30-31

This conference, to be held at Northern Michigan University, Marquette, MI, provides a forum for resource managers, their cooperators, and other interested parties in the western Great Lakes region to exchange information about natural and cultural resource research and management activities at parks and other protected areas.

 

This conference is sponsored by the National Park Service's

(NPS) Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, NPS Great Lakes Inventory & Monitoring Network, NPS Great Lakes Research and Education Center, Great Lakes-Northern Forest Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit, U of Minnesota, and Northern  Michigan U.

 

For more information contact RaeLynn Jones Loss at 612-624-0734, raelynn@umn.edu  or Jerrilyn Thompson at 612-624-3699, thompson@umn.edu.  Register for the conference at www.cnr.umn.edu/cesu/conferences/wglc


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for March 4, 2005

Current Lake Levels: 

All of the Great Lakes are 7 to 17 inches above last year’s levels.   Lake Superior is at its long-term average, while Lake Michigan-Huron is 10 inches below its long-term average. Lake St. Clair is 3 inches above its long-term average, while Lakes Erie and Ontario are 9 and 8 inches above their long-term averages, respectively.


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 March.  Flows in the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers are anticipated to be below average.  Flows in the Niagara and St. Lawrence Rivers are all expected to be above average in February.

 

Temperature/Precipitation Outlook:  A series of shortwave clipper systems is lined up to enter the Great Lakes region

starting on Friday, maintaining below average temperatures.  These systems are not likely to produce significant amounts of snow until at least midweek.

 

Forecasted Water Levels: 

Lake Superior is forecasted to continue its seasonal decline and decrease 1 inch over the next month.  Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are beginning their seasonal rises and should increase 3-4 inches during the next month.  Note that ice conditions on Lake St. Clair may create rapid fluctuations in the levels over short periods.

 

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.


Corps says Soo Locks ready to go

 SAULT STE. MARIE - Despite two winter repair projects, a Corps of Engineers official this week said the Soo Locks are

ready for business some three weeks before they reopen for the new shipping season. "We're pretty well ready to swing a gate any time," said Area Engineer Stan Jacek.


Canada

Coast Guard investment to benefit Great Lakes

SARNIA --The London Free Press reports a major reinvestment in the Canadian Coast Guard is expected to bring more government jobs to Southwestern Ontario and provide a major boost in the fight against invasive species in the Great Lakes, says Canada's Fisheries and Oceans minister. "With our waters busier than ever, the Coast Guard needs the best equipment available to do its job," Geoff Regan said last week of the $276 million Ottawa intends to spend in the next five years to modernize the Coast Guard fleet.

 

The additional funding will be spent to build two offshore fishery-research vessels and four midshore patrol vessels. Another four vessels will be added to patrol the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. Those patrol vessels will likely be managed from the Coast Guard's Central/Arctic regional headquarters in Sarnia.

 

"I don't know the exact numbers, but I can tell you we're going to have an increased presence in terms of the Canadian Coast Guard and Coast Guard ships in the Sarnia-Windsor area," Regan said. John Cooley, acting regional director

general at Fisheries and Oceans, said the minister's announcement reflects "a shifting in priorities."

 

While more resources are going to the Canadian Coast Guard, other programs under the department will see reductions in staff.  Cooley said job losses will be kept to a minimum by downsizing slowly over the next five years, mostly through attrition. "I'm not aware of any reductions in the Sarnia area," he said.

 

Regan said the investment in the Coast Guard will improve security of the country's coasts and waterways. He called the Canadian Coast Guard one of Canada's most important institutions.  "This funding will ensure that this institution can continue playing an important role in Canadian life for years to come," Regan said.

 

He also announced $85 million over five years to battle invasive alien species such as zebra mussels and the Gobi fish. Chris Wiley, invasive species co-coordinator for the department in Sarnia, said the new money "is a big deal for this office." Research is focusing on foreign ships believed to transport invasive species to the Great Lakes, Wiley said.


Police furious at surprise closing of local RCMP forensics lab

EDMONTON - The RCMP's decision to close its Edmonton forensics lab is "totally unacceptable," says the president of Alberta's Association of Chiefs of Police, who urged the police force to reconsider. The Edmonton Police Service wants to know how the closure might affect the speed with which RCMP scientists can return forensic reports on crime exhibits.

 

In an effort to cut costs, the RCMP said Friday it plans to shut down its Edmonton location by September, cutting the number of forensic labs across the country from six to five. Police services from across the province use the lab and will now have to mail all items for testing to Vancouver, Regina, Ottawa, Winnipeg or Halifax.

 

"We're not sure at this point if it means status quo or things getting worse," said Insp. Brad Ward of the EPS Crimes Against Persons section.  "One thing that concerns us is a lack of direct local access to (forensic) specialists." "You'd think they could have picked something else to cut," said Const. Bob Grant of the Camrose Police Service. "We depend on that service to do our jobs."

 

A letter sent yesterday to RCMP Forensic Lab Services staff from Assistant Commissioner J.L. (Joe) Buckle, obtained by the Sun, confirms the lease on Edmonton's FLS building will be allowed to expire this year.

It's part of the RCMP's effort to cut its own costs to help pay for the long list of new spending announced in Wednesday's federal budget. The closure is expected to cost taxpayers $3.3 million in 2005, but save $1.2 million per year indefinitely.  "The closure of the Edmonton laboratory site presented the most viable financial option," Buckle wrote.

 

RCMP Cpl. Monique Beauchamp said lab staff at Edmonton will be offered transfers to one of the RCMP's five other labs around the country. She said that while forensic samples that would have been sent to Edmonton may take longer during the one-year transition period, the RCMP believes it will be "business as usual by the end of that year."

 

One retired RCMP forensics expert says police officers should expect forensic services to get worse, not better. Dave Hepworth, former deputy director of the Regina lab, said the Edmonton closure is part of a trend in the RCMP towards slashing lab services.

 

Conservative MP Garry Breitkreuz has been pressuring the RCMP over its backlog of DNA tests, which he said grew from 752 to 1,217 over 2004. He said the federal government is starving police forensic services and putting investigations at risk.  "Meanwhile, they've got a billion-dollar-plus gun registry that doesn't work and they haven't cut its funding by one nickel," he said.


2nd Amendment issues

Bills introduced to limit lawsuits against firearms industry

Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act

Sens. Larry Craig (R-ID) and Max Baucus (D-MT), and Representatives Cliff Stearns (R-FL) and Rick Boucher (D-VA) have reintroduced legislation-S. 379 and H.R. 800-to address the reckless lawsuits filed against the firearms industry. A previous version (H.R. 1036) passed the House in 2003, by a vote of 285-140; its Senate companion was defeated in 2004, after being overloaded with anti-gun amendments.

 

These suits are intended to drive gunmakers out of business by holding manufacturers and dealers liable for the criminal acts of third parties who are totally beyond their control. Suing the firearms industry for street crime is like suing Budweiser or General Motors for drunk driving accidents.  S. 379 and H.R. 800 provide carefully tailored protections for legitimate suits:

 

The bills expressly allow suits based on knowing violations of

federal or state law related to gun sales, or on traditional grounds including negligent entrustment (such as sales to a child or an obviously intoxicated person) or breach of contract. The bill also allows product liability cases involving actual injuries caused by an improperly functioning firearm (as opposed to cases of intentional misuse).

 

The Congress has often passed limitations on liability for specific groups, including light aircraft manufacturers, food donors, corporations affected by "Y2K" computer problems, charitable volunteers, health officials, medical implant manufacturers, and makers of anti-terrorism technology.

 

These lawsuits usurp the authority of the Congress and of state legislators, in a desperate attempt to enact restrictions that have been widely rejected. Thirty-three states have enacted statutes blocking this type of litigation.

 


 

Lake Superior

Twelve Eurasian Ruffe Captured from Lake Trout Spawning Habitat
The Red Cliff Tribal Fisheries Dept (RCTFD) and the Ashland Fishery Resources Office continued an ongoing project to capture the nuisance fish, Eurasian Ruffe, from lake trout spawning habitat near the Apostle Islands. This annual monitoring began in 2001 to determine at what level Ruffe may be preying on lake whitefish eggs.

 

In 2003, monitoring was expanded to assess Ruffe predation on lake trout eggs. The RCTFD performs annual gillnet assessments on the local whitefish and lake trout spawning

populations, and has voluntarily included the Ruffe gillnets with their assessment gillnets since this monitoring began. An analysis of the contents from the Ruffe stomachs is pending.

 

In Lake Constance, Central Europe, Ruffe predation on whitefish eggs was identified as the key factor in the decline of that whitefish fishery. This study was initiated to answer the concerns of the Chippewa Ottawa Resource Authority  and the RCTFD on the potential impact of Ruffe to Great Lakes lake whitefish and lake trout recruitment.


 

Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan Stocking Conference – April 9

Status of Chinook Salmon in Lake Michigan

April 9, 2005

8:30 am – 4:30 pm

Lake Michigan College

Benton Harbor, MI

 

        

           

The fisheries management agencies of Lake Michigan and its

partners will present a one day conference on the status of Chinook salmon populations and forage in Lake Michigan. This conference will concentrate on the sport fishery and forage base dynamics since the Chinook salmon stocking reduction was instituted lakewide in 1999. The immediate future of salmon management in the lake will also be discussed.

 

Hosted by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and
Michigan Sea Grant

 

Conference room located at the Napier Avenue Campus, main building,
Blue Lecture Hall.  2755 E. Napier Avenue, Benton Harbor, MI.

 

5$ Pre-registration required through Michigan Sea Grant.
Space is limited.  Lunch will be provided.

 

For more information please contact:

Michigan Sea Grant @ 616-846-8250

Michigan DNR @ 269-685-6851, ext. 103

Or visit http://www.michigan.gov/dnr  and click on “Fishing”

 


Chinook populations to be discussed at Lake-wide conference

Stocking regimes also under review again after previous cuts in 1999

Fisheries managers from the Lake Michigan Management Committee and concerned anglers will meet April 9 to review and discuss the future of Chinook salmon in Lake Michigan.

 

The number of Chinooks stocked annually by the four Lake Michigan States - about  4 million, will again be placed under the microscope at Lake Michigan College in Benton Harbor, MI - coincidentally the site of the '98 conference,  as increased numbers of naturally reproduced Chinooks, and fewer alewives are on the radar screen for the foreseeable future.  Other factors will also be discussed such as: health and status of chinook populations, fish health concerns, prey fish dynamics, weather patterns and invasive species - all wide-ranging variables in big lake management.

 

Right now, says the US Geological Survey, which has responsibility for conducting annual lakewide survey trawls for all five Great Lakes, Lake Michigan's alewife biomass is currently down 50%. The Lake Michigan Management Committee, comprised of the Lake Michigan Lake Committee of  Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin and more recently the inclusion of the Chippewa Ottawa Treaty Mgmt Authority, is struggling with incomplete and unknown data - ultimately challenging intelligent decision making. The Committee will attempt to present some reasonable but apprehensive and shaky proposals for future management procedures – including stocking Chinooks, for the lake.

 

Bill Horns, Wisconsin's Great Lakes fisheries specialist acknowledges there are two main causes for concern, the decline in the size of Chinook salmon and  the pattern of poor year classes of alewives.  The two are obviously directly intertwined since unlike other fish which may feed on other forage,  the direct livelihood of Chinook salmon is based on plentiful alewife populations.

 

The issue presents a paradoxical situation for some managers and elitists; alewives are the driving force that offer a unique and explosive angler opportunity at a world class fishery, but that same forage base also is largely preyed on and preferred by FWS project leader Mark Holey's lake trout plantings, creating reproduction problems because of the thiamine presence in alewives.

 

The original reason Chinook Salmon - or Kings as we affectionately call them, -were stocked in Lake Michigan and other Great Lakes was to manage an out-of -control alewife explosion in the 1960s and '70s that regularly deposited tons of rotting fish on public beaches and shorelines. 

 

So therein lies the problem - further depress alewife populations and kill the cash cow that supports a multi-billion dollar industry of small businesses and jobs, or manage for an alewife population - which drives this dramatic economic benefit of the lake and region, and draw swords with the feds and other elitists.  The answer is all too clear to the angling community.

 

While reducing stocking regimes won't be felt for 2-3 years, at any given time Mother Nature may see fit to regenerate a larger than life alewife year class that will set us all back on our heels as we fight with those runaway locomotives.  It has

 

 

 

happened on more than one occasion in Lake Ontario, much to the consternation and frustration of NY's DEC and Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources personnel - after they had insisted on cutting back salmon stocking regimes.  When they tried  cutting back the second time they walked into a buzz saw and backed off.

 

An important factor to consider is the naturalized reproduction of our Salmonids in these great lakes. The Great Lakes Initiative, Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and Clean Water Acts, all implemented decades ago have aided in doing a masterful job of cleaning up our lakes and streams, giving us fish factories we once never dreamed of . Unfortunately, because of cost constraints nobody's counting the natural fry coming out of our now clean tributaries and adding to the lake's salmon population. 

 

The preferred way to generate reasonable counts of natural reproduction is to mass mark stocked fish as was again recommended by Northwest Marine Technologies not too long ago.  Region-wide the cost is about $7-10 million, a project the Great Lakes Fishery Commission has undertaken based on proven science, methods and results implemented decades ago in the Pacific Northwest. Simply put any fish then caught without a clip or tag would be considered as wild and the numbers could easily mount up, giving our fish managers some realistic figures to digest.

 

Another environmental factor to consider is the introduction of invasive species which have affected changes in food abundance for the Lake Michigan ecosystem.  We already get the feeling the Committee is leaning towards another chinook planting cut, but maybe we can get some preliminary vibes at the upcoming Great Lakes Annual Lake Committee meetings.

 

Managing these lakes are not easy, in fact it's virtually impossible to accomplish  because Mother Nature always bats last, and does what she wants - often to the amazement of us all.  What we can do is ask for sound input from the science community, some hard money for those mass markings, pray for help from Mother Nature, keep our fingers crossed and go along for the ride.

 

Maybe we better insist on our fish managers using our Federal Aid Dollars more judiciously to give us the science needed to better aid Mother Nature with her chores.  Horns claims little if any, natural reproduction of chinook occurs in Wisconsin streams, but how does he know?  He does acknowledge that Michigan rivers annually account for 1.5 to 2.5 million chinook fingerlings. But again, if you're not counting how do you know?

 

The Upper Lakes Annual Committee meetings (Lakes Superior, Michigan & Huron)  will be held in Ypsilanti, MI a community between Ann Arbor and Detroit, on March 21-24 at the Ypsilanti Marriott at Eagle Crest. The Lower Lakes Annual Committee meetings (Lakes Erie & Ontario)  will be held on March 29-31, in Niagara Falls, ON at the Renaissance Fallsview Hotel.

 

For the agenda, announcement and registration form (coming next week), go to:  www.great-lakes.org/stocking-conference05.html

 

For more info on the Annual Lake committees:  www.glfc.org/lakecom/lkmeetings.asp


 

Illinois

State adding bighead and silver carp to injurious species list

Administrative Rule amendment to be effective May 1

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources, division of Aquaculture and Aquatic Nuisance Species has won a big one for protecting the state and region’s resources by adopting a rule has been approved with an effective date of May 1, 2005.

 

The rule reads “Injurious species shall not be possessed, propagated, bought, sold, bartered or offered to be bought, sold, bartered, transported, traded, transferred or loaned to any other person or institution unless a permit is first obtained from the Department of Natural Resources, except persons engaged in interstate transport for lawful commercial purposes who do not buy, sell, barter, trade, transfer, loan or

offer to do so in Illinois may transport injurious species across Illinois without an injurious species permit from the DNR.”

 

Listing of the state’s Injurious Species will include such critters as Snakeheads, walking catfish, zebra mussels, mitten crabs, River Ruffe, Silver carp, Bighead carp, Black carp, round & Tubenose Gobies, Rusty crayfish and Rudd

 

Educational, medical or research institutions, wanting to transport/possess injurious species must make an application to the Department of Natural Resources and explain need for injurious species permit.

 

Violations are punishable by fines up to $5,000.


Indiana

Fairbanks Landing FWA public meeting March 14

Hoosiers can help plan new fish and wildlife area

The Department of Natural Resources will host an open house meeting to discuss proposed management plans for the new Fairbanks Landing Fish and Wildlife Area in southwest Indiana. Hoosiers interested in Fairbanks Landing FWA are invited to discuss management options on March 14 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the old Fairbanks School just west of Fairbanks Ind.

 

"We want to make sure we have strong public support for any improvements before investing resources," said DNR Public Lands Wildlife Biologist Mark Reiter. "The DNR wants anglers, hunters, wildlife watchers, private conservation organizations and local businesses involved in the property's future."

 

Fairbanks Landing FWA opened Nov. 13. The new wildland, west of Fairbanks, Ind., includes six miles of Wabash River frontage and 8,000 acres of wildlife habitat in Vigo and Sullivan Counties.

 

Preliminary plans include a boat ramp, and ground-nesting bird, wood duck and woodland game habitat improvements. DNR biologists will also discuss proposed Fairbanks Landing FWA weekend deer firearm and spring turkey

reserved hunt drawings.

 

Minnehaha Fish and Wildlife Area in nearby Sullivan manages Fairbanks Landing FWA, which is open free-of-charge to outdoor enthusiasts. Fees from the purchase of hunting and fishing licenses and associated sporting equipment fund management.

 

Indiana Michigan Power had operated the Breed Electric Power Generating Plant on the site for 30 years. The plant was closed 10 years ago after a newer plant was built near Rockport. Some acreage was leased for farming, but most of the property was left in a natural state.  While the land will be open to the public, Indiana Michigan Power will continue to own the acreage. DNR signed a five-year, no-cost management agreement for the property.

 

Individuals who need reasonable modifications for effective participation in the Fairbanks Landing FWA meeting should call the DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife ADA Coordinator at (317) 232-4080 (voice and TDD).

 

Fairbanks Landing FWA map and mgmt plan: www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/publications/fairbanks.htm


New DNR top cop

Daniels appoints Carter director of DNR law enforcement

Gov. Mitch Daniels today announced the appointment of Robert Carter, Jr. as chief law enforcement officer for the Department of Natural Resources.  Carter, who has served as the Clay County sheriff since 1999, was recommended for the post by DNR Director Kyle Hupfer.

 

Carter assumes the rank of colonel with the appointment. There are 209 conservation officers with at least one officer assigned to each Indiana County.

 

Carter joined the Clay County sheriff’s department in 1989. He was appointed chief deputy in 1996 and supervised officers and training for the department. He was elected sheriff in 1998 and re-elected in 2002.

 

"I am grateful to Gov. Daniels and DNR Director Hupfer for this professional and personal honor to serve as the state's chief

conservation officer. During my years with the Clay County sheriff's office, I have developed an appreciation for the responsibilities and dedication of our conservation officers. Sheriffs and conservation officers in each county across Indiana have a strong working relationship. There is no doubt that we will strengthen these law enforcement ties," Carter said.

 

"Rob Carter provides the experience and energy that we must demand of our leaders. Rob understands that one of the most important responsibilities of Indiana conservation officers is to teach people that safety must come first when hunting, fishing, camping and simply enjoying the great outdoors. I am confident that Rob will be very successful as the DNR's chief conservation officer," Hupfer said.

 

DNR Law Enforcement Division Information:  www.in.gov/dnr/lawenfor/


Michigan

Number of Michigan Lakes Infested with Zebra Mussels Surpasses 200

Inland lakes infested with zebra mussels in Michigan totaled 204 in 2004, reaching 12 more lakes than the previous year, according to Michigan Sea Grant. The finding is based on reports from lakefront property owners and resource managers who found adult colonies of the striped mollusks clinging to surfaces such as boats, docks, rocks, dams, and water pumps.

 

Precise reporting requires people who find zebra mussels in a lake or stream not already on the list of infected lakes (see Web site below) to note the date and exact location where the mussel was found, store one or more of the mussels in rubbing alcohol, and call Michigan Sea Grant Extension. Reports from citizens become part of the Zebra Mussel 

Infestation Monitoring Program maintained by Michigan Sea Grant at www.miseagrant.umich.edu/ais/lakes.html .

 

Zebra mussels have been associated with a wide range of changes to inland lake ecosystems.  Sea Grant research showed that lakes colonized by zebra mussels have, on average, three times higher levels of Microcystis, a blue-green algae that produces a toxin, microcystins, associated with animal deaths and liver damage in humans.

 

For more info: Mike Klepinger, Michigan Sea Grant Extension Specialist, (517) 353-5508, e-mail klep@msu.edu ;  Orlando Sarnelle, Michigan Sea Grant Researcher, phone (517) 353-4819, e-mail sarnelle@msu.edu ; or Carol Swinehart,  Michigan Sea Grant Communicator, phone (517) 353-9723 e-mail cys@msu.edu .


Proposal May Save Gun Ranges
Michigan State Sen. Gerald Van Woerkom (R-North Shores)

recently introduced a bill that would exempt shooting ranges throughout the state from local noise ordinance restrictions.


Minnesota

Violators face big penalties for illegal trafficking of deer

Possible $250,000 fines and five-year jail  sentences

Michael James Rozell, 44, Mora, and Brian Henry Becker, 34, Madelia, recently plead guilty in federal court in Minneapolis to felony counts of violating the Lacey Act involving the illegal trade of deer in interstate commerce.

 

In early 2001, the Minnesota DNR Special Investigations Unit (SIU) initiated an investigation utilizing both covert and overt phases involving SIU Investigators as well as DNR conservation officers. SIU is a plainclothes unit that investigates, gathers evidence and prosecutes major commercial violators of natural resource laws. The scope of the investigation eventually included the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, who along with DNR investigators, spent countless hours reviewing sales receipts, travel vouchers and bank records involving the case.

 

From 1999 through 2002, Rozell and Becker engaged in the illegal interstate transportation and subsequent sale of more than 30 live whitetail deer to out-of-state shooting preserves. The dollar value of this illicit operation was difficult to determine with accuracy. However, SIU Investigators and USFWS Special Agents documented the transfer of tens of thousands of dollars during this time frame.

 

Rozell and Becker each face a maximum penalty of five years

in federal prison and/or a $250,000 fine, said DNR Chief Conservation Officer Col. Mike Hamm. "Rozell and Becker are arguably two of Minnesota's largest illegal traffickers of live whitetail deer posing a serious threat to the health of the state's wild deer population," Hamm said. "This investigation should serve notice to others contemplating similar acts that severe penalties can be imposed."

 

Of particular concern to state and federal officials is the risk posed by the interstate sale of the whitetail deer without meeting tuberculosis testing requirements by the Minnesota Board of Animal Health.

 

"A Michigan hunter was recently diagnosed with bovine tuberculosis after he cut his hand while field dressing an infected deer," Hamm said. "This appearance of bovine TB in a human is rare, but underscores the human health risk of the disease in free-ranging deer." Bovine tuberculosis is a serious bacterial disease that affects primarily the lungs and sometimes the digestive tract of livestock, deer and other wildlife.

 

Case agents for the state and federal wildlife enforcement agencies continue to receive information. Presently, federal indictments have been handed down to a shooting preserve operator in Oklahoma. The investigation also continues in at least two other states with additional federal prosecution a possibility.


MN Sea Grant Awards $566,650 for Aquatic Research

Minnesota Sea Grant Program recently chose eight research projects involving Lake Superior and the Great Lakes for funding. The award money, which is provided by the National Sea Grant College Program and matched by the University of Minnesota, collectively totals $566,650. The following projects that focus on coastal communities and economies, ecosystems and habitats, fisheries and biotechnology will be funded  for 2005-2007:

 

-Pinpointing Sources of Bacteria that Contribute to Beach Closures

-Understanding the Links Between Lake Superior's Animal

Life, Upwellings, and Temperature

-A Step Towards Defining the Carbon Cycle in Lake Superior

-Developing More Efficient Monitoring Methods for Rocky Coasts

-Investigating the Relationship Between Dissolved Phosphorus and Oxygen Released by Sunlight in Lake Superior

-Defining Potential Effects of Endocrine Disrupters in Wastewater on Female Fish and Fish Populations

-Calculating Biomass and Energy Flow from Plankton to Lake Superior's Top Predators

-A New Approach for Identifying Environmental Estrogens in Great Lakes Estuaries


New York

New York Bill Creates Anti-Hunting Office

A New York bill will create a new taxpayer funded office that will fight for the animal rights movement.

Assembly Bill 4306, introduced by Assemblyman Felix W. Ortiz, D-Brooklyn, will create an Office of Advocacy for Wildlife.  The office will advise and assist almost every entity in the state including the governor, legislature, local governments, and state agencies on issues that pertain to wildlife conservation. 

 

One of the office’s objectives according to the bill will be to “study, develop, encourage, and provide assistance for non-lethal management of wildlife.” This objective is a covert move to introduce anti-hunting ideas into the scientific management of New York’s wildlife.

 

Furthermore, the duties of the Office of Advocacy for Wildlife

created by AB 4306 are already carried out by the state’s Division of Wildlife and Department of Environmental Conservation.  The Division and Department use scientifically based evidence when making wildlife management decisions. They have a stellar record of success in conservation and wildlife management.  Assembly Bill 4306 is merely a vehicle to use tax dollars to advocate the political agenda of the anti-hunting movement.

 

Take Action!  New York sportsmen should contact your assemblymen today and ask them to oppose AB 4306.  Explain that the new office will contradict sound wildlife principles and duplicate services already performed by the Division of Wildlife.  To contact your assemblyman, call (518) 455-2800 or use the Legislative Action Center at www.ussportsmen.org


Wisconsin

Waterfront Revitalization Conference April 13
The Great Lakes Commission in partnership with the Wisconsin DNR’ Remediation and Redevelopment Program and others, announce the Wisconsin Waterfront Revitalization Conference on April 13, 2005 at the Blue Harbor Resorts, in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.

The Registration Deadline is April 1, 2005. To attend the conference or if you wish to exhibit, visit the conference web site for registration: www.glc.org/wiconference Space is limited.

The conference is designed to improve local waterfront community awareness and use of existing state and federal

programs available to assist with waterfront community
revitalization. The conference consists of panel discussions of experts and a show case of exhibits from government, non-profit and commercial organizations involved in revitalization projects.

 

Participants including local government officials, planners, development professionals and community members will learn about tools and financial and technical resources available for waterfront communities to design and execute waterfront revitalization projects.

For more information please contact Victoria Pebbles vpebbles@glc.org  or Becky Lameka blameka@glc.org .


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