Week of March 9, 2009
|Fishing beyond the Great Lakes|
Fishing beyond the Great Lakes
Washington State officials will close two sections of the
Okanogan River March 15 to steelhead fishing. The closure
will be in effect until further notice. For more info: www.komw.net/artman/publish/article_4853.shtml
A return of more than one million Columbia River Coho salmon - the largest run since 2001 - is expected to brighten fishing prospects this year from the Washington coast to the Upper Columbia River. Salmon forecasts also show strong Coho runs to many of Washington's other coastal rivers this
year, a flood of pink salmon to Puget Sound and improved hatchery fall chinook returns to the Columbia River.
Those and other preseason salmon forecasts developed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and treaty Indian tribes were released March 2 at a public meeting in Olympia.
Wildlife managers from Washington and Oregon will resume efforts this week to remove California sea lions that prey on federally protected salmon and steelhead in the Columbia
River. That effort is intended to protect threatened and endangered fish runs from a growing number of California sea lions feeding on spring chinook and steelhead as the fish attempt to navigate the dam's fish ladders to spawn upriver.
Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced today more than $740.9 million will be distributed to the fish and wildlife agencies of the 50 states, commonwealths, the District of Columbia, and territories to fund fish and wildlife conservation, boater access to public waters, and hunter and aquatic education. These Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program funds come from excise taxes and import duties on sporting firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, sportfishing equipment, electric outboard motors, and fuel taxes attributable to motorboats and small engines.
The Wildlife Restoration apportionment for 2009 totals nearly $336 million, with more than $64.7 million marked for hunter education and firearm and archery range programs. The Sport Fish Restoration apportionment for 2009 totals more than $404 million.
Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act funding is available to states, commonwealths, and territories through a formula based on land area, including inland waters and the number of paid hunting license holders in each state, commonwealth, and territory. State, commonwealth, and territorial fish and wildlife agencies use the money to manage wildlife populations, conduct habitat research, acquire wildlife lands and public access, carry out surveys and inventories, administer hunter education, and construct and maintain shooting ranges.
Sport Fish Restoration is funded by the collection of excise taxes and import duties on sport fishing equipment, motorboat and small engine fuels, and pleasure boats. Sport Fish Restoration funds are apportioned to the states based on a formula that includes the land and water area, inland waters and the Great Lakes and marine coastal areas where applicable, and the number of paid fishing license holders. States, the District of Columbia, commonwealths, and territories use the funds to pay for stocking fish; acquiring and improving sport fish habitat; providing aquatic resource education opportunities; conducting fisheries research; maintaining public access, and the construction at boat ramps, fishing piers, and other facilities for recreational
More than 62 % of Wildlife Restoration funds are used to buy, develop, maintain, and operate wildlife management areas. Since the program began, state, commonwealth, and territorial fish and wildlife agencies have acquired 68 million acres through fee simple, leases, or easements, and operated and maintained more than 390 million acres for hunting since the program began. In addition, agencies certified over 9 million participants in hunter education.
“This source of conservation funding is important not only measured by its dollar amount, but also by legislative safeguards preventing its diversion away from state fish and wildlife agencies,” said Rowan Gould, acting Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “For states working to ensure a future for fish and wildlife – and opportunities for people to enjoy them – precious few programs offer this level of support and reliability.”
Numerous species including the wild turkey, white-tailed deer, pronghorn antelope, American elk, and black bears have increased in population due to improved research and habitat management funded by Wildlife Restoration. In the program's history, fish and wildlife agencies have assisted more than 9.2 million landowners on fish and wildlife management. States, commonwealth, and territorial fish and wildlife agencies have improved more than 35 million acres of habitat and developed more than 44,000 acres of waterfowl impoundments.
Since the inception of the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act, states, commonwealth, and territorial fish and wildlife agencies have acquired 360,000 acres through fee simple, leases, or easements. They have operated and maintained more than 1.5 million acres annually and they stocked over 6.8 billion fish and restored more than 1.7 billion fish throughout the country; renovated or improved 6,400-boat access sites; and had over 11.9 million participants in the aquatic resource education program.
Please visit the Service's Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program web site at http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/ for state, commonwealth, and territory funding allocations.
Notice of Public Availability and Meetings
submit comments: Comments on the draft management plan and draft
environmental assessment may be submitted by one of the following methods:
Instructions: All comments received are a part of the public record and will
be generally posted to
http://www.regulations.gov without change. All Personal Identifying
Information (for example, name,
Public meetings: See SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section for the dates and
locations for the public meetings.
NOAA is now undergoing the first review of the 1999 TBNMS management plan
pursuant to section 304(e) of the NMSA. The draft revised management plan
(2009) was prepared by NOAA and the State of Michigan's Department of
History, Arts and Libraries in cooperation with the Thunder Bay Sanctuary
Advisory Council and with input from the public, local governments, State
and Federal agencies, and other stakeholders. The draft revised plan is
comprised of four action plans (resource protection, education and outreach,
research, and operations). It sets priorities to guide sanctuary programs
and operations and provides the public with a better understanding of the
sanctuary's strategies to protect Thunder Bay's resources.
The draft environmental assessment analyzes the environmental impacts of the
revised management plan pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act.
In doing so, it analyzes two alternatives: the status quo (no change to the
1999 management plan) and the preferred alternative (revising the 1999
Presque Isle District Library
181 East Erie St
Rogers City, MI 49779
March 19, 6:30 PM........Harrisville, MI
106 North 5th St
March 20, 2 PM.............Lansing, MI
Michigan Historical Center
702 W Kalamazoo St
March 24, 6:30 PM.........Alpena, MI.
Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center
500 W Fletcher St
Alpena, MI 49707
Will bring Fishing Education and Fun to Trailblazer Adventure Program
(Columbus) - BASS Youth and the United States Sportsmen’s Alliance, in conjunction with Trailblazer Adventure Program, have formalized a relationship to further outdoor education among youth at Boy Scout of America Camps and other organizations nationwide.
BASS Federation Nation members and local Federation Nation clubs will set up education stations at the camps, including BASS CastingKids elements such as casting techniques, baiting and lure selection, fish identification, game and fish regulations, sportsmanship, boating safety, conservation and outdoor ethics, as part of the Trailblazer Adventure Program.
“We are looking to augment the reach of our Trailblazer Adventure Program and working with BASS is just a natural fit,” said Bud Pidgeon, president and chief executive officer of U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance. “Introducing youth to the fun associated with the outdoors is critical, and this relationship serves as an effective way to reach new audiences.”
The Trailblazer Adventure Program is the largest scale outdoor program of its kind, having brought the thrill of outdoor sports to more than 700,000 youth and families since 2001. In 2008, the Trailblazer Adventure Program hosted 75 events in 34 states and hosted more than 179,000 participants.
Since 1983, BASS has provided programs through the BASS Federation Nation for children to learn about conservation, natural resources, fishing and competition through the Junior Bassmasters, including the introduction of CastingKids in 1991.
“It’s exciting to collaborate and expand on each organization’s capacity to positively impact the well-being of our children and the environment,” said Tom Ricks, vice president and general manager, BASS. “With the generous contribution of their personal time, BASS Federation Nation members will foster this partnership’s immediate nationwide impact, connecting more children to some of our most traditional pastimes.”
Frigid air made a return to the Great Lakes basin this week. Many locations recorded below 0 temperatures on Monday and Tuesday. Temperatures moderated by Thursday in advance of a strong frontal system. This system is poised to bring heavy snow to northern portions of the basin this weekend. Locations across the south may see heavy rainfall. Conditions will dry out for the start of the work week.
Lake Level Conditions
Currently, Lake Superior is 3 inches higher than it was a year ago. Lakes Michigan-Huron and St. Clair are 11 and 3 inches, respectively, above what they were at this time last year. Lake Erie is 2 inches below last year's level, while Lake Ontario is 1 inch above last year's level. Over the next 30 days, Lake Superior is projected to rise 1 inch, while Lake Michigan-Huron is predicted to rise 3 inches.
Lake St. Clair is forecasted to remain steady over the next month. Lake Erie and Lake Ontario are projected to rise 4 and 3 inches, respectively, over the same time period. Over the next several months, Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are predicted to remain at or above their levels of a year ago. Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario, however, are projected to be at or below last year's levels for the next few months. See our Daily Levels web page for more water level information.
Current Outflows/Channel Conditions
In February, the outflows through the St. Mary's and St. Clair
Rivers were lower than average. The outflow from the Niagara and St. Lawrence Rivers were above average. The outflow through the Detroit was close to but still lower than average.
Lakes Superior is below its chart datum elevations and is expected to be below datum over the next several months. Also, water levels on Lake St. Clair can fluctuate greatly due to ice in the connecting channels. Users of the Great Lakes, connecting channels and St. Lawrence River should keep informed of current conditions before undertaking any activities that could be affected by changing water levels. Mariners should utilize navigation charts and refer to current water level readings. Ice information can be found at the National Ice Center's webpage.
MORGAN, Utah - Browning is honored to announce that the X-Bolt bolt-action rifle has been selected as the 2009 NRA Publications Golden Bullseye award winner from American Rifleman for Rifle of the Year.
The X-Bolt was introduced a year ago and has been the subject of significant testing by members of the NRA Publications staff during the past year. Rifles in the running for the award presented notable competition which adds
greatly to the significance of the award.
The Browning X-Bolt's most notable features include the Feather Trigger that is screw adjustable, provides a clean, crisp pull with no take-up or creep and minimal overtravel. Browning's ultra soft Inflex Technology Recoil Pad is standard on every X-Bolt rifle. Other features found on Browning's X-Bolt rifle include a detachable rotary magazine, short 60º bolt lift, unique bolt unlock button and X-Lock Scope Mounting System. For more info: www.browning.com.
Chicago Park District hosting one day Free event
Soldier Field is hosting a unique (annual) event in Chicago that appeals to the outdoor (land and water-sport) community, but specifically to boating and fishing enthusiasts. The goal is to host a large size one-day event in Soldier Field’s South Parking Lot that provides the boating and outdoor community with an arena to buy, sell and showcase new and old boats as well as boating and fishing equipment and accessories in a festive environment on Chicago’s lakefront.
Saturday, May 9th (9-3 PM) in Soldier Field’s South Parking Lot
►Individuals, companies, marinas, etc. will be able to rent display space to create a boat/outdoor accessories “market.” Everything from cruisers, fishing boats, canoes, jet skis, boat accessories as well as new and used fishing tackle will be sold. Prices will depend on variables such as size of area, individual vs. company, activity (sell product vs. sponsor display).
►Display participants will sell or swap items from their
display area; sponsors will have preferred locations.
►There will also be an area designated for items on consignment sold by the event staff if someone doesn’t want a table/booth of their own.
►Event will be free and open to the public
EXHIBIT & MARKET AREAS:
►New Boats & Boating Equipment / Sponsor Area
►New Fishing Equipment / Sponsor Area
►Used Boats & Boating Equipment Area
►Used Fishing Equipment Area
►Sponsor Display Areas
►Interactive Festival Activities for kids & adults - Fishing Contest, Picnic Area, Climbing Wall, etc
►Food, Beverage & Music
►Contests/competitions – Prizes (trips, sailing/boating lessons, equipment)
►Activities – (TBD)
►Adult – Fishing contest, sponsor activation areas, etc
►Kids – Fishing contest, remote control boat regattas, climbing wall, etc
Action fully reopens seven state sites closed last year; restores 12 full time jobs to agency
SPRINGFIELD - In another important step towards returning Illinois back to the people, Governor Pat Quinn on February 26 announced the reopening of seven state parks closed last year by the Blagojevich administration. The move is another sign pointing toward the state's renewed focus on natural resources and recreational opportunities for its citizens especially in tough economic times.
The announcement officially starts the process of reopening Castle Rock State Park and Lowden State Park in Oregon, Illini State Park in Marseilles, Hidden Springs State Forest in Strasburg, Moraine View State Park in Leroy, Weldon Springs State Park in Clinton, and Wolf Creek State Park in Windsor.
IDNR will immediately begin the process of re-staffing the sites as quickly as possible.
IDNR sites – state parks, fish and wildlife areas, conservation areas, habitat areas, and other open spaces have a significant economic impact, especially in the state's more rural areas, bringing in non-local visitors who contribute to local economies by supporting local businesses.
►An estimated 44 million people visit Illinois state parks and other state sites annually
►Those visitors spend an estimated $500 million in local economies each year
►That spending results in an estimated $790 million in overall economic impact supporting nearly 8,500 jobs through out the state
CHICAGO ─ Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Will County State’s Attorney James Glasgow on February 23 announced a lawsuit against Caterpillar, Inc. after a waste treatment tank at its Joliet facility overflowed earlier this month and spilled a reported 65,000 gallons of oily wastewater onto the ground and approximately 6,500 gallons of the spill flowed downhill into the adjacent Des Plaines River.
Officials at Caterpillar discovered the incident at 2200 Channahon Road the morning of February 8, 2009, and notified IEMA. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency
referred the case to Madigan’s office on February 10, 2009. Caterpillar officials believe the spill was caused when amalfunctioning switch allowed an oil-water separator at the facility’s wastewater treatment plant to overflow. State and federal environmental officials have indicated that any damage to fish or wildlife was minimal.
Madigan and Glasgow filed the seven-count complaint against Caterpillar alleging violations that include endangering the environment, public health and welfare, water pollution, violations of water quality and effluent standards and National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit violations.
Indiana DNR Fish and Wildlife Areas drew 4,000 more deer hunters in 2008, archery hunters bagged 8 % more deer on the properties, and squirrel hunters experienced a banner harvest.
"The increase in deer hunter numbers and deer harvest on our fish and wildlife areas is a testament to the outstanding job of our property staff in managing wildlife habitat and sportsmen," said Mitch Marcus, staff specialist for the Division of Fish and Wildlife.
Squirrel hunters took home 5,740 squirrels from Fish and
Wildlife Areas, a 52 % increase over the 2007 season.
"The elevated squirrel hunter success stems from a good mast crop in 2007," DNR small game biologist Budd Veverka said. "The added food helped adults produce and nurture more young, which led to a higher population of squirrels in 2008. Also, Indiana was fortunate to have great hunting weather this past fall, most likely keeping people in the field longer."
The DNR manages 23 Fish and Wildlife Areas totaling more than 126,000 acres. Notable harvest increases at the properties also occurred with wild pheasant (9 % more than 2007), woodcock (up 41 %), and raccoon (up 12 %).
Michigan DNR wants anglers to know that DNR Fisheries Division personnel will be electro-fishing for walleye in the Muskegon River near Newaygo during the next couple of weeks to collect eggs for hatchery use.
Fisheries staffers will likely be on the river for a couple of days in late March and a couple more in early April, explained Southern Lake Michigan Management Unit Supervisor Jay Wesley. Most of the activity will occur upstream of Newaygo, below Croton Dam.
“We realize we will inconvenience some steelhead fishermen, but it is necessary if we’re going to produce walleyes for stocking around the state,” Wesley said. “We hope to achieve
our goals within a few days so we’ll interfere with fishermen as little as possible.”
The Muskegon River is the DNR’s only collection area for Lower Peninsula walleye since the DNR temporarily suspended taking eggs from Tittabawassee River fish following the discovery of Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia in the Michigan waters of Lake Huron. The DNR plans to collect some 13 million walleye eggs this year.
For the most part, the walleyes will be electro-shocked, netted, stripped of their milt and eggs and then released back into the river, though some will be kept to be examined as part of on-going research projects.
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Geological Survey has release of a summary report of ambient water quality characteristics of Michigan’s inland lakes with public access. The “State and Regional Water-Quality Characteristics and Trophic Conditions of Michigan’s Inland Lakes, 2001-2005” report was prepared by the USGS, Michigan Water Science Center, in cooperation with the DEQ.
The report summarizes the results of the first five years of Michigan’s Lake Water Quality Assessment monitoring project conducted by the DEQ and the USGS under a joint funding agreement supported with Clean Michigan Initiative funding. The ten-year LWQA monitoring project, which will be completed in 2011, is a component of the DEQ’s surface water monitoring strategy.
During 2001-2005, 433 lake basins from 364 inland lakes with public access were monitored for baseline water quality conditions and trophic status, an indicator of primary biological productivity. Trophic evaluations based on the data collected for these lakes indicate nearly three-quarters are
either Mesotrophic or Oligotrophic, which are typically perceived as very good to high quality lakes, and 22 % are Eutrophic. Only 4 % of the lakes were classified as hypereutrophic, which is perceived as lower quality by most lake users.
Although the distribution of lakes in Michigan is not uniform, the highest percentage of Oligotrophic lakes are in the Northern Lakes and Forests or North Central Hardwoods Omernik Level III Ecoregions located in northern Michigan.
The report is available online at http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2008/5188/ or contact Lori Fuller: [email protected] or 517-887-8911. The DEQ contact for the LWQA monitoring project, Ralph Bednarz, can be reached at [email protected] 517-335-4211. More info on Michigan’s inland lakes monitoring programs is available at www.michigan.gov/deq. Additional information about other USGS, Michigan Water Science Center, reports, water quality data, and Michigan projects is available on the USGS Web site at http://mi.water.usgs.gov/.
Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers are seeking multiple charges against six Delta County men in connection with an illegal commercial fishing operation on Little Bay De Noc. Charges will be sought in both state and tribal court systems.
During a records review, a DNR conservation officer noted an abnormally high number of walleye were being sold in the wholesale commercial market during the winter months over the past several years. Conservation officers from the DNR's Commercial Fish Enforcement and Special Investigative Units, as well as conservation officers stationed in Delta County, developed further information while operating surveillance on Little Bay De Noc and surrounding areas.
"A pattern was established by officers," said Gary Hagler, chief of the DNR Law Enforcement Division. "Once that pattern was
established, our officers were able to determine that thousands of pounds of walleyes may have been taken from area waters and illegally sold into the commercial fish market through a licensed commercial fisherman."
Hagler said that officers believe more than 20,000 lbs of walleye may have been taken from area waters through the illegal operation just in the last two months. On February 26, DNR conservation officers seized 256 lbs of walleye that were harvested from nets in Little Bay De Noc the previous day. Officers returned to the bay with Sault Tribal police officers and seized 1,200' of illegally set gill net.
"This is a complex case that took some time to develop," Hagler noted. "Also, the public provided critical information by alerting us to illegally set nets on Little Bay De Noc. This type of public involvement is crucial to protecting our natural resources."
Motors greater than 10 horsepower can operate at "no wake" speed
COLUMBUS, OH - In order to allow greater fishing access without altering the quiet recreational nature of Burr Oak Lake in Morgan County, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has modified the lake's horsepower regulation.
With the change, boat motors greater than 10 horsepower are now allowed to operate on the lake, but only at "no wake" speeds. Previously, only motors less than 10 horsepower were permitted on Burr Oak Lake. The use of personal watercraft such as Wet Jets and Jet Skis continue to be prohibited.
"This change to the horsepower limit is part of a pilot program that studies use of this state park lake, located in the southeastern Ohio region," said Dan West, chief of Ohio State Parks. Ohio law classifies "no wake" as the slowest possible speed needed to maintain steerage and maneuverability of a boat. Boats with motors of 10 horsepower or less would continue to operate on the lake, as usual.
The horsepower modification pilot study at Burr Oak Lake will be evaluated during the 2009 and 2010 boating seasons. Burr Oak Lake was selected for the pilot study because of its size - 664 acres - and ability to accommodate boats with larger motors. Ohio State Parks will work with the Division of Watercraft and others to make sure the new regulations are strictly enforced.
Communities across Ohio have until April 1 to apply for a share of approximately $4.6 million in funding available for
recreational boating access facility projects on the state's waterways.
Hunters kill over 250,000 deer for the first time
COLUMBUS, OH - A total of 252,017 deer were killed during Ohio's 2008-09 hunting season, according to the Ohio DNR. This season's total surpasses the 2006-07 record of 237,316. The final number for deer killed in the 2007-08 season was 232,854.
Counties reporting the highest number of deer checked during the season were: Coshocton-9,564; Tuscarawas-8,814; Licking-7,967; Guernsey-7,916; Harrison-7,454; Muskingum-7,245; Knox-7,223; Ashtabula-6,448; Holmes-6,320 and Carroll-5,997.
The deer-gun season resulted in the greatest portion of the overall harvest with 117,468 deer taken. Archery hunters took a total of 85,856 deer. Deer killed during the early muzzleloader season (566), youth-gun season (9,699), the extra deer-gun weekend (16,744), and the statewide muzzleloader season (20,966) added to the overall total.
Ohio ranks sixth nationally in annual hunting-related retail sales and fourth in the number of jobs associated with hunting-related industries. Each year, hunting has a $1.5 billion economic impact in Ohio. Deer hunting accounts for 90 percent of all hunting that occurs in the state.
Hunters were encouraged to kill more does this season and donate extra venison to organizations assisting Ohioans in need. The Division of Wildlife collaborated with Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry to help pay for the processing of donated venison. Hunters who gave their deer to food banks were not required to pay the processing cost as long as the deer were taken to participating processors. Counties being served by this program can be found online at http://fhfh.org/. Anyone interested in forming a chapter in an area not served should contact FHFH.
Ohio's first modern day deer-gun season opened in 1943 in three counties, where hunters killed 168 deer. In 1956, deer hunting was allowed in all 88 counties and hunters killed 3,911 deer during a one-week season.
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