Week of April 19 , 2004

National

2nd Amendment issues

Indiana

Michigan

Minnesota

New York

Ohio

Pennsylvania

Wisconsin

       Weekly News Archives

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       New Product  Archives

National

USCG Issues Non-Retaliation Policy

On March 18, the Coast Guard published their new policy guaranteeing small businesses the ability to lodge complaints against the agency without fear of retaliation. Supposedly, charter captains and other mariners can now be assured that complaints about a USCG official or local operation will not affect their businesses. 

 

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) asked each federal agency to adopt a policy that the agency will not retaliate against small businesses that question or complain about the way the agency does business. The non-retaliation policy for the Coast Guard was published on March 17, 2004. It reads:

 

"If you question or lodge a complaint regarding a Coast Guard

policy or action, to us or to anyone else, or if you seek outside help in dealing with a Coast Guard policy or action, the Coast Guard will not retaliate against you in any fashion. The Coast Guard wants you to be able to comment, question, or lodge a complaint about our policies or actions without fear that we will retaliate or try to discourage future questions or complaints.

 

If you think the Coast Guard has broken this promise, we will investigate, take appropriate action, and make sure that mistakes are not repeated. You may comment, ask questions, or file a complaint about Coast Guard policies or actions by contacting your local Coast Guard office, or you can also contact the Small Business Administration Office of the National Ombudsman at 888-REG-FAIR (734-3247), fax: 202-481-5719, email: ombudsman@sba.gov ."


Canadian cows fed fish for better milk Touted as benefit for the brain, eyes, and nerves

WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Some Canadian cows are enjoying a little seafood with their hay and grain so they can produce a new kind of milk being touted for its benefits for the brain, eyes, and nerves.

 

The milk, produced by herring-fed cows in Ontario, provides a fatty acid also common in salmon, trout, and mackerel to diets of people who don't eat enough fish, said Larry Milligan, a researcher at the University of Guelph, which developed the milk.  The milk is sold in Ontario by Neilson Dairy, a subsidiary of George Weston Ltd., Canada's largest food processor and distributor.

At C$5.29 per four liters ($3.98 for 3.5 quarts), it's more than 20 % pricier than regular milk but similar in cost to calcium-enriched milk.  The fatty acid, called docoshexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid that is also found in omega-3 eggs, nuts, and canola oil. Ninety grams (three ounces) of cooked Atlantic salmon contains 1.2 grams of DHA, a week's worth of what the body needs, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

 

Drinking three cups of the fortified homogenized milk provides 0.06 grams of DHA.  Children can get almost 60 % of recommended DHA by drinking two cups of the new milk a day, it said.


U.S. Corps showcases efforts to bring sturgeon back to Missouri River

UNION, Nebraska — Backhoes are breaking into the earth along the Missouri River in an attempt to re-create inviting habitat for the pallid sturgeon. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to create 1,200 acres of new habitat for the fish by July 1. The corps is digging into and removing sets of dikes to comply with the federal Endangered Species Act.

 

USFWS biologists had ordered the corps to regulate the flow of the river to mimic its original seasonal rise and fall. But in December it told the corps that summer water levels could be kept high enough to continue barge shipping — if the habitat was created.

 

Stocks of farm-raised sturgeon will be used to replenish populations throughout the river system in the hopes that they will reproduce naturally, said Mark Drobish, a fishery biologist with the corps. "If they're doing it on their own, I think the service and ... pretty much any biologist would agree that that's recovery of the species," Drobish said.

 

As efforts grew from the 1940s through the 1960s to contain the Missouri River through building dams and channeling its currents, the habitat of the pallid sturgeon shrank.  In 1990, the

fish was placed on the federal endangered species list. The corps, wildlife service, and state agencies will be monitoring the success of the projects.

 

But because the pallid sturgeon matures slowly — females can reach 15 years old before sexual maturity — it may take 40 years before the species recovers.  The corps' plans for the river have drawn fire from conservationists and shipping businesses.

 

New drought conservation measures will limit water releases upstream, this year cutting the shipping season on the lower Missouri by 33 days. And uncertainty of the future of shipping on the river during the 14-year battle between conservationists and other interests has cut into the industry.

 

No barges this year are shipping north Nebraska City, said Kevin Knepper, general manager of the Big Soo Terminal in Sioux City, Iowa. Knepper said he was glad to see habitat reintroduced on the river but said the potential of conservationists filing lawsuits against the corps to stop barge traffic has made shipping companies avoid using the Missouri River.

 

Source: Associated Press 


Airborne Nitrogen Significantly Affect Waterways & Fish

A recently released study led by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) shows that nitrogen entering the atmosphere from various sources has a major effect on the quality of streams throughout New England.

 

Using a new computer model designed to map nitrogen and phosphorus transport and how these natural elements change stream quality, scientists determined that 50% of the nitrogen found in New England streams, or more than 42,000 metric tons per year, comes from the atmosphere.  This nitrogen originates both inside and outside the region.

 

"Nitrogen is an element released into the atmosphere from numerous sources, including fossil fuel combustion, agricultural fertilizers, and animal manure.  Wastewater facilities and various urban and suburban land uses also contribute to the amount of nitrogen in the region's streams," said Richard Moore, USGS Hydrologist and chief investigator

of the study. Although nitrogen is a necessary nutrient for plants and animals, too much nitrogen in water can lead to excessive plant growth in streams, lakes, and coastal waters; fish kills; and rivers that are unsuitable for recreation and other uses.

 

"We were surprised to find that contrary to previous theories, nitrogen, once it enters the water, stays dissolved in the larger streams and rivers in New England all the way to the coast where the river discharges into the ocean," said Moore. "The new computer model we developed now allows us to better identify the major sources of nutrients to New England's rivers, where they come from, and how the quality of the rivers is affected."

 

The USEPA and states in New England will use the new contaminant-tracking tool to determine what level of nitrogen and phosphorus adversely affects the health of streams and to define acceptable levels of these contaminants in rivers and streams.


Indians suing to get back Colorado

DENVER-Their people once lived in Colorado and now they want to come back. Leaders of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes announced last week  they will file a petition with the federal government to recover 27 million acres in eastern Colorado. The tribes say they are willing to settle for less.

 

The Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes are hoping for a settlement so they can build a casino in Colorado, but Colorado leaders may not allow it. The 11,000 remaining members of the Cheyenne and Arapaho nations say Colorado used to be their homeland and now they want to come back.  They say in the late 1800's they were forcibly moved from Colorado and relocated in Oklahoma.

 

Tribal leaders say they have land, water and mineral claims on about 40 percent of eastern Colorado. They are willing to compromise and would permanently give up their claims to

the land in exchange for 500 acres where they could of build a casino. At a press conference in Oklahoma, tribal leaders would not discuss specifics of where they would like to put the casino. They have considered a spot near Denver International Airport.

 

Governor Bill Owens has already said he would not allow it there.  Owens' spokesperson Dan Hopkins said "The governor has said he will not allow it in an area where gaming not already legal.

 

The tribes are also considering a spot in Central City where gambling is already legal, but there is opposition to that plan as well, out of fear an Indian casino on a sovereign reservation won't have to abide by state rules that limit waging and hours of operation.

 


Louisiana Legislators Form Sportsmen's Caucus

Washington, DC: In the second week of the 2004 Regular Legislative Session, a group of Louisiana legislators wasted no time in organizing a bi-partisan, bi-cameral caucus to address sportsmen's issues making Louisiana one of eighteen states that have a sportsmen's caucus in their legislature. Thirty-nine legislators, including Republican and Democratic members of the House and Senate, took part in the organizational meeting.

 

"The formation of the Sportsmen's Caucus signals a commitment among legislative members who care deeply about our rights to hunt and fish that we will stand by sportsmen and women all across Louisiana," stated Senator McPherson. "This bipartisan approach is in the finest tradition

of sportsmen. It's not about being one political party or another. It's about preserving a great Louisiana tradition - our right to hunt and fish."

 

"This is a time of great opportunity for Louisiana's hunters and anglers. We look forward to working with the Louisiana Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus and the sportsmen's community to create a strong voice for outdoor enthusiasts in the state legislature," commented Brad Rowse, Manager of State Caucuses for the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation. The Louisiana Legislative Sportsmen's Caucus will be loosely patterned after the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, which is the largest Caucus in the U.S. Congress, with more than 300 members.


2nd Amendment issues

Calls for Judge to go...or impeach him

In an editorial headlined "Shotgun Justice," The Wall Street Journal exposes the blatant partiality of New York Federal Judge Jack Weinstein, who has bent over backwards assisting those trying to damage the industry while hearing at least 11 cases involving firearms.  It's a must-read editorial that would probably be front page news if the same kind of bias were displayed against any industry other than gun makers.

In a response to the editorial,  Second Amendment Foundation founder Alan Gottlieb called for action by Congress, if necessary,  to remove Weinstein from the bench. "If he will not recuse himself from a volatile case in which it is clear he has a pre-determined bias, then he should be asked to leave the bench in the interest of justice. If he will not do that, there remains but one course: Judge Weinstein must be impeached." 


Gun Companies welcome

The legislature in Oklahoma has passed, unanimously in both houses, an invitation for gun makers to open manufacturing facilities in what The Daily Oklahoman calls "this gun friendly state." An editorial describes the joint resolution from the Senate this way: "The resolution notes that

firearm manufacturers have plants in places that are 'hostile' to gun ownership. Why not move here? Lawmakers have asked the Commerce Department to develop incentives to attract weapons makers. Murray State College, the resolution says, already offers a gunsmith curriculum."


Indiana

Fish preparation workshop - April 29

Get ready for spring fishing by learning how to make the most of your catch.

 

Purdue University educators David Osborne and Dr. Charles Santerre will present a free workshop on cleaning and preparation of fish on April 29 from 6 to 9 p.m. at SEPAC Farm, just west of Butlerville, Ind.

Learn electric knife filleting skills and practice your technique. Discover practical methods and recipes to improve the quality and taste of common Indiana fish species while sampling some delicious fish dishes. Gain a better understanding of what the Indiana fish consumption advisory means to you and your family.

 

For more information or to RSVP, call (812) 689-6511.


State buys 1511 acres of forest in Morgan County

DNR to hold open house April 24

Indianapolis Power & Light Company (IPL) and state officials have finalized paperwork to complete the purchase of 1,511 acres of forest land in Morgan County.  State officials paid $4,534,200 for the property as the final act to a process that began in the Fall of 2002.

 

The land is part of 4,050 acres that IPL originally owned and planned to sell at public auction last December. Successful negotiations between the state and IPL for the 1,511 acres were concluded before the scheduled auction and the remaining 2,539 acres of farmland and forest were purchased by a group of local businessmen.

 

The purchase price money for the land comes from the Indiana Department of Transportation's Crossroads 2000 fund. The forested land will be considered as mitigation for forest land that will be lost to future highway projects. The land purchased by the state is an upland forest located east of

Burkhart Creek and north of Indiana 67. It is bordered on the north and east by privately owned forestland.

 

The state DNR will manage the land as part of Morgan-Monroe State Forest. In the future wildlife watchers, birders, hikers and hunters will all be able to enjoy the new property.  Hunting will begin in the fall of 2004. The forestry open house is one of a series on all the state forests that began Feb. 24 and will continue through June 3. The open houses will include displays about recreation activities, budget issues, staffing, major projects, the Indiana Heritage Trust program, and resource management.

 

The Saturday, April 24 Yellowwood and Morgan-Monroe State Forests open house has been expanded to include some information about the new purchase. The open house will take place between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. (EST). at the Shelter House at Yellowwood State Forest, seven miles west of Nashville (about five miles west of Nashville on St. Rd. 46, then about two miles north on Yellowwood Road). Phone 812-988-7945.


ORV, bike and horse traffic temporarily banned at Interlake recreation area

Hunting season safety concerns drive management practice

The Interlake recreation area near Lynnville managed by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources will be closed to horses, off-road vehicles and bicycles (including mountain bikes and motorized bikes) during turkey season from April 27 to May 9.

           

Emily Kress, director of DNR's Division of Outdoor Recreation, stated the decision was based on the recommendation of conservation officers and property managers in the fish and wildlife and outdoor recreation divisions. This is the second

year the facility will be closed to accommodate hunting.

 

The 3,000-acre property in Warrick and Pike counties is a multiple-use facility that allows for hunting, fishing, off-road vehicle and horse use.  "Because visitation has increased so dramatically the danger of accidents has increased, too," Kress said. "This routine but temporary ban will enhance safety. And that is the most important consideration."

           

Conservation officers will enforce applicable hunting laws and DNR property regulations. To report safety issues and violations, call the local conservation officers at the District 7 law enforcement office 812-789-9538, or call the local county sheriff's office.


Protect new turkeys

The Indiana DNR is asking hunters and landowners in sections of east-central Indiana to protect newly released wild turkeys.

 

During January and February, the DNR trapped 156 wild turkeys at the Crane Naval Center in Martin County. The turkeys were released into natural areas in east-central Indiana in an attempt to establish self-sustaining wild turkey flocks. To ensure the future success of these new wild turkey populations, the DNR is pursuing legal protection for the new turkey flocks for the 2005 through 2007 hunting seasons.

 

"When we transplanted turkeys into these areas, the only avenue for legal protection in 2004 would have been an emergency rule," said DNR  chief wildlife biologist Glenn Lange. "But the DNR feels an emergency rule is not good

public policy at this point, and is asking for public cooperation instead. Education is better than arresting well-meaning hunters with inadequate warning."

 

Indiana's 2004 spring turkey season runs from April 21 to May 9. The most effective protection for these birds this season will be landowners closing their land for turkey hunting in the areas where wild turkey restoration work occurred this winter. Restraint by area hunters should pay off in future big turkey flocks.

 

Previous turkey transplants have established viable flocks over much of the state. This winter's restoration effort brings the total number of wild turkeys restocked in Indiana since 1956 to 2,895 birds at 185 sites.  Wild turkeys were extirpated from Indiana at the turn of the last century.   Annual Indiana spring turkey harvests now exceed 10,000 gobblers.


Michigan

Change of location for MNR Trust Fund Meeting

The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Board announced a change of location for its Apr. 21 meeting, to better accommodate anticipated public turnout for the meeting.  The new meeting location is the Forum Room at the Michigan Library and Historical Center, 702 W. Kalamazoo Street, in Lansing. Public parking is available on the south side of the building. The meeting begins at 9 a.m.

Originally slated for the Holiday Inn Express in Okemos, the meeting location was changed following the addition of the Gaylord-Cheboygan Trail to the agenda. The MNRTF will consider the Michigan Natural  Resources Commission's recent request to allow snowmobile operation on the Mullett Lake portion of the trail.

 


Spring wildfire season is here

State wildfire officials today said the arrival of warmer temperatures also means spring wildfire season has returned. Michigan firefighters have responded to 59 wildfires this year in the Lower Peninsula. Those fires have burned nearly 200 acres.

 

"Early spring is the most dangerous season for wildfires," said Mindy Koch, DNR Forest, Mineral and Fire Management Chief. "We urge everyone to exercise extreme caution with all outdoor fires, and remember to obtain a burn permit before doing any outdoor burning."

 

Burn permits are required for any outdoor burning, and are issued only for burning leaves, brush or stumps. Burning of other materials is prohibited. Calling for a burn permit is the best way to obtain current fire danger information. During periods of high fire danger, permits may be restricted or not issued at all.

 

Improperly extinguished fires are among the leading cause of wildfires. To maximize safety during outdoor burning, remember to:

* Completely extinguish debris fires and/or campfires;

* Never leave a fire unattended;

* Use plenty of water to extinguish your fire and wet everything thoroughly, especially the undersides of unburned pieces;

* Stir the ashes to find any remaining hot spots and extinguish them with more water;

* Do not bury a fire with soil. In most cases, dry soils in most areas will not extinguish the fire; and,

* Have a garden hose or other source of water nearby in case your fire begins to escape. If your fire does escape control, call for help immediately.

 

For more information on where to obtain a burn permit, the latest fire statistics and wildfire safety, visit the DNR website at www.michigan.gov/dnr .

 

State conservation officials also remind Michigan outdoor enthusiasts to avoid transporting firewood. The Emerald Ash Borer, first identified in Michigan in 2002, is a leading threat to Michigan's forests and has killed nearly 6 million ash trees in Southeast Michigan. Firewood infested with this pest and other exotic insects and diseases can contaminate forests throughout the state. For information on the Emerald Ash Borer, visit the state's Emerald Ash Borer website at www.emeraldashborer.info.


Minnesota

DNR plans careful action on cormorants        

Will monitor populations, take limited action this summer    

The Minnesota DNR, in conjunction with other resource management agencies, will take limited steps this summer to reduce local numbers of double-crested cormorants that may be affecting populations of walleye and other game fish.

                

The double-crested cormorant is an unprotected species under Minnesota law - meaning it could be taken with firearms or in several other ways - but it is protected by the federal government under the Migratory Bird Act.

 

Late last year, the USFWS issued a rule that allows state, federal and tribal officials in 24 states, including Minnesota and Wisconsin, to control cormorants to prevent harm to fish species and other public resources. An earlier rule that allowed fish farmers to control birds in Minnesota and twelve southeastern states was expanded to allow federal officials to control birds on winter roosting sites.

              

"The new rule does two things," said Lee Pfannmuller, director of the DNR's Ecological Services Division. "One, it gives the DNR limited authority to manage certain double-crested cormorant problems. And two, it continues the federal government's regulatory management of the bird. The DNR, for example, cannot implement any control action that would kill more than 10% of the Cormorants in a breeding colony without the prior approval of the federal government."    

               

The DNR and other resource management agencies will monitor and investigate cormorant populations in a number of locations this summer, including Knife River Island on Lake Superior, Leech Lake and Lake of the Woods. In addition to its focus in these three areas, the DNR is supporting a statewide survey of nesting cormorant colonies.   

                                

The DNR will likely seek approval for depredation control of the cormorant population on Knife River Island first. Approximately 100 birds nest on the island along the Lake Superior shoreline north of Duluth. The DNR will be working cooperatively with federal officials from the USDA  Wildlife Services office in Grand Rapids on this project.

           

"It's likely that this cormorant colony feeds on young-of-the-year steelhead - rainbow trout - as they come down the Knife

River," said Ron Payer, DNR fish chief. The DNR and Lake Superior Steelhead Association invest $100,000 a year in stocking the young fish to supplement natural reproduction and are concerned that the investment has been jeopardized by the growth of this new colony. "We are going to examine the success of different actions to deter cormorant nesting and more closely examine what the birds are consuming. Because it's a small colony, it is likely that we can effectively reduce the local damage the birds may be causing," Payer said.

 

Initial efforts to control the Knife River Island population could include removing nesting material or harassing nesting birds with loud noises. Some adult birds also may be collected to analyze their stomach contents.

 

The cormorant population on Leech Lake -- approximately 1,100 pairs -- nests on Little Pelican Island, which is owned and managed by the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe. Last year, the Band's natural resources department removed all nesting trees and nesting materials from Little Pelican to reduce cormorant breeding opportunities and protect the nesting common tern colony. "The DNR's first priority will be to support the tribe in these control measures and assess what impacts they might have on cormorants during the 2004 nesting season,"

 

Pfannmuller said. "We are investigating additional opportunities to collaborate with the Band on cormorant issues in the future." Walleye fishing has been slow on Leech Lake in recent years, though there is no data to confirm or refute that cormorant populations are having an impact, Payer said. Poor walleye reproduction since 1997 and a strong hatch of yellow perch in 2002 have affected angler catch rates.

             

"Although cormorants have increased significantly on Leech Lake, we have observed comparable low points in the walleye population in past years when breeding cormorant colonies were not present on the lake," Payer said. Action on Lake of the Woods will be limited to a population survey since the majority of cormorants nest on the Canadian side of the lake. "We'll need some time to collect data to assess the situation," Payer said.

 


Applications taken for Summer conservation work program for high schoolers

Applications are due in the St. Paul office no later than April 26.

Applications are being taken for the Minnesota Conservation Corps (MCC) summer program. Fifty-five corps member positions are open for youth, ages 15 to 18. Youth will be based, for eight weeks, at a residential program site in St. Croix State Park. From this base site they will travel in crews, led by staff members, to various state and federal parklands to camp out and work on valuable conservation projects.

            

The outdoor residential nature of MCC provides a unique opportunity for youth to develop and strengthen leadership skills, a strong work ethic, camping skills and an understanding of and appreciation for our natural environment. Participants can expect to work hard on projects such as trail construction, erosion control, bridge and boardwalk building, and exotic species removal.

          

Corps members will also take part in an experienced-based

curriculum that addresses career development, environmental topics, education planning and leadership and life skill development. On weekends, participants are engaged in outdoor activities such as canoe trips, wilderness hikes, and high adventure challenges.

 

Corps members work 35 hours per week and earn $5.15 per hour. Applicants should enjoy working and living in a rustic outdoor environment. The summer conservation work program begins on June 20 and runs through August 14. The MCC, which hires an equal number of males and females, encourages minority youth to apply. Up to 10 deaf and hard-of-hearing youth, who will work with deaf staff and trained sign language interpreters, will also be hired to work at the program.

            

Applications are due in the St. Paul office no later than April 26. To receive an application contact: e-mail info@conservationcorps.org  or call (651) 772-2985.

 


Sturgeon season opens April 24

New regulations designed to protect the recovering lake sturgeon population will be in effect when the season opens April 24 on the Minnesota-Ontario border, according to the Minnesota DNR.

 

Anglers may harvest one sturgeon per season from 45 to 50", or more than 75" through May 7. Catch-and-release fishing is allowed through May 16. Harvest will also be allowed July 1 through Sept. 30, with catch-and-release fishing Oct. 1 through April 23. Anglers who harvest a sturgeon are required to sign and date their license. To minimize harm to sturgeon that are caught and released, anglers are not allowed to use a gaff while fishing on the Rainy River.

 

Lake sturgeon in the Minnesota-Ontario border waters are recovering from decades of low population levels due to over harvest and habitat degradation such as water pollution and the effects of dams. Records show that natural reproduction of lake sturgeon and number of lake sturgeon have increased over the past 20 years. Despite these improvements, lake sturgeon populations are still recovering and have yet to reach their full potential in these waters. While smaller fish are more abundant, there are relatively few older fish longer than 55 inches.

Known to live up to 150 years and weigh up to 400 lbs, the lake sturgeon is one of the largest freshwater fish in North America. Females are at least 26 years old (57" long) and males are 17 years old before they are able to reproduce. Once mature, males may spawn once every two to three years while females may go from four to nine years between spawning cycles. Archeological records show that lake sturgeon have existed since prehistoric times but are sensitive to harvesting and habitat modification.

 

The DNR's long-range goal for lake sturgeon in the border waters area is to re-establish and maintain self-sustaining stocks of lake sturgeon, provide a recreational fishery and provide opportunities to encounter large, trophy-sized fish.

 

As part of a commitment to gather better information on this unique species, the DNR will monitor this fishery more intensively this spring and sturgeon will also be tagged. As a result, anglers who catch a tagged fish are asked to record the tag number, location and date. Tags should not be removed from any fish that will be released. Tag information may be submitted to DNR Fisheries in Baudette by calling (218) 634-2522 or by e-mailing mike.larson@dnr.state.mn.us .

 


New York

Sale of Small Lead Sinkers to Be Banned In New York

Effective May 7, 2004, Sale of Lead Sinkers ½ Ounce or Less in Size is prohibited

 New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Erin M. Crotty reminded fishing tackle retailers selling lead sinkers in New York State that, effective May 7, 2004, the sale of lead fishing sinkers weighing ½ ounce or less will be prohibited in New York State.  Preventing the sale of small lead sinkers is the claim the state is making that will help protect the Common Loon and other waterfowl from harmful lead contamination that occurs if the sinkers are ingested.

   

The state is alleging the ingestion of small lead fishing sinkers has been linked to the mortality of loons and waterfowl.  Lead sinkers can be mistaken by these waterbirds for the small stones and grit used to help digest food in their gizzards.  They may also be ingested when a loon or other fish eating bird consumes a fish that still has a lead weighted hook or sinker attached to it.  

   

The ban on the sale of lead sinkers ½ ounce or less includes  

all sales, including catalog and internet orders between out-of-state tackle companies and consumers in New York.  The prohibition does not apply to larger lead sinkers, jig heads, weighted flies, weighted line or artificial lures. 

 

Although the use of lead sinkers is not be prohibited, anglers are encouraged to seek out lead sinker alternatives such as bismuth, steel and tin which are now readily available in tackle stores throughout the state.  Lead sinkers from households can be taken to local household hazardous waste collection events or household hazardous waste collection facilities. Also, anglers in the Adirondack Park desiring to exchange lead sinkers for a sample of non-lead sinker alternatives may do so at fishing tackle supply stores participating in the Adirondack Cooperative Loon Program's (ACLP) Lead Sinker Exchange Program.

 

For more information on the lead sinker exchange program or the impact of lead on loons and other waterbirds, contact ACLP at (518) 891-8836 or by e-mail at aclp2@juno.com .  The ACLP can be found at www.adkscience.org/loons

 


Ohio

Bills Stop Unproven Deer Birth Control Methods

Protect Human and Wildlife Health            

(Columbus) – Two companion bills introduced last week in the Ohio legislature will prohibit the use of unproven birth control drugs to manage deer populations.  They are modeled after a draft bill by the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance as part of its nationwide campaign to stop wildlife birth control projects that use drugs not approved for use by the general public.

           

House Bill 462 was introduced Rep. Jimmy Stewart, R-Athens, and the companion Senate Bill was introduced by Sen. Lynn Wachtmann, R-Napoleon.  The Senate bill will be assigned a number next week.  The bills require that drugs used in deer birth control projects be validated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This approval will ensure the health and safety of humans, domestic animals and wildlife.

           

“Wildlife birth control drugs that have been experimentally used in recent years in Ohio are not approved for human consumption,” said Rep. Stewart.  “We don’t permit the use of unproven drugs in beef, pork or poultry.  Considering how many people eat venison, it is unthinkable that we would allow potentially unsafe chemicals into our food supply.”

           

Sen. Wachtmann echoes the concern for human safety and

also the health of the state’s wildlife.  “These bills were designed to protect human health and wildlife populations,” said Sen. Wachtmann.  “There is no scientific evidence that these drugs are safe for deer or other wildlife that may ingest the chemicals, yet they have been used in situations where a hunt or a deer cull would solve the problems without the health concerns.”

 

Despite the lack of evidence to assure the safety of these drugs, animal rights groups promote their use as an alternative to hunting, specifically urban bowhunts.  Public officials are often persuaded by anti-hunters to use the drugs.  The fact is that bowhunting is a safe and effective wildlife management tool near residential areas, including metro parks. 

           

Ohio sportsmen should contact their state legislators and ask them to support HB 462 and the companion Senate Bill.  They should ask their own elected officials to support proven wildlife management techniques and not the hidden agenda of the animal rights movement.  To find your legislators and for contact information, call (800) 282-0253 or use the Legislative Action Center at www.ussportsmen.org .

 


DNR Announces $541,000 In Marine Patrol Grants

To Help Maintain Boating Safety On Ohio Waterways

COLUMBUS, OH - Twenty-eight Ohio law enforcement agencies will share a total of $541,000 in marine patrol grants that will assist them in efforts to enforce laws and maintain boating safety on state waterways, according to the Ohio DNR.

 

"Marine patrol grants represent a valued collaboration between the State of Ohio and its boating partners to ensure

continued safety on the state's many lakes, rivers and streams," said DNR Director Sam Speck.

 

Funding for these grants comes from the Waterways Safety Fund, which is administered by the DNR Division of Watercraft. The fund consists of watercraft registration and titling fees, a percentage of the state gasoline sales tax and funding from the U.S. Coast Guard. A minimum 25 % local match is required of grant recipients.


Wildlife Council Approves 2004-05 Hunting And Trapping Regulations

COLUMBUS, OH - Ohio hunters will have the opportunity to take an additional deer this fall as the 2004-05 hunting and trapping regulations were approved by the Ohio Wildlife Council, according to the Ohio DNR Division of Wildlife.

A three-deer limit, Zone C, will return to this year's regulations, covering 26 southeast and south-central counties. The 34 counties of Zone B will have a two-deer limit. Zone A consists of 28 northwestern and a few northeastern counties, and will have a one-deer limit.

 

The extremely popular youth deer-gun season is scheduled for Saturday, November 20, and Sunday, November 21. Young hunters will be permitted to bag one deer of either sex in any county of Ohio. Any deer taken will be part of the young hunter's total season limit. Each youth hunter must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult while in the field.

 

The regular deer-gun season will begin on Monday, November 29, and run through Sunday, December 5. The

archery season will run from October 2 through January 31, 2005. The statewide muzzleloader season will open on Monday, December 27, and run four days through Thursday, December 30. The special-area muzzleloader hunts will be open October 25 - 30 at Salt Fork, Shawnee and Wildcat Hollow for antlered deer only. Hunters may take only one antlered deer, regardless of zone, hunting method or season.

 

For the 2005 hunting season, an earlier opening day has been approved for spring wild turkey season. Instead of opening the fourth Monday of April, the new opening date will be the Monday closest to April 21. For 2005, the opening date will be April 18.

 

September 1 will again be the kick-off date for the state's fall hunting seasons - with the opening of squirrel, dove, Canada goose, teal, rail, moorhen and snipe hunting.

 

Migratory waterfowl hunting rules and season dates will be set in August within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's 2004-05 framework, which will be supplied later this summer.


Pennsylvania

Yardley Access Open

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) announced that the Yardley Access Area in Bucks County has reopened.  The access area, which provides a public boat launch to the Delaware River, has been temporarily closed for site improvements. 

A PFBC construction crew removed and replaced the existing boat launch ramp at the site. The Yardley Access is located on River Road, Route 32, at the north end of Yardley Borough. This and other area launch sites can be located by visiting the “County Guides” section of the PFBC’s web site at www.fish.state.pa.us .


Game Commission says legislative report merging enforcement not suitable

HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania Game Commission officials said that while a legislative report calls the merging of the law enforcement units of three separate agencies into one "feasible," the same report demonstrates that the concept is not "practical" or "suitable."

 

The Legislative Budget and Finance Committee (LBFC) issued its report on April 14, which called for a feasibility study of transferring the law enforcement functions of both the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission to a new Bureau of Law Enforcement within the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

 

"Conducting a feasibility study is not always easy, as almost anything is 'feasible,' meaning possible," said Vern Ross, Game Commission executive director in his written response to the report.  "This is quite different to being 'practical,' does it make sense to do it; or 'suitable,' does it solve the problem, in this case funding. "The report states it is possible to combine the law enforcement functions of the three agencies, but in our estimation, the report also clearly indicates the proposal is neither practical nor suitable.

 

"We believe the additional cost of $5.8 million is a very conservative estimate and does not take into account other

areas clearly identified by the LBFC, Such as information technology costs, radio costs, relocation costs and other equipment costs. There also will be additional costs for the Game Commission to continue to do the non-law enforcement work currently being accomplished by Wildlife Conservation Officers. Since all WCOs will be transferred, the cost of personnel and equipment to continue that work would affect any possible savings to the Game Commission."

 

Ross noted that the LBFC misinterpreted the fact that officers from each of the three agencies have overlapping authority. 

 

"It is more supplemental than overlapping," Ross said.  "Since each agency has a primary responsibility, the other agencies do not see the enforcement of the other agencies code as their primary responsibility. 

 

"Also, the report states that having three separate groups of conservation officers is inherently inefficient.  However, this is no more inherently inefficient than having a State Police, County Sheriff and municipal police department; each has separate and distinct responsibilities and jurisdictions."

 

In October, the Board of Game Commissioners unanimously approved a statement opposing any merger of the Pennsylvania Game Commission, or portion of the agency, with either the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission or the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.


Wisconsin

Game fish season opens May 1

MADISON - Saturday, May 1, is the opening day of Wisconsin’s 2004 regular inland fishing season, and weather notwithstanding, it should be one of the best yet, the state’s top fisheries official says.

 

“We’ve finally had a normal spring, Wisconsin’s waters are brimming with fish, and anglers are ready to get out on the water after a long, cold winter,” says Mike Staggs, director of fisheries management and habitat protection for the Department of Natural Resources. “Warm, sunny weather would be the icing on the cake.”

 

Wisconsin has a lot of anglers and a lot of fish: nearly a quarter of adults fish, compared to 16 percent nationally, and Wisconsin is second only to Florida as the top destination for non-resident anglers. Non-resident anglers spent a whopping 3.74 million days fishing in Wisconsin, helping generate a total economic impact from sportfishing of $2.3 billion and $90 million in sales, fuel and income tax revenue, according to the American Sportfishing Association.

 

Wisconsin anglers catch 48 million fish and keep about one-third of them, according to a 2000-01 mail survey. Walleye and bass are the most popular targets, but anglers catch more panfish -- bluegill, yellow perch and crappie – followed by walleye and largemouth bass.

 

Anglers from Wisconsin and elsewhere will have plenty to cast 

for opening day, May 1, when the game fish season opens on inland waters for walleye, sauger, and northern pike statewide. The largemouth and smallmouth bass southern zone opens May 1 with a minimum length limit of 14 with a daily bag limit of five fish in total. The largemouth and smallmouth bass northern zone opens for catch and release only from May 1 through June 18; from June 19 to March 6, 2005, there’s a minimum length limit of 14 inches with a daily bag limit of five fish in total. The northern zone is the area north of highways 77, 64 and 29.

 

The musky season opens May 1 in the southern zone and May 29 in the northern zone, with Highway 10 the dividing line.

 

The seasons for rock, yellow and white bass, panfish, bullheads and rough fish, catfish, cisco and whitefish are open all year. Check the 2004-2005 Guide To Wisconsin Hook and Line Fishing Regulations for special regulations listed by county, for regulations on the Great Lakes and boundary waters, and for tributary streams to Green Bay and Lake Michigan.

 

Major rule changes for the 2004 inland season, forecasts for popular fishing spots, and other news about Wisconsin’s fisheries management and habitat protection program can be found online in the 2004 Wisconsin Fishing Report, available on the DNR Web site and at DNR service centers.

 


More than 6,000 attend spring rules hearings

MADISON -- More than 6,000 people attended the 2004 Wisconsin Spring Fish and Wildlife Rules Hearings and Conservation Congress county meetings that were held in each county of the state Monday, April 12. In all, participants had 78 statewide or local rule proposals to consider.

 

The most discussion centered on an advisory question from the state Natural Resources Board to extend the statewide gun deer hunt to 23 days from the current nine days. The season extension proposal was rejected by about a 2 to 1 margin, with a statewide vote of 1,798 in favor and 3,621 opposed to the idea.

 

“While this proposal as it was presented didn’t gain widespread support, the board and our wildlife staff will continue to look at ways to simplify and streamline season structure and reduce herd numbers,” said DNR Secretary Scott Hassett. “The task of reducing deer populations in many units is still before us. In the foreseeable future there will be Zone T and Earn-a-Buck hunts as long as populations remain high in many units.”

 

As in past years questions up for discussion and vote by those attending were in two general categories; statewide and local. Questions identified as statewide wildlife rule changes are addressed first. Wildlife rule changes identified as local are then discussed in the counties identified as impacted or in those counties where a member of the public in attendance brings it up for discussion and comments.

 

The official attendance of 6,017 was up from the approximately 4,800 who attended the hearings last year, but still below the average of about 7,000 over the past 20 years (with the exception of 1999, when more than 30,000 people turned out for the hearings to address a proposed dove hunting season), said Al Phelan, who coordinates the hearings for the state Department of Natural Resources.

 

The hearings are held annually in every county of the state on the second Monday of April. In addition to voting on proposed rules or changes to rules, delegates to the Wisconsin Conservation Congress are elected. The Conservation Congress was established by the Wisconsin Legislature in 1934 as a citizen body to advise the Natural Resources Board (NRB) on fish and wildlife management issues and policy.

Of the statewide wildlife rule changes proposed by the Department of Natural Resources, a proposal to add the Saturday, Sunday and Monday of Labor Day weekend to the early September Canada goose hunting season received strong support with 4,498 in favor and only 531 opposed . Currently these days have been closed even though they fit within the Federal guidelines for hunting this species.

 

A proposal to add seven to 13 days to the fall turkey season also received overwhelming support with 4,918 for the idea and 333 opposed, while a proposal to allow using dogs for the fall turkey season was rejected, with 2,858 opposed to the idea and 2,171 in favor.

 

Under the proposed DNR fisheries rule changes, a proposal to reduce the daily bag limit from 25 to 10 for catfish taken from the Lower Wisconsin River to bring it in line with other general statewide bag limits was approved 2,299 to 581. Two questions on increasing the minimum length limits for muskellunge on a segment of the Menominee River and on the Wisconsin River, including flowages, from the Castle Rock Dam in Adams and Juneau counties upstream through Wood County to the Dubay Dam in Portage County, were also both approved, as were local fisheries questions on establishing nine new fish refuges.

 

The refuges – proposed for specific waters in Dane, Lincoln, Marathon and Waupaca counties – respond to concerns from DNR conservation wardens about areas where wardens have documented past problems with illegal harvests of fish, particularly during spawning seasons. The wardens are concerned that the vacancies in the warden force mean fewer wardens are available in the field to protect fish during these particularly vulnerable times.

 

A Wisconsin Conservation Congress advisory questions seeking public support for allowing sale of gun deer hunting licenses during the open firearm season failed by a narrow margin, while a proposal for a $10 dollar fee for production of put and take pheasants at the state game farm to be stocked on public hunting grounds was approved.

 

All of the results from the questions can be found on the DNR Web site.

 


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