Week of May 9, 2005





2nd Amendment issues








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New Zealand snails found in western streams/rivers

New Zealand mudsnails have found their way into the South Platte River in Eleven Mile Canyon, Division of Wildlife senior fish pathologist Pete Walker confirmed.


The tiny mudsnails, which are native to New Zealand, have invaded streams across the West since their discovery in Idaho’s Snake River in the 1980s. They have populated many Rocky Mountain streams, including the Colorado River at Lee’s Ferry in Utah, and appeared in Colorado in Boulder Creek last fall.


Their presence raises concerns because, although the mudsnails are minuscule — up to 5 millimeters — they are extremely prolific and hurt native species and the long-term health of the aquatic ecosystems. More than 750,000 can live in a square meter.


These snails have no natural predators in the United States.  The snails, harmless to humans, devour algae that is the fundamental food source for organisms including fish,

 birds and tadpoles.  These snails are

capable of  hitchhiking on anglers’ waders and equipment. They can close the openings on their shells and live eight days out of water. By the same action, they can pass unscathed through trout digestive systems.


Females do not need to mate to reproduce. They give birth to fully formed live young and carry up to 60 embryos at a time. In two years, according to the Washington State Council, a single mudsnail can result in a population of 3.7 million.


“It’s an extremely tough little organism, and can cause a lot of damage" Walker said. These snails are highly adaptable and reproduce in such great numbers that they can actually lock up the available nutrients in an ecosystem. Simply put, they can partially cover the streambed and displace the other invertebrates that would normally be feeding on a large variety of aquatic wildlife.”


The mudsnails’ spread into other streams seems inevitable, but the Wildlife Department is asking anglers and boaters to take precautions by inspecting and cleaning waders and equipment before leaving the river.


Canadian Feds take aim at anglers

Anglers beware. The federal government has their sights set on you. Despite fierce opposition from the sportfishing industry, Ottawa is forging ahead with its ban on lead weights and jigs. How far will it go to purge our tackle boxes?


First, it was the hunter, with Bill C-68 causing the average firearm owner not only a significant amount of expense, but a great deal of hassle as well. As a result many hunters gave up their sport and dropped out. Before that, the feds banned the use of lead shot when hunting waterfowl.


Non-toxic steel shot replaced lead, but not only did it double the cost of shotgun shells, it also proved less effective, resulting in more wounded birds. Current non-toxic replacements, those made using bismuth or tungsten are as effective as lead, yet their cost is quadruple that of lead loads. Again, this resulted in a significant percentage of waterfowl hunters giving up the sport.


Now the feds are intent on banning the importation, manufacture and sale of lead sinkers and jigs, plus any lure that contains more than one per cent lead.


Normally loons swallow small pebbles from the bottom of a lake or stream to assist in digesting food, and in the process, sometimes ingest lead sinkers or jigs lost by anglers. When ingested, even a very small lead sinker will poison and kill the loon.


However, unlike Canada, in the U.S. it's the individual states that are taking action to regulate lead fishing hardware. New York, Maine, New Hampshire, and Minnesota plus a number of other states have either

banned lead sinkers and jigs or are considering doing so.


The Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) is opposed to this ban even though at this point it's only in the proposal stage. Mike Reader, OFAH executive director, quotes a USFWS study of more than 37,000 birds, at the conclusion of which: "They concluded that the threat to waterfowl from the ingestion of lead sinkers and jigs was minute."


Reader also pointed out that although thousands of waterfowl, including loons die each year from Botulism Type E, Environment Canada has not taken any action on this devastating problem.


Environment Minister David Anderson's rebuttal is that while they are often unable to reduce mortality due to disease or

 other causes, by implementing this proposed legislation they

can reduce and eventually eliminate deaths caused by anglers' use of lead.


In Canada, the Canadian Wildlife Service published a report on breeding pairs of loons in Eastern Canada, and concluded that over the period 1990-2000, the overall rate of increase averaged 16.6 per cent per year. In its report the CWS also estimated that anglers purchase approximately 500 tons of lead sinkers and jigs each year, presumably to replace 500 tons of sinkers and jigs lost while fishing.


In Canada about 3.6 million adult anglers spends approximately $4.6 billion annually on recreational angling. Counting kids, the total is 5.5 million, about one in five Canadians. To replace lead jigs and sinkers manufacturers would have to resort to tin, stainless steel, nickel, tungsten, bismuth, or ceramics, all of which would cost double or triple those made of lead.


Note that while the use and possession of fishing jigs, sinkers and lures containing more than 1% lead has been banned in all Canadian National Wildlife Areas and Parks since 1997, sinkers or jigs made of materials other than lead are either very few in number or non-existent in most stores that sell fishing gear.


Yet wait, its not just sinkers and jigs. Part of the proposed legislation would result in any fishing lures, including spoons, spinners, etc. that contains more than 1% lead being banned. That would include a wooden plug that is coated with a paint containing as little as 2% lead.


Word is that many, and perhaps most, lures on store shelves or in tackle boxes have a lead content significantly more than 1%.


Yet, this proposed ban would only apply to the import, manufacture and sale of new lures, plus of course, lead jigs and sinkers. Then too, there will likely be a phase-in period. Even after this proposal becomes law anglers will still be able to use whatever is in their tackle box, no matter what its lead content is. This may result in anglers stocking up before the proposed ban comes into effect.


Yet, it's almost a certainty that after this legislation has been in effect for some years, additional legislation will impose a total ban on the use and possession, while fishing, of fishing gear containing lead. Thus stocking up now may not be the best choice.



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Power outage kills 300,000 Lake Trout

Power repairs at U.S. hatchery in Warren go awry

 A seven-hour power outage at the  federal fish hatchery in Warren, PA killed 300,000 lake trout that were ready to stock Lake Erie and Lake Ontario this year.


According to the USFWS, a scheduled power outage for line repair last week was followed by a surge that blew out the hatchery's backup generator.  The lake trout lived in concrete raceways that used pumps to circulate oxygenated water. About one-half of the 600,000 fish died, and stress could lead to more deaths.  The yearlings were tagged and scheduled to stock Lakes Erie and Ontario early next month.

The Warren hatchery was sole supplier for lake trout for Lakes Erie and Ontario, said Charles Krueger, science director for the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, which coordinates management and research in the lakes.  In addition to the hatchery costs of the fish, the loss could have an impact on the recreational fishing industry, though the extent is unclear.


Lake trout are not as popular as fish like Chinook salmon and rainbow trout because they swim in deep water, so they can only be caught from a boat. But they are long-living fish that typically grow up to 20 pounds, so missing a year of them has long-term effects.

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for May 6, 2005

Recent Weather:

An upper level disturbance brought very chilly air and numerous rain showers to the Great Lakes basin early this week. Daytime high temperatures on Monday and Tuesday were close to 20 degrees below normal in many locations. Widespread sub-freezing temperatures were recorded early Wednesday morning.  The disturbance finally pushed east of the basin for Wednesday, allowing plentiful sunshine. Temperatures moderated to near normal by Thursday.


Current Lake Levels:

All of the Great Lakes are 3 to 11 inches above last year’s levels.   Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, and St. Clair are below their long-term averages by 4, 13, and 1 inches, respectively.  Lake Erie and Lake Ontario are both 6 inches above their long-term averages.


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 May.  Flows in the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers are anticipated

to be below average during May, while flows in the Niagara and St. Lawrence Rivers are both expected to be above average in May.


Temperature/Precipitation Outlook:

Mostly sunny skies will lead to seasonable temperatures in the Great Lakes basin this weekend.  There may be a passing shower or thunderstorm on Saturday as a storm system nears the region.


Forecasted Water Levels:

Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron should increase 3-4 inches over the coming month.  Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are expected to be up to an inch higher at this time next month.



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.


2nd Amendment issues

Florida again breaks new ground on self-defense

Governor Bush Signs "Castle Doctrine"

Florida, which nearly twenty years ago served as the model for the nation's "shall issue" Right-to-Carry laws (now in effect in 38 states), has once again broken new ground in the area of self-defense.


On April 26, Governor Jeb Bush (R) signed into law a bill that will allow Floridians to forcefully defend themselves against attackers without first having to try to escape. In a ceremony at the State Capitol, Bush signed SB-436-- Florida's "Castle Doctrine"--into law. The bill unanimously passed the Senate (39-0) and overwhelmingly passed in the House ( 94-20).


Prior to signing this NRA-backed bill, Governor Bush said, "It's a good, common sense, anti-crime issue."


The "Castle Doctrine" simply says that if a criminal breaks into your home, your occupied vehicle, or your place of business, you may presume he or she is there to do bodily harm and you may use necessary force against him or her.


It also removes the "duty to retreat" philosophy if you are attacked in any place you have a right to be, allowing you to

stand your ground and fight back, meeting force with force, if you reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to yourself or others.


This law also provides protection from criminal prosecution and civil suits for those who defend themselves from criminal attack and prohibits criminals and their families from suing victims for injuring or killing their criminal attackers.


Marion P. Hammer, former NRA president and current Executive Director of Unified Sportsmen of Florida, said: "Existing law is on the side of the criminal. The new law is on the side of the law-abiding victim. To suggest that you can't defend yourself against a rapist who's trying to drag you into an alley or against a car jacker who's trying to drag you out of your car is nonsense. The ability to protect yourself, your children, or your spouse is important, no matter where you are."


In conclusion, Hammer said, "I want to thank Governor Bush and the bill sponsors, for supporting this vital measure. This law is about affirming that your home is your castle and, in Florida, you have a right to be absolutely safe inside its walls."

The law will take effect on October 1, 2005.



Tournament fishing will never be the same

Study of new handling method shows survival of tournament-caught fish.

IRVINE, Calif.  - Before future fishing tournaments begin, organizers will know who the winners will be; the fish.


An extensive three-year research partnership between Shimano, Dr. Bruce Tufts and Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada has led to some groundbreaking developments at improving the condition and survival of tournament-caught fish.


The Shimano Water Weigh-In System is a new fish handling method for tournaments of all sizes that keeps fish in the water for the entire weigh-in – even while they are being weighed. So that tournament organizers can use this weigh-in system at their events, Shimano has published and is now making available ‘A Fish Friendly Guide’ – a handbook based on the research effort.


Ray Scott, founder of B.A.S.S. explains, “The Shimano Water Weigh-In System has the potential to truly benefit fish populations every time it is used for handling and releasing tournament caught fish. “ 


Important scientific findings show the weigh-in process is the most critical time for fish caught in a live release tournament. The new Shimano Water Weigh-In System handbook is written for tournament organizers and natural resource agencies everywhere following the successful introduction during the 2003 season at the Canadian Fishing Tour - the premier professional bass fishing tournament series in Canada.


“The Shimano Water Weigh-In System can be used by live release tournaments of any size,” said Phil Morlock, Director, Environmental Affairs for Shimano. “The first-class research by Dr. Tufts and his staff has helped us develop a simple and proven system that can be used across North America. If that means more fish are released in healthier condition, then our time and resources will have been well invested,” Morlock said.

The biggest change for fish is that they remain in water longer than ever.  From the time fish leave an anglers live-well until they are placed aboard the Shimano Live Release Boat, fish are in well-aerated water virtually the entire time. Newly constructed water-filled troughs serve as a temporary home to fish as anglers make their way to the stage for the big weigh-in.


The fish are even weighed in water, the accuracy of which is exactly the same as when fish are weighed in air. Time on the scale is considerably reduced because fish are more relaxed.


Research by Dr. Tufts’ team at Queen’s University indicates that the new weigh-in system has profound physiological benefits for the fish. Bass have 150% higher energy stores when weighed in water compared to the previous system of being weighed in air. Walleye enjoy a 65% improvement.  This means that tournament-caught fish should be able to resume normal physical activities almost immediately after release.


The goal of the Shimano/Queen’s University partnership is to improve fish handling methods during catch and release tournaments to ensure fish continue to be released in the best possible condition based on current science.


Dr. Tufts comments, “It takes time to conduct proper research, but after three years working with Shimano we are convinced that the fish will receive long term benefits from the applied science that is now possible.”


Shimano introduced the first Live Release boats at fishing tournaments more than 18 years ago. During this time, the Shimano Live Release program has been responsible for the safe return of hundreds of thousands of bass, walleye and other fish to their home waters across North America.


Talking about the Shimano Water Weigh-In System, Ray Scott said, “It works. And I urge tournament organizers everywhere to adopt it. Catch and release fishing is the future of our sport and it reflects the best of our conservation heritage. Shimano is a company that truly understands this.”



IDNR to Auction Confiscated and Abandoned Property

Auction to Benefit State Wildlife and Fish Fund

SPRINGFIELD – From boats to fishing rods, bargains will abound, as the Illinois Department of Natural Resources will auction its inventory of confiscated and abandoned property on Saturday, June 25, 2005, at the Jack Perschbacher Service Center, in Pawnee, Illinois.  Confiscated and abandoned property auctions are conducted by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources approximately every five years.


 As required by law, all proceeds from these auctions are deposited in the State Wildlife and Fish Fund.  The last auction held in 2001 netted $23,092.50. No firearms or vehicles will be sold.        


 Bidders registration begins at 7:00 a.m. and the auction starts at 10:00 a.m.  Potential bidders may inspect the merchandise beginning at 7:00 a.m. the day of the sale.  The auction merchandise will not be available for inspection prior to the gates opening at 7:00 a.m. the day of the auction.


Property will be sold “as is” and all sales will be final.  Payment may be in cash, cashier’s check, money order or

traveler’s checks in increments of $100 or less.  Personal or business checks also will be accepted if they are accompanied by a letter of credit from a bank stating that the bidder’s credit is in good standing and that the bank will guarantee the check to a specific amount through a specific date.  Such letters must be approved when registering.  The State reserves the right to reject the payment or identification of any bidders if their acceptance appears not to be in the best interest of the State of Illinois.  Buyers must take possession of their property immediately, and unclaimed items will be disposed of.


Pawnee is 10 miles south of Springfield and 3 miles east of I-55 on Route 104.  The Jack Perschbacher Service Center is 2 blocks south of Rte 104 on the west edge of Pawnee.   Access to the facility will be through the gate at the east end on Tenth St.


Items to be offered include:  tackle boxes, commercial fishing hoop & trammel nets, steel leghold traps, fishing rods and reels, crossbows, compound bows, spotlights, assorted tree stands for deer hunting, canoes, aluminum jon boats, etc


Don't be a wildlife parent

Wildlife hotline can provide advice

During spring, Hoosiers often find untended bird nests, young birds that appear to have fallen from nests, or young rabbits that appear to have been abandoned by their rabbit parents. Many of these wild animals may look helpless, cute and cuddly, but trying to care for young wildlife will often do more harm than good.


Adult animals frequently conceal and leave their young to forage for food, but they rarely abandon their offspring. When people handle or move young wild animals, it increases the likelihood that parent animals may abandon or be unable to find their babies.


"The best advice we can give someone who discovers a nest of young animals, such as birds or bunnies, is to leave them where they were found, disturb them as little as possible, and allow the adult animals to return and care for them," said Department of Natural Resources naturalist Michael Ellis. "One way to make sure an animal is truly orphaned is to wait and check it periodically. If you are unsure, place some strings or sticks across the nest. If they are later disturbed, a parent is probably tending them."


Ellis suggests it is sometimes possible to gently return young birds to their nest if they have fallen and then to stay clear of the area so the adult bird can take care of them.

Occasionally, well-meaning people attempt to adopt wildlife young as pets. Driven by their instincts, these wild animals may become aggressive and territorial as they grow older. These wild animals can damage homes or endanger people caring for them.  Some wildlife species carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans.


Wild animals raised by humans also lack skills to acquire food and shelter on their own or compete with other animals.  Most species of wildlife cannot be possessed without a state permit. Federal laws prohibit unpermitted possession of migratory birds, including songbirds, raptors and wild waterfowl.


Wild animal rehabilitation permits are issued to qualified individuals who care for sick, injured, or orphaned wild animals until the animals can be released back into the wild.  If you encounter an injured wild animal, contact the Wildlife Conflicts Information Hotline at 1-800-893-4116 during business hours, or visit the hotline Website at: www.entm.purdue.edu/wildlife/wild.htm


Wildlife experts at the hotline provide advice and maintain a list of wildlife rehabilitators. The hotline answered 525 calls on wildlife babies and 3242 nuisance wildlife calls last year.




Oceangoing ships could need Michigan permit by 2007

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Oceangoing ships would need a permit to enter Michigan ports starting in 2007 under legislation approved last week by the state Senate.  The bill was approved on a 38-0 vote and now heads to the House. The bill also would authorize Michigan to form a coalition with

the Great Lakes region's other states to deal with aquatic invaders. Supporters say states must join together to act because the federal government has been slow and ineffective. Ships couldn't discharge aquatic nuisance species, and they would have to treat any ballast water before releasing it

Upper Manistee River Access Site Public meeting - May 20

Michigan DNR officials announced recommendations regarding access site management along the Upper Manistee River are available for public review and comment.


A public meeting is scheduled for Friday, May 20, 7 to 9 p.m., at the Bear Lake Township Hall in Kalkaska. The Upper Manistee River Access Committee will report their findings regarding access site management along the Upper Manistee River, present a brief history of the access site issues, and receive public comment regarding the committee's recommendations.


The report addresses designated and undesignated access points along the river between Mancelona Road in southwestern Otsego County to M-66 in southwestern Kalkaska County.

"Providing safe, sufficient access that does not result in erosion, sedimentation, user conflicts or other negative impacts are key to providing a quality recreational experience while protecting the outstanding resources associated with this part of the river," said Robin Pearson, DNR forest recreation specialist. "It provides vital fish and wildlife habitat and numerous recreational opportunities."


To obtain a copy of the report, contact her at (989) 732-3541, or visit the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnr . Click on Forests, Land & Water, and go to the Forest Management page.  Written comments may be submitted to Robin Pearson, DNR Forest, Mineral and Fire Management, Gaylord Operations Service Center, 1732 W. M-32, Gaylord, MI 49735; e-mail: [email protected] . The public comment period ends June 3, 2005.


Family sells Michigan marina to Skipper chain

After nearly three decades of family ownership, Grand Valley Marina in Grand Haven, Mich., has been sold to Skipper Marine Development, a chain of boat dealerships and marinas.  Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The marina on Lake Michigan will now be called Skipper Bud’s Grand Haven Marina.

The Grand Haven facility is the 23rd location in the Skipper chain, which also has facilities in Wisconsin, Ohio, Illinois, Florida and Mississippi. The marina offers services, slips, dry stack storage and stores, and boat sales. In addition to the brokerage boats sold, the Grand Haven marina will be offering new-boat sales.

Volunteer Sturgeon Patrol Continues at Black River

Over the next several weeks, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is again joining forces with local citizens in Cheboygan County to protect spawning lake sturgeon in the upper Black River.


"When lake sturgeon come to spawn in the shallow upstream riffles of the river, they are very vulnerable to poachers," said Sgt. Greg Drogowski, DNR Law Enforcement.


When sturgeon are in the river to spawn, local citizens, members of the local Vietnam Veterans chapter, volunteers from the Michigan National Guard and members of the local chapter of Sturgeon for Tomorrow stand watch and use cellular phones, provided by Cellular One of Cheboygan, to report suspicious activity to the DNR Report All Poaching

(RAP) hotline. The information is forwarded to conservation officers on patrol in the area.


"The volunteers are a visible deterrent. Since this effort began in 1999, we've had only one fish illegally taken that we're aware of," Drogowski said. "The sturgeon patrols have really made a difference."


A reward of up to $1,000 has been offered by Sturgeon for Tomorrow and the RAP program for information leading to the arrest and conviction of any person or persons illegally taking lake sturgeon. To report any illegal activity, call the RAP hotline at (800) 292-7800. A person convicted for the illegal harvest of a lake sturgeon faces penalties of not less than 30 days in jail and not less than $2,000 in fines and restitution, or both.

Volunteers Sought to Help Monitor Rifle River Area in Arenac County

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources will host a meeting on Friday, May 20, for persons interested in assisting the DNR with monitoring and reporting illegal activity along the Rifle River in Arenac County. The effort is part of the DNR's Citizens Assisting in Resource Enforcement (CARE) program.


The meeting will start at 6:30 p.m. at the Deep River Hall located at 511 East State Street in Sterling. The hall is located one-half mile east of M-76 on East State Street. 


"This partnership between the DNR and interested citizens provides a strong presence along the Rifle River and helps reduce the amount of illegal activity, like littering, trespassing and operating boats while intoxicated," said Sgt. Ron Kimmerly, DNR conservation officer. "I encourage interested  

citizens to attend this meeting so we can kick off the summer season along the Rifle and ensure that it is enjoyed by all safely and responsibly." 


The DNR, along with the Arenac County Sheriff's Department and the Michigan Department of State Police, actively recruit sportspersons and local residents for the CARE program. Kimmerly noted there will be increased law enforcement presence this summer during the peak canoe season on the river. 


CARE volunteers must attend this training meeting, where officers will provide instruction on what volunteers should do when they observe violations. At the meeting, volunteers also will be able to sign up for shift dates and times.  For more info, contact the DNR's Bay City Operations Service Center at 989-684-9141.

Fenton Boating Access Site Undergoing Renovations

The Lake Fenton boating access site will be closed for the month of May while undergoing a $25,000 reconstruction, recreation officials announced today.


This fee access site is north of Fenton off Grove Park Road and handles up to 79 vehicles in the parking area adjacent to the ramp.  Work is being completed by a DNR construction crew based in Grayling and will replace the entire ramp system.  Power loading has contributed to the degradation of

the ramp's older materials.


"We'll work as quickly as we safely can," said Carl Lindell, Bay City district supervisor. "We hope to have the project finished by Memorial Day weekend so boaters and anglers aren't impacted any longer than necessary."


For more info about boating access sites go to: www.mcgi.state.mi.us/MRBIS.

2005 Michigan Bear Hunt Application Period Ends May 15

The Michigan DNR reminds bear hunters that the application period for a 2005 bear hunting license ends on Sunday, May 15.  Hunters may apply for a license at more than 1,700 license dealers and DNR Service Centers statewide or via the Internet at www.michigandnr.com or www.mdnr-elicense.com


A $4 nonrefundable fee must be paid at the time of application. Online customers may use MasterCard or Visa. There is no application fee for Comprehensive Lifetime license holders. 


The 2005 bear season will include the following hunt periods:

Sept. 10 though Oct. 21, Sept. 15 through Oct. 26, and Sept. 25 through Oct. 26 in all Upper Peninsula units except Drummond Island; Sept. 10 through 16 on Drummond Island; and Sept. 16 through 22 in the northern Lower Peninsula's Baldwin, Gladwin, and Red Oak bear management units.  An additional hunt period for bow and arrow only will be held in the Red Oak Unit from Oct. 7 through 13. 


The 2005 Michigan Bear Hunting Guide is available at all DNR offices, license dealers, and on the DNR Web site.  Drawing results will be posted on the DNR Web site on Monday, June 6 at 10 a.m. EDT.  Notification of the drawing results will be mailed June 6 to applicants who did not apply online.



Curly-leaf pond weed control pilot project underway

An effort to use the herbicide fluridone to reduce problems caused by the invasive curly-leaf pond weed without harming native vegetation got underway in April at Lake Benton, a 2,850-acre lake in Lincoln County, according to the Minnesota DNR.


It is the first time that fluridone has been used in Minnesota to control the prolific curly-leaf pondweed, which displaces native plants. Past fluridone treatments of lakes infested with Eurasian watermilfoil have produced mixed results.


"Curly-leaf sprouts early, giving us a window of opportunity to impair its growth without harming native plants," said Wendy Crowell, DNR aquatic biologist. "This is a chance to see if we can switch from a curly-leaf infested lake to a lake with a healthy plant community."


Under a permit issued by the DNR, the Lake Benton Lake Improvement District will apply low levels of SONAR, a brand name for fluridone herbicide, to the entire lake. The first treatment took place April 11 and another is scheduled for

May. The lake has been infested with curly-leaf pondweed since the early 1990s.


If this summer's treatments are effective, they will be repeated twice each year for the next three to four years. "A decline in curly leaf pondweed with a corresponding increase in native plants such as coontail and sago pondweed should be visible by then," Crowell said.


According to the USEPA, fluridone poses minimal risk when used according to label directions. Fluridone prevents plants from capturing light energy needed for photosynthesis by destroying their chlorophyll. It does not harm fish or animals. Because it affects plants, it can harm plants irrigated with treated lake water.


"If treatments are successful, it is likely that curly-leaf pondweed will return to nuisance levels in localized areas in the lake at some point," Crowell said. "Hopefully, smaller spot treatments will be able to control the plant in those areas when that time comes."  A similar test treatment is being done on Weaver Lake in Hennepin County this spring.


State to plant Lake Erie trib steelhead trout

The Ohio DNR Division of Wildlife is planting about 40,000 "Little Manistee" steelhead this week in the Vermillion River.  Raised at the Castalia Fish Hatchery,  the Michigan bred stock will be planted at the 6-9" size. Additional plantings will be

made at the Rocky, Grand and Chagrin rivers with about 90,000 trout each.  


Ohio will also stock the Conneaut Creek with 75,000 trout, and Pennsylvania will release another  75,000 into the Conneaut.


Agency Acts to Slow Release of Sediment from Behind Damaged Dam

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) announced today that it is taking steps to further address the drawdown of Dutch Fork Lake in Washington County.  In consultation with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the PFBC has identified that modification of the planks in the water outlet structure at Dutch Fork Lake may enhance the drawdown and stabilization process.  The intent is to slow the flow of Dutch Fork Creek through the former lake bed and help reduce the amount of accumulated sediment being carried downstream as the creek re-establishes its channel.


In the fall of 2004, flooding from Hurricane Ivan damaged the dam at Dutch Fork Lake.  After consultation with DEP, the lake was drained.  However, heavy rains temporarily refilled the impoundment.  The agencies agree the emergency spillway section of the dam should be removed altogether to keep the dam drained; the spillway was removed in January.


The breaching worked and Dutch Fork Creek – which was impounded by the dam – has been re-establishing its normal stream channel.  In the process, however, the flow of the creek has been cutting through forty years of fine sediments built up behind the dam, carrying the soils downstream and discoloring the water.  The modified drawdown approach will slow the flow of the creek, but still prevent the dam from refilling.  The plan is to utilize this approach until vegetation grows on the old lake bed, helping to stabilize the accumulated sediments.  Once vegetation is established,   

additional modifications will be made to the control structure, most likely in mid- to late summer, to facilitate the total drawdown of the lake. 


The long-term plans call for armoring the dam breast and building a new concrete spillway so the lake can be restored.  The cost estimate for the refurbishing the dam is in excess of $3 million, however, and the PFBC has no money for the larger project.


Statewide, the Commission faces a $100+ million backlog of infrastructure needs.  Commission operations are funded from the sale of fishing licenses and boat registrations.  Currently there is no funding source the agency can tap into to address major capital project needs, such as rebuilding the dam at Dutch Fork Lake.  A ballot initiative to be considered at the May 17 primary could provide additional monies for projects like Dutch Fork Lake.  If approved by voters, the Commonwealth could sell up to $625 million in bonds to fund environmental needs like open space preservation, water pollution, habitat conservation and other concerns. 


Sportsmen will benefit from the proposed investments in open space and habitat conservation, abandoned mine lands reclamation, remediation of acid mine drainage, and non-point source pollution abatement.  Beyond that, the initiative proposes that funding be dedicated to fish and wildlife infrastructure.  This infrastructure – dams, hatcheries and public access areas – is the backbone of boating and fishing in Pennsylvania.

Game Commission gives final approval to '05-'06 seasons/bag limits

HARRISBURG -- The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners gave final approval to hunting and trapping seasons and bag limits for 2005-2006, including expanded hunter opportunities through the Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP); more bear hunting; increased elk hunting; and new and expanded youth-only hunting seasons.  The new seasons take effect July 1.


Seasons and bag limits for migratory game birds and waterfowl will be approved and announced in late July and mid-August, respectively, once the agency receives seasonal frameworks from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


SQUIRRELS, Red, Gray, Black and Fox (Combined): Special season for eligible junior hunters, with or without required license - Oct. 8-14 (6 daily, 12 in possession limit after first day).


SQUIRRELS, Red, Gray, Black and Fox (Combined): Fall Season - Oct. 15-Nov. 26; Late Seasons - Dec. 12-23 and Dec. 26-Feb. 4 (6 daily, 12 in possession limit after first day).


RUFFED GROUSE: Oct. 15-Nov. 26, Dec. 12-23 and Dec. 26-Jan. 28 (2 daily, 4 possession).  There is no open season for taking ruffed grouse in that portion of State Game Lands No. 176 in Centre County which is posted "RESEARCH AREA - NO GROUSE HUNTING."


RABBIT (Cottontail): Oct. 22-Nov. 26, Dec. 12-23 and Dec. 26-Feb. 4 (4 daily, 8 possession).


PHEASANT: Special season for eligible junior hunters, with or without required license - Oct. 8-14 (2 daily, 4 in possession).  Male pheasants only in WMUs 2A, 2B, 2C, 4C, 4E, 5A, 5B, 5C and 5D.  Male and female pheasants may be taken in all other WMUs.


PHEASANT: Male only in WMUs 2A, 2B, 2C, 4C, 4E, 5A, 5B, 5C and 5D - Oct. 22-Nov. 26. Male and female in WMUs 1A, 1B, 2D, 2E, 2F, 2G, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4A, 4B and 4D - Oct. 22- Nov. 26, Dec. 12-23 and Dec. 26-Feb. 4 (2 daily, 4 in possession).


BOBWHITE QUAIL: Oct. 22-Nov. 26 (4 daily, 8 possession). (Closed in WMUs 4A, 4B, 5A, 5B, 5C and 5D.)


HARES (SNOWSHOE RABBITS) OR VARYING HARES: Dec. 26-31 (1 daily, 2 possession).


WOODCHUCKS (GROUNDHOGS): No closed season, except: Sundays, during the antlered and antlerless deer seasons; and until noon daily during the spring gobbler turkey season.


CROWS: July 1-Nov. 27 and Dec. 30-April 2, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday only.  No limit.


STARLINGS AND ENGLISH SPARROWS: No closed season, except during the antlered and antlerless deer seasons and until noon daily during the spring gobbler turkey season. No limit.


WILD TURKEY (Male or Female): Wildlife Management Units 1A and 1B (Shotgun and bow and arrow) - Oct. 29-Nov. 12; WMU 2A and 2B (Shotgun and bow and arrow) - Oct. 29-Nov. 19; WMUs 2C, 2E, 4A, 4B, and 4D - Oct. 29-Nov. 12; WMUs 2D, 2F, 2G, 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D, 4C and 4E - Oct. 29-Nov. 19; WMUs 5A and 5B - CLOSED TO FALL TURKEY HUNTING; and WMUs 

5C and 5D (Shotgun and bow and arrow) - Oct. 29-Nov. 4. (1bird limit, either sex).


SPRING GOBBLER (Bearded bird only): April 29-May 27, 2006. Daily limit 1, season limit 2.  (Second spring gobbler may only be taken by persons who possess a valid special wild turkey license.)


SPRING GOBBLER (Bearded bird only): Special season for eligible junior hunters, with required license - April 22, 2006.  Only 1 spring gobbler may be taken during the license year.


BLACK BEAR (Statewide): Nov. 21-23. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.


BLACK BEAR (WMUs 3B, 3C, 3D, 4C and 4E): Nov. 28-Dec. 3. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.


BLACK BEAR (Rockview State Correctional Institution): Nov. 28-Dec. 3. Only 1 bear may be taken during the license year.  Prior approval must be obtained from prison to hunt.


ELK (Antlered or Antlerless): Nov. 7-12.  Only one elk may be taken during the license year.


ELK (Antlered or Antlerless): Sept. 18-23, 2006.  Only one elk may be taken during the license year.


DEER, ARCHERY (Antlered and Antlerless) Statewide: Oct.1-Nov. 12 and Dec. 26-Jan. 14.  One antlered deer per hunting license year.  One antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.


DEER (Antlered and Antlerless) Statewide: Nov. 28-Dec. 10.  One antlered deer per hunting license year.  An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.


ANTLERLESS DEER (Statewide): Oct. 20-22.  Junior and Senior License Holders, Disabled Person Permit (to use a vehicle) Holders, and Pennsylvania residents serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Services or in the U.S. Coast Guard only, with required antlerless license. Also included are persons who have reached or will reach their 65th birthday in the year of the application for a license and hold a valid adult license, or qualify for license and fee exemptions under section 2706.  One antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.


DEER, ANTLERLESS MUZZLELOADER (Statewide): Oct. 15-22.  An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license. 


DEER, ANTLERED OR ANTLERLESS FLINTLOCK (Statewide): Dec. 26-Jan. 14.  One antlered per hunting license year, or one antlerless deer and an additional antlerless deer with each required antlerless license. 


DEER, Antlerless (WMUs 2B):  Dec. 26-Jan. 14. An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.


DEER, Antlerless (WMUs 5C and 5D):  Dec. 12-23 and Dec. 26-Jan. 28. An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.


DEER, ANTLERLESS (Military Bases):  Hunting permitted on days established by the U.S. Department of the Army at Letterkenny Army Depot, Franklin County; New Cumberland Army Depot, York County; and Fort Detrick, Raven Rock Site, Adams County.  An antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

Bear Season extension expanded to additional WMUS

The Board of Commissioners gave final approval to a three-day, statewide bear season the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (Nov. 21-23) before Thanksgiving that has become traditional with Pennsylvania bruin hunters.  At the same time, the Board expanded areas where bear hunting will run concurrent with the first week of the firearms deer season (Nov. 28-Dec. 3) where human-bear conflicts are the greatest.


In Wildlife Management Units 3B, 3C, 3D, 4C and 4E, in the northeastern and northcentral part of the state, the extended bear season will open Monday, Nov. 28 and run through Saturday, Dec. 3.  Last year, the Board approved the extended bear season for only portions of certain WMUs.  However, to simplify the matter for hunters, the Board decided to include entire WMUs.


In addition, the Board gave final approval to allow those deer  

hunters who obtain permission to hunt on the State Correctional Institution at Rockview in Centre County to hunt for bear during the first week of the rifle deer season provided they have a valid bear license.


Extended modern-day bear hunting first started in 2002, when bear hunters were given the opportunity to hunt during the first week of the firearms deer season in Carbon, Monroe and Pike counties.  With the advent of the state's new Wildlife Management Units, the extended season in 2003 included all of WMU 3D.


Finally, the Board gave final approval to a measure to cut off all sales of bear licenses prior to the opening of the two-week firearms deer season.  This change will prohibit the sale of bear licenses after opening hours of the regular firearms deer season on Nov. 28, 2005.


Board adopts expanded Elk season

The Board of Game Commissioners gave final approval to Pennsylvania's upcoming elk season and, at the request of farmers around St. Marys, Elk County, added an extra opportunity for hunters to take part in a late-September hunt in 2006. 


The Board approved 40 licenses (10 for antlered elk and 30 for antlerless elk) for the 2005 season, slated for Nov. 7-12; and 10 licenses (2 either sex elk and 8 antlerless elk) for the 2006 season to be held Sept. 18-23.  While the 40 licenses for the November 2005 season are allocated for several elk management areas, the 10 licenses for the September 2006 hunt will be allocated for one elk management area.


In addition, the Game Commission announced that adjustments have been made to the boundaries of the 11 elk management areas.  (Details on the new boundaries will be announced in the near future.)

Both antlered and antlerless elk will be legal in both seasons. Successful applicants will be determined through public drawings scheduled at a later date.  The drawing held this year will award elk licenses for the November 2005 and the September 2006 hunts.


To accommodate hunter interest in the two elk seasons, the Board also gave preliminary approval to allow hunters to apply for an elk license in each season.  However, it still will be unlawful to apply for more than one license in each season.


Interested hunters can make application for the elk seasons through the mail or by going to the agency's webpage (www.pgc.state.pa.us ) later this year.  In addition, hunters will be able to apply at sports shows and fairs this year.  All applications must be accompanied by a nonrefundable $10 application fee.


Final approval given to two-bird spring gobbler season

The Board of Game Commissioners gave final approval for staff to create a system for hunters to purchase a special wild turkey license that will enable them to take a second spring gobbler in the 2006 season.  Fees set by state law for the special license are $21 for residents and $41 for nonresidents.


Applications for special wild turkey licenses will be submitted to the Game Commission's Harrisburg headquarters via the Internet or a paper application submitted by mail.  Under the expanded hunting opportunity, hunters will be allowed to submit only one application for the special wild turkey license during a license year. 


According to Mary Jo Casalena, Game Commission wild

turkey biologist, research has shown that properly timed and implemented multiple-bird spring limits have not caused population declines in other states.


"Pennsylvania, however, is unique with its large number of wild turkey hunters and large harvests," Casalena said.  "Therefore, it is imperative that sufficient population monitoring occurs prior to any additional season changes.  We regularly recommend the change in seasons remain in place for at least three years to assess any biological and social impacts caused by that change, after which additional changes can be made, such as extending hunting hours beyond noon."


Revenues from the special licenses could be used to implement and fund the Game Commission's turkey management plan and further educate turkey hunters, thereby promoting additional recreation and safe hunting practices.

Board approves expanded youth pheasant & goose seasons

The Board of Game Commissioners gave final approval to an expanded youth pheasant season for 2005.  In the past, the youth pheasant hunt was a two-day event.  The Board established the 2005 youth pheasant season as Oct. 8-14, which runs concurrently with the youth squirrel season.


"The youth season takes into account that most students are off school on Monday, Oct. 10, the Columbus Day holiday, as well as on Saturday, Oct. 8," said Vern Ross, Game Commission executive director.  "The remainder of this youth season - Oct. 11-14 - takes place before the change of daylight savings time, which gives students an opportunity to go hunting after school, which is a long-standing tradition in many rural parts of the state.


"Part of the Game Commission's overall vision is to promote our state's rich hunting and trapping heritage. The future of hunting and trapping is directly related to the continuing participation of young Pennsylvanians in our hunting and furtaking seasons.  The challenge is to successfully compete with all the other activities and recreational opportunities that vie for a teenager's time."


Under the youth pheasant and squirrel hunts, participants are not required to purchase a junior hunting license, but they must have passed a Hunter-Trapper Education course.  As with all junior hunters, those 12 and 13 years old must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or other family member 18

years or older, and those 14 and 15 years old must be accompanied by a person 18 years or older.


In addition, the Board adopted a change in regulation that will enable the agency to hold special youth-only waterfowl hunting days at both the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area on the Lebanon/Lancaster county line and at the Pyamtuning Wildlife Management Area in Crawford County.  The change allows for a special drawing of applications submitted by junior license holders prior to the regular drawing for goose blinds.  An application for this drawing will be included in the 2005-2006 Pennsylvania Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations, which is provided to each license buyer, and on the Game Commission's website.  Only one application will be accepted per junior hunter.


The exact dates of the special, youth-only hunt will be decided later this year.


Other recent Game Commission initiatives to promote youth hunting opportunities include: a youth spring gobbler season (initiated in 2004); a youth pheasant hunt (2002); a youth waterfowl hunt (1996); special antlerless deer harvesting opportunities (1998); and youth field days (early 1990s). Also, as part of the license fee increase approved in 1998, the General Assembly created a junior combination license that packages regular license privileges with archery, flintlock and furtaking opportunities for $9, compared to the regular junior license price of $6.

DMAP expanded to further focus hunter pressure

The Board of Game Commissioners gave final approval to an expanded form of the Deer Management Assistance Program (DMAP) that addresses specific deer management objectives within the Wildlife Management Units (WMUs).


Under the proposal given final approval, landowners now are permitted to give up to two DMAP coupons to a licensed hunter, who will then apply for the DMAP permits.  This will enable hunters to possess up to two DMAP permits for a specific DMAP area beginning with the 2005-2006 season. 


Also, for 2005-2006, the Board expanded the list of eligible landowners for DMAP to include: public lands; private lands where no fee is charged for hunting; and hunting clubs established prior to Jan. 1, 2000, that's owned in fee title and have provided a club charter and list of current members to the agency. Previously, private hunting clubs were required to own a minimum of 1,000 contiguous acres before being eligible for DMAP.


Completed DMAP landowner applications must be submitted

to the appropriate regional office by July 1.


Upon approval of the application, landowners will receive one coupon for each DMAP permit allocated for their property, and the DMAP permits will be allocated based on one for every five cultivated acres and one for every 50 forested acres.  As in the past, landowners may receive more DMAP coupons than the standard rate if they present a deer management plan that is approved by the Game Commission.


DMAP permit allocations will be made separate from the general antlerless deer license allocations, but will follow the same fee schedule ($6 for residents and $26 for nonresidents).


The Board also gave final approval to a regulatory measure that makes any DMAP permit holder who fails to complete and submit the mandatory harvest report and survey information from the prior season ineligible for coupons/permits and refunds in the upcoming season.



Ontario opposed to water diversion from Lakes of the Woods to N. Dakota

Province Shares Concerns Of Manitoba And Minnesota

TORONTO — The Ontario government is opposed to any diversion of water by pipeline from Lake of the Woods to North Dakota , Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay has announced.


“While there has been no formal application for a diversion to North Dakota, the state has identified a pipeline from Lake of the Woods across Minnesota as one option to deal with future water shortages,” said Ramsay. “I am very pleased that both Manitoba and Minnesota have voiced their opposition to such a proposal.  Ontario shares their concerns.”


“ Lake of the Woods is a transboundary water,” said Environment Minister Leona Dombrowsky. “According to the Boundary Waters Treaty, it is therefore under the authority of

the International Joint Commission. Ontario would oppose any proposal for such a diversion.”


North Dakota predicts that by 2050 there will be water shortages in the Red River Valley on the state’s eastern border, and is considering eight options to meet future water needs. One of the proposed options is a pipeline running west from Lake of the Woods to the Red River Valley . At first, the Lake of the Woods option was eliminated because it was thought to be too expensive. However, more recent estimates indicate that the cost would be comparable to other options being considered.


“Premier Dalton McGuinty and I have been actively supporting the protection of waters near the Canada-U.S. border,” said Ramsay. “Above all, the Ontario government wants to ensure the province’s waters are available for future generations to enjoy.”

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