Week of May 14, 2007

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Illinois
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National

Coast Guard Hosts Small Vessel Security Summit June 19-20

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Coast Guard will host and participate in the first-ever Department of Homeland Security-sponsored small vessel security summit to be held in June to discuss ideas for improving security for vessels not covered by the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002. Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff is expected to deliver the keynote address. Details on the location, dates and time of the summit will be announced once finalized.

 

“We want to hear ideas from the people who regularly use our ports and waterways to determine how we can better structure new safety and security regimes that will have a minimal impact on those who rely on our waterways for their livelihood as well as recreation,” said Adm. Thad Allen, commandant of the Coast Guard.

 

DHS has invited representatives from recreational boating organizations, operators of small commercial and fishing vessels, and other stakeholders to a two-day meeting in the Washington area to discuss options for improving maritime security. Other federal agencies expected to participate in the summit include Customs and Border Protection, the Transportation Security Administration, the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, the FBI and others with an interest in security in the port environment.

 

“We are continually looking for ways to improve maritime security, and consultation and collaboration with our stakeholders is an essential part of the process. We want to work together, consider all possibilities, and have those that will be affected by proposed solutions participate in the entire

process,” said Allen.

 

Enhancing maritime security regimes is one of six priorities outlined in the publication “U.S. Coast Guard Strategy for Maritime Safety, Security and Stewardship” that was unveiled in February.

 

Recently adopted regulations for large commercial vessels under the Maritime Transportation Security Act have significantly enhanced safety and security measures for commercial ships operating within U.S. waters, including vessel security plans, 96-hour advance notice of arrival, automated identification system requirements, and long-range tracking.

 

“We’ve done a great deal in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to secure our ports from potential threats posed by commercial ships, but we know very little about the 77 million U.S. boaters or the 13 million recreational vessels that ply U.S. waters,” Allen said. “This leaves us extremely vulnerable to a USS Cole-style attack within one of our ports or waterways.”

 

In making the announcement, Allen cited concerns such as effective control of the maritime border, unrestricted access to critical waterside infrastructure, and few existing standards in many states for ensuring minimum knowledge of maritime rules and regulations, operator proficiency, or identification requirements. “Enhancing maritime safety and security requirements now, before an incident occurs in one of our ports or waterways will not only save lives, but will also protect and preserve the efficient use and enjoyment of our waters for all mariners,” Allen said.


Fish, Seafood Better than Olive Oil, Nuts against Heart Disease

Researchers have found that a diet rich in fish, seafood, and grains – also called polyunsaturated fats – is better at preventing heart disease than a diet containing olive oil, nuts, and avocados – called monounsaturated fats. Although both types of fats are healthy, people should probably include more of the first than the second in their diet to keep a healthy heart, the scientists say.

 

Too much cholesterol has long been linked to increasing risks of developing heart disease, but it has been less clear how the various dietary fats – saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated – make people susceptible to the disease.

 

Lawrence L. Rudel and colleagues developed a method to determine the effects of the three types of dietary fats on acyl-

coenzyme A, a key molecule involved in the metabolism of fatty acids. The scientists found that mice fed diets high in

saturated and monounsaturated fat showed an increase in acyl-coenzyme A compared to mice fed a diet enriched in polyunsaturated fat. These results suggest that polyunsaturated fat is a more suitable replacement than monounsaturated fat for dietary saturated fat, the scientists concluded.

 

American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

           

www.asbmb.org/asbmb/site.nsf/web/9EEB4BB66EFFAF7A8

52572D0005B2DF2?OpenDocument

 

Article: “Monounsaturated fatty acyl-CoA is predictive of atherosclerosis in human ApoB100 transgenic, LDLr-/- mice” by Thomas A. Bell III, Martha D. Wilson, Kathryn Kelley, Janet K. Sawyer, and Lawrence L. Rudel


Marine Omega-3 Fatty Acids Have Positive Effect on Muscle Mass, Study Shows

Quebec City, Canada — A research team led by Carole Thivierge, from Université Laval's Institute of Nutraceutics  and Functional Foods (Quebec City, Canada), shows that omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil have a positive effect on the metabolism of muscle proteins. This finding, published in a recent edition of the Journal of Physiology, could have significant implications in the fields of animal farming as well as human health.

 

In mammals, the ability to use nutrients from food and convert them into muscle proteins decreases with age. Though the exact cause of this phenomenon is still unclear, insulin resistance of aging muscle cells has been suggested as a possible answer.

 

Since omega-3 fatty acids are known to improve glucose metabolism in people and animals showing insulin resistance, the researchers decided to test whether omega-3's could also influence protein metabolism.

 

To do so, they added supplements containing either omega-3's from fish oil or a mixture of cottonseed and olive oils without omega-3's to the regular diet of steers. After five weeks, animals with the marine omega-3 diet showed increased sensitivity to insulin which, in turn, improved protein metabolism: twice the amount of amino acids was used by their bodies to synthesize proteins, especially in muscles. So it appears that omega-3 fatty acids added to the steers' diet replaced other fatty acids in muscle cells and improved their functioning.

 

This finding could have significant implications in the field of animal farming, according to Thivierge, also a professor in 

Université Laval's Department of Animal Sciences, who undertook this study in order to find an alternative to hormonal growth stimulation in beef cattle.

 

At 4 to 6 months of age, calves become less efficient at converting food into muscle mass, which has a negative impact on farming profitability. "Adding fish oil to their diet could prevent this decline by restoring insulin sensitivity in aging animals," suggests the researcher. "In addition, it could contribute to reducing the amount of by-product emissions in the environment, since animals that are given omega-3's spontaneously eat 10% less food to achieve the same weight gain," points out Thivierge.

 

Restoring insulin sensitivity through the use of marine omega-3 fatty acids could also prevent the loss of muscle mass in older people and, by the same token, prevent the various health problems associated with it, believes Thivierge. She also suggests that omega-3's could help athletes trying to increase their muscle mass. "However, it should not be seen as a miracle product," she points out. "For increased muscle protein metabolism to take place in people younger than 50, physical training is still required," she concludes.

 

In addition to Thivierge, the article was signed by Andrée-Anne Gingras, Phillip James White, Yvan Chouinard, Luce Dombrowski, Alexandre Myre, Karen Bergeron, and André Marette from the Institute of Nutraceutics and Functional Foods; Pierre Julien from Université Laval Hospital Research Center; Yvon Couture and Pascal Dubreuil from Université de Montréal; and Teresa Davis from the Baylor College of Medicine.

 

Source:   www.ulaval.ca/     May 9, 2007,   and www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070509161106.htm


Toxic chemical vials uncovered at wildlife refuge

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — U.S. Army soldiers have found at least 130 glass vials containing chemical warfare agents at a remote northwestern Oklahoma wildlife refuge, a search begun after a Boy Scout was sickened by vials that he had found.

 

The Boy Scout found the first set of vials on April 21 while digging for crystals, a popular activity in a 40-acre section of the Great Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge. When one of the vials broke, it released a gas that irritated the boy’s eyes and lungs, but park officials have said he suffered no permanent injuries.  After the discovery, officials quickly closed the refuge’s crystal digging area so that an Army chemical disposal unit could search for additional vials. Members of the unit have been at the refuge since Friday.

The soldiers have said the vials came from one of the more than 200,000 kits made by the military between 1929 and 1969. The kits were used to train soldiers to identify chemical agents and attacks.  The Army has destroyed its remaining stockpile of the kits — about 20,000 in all — but has been unable to account for other kits that were disposed by burial, said Karen Drewen, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency.

 

The kits contained vials that included diluted mustard gas and lewisite in a solution of mostly chloroform. Other vials contained diluted solutions of chemicals such as Chloropicirin, pure phosgene or Cyanogen chloride.

 

 


EPA ponders Court's mandate to Regulate

Ballast Water

On September 3, 2003, EPA denied a rulemaking petition submitted by a number of interested parties including the Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council that sought to repeal a long-standing provision of EPA's regulations excluding ballast discharges incidental to the normal operation of vessels, from permitting under the Clean Water Act. That petition expressed concerns regarding discharges of ships’ ballast water containing invasive species.  EPA denied the petition for a variety of reasons, as explained in EPA's decision on the rulemaking petition and related supporting documents.

Subsequently, the petitioners filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California (Northwest Environmental Advocates et al. v. EPA, No. C 03-05760 SI). On March 30, 2005, the court granted summary judgment to plaintiffs, and on September 18, 2006, issued an order granting injunctive relief (see links below). The Agency is currently considering how to address the court's decision.  The agency has until September 30, 2008 to comply.  See:  www.epa.gov/owow/invasive_species/petition1.html 

Court Decision: www.epa.gov/owow/invasive_species/091806Remedy

_order.pdf


Amid ballast debate, EPA prepares to comply 

Plans to meet the court mandate by the 2008 deadline

WASHINGTON, D.C. — While everyone agrees that invasive species are a serious problem for the nation’s waterways, the boating and recreational fishing industries are feverishly striving to find a remedy for a recent court ruling that makes it mandatory for all vessels, including recreational boats, to obtain a clean water permit.

 

A district court ruling last fall vacated the Environmental Protection Agency’s long-standing exclusion of discharges that are incidental to the normal operation of a vessel, including recreational boats.

 

The ruling was the result of a lawsuit filed by a number of interested parties who were concerned about the discharge of ships’ ballast water — the leading source of introducing zebra mussels and other pesky invasive species into the waters. Aquatic hitchhikers are often released into lakes and rivers when the ships discharge ballast water as they take on cargo.   However, the broad scope of the decision applies to all vessel discharge, including deck runoff. The ruling also appears to include 13 million state-registered boats, as well as the thousands of commercial ships and tankers.

 

The Court order has broader implications than were originally requested or intended. Although the suit originally focused on ballast water, the decision is NOT just limited to those larger vessels that would be equipped with ballast tanks, and it is NOT just limited to ballast water discharges, but includes other operational discharges, including those from and of the recreational boating industry.

“We were supportive of the court case,” said Dylan Jones of the NMMA. “The court ruling last fall suddenly put us in a panic. We were an unintended circumstance of this court case.”  As a result of meetings with the National Marine Manufacturers Association and BoatU.S, two legislators are expected to introduce a bill this week that would exempt recreational boats from permitting.

 

The two-page bill, drafted by Representatives Candice Miller and Gene Taylor, would codify the exemption for recreational boats that has been in place for 34 years.

 

The EPA has filed an appeal of the court decision. However, the agency is moving ahead with plans to meet the court mandate by the 2008 deadline.  “We are going to be scrambling to get permits in place,” said Linda Boornazian, director of the water permits division at the EPA.

 

But it’s a Herculean task, she says. The agency has been regulating discharge for some 600,000 facilities. Adding 13 million boats “is a large difference for us.” It would also be cumbersome for boaters, who would most likely have to obtain a clean water permit from every state that the vessel travels through, unless the EPA can legally develop a national permit for boats, according to Boornazian.

 

The agency will be issuing a notice in the Federal Register in the coming months.

www.nmma.org/lib/docs/nmma/gr/environmental/

021407MiamiRev2.ppt#256,1 Clean Water Act Permitting  and Operational Discharges from Vessels.

 


DOI Julie MacDonald Resigns in Wake of Inspector General Report

WASHINGTON, D.C. — According to the Endangered Species and Wetlands Report, a high-level Bush administration appointee has resigned in the aftermath of a devastating Inspector General investigation, just days before a House congressional oversight committee will hold a public hearing on her violations of the Endangered Species Act, censorship of science, and brutalizing of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff.

Julie MacDonald tendered her resignation on April 30, 2007. She was the Department of Interior's Assistant Secretary of Fish, Wildlife and Parks, a position that oversees the entire USFWS endangered species program. As revealed in numerous media exposés and a recent Department of Interior Inspector General investigation, MacDonald used her position to aggressively squelch protection of endangered species. She rewrote scientific reports, browbeat FWS Service employees, and colluded with industry lawyers to generate lawsuits against the Fish and Wildlife Service.


New rules about tribal casino expansion

A major breakthrough with the Dept of Interior

The U.S. Department of the Interior (D.O.I.) has formally responded to the concerns expressed by One Nation United and our members, as well as communications they have received from so many local elected officials, on the subject of off-reservation gambling proposals by Indian tribes nationwide.  The exciting news is that the Associate Deputy Secretary of the Interior, James E. Cason, has recently written a number of letters to tribal leaders across America, informing them that the Department intends to make changes in the rules.  This  will result in fewer off-reservation properties being accepted into trust status!

 

This is a huge step being taken by the DOI..  They are stating publicly that they expect to adopt new rules under which "the likelihood of accepting off-reservation land into trust decreases with the distance the subject parcel is from the Tribe's established reservation or ancestral lands and the majority of tribal members."  Furthermore, they have formally announced that they plan to review their approach for "soliciting and accommodating the views of elected officials" 

(State, county, city, etc.) as well as giving more consideration to the views of "community members in the local area" when making fee-to-trust decisions.  They also say DOI plans to give more consideration to "the broad implications associated with new gaming operations within established communities where gaming is not currently conducted."

 

In short, the Department is telling tribal leaders that "the statutory, regulatory, and policy environment is changing".  DO is flatly telling tribes that they should be aware of the "long, challenging, and expensive process" involved in seeking a fee-to-trust conversions and that they should give more thought to the less risky alternative of building on-reservation casinos.

 

This is a huge change in policy at the DOI.  In the past, they just about "rubber stamped" approval for anything a tribe wanted.  They have finally come to recognize that there are many competing issues and interests to consider before they act to approve construction of tribal casinos in local communities.  Now, the Department is finally taking a broader view of these complex policy decisions.


Wildlife Agencies face funding gaps; DNRs paying for hikers, campers, birdwatchers, kayakers

A wake-up call for all state DNRs

A decline in hunting is imperiling conservation efforts in states across the nation. State fish and game departments traditionally have relied on hunting and fishing license fees to pay for a variety of conservation programs.

 

The theory - a sound one - was that in order to maintain fish and game species, a healthy ecosystem is needed; and in order to maintain a healthy ecosystem, a panoply of other species is needed. To protect habitat and conserve non-game species is to protect and conserve game species as well.  But fewer fishing and, especially, hunting licenses are being bought these days; so states that rely on licenses for conservation revenues are struggling to keep their programs going.

 

And in some states, hunters and anglers are growing restive at being asked to bear the burden of paying for conservation efforts that benefit other users - hikers, campers, birdwatchers, kayakers.

 

Virginia has already taken steps to counter these problems. The commonwealth has kept the same idea of user fees - that those who use the resources should pay for them - but expanded it to modern realities. Virginia adds a tax on the sale of outdoor equipment to help support game and fish programs; people who enjoy the outdoors in activities other than hunting therefore help pay to preserve the outdoors.

 

More states may need to adopt similar strategies or find dedicated revenue streams from other sources if they are to

continue to help protect habitats. One example of an endangered program: advice and small grants made to landowners in New Hampshire to help them manage their acres for wildlife.

 

“Farming, you’re just managing for one species, and here you’re managing for thousands,” said retired farmer Carl Wallman, who now manages his land for wildlife conservation. “So you really need their input,” he said, referring to officials of his state’s game and fish department. Programs such as these may be among the most needed.

 

The Endangered Species Act extends protection to endangered species, while game and fish departments work to maintain game species. Falling into the gap are species that are neither hunted nor, so far, endangered, according to Naomi Edelson, director of Teaming With Wildlife, a coalition of conservation groups and agencies. How serious is her concern? The gap encompasses about 80 percent of all wildlife.

 

Meanwhile, state fish and game departments often are being asked to take on new duties, such as rescuing lost hikers, enforcing off-road vehicle laws and even tracking diseases that may be spread from wildlife to humans.  No wonder they face funding crises.  Virginia is asked from time to time for more money for conservation - if not directly for fish and game, then for related programs that support conservation efforts.

 

Considering the danger of a continuing decline in the sale of license fees from hunters and anglers, Virginia might have to expand its efforts to find revenue for species management. Courtesy: Charlottesville, VA Daily Progress


Regional

IL - Asian Carp Monitoring

The Asian carp monitoring effort performed by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Chicago District and the Illinois DNR includes electrofishing, mini Fyke nets and trammel nets. This effort has not captured any Asian carp since sampling began in 2003. This summer the effort was expanded to cover more area downstream from the barrier; extending the farthest downstream site from only 10 miles downstream to a location nearly 50 miles

downstream from the barrier site.

 

The USFWS will purchase 16 acoustic tags and 15 submerged receivers to help track the distribution of Asian carp in the Upper Illinois River. Eight bighead and eight silver carp will be tagged near the Starved Rock Lock and Dam. They will be released at that site and their movements tracked by the VR2 receivers. The receivers will cover 70 miles of river between the barrier site near Romeoville, Illinois (River Mile (RM) 296.5) and LaSalle-Peru, Illinois (RM 225).


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for May 11, 2007

Lake Level Conditions:

Lake Superior is presently 14 inches below its level of a year ago, while Lake Michigan-Huron is at last year’s level.  Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are 6 to 9 inches above their levels of a year ago.  Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are expected to rise 4 and 3 inches, respectively, over the next 30 days.  Lake St. Clair is predicted to remain at the same level.  Lake Erie is projected to drop an inch over the next month, while Lake Ontario is expected to remain steady. During the next few months, Lake Superior is predicted to remain well below its water level of a year ago, while water levels of the remaining lakes are expected to be similar or slightly above last year’s levels. See our Daily Levels web page for more water level information.

 

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions:

Outflow from the St. Marys River is predicted to be well below average for May. Flows through the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers are also predicted to be lower than average this month. Flow in the Niagara River, as well as the St. Lawrence River, is expected to be above average.

 

Alerts:

Due to abnormally dry conditions on the Lake Superior basin

over the last several months, | Lake Superior ’s water level is currently below chart datum and is expected to remain below datum through September.  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.

 

 

Superior

Mich-Huron

St. Clair

Erie

Ontario

Level for May 11

601.1

577.5

572.3

569.2

243.3

Datum, in ft

-14

+ 1

+23

+35

+36

Diff in inches

+1

+2

+3

+2

+3

Diff last month

-14

0

+6

+9

+9

Diff from last yr

601.1

577.5

572.3

569.2

243.3


2nd Amendment issues

Court denies D.C.'s gun appeal

A federal appeals court on May 8 denied a petition by D.C. officials to reconsider a March ruling that overturned the District's 30-year-old gun ban. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled 6-4 to deny the District's request that the entire court review a previous ruling in which a three-judge panel found some of the District's gun restrictions to be unconstitutional. The one-page order contained no explanation for the court's decision.

   

The decision not to rehear the case means city officials must appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court if they hope to preserve

what had been considered among the most-stringent gun laws in the nation. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty said he was "disappointed" and "surprised" by the denial. He said that he is reviewing yesterday's court decision and that city officials have 90 days to file an appeal to the Supreme Court.

 

The denial dealt a blow to officials' hopes of keeping the ban intact in a city that has often struggled with a notorious crime image. Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson, who wrote the original dissenting opinion in the March decision, was among those who rejected the petition to rehear the case.


 

Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan chosen for national monitoring study

Lake Michigan has been chosen as one of three pilot study sites for use in the development of the National Water Quality Monitoring Network for U.S. Coastal Waters and their Tributaries, commonly known as the National Monitoring Network (NMN).

 

The NMN is a response to a recommendation by the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy for a national monitoring network that can provide the information necessary for

effective stewardship of ocean and coastal resources. The pilot study will test and refine the NMN design across a broad range of Lake Michigan resource components, from upland watersheds to offshore waters.

 

The project will be coordinated by the Great Lakes Commission, through the Lake Michigan Monitoring Coordination Council. Other partners include the four Lake Michigan states, USEPA, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Great Lakes Observing System, among others.


Illinois

Wingshooting Clinics: May & June

The IDNR and partnering organizations will host a series of wingshooting clinics for beginning shooters and for more experienced hunters this spring and summer.  At the free youth/women’s clinics, Saturday sessions generally provide instruction for youngsters ages 10-15, while Sunday sessions are generally used to provide instruction for girls and women ages 10 and older.  Youth participants must be at least 4 feet 6 inches tall and weigh at least 75 pounds.

 

Instructors are certified by the National Sporting Clays Association.  Hunter clinics are designed to enhance the wingshooting skills of women and men ages 16 and older.  Hunters with wingshooting skill levels from beginner to advanced are encouraged to attend.  A small fee is assessed each hunter clinic participant to cover the cost of clay targets and refreshments.

Upcoming Youth/Women’s clinics include:

May 19-20 - Des Plaines Conservation Area, Wilmington, 815/423-5326

May 19-20 - World Shooting and Recreational Complex, Sparta, 217/785-8060

June 2-3 - Beaver Dam/South Central Chapter NWTF and Joker’s Wild Sporting Clays, Chesterfield, 217/854-8020

June 9 - Jim Edgar Panther Creek SFWA (Cass Co.), 217/452-7741

 

Upcoming Hunter’s clinics are:

June 2-3 - Des Plaines Conservation Area, Wilmington, 815/423-5326

June 9-10 - Briar Knoll Hunting and Fishing Club, Amboy, 815/857-2320

June 16-17 - Decatur Gun Club, Decatur, 217/877-4096

July 7-8 - Jim Edgar Panther Creek SFWA, 217/452-7741


Asian Carp Monitoring

The Asian carp monitoring effort performed by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Chicago District and the Illinois DNR includes electrofishing, mini Fyke nets and trammel nets. This effort has not captured any Asian carp since sampling began in 2003. This summer the effort was expanded to cover more area downstream from the barrier; extending the farthest downstream site from only 10 miles downstream to a location nearly 50 miles

downstream from the barrier site.

 

The USFWS will purchase 16 acoustic tags and 15 submerged receivers to help track the distribution of Asian carp in the Upper Illinois River. Eight bighead and eight silver carp will be tagged near the Starved Rock Lock and Dam. They will be released at that site and their movements tracked by the VR2 receivers. The receivers will cover 70 miles of river between the barrier site near Romeoville, Illinois (River Mile (RM) 296.5) and LaSalle-Peru, Illinois (RM 225).


Bill Seeks to Ban Commonly Used Magazines

and Rifles

Senate Bill 1007, introduced by former gun-ban lobbyist and current Senator Dan Kotowski (D-33), is headed to the House, which could take it up at any time.  SB 1007 bans the manufacture, possession, delivery, sale, and purchase of standard capacity ammunition magazines capable of holding more than ten (10) cartridges. The Bill  passed 31-26.

 

SB 1007 Provides that beginning 90 days after the effective date of this amendatory Act, it is unlawful for any person within this State to knowingly manufacture, deliver, sell, purchase, or

possess or cause to be manufactured, delivered, sold, purchased, or possessed a large capacity ammunition feeding device. It provides that these provisions do not apply to a person who possessed a prohibited weapon, device, or attachment before the effective date of this amendatory Act.

 

It also provides that on or after the effective date of this amendatory Act, such person may transfer such device only to an heir, an individual residing in another state maintaining that device in another state, or a dealer licensed as a federal firearms dealer. SB 1007 specifies penalties for violations. It would become effective immediately.


Michigan

DNR considers new rules to combat fish virus

LANSING (AP)- Michigan regulators hoping to delay a killer virus' march across the Great Lakes are proposing tighter controls on moving some fish species between waterways for activities such as stocking ponds and selling live bait.

 

Rebecca Humphries, director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, is expected to decide early next month whether to approve the rules, which would take effect June 28. The state Natural Resources Commission, which sets policy for the DNR, was briefed on the plan Thursday in Lansing.

 

"It's designed to slow the spread of various fish pathogens," said Gary Whelan, the DNR's fish production manager. "You really can't stop them, but we can slow them down." The primary target is viral hemorrhagic septicemia, or VHS, a microscopic invader from Europe that has caused fish kills in lakes Ontario, Erie, Huron and St. Clair, and in several rivers that link them. It doesn't harm people.

 

VHS is expected to soon make its way into Lake Michigan through natural movement of infected fish. State authorities hope to keep it out of Lake Superior and Michigan's inland lakes and streams as long as possible by closing off potential shortcuts while they develop a damage control strategy.

 

The rules would require commercial operators to get certification before transporting or selling live fish or fish eggs within Michigan or releasing them into public waterways. Applicants for certification would have to have the fish or eggs tested at a state-approved laboratory. The requirement would pertain only to fish on a list of susceptible species. The DNR

periodically would update its list, which now includes 32 species including such prized sport and commercial varieties as brown trout, chinook and Coho salmon, walleye, whitefish and yellow perch.

 

Bait wholesalers and retailers would have to give customers a receipt stating where the fish or eggs were taken.

 

Another requirement: People who catch fish on the list of affected species could release them only into the water body from which they came. In addition to general rules, the package has VHS-specific policies that differ among three management zones: areas where the pathogen is known to be present; areas where it's likely to show up in the near future; and areas believed free of the pathogen.

 

Whelan said one goal is to discourage amateur "bait bucket biologists" from catching fish in one waterway and releasing them in another to promote growth of the species. "We'll go and treat a lake to be a trophy brook trout lake, and someone will put yellow perch in there," he said. "That practice needs to be curtailed."

 

VHS also could lurk inside water transported between lakes and streams -- even small volumes. Under the rules, people would have to empty water containers used to carry bait fish. Boaters would be required to drain live wells and bilges before leaving a waterway.

 

The DNR plans a campaign this summer urging sport anglers to disinfect boats and gear, spokeswoman Mary Dettloff said.


Wisconsin

"Castle Doctrine" Bill Passes House

Vital self-defense legislation, also known as "Castle Doctrine" legislation, passed the Wisconsin State House on

Wednesday, May 9.  Assembly Bill 35 now moves on to the Senate.


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