Week of May 19, 2008

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Memorable quote

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"There is no doubt in anybody's mind that firearms and drugs that are coming up aren't even crossing at the border crossings," said Ron Moran, national president of the

Customs Excise Union of border guards "In Quebec alone there are 108 unguarded roads and over 300 across the country."


Oil from ANWR shot down again

Norm Schultz blames Democrats for the gas price crisis because they oppose drilling in Alaska

Gas pump prices are causing us to gasp. We’re laying out 33 percent more at the supermarket checkout. The rising cost of everything petroleum-based is sucking the life out of our discretionary income. Our economy is seriously stumbling. So, it’s time for Congress to take action! And last week it did . . . it screwed up as usual!


Once again the House Natural Resources Committee, specifically the Democrats on the Committee, demonstrated their affinity for kissing the butts of extreme environmentalists. Apparently, these Dems prefer to watch us all struggle rather than adopt a reasonable program to develop our largest untapped oil field under the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).


There are more than 10 billion barrels of oil under ANWR in Alaska’s coastal arctic region. ANWR is huge, covering 19 million acres. Congressman Don Young (R-Alaska) proposed an amendment that would have allowed for oil exploration in just a minuscule 2,000-acre section of ANWR. Check it out: that’s only 2000 acres out of 19.6 million!


What’s more, with today’s advanced, environmentally safe drilling technology, massive amounts of this crude could be

extracted from such a tiny area of access. So, who in his right mind could object to that, especially in light of our current energy dilemma? Answer: the Democrats in Congress!  For the record, every Democrat in attendance voted against ANWR oil production except for Rep. Solomon Ortiz of Texas. Conversely, every Republican in attendance voted for the amendment. It lost 12-18, however.


Democratic opposition to drilling in ANWR goes back to ’95 when President Bill Clinton vetoed a bill that allowed for oil production in ANWR.  If Clinton hadn’t vetoed that bill, ANWR would now be supplying us with more than one million barrels of oil per day. Moreover, it’s estimated ANWR could supply that amount for nearly 30 years!


I remember when the Democrats took control of Congress in January, 2007. Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, promised the new Democrat majority would fix the rising gas prices. Now to be fair, she didn’t exactly say when they’d do that – so we’re still waiting. And, she said that gas prices have increased more than $1.25/gallon.


How depressing it is to witness partisan party politics deny us needed access to our nation’s largest untapped oil field. It makes me think there could be some real wisdom in the title of Ann Coulter’s book: “If Democrats had Any Brains, They’d be Republicans.”

Coast Guard saves family from sinking boat

LUDINGTON -- The U.S. Coast Guard saved a family off of a sinking boat Friday May 16, at approximately 5:50 p.m. Coast Guard Station Ludington received a distress call at 5:33 p.m. from a 28 ft. recreational vessel taking on water. Station Ludington got underway in their 30 ft. Utility Boat headed for the sinking boat 8 miles due west of the Ludington Pier Heads. Immediately after arriving they transferred the five people on board.


On board were a 15-year-old boy, 12-year-old girl, their mother

and father, and an older gentleman.  Two Coast Guard crewmembers got on the sinking boat and tried to save it using a de-watering pump. Their attempts were unsuccessful and the vessel sank and the two crewmembers had to be pulled out of the water.   The reason for the flooding was unknown, and the vessel will not be salvaged due to the depth of the water where it sank (approximately 350 ft.)


For pictures of the rescue visit:



Conservation Programs Win with Passage of Farm Bill

Pork Dole-outs continue unabated, favoring the favored

Washington, DC – Thanks to sportsmen-legislators, hunters across America can look forward to their local farmers continuing to set aside acres of habitat for wildlife. Increased funding measures for America’s vital conservation programs for the next five years are contained in the Farm Bill Reauthorization overwhelmingly passed by the House and Senate, now awaiting the President’s signature.


The release of a Conference Report last week signaled that an agreement was reached by conferees who worked out the differences between the House and Senate versions. The House(318-106) and Senate(81-15) both voted overwhelmingly to approve the measure and will send the bill to the President to sign into law. The question is, will he?


Bush wanted the bill to ban all subsidy payments to farmers with incomes exceeding $200,000. Instead, the bill bans one form of subsidy to farmers with agricultural incomes exceeding $750,000.


The House and Senate now have approved the bill by more than the two-thirds vote needed to beat a veto.

Officially called the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008, the farm bill devotes nearly three-quarters of its funding to food stamps and other nutrition programs. It provides roughly $1.3 billion to the nation's fruit and vegetable growers for grants, research and help in opening foreign markets to the apples, cherries and other crops grown in Washington state and elsewhere, while largely sustaining traditional crop subsidies.


For a married couple, the outside income limit will be $1.5 million. the bill relies on gimmicks to camouflage its true costs. The bill's authors used one set of budget assumptions to put the five-year price tag at $289 billion, while the Congressional Budget Office states that from 2008 to 2012, "spending on the programs [the bill] covers would be about $307 billion."


The 673-page bill is replete with narrowly tailored provisions sought by lobbying groups, records show, including $93 million in tax breaks for horse breeders, $170 million in grants for the salmon industry and what Republican Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia called a "backroom" deal that he said mainly benefits one Montana timber company.



Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for May 16, 2008

Weather Conditions

A number of systems lead to a cool, wet week across the Great Lakes basin as heavy rain fell Sunday and Monday then again on Wednesday.  The Great Lakes basin as a whole has seen above average precipitation to date in May.  A series of upper level disturbances will track though the region this weekend, leading to more wet weather.  Temperatures will remain on the cooler side of average as some locations will struggle to see 50 degrees. 


Lake Level Conditions

Currently, Lake Superior is 13 inches higher than it was at this time last year.  Lakes Michigan-Huron and St. Clair are 1 to 2 inches lower than they were a year ago.  Lake Erie is similar to last year's level, while Lake Ontario is 10 inches higher than last year's level.  Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are predicted to rise 4 and 3 inches, respectively, over the next month.  Lake St. Clair is projected to climb an inch during the next 30 days, while Lakes Erie and Ontario are predicted to fall 2 inches.  Lake Superior is forecasted to stay above last year's water levels through October, while Lake Michigan-Huron will reach and exceed its levels of a year ago over the next few months. Lakes St. Clair and Erie will remain at around last year's level, while Lake Ontario is predicted to remain higher than last year's levels over the next several months.  See our Daily Levels web page for more water level information.


Current Outflows/Channel Conditions

Outflows from the St. Marys, St. Clair and Detroit Rivers are expected to be below average for May while outflows from the Niagara and St. Lawrence Rivers are forecasted to be above average.



Lake Superior is currently below chart datum, but is forecasted to rise above it in June.  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.





St. Clair



Level for May 16






Datum, in ft






Diff in inches






Diff last month






Diff from last yr







Tories extend gun ownership amnesty; No Prosecution

(Saskatoon Star Phoenix)

OTTAWA - The Harper government has extended the two-year-old amnesty that protects firearms owners from prosecution if they fail to  register their rifles and shotguns. The Cabinet approved a directive on May 8 that extends the amnesty to May, 2009, virtually guaranteeing the Conservatives will  not have to risk defeat of a bill scrapping the controversial registry before the next federal election.


A senior Liberal MP who once was in charge of the registry as a solicitor-general says the essentially inactive registry, now under RCMP  management, has become a bigger waste of money under the current government than it was under the Liberals.


Prince Edward Island MP Wayne Easter pointed to a published report last month that the government has foregone $56.5-million in fees  through the amnesty and a separate waiver for licence-renewal fees over the next three years while the registry is expected to cost $35.9 million.

"They're wasting far more money now," he said. "All they are doing is playing political games. They're not implementing the

law the way it was  supposed to be implemented, and they're not getting rid of it either."


The Conservative government first introduced the amnesty on May 17, 2006, to protect individuals, according to the Cabinet order, "from  incurring criminal liability under the Criminal Code as a result of the illegal possession of unregistered non-restricted firearms."


The previous day, Auditor-General Sheila Fraser had tabled a follow-up report on the gun registry after her first explosive expose in 2002 ignited  a firestorm, confirming the registry had cost taxpayers $946-million from its inception in 1995 to 2005. Fraser's second report found the Canada  Firearms Centre had made "satisfactory progress" implementing her 2002 recommendations on financial reporting, but the audit also found  accounting errors that resulted in the Department of Justice under-reporting the centre's cost by $60-million over two years.


Ms. Fraser also found weaknesses in the centre's management of firearms information and contracting problems.


Mustang’s Safe Boating Photo Contest

To highlight Safe Enjoyment Of The Water

Richmond, BC/Chicago, IL – Boating enthusiasts in the U.S. and Canada are invited to take part in a Safe Boating Photo Contest to show how  they stay safe on the water. Presented by Mustang Survival with the support of Discover Boating, amateur photographers have the  opportunity to win a Mustang Survival Personal Flotation Device (PFD) prize pack and have their picture featured within the Discover Boating  program.


“Our goal is to give people a choice of comfortable, high quality PFDs whether they are powerboaters, anglers, paddlers or take part in any of  the countless other water sports activities,” said Rob McMahon, Marketing Communications Specialist for Mustang Survival. “We're looking  forward to seeing all the great photos from boating



Contest Details:

- Photos can be entered on the free Flickr photo sharing site and are tagged with SBPC2008 from May 15th to July 20th.

- A panel of judges from Discover Boating and Mustang Survival will select 10 finalists.

- The public will have the opportunity to vote from August 1st to 15th to determine the winner.

- Full contest details available at www.mustangsurvival.com/safeboating


Visit www.mustangsurvival.com/mymustang/   for access to our library of product and action images, broadcast quality video b-roll, logos and  the latest company information.


Muskie egg collection more than doubles last year's

The state's muskie stocking program got a big boost from 40 adult female muskies that state fisheries biologists captured in traps last month at Lake Webster. The process yielded more than 700,000 fertilized eggs, compared to 275,000 last year.


Biologists stripped more than 1.5 million eggs from the fish, which measured 31 – 45”. The eggs were fertilized using 50 ripe males. Ideally, the eggs will yield nearly 20,000 muskie fingerlings about 10” each, which will be stocked at 15 lakes throughout the state in October. "We exceeded our goal of 500,000 fertilized eggs," said Dave Clary, manager of the state’s Fawn River Hatchery, who oversees the egg-taking. "In 2007 we had poor weather conditions. This year the weather was perfect."


 After the eggs were fertilized, they were disinfected with an iodine solution to prevent VHS (viral hemorrhagic septicemia), a viral disease threatening muskies and other fish in the Great Lakes region. The eggs were taken to the Fawn River Hatchery, then shipped to another state fish hatchery in southern Indiana for hatching.

"Even though we don’t think muskies are currently carrying the virus, we treated the eggs to avoid potentially contaminating our hatcheries," Clary said. This year also marked the first time biologists took eggs directly from adults while at the lake, rather than first hauling them to the hatchery. Fish tanks in the basement of a cottage owned by a local resident were used to temporarily hold the adult muskies.


While collecting muskies at Lake Webster, biologists also marked them, for the third year in a row, with a uniquely coded tag, called a Passive Integrated Transponder, or PIT tag. Tagged fish that are recaptured in future years will enable biologists to accurately estimate muskie growth rates.


"By comparing the total number of muskies we have tagged and the number of tagged fish recaptured later, we can also estimate how many adult muskies are in the lake," said Nate Thomas, DFW assistant fisheries biologist. "Past estimates of Lake Webster’s muskie populations make it one of the premier fisheries in the Midwest.”




State announces the Reopening of All State Forest Campgrounds

The Michigan DNR announced the reopening of all temporarily closed state forest campgrounds for the 2008 camping season. With the recent Legislative approval to restore $500,000 of General Fund appropriation to the Recreation and Trail Program, DNR Director Rebecca Humphries has authorized a land use order, effective today (May 12), removing 20 state forest campgrounds from their temporarily closed status.


DNR staff is quickly working to open all state forest campgrounds for the 2008 camping season. Depending on local weather  conditions, campgrounds typically open by mid-May. Some state forest campgrounds will require maintenance repairs to the water wells during the month of May.

The 143 state forest campgrounds with over 3,000 campsites are available on a first-come, first- served basis. These rustic campgrounds have from five to 50 campsites, vault toilets and hand water pumps. They are found throughout the 3.5 million acres of state forests and most are located on a lake or river. State forest campgrounds are not on the DNR’s campground reservation system.


The campgrounds to be reopened are in the counties of Alpena, Antrim, Cheboygan, Chippewa, Crawford, Grand Traverse, Luce, Marquette, Oscoda Otsego, Schoolcraft and Wexford. For specific campground availability and information, please call the nearest Operations Service Center, or refer to the department Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnr,  and click on Recreation and Camping.


Wildlife Regulation changes approved at May NRC Meeting

The State of Michigan approved several changes to the Wildlife Conservation Order at the May meeting of the NRC. The NRC approved an amendment authorizing veterans with 100% disability or those determined as individually unemployable as rated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to participate in the youth firearm deer season in September and the October disabled deer season. The amendment also adds the Thursday and Friday prior to the third weekend in October to the disabled hunt.


"This amendment will provide increased opportunities for disabled hunters without adversely affecting the resource," said Michael Bailey, Wildlife Division Species Management Section supervisor.


The NRC also expanded opportunities for antlerless deer harvest. The season limit of three private land antlerless deer licenses per hunter in Zone 3 (southern Lower Michigan) was increased to five. The regulation that a hunter may purchase up to two private land antlerless deer licenses from Zones 1 and 2 combined remains unchanged from last year.

"The change to allow five antlerless deer to be harvested on private land per hunter will substantially increase hunting opportunities in the southern Lower Peninsula," Bailey said.  Director Humphries approved the issuance of private land antlerless licenses through an application and lottery system for northern Lower Michigan counties and the Upper Peninsula.


"Previously, private land antlerless licenses were sold over the counter, but many of the counties in northern Michigan sold out on the first day of availability," said Bailey. "An application allows everyone wanting a private land antlerless license an equal chance at obtaining one."


Also approved was an early firearm antlerless deer season to address disease and deer population issues in Zone 3 and in Alpena, Alcona, Iosco, Montmorency, Oscoda and Presque Isle counties. The season will be open for five days on private lands only beginning the third Thursday in September.


The five-day season in southern Michigan also offers additional opportunity for licensed hunters in other areas where deer populations remain above the desired goal.

Guidelines for Handling Birds with Suspected Cases of Botulism Announced

The state of Michigan last week announced a series of protocols to provide the public with information on how to handle birds suspected of  dying from Type E botulism.


"For the past two years on Lake Michigan, we have had a number of waterfowl and other shore birds die due to Type E botulism," said DNR  Wildlife Biologist Tom Cooley. "We now have protocols in place for the public that explain what to do if they find a dead bird washed up on  shore. We also will be providing information to waterfowl hunters this year who might be hunting in these areas."


In 2006 in the Upper Peninsula, the die-off occurred in Menominee, Delta and Schoolcraft counties with an estimated mortality of 600 birds. The  species involved were double-crested cormorants, ring-billed gulls, horned grebes, common loons, red-breasted mergansers and red-necked  grebes. In the Lower Peninsula, the die-off occurred in Leelanau, Mason, Benzie and Grand Traverse counties with an estimated mortality of  nearly 3,000 birds. The species involved were grebes, double-crested cormorants, gulls, mergansers and common loons.


In 2007 in the UP, the die-off occurred in Delta, Schoolcraft and Mackinac counties and involved common loons, long-tailed ducks, horned  grebes, white-winged scoters, herring gulls and red-necked grebes. In the LP, the die-off occurred in Leelanau, Benzie, Emmet, Charlevoix  (including Beaver Island) and Antrim counties. DNR wildlife biologists also heard reports of other counties involved, but received no birds to examine. There were at least 17 species of waterbirds involved with the most common being double-crested cormorants, ring-billed gulls, horned  grebes, common loons, common mergansers and long-tailed ducks.


Two additional species of interest are the Caspian tern and the piping  plover, which are state threatened and federally and state endangered, respectively. The estimated mortality for the Sleeping Bear Dunes  National Lakeshore, which was highly monitored, was 1,135 birds. The total mortality for both Peninsulas was 7,500 birds, including birds from  the Sleeping Bear Dunes. The numbers were much greater in 2007 in the UP than they were in 2006.


The majority of the mortality began in late August and extended into the middle of November. There was a small die-off in June along the  Sleeping Bear Dunes area, and that is when the Caspian terns and the piping plovers died.  DNR wildlife biologists believe the likely route of  transmission of Type E Botulism in Lake Michigan, as well as in Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, probably includes Cladophora algae, zebra and  quagga mussels and the round goby. The algae establish anaerobic conditions in which the botulism bacterium -- found in the bottom  sediments of the Great Lakes -- proliferates.

The bacteria, and the toxin it produces, are ingested by the mussels and the mussels are in turn  eaten by the gobies. Birds can become infected either by eating the mussels directly, eating gobies or other fish that may be involved that are  sick or dead due to the botulism toxin, or by scavenging carcasses of birds or fish that have died from botulism.


Protocols issued for Lake Michigan homeowners:

* Bird carcasses should not be handled with bare hands

* Bird carcasses should be placed in garbage bags

* Dispose of carcasses by including them with your household trash or by burying them. Bury them away from the shoreline

* You can bury animal carcasses on your property only

* Once you finish handling the carcasses, you should dispose of your gloves in a garbage bag and place them in trash


Protocols for collection of carcasses for examination:

* Any bird collected for submission for a necropsy or botulism testing must be freshly dead. Presence of a bad smell or maggots is evidence  that the bird has been dead longer than 24 hours and is not acceptable for testing. Decomposed carcasses can cause false positive results.

* Submission of birds for examination and testing needs to be limited to two individuals per species per county. Once the disease is confirmed  in a species in a county, no additional testing will be needed on that species.

* Individuals handling dead birds should wear rubber, plastic or disposable gloves. Place the carcasses in a garbage bag and seal the bag.  Collected specimens need to be bagged individually or by species and a history provided. The history should include date collected, location  (county, township, range and section if possible),  the numbers and species involved in the die-off and a contact name and address.

* The nearest DNR office should be contacted and arrangements made to deliver the specimens to the office. It may be possible for DNR  personnel to pick up specimens, but it may be necessary to deliver them. DNR field personnel will forward the specimens to the DNR Wildlife  Disease Lab in Lansing for necropsy and botulism testing.


Guidelines for waterfowl hunters include:

* Birds with Type E botulism may be lethargic, have difficulty holding their head out of the water or be unable to fly.

* Hunters should harvest only waterfowl that act and look healthy.

* Hunters should wear rubber, plastic or disposable gloves while field dressing, skinning or butchering waterfowl.

* Remove and discard intestines soon after harvesting and avoid direct contact with the intestinal contents.

* Wash hands, utensils and work surfaces before and after handling any meat.

* Keep waterfowl cool (either with ice or refrigerated) below 45*F until butchered, then refrigerate or freeze.

* Cook waterfowl to an internal temperature of 165*F. Cooking may not destroy Type E botulism toxin.

New York

Women’s Fly-Fishing Seminar Returns to Salmon River Fish Hatchery June 14

Local groups in Altmar will host the second annual Women’s Fly-Fishing Seminar on Saturday, June 14, 8 - 6 p.m. This event is specifically geared for women who are interested in learning or improving their fly-fishing skills. It’s a great way for women to get together, spend peaceful time with nature and enjoy a pastime that might otherwise seem intimidating.


Open to women over the age of 16, the seminar covers basic stream entomology and includes hands-on instruction from experienced instructors. Students will learn how to assemble, rig and make basic fly-casts with traditional fly-rods and reels.


The cost of the seminar is $20 and includes instruction, a tour of the hatchery and its operations and a deli-style lunch. Registration is required by contacting Lindsay Shukoff at [email protected]  no later than Sunday, June 1. Registrations are also accepted by mailing to Lindsay Shukoff, 60 Monroe Street, Honeoye Falls, N.Y. 14472.


“For each participant to have a quality experience, we are going to limit the class size to 20 women, on a first-come, first-

served basis,” officials said. “We will provide as much equipment as we can for the women to use for the day, but if they have a good, working fly-rod set up we are encouraging them to bring it.”


The seminar will take place rain or shine, so participants are asked to dress accordingly, including hats, sunscreen, bug repellent or anything they might need to make their day comfortable. For their own safety, women should not wear sneakers or open-toed sandals. Waders are recommended, but not required. A good pair of hiking boots or wading shoes are necessary if they intend to ‘wet wade’.


Fishing licenses are required to participate in the seminar and are available online at www.dec.state.ny.us/permits/28941.html  or by calling 1-86-NY-DECALS (1-866-933-2257). They can also be obtained at most town clerk offices or many local sporting goods stores.


For more info: [email protected] . For up-to-date fishing conditions throughout the year, call 1-800-248-4FUN (4386) or visit www.visitoswegocounty.com.


The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the GLSFC, its officers or staff. 

Reproduction of any material by paid-up members of the GLSFC is encouraged but appropriate credit must be given. 

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