Week of May 24 , 2004

World

National

Canada

Regional

General

2nd Amendment issues

Illinois

Indiana

Michigan

Minnesota

Pennsylvania

Wisconsin

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World

New species of fish discovered in Seychelles
VICTORIA — A new species of freshwater fish has been discovered in the Indian Ocean archipelago of the Seychelles, underlining the need for better protection for marine species, environment officials said last week.

 

The group of 120 tiny islands, which promotes itself as the original site of the garden of Eden, is a hotbed of biodiversity with a kaleidoscopic array of wildlife such as the giant turtle and plant species like the sensual coco de mer.

 

"This new species has never been sampled elsewhere and the species name is unknown," said Wilma Accouche, assistant conservation officer at the environment and natural resources ministry. Accouche said the small copper-colored

fish had not been given a name yet as more taxonomic work was required to classify it correctly.

 

The discovery, made during an inventory of Seychelles freshwater systems, brought the number of native freshwater fish species in Seychelles rivers to three. Accouche said the discoveries make it all the more important to protect freshwater ecosystems, especially if the species live close to the coast, where there is more interaction with humans.

 

Accouche said that two species of crustacean were also discovered, and work is underway to identify them at the Natural History Museum in Paris. They are new to the region, but it is not yet clear if they exist elsewhere.


 

 

 

National

Bush forms Cabinet-level task force to coordinate Great Lakes cleanup
WASHINGTON — President Bush on May 18 named a 10-member Cabinet-level task force, chaired by Environmental Protection Agency chief Mike Leavitt, to coordinate Great Lakes cleanup efforts among states, federal agencies, and Canada.

The General Accounting Office (GAO) found last year that 33 federal and 17 state programs have spent more than $1.7 billion on environmental restoration of the Great Lakes. However, the efforts were uncoordinated and the results difficult to measure, the GAO said. "These activities would benefit substantially from more systematic collaboration and better integration," Bush said in an executive order creating the task force.
 

The Task Force, under the USEPA, brings together ten Agency and Cabinet  officers to provide strategic direction on federal Great Lakes policy, priorities and programs, including the chair of the White House Council on Environment Quality and the secretaries of state, commerce, agriculture, housing, and urban development, transportation, homeland security, the interior, and the Army.

 

At the same time, the President instructed EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt to engage Ohio Governor Bob Taft as Chair of the Council of Great Lakes Governors and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley as Chair of the Great Lakes Cities Initiative to convene a complementary process of regional collaboration. In addition to the ten U.S. agencies, governance of the Great Lakes

system is shared with eight U.S. states, more than half a dozen major metropolitan areas and numerous county, local and Tribal governments. Internationally, governance of the Great Lakes system is shared with Canada.

 

"I plan to meet personally with each of the eight Great Lakes States governors and with many of the region's mayors and stakeholders over the next thirty days," Leavitt added. "The hallmark of our collaboration will be central coordination – of priorities, policies and plans – and local control – of programs, projects and people. I'll also meet with Canadian government officials within 30 days to begin the Task Force's discussion of how our two countries can better work together to address environmental impacts to the Great Lakes ecology."

 

Administrator Leavitt has already held his first meeting, with Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty on May 12, and meetings with the following Great Lakes Governors have been confirmed: May 18, Ohio Governor Bob Taft; May 20, Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell; May 24, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm and Indiana Governor Joseph Kernan; May 25, Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle and Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, and May 26, New York Governor George Pataki.


The task force must submit a report to the president by May 31, 2005.  Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, called Bush's order "an encouraging step forward" but added that a successful cleanup effort also requires substantial additional funding.


Keep an eye on Hollywood do-gooders

They also want to restrict all kinds of fishing

Keep an eye on the entertainment world's do-gooders as far as the environment is concerned.

   

The Washington Times reports people like Ted Danson, Barbra Streisand, media mogul Ted Turner and others are making tough statements about the sad shape of our oceans. They've formed a coalition of various entertainer-run foundations to fight polluters and abusers (a noble task), but in the long run they also want to restrict all kinds of fishing.

   

The coalition's name is Oceana. It consists of the Streisand Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trust and various Turner foundations. Oceana wants increased federal regulation and hopes to expand marine protected areas (MPA) where fishing will be permanently banned. These MPAs are an ocean

version of land-based National Park Service facilities. You can look, but do not touch. No fishing, no nothing.

 

It isn't a bad idea when over-exploited fish species are protected from commercial abuses or when polluters are slam-dunked, but we sport anglers by and large have little effect on the survival of fish species. In fact, we work to help, not damage them.

   

Streisand, by the way, is the same person who believes that because Republicans control Congress, the result has been poison in the water, salmonella in food, carbon dioxide in the air, and toxic waste in the ground. One thing is certain: If these people have their way, upcoming regulations will have serious consequences as concerns recreational and commercial fisheries, even boating.


Safe Boating Week May 22-28

WASHINGTON, D.C. - National Safe Boating Week May 22-28, highlights the need for boaters to take command of their safety by wearing a life jacket at all times while on the water. The week will kick off with an event in Washington, D.C. on May 22 that features a fashion show of the latest life jackets. Celebrity boating safety advocate and Emmy-nominated actor John Amos will also participate in the event and in a video news release of the event, which will be available by satellite feed to the media. Currently, Amos stars as Admiral Percy Fitzwallace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in The West Wing.

 

According to the Coast Guard’s latest available statistics, 750 boaters died in 2002. Eighty-five percent of those who drowned were not wearing their life jackets, even though in many cases, life jackets were aboard.

 

“Our boating accident statistics show that wearing your life jacket is the number-one thing you can do to greatly increase your chances of surviving a boating accident,” said Rear Admiral Jeffrey J. Hathaway, Director of Operations Policy, United States Coast Guard. “There is rarely enough time to

reach a life jacket, because accidents happen so quickly and unexpectedly. Up to 440 boaters would have survived in 2002 if they’d put on their life jackets before they headed out. Remember ‘You’re in Command.’ So, boat smart. Boat safe. Wear it!”

 

“With today’s lighter, more comfortable, and attractive life jackets, there’s no reason not to wear one,” said Virgil Chambers, Executive Director of the National Safe Boating Council (NSBC).

 

NSBC, along with the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, produces National Safe Boating Week through a grant from the Aquatic Resources (Wallop-Breaux) Trust Fund administered by the U.S. Coast Guard.

Two satellite news feeds of this VNR featuring b-roll from the event, b-roll of life jackets, a PSA and interview with John Amos, and interviews with boating accident survivors and Coast Guard Rear Admiral Jeffrey J. Hathaway will be fed on May 22 and May 24.

 

For more info: www.safeboatingcampaign.com


National Fishing and Boating Week June 5-13

Football coaching legend, Jimmy Johnson, has been named the Honorary Chairperson for this year's National Fishing and Boating Week, June 5-13. Johnson will help the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation kick off the week's festivities at a June 5 media event, where, along with local families, he'll make the ceremonial first cast in New York City's Central Park.

 

"I’m thrilled to be a part of this American celebration of the outdoors," said Johnson. "I have many, many fond memories of fishing and boating, from when I was a little kid right up to today. For me, there’s no greater way to relax and enjoy life than to be out on the water bonding with my family and friends."

Visit www.NationalFishingandBoatingWeek.org  for event ideas, planning materials and to register events. With the help of the "Passport to Fishing and Boating Program" volunteers can be recruited to help with an event. Passport is a hands-on, interactive program designed to teach families the basic skills needed to begin fishing and boating. Materials include color posters, scripts detailing what to say and do, activity cards, a boat mat layout, and other teaching tools.

 

To download/order free Passport materials: www.NationalFishingandBoatingWeek.org/Passport   Contact Stephanie Hussey at shussey@rbff.org

 


How Healthy Are Our Rivers and Streams?

USGS Report Shows Complex Picture

America's rivers and streams are generally suitable for irrigation, supplying drinking water, and home and recreational uses.  However, in areas with significant agricultural and urban development, the quality of our nation's water resources has been degraded by contaminants such as pesticides, nutrients, and gasoline-related compounds.

 

A series of 15 reports on the health of major river basins across the country have been released by the USGS. The river basins are in Hawaii, Alaska, California, Washington, Wyoming, Montana, Utah, Idaho, North Dakota, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, Wisconsin, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. Findings of regional and national interest are highlighted in a separate report "Water Quality in the Nation's Streams and Aquifers-Overview of Selected Findings, 1991-2001."

 

For more than a decade, USGS hydrologists have looked at three questions related to water quality. What are the conditions of our nation's streams and ground water?  How is water quality changing over time? And how do natural features and human activities affect the quality of streams?

 

According to the USGS Chief Hydrologist Robert Hirsch, "By evaluating and assessing our nation's water resources, we have a better understanding of water quality and this gives us a comprehensive picture of the long-term health of America's rivers and aquifers.  We have analyzed the effects of agricultural, urban, and forest land use practices on water

quality, habitat, and biota."

 

Major challenges that continue to affect streams and ground water are sources of pesticides, nutrients, metals, gasoline-related compounds and other contaminants.  In urban areas, insecticides such as diazinon and malathion which are commonly used on lawns and gardens were found in nearly all of the streams that were sampled.  Streams in agricultural areas were more likely to contain herbicides-especially atrazine, metolachlor, alachlor, and cyanazine.

 

Hirsch also noted that, "Concentrations of contaminants in water samples from wells were almost always lower than current EPA drinking-water standards and guidelines. However, the possible risk to people and to aquatic life can only be partially addressed because of the lack of criteria for many chemicals and their degradation or -breakdown- products. In addition, criteria were developed for individual chemicals and do not take into account exposure to mixtures or seasonal high pulses in concentrations."

 

The reports on water quality were completed by the USGS National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) program.  Of the 51 areas studied in the first phase of the program, the USGS has already launched a second round of studies in 42 areas to determine trends, fill critical gaps in the characterization of water-quality conditions, and increase understanding of natural and human factors that affect water quality.  Free copies of the NAWQA reports are available from 1-888-ASK-USGS, by fax 303-202-4693 or online at http://pubs.water.usgs.gov/nawqasum/ .

 


Bald eagle will be off threatened list this year, says Bush official
SACRAMENTO, California — The American bald eagle — the national symbol whose decline helped spur the Endangered Species Act and a ban on the pesticide DDT — will be off the threatened species list this year, said a top Bush administration official.

Craig Manson, the administration's point man on the Endangered Species Act, said recently that it's time to concentrate recovery efforts on more needy species.   "It's no longer endangered, but it's still deserving of special protection," said Manson.  The birds still would be safeguarded under the federal Bald Eagle Protection Act of 1940, which prohibits killing or selling the animals.

The Interior Department will outline its plans this summer after taking public comment on how to protect the birds' habitat, while recognizing that its population has recovered, said Manson, the department's assistant secretary for fish and wildlife and parks.  "The more species that we get off the list that are ready to be recovered, the more we can start focusing on those that are not quite there and ultimately move them off the list as well," he said.

Once common across North America, the bald eagle was

reduced to just 417 known breeding pairs in the continental United States by 1963. Its habitat was being destroyed as the nation grew, ranchers looking to protect their sheep shot it, and widespread DDT use after World War II thinned eggshells, causing a crash in the eagles' birth rate.

 

By 1978, the bird was endangered in 43 states and threatened in five others. In 1995, the species was reclassified as threatened throughout the lower 48 states; it was never in danger in Alaska.  An endangered species is one that is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range; a threatened species is likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future.

 

Today there are more than 7,678 breeding pairs of bald eagles in the contiguous United States, leading the group Environmental Defense to call on President George W. Bush this week to "make history" by removing the bird from the federal list. 

The effort comes as debate rages over the effectiveness of the Endangered Species Act, which many key congressional leaders are accusing environmental groups of using to pursue their own selfish and questionable agendas.

 


BoatU.S.' Top Ten Tips For Getting The Most From A Tank Of Gas

Summer Fuel Prices Expected to Reach Record Highs

With the cost of a gallon of gas continuing to reach record highs - and prices not expected to peak until late summer - Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatU.S.) has a few tips that could significantly reduce your fuel costs.

 

1. Leave the extra 'junk' home:  Don't load the boat up with weight you don't need.  Do a little spring cleaning - unused equipment that has been collecting mildew in the bottom of lockers for years should be taken home.

2. Water weight: This isn't about your mother's diet.  At 8.33 pounds per gallon, why keep the water in the tank topped off if you're only going out for the afternoon?

3. Tune her up:  An engine with fouled plugs, dirty air filter, erratic timing, a sputtering carburetor, or weak compression will gobble up fuel and perform dismally.  The bottom line: A tune-up is an excellent investment and could easily pay for itself over the summer.

4.  Tune your prop:  You can lose up to 5 mph of boat speed with a poorly tuned prop. If your boat goes 50 mph with a like-new prop and only 45 mph with a prop that's dinged and out of pitch, you've lost 10% of your speed but are still using the same amount of fuel. That converts to a 10% loss in fuel economy.

5. Clean the boat's bottom: A fouled bottom is like a dull knife;

it takes a lot more effort - fuel - to push it through the water.

Barnacles and slime slow the boat dramatically and increase fuel consumption.

6. Keep the boat in trim: Either by using trim tabs or with weight distribution.  A boat that is trimmed correctly will move through the water with less effort - and less fuel.

7. Install a fuel flow meter: A fuel flow meter is like a heart monitor; when consumption starts to rise, it's an early warning that something is amiss.  A fuel flow meter also allows you to select a comfortable cruising speed that optimizes the amount of fuel being consumed. If you don't want to spring for a fuel flow meter (about $300), you can calculate your fuel mileage by dividing distance traveled by gallons at fill-up. Using your logbook, you can then approximate fuel flow using average speeds and time underway.

8. For sailboats only: If you own a sailboat, all of the above apply, but the real savings begin when the engine is shut off and the sails are raised.

9. Get a discount: Many of the 750 BoatU.S. Cooperating Marinas around the country offer up to 10 cents off a gallon of gas. To get the discount all you have to do is to show your BoatU.S. membership card. 

10.  Pass the Hat: Stand up comic and BoatU.S. Magazine humor columnist Cap'n Drew has this sage advice: "You can always drop anchor just outside the gas dock, and sit there staring at the pump, sighing wistfully.  Your guests will get the hint."


Canada

Federal government aims at anglers

Plans to ban all lead sinkers and jigs

Garry Breitkreuz, a conservative member of Canada's parliament, is accusing his government of launching a sneak attack on 8 million sport anglers. Breitkreuz says the current government soon will propose regulations that will bring about an eventual prohibition on the import, manufacture and sale of fishing sinkers and jigs containing lead.

   

"Decades of Liberal [Party] red tape has been killing hunting and shooting sports in Canada," Breitkreuz said. "Now they have picked the fishing industry as their next target.

   

"A few weeks ago, the environment minister tried to quietly

announce his proposal to ban all lead sinkers and brass fishing lures. He plans to put his plan into place in October, after the election. There are about 8 million men and women in Canada who enjoy fishing. This Liberal government is going after them, just like it went after firearms owners. Liberals have driven hundreds of thousands of responsible firearms owners out of their sport; have cost the Canadian economy more than 10,000 businesses and the thousands of jobs that go with them. Now they have a plan to do the same thing to the fishing industry by banning fishing tackle. All this is being done without sufficient scientific evidence that there is even a problem."

 


Regional

Weekly Great Lakes Water Level for May 21, 2004

Current Lake Levels: 

Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, and Erie are 4, 14, 6, and inches, respectively, below their long-term average.  Lake Ontario is currently 1" above its long-term average level.  Lakes Superior and Ontario are 2 inches above last year’s level, while Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair and Erie are 5-9 inches above last year’s level.   

 

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions: 

The Lake Superior outflow through the St. Marys River into Lake Huron is expected to be near average during the month of May.  Flows in the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers are expected to be below average during May, while Niagara and St. Lawrence River flows are expected to be near average.

 

Temperature/Precipitation Outlook:

A very slow moving frontal system will stall over the Great Lakes

basin this weekend, bringing the chance for very heavy rain once again.  Some locations could see up to 2" of rain on both Saturday and Sunday as thunderstorms develop along the front.  

 

Forecasted Water Levels: 

All of the Great Lakes continue their seasonal rise.  Lake Michigan-Huron is rising at a rate above the average rate for this time of year due to the very wet conditions in the basin.  Over the next month, levels are expected to increase 4" on Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron.  Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are expected to rise 1-2" over the next month. 

 

Alerts:

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.


Great Lakes water levels are on the rise
The Army Corps of Engineers has some welcome news for Great Lakes boaters: Not only are water levels higher than they were at this time last year, but levels in some of the lakes are increasing faster than expected.

Earlier in the season the Corps of Engineers had predicted a normal spring increase in the Great Lakes water levels. However, precipitation totals are well above average over Lakes Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario, the Engineers said in a recent report. Lake Superior has seen slightly lower-than-average precipitation thus far in May.

“All of the Great Lakes continue their seasonal rise,” the Engineers said in the report. “Michigan-Huron is rising at a rate above the average rate for this time of year due to the very

wet conditions in the basin.”  This could mean a reversal of the declining water levels the region has experienced over the last few years. That trend has caused problems for marinas and boaters forced to deal with increased dredging costs and damaged props.

 

Although most of the lakes remain below their long-term averages, water levels at all of the lakes are higher than they were at this time last year. Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St. Clair and Erie are 4, 14, 6 and 1 inches, respectively, below their long-term average. Lake Ontario is 1 inch above its long-term average.

Lakes Superior and Ontario are 2 inches above last year’s level, while Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair and Erie are 5-9 inches above last year’s level.


House Subcommittee Urges Improved Coordination Of Great Lakes Restoration Programs

Washington, D.C. - The Chairman of the U.S. House Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee on May 20, urged federal agencies to improve the coordination and efficiency of their Great Lakes restoration efforts.

 

"Obviously, the Great Lakes are a high priority for states that border them, but the health of the Great Lakes ecosystem also has national significance," said U.S. Rep John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-TN), Chairman of the Subcommittee.  "In fact, the President's new Executive Order on the Great Lakes declares that 'the Great Lakes are a national treasure.'  "This resource helps support $200 billion a year in economic activity in the Great Lakes basin.   "However, human activity has had a negative impact on the Great Lakes.  

 

"While the Great Lakes generally can be used safely for swimming, recreation, and as a source of drinking water, the Lakes do not fully support aquatic life and it is not always safe to eat the fish caught in the Great Lakes," Duncan added. "Part of the problem is from ongoing wastewater discharges, urban and agricultural runoff, and air pollution - the same problems faced by lakes, rivers, and bays all around the country.   

 

"The Great Lakes also present a unique environmental challenge.  Because they are nearly enclosed water bodies, toxic substances have concentrated in these Lakes - sinking to the bottom and contaminating lake sediments.  "In 2002, this Committee moved legislation introduced by Michigan Congressman Vern Ehlers, the Great Lakes Legacy Act, to help jump-start remediation of contaminated sediments in the Great Lakes.  President Bush signed this legislation into law in November 2002.

 

"Our federal programs that address wastewater infrastructure and nonpoint source pollution do not give priority to the Great Lakes States when allocating funding, and I am not suggesting that they should.  Every region of the country has water pollution problems. "But, it is within the power of the Great Lakes States to give the Great Lakes priority when deciding how to spend this money,"

Duncan said. Subcommittee Expresses Hope That New Task Force Will Improve Coordination Of Restoration Efforts, Not Just Re-Study The Issue.

 

There are 148 federal programs that fund Great Lakes restoration.  Thirty-three of these programs are specific to the Great Lakes and 115 are nationwide in scope and can be used to support environmental restoration activities in the Great Lakes basin.  These programs have improved Great Lakes water quality, but some question whether they are effectively coordinated.

       

On May 18, the Administration issued an Executive Order that will establish a task force headed by the EPA Administrator to better coordinate the federal efforts to improve Great Lakes water quality, and to improve collaboration with regional, state, local and tribal governments on restoration strategy.

       

Duncan and other members of the Subcommittee commended the Administration for its action but warned that they didn't want to see just another group created to further study the issue.  Duncan said that in one year the Subcommittee will invite the agencies back to testify on their progress and he hoped that they would see "more than just paper traded back and forth" between agencies.

 

By surface area, the Great Lakes are the world's largest body of fresh water, holding six quadrillion gallons of water.  That is enough water to cover the entire continental United States with 10 feet of water.   

Economic activity supported by the Great Lakes includes:

  ● 50 % of the U.S. manufacturing output;

  ● 30 percent of U.S. agricultural sales;

  ● Water supply for 30 million people;

  ● Transportation of 50 million tons of waterborne cargo, half of which is exported overseas;

  ● A $4.5 billion commercial and sport fishery;

  ● A $2.6 billion hunting season with 5.5 million hunters; and

  ● 250 million annual park visitors.

 


Bill to aid Great Lakes restoration

Legislation would create task force, coordinate protection strategies

WASHINGTON - Seeking to advance efforts to clean up and protect the Great Lakes, Congressman Vernon J. Ehlers on May 19 introduced legislation that would pull together international, federal, state and local initiatives aimed at managing the world's largest source of freshwater.

       

Ehlers' legislation, the Great Lakes Protection and Restoration Committee Act (H.R. 4416) is designed to assess what is already being done to protect and restore the Great Lakes and pull together efforts that are most productive, while creating a comprehensive and coordinated strategy to prioritize future Great Lakes restoration projects.

       

Ehlers, R-Grand Rapids, noted that a 2003 study by the Government Accounting Office revealed that 33 federal and 17 state programs spent more than $1.7 billion on Great Lakes protection efforts, but that there was little coordination between the efforts and that significant environmental challenges remain.  "We cannot continue to think that using big dollar figures results in solutions," Ehlers said. "Yes, funding is important, but spending without a plan and without coordination is foolish and wasteful."

       

Ehlers, who highlighted the need for his legislation at a Thursday hearing of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment on Great Lakes water quality and restoration efforts, said his effort expands upon the Executive Order signed by President George W. Bush Tuesday, which created an interagency task force on the Great Lakes to coordinate the efforts of federal agencies.

       

"President Bush's order to coordinate federal activities in the Great Lakes is a good first step and I am pleased that EPA Administrator Leavitt is determined to implement the President's order," Ehlers said. "It is imperative to efficiently pull together the efforts of all levels of government so that we can make the best use of our

resources."

 

Ehlers' Great Lakes Protection and Restoration Committee Act will provide a path forward by bringing together all of the stakeholders in the basin, led by the Great Lakes state governors with the aid of relevant federal agency officials, tribal representatives, Canadian observers, scientific experts and environmental and industry stakeholders.

 

The committee will develop a specific and comprehensive strategy for moving forward with Great Lakes protection and restoration. Specifically, the task force will:

 ● Assess accomplishments from current programs over the past 10 years;

 ● Analyze the prospects for achieving restoration goals under current programs for the next 10 years;

 ● Prioritize restoration goals identified by the Great Lakes governors;

 ● Develop specific, measurable benchmarks for achieving those goals;

 ● Recommend legislative options for obtaining such additional authority and funding as are necessary to achieve those goals;

 ● Coordinate actions among the existing federal, state, provincial, local, and non-governmental programs in the Great Lakes.

 

"This serious and measured approach mirrors the steps taken in other large ecosystem restoration projects such as the Everglades and Chesapeake Bay," Ehlers said. "Due to the complexity of those restoration initiatives, which crossed over many jurisdictional lines, environmental challenges and scientific disciplines, it was essential to have an overall strategic plan in place to guide activities and funding decisions over long periods of time. The Great Lakes Basin is significantly larger and the environmental challenges substantially more complex than in those ecosystems. Therefore, there is an even greater need to put an overarching strategy in place for the Great Lakes."


General

Bombardier Brings E-TEC Benefits to V6 200, 225 and 250 hp Options

Sturtevant, Wis - Bombardier (BRP) will offer three new horsepower options in the Evinrude® E TEC™ family of outboard engines in the 2005 model year. BRP continues to provide boaters with options they want while leading the industry with powerful engines and advanced technology, including the new 200, 225 and 250 hp engines, and the hugely popular 225 HO (high output) model.

 

This new family of Evinrude E-TEC outboard engines features both freshwater and saltwater configurations. Like their smaller 40 - 90 hp relatives, these exceptionally well engineered engines present outstanding durability and reliability in extreme environments, while offering the lowest emissions levels in the industry, a quiet signature sound and extremely low maintenance.

 

Evinrude E-TEC has been heralded as the most important advancement in outboard engine technology in decades. With this new larger horsepower family of engines, BRP is proving that it will carry the promise of E-TEC across the horsepower range.   As with all BRP products, the company's strategy is to study the market, understand the consumers' wants, needs and desires, then develop groundbreaking products that meet those needs.

 

"BRP has a commitment to understanding boaters and we see they have been waiting years for technology like

Evinrude E-TEC," said Roch Lambert, Executive Vice President, Product  Development, Sales and Marketing, North America. "Sales have exceeded expectations, and I'm certain it will be a long time before an E-TEC engine is built that isn't already sold. The impressive response from boaters speaks for itself."

 

"E-TEC provides a greater variety of reliable and powerful engines for an expanding market, and with our environmentally responsible technology, the consumer no longer has to make compromises to enjoy the best an outboard has to offer," added Lambert.

 

The engine-maker says E-TECs require no scheduled maintenance for three years or 300 recreational hours, including gearcase lube. “Many, many times we’ve heard, 'It's a 4-stroke world,' "says Lambert."More than 50 % [of outboard s] are not 4-stroke." He expects to woo those 2-stroke devotees and a share of the 4-stroke world as well to E-TEC. “We’ve done our homework on this thing,” he says. “We think it’s a pretty darned good mousetrap.”

 

First released in 2003, Evinrude E-TEC revolutionized the outboard engine industry with unique features, including no dealer-scheduled maintenance for three years, California Air Resources Board (CARB) 3-star and European Union (EU) Recreational Craft Directive 2006 compliant, a quiet signature sound and great fuel economy, all in a new styling package.     www.brp.com


Heading for a hot summer? This will cool you off

The Winter Sports Show in Madison, WI will be held November 12-14 at the Alliant Energy Center.  The show times are Friday 4:00 - 9:00 PM, Saturday 10:00 - 8:00 PM, & Sunday 10:00 - 5:00 PM. 

 

The consumer show will feature exhibitors from downhill ski resorts, cross country ski equipment and trail info,

snowmobile and  ATV dealers, parts and accessories, and ice fishing products to all kick off the winter sport season.  Attractions and extras that can be seen at the show will be a ski swap, kids' entertainment stage, a raffle drawing with great winter products to win, and informational & entertaining seminars. 

 

The Winter Sports Show ticket costs $4 per person.


2nd Amendment issues

Crime in England – the price of gun control

In March of 1996, a deranged man walked into a school in Dunblane, Scotland and killed sixteen children and one teacher. In the aftermath of this heinous tragedy, British politicians sought to reduce violent crime by enacting an injudicious ban on all handguns. Handgun owners were given a February 1998 deadline to turn in their firearms--and they did. The UK was supposed to become a much safer place--but it didn't. Not by a long shot.

 

As reported in a May 14 article in the Edmonton Journal, England's recently released gun-crime statistics for the first five years following the gun-ban indicate a very different outcome than that which was forecast. According to the article, "the incidence of gun crime in England and Wales nearly doubled from 13,874 in 1998 to 24,070 in 2003. And the

incidence of firearms murder, while still very small, has risen 65 %."

 

The article details statistics from another report issued last year by Britain's Home Office, which reveal that there has also been a dramatic increase in robberies in recent years. They report that robberies, "rose by 28 % in 2002 alone and, since 1998, there has been an increase in the annual average of muggings of more than 100,000. England alone has nearly 400,000 robberies each year, a rate nearly 25% higher per capita than that of the United States."

 

Do gun bans serve to reduce violent crime? When law-abiding citizens are disarmed, is their society a safer one? England's plight is just the latest example to show, yet again, that the answer is "NO."


Illinois

First Chicagoland Fishing Rodeo for People with Disabilities June 19.

It is time to register for the first Chicagoland Fishing Rodeo for People with Disabilities at William Powers Conservation Area on Saturday, June 19. The Chicagoland Fishing Rodeo -- sponsored by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Illinois Conservation Foundation, National Wild Turkey Federation and Wheelin’ Sportsmen -- will give persons of all ages with physical or mental disabilities an opportunity to fish for free.

Interested anglers are required to bring a personal assistant. All necessary fishing equipment will be provided. There is no charge for the event, which is slated to run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., on June 19. A free lunch will be provided for all participants and their assistants at 11:30 a.m. Interested participants must register in advance by calling William Powers Conservation Area at 773/ 646-3270, or TDD 217/782-9175.

 


Record harvest for 2004 Spring Turkey Season

SPRINGFIELD, ILL. - Hunters in Illinois wrapped up another successful spring wild turkey hunting season last week with a record-setting harvest, taking a preliminary statewide total 15,066 turkeys, compared with a statewide harvest of 14,627 birds during the 2003 spring season.

 

Hunters in north zone counties and special hunt areas harvested a preliminary total of 9,278 wild turkeys, compared with the 2003 north zone harvest of 8,979, while the preliminary harvest total in the south zone was 5,788 turkeys, compared with the 2003 south

zone harvest of 5,648.

 

The top five counties for spring turkey harvest for 2004 were all in the north zone: JoDaviess (696), Pike (620), Adams (502), Fulton (437), and Macoupin (401). The top five counties in the south zone for the 2004 spring season were Pope (352), Jefferson (339), Marion (312), Randolph (304), and Union (290). An additional 498 turkeys were taken during this spring’s Youth Turkey Hunt, compared with a youth-season harvest of 347 birds in 2003.  A total of 96 counties were open to turkey hunting this spring. The IDNR issued more than 68,000 permits for the 2004 spring turkey season.


Indiana

State Fishery program planned at Potato Creek June 12

Did you know there are over 200 different kinds of fish in Indiana? Did you know the largest fish in Indiana live more than 150 years and grow to 8' long and over 300 lbs?  Did you know the largest minnows in our area grow to over 50 lbs?

           

Hoosiers can learn all about this and much more from Jamie Ladonski from the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. She will present two special programs at Potato Creek State Park's Nature Center on Saturday, June 12.  The programs are part of the statewide program presenting a free fishing weekend. No fishing license is required June 12 and 13 to encourage Hoosiers to enjoy sport fishing.

           

"The Indy 200 - Fishes of Indiana" will be presented at 10 a.m.

Ladonski will present some true fish tales and photographs of our finny friends that call Indiana home during this presentation.

 

At 2 p.m., Ladonski will offer "Fish Anatomy - Looking At Fish From The Inside Out." She will dissect several fresh fish from local rivers and lakes, including rarely seen species like bowfin, gar, and sea lampreys. Visitors will be able to see, up close and personal, fish hearts, fish livers, and fish stomachs...if they want to.

           

There is no charge for these programs beyond the normal park gate fee of $4.00 for Indiana vehicles and $5.00 for out of state cars.  For more information, call Potato Creek State Park, 574-656-8186


Free Fishing Weekend is June 12-13

It's reel fun with a catch

Put a wake on a lake or crank on a bank and get in on some Hoosier panfish pandemonium during Indiana's Free Fishing Weekend. Hoosier adults do not need a license to fish in Indiana this June 12-13. Children under the age of 17 do not need a fishing license at any time.

 

To help kids and adults celebrate Free Fishing Weekend, recreation areas located across Indiana are planning fun fishing derbies, casting clinics and fish cleaning and cooking classes. Check out a new lake or river, or introduce friends and family to a

favorite fishing spot. Some properties require pre-registration. Call your favorite property for details.

 

Free Fishing Weekend events are at over 30 hoosier locations. For more info call: 317-232-4080

 

Although no fishing license is needed to fish public waters on Free Fishing Weekend, all other fishing regulations are still in effect. Individuals who need reasonable modifications for effective participation in Free Fishing Weekend events should contact the property at least 72 hours before the event.


DNR asks teachers to assist with giant African land snail

As Hoosier teachers wrap up another school year, the DNR is asking them to be careful of an unwanted visitor they may have in the classroom. State Entomologist Dr. Robert Waltz believes there may be a number of teachers in Indiana who have giant African land snails in their classrooms this year.

 

Anyone in possession of a giant African land snail should call the DNR, toll free, at 877-463-6367 or the U. S. Department of Agriculture's Gary Simon, state plant health director, in Lafayette at 765-446-0267. The DNR or USDA will make arrangements for someone to pick up the snails and properly dispose of them.

 

On May 7 the state announced a quarantine of the snails that said, in part, no person in Indiana may "possess, offer for sale, sell, give away, barter, exchange, or otherwise distribute or release a giant African land snail, in any life stage." A federal quarantine has been in place for a number of years.

 

Waltz, said the giant African land snail is considered to be the most threatening to the environment of any land snail in the world. "This creature is known to eat hundreds of different types of plants 

including some grown as crops in Indiana," Waltz said.

 

State health officials warn that individuals can become ill if they ingest snails that have not been completely cooked.  The snails can carry the rat lung worm, which can cause individuals who eat raw or undercooked snails to develop meningitis and to suffer from permanent neurological damage. Although rat lung worm has not been reported in Indiana, state health officials are concerned it could have been imported from tropical areas.

 

Scientists believe the giant African land snail is originally from East Africa. It is now commonly found throughout the Indo-Pacific Basin, including the Hawaiian islands.

 

According to the USDA, in 1966, a Miami, Fla. boy smuggled three giant African snails into south Florida upon returning from a trip to Hawaii. His grandmother eventually released the snails into her garden. Seven years later, more than 18,000 snails had been found along with scores of eggs. The Florida's eradication program took 10 years at a cost of $1 million. (www.aphis.usda.gov/ppq/ep/gasalert.pdf )

 


Snakehead or bowfin?

When Crystal Hedge of Syracuse, Ind. caught a strange-looking fish in a ditch behind her house she thought she had a snakehead. It looked like one she saw on the internet. However, Hedge's two-foot long, dark green, slimy fish with teeth wasn't the strange, exotic predator from Asia that she thought it was. It turned about to be a run-of-the-mill bowfin.

 

Bowfins and snakeheads do look alike, but bowfins are found throughout northern Indiana. So far, snakeheads are not. Hedge caught her bowfin May 10 while fishing with a night-crawler in Skinner Ditch, a tributary to Turkey Creek just outside Lake Wawasee.

 

"It's getting more common for anglers to catch a bowfin and think they have a snakehead," said Jed Pearson, DNR fisheries biologist. "Snakeheads have been in the news a lot lately and are showing up in other parts of the country."  Both species have rounded tails and long dorsal fins that stretch out along their backs. Both live in similar habitats and are capable of breathing surface air by using their air bladder as a lung. Both can also survive dry periods by burying themselves in mud.

 

However, bowfins are generally more greenish in color and have a very short anal fin. The anal fin on a snakehead can

extend more than half the length of the dorsal fin. The head of a bowfin is more rounded and its upper jaw is longer than its lower jaw. A snakehead's lower jaw is longer.

 

Bowfin, also called "dogfish" have a large circular spot just in front of the tail. The bullseye snakehead does also, but the giant snakehead and northern snakehead do not have a tail spot.  Bowfins and snakeheads are opportunistic feeders that prey on small fish, amphibians, even small birds and mammals. "The bowfin has evolved as a part of our natural lake fish communities and don't pose an ecological danger," said Pearson. "Snakeheads, like so many other non-native species of fish and wildlife, do." 

 

As a top-level predator, Pearson says snakeheads could quickly impact local fish populations through predation or displacement if they became established in Indiana. "We've seen a proliferation of non-native, invasive species in the state and across the nation," said Pearson. "We don't need or want any more." Pearson says he is glad Hedge saved her fish and called him to have it checked out. Anglers who actually catch a snakehead should destroy it immediately.

 

See photos of snakeheads at: http://www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/stuff/gallery/snakehead.htm


Michigan

Research continues on muskie pox

Michigan fisheries officials reminded anglers on Lake St. Clair to report observations of sick or dead muskie that appear to suffer Piscirickettsia, commonly called "muskie pox."

 

The bacterial disease, which does not affect humans, was first identified by DNR and Michigan State U. scientists in early 2002. It is similar to a bacteria that has caused widespread death among various trout and salmon species in Chile, Norway, Ireland and Canada, but further investigation indicates that the strain found in Lake St. Clair muskellunge is a different bacteria.

 

Fish exhibiting visible signs of muskie pox have red skin rashes and sunken eyes. Fisheries experts researched the bacteria last summer, both in the field and in the laboratory. Fish captured and tested at various locations throughout the U.S. side of Lake St. Clair all showed some level of infection, indicating the bacteria exists throughout the lake. However, laboratory researchers noticed Piscirickettsia is very sensitive to antibiotics, indicating that infected fish can be treated.

 

Research in 2004 will focus on developing a management strategy to control the disease and slow its spread. Fish sampling will focus on muskies as well as likely prey species,

to determine what other species in the lake may be infected by or act as a reservoir for this bacteria. Researchers also will continue to monitor the rate of external symptoms in and the location of infected Lake St. Clair muskies.

 

"We need the help of the angling community, to report what they see on the lake and to take some simple steps to prevent spreading this disease to other waters," said DNR Fisheries Biologist Mike Thomas. 

 

Anglers who observe sick or dead muskies with visible infection signs are asked to contact DNR to report the estimated size of the fish and the GPS location. To minimize the chance of spreading the infection, anglers are encouraged to clean their baits, landing nets, and boat decks with a solution of dilute household bleach (one-quarter cup per gallon of water) followed by thorough rinsing in water after landing muskies and after each fishing trip. 

 

To report infected fish or for more information on Piscirickettsia, contact Michael Thomas at the DNR Lake St. Clair Fisheries Research Station, 586-465-4771, thomasmv@michigan.gov  .


Open houses to focus on Gaylord forests May 25-26

The Michigan DNR will host informal open houses May 25-26 to provide information and receive public comment on forest management treatments proposed for 2006 in the Gaylord Management Unit.

 

The May 25 open house will be held from 3-7 p.m. at the Indian River Field office for Cheboygan, Emmet and Mackinac counties; while the May 26 open house will be held from 3-7 p.m. at the Gaylord Field Office for Antrim, Charlevoix and Otsego counties.

 

Each year DNR personnel inventory and evaluate one-tenth of the state forest. The information gathered includes the health, quality and quantity of all vegetation; wildlife and fisheries habitat and needs; archaeological sites; mineral, oil and gas activities; recreational use; wildfire potential and social factors, including proximity to roads and neighborhoods; and use on adjacent lands, public or private. Proposed treatments are then designed to insure the sustainability of the resources and ecosystems.

 

The open houses are an opportunity for the public to review proposed treatments and provide input toward final decisions on those treatments. They also provide the public an

opportunity to talk with foresters and biologists about issues of interest. Maps and info are available at each open house, can be accessed at www.michigan.gov/dnr , or contact Joyce Angel-Ling, Gaylord Unit Manager, at 989-732-3541, Ext. 5440.

 

Each forest management unit is divided into smaller units or compartments to facilitate better administration of the resources. The Indian River open house and compartment review will focus on: Beaugrand, Ellis, Mentor, Mullett and Waverly townships in Cheboygan County; Bliss, Center and Springvale townships in Emmet County; and Bois Blanc Island in Mackinac County. The Gaylord open house and compartment review will focus on: Chestonia and Warner townships in Antrim County; Chandler and Peaine townships in Charlevoix County; and Charlton and Otsego Lake townships in Otsego County.

 

Formal compartment reviews to finalize prescriptions for these areas are scheduled to begin at 9:00 a.m. on June 22 at the Tuscarora Township Hall in Indian River, for the Gaylord North compartments, and June 23 at the Northland Sportsmen's Club in Gaylord, for the Gaylord South compartments. Persons with disabilities needing accommodations for these meetings should contact Joyce Angel-Ling at 989-732-3541, Ext. 5440.


MNRTF Board to host planning retreat June 2-3

The Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Board of Trustees will evaluate MNRTF grant-scoring criteria and selection process at its regularly scheduled meetings throughout this summer.

 

To prepare for that process, the MNRTF Board announced a June 2-3 retreat at the Lansing Center in Lansing. The meeting is open to the public. Trustees will discuss MNRTF goals and policies with stakeholders, staff and other interested parties. Input gathered at this meeting will be used to help the Board determine priorities for the coming years. 

 

The retreat begins June 2, from 6:30 to 10 p.m., and

concludes June 3, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., in rooms 204 – 205. The format includes stakeholder presentations and public comments to the Board on Wednesday evening, and discussion of major topics Thursday. 

 

Anyone interested in providing comments but unable to attend the retreat is encouraged to submit written remarks, by mail or electronically, by June 10. Additional information is available on the DNR web site, www.michigan.gov/dnr .

 

Written comments can be mailed to MNRTF Board Retreat, c/o MI DNR, PO Box 30425, Lansing, MI 48909-7925.

 


Porcupine Mountains Hosts birds of prey weekend

The Michigan DNR announced several programs planned for the Memorial Day weekend at Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in Michigan's western Upper Peninsula.

 

Joe Rogers, Wildlife Recovery Association, presents a close-up look at Michigan's birds of prey Saturday and Sunday, from 1 to 5 p.m. at the park's Wilderness Visitor Center. This one-hour program features live hawk and owl species native to Michigan.

 

On Saturday evening at 7 p.m., join the park interpreter for a hike to the top of Cloud Peak. This two-hour hike climbs over 300 feet and is rated as moderately difficult, but the view at the top is quite spectacular. Participants should wear sturdy footgear and bring binoculars if they have them. Stop by the

visitor center for a map and directions to the hike's meeting point on M-107, one mile west of the mine site picnic area.

 

A guided hike to the old Nonesuch town site is planned for Sunday afternoon at 5 p.m. Visit the old town site and hear the story of this long-abandoned, wilderness copper mining community. Allow one hour and 15 minutes for this hike. Stop by the visitor center for a map and directions to the hike's meeting point.

 

It always is recommended to call the park in advance to confirm dates and times of an event. For all events, an adult must accompany children. All programs are free; however, a state park motor vehicle permit is required for entry to the park. Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is located near Silver City, Michigan, 13 miles west of Ontonagon. For additional information, call 906-885-5275.


Mountain biking workshop planned for women June 26

State recreation officials today announced the fourth annual Women's Mountain Biking Symposium, June 26, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., at Stony Creek Metropark in west Macomb County.

 

The workshop is geared toward the beginner-to-intermediate rider. Participants learn how to ride trails, including the basics of braking and cornering and how to distribute body weight on climbs and descents. A maintenance clinic covers basic trail repair, how to fix a flat tire and a broken chain, and how to keep a bike clean and properly lubricated. Other sessions include an introduction to racing and a forum that provides answers to all your mountain biking questions.

 

A group ride and a prize drawing will conclude the workshop.

The cost is $20 and enrollment is limited to 60 women. Participants are asked to bring their own bike, helmet and a sack lunch. Bagels and juice will be provided in the morning and water throughout the day. Based on the popularity of this program in past years, early registration is recommended. The form is available online at www.michigan.gov/dnr .

 

The workshop is sponsored by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program in conjunction with the Michigan Mountain Biking Association and Stony Creek Metropark. For more information, contact Laura Ouellette at bow@mmba.org or Lynn Marla, DNR Becoming an Outdoors-Woman Coordinator, at marlal@michigan.gov ; 517-241-2225.

 

 


Minnesota

BOW program offers canoe and kayak trips

The Minnesota Becoming An Outdoors Woman (BOW) program is offering a number of canoe and kayak trips this summer. Space is limited, so women are encouraged to sign-up early.

   

On June 19, The Three Rivers Park District is giving women the chance to explore the Crow River by canoe. The trip will begin at Lake Rebecca Park in Rockford at 9:00 a.m. and return by 4:00 p.m. The cost is $25 per person and all equipment is provided. Women will need to bring their own lunch. The Crow River is a wild, fun river to paddle and its right in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Women interested in this trip, should contact the Three Rivers Park District at (763) 559-6700.

   

There are two kayak opportunities for women who want to try the sport or would like to take their kayaking adventure to the next level. For beginners, flat-water lessons will be given on June 12 and August 7 at Hyland Park Reserve in Bloomington. This is a good opportunity to learn how to paddle and spend some time in a kayak. All equipment is provided. To register

for the three-hour lesson, call the Three Rivers Park District at (763) 559-6700. The cost per person is $35.

 

Experienced kayakers may enjoy a trip to Lake Superior. The two-day trip includes accommodations at a lodge on Lake Superior, meals, guides and gear. Superior Coastal Sports will provide the instructions and guides. The cost for the all-inclusive trip is $400 per person. To register, call 888-MINNDNR (646-6367), or (651) 296-6157.

 

The DNR's BOW program, which began in 1994, focuses on the teaching women outdoor skills in areas such as hunting, fishing and other outdoor pursuits. The BOW program offers a wide variety of half-day clinics and weekend workshops throughout the year. The classes are designed for women 18 years of age and older.

   

For more info, visit www.dnr.state.mn.us/education/bow/index.html , or call the DNR Info Center: 888-646-6367 or (651) 296-6157.

 


Shoreline alterations, aquatic plant removal may require permits

Lakeshore owners who are preparing their property for boating and swimming this summer are reminded that removing aquatic plants or altering shoreline often requires a permit from the Minnesota DNR.  DNR staff members who issue permits for shoreline alteration or aquatic plant removal can help lakeshore owners avoid harming the lake or river near their home, said Steve Enger, DNR Division of Ecological Services.

  

While cutting or pulling submerged vegetation in a small area for recreation is allowed without a permit, the following activities require an Aquatic Plant Management Permit, which costs $35 and is valid for one year:

● using herbicides or algicides to control aquatic plants in public waters,

● removing emergent vegetation, like bulrush, cattails or wild rice,

● removing floating leaf vegetation, like water lilies, in an area larger than a channel 15' wide extending to open water,

● cutting, pulling or mechanically controlling vegetation in an area larger than 2,500 square feet or wider than 50',

● removing or relocating a bog of any size that is free floating or lodged in any area other than its original location, and

● installing or operating an automated plant control device.

   

Projects that do not require an Aquatic Plant Management Permit include:

● cutting or pulling submerged vegetation like coontail or sago from an area that does not extend more than 50 ft along the shore, or more than one half the frontage width, whichever is

smaller. The cleared area may not exceed 2,500 square feet cutting or pulling floating leaf plants, like water lilies, to create a channel 15 feet wide extending to open-water. More extensive removal requires a permit

● cut or pulled vegetation must be removed from the water and the cleared area must remain in the same place from each year.

 

Many lakeshore property owners are restoring their shoreline property to a more natural condition. The DNR supports protection and restoration of shoreline, but encourages property owners to plan these projects carefully. A permit from the DNR is required to plant aquatic vegetation below the ordinary high water mark of public waters. This will help reduce the potential for adverse impacts from these projects. There is no charge for this permit.

 

Lakeshore owners who are considering projects that would alter their shoreline or lake bottom should review the DNR Division of Waters permit requirements before work begins. Certain types of alterations below the ordinary high water level of public waters or public waters wetlands require an individual Public Waters Work Permit. Activities that fall under this requirement include excavating, dredging, filling, draining or the placement of structures.

   

For more information on both the Aquatic Plant Management Program and the Public Waters Work Permit Program is available on the DNR Web site at www.dnr.state.mn.us  or call 888-MINNDNR (646-6367).

 


Governor Signs Dove Hunting Law

NRA Urges Michigan to Follow

FAIRFAX, VA--With overwhelming support from the legislature and the people of Minnesota, Governor Tim Pawlenty signed legislation establishing a dove hunting season for the first time since 1946.  A similar bill (HB 5029) to bring dove hunting to Michigan awaits action from Governor Granholm.

 

"Mourning dove are America's most popular and abundant game bird. Michigan sportsmen should have the same opportunity as people in Minnesota and 39 other states to participate in one of America's oldest and cherished pastimes this fall," said Chris W. Cox, NRA chief lobbyist.  "On behalf of tens of thousands of Michigan members, hunters and sportsmen, NRA urges Governor Granholm to follow Minnesota's lead in establishing a dove hunting season." 

 

The season will provide additional opportunities for an estimated 30,000 to 50,000 Minnesota hunters with no adverse effect on the bird's population, according Ed Boggess, assistant chief of the DNR Wildlife Division.

 

The mourning dove is the most abundant migratory game bird in the United States, with an estimated fall population of 400 million birds. Minnesota has a fall population of approximately 10 million to 12 million birds. Mourning doves are most commonly hunted in or near open fields, along tree lines and near watering areas.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which has regulatory authority for migratory game birds, authorizes states to set seasons between Sept. 1 and Jan. 15. Seasons may be open for 60 days with a daily bag limit of 15 birds, or up to 70 days with a daily bag limit of 12.

 

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade organization representing the sporting goods industry, forecasts a $115 million addition to Minnesota's economy with the establishment of a dove hunting season.  One Minnesota sporting goods store alone predicts a $1 million boost in sales with a dove season.   Similar benefits are predicted for Michigan's economy if this legislation is signed into law.

 

"Bringing a dove season to Michigan does more than provide new hunting opportunities--it will boost the economy by expanding tourism, increasing spending and creating jobs across the state," added Cox.  "Signing this law will benefit all Michiganders, not just those who participate in the shooting sports."

 

In an historic bi-partisan vote in March, the Michigan Senate passed HB 5029 with a 22 to 15 vote.   In November, the Michigan House of Representatives voted 64 to 44 in favor of establishing the first dove hunting season in state history.

 

 


Gunlocks being given away across Minnesota

An estimated 40,000 cable-style gunlocks, along with information about gun safety, will be given away free by Minnesota DNR conservation officers, thanks to a federal grant by a firearms industry group.

 

More than 30 million Americans enjoy using firearms for hunting and sport shooting. Of that 30 million Americans, most own more than one firearm. When these firearms are not being used, they must be safely and securely stored. The

 irearm owner has to take the responsibility to know how to safely handle and secure all of their firearms.

   

Project Child Safe is a nationwide program developed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation and supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice, to continue giving away free gunlocks. Each gunlock is separately keyed. The gunlocks are available at any DNR enforcement office or from your local conservation officer.


Pennsylvania

Water Temperatures Impacting In-season Stockings

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is reporting that elevated temperatures in some Pennsylvania waterways has caused the postponement of several in-season trout stockings and additional schedule changes may be forthcoming.

 

Warm waters in Bucks, Butler, Lawrence and Mercer counties led the Commission to postpone five trout stockings last week.  Planned stockings for Neshannock Creek  (Sections 1, 2, & 4) in Mercer/Lawrence counties; Connoquenessing Creek (Section 2) and Thorn Ck (Section 2) in Butler County; and Neshaminy Creek and Lake Luxembourg in Bucks County were deferred last week because of concerns the receiving waters could not adequately support trout.  The Commission will monitor those waters and if conditions improve the stockings will be rescheduled.  If not, the trout will be

reallocated to other, more suitable, waters in the region.

 

Trout are what biologists refer to as “cold water fish,” preferring water temperatures in the 50s and low 60s.  As water temperatures approach or exceed 70 degrees, trout become thermally stressed.

 

While the short-term forecast for much of the Commonwealth calls for milder temperatures, the Commission is advising trout anglers that water temperature issues may come into play on other streams currently set to receive trout through the remainder of May.  As changes to the published trout stocking schedules may come without advanced notice, anglers are encouraged to regularly check the in-season stocking schedule posted on the Commission’s web site at www.fish.state.pa.us  for the most up-to-date information


State hunters set new safety record in 2003

HARRISBURG - The Pennsylvania Game Commission today announced that the 2003 was the safest hunting year in the 90 years records have been kept.  Last year, there were 57 hunting-related shooting incidents, including four fatalities.  In addition, the incident rate of 5.63 per 100,000 participants was the lowest on record.

 

A hunting-related shooting incident is defined as any occurrence in which a person is injured as the result of a discharge of a firearm or bow and arrow during actual hunting or trapping activities.  These incidents often result from failure to follow basic safety rules. In 2003, the incident statistics by species hunted were: deer, 25 (including three fatalities); small game, 17; wild turkey, 11; furbearer, 2; bear, 1; and waterfowl, 1, which was a fatal incident.

 

People shot in the line-of-fire comprised 19 of the hunting-

related shooting incidents, including two fatalities.  The second most common cause for shooting incidents was because the sporting arm was in a dangerous position, which accounted for 11 incidents, including two fatalities.  In-mistake-for-game incidents accounted for 8 incidents, followed by: unintentional discharge, 6; ricochet, 3; stray shot, 2; dropped sporting arm, 2; slipped and/or fell, 1; and other, 5.

 

Of the 57 incidents, there were 44 incidents inflicted by another hunter, including three fatalities.  The remaining 13 incidents were self-inflicted, including one fatal self-inflicted injury.

 

The Game Commission has posted information about hunting-related shooting incidents dating back to 1991 on its website at www.pgc.state.pa.us  (select "Education," then scroll down and click on "Hunting-Related Shooting Incident Statistics")


Wisconsin

Northern musky season opens May 29

Research sheds light on musky anglers

MADISON – The muskellunge season opens May 29 north of U.S. Highway 10, with recent research indicating that anglers who target musky are more experienced, more likely to practice catch and release, and have a higher expectation for what constitutes a trophy than musky anglers a decade ago.

 

The study, conducted by DNR researchers and published in the 2004 North American Journal of Fisheries Management, involved a mail survey to 1,400 anglers to reveal their opinions about the musky fishery and trophy management in Wisconsin. Anglers mailed surveys included those randomly selected from the membership lists of musky clubs, and anglers who lived in the northern third of the state, where 90 percent of Wisconsin’s musky waters lie. State fisheries managers estimate there are 360,000 anglers who pursue musky in Wisconsin, a considerable increase over past decades.

 

The 23-page survey covered questions ranging from angling behaviors, to regulation options to perceived problems. Scientists Terry Margenau, a longtime DNR musky researcher who is now a DNR fisheries supervisor in Spooner, and Jordan Petchenik, a DNR social scientist, compared responses between musky anglers and general anglers. They also compared responses to a similar mail survey Margenau conducted in 1989.

 

The researchers found significant changes in angling behavior and attitude among musky anglers:

 ● 42 % of musky anglers in 1999 indicated they had been fishing musky for more than 20 years, compared with 30 % in 1989.

● 35 % of musky anglers fished musky 21 to 50 days in 1999, up from 33 % in 1989.  

● 62 % of musky anglers in 1999 felt that a musky needed to be at least

 considered a trophy, compared to 44 % of musky anglers in 1989.

 ● 98 % of musky anglers in 1999 said they generally release legal-length musky, compared to 90 % in 1989.

 

The research also revealed interesting differences between musky anglers and general anglers, starting with musky anglers’ single-minded pursuit of their fish. Seventy percent said they had few or no other substitutes for musky fishing, compared to 10 percent of general anglers.

 

General anglers were more likely to keep a legal-size musky, although the 90 percent who said they generally release such fish is up from 59 percent in 1989. General anglers also are less supportive of restrictive regulations such as minimum length limits while musky anglers backed regulations based on a water’s biological potential, along with increased restrictions such as higher minimum length limits.

 

Muskellunge, Wisconsin’s largest game fish with the exception of lake sturgeon, are managed as a trophy fish so harvests are restricted through relatively high length limits and low daily bag limits to promote the occurrence of more large fish in the population. Only hook and line fishing is allowed for muskellunge and restrictions on trolling (originally developed to reduce muskellunge harvest) exist in many waters throughout the state.


2004 northern zone musky season regulations

In 2004, the statewide minimum length is 34 " and a daily bag of one, with special regulations on a number of waters, according to Tim Simonson, a DNR warmwater fisheries biologist. Yellowstone Lake in Lafayette County, for instance, has a daily bag limit of zero. Of the state’s 800 musky waters, 72 " have 34 " minimums, 24 " have 40 inch minimums, 10 percent have a 28 inch minimum limit, and 1.9 percent

have a 45 or 50 inch minimum length.

 

Check the 2004-2005 Guide to Wisconsin Hook and Line Fishing Regulations or view the regulations on line to learn about special regulations on specific waters. For more info, go to the DNR Web site and click on “muskellunge.”


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