Week of June 7,  2004

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National

National Fishing and Boating week under way

This year's National Fishing & Boating Week (NFBW) is sure to be the biggest and best since the event's inception. The fourth annual celebration of fishing and boating got underway June 5 and runs through Sunday, June 13.

In cities and towns from Seattle to Long Island, hundreds of on-water events are planned - including fishing derbies, regattas and festivals - all with the common goal of letting people experience fun on the water.

The festivities kicked off on June 5 in New York City, when Coach Johnson - avid boater and angler and legendary former NFL coach - made the ceremonial first cast of the week in Central Park. Coach Johnson was named the first NFBW honorary chairperson by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF), creator of NFBW and sponsor of the Water Works Wonders program and website.

"I have a ton of fantastic memories from my life in football, but nothing compares to the experiences I've had fishing and boating," said Coach Johnson, the two-time Super Bowl winner and honorary chairperson of National Fishing & Boating Week. "Now that I'm retired from coaching, these are the activities I enjoy doing most every day. They're not only a lot of fun, they let me do what's really important - spend quality time with my family and friends."

To help reacquaint lapsed anglers with fishing, most states
now sponsor free-fishing days when no fishing license is required. Many states have scheduled these days during NFBW, providing additional incentive for people to get out on the water. A complete state-by-state listing of free-fishing days can be found at www.WaterWorksWonders.org.  

 

Popularity of fishing and boating appears to be on the rise, with more than 1.5 million new anglers added in 2003 and tackle and boating sales up 3 percent in the first quarter of this year. More than 50 million Americans participate in fishing and boating every year; that's more than play golf and tennis combined.

 

According to RBFF, anglers and boaters are generally more concerned about conservation and the environment than non-participants. In addition, 83 % of state funding for managing and conserving aquatic resources comes from the sale of fishing licenses, and from excise taxes on fishing equipment and motorboat fuel.

For a complete list of scheduled NFBW events, visit www.WaterWorksWonders.org , a valuable information resource for fishing and boating enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels. The website also includes comprehensive how-to content as well as a zip-code searchable database of great places to go fishing and boating.


Freedom to Fish is now law in Maryland

Maryland Gov. Robert L. Erlich Jr. on June 25 signed the

Maryland Freedom to Fish Act into law, making it more difficult to close any of the state's waters to angling.


Regional

USFWS Goby Roundup/Carp Corral June 15 to 18      

Biologists Hope to Come Up Empty-Handed in Search for Carp & Gobies

The USFWS--along with a host of federal, state and regional partners--will again be searching the Illinois Waterway from the western Chicago suburbs to the La Salle-Peru area for invasive fish this June.

 

During the "Carp Corral/Goby Roundup,: June 15 to 18, biologists will attempt to determine abundance and upstream distribution of the bighead and silver carp—two invasive Asian carp species—and chart the downstream leading edge of the round goby.  Biologists will also collect fish health samples to detect pathogens such as the non-native spring viremia of carp virus.

 

Members of the media are invited for a first-hand experience with a field crew on Wednesday, June 16, or Thursday, June 17.  Sampling covers a 100-mile stretch of the Illinois Waterway from Alsip to La Salle-Peru. Abundant goby populations may be seen at the upstream sites and jumping silver carp will be collected at the downstream areas.  Contact Pam Thiel at 608-783-8431 by Thursday, June 10, for more information or to secure a space.  Space is limited and will be given on a first-come, first-served basis.

 

The interconnecting channels and natural rivers of the Illinois Waterway System in the Chicago area provide a direct link between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River Basin for non-native species to travel in either direction.  The Mississippi River Basin is the largest in North America and the Great Lakes Basin contains 20 percent of the earth’s fresh water.

 

Together these basins encompass portions of 30 states and two Canadian provinces.  The potential economic and environmental impacts of Asian carp, round goby and other invasive species are widespread and significant. 

 

An electrical fish barrier near Romeoville, Ill., in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal--designed to prevent and slow the spread of nonindigenous aquatic species--has been operational since 2002.  This experimental prototype barrier has been effective, but the electrified cables may only remain functional until next April, making it imperative that a new permanent barrier be erected as soon as possible.

 

"Plans are underway for construction to begin this month with completion by fall," said Wisconsin Sea Grant's Dr. Phil Moy, co-chair of the Dispersal Barrier Advisory Panel.

 

A bighead carp was found 21 miles below the electrical barrier, about 50 miles from Lake Michigan, but to date no bighead or silver carp have been collected above the barrier.  However, reproducing populations of bighead and silver carp have expanded into lower portions of the Illinois River to the Starved Rock Lock and Dam and the Iowa-Illinois boundary waters of the upper Mississippi River, as well as in the Missouri, Ohio and lower Mississippi rivers.

 

Marc Gaden, spokesman for the bi-national Great Lakes Fishery Commission, adds "We must do everything possible to halt these biological invasions.  With the fate of both the Great Lakes and Mississippi River fisheries at risk, there are elevated concerns for the future."

 

Now these damaging invasive species are moving even

farther north and posing a threat to the Minnesota-Wisconsin boundary waters of the Upper Mississippi River.  After a commercial fisherman netted a bighead carp last fall within 80 miles of Minneapolis, in Lake Pepin, the Service and the Minnesota and Wisconsin DNRs commissioned a study to identify ways to slow or stop the advance of these non-native Asian carp.  Deterrents recommended include physical barriers, technological barriers such as those that use electricity or acoustics to repel fish, harvest, biological controls, and chemical controls.

 

The Service will work with the Minnesota and Wisconsin DNRs, as well as officials from Iowa and the Army Corps of Engineers to evaluate the report and propose actions.  In addition, resource professionals from across the country met in May to begin developing an Asian carp management plan that will include strategies to limit the spread of Asian carp, prevent additional introductions and reduce the impacts of existing populations. This group, called the Asian Carp Working Group, (a new sub-committee of the ANSTF and which the Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council was invited to become a member and participate, ) will use assistance from other agencies and organizations as it develops and implements the management plan.

 

“Asian carp have become extremely abundant in stretches of the upper Mississippi and lower Illinois Rivers,” said Pam Thiel, project leader for the Service’s La Crosse, Wis., Fishery Resource Office and coordinator of the Carp Corral/Goby Roundup.  “They can upset the natural balance of the ecosystem, and in addition, the silver carp can actually jump high out of the water and into your boat, thus causing a safety hazard for boaters and skiers.”

 

Bighead and silver carp, native to large rivers of Asia, were brought into the U.S. by private fish farmers in the early 1970s and began appearing in public waterways in the early 1980s.  These species are plankton feeders, eating microscopic plants and animals, and can reach weights of more than 80 pounds.  They compete for food with larval and juvenile fish, as well as adult paddlefish, gizzard shad, bigmouth buffalo, and native mussels.

 

The round goby, a non-native fish from the Black and Caspian seas, was first discovered in North American waters in 1990 and has since spread to all of the Great Lakes. A bottom-feeding species known for its aggressive feeding and defensive behavior, and prolific reproductive rate, the exotic round goby are a threat to native fish and a nuisance to anglers.

 

The goby has been moving inland from Lake Michigan toward the Mississippi River basin via the Illinois Waterway System since 1993.  Last year, monitoring efforts detected round gobies seven miles farther downstream than where they had previously been collected—near the I-55 Bridge by Joliet and 55 miles inland from Lake Michigan, approximately 18 miles downstream from the electrical barrier, and about one sixth of the way down the length of the Illinois Waterway toward the Mississippi River.

 

The Carp Coral/Goby Roundup surveillance is critical in determining if Asian carp have moved upstream of the electrical barrier near Romeoville on their way to Lake Michigan and if round gobies have made their way farther downstream.


IJC - Great Lakes Governors/Ministers urged to share cost of electric fish barrier

In a letter to Governor Bob Taft, chair of the Council of Great Lakes Governors, the International Joint Commission (IJC) urged the governors and ministers of the Great Lakes states and provinces to meet an urgent U.S. $1.8 million funding shortfall to complete the construction of a permanent electric barrier in the Chicago Ship and Sanitary Canal. The barrier is needed to prevent the imminent introduction of Asian carp to the Great Lakes and the potential destruction of this great sport and commercial fishery.

 

"Failure to prevent the introduction of this invader may result in severe economic and ecological damage to the Great Lakes ecosystem, perhaps even exceeding the damage caused by previous introductions of the sea lamprey and zebra mussel," state IJC Canadian and U.S. co-chairs Herb Gray and Dennis Schornack.

 

Using a federal/nonfederal cost-share process, the U.S. Government has already contributed $5 million toward the

project, and the State of Illinois has contributed $1.7 million as the local cost-share partner.  Due to changes to improve the barrier design and unanticipated costs, an additional $1.8 million is needed to complete construction of the permanent electric barrier by a September 30, 2004 deadline.

 

"Specifically, we urge all the governors and the provincial ministers to join their colleague in Illinois and the federal government in fully funding the construction of a permanent barrier.  ... Illinois cannot serve as the single rubber stopper at the bottom of the Great Lakes basin," the letter states.

 

Two species of Asian carp that are within 50 miles of Lake Michigan could soon gain access to the Great Lakes through the Chicago Ship and Sanitary Canal. A temporary, experimental electric barrier built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has served as the last line of defense in preventing the movement of Asian carp into the Great Lakes; however, the temporary barrier is near the end of its expected lifespan and some of its components are failing.


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for June 4, 2004
Current Lake Levels: 
Lake Superior is currently 5 inches above last year's level, but 4 inches below its long-term average for June.  Lake Michigan-Huron is now 13 inches above its level of a year ago, but still 12 inches below its long-term average water level.  Lake St. Clair is 8 inches above last year and 4 inches below long-term average.  Lake Erie is currently 7 inches higher than last year and is at its long-term average, while Lake Ontario is 2 inches higher than last year and 5 inches higher than average.

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 June.  Flows in the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers are expected to be below average during June, while Niagara and St. Lawrence River flows are expected to be near average.

Temperature/Precipitation Outlook: 
High pressure will be in control of the weather across the

Great Lakes basin to start the weekend.  Sunny skies and
temperatures in the 70s are expected across the region.  The next chance for rain will come Sunday as a storm system pushes into the basin.  Unsettled weather is expected to return mid-week.

 

Forecasted Water Levels: 
Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron will continue their seasonal rise over the next month.  Lakes St. Clair and Erie are expected to reach their seasonal peaks later this month and are forecasted to remain fairly steady over the next four weeks.  Lake Ontario is nearing its seasonal peak and is expected to decrease one inch 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.


Illinois

Just for Kids Fishing Derby – June 13

Join a friendly fishing competition that is just for kids 15 and under. Bring your own gear. Bait will be provided while

supplies last. 8 a.m. - noon at Du Page County, IL Blackwell Forest Preserve Lake in Warrenville. Register the day of the event. Call 630-933-7248.


Fishing for Beginners – June 19

Learn fish ecology and identification as well as fishing techniques and regulations, Saturday, June 19. Anglers 16 and up must have a valid Illinois fishing license. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. 3 - 5 p.m. at East Branch/Glen Ellyn Road Lot in Glendale Heights. For reservations call 630-933-7248.  Offered by the DuPage

County Forest Preserves.

 

Fly-Fishing Merit Badge Introduction - Boy Scouts, learn the ins and outs of fly-fishing, and discover the steps involved in earning a merit badge. 9 - 11 a.m. at Blackwell in Warrenville.  For reservations call 630-933-7248.  Offered by the DuPage County Forest Preserves.


Indiana

DNR offers Go FishIN education workshops - June 17, 24, 30

Learning about aquatic resources and community is fun

The Indiana DNR' Go FishIN education program is offering free workshops to volunteers who will use sport fishing to teach young Hoosiers.

 

June workshops will be offered at:

- Salamonie Reservoir near Wabash on June 17

- Fort Harrison State Park in Indianapolis on June 24

- Mollenhour Conservation Camp in Kosciusko Co. on June 30

 

"The training is for anyone interested in teaching and sharing fishing with their local youth groups, school or community

organizations," said Go FishIN coordinator Amanda Wuestefeld. "People interested in fishing and the environment, especially educators, are invited to attend."

 

The program offers textbooks, loaner educational equipment and fishing equipment for volunteers to use in their community.  Go FishIN fits easily into elementary, middle and high school classes, including biology, chemistry, math, language arts, and social studies.  Workshops are offered at various Indiana locations throughout the year. Class sizes are limited and reservations are required.

 

For information, reservations, workshop hours and directions, contact the Natural Resources Education Center at 317-562-1338 or http://www.in.gov/dnr/nrec/


Hoosier Riverwatch stream monitoring workshop June 22

Clean, abundant water is a valuable resource for all Hoosiers.

Once again this year a number of Hoosiers will become trained to help monitor this precious resource. Hoosier Riverwatch, a DNR/Purdue University sponsored education program, is planning a series of workshops around the state to train people to monitor local streams and rivers.

 

The June 22 volunteer stream monitoring workshop in Sullivan County will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The training is free, but class size is limited. Persons interested in participating must make a prior reservation.

 

"One of DNR's most important responsibilities is conservation education," said John Goss, DNR director. "By taking this training and becoming a part of the Riverwatch program, these volunteers are making an important commitment. They will pass this knowledge on to others who will, in turn, bring more people into the circle of Hoosiers committed to protecting and improving Indiana's natural resources. When we widen the circle we are successful."

 

The workshop will provide general education in water quality issues and hands-on training in monitoring the health of rivers and streams through physical, chemical, and biological testing. 

 

After completion of the training, volunteers can perform stream

testing for a wide variety of possible pollutants. They then submit their data to a statewide volunteer monitoring database that makes the information available to anyone. But most of all, they are then ready to widen the circle and share their new knowledge and skills with others.

 

"The training is for anyone interested in learning about water quality and gaining hands-on experience in monitoring rivers and streams," said to Lyn Crighton, Hoosier Riverwatch coordinator. "People interested in the environment, especially educators, are invited to attend."

 

Hoosier Riverwatch, jointly sponsored by Purdue University and the Indiana DNR, through its division of soil conservation, is a statewide education program that focuses on local river and stream stewardship. To date, nearly 3,800 people have participated in the program. Check out www.HoosierRiverwatch.com  to find water quality data collected by volunteers who have completed the program and to discover where monitoring has taken place.

           

"The Riverwatch monitoring program fits easily into elementary, middle and high school classes, including biology, chemistry, math, language arts, and social studies," Crighton said. 

           

For reservations and directions, contact Stacee Hans at Turtle Creek Partnership at turtlecreek@joink.com  or by telephone at 812-356-4138.  For more info about the Riverwatch program go to www.riverwatch.in.gov .


Michigan

Free Fishing Weekend June 12-13

State recreation officials announced Michigan's annual summer Free Fishing Weekend, June 12-13. For these two days, residents and non-residents can fish without purchasing a fishing license, though all other fishing regulations still apply.

 

Michigan has offered Free Fishing Weekends since 1986 as a way to promote the state's diverse natural resources. With more than 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, 11,037 inland lakes and more than 36,000 miles of rivers and streams, Michigan's freshwater angling opportunities are among the best in the nation.

 

"Fishing is a great way to connect with nature, whether you enjoy the solitude of a wooded stream or a day on a lake or pier with friends and family," said Governor Jennifer M.

Granholm. "I encourage all Michigan residents to get out and experience the beauty and bounty Michigan has to offer."

 

The DNR and a host of federal, state and local partners offer educational "Free Fishing" events throughout the state. Most are designed for families and children.

 

"Avid anglers tend to have a stronger understanding of our aquatic resources and ecosystems," said DNR Director Becky Humphries. "Many seasoned anglers view Free Fishing Weekend as a time to introduce friends or young people to fishing. Mentoring others helps ensure Michigan's conservation heritage is passed along to future generations."

 

A complete list of Free Fishing Weekend events is available on the DNR web site, www.michigan.gov/dnr .


Draft Manistique River assessment available June 15, 16, 17

State Fisheries officials announced a series of public meetings in June to discuss and receive public comment on a recently-released report on the Manistique River watershed.

 

The Manistique River Assessment report is a comprehensive review of the entire river watershed, addressing its biological communities and unique resources present. The Manistique River basin is located in the east-central portion of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and drains an area of 1,471 square miles, which includes an abundance of publicly owned land.

 

River assessments are used as a knowledge base to help guide resource managers by identifying opportunities and problems within a river watershed and guiding the long-term management vision.

 

"The public meetings are an important part of the process," said DNR Fisheries biologist George Madison. "Everyone who offers comment on the draft assessment will receive a response, and public input will be reflected in the final document. This is an opportunity for the public to meet with

fisheries managers, share information and opinion, and get answers to their questions about the Manistique River."

 

The public meetings are scheduled as follows:

* June 15, Hiawatha Township Hall, on M-95, 3 miles north of Manistique

* June 16, Munising Township Hall, between Munising and Shingleton, in Wetmore

* June 17, Curtis Community Center, Curtis

 

 

All meetings will begin at 6:30 p.m. with an overview program, followed by a question and answer session. Copies of the draft Manistique River assessment are available on the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnr , under Fishing. A limited number of hard copies also are available by calling Madison at 906-353-6651. The comment period will remain open through July 31.   

 

For more information, contact George Madison at 906-353-6651.

 


Women's workshop targets outdoor skills - June 26

The Michigan DNR's Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program announced a Beyond BOW workshop featuring kayaking, archery, camping and rock climbing, June 26 at Kensington Metropark near Milford.

 

Women 18 or older are eligible to attend this workshop which begins at 8:30 a.m. at Kensington's Farm Learning Center. A $60 registration fee includes instruction in all sessions, program materials and lunch. Registration deadline is June 14. Enrollment is limited to 40 participants.

 

During the workshop, participants learn basic paddle strokes and safety, and paddle kayaks on the Huron River. They learn how to safely use a bow and arrow and get target practice. The camping session offers tips for organizing camping gear and properly setting up a campsite. The group will learn safety measures for climbing and techniques to help them reach the

top of the park's 25-foot rock-climbing tower.

 

The workshop is sponsored by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program in conjunction with Eastern Mountain Sports, Heavner's Canoe Rental, Safari Club International, Looking Up, Inc. and Huron-Clinton Metroparks.

 

To receive more information and request a registration form, contact Kensington Metropark at 248-685-1561, and ask for Sherrie Borchardt at extension 5446, or visit the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnr .

 

Across Michigan, numerous BOW programs are offered this year. To see the current calendar of events, visit the DNR Web site or contact Lynn Marla, DNR Becoming an Outdoors-Woman Coordinator, at marlal@michigan.gov .


Bass virus continues to spread in Michigan waters

State fisheries officials announced Largemouth Bass Virus continues to spread in southern Michigan lakes, and called upon anglers to help contain the disease and protect fish populations.

 

Largemouth Bass Virus is among more than 100 naturally-occurring viruses that affect fish. It is not known to infect humans, and infected fish are considered safe to eat. However, it is recommended that all fish should be thoroughly cooked as a precaution.

 

When LMBV was detected in the fall of 2000 in Lake George, on the Michigan-Indiana border, it was the first time the disease had ever been found in Michigan and was the furthest north LMBV had ever been found in the United States. The disease was first discovered in 1995, in South Carolina's Santee-Cooper Reservoir, following a die-off of largemouth bass. Since then, it has been detected in wild fish from 17 states including Indiana, Illinois and Michigan.

 

The DNR surveyed lakes in Southern Michigan for LMBV in 2002 and continued in 2003. Based on these and earlier data, the virus has been confirmed in 15 of 30 lakes examined. A list of surveyed lakes is available on the DNR web site, www.michigan.gov/dnr .

 

Michigan DNR Fish Production Manager Gary Whelan said LMBV appears to infect other fish species, including smallmouth bass, bluegill, and crappies, but has caused mortality only to largemouth bass. The disease typically kills large adult fish and die-offs impact approximately 10 percent of these fish in a given lake.

 

There are few outward signs that a fish has the virus. Mortality occurs when fish are most stressed.  Potential stressors include very hot weather, high angling pressure, and possibly aquatic weed or other treatments during very hot periods.  Any measures that can be taken to minimize stress on these fish will reduce the impact of the disease and mortality.

 

"The DNR cannot eradicate this virus or treat affected wild fish populations," Whelan said. "However, as we continue  

investigating this disease, we appreciate receiving reports of unusual fish mortalities."

 

The DNR called on anglers who target largemouth bass to voluntarily help reduce angling stress on bass populations during warm weather, and reminded anglers and boaters to take the following steps to help prevent the spread of the virus:

 

* Clean boats, trailers, other equipment thoroughly between fishing trips to keep from transporting LMBV, as well as other undesirable pathogens and organisms, from one water body to another with special care to clean fishing equipment when you are done fishing known locations of the virus.

 

* Do not move fish or fish parts from one body of water to another, and do not release live bait into any water body.

 

* Handle bass as gently as possible if you intend to release them and release them as quickly as possible. 

 

* Refrain from hauling the fish for long periods in live wells if you intend to release them.

 

* Minimize targeting of largemouth bass during the period from mid-July to mid-August, especially during exceptionally hot weather conditions.

 

* Report dead or dying adult largemouth bass fish to Michigan Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Division offices.

 

* Volunteer to help agencies collect bass for LMBV monitoring.

 

* Educate other anglers about LMBV.

 

The Michigan DNR will continue to communicate new information learned about the disease in Michigan. For more information, visit: http://espn.go.com/outdoors/bassmaster/index.html .


Minnesota

DNR Fish and Wildlife Division reduces staff, merges divisions

Fish and Wildlife staffing cut to help balance state budget

Four managers who have held top positions at the Minnesota DNR were named as members of the Division of Fish and Wildlife's new management team.

   

The team, led by Division Director John Guenther and Deputy Director Larry Nelson, replaces eight managers from separate fish and wildlife sections. Nelson, who has served in field, staff and managerial positions in his 37 year career with the Minnesota DNR, returned recently from nearly three years with the Colorado DNR.

           

"Our new structure is designed to improve our focus on strategic planning, policy, connecting with citizens and budgeting," Guenther said. "This structure recognizes the inter relatedness of many fish and wildlife issues and that team management can best address these issues."

   

The DNR's Division of Fisheries and Division of Wildlife were merged into a single Fish and Wildlife Division last fall.  Under the new structure, each manager will be responsible for one section - policy, programs, operations, outreach, and budget.  Section managers will comprise a division management team.

 

"The goal of the managerial realignment is to move from a hierarchal structure to a team structure," said Guenther. "We have accomplished that. The next step is to identify ways in which we can more effectively deliver DNR services and manage natural resources. The management team includes:

 

POLICY

Ed Boggess, a 22 year DNR employee and formerly the assistant Wildlife Section chief, will oversee fish and wildlife research and legislative affairs as well as strategic planning, policy development and evaluation of the Fish and Wildlife Division.

 

PROGRAMS

Ron Payer, a 26 year DNR employee and formerly the Fisheries Section chief, will be responsible for fish and wildlife programs at the statewide level. He will devise a supervisory plan and develop section standards and goals.

 

OPERATIONS

Dave Schad, a 23 year DNR employee and formerly the operations manager for the Section of Wildlife, will manage fish and wildlife field staff, supervise eight regional managers and develop an operations budget.

 

 

OUTREACH

C.B. Bylander, a 16 year employee who formerly was a regional director and is the current DNR communications director, will manage education programs, hunter and angler recruitment and retention, as well as develop outreach programs that aim to help agricultural landowners, lakeshore property owners and others manage their land to maximize fish and wildlife habitat benefits. He will begin his new duties following a transition period.

 

BUDGET

The budget manager position has not yet been filled. The agency will seek a candidate - either from inside or outside the agency - with strong financial skills. Other top managers will continue to serve in leadership roles in the division.

 

 

"We will continue to rely on the expertise of Jack Wingate, Mike DonCarlos and Linda Erickson Eastwood," said Guenther, who noted their specific responsibilities will be announced soon.

           

Steve Hirsch, a Fish and Wildlife Division operations manager, has accepted a promotional opportunity with the Division of Ecological Services. He will serve as the Ecological Services Division assistant director.

           

Guenther said no Fish and Wildlife Division managerial changes are planned at the regional or area level.

 


Poachers busted on border  

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers searching a vehicle returning to the U.S. from Ontario on May 25 found numerous fish exceeding the legal limit.

    

CBP officers notified Minnesota Conservation Officer Lloyd Steen of Ray that a Missouri pickup, with two adult males and one adult female, came through the primary inspection line with a declared limit of fish. The group was referred to the secondary inspection line for further examination.

    

A thorough search of the luggage and a cooler revealed a legal limit of 12 walleyes and 12 northerns (Ontario limit is four walleyes, four northerns each). But a look under the hood caught Steen's attention.

  

 "The CBP officer looked in the engine compartment and noticed two large yellow plastic bags and a bottle of alcohol on

top of the engine," Steen said. The contents of the bags consisted of 41 frozen and partially frozen walleye fillets and 12 northerns.  Steen went inside the CBP office and talked with the owner and driver of the vehicle who claimed they were all fishing at a camp located on the English River in Canada.

 

"He said he was the one who hid the fish under the engine hood and he should be the one held responsible," Steen said. "I explained to him that they were all in possession of the fish and I found it hard to believe that his partners didn't see the fish being placed under the hood of the vehicle."  At this point, the other male passenger said, "Well, we told him not to do it."

    

Dennis A. Berger, 45, Blue Springs, Mo.; David E. Holley, 44, Lake Lotawana, Mo. and Brenda S. Bowen, 46, Browning, Mo., were issued citations for possessing an overlimit of walleye from Ontario, Canada, importing them into Minnesota and fined $880.


Discover "A View From the Lake" - June 18 to July 13

Throughout the summer, a series of Lake Superior boat trips will be offered aboard the L.L. Smith, Jr. Research Vessel that will allow residents from Bayfield to Grand Marais to view their community from the water. 

 

Educators from the Lake Superior Research Institute and Minnesota Sea Grant will use the scene  to discuss land use, development, natural resources and water quality issues. Participants can try their hand at collecting water samples, see displays of local geographical information, and learn about Lake Superior research.

 

The L.L. Smith, Jr. will be visiting ports in western Lake Superior from June 18 ­ July 13. Register for the Washburn and Bayfield trips by calling the Inland Sea Society at (715) 682-8188. Register for all other trips by calling Minnesota Sea Grant at (218) 726-8106.

Cost: $10

 

Schedule:

Washburn, WI         June 18         9:30 am 

                                   June 19         9:30 am and 1:30 pm

Bayfield, WI              June 21         9:30 am

                                   June 22         9:30 am and 1:30 pm

Grand Marais, MN  June 25-26    9 am and 2 pm each day

Silver Bay, MN         June 28-29    9 am and 2 pm each day

Two Harbors, MN   July 9- 10       9 am and 2 pm each day

Duluth/ Superior     July 12           9 am and 2 pm

                                   July 13           5 pm

 

This project is funded by grants from the Extension Great Lakes Regional Water Quality Program, and the Wisconsin and Minnesota Coastal Programs through the Coastal Zone Management Act.


Spring Lake boat launch in Scott County to be affected by construction in July

Anglers and recreational boaters used to launching their watercraft at the Minnesota DNR operated public access on Spring Lake in Scott County may encounter some inconvenience this summer due to construction projects in Spring Lake Township.

 

Spring Lake Township will be installing sewer and water mains and reconstructing streets during the summer. Stormwater management and ponding will be included in the construction plans in an effort to improve Spring Lake water quality. During the construction, contractors will try to keep the boat launch and two parking areas open, especially during evenings and weekends, but the sites may be completely closed for a day or two during construction. The upper parking lot will be closed for a minimum of two weeks. The closure is

tentatively scheduled to begin July 1 while a lift station is installed on the site.  Signs will inform and direct the public during the construction.

 

"We are asking users to be patient and understanding while the construction is underway," said Suzann Willhite, DNR Trails and Waterways area supervisor. "We apologize for the temporary inconvenience." Work on the project is scheduled to be completed by Oct. 31.

 

The DNR's Division of Trails and Waterways operates 1,560 public water access sites around the state, as well as 280 fishing piers and shore fishing sites.  "Users of these public facilities are reminded to take all trash out with them, because dumping of garbage has grown into an ongoing problem that diverts limited staff time from other activities that are more beneficial to the public," Willhite said.


117 walleye discovered in car; home search finds 305 sunfish  

A recent vehicle stop uncovered a serious poaching incident for a Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) conservation officer.

    

Conservation Officer Travis Muyres of Anoka was contacted by the Lino Lakes Police Department on Tuesday, May 18, that a vehicle stopped along Interstate 35W contained 117 walleye.  "The vehicle had been stopped for speeding when the officer noticed the strong odor of fish," Muyres said. "We later counted 117 walleye in the trunk."

    

Charged with gross misdemeanor overlimit in Anoka County were Bunchan Srey, 51; Dymong Chhoun, 20; Bunsean Lieng, 19; Samnang Pich, 19; and a juvenile. All reside in Minneapolis. The adults face fines of up to $3,000 each, one

year in jail, or both. The restitution value for the walleye listed in the criminal complaint is $2,790. One of the adults is being held in the Anoka County Jail on $3,000 bail with a court date set for this week. The other adults have a June court date. The juvenile plead guilty to gross misdemeanor overlimit, but was not ordered to pay restitution.

 

A search warrant executed at the home of three of the individuals found 305 sunfish; 145 fish over the limit with a restitution value of $725. During an interview, Muyres was told that all eight individuals who live at the home fish. Charges are pending in Hennepin County Court.

     

Anyone observing illegal fishing activity should contact their local conservation officer, local DNR office or the Turn-In-Poacher hotline at 800-652-9093.


New York

June Fishing Clinics in Central New York – June 13

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Regional Director Kenneth Lynch announced that two Family Fishing Clinics will be held in June. The first occurred June 5, 2004, at Carpenter's Brook Fish Hatchery in Elbridge. A second will take place on Sunday, June 13, 2004, at the Falcon Sportsmen Kid's Fishing Derby at Falcon Sportsmen Club in Auburn.

 

Each session will consist of five 15-minute breakout stations with instruction in common fishing tackle and  techniques; fish identification and biology; conservation and ethics; aquatic ecology; and fish preparation and cooking.  During the second

half of the session, the group will split time between casting practice and fishing.

 

During the clinic, fishing rods, tackle, bait and educational materials will be provided.  No fishing license is required during the event. Sign-up is by preregistration only and is limited to 100 individuals per session. Children under age 16 must be supervised.  The second DEC fishing clinic will be held during the Falcon Sportsmen Kid's Fishing Derby on June 13, 2004, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event is free and will take place at the Falcon Sportsmen Club, Turnpike Road, Auburn. For more information, contact Tim Noga at (315) 252-1321.


State to limit Public ATV access on Adirondack Forest Preserve

DEC Calls for Amendments to Unit Management Plans in the Adirondacks

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Erin M. Crotty announced a series of proposed amendments to Unit Management Plans (UMPs) and associated administrative actions that will address public all-terrain vehicle (ATV) use on certain roads within the Adirondack Park.  The proposed amendments will ensure that ATV access on State Forest Preserve lands will conform to the State Vehicle and Traffic Law and the Adirondack State Land Master Plan, will not facilitate trespass on private lands, and will not cause environmental degradation.

           

“Amending these Unit Management Plans represents another significant step New York State has taken to ensure the continued protection and health of the Adirondack Park,” Commissioner Crotty said.  “The amendments are necessary to ensure that ATV access in these areas is consistent with State law and policy.  As the stewards of nearly three million acres of land in the Adirondacks, we are committed to preserving the region’s unrivaled resources so that they may be enjoyed by generations of New Yorkers.”

           

DEC carefully evaluated the 54 roads that are currently open to ATV access within the Aldrich Pond, Independence River, Black River and Watson’s East Wild Forest areas to determine which roads were suitable for continued public ATV access.  DEC concluded that all such roads should be closed to unlimited ATV access by the general public, with five roads to be opened by seasonal permit only, for a period not to exceed three years.

           

Based on the assessment, DEC has submitted a package of proposed amendments to the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) to amend UMPs for Aldrich, Independence River and Black River Wild Forest areas, and proposed administrative actions for Watson’s East Wild Forest area that will lead to the elimination of public ATV access on 49 roads, effective after its

consideration.  The proposed amendments will be available for public comment until APA considers the proposal for approval at their July meeting.

 

Under the proposed amendments, the five roads that will be opened under temporary revocable permit (TRP) include: the Jackworks and Maple Hill Roads in the Aldrich Pond Wild Forest, and the Herkimer Landing, South Shore and Wolf Lake Landing Roads in the Black River Wild Forest.  These roads will be opened for permitted use only from September 1st to December 15th, to allow hunters access to primitive camping sites.   These roads are slated to be rehabilitated for automobile and truck access by 2006 at which point public ATV access will be eliminated.  The State Vehicle and Traffic law prohibits the use of ATVs on roads that are opened to motor vehicle use unless the purpose of such opening is to provide ATVs with access to adjacent trails and areas which they could not otherwise access. 

           

If the proposed amendments are approved by APA, DEC will begin immediate enforcement of the road closures to ensure that the public understands the need to eliminate illegal and inappropriate ATV use on State Forest Preserve lands and to ensure that the resources of the Forest Preserve are protected. 

 

As part of his 2004-05 Executive Budget, Pataki proposed legislation to provide for public education, enforcement and funding, all of which are essential to controlling ATV use on State Lands.  Passage of the Governor’s proposed legislation would enhance DEC’s efforts to properly manage ATV use in New York State.  DEC is also developing an ATV policy for the Forest Preserve, State Forest, and conservation easement lands.  It is not the policy of DEC to provide riding opportunities on State lands.  Motor vehicle use, however, provides a means of access to DEC programs such as hunting and fishing.  This policy will establish a set of criteria for evaluating the suitability of roads for ATV access in limited circumstances in compliance with existing law.


Ohio

Suspected Fish Poacher netted during undercover investigation

Persons charged are from many Ohio Cities and Clay City, Kentucky

COLUMBUS, OH - "Operation RIP RAP," an undercover investigation conducted by officers of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife, has resulted in the arrest of 10 people in recent days for the commercial sale of white bass and walleye caught by sport fishing.

 

The suspects are accused of illegally selling thousands of fish, many of which were taken by the illegal practice of snagging. ODNR authorities believe all of the illegal fish sales occurred within the City of Fremont in Sandusky County.

 

"The alleged poachers are believed to have stolen thousand of wild animals from the citizens of Ohio," said Steven A. Gray, chief of the ODNR Division of Wildlife. "This should in no way reflect negatively on the image of the legitimate sportsmen and women of our state. In fact, it is because of concerned conservationists who were willing to get involved that this illegal activity has now been stopped."

 

The 10 people arrested are: Jamie R. Cummings, 24, 5970 CR 121, Mt. Gilead; Jay N. Cummings, 28, address unknown; Jerry N. Cummings, 66, 1330 Hanover, LT 72, Delaware; JoAnn Cummings, 55, 1330 Hanover LT 72, Delaware; Larry R. Fornash, 59, 2033 Daugherty Ave., Columbus; Everette

"Rattle" Holland, 71, 815 Oak Ave., Cincinnati; Grady Jones, Jr., 53, 200 Jones Rd, Clay City, KY; Thomas Rhodes, 35, 21 Grace St., Tiffin; Walter "Chris" Rhodes, 37, 202 Fifth Ave., Tiffin; and Patricia L. Strausbaugh, 67, 1730 Port Clinton Rd. Lot 26, Fremont.

 

The suspected poachers are charged with a total of 15 fifth-degree felony counts and seven fourth-degree misdemeanor counts for violating Ohio's wildlife laws. According to investigators, additional charges may follow. Fifth-degree felony convictions carry a maximum penalty of $2,500 in fines and 12 months in jail. In addition, the defendants could be ordered to pay as much as $20,000 in total restitution to the state for the poached fish.

 

"This investigation was initiated because of numerous poaching complaints received through the Division of Wildlife's Turn-In-A-Poacher hotline from sportsmen in the Fremont area," said Daniel T. Schneider, law enforcement executive administrator for the ODNR Division of Wildlife. "We sent in undercover officers in order to strike a blow against poaching and to send a strong message that this behavior will not be tolerated."

 

Established in 1982, the T.I.P. program allows Ohioans to call toll-free from anywhere in the state to report wildlife violations. Calls can be placed anonymously at 1-800-POACHER (800-762-2437).


Pennsylvania

Workshop on American Shad - June 16

Commission to Let Teachers Go Wild  about Shad          

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission is offering a workshop to teachers that will focus on the American shad.  The workshop will provide background information, activities and resources to teach students about this important and historical fish and its significance to Pennsylvania.  Participants will also take part in a field trip to the Commission’s Van Dyke Research Station along the Juniata River.

The program is appropriate for primary or secondary teachers in formal or non-formal settings.  Participants will receive Project Wild Aquatic (a national curriculum guide), shad-adapted lesson plans, and additional resources for the classroom.  Act 48 hours apply.  The shad workshop will be held June 16 from 9 AM to 5 PM at Little Buffalo State Park, located in Newport, Perry County.  While the workshop is offered free of charge, pre-registration is required.  Interested parties should call 717-732-8400 ext. 8634 or ext. 8639 to register.


Wisconsin

Boat wakes traveling high onto shore, damaging property

MADISON -- Recent heavy rain has swollen rivers and lakes across the southern one-third of Wisconsin increasing the chances that shoreline property and structures will be damaged by boat wakes washing much higher than normal onto shore.

 

DNR boating safety officials are asking boaters to slow down to a speed where their craft’s wake is not likely to cause damage on shore.  “We’ve received a significant number of damage and complaint calls from shoreland property owners in recent days,” said conservation warden Bill Engfer, chief of the DNR recreation enforcement and safety program. “We’ve got very high water conditions in many areas. In these current conditions, boaters operating at what are otherwise reasonable speeds are, in some cases, causing significant damage to property.”

 

Damages to yards, structures and other personal property 

have been reported according to Engfer. “Much of the damage is due to boaters unknowingly throwing high wakes onto shore. Boaters are responsible for their craft’s wake and in extreme cases can be prosecuted for causing damage by creating a hazardous wake.

 

“Boaters also need to be aware of the dangers of submerged objects that normally would be above water and visible,” warns Engfer. “In some places waters are high enough to hide shoreline structures, posts and wires.”

 

With more rain in the weather forecast, DNR officials note that while most of the current complaints are occurring in the southern one-third of the state, the affected area could expand.

 

“We’re asking boaters to be aware of their wake and the potential for damages to shoreland property and their own safety,” says Engfer. “It’s a ‘good neighbor’ type of request that will maintain good relations between landowners and watercraft operators.”


Walleye bag limits will increase on some northern lakes

MADISON – Daily walleye bag limits increased May 28 on 93 lakes in the ceded territory of northern Wisconsin to reflect spearing harvest results by Wisconsin’s bands of Chippewa Indians.

 

Forty-three lakes are increasing from a daily bag limit of one or two to three walleye per day. Fifty lakes will go from an initial bag limit of two or three walleyes per day to the bag limit specified in the Guide to Wisconsin Hook and Line Fishing Regulations 2004-2005, which in most cases is the state daily bag limit of five, according to Andy Fayram, who coordinates the treaty fisheries for the Department of Natural Resources.

 

The complete revised walleye bag limit is available at DNR license vendors as an insert to the current fishing regulations and is also available on the Fish Wisconsin page of the DNR Web site.

 

As part of a 1983 federal Appellate Court decision affirming Chippewa off-reservation hunting, fishing, and gathering rights, the six bands of Wisconsin Chippewa set annual harvest quotas for off-reservation lakes in the Wisconsin

Ceded Territory. To assure the combined tribal and recreational angler harvest does not exceed a sustainable

level, the state sets recreational bag limits in lakes declared for harvest by the Chippewa bands. In April, angler daily bag limits for walleye were set at one, two, or three fish per day for sport anglers in order to accommodate Chippewa spearing harvest goals. The bag limits on these lakes will be adjusted, starting May 28, to reflect actual Chippewa spring spearing harvest totals.

 

An administrative rule passed by the state Natural Resources Board in 1998 allows the department to adjust initial bag limits annually to reflect actual spring spearing harvests and projected summer harvests.

 

DNR Secretary Scott Hassett said the increased opportunities on 89 waters is good news for sport anglers and for local and state economies. The increase in bag limits boosts harvest opportunities for sport anglers while assuring that the tribes maintain their rights to set quotas and harvest the resource.

 

Of the 236 lakes still with reduced bag limits, 47 lakes will have a bag limit of two walleye per day, and 189 lakes will have a daily bag of three.


Ontario

Lake Erie commercial fisher fined $7500 for over quota walleye

WINDSOR - A Kingsville commercial fisherman has been fined $7,500 and the commercial fishing licence owner ordered to pay $10,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to three counts of exceeding their 2002 walleye quota by 1,623 kilograms (4,348 lbs).

 

Gerry Penner, 50, of Kingsville, filled the walleye (also known as yellow pickerel) quota for a commercial fishing licence owned by 1277105 Ontario Inc. by November 27, 2002.  He then continued fishing for three more days between November 30 and December 3, 2002.

 

When a commercial fisher goes over quota, the extra fish

must be separated, recorded on the Daily Catch Report and turned over to a fishery officer during inspection.  If an inspector is not there, the extra fish must not be landed until an officer has been contacted for direction on their disposal.  Over quota fish still alive are returned to the lake.

 

Exceeding the quota is a serious concern to Lake Erie fishery managers and additional harvest must be surrendered to prevent profits being made from over-harvesting.

 

The case was heard by Justice of the Peace Maureen Ryan-Brode in the Ontario Court of Justice in Windsor on June 2, 2004.

 


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