Week of June 19, 2006

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National

Zebra mussels stimulate algae growing on the bottom of Lake Erie

Ann Arbor, MI — Algae along the bottom of Lake Erie have higher productivity in the presence of zebra mussels. These rates can far exceed growth rates of algae suspended in the water column.

 

This study confirms the finding that zebra mussels are re-engineering Lake Erie's biological community. The accidental introduction of zebra mussels into the Great Lakes during the late 1980s has led to many changes, including decreases in algae suspended in the water column and the resulting increase in water clarity that extends the area over which benthic plants can grow. This re-engineering affects many organisms in the Great Lakes.

 

"Zebra mussels and related quagga mussels are very effective at removing particles from the water," says Bob

Hecky, an internationally renowned biologist studying large lakes around the world. "The particles removed from the water column include microscopic plants and animals whose their remains are deposited on the bottom of the lake."

 

Once removed from the water column, nutrients in these particles can stimulate plants such as Cladophora - a filamentous green alga - that grows attached to rocks. Hecky believes that this represents a fundamental shift in how Lake Erie functions and offers insight into understanding why Cladophora is now so common.

 

Cladophora can be considered a nuisance because large mats become detached in mid to late summer and wash up on beaches. This study demonstrates that the presence of mussels appears to increase the growth of Cladophora. Zebra mussels may also delay midsummer detachment of Cladophora by reducing or delaying nutrient stress.


Regional

Lamprey Hunters

Support of Anglers needed

First Lamprey Hunter Training Workshop June 20

We are embarking on a nationwide sport, tribal, and commercial fishery program to document the distribution and number of Sea Lamprey and bring to light the need for more control of this invasive species in the Great Lakes. This new program is called the "Lamprey Hunters.” and we hope to have your support.

 

The numbers of Sea Lamprey in most of the Great Lakes have been increasing.  Although a large amount of people have forgotten about this invasive species, they are still here.  Lamprey kill a variety of species of fish that would normally call the Great Lakes home, and through this program we hope to gather more information on their number and distribution.  The Sea Lamprey cannot be eradicated, only controlled, and this new program is one step towards that end.

 

In conjunction with, and under the direction of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, we have developed a new program to track the number of sea lamprey attached to fish and additionally the number of wounds and scars.  In 2006, we will be testing this program, and hopefully next year it will go basin wide.  This program is very important for the continuation success of the Great Lakes Fishery that is here for everyone to enjoy.  Invasive species in all the Great Lakes need to be stopped.  We hope that this new “Lamprey Hunter” program can improve our ability to eradicate this invasive species.  With the help of the Great Lakes Sport Fishermen-Milwaukee Chapter we proudly invite the fishing and non-fishing public alike to witness this new project develop and hope for your

support in the continued, and hopefully improved, control of this invasive species, the Sea Lamprey. www.glfc.org/sealamp/lampreyhunter

 

So, if you are Lake Michigan fishermen, please come to this training workshop to learn how you can provide valuable information on the distribution and number of sea lamprey. We have T-shirts for all who sign up for the program and $250.00 for prizes at the end of the year donated by the GLSF-Milwaukee Chapter.

 

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has provided the venue for the first Lamprey Hunter Training Workshop.

 

Date: June 20th at 6:30 P.M.

Location: Great Lakes WATER Institute

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

600 East Greenfield Avenue

Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53204

 

If you have any questions please contact:

 

Todd Pollesch

President

Great Lakes Sport Fishermen- Milwaukee Chapter

10301 W Juniper St.

Milwaukee WI 53224

Cell 414-899-5959

Days 608-444-1375

E-mail todd@glsfclub.com


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for June 16, 2006

Lake Level Conditions: 

Water levels on Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, and Erie are 2 to 3 inches below the levels of a year ago.  Lakes Superior and Ontario are 5 and 6 inches below last year’s level, respectively.  The water levels in Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, and Ontario continue to rise and are expected to be 1 to 2 inches higher next month while Lakes St. Clair and Erie are nearing their seasonal peak and will drop 1 to 2 inches by mid July.  Over the next few months, water levels on all the Great Lakes are expected to remain similar to or slightly lower than 2005.  See our | Daily Levels web page for more water level information.

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions:

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

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.

 

 

Superior

Mich-Huron

St. Clair

Erie

Ontario

Level for June 16

601.4

577.9

574.2

571.7

245.7

Datum, in ft

601.1

577.5

572.3

569.2

243.3

Diff in inches

+3

+5

+22

+30

+28

Diff last month

+1

+2

+2

+2

+2

Diff from last yr

-5

-3

-2

-3

-6


General

Angler and hunter surveys

Hardest Fighting Game Fish and Hardest Animal to Hunt

What is the hardest fighting game fish or the most difficult animal to hunt?  According to www.anglersurvey.com , the hardest fighting North American freshwater game fish is the smallmouth bass.  The wild sheep or goat is the most difficult North American animal to hunt, according to www.huntersurvey.com .

 

Anglers and hunters are invited to participate in a monthly survey that asks their opinions and what types of equipment they purchase.  The two questions above were posed in the April survey.  Of the five species listed in the survey, the smallmouth received 50.93 % of the angler’s votes, musky 17.76%, largemouth 15.89 %, rainbow trout 9.07 % and walleye 6.26 %. 

 

Hunters could choose between eight species with wild sheep or goat receiving 41.27 %, followed by turkey at 19.63 %.  Deer received 9.01 % of the hunter’s votes, bear (including grizzly and brown) received only 8.37 %, elk 7.88 % antelope 6.36 % and hog 1.45 %.

 

The conservation question for the month of April was, “Do you think the use of live bait not-native to your fishing site is… Always OK, Sometimes OK, Never OK or Do Not Know.”  More than 58 % of anglers said it is never okay to use non-native live bait.

Anglers and hunters who participate in the survey have an opportunity to win one of five $100 gift certificates to the retailer of their choice.  Marcia Rubin, a professional angler, model, and business entrepreneur of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, won one of the www.anglersurvey.com gift certificates in May. She said, “I was thrilled and it couldn’t have come at a better time.” Rubin received her certificate to Bass Pro Shops the week she left to compete in the Women’s Bassmaster Tour Event on Lake Lewisville, in Texas. “I enjoy filling out the survey,” said Rubin. “I like to talk about fishing and if the survey helps to make the experience of anglers better, I want to do my part.”

 

If you are a hunter and angler and would like to participate in the monthly surveys, go to www.anglersurvey.com or  www.huntersurvey.com  to register. You’ll receive a reminder each month when the next month’s survey is available.  E-mail addresses collected will be used to send monthly electronic surveys to participants; they will never be sold, given away or used for any other purpose. 

 

The question of the month for June is, “Do you think that anglers (hunters on the hunter survey) are accurately portrayed in television and movies. If you’d like to cast your vote on this question go to www.anglersurvey.com  if you’re an angler or www.huntersurvey.com  if you’re a hunter. If you like to hunt and fish, you’re invited to participate in both.

 


Dockdogs will be flying high at Cabela's Oahe Days, in Pierre, S.D.

SIDNEY, Neb. - The Cabela's National Team Championship walleye tournament, scheduled to run in conjunction with Oahe Days in Pierre, S.D., June 23-25, will play host to a variety of fun, family oriented events.

 

Among the most popular activities with kids of all ages is the Dockdogs competition, which features dogs of all breeds and sizes jumping for height and distance into a large, portable

swimming pool. What makes this event so popular is the fact that is open to the public. Anyone can bring out their dog to see how far and/or high he or she can jump. All skill levels are welcome.

 

The Dockdogs stage will be set up near the American Legion cabin in Steamboat Park near downtown Pierre.

 

Participants may register online at www.dockdogs.com .


Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education opens exhibit hall

COROLLA, N.C. - As visitors began to file into the exhibit hall of the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education on June 16, Sharon Meade couldn't keep from smiling.  "This is really something” said Meade, the curator of the "Life by Water's Rhythms" gallery. "This is a dream fulfilled, a dream that began with the Currituck Wildlife Guild that the region's heritage needed to be preserved."

 

Just moments before, a ribbon cutting ceremony had made things official and 6,000 square feet of displays, artifacts and a unique marsh aquarium were open to the public.  Once inside, visitors saw something of the heritage Meade spoke of, beginning with the earliest Native American inhabitants, to

turn-of-the century market hunters and boat builders, continuing through today's multi-agency habitat conservation efforts.

 

Center Director Clarence Styron said an estimated 30,000 people a day are expected at the height of the visitor season.

 

The Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education is located at Currituck Heritage Park, next door to the Whalehead Club, a historic hunting lodge of the 1920s, and the Currituck Beach Lighthouse, an 1875 beacon still in operation. The Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education is one of three regional education facilities operated by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission across the state. A fishing and aquatics education center in Fayetteville is currently under construction.


 ‘GUN TALK’ reaching 5 million more listeners...

The only national radio talk show about guns may now be heard on the XM satellite radio system, increasing its potential audience by more than five million. "Tom Gresham's Gun Talk" is a live, three-hour broadcast about firearms—the

technical, the topical and the political—hosted by award-winning communicator Tom Gresham. Now in its 12th year on the air, Gresham’s show is carried on radio stations in 50 markets, on the Sirius satellite system, and through live Web streaming and MP3 downloads at the Gun Talk  Web site.


 

Illinois

Empty net is good news in search for Asian carp

Wildlife crews find carp not getting any closer to Chicago or Great Lakes

The Chicago Tribune reports wildlife managers last week could find none of the voracious fish closer to Chicago and the Great Lakes than Joliet.

 

The spot where the fish were found, south of the Brandon Road Lock and Dam--about 50 miles from the mouth of the Chicago River and the Great Lakes--still gives the carp access to the Kankakee River, however. Survey teams will continue their annual search for the carp and other invasive species until Friday.

 

While crews finding Asian carp in familiar spots on the Illinois River near Morris, they have so far failed to find it north of the Brandon Road lock.  "No news is good news, I guess," USFWS project leader Pam Thiel said.

 

While searching for Asian carp, the crews also are sampling the health of fish they do catch, looking for a host of waterborne parasites, pathogens and viruses.

 

Among the things they are looking for is evidence of carp virus, considered among the possibilities for an Asian carp die-off noticed May 30 between Havana and Spring Valley. Definitive

word on what caused the die-off will come with lab results next month, Thiel said.

 

The annual scouring of Illinois waterways started in 1996, when wildlife managers began gauging the spread of the invasive round goby, a ship ballast-tank stowaway from the Black Sea now working its way from the Great Lakes toward the Mississippi River.

 

This year, Fish and Wildlife workers, with 13 partner organizations that include government agencies, the Shedd Aquarium and Joliet Community College, are hoping the carp will have inched no farther north than the Brandon Road lock and dam, just south of Joliet. Beyond that, two electrical fish barriers--one not yet working, the other badly corroding--have been strung in the carp's path to the Chicago and Calumet Rivers.

 

A barrier was sunk into the Sanitary and Ship Canal near Romeoville in 2002 to stop the gobies from marching southward, but was placed uselessly behind them. Since then, the barrier has become a last line of defense against the northward advance of the Asian carp. A new barrier three times as big--and much sturdier--was put in next to it recently, but it has not yet been switched on.


Michigan

MI – Recreational Round Goby round-up

Anglers hold Goby Assault Party

Local anglers on Sat. June 10th held a Goby Assault Party"  on Michigan’s Muskegon Lake.

 

Tom Matych Adopt a Walleye Program Muskegon Heights Eagles, who organized the “goby Assault Party” reports 102 teams caught 410 lbs of Gobies which translates into 8000 Gobies in 6 hours.  Only 2 Perch were caught and released.  The person who fished the most round gobies out of the lake would win approximately $1000. A prize also would go to the person who caught the largest round goby  and all gobies caught got hung in the "Goby Gallows."

Steve Frantz and his 10-year-old son, Shaun, walked away with one of the top prizes for catching "Goby Dick," the biggest goby of the day. Their fish, which earned the Frantzes $500, was 8" long and weighed just over a quarter-pound, Steve Frantz said.

 

The Frantzes also took fifth place out of 215 teams, which earned them another $100 in prize money. They caught 12 lbs of gobies. Steve and Gary Lamberts won the top prize, $1,065, for hauling in the most goby, by weight: 22.4 lbs.

 

 


New York

DEC Confirms Virus in Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River Fish

Cornell U, USGS Document Cases of Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced the discovery of viral  hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS) virus in several fish species from Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. The virus is a pathogen of fish and does not pose any threat to public health.  

 

The virus was first detected in preliminary tests in May 2006 in round gobies involved in a mortality event on the St. Lawrence River. This is the first time that VHS was found in fish within New York State.  The virus was isolated and identified in a cooperative effort between DEC, the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell U and the Western Fisheries Research Center of the USGS. Since VHS is a reportable disease to the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the presence of the virus was confirmed by the OIE Reference Laboratory in Denmark on June 9, 2006.

 

In recent weeks, large numbers of dead round gobies have been observed along southern Lake Ontario and eastward through the Thousand Islands area.  Gobies are an invasive species from the Black and Caspian Sea region, likely introduced into the Great Lakes by ocean-going ships in the mid-1990s.  More recently, eighteen dead and dying

muskellunge were collected in the Thousand Islands.  The St. Lawrence River supports a world famous, trophy muskellunge fishery.  The timing of these die-offs corresponds with spawning season for both species, which is a stressful period during which fish are more vulnerable to bacterial and viral infections.

 

DEC is working closely with fish pathologists at Cornell's College of Veterinary Medicine to determine if other fish species in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River are susceptible to this strain of VHS, as well as which species may act as carriers of the disease.  

 

VHS virus is relatively common in continental Europe and Japan, where it has affected both freshwater and saltwater fish.  Prior to 2005, VHS outbreaks were limited in North America to saltwater fish species from the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Systemic VHS infections are most often associated with trout and salmon, including rainbow, brown and lake trout, as well as Chinook and Coho salmon. In 2005, VHS was associated with die-offs of freshwater drum (sheepshead) and round goby in the Bay of Quinte (Ontario), as well as muskellunge in the Michigan waters of Lake St. Clair.  To date, there is no indication that the strain of VHS identified in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River is affecting trout and salmon species.  It is not known how VHS virus was transferred to the Great Lakes, or how long it has been in these waterways.


Ohio

Shoreline case OK'd as a class action suit

Lakefront owners want greater rights

The Toledo Blade reports the state of Ohio dropped its opposition to certifying a lawsuit as a class action last week, paving the way for a speedier end to a dispute over boundaries for properties along Lake Erie.

 

An estimated 14,000 property owners will be considered part of the two-year-old case, instead of the 13 plaintiffs who filed the suit, following a ruling Friday by Lake County Common Pleas Judge Eugene Lucci. Both sides in the dispute say the ruling should speed up resolution of the case, which had been sent from a federal to a state court.

 

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources claims control over public access to the shoreline by using the lake's "ordinary high-water mark" as a property line. The Ohio Lakefront Group, a property owners' advocacy group, says that practice violates their property deeds and state law. Tony Yankel, president of the group, called the ruling a victory. "This is almost like winning the case itself," Mr. Yankel said from his home in Bay Village. "This was the last major hurdle."

 

The group claims that Ohio's public trust ends at the water's edge, and not at an artificial line based on historic high-water marks, a surveying point set by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers every 15 years as a property line. The case must still go to trial, although no court date has been set, he said.

 

Jane Beathard, spokesman for the Ohio DNR, said the state also is pleased with the ruling "because it moves the case forward." The agency has not changed its position in the case,

Merrill et al. vs. the state of Ohio, saying the high-water mark should be used to delineate the private property line. "We continue to hold … that the shore belongs to the people of Ohio for walking, fishing, and for enjoying oneself," Beathard said. "We are no longer opposed to the class action because the lawsuit involves a statement of principle and does not involve appropriation of property."

 

The Ohio Lakefront Group's Mr. Yankel said the case could potentially affect the owners of 14,000 parcels along the 262 miles of the southern shore of Lake Erie, including Sandusky Bay and other estuaries that have been determined to be a part of Lake Erie.

Although the lake is not affected by tides, the water levels nonetheless have receded somewhat to their historic averages, retreating from lines that had distinguished the 30-year era of high water levels through the late 1990s.

 

Jack Shaner, spokesman for the Ohio Environmental Council, said if the state loses the case, it may also lose its right to approve construction of docks and other structures in the lake. "I think this will be an interesting case … that will be appealed regardless of who wins," Shaner said.

 

Still unsettled is a proposed rule change sought by the Ohio DNR that would replace a lease program for residential property owners with erosion-control structures or docks. The state has proposed replacing its lease program, which generates about $100,000 a year, with a one-time fee of $50. The state, Beathard said, "is responsible for permitting shore structures and to make sure they meet safety and environmental issues."


Pennsylvania

Lichvar new PFBC Commissioner

Lenny Lichvar of Boswell, Somerset County, has been sworn in as the newest Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commissioner. Commissioner Lichvar fills a vacant seat for Commission District 4, comprised of Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Mifflin and Somerset counties.

 

Lichvar is deeply involved in conservation matters, both professionally and in numerous volunteer organizations. He is currently Project Manager for the Somerset Conservation District. He previously served as Executive Director of the non-profit Southern Alleghenies Conservancy for eight years. He is Chairman of the Stonycreek-Conemaugh River Improvement Project and is on the board of the Somerset County Conservancy. Commissioner Lichvar is a board member,

Stream Improvement Chairman and Yellow Creek Coalition representative for the Mountain Laurel Chapter of Trout Unlimited. He is a member of the Jenner Rod and Gun Club. He has previously served on the board of directors of the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers.

 

In addition, Commissioner Lichvar is a freelance outdoor writer and photographer whose works have been published in local, state and national publications. Twice he has won recognition from the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association for the best published article on trout and coldwater conservation. He is presently an Outdoors Correspondent for the Somerset Daily American and produces a monthly outdoors page for the newspaper.


Wisconsin

Ex-WI governor opposes selling Lake Michigan water to Waukesha County

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Former Wisconsin governor Anthony Earl says it would be absolutely wrong to for Milwaukee to sell Lake Michigan water to Waukesha County.

 

"It would be the very worst, most shortsighted long-term worst thing we could do," he told a gathering of 200 politicians, business leaders and university researchers Thursday on the economics of Lake Michigan.  Most of Waukesha County relies on an underground water table that has fallen since Milwaukee's suburbs sprawled westward.

 

Milwaukee draws water from Lake Michigan because it lies on the eastern side of a sub-continental divide that allows used water to flow back into the lake.  But most of Waukesha lies on 

the western side of the watershed known as the Great Lakes basin and, under the terms of the Great Lakes Charter which was signed in 1984 when Earl was governor, communities outside the basin cannot siphon water off the Great Lakes unless they invest tens of millions of dollars for conduits to pipe used water back into the lake.

 

Earl said that, if Milwaukee agrees to sell water to Waukesha, it will have a nearly impossible time turning away other western communities or cities in places such as Arizona which are facing a more immediate water crisis than Waukesha.  "Once you begin this process, you cannot turn it around," he said. "You set the precedent. Others will say, 'sell it to us, too,' and we'll lose this enormous resource that we have.”


Ontario

Ontario continues funding Community Fisheries and Wildlife

McGuinty Government Works With Partners and Volunteers

TORONTO — The province will continue to fund the Community Fisheries and Wildlife Involvement Program (CFWIP), Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay announced last week.” This is money well spent and, contrary to some reports, I am committed to fully funding CFWIP this year in the amount of one million dollars,” said Ramsay. “This funding goes to worthwhile community-based, hands-on fish and wildlife projects across Ontario.”

 

The ministry works with about 5,000 partners who contribute time, materials and resources to develop and deliver conservation projects. Through CFWIP, the Ministry of Natural Resources provides professional resource management expertise and funding that partners use to leverage additional resources and deliver on-the-ground conservation work on private and public lands across Ontario.

CFWIP funded over 550 projects across Ontario last year. Approximately 35,000 volunteers committed over 200,000 hours to fish and wildlife conservation projects. Funding CFWIP is just one way the McGuinty government is protecting our natural environment.

 

Other initiatives include:

• Launching Ontario’s Biodiversity Strategy to engage Ontarians in the protection of a wide variety of plant and animal life

• Expanding partnerships with environmental organizations to increase protection of environmentally sensitive lands

• Providing new incentives for private landowners to protect and restore significant natural heritage features on their land.

For more information on the CFWIP program, contact your local ministry office.

 

 


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

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

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