Week of June 22, 2009

Fishing beyond the Great Lakes


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Fishing beyond the Great Lakes

Export Permits to be Denied for Wild Paddlefish Products from Tennessee’s  Kentucky Lake

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will deny the issuance of CITES export permits for paddlefish and products (caviar) harvested from Kentucky Lake in Tennessee during the recently completed 2008-2009 fishing season.


Kentucky Lake is an impoundment of the Tennessee River in western Tennessee and western Kentucky and provides at least 63 percent of all caviar harvested in Tennessee.  This action will not impact the domestic sale of the caviar, but will prevent its export.


The Service has determined that the harvest level taking place under current state regulations is not sustainable and this makes it impossible to meet the requirements for issuance of export permits under provisions contained in the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES). The specific decision or finding is the “non-detriment finding”, meaning that the Service is unable to find that the export of paddlefish and its products from Kentucky Lake in Tennessee is not detrimental to the survival of the species.


CITES is an international treaty with the goal of ensuring that international trade in wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.  Under CITES, specimens of listed species are subject to certain controls when they are exported/imported in international trade.  All import, export, re-export and introduction from the species covered by CITES must be authorized through a system of permits.  Prior to issuance of a CITES export permit, two positive findings must be made: that the product proposed for export was legally acquired and that the export will not be detrimental to the survival of the species.


Commercial harvest of paddlefish in Tennessee is managed by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA).  Recent regulatory recommendations by the agency were based on a scientific research study that was published by Bettoli and

Scholten in 2005; "Assessment of Overfishing and Bycatch for an Exploited Paddlefish Population in the Lower Tennessee River." This study originated from the Service’s concern over the high number of applications for caviar export permits from this lake. The results of this study indicated that paddlefish were indeed being overfished.  To address this, the state wildlife agency developed a five-year plan to gradually increase the minimum size limit to protect more mature females from harvest and close the fishing season earlier in spring to decrease the mortality of discarded fish bycatch.


Based on implementation of the State’s five-year management plan, the Service has previously been able to find that the export of paddlefish and its products have not been detrimental to the survival of the species.  However, in 2008, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission deviated from implementation of the State’s five-year management plan and adopted less restrictive harvest regulations than those proposed by the TWRA, including a decrease in minimum size limit and an increase in season length.   It is estimated these new regulations enacted for the regulation of paddlefish harvested commercially in Tennessee protect only 7 percent of mature female paddlefish in Kentucky Lake.


Paddlefish are long-lived fish, and can reach ages greater than 25 years. Female paddlefish reach maturity from 8-12 years; depending on the river system they inhabit.  Based on a national survey conducted in 2006, paddlefish populations in the State of Tennessee are considered to be declining.


Paddlefish are important because they are one of three egg-bearing (roe) species in the sturgeon family within the United States that are allowed to be exported commercially for their eggs, that are processed into caviar. The other species are the white sturgeon and the shovelnose sturgeon.  North American caviar has increased in value, and the export trade has increased in volume, due to declining stocks in the Caspian Sea sturgeon fisheries.


Senators Move Clean Water Fight Out of Committee

WASHINGTON, DC, June 18, 2009 (ENS) - The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works approved six water-related bills on June 18, including the controversial Clean Water Restoration Act, S. 787. The bill would amend the Clean Water Act to clarify the jurisdiction of the federal government over waters of the United States.


Over time, several U.S. Supreme Court decisions and Bush administration policies have created uncertainty regarding federal protection for some waters, especially headwater streams and so-called isolated wetlands. Headwater streams are the small swales, creeks and streams that are the origin of most rivers.


Committee Chairman Senator Barbara Boxer of California said, "Today the Environment and Public Works Committee took historic steps to restore, in a balanced way, the common-sense Clean Water Act protections that have been in place for decades. We also passed important measures to ensure our families have clean, safe water, to promote conservation of migratory birds, and to protect America's beaches, lakes, rivers, bays and wetlands. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle as these bills are considered by the full Senate.”


The Clean Water Restoration Act replaces the term "navigable waters" that are subject to the Act with the term "waters of the United States."


This change in language would bring under federal protection all waters subject to the ebb and flow of the tide, the territorial seas, and all interstate and intrastate waters and their tributaries, including lakes, rivers, streams, including intermittent streams, mudflats, sandflats, wetlands, sloughs, prairie potholes, wet meadows, playa lakes, and natural ponds to the fullest extent that these waters, or activities affecting them, are subject to the legislative power of Congress.


The bill declares it does not regulate under the Clean Water Act return flows from irrigated agriculture; or uncontaminated stormwater runoff from oil, gas, and mining operations.


It does not impose federal regulation on dredged or fill materials resulting from normal farming, silviculture, and ranching activities, from upland soil and water conservation practices, or on activities regulated by the states under a federally approved water quality program.


Nor does it regulate dredged or fill materials for the maintenance of currently serviceable structures, the construction or maintenance of farm or stock ponds, irrigation ditches and maintenance of drainage ditches, or farm, forest, or temporary roads for moving mining equipment in accordance with best management practices, or the construction of temporary sedimentation basins on construction sites for which discharges do not include placement of fill material into the waters of the United States.


Even so, Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, the ranking Republican on the Environment and Public Works Committee today called the bill, "a dagger directed right at America's heartland."


"I see this bill as a significant part of a hostile agenda aimed squarely at rural America," Inhofe said. "Allowing EPA and the Corps to exercise unlimited regulatory authority over all inter- and intrastate water, or virtually anything that is wet, goes too far and is certainly beyond anything intended by the Clean Water Act. But, that is what S. 787 does."

Inhofe said the bill, "vastly expands federal control of private property, despite assurances contained in S. 787. In fact, the very premise of the bill is to override a state's fundamental right to oversee waters within its borders and to usurp the power of land owners to manage their property as they see fit."


Inhofe listed groups that have expressed concerns with this bill including: The Associated Builders and Contractors, the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association, the American Forest and Paper Association, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Association of Home Builders, the National Association of Realtors, the American Highway Users Alliance, and the American Association of Airport Executives.


Inhofe says he and fellow Republicans intend to fight this bill on the Senate floor.


But environmentalists say this bill is a major step in the right direction after Supreme Court decisions in 2001 and in 2006 and subsequent directives from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have confused which waters are protected under the Clean Water Act and which are not.


Chris DeScherer of the Southern Environmental Law Center said the court and agencies, hinging their rationale on the term “navigable,” have muddied the scope of protections for so-called “isolated” wetlands and headwater streams that are "ephemeral or intermittent."  "This bill is critical to protecting drinking water, wildlife habitat, recreation opportunities, and any number of community economies in the South," DeScherer said.


Virtually all U.S. waters were once protected, but the current approach is to make determinations on a case-by-case basis, which creates uncertainty for all interests, including developers and others in the regulated community as each Corps district is applying its own criteria for determining what waters are and are not covered.


DeScherer says regulating the nation's water resources in this piecemeal fashion disregards the interconnectedness of our watersheds upon which clean, healthy water relies.


The impacts of confusing jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act protections has taken an especially heavy toll in the water-rich South, where clean, plentiful water is directly related to the health of a web of tributaries and wetlands, DeScherer said, adding that, "These smaller waters are considered the first-responders to controlling pollution and floods."


"Although SELC and many others have fought hard to protect these waters, I can't tell you how many wetlands or small streams may have been lost forever because of misinterpretation of the Clean Water Act," he said.


"Our most cherished iconic waterways, Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River, can only be as healthy as the streams and wetlands that feed and clean them," said Max Muller, program director at Environment Illinois.


The U.S. EPA estimates that over half of Illinois streams are headwater or seasonal, the types of streams most in danger. At least 800 polluting facilities located on at-risk streams have their discharges limited by Clean Water Act permits, permits that Muller worries may no longer be required if this legislation is not enacted. He cites EPA data indicating that more than 1.6 million Illinois residents receive drinking water from supplies fed at least in part by these streams.

Dingell Honored for Outstanding Waterfowl Conservation

Congressman John Dingell of Michigan has been recognized for his major lifetime contributions to waterfowl conservation by the North American Waterfowl Management Plan Committee, an international body that provides leadership on waterfowl conservation and management issues.


Congressman Dingell received the Plan Committee’s International Canvasback Award, an honor recognizing individuals, corporations or organizations that have made substantial contributions over a long period to the implementation and continuation of the Plan throughout North America. The award will be presented on June 10 during a meeting of the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, of which he has been a member for nearly 40 years.


“The many contributions of Congressman John Dingell to waterfowl conservation are legion and a testament to his dedication to preserving our natural world,” said Rowan Gould, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Acting Director. “During his 53 years in the U.S. House of  representatives, Congressman Dingell has demonstrated time and time again

that he is a champion of wildlife conservation and natural resource management.”


Congressman Dingell has served nearly 40 years as a member of the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, identifying and approving wetland conservation projects in the United States, Canada and Mexico that best serve the needs of North American waterfowl and other wildlife.


During his tenure in Congress, Congressman Dingell has provided leadership in efforts to pass landmark legislation such as the National Wildlife Refuge Administration Act and the Clean Water Act. He is also a founding member of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus and Congressional Wildlife Refuge Caucus. Congressman Dingell was the catalyst for the creation of the first wildlife refuge that spanned national borders – the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge.


Congressman Dingell was nominated for the award by Ducks Unlimited, Inc., a major international wetlands and waterfowl conservation organization.


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for June 19, 2009

 Weather Conditions

An active weather pattern set up across the Great Lakes basin this week, influenced by a slow moving frontal system, allowing several rounds of heavy rain to push through the region.  Flint, MI received over 3 inches of rain on Wednesday, while other locations saw severe thunderstorms Thursday.   More showers and thunderstorms are expected Friday and Saturday, before drier weather sets in for the weekend. 


Lake Level Conditions

Lake Superior is at the same level that it was a year ago while Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, and Erie are 9, 8, and 4 inches, respectively, higher than their levels of a year ago.  Lake Ontario is 1 inch below its level a year ago.  Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are predicted to rise 2 inches and 1 inch, respectively, over the next 30 days.  Lakes St. Clair and Erie are predicted to drop by 3 inches while Lake Ontario is predicted to drop by 2 inches over the next 30 days. Over the next several months, Lake Superior is predicted to be around its level of a year ago. Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, and Erie are forecasted to remain at or above last year's levels.  Lake Ontario is forecasted to be at or below its levels of a year ago over the next six months. 


Current Outflows/Channel Conditions

In May, the outflow from Lake Superior through the St. Mary's River was below average, as was the outflow from Lake Michigan-Huron through the St. Clair River.  The Detroit and

Niagara Rivers carried near average flows during May.  The outflow from Lake Ontario through the St. Lawrence River was above average. 



Users of the Great Lakes, connecting channels and St. Lawrence River should keep informed of current conditions before undertaking any activities that could be affected by changing water levels.  Mariners should utilize navigation charts and refer to current water level readings. 






St. Clair



Level for June 19












Datum, in ft






Diff in inches











Diff last month











Diff from last yr












Invasive Fish Survey Resumes in Illinois Waterway

Boater safety around electrical barrier a priority

The USFWS, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), and Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium will resume annual surveillance efforts this June for invasive fish and fish pathogens, across 200 miles of the Illinois Waterway


A permanent electrical barrier designed to prevent and slow the spread of invasive fish species through the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal (CSSC), became operational 24 hours a day this past April, increasing the importance of safety precautions for navigational and recreational boaters.


Along with other federal, state and regional partners, the team will chart the range of bighead carp and silver carp, two Asian invasive species. Biologists will also collect tissue samples from captured fish to test for lethal pathogens including the non-native spring viremia of carp virus (SVCV) and the viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus (VHSV). 


The “Goby Round Up/Carp Corral” surveillance effort is critical in determining if round goby populations have extended farther downstream toward the Mississippi River, and, if Asian carps have moved upstream toward Lake Michigan.


Sampling will cover nearly 200 miles - more than half the length of the Illinois Waterway - from Chicago downstream to Havana. In previous years, surveillance efforts have determined that round goby are most abundant at upstream sample sites like Alsip and Joliet. Bighead and silver carp, known for their ability to leap out of the water, are more common and likely to be encountered downstream near LaSalle-Peru, Morris or Havana. 


The potential economic and environmental impacts of Asian carp, round goby, fish disease pathogens and other invasive  

species are widespread and significant.


To date no bighead or silver carp have been collected above the barriers.  However, survey biologists captured one bighead carp 15 miles below the original barrier in 2007 and two silver carp 20 miles below it in 2008.  Reproducing populations of bighead and silver carp have expanded from lower portions of the Illinois River to at least as far upstream as the Starved Rock Lock and Dam near Utica.


Commercial and recreational mariners are also reminded to exercise extreme caution while traveling the CSSC from the Romeo Road Bridge to the pipeline arch - an approximately 1400-foot section of the canal from river mile 296.1 to 296.7.  While transiting this area, boaters are advised to wear a USCG-approved life jacket, remain seated, stay out of the water, keep hands and feet out of the water, and closely supervise children and pets or send them below deck. All vessels are prohibited to linger or attempt to moor in the restricted area.


Operators of recreational watercraft are likewise advised to proceed cautiously when transiting waters infested by Asian carps. 


Native to large rivers of Asia, bighead and silver carp were brought to the United States in the early 1970s and began appearing in public waterways in the early 1980s.  These species feed on plankton (microscopic plants and animals), consuming three to five times their body weight per day and can reach weights of more than 80 pounds.  A 92-pound bighead carp was recently captured in the Illinois River while bow-fishing.  Asian carps compete for food with larval and juvenile fish, as well as adult paddlefish, gizzard shad, bigmouth buffalo and native mussels.


Event aims to reduce BUI, June 26-28

Indiana is participating in Operation Dry Water, a coordinated national weekend of Boating Under the Influence (BUI) detection and enforcement aimed at reducing BUI, June 26-28.


Curbing the number of alcohol-related accidents and fatalities is a key to achieving safer and more enjoyable recreational boating. In 2007, U.S. Coast Guard statistics indicated that 21% of all boating fatalities were a result of alcohol use, which continued an upward trend in the percentage of fatalities where alcohol was the primary cause of the accident. In 2008 there were 55 boating accidents reported within Indiana. As a

result of those accidents eight victims drowned while boating Hoosier waterways. Alcohol was believed to have been a major factor in a number of the accidents.


Indiana will increase BUI enforcement during the weekend by offering overtime to off- duty officers increasing patrols in several locations. The overtime would be paid through a grant from the Coast Guard.  The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators works with the states, the Coast Guard and other partner agencies to coordinate the event.


For more information on this program, see www.operationdrywater.org.


More Hunters Harvest More Deer in 2008

Michigan hunters harvested an estimated 489,922 deer in 2008, a 1 percent increase from 2007, the Department of Natural Resources announced at last week’s Natural Resources Commission meeting in Lansing.  Hunters killed 248,350 antlered bucks and 241,573 antlerless deer, a 7 percent decrease in the buck harvest, but a 12 percent increase in the number of antlerless animals taken the previous year.


The estimates are based on the DNR’s annual mail survey, which was sent to 49,947 individuals who bought at least one deer license.


The survey showed that 47 percent of those who bought a license harvested at least one deer, a 1 percent decrease

from 2007. The decrease was most noted in the Upper Peninsula, where success rates dropped 5 percent. Hunters in the northern Lower Peninsula were slightly more successful (by 1 percent), while hunters in southern Michigan were modestly less successful (by 1 percent).


A total of 733,998 individuals bought at least one deer license, a 1 percent increase from 2007. Overall, the DNR sold 7 percent more licenses than the previous year. Deer hunters spent 9.7 million days afield in 2008, about the same as in 2007.


To read the complete report, check the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnrhunting,  and click on Wildlife Surveys and Reports.

Koss Landing Boat Access Site Closing for Construction on June 22

The Department of Natural Resources will close the Koss Landing boating access site on the Menominee River in Menominee County for the construction of a new boat ramp on June 22.


The new ramp will be wider than the current ramp, and will allow room for the addition of a skid pier.  The scheduled upgrades will increase accessibility and make using the ramp more convenient for boaters.

This construction project is being funded through the Michigan State Waterways Fund.  These restricted funds are derived from boat registrations and the marine fuel tax in Michigan.


Construction is scheduled to be completed on July 1, but during the closure, boaters are reminded to use the Michigan Recreation Boating Information System online at www.mcgi.state.us/MRBIS  to locate other launch sites along the Menominee River. 


DEQ Settles Claims Against UPPCO for Dam Failure Near Marquette

Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Director Steven E. Chester announced today that the department has entered into an agreement with Ishpeming-based Upper Peninsula Power Company (UPPCO), resolving the state of Michigan’s claims for natural resource damages related to the May 2003 failure of UPPCO’s dam on the Silver Lake Reservoir of the Dead River, approximately 30 miles upstream from the city of Marquette.


During the 2003 spring thaw, the Silver Lake Dam allowed the release of a tremendous amount of impounded water and sediment to downstream reaches of the Dead River and

additional impoundments.  The rush of water uprooted trees, toppled power lines, damaged bridges, and harmed aquatic life within the river. 


Immediately following the event, DEQ staff began working with UPPCO representatives, in consultation with the Department of Natural Resources, to discuss a strategy for recovering lost resources and mitigating damage.  Prior to entry of the Consent Judgment filed today with the Marquette County Circuit Court, UPPCO conducted extensive recovery activities within the Dead River and its impoundments, spending over $18 million to date, including rebuilding the dams on Silver Lake.

DNR Adopts New Bear Management Plan

The Michigan DNR has adopted a new bear management plan that was developed after more than a year of public meetings and consultations. DNR Director Rebecca Humphries signed the document at a recent meeting of the Michigan Natural Resources Commission.


“We feel this is a good strategy for both bears and the citizens of Michigan; hunters, recreational viewers, and the residents who live in bear country,” Humphries said.


The bear management plan sets four priorities:

► maintaining a sustainable bear population,

► facilitating bear-related benefits,

► minimizing bear-related conflicts, and

► conducting science based management.


The plan calls for maintaining quality habitat and using hunting to maintain populations within social and biological limits. The DNR will strive to increase public awareness about bears and bear-related issues while maintaining research and monitoring programs.  The plan would allow Michigan’s bear population, which has been gradually moving south, to expand naturally, while adopting management strategies as issues arise.

Coast Guard rescues six people, searches for one other person after two boats collide

ST. CLAIR SHORES, Mich - U.S. Coast Guard Station St. Clair Shores www.uscg.mil/d9/sectDetroit/stclairshores.asp rescued six people from two pleasure crafts that collided with each other approximately one nautical mile off Jack's Marina in Lake St. Clair Sunday at approximately 1:30 a.m.


A Station St. Clair Shores 25-foot small response boat crew arrived on scene and brought four males and two females to awaiting Emergency Medical Services on shore. "There was a lot of scattered debris - boats separated by a wide degree. We had to hone-in on their screams for help, because the large debris pieces on the radar were very muddled," said Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class John Anderson, Station St. Clair Shores 25-footer coxswain.


EMS transferred three people who required medical attention

to St. John's Hospital in Detroit. The three sustained various injuries and are in stable condition.


Upon rescuing the six people, Stations St. Clair Shores, Belle Isle and an HH-65C rescue helicopter from Air Station Detroit commenced a search for a seventh male passenger ejected from one of the two boats.  The Coast Guard is working closely with the St. Clair Shores, Police and Fire Departments as wells as the Macomb County Sheriff's in the vicinity of the marina to locate the missing male safely.


The Coast Guard received a report of five persons on one pleasure craft and two on another pleasure that collided with each other , and one of the passengers was heaving life jackets to the persons in the water.  The cause of the collision is under investigation.


DNR Extends Public Comment Period for Changes to Trout Regulations

Michigan DNR officials have extended the period for taking comments on proposed changes to the State’s trout fishing regulations on inland streams until Sept. 1, 2009.  “We want to make sure everyone has a chance to be heard as this is the first significant change we’ve proposed to trout regulations in a decade,” said Todd Grischke, who oversees recreational fishing regulations for Fisheries Division.


The proposal is an attempt to further simplify regulations, reducing the current seven stream categories to four.  The proposal also calls for standard minimum size limits of 7 inches for brook trout and 8 inches for brown trout statewide.  Previously, size limits for both species differed by peninsula.

In addition, the proposal suggests eliminating the current Type 2 category.  All streams in the Type 2 category will be temporarily reclassified into other categories.  Further review of an appropriate category for these Type 2 streams will commence in early 2010.


Fisheries Division will also begin a review of streams currently in the Gear Restricted Waters category, as well as those proposed for addition to that category, again commencing in early 2010.  To read the proposal, or see proposed new designations for streams currently classified as Type 2, visit the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnrfishing.


Comments on the proposals can be sent to [email protected].

Another Successful Spring for Black River Sturgeon Program

The sturgeon spawning season on the Black River in Cheboygan County concluded earlier this month, and those involved with protecting the fish and collecting data have declared the season highly successful.


“Through the efforts of Michigan State University, 200 sturgeon were netted, tagged and cataloged,” said Dr. Kim Scribner, lead sturgeon researcher with MSU. “Additionally, our research team collected eggs and milt from numerous sturgeon to raise in our newly developed streamside hatchery.” The MSU team has also been working long nights collecting newly hatched larval sturgeon that have begun drifting downstream from the spawning areas and transferring them to the rearing facility.


The hatchery, a collaborative effort by Tower-Kleber Limited

Partnership, MSU and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, is now home to between 5,000 and 6,000 newly hatched sturgeon, which are destined to be stocked in Black Lake.


Data indicated that of the 200 sturgeon netted and released during this spring’s spawning season, 46 were sturgeon never before captured, while the remainder were recaptures from previous spawning season efforts. This information indicates that new generations of sturgeon are reaching maturity in Black Lake, a sign that the population is slowly recovering.


The Sturgeon Guarding Program, which draws upon volunteers from all over Michigan to protect the sturgeon from poaching, also saw a banner year and is rallying more help for the spring spawning season in 2010.

New York

Emerald Ash Borer Found In New York State

New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker and Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis announce the discovery of an Emerald Ash Borer infestation (EAB) in Randolph, Cattaraugus County. The EAB is a small but destructive beetle that infests and kills North American ash tree species, including green, white, black and blue ash. This is the first time it has been detected in New York.


New York has more than 900 million ash trees, representing about seven percent of all trees in the state, and all are at risk should this invasive, exotic pest become established. This is just the latest in a series of terrestrial and aquatic invasive species detections across New York State, including the Asian Longhorned Beetle, Sirex woodwasp, didymo, zebra mussels, and Eurasian water milfoil. This has prompted the state to strengthen regulations, increase educational outreach, and encourage ways of limiting the unintentional spread of these potentially devastating pests throughout the state.


In 2008, New York adopted regulations that ban untreated firewood from entering the state and restricts intrastate movement of untreated firewood to no more than a 50-mile radius from its source (http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/28722.html). This was done

as a precaution against the introduction and spread of EAB

and other invasive species because of the documented risk of transmission by moving firewood.


The infestation was initially reported to the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets on June 15, 2009, by Rick Hoebeke, an entomolologist at Cornell University, after two U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service employees recognized damage to some local ash trees just off Exit 16 of State Route 17/I-86. After receiving the report and conducting an initial inspection, an adult beetle from the infested area was submitted with the identification confirmed by the USDA's Systematic Entomology Laboratory at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. Photographs depicting the infestation will be posted to ftp://ftp.dec.state.ny.us/dpae/press/ Approximately 30 trees are infested or highly suspected of being infested to date.


Jonathan Staples of the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service said, "The detection of the Emerald Ash Borer will have a profound effect on the state's landscape given the huge number of ash trees located throughout New York. Exotic invasive species such as this need to be closely monitored not only for its potential to spread naturally, but also, the potential for artificial spread through firewood movement and other regulated articles."


Enforcement of boating under the influence’ laws to intensify weekend of June 26-28

MADISON -- Recreational boaters should think twice before drinking a cold beer the weekend of June 26-28 as DNR wardens and municipal boat patrol officers plan to step up enforcement of impaired operator laws as part of a national coordinated effort known as “Operation Dry Water.”


Wardens and patrol officers will be out in force looking for boat operators whose blood alcohol content exceeds the state limit of 0.08 percent. Boater education also will be part of the national effort in addition to the increased patrols.


Alcohol can impair a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time, and can increase fatigue and susceptibility to the effects of cold-water immersion. Sun, wind, noise,

vibration and motion – “stressors” common to the boating

environment – intensify the side effects of alcohol, drugs and some prescription medications. In 2008, alcohol and drug use were involved in 35 percent of the boating fatalities in Wisconsin.


Impaired boaters caught this weekend can expect penalties to be severe. They will include fines, jail and possible impoundment of boats.


Operation Dry Water is a joint program of the Department of Natural Resources, municipal patrols, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and the U.S. Coast Guard. More information is available at www.operationdrywater.org and on the boating safety pages of the DNR Web site.


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