Week of July 17, 2006

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Indiana

Michigan

Ohio

Pennsylvania

Wisconsin

Ontario

 

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World

Study: Eating Fish Helps Protect Eyesight

More on the benefits of eating fish laced with omega-3 fatty acids

CHICAGO (AP) - Two new studies give yet another reason to eat a diet rich in fish: prevention of age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in old age.

 

The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish such as salmon are already known to help the heart and brain stay healthy. The new studies, appearing July 10 in the Archives of Ophthalmology, add to evidence that fish eaters also protect the eyes. The new studies aren't the strongest level of scientific evidence, but they confirm the findings of previous studies that also link fish consumption with prevention of macular degeneration.

 

A study of 681 elderly American men showed that those who ate fish twice a week had a 36% lower risk of macular degeneration. In the other study, which followed 2,335 Australian men and women over five years, people who ate fish just once a week reduced their risk by 40%. The U.S. study also found that smokers nearly doubled their risk of the eye condition compared to people who never smoked.

 

Macular degeneration starts with blurring in the center of what the eye sees. It progresses to blindness, slowly or quickly depending on the type of disease. Six to 8 percent of people age 75 and older have an advanced form of the disease.

 

"We have a longer life expectancy so the prevalence and burden related to age-related macular degeneration will continue to increase," said Dr. Johanna Seddon of the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston, lead author of the U.S. study. The proper balance of essential fatty acids was

crucial to preventing eye disease in the study, Seddon said. The men who ate not only more omega-3 fatty acids, but also fewer omega-6 fatty acids, found in vegetable oils and baked goods, got the most benefit.

 

Both studies on the effect of fish were based on participants' recall of what they ate. The studies were observational, meaning they observed people's behavior and health. Although the researchers tried to account for other risk factors, the people who ate more fish may have had other healthy habits that lowered their risk.

 

Stronger evidence may come in five or six years with results from a large, randomized study of how fish oil and another nutrient, lutein, affect macular degeneration, said Dr. Emily Chew of the National Eye Institute, who is heading that study.

 

Volunteers will be assigned randomly to get either fish oil, lutein, or both _ or placebos.

 

Researchers don't yet know why eating fish seems to protect the eyes. Omega-3 fatty acids may neutralize free radicals in the eye, preventing the formation of new blood vessels, reducing inflammation or all three, Chew said.

 

Dr. Yu Guang He of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center said the new studies confirm findings from other research and will give doctors even more confidence as they advise patients what they can eat to protect their eyesight. "I always tell them if you like fish, if you enjoy fish, eat more fish. Some people don't like the flavor. I would encourage those people to take (fish oil) supplements," he said. http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/07/10/D8IPBJLO0.html


National

U.S. Superfund Law Applies to Canadian Company, Court Rules

SPOKANE, July 7, 2006 (ENS) - The United States' Superfund law that governs cleanup of contaminated sites applies to Teck Cominco Metals of Canada, regardless of the fact that the pollution discharged by the company into Lake Roosevelt originated in Canada, an appellate court has ruled.

 

The decision was filed July 3 in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Seattle. The court upheld an earlier decision by Federal District Court Judge Alan McDonald regarding discharges of mining waste into the Columbia River from Teck Cominco's smelter in Trail, British Columbia.

 

Two members of the Colville Tribe filed the original lawsuit under the citizen-suit provision of the Superfund law, to force Teck Cominco to investigate and characterize the extent of the contamination in the Washington state's Lake Roosevelt, the large reservoir behind Grand Coulee Dam. The State of Washington intervened in the lawsuit because Governor Chris Gregoire and state environmental leaders believed that the company, not United States' taxpayers, should pay for the cleanup.

 

Cominco argued that the Superfund law does not apply to a Canadian company that discharged hazardous wastes from a Canadian facility, and appealed the District Court decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

 

"This decision is great news for all Washingtonians," said Governor Gregoire. "The Columbia River is a lifeline of the Pacific Northwest and the taxpayers should not have to foot the

cleanup bill for contamination by a private company." "Teck

Cominco and its predecessors used our state as a dumping ground for 90 years and they should pay for the cleanup," said Gregoire.

 

This decision has implications for any state that borders a foreign country. If a foreign company contaminates land within the United States, the state can rely on United States law to govern cleanup and liability, instead of having to rely on less certain diplomatic processes.   "We expect this decision will result in Teck Cominco moving forward to investigate and clean up the contamination in the river and sediments to state and federal cleanup standards," said Washington Department of Ecology Director Jay Manning.

 

"We need Lake Roosevelt beaches, shoreline areas and bottom sediments of Lake Roosevelt to be cleaned up to the standards necessary to protect both human health and the environment from the effects of heavy-metals pollution," Manning said.

 

In early June, the U.S. EPA and Teck Cominco Metals, in Canada, entered into an unusual agreement by which the company agreed to complete an investigation of contamination and conduct an evaluation of cleanup options under EPA oversight. The agreement limited state and tribal ability to participate fully in the cleanup process.

 

Manning said, "We believe this decision will strengthen EPA's agreement with Cominco, which was executed as a private contract between the federal government and an international mining company."


Senate reauthorizes Great Lakes Fish & Wildlife Restoration Act

The Senate last week passed the Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act, S. 2430, to reauthorize and improve the current program to provide resources to support fish and wildlife restoration in the Great Lakes.  Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and Mike DeWine (R-OH), co-chairs of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, introduced the bipartisan bill, which was co-sponsored by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and George Voinovich (R-OH).

 

The Great Lakes Fish and Wildlife Restoration Act was enacted in 1990 and in 1998, and S. 2430 would reauthorize the program.  The bill authorizes $12 million for the state and

tribal grant program to restore fish and wildlife in the lakes, authorizes up to $6 million for fish and wildlife regional projects--a new component of the program, requires the Fish and Wildlife Service to provide information on-line for fish and wildlife managers, calls for several reports on fish and wildlife in the lakes, and maintains the Fish and Wildlife Service's Fishery Resources Offices and the Great Lakes Coordination Office. The authorization of appropriations for this bill is increased from $8 million to $20 million per year.

 

A companion bill, H.R.4953, introduced by Reps. Dale Kildee (D-MI) and Mark Kirk (R-IL), awaits consideration by the House of Representatives. 


Lawsuit challenges massive spotted owl 'habitat'

8 million acres in Arizona, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico at stake

The U.S. government broke the law when it designated more than eight million acres in the western United States as "critical habitat" for the Mexican spotted owl, charges a lawsuit filed July 13 by Pacific Legal Foundation.

 

"The critical habitat designation for the Mexican spotted owl runs afoul of the law in a number of ways," claimed Pacific Legal attorney Damien Schiff. "Some of the areas that have been set aside by the regulators clearly don't have physical and biological features that are essential for the owl's conservation. Other areas are described in such vague terms that it's anyone's guess whether it's necessary to take them out of public use." In addition, said Schiff, "the regulators ignored their legal duty to consider and factor in the economic impact of the designation."

The suit is being filed in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona on behalf of the Arizona Cattle Growers' Association, which claims the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, responsible for the August 2004 habitat designation, failed to abide by requirements of the Endangered Species Act in designating more than eight million acres in Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico as federally protected spotted owl habitat.

 

Back in 1990, the designation of the northern spotted owl as a threatened species resulted in the closure of 187 mills throughout Oregon, Washington and California and the loss of 22,654 jobs. Over the next decade, the public timber harvest in the region plummeted by at least 80%, devastating Oregon's largely timber-based economy.

 

 


U.S. Senate Votes to Protect Second Amendment Rights during Emergencies

Fairfax, VA - On July 13, the United States Senate overwhelmingly passed (84-16) an amendment (#4615) to the Homeland Security appropriations bill (H.R. 5441).  This amendment -- sponsored by Senator David Vitter (R-LA) -- prohibits the use of funds appropriated under HR 5441 for the confiscation of lawfully possessed firearms during an emergency or major disaster.

 

Commenting on the passage of the amendment, NRA-ILA Executive Director and chief lobbyist Chris W. Cox said, "After Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans Police Superintendent issued orders to confiscate firearms from all citizens, allegedly under a state emergency powers law. With that one order, he stripped the one means of self-protection innocent citizens had during a time of widespread civil disorder. This legislation guarantees that will never happen again."

 

Various reports indicate that military and law enforcement agencies from the federal government and several states confiscated guns from law-abiding New Orleans residents. The Vitter Amendment prohibits the use of federal funds to seize firearms or restrict firearms possession, except in the circumstances allowed by current federal or state law. Convicted felons and other "prohibited persons" are not protected under this legislation and it does not effect law enforcement operations outside of disaster relief situations.

 

"In passing this legislation, the United States Senate acted to

protect the self-defense rights of citizens when those rights are most vital. There was no 9-1-1 or police to rely on while

looters and rapists and thugs ran rampant and honest citizens were left to their own devices to protect themselves, their families and their neighbors. I want to thank Senator Vitter for introducing this amendment and all the Senators who supported it."

 

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the resulting gun confiscations, NRA filed suit in federal court and won a temporary restraining order ending all the illegal gun confiscations. After the City of New Orleans failed to comply with the court’s ruling, NRA filed a motion of contempt that included an order that all seized firearms be returned to their rightful owners.

 

With the urging of the NRA, emergency powers legislation prohibiting government officials from restricting the rights of law-abiding gun owners during declared states of emergency passed in 10 states during the 2006 legislative session, including Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, South Carolina, Virginia, Alaska, Idaho, Kentucky, New Hampshire, and Oklahoma.

 

While the passage of the Vitter Amendment in the U.S. Senate represents an important victory for America’s law-abiding gun owners, the job is not yet finished. It is vital that this provision be included in the final version of the bill that emerges from the House and Senate conference committee later this year.


Boy Scouts under attack again

A decision by the California Supreme Court that ended a half century of free use of the Berkeley, Calif., marina by the Boy Scouts of America is being appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Pacific Legal Foundation announced last week. Although Berkeley allows nonprofit groups free use of the city's marina, it prohibits the Berkeley Sea Scouts from participating in this program, because the Sea Scouts are affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America, which officially excludes avowed homosexuals and atheists from being adult leaders of the boys enrolled in the century-old youth organization.

 

World Net Daily reports Berkeley is penalizing the Sea Scouts for exercising their First Amendment right of association in ways that city officials don’t like," said PLF attorney Harold Johnson, co-counsel in the case. "May government punish you, or fine you, or subject you to second class treatment if you don’t pass a politically correct litmus test? That’s the question raised by this case. It’s a question that deserves to be heard by the United States Supreme Court."

 

Starting in the 1930s, Berkeley gave the Sea Scouts free access to berth Scout-owned boats, and the arrangement has continued uninterrupted since then – until now. "In 1998, the Berkeley City Council demanded that the local Sea Scouts admit homosexuals and atheists as members and leaders, or

forswear their ties to the Boy Scouts of America, or lose the $500 per dock subsidy that enabled the Scouts to keep three boats in the marina," explained Eagle Scout Hans Zeiger.

 

"Unable to compromise the Scout Oath, the Sea Scouts lost the dock subsidy," Zeiger added. "And unable to pay the fee, the Sea Scouts have reduced their marina fleet to one boat. The Scouts sued, and now they have lost at the California Supreme Court. It remains an issue of equal access. Two other nonprofit organizations continue to have free berthing at the Berkeley Marina: the Cal Sailing Club and the Berkeley Yacht Club. For holding by character, the Boy Scouts are excluded."

 

The Berkeley Sea Scouts is a multi-ethnic group drawing on all economic backgrounds. "Berkeley’s exclusion of the Sea Scouts has imposed financial hardships on the organization," says the legal group. "The monthly berth fee of more than $500 that the Sea Scouts must pay has led to cutbacks in programs and less financial assistance available for kids from poor families."

 

"The bottom line is that Berkeley officials are punishing the kids that participate in the Sea Scouts to make a political statement, and that’s a real tragedy," Johnson said.


Regional

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for July 14, 2006

Lake Level Conditions: 

Water levels on Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are 5 and 2 inches, respectively, below the levels of a year ago.  Lake St. Clair is at last year's level, while Lakes Erie and Ontario are 1 to 2 inches above 2005 levels.  Lake Superior's water level continues to rise and is expected to be 1 inch higher next month.  Lake Michigan-Huron is near its seasonal peak and will remain steady, while Lakes St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are forecasted to fall 1 to 4 inches over the next month.  Over the next few months, all of the Great Lakes are predicted to remain at or approach water levels similar to 2005. 

 

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions:

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

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 July 14

601.4

577.9

574.2

571.8

245.8

Datum, in ft

601.1

577.5

572.3

569.2

243.3

Diff in inches

+4

+4

+23

+31

+32

Diff last month

+1

0

+2

+1

+4

Diff from last yr

-5

-2

0

+2

+1


General

Trailer Brakes Are More Critical When Towing w/smaller Trucks and SUVs

IDA GROVE, Iowa — Recent spikes in the price of gasoline have put the brakes to the sales of larger tow vehicles. However, boaters are still committed to visiting their favorite lakes this summer, and many have downsized to smaller, more fuel-efficient trucks and SUVs.

 

ShoreLand’r, a leading manufacturer of boat trailers, recommends that consumers who own mid-size trucks and SUVs double-check the tow ratings of their vehicles before hitching up and hitting the road. More than 40 states have laws requiring boat trailers with gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWR) of 3,000 pounds or more to be equipped with hydraulic surge or electric brakes.

 

Trailer brakes can enhance the towing capabilities of smaller tow vehicles by giving them an ability to stop more easily and safely, particularly in a panic situation. A trailer equipped with hydraulic surge or electric over hydraulic brakes not only improves safety, it also makes towing less stressful.

 

ShoreLand’r has been installing hydraulic surge brakes as standard equipment on all of its trailers rated at 3,000 lbs. or higher since 2000. Electric over hydraulic brakes are standard on the company’s trailers with carrying capacities over 9,500 pounds.  If you own an older trailer, it’s a good idea to make sure it is properly equipped prior to towing. Even if your trailer is outfitted with hydraulic surge brakes, take some time to inspect and service the brakes before the boating season gets underway.

 

“Many boat owners don’t realize how difficult it can be to stop their trailer and tow vehicle in an emergency stop without trailer brakes,” says Don Rusch, Vice President Marketing for ShoreLand’r.  “The small cost of adding trailer brakes protects the much larger investment in their boat, trailer and tow vehicle. Even more important is added protection and peace of mind you get for your family and your passengers.”

 

Hydraulic surge brakes are fairly simple in their design, requiring no special trailer-to-car hook ups, or hand controls inside the car. The heart of the system is the surge actuator located in the hitch coupler on the trailer tongue. When the tow vehicle applies its brakes and slows down, the forward force of the trailer against the hitch activates a hydraulic cylinder that transfers pressure to the trailer brakes.

 

Many larger trailers feature electric over hydraulic brakes.  With

this type of system, an actuator applies the trailer brakes whenever the brake pedal is pressed. There is also a manual control inside the vehicle that allows the driver apply only the trailer brakes and control the amount of braking. This is particularly helpful when backing down a ramp, or in the event of a panic stop, the driver can use the manual controller to maintain safer operation.

 

Brake maintenance is easy to do yourself, or it is usually an inexpensive service offered by your local dealer.  Here is what the experts at ShoreLand’r recommend for basic maintenance:

 

- On drum brakes, inspect the brake lines and wheel cylinders for leaks or cracks. If any are found, they should be repaired by a qualified repair facility.   Also check the brake shoes for wear and replace them if needed.

 

- On disc brakes, check the disc rotors and brake pads for scoring and wear.  The rotors can be removed and turned down by any local brake shop.

 

- On both styles, drum and disc, you need to regularly inspect the brake fluid level in the master cylinder reservoir, located in the surge actuator. Keep it filled to within ½-inch from the top.  Be careful not to overfill because brake fluid can damage the paint on your trailer.

 

Once this basic maintenance is complete, take the whole rig (boat, trailer and tow vehicle) out for a test drive. Find an open and level stretch of road or a big parking lot. Drive at a slow rate of speed and apply the brakes lightly to see how well the trailer brakes work in unison with your tow vehicle.  If things seem to work fine, try it again at a higher rate of speed. When you are confident that the brakes are working well, try a panic stop at a moderate rate of speed. Not only will this test your hydraulic trailer brakes, it will give you an idea of what to expect in an emergency.  

 

During the braking tests, if any problems arise or you feel the trailer brakes are not working properly, have it checked immediately by your dealer or a qualified mechanic.  The brakes may just need an adjustment or the hydraulic lines might need to have any air removed.  The good news is that both operations are simple and inexpensive.

 

These maintenance tips are good advice regardless of the size of your tow vehicle. Make the most of this summer’s boating season by getting your boat trailer ready now.


 

Indiana

Indiana Wiper Record

David Coffman from Frankfort caught the state-record hybrid striped bass in May 2005. Coffman caught the record fish below Lake Freeman's Oakdale Dam. The white bass/striped bass hybrid weighed 22 lbs, and was 32" long. The fish's tail fin spanned a foot rule.  "The fish was like something you would see in the ocean," said Coffman.

 

The best lakes in Indiana for adding wiper poundage to your stringer are Monroe Lake or lakes Freeman and Shafer near

Monticello. Big wipers are also often caught below Ohio River dams.

 

Wipers will attack a wide variety of cast or trolled lures or baits. They also have a taste for light-colored Clouser Minnow style flies. These powerful fish are a genetic cross between white bass and striped bass and resemble their temperate bass cousins, striped bass, white bass and yellow bass.

 

More wiper tracking info, maps and photos at: http://www.IN.gov/dnr/fishwild/fish/wiper.htm


State studying Wireless wipers

Two new wiper location maps have been added to the Hybrid Bass Movement Study Web page.

Indiana DNR is studying the movements of hybrid striped bass at Monroe Lake using radio telemetry. In April, DNR fisheries biologists implanted electronic transmitters in 30 wipers.  About every two weeks, the wiper team races around the entire 11,000-acre lake near Bloomington tracking the free-roaming crossbred fish.

 

Wiper location maps are posted at: www.dnr.in.gov/fishwild/fish/wiper.htm

 

DNR scientists radio-track hybrid bass

In the murky depths of Monroe Lake, a biomystery unfolds. Indiana DNR biologists are unraveling the migration habits of hybrid striped bass, a brutal predatory gamefish commonly called wipers, using radio transmitters and U. S. Department of Defense GPS satellites.

 

In April, DNR fisheries biologist Kevin Hoffman and his team implanted electronic transmitters in 30 wipers. Every two weeks, the wiper team races around the entire 11,000-acre lake near Bloomington tracking the free-roaming crossbred fish.

 

Biologists have some hunches about the movements of these open-water fish. And wiper anglers have had success catching wipers near the dam and along beaches in early spring and late fall. But proven wiper-whereabout facts are scarce. The DNR wiper team's research has already yielded surprises.

"There is not a lot of scientific literature on hybrid striped bass habitat selection and movement, so this study is breaking some new ground," said Brian Schoenung, South Region Fisheries Supervisor. "The first two tracking runs have surprised us with just how far these critters roam. These fish use the entire lake in the same way you use your back yard."

 

Schoenung says the tracking team found fish all the way up to Crooked Creek Recreation Area several days after tagging the fish near the dam. Some fish moved into the upper reaches of the lake and back. "We didn't expect the wipers to use the upper end of Monroe Lake as much as they do," said Schoenung.

 

To track the wipers, Hoffman and his team use a boat specially outfitted to receive signals from the transmitters in the fish. The transmitter is placed inside the fish and has an antenna that protrudes from the wiper's belly. Every other week, all transmitters emit signals and the tracking team works quickly to get accurate wiper data, often motoring around the lake at a good clip, sometimes late into the evening and through idle zones.

 

"The goal," Schoenung said, "is to determine what the thermal, dissolved oxygen and habitat preferences are for wipers, so we can tell beforehand if a stocking in another lake is likely to be successful."

 

Wipers are popular gamefish stocked by the Indiana DNR into several Indiana shallow, warm reservoirs to help control prolific gizzard shad populations.


Michigan

Phase II Harbor Construction Begins in Mackinaw City 

Construction has started on the second phase of a $9.5 million new state harbor in Mackinaw City.

 

Ryba Marine of Cheboygan was awarded a $1,599,527 contract to construct a new three-lane boat launching facility, harbor basin dredging and various shoreline, utility and drainage improvements. Future phases of the project will develop harbor buildings and floating piers.

 

The new Mackinaw State Harbor will add up to 125 transient slips and creatively redevelop the state’s former car ferry dock within the city. DNR Parks and Recreation Division staff and the State Waterways Commission have reviewed surrounding existing harbors to create a slip configuration that will accommodate boaters’ greatest needs.

This construction is expected to be completed by December 2006. The finished boating access site will provide an excellent location for boaters to access the waters of the Straits of Mackinac, Lake Huron and Lake Michigan.

 

Michigan is a national leader with more one million registered watercrafts. Boaters enjoy more than 11,000 inland lakes, 36,000 miles of rivers and streams and 3,000 miles of freshwater shoreline - more than any other state. The State Waterways Commission and the DNR, often in partnerships with local communities, have developed a string of protective harbors for the convenience of Great Lakes boaters.

 

This project is funded by the State Waterways Fund. The fund is derived from boaters’ registration fees and marine fuel sales tax.


Michigan Governor Signs Hunter Recruitment Bills

Lansing – The Governor of Michigan gave hunter recruitment in her state a shot in the arm today when she signed two bills designed to boost the number of new hunters entering the field. 

 

Gov. Jennifer Granholm last week signed HB 5192 and SB 1105.  Both bills are part of Families Afield, a program designed by the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA), National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) to recruit young hunters into the sport by lowering or eliminating unnecessary age restrictions.

 

Senate Bill 1105 creates an apprentice hunting license which allows people to be introduced to hunting under direct supervision of a licensed adult hunter before completing hunter education.  To become fully licensed and hunt alone, the new hunter must complete a hunter education course. 

 

House Bill 5192 lowers the big game hunting minimum age from 14 to 12 and the small game hunting minimum age from 12 to 10. 

 

Under the two new laws, an experienced hunter can introduce a person who has not completed hunter education to small game hunting at the age of 10 and big game hunting at the

age of 12.  The new hunter must acquire an apprentice hunting license and hunt under the direct supervision of the licensed experienced hunter.  However, if the new hunter has completed hunter education, he or she may now acquire a license to hunt small game at the age of 10 and big game at the age of 12.

 

The Youth Hunting Report, commissioned by the USSA, NSSF and NWTF,  found that states which permit parents to decide when their children begin to hunt, and states which allow potential hunters to try hunting under the watchful eye of a mentor before completing a hunter education course, experience better recruitment and retention of new hunters.  More importantly, these states produce safety statistics that are better than states that place high restrictions on age and hunter education, as well as under what conditions a new hunter can legally enter the field.

 

Michigan joins Pennsylvania, Ohio, Minnesota, Illinois, Utah and Mississippi as states which have passed Families Afield legislation.  Like these states, Michigan has a rich hunting heritage, yet hunter recruitment is waning due to restrictive regulations placed on the ages at which a person can begin to hunt.  Families Afield gives parents the opportunity to decide when their child is ready to hunt, rather than have the government set an arbitrary age minimum.


DNR Confirms Virus in Lake St. Clair Fish

The Michigan DNR has confirmed that viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS), a virus that causes disease in fish but does not pose any threat to public health, is present in several fish species in Lake St. Clair.  The virus has also been detected in fish in the past year in Lake Ontario by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and New York Department of Environmental Conservation, in Lake Erie by the Ohio Department of Wildlife, and in the St. Lawrence River by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation.

 

The virus was detected by the DNR/MSU Aquatic Animal Health Unit in muskellunge, yellow perch, gizzard shad, northern pike, silver redhorse, and shorthead redhorse collected this past spring in Lake St. Clair.  DNR fisheries officials now believe VHS was a likely factor in the deaths of muskellunge, yellow perch, and gizzard shad observed during the spring of 2006 in the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, and the Detroit River.  The timing of the die-offs corresponded with the end of the stressful winter season for all fish species and the beginning of spawning season for muskellunge.  Spawning is extremely taxing and creates additional stress on fish, thus making them more vulnerable to infection and disease.  VHS outbreaks tend to occur during the spring season since the virus thrives at water temperatures between 40 and 60 degrees.

 

VHS has also affected fish elsewhere in the lower Great Lakes.  This past spring, 18 dead and dying muskellunge were collected in the Thousand Islands region of the St. Lawrence River during the spawning period.  In addition, VHS is suspected as a factor in large-scale mortalities of freshwater drum and yellow perch observed in Lake Erie, and large numbers of round gobies that perished in Lake Ontario this past spring.

 

There are at least four different strains of VHS.  The virus has been found in continental Europe, Japan, and both coasts of North America.  The European strain of this virus has been responsible for large-scale losses in rainbow trout and turbot in fish farms.  Prior to 2005, VHS-related mortalities were limited in North America to saltwater fish species such as Pacific herring and pilchard from the Pacific Coast of North America and mummichogs in Atlantic Ocean tributary streams.  Systemic VHS infections have been found in a range of North American fish including rainbow trout, brown trout, lake trout, Chinook salmon, and coho salmon, but large-scale mortalities have not been documented to date.  In 2005, VHS was detected for the first time in Great Lakes fish species in the US and Canada, including muskellunge in Michigan’s

waters of Lake St. Clair and freshwater drum in Lake Ontario.  It is not known how VHS was transferred to the Great Lakes region or how long it has been in the waterways of the Great Lakes, although a re-analyzed sample from a muskellunge collected in Lake St. Clair in 2003 has recently tested positive for the virus.

 

It is not known what the long-term effects of this virus will be in Michigan, DNR fisheries officials said.

 

“One likely possibility is that VHS will act like many other viruses in the environment.  Typically, viruses or bacteria infect fish, which may lead to disease in the fish if they are susceptible.  Once the disease is expressed in these fish, a small percentage will die,” said Kelley Smith, chief of the DNR Fisheries Division.  “The vast majority, however, will survive and will develop immunity to the viruses or bacteria that cause a disease.  Since there are no large-scale treatments for VHS that can be applied to fish in the wild, the presence of this new virus may result in spring fish mortalities that are abnormally high for a few years as more fish encounter the virus.  These mortalities should abate as fish begin to build immunity to the virus.”

 

Citizens are encouraged to report sick fish or fish kills to their local DNR office or use the DNR webpage at www.michigan.gov/dnr .  Anglers should contact the DNR if they observe fish that exhibit any of the following signs: hemorrhaging in the skin, including large red patches particularly on the sides and anterior portion of the head; multiple hemorrhages on the liver, spleen, or intestines; or hemorrhages on the swim bladder that give the otherwise transparent organ a mottled appearance.  This information will help DNR fisheries staff to track VHS and take appropriate management actions to help slow the spread of this virus.

 

Anglers and boaters can also help prevent the spread of VHS and other viruses or bacteria that cause disease in fish by not transferring fish between water bodies, and by thoroughly cleaning boats, trailers, nets, and other equipment when traveling between different lakes and streams.  The use of a light disinfectant such as a solution of one part chlorine bleach to 10 parts water (i.e., 1 gallon of bleach to 10 gallons of water) to clean vessels and live wells is very effective against VHS and other viruses and bacteria that cause disease in fish.  Soaking exposed items such as live wells, nets, anchors, and bait buckets in a light disinfectant for 30 minutes is also an effective method to prevent the spread of a wide range of aquatic nuisance species.


Women in the Outdoors Event to be held at Sleepy Hollow State Park July 29

An outdoor workshop for women will be held at Sleepy Hollow State Park on Saturday, July 29 from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m.

 

The event, sponsored by the Oldsmobile Outdoors Club, will teach classes in basic fly fishing, canoeing, archery, bird watching, trailer backing, self defense, outdoor survival and tracking and calling wild game. Expert teachers will be on hand for instruction in a non-competitive atmosphere. Interested participants can sign up for up to four classes and

receive lunch and beverages along with a membership into the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Women in the Outdoors program. Cost is $50 or two can attend for $80. For more info or application call Sue Tabor, women’s regional coordinator, 517-627-9889  staborwito@comcast.net .

 

All motor vehicles entering a state park or recreation area must display a Motor Vehicle Permit, available for purchase at the entrance. Cost is $24 for resident annual and $6 for resident daily. A non-resident annual is $29 and a non-resident daily is $8.


Ohio

2006 Eagle reproduction wildly successful

More than 200 eaglets fledged from 110 nests statewide

COLUMBUS, OH - For the first time in modern memory, Ohio’s bald eagles produced more than 200 eaglets. Also for the third year in a row, bald eagles established more than 100 nests across the state, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.

       

The 150 nests recorded this year in Ohio mark the 18th consecutive year that the state’s breeding bald eagle population increased.  Of those 150 nests, 110 were successful in producing young eagles.  Current reports from wildlife biologists and volunteer observers indicate that 205 eaglets have fledged from nests in 41 Ohio counties. 

       

“These are certainly great times for the American bald eagle in Ohio.  A big thank you goes out to all the landowners, eagle nest volunteers and conservationists who have played a major role in the recovery of our national symbol,” said Steven A. Gray, chief of the Division of Wildlife.

Last year, Ohio marked 125 nests, with 85 of those nests producing 136 eaglets. This year, 30 new nests have been identified in 18 counties, with Cuyahoga County recording its first nest in modern times.

 

Since 1979 - when only four bald eagle pairs were found in the state - the Division of Wildlife has helped reestablish Ohio’s eagle population through habitat development and protection, fostering of young eagles, and extensive observation of eagle nesting behavior.

       

Most eagle nests in Ohio are located along the shores of Lake Erie, but now some are well inland, including nests in Delaware, Hancock, Mercer, and Wyandot counties. Counties with new nests in 2006 were Ottawa (5), Delaware (3), Licking (3), Richland (3), Muskingum (2), Trumbull (2), Ashtabula (1), Coshocton (1), Cuyahoga (1), Hancock (1), Holmes (1), Knox (1), Lake (1), Mercer (1), Sandusky (1), Stark (1), Wayne (1), and Wyandot (1).  A majority of the nests occur on private land.


Muskingum River designated as Ohio's newest Water Trail

The 112-mile Muskingum is Ohio’s longest river lying entirely within the state 

COLUMBUS, OH - The historic, 112-mile Muskingum River in southeast Ohio became the state’s second water trail last week, following designation by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

ODNR officials, along with a variety of state and local partners, participated in a  ceremony at Malta Park in Morgan County that coincided with the Muskingum Riverfest, an annual celebration of boating, music and folk arts on the river.

 

The Ohio Water Trails initiative serves to increase accessibility to rivers and streams for Ohio’s paddlesport and boating enthusiasts through proper design and siting of launch ramps and up-to-date navigational information. A water trail is similar to a hiking or biking trail with one critical difference - the trailway already exists and access just needs to be provided. The Kokosing State Scenic River in Knox County was designated as the state’s first water trail last year.

 

 “These designated water trails provide paddlers and anglers with safe and convenient access points to enjoy the state’s

thousands of miles of rivers and streams,” said ODNR Director Sam Speck. “The Muskingum River Water Trail and similar trails that we hope to designate in the future will improve public access to some of Ohio’s finest outdoor recreational opportunities.”

 

The Muskingum, the longest river that lies completely within Ohio, flows from Coshocton to Marietta through four counties and some of the state’s most picturesque scenery. Two hundred years ago the river was a pathway, carrying settlers into frontier Ohio and the Northwest Territory. It remains an important link to the state’s heritage, with its 10 hand-operated wooden locks, developed in the early 1800s, still in service today. This unique lock and dam system has been designated a National Civil Engineering Landmark. Earlier this year, the lock system joined the National Register of Historic Places. In coming weeks, the National Park Service is expected to designate the river as the nation’s first National Historic Navigation District. 

 

A newly published water trail map and guide to the Muskingum will help boaters discover the important historic, environmental and recreational aspects of the river and the rich Appalachian culture of its surrounding valley.


Pennsylvania

Commission reminds issuing agents of new law on SS#

They need to increase protection of license buyers’ numbers

HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania Game Commission officials recently notified all hunting and furtaker license issuing agents about a new law that further ensures the protection and confidentiality of license buyers' Social Security Numbers.

 

Act 60 of 2006, formerly Senate Bill 601, still requires license buyers to provide their Social Security # to purchase a hunting or furtaker license - a federal and state mandate.  The legislation unanimously passed the House and Senate, and was signed into law by Governor Edward Rendell on June 29.

 

"Governor Rendell recently signed Senate Bill 601 into law that further restricts the use and reinforces the confidentiality of an individual's social security #," stated Dot Derr, Game Commission Adm. Services Director, in her letter to the agency's nearly 800 commercial license issuing agents.  "This new law makes it a criminal offense for hunting license issuing agents to disclose an individual's social security #.  Local district attorneys could prosecute agents who fail to safeguard an individual's social security #."

 

Derr noted that this new law reinforces the current prohibition on the disclosure of license information provided in Section 325 of the Game and Wildlife Code (Title 34).  "Always keep back tag books secure and, when not in use, off counters or tables that might be accessible to the public," Derr reminded agents in the letter.  "Do not allow customers to fill out their own back tag, which would give them a view of previous customer records."

 

The PA General Assembly enacted comprehensive legislation to implement the new federal requirements at the state level in 1997.

However, Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe noted that protecting the privacy of its license buyers is a top priority, and that the agency has supported federal and state legislation to remove the requirement that the agency collect social security #s from its license buyers.

 

Earlier this year, on Feb. 8, the state House of Representatives unanimously approved House Resolution 461, sponsored by House Game and Fisheries Committee Chairman Bruce Smith (R-York) and supported by the Game Commission.  HR 461 urges the President and Congress of the United States to revise the requirement that applicants for hunting and fishing licenses provide their social security numbers; and asks the Unites States Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families to grant an exception to the state Department of Public Welfare

for the current requirement that license buyers provide their social security numbers.

 

Also, on Feb. 10, U.S. Senator Rick Santorum appeared at the Eastern Outdoors and Sports Show to outline his introduction of Senate Bill 2249, the Sportsmen's Privacy Protection Act that would repeal the federal mandate that requires the Game Commission and other state wildlife agencies to collect social security numbers from license buyers.  "We firmly believe that enactment of Sen. Santorum's legislation will resolve this issue once and for all," Roe said.  "We urge all U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives to support this measure and we would ask that President Bush promptly sign it into law once it reaches his desk."

 

Last year, on Oct. 4, the Board of Game Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution, offered by Game Commissioner Gregory Isabella that directs the Game Commission staff to continue working to remove the federal and state requirements that the agency demand social security numbers from license buyers.

 

There are three components to Isabella's resolution.  First, agency staff is asked to continue to seek a waiver from the Department of Public Welfare excusing the agency from the need to collect social security numbers from license buyers until the agency implements an electronic license sale system, commonly referred to as "point-of-sale."

 

Second, the Game Commission's staff is asked to continue to pursue any initiative to have the U.S. Congress and state General Assembly enact legislation to remove the Game Commission from being legislatively mandated to collect social security numbers.

 

And, third, the Game Commission staff is directed to give license buyers' social security numbers the highest degree of security and confidentiality, and purge the information from license records as soon as legally possible.

 

"It must be clearly understood that collecting social security numbers from our license buyers was not something the Game Commission wanted to do or asked to be responsible for," Isabella emphasized.  "As an agency, we must continue to pursue all means possible to be removed from this requirement."

 

Last year, on July 29, the Game Commission sent a letter to Pennsylvania's U.S. Congressional delegation, including Sen. Santorum, urging reconsideration of the federal requirement that states collect social security numbers from our license buyers.


Wisconsin

Green Bay giving up more perch, walleyes

By Kevin Naze

A resurgence in yellow perch numbers and greater interest in a booming walleye fishery in Green Bay has made for a busy season at Bay Shore County Park just south of Dyckesville. It's not quite as crowded as the heyday of perch fishing in the 1980s and early 1990s, but it's getting there, said Ken Deprey of Deprey's Kwik Stop in Dyckesville.

 

"They're catching perch fairly regularly," Deprey said. "And walleyes, if you know what you're doing, you can really get 'em. My son has caught 20 to 30 an hour some days." Walleyes are averaging about 1½ to 2½ pounds, with a few 3- or 4-pounders and an occasional whopper, Deprey said. "You can be in 12 to 15 feet off the reefs or in as little as 5 feet of water," Deprey said. "Crawler harnesses are what most guys use, but bottom-bouncers can work in some areas."

 

Kacy Pamperin, an outfitter at Sportsman's Warehouse in De Pere, said walleyes have hit in 4 to 10 feet of water in the lower bay near the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and in 10 to

20 feet of water off Geano Beach on the west shore. Walleyes

in those areas are mostly running 16 to 26 inches, Pamperin said, with crawler harnesses favored. He likes silver willow leaf spinner blades when the water is clear and gold or fluorescent Colorado blades when it's murky.

 

Some anglers are trolling stickbaits and crankbaits in firetiger, chrome and blue and clown colors, among others. They're often targeting suspended fish around reefs and are presenting the baits behind planer boards and leadcore line over deep water.  

 

Perch fishing is good, too, with a lot of 9- to 11-inchers caught this year, Deprey said. Most are being caught on minnows or nightcrawlers in 12 to 22 feet of water.  "It's been one of our better years in more than a decade," he said. "Probably our best since the early to mid-1990s."

 

Many are trolling late in the afternoon or early evening. Low water conditions mean boaters must be cautious when navigating or trolling.


Ontario

Eagles taken off of endangered species list

As promised, the province of Ontario is taking bald eagles and peregrine falcons off the endangered species list across Northern Ontario

 

“It’s a success story as far as the dramatic improvement of (eagle) nesting pairs in Northern Ontario,” said Scott Lockhart, Ministry of Natural Resources resource liaison for the Lake of the Woods Area. Due to this remarkable population recovery, the MNR announced at the end of June it has down-listed the peregrine falcon’s status from endangered to threatened on the Species at Risk in Ontario list.

 

The bald eagle will stay on the list as endangered in areas south of the French and Mattawa Rivers near Sudbury. North of these areas, the eagle’s status will change to special concern.  “These two species have bounced back from the

brink of extinction, thanks to two decades of hard work and recovery efforts by government and partners,” said Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay. “While we are pleased with their progress, we will continue to keep a close eye on both species to ensure their long-term protection and continued recovery.”

 

Lockhart said the nearest population of peregrine falcons in Northwestern Ontario is in the Thunder Bay area, but he stressed that both species will remain protected under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act.  He noted that species like eagles receive special consideration in forest management planning and land development planning, all of which must meet the approval of various provincial ministries, including the MNR.  Lockhart estimated last year that on Lake of the Woods alone there were 175-200 pairs of bald eagles.


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