Week of July 26 , 2004

National

Regional

2nd Amendment issues

 

Illinois

Indiana

Michigan

Minnesota

Pennsylvania

Wisconsin

       Weekly News Archives

                         or

       New Product  Archives

National

NMMA Honors seven products for innovation at MAATS

CHICAGO - - Seven new products were recognized with NMMA Innovation Awards at the Marine Aftermarket Accessories Trade Show (MAATS), held at the Las Vegas Hilton July 8-11.  Boating Writers International (BWI) and National Marine Manufacturers Association president Thom Dammrich presented awards to the winning companies at a special ceremony during MAATS.

 

The Innovation Awards program, organized by NMMA and judged by Boating Writers International (BWI) recognizes those products that best meet the following criteria:

        Innovative distinction from other products currently being manufactured

        Benefit to the marine industry and/or consumer

        Practicality

        Cost-effectiveness

Winners were recognized this year in the following categories (company, product name):

Aftermarket Electronics (Tie) — Echo Pilot, Collision Avoidance Sonar System, & Vexilar, AlumaDucer™

Boat Care & Coatings— Performance Metals, Wear Indicator Anode

Hardware, Rigging, Ropes—Imperial Quality Products, 8-Way Adjustable Engine Mount

Safety Products — Skydex, SeaShocks

Trailer Parts & Accessories — Durasafe, Couplemate

Water Sports Equipment — Barton Marine, The Clam Seal

 

EchoPilot’s Collision Avoidance Sonar System is a wideband active surf zone, sonar based on military research that can see floating and semi-submerged objects up to 1,200 yards ahead of the boat in real time.  The System transmits using multi-frequency, which ensures greater performance in rough waters.

 

Equally impressing to the judges in the Aftermarket Electronics category was Vexilar’s AlumaDucer, the only transducer designed to transmit through aluminum hulls with zero signal loss.  Built like other transducers, it is designed to automatically compensate for the loss of signal strength when mounting a transducer on an aluminum hull.

 

Performance Metals’ Wear Indicator Anode is a sacrificial

anode that includes an embedded wear indicator.  When the anode corrodes to the point where it needs to be replaced, a brightly colored spot appears, notifying the boater.

“Anodes work best when more than 50 percent of the anode is present. This anode tells you when 50 percent has been used and it should be changed,” says Marshall. “This is the anode for dummies.”

 

The 8-Way Adjustable Engine Mounts from Imperial Quality Machining help boaters to mount engines more securely on four or six mounting points, removing the aggravation of inconsistent factory stringers and other challenges boaters face when trying to set an engine.

 

In the Safety Products category, Skydex Sea Shocks was recognized for greatly reducing rough water fatigue and chronic injury.  Originally developed for Navy SEAL boats, Sea Shocks utilizes high performance cushioning material to absorb shock—up to 75 percent of the impact experienced in rough seas.

 

DuraSafe Locks, Inc’s Couplemate, a trailer alignment device, makes it possible for one person to quickly hook up a boat trailer on the first try.  Couple Mate guides the trailer coupler directly over the hitch ball every time, helping prevent dings and scratches to the tow vehicle, and eliminating the need to continually get in and out of the vehicle to check position.

 

 “The Couple Mate stops arguments between the person backing the vehicle and the person guiding them to the trailer ball. It makes hitching the trailer a pleasure again,” says BWI judge and DIY-Boat Owner magazine publisher Jan Mundy.

 

The Clam Seal from Barton Marine repairs small tears or punctures in any inflatable—instantly, without glue.  After inserting the device into a tear, The Clam Seal allows boaters to make an instant and reliable repair that will last indefinitely until a permanent repair can be made. 

 

MAATS is a dedicated trade event bringing together nearly 300 exhibitors with leading distributors and retailers in the marine aftermarket accessories segment.

 

 


Depleted beluga whale population stable, U.S. says
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A depleted population of beluga whales has stabilized five years after Alaska Natives agreed to virtually stop hunting them, the National Marine Fisheries Service said Wednesday. Beluga whales in Cook Inlet, an icy channel that runs from Anchorage to the Gulf of Alaska, number 187 this summer, according to a count just completed by the federal agency.

They numbered 174 last year and 192 the year before that, it said.  More than 1,000 belugas may have lived in Cook Inlet in the 1970s and 1980s, but the population shrank precipitously after that, service experts say.

 

Hunters killed only six belugas between 2001 and 2004, the agency said.


 2003-2004 Waterfowl Hunting Harvests Reported

 More than 13.4 million ducks were harvested in the United States during the 2003-2004 waterfowl hunting season, according to preliminary estimates compiled by the USFWS.  In 2003 hunters harvested more than 3.8 million geese, up 13 % from nearly 3.4 million the previous year. 

 

The Service recently released a report estimating waterfowl hunting activity, success, and harvest, by species for the 2003 U.S. waterfowl hunting season.

 

Duck hunters spent about 7.4 million days in the field in the 2003 migratory waterfowl hunting season, down from 7.6 million days of duck hunting during the 2002 season.  Hunters spent 4.7 million days hunting geese, similar to 2002.

 

In the Atlantic Flyway, more than 1.6 million ducks were harvested last season, down from 1.8 million the previous year.  The 743,000 geese harvested in 2003 was down from 797,000 in 2002.

 

In the Mississippi Flyway, nearly 6.8 million ducks were harvested, up from nearly six million in 2002.  The 1.5 million geese harvested was up from 1.2 million in 2002.

 

 In the Central Flyway, hunters bagged nearly 2.5 million ducks last season.  This is down from nearly 2.6 million in 2002.  The 2003 harvest of 1.1 million geese was up from 979,000 in 2002.

 

In the Pacific Flyway, hunters harvested a total of more than 

2.4 million ducks, up from nearly 2.3 million in 2002.  The number of geese harvested, nearly 440,000, was up from 362,000 the year before.

 

In Alaska, more than 71,000 ducks were harvested, down from nearly 75,000 in the previous season.  The goose harvest at 6,900 was up from 6,000 in the previous year.

 

Mallards were the most prevalent duck in the bag for hunters in the U.S., with more than 5 million birds harvested last season. Other species popular among waterfowlers were green winged teal with more than 1.5 million birds harvested; gadwall with nearly 1.5 million harvested; wood duck, at more than 1.2 million harvested and blue winged teal, with nearly 1 million harvested.

 

Canada geese were the most prevalent goose in the bay by hunters in the hunted most in the United States, with nearly 2.9 million birds harvested last season.

 

The 1998 conservation order to expand light goose hunting is bringing the population down.  According to mid-winter surveys, the population peaked in 1998 at more than 3 million birds.  The population today is nearly 2.4 million birds.  The biologists' target population is little more than a million birds.  Light goose over-population has caused extensive damage in Arctic breeding areas.

 

The waterfowl hunter activity and harvest estimates for the 2003 hunting season are available on the Service's web site at http://migratorybirds.fws.gov/reports/reports.html


2004 Federal and Junior Duck Stamp now available

The 2004-2005 Migratory Waterfowl Hunting and Conservation Stamp is now available at thousands of Post Offices across the nation, as well as at many sporting goods retailers, discount, and convenience stores that sell hunting licenses.  

 

Each year, the USFWS issues new stamp. Ninety-eight percent of the revenue raised from the sale of each

$15 stamp is used directly for habitat conservation, making the purchase of Federal Duck Stamps one of the most effective ways to contribute to waterfowl habitat in the United States.

 

The 2004 Federal Duck Stamp marks the 71st year of sales for the program, which has raised more than $670 million to permanently protect more than 5.2 million acres of prime wetland habitat at hundreds of National Wildlife Refuges and waterfowl protection areas across the country.  All waterfowl hunters over the age of sixteen must carry a signed Federal Duck Stamp to hunt migratory waterfowl.  The stamp also provides users free admission to National Wildlife Refuges where fees are charged.

 

Students from around the Nation compete to win the Federal 

Junior Duck Stamp contest.  The winning image is selected for the Junior Duck Stamp. Funds raised from sales of the $5 Junior Duck Stamp provide funding for

educational initiatives that teach young people the benefits of wildlife habitat conservation.

 

The artist for this year's Federal Duck Stamp is Scot Storm, and the Junior Duck Stamp artist is Adam Nisbett.  Storm, whose dynamic painting of a pair of redhead ducks gave him his first Federal Duck Stamp Contest win last fall, is a native of Sartell, Minnesota.  Though an architect by training, Storm decided to pursue his passion for wildlife art full-time in 1999 after winning several prestigious art competitions.  Adam Nisbett, 17, is a home-schooled student from Saint James, Missouri.  His painting of a pair of fulvous whistling-ducks was picked from among 26,500 other entries submitted by students in kindergarten through 12th grade across the country to appear on the 2004-2005 Junior Duck Stamp.

 

For more information on where to purchase the new stamp, visit the Federal Duck Stamp Program's internet site at http://duckstamps.fws.gov .

 


Bush Administration to add 10 new hunting/fishing programs on federal lands

The Bush Administration plans to open new hunting and fishing programs on 10 national wildlife refuges and wetland management districts in Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, North Dakota, South Carolina and

South Dakota as part of its annual Refuge-Specific Hunting and Sport Fishing Regulations.  With the changes in this proposed rule, there will be 325 public hunting programs and 283 public fishing programs on national wildlife refuges.

 

"With this proposal, the USFWS will have launched over 60 new hunting and fishing programs on national wildlife refuges since 2001, enhancing access and opportunity for millions of Americans to enjoy their favorite outdoor traditions," said Service Director Steve Williams.

 

"By providing greater recreational access through over 60 new hunting and fishing programs on national wildlife refuges, the President is expanding the number of citizen stewards--hikers, anglers, bird-watchers and hunters-- who will visit, enjoy, and help care for these vibrant public resources," said James L. Connaughton, Chairman, White House Council on Environmental Quality.

 

The Service is proposing to add the following refuges and wetland management districts (WMD) to the agency’s list of

units open for hunting and/or fishing: Waccamaw National

Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in South Carolina; Mountain Longleaf NWR in Alabama; Red River NWR in Louisiana; Cypress Creek NWR in Illinois; Huron, Lake Andes, Madison, Sand Lake, Waubay WMDs in South Dakota; and Devils Lake WMD in North Dakota.

 

In addition, the Service is also proposing to expand recreational hunting and fishing opportunities on seven refuges in Nebraska, Texas, Tennessee, Indiana, Louisiana, Georgia, and South Carolina.

 

In 2003, there were 2.2 million hunting visits to national wildlife refuges and 6.6 million fishing visits.  By law, hunting and fishing are two of the six priority wildlife-dependent recreational uses on national wildlife refuges, and individual refuges are encouraged to provide opportunities to hunt and fish whenever they are compatible with the refuge's conservation goals.  The Service annually reviews hunting and fishing programs on national wildlife refuges to determine whether to add, modify or remove them.

 

The full text of the Refuge-Specific Hunting and Sport Fishing Regulations can be found on the Internet by visiting http://refuges.fws.gov and clicking on the link to "Policies and Budget."


Aug. 14 is Marina Day — by act of Congress
Both houses of Congress have passed resolutions recognizing Aug. 14 as National Marina Day.

House Resolution 647, introduced by Rep. Nathan Deal, R-Ga., was approved July 21. It supports the goals of National Marina Day, and urges America’s marinas to continue to serve as “environmentally friendly gateways to boating.”  A similar measure, introduced by Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., was approved by the Senate July 9. The House last year passed a National Marina Day resolution, but this is the first time the

Senate has recognized the observance. 
 

“Having National Marina Day recognized by both the U.S. House and Senate is great affirmation of our goals for this celebration,” said National Marina Day chairman Kirby Scheimann. “It is my sincere hope that marina operators everywhere will at least post these resolutions in their facilities on National Marina Day.”

National Marina Day is produced by the Marina Operators Association of America.


Regional

Your help is needed

We need your financial help to fund the operations of the Illinois Waterway electronic barrier – to prevent Asian carp and other nasty critters from entering our lakes

 

A second larger, longer-life barrier is now under construction, but the cost of the design exceeds available funds by $1.8 million.

 

Illinois has contributed $2 million to the project, but the other Great Lakes Governors say they are not able to contribute the balance – $1.8 million. Their states do not have the money. The need for the additional $1.8 million is critical.

 

Contributions from any non-federal source will help. That’s where clubs, individuals and corporate America can help

 

Use of Contributed Funds

Funds will be held by the Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council and distributed based on the direction of a board of non-agency trustees including the president of the GLSFC.

All contributions are tax deductible and will only be used to:

 

1)     Implement the Asian Carp Rapid Response Plan

2)     Improve or operate Barrier I

3)     Construct and operate Barrier II

 

Send your donations to:

GLSFC – carp fund

P.O. Box 297

Elmhurst, IL  60126

 

Or use our PayPal for credit card donations. 

Go to www.great-lakes.org/carp

 

For more information and photos go to: 

www.great-lakes.org/carp

 

Thanks for your help in preventing the invasion

of these harmful critters into our lakes.

 


Great Lakes Water Levels for July 23, 2004

Current Lake Levels: 

All of the Great Lakes are currently higher than the levels of a year ago.  Presently, Lake Michigan-Huron is experiencing the greatest difference from last year’s level, with a 14-inch increase.  Lake St. Clair is 8 inches higher than a year ago, while the remaining lakes are 2 to 5 inches higher than last year’s levels.  Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, and St. Clair remain below average, however, with current levels at 5, 9, and 2 inches below average, respectively.  Lake Erie is currently at its long-term average for July, while Lake Ontario is 4 inches above average. 


Current Outflows/Channel Conditions: 

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

 

Temperature/Precipitation Outlook: 

Cooler than average temperatures can be expected in the Great Lakes basin this weekend.  Many locations could set new record low temperatures.  Warmer temperatures will return to start the workweek, accompanied by the chance for thunderstorms.

 

Forecasted Water Levels: 

Lake Superior is predicted to continue its seasonal rise over the next month, increasing by approximately 1 inch.  Lake Michigan-Huron is approaching its seasonal peak this month, while Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario will continue their seasonal decline.  Lakes St. Clair and Erie are expected to decline 3 inches, and Lake Ontario is predicted to drop 6 inches over the next month.

 

Alerts:

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


Governors release Draft Agreement for Protecting Great Lakes Water Resources

The Council of Great Lakes Governors and the Premiers of Ontario and Quebec, on July 19, announced the release of draft agreements which will provide historic protections for the waters of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River Basin.  The proposed protective measures, referred to as the draft Annex Implementing Agreements, are the result of three years of efforts by the eight Great Lakes States and  two Provinces to address conservation and usage issues in the Great Lakes Basin.

           

The original Annex agreement was signed by the Governors and Premiers in Niagara Falls, New York on June 18, 2001 to update the Great Lakes Charter of 1985.  The Charter Annex was developed to update the Great Lakes regional water management system and ensure the Great Lakes are protected, conserved, restored, and improved for future generations. The July 19 announcement initiates a 90-day public review period that extends until October 19, 2004 during which the draft Annex Implementing Agreements will be available for the public and all interested groups to review and offer comments.

           

The agreements, which were developed after extensive outreach to agricultural interests, businesses, the environmental community and other water users, will require water users to practice conservation measures that will encourage sustainable economic development while ensuring that large-scale withdrawals do not harm the Lakes' resources.  Under the agreements, the Great Lakes will be managed collectively, and there will be a regional decision-making process for diversions away from the Great Lakes.

           

Ohio Governor Bob Taft, Chair of the Council of Great Lakes Governors, said, "This process has involved government experts, the environmental community, business, agriculture

and other interests.  However, the voice of the people is a critical component.  Public input ensures the final product is reflective of everyone that uses and depends on this critical resource."

 

Once the 90-day period is complete and public comments have been taken into account, the agreements will be refined and presented to the Governors and Premiers for their final consideration.

 

Specific protective measures in the draft implementing agreements include:

●  A commitment that conservation and information programs will be put in place and maintained in all the Great Lakes States, Ontario and Quebec;

●   A commitment to use a uniform, resource-based decision making standard in evaluating future proposals for new or increased water uses;

●   A commitment to a collective decision making process for future proposals for regionally significant new or increased water uses; and

●    A requirement that all future new or increased diversions and regionally significant water uses in the Great Lakes Basin result in an improvement to the Basin's ecosystem.

 

During this public involvement phase, state representatives will meet with various advisory organizations and Tribes/First Nations, as well as hold public informational meetings to allow the public to view and comment on the specifics of the draft implementing agreements.

           

Specific public meeting times and locations will be announced at a later date.  In addition to these events, two regional meetings will be hosted by the Council of Great Lakes Governors in Chicago and Toronto in September.

 


Canada's mosquito capital swats at activists
WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Protesters who caused a three-day break in chemical fogging for mosquitoes in the Canadian Prairie city of Winnipeg have been stung by the wrath of neighbors who want relief from the biting insects.

 

"We're inside in freezing cold weather for 10 months of the year," said Claudia Gagnon, a Winnipeg resident who favors fogging so she can make the most of the short summer without being attacked by the blood-sucking mosquitoes.  Gagnon expressed her resentment on the sidelines of a City Hall demonstration Thursday, where about 50 people said they won't stop speaking out against malathion, a pesticide the city sprays on residential streets when mosquito numbers climb.

The group leaders have been skewered as "egg-sucking, child-abusing granola munchers" by a local talk show host, and the issue is a hot topic in the city of almost 700,000 people.

 

"I know I've really angered some people," said Glenda Whiteman, an activist who was arrested this week after she blocked trucks from spraying the chemical. "We will continue to say pesticides are toxic at any dose; please stop making us sick," said Whiteman, who says she suffers from sensitivity to chemicals.  It was not known where Whitman was from.

 

People on the other side of the issue worry about West Nile virus, a mosquito-borne disease which made 142 people in the province sick last summer, killing two of them.


2nd Amendment

Assault weapon rhetoric misses mark

Doomsayers are firing wild bursts of worrisome predictions about the expiration of the ban on assault weapons.

A cry of alarm is sounding around the country. In mid-September, the decade-old federal law banning a number of military-style "assault weapons" expires. To hear some of our colleagues in the news media talk, all hell is going to break loose starting Sept. 14.

 

This blast of rhetoric comes from people who switch to fully automatic every time the subject of guns comes up. In fact, the situation is nothing so dire as portrayed.

First, let's remember that Congress passed the assault weapon ban in 1994 after a series of high-profile shootings involving semiautomatic rifles. It came amid growing concern about rising crime rates in America, big-city street gangs, the crack cocaine epidemic and an emerging right-wing "militia" movement. The law attempted to identify a class of military and military-style guns seemingly designed for combat, rather

than target shooting or hunting.

 

Legislation renewing the ban died earlier this year after it was combined with a controversial bill granting gun makers liability protection.

 

There is one major flaw with the ban. It's one that the critics bring up at some peril to law-abiding gun owners. It's this: In mechanics and function, some of the banned weapons are not appreciably different than an array of rifles and shotguns that remain perfectly legal to manufacture. Generally speaking, the banned weapons look different than sporting arms. But functionally, they're the same.

That's one reason why Sept. 14 will not dawn with the staccato sounds of automatic fire. The assault weapon ban ended the manufacture and retail sale of certain weapons, but hardly dented the firepower at Americans' disposal. The political climate in America today is more respectful of gun ownership than in decades past.


AOL can fire gun-owning employees Utah high court rules

Self-defense took a big blow last week when the Utah Supreme Court upheld the right of America Online (AOL), America's largest on-line service provider, to fire three employees whose firearms were stored in the trunks of their cars in the parking lot of an AOL call center in Ogden, Utah. In a decision that diminishes rights guaranteed under both the Utah and the U.S. Constitution, the court acknowledged the individual right to keep and bear arms, but said the right of a business to regulate its own property is more important!

 

Ironically, the cars were parked in the mall where the call center was located and Utah law considered the parking area

to be public rather than private.  Under existing state law private business does not have authority to regulate and did not have jurisdiction of the use of  the parking lot.

 

 

Complying with this decision could potentially cost an employee his or her life--violent criminals certainly aren't going to obey such a ban. It may also diminish employees' abilities to hunt or target shoot after work.

 

The issue is becoming a hot legislative topic in the states. This year Oklahoma passed HB 2122 ensuring that employees with guns in their cars were not fired or harassed, and it was debated in several other states.


Illinois

Chicago Boat Show becomes Midwest’s biggest
Chicago’s largest boat show just got bigger
The Chicago Boat, RV & Outdoors Show, produced by the National Marine Manufacturers Association, will co-locate with Outside magazine’s newly launched Travel Show Chicago 2005. With 70,000 people expected to attend, NMMA says the show will be the largest event in the Midwest market for recreational and leisure activities. The show will take place Jan. 19 to 23 at McCormick Place.

The Chicago Boat, RV & Outdoors Show features more than 600 boats, 300 RVs and hundreds of booths filled with

outfitters, charter boats, personal watercraft, fishing

equipment, wakeboarding, marine accessories and travel destinations. The Travel Show Chicago 2005 will showcase destinations, guided trips, and gear from all areas of the travel market, including active, adventure and eco-travel. Exhibitors include destination outfitters, tour operators, tourism boards, manufacturers and service providers.

For information on Chicago Boat, RV & Outdoors Show, contact Jennifer Faulk at (312) 946-6212 or jfaulk@nmma.org. For more information on Travel Show Chicago 2005, contact Bob Ball at (877) 604-2867 or bball@msemgmt.com .


Indiana

Boat ramp at Falls of the Ohio State Park to close Aug. 9 - Oct. 30

Efforts to coordinate the repair of a washed out river bank and road along the Ohio River in Clarksville, Indiana have led the Indiana DNR to temporarily close the boat ramp and parking area at Falls of the Ohio State Park. 

 

Beginning August 9, the Army Corps of Engineers will use the ramp and parking area to gain access for rebuilding the bank that washed out earlier this year. The repairs are expected to be completed by Oct. 30. No public, recreational, or

commercial use of the ramp area will be allowed during the construction period. The ramp will be accessible for emergency purposes only. 

 

The ramp and parking area will be re-opened for boating and bank fishing as soon as the repairs to the bank are

completed, the equipment and materials from construction are removed and the site is prepared for reuse.  Recreational boaters and commercial fishing will be able to use the New Albany boat ramp located approximately 1.5 miles downstream (west) from the Falls boat ramp.


Michigan

Meetings set to discuss proposed bass season changes

State fisheries officials today announced 24 public meetings throughout the state in August to gather input on proposed bass season changes.

 

The DNR in April finalized a report called “Black Bass Fishing Seasons in Michigan,” now available on the DNR web site at www.michigan.gov/dnr . The report identifies ways to provide additional recreational fishing opportunities without putting bass populations at risk.

 

At a May meeting of the External Coolwater Regulations Committee – a group that includes Michigan United Conservation Clubs, Michigan BASS Federation, Michigan Musky Alliance, Michigan Darkhouse Angling Association, Pikemasters, Michigan State University and University of Michigan fisheries professors – the group reviewed the report and unanimously supported moving forward with the public review process. 

 

Four of the seven scenarios identified in the report will be the focus of the public meetings. The forums are intended to provide background information on the proposed season changes, answer questions about the report, and take public input on the proposals. The meeting schedule includes the following:

 

Aug. 2: 7 p.m., Newaygo County Sportsmans Club, 7951 Elm Avenue (just north of M‑82), Newaygo

Aug. 3: 7 p.m., Cadillac Junior High School Cafeteria, 500 Chestnut Street, Cadillac

Aug. 4: 7 p.m., Traverse City Civic Center, 1213 West Civic

Center Drive, Traverse City

Aug. 5: 7 p.m., Gander Mountain, 43825 West Oaks, Novi

Aug. 10: Walli's East Motor Lodge, G-1341 South Center Rd, Flint

Aug. 10: 7 p.m., Escanaba Civic Center, 225 N. 21st St., Escanaba

Aug. 10: 7 p.m., Charlevoix High School, library room

Aug. 11: 7:30 p.m., Jackson County Outdoor Club, 3550 Hart Road, Jackson

Aug. 12, 7:30 p.m., Caledonia Sports Club, 10721 Coldwater SE, Middleville

Aug. 17: 7 p.m., Great Lakes Grill Conference Center, 817 E. State St., Cheboygan

Aug. 17:  7 p.m., Bay City State Park, near Bay City

Aug. 18: 7 p.m., Best Western, M‑32, Gaylord

Aug. 18: 7 p.m., Chesterfield Twp., 47275 Sugarbush, Chesterfield

Aug. 18:  6 p.m., Dickinson County Library Conference Room, Iron Mountain

Aug. 18: 7:30 p.m., Three Rivers Community Center, 103 South Douglas Ave, Three Rivers

Aug. 19: 7 p.m., Van Buren Township Hall, 46425 Tyler Road, Belleville

Aug. 19: 7 p.m., Days Inn, 1496 M‑32 West, Alpena

Aug. 20: 7 p.m., Jay's Sporting Goods in Clare

Aug. 23: 8 p.m., Tahquamenon Area Sportsmen's Clubhouse 

Aug. 24:  7 p.m., MSU Extension Office, 1040 S. Winter St., River Raisin Room, Adrian

Aug. 24: 7 p.m. (EST), Negaunee Township Hall, 43 M‑35, Negaunee

Aug. 25: 7 pm (CST), Gogebic Comm. College, Solin Center, Room B‑2, Ironwood

Aug. 31: 7 p.m., Manistique Courthouse, Manistique


Minnesota

Eurasian watermilfoil discovered in Leech Lake

Eurasian watermilfoil has been discovered growing in Leech Lake, the Minnesota DNR announced last week.

 

The non-native, invasive aquatic plant was discovered in several harbors from Stony Point to Rogers Point on the southern shore. The DNR will conduct further surveys this week to determine the full extent of the distribution of the Eurasian watermilfoil in Leech Lake.

              

Eurasian watermilfoil can form dense mats of vegetation and crowd out native aquatic plants, clog boat propellers and make water recreation difficult.            

 

The DNR will consider making herbicide treatments in areas 

near boat ramps, both public and private, to reduce the amount of milfoil and thus reduce the likelihood that boaters might accidentally carry the plant from the lake on trailered watercraft. 

 

Boaters who use Leech Lake are urged to be extra thorough when looking for and removing aquatic plants from their boats, trailers, nets, anchors and other equipment. It is unlawful in Minnesota to transport aquatic plants or prohibited exotic species on public roads or to launch watercraft with them attached.                

 

Eurasian watermilfoil has now been discovered in 146 lakes and seven rivers or streams in Minnesota.


Conservation officer cooperation nabs poachers

The Minnesota DNR recently caught three metro poachers after a Turn in Poachers (TIP) call to a conservation officer in northern Minnesota.

               

The investigation began when Conservation Officer Frank Rezac of Duluth received a call about illegal netting of a dozen rainbow trout on the Sucker River in St. Louis County in northeastern Minnesota. Rezac checked the area, but the violators were gone. However, the tipster had provided a license plate number. After running the plate, Rezac discovered the owner was a Minneapolis resident.

               

Rezac provided the information on the vehicle to metro Conservation Officer Kevin Neitzke, who discovered the suspect had moved to another address. The new address was provided to Conservation Officer Todd Kanieski of Osseo, who talked to Manuel J. Astudillo, 30, Minneapolis. A search of a freezer at the residence provided two small rainbow trout and one rainbow trout approximately 14 inches long. Astudillo refused to give Officer Kanieski the names of the other subjects who were with him.

                

Before driving from Duluth to Minneapolis to continue the investigation, Officer Rezac spoke to Astudillo by phone about

the violations of taking undersize fish and taking fish with illegal equipment. He also wanted the names and phone numbers of the other individuals involved in the incident. The long trip was worth it. Rezac was able to interview Astudillo as well as Oscar S. Morocho, 27, and Juan B. Jaia, 44, both of Minneapolis, who admitted that they were illegally netting fish on the river. The three men were charged with taking fish with illegal equipment.

 

"Compared with the number of high profile poaching cases in the media lately, this activity may appear small, but it really isn't," said DNR Chief Conservation Officer Mike Hamm. "It's further evidence that Minnesota conservation officers work cooperatively and will travel any distance to stop illegal activity. It also shows the importance of the Turn In Poachers hotline in protecting the resource."

                

According to Tim Goeman, a DNR regional fisheries manager, some North Shore trout stocks are being rehabilitated, so loss of fish through illegal means is particularly troublesome, since the recovery could be affected.

                

The Turn In Poachers hotline is 1-800-652-9093. Callers can remain anonymous.


Bemidji State Game Refuge will be open to firearms deer hunting in 2004

Responding to public concerns over a high white-tailed deer population in and around the Bemidji State Game Refuge, the Minnesota DNR will open the entire refuge this November to firearms deer hunting.

               

During the public input process, almost 60 % of the responses received supported a proposal to allow firearms deer hunting in the refuge, according to Steve Caron, DNR area wildlife supervisor in Bemidji. 

 

A 6½-sq-mile portion of the refuge was open to firearms hunting during the 2003 season. This resulted in an estimated deer harvest of 61 deer, more than 70% of which

were antlerless. More than nine deer were harvested per sq. mile. "We need to maintain that same harvest level, or higher, in order to effectively reduce deer numbers throughout the refuge," Caron said.

 

Northwest Region Wildlife supervisor Jim Breyen said both the DNR and those individuals who provided comments during the public input process agreed the deer population in the refuge needs to be reduced.

                            

Breyen said hunters who choose to hunt the refuge would not need a special permit. Up to four intensive harvest permits may also be purchased for the refuge, which is part of firearms zone 2, deer permit area 284. The refuge is located in southern Beltrami County.


Ruling Muddles Minnesota Right-to-Carry Law

July 21 - In a controversial July 13 decision, Ramsey County District Judge John Finley ruled that Minnesota’s concealed carry law was unconstitutional. At issue was the constitutionality of the common practice of "bundling" different types of legislation. The ruling seems to parallel the increasingly common trend of activist judges who exploit their

position to forward a political agenda. In this case, the gun-banners tracked down the most anti-gun judge they could find and filed in his jurisdiction, banking on a favorable decision. At present, however, permits are still being issued and Minnesota Attorney General Michael Hatch has said he will appeal Finley’s ruling.


Pennsylvania

Another Exotic Species Confirmed in PA Waters

An unusual fish species native to Asia has been confirmed as being present in a Philadelphia waterway. Officials with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) today confirmed the presence of northern snakeheads in Meadow Lake within FDR Park.

       

Snakeheads are a diverse family of fish native to parts of China, Russia, and Korea. All snakeheads are distinguished by their torpedo-shaped body, long dorsal and anal fins without spines, and toothed jaws. Northern snakeheads are typically distinguished by flattened, pointy heads with long lower jaws.

       

The first report of snakeheads in the 17-acre Meadow Lake came late last week when an angler caught two snakeheads, preserved them and contacted the Fish and Boat Commission.  A total of six northern snakeheads have now been taken from the lake, including three captured by PFBC biologists. The lake is part of a maze of interconnected embayments and tidal sloughs and the Commission believes additional snakeheads are likely present elsewhere in the system.

       

The introduction of exotic species into areas beyond their natural range shifts the balance of an eco-system. Exotics can introduce parasites, diseases and genetic pollution of closely related species. At the very least, even an otherwise innocuous exotic takes up space and food that might someday be used more beneficially by other species.  Northern snakeheads are a predatory fish and will compete with other fish species for forage and habitat.  It is too early to say what impact the presence of snakeheads will have on species already in Meadow Lake such as panfish, catfish, carp, gizzard shad, blueback herring, eels, and largemouth bass. 

       

Commission biologists have concluded that there is no practical method for eradicating snakeheads from Meadow Lake and that, given the nature of the system, snakeheads may have already accessed adjoining waters like the nearby lower Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers.  As a result, the PFBC has decided that it will monitor the pond and surrounding

waters, it will take no concerted effort to eliminate the species.

 

“Based on the experiences of other states where northern snakeheads have been previously identified and become established, we believe that an aggressive approach to eradicate the species from the Meadow Lake would be neither practical nor effective.  Furthermore, efforts such as draining the lake or using fish toxins would likely do more damage to resident fish populations than the threatened competition for habitat and forage posed by the snakeheads themselves,” said Dr. Douglas Austen, PFBC Executive Director. 

 

Anglers catching snakeheads should dispose of them properly.  It is against Fish and Boat Commission regulations to possess any variety of live snakeheads.  Anglers certain they have caught a snakehead are encouraged to not release it, but report it to the Commission by calling 610-847-2442 or via e-mail to mkaufmann@state.pa.us .  Northern snakeheads are considered good table fare and were introduced to this country via fish markets, where they were often sold live.  The Commission will produce and distribute literature designed to help area anglers identify northern snakeheads.  Snakeheads are sometimes confused with native Pennsylvania species bowfin and eels.

 

Northern snakeheads first drew attention in the mid-Atlantic region in 2002 when a pair were discovered in a Maryland pond.  Fed by national media coverage that dubbed the hardy species “Frankenfish”, the public imagination was fueled by the fish’s ability to live for periods of time out of water and to use its front fins to drag itself across land for short distances. 

 

While the northern snakehead may have established itself as among the most famous aquatic invasive species, it is merely another on a growing list of such species.  Foreign imports, such as the round goby found in Lake Erie, can have negative impacts on ecosystems. In addition to gobies in Lake Erie, there are serious concerns about another fish species thought to have been originally transported via freighters, like the Ruffe.  Zebra mussels are another non-indigenous species impacting Lake Erie and spreading to inland waters.

 


PFBC Summer Quarterly Meeting July 26-27

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission will hold its summer quarterly meeting July 26-27 at agency headquarters, 1601 Elmerton Avenue in Harrisburg.  Briefings will begin Monday, July 26 beginning at 2:15 p.m. The formal agenda session will begin at or about 9 a.m. on Tuesday, July 27.  All briefings and the review of the agenda are open to the public and attendance is encouraged.

      

Among the items to be considered at the meeting is a proposal to allow the use all legal tackle types on Delayed

Harvest Artificial Lures Only areas during the period of June 15 through Labor Day.  Also under consideration will be a change in designation for a number of waters currently managed under the Selective Harvest and All Tackle Selective Harvest special trout fishing regulations programs.  As part of a move toward consolidating and simplifying fishing regulations, the Commission will discuss eliminating Selective Harvest and All Tackle Selective Harvest programs.

       

The complete agenda for the meeting can be found on the Commission’s web site at www.fish.state.pa.us


Wisconsin

Advisory group formed to help develop pier rules

Goal to identify standards that speed permitting and protect environment

MADISON – An advisory group including waterfront property owners, anglers, realtors, conservationists and marina operators is being convened to evaluate the proposed state rules regulating piers, and propose final standards for governing the size and placement of piers and related structures in Wisconsin’s public lakes and rivers.

 

The advisory group will meet for the first time in late July, with a task of recommending revisions to the proposed permanent pier rules which will help the Department of Natural Resources carry out 2003 Wisconsin Act 118’s goals of streamlining permitting without weakening protections for those valuable public resources. The meeting has not been set at this time. Time, locations and dates will be announced when the meeting is set and posted to the DNR Web site.

The proposed rule revisions and the advisory group’s recommendations will then be brought to the public for their

input and comments during public hearings in early September. The goal is to have the final permanent rules in place in time for the 2005 boating season.

 

The proposed permanent pier rules exempt all traditional piers -- those six feet or less in width, without a wide deck, and with room for boats in proportion to shoreline ownership -- from needing a permit. The only exceptions would be for piers in areas of high value waters where critical habitat has been documented and could be harmed.

 

Under the proposed permanent rules, existing piers above those limits require a one-time general permit that has a 30-day review period to ensure protection of fish habitat or other public interests in the water. New super-sized piers on all waters required the more detailed individual permit review.


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