Week of July 27, 2009

Fishing beyond the Great Lakes




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Fishing beyond the Great Lakes

Hunting and Fishing License Exemptions for N.C. Military Personnel

RALEIGH, N.C. – Under a new law that went into effect July 1, North Carolina residents serving full-time active military duty outside of the state in the Armed Forces or a reserve component of the Armed Forces and home on leave for 30 days or less may hunt or fish without obtaining a license.


When hunting or fishing, they must have with them a military identification card and a copy of the official document issued

by their service unit confirming that they are on authorized

leave from their duty station outside of the state.


Military personnel also must comply with all reporting and hunter safety requirements as mandated by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, purchase any federal migratory waterfowl stamps as required by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and comply with all other state license requirements.  All annual and short-term licenses, including the Coastal Recreational Fishing License, are included in the exemption.


First successful prosecution of false ballast report

Vessel Pollution Prosecutions – A New Twist

On July 15, 2009, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that the Captain and Chief Officer of a foreign vessel pled guilty in the Eastern  District of Louisiana (New Orleans) to charges that included not only the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships (APPS), False Statements and  Obstruction of Justice; but also failure to notify the Coast Guard of hazardous conditions and charges related to presentation of false or  incomplete ballast tank reports.


The case involved two primary issues: (1) a 24-inch outer-hull crack in the vessel’s rudder stem, which created a condition that adversely  affected the safety and operation of the vessel; and (2) fuel oil in a ballast tank due to a leaking “deep” fuel tank in the forward part of the  vessel.


This is the first criminal charge and successful prosecution of  a person for violation of the Non-Indigenous Aquatic Uses and Prevention  Control Act 16, U.S.C. § 4711(g)  for presentation to the USCG of a false ballast water report. The Chief Officer was charged under the Act  because he presented a Ballast

Report that did not record efforts by the crew to deal with

contamination of a ballast tank by an adjacent  leaking fuel tank. The Captain not only failed to report the condition to the Coast Guard, but caused oil-contaminated water to be discharged  in an attempt to clean the ballast tank. Prior to arrival at a terminal in New Orleans, the Captain attempted to conceal the condition by ordering  that a hose with a stopper at one end and partially filled with water be fitted to the ballast tank’s sounding tube in order to give Coast Guard  inspectors the misimpression that the ballast tank was filled with clean water. Those actions led to charges for the failure to maintain an  accurate oil record book (i.e., one that recorded the discharge of oil-contaminated water) and Obstruction of Justice.


In addition to an APPS violation and Obstruction of Justice – charges frequently seen in vessel pollution cases – the Captain was charged  under the Ports and Waterways Safety Act with failing to notify the nearest U.S. Coast Guard Sector or Group Office that hazardous  conditions existed aboard the vessel, namely the rudder stem crack and leak between the fuel and ballast tanks.

Soldier Shoots His Way Into Record Books

FORT BENNING, Ga. - The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit's Service Pistol team set its sights on the National Pistol Matches when the 2009  shooting schedule came out and that training paid off in a big way, specifically for one Soldier who now calls himself a national champion.


The National Rifle Association and the Civilian Marksmanship Program held their annual National Pistol Championships July 12-19 at Camp Perry, Ohio. Sgt. 1st Class James Henderson swept every major individual award, breaking national records along the way and establishing himself as the standard bearer in service pistol.


"Sgt. 1st Class Henderson accomplished a feat that will undoubtedly be the topic of discussion among shooting circles for the foreseeable future," said Lt. Col. Daniel Hodne, commander, USAMU.

The Soldier's dominance commenced at the NRA's Pistol Championship when he won the Harrison Trophy as the top individual with a score of 2646, becoming the first active-duty Soldier to win the national championship in 24 years. He also finished in first-place in the individual .22-caliber and center-fire events.


At the National Trophy Pistol Matches Henderson took it up a notch, winning every event he was entered in and also led his team to a championship. "SFC Henderson's accomplishments lend credibility to the Army; they showcase the best of Army Soldier capabilities to the American people," Hodne remarked. "The USAMU should be viewed by Soldiers, Leaders, and Unit Commanders as relevant for their marksmanship training and weapons research and development needs. We are their resource for training on a variety of invaluable marksmanship courses."


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for July 24, 2009

Weather Conditions

Cooler than average temperatures and scattered rain showers occurred during much of the week, as a large upper level low pressure center slowly pushed through the Great Lakes basin.  To date in July, precipitation has been below average across much of the Great Lakes, but heavy rain was reported in some locations on Wednesday and Thursday.  The upper level low will continue to bring scattered showers to the region this weekend.  Temperatures are forecasted climb to more seasonable readings by the start of the workweek.

Lake Level Conditions

Lake Superior is 4 inches below the level it was a year ago while Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair and Erie are 6, 4 and 2 inches, respectively, higher than their levels of a year ago.  Lake Ontario is 2 inches below last year's level.  Lake Superior is expected to rise 2 inches over the next month. Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are predicted to decline 1, 4, 4, and 6 inches respectively over the next 30 days. Over the next several months, Lake Superior is predicted to be near its level of a year ago. Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, and Erie are forecasted to remain at or above last year's levels during the same time period. Lake Ontario is forecasted to be at or below its levels of a year ago over the next six months.

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions

In June, the outflow from Lake Superior through the St. Mary's

River was near average, while the outflow from Lake Michigan-

Huron through the St. Clair River was below average. The Detroit and Niagara Rivers carried near average flows during June. The outflow from Lake Ontario through the St. Lawrence River was above average. 


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





St. Clair



Level for July 24












Datum, in ft






Diff in inches











Diff last month











Diff from last yr











Zebra Mussels Hang On While Quagga Mussels Take Over

By Carolyn Rumery Betz

The zebra mussels that have wreaked ecological havoc on the Great Lakes are harder to find these days—not because they are dying off, but because they are being replaced by a cousin, the quagga mussel. Yet zebra mussels still dominate in fast-moving streams and rivers. Research  conducted by Suzanne Peyer, a doctoral candidate in the UW-Madison department of zoology, shows that physiological differences between  the two species might determine which mollusk dominates in either calm or fast-moving waters.


“Zebra mussels quite rapidly colonized rivers close to the Great Lakes right after their introduction, within a year or two,” Peyer explained.  “Quagga mussels were introduced in the Great Lakes around 20 years ago, but they are still not found in the rivers or tend to be present only in low numbers.”


The mussels are similar in many ways. Their habitats overlap, and both are suspension feeders that filter water to extract their food. Yet the cousin species are different in many ways, too. Zebra mussels prefer to attach to a hard surface while quagga mussels can live on soft bottoms, such as sand or silt. Zebra mussels also prefer warmer water temperatures and do not grow as big as quagga mussels.


Peyer’s research focused on the ability of the mussels to attach to underlying material. Both species attach to rocks, sand, silt, or each other by producing tiny but strong “byssal” threads composed of protein strands. These threads act as an adhesive that enable the mussels to  attach to surfaces, regardless of how slippery the surface is. Byssal threads are the reason mussels are so difficult to remove from boats or  water intake pipes.

Peyer collected both mussel species from Lake Michigan. In the lab, she subjected the mussels to different water velocities that simulated  river flow conditions. Her research results supported her hypothesis that zebra mussels are able to produce more byssal threads than quagga  mussels do, enabling them to attach more securely to underlying material. This allows them to hang on where water is flowing, such as in a  river or stream.


According to Peyer’s research advisor, Prof. Carol Eunmi Lee at the UW-Madison Center of Rapid Evolution, no one has ever looked at  differences in attachment between these species as an explanation for their distribution patterns in North America.


Zebra and quagga mussels have permanently changed the Lake Michigan ecosystem. Before the mussels invaded, Lake Michigan water was  mostly cloudy, and millions of tiny microorganisms provided a food base for fish. Because the mussels filter the microorganisms, the waters  today are surprisingly clear, allowing light to penetrate to greater depths, which in turn promotes prolific nuisance algae blooms. The mussels  have also colonized shallow water, beaches, and water intake pipes in layers up to eight inches thick.


“We need to be aware of the distinct differences between the two species,” Peyer said. “If we understand the differences in their biology, we  might help to make management more efficient and more effective in the end.”


The results of her UW Sea Grant-funded research were published in the July 1 issue of the Journal of Experimental Biology.



"Women On Target"

The Illinois State Rifle Association will be hosting a Women-On-Target pistol class on August 22, 2009 at the ISRA range near Kankakee, Illinois.  The class starts at 9:00 AM and will

end at 3:30 PM.   Lunch, firearms, Eye and ear protection provided.  The cost is $40 per student. For more information call Lori at 815-635-3198.


Two NE Indiana sites designated nature preserves

The Indiana Natural Resources Commission has approved nature preserve status for two sites in northeast Indiana that over the years have become popular destinations for school children and Scout groups.


The Evelyn and Wendell Dygert Nature Preserve is a 55.7-acre property near Columbia City in Whitley County that is noted for its high quality oak-hickory forest. The site contains one of the best wildflower displays in northeast Indiana, featuring blue-eyed Mary, Jack-in-the pulpit, spring beauty, firepink and various violets.


The preserve is part of a 134-acre area managed by ACRES Land Trust, which acquired the property from the Dygerts in 2001 with financial support from the DNR’s Indiana Heritage Trust program.


The other new preserve is the Wildwood Nature Preserve, a

93.8-acre property near Silver Lake in Kosciusko County. It also is noted for a high quality oak-hickory forest mixed with well-drained uplands and a forested swamp. Numerous large white oak, chinkapin oak, swamp white oak, shagbark hickory and black walnut are present.


Wildwood is part of a 238-acre tract that ACRES acquired from Bob and Alice Frantz in 2002 with financial support from Indiana Heritage Trust.


The status given to both sites boosts the total number of state-designated nature preserves to 229. The DNR Division of Nature Preserves was created in 1967, and the first nature preserve – Pine Hills at Shades State Park – was designated in 1969.


Visit www.IN.gov/dnr/naturepreserve for more on nature preserves in Indiana.


DNR Closes Kalamazoo River - Penn Central Railroad Crossing to City of Plainwell

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced that a one-mile stretch of the Kalamazoo River between the Penn Central Railroad Crossing and the Plainwell No. 2 Dam will be closed to public access starting Saturday, Aug. 1.  Cleanup operations to remove targeted soils and sediments containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are slated to begin at that time and will continue until December 2010.


Contractors will be operating heavy construction equipment on both sides of the river as well as on two mid-channel islands, making it too dangerous to allow access to canoeists, kayakers and other boaters. Signs will be posted to alert river

users of the closure.


Boaters also will not be able to access or pass the Plainwell No. 2 Dam structures or the Mill Race; no form of portage is available around the dam or through the Mill Race.


The recently completed cleanup effort on the Kalamazoo River - located between the Main Street Bridge in Plainwell and the old Plainwell Dam three and one-half miles downstream from the current work site - began in 2007 and was completed in early 2009.  This project included the removal of the old Plainwell Dam, allowing the river to flow freely in its historical channel as well as unobstructed passage of fish, canoes and kayaks.

14 Grants Awarded Across Michigan to Restore and Protect Water Quality

The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) announced today the award of 14 water quality grants totaling over $4.4 million that will permanently protect and restore rivers and wetlands, allow for watershed planning, and one project that will result in the installation of several green roofs to help control urban runoff.

“These projects all promote cooperation across levels of government to resolve water quality issues,” said DEQ Director Steven E. Chester. “These partnership efforts between local, state, and federal entities provide a tremendous benefit for the long-term improvement and protection of Michigan’s environment.”  For more info: www.michigan.gov/deq.

Fisheries Task Group Plans Survey on St. Marys River in August

Member agencies of the St. Marys River Fisheries Task Group will be conducting a fish community survey of the entire St. Marys River during the month of August.


Fisheries biologists and technicians will be setting survey nets at predetermined sites in the river and capturing a variety of species of fish to collect information on abundance, growth, mortality, and size structure.  These data will be compared to data collected in earlier surveys.


This survey is an important component of the St. Marys River Fisheries Assessment Plan and is necessary to assist in managing healthy sustainable fish communities and fisheries.  The information collected by this and other surveys will assist fisheries managers in Ontario and Michigan in making critical decisions related to sport fish regulations, fish stocking, shared fisheries, and future management goals and actions.


The St. Marys River Fisheries Assessment Plan and the 2006 survey report can be found online at the Great Lakes Fishery

Commission website (http://www.glfc.org/lakecom/lhc/lhchome.php).  


Boaters are asked not to interfere with the nets or their floating markers.  Nets will be set overnight and lifted the following day.  The well-marked nets should not obstruct normal navigation routes for recreational vessels.


This is the seventh such survey since 1975, but only the fourth done in a cooperative manner by local fisheries management agencies.  The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) conducted the earlier surveys in 1975, 1979 and 1987 in Michigan’s waters only.  In 1995, 2002, and 2006, surveys were done cooperatively covering all waters.


This year the MDNR is joined by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Chippewa Ottawa Resource Authority, Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Bay Mills Indian Community, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and Lake Superior State University-Aquatic Research Laboratory to survey the river from Whitefish Bay to Detour, Michigan, and south and east of St. Joseph Island, Ontario.

Becoming an Outdoors-Woman Program Offers Waterfowl Workshop Sept. 26 in Brighton

The Department of Natural Resources’ Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) program is offering a Beyond BOW waterfowl workshop on Saturday, Sept. 26, at the Island Lake State Recreation Area in Brighton. The cost for the workshop is $45, which includes instruction, class materials and lunch.


The workshop will begin at 9 a.m. with registration and safety orientation. Starting at 10 a.m., participants will practice their shooting skills at the Island Lake Recreation Area shooting range, shooting 25 targets on the skeet range and 50 targets on the sporting clays course. Participants are encouraged to bring their own shotguns and ammunition of 7 ˝- 8 lead shot only (target load). Participants should bring three boxes of ammunition. Some firearms will be available to those who do not own one.


“Beginners are welcome to attend this workshop to learn the basics of waterfowl hunting,” said Sue Tabor of the DNR’s

BOW program.  “Enrollment is limited, and I encourage

women to register early.”


After lunch, participants will be divided into three groups to attend three different workshop sessions on different aspects of waterfowl hunting. The workshops will be offered round-robin style, with the groups rotating to each class.


Workshops will be offered on Duck Hunting 101, where participants will review hunting etiquette, seasons and regulations, waterfowl identification, equipment and clothing, types of hunting, blind lay-out and decoys. Another workshop will offer instruction on duck calling. Participants should bring their own duck calls, if they have them. The third workshop will focus on dogs and duck hunting, and will highlight choosing a puppy, dog training, getting ready to hunt and field demonstrations.


For more information on this program, contact Sue Tabor at 517-241-2225 or go online to www.michigan.gov/bow.


ODNR Park Showcases Ohio's Outdoor Opportunities, Resource Conservation

COLUMBUS, OH - The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Natural Resources Park at the 2009 Ohio State Fair will provide  fairgoers with hands-on exhibits and interactive performances that encourage outdoor activity and reveal the value of environmental  stewardship.


With the opening of the fair in Columbus on July 29, a newly-constructed, 7,000-square-foot kayak pond will welcome children to try the  state's fastest growing boating opportunity under the supervision of watercraft professionals. Kayaks and lifejackets will be provided as the  young people are introduced to paddle sports.


After the boating experience, families can roam through the wildlife exhibit where they can catch fish, shoot a bow and learn about firearm  safety at the BB gun range. Fairgoers can enjoy the beauty of Ohio wildlife up close with a walk-through tour of the aviary and butterfly  garden. Other live, native wildlife will be on display, including river otters, wild turkeys, a bobcat and a new bat display. The eagle exhibit,  including a life-sized eagle nest constructed by ODNR, explains how Ohio's Bald Eagle Restoration Program has revitalized the state's eagle  population.


Fairgoers can wish Smokey Bear a happy 65th birthday as they stroll past the 15-foot animated black bear. Smokey greets visitors by name  and reiterates the importance of forest fire prevention.


Along the park's edge is an accessible boardwalk that leads visitors through a beautiful prairie that is bright with blossoms. The area  represents several of Ohio's scenic state nature



Continuing through the Natural Resources Park, visitors can tour a camping village that highlights some of the special overnight  opportunities available at Ohio State Parks: cabins, yurts and tents. The camping village is open from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and will house  Gov. Ted Strickland for one night during the fair.


Throughout the shady Natural Resources Pavilion there are several interactive exhibits that promote resource conservation and outdoor  recreation. Visitors learn more about access to recreational trails; the movement to reduce, reuse and recycle; the exciting diversity of the Lake  Erie coast and Ohio's valuable mining industry.


After a complete trip through the Natural Resources Park, visitors are invited to relax at the 500-seat amphitheater that hosts a variety of acts  from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., including the long-time favorite Lumberjack Show. Supporting stage acts include Columbus Zoo animals, retriever  dog demonstrations and musical and educational activities.


(Not all of the excitement is on stage. Seating at the outdoor amphitheater was constructed with over 190,000 recycled milk jugs!)


"Share the Fair" this year with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and take away life-long family memories.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all.  Visit the ODNR web site at www.ohiodnr.com.


House Approves Anti-Poaching Bill

HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe praised the House of Representatives, including House Game and Fisheries Committee Chairman Edward G. Staback (D-Lackawanna), for the near unanimous approval of House Bill 1859, which would increase penalties and fines for poaching.  The bill, sponsored by Rep. Staback, and similar to House Bill 97, passed the House on July 21 by a vote of 196-3.


“Increasing penalties for serious violations is one of the operational objectives within the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Strategic Plan, and we welcome the House’s approval of this measure,” Roe said.  “This bill recognizes poaching for the crime that it is; the stealing of natural resources from all Pennsylvanians.


“There is widespread public support for this legislation as indicated by surveys that showed 96 percent of Pennsylvania’s citizens feel that wildlife protection is a vitally important function.”

Roe said that the causes of poaching vary, but the myth that most poachers are committing their offenses to provide food for their families is, in reality, almost never the case. 


“Most often, poaching today is committed by criminals driving $30,000 vehicles, using expensive night-vision technology, illegal silencers and firearms,” Roe said. “They poach wildlife for greed, notoriety, money and out of an obsessive behavior to collect antlers at any cost.  A disturbing and increasingly common cause is killing simply for thrill with no intention of making use of any part of the animal.


“Enactment of this bill will mark the first comprehensive piece of legislation to increase Game and Wildlife Code Penalties since 1987, and we believe it will significantly enhance wildlife protection in the Commonwealth.” 


Roe noted that the bill now goes to the Senate for consideration before being sent to Gov. Edward G. Rendell for his action.


Project gets federal funding for fish habitat

Partnerships’ progress puts them in funding line

MADISON – The first of what’s hoped to become a steady stream of federal money to restore fish habitat is helping expand a grassroots effort on Bayfield County’s Eau Claire Chain of Lakes.


The $15,000 in federal funding will enable the “Fish Sticks” project partners – the Eau Claire Conservation Club, the Eau Claire Property Owners Association, Bayfield Land and Water Conservation Department and the Department of Natural Resources -- to expand their work with willing landowners to place trees from upland sources in shallow water in front of their properties. The trees will provide important spawning habitat for fish, insects for them, and hiding places in areas where much of this critical habitat had previously been removed.


“This is great news,” says Mike Staggs, fisheries director for the Department of Natural Resources. “We’ve got a project funded and the promise of more.”


Hoping to emulate the success of a long-running partnership to benefit waterfowl and hunters that restores open water wetlands, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies has recently launched their National Fish Habitat Action Plan [fishhabitat.org] (exit DNR).


“The idea is to bring together people at the local and regional levels who want to help improve fish and aquatic habitat,” Staggs says. While government agencies are often important players in the partnerships, the local interest is critical.


Partnerships of public and private entities can apply to a National Fish Habitat Board for formal recognition, which allows them to get in the short line for federal funding from a variety of sources. As of March 2009, there were 10 formally recognized partnerships www.fishhabitat.org .


So far, Wisconsin is part of two formally recognized partnerships, and part of three more “candidate” partnerships now working toward formal federal recognition, Staggs says.

The Eau Claire Chain Lakes “Fish Sticks” project is a project under the Glacial Lakes Habitat Restoration Partnership www.midwestglaciallakes.org that was formally recognized earlier this year. The $15,000 in stimulus money going to that project is the first federal money the partnership has received.


The Midwest Driftless Area Restoration project has been formally recognized as a partnership and has successfully secured more than $1 million in federal funding in recent years, most of it through the federal Natural Resource Conservation Service.


States, tribes, federal agencies and non governmental agencies in the Great Lakes region are working now toward submitting later this summer an application for federal recognition of the Great Lakes Basin Fish Habitat Partnership. President Obama has identified $1.5 million in the $475 million Great Lakes Restoration Initiative in his proposed 2010 budget to go to the partnership as seed money for that group.


Wisconsin is participating in the Fishers and Farmers fishhabitat.org effort, a partnership to work with landowners to add value to farms while restoring aquatic habitat, both on site and downstream on the Mississippi River. Approved projects are led by landowners, with flexible cost-share funding and technical support provided by conservation partners.


Wisconsin recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding to participate in a developing national reservoir habitat partnership. Many aging reservoirs (sometimes called “flowages” in Wisconsin) need habitat improvement and Wisconsin hopes to secure additional federal funding through this partnership, which is seeking recognition later this year.


Staggs serves on the steering team for the Glacial Lakes Habitat Restoration and Reservoir partnerships and longtime DNR fisheries management staff folks are assigned to focus on each of the partnerships.




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

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

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