Week of July 30, 2007



Lake Erie
New York

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National permitting for boats ‘would be a nightmare’ Dammrich says

LAS VEGAS — Recent federal efforts to thwart aquatic invasive species and curtail the nation’s dependency on foreign oil could be major stumbling blocks to boating, according to Thom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association.  The most threatening issue the industry faces is the recent court decision, which in essence tossed out a 34-year-old exemption for boaters concerning the Clean Water Act.


A U.S. District Court ruling in September 2006 addressing ballast water and the introduction of invasive species into the nation’s waterways nullified the Environmental Protection Agency’s exemption of recreational boat discharge such as deck runoff and bilge water, which are incidental to the normal operation of a boat. The court ruling was guided by the larger issue of halting commercial shipping from introducing foreign aquatic invasive species by ballast water from supertankers and cargo ships.

As a result of the court ruling, the EPA was forced to issue a rulemaking to permit some 18 million boats in the nation. “This is the most threatening issue to our industry since the luxury tax,” Dammrich said.  The industry is concerned that,

faced with the daunting task of acquiring federal permits, many boaters or potential boaters would turn away from boating all together.  “Logistically, a national permitting system would be a nightmare,” said Dammrich.


A bill in Congress introduced this year would exempt recreational boats from the complex Clean Water Act. However, the clock is ticking. Without legislative change, the EPA is facing a September 2008 deadline. Legislation typically takes years before it passes through the necessary channels to become law. Dammrich urged the audience to spread the word to boaters so that they can contact their legislative representatives to pass HR 2550 as soon as possible.


Dammrich also spoke of the advances the industry has made on the environmental front. New environmentally friendly products are more prevalent on ship’s store shelves and the manufacturers worked with federal leaders for about a decade to develop new stringent emissions standards.


In addition to the industry’s environmental efforts, Dammrich said there are many “little” changes that boaters can make to help keep the environment clean, such as buying fuel-efficient engines, keeping hulls clean and checking propellers.


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for July 27, 2007

Weather Conditions

An upper level low pressure center led to unsettled weather across the Great Lakes basin this week.  Afternoon showers were common in many locations, some producing very heavy rain.   Expect a strong cold front to track through the region Thursday night and during the day Friday.  More widespread rainfall is expected as a result.  Once the front clears the region, sunny skies and warm temperatures will return.


Lake Level Conditions

Lake Superior is presently 12 inches below its level of a year ago, while Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are 4 to 6 inches lower than last year’s levels.  Lake Superior is predicted to rise 1 inch over the next 30 days. Lake Michigan-Huron is expected to decline an inch, while Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are projected to drop 5 inches over the next month. All of the lakes are forecasted to be below their water levels of a year ago during the next few months. 


Current Outflows/Channel Conditions

Outflow from the St. Marys River is predicted to be well below average for July. Flows through the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers are also predicted to be lower than average this month. Flows in the Niagara and St. Lawrence Rivers are expected to be below average as well.


Due to abnormally dry conditions on the Lake Superior basin over the last several months, Lake Superior’s water level is currently below chart datum and is expected to remain below datum over the next six months.  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 Aug 4






Datum, in ft






Diff in inches






Diff last month






Diff from last yr








Lake Erie

Coast Guard rescues 7 from grounded vessel

MARBLEHEAD, Ohio - The Coast Guard rescued seven men from a vessel that ran aground near Middle Bass Island on July 24. The 33' fishing-boat Angler Away ran aground 200 yards off shore on a rock shoal and began taking on water.


Station Marblehead arrived on-scene and transferred a member of the boat crew with a pump to begin de-watering of the Angler Away.  Because of the water depth, the 25' response boat retreated to deeper water and contacted U.S.

Coast Guard Air Station Detroit for assistance.  An HH-65 dolphin helicopter from Air Station Detroit arrived and deployed a rescue swimmer to help the assist the passengers.  All were hoisted safely in the helicopter.


All passengers were transferred to awaiting Emergency Medical Services at Put-in-Bay Airport with no medical concerns.  The helicopter returned to recover the Station Marblehead crewman and the rescue swimmer. The Angler Away is being recovered by a local salvage company.


108th Grand American Trapshooting event Aug 6-18

The World Shooting and Recreational Complex in Sparta is hosting the 108th Amateur Trapshooting Association Grand

American, Aug. 6-18. For more information on this major shooting sports event, go to the web site at www.shootata.com.

Firearm Deer Permits deadline Aug 14

Aug. 14 is the deadline to apply for the second lottery for resident and non-resident firearm and muzzleloader deer permits for the 2007 season. For more information, check the "Hunting" link on the home page of the IDNR web site at http://dnr.state.il.us.


Non-Resident Archery Deer Permits: The application period for the 2007 Illinois Non-Resident Archery Deer combination permits lottery drawing closed on June 30.  Results of the random drawing for the permits will be available in late July.


Don't Forget Your License:  Hunters and anglers in Illinois can purchase hunting, fishing and combination sportsman's licenses anytime.  Visit one of the hundreds of DNR Direct license and permit vendor locations throughout the state, or

go online through the IDNR web site at http://dnr.state.il.us.  Click on the link for online hunting and fishing licenses.  It is an easy way to buy licenses, habitat stamps, inland trout stamps and state waterfowl stamps using a credit card (American Express, Discover, MasterCard or Visa) and printing the license or receipt.    Licenses are also available by phone through DNR Direct by calling toll-free 1-888-6PERMIT (1-888-673-7648).


Squirrel Season: Reminder that the Illinois squirrel hunting season opens Aug. 1 and continues through next Feb. 15 (except closed during firearm deer hunting season Nov. 17-19 and Nov. 30-Dec. 3).  Hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.  The daily limit is five squirrels with a possession limit of 10.

Coast Guard rescues man in Chicago River

CALUMET HARBOR, Ill. - The Coast Guard rescued a man near Halstead Bridge in the Chicago River on Wednesday, July 25. The CG arrived on-scene and a boat crewman

jumped in the water to keep the man from drowning. The man

was pulled on to the boat and taken to awaiting Emergency Medical Services on shore. It is not known why the man was in the water.  The incident is under investigation.


Aug. 1 Deadline to Apply for Shiawassee River State Game Area Deer Hunt

Michigan DNR wildlife officials reminded hunters that the application deadline for this year’s special deer hunt in the Shiawassee River State Game Area is Aug. 1. Applications must be postmarked by this date. Applications postmarked after the deadline or filled out incorrectly will not be entered in the drawing.


There is a specific process for applying for this special hunt. Directions on how to apply can be found on the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnr or applications can be picked up at local DNR offices. For additional information, hunters can 

contact the St. Charles Field Office at (989) 865-6211.  A youthdeer hunt (Sept. 22-23) also will take place in the Shiawassee River State Game Area. Thirty permits will be issued. Youth must apply for the drawing before Aug. 1. Instructions for applying for the youth hunt also are posted on the DNR Web site.


The Shiawassee River State Game Area and the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge deer hunts are handled separately. For additional information on the refuge hunts, visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Web site at www.fws.gov/midwest/Shiawassee .

2007 Fall Turkey Hunt Applications due Aug. 1

The Michigan DNR is reminding hunters that Aug. 1 is the deadline to apply for a 2007 fall turkey hunting license. Hunters may apply at any authorized license dealer and at DNR Operation Service Centers throughout Michigan. Hunters also may apply online at www.michigan.gov/dnr.  


There are 12 wild turkey management units open for fall turkey hunting during the Oct. 8 through Nov. 14 fall season.  These units represent approximately 38,957 square miles of area that will be open to fall turkey hunting. 


During the fall season, hunters may take a bird of either sex.  Last fall, 17,400 hunters harvested about 4,800 birds. Those who apply must pay a nonrefundable application fee of $4, which does not include the cost of the license.  Hunters may use MasterCard, VISA, American Express or Discover when applying online at the DNR E-license system, available 24  

hours a day during the application period.


Drawing results will be posted Aug. 27 at www.michigan.gov/dnr.  If any licenses remain after the drawing, unsuccessful applicants may purchase one leftover license in person at any license dealer on a first-come, first-served basis for a one-week period beginning Sept. 10 at 10 AM. Any licenses remaining as of Sept. 17 at 10 a.m. will be available for purchase over the counter by individuals who did not apply for a fall wild turkey license. These licenses will be sold until the quota is met.


If hunters encounter problems with their fall wild turkey application, purchasing a license, or if they have not received a notification card or located their name online by Sept. 5, they can obtain assistance by calling (517) 373-1263 weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Coast Guard continues search for boy

SAULT STE. MARIE, Mich. - The Coast Guard along with federal, state, county, local, and tribal assets was continuing their search for a boy on St. Mary's River as of Thursday, July 26.. The search began July 25 after Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie received notification from 911 of a 13-year-old male calling for help at 7 PM. Central dispatch was notified by a

local boat owner and people on shore that witnessed a child 

go under the water after screaming for help.


Coast Guard Station Sault Ste. Marie and Air Station Traverse City, Mich. launched response boat and an HH-65 Dolphin helicopter, respectively. Addition assets were provided by local Tribal police and the Chippewa County Sheriff's office.


Pheasant harvest increases for second consecutive year

Reported harvests from last fall by Minnesota pheasant hunters were the highest since 1964, according to the DNR.


The harvest of 588,000 pheasants marked an increase of 3,000 birds from the previous season and was well above the 10-year average of 401,000. DNR wildlife managers credit abundant habitat, excellent nesting conditions and hunters' continued support for programs to expand and enhance the state's grasslands.  An estimated 129,500 pheasant hunters, the most since 2003, took to the field last fall, bagging an average of 4.9 birds each, according to the DNR report, based on a mail survey to 6,000 hunters who purchased a small

game licenses in 2006-2007.


The DNR has accelerated acquisition of wildlife management and public hunting areas and is working through the Farm Bill Assistance Program to expand the habitat base by marketing farm bill conservation programs to landowners, in partnership with Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources (BWSR), Pheasants Forever, and county Soil and Water Conservation Districts. In recent years there has also been increased emphasis on grassland-wetland complexes through the "Working Lands Initiative" with BWSR, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Minnesota Department of Agriculture, and many other private conservation and agricultural organization partners.

New York

VHS spreads to Finger Lakes region

ALBANY-- The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced that three new locations have been found with fish infected with Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS): Little Salmon River in Mexico, Oswego County,  the Seneca - Cayuga Canal, and an isolated farm pond in Ransomville, Niagara County.  Fish infected with VHS have been previously documented from Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, the Niagara River, the St. Lawrence River, Conesus Lake and Skaneateles Lake.


In the Little Salmon River, a single rainbow trout tested positive for VHS.   This is the first detection of VHS in rainbow trout found in New York. The canal is separated from Lake Ontario by a series of locks along the Oswego and Erie 

canals. VHS-positive sunfish were also collected during a fish kill in the Seneca - Cayuga Canal.


Sunfish and koi were found to be VHS positive in the Ransomville farm pond. The property owner reported that all the fish in the pond appear to be dead. Fish had been transferred from nearby Twelve Mile Creek during the summer of 2006 as part of a fish rescue operation. The transferred fish were the likely cause of VHS being introduced to pond’s fish population. This incident demonstrates the risk of moving fish from one waterbody to another, even during well intentioned “fish rescue” operations.  DEC regulations prohibit moving fish, including bait fish, from one body of water to another if they are not first certified disease free of certain diseases such as VHS and without a DEC stocking permit.

Gov signs environmental protection fund bill

NY Governor Eliot Spitzer has signed legislation that will increase revenue to the State’s Environmental Protection Fund from $225 million to $250 million in the 2008-09 fiscal year, and to $300 million in fiscal year 2009-10 and thereafter.


The Environmental Protection Fund is primarily financed by the real estate transfer tax. Established in 1993, the Fund has gradually increased over time and provides money for recycling, landfill closure, urban parks, farmland preservation,

smart growth, open space, water quality, pollution prevention and a range of other environmental programs administered by the Department of Environmental Conservation, the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and the Department of Agriculture and Markets.


Adoption of this bill sets aside money that can be used by the Environmental Protection Fund while still requiring annual appropriations in future state budgets.

DEC Seeks Input from Hunters and Anglers with Disabilities-due by August 8

New York State DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis has announced that the Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources is undertaking a comprehensive review of hunting and fishing recreational opportunities for people with disabilities. This review of hunting and angling opportunities for people with disabilities will help DEC assess current opportunities as well as future needs.


With proper permits and licenses, people with disabilities can now access certain state lands to hunt and fish via roads and trails designated accessible. Boat launches and fishing sites across New York provide additional recreational opportunities. As the population ages and life expectancy increases, hunters and anglers with disabilities will increase, prompting a need for greater access. This outreach effort is intended to determine how the state can better accommodate all hunters and anglers with disabilities.

DEC is seeking input about existing programs, licenses, permits, and accommodations to better meet the needs of hunters and anglers with disabilities. New ideas are welcomed, as are comments regarding the availability and delivery of information for hunters and anglers with disabilities. Hunters and anglers interested in submitting comments can contact the Department by mail, phone, or e-mail. The comment period will end August 8, 2007.


By Mail:

Kelly Stang


625 Broadway

Albany, NY 12233-4754

By Phone:

(518) 402-8862

By E-mail:

[email protected]  (Type "Access Input" in the subject line)


Gov signs new commercial fishing restrictions

SB 77 includes retroactive penalties for violations of past years

Ohio Gov Ted Strickland on July 13 approved SB 77 which gives new tools to the DNR to better monitor and control commercial fishing activities.


The bill prohibits a commercial fishing licensee, on and after March 1, 2008, from using or engaging in fishing with commercial gear unless the licensee uses vessel and catch monitoring devices.  The use of these devices is to be in accordance with requirements and procedures established by the Chief of the Division of Wildlife.  A licensee must pay the cost of purchasing, installing, and maintaining the devices. 


Under the VMS (vessel monitoring systems), operators will be tracked through a global positioning system and catch data

will be reported electronically by operators rather than in paper form.  The Department estimates it may incur upfront costs of

approximately $50,000 to establish a central VMS unit that tracks operators and receives data.  Operators may incur costs of approximately $3,000 to purchase individual VMS units, which are similar to laptop computers and can be moved from boat to boat.  Over time, despite the upfront costs to get the VMS up and running, the Department's enforcement costs of $400,000 are estimated to be reduced.


The bill also requires that a transferred commercial fishing license shall not be sold, offered for sale, or bartered to any person.  Furthermore, the bill states that the Chief of the Division of Wildlife shall determine if any quota species of fish are transferable with the transferred license.  In making the determination, the Chief may use biological, social, and economic data.


Public comment sought on adding wild brook trout to action plan...

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is inviting public comment on adding naturally reproducing eastern brook trout to the State Wildlife Action Plan, the document that prescribes conservation measures for species and their critical habitat before they become more rare and more costly to protect and restore.


The brook trout’s historic range and abundance has been considerably reduced throughout the east coast, including Pennsylvania. Habitat and water quality degradation caused by urbanization, acid mine drainage, acid deposition, and poor land use practices have contributed to the decline. The addition of the species to Pennsylvania’s State Wildlife Action Plan, if approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, would highlight the status of the Commonwealth’s state fish. But it’s more than a symbolic move. Including brook trout in the state’s Wildlife Action Plan would provide the Commission with more flexibility to fund, or receive funding for, projects that benefit the species.


The native range of the eastern brook trout extends along the Appalachians from Georgia to Maine and encompasses 17 states. Of these states, 12 currently include the eastern brook trout in their Wildlife Action Plans. The need for special

attention to wild brook trout was documented by Pennsylvania

and others as part of the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture (EBTJV), a regional project of the National Fish Habitat Initiative. In a 2006 report, the EBTJV noted that brook trout populations have been eliminated or greatly reduced throughout more than 70% of their historical habitat in Pennsylvania. These results reflect the condition of brook trout across their entire Eastern range, according to the assessment.


The Fish and Boat Commission is specifically recommending that eastern brook trout be added to the Action Plan at "Conservation Tier 5 - Maintenance Concern Level." Conservation Tier 5 contains species that are considered relatively abundant and fairly secure in Pennsylvania, but have undergone declines.


Pennsylvania’s Wildlife Action Plan can be downloaded from the Commission web site at www.fishandboat.com [located on our State Wildlife Grant program page]. The proposed brook trout plan amendment is also posted online, as is a form that allows the public to comment on the proposal. Public comment will also be accepted in writing through 4:00 PM, August 3, 2007. Direct mail to: Brook Trout/WAP/Public Comments, c/o Dave Day, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, P.O. Box 67000, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7000.


New publication describes options for communities with too many geese

MADISON – A new free brochure describing options for managing increasing numbers of resident Canada geese in communities, on golf courses, school grounds and in parks, is available at DNR Service Centers and from USDA-Wildlife Services.


The brochure is also available online or by calling the DNR Bureau of Wildlife Management at (608) 266-8204.



Two different populations of Canada geese are found in Wisconsin. The Mississippi Valley population nests in northern Ontario and spends fall and winter in Wisconsin. The resident giant Canada geese nest and raise young in Wisconsin and most frequently become the nuisance.


Wisconsin’s resident Canada goose population has been growing an average of 13 % per year since 1986 when DNR began monitoring the population. As their numbers have

grown, so have complaints. The department has taken several steps to address the growing problem, including

implementing and expanding an early September goose season that targets the problem geese, said Van Horn. He hastens to add that all populations of Canada geese are protected by treaty, as well as federal and state law, so specific guidelines must be followed when seeking to reduce human/goose conflicts.


Decisions on how to respond to a resident Canada goose problem are up to the communities but DNR is available to study communities’ goose problems, explain their options, and assist them in implementing solutions, Van Horn said.  In other situations, controlling populations through killing nuisance geese or destroying their nests may be necessary. In some cases, adult geese killed as part of a control program can be donated to food pantries.


The early Canada goose hunting season for 2007 is Sept 1-15.

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