Week of July 31, 2006

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Canada

General

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World

Bush creates largest marine sanctuary

WASHINGTON DC - President George Bush has announced a vast new marine sanctuary, extending stronger federal protections to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and endangered monk seals, nesting green sea turtles, and other rare species.

 

The nation's newest national monument, which will be given a native Hawaiian name based on suggestions from state residents, covers an archipelago 1,400 miles long and 100 miles wide in the Pacific Ocean. Its home to more than 7,000 species, at least a fourth of them found nowhere else.  The new national monument is the single largest act of ocean conservation in history.

           

Bush's decision sets aside 139,793 square miles of largely uninhabited islands, atolls, coral reef colonies, and underwater peaks known as seamounts to be managed by

federal and state agencies.  It will be bigger than Australia's 128,960-square-mile Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

 

“To put this area in context, this national monument is more than 100 times larger than Yosemite National Park,” Bush said. “It’s larger than 46 of our 50 states, and more than seven times larger than all our national marine sanctuaries combined. This is a big deal."

 

The monument will phase out the remaining eight fishing boats over five years — a timeline that conservation groups hope to accelerate by buying out the fishing permits.  This will hurt a small group of companies and families on a short-term basis. On a long-term basis, they will be able to reap the benefits of a lively fish habitat.

 

Midway Atoll, an island from WWII fame, one of the outermost points of the new monument, will retain an emergency landing strip for commercial and military trans-Pacific flights.


Men’s shooting team picks up the Gold

ZAGREB, Croatia - The U.S. men's team, comprised of Olympic gold medalist Matt Emmons (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Spc. Michael McPhail, of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, and Naval Reservist Eric Uptagrafft (Longmont, Colo.), was awarded the gold medal on July 26 in the 50m prone rifle team event at the 49th ISSF World Shooting Championships.

The U.S. walked away with the championship win, shooting a 1,786 combined score from the three athlete's earlier elimination rounds. McPhail shot a 597, Uptagrafft finished with a 595, while Emmons followed with a 594 for the top-spot on the podium. Austria and Hungary took the silver and bronze team medals, respectively, finishing with a 1,779


National

Congress OKs Bill for Carp Barrier funding

Authorizes USACE Funding of Barrier I and Barrier II at full Federal expense

The Senate has approved permanent funding for both Barriers I & II authorizing the US Army Corp of Engineers with permanent jurisdiction for administration and operation.

 

The U.S. Senate on July 19 passed S.728, the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA).  A summary of major provisions related to the Great Lakes can be found in the document (below) compiled by Jan Miller of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). 

 

The House passed its version of WRDA, H.R. 2864, in 2005.  The next step will be a conference among House and Senate members on the two WRDA bills.  It is unclear at this time when the conferees will meet and when Congress may consider the reconciled WRDA legislation.  Following passage of the legislation by both chambers, funds would still need to be sought through the Energy and Water appropriations bill, an omnibus appropriations bill or another appropriations measure.  As this process moves forward, the Council of Great Lakes Governors’ staff will continue to track progress and communicate with the Governors’ Priorities

Task Force, the Governors’ Washington directors and the Aquatic Invasive Species Task Force on issues of significance to the States. 

 

Among the many sections of the WRDA legislation are several provisions related to the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal dispersal barrier:   

►Both the House and the Senate versions include provisions authorizing the USACE to upgrade and make permanent Barrier I and to maintain and operate Barrier I and Barrier II at full Federal expense.

 

►The Senate version authorizes the USACE to complete construction of Barrier II at full Federal expense.  It would also grant each State a credit in the amount the State previously contributed to barrier construction.  The States could then apply these credits to existing or future USACE projects.

 

►The House version would authorize a feasibility study of the range of options and technologies available to prevent the spread of AIS between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Basins through the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal and other pathways.


Scientists use oranges to track blue-green algae

SWANTON, Vt. (AP) _ Scientists studying toxic blue-green algae blooms on lakes Champlain, Erie and Ontario are using a low-tech tool to track the blooms' movements: oranges. Lake researcher Greg Boyer joined two assistants for a boat ride out onto Lake Champlain's Missisquoi Bay on July 24 to 

dump two crates of 25 oranges each overboard. 

 

"Oranges are biodegradable and they float right on the surface just like algae, so they are good markers for how the algae travel," Boyer said.


USFWS Proposes New Hunting and Fishing Programs on National Wildlife Refuges

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed to add hunting or fishing programs on two national wildlife refuges in Minnesota and New Jersey for the 2006-2007 season and expand hunting and fishing opportunities at six other refuges.

 

The rule on the proposals was published in the Federal Register on July 24. A public comment period will end August 16.

 

“The National Wildlife Refuge System offers many outstanding places to hunt, fish, and enjoy wildlife, and we are committed to expanding hunting and fishing opportunities wherever we can,” said Service Director H. Dale Hall.

 

If approved, the proposal would establish a new hunting program at Hamden Slough National Wildlife Refuge in Minnesota.  Hunting programs would be expanded at the following six refuges: Agassiz in  Minnesota, Blackwater in Maryland, Whittlesey Creek in Wisconsin, and Bayou Cocodrie, Tensas River and Upper Ouachita, all in Louisiana. 

The proposed rule notes that Holt Collier National Wildlife Refuge in Mississippi was formerly part of the Yazoo Refuge Complex, where hunting has been permitted.

 

In 2005, approximately 2.3 million Americans hunted on national wildlife refuges and more than 6 million anglers made fishing trips to the Refuge System.  The National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 includes hunting and fishing as two of the six priority public uses on the National Wildlife Refuge System.  The Refuge System provides opportunities to hunt and fish whenever they are compatible with the purposes for which the individual wildlife refuge was established.

 

Wildlife refuges provide outdoor activities that include fishing, hunting, environmental education and interpretation, wildlife observation and wildlife photography.  Many national wildlife refuges also offer opportunities for birding, especially along the 2,500 miles of land and water trails nationwide.  There is at least one wildlife refuge within an hour's drive of most major cities.


Bush creates largest marine sanctuary

WASHINGTON DC - President George Bush has announced a vast new marine sanctuary, extending stronger federal protections to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and endangered monk seals, nesting green sea turtles, and other rare species.

 

The nation's newest national monument, which will be given a native Hawaiian name based on suggestions from state residents, covers an archipelago 1,400 miles long and 100 miles wide in the Pacific Ocean. Its home to more than 7,000 species, at least a fourth of them found nowhere else.  The new national monument is the single largest act of ocean conservation in history.

           

Bush's decision sets aside 139,793 square miles of largely uninhabited islands, atolls, coral reef colonies, and underwater peaks known as seamounts to be managed by

federal and state agencies.  It will be bigger than Australia's 128,960-square-mile Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

 

“To put this area in context, this national monument is more than 100 times larger than Yosemite National Park,” Bush said. “It’s larger than 46 of our 50 states, and more than seven times larger than all our national marine sanctuaries combined. This is a big deal."

 

The monument will phase out the remaining eight fishing boats over five years — a timeline that conservation groups hope to accelerate by buying out the fishing permits.  This will hurt a small group of companies and families on a short-term basis. On a long-term basis, they will be able to reap the benefits of a lively fish habitat.

 

Midway Atoll, an island from WWII fame, one of the outermost points of the new monument, will retain an emergency landing strip for commercial and military trans-Pacific flights.


Duck Hunter Exposed to Type of Bird Flu, Study Finds

WASHINGTON (Reuters)— A U.S. duck hunter and two state wildlife employees had evidence of an uncommon type of bird flu virus in their blood, researchers reported July 24 in one of the first studies to show that hunters might be at risk.

 

The virus was H11N9, not known to be dangerous to humans and not related to the feared H5N1 virus circulating in wild and domestic birds and among some people, the researchers said.  But their study, published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, shows that people who work with wildlife should take care.

 

"To our knowledge, this study is the first to show direct transmission of influenza A viruses from wild birds to humans," Dr. James Gill of the University of Iowa and colleagues wrote in their report.

 

The H5N1 avian influenza virus has not yet caused a human pandemic, but it has killed 132 people out of the 230 infected. It has infected birds in about 50 countries and is spreading faster than any other avian influenza ever has.   Many experts believe it may pose the worst threat of an influenza pandemic in 30 years.

 

The natural host is ducks, and migrating waterfowl have been shown to spread the disease. Most ducks do not become sick from avian influenza, but some strains can kill chickens in a day.   The researchers studied 39 duck hunters who were hunting in southeastern Iowa at Lake Odessa Wildlife Management Area, and 68 Iowa DNR employees who either hunted or help band wild ducks.

Three of the men had antibodies against H11N9, suggesting they had either been infected in the past or had fought off an infection.   All three "had substantial lifetime exposures to wild waterfowl", the researchers wrote. None of the other hunters or wildlife workers had evidence of H11N9 virus in their blood, the researchers said.

 

In addition, the two wildlife employees had antibodies against a mallard duck strain of H2N2 influenza, which caused human epidemics in the 1950s and 1960s.

 

"Even though the H11-positive study participants had several years of exposure to wild birds infected with avian influenza virus through hunting and duck banding, they did not wear personal protective equipment, such as gloves, masks, or eye protection," the researchers wrote.  They did not ask the three men if they had flu-like symptoms.

 

"Although the sample size of our study was relatively small, our results suggest that handling wild waterfowl, especially ducks, is a risk factor for direct transmission of avian influenza virus to humans," they wrote. The USFWS  and USGS are testing wild birds for H5N1 flu, which has not been seen in the Americas yet.

 

"Many species that breed in Alaska migrate and winter throughout parts of Russia and Asia," the USGS says in a statement on its Internet Web site at http://alaska.usgs.gov/ .   "Birds could be exposed to H5N1 in Asia or Russia during winter or on migration and carry the virus to Alaska in spring along migratory corridors."


Regional

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for July 28, 2006

Lake Level Conditions: 

Water levels on Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are 4 and 1 inches, respectively, below the levels of a year ago.  Lake St. Clair is 1 inch below last year’s water level, while Lakes Erie and Ontario are 1 and 3 inches above 2005 levels.  The water level in Lake Superior is expected to increase an inch in the next month while Lake Michigan-Huron is near its seasonal peak and is predicted to fall 1 inch.  Lakes St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are forecasted to fall 2 to 5 inches over the next month.  Over the next few months, all of the Great Lakes are predicted to remain at or approach water levels similar to 2005. 

 

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions:

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

Alerts:

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

 

 

Superior

Mich-Huron

St. Clair

Erie

Ontario

Level for July 28

601.4

578.0

574.2

571.8

246.1

Datum, in ft

601.1

577.5

572.3

569.2

243.3

Diff in inches

+4

+5

+23

+31

+33

Diff last month

+1

+1

-1

-1

+4

Diff from last yr

-4

-1

-1

+1

+3


Canada

Largemouth Bass Found in Canadian Maritime Provinces

Find is an Issue of Grave Concern

The Atlantic Salmon Federation (ASF) captured a largemouth bass in the Magaguadavic River at St. George, N.B on July 11. ASF Vice President of Research and Environment, Dr. Fred Whoriskey said, "It is the first time the species of fish has been found in Canada Maritime Provinces, and heightens concerns about invasive species affecting fish native to our rivers."

 

"The threat to biodiversity from the introduction of exotic species is a major problem throughout Canada," continued Dr. Whoriskey. "Introduction of exotics is widely regarded as the second most significant cause of biological extinctions of

native species, after habitat destruction." Mike Best of ASF research team captured the exotic as he monitored the fish ladder on the Magaguadavic River for adult salmon returns, and he initially identified it. The ASF laboratory confirmed the identity of the six year-old female fish that measured 39.3 cm in length and weighed 819 g. It was transferred to New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources biologists, who will document the capture in a provincial technical report. The preserved specimen will be added to the collections of the New Brunswick Museum.

 

Atlantic salmon populations in rivers of the Bay of Fundy, including the Magaguadavic River, are severely depressed, and the addition of this new predator could be a further challenge to their recovery.


General

Do You Know the Hazard in Your Backyard?

USGS Launches Web Site and Facts Sheets on Earthquakes, Floods, Hurricanes, Landslides, Tsunamis, Volcanoes, and Wildfires --

Every year, natural hazards that occur in the United States can result in hundreds of lives lost and cost billions of dollars in the form of disaster aid, disrupted commerce and destroyed public and private properties.

 

To help educate the public about the threat of natural hazards, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has launched a new Web site and seven easy-to-understand fact sheets on earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, landslides, tsunamis, volcanoes and wildfires. The hazards Web site highlights resources and information available from the USGS and provides links to the individual hazards Web pages for more detailed information. The Web site and fact sheets can be accessed at http://www.usgs.gov/hazards/ .

“At the USGS, it is our goal to provide scientific research and analysis that help the public make informed decisions on where natural hazards occur, how severe they may be, how to react to each hazard and how to safeguard people and communities,” said USGS Acting Director P. Patrick Leahy. “If we can use our science to help save lives and minimize the damage caused by natural hazards, we have achieved an enormous goal—helping to prevent natural hazards from becoming disasters.”

 

The USGS has the lead federal responsibility to provide notifications to the public about earthquakes, volcanoes and landslides. These notifications enhance public safety and reduce losses through effective forecasts and warnings based on the best possible scientific information. The USGS plays a supportive role to other federal.

 


 

Lake Erie

Lake Erie Charter Captains offer "Kids Fish Free" week, August 14-18

Deadline is August 9 to book a charter during the week     

COLUMBUS, OH - Kids can fish free on selected Lake Erie fishing charters in the Port Clinton area from Monday, August 14, through Friday, August 18, as part of a program sponsored by the Lake Erie Charter Boat Association (LECBA), according to the Ohio DNR Division of Wildlife.

 

During “Kids Fish Free” week, adults booking a charter through the boat association hotline (1-800-287-1020) can bring one youth, age 17 or under, at no charge for each paying adult. For example, on a standard six-person fishing charter, a party consisting of three adults and three youths would pay half the normal charter fee. Charter reservations must be made by August 9 to participate in this special promotion.

 

“The Lake Erie Charter Boat Association makes a great effort to encourage and promote youth and family fishing,” said

Steven A. Gray, chief of the Division of Wildlife.  “Families should take advantage of this opportunity to get out on Lake Erie and enjoy one of the nation’s top fisheries.”

 

The “Kids Fish Free” charter trips will depart from the Port Clinton area. Fishing trips can be scheduled for walleye, smallmouth bass, yellow perch or a combination of those species. The Lake Erie Charter Boat Association started the “Kids Fish Free” program in 2002 to honor one of its founding members, the late Jim Fofrich, Sr. As an active proponent of Lake Erie fishing, Fofrich promoted lowering charter rates to encourage families to bring their kids along on Lake Erie fishing trips.

 

More than 400 member charter captains will participate in the program, and all will provide the fishing tackle and equipment for the kids on their boats.  Each youth also will receive a certificate of participation. The Division


 

Illinois

Governor Signs Families Afield Bill

The Governor of Illinois has signed a bill designed to encourage youngsters and adults to get involved in hunting.

 

On July 14, Governor Rod Blagojevich signed HB 5407.  The bill was introduced by Representative Mark Beaubien, R-Barrington Hills and member of the Illinois Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus.  It creates an apprentice hunter program that allows people interested in trying hunting to purchase a one-time apprentice hunter license.  The license allows them to hunt under the supervision of an experienced mentor hunter prior to completing hunter education.

 

The apprentice hunter license will cost $7 and may only be bought once.  People who wish to continue hunting must complete hunter education to become fully licensed.   Children

ages 10-17 will be permitted to hunt under the supervision of a licensed parent, guardian or grandparent.  Adults will be permitted to hunt under the guidance of a licensed resident hunter.

 

The bill passed the House of Representatives on March 3 by a vote of 75 to 29.  It was unanimously approved by the Senate 57-0 on March 30, 2006.

 

The bill is based on model legislation created under the Families Afield campaign.  The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, along with the National Wild Turkey Federation and the National Shooting Sports Foundation, introduced Families Afield campaign in an effort to stem the tide of hunters lost to other interests and increase hunter recruitment throughout the country.


Indiana

New Indiana state record spotted bass

Terre Haute man boats state's top spot

A Terre Haute man has broken one of Indiana's longest standing fish records. Larry Hinesley Jr's 5 lb-5 oz fish recently topped John William Pio's 31-year-old, 5 lb-1 oz spotted bass record.

 

On May 24, Hinesley, of Terre Haute, was fishing a private lake in Vigo County when Indiana's largest recorded spotted bass took his night crawler bait. Hinesley saw the fish before he cast to it. "I threw every lure in my box but it wouldn't take any of them," Hinesley said. That's when he switched to a live night crawler. The big bass couldn't resist, and struck.

 

Hinesley tired the fish with an ultra-light Ugly Stick fishing pole strung with 10-pound-test Spider Wire. "It had my drag running like 'whirrrrr' and my rod was bent over double," Hinesley said of the fight. "I was talking to my line the whole time saying 'don't break, don't break.'" The fight lasted five or six minutes.

Hinesley became familiar with spotted bass only three weeks before his date with fishing history when he caught a 3-pound fish that a friend identified as a spotted bass, instead of the more common largemouth bass. Surprised, Hinesley researched spotted bass, including the former state record.

 

After boating the 5-plus-pounder he called his brother-in-law, who later identified the fish as a huge spotted bass. Hinesley had it weighed on certified scales at the IGA on Locust Street in Terre Haute.

 

Spotted bass, also known as Kentucky bass or Kentucky spotted bass, are frequently mistaken for other types of bass. According to the book Fishes of the Central United States, the spotted bass was once widely believed to be a hybrid between largemouth and smallmouth bass. Not until 1927 did ichthyologists recognize the species as distinct.

 

Spotted bass are most successful in waters that are somewhat warmer and siltier than those that support native populations of smallmouth. The fish will sometimes out-compete smallmouth bass in degraded streams.


Smokey Bear birthday party at Patoka Lake, Aug. 12

Celebrate Smokey Bear’s 62nd birthday, from 10 a.m. to noon

Participants will be able to enjoy games, activities, birthday cake and much more, including photo opportunities with the birthday bear, so visitors should bring their cameras.

           

To help people remember Smokey’s messages of “Only you

can prevent wild fires!” and “Don’t play with matches!” the Orange County Southeast Township volunteer fire department will put on a special demonstration.  This program is free to the public but the usual gate entry fee of $5 per in-state vehicle ($7 out of state) will be collected.

 

For more info, call the visitors center, (812) 685-2447.


Michigan

Monster Master Angler Qualifying Salmon Caught off Frankfort...

The Benzie County SportFishing Association reports this Frankfort catch; one of the largest Lake Michigan King (Chinook) Salmon caught in several years.  17 year old Max Griffith caught this 32 lb.-12 oz King in Frankfort Waters on July 18.  This

Michigan Master Angler Qualifying Salmon is the largest known salmon caught yet this year in Michigan waters!

 

For more about the Benzie County Sport Fishing Association, go to www.geocities.com/FishBenzie

 


Children’s Programs for August at Eddy Discovery Center in Chelsea

An array of children’s programs focusing on nature has been scheduled in August at the Gerald E. Eddy Discovery Center at the Waterloo Recreation Area located at 17030 Bush Road in Chelsea.

 

The August programs are free; however, vehicles entering the recreation area are required to have a 2006 Motor Vehicle Permit. Permits are $6 for a daily permit or $24 for an annual for Michigan residents. For out-of-state residents, the permits are $8 for a daily and $29 for an annual. All children must be accompanied by an adult at the programs, which are best suited for children ages 7 to 12.

 

Programs include:

► Spring Pond Trail Hike, 11 A.M., Aug. 2. Hike around Spring Pond to learn about the wildlife and plants that live in the wetlands.

► Ice Age Adventure, 11 A.M., Aug. 3. Travel back in time when Waterloo was covered with ice. The program focuses on glaciers and what animals lived at Waterloo in the glacial era. Children will make a glacier flip book to take home.

► Insect Safari, 11 A.M., Aug. 4. Catch and release beneficial insects that eat harmful ones, and pest insects that harm the environment.

► Massasauga Rattlesnake, 11 A.M., Aug. 5. Learn about

Michigan’s only venomous snake, and view a video about the importance of this species and research currently being done on it.

► Michigan Mammals, 11 A.M., Aug. 9. Learn about Michigan mammals and what can be done to protect their habitat.

► Dinosaurs, 11 A.M., Aug. 10. Learn about different dinosaurs, and how and where they lived.

► Trail Treasure Hunt, 11 A.M., Aug. 11. Walk along the Oakwood Trail and look for a variety of nature’s treasures.

► Endangered Species, 11 A.M., Aug. 12. Discover Michigan’s endangered plants and animals and learn how to protect them.

► Wow! Wetlands, 11 A.m., Aug. 16. Take a walk to two of our Michigan wetlands and discover what makes them a special habitat.

► Petoskey Stone Polishing, 11 A.M., Aug. 17. Learn about Michigan’s state stone. Stones will be provided to all children in class.

► Kids’ Garden, 11 A.M., Aug. 18. Learn about plants and gardening in your own backyard. Children will plant a seed to take home.

► Wolves, 11 A.M., Aug. 19. Children can learn about wolves and their importance to Michigan and North America.

 

Parents should pre-register their children for programs by calling the center at 734-475-3170


Tahquamenon Falls State Park Offers Naturalist Programs for August

Visitors to Tahquamenon Falls State Park in Chippewa County can choose from different nature programs each day to enjoy their time in the outdoors.

 

On Saturday, Aug. 5, the park will hold its annual Smokey Bear Day featuring activities from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Lower Falls Day Use Area. Representatives from the Department of Natural Resources’ Fisheries and Forest, Mineral and Fire Management divisions will be on hand, along with Smokey the Bear.

 

The weekly slate of nature programs includes:

Sundays: “Rivermouth Walk” at the Rivermouth Campground Amphitheater at 4 p.m. At dusk, a campfire and astronomy session will take place in the Lower Falls Picnic Area.

►Mondays: At dusk, there will be a program on “Tahquamenon’s Treasures” in the Lower Falls Amphitheater.

►Tuesdays: A bear den hike will take place at 7 p.m. Participants should meet at the Lower Falls Campground office and carpool to the location.

►Wednesdays: A program called “Birds, Beaks & Binoculars” will start at 7 p.m. at the Rivermouth Campground Amphitheater.

►Thursdays: There will be a “River Hunt” at 7 p.m. in the Lower Falls Picnic Area.

►Fridays: At 7 p.m., there will be a “Bogs, Frogs & Pollywogs” program. Participants should meet at the Lower Falls Campground Office to carpool to the location. At dusk, there will be a “Watchable Wildlife” program at the Lower Falls Amphitheater.

►Saturdays: A program called “Leave It to Beaver” will start at 7 p.m. in the Lower Falls Picnic Area. After dark, there will be a program called “Creatures of the Night” offered at the Lower Falls Picnic Area.

 

Visitors should also check display boards at the park for more information, or call 906-492-3415. All children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by a parent for the programs. All programs are free, but a Motor Vehicle Permit is required to enter the park. Costs are $24 for an annual permit for Michigan residents and $6 for a daily permit. For non-residents, permits are $29 for an annual and $8 for a daily.


 DNR Livonia Operations Service Center Relocating

The Department of Natural Resources’ Livonia Operations Service Center (OSC) is relocating effective Wednesday, July 26, DNR officials have announced. The new OSC will be located at 26000 W. Eight Mile Road in Southfield and will be renamed the Southfield Operations Service Center. The Livonia OSC had been located at 38980 Seven Mile Road.

The DNR had maintained the OSC at Livonia for several years. They moved due to its lease on the Livonia office space expiring and a change in the office building’s ownership.  Staff at the Southfield OSC will continue to serve the southeastern portion of the Lower Peninsula. The main phone line at the OSC will be 248-359-9040, and the main fax line will be 248-355-2669.


Minnesota

Spiny Waterfleas Found in Rainy Lake

A Duluth teenager vacationing on Rainy Lake last week found more than fish on his line. Matt Gunderson (18) caught an invasive species known as the spiny waterflea (Bythotrephes longimanus). More than a dozen collected on his fishing line on July 18 while he was trolling for walleyes off Blueberry Island in Voyageurs National Park.

 

Gunderson immediately recognized the mass of tiny animals because he's been educated to watch for invasive species most of his life. His father works for the University of Minnesota Sea Grant Program, which funds research and conducts public education programs about aquatic invasive species.

 

According to Steve Windels, terrestrial ecologist for Voyageurs National Park, this is likely a recent infestation because the Park Service periodically sampled Rainy Lake and other lakes in the park in cooperation with the USGS through 2005 and did not find any spiny waterfleas. The agencies cooperated again to respond quickly to the sighting.

 

"Since we received the initial report, we've confirmed the presence of spiny waterfleas at seven different sites throughout the U.S. side of Rainy Lake," said Windels. The finding has implications for how the National Park Service conducts operations in the park, specifically, taking extra precautions to ensure that staff and visitors do not spread the species to uninfested waters.

 

The discovery also has international implications as more than 75 percent of Rainy Lake is in Ontario, Canada, and will impact how the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources operates in that area. The waterfleas now have the potential to spread downstream to Lake of the Woods (Minnesota's largest lake) or upstream to Kabetogama, Namakan, Sand Point, and Crane lakes. The finding brings the number of infested lakes in Minnesota to ten (excluding Lake Superior).

 

Experts believe spiny waterfleas originally arrived in the U.S. from Eurasia in the ballast water of cargo ships when they were found in Lake Ontario in 1982 and Lake Superior in 1987. Boaters and anglers have most likely spread them to inland waters since then. Waterfleas collect in masses on fishing lines and downrigger cables. The masses can resemble gelatin or cotton batting with tiny black spots, which are the creatures' eyes. Individual animals are difficult to distinguish without magnification because they are only 1/4 to 5/8" long.

 

"Spiny waterfleas can spread when boats and fishing gear

become contaminated with egg-laden females," said Doug Jensen, coordinator of the Minnesota Sea Grant's aquatic invasive species program. Although the females might die between fishing trips, they might be carrying resting eggs that can begin a new infestation.

 

"It's like dry soup mix," said Jensen. "Just add water and you've got more spiny waterfleas. That's why boaters and anglers need to be especially careful about draining water and cleaning their equipment before going from one lake to another."

 

Spiny waterfleas can foul angling gear, causing anglers to lose hooked fish. Several other traits make this species of zooplankton particularly vexing:

- They compete with small fish for the same zooplankton.

- Small fish generally do not eat them due to their long spiny tails.

- They can shift the natural balance of a lake's plankton community, disrupting food web dynamics.

 

To combat the spread of harmful aquatic invasive species, Voyageurs National Park will step up efforts to promote a campaign called Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers! www.protectyourwaters.net, which features a logo and prevention messages targeting boaters and anglers. Staff will post water accesses and distribute brochures and identification cards to boaters and anglers to inform them how to prevent the spread.

 

Before leaving the water access, boaters and anglers should:

- Learn to recognize spiny waterfleas (call Sea Grant or the DNR for identification cards)

- Inspect and remove aquatic plants and animals, including gelatinous or cotton-batting-like material from fishing lines, downrigger cables, or anchor ropes

- Drain water from livewells, bait containers, and bilge

- Dispose of unwanted live bait in the trash

- Spray with high pressure or hot tap water (above 104 degrees F or 40 degrees C)

- Report new sightings (note location and put specimen in a sealed container with rubbing alcohol; call either Minnesota Sea Grant, (218) 726-8712 or the Minnesota DNR Invasive Species Program in St. Paul, 1-888-MINNDNR or (651) 259-5100.

 

The Minnesota DNR is working to designate Rainy Lake as an infested water. The designation means it will be illegal to transport water or harvest bait from the lake, similar to zebra mussel-infested waters.


New York

 DEC Continues Investigation of Death of Lake Ontario Shore Birds and Fish

Type E Botulism Found in Some Gulls and Terns; Public Advised To Take Care in Handling Fish and Game

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced that the agency is investigating the cause of the deaths of birds found along the shores of Lake Ontario and the Thousand Islands area of the St. Lawrence River. DEC advised the public to take precautions in handling birds and wildlife from these areas until the investigation is completed.  Gulls and terns collected from Little Gallo Island during the second week of July tested positive for Type E Botulism.

 

In recent years, Type E Botulism (Clostridium botulinum) has affected fish and birds in Lake Huron and Lake Erie, and was first documented in birds near Lake Ontario in 2002. Type E Botulism is a specific strain of botulism most commonly affecting fish-eating birds. It causes paralysis in the affected birds and often is fatal. The disease results from the ingestion of a toxin produced by the botulism bacterium and can be harmful to humans who eat birds or fish that have been poisoned by this toxin.

 

In June of 2006, DEC announced the discovery of viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS) virus in several fish species from Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, including round goby, muskellunge, and smallmouth bass.  The VHS virus is a pathogen of fish and does not pose any threat to public health, and swimming in Lake Ontario or St. Lawrence River waters poses no risk to human health from either botulism or VHS virus.

 

An outbreak of Type E Botulism first appeared in southern Lake Huron in 1998 and spread to Lake Erie in 1999. In the fall of 2000, the botulism had spread to the eastern part of Lake Erie and thousands of water birds were found washed up on the shoreline. DEC subsequently confirmed Type E Botulism in several species of fish and waterfowl from Lake Erie. In July of 2002 and August of 2005 several gulls were tested around the eastern basin of Lake Ontario and many of those tested positive. There have been no reports of any human illnesses associated with these outbreaks.

 

Type E Botulism has not been found in any fish from Lake

Ontario or the St. Lawrence River. DEC is continuing to gather sick and dead birds and fish to check for botulism or other diseases. As part of annual monitoring for the disease, sweeps of specific stretches of the Great Lakes shorelines occur each fall, and any dead birds collected are tested for the disease.

 

Hunters and anglers are advised not to harvest waterfowl or fish that are sick or acting abnormally. A sick fish typically will have a hard time remaining upright; will be swimming on its side or belly up, or sometimes floundering on the surface trying to swim down, among other potential signs of sickness.

 

Cooking may not destroy the botulism toxin. DEC reminds hunters and anglers to take the following precautions for preparing all fish and waterfowl:

 

► Harvest only fish and waterfowl that act and look healthy;

 

► Wear rubber or plastic protective gloves while filleting, field dressing, skinning or butchering birds, fish or wildlife. Remove and discard intestines soon after harvest and avoid direct contact with intestinal contents;

 

► Wash hands, utensils and work surfaces before and after handling any raw food, including fish and game meat;

 

► Keep fish and game cool (either with ice or refrigerated below 45º Fahrenheit (7º Celsius) until filleted or butchered, and then refrigerate or freeze; and

 

► Cook fish and other seafood to an internal temperature (in the thickest part) of 140º Fahrenheit (60º degrees Celsius). Cook game birds to an internal temperature of 165º Fahrenheit (74º Celsius).

 

If you must handle dead or dying fish or birds, use rubber or plastic protective gloves or a plastic bag. Any discovery of dead or distressed fish or wildlife, such as water birds showing a condition known as "limberneck" that results from paralysis of the neck muscles, should be reported to the DEC Division of Fish and Wildlife offices in Buffalo at (716) 851-7010, Allegany at (716) 372-0645, Avon at (585) 226-2466, Syracuse at (315) 426-7400, Cortland at (607) 753-3095, Watertown at (315) 785-2261 or Cape Vincent at (315) 654-2147.


Ohio

Lake Erie Charter Captains offer "Kids Fish Free" week, August 14-18

Deadline is August 9 to book a charter during the week     

COLUMBUS, OH - Kids can fish free on selected Lake Erie fishing charters in the Port Clinton area from Monday, August 14, through Friday, August 18, as part of a program sponsored by the Lake Erie Charter Boat Association (LECBA), according to the Ohio DNR Division of Wildlife.

 

During “Kids Fish Free” week, adults booking a charter through the boat association hotline (1-800-287-1020) can bring one youth, age 17 or under, at no charge for each paying adult. For example, on a standard six-person fishing charter, a party consisting of three adults and three youths would pay half the normal charter fee. Charter reservations must be made by August 9 to participate in this special promotion.

 

“The Lake Erie Charter Boat Association makes a great effort to encourage and promote youth and family fishing,” said

Steven A. Gray, chief of the Division of Wildlife.  “Families should take advantage of this opportunity to get out on Lake Erie and enjoy one of the nation’s top fisheries.”

 

The “Kids Fish Free” charter trips will depart from the Port Clinton area. Fishing trips can be scheduled for walleye, smallmouth bass, yellow perch or a combination of those species. The Lake Erie Charter Boat Association started the “Kids Fish Free” program in 2002 to honor one of its founding members, the late Jim Fofrich, Sr. As an active proponent of Lake Erie fishing, Fofrich promoted lowering charter rates to encourage families to bring their kids along on Lake Erie fishing trips.

 

More than 400 member charter captains will participate in the program, and all will provide the fishing tackle and equipment for the kids on their boats.  Each youth also will receive a certificate of participation. The Division


Sandusky opposes bill on commercial buyout

The Sandusky City Commission has taken a stand against House Bill 609, which proposes to buy out the 14 commercial fishing licenses on Lake Erie. The commission plans to send a letter to the governor expressing strong opposition to the

proposal. The bill, introduced by Rep. Jim McGregor, R-Gahanna, would have the Ohio Division of Wildlife, using a formula based on the reported catch by the commercial, buy back commercial fishing licenses, effectively ending all commercial fishing on Lake Erie.


Wisconsin

Wild Rose Fish Hatchery renovation under way

The Wild Rose Fish Hatchery renovation is under way, announced the Wisconsin DNR.  The renovation of this century-old, workhorse hatchery has been long anticipated and hoped for to better support the heavy angling pressure in Wisconsin.

 

This first phase of construction, of facilities to raise trout and salmon, will be paid for largely with money from the Fox River environmental restoration settlements with paper companies, 

the Great Lakes salmon and trout stamps, and federal grants.

 

The second phase builds a new facility to raise lake sturgeon, spotted musky, walleye, northern pike; a third phase restores the wetland and stream the original raceways were built in more than a century ago.

 

See fact sheet on the renovation for more info: http://dnr.wi.gov/org/water/fhp/wildrose/Wild%20Rose%20factsheet.pdf


Sheboygan River PCB cleanup under way

The Sheboygan River clean-up is finally under way.   One of the 43 Areas of Concern (AOC) as designated by the International Joint Commission, some 14 miles of the Sheboygan River is being dredged  in areas laced with PCBs.  The Sheboygan River AOC encompasses the lower Sheboygan River downstream from the Sheboygan Falls Dam, including the entire harbor and nearshore waters of Lake Michigan

 

In an effort to clean up the most polluted areas in the Great Lakes, the United States and Canada, in 1987, in Annex 2 of

the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, committed to cooperate with State and Provincial Governments to ensure that Remedial Action Plans (RAPs) were developed and implemented for all designated Areas of Concern (AOCs) in the Great Lakes basin.

 

Forty-three AOCs have been identified: 26 located entirely within the United States; 12 located wholly within Canada; and five that are shared by both countries.  Four have been delisted to date.  The Sheboygan River was first designated an AOC in the mid 1980s.


Ontario

Ministry dragging its feet on Cormorant control

Fishing groups asking for data on Cormorants

The Lake Huron Fishing Club, along with many other groups, is continuing to insist that the Ministry of Natural Resources take actions to control the overpopulation of Double Crested Cormorants in Ontario.  The first step would be to delist them as a protected species - making them the same as a common crow.  This would be coupled with a government organized egg oiling and adult cull where required. 

 

The Ministry of Natural Resources upper management is dragging its feet in acting on the overwhelming data from its own studies, which proves cormorants are devastating the  

fish populations of Lake Huron.  The problems are even worse now that the alewife and smelt populations have collapsed in the lake.  Flocks of cormorants can be seen heading inland every morning from their Chantry Island colony.  These birds will be looking for whatever fish they can find in every river, stream, pond and lake within flying distance.  The Lake Huron Fishing Club would like to document the places these birds are removing fish from.

 

If you come across double crested cormorants fishing in an inland water body please drop Al Wilkins an e-mail wilkins@bmts.com or call 519-396-0764 or pass the information along to a club executive member.


Ontario Moves to Protect and Rebuild Walleye Populations

TORONTO - Ontario is protecting its biodiversity and valuable fisheries by making interim changes to walleye regulations in southern Ontario, Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay announced last week.

 

"Walleye populations are down in Ontario's inland lakes for a number of reasons, particularly increased fishing pressure in the south," said Ramsay. "The changes we're making will help address that decline."

 

The interim changes, which will come into effect in 2007, are a first step in changes that are needed to protect and rebuild walleye populations. In general, the changes will reduce the walleye limit to four from six fish, with some protection for larger fish.

 

The minister also announced that Fisheries Management Zone councils will be created across the province starting this fall. In addition to reviewing the steps needed to rebuild walleye populations, the councils will provide advice on recreational fisheries management, including planning,

habitat rehabilitation, regulations and stocking.

 

"These changes are interim in nature and do not apply in areas where walleye populations are considered healthy, where there will be little or no change to the regulations," said Ramsay. "The ministry will work with the Fisheries Management Councils - once they are up and running - to help us consider additional ways to reverse the declines and rebuild existing self-sustaining walleye populations."

 

Working to rebuild walleye populations is just one way the McGuinty government is protecting biodiversity and natural resources. Other initiatives include:

 

Investing $13.2 million over three years in the Dorion Fish Culture Station which provides eggs and yearling fish for waters across northwest Ontario Launching Ontario's first biodiversity strategy to protect the province's plants and wildlife and the habitats that support them Continuing to fund the Community Fisheries and Wildlife Involvement Program which supports worthwhile community-based, hands-on fish and wildlife projects across Ontario.


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