Week of August 2 , 2004
Leopold’s ecosystem management legacy for fisheries the theme for AFS 134th Annual Conference
MADISON – More than 1,800 top fisheries scientists from 30 countries will gather in late August in Madison to ponder Aldo Leopold’s legacy for fisheries and share the latest research, technology, and management techniques regarding the conservation, development and sustainable use of fisheries.
The American Fisheries Society will be holding its annual meeting Aug. 22 to 26 at Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center in downtown Madison with a theme of “The Gathering: Leopold’s Legacy for Fisheries.”
Sessions and symposia at the meeting will address Wisconsin and regional fisheries issues ranging from the Asian carp threat to the Mississippi River, to the future of salmon in the Great Lakes, to the effect of agriculture on aquatic systems. “Many of these topics will have significant life-style and economic consequences beyond just the fishing community,” Adelman says.
The meeting is open to the public but a registration fee is required. A registration form for the meeting, along with information about registration fees, a detailed schedule and a searchable database of abstracts, is available online at www.fisheries.org
Water intake cooling systems chewing up millions of bait, recreational and commercial fish annually
Reminiscent of the Ludington, MI Pump Storage Plant lawsuit and subsequent settlement, the USEPA, back on July 7, 1998 first issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking proposing standards for cooling water intake structures in the Great Lakes and around the country. These proposed regulations would dramatically limit the number of fish power plant turbines and their cooling towers would kill.
On April 9, 2002, USEPA published proposed standards for cooling water intake structures at Phase II existing facilities as part of implementing section 316(b) of the Clean Water Act.
Now, EPA has advanced the rulemaking process governing these industrial facilities – those with cooling-water capacities of 50 million gallons a day or more. All 551 of them were placed on notice, that among other things they were needlessly killing fish. USEPA, in their most recent rulemaking document dated July 9, 2004 stated there are 124 facilities that are withdrawing water from the nation’s estuaries and oceans, 372 facilities in the Interior region of the U.S. and 55 electric power-generating facilities in the Great Lakes Region.
Facilities in the Great Lakes region include all those that withdraw water from Lakes Ontario, Erie, Michigan, Huron, and Superior or are located on a waterway with open passage of Great Lakes fishery species to a Great Lake and within 30 miles of the lake.
In rules published in the July 9 Federal Register - Vol. 69, No. 131, the agency said power plants have until the fall of 2007 to make the kind of adjustments necessary to reduce the number of fish pinned against intake screens by 80 to 95%, whether that means installing expensive cooling towers or simply readdressing their long-standing flow regimes and plant screens. Cooling towers lessen the impact because the intake need is not nearly as great.
The proposed rules constitutes Phase II in EPA’s development of section 316(b) regulations and would establish national requirements applicable to the location, design, construction, and capacity of cooling water intake structures at these facilities. The proposed national requirements, which would be implemented through National
Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits, would minimize the adverse environmental impact associated with the use of these structures.
Certain facilities also will have to make improvements so that the number of tiny organisms passing through their screens is reduced by 60 to 90 %, the agency said. U.S. EPA Administrator Mike Leavitt said in February that such improvements could enhance the nation's recreational and commercial fishing industries by some $80 million a year, by annually protecting more than 200 million lbs of fish.
The USEPA, in responding to a court order brought on by those hoping to minimize losses, announced earlier this year, that it will use the Clean Water Act as its legal muscle for protecting fish. EPA states the direct use benefits for implementing the proposed rules include: increased benefits to recreational anglers from improved fishing opportunities and estimating benefits from improved commercial fishery yield.
The Agency believes restoration projects have the potential to mitigate harm to fish and shellfish from cooling water intake structures.
To submit your comments:
DATES: EPA will accept public comments on this proposed rule until August 9, 2004.
ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. OW–2004– 0010, by one of the following methods:
● Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov . Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.
● Agency Web site: http://www.epa.gov/edocket. EDOCKET, EPA’s electronic public docket and comment system, is EPA’s preferred method for receiving comments. Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.
● E-mail: [email protected] .
● Fax: (202) 566–0409
● Mail: Water Quality Standards for Coastal and Great Lakes Recreation Waters, Environmental Protection Agency, Mailcode: 4305 T, 1200, Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20460 Please include a total of three copies.
Be sure to direct your comments to Docket ID No. OW–2004–0010.
Coast Guard Establishes Mandatory Ballast
Prevention and Control Act and the National Invasive Species Act.
"The establishment of a
nationwide mandatory ballast water management program is a major step by the
Coast Guard in protecting our environment, food supply, economy, health and
overall biodiversity from the impacts of non-indigenous species," said Capt.
David Scott, chief of the Coast Guard’s office of operating and
Washington — In what is believed to be the first case of Americans suing a
Canadian company under U.S. Superfund law, a tribe is demanding that the
owner of a huge smelter north of the border comply with environmental laws
in cleaning up waste dumped for decades in the Columbia River.
reservation borders the Columbia, says its members eat fish from the river for subsistence as well as for cultural and spiritual reasons.
British Columbia–based Teck Cominco operates the world's largest integrated
lead-zinc smelting and refining complex in Trail, about 10 miles north of
Johnson closing Michigan,
2005. Some of that expense will come in the form of severance and outplacement assistance to the 69 people whose jobs are being eliminated.
Johnson Outdoors has contracted with KL Industries of Muskegon, Mich., to manufacture its Escape, Waterquest and Rogue River branded products. KL is the water recreational products division of Ameriform, a manufacturer of plastic products. Ameriform employs 250 people across four operating divisions, and expects that number to increase as it begins production of the Johnson Outdoors products.
The new magazine for the total Cruising Experience
Reflecting an editorial void in the growing marine market and strong reader interest, publishing parent Primedia, Inc. is increasing the frequency of the market’s leading cruising magazine, VOYAGING, a lifestyle magazine for the avid cruising boater, announced Dave Branch, publisher.
Previously published as a supplement to POWER & MOTORYACHT, and with one issue already out, VOYAGING will appear as a stand-alone magazine a second time in the fall of 2004. It then will be published quarterly in 2005. Circulation is projected to be 72,000, subscription and newsstand driven.
VOYAGING’s editorial will focus on boat owners who are interested in cruising and chartering, especially owners of boats 30 to 70 ft. “VOYAGING is about the total cruising experience,” says Branch. “VOYAGING readers will get features about a cruise aboard a newly launched boat and how the boat’s features help enhance the cruising experience. POWER & MOTORYACHT, on the other hand, is a product
magazine. Its writers are the experts at testing new boats and putting them through their paces.”
Kim Kavin, editor of VOYAGING, is one of the world’s leading experts on cruising and chartering. “Our goal with VOYAGING is to help make the most of the cruising experience for our readers, to make them sit back, read a story and say ‘I can do that.’ These are people who own powerboats and who want to get the most out of that lifestyle. We’re going to give them the information they need to do it, whether on their own boat’s bottom or on a chartered boat,” comments Kavin.
“VOYAGING is the perfect complement to POWER & MOTORYACHT; together they cover the entire spectrum of owning a boat. People read POWER & MOTORYACHT to decide what boat or other marine products are best for them to buy. They read VOYAGING to help them plan and enjoy the cruising experience,” concludes Branch. “In much the same way, VOYAGING is the perfect complement to POWER & MOTORYACHT for advertisers looking to cover the entire marine enthusiast audience.”
But Scientists ignore black, silver & big head carp
OTTAWA -- A new scientific study suggests Canada may be just too cold for Asian grass carp to invade the Great Lakes, undermining warnings that the exotic fish are poised to cause an ecological catastrophe.
"Historical patterns of invasion suggest this species is at the northern limit of its ability to invade and is unlikely to become very abundant," says a draft report prepared for the federal Fisheries Department. "From this analysis, it appears that it is unlikely for grass carp to set up self-sustaining populations based on the environment of the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence River."
However it appears scientists are ignoring or discounting black, silver & big head carp poised to enter the Great Lakes from the Mississippi River and the Chicago Waterway System. Nicholas Mandrak, a federal fisheries scientist in Burlington, Ont., with Fisheries and Oceans says he's not convinced Canada's northern climate will forestall any invasion. "I've collected grass carp in their native range in eastern Russia, where you're talking about a lake that is farther north than we are here, and has three feet of ice on it in the winter," he said. The grass, black, silver and bighead carp are native to an Eastern environment that is similar to the Great Lakes region and lower Ontario.
Fish ecologists have been warning for years that four related species of Asian carp -- grass, bighead, silver and black -- all threaten to invade Canadian waters, driving out native species by destroying or altering sensitive habitats.
Carp were imported to the U.S. in the 1960s from their Eastern Asian homeland mainly to control harmful biota in aquaculture
farms. But many escaped or were introduced into lakes and rivers, where they now flourish in most of the Mississippi River basin states.
The voracious grass carp, can grow to 40” in length and up to 110 lbs. One fish can eat its weight in aquatic plants each day. Since 1985, at least five grass carp have been caught in Central Canada – most in Lake Erie. But each is believed to be an isolated case, released from an aquarium or after purchase from a live-fish market. Approximately 100,000 live carp are shipped to Canada each year to fish markets in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, where large ethnic populations prefer the species.
The draft study by Becky Cudmore-Vokey says a colder climate may protect Canada's waters. "The lack of carp in Canadian rivers confluent with the Great Lakes may be a result of the fish's selection of southward migration to warmer spawning waters rather than northward movement into cooler Canadian waters," she wrote.
Findings will be presented at an international conference set for Burlington, Ont., in October. "It might be the temperature of the water is just not suitable for carp survival," department official Sylvain Paradis said in an interview. But he cautioned that with global warming," it may not be a risk today, but it may be in five years."
The Ontario government announced in May that it plans to ban the sale of live carp to customers for food or aquariums. Manitoba is considering a similar move, and the federal government is currently juggling trade and environment priorities as it decides whether to curtail live imports.
We need your financial help to fund the operations of the Illinois Waterway electronic barrier – to prevent Asian carp and other nasty critters from entering our lakes
A second larger, longer-life barrier is now under construction, but the cost of the design exceeds available funds by $1.8 million.
Illinois has contributed $2 million to the project, but the other Great Lakes Governors say they are not able to contribute the balance – $1.8 million. Their states do not have the money. The need for the additional $1.8 million is critical.
Contributions from any non-federal source will help. That’s where clubs, individuals and corporate America can help
Use of Contributed Funds
Funds will be held by the Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council and distributed based on the direction of a board of non-agency trustees including the president of the GLSFC.
All contributions are tax deductible and will only be used to:
1) Implement the Asian Carp Rapid Response Plan
2) Improve or operate Barrier I
3) Construct and operate Barrier II
Send your donations to:
GLSFC – carp fund
P.O. Box 297
Elmhurst, IL 60126
Or use our PayPal for credit card donations.
Go to www.great-lakes.org/carp
For more information and photos go to:
Thanks for your help in preventing the invasion
of these harmful critters into our lakes.
Current Lake Levels:
Currently, all of the Great Lakes are higher than the levels of a year ago. Lake Michigan-Huron has seen the greatest difference, with a 13-inch increase from what it was a year ago. Lake St. Clair ranks next with a level 9 inches higher than a year ago. Lakes Superior and Erie are both currently 5 inches above and Lake St. Clair is 2 inches above last year’s levels. Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, and St. Clair, however, are below their long-time averages by 5, 9, and 1 inches, respectively. Presently, Lake Erie is at its long-term average level and Lake Ontario is 4 inches above average.
The Lake Superior outflow through the St. Marys River into Lake Huron is expected to be near average during the month of July. Flows in the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers are expected to be below average. The Niagara and St. Lawrence River
flows are projected to be near average for the month of July.
A series of systems tracking through the Great Lakes basin will bring the chance for more rain this weekend. Hot and humid air will return to the region to accompany any rain. Warm temperatures and the chance for rain will persist into next week.
Forecasted Water Levels:
Lake Superior is expected to continue its seasonal rise over the next month, increasing by approximately 1 inch. Lakes Michigan-Huron and St. Clair are near their seasonal peak and will drop 1 and 2 inches, respectively, over the next month. Lakes Erie and Ontario will continue their seasonal decline, dropping 4 and 6 inches, respectively, over the next month.
State Attorney Generals sign on to suit filed by conservationists
MINNEAPOLIS — Wisconsin, Minnesota and four other Great Lakes states want oceangoing ships to stop dumping invasive mussels, fish and other organisms into U.S. waters.
The states’ attorneys general petitioned the U.S. Coast Guard to close a loophole that allows most ships from abroad to enter the Great Lakes without doing anything to remove foreign species from their ballast tanks. The attorneys say species from foreign ports disrupt the ecology and cause billions of dollars in damage.
They also filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of a lawsuit by conservation and environmental groups. That suit seeks to force the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate ships’ ballast water discharges in U.S. waters. EPA and Coast Guard officials had no detailed response.
The EPA released a letter sent earlier this year to Indiana’s attorney general, saying that it has been working with the
Coast Guard to solve the problem. The Coast Guard said it will respond after it reviews the legal papers.
“Ballast water ought to be considered a significant pollutant,” said New York Atty. Gen. Eliot Spitzer, whose office is leading the legal actions. “The exotic species of fish, mussels and plants contained in these discharges multiply at fantastic rates and overwhelm our ecosystem,” he said.
Current regulations exempt most vessels that enter the Great Lakes because they have empty tanks, and are classified as NOBOBs – No Ballast on Board. Yet these ships transport potential invaders in the 3-4” of residual water and mud that always remains in the tank bottoms, and is subsequently discharged when taking on and releasing ballast water in Great Lakes ports, scientists said.
The states’ petition said several technologies to kill potential invaders look promising, including filtration, oxygen removal, chemical treatment, ozone, heat, ultrasound and ultraviolet light. Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York and Minnesota are part of both legal actions.
TUCSON, Ariz. – The SCI Foundation and Cabela’s are helping the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) increase public participation in the hunting and shooting sports by establishing a comprehensive media campaign advocating the NSSF’s STEP OUTSIDE® program.
“Research shows that the single best way to protect and grow our sports is to take the time to introduce a new person to hunting and shooting,” said Steve Lamboy, marketing director of the SCI Foundation, which funds and manages worldwide programs dedicated to wildlife conservation, outdoor education and humanitarian services. “The NSSF has developed STEP OUTSIDE as the perfect way to directly address this issue, and the SCI Foundation is pleased to participate in this important program.”
“Whether it was Dad, Uncle Joe or a good friend, all of us remember how important it was to have someone show us the ropes when we were getting started in hunting or shooting activities,” added Doug Painter, president of the NSSF. “Now, it’s time to return the favor . . . and that’s really what STEP OUTSIDE is all about.”
STEP OUTSIDE was created by the NSSF to encourage current outdoor enthusiasts to introduce family, friends and special guests to traditional outdoor sports, including shooting, archery, hunting and fishing. According to its Web site, “31 million men and 17 million women would accept an invitation to go target shooting if invited, and interest in other activities is just as high.” Participation can be one-on-one, as part of a group or as a special event involving a sportsmen’s organization. For more information on STEP OUTSIDE, go online to www.stepoutside.org.
As part of the media campaign, the SCI Foundation and Cabela’s helped fund the production of call-to-action-style public service announcements and 30 and 60-second commercials, as well as media time purchases on The Outdoor Channel, Outdoor Life Network and ESPN.
The first of these commercials is slated to run the week of July 26, with subsequent airings – about 20 per week – on all three networks through 2004. Visit www.safariclubfoundation.org/about/stepoutside.htm to find out when the television spots will be aired. Airings are subject to change.
Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich last week signed a tougher boating law that carries up to 3 years in prison for failing to report an accident. The signing came two days after a Cary man was released from the McHenry County Jail after serving 15 days for leaving the scene of a 2003 boat crash on the Fox River that severed a Hanover Park man's leg.
That accident sparked a push for the law, which takes effect Jan. 1. Besides a possible 1- to 3-year prison term, the law also carries a fine of up to $25,000. The law brings penalties for reckless boating into line with those for reckless driving, officials said.
Ruffed Grouse Season will remain the same, Fall Turkey Season planned for 2005
The Indiana Division of Fish and Wildlife's administrative rule change proposals were presented to the Natural Resources Commission for final adoption on July 20 and all were approved except for the proposal to shorten the ruffed grouse season. The ruffed grouse season will remain the same-from Oct 1 - Dec 31. Although the rules were approved by the NRC, they will not become law until they have been approved by the Attorney General and Governor.
The changes include a new fall turkey season that will begin in 2005. The fall season for hunting turkeys with a bow and arrow will be Oct. 1 - 23, 2005; for fall turkey hunting with a firearm, the season will be Oct 19 - 23, 2005. More information, including the counties that will be included in the fall hunt, will be outlined next year's 2005-06 Hunting and Trapping Guide.
Additional changes include extending the coyote hunting and
trapping season through March 15, establishing new brown rout regulations at Brookville tailwater, allowing crossbow hunters to take an antlered or antlerless deer during the late archery season, adding several species to the list of endangered birds and fish in Indiana, and requiring a person to possess a permit to keep a wild animal as a pet before taking possession. The trout season closing date of December 31 will remain due to concerns that a trout season extension could negatively impact brown trout that are stocked in some streams by private groups.
One other important change provides additional protection of Indiana's eastern box turtles. Currently, no more than four (4) eastern box turtles can be taken from the wild under a hunting or fishing license; however, under the new language, no eastern box turtles will be able to be taken from the wild in Indiana. They already cannot be sold or purchased in Indiana.
The green tree frog has also been added to the list of native species that are protected in Indiana and will no longer be able to be sold or purchased in Indiana once the rule becomes law.
Public hearings for ten lakes in Itasca County
The Grand Rapids Area Fisheries Office of the MN DNR has scheduled two public informational meetings to gather input on walleye regulation proposals for ten lakes in Itasca County. Lakes being considered include Swan, Trout (near Coleraine), Splithand, Moose, Island (near Northome), Bowstring, Sand, Jessie, Round (near Squaw Lake), and Deer/Battle/Pickerel (near Effie).
The proposed regulation on each lake is a 17 to 26 inch protected slot with one walleye longer than 26 inches in possession, meaning all walleye between 17 and 26 inches in length must be immediately released. "This regulation is part of the new fisheries toolbox, a streamlined process for proposing experimental or special regulations," said Chris Kavanaugh, Area Fisheries Supervisor. "A specific goal has been established for each lake which includes improving angler catch rates and contribution of naturally reproduced fish through catch and immediate release of medium and large walleye."
The public comment period began in May and will end ten c
days after the meeting. "This is not a done deal," said Kavanaugh, "the comment period and the meetings are extremely important to us so that we can make the best decision on implementing the regulation on any of the lakes." The comments will be reviewed and a decision on implementation will be made by early December. If implemented, the regulations would become effective at the beginning of the 2005 fishing season.
The first meeting will be held Monday, Sept 20, 7:00 P.M. in the Training Room at the Minnesota Interagency Fire Center (MIFC), at 402 11th Street SE, Grand Rapids. The second meeting will be held Tuesday, Sept 21, 7:00 P.M. at the Squaw Lake Community Center, Hwy 46 in Squaw Lake.
An additional Open House meeting will be held Sept 27, 8:00 - 4:30 at the DNR Headquarters, 500 Lafayette Blvd, St. Paul. Comments on the lakes in Itasca County may be directed to Chris Kavanaugh, DNR Area Fisheries, 1201 E Hwy 2, Grand Rapids, MN 55744 email [email protected] Written comments will be accepted until October 4, 2004.
Have you ever flown a fish kite, cast a fly rod or wondered how to build a fishing net? Have you wondered how the Minnesota DNR manages fish populations in our state or how many species of fish live in our waters or what equipment is needed to go fishing?
You can find answers to these and many other questions at the First Annual Festival of Fish, Saturday, Aug. 7, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. at Fort Snelling State Park, located off Post Rd near the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport. Park permit fees apply - $7 daily, $25 annual. The Festival of Fish will bring Minnesotans together to celebrate the role fish play in the history, foods, traditions, art, recreation and social customs of our many cultures.
Generations and cultures will gather at the Festival of Fish to share skills, tell stories about fishing and learn more about
today's fisheries management practices. The event is designed to foster an increased stewardship of Minnesota's natural resources and help to preserve fishing opportunities for Minnesotans well into the future.
This year's event will include:
– Demonstrations of traditional and modern fishing techniques
– Display of fishing tackle from yesterday and today
– Storytellers relating fishing adventures and folklore from around the world
– Art and craft displays and demonstrations that reflect the importance of fish in life and legend
– Fishing skills activity area and equipment demonstrations fish filleting and tasting area
– Kids fun area (make a fish print, a fish hat, a fish kite, spin the Wheel of Fish, watch a puppet show, dance performances and much more).
– Live fish and seining demonstrations.
The Minnesota (DNR has installed several large boulders in Kimball Creek. The boulders are located at the source of Kimball Creek where it flows out of Kimball Lake in Crow Wing County. The county board supported this action, which will prevent boat traffic between Kimball Lake and Lake Ossawinnamakee. The boulders are approximately 3 ft. in diameter.
The effort to prevent boat traffic on Kimball Creek is necessary because people were boating between the two lakes even though there were warning signs and numerous public
meetings to advise people not to boat between Kimball Lakeand Lake Osawinnamakee. The boulders are an effective barrier to boat traffic, according to the DNR. There are reflectors in place and signs have been posted both in Kimball Lake and Lake Ossawinnamakee near the creek to warn boaters of the barrier.
Questions or comments about the rock barrier and/or zebra mussels? Call Tim Brastrup, DNR Fisheries, (218) 828-2552, or Dan Swanson, DNR exotic species specialist, (218)828-2553
Boating safety officials are seeing more accidents and safety violations involving pontoon boats this summer. Two people have died in accidents on pontoons so far this season and there have been several other mishaps involving unsafe or unlawful activities on the popular watercraft, according to the Minnesota DNR.
There are currently about 62,000 pontoon boats registered in Minnesota. Pontoons have long been considered the boat of choice for grandma and grandpa to take the grandkids out fishing for sunnies. Today, some pontoons are nearly 30 ft long and equipped with motors over 250 horsepower.
"Most of the time the accidents have nothing to do with the size of the motor or the watercraft itself," said Tim Smalley, DNR boating safety specialist. "Instead, pontoon problems tend to arise from the passengers' activities and the way the craft is being operated. We're seeing alcohol and unsafe behavior by the passengers. It's a social situation where people want to see and be seen by other boaters and people on the shore. Because of this, they may do dangerous things in the pursuit of fun."
DNR officers and water patrol deputies, in busy weekend lake areas, have warned people dozens of times to get back behind the pontoon guard railings. Also, people are jumping off moving pontoons to go swimming. Officers often report seeing overloaded pontoon boats.
Minnesota law requires that everyone stay behind the railing while a pontoon is underway. Many pontoons can easily carry 12 or 15 people. With a group that size, the operator may not realize that someone has stepped out onto the decking in front of the railings. Boat operators are responsible for the actions and safety of all their passengers.
Another pontoon problem has cropped up this summer. Many new pontoon boats are equipped with so-called "docking lights" meant to be used when approaching a dock. However, some boaters are using them as headlights while out on the water. The DNR says docking lights blind other boaters, overpowering the pontoon's red, green and white navigation lights that help other boaters to determine the pontoon's position, speed and direction of travel.
Pontoon operators also need to be sure they have enough life jackets on board. The law says they have to be readily accessible, not zipped into storage containers or still in their plastic wrappers from the store.
The DNR offers these tips to have a safe outing on your pontoon boat:
● Make sure passengers stay behind the guard rails while the boat is in operation and don't break the law by loading boat beyond its rated capacity.
● Don't drink beer or other alcoholic beverages while operating and don't allow passengers to become intoxicated either.
● Operators are responsible for their actions and those of their passengers from the time they leave the dock until they return.
● Do not use docking lights as headlights which may blind other boaters.
● Make sure red, green and white navigation lights are not blocked or incorrectly installed and are switched on after sunset.
● Have enough life jackets for everyone on board and ensure that they are worn or at least easy to reach in an emergency.
For more info, call the DNR at (651) 296-6157, 888-646-6367, [email protected] and ask for the "Minnesota Boating Guide."
A longer pheasant season and the state's first mourning dove hunt since 1946 were among the expanded hunting opportunities Minnesota DNR Commissioner Gene Merriam noted when he announced the 2004 hunting and trapping seasons.
"We've been listening to hunters and responding to their concerns," Merriam said. "Hunters will also find this year that we improved the deer permitting process and provided more deer hunting opportunities for youth."
Several youth deer hunts, which pair young hunters with mentors in controlled areas, will be held this fall. In addition, youth under 18 may harvest a deer of either sex with a half-price archery or firearm deer license.
NEW 'BONUS' PERMITS
Antlerless deer permit system changes will help streamline licensing for Minnesota hunters. Under the new system, management and intensive harvest permits, which allowed the harvest of additional antlerless deer in certain permit areas, have been replaced by "bonus" permits that give hunters more flexibility in where they hunt. With a bonus permit, which costs half the price of a regular deer license, hunters may harvest extra antlerless deer in either managed or intensive-harvest permit areas.
"These changes should make it easier for hunters to legally harvest multiple deer in many areas of the state," Merriam said. "In turn, hunters will help us keep the state's deer herd at a level in balance with habitat and land use."
Hunters who purchase a bonus permit are no longer required to use it in one declared permit area. Bonus permits can be used in any permit area in their zone where extra antlerless permits are offered.
Minnesota's newest migratory game bird, the mourning dove, is the most widely dispersed and abundant upland game bird in North America. The season, which begins Sept. 1, will be the state's first since 1946.
The DNR expects 30,000 to 50,000 hunters to partake in the hunt. Hunters older than 16 need only a small game license to harvest mourning doves in Minnesota.
Mourning dove hunting is a particularly good way to get young people involved in hunting, according to Ryan Bronson, DNR hunting recruitment and retention coordinator. "Dove hunting is a great opportunity for adults to introduce kids to hunting," he said. "The weather is usually warm, the equipment is simple - a shotgun and maybe a camouflage shirt and adults and kids can hunt from the same blind."
Because Minnesota's dove hunt is regulated under federal guidelines that also govern southern states, the season will stay open for 60 days. However, doves tend to leave Minnesota when temperatures begin to drop near freezing, which is usually around the middle of September.
In addition to the new mourning dove season, there will be additional pheasant hunting opportunities this year. The season has been extended by 12 days to Dec. 31. "The extension will allow families and friends to hunt over the holidays without harming pheasant numbers," Merriam said.
Populations of ruffed grouse remain near the low of their 10-year cycle, but are expected to increase and hunting should continue to improve over the next few years.
Populations of sharp-tailed grouse remain relatively low in their remaining range in northwestern and east-central Minnesota.
Minnesota's breeding waterfowl populations increased or remained stable and continue to be above the long-term average. Continental duck counts are down 11 percent, according to preliminary estimates. Fall hunting success in Minnesota will continue to depend on water conditions to the west and north of Minnesota and on weather during the season. In addition, the DNR continues to work with other agencies and organizations to improve the quality of fall migration habitat and to provide more areas for waterfowl to feed and rest during migration. The goal of this effort is to restore to its historic level, Minnesota's share of the Mississippi Flyway duck harvest.
Giant Canada geese that breed locally in Minnesota remain abundant and, along with migrant geese, provide Minnesota waterfowl hunters with excellent goose hunting opportunities. More Canada geese are taken in Minnesota than in any other state in the United States.
Eastern Prairie Population Canada geese, which nest near Hudson Bay and congregate in areas such as Lac qui Parle during migration, experienced a very late spring and had their worst breeding season since 1976, when record-keeping
began. Liberal September goose hunting regulations will continue in many areas of the state in order to harvest as many local geese as possible before the migrant population begins arriving. More details will be announced in August.
However, regular season goose hunting opportunity will likely be restricted in some or all of the state's goose zones to reduced harvest levels on Eastern Prairie Population geese.
More details about waterfowl and upland game populations will be available in late summer, when summer wildlife production surveys have been completed.
Moose populations in northwestern Minnesota are still very low and the season is still closed in that area. However, the northeast Minnesota moose population remains healthy and an increased number of moose licenses were offered this year.
A limited season with five permits will be held. The deadline for applications has passed.
Merriam advised Minnesota hunters to be aware of several new law and regulation changes in effect this fall. They include:
- waterfowl shooting hours on opening day now begin at 9 a.m.
- prairie chicken hunters may take sharp-tailed grouse
- firearm and all-season deer hunters will no longer be restricted to taking antlerless deer in an area declared in advance, but will be asked what permit area they hunt most often
- the prohibition of party hunting with all season deer licenses has been removed
- hunters cannot bring entire carcasses of deer, elk or moose into Minnesota from areas of other states or provinces where CWD has been found in wild deer or elk
- youth under 18 may purchase a half-price archery or firearms deer license and may take deer of either sex statewide
- youth deer hunts have been expanded; youth hunters may now apply through ELS; a special youth season will be held in northwest
Minnesota - proposed regular waterfowl season regulation changes will be announced later this summer after federal frameworks are established.
2004 MINNESOTA HUNTING AND TRAPPING SEASONS
SMALL GAME HUNTING
Cottontail rabbit, jackrabbit, snowshoe hare, Sept. 18 - Feb. 28; gray and fox squirrel, Sept. 18 - Feb. 28; ruffed and spruce grouse, Sept. 18 - Dec. 31; sharp-tailed grouse, Sept. 18 - Nov. 30; gray (Hungarian) partridge, Sept. 13 - Dec. 31; Take-a-Kid Hunting Weekend, Sept. 25 - Sept. 26; ring-necked pheasant, Oct. 16 - Dec. 31.
WATERFOWL AND MIGRATORY BIRD HUNTING
Mourning doves, Sept. 1-Oct. 30; early Canada goose (statewide, except Northwest), Sept. 4 - Sept. 22; early Canada goose (northwest Zone), Sept. 4 - Sept. 15; waterfowl opener, Sept. 25 or Oct. 2 (to be announced); youth waterfowl hunt, Sept. 18; common snipe (Wilson's of Jacksnipe), Sept. 1 - Nov. 4; sora and Virginia rails, Sept. 1 - Nov. 4; woodcock, Sept. 25 - Nov. 8; crow, March 1-31 and July 15 - Oct. 15.
BIG GAME HUNTING
Deer - Archery
Northeast Border Zone (permit areas 116 and 127), Sept. 18 - Nov. 21; remainder of state, Sept. 18 - Dec. 31.
Deer - Firearms
Zone 1 (northeastern Minnesota), Nov. 6 - Nov. 21; Zone 2 (Lake of the Woods to Twin Cities), Nov. 6 - Nov. 14; Zone 3A (southeastern Minnesota), Nov. 6 - Nov. 12;
Zone 3B (southeastern Minnesota), Nov. 20 - Nov. 28; Zone 4A (southern and western Minnesota), Nov. 6 - Nov. 7; Zone 4B (southern and western Minnesota), Nov. 13 - Nov. 16; deer - muzzleloader, Nov. 27 - Dec. 12.
Black bear, Sept. 1 - Oct. 17.
Moose (northeast zone), Oct. 2 - Oct. 17; moose (northwest zone), closed.
Elk, (bull season), Sept. 18-26; (cow season) Nov. 20-28.
Raccoon and red fox, continuous; gray fox, badger, opossum, Sept. 18 - March 15; bobcat, Nov. 27 - Jan 9; pine marten and fisher, Nov. 27 - Dec. 12; mink and muskrat (north zone), Oct. 23 - Feb. 28; mink and muskrat (south zone), Oct. 30 - Feb. 28; beaver (north zone), Oct. 23 - May 15; beaver (south zone), Oct. 30 - May 15; otter (north zone), Oct. 23 - Jan. 9; otter (south zone), Oct. 30 - Jan. 9.
The DNR is proceeding with a rule to re-establish a closed season during the spring and summer on red fox, but will delay a similar action on raccoons to allow time to look into addressing hunters' concerns with raccoon running season restrictions during summer "nesting" season.
Commissioner Samuel M. Concilla of North East (Erie County) was re-elected President and Commissioner Richard Czop of Collegeville (Montgomery County) was elected as Vice President of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission at the board’s quarterly meeting July 27.
Concilla was first appointed as the Commissioner for the First District of Pennsylvania on May 4, 1993. His district includes Butler, Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Forest, Lawrence, Mercer, Venango and Warren counties. This will be Concilla’s third term as Commission president. As well as serving in that function for the past year, he previously served as President of the Commission from July 1997 to July 1998.
Concilla has been active in many fishing and sportsmen’s clubs over the years. He was instrumental in the recent public
acquisition and protection of 20 Mile Creek, a tributary stream to Lake Erie. A Coast Guard licensed charter captain, Concilla owned and operated fishing and pleasure boats on Lake Erie for over 30 years. He currently is co-owner of Erie Promotions & Exposition, Inc., which engages in the market research, promotion, and production of consumer sport shows.
Czop was appointed on June 28, 2002 to represent the Eighth District of Pennsylvania. Czop, who has been a fishing and boating enthusiast for most of his life, has previously served on the Boating Advisory Board of the Fish and Boat Commission. He also served on the Upper Providence Township Planning Commission for 16 years. Czop is chairman of the Board of Directors for Czop/Specter Inc., an engineering and land-surveying firm.
The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission today acted to retain the current regulations for one of its most popular special trout fishing programs. By an 8-0 vote, the Commissioners opted against making any changes to Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only (DHALO) regulations.
Throughout the spring and early summer, the Commission solicited public comment on the notion of allowing some use of bait on 57 trout fishing waters in the DHALO program. DHALO regulations (and those for the closely-related Delayed Harvest Fly Fishing Only program) allow for year-round fishing with no closed season. Harvest is permitted from mid-June
through Labor Day, with catch & release angling at all other times. The general concept behind delayed harvest regulations is to maximize total recreational fishing opportunities by mixing both harvest and catch & release component. Restrictions against the use of live bait on delayed harvest waters are in place to improve the survival rate of fishing being released and to diversify fishing opportunities.
All of the new designations will go into effect January 1, 2005.
The Commission also decided to seek public comment on dissolving the Selective Harvest and All Tackle Selective Harvest Programs.
Local governments to get funding help to battle invaders
MADISON – A new state grant program to help local governments pay for fighting zebra mussels and other aquatic invasive species would emphasize preventing the invaders’ spread to new waters but also would provide funding for eradication and control efforts on infested waters. Proposed rules governing the new grant program are the subject of public hearings statewide Aug. 12.
The Legislature in the 2003-2005 budget appropriated $500,000 annually for a new aquatic invasive species grant program to share with local units of government half the costs of projects to control aquatic invasive species. DNR’s proposed administrative rules, Natural Resources Chapter 198 of the Wis. Administrative Code, establish how the program will operate and who’s eligible, and the kinds of projects eligible, for grants.
The proposed rules would allow the grants to be used on all waters, including inland lakes, the Great Lakes, streams, rivers and wetlands. They establish a three-tier funding system, with projects in the first and second categories a funding priority. Projects in the first category are geared toward helping grant recipients conduct educational programs, develop prevention and control plans and monitor water bodies for the presence of aquatic invasive species, Schaal
Public hearings on these proposed rules will be held Aug. 12 at the following times and locations:
In addition to the hearings, written and e-mail comments will be accepted through Aug. 26 and are given equal weight as oral statements received at the public hearings. Copies of the rule and instructions on making comments can be found online through the State of Wisconsin Administrative Rules Web site at by using the search button and typing in the rule number. or can be requested from Carroll Schaal at (608) 261-6423 or [email protected] .
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