Week of August 5, 2013
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The Great Lakes basin received significant precipitation last week. Precipitation for the month of July was above average over the entire Great Lakes region as a whole. Temperatures throughout most of the region have been below seasonal averages over the last week. The Temperatures are expected to continue to be milder than normal for the season heading into next week. Some precipitation is expected throughout the basin over the weekend.
LAKE LEVEL CONDITIONS
The water levels of Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are 6 and 3 inches respectively, above their levels from this time last year. Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are 6, 10, and 14 inches, respectively, above their levels of a year ago. Over the next month, Lake Superior and Michigan-Huron are forecasted to remain near their current levels. Lake St. Clair is expected to fall 2 inches over the next month while lakes Erie and Ontario are predicted to each fall 5 inches.
FORECASTED MONTHLY OUTFLOWS/CHANNEL CONDITIONS
Lake Superior’s outflow through the St. Marys River is projected to be above average for the month of August. Lake Huron’s outflow into the St.
Clair River and the outflow from Lake St. Clair into the Detroit River are
also expected to be below average throughout the month of August. Lake Erie’s outflow through the Niagara River is predicted to be near average and the outflow of Lake Ontario into the St. Lawrence River is expected to be below average in August.
Official records are based on monthly average water levels and not daily water levels. 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.
The Michigan DNR announced the results of a long-term study to determine the contributions of hatchery-reared walleyes in the Upper Peninsula's bays de Noc and what those results mean for fisheries management activities.
The bays de Noc, consisting of Little Bay de Noc (LBDN) and Big Bay de Noc (BBDN) supported historically important walleye fisheries that declined in the 1960s. Since that time, walleyes have been rehabilitated through protective regulations, improved habitat, and stocking efforts. Although natural reproduction has been detected in LBDN since as early as 1988, stocking efforts have continued in these waters to help increase walleye numbers. In 2004 the DNR began a study to estimate the contribution by both hatchery-reared and naturally reproduced walleyes in the bays de Noc.
During the course of the study, oxytetracycline (OTC) marked-spring fingerling walleyes were stocked into the bays de Noc. The use of OTC creates a mark on the fish's bones for future identification of fish origin by Fisheries Division staff. Approximately 832,000 walleyes were stocked in LBDN during 2004, 2006 and 2008 and about 1,017,000 walleyes were stocked in BBDN in 2005 and 2009. No walleyes were stocked in 2007 due to VHSv (Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia virus) concerns. Juvenile walleyes were then collected during the fall and examined for the OTC mark which would indicate whether they came from hatchery ponds or natural reproduction.
Of the juvenile walleyes produced between 2004 - 2009, 76 % in LBDN and 62 % in BBDN were from natural reproduction. "These results indicate that natural reproduction is the main driver of walleye stocks in .
the bays, but that hatchery fish are likely contributing too," said DNR fisheries research biologist Troy Zorn
"The success of natural reproduction is highly variable from year to year, and the relatively long lifespan of walleyes (more than 20 years) gives them the capacity to spawn many times, hopefully producing several strong crops of offspring," he said. "Because natural reproduction is the main contributor to these populations and reproductive success varies considerably among years, we saw no significant difference between stocked and unstocked years in the catch rates of juvenile walleyes."
During the study, the strongest year class in LBDN occurred in 2007, when no walleyes were stocked due to VHSv. In BBDN, the stocked 2005 year class produced the highest assessment catches of juvenile walleyes. Preliminary evaluations show no relationship between walleye stocking and subsequent angler harvest in BBDN, but a positive (although weak) relationship in LBDN.
The OTC study is giving Fisheries Division managers valuable insight on the contribution of stocked fish to the walleye populations in each bay.
"The information obtained from this study contributes to the walleye management plan for LBDN. We'll use this information to discuss future management strategies with the public, and ultimately to make informed stocking decisions for hatchery-reared walleyes in northern Lake Michigan," said Northern Lake Michigan Management Unit supervisor, Jessica Mistak.
For more info on walleyes in the bays de Noc: www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-153-10364_52259_63282-282188--,00.html
Citizens interested in learning about or commenting on Minnesota DNR strategies for managing Duluth area lakes have until Sept. 6 to ask questions or submit comments.
“Management plans describe the past, present and desired future conditions of the waters,” said Deserae Hendrickson, Duluth area fisheries manager. “The plans identify specific management activities planned for that lake in the next five to 20 years.”
Every year DNR fisheries staff prepares or revises individual lake and stream management plans for several waters in each management area.
In the Duluth area, plans for the following lakes and fish species will be reviewed:
• Fish Lake reservoir – walleye, black crappie, bluegill, largemouth bass, northern pike, yellow perch; update fishery information and implementation of special walleye regulation and evaluation of walleye
natural reproduction with marked fry stocking.
• Park – walleye, largemouth bass, bluegill, black crappie, northern pike, yellow perch; update fishery information and walleye stocking strategies.
• Schultz – largemouth bass, bluegill, northern pike, yellow perch; update fishery information and assessment strategies.
• Little Stone (Stump) – largemouth bass, bluegill, black crappie, northern pike; update fishery information and discontinue walleye stocking.
Interested parties can review current plans for lakes and streams in the area as well as recent fish population assessment information at the DNR’s Duluth area fisheries office, 5351 N. Shore Drive in Duluth. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Individuals also may call 218-525-0853 or email Pam Hetland at to request a copy of a plan or submit comments on a plan.
Suggestions for management of any of the other lakes and streams in the Duluth area are welcome at any time and will be considered when those plans are due for review.
Fishing and hunting
licenses go mobile
“This service is a convenience for people who need a license when they’re on the go,” said Steve Michaels, DNR license program director. “Not every type of license is offered but the mobile purchase site is ideal for people who have yet to purchase a fishing, small game or state stamp validation and suddenly discover that they need one.”
Customers who purchase off the mobile site won’t receive a conventional paper license. Instead, they’ll receive a text message or email that serves as proof of a valid fish or game license to state conservation officers. More than 1,100 sales of electronic licenses have been logged since the mobile site’s soft launch in late June.
“The site isn’t, as yet, full service,” Michaels said. “There are features and products in the works. Even so, mobile license purchasing is a convenience DNR has not offered before and the sales numbers show our customers are responding.”
License types available for purchase on the mobile site include short-term angling, individual angling, resident combination angling, resident individual sports, resident combination sports, small game and state stamp validations. Any license that requires a site tag such as deer or turkey is not available for mobile purchase.
Once a customer purchases and receives mobile license information by text, email or both, he or she must be able to provide the email or text information to a DNR enforcement officer upon request as proof of a valid license. Mobile device users will automatically be identified when visiting the DNR website at www.mndnr.gov/buyalicense and selecting the “Purchase” button at the bottom of the page.
Minnesota residents 21 and older who never have purchased a hunting or fishing license can’t purchase a license electronically. They should initially purchase from a license agent or call DNR at 888-646-6367 and provide their driver’s license number so electronic purchasing can be enabled.
The mobile site is for purchasing only. It is not a mobile version of the complete DNR website. All licensing information such as seasons, dates, times, eligibility or restrictions should be reviewed before a mobile purchase is completed. Similar to the licenses purchased via the DNR website or by phone, a 3 percent convenience fee will be added to the customer’s order total.
License dollars are the fiscal foundation of fish and wildlife management in Minnesota. License revenue is dedicated to managing 5,400 fishing lakes, thousands of miles of rivers and streams, 1,400 wildlife management areas and more than 150 field conservation officers. Buying a license means lakes are stocked and managed, fish and game laws are enforced and conservation efforts happen on the ground.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has released a draft of New York’s Great Lakes Basin: Action Agenda 2013, a five-year action plan to guide restoration, conservation, and sustainable development activities in New York’s Great Lakes region. Stakeholder input on the draft agenda will be accepted until September 1.
“The Great Lakes Action Agenda is New York State’s only fully-integrated strategic plan for its portion of the Great Lakes basin,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. “The plan is uniquely integrated with bi-national, federal, and state priorities to ensure that New York’s Great Lakes stakeholders are regionally competitive for federal funding and other opportunities to advance sustainable development and environmental restoration in our Great Lakes region.”
The Great Lakes Action Agenda was drafted in collaboration with stakeholder organizations throughout the basin, with the intention of creating an integrated planning tool to assist stakeholders in identifying, funding, and tracking goal-oriented projects in New York’s Great Lakes basin. The Agenda will serve as a ‘one-stop-shop’ planning resource for stakeholder organizations working to improve the state’s Great Lakes region. When finalized, the Great Lakes Action Agenda will enhance New York’s strategic approach to effectively address the highest priority actions, assist stakeholders in leveraging financial resources and human capital, and create opportunities for basinwide communication, coordination, and partnership.
The Great Lakes Action Agenda is strategically aligned with the federal
“Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan,” which has brought more
than $50 million to New York’s Great Lakes region since 2010. Recommendations set forth by New York’s Oceans and Great Lakes Ecosystem Conservation initiative, Regional Economic Development Councils, and the NYS 2100 Commission Report are also integrated into the agenda. It is a five-year plan and will be updated on a regular basis to ensure that the state’s evolving priorities are included.
The Action Agenda uses an ecosystem-based management approach to address environmental challenges in a holistic way that considers how people depend on and are integral parts of the Great Lakes ecosystem. The Great Lakes Action Agenda features innovative solutions to the most critical challenges facing New York’s Great Lakes region, including contamination cleanup, water quality and conservation, restoration of fish and wildlife, waterfront revitalization and smart growth, climate change adaptation and resilience, and recreation and tourism development.
The Action Agenda is available on DEC’s website at: www.dec.ny.gov/lands/91881.html. Public comments on the draft Great Lakes Action Agenda will be accepted until September 1, and may be submitted to [email protected].
DEC’s Great Lakes Watershed Program will continue working with stakeholders. A series of regional workgroup meetings will be held later this year to solicit final stakeholder input, coordinate stakeholder activities, and initiate a collaborative approach to implementing the goals set forth in this agenda.
Changes this year will allow hunters to keep more birds in their possession.
Pennsylvania’s early migratory bird seasons have been approved, and changes this year will increase the number of birds hunters can keep in their possession. The early seasons for mourning doves, Canada geese, woodcock and other migratory bird species break down similarly to last year.
The biggest difference is in regard to possession limits. A change in federal regulations has allowed Pennsylvania this year to increase possession limits for most migratory game birds from two times the daily bag limit to three times the daily bag limit. Those changes are taking place across the board in the early seasons. The calendar has had an influence on the opening days for some seasons.
Dove hunters will be able to take to the field Monday, Sept. 2 in the first segment of a triple-split season. The first segment ends on Saturday,
Sept. 28 and daily hunting hours during the first segment are from noon to sunset. Other dove-hunting segments run from Oct. 26 to Nov. 30 and from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1, with hunting hours during those segments set at one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. The daily bag limit in each dove-hunting segment has been set at 15, with a possession limit of 45.
The September statewide season for resident Canada geese also will open Sept. 2, and continue through Sept. 25. The September season retains a daily bag limit of eight Canada geese, but the possession limit has climbed to 24. Shooting hours during the September goose season are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset, except for on Sept. 14 and Sept. 21, when the season overlaps with youth waterfowl hunting days. On those days, shooting hours end at sunset.
There are special regulations – including smaller bag limits and possession limits – in a couple of areas of the state.
For more info: Early migratory bird seasons set
Will help inform future statewide panfish management plan
MADISON – Anglers are evenly split on whether to keep the current statewide bag limit of 25 panfish per day and differ significantly on whether they prefer catching fewer but bigger panfish or more but smaller fish, according to recent results from online and in-person surveys.
To view the survey results, go to DNR's website, dnr.wi.gov, and search, "panfish plan."
DNR’s panfish survey ran from mid-February 2013 to the end of April 2013 as part of an initial effort to get information and opinions from anglers to help develop a statewide plan to manage panfish. Respondents were able to take the survey online, fill it out at one of dozens of meetings around the state in February and March 2013, or at fishing expos, sport shows and the Conservation Congress meetings, says Joanna Griffin, the fisheries biologist coordinating the effort.
“We were pleased with the number of anglers who took the survey. The
survey helped confirm that panfish anglers differ in their preferences,”
Griffin says. “It also showed that many panfish anglers are happy with the way things are. Our challenge is to develop a panfish management plan that addresses the diversity of angler preferences and opportunities.”
Griffin says that DNR will form a stakeholder group of anglers and related interests later this year to help take a look at the survey results and develop goals for the fishery and a plan for achieving those goals.
DNR has had management plans in place for many years for game fish species such as walleye, bass, musky and northern pike. Biologists and some anglers believe such attention is necessary for panfish. There have been proposals from the Conservation Congress in recent years and again in 2013 to reduce the daily 25 fish limit on panfish on select lakes.
“Given the variety of input we have received from the public and our analyses from fisheries survey data, we believe now is a great time to devote the time and effort to develop a statewide management plan for panfish," Griffin says. Panfish are by far the most commonly targeted and caught category of fish in Wisconsin. Wisconsin results for the 2011 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service survey of anglers showed that 75 percent of them identified themselves as panfish anglers and that 71 percent of the hours spent fishing were spent fishing for panfish.
As a category, panfish are by far the most common fish caught by anglers in Wisconsin although anglers report walleye as their favorite target. Wisconsin anglers reported catching 88 million fish in the 2006-7 license year, of which 57.7 million were panfish, according to a statewide mail survey done that year. About 25.7 million of those panfish were kept.
Other Breaking News Items
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Masses of plastic particles
found in Great Lakes
EDITORIAL: Fund the carp
The U.S. government’s books are in the red by more than $86.8trillion, according to an influential U of California economist. That’s a number more than five times as large as the figure acknowledged by the U.S. Treasury and used by government agencies to justify their budgets and spending.
Officially, the debt stands at $16.7trillion, including nearly $12million in debt held by the public in the form of Treasury Bonds, wrote James Hamilton in a working paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Tiny plastic particles have been proliferating in the massive fresh water system, worrying researchers who fear they could be harming the environment and entering the food chain. Having already found the "microplastics" in Lakes Erie, Huron and Superior, a team will set sail on Lake Michigan this week to search for the tiny bits.
Lake Ontario will rise higher and fall lower
under joint U.S.-Canada plan
A DNR crew doing its assessment of Lake Superior’s fish populations found mostly walleyes. Gill nets brought up mostly walleyes; small ones; middle-size ones; big ones. They just kept coming, sometimes so many and so fast that boat captain Ross Lind had to stop retrieving the net to give the
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