Week of August 11, 2008




New York


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Bill would exempt some mariners from TWIC requirement

Some legislative relief from TWIC introduced into Congress.

S. 3377 would amend title 46, United States Code, to waive the transportation security card requirement for certain small business merchant mariners.


Senator Coleman (R-MN) on August 4 introduced the Small Marine Business and Fishing Guide Relief Act of 2008 (S. 3377) to amend title 46, United States Code, to waive the transportation security card requirement for certain small business merchant mariners, and for other purposes.  


The bill, coauthored by Sens. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn and Susan Collins, R-Maine, would protect fishing guides against

additional costs and processes from excessive government regulations. The only small boat captains required to have a TWIC would be those required to submit a vessel security plan to the U.S. Coast Guard. The bill would exempt from the requirement for a TWIC merchant mariners serving on vessels the owner or operator of which is not required to submit a vessel security plan


The bill was a cause for concern in the area as an unnecessary requirement for the charter industry.


To view proposed Bill:  http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgidbname=110_cong_bills&docid=f:s3377is.



Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels, August 8, 2008

Weather Conditions

Hot and humid weather again was present in the Great Lakes basin early this week.  A good amount of rain also fell, as atmospheric conditions were prime for afternoon thunderstorms.  Some severe weather was reported across Wisconsin and Illinois Monday evening.  High pressure will lead to a very nice weekend across the Great Lakes.  Temperatures will top out in the mid to upper 70s across much of the region.

Lake Level Conditions

Currently, all of the Great Lakes are above their levels of a year ago.  Lake Superior is 16 inches above last year's level, while the remaining Great Lakes range from 6 to 13 inches above their levels of a year ago.  Lake Superior is forecasted to rise an inch over the next 30 days, while Lake Michigan-Huron is predicted to decline an inch.  Lakes St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are in their periods of seasonal decline and are forecasted to fall 5 to 8 inches during the next month.  All of the Great Lakes, with the exception of Lake Erie, are expected to remain above their water levels of a year ago over the next few months.  Lake Erie is projected to be near last year's level starting in September. See our Daily Levels web page for more water level information.

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions

In July, outflow through the St. Mary's River was slightly below average, and outflows through the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers were also below average. The Niagara River's outflow was slightly above average, while outflow from the St. Lawrence River was also above average.


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





St. Clair



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Hank Parker Spokesman for Outdoors Without Limits

Organization of communities creating opportunities for disabled individuals to enjoy outdoors

ATHENS, GA—World champion bass angler and popular outdoor television host, Hank Parker, is the new national spokesperson for Outdoors Without Limits, an organization built around communities creating opportunities for disabled individuals to enjoy outdoor related activities.


Parker said, “I have been very blessed to make a living hunting and fishing and I have seen first-hand, that there are many truly great individuals with disabilities who deserve to enjoy the outdoors. I’m a ‘people person’ and love the idea of being able to contribute. I hope my efforts with Outdoors Without Limits will encourage sportsmen and other caring people to see the need for more outdoor events for the disabled in their community, and get involved in creating those opportunities.


Beyond that, Kirk is a friend. He’s in a chair…but he’s not really disabled. He’s been an inspiration to me and I know he can help people with these challenges lead happier and more fulfilling lives.”


Parker also believes too many people in today’s world won’t take the extra step to help others. “And, he said, “we are depriving ourselves of some great fellowship and interaction with some great people. The disabled community is often overlooked, but I want to share the outdoors with all people. It is truly worth the small amount of extra effort it takes.”


“We couldn’t have a better national spokesman than Hank Parker,” said Kirk Thomas, Outdoors Without Limits founder

and CEO. “He and his family live--and love--the outdoor lifestyle and have shown time and again that they care about both people and the outdoors. That’s a perfect match for our program.”


Outdoors Without Limits was formed in 2007 by Thomas and a board of directors who are dedicated to making the outdoors a vehicle to help the participants with disabilities find more enjoyment, build self-esteem, and increase confidence. Outdoors Without Limits chapters are currently being formed in communities across the country.


Parker revealed that he once observed a group of patients at Atlanta’s Shepherd’s Hospital struggle with their handicaps. “I knew it would be hard for me to reach them… but Kirk and his team can. I want to help in the best way I can.”


There are many ways people can help, according to Parker.  He is the very first Outdoors Without Limits “Life Member” and encourages other sportsmen and –women to consider making the same commitment. Forming a local chapter or being an active member of an existing chapter is very important. “I want to challenge everyone to get involved by joining or starting a chapter in their local community, Parker said.” Helping individuals with disabilities enjoy the outdoors is fun, exciting and extremely rewarding.”


To find out more about “Outdoors Without Limits”, visit www.outdoorswithoutlimits.net  Or contact Kirk Thomas at (706) 788-9878.

Fuel prices lead to fewer boat trips, poll says       

Three out of four boat owners say high fuel prices will cause them to take shorter trips or go boating less often, according to a nationwide poll commissioned by Mad Mariner, an independent online magazine for boaters.


The Mad Mariner poll queried 400 boat owners on a range of topics from the impact of fuel prices to first-time insights into the role of women in the sport. The results showed 45 percent of respondents said they will go boating less because of the cost of fuel, and 32 percent said they will take shorter trips. Forty-three percent said they delayed launching their boat this year.


Also focusing on the role of women, with a sample split equally between genders, the poll found both men and women enjoy boating, but in different ways — and not always

how the other perceives. For example, 48 percent of males

said the sport is equally friendly to men and women, yet 64 percent of women said boating is friendlier to men.


The 30-question poll was conducted for Mad Mariner in June by Mountain West Research Center using secure surveys completed online. The margin of error was plus-or-minus 5 percent.


"The Mad Mariner poll helps measure the pulse of the boating community," said Glen Justice, founder and editor of Mad Mariner, in a statement. "This is independent and unbiased information, and I look forward to sharing the valuable results with the industry."


For information, contact Glen Justice at (888) 256-5011 or visit www.madmariner.com.

Thousands of young shooters, parents flock to shooting Nationals

The future of the shooting sports was on full display in Sparta, IL recently where a record 2,100 trap, skeet and sporting clays shooters in grades 12 and under are competing at NSSF's Scholastic Clay Target Program National Championships.


Youths and their families from 35 states are in attendance at the big event, which concluded August 5th. This has been another record-setting year for SCTP, with 9,135 young

shooters competing and 1,562 adults volunteering as coaches and directors -- both new records for the program.


"The anticipation and excitement of the Olympics and two SCTP heroes competing in the Olympics appear to be helping drive interest in our program this year," said Steve Sanetti, president of NSSF. Former SCTP standouts Corey Cogdell and Vincent Hancock will represent the U.S. in Beijing in women's trap and men's skeet.

Youth Shooters from 15 States Win Championship Medals

SPARTA, IL- Youth shooting teams from 15 states captured medals and national honors at the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) Skeet and Sporting Clays National Championships. More than 1,600 young shotgunners competed for medals and national honors.


Competition was held in five divisions at the World Shooting and Recreational Complex in Sparta, Ill during early August.


SCTP is managed by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) in partnership with USA Shooting and other governing bodies for shooting sports. Across 41 states in 2008, 9,135 youths competed and 1,562 adults volunteered as coaches and directors—both new records for the program.


“The anticipation and excitement of the Olympics and two

SCTP alumni competing in Beijing appeared to drive interest in our program this year. And the quality of shooting—not to mentioned the quality of character—among the young people at this event leaves little doubt that we’ll see more Olympians coming out of SCTP in the future,” said Steve Sanetti, NSSF president.


Total number of competitors in skeet was 356; sporting clays drew 338.


Many SCTP shooters go on to compete at the collegiate level. Olympians are more rare, but former SCTP stars Corey Cogdell and Vincent Hancock are representing the U.S. in Beijing in women’s trap and men’s skeet, respectively.


For more info: www.nssf.org/sctp


SCI Web Radio Free for Hunters

Tucson, AZ – Safari Club International has launched SCI Web Radio, a free online program available to hunters everywhere. The first program, available now at www.safariclub.org/webradio  features inside views of important hunting and conservation issues through the eyes and words of SCI President Merle Shepard and President Ex Officio Dennis Anderson. Hunting television star Michael Waddell will wrap up this show with some tales of adventure from his hunting travels.


“Starting SCI Web Radio adds a new dimension to SCI’s communications,” said SCI President Merle Shepard. “Like Safari magazine, Safari Times newsletter and Expedition Safari on television, it will bring to life key issues and concerns for the hunting community.”


“Bringing SCI’s dedication for hunting to the internet can only strengthen the sportsmen’s community as SCI Web Radio will be able to act as a singular voice for hunters everywhere,” said SCI Web Radio Host Jerry Evans. “I am excited be a part of SCI’s radio program.”


SCI Web Radio is the newest way that SCI’s members and hunters around the world will be entertained and informed on

the ever-changing environment that surrounds their passion. From legislative victories, to attacks by anti-hunting groups, to conservation success stories, the online world will be able hear and see SCI Radio.


Each week will feature a new one-hour show. For radio you can see, visitors will have the opportunity to watch video footage from select interviews.   A monthly newsletter is available to all who register their email address with [email protected] Look every week for the latest news on Safari Club International, First For Hunters at www.safariclub.org/webradio


SCI-First For Hunters is the leader in protecting the freedom to hunt and in promoting wildlife conservation worldwide. SCI's 187 Chapters represent all 50 of the United States as well as 18 other countries. SCI's proactive leadership in a host of cooperative wildlife conservation, outdoor education and humanitarian programs, with the SCI Foundation and other conservation groups, research institutions and government agencies, empowers sportsmen to be contributing community members and participants in sound wildlife management and conservation. Visit the home page www.safariclub.org  or call (520) 620-1220 for more information.


Teen catches Record Crappie

Fishing recently in a Jefferson County farm pond between Centralia and Mount Vernon, Marcus Miller, 15, caught a 4.8.2 lb crappie that was certified as a state record. That the fish didn’t wind up as lunch, instead, is thanks to Miller’s grandfather, Herman Rowcliff.


Instead of filleting the fish, Grampa Rowcliff convinced Miller to have his slab weighed on a certified scale at Dan’s Meat Market in Centralia. Next came a call to Mike Hooe, an IL DNR fisheries biologist, who said Miller’s crappie was a hybrid crappie.


The IDNR Division of Fisheries congratulated Miller on his

catch. Genetics test results confirm that the fish the Centralia High School student caught on May 14 at the family’s farm pond in Jefferson County was a hybrid crappie.  Hooe confirmed that the fish weighed 4.52 lbs, had a total length of 18.75”, a girth of 16 7/8”, and was 3” thick.  The fish erased the previous state record, a 2 lb. 13 oz hybrid crappie caught in Shabbona Lake in March 2007. 


The new record hybrid crappie is also the largest crappie of any kind caught in Illinois, which recognizes records for white, black and hybrid crappie.  Hybrid crappies are a naturally occurring cross between white and black crappies and are found throughout the state.  Miller caught the new state-record fish on a Zebco Genesis rod and reel combo with a nightcrawler.


Public hearing on boating restrictions on lakes Tippecanoe and James, Aug. 21

A public hearing on proposed boating restrictions for lakes Tippecanoe and James will be held at the North Webster Community Center Gymnasium, Aug. 21, at 1 p.m. 


Restrictions being considered include establishment of a 200-foot idle zone on the east side of the Ball Wetlands, creation of  an idle zone in the channel between the two lakes, and establishment of a 500-foot trolling-motor-only zone on the west side of the Ball Wetlands in an area known as "the flats.”  The trolling-motor-only zone would also include a portion of shallow water north of the between-the-lakes idle zone and east of an area known as “Hoy's landing.”


The primary purposes for proposing these boating restrictions are to:


1) Protect the Ball Wetlands vegetation from further decline,

2) Address public safety issues in the boating channel between the lakes and in shallow water,

3) Make the boating restricted zones enforceable by clearly marking the zones for boaters and law enforcement officials, and

4) Create the opportunity for restoration of both emergent and submerged native aquatic plants, particularly in the Flats area, either naturally or by restoration projects.


The DNR set out demonstration 500-foot buoys at both ends of the proposed Flats trolling-motor-only zone on the west side of the Ball Wetlands on July 22.  These buoys were placed to give boaters a visual idea of the area being considered for boating restrictions.


Questions and comments about the proposed rule may be sent to the Division of Hearings, Natural Resources Commission, Indiana Government Center – North, 100 N. Senate Ave., Room N501, Indianapolis, IN 46204-2200, e-mailed to [email protected] or called in at (317) 233 -3322.  Citizens do not have to be present at the public hearing for their comments to be formally accepted into the record and considered by the hearings officer.

Potato Creek’s Lake Worster to be lowered, boat rental closed, Sept.-Oct.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources will lower Potato Creek State Park's Worster Lake beginning Sept. 2. The 327-acre lake will be lowered slowly by two to three feet. The drawdown will take place over a one to two week period and will be slow enough to prevent any downstream flooding along Potato Creek.


“The drawdown will allow us to apply liquid rotenone to the lake to control gizzard shad populations and to help restore the lake's sport fish populations,” Bob Robertson, DNR fisheries biologist, said. 


Rotenone, an EPA-approved chemical for fishery use, is selective to gizzard shad when applied in low concentrations.

Shad are very sensitive to rotenone, but a low concentration of the chemical has little or no effect on other fish or wildlife species.


Fisheries biologists plan to reduce the number of gizzard shad from Worster Lake to increase desirable sport fish numbers. “Gizzard shad have accounted for nearly a third of all fish collected in the four lake surveys conducted since 1990. The increase in shad has been accompanied by a decrease in largemouth bass and bluegill abundance,” Robertson said


Fishing will be allowed throughout the drawdown except the actual day rotenone is applied which, weather permitting, is scheduled for September 9.  Boat rental at Worster Lake will end on Labor Day. However, boat ramps will remain open as long as water levels allow.

Potato Creek to host Sportsmen’s Series workshops, start Sept 20-21

A new Sportsmen’s Series consisting of a hunter education class and four themed workshops for hunters will be presented at Potato Creek State Park. The series kicks off with a hunter education class on September 20-21 from noon to 5 p.m. Participants must attend both days to receive their certification. The 10 hour course covers equipment, safety, ethics and skills and is open to all ages.


The series will continue with four specialty workshops on Thursday evenings, each at 7 p.m. The series consists of waterfowl hunting, Oct. 23; deer hunting, Nov. 13; small game hunting, Dec. 4; and turkey hunting, April 16, 2009. Each workshop will focus on tips and tricks; equipment; safety and laws for that particular game type.

The workshops will be taught by Indiana Conservation Officers and other experts in their specific fields. Attend one, or attend all, and improve your hunting knowledge.  All classes will be held in the Nature Center at Potato Creek State Park


This series is being sponsored by the Friends of Potato Creek. The classes are free; however a donation of $5 per person to offset materials and refreshment costs is encouraged.


The normal park gate fee will be collected at the Sept. and Oct. sessions. Advance registration is requested. To register for any or all of the Sportsmen’s Series workshops, and for more information, call Potato Creek at (574) 656-8186.



Special Deer Hunts for Youth/Hunters with Disabilities Set for Sept 27-28

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources reminds hunters that special deer hunting seasons have been set for youth and hunters with disabilities.


“We realize there are people who are interested in hunting but are unable to participate without some assistance,” said DNR Director Rebecca Humphries. “These hunts are designed for a time period when other hunters may be available to help those individuals.”


The annual youth deer hunt, for youth ages 10 to 16 who are eligible, is scheduled for Sept. 27-28. This year, military veterans with 100 percent disability as documented by the

United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will also be

allowed to participate during this same time period. Documentation must be in the veteran’s possession when participating in this hunt. 


Hunters may take a deer of either sex during this hunt with a firearms or combination license. Antlerless licenses may be used for antlerless deer only. There is a one-deer bag limit during this two-day hunt.  In addition, a four-day hunt Oct. 16-19 has been scheduled for individuals who have a permit to hunt from a standing vehicle, military veterans with 100 percent disability as documented by the VA, or individuals who are legally blind. For both seasons, the rules and regulations of firearms season apply.

DNR Confirms Birds Positive with Type E Botulism in Mason County

The Michigan DNR last week confirmed that Type E Botulism is responsible for the deaths of ring-billed gulls and double-crested cormorants from Ludington State Park in Mason County in July. Four birds were submitted for examination and all tested positive for the disease, making this the first confirmation of 2008.


This represents the furthest south on the Lake Michigan shore that the disease has been detected in birds since 2006. The disease was first detected in shorebirds found dead on beaches in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Benzie and Leelanau counties and in the Upper Peninsula counties of Delta and Schoolcraft in 2006. For the past two years, a number of shorebirds and waterfowl have died from the disease along the northern portion of Lake Michigan.


Biologists believe the likely route of transmission of Type E Botulism in Lake Michigan, as well as in Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, probably includes Cladophora algae, invasive mussels (zebra and Quagga) and the invasive round goby. The algae establish anaerobic or low oxygen conditions in which the botulism bacterium -- found in the bottom

sediments of the Great Lakes - freely reproduces. The bacteria, and the toxin it produces, are ingested by the mussels and the mussels are in turn eaten by the gobies. Birds can become infected either by eating the mussels or fish that are sick or dead due to the botulism toxin. Also, birds may become infected by scavenging carcasses of birds or fish that have died from botulism.


Property owners along Lake Michigan who come across dead water birds should take precautions, such as making sure pets do not come in contact with wildlife carcasses. It may be necessary to have pets on leashes in areas where fish and bird die-offs are occurring. No Type E botulism illnesses have been associated with swimming along the lakeshore where fish and bird die-offs have occurred. However, pets and humans can become sick if they ingest the botulism toxin by eating a contaminated bird or fish.


Important guidelines and precautions for handling and collecting dead shorebirds developed by the Michigan Departments of Community Health, Natural Resources, and Environmental Quality should be followed. The guidelines and precautions can be found online at www.michigan.gov/emergingdiseases.

New York

Sweep of Fulton Fish Market Nets Violations of State Law

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) law enforcement officers conducted an early-morning sweep of the Fulton Fish Market in the South Bronx last week, seizing more than 200 illegal fish products. The effort resulted in JMS Seafood Corporation being charged with a misdemeanor for the unlawful sale of oversized striped bass.


The sweep was a joint operation involving 13 NYSDEC Environmental Conservation Officers (ECOs), three Rhode Island Environmental Police Officers, investigators from the New York City Business Integrity Commission (BIC), and agents from the National Marine Fisheries Service. New York State often works closely with surrounding states in the enforcement of marine fishery laws. On Thursday, the Rhode Island officers were present as part of a training initiative to introduce them to the Fulton Fish Market and the market's potential enforcement challenges.


At approximately 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 16, two plainclothes New York State ECOs entered the Fulton Fish Market to conduct surveillance of the wholesale distributors of

fresh seafood. These officers noted multiple violations and contacted uniformed personnel with specifics on the locations and nature of the illegal activity they observed. At approximately 1:30 a.m., the multi-agency uniformed task force entered the premises and conducted the sweep.


The officers inspected fish, shellfish, and crustaceans, while also reviewing permits, manifests, and other required documentation. As a result of the inspection, 11 summonses were issued to nine separate violators. Though the size and scope of this enforcement action was not typical, NYSDEC officers routinely conduct random inspections of the Fulton Fish Market, often in coordination with outside agencies such as the BIC.


The Fulton Fish Market is the largest consortium of seafood wholesalers in the country. In recent years, over-harvesting, disease, and pollution have put a strain on the marine resources of New York and neighboring states. Violators of state and federal marine wildlife regulations contribute to the decline of fisheries along the Eastern Seaboard. Enforcement actions such as these are crucial to protect and conserve these vital fisheries for future generations.


Hunters reminded of Mentored Youth Hunting Program

HARRISBURG - Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe reminded experienced hunters, who have historically helped pass along the state's rich hunting heritage, that the new license year means another year to begin introducing youths to hunting through the Mentored Youth Hunting Program (MYHP).


Roe noted that the logic behind the Mentored Youth Hunting Program is simple and clear: create expanded youth hunting opportunities without compromising safety afield.


"This program paves the way for youngsters to nurture their interest in hunting early and allows them to take a more active role in actual hunting while afield with mentoring adults," Roe said.  "The program accommodates hands-on use of sporting arms and can promote a better understanding and interest in hunting and wildlife conservation that will help assure hunting's future, as well as reinforce the principles of hunting safely through the close supervision provided by dedicated mentors."


Under the program, a mentor is defined as a properly licensed individual at least 21 years of age, who will serve as a guide to a youth while engaged in hunting or related activities, such as scouting, learning firearms or hunter safety and wildlife identification.  A mentored youth is identified as an unlicensed individual less than 12 years of age who is accompanied by a mentor while engaged in hunting or related activities.


 The regulations require that the mentor-to-mentored youth

ratio be one-to-one, and that the pair possesses only one sporting arm when hunting.  While moving, the sporting arm must be carried by the mentor.  When the pair reaches a stationary hunting location, the mentor may turn over possession of the sporting arm to the youth and must keep the youth within arm's length at all times.


The species identified as legal game for the 2008-09 license year are woodchucks (groundhogs), squirrels, spring gobbler and antlered deer.  At its June meeting, the Board of Game Commissioners gave unanimous approval to add coyote hunting to the list of species that mentored youth hunters can pursue.  For the addition to take effect, the proposal must be approved at a subsequent meeting of the Board.


For more information on the program, visit the Game Commission's website www.pgc.state.pa.us and click on "Mentored Youth FAQs" in "Quick Clicks" box in the upper right corner of the homepage.  Information also is included on page 15 of the 2008-09 Pennsylvania Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations, and a sample harvest tag can be found on page 33 of the Digest.


To continue hunting once a youth reaches the age of 12, they will need to and pass a basic Hunter-Trapper Education course and purchase either a junior hunting license or a junior combination license.  For a listing of HTE courses, visit the Game Commission's website www.pgc.state.pa.us and click on the "Hunter Education" calendar in the right-hand column of the homepage.



Sports Fest slated for Aug 15-16

The Wisconsin Sports Fest attracts more than 30,000 attendees each year, and the sixth edition, at the Sunnyview Exposition Center in Oshkosh, should be another crowd-pleasing festival.


In addition to live musical entertainment, outdoor personalities

will be on hand to speak and sign autographs. A highlight of the event will be the drawing for cash and prizes valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars in a new fundraising effort administered by the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation and the Wisconsin Wildlife Conservation Fund.


Test results show VHS fish disease hasn’t spread in Wisconsin

MADISON – All planned testing of wild fish for VHS fish disease has been completed for 2008, and results show that so far, the deadly fish virus has not spread in Wisconsin and that state waters have not suffered the kind of fish kills once feared.


Fish from 67 different waters were tested for VHS in 2008, and

the only positives were found in fish from Lake Michigan, where VHS was already known to exist. Round gobies found washed ashore on a Milwaukee Beach in June and yellow perch collected a short while later both tested positive. The diagnosis of VHS in the round gobies, an invasive fish species, represents the only instance this year in Wisconsin in which VHS was diagnosed as the cause of a fish kill.



Three new teams added to canine services unit

The Ministry of Natural Resources is strengthening its enforcement capacity with the addition of three canine services teams to assist field conservation officers in their investigations and other duties.  The new teams will work out of Thunder Bay, North Bay and Bancroft.  Three canine teams are already working out of Dryden, Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury.


The teams provide valuable support in tracking violators from

poaching or crime scenes, and locating concealed fish and

wildlife, firearms and other evidence of crimes. They also play a key role in search and rescue efforts, and take part in education and community outreach activities.


Canine teams are made up of one conservation officer handler and a highly trained dog.  Each team must complete a 16-week training course at the ministry canine training centre in Sudbury, and attend refresher training sessions throughout their time of service.


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

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

Reproduction by others without written permission is prohibited.

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