Week of August 13, 2007

Computer Tip of the Week
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Michigan
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Computer Tip of the Week

Installing new fonts is a breeze

Installing fonts in Windows XP is easy. However, you need to know where to look for the options. Also, you could encounter problems if you don't install them correctly.

 

Many fonts are distributed as zip files. This means they've been compressed for quicker download times. Zip files have a .ZIP extension; the icon is a folder with a zipper on one side.  If your fonts are zipped, you must unzip them first. Right-click the file and select Extract All.

A wizard opens; it will walk you through the process of unzipping the file.

 

Here are some sites:

www.1001freefonts.com/

http://simplythebest.net/fonts/

www.free-fonts.com/

www.1001fonts.com/

 


National

US District Court Ruling Threatens Recreational Boating

Legislative Solution, H.R. 2550, Gains Steam in Congress with 27 Co-sponsors

Without Congressional approval of corrective legislation or a successful legal appeal, a September 2006 court decision by the U.S. District Court for Northern California designed to hold the EPA accountable for the regulation of the discharge of ballast water from ocean going commercial ships will have unintended and serious consequences for recreational boating, according to BoatU.S.

 

“As it stands now, a permit will be required for ‘normal operational discharges’ on every recreational boat – even your dinghy – in every state where you boat,” said BoatU.S. representative Margaret Podlich. “This is an attempt to apply a complex permitting system designed for industrial dischargers to recreational boats that will not yield significant environmental benefits.”

 

BoatU.S. is pushing for passage of H.R. 2550 “The Recreational Boating Act of 2007.” It would continue a 34-year-old exemption applied to recreational boats and release the EPA from having to implement an expensive and bureaucratic national permit system for all recreational boats by September 30, 2008.

 

The original lawsuit was brought against EPA in an effort to control the spread of invasive species contained in 

commercial ships’ ballast water tanks. The tanks, which add stability, are filled overseas and then discharged in U.S. waters when cargo is uploaded. Ballast water is a primary pathway for non-native species, such as the Zebra Mussel, to invade U.S. waters.

 

However, 99% of recreational boats do not have ballast tanks, nor do they cross oceans in any significant numbers. For over three decades the EPA understood that everyday deck runoff, bilge water, engine cooling water, or grey water from sinks or showers, was not the same as commercial vessels discharging millions of gallons of imported ballast tank water. As a result, it exempted these normal operational discharges from the Clean Water Act permit system. But in 2006 the District Court ruled that EPA overstepped its authority, and started the clock on the September 30, 2008 permit implementation deadline.

 

BoatU.S. is urging all boaters to contact their legislators to co-sponsor H.R. 2550 which is a common sense solution designed to make the previous exemption for recreational boats permanent. “It’s important to know that H.R. 2550 does not weaken any existing environmental regulations for recreational boaters. The main sources of potential pollution from boats – oil, fuel, sewage and trash – are already regulated and will remain so,” added Podlich.

 

For more information on this issue, or for help contacting your legislators, go to www.BoatUS.com/gov .


State Data from USFWS survey on fishing & hunting

According to preliminary state-by-state data from the new 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, Montanans were on average most likely to hunt, Alaskans and Minnesotans were most likely to fish; and residents of Maine are most likely to observe, photograph or feed wildlife, during 2006. In terms of total numbers, Texas led the nation with 1.1 million residents hunting at some point during the year, while Florida led in total fishing participation with 2.8 million anglers. California saw 6.2 million of its

 

Most Participants In-State
(age 16 and older)

Highest Participation Rates
(age 16 and older)

In-State Hunters

Hunting

Texas – 1,115,000
Pennsylvania – 1,027,000
Michigan – 756,000
Wisconsin – 698,000
Missouri – 613,000

Montana – 19%
North Dakota – 17%
South Dakota, Wisconsin – 15%
Arkansas, Maine, West Virginia – 14%
Minnesota, Missouri, Wyoming – 13%

In-State Anglers

Fishing

Florida – 2,755,000
Texas – 2,500,000
California – 1,740,000
Minnesota – 1,435,000
Michigan – 1,408,000

Alaska, Minnesota – 28%
Montana, Wyoming – 24%
Wisconsin – 23%
Ark, Maine, Miss, MO, N Dak, W VA – 21%
Idaho – 20%

In-State Wildlife Watchers

Wildlife Watching

California – 6,233,000
Florida – 4,177,000
Texas – 4,174,000
Pennsylvania – 3,965,000
New York – 3,762,000

Maine – 57%
Montana, Vermont – 55%
Iowa, Minnesota, Wyoming – 48%
New Hampshire – 46%
Missouri – 45%

residents observe wildlife in 2006.

 

"The National Survey is an important tool that measures in economic and participatory terms the value that wildlife has in Americans' hearts and to the nation's economy. Wildlife related recreation rejuvenates our spirit, connects us with nature and gets us outside pursuing healthy activities," said USFWS Director H. Dale Hall.

 

In 2006, more than 87 million Americans, or 38% of the United States' population age 16 and older hunted, fished or observed wildlife. They spent $120 billion that year pursuing those activities. Further broken down by category, 30 million (13%) fished and spent a total of $41 billion on their activities, 12.5 million (5 %) hunted and spent a total of $23 billion, and 71 million (31%) observed wildlife and spent a total of $45 billion.

 

The National Survey has been conducted every 5 years since 1955 and is one of the nation's most important wildlife-related recreation databases. It is considered to be the definitive source of information concerning participation and expenditures associated with hunting, fishing and other forms of wildlife-related recreation nationwide.

 

It is important to note that the National Survey counts only participants who actually went hunting, fishing or observed wildlife in 2006 and does not represent the total number of anglers, hunters, and wildlife watchers in the United States. Many people who consider themselves hunters, anglers or wildlife watchers do not participate every year. For example, examination of survey data shows that over the five year period from 2002 to 2006, a cumulative total of 44.4 million people fished and 18.6 million hunted.

 

This 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation State Overview report, as well as previous surveys and reports, can be found at http://federalaid.fws.gov/surveys/surveys.html >. The Service expects to publish the final National Survey in November 2007.


Eagles soar into history

Wednesday, August 8 is one for the history books – it’s the day the bald eagle officially soared off the list of threatened and endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). After plummeting to nearly 400 pairs in the lower 48 states in 1963, the population has rebounded to more than 10,000 pairs today.  Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced the remarkable recovery of our national symbol in Washington, D.C. on June 28, 2007.

 

The legal protections afforded by the ESA, along with the crucial decision by the EPA to ban the general use of the pesticide DDT in 1972, provided the springboard for recovery. 

Other efforts by the USFWS and its partners included captive breeding programs, reintroductions, law enforcement measures, protection of habitat around nest sites and land purchase and preservation activities.

 

The Service will work with state wildlife agencies to monitor bald eagles for at least five years. If it appears that eagles again need the protection of the ESA, the Service can propose to re-list the species.  The bald eagle will continue to be protected by the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

 

For more info: www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/BaldEagle.htm


Regional

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for August 10, 2007

Weather Conditions

Hot and muggy conditions settled in across much of the Great Lakes basin this week.  The southern reaches of the basin received a few rounds of heavy rain as a stalled front sat over central Indiana and Illinois.  More comfortable temperatures are expected Friday as drier air filters into the region.  Nice weather is also on tap for the weekend.

 

Lake Level Conditions

Currently, Lake Superior is 12 inches below its level of a year ago, while Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are 5 to 8 inches lower than last year’s levels.  Lake Superior is predicted to rise 1 inch over the next 30 days. Lake Michigan-Huron is expected to decline two inches, while Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are projected to drop 5 inches over the next month. All of the lakes are forecasted to be below their water levels of a year ago during the next few months.  

 

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions

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

Alerts

Due to abnormally dry conditions on the Lake Superior basin over the last several months, Lake Superior’s water level is currently below chart datum and is expected to remain below datum over the next six months.  Users of the Great Lakes, connecting channels and St. Lawrence River should keep informed of current conditions before undertaking any activities that could be affected by changing water levels.  Mariners should utilize navigation charts and refer to current water level readings.

 

 

Superior

Mich-Huron

St. Clair

Erie

Ontario

Level for Aug 10

600.5

577.5

573.9

571.4

245.3

Datum, in ft

601.1

577.5

572.3

569.2

243.3

Diff in inches

-8

  0

+19

+26

+24

Diff last month

+1

-2

-1

-1

-4

Diff from last yr

-12

-5

-5

-5

-8

 

 


General

Zebco purchases fishing line brands from Shakespeare

TULSA, Okla.  Zebco has acquired four brands of fishing line from Shakespeare. The announcement was made last week by Zebco President Jeff Pontius upon completion of the transaction. The purchased fishing line brands are Cajun Red, Omniflex, Supreme and Outcast. "We are pleased to have this opportunity to enter the fishing line market," Pontius said. "The acquired business is a small but growing 'beachhead' for us in the line market and we plan to expand on it over time."

 

The transaction is a result of a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) decision. Shakespeare's parent company, K2 Inc., is owned by Jarden Corp., which recently acquired Pure Fishing Inc. Because Pure Fishing already has the leading market position on fishing line with brands like Berkley Trilene, Stren and Spiderwire, the FTC required Shakespeare to sell its fishing line business.

"We are excited about the line opportunities," said Bob Bagby, Zebco vice president of marketing. "Cajun Red pioneered the idea of red line which quickly becomes less visible in use since red is the first color absorbed by water. The red line continues to grow in popularity and we’re confident we can further build on its momentum."

Pontius expanded on the company's plans, saying that although transfer of ownership to Zebco has already occurred, the change will not be apparent to consumers for awhile as the existing inventory moves through distribution. "The brands we acquired will remain the names on the product," he said. "They are good, popular brands. The transition should be relatively seamless for all customers."

 

Zebco will ultimately move the line business to its facilities in Tulsa and Claremore, Okla., but does not foresee any changes to its workforce needs over this time.

 


 

Lake Michigan

Bighead carp find at Lake George

A bighead carp was found dead by a Conservation Officer along the shore of Lake George in Lake County at the public access site.  The fish was discovered on July 4, 2007. 

 

We will never know if this was a hoax ("warning shot over the bow") or if it is a fish that was either released alive in the lake or entered the lake via waterway connections to Lake Michigan.  It is very strange though that if it truly did invade the lake or was released alive that it would wash up dead right on a public access site.  It is also strange that this fish would die right on what is usually the busiest boating day of the season (the fish looked to be in pretty good shape indicating it had not been floating long).  If indeed this is a hoax it was probably

done to send a warning that if some effective action is not taken soon to stop Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes, then those of us around the Great Lake will all be encountering these huge and odd looking fish. 

 

Here's a USGS topographic map from the TopoZone

www.topozone.com/map.asp?lat=41.57217&lon=-87.25638&s=200&size=l&u=4&datum=nad27&layer=DRG  

 

Lake George is the impoundment in the bottom center of the picture right next to where "Hobart" is on the map.  The southern tip of Lake Michigan is shown at the top of the map.  Lake George drains to Deep River which flows toward Lake Michigan.


Illinois

Trapper Education Online Course Option

The IDNR is offering a new online course for those interested in learning to trap.  Those required to complete a course before purchasing a trapping license now have two choices:  a traditional full-day course, or completion of half of the requirement online and half in the classroom, where participants learn hands-on skills such as setting traps and preparing pelts for sale.  The courses are free.  IDNR encourages all trappers, regardless of age, to take a course. 

 

First-time trappers under 18 must complete a course and pass a written exam before they are allowed to purchase a trapping license.  Those under 16 must also have written

permission from a parent or guardian before purchasing a license.  The Illinois Trapper Education Online at www.trappered.com  covers topics such as trapping equipment, laws and ethics through online film clips, reading materials, quizzes, photos, and illustrations. 

 

At the end of the online course, students must successfully complete the final exam online and download a printable document of completion.  Students must present the document when attending the four-hour training session with instructors.  To locate an instructor-taught course, visit http://dnr.state.il.us/safety or call 1-800-832-2599.


Wingshooting Clinics

The IDNR and partnering organizations are hosting a series of wingshooting clinics for beginning shooters and for more experienced hunters this summer and fall.  At the free youth/women's clinics, Saturday sessions generally provide instruction for youngsters ages 10 - 15, while Sunday sessions are generally used to provide instruction for girls and women ages 10 and older.  Youth participants must be at least 4 feet 6 inches tall and weigh at least 75 lbs.  Instructors are certified by the National Sporting Clays Association.  Hunter clinics are designed to enhance the wingshooting skills of women and men ages 16 and older.  Hunters with wingshooting skill levels from beginner to advanced are encouraged to attend.  A small fee is assessed each hunter clinic participant to cover the cost of clay targets and refreshments. 

 

Upcoming Youth/Women's clinics (and contact phone

numbers) include:

August 18-19 - Shabonna Lake State Park (DeKalb Co.), 815-758-2773

August 25-26 - Capel Clinic at Camp Sender, Fisher (Champaign Co.), 217-935-6860

 September 8-9 - Sam Dale Lake (Wayne Co.), 618-835-2292

 September 22-23 - Johnson Sauk Trail (Henry Co.), 309-853-5589

Upcoming Hunter's clinics are:

September 22-23 - Des Plaines Cons. Area (Will Co.), 217-785-8060

September 29-30 - Decatur Gun Club (Macon Co.), 217-877-4096

Check the IDNR web site for a complete list of this year's Wingshooting Clinics.

 


Indiana

Salamonie senior citizens Fall Fest, Sept 10-13

The fifth annual Salamonie Seniors Fall Fest will be held Sept. 10-13, in the modern campground in Lost Bridge West. This four-day event is designed for mature adults.

      

This year's event highlights enjoyment in the outdoors and new hobbies for the participants. Those interested should register soon to be able to enjoy the activities of their choice.

         

Monday, day one, features an afternoon carry-in meal and special speaker, and a euchre tournament later in the afternoon. Marty Gaskill will present an evening program on bird identification. Tuesday, day two, gives participants a chance to kick up their heels with Shirley and Gene Johnson’s line dancing program. Also featured will be a program on making charcoal fire starters and another on butterflies.  

      

Day three features a chance to learn the beginning skills of several potential hobbies, including fishing, bird watching, outdoor cooking, a scarecrow craft, gift card box craft, woodland walk, Plein air sketching, apple cider making, and glycerin soap making. The main entrée of a second carry-in will be provided at dinner, and Julia Meek and Jill Mozena will provide “Folk Tales,” for evening entertainment.  Thursday morning, the final day, will provide a chance to watch chain saw carving artist Scott Brown as he transforms a piece of

wood into a work of art. 

 

A $2 program fee entitles visitors to a program pass to use for the week’s events. Seniors should pay this fee to the interpreters after their arrival, then use one program pass for all of the week’s events. Campsites should be reserved using the Central Reservation System. To pay for your site, call 1-866-6CAMPIN or use www.CAMP.IN.gov .

 

This special event is located in Lost Bridge West Recreation Area on Highway 105 in western Huntington County. There is a $4 entrance fee Mon. – Thurs., and a $5 entrance fee Fri., Sat., Sun. for Indiana residents ($7 entrance, Mon – Sun, for out-of-state vehicles) to enter the Lost Bridge West Recreation Area. Indiana residents may purchase an annual entrance permit for $36. A non-Indiana resident annual entrance pass is available for $46. Those aged 65 or older may choose to purchase the annual Golden Hoosier Passport entrance permit for $18.   

 

Visit www.dnr.IN.gov/uwis/  for more information or to download a registration form. Registration forms for the Salamonie Seniors Fall Fest can also be requested by calling the Upper Wabash Reservoirs Interpretive Services, (260) 468-2127, or visiting the Salamonie Interpretive Center.


Michigan

Gov signs Cormorant Control bills

Both chambers provide for control program

Michigan's SB 0354 and HB 4471 were signed into law on August 2, 2007 by Gov. Jennifer Granholm, authorizing various programs for controlling the burgeoning and destructive flocks of double-crested cormorants in the state. Both bills went info effect immediately.

 

Specifically, SB 354 authorizes the DNR to reduce cormorant damage by administering a program to control and manage double-crested cormorants. The department shall administer the program in cooperation with federal agencies and in a manner that complies with the cormorant depredation order.

 

Also, in consultation with the State Dept of Environmental Quality, the DNR “shall participate in a federally recognized

organization of states, such as the Mississippi flyway council, to coordinate a regional effort to reduce cormorant damage that includes urging the federal government to do both of the following: Expand state options for double-crested cormorant control by revising the cormorant depredation order, and  seek to amend the migratory bird convention with Mexico to designate the double-crested cormorant as a game species.”

 

The DNR will also seek funding from the Great Lakes protection fund authorized under part 331 for deposit in the cormorant control fund.

 

HB 4471 defines terms for the control program, including establishing a bag limit and the taking of these black marauders by bow, crossbow, BB gun or a firearm not exceeding .177 caliber.


Two Boating Access Sites to Undergo Renovations

Two public boating access sites (BAS), the M-37 Bridge BAS in Lake County and the Pine Street BAS in Newaygo County, will undergo renovations beginning in mid-August, the DNR announced.

 

Depending on the stage of construction, launching a boat at these sites may be impeded and access to these two sites may not be allowed. The M-37 BAS is on the Pere Marquette River. The Pine Street BAS is on the Muskegon River. The M-37 Bridge BAS in Lake County, two miles south of Baldwin, will be under construction from Aug. 13 through Aug. 31.  An

alternate site for launching would be The Forks BAS, located three miles south of Baldwin on the Little South Branch of the Pere Marquette River.

 

The Pine Street BAS in Newaygo County will be under construction from Aug. 27 through Sept. 14.  An alternate site would be the Croton Dam Township Park, located one mile upstream of Pine Street.  “The improvements will be worth the inconvenience,” said Ron Monroe, supervisor of the boating access sites. “Both sites are being paved and reconfigured for easier launching.”


Minnesota

Returning soldiers eligible for free hunting, fishing licenses

Minnesota soldiers returning from service outside the United States in the past two years are eligible for free hunting and fishing licenses from the Minnesota DNR. Returning soldiers, including those who served in the National Guard, may fish and hunt small game without a license for two years from their discharge. They may also obtain one free deer license under regulations passed by the 2007 Legislature.

 

The DNR long has provided free hunting licenses to Minnesota military personnel on leave from stations outside of the state. The new legislation builds on that tradition. A number of DNR employees are in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other parts of the world or recently returned.

 

The discharged residents must carry proof of residency and

official military discharge papers while fishing or hunting small game. All required tags or state stamps must be obtained. They are available for free at any of 1,800 businesses that sell hunting and fishing licenses across the state. Firearms hunters born after Dec. 31, 1979, are required to have a DNR firearms safety certificate, which is available online through a training course on the DNR's Web site www.mndnr.gov.

 

Military personnel who have completed basic training are exempt from the range and shooting exercise portion of the DNR's firearms safety training. A free deer license will be issued to residents who provide military discharge papers and proof of residency at any of the 1,800 businesses that sell deer licenses in the state.

 


New angling, aquatic education guide great catch for teachers, youth leaders

Teachers, youth leaders and others have a new tool to connect kids with nature

Called Fishing: Get in the Habitat!, the new DNR MinnAqua leader's guide is a landmark curriculum that makes it easy for anyone to lead fishing trips that are safe, educational and fun.

 

"Our curriculum focuses on what we value in Minnesota," said Katie Kipka, DNR MinnAqua program coordinator. "Clean water. A healthy environment. The joy that comes from fishing with family and friends. All these things and more are found within 39 separate lessons that align to Minnesota academic standards as a result of our close coordination with the Department of Education."

 

Kipka said the leader's guide, which comes with clear procedures, handouts and scientifically accurate illustrations, is designed to get kids up from their desks and into the outdoors. For example, in the role-playing activity "Run for Your Life Cycle," youth become northern pike migrating through an obstacle course from a wetland to a deep-water lake. The "Freshwater Rods and Reels" lesson allows kids to practice

casting before they get to the water's edge. And, in "Fish Families," participants learn how to identify and classify Minnesota fish.

 

"For teachers, the lure in each lesson is correlated to state standards for science, math, language arts and social studies for the third through fifth grades. Lessons can also be easily adapted for middle and high school students," said Kipka. "For nonformal instructors, we hope it catches on because it is designed to meet Scout badge requirements and 4-H fishing activity requirements." 

 

The MinnAqua Leader's Guide is available through one-day workshops offered throughout the state. Workshops are scheduled for Aug. 10 in St. Paul and Oct. 6 in Plymouth. To register, go to www.mndnr.gov/minnaqua.   

           

For more information on MinnAqua in northern Minnesota, call Nadine Martini at (218) 828-6044. In southern Minnesota, call Kathy Beaulieu at (507) 359-6049. In the metro area, call Roland Sigurdson at (612) 625-1291 or Michelle Kelly at (651) 582-8417


New York

Researchers Say Virus is Culprit for Fewer Muskies in St. Lawrence

Syracuse (AP) -- A highly contagious fish virus is killing off muskellunge in the St. Lawrence River, scientists said last week.

 

Researchers caught more than 40 muskellunges during the spring spawning run in 2003 at the Thousand Islands Biological Station on Governor's Island, according to the State University of New York's College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Last year, they captured only 12 to measure and tag. This year, there were four.

 

"We want to send out an alarm that VHS is killing muskellunge," said the station director, Dr. John Farrell, referring to viral hemorrhagic septicemia.

 

Scientists with the state Department of Environmental Conservation and Cornell University have identified VHS-infected fish in Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, the Niagara River, the

St. Lawrence River, Conesus Lake and Skaneateles Lake. Last month, they found it had spread to the Little Salmon River, the Seneca-Cayuga Canal and a farm pond in Niagara County.

 

Farrell said that before 2005, he and his colleagues typically saw one dead muskellunge once every few years. As the largest predator in the ecosystem, there are naturally fewer muskellunge in the river than other fish. In 2005, researchers came across 25 muskellunge carcasses. In 2006, they found about a dozen - all large females, and including one that was 59 inches long. Tests showed that several of them died from VHS.

 

As of the end of June, about a half dozen muskellunge had turned up dead in the river, he said. Additionally, the biological stations monitoring efforts show there are fewer young muskellunge and fishermen are reporting fewer catches than in the past.


Pennsylvania

GLSFC Director receives Presidential Award

EPA presents commendation for environmental volunteerism

ERIE, PA. – EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson presented Erie resident and Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council Pennsylvania  Director Edward Kissell with the President’s Volunteer Service Award on August 1st for his outstanding work to improve public health and create a healthier environment.

 

Kissell received the award for dedicating himself to several environmental efforts including improving the water quality of Lake Erie and Presque Isle Bay, preserving native fish species and encouraging environmental education.

 

“Today we recognize Edward Kissell for answering President Bush’s call to serve a cause greater than himself,” said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. “Dedicated volunteers like Mr. Kissell inspire others to join in delivering America a brighter, healthier future.”

 

One of Kissell’s more unique accomplishments involved starting up a program at the Erie County Library where people can check out a fishing rod and tackle just like a book. He

serves as President of the Conservation group Save Our Native Species (SONS), and is an advocate and public watchdog for free public access to the entire Pennsylvania

shore of Lake Erie. He also initiated an effort to place 100 fish habitat structures in Presque Isle Bay and partnered with the Pennsylvania Fish Commission to sponsor the Fish for Free Days where children and adults are taught how to fish. Currently chairman of the Erie County Coastal Zone Management Steering Committee, Kissell is also a member of the Erie County Environmental Coalition, and serves on various Erie County watershed committees.

 

In his January 2002 State of the Union address, President Bush called on all Americans to make a difference in their communities through volunteer service. The President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation created the President's Volunteer Service Award program as a way to thank and honor Americans who, by their demonstrated commitment and example, inspire others to engage in volunteerism.

 

More information on the President’s Volunteer Service Award is available at http://www.presidentialserviceawards.gov/ .


Wisconsin

Sturgeon hook and line season to open Sept. 1 with new regulations

MADISON – The lake sturgeon hook and line season opens on Sept. 1, and anglers should note some updates to the rules.

 

An emergency rule aimed at assuring the long-term health of Wisconsin’s unique lake sturgeon population approved by the state Natural Resources Board took effect July 23. The rule increases the minimum length limit for lake sturgeon harvest in inland waters from 50 inches to 60 inches and reduces the season length for harvest and for catch and release fishing from six to four weeks. All of Wisconsin’s open waters will be covered by the emergency rule. The Sturgeon hook and line season runs Sept. 1 - 30 and there is a one-per-season bag.

 

The new minimum length limit will dramatically reduce the harvest on females, allowing them to reproduce more than once before reaching harvestable size.

 

The Menominee River, a boundary water co-managed between Michigan and Wisconsin, had the same regulations implemented for the 2006 season. A lake sturgeon harvest assessment in 2005 showed that more than 25 % of adult sturgeon were being harvested, far above the fisheries management goal of a 5% exploitation rate. This resulted in a length limit increase to 60" and a reduction in season length to four weeks. More than 100 lake sturgeon were harvested in 2005, and only one was harvested after the regulation change in 2006 on the Menominee River.

 

The lower Wisconsin River below the Wisconsin Dells Dam is showing similar high exploitation rates at about 36%, due to increasing angler pressure. In previous years, there was a minimum size limit that alternated between 50 and 70 inches in alternating years. This season would have been a 50" length limit, but the emergency rule amends this to a 60-inch season.

 

Currently, the lake sturgeon, which is Wisconsin’s largest and longest lived fish, is considered to be a species of special concern by the USFWS. However, Wisconsin still has one of the largest self-sustaining populations of lake sturgeon in the world, but because of its slow growing, late-to-mature nature and angler pressure trends, DNR fisheries staff are trying to closely monitor and manage the sturgeon population responsibly.

 

The 60" minimum length limit could reduce the number of lake sturgeon harvested this season by nearly 80%. The reduced

season length will eliminate any late-season (October) harvest and will also allow law enforcement to concentrate more effectively on sturgeon enforcement.

 

The emergency rule will pertain to all of Wisconsin’s inland waters open for sturgeon fishing, even though some of those aren’t experiencing high exploitation rates. Fisheries managers were concerned that otherwise anglers would just move to waters with more liberal rules. Waters open to hook-and-line sturgeon fishing can be found in the 2007 Guide to Wisconsin Hook and Line Fishing Regulations.

 

The St. Croix River below St. Croix Falls, which borders Wisconsin and Minnesota, will not be affected by the emergency rule this season. Opening day is Sept. 1 and the season will close Oct. 15. There is a 50" minimum length harvest limit and a one-per-season bag.

 

The Menominee River has the same regulations per last years change, with an open season from Sept. 1 to 30. Upstream from the Hattie Street dam, sturgeon harvest is allowed with a 60" minimum length harvest limit and a one-per-season bag. Downstream from the Hattie Street dam to Green Bay is catch and release only.

 

If anglers do plan to harvest a sturgeon this season, they must purchase a harvest tag before they fish. The sturgeon harvest tag was implemented for the first time in the 2006 hook and line season. All revenues from the harvest tag sales go directly to projects dedicated to the improvement of sturgeon populations and habitats and therefore, better fishing opportunities.

 

The harvest tag is available throughout the season and costs $20 for residents and $50 for nonresidents. It can be purchased can be purchased at any DNR Service Center or license sales location, by calling toll-free 1-877-WI LICENSE (1-877-945-4236), or over the Internet through the DNR Web site. Anglers who harvest a legal size fish must immediately attach the harvest tag to the fish and take it to a registration station by 6 p.m. the next day for registration.

 

All anglers must have a Wisconsin general inland fishing license unless they are under 16 years old, or were born before Jan. 1, 1927. All active military personnel who are Wisconsin residents - and in active service but on furlough or leave, are eligible to receive a free annual fishing license. They still need to purchase the $20 Lake Sturgeon Carcass tag if they plan to keep a lake sturgeon.


 

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

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