Week of September 10, 2007



Beyond the Great Lakes

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Coast Guard resurrects Storm Flag Program

MILWAUKEE, Wis. - The U.S. Coast Guard is resurrecting a Coastal Warning Display program at selected Coast Guard small boat stations throughout the country to warn the public of approaching storm conditions.  Station Sturgeon Bay and Sector Field Office Grand Haven of Sector Lake Michigan are active participants in this program.   


Coast Guard stations participated in the National Weather Service's official Coastal Warning Display program for more than 100 years.  The resurrection of this program reinforces the Coast Guard's role as lifesavers and visually communicates that citizens should take personal responsibility for individual safety in the face of an approaching storm.


Station Sturgeon Bay and Sector Field Office Grand Haven will hoist display flags to warn of small craft advisories, gale warnings, storm warnings, and hurricane warnings.  Residents of coastal communities are urged to tune to the National Weather Service radio broadcasts for the latest information when they observe a flag hoisted as part of this



SMALL CRAFT ADVISORY:  The small craft advisory is to alert mariners about sustained (more than two hours) weather or sea conditions, either present or forecast, that might be hazardous to small boats.  The threshold conditions for the small craft advisory are usually 18 knots of wind (less than 18 knots in some dangerous waters) or hazardous wave conditions.


GALE WARNING: To indicate winds within the range 34 to 47 knots are forecast for the area.    


STORM WARNING: To indicate winds 48 knots and above, no matter how high the speed, are forecast for the area. However, if the winds are associated with a tropical cyclone (hurricane), the STORM WARNING indicates that winds within the range 48-63 knots are forecast.


HURRICANE WARNING: Issued only in connection with a tropical cyclone (hurricane) to indicate that winds 64 knots and above are forecast for the area.

Executive Order Takes Wind Out of Antis' Effort to Ban Hunting

Anti's Want Hunting, Fishing and Trapping Eliminated on Refuge

Anti-hunters are pressuring federal officials to ban hunting, fishing and trapping on a New England wildlife refuge; however, President Bush’s recent Executive Order trumps the demands of the anti’s.


In Defense of Animals, the Animal Protection Institute and other national anti-hunting groups are insisting that officials abandon plans to institute trapping and enhance hunting at the Lake Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge. The antis’ actions are in response to recommendations put forth this summer by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in its Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan for the refuge, which is in New Hampshire and Maine.

“The President of the United States – through a recently issued Executive Order - has directed federal agencies, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to facilitate the expansion and enhancement of hunting opportunities,” said U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance President Bud Pidgeon. “The order, coupled with the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act that the USSA helped pass in 1997, mandates the enhancement of hunting opportunities on refuges and don’t leave the anti’s with much of a leg to stand on.”


Animal rights groups have initiated similar campaigns in recent years, demanding that refuge officials change long-term use plans for refuges throughout the Midwest. They have also tried to ban outdoor traditions on refuges via the courts.



National Wildlife Refuge Week Oct 7-13

Hearing wolves howl, tagging monarch butterflies, snapping pictures of soaring eagles, or just walking in the woods, thousands of Americans will be making a special connection with nature during National Wildlife Refuge Week, taking place October 7-13, 2007.


The National Wildlife Refuge System, with 547 national wildlife refuges nationwide, protects approximately 97 million acres of fish and wildlife habitat. Scores of national wildlife refuges are offering special programs to help celebrate National Wildlife Refuge Week across the country.


The week also highlights the six wildlife-dependent recreation uses offered on national wildlife refuges: hunting, fishing, wildlife photography, wildlife observation, interpretation and environmental education. The weeklong celebration is also part of a yearlong commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of pioneering conservationist and writer Rachel Carson.


"Sixty years ago, Rachel Carson wrote that wildlife refuges provide a 'release from the tensions of modern life,'" said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director H. Dale Hall. "They do that, and more. National wildlife refuges also promise outdoor adventure to children growing up in a digital age, whose idea of nature might be watching animals on television. Refuges offer the real thing."


Last year, more than 39 million people visited America's 

national wildlife refuges. There is at least one national wildlife refuge in every state, and residents of most metropolitan areas can find a national wildlife refuge less than an hour's drive from their front door.


The National Wildlife Refuge System's more than 2,500 miles of land and water trails appeal to visitors who come to bird watch, fish, hunt, photograph nature, hike, or just to be outdoors.


"Once people know about the great things we do, they flock to national wildlife refuges, whether as visitors or volunteers," says National Wildlife Refuge System Chief Geoffrey L. Haskett. "We welcome them during National Wildlife Refuge Week and throughout the year."


This year also marks the 10th anniversary of the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act, which provides guidance to the Secretary of the Interior for the overall management of the Refuge System. The Act includes a "strong and singular" wildlife conservation mission for the Refuge System and recognizes that six wildlife-dependent recreational uses, when determined to be compatible, are legitimate and appropriate public uses of the Nation's Wildlife Refuges.


To find a national wildlife refuge near you, go to http://refuges.fws.gov or call 1-800-344-WILD (9453).



Great Lakes Sturgeon found vulnerable to sea lamprey predation

ANN ARBOR, MI—Researchers from Purdue University have completed a study that concludes sea lampreys kill smaller lake sturgeon in the Great Lakes, stressing the importance of protecting larger lake sturgeon during recovery efforts.   The study, supported by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, provides vital information to fishery managers who must take into account all sources of mortality as they formulate and implement sturgeon recovery plans.


“Lake sturgeon are freshwater goliaths, growing over six feet in length and 200  pounds in the Great Lakes,” said Dr. Trent Sutton of Purdue University (now  at  University  of  Alaska—Fairbanks),  the  lead  researcher on this project.   “They are a bottom-dwelling species, and feed on insects and clams that they locate with their sensory whiskers.  Lake sturgeon are pokey  creatures  –  they  move  conservatively, mature and reproduce at an older  age than most fish, and live for up to 150 years.  The lake sturgeon is  one  of  the  oldest vertebrate species living on the planet, and looks today  much  the  same  as  they  did 200 million years ago.  For this very reason, lake sturgeon is ‘living fossils’.”


Humans have had a very “love-hate” relationship with lake sturgeon.  This species was routinely discarded by commercial fishers who grew tired of them ripping holes in their nets.  In the late 19th century, the demand for caviar, flesh, oil, fertilizer, and other delicacies caused an increase in value of lake sturgeon.   The destruction of lake sturgeon habitats from pollution, sedimentation, and man-made obstructions such as hydroelectric dams further increased population declines.  As a result, restoration of

Lake sturgeon in the Great Lakes is now a focus of federal, provincial, state, and tribal management agencies.


One potential limitation of current lake sturgeon restoration is the sea lamprey.   Sea  lampreys  are  eel-like  creatures that attach to fish with suction-like   mouths  filled  with  rows  of  sharp  teeth.   Since their introduction into the Great Lakes in the mid-20th century, sea lampreys have had a devastating

impact on many fishes.  Although control efforts have been

effective, eradication is not possible.  Sea lampreys are known to attack lake sturgeon, but it is not clear what impact they might have on survival of this species.


To  examine  the  effects  of  sea  lamprey  parasitism  on  lake sturgeon, laboratory  studies  were  conducted  at  Purdue University.  The study was conducted  by  Dr. Trent Sutton of Purdue University (now at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks; Dr. Marisol Sepulveda of Purdue University; Ms. Holly Patrick, now with the Great Lakes Fishery Commission; and Mr. William Swink of the U.S. Geological Survey, Hammond Bay Biological Station.


In a series of observation tanks, one lake sturgeon and one sea lamprey were paired together.  The observation tanks were checked three times each day for sea lamprey attachments to lake sturgeon.  Once a sea lamprey detached from its host or the lamprey or sturgeon died, that trial was complete and a new sturgeon was put in the tank with a sea lamprey.  After each trial, the lake sturgeon was assessed for short- and long-term growth and survival.


“The results from our study showed that sea lampreys can kill lake sturgeon,” Sutton added.  “Although the scute-covered bodies of lake sturgeon provides some armor, sea lampreys cleverly managed to attach and feed on the fleshy areas of the fish, such as the underside of the snout, at the base of the fins, and near the vent.  Smaller fish were more likely to die due to blood loss following a sea lamprey attack than larger individuals.   Further, smaller lake sturgeon that survived a sea lamprey attack were more likely to die from a secondary infection than larger fish.  Because a larger body size provides a survival advantage for lake sturgeon following a sea lamprey attack, it is important to protect older, larger fish in the population in order to aid ongoing restoration efforts.”


A complete copy of the research completion report is available from the Great Lakes Fishery Commission by email [email protected] or by phone (734-662-3209).

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for Sept 7, 2007 

Weather Conditions

Portions of the northern Great Lakes received some much needed precipitation this past week while the rest of the region experienced a few scattered showers.  Following the pleasant holiday weekend, warm summer temperatures returned for the latter part of the week.  The drought conditions in the basin are expected to improve throughout the upcoming week.  There is a chance of showers for the remainder of the week as cloud cover increases and more seasonable temperatures arrive.


Lake Level Conditions

Lake Superior and Lake Ontario are presently 9 inches below their levels of a year ago, while Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are 2 to 4 inches lower than last year’s levels.  Lake Superior is predicted to remain at around the same level over the next 30 days. Lake Michigan-Huron is projected to decline two inches, while Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are projected to decline 4 to 6 inches over the next month.  Each lake is 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 September. 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.



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.





St. Clair



Level for Sept 7






Datum, in ft






Diff in inches






Diff last month






Diff from last yr






Beyond the Great Lakes

Lowest Streamflow in 110 Years Recorded in

North Carolina

RALEIGH - The lowest average August streamflow in 110 years of North Carolina recordkeeping was measured last month on the Tar River at Tarboro, in the east-central part of the state.


Streamflow figures released by the U.S. Geological Survey, USGS, on August 31 show that the hot, dry days of August brought record lows to many of the state’s rivers and streams amidst worsening drought conditions. People across most of eastern North Carolina were being asked to conserve as much water as they can.

The USGS and its federal, state, and local cooperators maintain 270 streamgaging stations and 39 monitoring wells throughout North Carolina. These measurements show that the lowest average August streamflow on record occurred at 12 other monitoring stations in the state, but not compared to a 110 year period as on the Tar River.


On August 17, streamflow at the Oconaluftee River, which runs through Swain County in western North Carolina, was 72 cubic feet per second, compared with the previous record low of 110 cubic feet per second established during the 1987 - 1988 drought.


Youth anglers awarded $5,000 scholarships for leadership

It isn't the Olympic torch being passed from one team to the next, but fishing poles, as the 2006 Kids All-American Fishing (KAAF) Team wraps up its title reign and the 2007 team is named and prepares to take over.


The unique Hooked On Fishing International (HOFI) program annually recognizes six exemplary youngsters between the ages of 8 and 14 for their outstanding involvement in community and school. The youth are selected as KAAF ambassadors through a formal national application process, and their prize package begins with the presentation of a $5,000 scholarship and concludes with a trip to Tulsa, Okla., to compete in the Kids All-American Fishing Challenge.


The latter took place the end of August, and 15-year-old Nicholas Barr from Lacy, Wash., took home the Challenge

trophy.  Making the 2007 team are Justin Bucholz, 11, of Watauga, Texas; Richard DeMarte, 13, of White Plains, N.Y.;

Angelica Heggem, 8, of Beaver Creek, Ohio; Michael Lipinski, 9, of Roseville, Mich.; Ty Nordby, 10, of Amidon, N.D.; and Landon Wilcox, 13, of Elizabethtown, Ky.


Selection to the KAAF team is based on a youngster's leadership and citizenship examples in community and school. The fact they all enjoy fishing is the common bond that brought the group together.


"Anyone who doubts the quality time that today's youth contribute to society should take note of the accomplishments of this outstanding group," said Daniel Johnson, HOFI president. "We all can learn from their unselfish efforts of involvement in things that make a difference in the lives of others. These youngsters really are role models for all kids in America and they deserve to be recognized in this manner."



New Regs adopted to control commercial harvest of caviar-bearing fish species in Illinois

IDNR Works With Illinois Commercial Fishing Association To Protect Paddlefish, Shovelnose Sturgeon, Bowfin

SPRINGFIELD, IL - Several changes in the regulations regarding the commercial harvest of caviar-bearing fishes in Illinois have been adopted effective Oct. 1, Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Acting Director Sam Flood announced today. 


"Over the last several years, the commercial harvest of both paddlefish and shovelnose sturgeon has increased.  These two species - and to a lesser extent bowfin - are harvested so their eggs can be processed into caviar," Flood said.  "In order to ensure that a sustainable fishery for these species can be maintained, a series of updated regulations are being implemented.  The IDNR has worked closely with representatives from the Illinois Commercial Fishing Association to develop this package of regulations."


Effective Oct. 1, all commercial fishermen who wish to harvest paddlefish, shovelnose sturgeon or bowfin in Illinois will need to first purchase a commercial roe harvesters permit from the IDNR.  The permit cost will be $250 for Illinois resident commercial fishermen and $3,500 for non-residents.


Also effective Oct. 1, any wholesale aquatic life dealer who

wishes to purchase paddlefish, shovelnose sturgeon or bowfin from a commercial roe harvester must first purchase a commercial roe buyer’s permit from the IDNR.  The cost for these permits will be $500 for Illinois resident wholesale aquatic life dealers and $1,500 for non-residents.


Additional regulations regarding shovelnose sturgeon harvest include:

►All commercial shovelnose sturgeon harvest will be closed effective September 1, 2007.  (This closure is supported by the Illinois Commercial Fishing Association and is necessary to implement the new regulations that take effect Oct. 1, 2007)

►The sturgeon harvest season will reopen on Oct. 1 thru May 31 for the Mississippi, Wabash and Ohio rivers. 

►All other waters have been closed to the harvest of shovelnose sturgeon as these waters provide refuge.

Length limits have also been adopted for these water bodies: 

►On the Wabash River, shovelnose sturgeon must be at least 25 inches in length before they can be harvested. 

►On the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, shovelnose sturgeon must be at least 24 inches but not more than 32 inches in length before they can be harvested. 


A number of additional regulations have been modified regarding attendance to nets, reporting, and point values for selected commercial fishing violations.


Flood inundates lake trout hatchery

Thousands of juvenile lake trout due to be stocked in Lake Superior next spring were washed away when the Whitewater River flooded the Crystal Springs Hatchery near Altura, MN.  Due to extremely heavy rainfall on August 18 &19 and flooding in southeastern Minnesota, Whitewater State Park has also been evacuated and closed until further notice.


About 172,000 of the young lake trout at the hatchery were to 

be stocked next spring in Lake Superior.  The DNR stockslake trout fingerlings in the portion of Lake Superior from Duluth to just beyond Two Harbors. Those fish represent about 30 % of the total lake trout added to the population each year in that zone, said Don Schreiner, Lake Superior area fisheries supervisor for the Minnesota DNR. Natural reproduction accounts for about 70 % in the zone.


New York

DEC names first woman to head wildlife unit

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) -- The state Department of Environmental Conservation has named a staff wildlife biologist as the new director of its Division of Fish, Wildlife, and Marine Resources.


Patricia Riexinger, the first woman to hold the post, has worked for more than 30 years at the DEC, beginning in the Waterfowl Unit and then as a reptile and amphibian specialist in the Endangered Species Unit. In 1983, she was named the

division's freshwater wetlands program manager, helped create the new program and prepared the state Wetland Conservation Plan, the agency said. For the last six years, she also headed the division's Landscape Conservation Section.


She holds a bachelor's degree in wildlife biology from Cornell and a master's in biodiversity, conservation and policy from the University at Albany.


ODNR Awards $3.6 Million To Improve Public Boating Access Facilities

Awards go to Paulding, Tuscarawas, Washington, Mahoning, Lorain, Lawrence and Scioto counties

COLUMBUS - The Ohio DNR Division of Watercraft has awarded a total of $3.6 million in Cooperative Boating Access Facility Program grants to improve public boating access at seven sites across the state.


The grant awards range from $35,500 for dock improvements at the Miller Park boat launch in Avon Lake to $2,247,055 to construct a new boat launch facility along the Ohio River within

the Wayne National Forest in Washington County. Other funded projects are located in Paulding, Tuscarawas, Mahoning, Lawrence and Scioto counties.


The Cooperative Boating Access Facility Grant Program is funded through the Ohio Waterways Safety Fund, which is comprised of a portion of the state motor fuels tax, watercraft registration and titling fees and funding from the U.S. Coast Guard. The grants are awarded on a competitive basis and administered by the Division of Watercraft to improve access for the state's estimated 3 million recreational boaters.


Black bear hunting season opened Sept. 5

MADISON – The 2007 Wisconsin black bear hunting season opened Sept. 5 with 4,405 successful applicants heading to the woods with a harvest permit in their pocket. More than

80,000 applied for the closely regulated hunt.  Hunters registered 3,068 bears in 2006. Wildlife managers estimate the 2007 Wisconsin black bear population at approximately 13,000.

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