Week of September 17, 2012
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The USFWS announced the opening of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge in Michigan to migratory bird hunting, upland game hunting and big game hunting for the first time, while expanding hunting activities at 16 national wildlife refuges in 14 states. Notice of the 2012-2013 Refuge-Specific Hunting and Sport Fishing Regulations published in the Federal Register on September 11, 2012. The rule provides additional public hunting opportunities in fulfillment of the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997.
Notice of the proposed rule change was published in the Federal Register on July 11, 2012; public comments were accepted through August 10, 2012.
“By expanding hunting in our National Wildlife Refuge System, we are supporting a heritage that has been handed down from generations and helping to achieve the goal of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative to connect Americans to the natural world through outdoor recreation,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. “Hunters have been a mainstay of conservation in America for more than 100 years, and expanding hunting opportunities helps ensure that we will have the resources to care for our wildlife and its habitat in the future.”
"The National Wildlife Refuge System, one of America's greatest conservation success stories, is committed to offering quality hunting and fishing programs -- for all Americans -- wherever they are compatible with refuge purposes," said Service Director Dan Ashe.
The rule will close Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, HI, to big game hunting. With this change, the refuge will be closed to all hunting activity. The refuge is also closed to sport fishing. The new rule will also close Santee National Wildlife Refuge, SC, to migratory bird hunting. The refuge is open to sport fishing.
It should be noted that all refuges are open to sport fishing
All but two of the refuges affected by the rule change will remain open to sport fishing.
Other changes include:
While definitions of hunting categories vary by refuge and state, migratory bird hunting generally includes ducks and geese. Upland game hunting may cover such animals as game birds, rabbit, squirrel, opossum and coyote. Big game hunting may include such animals as wild turkey, deer and feral hogs.
Under the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, the Service can permit hunting and fishing along with four other types of wildlife-dependent recreational uses where they are compatible with refuge purpose and mission. Hunting, within specified limits, is permitted on more than 300 national wildlife refuges. Fishing is permitted on more than 270 national wildlife refuges. Other wildlife-dependent recreation on national wildlife refuges includes wildlife observation, photography, interpretation and education.
To find hunting programs offered in the National Wildlife Refuge System, please visit: http://www.fws.gov/refuges/hunting/. To find the final regulations in the Federal Register: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-09-11/pdf/2012-22099.pdf
The National Wildlife Refuge System, managed by the Service, is the nation's premier system of public lands and waters set aside to conserve America's fish, wildlife and plants. More than 320 refuges currently permit hunting as a traditional recreational use of renewable natural resources.
Report shows rise in Hunting, Fishing and Wildlife-Related recreation participation in 28 States
Billions of dollars generated for local economies and conservation
Participation in wildlife-associated recreation increased in 28 states since 2006, according to the findings of the 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation State Overview Report released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today. The State Overview Report is the second in a series of reports to be released by the Service over the next few months highlighting results from the National Survey.
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar released the first report on August 15, 2012. The National Survey, conducted since 1955, measures participation in these activities and related spending on trips and equipment across the nation and in individual states. The 2011 National Survey data show that hunters, anglers and wildlife watchers spent $145 billion last year on related gear, trips and other purchases such as licenses, tags and land leasing or ownership.
“Hunting, fishing and wildlife watching are part of our national heritage, and the trip and equipment-related spending of participants’ forms significant support for local economies across the country,” said Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “These survey results are good news for the small businesses and rural communities who depend on wildlife-related tourism, and it shows an encouraging increase in personal investment of citizens in the future of wildlife and wild places.”
Public lands managed by federal and state agencies support much of the fishing, hunting, and wildlife-associated recreation that Americans enjoy. The State Overview, released today provides national survey data on wildlife-related recreation at the state level, which helps state natural resource agencies to plan and provide wildlife-related recreation opportunities.
“The State by State data from the National Survey is where the rubber meets the road for state fish and wildlife agencies,” said Dr. Jonathan Gassett, Commissioner of the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Resources Commission and President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. “These results help each state set the course for future fish and wildlife conservation and they help quantify the results of investments that each state has made in its wildlife-related recreation programs, especially hunter and angler recruitment and retention programs.”
Highlights from this overview include the following information:
• Of the 28 States with increases in the number of wildlife-related recreation participants from 2006 to 2011, the largest percentage increases were seen in Alaska (47 percent) and Louisiana (40 percent).
• South Dakota had the highest proportion of state residents who hunted– 21 percent.
• Alaska had the highest proportion of state residents who fished– 40 percent.
• Vermont had the highest proportion of state residents who wildlife watched– 53 percent.
Overall, the 2011 Survey found that 38 percent of all Americans 16 years of age and older participated in wildlife-related recreation in 2011, an increase of 2.6 million participants from the previous survey in 2006. Participation in recreational fishing increased by 11 percent and hunting
was up 9 percent. This increase reverses a trend over previous Surveys
showing a 10% decline in hunting participation between 1996 and 2006. The 2011 Survey reports a corresponding increase in hunting equipment expenditures, which are up 29 percent from 2006.
Through landmark conservation laws supported by American sportsmen and women, funds collected by states through the sale of hunting and fishing licenses are combined with federal funds from excise tax on sport weapons and ammunition and on angling equipment to pay for fish and wildlife conservation and associated recreational opportunities. Together, these laws support the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs, first established 75 years ago. Since then, hunters and anglers have paid more than $11 billion in excise taxes on purchases of firearms, ammunition, archery, fishing and boating equipment toward thousands of conservation projects, wildlife-associated recreational opportunities and access, and sport shooting ranges around the nation.
The National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, conducted every five years since 1955, has become one of the most important sources of information on fish and wildlife recreation in the United States. Federal, State, and private organizations use the rigorously-compiled and detailed information to manage wildlife and wildlife-related recreation programs, market products, and forecast trends in participation and economic impacts.
The 2011 report was requested by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, coordinated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Survey Branch of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, and administered by the U.S. Census Bureau. The Census Bureau conducted detailed interviews from individuals at 48,627 households across the country to obtain samples of sportspersons and wildlife watchers. Information was collected through computer-assisted telephone and in-person interviews. The Survey is funded through a Multi-State Conservation Grant from the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program.
The Survey is being released in phases – the first report was issued in August 2012 and presented data for the nation as a whole. The final national report will be available in November 2012, and the detailed state reports will be issued on a flow basis beginning in December 2012.
The full State Overview Report can be downloaded at http://library.fws.gov/Pubs/natsurvey2011-prelim-state.pdf.
Connect with the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program:
The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov. Connect with our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/usfws, follow our tweets at www.twitter.com/usfwshq, watch our YouTube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/usfws and download photos from our Flickr page at http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwshq
Precipitation fell across most of the Great Lakes basin on Friday and Saturday, with the exception of the Lake Superior basin which has been very dry so far this month. Temperatures over the weekend were near seasonal averages. Conditions have been dry across the entire region since Saturday, but a cold front moving slowly through the region will likely bring some showers Thursday and Friday. After the front passes, expect dry weather and rebounding temperatures over the weekend.
LAKE LEVEL CONDITIONS
The water level of Lake Superior is 1 inch lower than the level of one year ago, while Lake Michigan-Huron is 9 inches lower than its level of a year ago. Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are 13, 13, and 9 inches, respectively, lower than their levels of a year ago. Over the next month, Lake Superior is forecasted to drop 1 inch from its current level, while Lake Michigan-Huron is expected to fall 2 inches. The water levels of Lakes St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are forecasted to fall 3, 4, and 3 inches, respectively, over the next thirty days. See our Daily Levels web page for more water level information.
FORECASTED MONTHLY OUTFLOWS/CHANNEL CONDITIONS
Lake Superior's outflow through the St. Marys River is projected to be below average for the month of September. 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 September.
Lake Erie's outflow through the Niagara River and the outflow of Lake Ontario into the St. Lawrence River are predicted to be below average in September.
Lake Superior is near chart datum while Lake Michigan-Huron is below chart datum. 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.
ANOKA, Minn. – Sept. 12, 2012 - The award-winning Federal Premium® Ammunition’s Dangerous Game has returned to NBC Sports Network for its eighth season. The show continues the tradition of taking viewers on a thrill ride as hunters use Federal Premium Ammunition to take on some of the world’s deadliest beasts.
Hosted by Jeff Rann and Chris Dorsey, this season features hunters on once-in-a-lifetime hunting expeditions matching wits with the likes of Cape
buffalo, lion, elephant, brown bear, leopard and more. The show has already featured Chris Dorsey traveling to Hungary to take part in a driven boar hunt and another with Dorsey joining David Morris to try and take down a resilient water buffalo.
Dangerous Game airs on NBC Sports Network on Wednesday at 3 p.m. EST starting Sept 5, 2012 and running until January 2, 2013. Catch the prime time airings on Sunday nights at 7 p.m. EST starting October 7, 2012.
Fall colors on national
forests never fail to impress
“Autumn is a wonderful time of the year to plan a trip to see the beauty of your national forests,” said Tom Tidwell, Chief of the U.S. Forest Service. “As tree experts, we have incredible resources on our website to help you plan a great adventure this fall season.”
From coast to coast, state and local economies are boosted because of the fall season and for many rural communities, fall color tourism is a major source of revenue. Hotels, restaurants and local shops rely on the influx of dollars generated by fall visitors. For example, the New England area receives an estimated $8 billion in local revenues annually due to fall activities. Throughout the Midwest, millions of visitors hit the road to enjoy the sights. In the West, the mountains provide destinations filled with tourists seeking a glimpse of shimmering gold aspens.
Weather conditions in all areas impact peak viewing dates, so information provided on the Forest Service website and phone hotline will help visitors best plan their trips.
The Forest Service’s Fall Colors 2012 website includes clickable maps that link to forest-by-forest fall color information and to state tourism and fall color websites. Some of our most popular family friendly features include locations of scenic drives and trails, coloring pages for kids, the science behind the season, and links to a tree database. Photographs from visitors nationwide will be added to the site.
Following tradition, the Forest Service has turned on its Fall Colors Hotline – 1-800-354-4595. The hotline provides audio updates on the best places, dates and routes to take for peak viewing of fall colors on national forests.
The mission of the Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity and productivity of the nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to state and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. Forest Service lands contribute more than $13 billion to the economy each year through visitor spending alone. Those same lands provide 20 percent of the nation’s clean water supply, a value estimated at $27 billion per year.
In Lyndonville, Piffard, Webster, Henderson, Sodus and Oswego
Workshop discussion will include review of the current Bi-National Lake Ontario Lakewide Management Plan and Lake Ontario Area of Concern Remedial Action Plans.
Workshop participants are expected to include local elected officials and planning boards, county agencies and water quality coordinating committees; watershed, lake and outdoor recreation associations; public agency representatives, and private citizens and business owners.
Proceedings of the September workshops’ series on the current condition of the Lake Ontario Watershed Basin, stakeholders’ concerns, and the resources and funding sources needed for implementation of priority projects and planning initiatives will be shared with local, State and federal decision-makers, and posted online at www.nyseagrant.org http://www.nyseagrant.org and www.fllowpa.org.
The free workshops are funded in part by Great Lakes Restoration Initiative
grant for the Lake Ontario Education and Outreach Project. For more
information, contact New York Sea Grant at 315-312-3042 or FLLOWPA at
Areas of Concern:
The Indiana DNR has a message for Chinook salmon anglers this fall: if it’s missing a fin, please turn it in. Specifically, the message refers to a missing adipose fin, which identifies Chinook salmon that are part of a multi-state research project to study the movement of the species in Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.
Anglers this fall on Trail Creek, the Little Calumet system, Salt Creek and the Lake Michigan area near Buffington Harbor and East Chicago should watch for Chinook salmon with a missing adipose fin.
Anglers who catch one are asked to bring the fish’s head to the DNR Lake Michigan fisheries research station at 100 W. Water St., Michigan City, during normal business hours. On weekends, anglers can take heads to Lake Michigan Tackle, 1315 Franklin St., or Chief’s Bait Shop, 1114 W. Fourth St. (US 12), both in Michigan City.
The adipose fin is a small fin on the top of the fish, near the tail.
Since 2011, state agencies in Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois have been clipping the adipose fins of all hatchery-raised Chinook salmon to distinguish them from naturally reproduced fish and to represent that
they have been injected with a small microtag in their snouts.
The microtag has a numeric code that tells researchers where the fish was stocked.
The DNR asks anglers to deliver only the heads of the fish and not the entire carcass. It is important for anglers to provide date of capture, location of capture, length of the fish, and weight of the fish when possible. Cooperation from anglers will provide valuable assistance to biologists working on the research project.
Most of these fish will be 16 to 25 inches long and are from the 2011 year class. This fall will be the first year in which many of those marked Chinook salmon return to streams to spawn.
DNR fisheries biologists will scan the fish head to determine if a tag is present. They will then freeze the head and provide it to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for tag extraction.
During spring 2012, nearly 100 of the Chinooks were collected during the tournament season. For more information, or to arrange the delivery of a fish head, call Brian Breidert at the DNR Lake Michigan fisheries research station, (219) 874-6824.
Registration is open for a DNR program that will teach participants how to hunt whitetail deer in Indiana. Hunt, Fish, Eat takes place at the Monroe County Fairgrounds and is free. The four-session course starts Sept. 20, offering hands-on learning in a safe environment.
Hunt, Fish, Eat is an opportunity for people ages 18 and older to improve their self-reliance skills and to learn to harvest a delicious source of fresh, local meat. Curriculum will focus on laws and regulations, firearms and safety, locating a hunting spot, tracking and field dressing your harvest, and handling and preparing your venison for the table.
Each session will include an opportunity to sample venison recipes from
instructors, as well as examine a variety of hunting gear and resources.
Participants should attend all sessions. The sessions are:
1) Sept. 20: 7-9:30 p.m.
2) Sept. 27: 7-9:30 p.m
3) Sept. 29: 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. (Includes two hours of round-trip travel to Atterbury shooting range.)
4) Oct. 4: 7-9:30 p.m.
Participants should register at http://b3.caspio.com/dp.asp?AppKey=311a100067a5c0d3edd7450b85e8. Participants should register for the first session (9/20/2012) only, but plan on attending all four sessions.
To protect salmon and steelhead spawning runs
The Michigan DNR announced on September 15 that a portion of the lower Betsie River and the eastern end of Betsie Bay (also known as Betsie Lake) will be closed to fishing from October 10, 2012, until further notice to protect the fall salmon run in the Betsie River.
While the closure will not officially go into effect until October 10 – the earliest date it can be enacted under state law -- the DNR is urging anglers to avoid the area. “Anglers walking around on the exposed sand flats are unintentionally spooking fish, causing the fish to beach themselves and die before they can enter the river to reproduce,” said Justin Vanderlinde, DNR C O for Benzie County, where the river and bay are located.
Low water levels in Lake Michigan have caused very low water levels in the east end of Betsie Bay, with sand flats becoming exposed. Because of the extremely low water, Chinook salmon are exposed to high water temperatures and have had a hard time entering the Betsie River to spawn.
The fishing closure will read as follows: “East end of Betsie Bay (or Betsie Lake) closed to fishing from October 10 until further notice. Closure from the Betsie Valley Trail Bridge (former RR trestle bridge) west to a line in Betsie Bay between the westernmost dock of the Northstar Marina and the westernmost dock of the Eastshore Marina (see attached figure). The closed area will be marked with buoys.”
The order declaring the closure will be signed Monday, Sept. 17, 2012. Under state law, 21 days must elapse after the order is published in a newspaper in the affected county or counties before it can take effect. Publication will take place Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012, making the order’s effective date Oct. 10, 2012.
According to Todd Kalish, Lake Michigan basin coordinator, said the Betsie River salmon run is made up mostly of wild, naturally reproduced fish. “The Betsie River is not stocked by the department,” said Kalish. “The Betsie River provides outstanding spawning habitat, particularly for Chinook salmon, and has become famous as a salmon fishing river. The wild salmon produced in the Betsie River provide fishing for many anglers, including those on Lake Michigan, Betsie Bay, and the Betsie River. That’s why it is so important that we allow these fish to proceed upstream to spawn.”
Despite the closure, much of Betsie Bay remains open to fishing. The deeper western and central portions of Betsie Bay will still be open. This includes the publicly accessible fishing piers at the “Open Space” in Frankfort and at Bayfront Park in Elberta. Salmon fishing opportunities can also be found at other nearby areas, including Platte Bay and the Platte River, Manistee Lake and the Manistee River, and Bear Creek.
If Lake Michigan levels remain low, the fall and spring steelhead runs may also be threatened. It is for that reason that the area will remain closed to fishing until further notice. “It may be necessary to keep the area closed in the spring as well to protect the steelhead run,” said Kalish.
People can get ready to enjoy the snow this winter by making snowshoes at a two-day workshop at Lake Carlos State Park Oct. 13 and 14, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Workshop presenters will teach participants how to string the laces on prebuilt wooden snowshoe frames and then demonstrate how to walk in the snowshoes.
“For $75 and a few hours, participants can make and take home a pair of traditional Ojibwa-style (pointed-end) snowshoes,” said Ryan Sansness, assistant park manager. “The snowshoes will not only provide a great way to explore Minnesota’s winter wilderness, but will give participants added satisfaction of knowing they made them.”
The $75 registration fee includes a snowshoe kit and materials. Bindings are not included in the kit, but park staff will demonstrate how to make rubber bindings. Workshop participants should bring their own lunch. The workshop will be held in the park visitor center. A vehicle permit,
available at the park office ($5 for one day or $25 for 12 months), is required.
Class size is limited to 20 people. Registration is required by Sept. 25 to ensure the appropriate quantities and sizes of snowshoe kits are available for the workshop. To register, call the park at 320-852-7200.
Candlelight events set for Jan. 19 and Feb. 23. With new snowshoes in hand, workshop participants and other snowshoers and cross-country skiers are invited to attend the Candlelight events taking place at the park on Jan. 19 and Feb. 23, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. each night.
Weather permitting, participants can ski or snowshoe by the full moon, with candle luminaries set along the trails to guide their path. Then they can warm up by the wood stove and enjoy refreshments provided in the warming shelter.
Other Breaking News Items
(Click on title or URL to read full article)
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Ont. couple seeks
injunction to stop wind-farm expansion
evidence: DNA samples in Lake Erie call for a solution
Lake Erie carp
evidence puzzles researchers
Several theories exist as to why the perch fishing out of South Haven, Michigan is only starting to get good, when traditionally it’s great all summer. One theory blames the early warm-up of the lake this spring, causing spiny water fleas, an exotic invader, to proliferate and perch to find them...
Asian carp & the
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