Week of eptember 22, 2008

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World news

U.S. Soldiers to Celebrate National Hunting and Fishing Day

Sometimes the best way to appreciate a special privilege is to imagine life without it

In recognition of American soldiers serving far from home this autumn, the U.S. Army is hosting a National Hunting and Fishing Day celebration at its Heidelberg Rod and Gun Club near the U.S. military base in Heidelberg, Germany.

 

This lone overseas commemoration of National Hunting and Fishing Day is set for Sept. 27 to coincide with hundreds of events across the U.S. Visit www.nhfday.org  for listings.

 

Congress formalized the day in 1971 as a public reminder that hunters, anglers and shooters are America's premier conservation supporters. Through licenses and excise taxes, they now generate $100,000 every 30 minutes for fish, wildlife and habitat programs.

 

"This year, let National Hunting and Fishing Day also be a remembrance of those whose service to our country will prevent them from joining us afield this fall. On Sept. 27, think about America's outdoor freedoms, their benefits to conservation and the sacrifices that make it all possible," said Denise Wagner of Wonders of Wildlife museum.

 

Jennifer L. King of the Heidelberg Rod & Gun Club advisory council said, "Our event is a volunteer-driven celebration for U.S. soldiers, military civilians, contractors, German sportsmen and their families. National Hunting and Fishing Day is an American celebration but sportsmen everywhere enjoy sharing the camaraderie and traditions of hunting and fishing. We're thrilled that our German community will be joining us."

 

The event will feature informational exhibits, fishing games for

 kids, a BB fun shoot and competition, archery demonstrations and lessons, a trophy show complete with judging and prizes, food, games and attractions.  Along with the fun, King hopes the event will raise awareness of hunters and anglers throughout the military. Many U.S. soldiers stationed at Heidelberg have seen combat in multiple tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. Others have served in places like Kosovo in support of NATO missions.

 

"This is a chance for them to take a break, remember their hunting and fishing experiences back home, and tell some tall tales," laughed King.

 

U.S. Army commanders at Heidelberg provide for hunting and fishing as recreational opportunities for military personnel and their families. Through a special agreement, the German government sponsors fishing courses once a year and hunting courses twice a year for students over 18. Upon completion of the two-month hunting course, followed by written, oral and shooting tests in front of a government hunting board--standard German prerequisites--students qualify for German hunting privileges.

 

King said, "Frankly, I had college classes that were easier than the German hunting course! But, afterward, we greet each other and our German counterparts with the traditional German greeting for hunters and sport shooters, 'Waidmannsheil!'"

 

Visit Heidelberg Rod and Gun Club: www.mwrgermany.com/HD/rod_gun/rod_gun.htm.

 

U.S. Presidents from Richard M. Nixon through George W. Bush have officially proclaimed support for National Hunting and Fishing Day.


National

Four of Ten Freshwater fish species in peril; study

WASHINGTON (AP) –About four out of 10 freshwater fish species in North America are in peril, according to a major study by U.S., Canadian and Mexican scientists. And the number of subspecies of fish populations in trouble has nearly doubled since 1989, the new report says.

 

One biologist called it "silent extinctions" because few people notice the dramatic dwindling of certain populations deep in American lakes, rivers and streams. And although they are unaware, people are the chief cause of the problem by polluting and damming freshwater habitats, experts said.

 

In the Great Lakes, four native species are extinct, three are possibly extinct, two species are threatened and eight are vulnerable, according to the study. The extinct species include the Arctic grayling, blue pike, harelip sucker and deepwater Cisco. All of the Great Lakes species listed as extinct or vulnerable were harmed long ago by excessive fishing, logging practices and dam construction.

 

The grayling was driven from Great Lakes tributaries in the late 1800s by logging and excessive fishing; deepwater Cisco were eliminated by high numbers of smelt and alewives in the mid-1900s; and lake sturgeon, a species listed as vulnerable, were driven to the brink of extinction in the lakes in the 1800s and early 1990s by excessive fishing, logging and dams that eliminated much of their spawning habitat.

 

Sturgeon are recovering in some parts of the Great Lakes; there is a resident population in the Muskegon River that dates back to the pre-settlement era. Repeated efforts to reestablish Arctic grayling in Michigan rivers have failed.

 

The study, led by U.S. Geological Survey researchers, was the first massive study of freshwater fish on the continent in 19 years. An international team of dozens of scientists looked not just at species, but at subspecies -- physically distinct populations restricted to certain geographic areas. The decline is even more notable among these smaller groups.

 

The scientists found that 700 smaller but individual fish populations are vulnerable, threatened or endangered. That's up from 364 subspecies nearly two decades ago. And 457 entire species are in trouble or already extinct, the study found. Another 86 species are OK as a whole, but have subspecies in trouble.

 

The study is published in the current issue of the journal Fisheries, the monthly publication of the American Fisheries Society. Researchers looked at thousands of distinct populations of fish that either live in lakes, streams and rivers or those that live in saltwater but migrate to freshwater at

times, such as salmon that return to spawn.

 

Some vulnerable fish are staples of recreational fishing and the dinner plate. Striped bass that live in the Gulf of Mexico, Bay of Fundy and southern Gulf of St. Lawrence are new to the imperiled list. So are snail bullhead, flat bullhead and spotted bullhead catfish. Sockeye, Chinook, Coho, chum and Atlantic salmon populations are also called threatened or endangered in the study. More than two dozen trout populations are considered in trouble.

 

About 6 % of fish populations that were in peril in 1989, including the Bonneville cutthroat trout, have made a comeback, said lead author Howard Jelks of the U.S. Geological Survey. But one-third of the fish that were in trouble in 1989 are worse off now, said the Gainesville, Fla., biologist.

 

The study includes far more species and populations than those that are on the official U.S. government endangered species list. Jelks said the number of species in trouble was close to double what he expected and that means people should be "considerably worried."  The biggest cause, Jelks said, is degraded freshwater habitat, both in quality and quantity of water for fish to live in. Invasive species crowding out native fish is also to blame, he said.

 

Fish "live in a freshwater habitat that's pretty much under assault by people," said Duke University marine biologist Larry Crowder, who wasn't part of the study. "Things are tanking all around us. When does it have to be bad enough to get people's attention?" Many of the species in trouble or already extinct are small minnows and darters whose absence is little noticed, but they play a vital role in the food chain.

 

Hardest hit is Mexico where nearly half the fish species are in trouble. One in three species in the United States are in peril -- up from about one in five in 1989. About 10 % of Canadian species dwindled. In the United States, the most vulnerable populations are in the Southeast, not counting Florida.

 

In the U.S. 263 fish species are in trouble or are already extinct, and nearly 500 have no problems. The number of fish species and subspecies in North America that went extinct rose from 40 to 61 since 1989.

 

Anthony Ricciardi, a McGill University biologist who was not part of the research, found that about 10 years ago freshwater extinctions were happening at a faster pace than on land or in the sea. And yet few people notice, he said.   "A lot of silent extinctions are happening," Ricciardi said. "What we're doing is widespread, it's pervasive and it's rapid."


Congress approves Great Lakes Compact

Governors Applaud Historic Action to Protect the Lakes

Chicago—The Great Lakes Governors on September 23 applauded members of Congress for boldly acting to protect the Great Lakes--St. Lawrence River Basin. Members of the U.S. House of Representatives passed a joint resolution providing consent to the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact. 

 

Today’s House action follows similar action by the U.S. Senate on August 1 led by Senators Carl Levin (D-Michigan) and George V. Voinovich (R-Ohio).  The resolution now goes to President George W. Bush who has committed to sign it.  These actions complete a historic process to protect the Great Lakes.

 

In December 2005, following a nearly five-year negotiation, the Governors of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin reached agreement on the Compact.  The Compact provides a comprehensive management framework for achieving sustainable water use and resource protection.  The eight Great Lakes States reached a similar, good faith, agreement with Ontario and Québec in 2005, which the Provinces are using to amend their existing water programs for greater regional consistency.

 

During 2007 and 2008, each of the eight Great Lakes State legislatures ratified the Compact.  Today’s Congressional action completes the legislative approval process.  

 

The Compact includes the following points:

► Economic development will be fostered through sustainable use and responsible management of Basin waters.

 

► In general, there will be a ban on new diversions of water from the Basin but limited exceptions could be allowed in communities near the Basin when rigorous standards are

met.  

 

► Communities that apply for an exception will have a clear, predictable decision making process; standards to be met; and, opportunities to appeal decisions; processes and standards do not exist under current law

 

► The States will use a consistent standard to review proposed uses of Basin water.  The States will have flexibility regarding their water management programs and how to apply this standard

 

► Regional goals and objectives for water conservation and efficiency will be developed, and they will be reviewed every five years.  Each State will develop and implement a water conservation and efficiency program that may be voluntary or mandatory.

 

► There is a strong commitment to continued public involvement in the implementation of the Compact. A broad, bi-partisan consensus has been built in support of the Compact.  The Compact was developed in collaboration with regional partners who have also played a key role in its implementation.  Members of Congress, Mayors, local government officials and stakeholders have all been instrumental. 

 

The Great Lakes are a national treasure—important to our nation and the world as both an environmental and economic asset.  Our national economy depends on the Great Lakes for industrial uses, hydropower, maritime commerce, agricultural irrigation and many other uses.  The Great Lakes are also a globally unique and important environmental resource.  The Compact will ensure that the Lakes are used sustainably in order to continue to provide benefits to us all.   

 

For more info: www.cglg.org


House passes energy bill laced with fraud

So-Called Compromise on Offshore Drilling a Sellout

 Washington, D.C.—The House of Representatives on September 16 passed an energy bill to change the federal rules on oil and gas exploration off of the nation’s coastline. Pressured all summer by increasing voter anger over high energy prices, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi presented a bill as a compromise between pro-and anti-drilling forces. The content of the bill, however, delivers only a tiny increase in domestic energy production while dramatically expanding other restrictions.

 

“Anyone who believes this is a pro-drilling bill is fooling themselves,” said Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) Senior Fellow Iain Murray. “It allows a tiny amount of drilling while pushing forward all the fever dreams of the anti-energy environmentalist movement. This is not a compromise.  It is a sell-out to the anti-energy zealots.” Environmental groups oppose giving states further incentive to allow drilling.

 

Federal studies have shown more than 85 % of known offshore oil reserves reside within the 50-mile zone that would remain under a moratorium.

 

The House plan would not allow any sharing of royalties with the states, which would discourage states from approving oil exploration and production 50 to 100 miles from their coasts. Also, rather than returning royalty money to energy consumers, the House plan would give the money to the renewable power industry to subsidize research.

 

The Pelosi bill would:

► Still ban drilling between three miles and 50 miles offshore

► Permanently ban access to about 97 % of the undersea oil lying within 50 miles of the California coast

► Continue the ban on energy production in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico

► Impose a brand-new ban on oil and gas leases in Alaska's coastal waters out to 50 miles

► Not allow states that approve new leases beyond 50 miles to share royalties with the federal government, thus stripping any financial incentive for states to stand up to environmental pressure groups, who will continue to agitate against any new oil and gas operations offshore.

 

“If I didn't know better, I'd think this bill was written by OPEC, since it is designed to prevent U.S. energy companies from competing with Persian Gulf oil producers,” said CEI Senior Fellow Marlo Lewis.

 

Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) criticized Democrats for crafting the bill in secret and withholding copies until nearly 10 p.m. Monday night. He added, “It’s rigged.  And the bill that’s coming to the floor is nothing more than hoax on the American people and they will not buy it.”

 

Although the bill passed the House, it still faces challenges in the Senate. The question of cutting states in on the potential $2.6 trillion in revenue emerged as a major point of contention. Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas) one of the Democrats shepherding the bill through the House, said he expects the upper chamber to cut the states in on the $2.6 trillion windfall in royalties.

 

The bill would also end a congressional moratorium blocking the Department of Interior from starting a leasing program for oil shale in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, giving those state governments the right to decide whether to authorize a leasing agreement.

 

Oil shale is rock laced with organic material that turns into oil under intense heat. Advocates say there could be 1.8 trillion barrels of oil in the shale formations of the three states.


DOI Secretary visits Detroit River Int’l Wildlife Refuge for Signing Ceremony

Plum Creek Bay was added to the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge (Refuge) on Saturday, July 26, 2008. In a signing ceremony with Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne, Plum Creek was transferred from Monroe County to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Plum Creek Bay is comprised of 126 acres of unique coastal wetland habitat that serves migratory birds as they migrate each year through the Great Lakes Flyway and fish that use the wetland as spawning and nursery habitat. With over 90% of coastal wetlands either lost or destroyed in the region, saving places like Plum Creek is critical to the health of fish and wildlife species that depend on coastal wetland areas.


Top 5 Ways to Observe National Hunting and Fishing Day

One of the great annual traditions in the outdoors, National Hunting and Fishing Day, is set for this Saturday, Sept. 27.  For the past 37 years, the day has served as a public reminder that hunters and anglers are America's premier conservation supporters. Through licenses and excise taxes, they now generate $100,000 every 30 minutes for fish, wildlife and habitat programs -- benefiting all citizens who appreciate wild things and wild places.

 

Top 5 ways to observe National Hunting and Fishing Day 2008:

1. Introduce a newcomer to the outdoors.

2. Visit your sporting goods retailer, treat yourself to a new piece of hunting, fishing or shooting gear, then get outside and enjoy it.

3. Attend a National Hunting and Fishing Day celebration in

your area. Many events are posted at www.nhfday.org .

4. Remember those whose service to our country will prevent them from joining us afield this fall. Appreciate the freedoms that make hunting, fishing, shooting and conservation possible.

5. Log on to www.nhfday.org to learn more about the historic conservation leadership of hunters and anglers. Share the story with non-hunters! While online, enter to win a new ATV or bid on National Hunting and Fishing Day commemorative items.

 

Urged by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, formalized by Congress, proclaimed by every U.S. President since Richard M. Nixon, National Hunting and Fishing Day has an official home and national coordinator in Wonders of Wildlife.  Honorary chairman for 2008 is outdoor TV personality Michael Waddell.


IJC May Drop Plan 2007

According to a letter from International Joint Commission U.S. Chairwoman Irene Brooks to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the IJC is looking to drop its proposed Plan 2007.

 

The IJC held several public hearings and obtained thousands of public comments on its proposed water management plan to replace the current system, Plan 1958 D.  Several residents, politicians and activist groups supported Plan B+, a more environmentally minded plan, which was developed in a 5-year, $20 million study.

 

From the letter, quote, “we have now completed our analysis…the hearings and public comments showed serious divisions by political unit and by interest and there was little support for Plan 2007. There was also a broad, strong interest in returning to more natural flows.”  Brooks went on to say that the Commission determined that Plan 2007 was not a practical option for implementation and said that the regulation of water levels and flows should be based on a revised set of goals, objectives and criteria.

The IJC also proposed in the letter to form a working group with representatives from New York, Quebec and Ontario to determine where to go from here.  Initial reaction from Congressman John McHugh, who has supported Plan B+, was positive.

 

“I applaud the IJC for finally recognizing the concerns of community leaders, local residents, and the State of New York, and abandoning plans to implement Plan 2007. I have long advocated for an approach that brings interested parties to the table to identify a solution that recognizes the natural ebbs and flows of the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario. Of chief concern to me has always been implementing a solution that protects the precious natural resources our region has and that are vital to our economic future. I am hopeful we can now move forward in a better direction in the future, and I will continue advocating on behalf our lake and river, and the concerns of local residents.”

 

 


Marad makes 'green' grants

The Maritime Administration has announced two grants totaling $500,000 to underwrite maritime anti-pollution measures.  The Northwest-Midwest Institutes Great Ships Initiative will receive $350,000 to design and validate a cost-effective, reliable method for sampling ballast water in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway system. The introduction of non-native organisms into the Great Lakes from the ballast of deepwater ships has been a sensitive

environmental issue for years.

 

Marad also announced a partnership with the Port of New Bedford, Mass., and a $150,000 grant to test the effectiveness of shoreside electrical power for ships -- cold-ironing -- in reducing harmful vessel emissions while it is in port. Part of the program will look at the use of alternative energy sources for port services.


Regional

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for Sept. 19, 2008

 Weather Conditions

After last weekend's torrential rains, dryer weather set in across the Great Lakes basin for the workweek. High pressure allowed plenty of sun and seasonable temperatures. To date in September, the Great Lakes basin as a whole has received 153% of average precipitation. Dry weather is expected to persist through the weekend into next week.

Lake Level Conditions

Currently, all of the Great Lakes are above their levels of a year ago. Lake Superior is 14 inches higher, Lakes Michigan-Huron and St. Clair are both 11 inches higher, Lake Erie is 4 inches higher, and Lake Ontario is 11 inches higher than its level of a year ago. All of the Great Lakes are predicted to fall during the next month. Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are forecasted to drop 1 to 2 inches, while Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are forecasted to fall 5 to 9 inches over the next month. Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, and Ontario are predicted to remain above their levels of a year ago over the next several months, while Lake Erie is projected to hover around last year's level. 

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions

In August, outflow through the St. Mary's River was slightly

above average, while outflows through the St. Clair, Detroit, and Niagara Rivers were below average. The outflow from the St. Lawrence River was above average.

Alerts

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 Sept 19

 

601.6

 

578.1

 

574.4

 

571.4

 

245.4

Datum, in ft

 

601.1

 

577.5

 

572.3

 

569.2

 

243.3

Diff in inches

 

+6

 

+7

 

+25

 

+26

 

+26

Diff last month

 

-1

 

-1

 

+1

 

-3

 

-10

Diff from last yr

 

+14

 

+11

 

+11

 

+4

 

+11

 


Research vessel Baird remains in dry-dock

During the month of August, the M/V Spencer F. Baird remained in dry-dock at Basic Marine, Inc. in Escanaba, MI. The M/V Baird, christened in September 2006, is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s lake trout stocking and fisheries assessment vessel in the Great Lakes. On July 15, 2008, the M/V Spencer F. Baird entered dry-dock to address paint and mechanical issues covered under the vessel’s warranty.

 

Regional Chief of Hatcheries Todd Turner, Vessel Manager Aaron Woldt, Captain Mike Perry, Marine Engineer Bob Bergstrom, and Seamen Fishermen David Bohn have been working with staff from Basic Marine to address all warranty repairs as well as some optional repairs/upgrades to the vessel. All warranty work was completed in mid-August, with the exception of repairs to the vessel’s trolling gear.

 

The vessel must be back in the water for these repairs to be

finished. Since mid-August, staff have focused their efforts on repairing the vessel’s bow thruster, fuel oil system, air intake to the oxygen concentrator room, zinc anodes on the hull exterior, port propeller, transducer seals, and anti-fouling paint. As currently scheduled, the vessel will leave dry-dock in late September/early October and return to its home port in Cheboygan, Michigan prior to the fall stocking and assessment season in Lake Huron.

 

Since the 1970’s, the Service has contributed to multi-agency lake trout rehabilitation efforts in the Great Lakes by planting hatchery reared lake trout. Rehabilitating native lake trout stocks is consistent with the Service’s goal of building and maintaining self-sustaining populations of native fish species under the “Aquatic Species Conservation and Management” priority of the Fisheries Program Vision for the Future.

 


General

Coast Guard reminds boaters not to anchor in navigational channels

GRAND HAVEN - With salmon season underway, the U.S. Coast Guard reminds operators of small vessels that anchoring in a narrow navigation channel is dangerous and may impede the movement of large vessels, which is covered by federal navigation rules.

 

Rule Nine of the Navigation Rules states that "every vessel shall, if the circumstances of the case admit, avoid anchoring in a narrow channel."  Coast Guard boarding teams may ask any small vessels anchored in navigation channels to weigh anchor and move.

 

While there is no hard and fast rule for what constitutes a narrow channel, one must look at the physical dimensions of the area and the character of use to which the water is put.  While a channel may not appear narrow to the operator of a smaller vessel, it could likely seem so to the operator of a large vessel, especially if there were several smaller boats anchored in the area.  Larger vessels may enter a navigation channel with the expectation that small vessels will not impede movement.  If a large vessel must stop, environmental factors can push these less maneuverable vessels out of the navigable channel and run them aground.

 

Rule 9 also states that "a vessel of less than 20 meters in

length or a sailing vessel shall not impede the passage of a

vessel that can safely navigate only within a narrow channel or fairway."  To determine whether a small vessel represents an impediment to navigation, the Coast Guard might consider the prevailing visibility, the distance to the nearest bend or obstruction and type of fishing gear deployed by the fishing vessel before asking the operator to relocate.

 

"The cooperation of all waterway users is vital for safety, freedom of navigation, protection of the environment, security, and enjoyment of natural resources," said Lt. Cmdr. Rob Hemp, commanding officer of Coast Guard Sector Field Office Grand Haven. "Our top priority is ensuring everyone has a safe and enjoyable time on the water."

 

There are deep draft harbors (14 feet) in western lower Michigan including St. Joseph, Holland, Grand Haven, Muskegon, Ludington, Manistee, Frankfort, and Charlevoix, but the rule protects safety in any narrow navigation channel.

 

Coast Guard Sector Field Office Grand Haven is responsible for the investigation of marine casualties in western lower Michigan.  It is a subordinate command of the Coast Guard Captain of the Port, Sector Lake Michigan, located in Milwaukee, Wis., which is responsible for safety of navigation throughout all of Lake Michigan.


Coast Guard chopper rescues lost hunter

INDIAN RIVER, MI - A lost hunter was rescued early September 13, by a Coast Guard rescue helicopter from Air Station Traverse City. The 61 year old male had been missing since 7 p.m. after splitting up from his hunting party to retrieve their vehicle when he apparently became disoriented in the wooded and swampy area. 

 

The Coast Guard received the call for assistance from the Michigan State Police and the Cheboygan County Sheriff's department at approximately 2 a.m.  After arriving on scene at approximately 4:30 a.m. and searching for almost an hour over the heavily-wooded and swampy area, one of the crew members spotted the hunter below waiving his arms.  The man was hoisted up into the helicopter and transported to Pellston Regional Airport where an ambulance took him to local medical facilities.   Lieutenant John Kirk, one of the pilots on the mission, was both excited and relieved that the mission had a happy ending.  After landing back at the Coast Guard air station, he stated, "There's no better feeling than knowing that you helped save someone's life.  This is what we train to do each and every day."

 

Like every year, this hunting season will usher in unforgiving weather, including colder temperatures and freezing precipitation.  Conditions can change dramatically in a very short period of time.  Hunters should know their limitations

and be in good physical health if heading out into the wilderness and unfamiliar areas.  This hunter's successful rescue emphasizes the importance to properly prepare for your activity, the environment you’re in, and any possible situations that may arise.  Make sure you leave a detailed hunting plan with family or friends, and always hunt or hike with a partner.  Be well prepared by having a detailed map of the area and a means of communication like a cellular phone or 2-way radio, and carry a box of matches, a lighter, a flashlight, or other fire making/signaling signaling device.  

 

Detecting a missing person on the ground can be quite difficult even from an aircraft overhead. To better the chance of detection by rescuers, the following survival equipment is strongly recommended:

 

• 2 Way VHF-FM radio and/or cell phone

• Cold weather survival gear

• Matches, lighter, or other device for making a fire

• Handheld GPS (Global Positioning System)

• Bright Orange Reflective Clothing

• Flashlight, strobe light, or other light-producing signaling device

 

The Coast Guard urges all hunters to take a hunting safety course and always dress and prepare for emergency situations.


Simms to stop using felt in wading soles

DENVER, – Simms president K.C. Walsh announced that Simms would stop using felt as a material for soles on its wading boots effective with the launch of the 2010 line.

 

Walsh said Simms’ decision to do away with felt is a result of the material being implicated in the spread of aquatic nuisance species and fish-killing disease. Walsh noted that anglers have always been among the nation’s first wave of conservationists, and with options to felt now on the market, anglers had a responsibility to both the resource and the tradition of angling to cease their use of felt

 

“We know felt is not the only material that has spread invasive species and disease,” Walsh said, “but felt is surely part of the problem. At Simms, we’ve decided to be part of the solution.”

 

Walsh’s announcement comes as Simms unveils the world’s first fishing-specific Vibram-soled wading boots. For 2009, Simms will offer six boot models, a wading sandal and a wading shoe with soles featuring Vibram Streamtread soles. Additionally, Simms boots and waders are designed with “CleanStream technology,” a design philosophy that uses

materials and production techniques making it more difficult for microorganisms to attach and makes wading gear easier to properly clean.

 

Simms and Vibram have worked together to produce an ultra-grippy, super-sticky rubber sole that works as well as felt in virtually all wet and aquatic conditions. The partnership between Vibram and Simms has resulted in a boot that combines the best performance features of felt with the environmental benefits of rubber. The new soles have been field tested extensively and will perform far, far better than any rubber soled fishing footwear currently on the market.

 

New Zealand has placed a ban on felt boots for the upcoming 2008 season. A number of U.S. states where aquatic nuisance species are found have reportedly discussed the possibility of outlawing felt-soles.

 

Additionally, Simms has agreed to work with conservation organizations and other companies within the fishing industry to develop a certification process to highlight gear designed to help prevent the spread of ANS and disease.


Illinois

Judge tosses lawsuit against FBI’s range

Former Fort Sheridan shooting range to reopen

A federal judge threw out a lawsuit that had shut down the FBI's shooting range in North Chicago because of Lake Michigan pollution concerns.

 

Environmentalists wanted a court order barring the FBI from firing ammunition into Lake Michigan because of possible environmental contamination, especially to North Chicago's water supply. The city's public water intake pipe is within the 2,900 acres of Lake Michigan assigned to the firing range. The lawsuit also asked the court to order a cleanup of the spent shells at a possible cost of more than $35 million.”

 

The lawsuit said the gun range sent bullets into a nearby park and into a lake. The FBI voluntarily closed the facility earlier this year to study any issues, but it will one day reopen after

some improvements. Judge Guzman dismissed the suit declaring The Blue Eco Legal Council lacked standing to sue under the citizen suit provision of the Clean Water Act because they had not proved sufficient harm from the lead in the water supply.

 

Ft Sheridan, a former 632 acre Army installation built in 1896 was originally established as a French trading post in 1670. For 97 years the US Army conducted a firing range at the facility. It was officially closed by Congress on May 28, 1993, but a small 50+ acre remnant remains as a training facility and firing range for government agencies and guests.

 

"We are careful stewards of our property and take great care in ensuring it is safely operated for guests, employees, neighbors and the environment," Chicago FBI Chief Robert Grant said.


Indiana

Indiana to offer youth deer hunting opportunities, Sept. 27-28

Indiana, along with the rest of the nation, will celebrate National Hunting and Fishing Day on Sept. 27.        

       

Getting the right introduction to hunting and fishing ensures a quality experience and the start to a lifetime of enjoyment. Many of today’s hunters and anglers received their first introduction to the two sports from either family or friends as a tradition passed down from generation to generation. A young person's memories of taking that first deer or landing the “big one” that didn’t get away last a lifetime.       

       

To help create such memories, Indiana will celebrate this special day with a two-day event that provides young licensed hunters (age 15 years and younger) who are accompanied by an adult (18 years or older) the opportunity to take one antlerless deer in addition to all other tags for the remaining deer seasons.        

       

Participants may use any legal equipment, including shotgun, rifle, muzzleloader, bow and arrow, or crossbow to harvest deer. Hunter orange must be worn, and the youth hunter must possess a legal license while hunting (either youth

consolidated hunting license or apprentice license).    

 

A youth consolidated license requires the youth to have passed the hunter education course; however, the new apprentice hunting license allows a hunter of any age the opportunity to purchase a license without taking hunter education. Individuals with an apprentice hunter license must hunt with a licensed hunter who is older than 18 years of age, and must stay in contact with the adult hunter at all times.

 

Indiana hunters are limited to three apprentice licenses during their lifetime. This allows plenty of time for a young hunter to decide if they are going to continue hunting. If you plan to continue hunting, you must take a hunter education course.     

       

Nationally, hunters and anglers (34 million), through license fees and excise taxes, generate $100,000 every 30 minutes for fish, wildlife and habitat programs.         

       

For hunting and fishing events in Indiana for youth, go to www.IN.gov/dnr/fishwild/12485.htm.  For more information about National Hunting and Fishing Day go to www.nhfday.org


Michigan

DNR Announces Salmon Available for Local Purchase

As salmon return to state rivers to spawn in the fall, the Department of Natural Resources maintains a number of weirs where the fish are prevented from moving further upstream. DNR personnel collect eggs and milt (sperm) from these fish for fish production facilities.

 

Surplus fish are also collected from the weirs. The DNR has contracted with American-Canadian Fisheries (ACF), a private vendor, to help harvest surplus salmon. ACF pays the DNR a flat rate by the pound for the fish and their eggs that they harvest. When they collect fish in suitable condition, the fish are processed for human consumption.  ACF wholesales the fish to all local distributors that market those fish to the public.  A list of retailers marketing the fish is attached to this press release.

 

Salmon eggs are sold to bait dealers who process the eggs for angler use.  Bait dealers either disinfect salmon eggs

using an approved DNR process to allow them to be sold as

certified Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia-free, which can be used anywhere in the state. If they are not disinfected, they can only be used in restricted areas.

 

"We work closely with ACF to maintain a professional approach to dealing with the returning salmon and to ensure that the harvest is done in the most environmentally ethical way," said Ed Eisch, Northern Lower Peninsula hatchery manager. "The number of fish returning to our rivers is so large that the DNR needs the assistance of private partners like ACF to help in this area of fishery management."

 

There is no fish health consumption warning for mercury in Great Lakes salmon. The Michigan Department of Community Health states that Lake Huron and Lake Michigan salmon can be eaten without restriction by men and recommends no more than one meal per month for women of child bearing age and children.


Deer Management Symposium Sept. 29

The Department of Natural Resources and Michigan United Conservation Clubs have teamed up to host a day-long symposium on The Science of White-Tailed Deer Management.  The symposium will be held on Monday, Sept. 29, at the Comfort Inn Suites, Hotel and Conference Center, 2424 S. Mission St., Mt. Pleasant.

 

The event will feature guest speakers from wildlife management agencies from Missouri, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, along with professors from Wisconsin, New York, and Michigan State University. Topics will include mandatory deer registration; antlerless deer harvest strategies, chronic wasting disease (CWD) impacts, deer/wolf

relationships, urban deer issues, and mandatory antler restrictions. Dr. Michael W. Miller, a nationally-known CWD expert from the Colorado Division of Wildlife will be speaking at the symposium.

 

In addition, there will be a panel discussion on the human dimensions of deer management, including the economic impact of hunting and the relationship of deer and agriculture. Registration begins at 9 a.m. There is a $25 fee that includes lunch.

 

For more info or to register: www.mucc.org , or call Evan Peterson at 517-346-6488.


Ohio

Ohio to stock 25,000 Rainbow Trout

COLUMBUS, OH - Approximately 25,000 rainbow trout, measuring 10-13" in length, will be released into 25 Ohio waterways this October, according to the Ohio DNR.

 

"This annual stocking provides excellent opportunities for anglers to continue fishing through the fall all across Ohio," said Elmer Heyob, hatcheries program administrator with the DNR Division of Wildlife.

 

The trout stocking program targets small inland waters, including state and community park lakes, as well as other easy-access lakes throughout the state. Anglers age 16 and older must have an Ohio fishing license. Fishing licenses can 

be purchased online at www.wildohio.com  and at any of the many license vendors around the state. Ohio residents who were born on or before December 31, 1937 may obtain a free license from any license vendor or from the division's website.

 

The 2008 annual resident fishing license costs $19 and is valid through February 28, 2009. A one-day fishing license may be purchased for $11. The one-day license may also be redeemed for credit toward purchase of an annual fishing license during the same license year.

 

Additional info about fall trout releases is available from Division of Wildlife district offices in Akron, Athens, Columbus, Findlay and Xenia; or by calling toll free 1-800-WILDLIFE.


Wisconsin

Youth gun deer hunt Oct. 11-12

MADISON -- The seventh annual Wisconsin Youth Gun Deer Hunt will be Oct. 11-12, 2008. This special hunt was established to get youth involved in hunting under conditions with low hunting pressure and in a safe and educational setting.

 

“In addition to giving youths their own opportunity to experience the traditions of deer hunting in Wisconsin, there is more time for the mentor to share skills and teach their charges how to hunt safely and ethically,” says Keith Warnke, deer and bear ecologist for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

 

Youth hunters ages 12 to 15 who have successfully completed a hunter education program and possess a gun deer hunting license may participate in this hunt. Youths must be accompanied by an adult 18 years of age or older. Adult mentors may not gun hunt for deer and cannot accompany more than two youth hunters.

 

The hunt will be held in all deer management units (DMUs) statewide, except state parks and non-quota units.

In DMUs designated as Earn-a-Buck (EAB) and in chronic wasting disease (CWD) management units, youth hunters are exempt from the earn-a-buck requirements to tag one buck using their “Gun Buck Deer Carcass Tag” during the youth gun deer hunt. This exemption only applies to the two day youth hunt. During all other deer hunting seasons, youth hunters are required to follow earn-a-buck requirements in DMUs designated as EAB or CWD.

 

Qualified hunters may harvest one buck deer using their only Gun Buck Deer Carcass Tag and additional antlerless deer with the appropriate carcass tag.

 

All deer, turkey and small game hunters, with the exception of waterfowl hunters, are required to meet blaze orange requirements on these two days. For more information on the youth hunt, check the 2008 Wisconsin Deer Hunting Regulations pamphlet.

 

For more info: Keith Warnke - (608) 264-6023

 


Beer legend Bill Leinenkugel dies

CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. — Bill Leinenkugel, who expanded the markets of the tiny Chippewa Falls brewery his family founded in 1867, died Monday after a lengthy struggle with cancer, his family said Tuesday. He was 87.

Mr Leinenkugel made the beer named after his family a household word in Wisconsin and for many sportsmen and tourists who frequented the state.

 


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