Week of October 9, 2006

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National

Change Afoot for Passport Requirements

Passengers with recalled laptops must remove the battery while on board

U.S. Passport requirements have been modified (just last week) to give U.S. travelers more time to get passports if traveling by land or sea to Canada or Mexico. New legislation will support the following changes to U.S. passport requirements:

 

Effective January 8, 2007, all air travel into and out of the U.S., including Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda will require a passport.

 

Effective January 1, 2009 (new extension date), all travel (air, land and sea) into and out of the U.S., including Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda will require a passport.

 

For clarification, crossing the border by air will require a passport after January 8, 2007, but if the crossing is by land or sea, the traveler has until January 1, 2009 to secure a passport.  Travel and commerce groups contended there was not enough time for travelers to secure a passport for all U.S. land border crossings by 2008.

Will a Passport Be the Only Option?

A decision has not been made if a passport will be the only option, but the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of State (DOS) have been mulling over the idea of an alternative document solution for land border crossings between the U.S., and Canada and Mexico.

 

One such idea is to have a biometric card that will be available in much the same way passports are available, but for a significantly reduced cost. Officials in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico are eager to find an easy solution for land travelers that will support security measures, but not impede commerce and tourism between the three nations. Stay tuned for further developments.

 

When Good Laptops Have Bad Batteries

With the recent news of some laptop batteries catching fire, Virgin Atlantic Airways, Korean Airlines and Qantas have created some guidelines for specific laptop models' use in flight. While laptops are not being banned, passengers with recalled models must remove the battery from the laptop while on board.

 


Congress Passes "Disaster Recovery Personal Protection Act of 2006"

Fairfax, VA - The National Rifle Association (NRA) and law-abiding gun owners scored a significant victory yesterday when the U.S. Congress acted to prohibit the confiscation of legal firearms from law-abiding citizens during states of emergency, barring practices conducted by officials in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. This action was included in the Department of Homeland Security

Appropriations bill that passed both chambers of Congress. This bill now heads to President Bush for his expected signature.

 

H.R. 5013, the "Disaster Recovery Personal Protection Act," was passed the House on July 25, 2006 with a broad bi-partisan margin of 322-99, and passed the Senate by 84-16, the largest margin of victory for a NRA-backed measure.


Coast Guard meetings dates on Firing zones in Great Lakes

Cleveland - The Ninth Coast Guard District has submitted a notice of public meetings to the Federal Register,  which contain the schedule, locations and agenda of seven public meetings, to discuss proposed permanent safety zones on the Great Lakes, and to conduct live gunnery training exercises.

 

The purpose of the meetings are to gather information from the public concerning the Ninth Coast Guard District's proposal to establish permanent safety zones located in the Great Lakes. 

 

The meeting schedule is:

(1)  Oct. 16, DULUTH, MN: Duluth Convention Center, 350 Harbor Dr, Duluth, MN; (218) 722-5573

(2)  Oct. 18, GRAND HAVEN/SPRING LAKE, MI: Grand Haven Holiday Inn, 940 W Savidge, Spring Lake (616) 846-1000

(3)  Oct. 19, PORT HURON/MARYSVILLE, MI: Crystal Gardens, 1200 Gratiot Boulevard, Marysville (810) 364-6650

(4) Oct. 23, CLEVELAND: Celebrezze Federal Bldg, 31st fl, 1240 E 9th St, Cleveland; (216) 902-6020.  Need Photo ID.

 

Meeting dates added –exact locations to be determined

(5) Oct. 30, Rochester, NY - Location to be determined

(6) Nov. 1, Milwaukee, WI., Chicago region. Location to be determined

(7) Nov. 3, Charlevoix, MI Location to be determined

 

Schedule of events for all meetings is:

4 -5:30 PM - Open house.  The public can receive information on the proposed zones and ask questions of  Coast Guard officials.

 

5:30-8 PM - Public meetings.  After a brief statement by Coast Guard officials, the public can comment.  Comments will be recorded and entered into the docket for this rulemaking.

 

Topics to be covered during the public meetings are: (1) introduction of the proposed zones and the need to train on the U.S. Great Lakes; (2) how the Coast Guard determined the locations of the safety zones; (3) scheduling and frequency of training in the safety zones; (4) notification procedures; (5) safety procedures; (6) weapons and munitions; and (7) environmental risk assessment overview.  

 

Additional information can be found at the Ninth Coast Guard District's proposed permanent safety zones web sit at www.uscgd9safetyzones.com .  This site is solely dedicated to the pubic distribution of information concerning the Ninth Coast Guard District's proposed permanent safety zones. 

 

For more info: Ninth Coast Guard District Public Affairs Office, Cleveland, at (216) 902-6020.


Regional

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for October 6, 2006

Lake Level Conditions:

Lake Superior’s water level is currently 10 inches lower than it was a year ago, while Lake Michigan-Huron is near last year’s level.  Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are all higher than their water levels of the previous year.  At this time, all of the lakes are in their period of seasonal decline.  Over the next month, Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are expected to fall 1 and 3 inches, respectively.  During this period, the water levels in Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are also projected to drop 5 to 6 inches.  Over the next few months, Lake Superior is expected to remain below last year’s levels, while Lakes Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are predicted to remain near or slightly above the water levels of a year ago. 

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions:

The Lake Superior outflow through the St. Marys River into Lake Huron was below average in September.  Flows in the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers also were below average during September.  Flow in the Niagara River was near average in September, while flow in 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 Oct 6

600.9

577.5

573.8

571.2

245.3

Datum, in ft

601.1

577.5

572.3

569.2

243.3

Diff in inches

-2

0

+18

+24

+24

Diff last month

-3

-2

-3

-2

-3

Diff from last yr

-10

-2

+1

+2

+5

 


Coast Guard meetings dates on Firing zones in Great Lakes

Cleveland - The Ninth Coast Guard District has submitted a notice of public meetings to the Federal Register,  which contain the schedule, locations and agenda of seven public meetings, to discuss proposed permanent safety zones on the Great Lakes, and to conduct live gunnery training exercises.

 

The purpose of the meetings are to gather information from the public concerning the Ninth Coast Guard District's proposal to establish permanent safety zones located in the Great Lakes. 

 

The meeting schedule is:

(1)  Oct. 16, DULUTH, MN: Duluth Convention Center, 350 Harbor Dr, Duluth, MN; (218) 722-5573

(2)  Oct. 18, GRAND HAVEN/SPRING LAKE, MI: Grand Haven Holiday Inn, 940 W Savidge, Spring Lake (616) 846-1000

(3)  Oct. 19, PORT HURON/MARYSVILLE, MI: Crystal Gardens, 1200 Gratiot Boulevard, Marysville (810) 364-6650

(4) Oct. 23, CLEVELAND: Celebrezze Federal Bldg, 31st fl, 1240 E 9th St, Cleveland; (216) 902-6020.  Need Photo ID.

 

Meeting dates added –exact locations to be determined

(5) Oct. 30, Rochester, NY - Location to be determined

(6) Nov. 1, Milwaukee, WI., Chicago region. Location to be determined

(7) Nov. 3, Charlevoix, MI Location to be determined

 

Schedule of events for all meetings is:

4 -5:30 PM - Open house.  The public can receive information on the proposed zones and ask questions of  Coast Guard officials.

 

5:30-8 PM - Public meetings.  After a brief statement by Coast Guard officials, the public can comment.  Comments will be recorded and entered into the docket for this rulemaking.

 

Topics to be covered during the public meetings are: (1) introduction of the proposed zones and the need to train on the U.S. Great Lakes; (2) how the Coast Guard determined the locations of the safety zones; (3) scheduling and frequency of training in the safety zones; (4) notification procedures; (5) safety procedures; (6) weapons and munitions; and (7) environmental risk assessment overview.  

 

Additional information can be found at the Ninth Coast Guard District's proposed permanent safety zones web sit at www.uscgd9safetyzones.com .  This site is solely dedicated to the pubic distribution of information concerning the Ninth Coast Guard District's proposed permanent safety zones. 

 

For more info: Ninth Coast Guard District Public Affairs Office, Cleveland, at (216) 902-6020.


General

Longnose Gar N.C. State Record Broken Again

RALEIGH, N.C. - For the second time in less than three months, the longnose gar state record has been broken in North Carolina- this time by U.S. Marine Sebastian Lankiewicz of Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville.

 

Lankiewicz landed his record-breaker on June 29 while fishing at Rock Quarry Lakes in Maysville. He was using a 7-foot Quantum Boca spinning rod, a Shimano Stradic 2500FH reel and a Rapala crankbait lure. The fish weighed 19 pounds, 10 ½ ounces and measured 49 ¾ in length.

An avid bass angler who would like to turn pro one day, Lankiewicz was fishing for largemouth bass when he noticed a big splash and a fish floating belly up nearby.   After a 20-minute fight, he reeled in the gar on 16-pound test. Lankiewicz's catch surpassed the previous longnose gar record, held since April 16 by James Thomas Bryant of Henderson, by a mere 2 ½ ounces.

 

For a list of all freshwater fish state records in North Carolina, visit the Wildlife Resources Commission's Web site, www.ncwildlife.org .

 

 


 

Illinois

DuPage County Forest Preserve offers trout fishing

Trout season will open at the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County one hour after sunrise on Saturday, Oct. 21. The District will stock three forest preserve lakes with rainbow trout to create better fishing opportunities and maintain a healthy population of this popular game fish.

 

Silver Lake at Blackwell Forest Preserve in Warrenville will be stocked with about 4,200 fish, Deep Quarry Lake at West Branch Forest Preserve in Bartlett with about 2,000 fish and Grove Lake at Wood Dale Grove Forest Preserve in Wood Dale with about 300 fish. To allow the trout to acclimate to their new environments, the three lakes will be closed to all fishing from Sunday, Oct. 1 through Friday, Oct. 20.

 

Anglers ages 16 and older are required to have a valid Illinois fishing license and inland trout stamp in their possession. While the Forest Preserve District encourages catch-and-release fishing, the creel limit is five trout per day, with no length restriction.

The District, in partnership with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, stocks trout as part of its fisheries management program. The presence of this species in a freshwater lake provides more than just sporting opportunities. According to Don LaBrose, the Forest Preserve District’s fisheries biologist, “Trout are very sensitive to any pollutants in the water. When they are doing well, it is a good indication that the water quality is good, too.”

 

To enhance the DuPage angling experience, the District produces a free guide, “Fishing in DuPage County,” that offers more information about fishing locations and regulations. To obtain a copy, call Visitor Services weekdays at (630) 933-7248.

 

With over 25,000 acres, 140 miles of trail and 60 preserves all right at your feet, there's a perfect way to enjoy DuPage County's forest preserves that's just waiting for you. For information, call (630) 933-7200, or visit www.dupageforest.com .


Indiana

Deer Disease hits west central Indiana

A viral disease called EHD appears to be infecting, and often killing, wild white-tailed deer in west central Indiana.

 

Hoosier hunters and hikers have recently been finding and reporting to the DNR an unusual number of dead wild deer in Greene, Clay, Owen, Parke, Putnam, Sullivan, Vermillion, Fountain and Vigo counties. Outdoorsmen and women have discovered as many as 30 dead deer while hiking or canoeing along stretches of streams. Initial investigations by DNR biologists point to a viral disease called EHD (Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease), transmitted by small flying insects called biting midges.

 

DNR biologists have submitted tissue samples to the Purdue Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab for confirmation.

 

EHD causes severe, flu-like symptoms in the deer, including a high fever. This causes infected deer to seek open water in streams or ponds to cool off. Many of the reported dead deer were found near water.

 

Sick deer may lose their appetite, coordination and their fear of 

normal dangers. Animals become dehydrated and progressively weaker, with mouth and eye tissue often showing a rosy or bluish color. A significant percentage of deer that contract EHD die within one to three days.

 

Indiana deer hunters are asked to observe deer they intend to take for a brief time. If the deer's posture or behavior indicates the deer may be sick, don't take it. There appears to be no risk associated with direct exposure to or consumption of an EHD infected deer.

 

Use common sense when cleaning and preparing any deer. Never kill or eat a sick deer. Use rubber gloves. Be sure meat is cooked thoroughly to kill any bacteria or organisms that may be present.

 

EHD usually affects local deer populations until the first hard frost, which kills the biting midges that spread the disease. The last major Hoosier EHD outbreak occurred in southern Indiana in fall 1996.

 

EHD is not normally found in domestic animals, and is not transmissible to humans.


Lethal taking of invasive swans postponed

DNR to try non-lethal methods to manage mute swan population for a year

DNR Director Kyle Hupfer announced today that the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife has determined they can delay the systematic taking of mute swans for a year. As an alternative, the DNR will seek the assistance of local lake management groups and others to implement non-lethal methods of managing the mute swan population.

 

Hupfer said “In dealing with the mute swan or any other invasive species, our ultimate goal is to protect the public, our native wildlife and their habitat. I don’t want residents to think that mute swans do not pose a serious problem. Mute swans have and will continue to threaten our lake ecosystems, native wildlife and humans.

 

 “While we continue to have concerns about the biological impact of the mute swans, our counts indicate we are out in

front of the issue. Because of that, we are willing to give non-lethal methods an opportunity to maintain this problem.”

 

The DNR had looked at the possibility of using lethal means to decrease the mute swan population in northern Indiana. After an aerial survey of the lakes where the swans nest and after discussions with residents of the area, the DNR determined a large-scale lethal taking of the swans was unnecessary.

 

The non-lethal methods to be used in the spring are primarily destruction of the swan nests, egg oiling and egg addling; a technique whereby someone forcefully shakes the mute swan eggs and averts the hatching of mute swan cygnets. Additional steps to be taken by the DNR include public education about interaction with wildlife and more aggressive enforcement on the lakes to prevent deliberate wave running at the birds and other purposeful harassment of the swans.


Michigan

Low Water Levels in Saginaw Bay Hinder Pump Operations

At DNR Managed Wetland Areas

Michigan DNR wildlife officials last week announced low water levels in Saginaw Bay are making pump operations extremely difficult, which will impact waterfowl hunting in those areas. Nayanquing Point State Wildlife Area near Linwood, Fish Point State Wildlife Area near Unionville and Crow Island State Game Area near Saginaw all are being affected.

 

“Waterfowl hunters should expect low water or even dry conditions at several of the impoundments at these managed wetland areas for at least the opening week of the regular waterfowl season and possibly into the second week as well,” said Barbara Avers, DNR wildlife biologist. “Hunters are advised to call ahead for current conditions and be prepared to adapt to hunting in dry or low water conditions.”

 

DNR wildlife offices are listed on the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnr .

Saginaw Bay water levels normally fall in September as a result of seasonal fluctuations. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lists the mean water levels for Lake Huron at 578.0 in July, 577.9 feet in August and 577.6 feet for September. Any water levels below 577.8 feet make pumping efforts difficult because of the lack of water supply to pump stations.

 

Pump operations are affected by the long-term decline in Lake Huron water levels, unfavorable winds that push water out of Saginaw Bay and recent pump replacement in two locations. Over the past few days, winds have been from the south and west, blowing water from the bay into the open waters of Lake Huron.

 

Avers said managers at these wetland areas will continue to operate pumps whenever possible to flood impoundments and to meet management objectives. Fall rains and favorable wind conditions should improve pump operations, she said.

 


Minnesota

DNR seeks comments on experimental walleye regs in Falls area Oct 26

The Minnesota DNR is seeking comments on experimental walleye regulations on Kabetogama, Namakan, Sand Point, Crane and Little Vermilion lakes (Namakan Reservoir).

 

The DNR is hosting public meetings this fall to gather input on the future of walleye regulations on the above lakes.   A meeting will be held in Orr, MN at the City Hall on October 26, 2006 at 7:00 pm.  The forums are intended to provide background information, answer questions, and take public input on the future of walleye regulations on these waters. The meeting will begin with a brief presentation on the current status of the fishery and DNR’s recommendation for future management direction.

Namakan Reservoir walleyes have been protected with a “harvest slot” limit since 1998.  The experimental regulation requires the immediate release of all walleye less than 13 inches and from 17 to 23 inches.  One walleye over 23 inches is allowed in a possession limit of six.  The current walleye regulation, which expires on March 1, 2007 may be modified, extended or dropped.

 

Comments on the walleye regulation review will be accepted at the DNR Area Fisheries Office in International Falls, 392 Highway 11 East; (218) 286-5220; kevin.peterson@dnr.state.mn.us .   All comments must be received by November 6, 2006.

 


Ohio

$1 Million in boating grants available to local communities

COLUMBUS, OH - Approximately $1 million in various community-based boating program grants will be available in the state next year, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

       

Funding for these grant programs is provided by the ODNR Division of Watercraft through the Ohio Waterways Safety Fund, which consists of a share of the state motor fuels tax, watercraft registration and titling fees, and money from the U.S. Coast Guard.

      

The application deadline for Boating Safety Education Grants is October 27. These grants assist local organizations in their efforts to increase boating education and help young boaters meet provisions of Ohio’s mandatory boater education law. In 2006, a total of 26 organizations received $352,661 in boating education program grants. Nearly 10,000 Ohioans have completed an approved boater safety education program in 2006.

Navigational Aid Grants/ Recreation Marine Loan Program

       

November 1 is the deadline to apply for Navigational Aid

Grants and for participation in the state’s new Recreation Marine Loan program. Up to $50,000 is set aside each year by the Division of Watercraft to help local political subdivisions purchase buoys and signs, marking waterways within their jurisdictions. These Navigational Aid Grants require no local match.

 

The Recreation Marine Loan program creates relationships among the Division of Watercraft, marina developers and financial lending institutions to provide increased public dockage for Ohio boaters.

Marine Patrol Assistance Grants

       

Local law enforcement agencies have until December 30 to submit applications for Marine Patrol Assistance Grants. These grants will support local marine law enforcement activities during 2007. In 2006, a record $575,244 was awarded to 29 Ohio law enforcement agencies for marine patrol activities. Application forms and additional information on these and other grant programs are available on the Internet at www.ohiodnr.com , and by calling toll-free in Ohio 1-877-4-BOATER.

 


Wisconsin

Stocking of lake sturgeon continues in Milwaukee River

MILWAUKEE – Twenty-seven fingerling lake sturgeon will be stocked into the Milwaukee River at Thiensville next week as part of a multi-agency effort to restore lake sturgeon to Lake Michigan. State fisheries crews will stock the 8-9" fingerlings, from just below the dam in Thiensville at the Village Park.

 

While this stocking is part of a continuing effort to restore lake sturgeon to Lake Michigan, this release is significant because these are the first sturgeon that were raised on the banks of the river in water from the river, according to Brad Eggold, southern Lake Michigan fisheries team supervisor for the DNR.

 

“These lake sturgeon were produced in a streamside rearing facility located in Newbury and operated in conjunction with Riveredge Nature Center,” Eggold said. Lake sturgeon stocked on 10 previous occasions were raised at the Wild Rose Fish Hatchery. “The primary benefit of using a streamside rearing facility is lake sturgeon will be raised on a native water source throughout their entire early life. This maximizes their ability to imprint to this water source and should greatly improve the odds that, at maturity, the sturgeon will return to the Milwaukee River to spawn, which is the ultimate goal.”

 

A streamside rearing facility is basically a mini-hatchery. Water is drawn from the Milwaukee River, pumped into sand filters

and then into an 8 by 20 foot trailer that contains four fish raceways capable of holding a total of 1,500 lake sturgeon.

 

The stocking of lake sturgeon into the Milwaukee River began in the spring of 2003. In addition to this year’s batch of fingerlings past stockings have included an additional 3,000 fingerlings; 19 adult sturgeon with radio transmitters; 400 yearlings, or year-old fish; and 64,000 lake sturgeon larvae. The project is funded through a cooperative effort among agencies and public partners.

 

Eggold said the project is evidence of the growing health of the Milwaukee River and the strength of Wisconsin’s lake sturgeon management program, which is 102 years old this year. Having protected and nurtured in Lake Winnebago what is now the world’s largest lake sturgeon population, the program is focusing on restoring lake sturgeon in other parts of its original range in Wisconsin.

 

Lake sturgeon can grow to 200 lbs and live 100 years. Female sturgeon don’t start spawning until they are 20 to 25 years old, and males start at about 10 years old.

 

Getting to adulthood will be a challenge for the sturgeon, Eggold said. DNR surveys of the river reveal good habitat for yearling fish, overwintering and spawning, but the lake sturgeon must first survive these initial months, and then subsequent years of eluding predators and finding sufficient food.


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