Week of October 18 , 2004




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Your help is needed

Help keep the Asian carp out of the Great Lakes


A second larger, longer-life barrier is now under construction, but the cost of the design exceeds available funds by $1.8 million.


Illinois has contributed $2 million to the project, but the other Great Lakes Governors say they are not able to contribute the balance – $1.8 million. Their states do not have the money. The need for the additional $1.8 million is critical.


Contributions from any non-federal source will help. That’s where clubs, individuals and corporate America can help


Use of Contributed Funds

Funds will be held by the Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council

and distributed based on the direction of a board of non-agency trustees including the president of the GLSFC.


All contributions are tax deductible and will only be used to:


1)      Implement the Asian Carp Rapid Response Plan

2)      Improve or operate Barrier I

3)      Construct and operate Barrier II


Send your donations to:

GLSFC – carp fund

P.O. Box 297

Elmhurst, IL  60126


Or use our PayPal for credit card donations.  Go to www.great-lakes.org/carp

Asian Carp Prevention - The effort continues

Our Asian Carp fund drive continues, and with many clubs beginning to hold their monthly meetings again, our drive picks up momentum.  But we need your help.  If the states do not pick up the tab for the missing $1.8 million and the feds don’t appropriate the necessary funds to keep this program alive, we are the ones that will feel the impact of any invasion of Asian carp.  It’s our resource – and recreation, that will be affected.


We need everyone to help.


 Asian Carp and other invasive species are approaching the Great Lakes via the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. You may have seen video clips of these jumping fish on TV. These large plankton-eating fish have the potential to wreak havoc on the Great Lakes ecology and our recreational fisheries. Although it is unlikely they would be come abundant in the middle of the lake, they almost certainly would do well in near shore areas, river mouths and shallow productive bays. Not only would this add an undesirable component to the ecosystem but these fish add an element of personal risk to boaters and others using recreational watercraft. We must do whatever we can to keep these fish out of the Great Lakes.


The electric fish barrier in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal stops the passage of large fish. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built this as a temporary project with only a three-year life span.   The three electrodes in this barrier are expected to wear out in about April 2005. One is already gone, the second will probably break down by the end of the year.


Asian carp have been captured only 22 miles downstream of the barrier. Involved agencies have a monitoring plan in place to determine the leading edge of the Asian carp population as they move closer to the barrier site and are working on a rapid response plan to kill the fish if they begin to accumulate in number below the barrier.


A second larger, more powerful barrier has been designed and construction is scheduled for completion by December 2004. However, the cost of the barrier design to stop Asian carp from entering the lake exceeds the available funds by $1.8 million. We need funding to help support construction of the barrier and to help pay for the rapid response plan if it has to be used.


We Need Your Help to Protect the Great Lakes


The Second Barrier

A second larger, longer-life barrier is scheduled for completion by the end of this year,  but the construction cost exceeds the available funds by $1.8 million. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers program under which the project is being constructed limits the federal contribution to the project to $5 million.


The State of Illinois has already contributed $2 million to the project and it will be difficult to obtain the entire balance from a single entity. Governors of most of the other Great Lakes do not feel they are able to contribute the balance of the funds at this time, yet the timing of these additional contributions is critical. If the funds can not be secured the cost of construction will increase by 30% or 

more and we will not have the two-barrier system needed to prevent small Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes until the second barrier is complete.


We are applying to other sources for the needed funds, but every contribution from any non-federal source will help.


Asian Carp Rapid Response

A Rapid response Committee has developed a Rapid Response Plan to address the presence of Asian carp in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal if they begin to congregate below the existing barrier before the second barrier is completed.


The Asian Carp Rapid Response Plan would involve eliminating Asian carp from 5.5 miles of the Sanitary and Ship Canal. Current estimates for implementation of the plan place the cost at about $450,000. There are 18 agencies involved in the response planning effort but none of them has the funds to enact the plan if it is needed. Funding for the plan is not covered in any Congressional Act or other agency mission. The response plan is a vital action which must be used if the carp appear in the Canal before Barrier II is in place.


We need your financial support to help keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. The most immediate need is to gather enough money to make the rapid response happen if it is needed. The large-scale response if needed would most likely occur this fall. Once Barrier II is online the response would be scaled back to treat the 1000 ft distance between the barriers if fish were found between the barriers.


The second use for the funds would be to maintain and improve Barrier I. Barrier I will still be needed after Barrier II is built. We need your help to ask Congress to extend that authorization indefinitely and to provide the Corps with the directive to construct improvements to Barrier I. These improvements would increase the effectiveness of Barrier I and the service life of the project. Right now, the Corps of Engineers does not have the authority to operate Barrier I after September 2005.


Use of Contributed Funds

The collected funds will be held by the Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council and will be distributed based on the direction of a board of non-agency trustees including the president of the GLSFC. All contributions are tax deductible and 100 %  of the contributions will be used towards Asian carp prevention. Contributions will be used to:

1)         Implement the Asian Carp Rapid Response Plan

2)         Construct Barrier II

3)         Improve or operate Barrier I

The funds will not be used for agency labor or overhead and will not be used for research. Collected donations will be used to pay for barrier construction, carp control chemicals or if


Congress OKs new money to build electric barrier to protect Great Lakes

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. House and Senate have approved spending more than $9 million for an electric barrier that would keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes.   Just before last week’s appropriations bill was passed by both houses of Congress, area lawmakers succeeded in getting another $1.8 million for the $9.1 million project, nearly eliminating a $2.4 million shortfall.


The measure, which passed the House 377-36 and unanimously in the Senate, allows the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to spend up to $6.8 million in federal funds and $2.2 million in state funds for an electric barrier in the Chicago Ship and Sanitary Canal, which connects the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River.


The temporary electrical barrier that has been in place in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal since 1996 near Lockport, Ill

is close to the end of its expected service life.  Construction of a new, permanent barrier began in the spring but the corps needs more money to finish the project, said U.S. Rep. Vernon Ehlers, R-Mich.


Ehlers said Asian carp, which already have infiltrated the Mississippi River, can grow to 150 lbs and eat 40 % of their body weight each day. If the fish enter the Great Lakes, they could devastate the ecosystem and endanger the sport and commercial fishing industries, Ehlers said.


The allocation brings the federal government's investment in the project to $6.8 million. It earlier committed $5 million. Ohio Gov. Bob Taft, chairman of the Council of Great Lakes Governors, said he will ask Great Lakes states to cover the remaining $600,000, a considerably easier task than when he was trying to get the states to collectively come up with $1.8 million a few months ago. It was uncertain if Illinois, which previously committed $1.7 million, will allocate more.

Corps and EPA Announce Carp Barrier Construction to begin in two weeks

To be completed by April, says Ass’t Secretary of Army

After more than a year of false starts and financial difficulties, regional and federal officials stated construction is expected to begin within the next two weeks on the new, more powerful electric barrier designed to keep Asian carp out of the  Great Lakes.  Construction by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be completed by April, said Assistant Army Secretary for Civil Works John Paul Woodley Jr.


USEPA Administrator Mike Leavitt and Secretary Woodley announced last Wednesday that a funding package has been assembled to allow construction of an enhanced barrier to keep the invasive Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. Read the full story to get the details.


Leavitt was in Chicago for a press event

highlighting the recent success in securing funding for the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal dispersal barrier. "Asian carp can completely disrupt the biodiversity and ecosystem of the lakes," said Leavitt. "We've got to stop them where they are."


Carp now account for about 75% of the bio-mass in the river near Downstate Beardstown”, said Joel Brunsvold, Director of the Illinois DNR.


Back in May, some five months after federal, regional and state officials and the Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council held a groundbreaking press conference on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal near Romeoville, it appears they now have cleared most of the political and logistical roadblocks that kept the project in bureaucratic limbo.


Officials have obtained most of the money required to complete the permanent barrier which will be built in addition to the temporary barrier in the canal that is corroding and on its last legs.  Last week, when they gathered on the bank of the Chicago River where the river meets the lake, to celebrate the latest round of money for the project, they acknowledged they are about $600,000 short of the $9.1 million needed.


The U.S. House and Senate voted to increase the cap on federal spending for the project, authorizing $6.825 million, which is 75% of the $9.1 million needed to complete the barrier.  Illinois has committed $1.7 million, and it was anticipated the other Great Lakes states will fund the remainder of about $600,000. Brunsvold, said “I am confident that other Great Lakes states will raise the rest. Michigan's Sen. Patti Bercholz had approval from Governor Granholm to commit a $100,000 to the project,  and Ohio’s DNR Director Sam Speck has also promised to come up with some funds.”

Asian carp are a significant threat to the Great Lakes because they are large, extremely prolific, and consume vast amounts of food. Asian carp are well-suited to the climate of the Great Lakes region, which is similar to their native Eastern

Hemisphere habitats. If they entered the system, they would compete for food with the valuable sport and commercial fish, and could become a dominant species in the Great Lakes.


The increased funding means the second, permanent electric barrier planned for the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal can be built as originally planned. This barrier stretches two rows of electrodes across the canal approximately 220 ft apart. The electrodes pulse DC current into the water; fish will turn back rather than pass through the electric current. Funding will cover construction of  two control houses so that the two sets of electrodes - primary and backup - can be operated simultaneously. Funding also covers design changes to provide a stronger, more consistent electric field.


Two species of Asian carp -- the silver and the bighead -- escaped into the Mississippi River from southern aquaculture facilities in the 1980s and significantly expanded their range during large floods in the early 1990s. Steadily, the carp have made their way northward, becoming the most abundant species in some areas of the Mississippi, out-competing native fish, and causing severe hardship to the people who fish the river. The Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal connects the Mississippi River to the Great Lakes via the Illinois River. Recent monitoring shows the carp to be in the river within 50 miles of Lake Michigan.


Agencies and stakeholders will continue to work to prevent the migration of Asian carp and other invasive species through the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal Aquatic Nuisance Species Barrier Project. Partners in this effort include: Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, USEPA, USFWS, Council of Great Lakes Governors, Commonwealth Edison, the Dispersal Barrier Advisory Panel, Great Lakes Fishery Commission, Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council, Illinois DNR, International Joint Commission, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Wisconsin Sea Grant, and other state, nongovernmental, and academic partners.


President Bush issued an Executive Order in 2004, which called for convening a body of regional and national leaders to work towards common environmental goals. That body, comprised of a Federal Task Force, members of the Great Lakes States, Local Communities, Tribes, Regional bodies, and other stakeholders is charged with working together to solve the problem of invasive species as well as other environmental challenges in the region.


On Dec. 3, Great Lakes Governors, certain members of the President's Cabinet, Members of the Great Lakes Congressional Delegation, Great Lake Mayors and Tribal Leaders will meet in Chicago to convene the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration. The Conveners Meeting will provide a forum for the region's leaders and interested stakeholders to publicly and formally declare that the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration will serve as the mechanism to develop a widely understood and broadly supported strategy to further protect and restore the Great Lakes.

Snakehead fingerlings found in Potomac

Angler finds proof snakeheads reproducing in the Potomac River

Scientists' worst fears about the northern snakehead have been confirmed: The voracious predator is reproducing in the Potomac River. Biologists came to that conclusion  last week after a baby snakehead turned up.


A fisherman pulling his boat out of Dogue Creek near Fort Belvoir on Sept. 29 noticed a slender, 3” fish flopping in a mat of hydrilla that fell to the ground from this he trailer. The angler notified the Virginia Dept of Game and Inland Fisheries, which confirmed the fingerling was indeed a juvenile snakehead.  It was the 19th snakehead caught in a 14-mile freshwater stretch of the Potomac below Washington since May 7.


Until last week, all the fish captured by biologists or fishermen had been adults. Of particular concern was the fact that several were mature, egg-bearing females.  The question now is how a growing population of snakeheads will affect the Potomac ecosystem. The fish, which can grow to 40” and weigh up to 15 lbs, eat other fish and frogs--practically anything they can catch.


Other agencies coordinating work on the river's snakehead problem include the U.S. Geological Survey, Maryland DNR, USFWS, Potomac River Fisheries Commission, Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin and Smithsonian Institution, which has been doing genetic studies on the captured fish.


In Dogue Creek--snakehead ground zero in Fairfax County,

where almost half of the fish have been caught--a waterfront resident in June reported seeing two fish resembling snakeheads displaying mating behavior in a nest near the shore.  Since then, biologists have strongly suspected that the fish were breeding in the vicinity, but conclusive proof--a baby snakehead--has eluded them until now.


In August a crew from the game department's Fredericksburg office caught its third snakehead in the river with electroshocking equipment. It was a 19 ˝”, 2 lb female with eggs.  The first snakehead caught in the Potomac came from Little Hunting Creek, a Virginia tributary upstream from Mount Vernon. That triggered a multijurisdictional effort to determine how many were in the river, and whether they were reproducing in the wild.


In their native habitat in Asia and Africa, northern snakeheads spawn in shallow, weedy waters. That's a perfect description of the freshwater upper reaches of the tidal Potomac, which is lined with lily pads, American lotus and hydrilla.


Biologists suspect that live fish imported for their tasty flesh, or unwanted aquarium pets, were tossed into the river. In October 2002, federal officials made it illegal to import or transport snakeheads. Virginia made them illegal to possess in January 2003.


Snakeheads have also been found in waters in California, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. The northern snakehead is the only one of over a dozen varieties of the species able to survive Washington-area winters.

Bush Administration Creates New Wildlife Refuge in Minnesota

35,000 Acre Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge to Preserve Tallgrass Prairie

St. Paul, Minn. -- Thirty-five thousand acres of wetland and tallgrass  prairie habitat in Minnesota has become the nation’s newest National  Wildlife Refuge as a result of action taken today by Interior Secretary  Gale Norton and USFWS Director Steve Williams, moving forward the largest tallgrass prairie and wetland restoration  project in history.  The new Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge, located near Crookston, in northwest Minnesota’s Polk County, will become a major waterfowl breeding and nesting area. 


Currently, less than 1% of Minnesota’s original prairie habitat is still in existence. The refuge will provide critical habitat for declining grassland birds, greater prairie chickens, sandhill cranes and other wildlife, as well as the endangered western prairie fringed orchid.   Norton  announced the decision at the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul after flying over the new refuge earlier in the day with Governor Tim Pawlenty.


Glacial Ridge becomes the 545th refuge in the National Wildlife Refuge System, a national network of lands and waters managed by the USFWS to conserve, manage, and restore fish, wildlife and plant resources and their habitats for the benefit of present and future generations.  Refuge status provides greater public opportunity for hunting, fishing and other wildlife dependent recreation.


 The Nature Conservancy, a non-profit conservation organization, will  donate about 2,000 acres of land that will become the first parcel of the  new Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge.  The Nature Conservancy will formally transfer the land on October 26th at an event in Crookston.


 The new refuge is officially established upon last week's approval of the Land Protection Plan for the area by Director

Steven Williams.  This approval allows the FWS to acquire lands located within the refuge boundary either through donation or purchase from willing sellers. Funding for additions to the refuge, estimated to be between $3 million and $4 million over the next decade, will come from fees generated through the existing Federal Duck Stamp Program.


Crookston city officials have expressed support for the proposed refuge,  which is adjacent to the city’s drinking water wells. The establishment of  the refuge will protect the city’s water quality.  In addition, both the  Red Lake Watershed District and the Sand Hill River Watershed District  support the project for its contribution to flood control along the Red River.


Over the last 30 years, much of the proposed refuge area has been drained  or converted for agricultural purposes. One of the goals of this refuge is  to restore up to 12,000 acres of wetlands and 14,000 acres of tallgrass  prairie upland habitat.  To date, the Wetland Reserve Program (WRP) has  provided funding to restore 13,000 acres of wetlands.  WRP is a program administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource  Conservation Service.



Of the 35,000 acres that will eventually make up the refuge, 24,140 acres are currently owned by The Nature Conservancy.  The remaining acres are owned by private landowners and/or managed by the State of Minnesota.  The  Nature Conservancy will donate 2,000 of its acres to the FWS.  In addition, The Nature Conservancy has established an endowment fund that  will make sure local governments continue to receive the full value of property taxes currently paid on the private property.


Initially, the new Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge is to be managed  by staff from the Rydell National Wildlife Refuge, located eight miles  south of Glacial Ridge, in Erskine, Minnesota.


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for October 15, 2004

Current Lake Levels: 

Currently, all of the Great Lakes are higher than the levels of a year ago, ranging from 3 to 10 inches higher than last year’s levels.  Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, and St. Clair are below their long-time averages by 3, 13, and 4 inches, respectively. Lake Erie is at its long-term average and Lake Ontario is above its long-term average by 4 inches. 

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions: 

The Lake Superior outflow through the St. Marys River into Lake Huron is expected to be near average during the month of October.  Flows in the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers are expected to be below average in October. The Niagara and St. Lawrence River flows are projected to be above average for the month of October.


Temperature/Precipitation Outlook: 

Cool temperatures, occasional rain showers and blustery winds are expected in the Great Lakes basin this weekend.  Skies should clear by Monday, allowing temperatures to climb into the upper 50s and low 60s for most of next week.


Forecasted Water Levels: 

Lake Superior has reached its seasonal maximum level and is expected to drop by 2 inches over the next month.  Lake Michigan-Huron is in its seasonal decline and its level is expected to fall 2 inches over the next month.  Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are also continuing their seasonal decline and are expected to drop by 4-7 inches over the next month.



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.

Sea of manpower waste trying to protect the Great Lakes

Too many people and too many groups scattered across the Great Lakes with no real direction


I spent three years on the Great Lakes Commission (comprising members from eight states and two provinces of Canada) in political harmony with my fellow commissioners, other bureaucrats, basin custodians and managers. We gave endless speeches on everything included in the almanac of Great Lakes politics. The topics covered were always the same: cleaning up toxic hot spots, shutting the door on aquatic invasive species (Asian carp, zebra mussels, eels, gobies), controlling non-point source pollution, restoring and conserving wetland critical coastal habitat, ensuring the sustainable use of our water resources and enhancing the commercial and recreational value of our waterways.


It was a lot like a church made up only of a choir. We took turns singing and preaching to the choir, and (of course) spending funds budgeted for our endless attempts at enlightening each other.


As a boating magazine publisher and the owner of a lakeside home, protecting the Great Lakes has long been a top priority in my personal and professional life. Therefore, the opportunity to bring both riparian rights as well as other concerns of boaters to the attention of the Great Lakes Commission was by far the high point of my political endeavors. The disillusionment came quickly, however, and far outweighed my earlier enthusiasm for the causes. There are too many people and too many groups scattered all across the Great Lakes with no real direction as to what to do first and how to go about getting started.


In the future, as we face continued challenges in allocating worth to issues as varied as hydropower and personal consumption, how can this multitude of groups come together 

to benefit the Great Lakes without wasting any more time and money? No one has a clue as to how to prioritize all the concerns raised among the various groups, integrate them and help make useful, bold steps.


President Bush recently created an Interagency Great Lakes Task Force to bring together U.S. Cabinet and agency heads to coordinate the restoration of the Great Lakes. Currently, 10 different agencies administer more than 140 federal programs. I worked primarily on two programs of one such agency -- a small but important part of the picture. The efforts to restore the greatness have thus far been fractured, wasteful, and resulted in a lot of different voices asking for basically the same thing in about a thousand different ways.


We need a Great Lakes political czar to manage the affairs of the Great Lakes in the United States, as well as one in Canada. We need one person to coordinate the hundreds of people dedicated to restoration to effect true change. Enough is enough. It's time to consolidate, cut the waste and integrate the many varied efforts into one strong political force.


Fortunately, many groups, such as the International Joint Commission, the Council of Great Lakes Governors, the Great Lakes Commission, the Great Lakes Cities' Initiative, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Coast Guard, and the Great Lakes Fisheries Commission have one thing in common: people dedicated to the restoration, protection and preservation of our most valuable natural resources.


We all know that we have to preserve and protect the Greatness, but isn't there a limit to the endless tune that we sing over and over and over? Can't we consolidate all of these many meetings into a handful every year?


 Dikmen ( [email protected] ) is a former member of the Great Lakes Commission and publisher of Great Lakes Boating magazine.


SHOTSHOW.tv to Debut in December

Broadband network will bring SHOT Show to the public

STAMFORD, Conn.—The Convention and Trade Show Television Network (www.cts-tv.com ) and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) announced the first-ever broadband television channel dedicated to a specific trade show or convention. SHOTSHOW.tv will debut Dec. 1, 2004, as a preview for the 2005 SHOT Show, the world’s premier and largest trade show for the shooting and hunting industry. The show is slated for January 28-31 in Las Vegas.


After the show, SHOTSHOW.tv will be distributed on the Internet via broadband technology available to computers in over 100 million homes worldwide. In the U.S., over 40 million households are presently viewing video via high-speed Internet access. Viewers of SHOTSHOW.tv can select from a vast menu and access on-demand video at no cost. Video will be continuously streamed 24 hours per day. The programming line-up will feature everything from newly launched products to various educational workshops and seminars that occurred at the 2005 SHOT Show.


This year, SHOT Show (www.shotshow.org ) was recognized among America’s fastest-growing trade shows. Open only to exhibitors and buyers engaged in industry commerce, the 2005 show is expected to attract nearly 30,000 industry professionals and 1,600 exhibitors.

“We are delighted that the energy and excitement of SHOT Show now can be extended to the public through SHOTSHOW.tv. The broadcast will serve as a catalyst for shooters and hunters to learn about new products and services that can help them further enjoy their sports,” said Doug Painter, president of NSSF.


“The passion that America’s hunters and shooting enthusiasts feel about their sport will fuel a great interest in the channel,” said Peter Englehart, president of the Convention and Trade Show Television Network (CTS-TV). “For our company to begin with such a base of built-in interest made televising SHOTSHOW.tv a natural for our first network project.”


CTS-TV is a newly launched Connecticut-based company specializing in dedicated broadband television channels for the convention and trade show industry. For more information, visit www.cts-tv.com .


NSSF, formed in 1961, is the non-profit trade association for the firearms industry. It directs a variety of outreach programs to promote greater participation and a better understanding of shooting sports, emphasizing safe and responsible ownership of firearms. For further information, visit www.nssf.org .

Mepps Makes Squirrel Tail Recycling Easy

Antigo, WI – Sheldons’, Inc maker of the World famous Mepps Spinner, is again asking hunters to please save their squirrel tails.  The tails are used to dress the hooks of many of their bass, trout, panfish and walleye Mepps lures, the original French spinner. 


Mepps has been buying fox, black, and grey squirrel tails for more than three decades, and will pay up to 26 cents each for tail, depending on quality and quantity. The cash value is doubled if the tails are traded for Mepps lures.


“Hundreds of other materials, both natural and synthetic, have been tested,” says Jim Martinsen, Mepps spokesman, “but few materials work as well. Mepps is only interested in recycling tails taken from squirrels that have been harvested for the table,” Martinsen stresses. “We do not advocate taking squirrels strictly for their tails.”


If you would like to exchange the tails for Mepps lures, their

cash value is doubled.


For all good quality tails Sheldons’ will pay the following:

  Gray, Fox & Black Squirrel Tails

     under 100--16˘ each

     over 100--19˘ each

     over 500--21˘ each

     over 1000--22˘ each


  Premium Tails

     under 100--20˘ each

     over 100--23˘ each

     over 500--25˘ each

     over 1000--26˘ each


To receive a current Mepps Fishing Guide featuring all of the details on the Mepps Squirrel Tail Recycling Program, a wealth of fishing tips, and to see the entire line-up of Mepps products, either visit our web site or call 800-713-3474. Mepps, 626 Center St., Antigo, WI  54409-2496.


Please note: It is illegal to sell squirrel tails in CA, ID, OR, & TX



Sportsmen Sue to Defend  New Jersey Bear Hunt        

Trenton, NJ - The nation’s leading sportsmen’s rights organization headed to a New Jersey court last week to protect that state’s 2004 bear hunt. 


The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation and its Sportsmen’s Legal Defense Fund (SLDF), along with the New Jersey Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs and three individual sportsmen filed the suit in New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division, in Trenton. 


The suit was prompted by the actions of Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bradley Campbell.  He ordered the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife to not release 2004 bear hunt permit applications and to not issue permits for the hunt.  The independent New Jersey Fish and Game Council, which statutorily sets hunting seasons, had earlier in the year authorized a carefully regulated and limited hunt for December 6 to 11.


“Commissioner Campbell’s action is illegal.  He does not have the authority to interfere with, ignore or fail to administer the Council’s decision to hold a bear hunt,” said Rob Sexton, vice president for government affairs for the USSA Foundation.  “His order was not based on wildlife science, facts, or agency expertise but on his own personal and political bias against bear hunting. We are asking the court to let the professional wildlife managers do their jobs.”


Wildlife biologists have determined that a limited hunt is

necessary to control the burgeoning bear population in the state.


“There is more at stake than bear hunting,” said Sexton.  “Commissioner Campbell’s decision to not issue the permits sets a precedent that a political official can overrule the wildlife management decisions of the Fish and Game Council, which for decades has successfully set New Jersey hunting and fishing seasons.”


In late 2003, the USSA Foundation successfully fought three suits to defend New Jersey’s first bear hunt.   The Foundation was aware that it might face a repeat performance in 2004.


 “We are in business to represent sportsmen against illegal and unethical actions that would destroy over 100 years of successful conservation programs,” said Sexton.  “We are proud to stand with the New Jersey Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs to do whatever is necessary to protect New Jersey sportsmen and the principles established by the Fish and Game Council.”


The USSA Foundation’s Sportsmen’s Legal Defense Fund is the nation’s only litigation force that exclusively represents sportsmen’s interests in the courts.  It defends wildlife management and sportsmen’s rights in local, state and federal courts.  The SLDF represents the interests of sportsmen and assists government lawyers who have little or no background in wildlife law.


Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan Egg collection under way

More than 1,250 Chinook salmon were harvested from the Strawberry Creek collection pond at Sturgeon Bay, WI last week.


Because only about 25 % of the females were ripe, all 821 of them had eggs taken for a bait contractor. Fish under 31˝" were delivered to Paul’s Pantry, and larger ones to a fish fertilizer plant near Algoma. About 600 lbs of chinook flesh was taken to a raptor rehabilitation facility near Antigo to feed injured eagles and other birds of prey.


The DNR held its first harvest for state hatcheries at Strawberry Creek, which uses a pipeline and pump to bring water from the Sturgeon Bay canal to the site. For the second straight year, the Besadny egg collection facility west of Kewaunee will be only a backup for chinook harvest. Eggs will be taken from any coho salmon that make the trip up the Kewaunee, and brown trout (and possibly cohos) will be electro-shocked for hatchery needs farther downstream.


Michigan DNR employees at the Little Manistee Weir took more than 1,000 fish from the Little Manistee. The DNR’s annual Chinook egg harvest, which supplies all the 7.5-million king salmon used for planting in the Great Lakes each year,

started on Sept 30.


It takes about 240 female salmon to reach the department’s one-million-egg quota each day. As each female fish is lifted over a bucket, a needle is inserted into its belly, pushing compressed air into the body cavity and forcing out the eggs. Each bucket is numbered so the workers can keep track of the eggs.


After the eggs are taken, the female fish is sliced from gills to gullet and its kidneys examined. If the kidney shows signs of bacterial kidney disease (BKD), the bucket with that fish’s eggs is dumped out.   The eggs from fish that test negative for the disease are kept.


About 20 % of the fish were testing positive for the disease, down slightly from last year’s mark of 30 %. Three fish had kidneys that were obviously affected by the disease, which is blamed for a crash in salmon populations in the mid-1990s.


DNR Fisheries Technician Supervisor Jan Sapak said that the run was a little slow so far, with more males than females.

She noted there were about 8,000 fish in the fishways outside the weir, where employees usually harvest about 15,000-17,000 fish each year.


Evanston prepared to scuttle proposed Marina

Cost leads to defeat in panel vote

A U.S. Army Corp of Engineers proposal to build a 300-boat marina on Evanston's lakefront is a City Council vote away from going under.


After hearing that the plan could take years to realize a profit, the council's Human Services Committee voted 5-0 last week to end further study of building a $21 million marina along the shoreline by Calvary Cemetery.   The biggest obstacle to the marina project turned out to be money.


When Evanston began looking at the plan, the city believed that the federal government might pay 80 to 90% of the $21 million cost, but now officials have been told the city would be able to get only $4 million to $7 million from the feds, Ald. Art Newman (1st) said.


With Evanston having to pick up the rest, "it seems like this project as proposed is cost-prohibitive to this city," he said. Ald. Ed Moran (6th), a boater who favors a marina, said the city could get more federal help and the project would be a huge asset. "When you see it and feel it and know it, you know it's not a detriment, and it really helps to establish an identity to a place," he said.


The committee vote on the marina included two aldermen who

voted in April to continue studying the issue. Six months ago, it took a vote by Mayor Lorraine Morton to break a 4-4 tie with one alderman absent.


"This came up as a proposal to increase revenue," said Ald. Steve Bernstein (4th), one of the lawmakers who changed his vote. "But it's not going to work."  Bernstein's vote, along with Ald. Lionel Jean-Baptiste (2nd), means that when the issue comes up for a vote before the full nine-member council Oct. 25, the project would be voted down unless some committee members change their minds.


The marina concept began nearly two years ago after the city got a $100,000 grant from the Army Corps of Engineers to study the idea--something the city has looked at several times in the last 40 to 50 years.  The corps looked at a proposal to build a 378-slip marina that would stretch 650 feet into Lake Michigan east of Calvary Cemetery, on the border of Evanston and Chicago.


A corps survey found overwhelming support from boaters, who say there are too few boat docks between Chicago and Waukegan.   The study also found that a majority of Evanston residents opposed the marina, citing increased traffic and the impact on the lakefront.


Chicago Angler nets Snakehead in Lake Michigan

October 14, 2004 -- While fishing for fall returning salmon at Burnham Harbor last Saturday, Matt Philbin of Tinley Park netted what appeared to be a Snakehead.   His worst suspicions have now been confirmed.


Tom Trudeau who heads up the Chicago office of the Illinois Dept of Natural Resources, said DNR biologists picked up the fish for positive identification.  "By the markings, it looked like a snakehead," said Mike Conlin, Illinois DNR Fish Chief. "If it is, we will be in there sampling." On Thursday, October 15 DNR biologists confirmed the discovery after picking up and examining the 18-inch predator, which had been packed in ice.


A northern snakehead was first found in a pond in Maryland. 2002,  and since then, snakeheads have exploded on the Potomac River., including the very recent findings of snakehead fingerlings in the river.

Native to China, Korea and Russia, the northern snakehead is a voracious eater noted for its aggressive attempts to crowd out competitors. It feeds on small fish that make up the diet of salmon, perch and other fish already in the lake and will devour virtually anything it can find.


The snakehead also is different from most other fish in the U.S. It breathes air in addition to extracting oxygen from water through its gills, a trait that enables the fish to survive out of water, and it can squirm short distances to another body of water.  The snakehead now is vying with another troublesome import--the Asian carp--as the biggest threat to native fish and the nation's multibillion dollar commercial and sport fishing industry.


The fish scooped out of Burnham Harbor with a net last weekend was estimated to be about 3 years old, making it mature enough to reproduce. Scientists won't know if the fish was a male or female until it thaws and they can dissect it.



2005-06 fishing regulations updated

Michigan DNR Director Rebecca Humphries last week approved a series of fisheries orders for the 2005-06 angling season at the monthly meeting of the state Natural Resources Commission, held in Sault Ste. Marie.


The orders comprise Michigan's trout, salmon, whitefish and lake herring regulations, establishing size limits and creel limits for all Michigan waters. They are annually updated to reflect environmental changes and department management objectives.


One substantial change involves extending Type 4 designation on the Muskegon River, from the Croton Dam to Bridge Street. The river has been split since 2000, with Type 3 designation from the Thornapple boat launch to M-120 in an experimental effort to produce more trout 15" or longer. The new designation will enhance angler opportunities to keep fish on this stretch of river near Newaygo.


In an effort to improve Lake Superior's coaster brook trout population, the minimum size limit was increased to 20" and

the bag limit reduced to one fish on Lake Superior waters.


Additional fisheries orders approved address special hook size regulations designed to discourage illegal fishing during the fall salmon run, Michigan-Wisconsin boundary water regulations, and other special fishing regulations on various waters. The orders will be available on the DNR Web site, www.michigan.gov/dnr .


The Commission reviewed proposed regulations for the 2005 spring turkey hunting season. Spring turkey hunters in Michigan select from 28 management units, comprising 44,524 square miles.  The proposed 2005 regulations include expansion of units L, P, and X, in an effort to offer hunters more hunting destinations within those units. The proposal is available for public review and comment for the next 30 days, and the commission will make a final decision about the 2005 regulations at its November meeting.


The next regular meeting of the Michigan Natural Resources Commission is Nov. 4 in Lansing.

Bill Directs Wildlife Agency to Promote Hunting

A bill introduced in Michigan will make it part of the Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) mission to promote hunting.


House Bill 6272 introduced on September 30 by Rep. Susan Tabor, R-Delta Township, would direct the Michigan DNR and the Michigan Natural Resources Commission (NRC) to promote and preserve the state’s hunting heritage.  The bill awaits action in the House Committee on Conservation and Outdoor Recreation.  It would be a valuable tool to help protect the rights of the nearly 1 million sportsmen who enjoy hunting

opportunities in the state.


In many states, when anti-hunting groups attempt to ban hunting through legislation, ballot issues or lawsuits, wildlife agencies are muzzled because their missions are to manage wildlife, not defend or promote hunting. As a result, the public does not get to hear from wildlife experts on sportsmen-related issues including trapping and hunting with hounds.  House Bill 6272 would give the DNR a voice.


The Illinois legislature passed a similar bill in 1999 as did New Hampshire in 2001

DNR to erase lapse in harbor inspections

LANSING - The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is beefing up its inspection of Great Lakes harbors and boating access sites in the wake of criticism over its failure to adequately monitor them.


The DNR failed to inspect two-thirds of the 60 harbors run by

local governments during the past three years, according to the Auditor General's office, a nonpartisan investigative arm of the Legislature. "Without regular inspections, the state lacks assurances that local units of government are properly maintaining harbors and boating access sites," the report said.

Wolf Awareness Week celebrates Michigan’s wolves  Oct 17-23

Governor Jennifer Granholm has proclaimed October 17-23, 2004, as Wolf Awareness Week, recognizing the wolf as an important part of Michigan’s natural heritage.


Gray wolves have naturally recolonized Michigan’s Upper Peninsula after nearly being exterminated from the state. During the 2004 winter track survey, at least 360 wolves were counted on the mainland.  In addition, there are 29 wolves in two packs on Isle Royale, in Lake Superior. The return of wolves to the Upper Peninsula occurred naturally through the immigration of wolves from Wisconsin, Minnesota, and across the St. Mary’s river from Ontario.


“The return of wolves to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula forests is a testament of our stewardship and a symbol of our state’s

wildlife heritage,” said Granholm. “The recovery of this majestic animal represents another step in the successful management of Michigan’s wild areas.”


The wolf population in Michigan has exceeded the recovery goals set by USFWS and the process of taking the species off the list of threatened and endangered species act has been initiated. The DNR is updating the state’s wolf management plan to reflect the more active management actions required to ensure long-term sustainability of the wolf in Michigan.


To commemorate Wolf Awareness Week, the Timber Wolf Alliance printed posters of artist Derick C. Wicks’ artwork, titled, “Along the River’s Edge.” Michigan’s Nongame Wildlife Fund supported this effort, and a limited number of the posters are available at DNR Service Centers.



Wild River State Park Advisory Committee meetings scheduled

The Minnesota DNR Division of Parks and Recreation is developing a new management plan for Wild River State Park. The public is invited to participate in planning process that will set the park's direction and management objectives for the next 20 years.


As part of the process, Citizen Advisory Committee meetings will be held over the next four months to discuss various issues that will impact future direction for the park. All meetings, which are open to the public, will be held at the Wild River State Park Trail Center from 7-9 p.m.


The Citizens Advisory Committee meetings are scheduled for:

► Thursday, Oct. 21,

► Thursday, Nov. 18;

► Thursday, Dec. 16;

► Thursday, Jan. 20, 2005


In addition, a technical advisory group composed of specialists from land management agencies will meet

concurrently. The plan is scheduled for completion during the spring of 2005.


Wild River State Park, located along 18 miles of the St. Croix River in Chisago County, was established in 1973 to protect the natural and cultural resources and to provide recreational opportunities along the river. The park's name "Wild River" comes from the designation of the St. Croix River as a "Wild and Scenic River," one of the original eight rivers protected by the U.S. Congress through the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968. Nearly 5,000 of the park's total 6,803 acres were donated by Northern States Power Company (now Xcel Energy).


Today the park offers recreational opportunities to people who enjoy camping, hiking, horseback riding, canoeing, interpretive programs, self-guided trails and cross-country skiing.


For more info: Nancy Albrecht, MN state parks planner, (651) 284-0263, [email protected] ; or Shawn Donais, Wild River State Park manager, (651) 583-2125, [email protected] .

Make-A-Wish board quits in policy feud  

All 23 board and advisory board members of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Minnesota resigned last week over "philosophical differences" with the national organization.

They said they objected to directives that included ending their practice of giving $1,000 to families of children who died before their wishes were granted, forbidding wishes that involve hunting and imposing term limits on board members.

New York

New York’s Recreational Boaters Spent $2.4 Billion in 2003, Sea Grant Study Finds

Despite poor summer weather, recreational boaters spent $2.4 billion in 2003 on boats, equipment, repair, marinas, launching fees, and related expenses—creating 18,700 jobs and contributing $728 million to labor income, according to a New York Sea Grant-funded study. The effort, the first to directly measure expenditures related to recreational boating and their impact on the state’s economy, shows that recreational boating is a key economic generator for the people of New York State.


Researchers from Cornell University’s Department of Natural Resources found that boating trip-related expenditures reached $431 million statewide and almost $2 billion was spent on non-trip related expenses such as boat purchases, repair, insurance, and annual fees associated with marinas

and yacht clubs. Boat purchases alone accounted for $1.2 billion.


“The intent of the study was not only to quantify the impact of boating, but also to provide information that will help managers, planners, and other decision makers make more informed decisions regarding coastal resource use and development,” said Jay Tanski, project manager. Boating is popular in virtually all areas of New York, especially the marine waters, Hudson River, Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River, the Finger Lakes, and Lake Champlain. The economic data will be used to develop tools to help managers better evaluate the regional impact of boating.


The full report is at www.seagrant.sunysb.edu/coastalgeo/boatingexpenditures03.htm

State announces fall fishing, Children’s festival Oct 23

Festival Marks Start of DEC’s Special Long Island Fall Trout Stocking Program                                

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced that DEC, in cooperation with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP), will hold the annual Fall Fishing and Children's Festival on Saturday, October 23, 2004  at Hempstead Lake State Park, West Hempstead, Nassau County.  This special day also marks the 75th anniversary of this beautiful New York State park.


No fishing licenses will be required for the special event.  Admission is $3 for all those over 12 years of age and the vehicle use fee of $6 will be in effect also.  Festival activities begin at 10 a.m. and include fly fishing instruction, fishing instruction, a bass fishing seminar, free fish cleaning services, loaner rods and free bait.  Additionally, a display area will be set up by DEC and local fishing clubs.


Children's activities will also begin at 10 a.m. and include an  inflatable slide, pumpkin decorating, a magic show, and face painting.  A casting contest in which kids can “catch” a pumpkin or “hook” a prize will be held.  Prizes will be supplied by the Westbury Sports Authority, Hempstead Tent City, and Orvis. The Atlantic Bassmasters will also be holding a Casting Kids Contest.

Hempstead Lake State Park will be celebrating its 75th anniversary with a special cake provided by King Kullen to be shared with all patrons at the park that day.


The festival is also the highlight of the special fall trout stocking program in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Prior to the festival, South and McDonald Ponds in Hempstead Lake State Park will be stocked by OPRHP.  Upper Twin Pond, Oyster Bay Mill Pond, Massapequa Reservoir and Massapequa Creek, and 12 Suffolk County lakes will be stocked with trout by DEC before October 20, 2004.  The stocking will provide excellent prospects for fall fishing in Nassau and Suffolk counties.  A second DEC stocking is expected to occur by Veterans Day, November 11, 2004.


In the event of rainy weather, call the DEC Bureau of Fisheries at (631) 444-0280 or Hempstead Lake State Park at (516) 766-1029 for event status. There is no rain date for this event.


To get to the Hempstead Lake State Park, take the Southern State Parkway to exit 18 off the Southern State Parkway. Make a right at the stop sign on the end of the exit ramp (coming from either the east or the west) to enter the park.


For more information about the festival or the fall trout stocking program in Nassau and Suffolk counties, call the DEC Bureau of Fisheries at (631) 444-0280.



Sturgeon spearing licenses must be purchased by Oct. 31

OSHKOSH, Wis. -- People who want to participate in lake sturgeon spearing in 2005 must buy their license by Oct. 31, 2004, unless they are military personnel home on leave or will be turning 14 years old between Nov. 1 and the last day of the 2005 spearing season.


There are separate lake sturgeon spearing seasons on Lake Winnebago and the Upriver Lakes -- Butte des Morts, Winneconne and Poygan -- for 2005. The separate license for spearing the Upriver Lakes is new for 2005, and spearers can purchase either a Lake Winnebago spearing license or an Upriver Lakes spearing licenses: they cannot purchase both, and they will not be able to spear for sturgeon on both waters in 2005, according to Ron Bruch, a DNR senior sturgeon biologist and fisheries supervisor based in Oshkosh.


"Spearers must tell the license vendor which license, Winnebago OR Upriver Lakes, they want at the time of purchase as part of continuing efforts to decrease harvest pressure on the fishery," Bruch says.


Previously, a spearer needed only a single license to participate in the Lake Winnebago season and the Upriver Lakes season, which has occurred every fifth year since 1971. The separate licenses and seasons, along with the fact that the Upriver Lakes season is only open for one day, Feb. 12, 2005, are the latest regulatory efforts that sturgeon biologists and the Lake Winnebago Sturgeon Advisory Committee members have made to try to reduce harvest pressure on the slow growing, late-maturing adult females.


More changes may be on the horizon for the Lake Winnebago fishery for 2005, following the 2004 season in which spearers recorded the highest one-day harvest and exceeded the harvest cap put in place to protect the fishery.


The citizens advisory committee has endorsed asking the DNR administration and the Natural Resources Board to consider closing the 2005 Lake Winnebago season after one day if spearers exceed the harvest cap. The group is exploring other methods to decrease the harvest rate and guarantee a

longer spearing season and expects to make a recommendation by summer 2005, Bruch says.


If the closing change is approved, the Lake Winnebago season could potentially be one day, the same as the Upriver Lakes season. Both spearing seasons are set to open Feb. 12 at 6:30 a.m., Bruch says.


Current rules that provide for a minimum two-day season on Lake Winnebago were passed before changes in the fishery, including improved water clarity and a growing number of spearers that have resulted in the exceptionally higher harvest rates on opening weekend. Overharvest of adult females is a particular concern because they’re the backbone of the lake sturgeon population and because they don’t spawn until they are 20 to 25 years old, and then only every three to five years, Bruch says.


DNR plans to conduct a series of public meetings in early 2005 to discuss regulation options, Bruch says. FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Ron Bruch  (920) 424-3059 or Patrick Schmalz (608) 266-8170.


Three quick and convenient ways to buy a license

Sturgeon spearing licenses are $20 for resident and $50 for nonresidents. The sturgeon spearing tag has been removed from the Conservation Patron license, so people who buy those multi-season licenses will need to buy a separate spearing license.


Lake sturgeon spearing licenses can be purchased at all DNR service centers and authorized license vendors, as well as by calling toll-free 1-877-WI LICENSE (1-877-945-4236), or online through the DNR Web site. There is an additional $3 service fee for telephone and online transactions; Mastercard or Visa accepted.


Spearers no longer need to also possess a valid fishing license, but only those 14 and older are eligible to spear sturgeon. By law, all revenues from spearing license sales are directed to fund only the Winnebago System sturgeon management program, instead of being included in the general fish and wildlife account.


Wind Farm planned for Ontario

Kincardine project would include 50 turbines

A wind farm project of 50 turbines has been proposed for the north shore of Lake Huron. The proposal for a 75 megawatt facility near Ripley, southeast of Kincardine, was announced last week.


It would generate enough power for 30,000 homes and would equal the Lake McBride project in Alberta, now the largest in Canada.  The Ripley wind farm would consist of about 50 turbines located on parcels of land leased from farmers in the Bruce County municipality of Huron-Kinloss.

It is the second large scale wind farm proposal for the area. In June, Edmonton-based energy company EPCOR bought lease rights to a small 660 kw wind farm near Port Albert in Huron County and proposed to expand the operation to produce 53.6 megawatts of power. Port Albert is north of Goderich.


Both the Ripley and Port Albert projects are contingent on approval from the provincial government . The province hopes to get 10 % of its electricity from renewable sources by 2010. The Ripley project is estimated to cost $112 million and the Port Albert project is estimated at $80 million.

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