Week of November 3 , 2003

National

Regional

General

2nd Amendment issues

Indiana

Michigan

Minnesota

Pennsylvania

Wisconsin

Ontario

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National

Great Lakes need protection from foreign ship water, species

BY Rep. Candice S. Miller
In Michigan, we know the Great Lakes are a unique ecosystem, and we cannot continue to allow invasive species to upset its delicate balance.

 

Invasive species are a nonnative plant or animal introduced into an ecosystem with the potential to cause harm to the economy, environment, human health, recreation or waterways. With an estimated 162 or more species in the Great Lakes, we need to take the necessary precautions to protect them, especially from zebra mussels, round goby or any other foreign species that can be introduced via foreign vessel ballast water.

 

While some may view the Environmental Protection Agency's recent decision to not pursue ballast water regulation as a holdup, I see it as an opportunity to do an even better job of monitoring one of our most treasured natural resources, especially when these ships are being inspected by those who know our Great Lakes the best, the U.S. Coast Guard.

 

Last month, I introduced legislation to reduce the amount of ballast water coming into the Great Lakes. Ballast water is what ships use for balance and weight when they're not fully loaded, usually added at their last port of call. In the case of ships entering the Great Lakes from overseas, that could be from anywhere in the world.

 

Any ship carrying ballast water in any amount is a potential invasion source. By stopping the introduction of invasive species through ballast water tanks, one of the greatest threats to the U.S. waters and ecosystems will be greatly reduced.

 

My bill, the Great Lakes Water Protection Act, would make it mandatory for any ship to first drop at least 95 percent of its ballast water before entering the Great Lakes system. Ships would be required to certify their compliance before departing the St. Lawrence Seaway's first lock.

 

Clearly, ships have not been engineered to remove 100 % of their ballast water and accumulated sediment. Coast Guard regulations for ballast management actually exempt so-called NOBOB vessels, which means they are declaring No Ballast On Board. However, looks can be deceiving. Such vessels may contain up to 100 metric tons of unpumpable water and residual 

 

sludge, making them a perfect hiding place for exotic species.

 

A ballast water discharge standard is one tool we can use to measure our progress in protecting the Great Lakes from invasive species. Policywise, our goal should be zero ballast water discharge entering the Great Lakes from overseas. Then, regulation would drive technology to build ships with a greater capacity to discharge a higher percentage of their ballast water before entering the Lakes. My bill has flexibility to accept five percent until technology and ship design are able to achieve zero percent, or close to it.

 

Protracted debates among scientists, policymakers and industry groups have distracted us from the ultimate goal, and subsequently, our willingness to come to terms with this issue. The Coast Guard has issued a notice in the Federal Register citing a need for more information to develop new standards. The ensuing meetings, forums, committees, task force reports and other machinations will inevitably ensure a slow, grueling march forward.

 

If we can agree the policy goal is no more introductions of invasive species -- and shift our focus from debating the standard to constructing timetables -- the Great Lakes will be served.

 

Given interstate commerce laws and the geographic scope of the Great Lakes, the federal government is the logical place to pass the most stringent regulations. But unless Michigan and the other Great Lakes states continue to flex their muscle, they will miss an opportunity to demonstrate leadership while pushing the federal government for tougher regulations.

 

Decisions made in Michigan and the Great Lakes region over the next few years will be of permanent national and global significance as nations everywhere struggle to stop the spread of invasive species. Efforts to control exotic species must command the same level of commitment and resources as have been dedicated historically to controlling pollution and preserving habitat.

 

The discharge standard should be zero, even though we won't achieve that goal overnight. We have had years to discuss the problem. Now it is time for meaningful action.

U.S. Rep. Candice S. Miller, R-Harrison Township, represents the 10th U.S. House District in Michigan.


 

 

Senate confirms Utah Governor Leavitt as new EPA chief

WASHINGTON - The Senate confirmed Utah Governor Mike Leavitt as head of the USEPA on Tuesday, Oct 27, filling a four-month vacancy with a lopsided vote that did not reflect the efforts by some Democrats to turn his nomination into a referendum on President Bush's environmental policies.

 

By a vote of 88-8, senators backed Bush's choice of the Utah Republican to head the nation's lead agency for enforcing environmental rules. Leavitt said he will start the job at EPA on Nov. 6, a day after he resigns as governor. The nominee was helped by his three terms as governor, during which he gained a reputation as an affable and competent manager and molded alliances among Senate Democrats who are Westerners or former governors.

 

Despite weeks of Democratic efforts to block or delay the vote, including a boycott of one of the Senate Environment and Public Works committee meetings, only eight voted

against Leavitt. One, Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, led the charge against the nominee on the Senate floor.

 

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-NY, and three Democratic presidential contenders in the Senate — Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, John Kerry of Massachusetts and John Edwards of North Carolina — had led the delaying efforts.

 

Others who voted against Leavitt, all Democrats, were Sens. Barbara Boxer, California; Jon Corzine, New Jersey; Mark Dayton, Minnesota; Richard Durbin, Illinois; Jack Reed, Rhode Island; Jay Rockefeller, West Virginia; and Charles Schumer, New York. Four Democrats didn't vote: Sens. Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, Edwards, Lieberman and Kerry.

 

Leavitt will be replaced as Utah governor by Republican Lt. Gov. Olene Walker.


Forest Management Bill Clears U.S. Senate

Washington, DC: By a vote of 80 to 14, the U.S. Senate passed legislation on October 30 that will allow for more proactive forest management in an effort to curtail wildfires like those burning in southern California. Momentum on the bill developed after a bipartisan group of Senators including Agriculture Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R-MS), Forestry Subcommittee Chairman Michael Crapo (R-ID), and Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD), as well as Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), crafted a compromise amendment to the Healthy Forests Restoration Act (H.R. 1904).

 

To signal strong support for passage of the compromise bill, the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation (CSF) coordinated a letter to the Senate leadership in less than two hours that was signed by more than a dozen sportsmen conservation partners. "A lack of active forest management has contributed significantly to unhealthy conditions on many of our nation's public and private forestlands," the sportsmen's letter stated. "The unnaturally high risk of catastrophic wildfires and large-scale insect and disease outbreaks place rural communities at risk and seriously threaten watersheds and fish and wildlife habitats." The compromise amendment passed the Senate on Wednesday by a 97-1 vote paving the way for last night's final passage.

"The compromise allows at risk lands to be cared for in a collaborative, efficient manner by local forest managers. This bill will safeguard communities and protect public

 involvement in the process," commented Senate Sportsmen's Caucus Vice-Chairman Crapo who helped to draft the compromise. "The Healthy Forests Restoration Act accomplishes this task by streamlining the many aspects of project planning, and creating a healthier environment for our forests, wildlife, and population."

 

The Healthy Forests Restoration Act focuses fire-prevention strategies in areas near communities and municipal water supplies, in forests occupied by threatened or endangered species and in areas where the trees are infested with certain insects. Up to 20 million acres of federal land previously identified as being at an unnaturally high risk to wildfire could be treated under the act.

 

With the Senate changes, the bill now also protects old-growth forests, increases the opportunities for up-front public input to project development, narrows the scope of changes under judicial review to just those projects undertaken under the authority of this Act and authorizes $760 million annually for hazardous fuel reduction work with no less than 50% of the funds being spent within the "wildland urban interface."

 

The Bush administration released a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) earlier in the week strongly supporting the Senate compromise and urged "quick resolution with the House" in the upcoming House/Senate conference.


Greens' blues over Bush off key

By M. David Stirling

The Bush administration certainly doesn't need defending by one frequently frustrated at its tortoise-like pace in restoring balance and common sense to the nation's environmental and natural resource policies. Yet the coordinated and unrelenting attacks on President Bush's programs by hardcore environmental organizations this early in the 2004 presidential campaign suggests that Bush's "people-friendly" environmental agenda is causing them chronic heartburn.

 

A prime example just arrived in the mail from actor Robert Redford on behalf of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Redford's fund-raising letter accuses Bush of "waging a sweeping attack on our environmental laws," of "cynical new policies ... (that) will enrich giant corporations even as they increase pollution and destroy some of our most treasured wild lands" and of "allowing 17,000 of the nation's worst polluters to spew more toxic chemicals into our air and harm the health of millions of Americans."

 

When the administration recently announced possible removal of Endangered Species Act protection for Oregon coastal coho salmon because of the species' return to Oregon rivers in record numbers, the National Wildlife Federation accused Bush of "abrogating responsibility" while the Native Fish Society called it "a political fix."

 

The Sierra Club harshly criticized Bush's Healthy Forest Initiative, a major overhaul of Clinton-Gore's disastrous forest management policies that in 2002 alone caused the conflagration of a record 7 million acres of forest, destruction of countless species and degradation of inestimable watershed and forest streams. The Sierra Club duplicitously condemned Bush's reform initiative for "leaving communities at risk of wildfire and polluting the air and water" -- the very effects Clinton-Gore's forest policies produced that Bush is attempting to remedy.

 

The Greens' hatred for Bush's environmental programs is no mystery. To them, Clinton-Gore -- with Bruce Babbitt at Interior -- ranks as the all-time dream-team of environmental politics. So close was the partnership between Clinton-Gore and the vast network of eco-activist organizations that no appreciable differences in their agendas are detectable. Now, viewed from the far left end of the environmental spectrum, each of Bush's programs to balance environmental protection with concern for the lives

and livelihoods of people is regarded, and portrayed to the public, as a radical departure from the glory days of Clinton-Gore.

 

A prime example of the partnership's calculated plan was Clinton's much ballyhooed signing of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on global warming. Not only did Clinton's signature advance the environmental partnership's goal of a "nature first, people last" international environmental policy but it intentionally set the stage for massive worldwide condemnation of any Republican successor who later balked at international controls on the engine of America's economic well-being: business.

 

Although the full Senate (including all Democrats) unanimously rejected the protocol because of its certain damage to the economy, Clinton's signature at Kyoto established the extreme environmental standard against which the next president would be judged. It was no surprise that Bush's immediate and continuing rejection of Clinton's Kyoto-posturing triggered a barrage of criticism from the very eco-activists that generated Clinton's position initially.

 

Bush has also addressed Clinton-Gore's embrace of the Greens' extreme environmentalism in its categorical refusal to pursue additional U.S.-based oil and natural gas supplies despite increasing instability in foreign oil-producing countries. When Bush proposed drilling on a mere 2,000 surface acres of the 20-million acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to tap its vast quantities of oil and much-needed natural gas, the National Wildlife Federation demanded that Bush "stop the war on the environment" while the Sierra Club charged he was taking "environmental policy back to the 19th century."

 

Hardcore environmentalism's efforts to demonize Bush's more people-friendly policies and programs will become shriller in the coming months. It would be unfortunate, however, if mainstream Americans allowed themselves to fall prey to this well-orchestrated campaign to have Bush's environmental record measured by the excesses of his predecessor.

 

M. David Stirling is vice president of Pacific Legal Foundation, a Sacramento-based public interest legal organization that defends "balanced environmentalism" in the nation's courts; www.pacificlegal.org   http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/opinion/145811_greens29.html


GAO Study: 66% of California Forest Fuels Reduction Projects Stalled By Environmental Groups

Washington, DC - House Resources Committee Chairman Richard W. Pombo (R-CA) on October 30 issued an executive summary on a newly-released GAO report entitled "Information on Forest Service Decisions Involving Fuels Reduction Activities." The study provides a quantitative assessment of the impact of Forest Service appeals by environmental groups 'FY 2001 and '02 on forest management activities.

 

Among the GAO's findings:

59% of eligible forest thinning projects in the U.S. were appealed

52% of eligible forest thinning projects proposed near communities in the Wildland-Urban Interface were appealed

Environmental appeals were found to be overwhelmingly without merit, as 161 of 180 challenges were thrown out

66% of all eligible forest fuels reduction activities were appealed in the state of California

• Appeals delayed thinning projects by at least 120 days

 

"With nearly one million acres worth of hazardous fuels reduction projects tied up in appeals during this two-year period, the GAO analysis crystallizes the fact that administrative appeals constitute a significant impediment

to getting a handle on America's forest health and wildfire crisis," Pombo said. "This paralysis by analysis continues to threaten our national forests and those who live in and around them. The Healthy Forests legislation will remove these administrative hand cuffs from the Forest Service and allow them to reduce the risk of catastrophic fires."

 

"The so-called environmental community has already begun to mischaracterize the findings of the GAO report by comparing the number of environmental appeals against a universe of projects that includes a category of small scale treatment projects that are not even eligible for appeal under federal law, including prescribed burns, Christmas tree cutting, and firewood removal projects," Pombo continued. "This, of course, artificially and disingenuously lowers the percentage of projects appealed. But when you examine the projects truly focused on large scale fire risk reduction, the evidence is clear - environmentalists have undertaken a systematic effort to obstruct thinning projects around the West, including California."

 

"There is universal understanding that catastrophic fires decimate our forests, leaving them with no biological biodiversity whatsoever," Pombo said. "They pollute the air, poison water supplies, kill endangered species and other wildlife, and threaten human life. I call on the environmental community in the U.S. to actually get on the side of the environment and the people, and support the Healthy Forests legislation."


NOAA Fisheries hold public meetings - Nov. 5 to Dec. 10

Seek input on Atlantic Striped Bass Management

NOAA Fisheries is considering a recommendation from the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission to reopen federal waters (from three to 200 miles offshore) for recreational and commercial striped bass fishing.  Federal managers of Atlantic striped bass are holding public meetings from Nov. 5 to Dec. 10 in New England and Mid-Atlantic states so the public can help identify the scope of issues surrounding striped bass fisheries as the agency begins to prepare an environmental impact analysis of potential revisions to the regulations.

 

NOAA Fisheries closed the striped bass fishery in federal waters in 1990 to rebuild the stock, which was restored in 1995.  In the letter forwarding its recommendation, the Commission notes that allowing fishermen to land striped bass that are caught in federal waters as bycatch would reduce wasteful discards.  The Commission also points out that commercial fishing is capped by an annual quota and the fishery would close as soon as the quota is reached, regardless of whether the fish were caught in state or federal waters.  In addition, monitoring requirements of the fishery management plan would allow quick response, if fishing restrictions are warranted in the future.

 

Anyone affected by or interested in Atlantic striped bass management in federal waters is invited to participate in the scoping meetings.

NOAA Fisheries' notice of intent to develop an EIS for Atlantic Striped Bass and the scoping document are available online at www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/state_federal/state_federal.htm . Written comments must be received no later than Dec. 22, 2003.  Send comments to: Anne Lange, Chief, State-Federal Fisheries Div, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, NOAA Fisheries, 1315 East West Hwy, Rm 13317, Silver Spring, MD 20910; or by fax to (301) 713-0596.

 

Meetings Schedule/locations:

* Nov. 5, 2003 - Portsmouth, NH  03801, 7-8:30 p.m. Urban Forestry Ctr, 45 Elwin Rd

* Nov. 12, 2003 - Manteo, NC  27954, 7-9 p.m. NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island, 374 Airport Road

* Nov. 18, 2003 -Toms River, NJ  08755, 6-9 p.m., Quality Inn, 815 Route 37

* Nov. 19, 2003 - Dover, DE, 6:30-7:30 p.m. DE DNR Bldg, 89 Kings Hwy

* Dec. 1, 2003 - Stony Brook, NY 11794, 7:30-9:30 p.m. SUNY Student Activities Ctr, Nicolls Rd

* Dec. 2, 2003 - Old Lyme, CT  06371, 7-9 p.m. CT Dept of Environmental Protection, Marine Hq, Boating Edu Bldg, 333 Ferry Rd         ·     

* Dec. 8, 2003 - Portland, ME   04101, 7-9 p.m. Holiday Inn By The Bay, 88 Spring St

* Dec. 9, 2003- Bourne, MA, 7-10 p.m.Canal Club 100 Trowbridge Rd, Bourne, MA 02532

* Dec. 10, 2003 - Narragansett, RI, 7-9 p.m. U of Rhode Island, Bay Campus Corless Auditorium South Ferry Rd


Regional

Weekly USACE Great Lakes Water Level Update for Oct. 31, 2003

Current Lake Levels: 

The US Army Corps of Engineers report Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, and St. Clair are 11, 25, and 14 inches respectively, below their long-term average.  Lake Erie is 7" below its long-term average while Lake Ontario is at its long-term average.  Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron and St. Clair are currently 7, 8 and 5" respectively, below last year’s levels.  Lake Erie is at its level of a year ago, while Lake Ontario is 8" above its level of a year ago. 

 

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions:

The Lake Superior outflow through the St. Marys River into Lake Huron is expected to be below average during the month of October.  Flows in the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers are also expected to be below average, while flows in the

Niagara and St. Lawrence Rivers are expected to be near average in October.

 

Forecasted Water Levels:

All of the Great Lakes are into their seasonal declines.  Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are expected to decline 2 inches.  Lake St. Clair is expected to decline 1 inch, while Lake Erie and Ontario are each expected to decline 3 to 4 inches over the next four weeks.

 

Navigation 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.


General

Evinrude receives J.D. Power and Associates 2003 Marine Engine award

"Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Two-Stroke Engines" from the Competitive Information StudySM
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, October 30, 2003 – Bombardier Recreational Products announced today that its Evinrude Direct Injection (DI) outboard engine brand ranked "Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Two-Stroke Engines" in the J.D. Power and Associates 2003 Marine Engine Competitive Information StudySM.

 

Customers are extremely satisfied with Evinrude outboard engines, which achieved the highest index score among two-stroke outboard engines, including carbureted and Direct Injection (DI) engines.

 

Evinrude DI engines received high marks for:

Ease of starting;

Quietness of the engine at cruising speed;

Ability for boat to accelerate rapidly;

Cruising speed of boat;

Standard warranty coverage of the engine.

 

Evinrude also performed especially well in:

Engine emissions;

• Cruise time/range between fuel stops.

"Receiving this award is a real triumph. It's a testament to the steps we took to perfect direct injection technology through Bombardier management discipline and innovation," said Roch Lambert, vice president and general manager of the Boats and Outboard Engines Division. "And it's important to point out that the engines in this study represent the first year of Evinrude production under Bombardier's leadership.

 

"This means that consumers have experienced the durability, quality and reliability of Evinrude outboard engines, and they clearly appreciate the impact we've made in the outboard engine market since Bombardier purchased the Evinrude and Johnson brands," added Lambert.

 

In addition to its existing DI line, Bombardier recently released its new Evinrude E-TEC™ outboard engine technology, which is available in 40, 50, 75 and 90 horsepower (hp) models for the first year. Evinrude E-TEC provides excellent power and torque, while being environmentally responsible and providing a unique and pleasant Evinrude signature sound. The entire Evinrude line-up ranges from 40 to 250 hp, and includes the High Output versions.

 

SM J.D. Power and Associates 2003 Marine Engine Competitive Information Study.  Study based on responses from a total of 10,734 owners of 2002 and early 2003 model-year boats. www.jdpower.com


Release of Carbon Dioxide from the Pacific Ocean intensified during the 1900's

Research funded by NOAA, NASA, and the Ford Motor Company

A recent study conducted by oceanographers Taro Takahashi and Stewart Sutherland from Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and other researchers from  the NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) indicates the partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) measured in surface waters dramatically changed after the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) phase shift in the Pacific Ocean that occurred around 1990.

 

The atmosphere and the oceans carry on an exchange of carbon dioxide (CO2), a major greenhouse gas.  This is particularly significant in the equatorial Pacific Ocean because it is one of the most important yet highly variable natural source areas for the emission of CO2 to the atmosphere.

 

"The results of our study show that the intensity of CO2 release from the western equatorial Pacific has increased during the past decade.  By 2001, this reduced the global ocean uptake - about 2 billion tons of carbon a year - by about 2.5 percent," said Takahashi who directed the study that provides a clearer picture of the importance of PDO events on the Earth's carbon cycle.  "This is on top of the CO2 emission and absorption fluctuations seen between El Niño and La Niña years, which occur on shorter timescales."

 

The findings, published in the Oct. 31 issue of Science, suggest that natural shifts in the properties of the ocean, observed to occur about every 10 to 20 years, may affect the ocean's absorption and emission rates of CO2.

 

"Since CO2 is one of the primary greenhouse gases, scientists are interested in determining what are the causes of its variability in nature," said Feely.  "The implication of this study is that decadal-scale changes in ocean circulation in the tropical and subtropical Pacific cause changes in oceanic upwelling and possibly the biology which are a major cause of the long-term changes of pCO2 in this region."

The equatorial Pacific Ocean is known to undergo significant changes on interannual (e.g. shifts between El Niño and La Niña conditions) and decadal time scales.  This area is a major source of CO2 to the atmosphere during non-El Niño periods, but near neutral during strong El Niño periods.

 

The North Pacific Ocean has undergone, over decadal time scales, major physical and biological changes commonly called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO).  The most recent and well-documented major shifts occurred in 1977 and around 1990.  While causes and effects of PDO have been investigated extensively in recent years, its effects on CO2 chemistry have not yet been identified.

 

Measuring the pCO2 following each of these shifts, the researchers found that the 1977 PDO shift was followed by an increase in absorption of CO2 from the atmosphere into the equatorial Pacific, while the 1990 shift was followed by an increase in emission.  This increase in carbon dioxide release from the sea to the air is large enough to be seen as a CO2 anomaly in the atmosphere.

 

The equatorial oceans are the dominant oceanic source of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.  In balance, the global oceans annually take up about 2 billion tons of carbon through sea-air exchange of CO2 gas.  This uptake rate corresponds to about 25 percent of carbon emitted to the atmosphere by the combustion of fossil fuels and other human activities.  The equatorial Pacific is characterized by high seawater carbon dioxide and nutrient concentrations provided by upwelling, or the bringing up CO2-rich deep waters to the surface.

 

As a result, the region is a major site for release of carbon dioxide from the ocean interior to the atmosphere, and the intensity of the release depends on how rapidly the ocean waters circulate vertically.  During decades dominated by stronger overall circulation, more carbon dioxide is released to the atmosphere, further exacerbating the global warming impacts o CO2.  Thus, decadal changes in ocean circulation in the equatorial Pacific may have a profound impact on the CO2-induced global warming.


2nd Amendment issues

A Light Goes on at the CDC: No Escaping Gun-Control Reality

In a marvelous moment of candor, a federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) committee has reported that it cannot find any evidence that gun-control laws reduce violent crime. American gun owners spent most of the 1990s telling the CDC that gun control is ineffective at best and harmful at worst. So it's gratifying that the lesson is finally sinking in.

 

A task force convened by the CDC issued its report after two years of poring over 51 scientific studies of gun laws. The group considered only research papers that met strict criteria for scientific soundness. The CDC distances itself with a disclaimer, but it's pretty clear that it supports the task force's conclusions. The report contains no dissenting position or minority view from CDC managers.

 

Covered in the review were gun-ban laws, restrictions on

acquiring a gun, waiting periods for buying a gun, firearm-registration laws, firearm-owner licensing laws, concealed-carry permit laws, zero-tolerance laws, and various combinations of firearm laws. Most Americans who haven't tried to buy a gun lately are blissfully unaware of just how many laws there are. In Washington, D.C., for example, it's impossible for a regular citizen to legally own a firearm (although criminals seem to have no problem getting one). In other cities the legal hoops a gun buyer must jump through are almost as much a barrier to ownership as an outright ban.

 

One would think that at least some good would come from all these laws. Researchers should be able to prove that the laws prevent at least a few murders, rapes, and robberies. Amazingly, they can't. And even more amazingly, they now have admitted that they can't.

 


Traveling with Firearms

Every year, millions of men and women travel to different states or even out of the country to hunt or compete in shooting events. When taking to the air, traveling hunters and shooters must take special care to follow airline regulations regarding transporting their firearms.

 

For firearms, the rules that applied prior to 9-11 haven't changed greatly. However, following some key points will make your trip more safe and enjoyable.

 

Be early - Right now the airlines are telling the average flyer to arrive one to two hours before takeoff. If you are traveling with a firearm, arrive sooner. When checking in you will need to fill out a form declaring the firearm is unloaded. Gate agents will open your gun case to verify this.

 

Call ahead - Rules concerning firearms can change quickly. Ask for the rules when you book your trip, and call back a few days before you leave to ensure nothing has changed.

 

Open your mouth - Declare the firearm to the first representative you see. When you declare, call your weapon a firearm, not a gun or weapon. Those words can cause unease,

 

which may mean delays for you.

 

Be a hard case - Airlines require that firearms be transported in the original manufacturer's box or in an approved hard case that is lockable. Have the key ready since you will need to unlock and relock it during check-in.

 

Check the extras - Knives and ammunition must be stored separate from the firearm and packed in checked luggage. Airlines have different regulations on how much ammunition can be carried and most require you to transport it in its original packaging. Any amount above the allotted weight will cost extra. Check with your Airline for specific restrictions.

 

Know the laws - Before heading out, read up on the gun laws for the area that you are traveling, especially if you plan to leave the country. Countries like Canada and Great Britain require documents months before entering the country with a firearm.

 

Be responsible - Every time you are out with a firearm you become a representative of the shooting sports. Follow gun safety to the max and prove that responsible gun owners are a danger to no one.

Courtesy: National Wild Turkey Federation


Indiana

IN - DNR adds 25 new conservation officers

They are the green-uniformed law enforcement officials who can be found in the woods, talking to a classroom, riding the back roads, on the lake or anywhere else in Indiana. They have primary responsibility to enforce Indiana's conservation and natural resources laws but also work with local law enforcement on other criminal investigations. They are Indiana's conservation officers.

 

ON October 24, in ceremonies in the Statehouse rotunda, the Indiana DNR added another 25 members to the ranks of its law enforcement division. Each recruit of the class of 2003 received more than 600 hours of training that included fish and wildlife laws, watercraft laws, emergency watercraft operation, ATV laws, ATV operation, ATV accident investigation, river rescue, and waterfowl identification and enforcement.

 

Each recruit has received an assignment to a district headquarters and a specific county where he or she will receive another 10 weeks of field training. In January the recruits will attend the 15-week basic law enforcement training program at 

the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in Plainfield. Upon graduation from the academy, each officer will undergo a final 41 weeks of training.

 

Formal enforcement of Indiana's fish and wildlife laws dates to 1897 when the legislature authorized the commissioner of fisheries to appoint deputies in every county of the state. Evidence exists that the commissioner did appoint a chief deputy who traveled around the state enforcing the fish laws with the assistance of other deputies.

 

In 1899 the legislature abolished the position of commissioner of fisheries and created the commissioner of fish and game. Twelve years later, in 1911, the General Assembly authorized the payment of a salary to game wardens. Prior to the establishment of a salary, game wardens collected a fee for every conviction that resulted from an arrest they made.

 

The first record of a structured recruit training program is a training manual dated 1937. The 2003 class is the 27th recruit class.


Michigan

MI - Perch Lake State Forest Campground closing temporarily

Michigan DNR officials on October 29 announced that Perch Lake State Forest campground in the Lake Superior State Forest will close Nov. 7 temporarily to remove hazard trees.

 

Throughout the campground, many trees dead or weakened and are at risk to falling or shedding large branches. Birch and jack pine trees are suffering insect and disease problems. Beech trees are suffering from beech bark disease, an exotic pest plaguing the area and rapidly spreading throughout the Eastern Upper Peninsula.

 

Dead and dying trees in campgrounds are a safety hazard to the public. Removing the trees is often the most responsible course of action. The majority of trees scheduled for removal include American beech, paper birch and jack pine, although any tree considered hazardous will be removed.

 

In May 2004, campers will return to a brighter campground

with a wide array of red and white pine and other healthy

species. During this time of  tree maintenance, campers are encouraged to use Headquarters Lake State Forest campground, located ½ mile south of Perch Lake, or High Bridge State Forest campground, located 1 ½ miles south of Perch Lake.

 

For more information, contact Les Homan, Newberry Unit Manager, at 906-293-5131, or visit the DNR website at www.michigan.gov/dnr.

 

Another invasive species posing a major threat to Michigan’s forests is the Emerald Ash Borer. It has killed millions of ash trees throughout Southeast Michigan, and pockets of EAB infestation have been discovered in other areas throughout the Lower Peninsula. In each case, infestation has been tied to the transporting of firewood or nursery stock outside the state’s quarantined counties. Campers and all other outdoor enthusiasts should observe the ban on transporting firewood and only use local sources of firewood. Travelers who accidentally transport ash firewood are instructed to burn all firewood before returning home. For more information, visit the state’s EAB website at www.michigan.gov/mda.


MI - DNR hosts forest review open houses

The Michigan DNR announced open houses Nov. 5-6 to provide information and receive public comment on forest management treatments proposed for 2005 in the Traverse City Management Unit.

 

The Nov. 5 open house, from 3-7 p.m. at the DNR Traverse City Office, will focus on the Benzie, Grand Traverse, Leelanau and Manistee County forests. The Nov. 6 open house, from 3-7 p.m. at the DNR Kalkaska Office, will focus on Kalkaska County.

 

The open houses are an opportunity for the public to review proposed treatments and provide input toward final decisions on treatments. They also offer an opportunity to talk with foresters and biologists about issues of interest.

 

Each year, DNR personnel inventory and evaluate one-tenth of the state forest. The information gathered includes the health, quality and quantity of all vegetation; wildlife and fisheries habitat and needs; archaeological sites; mineral, oil and gas activities; recreational use; wildfire potential; social factors, including proximity to roads and neighborhoods; and use on adjacent lands, public or private. Proposed treatments are then designed to ensure the sustainability of the resources and ecosystems.

Each management unit is divided into smaller units or compartments to facilitate better administration of the resources. The Traverse City open house and compartment review will focus on: Inland, Platte, and Weldon townships in Benzie County; Union and Whitewater townships in Grand Traverse County; Solon Township in Leelanau County; and Cleon Township in Manistee County. The Kalkaska open house and compartment review will focus on: Bear Lake, Blue Lake, Clearwater, Garfield, Kalkaska and Oliver townships in Kalkaska County.

 

Maps and information regarding the proposed treatments, available at the open houses, also can be accessed at www.michigan.gov/dnr , or by calling David Lemmien, Traverse City Unit Manager, at 231-922-5280 Ext 6840. 

 

Formal compartment reviews to finalize prescriptions for these areas are scheduled to begin Dec. 9, 9 a.m., at the East Bay Township Hall in Traverse City for the Traverse City compartments, and Dec. 10 at the Kalkaska Township Hall for the Kalkaska compartments.

 

Persons with disabilities needing accommodations for meetings should contact David Lemmien.


MI - State Senate bans release of some fish

LANSING, MI -- A pair of bills that would authorize penalties for the release of certain aquatic species received unanimous passage in the Michigan state Senate on October 29.

 

Under the legislation, if someone possessed or released a live, prohibited species, the violation would be a felony punishable by up to five years in prison, a maximum fine of $250,000, or both. The penalties also would include restitution for damage caused by the violation. The species prohibited under the bills include bighead carp, bitterling, black carp, grass carp, ide, Japanese weatherfish, rudd, silver carp, tench and fish of the snakehead family. The prohibition would include the species' eggs or any hybrids of them.

 

Two other bills that also passed unanimously would prohibit someone from knowingly releasing a genetically

engineered or nonnative fish without a permit from the state Department of Natural Resources. The bills now go to the House.

 

Invasions by foreign species are a growing concern in the Great Lakes and worldwide.  In February, DNR director Cool signed an emergency order making it illegal to possess or transport live Asian bighead carp and snakehead fish in Michigan, though the exotic species have not been found in the state's waters.

 

Bighead and other species of carp native to Asia were brought to the United States in 1972 by an Arkansas fish farmer and became popular in the South. They escaped into the Mississippi River from their impoundments during the mid-1990s, the DNR said.  The fish can grow to 100 pounds or more and are voracious eaters of the plankton that is a major food source for many native species.


Minnesota

MN - Bighead Asian carp discovered in Lake Pepin

Lake Pepin, MN - An exotic Asian carp species that causes biological and social problems has been discovered in Lake Pepin, a large, twenty-one mile pool of the Mississippi River in southeastern Minnesota.

           

The fish, a 23-pound bighead carp, was captured Oct. 23 by three commercial fishermen who had lifted a seine near Lacupolis, MN. The fishermen transported the strange looking carp to the DNR's office at Lake City, where experts confirmed it was a species whose existence in Minnesota had been speculated but never confirmed.

 

"It's not good news," Walt Popp, aquatic biologist at the Minnesota DNR office in Lake City, said of Thursday's catch.  Until this week, the Iowa-Minnesota border, which is about 100 river miles from where the bighead was caught, was the farthest north a bighead carp had been found in the Mississippi. Silver carp, another invasive species of Asian carp, were last reported to be much farther south in Iowa.

A bighead carp can grow to be 50 lbs and has been described as a "virtual eating machine" that consumes much of the food needed by other fish.  Ironically, the discovery came just one day after two dozen state and federal officials met in St. Paul to discuss trying to stop the carp by building an underwater electric or acoustic barrier across the river.

 

Officials made plans to conduct a study of the problem within the next few months. Bighead and silver carp have been moving north in the Mississippi and its tributaries since they were released or escaped from commercial catfish ponds in Arkansas in the late 1970s or 1980s.

 

Both species can pose a problem because they eat the same food that native fish, including northern pike, bass, walleye, sauger and gizzard shad, need in their first year of life.  Silver carp, which can grow as large as 100 pounds, routinely leap out of the water when they are disturbed by motors, sometimes landing in boats and injuring people.

 


MN - DNR plans to search Lake Pepin for Asian carp

Fearing additional Asian carp may be in Lake Pepin, the Minnesota DNR said October 28 it will conduct additional test netting this fall in the lake and other stretches of the Mississippi River.

 

Jack Wingate, DNR fisheries research manager, also urged anglers and commercial fishermen to report any unusual fish. "There's still a window of opportunity to prevent the spread of this species via the Mississippi River and its tributaries,'' Wingate said in a statement." The more information we receive from the public, the better off we will be.''

 

Three commercial fishermen caught a 23-pound bighead carp in a net near the lake's southern end on Thursday, October 23. They took it to the DNR's office at Lake City, where experts confirmed it was a type of Asian carp not found before in Minnesota.

 

Asian carp are voracious eaters that can cause serious biological problems in waterways. Imported to the United States in the 1960s and '70s for use in the Southern aquaculture industry, some eventually escaped and others were released. They have since become abundant in that region and are spreading elsewhere.

 

Jay Rendall, the DNR's exotics species coordinator, said Thursday's discovery is important for several reasons: It's

the northernmost documented presence of the carp; they

can significantly alter native fish and wildlife populations; they are hard to get rid of; and considerable time and money will be needed to control them.

 

Rendall emphasized it's illegal for anglers to take the fish, a prohibited exotic species, anywhere other than to the DNR for identification.  "The last thing we want is for someone to take them and move them around,'' Rendall said.

 

Last week, more than a dozen state and federal officials met in St. Paul to explore ways to limit their northward movement. The group expects to make a recommendation within five months. The DNR said Asian carp can cause widespread havoc with native fish and shellfish habitats and food.

 

Bighead carp, brought here in 1972, are one of three Asian carp species that have raised concerns. Silver carp, which can leap out of the water and hit boaters, have been found farther south in the Mississippi and in the Missouri River as far north as South Dakota. They were brought here in 1973. Grass carp, imported here in 1963, have been found in the Mississippi near Winona and in Okamanpeedan Lake on the Minnesota-Iowa border, but Rendall believes those fish are sterile escapees of fish farms.

 

Asian carp species are voracious consumers of plankton, which are the foundation of much of the aquatic food chain.


MN - Young deer hunters reminded of Social Security number requirement   

Recent legislation requires the Minnesota DNR to collect a customer's Social Security number as part of an application for a non-commercial game and fish license.  This legislation was passed to meet the Federal requirements of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act.  This Federal requirement is to assist states in enforcement of child support programs

           

Therefore, all deer hunters regardless of age must provide their SSN if the number is not on their DNR customer file. If a customer has a SSN, but fails to provide it or know it, they will be denied a hunting license.  "The SSN is required of all hunting and fishing license customers regardless of age," said Tom Keefe, ELS Program Manager. 

                        

"Current sales figures indicate only about 10% of our customer's age 12-15 have bought their deer license," said Keefe, "leaving 90% or over 40,000 young customers to purchase a license within less then two weeks. We could see a number of disappointed young hunters come deer opener if they don't remember their SSN."

The DNR has updated the majority of its resident customers records with a SSN from the Minnesota driver's license files.  The SSN requirement is also needed for driver's license applications and renewals. 

           

The Department understands customers will have concerns with this requirement and has taken several steps to reduce customer concerns and still meet the federal requirements for collection of the customer's SNN.  These include: SSN will not be printed on any license material, the SSN information will be held in a secure database with very limited access, and collection of the SSN is required only once.

            

Residents of the United States who have not had a SSN issued to them must complete a certification form prior to purchasing a license.  These customers may contact the DNR for further information on this certification form. Finally, Keefe encouraged all hunters to purchase deer licenses now and not wait until the last minute because they could face potential problems and long lines of customers.

 


MN - Ticket deadline for deer opener "Big Buck Dinner" extended

A celebration of Minnesota deer hunting will take place on Thursday, Nov. 6, at the Sports Center at Cragun's Resort and Hotel on Gull Lake near Brainerd. The dinner kicks off the Minnesota Governor's Deer Hunting Opener event, which will highlight Minnesota's hunting heritage and traditions.

 

Governor Tim Pawlenty and other dignitaries are scheduled  to be included on the evening's program.  The dinner is

open to the public with a total of 500 tickets available on a first-come, first-served basis.  Deadline for purchasing tickets has been extended to Monday, Nov. 3. No tickets will be sold after this date, or at the door.

 

Cost of the dinner ticket is $20.00 per person. Tickets may be purchased in person at Chambers' of Commerce in Brainerd, Nisswa, and Pequot Lakes, or by calling the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association in Grand Rapids at (218) 327-1103, ext 12


MN - First prairie chicken season since 1942 a success 

Ninety-three hunters, who purchased licenses for Minnesota's first prairie chicken season in more than 60 years, gained an experience of a lifetime as well as harvesting a total of 115 birds in the season completed Wednesday, Oct. 22, according to the DNR. 

                       

"By any measure, this first hunt was a great success," said Lloyd Knudson, DNR farmland wildlife program coordinator. "Most hunters reported seeing lots of birds and all of them I have talked to said they gained a greater appreciation for prairie habitats, prairie chickens, and the wonderful heritage of prairies in Minnesota," Knudson said.

                       

The DNR will be evaluating the season in more detail and will be exploring whether there are opportunities for expanding this unique opportunity to more hunters, while still conserving prairie chicken populations, Knudson said.  "We plan to do a survey of prairie chicken hunters and will evaluate the numbers of permits, harvests, and days of

 

hunting that can be offered to see if there is potential for expansion," he said.

 

Knudson said the greatest value of the hunt, beyond the experience it provided to the participants, was that it spotlighted the importance and high productivity of prairie habitats for wildlife. More than 99 % of Minnesota's original native prairie has been lost, but the DNR, a number of public and private partners, and landowners are working cooperatively to protect and manage the prairie that remains. They are also increasing efforts to restore and better connect critical grassland habitats. 

                       

The DNR, the Minnesota Prairie Chicken Society, and the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCMR) have also been cooperating on a prairie chicken restoration project in the Lac qui Parle vicinity, where large grassland areas have been protected and restored. Early indications from that restoration effort are very promising that it will be successful.

 


Pennsylvania

PA - Fishing and Boating Report, Oct 29, 2003

Northwest Region

 

Crawford County

Anglers are reporting that they are starting to catch walleye on French Creek.  Musky and walleye are being taken at Tamarack Lake.

 

Forest County

 Walleye and musky fishing is picking up in the Allegheny River at Tionesta.  Walleye are hitting on shiners about an hour before dark. Musky are being caught from boats on the river and in Tionesta Creek.   Salmon Creek still holds many trout with very little fishing pressure.  Minnows seem to be the bait of choice.

 

East Hickory Creek also holds many trout for the angler who wants to catch and release in the Delayed Harvest Artificial Lure Only Area.  Spring Creek in Marienville should still hold many trout from the spring stockings by the Commission and the Marienville Rod and Gun Club.

 

Mercer County

Shenango Lake: Small size crappies and perch are being caught. The water level is still at five feet above winter pool but going down. Boaters should exercise caution.  The Cool Spring Creek delayed harvest area and the Shenango River tailrace have recently been stocked with trout and there are plenty of fish to be caught.            

 

Warren County

Allegheny River: The Warren County portion of the river is safer for boating than previous weeks.  The water is still turbid, but smallmouth continue to be caught on crayfish imitation bait. White bass fishing in the Kinzua tailrace is still good all the way to the Forest County line using minnows. Walleye and northern pike are being caught on natural river baits.

 

Allegheny Reservoir: Fishing for all species in the Pennsylvania portion has been slow of late. Approved trout waters: Very good water conditions are producing good catches on nightcrawlers and redworms.

 

LAKE ERIE and TRIBUTARIES

 Steelhead fishing is at a peak right now. The Project Waters on Walnut continue to hold fish, although clear and crowded conditions have made catching them a challenge. The Manchester Hole is loaded with fish. Anglers have experienced fair to good action from the wall near the mouth of Walnut Creek.  A surprising number of fish have been taken just east of the wall at the mouth of Walnut Creek. Boaters have been doing very well trolling just off shore when the lake is cooperating. A variety of spoons have been the bait of choice for the boaters. Elk Creek from the mouth to Route 5 has been hot lately. The last rainfall triggered a decent run on Elk Creek. Crooked Creek is producing well and is usually less crowded than Elk or Walnut, especially during the week. Anglers are doing well on a variety of baits although minnows seem to be popular right now.

 

SOUTHCENTRAL REGION

 

Cumberland County

 Opossum Lake was stocked with trout earlier in October and anglers are starting to catch them consistently.  Artificial moldable baits have been the bait of choice for most anglers.  Anglers using small 1/64- or 1/80-ounce jigs have also been catching black crappies at the lake.

 

Local fly anglers should check out “The Run” below Boiling Spring Lake.  Brightly colored egg patterns and small midge larva patterns have been working well there and anglers have been catching and releasing plenty of brown and rainbow trout along with a few brook trout.

 

Dauphin County

 Recent rains have brought the Susquehanna River up well over 5 feet at the USGS gage in Harrisburg.  Not only does this make the river marginally fishable, it also requires river users to exercise extra caution.  Whether venturing onto the river to fish or to target waterfowl this season, take care to make extra precautions for the cold water and weather.  When picking a life jacket, a “float coat“– a Type III jacket-style personal flotation device - is an excellent option.

 

Juniata/Perry Counties

Muskellunge are starting to hit well on Lake Holman at Little Buffalo State Park.  Large, jointed, rainbow patterned lures are working well.  Early morning and late evening have been the best times to target these large fish.  Trout fishing is also a good bet at the lake, as 2,000 trout were also recently stocked.  Waxworms, mealworms, and a variety of artificial baits are working well. 

 

A few walleyes are being caught around the Thompsontown and Mifflintown areas on the Juniata River, and this action should continue to pick up as water temperatures drop.

 

Lebanon County

 For those who think that largemouth bass fishing is done for the season, stop over at Memorial Lake at Memorial Lake State Park.  This lake offers ample room to spread out around the lake, and is a great place to bring a family to fish.  A shiner or other small to medium-sized minnow suspended under a bobber is a good way to catch a bass at this lake.  Set the bobber shallow, since the lake near shore is not always that deep.  A surprising bonus is that you never know what else may hit your bait, including a northern pike or tiger muskellunge. 

 

Trout anglers should check out Quittapahilla Creek or “Quittie” as it is known locally, which was recently stocked in the delayed harvest area in Annville.

 

York County

The time is just beginning when the PPL Brunner

 Islandpower plant discharge on the Susquehanna River will be producing nice smallmouth bass.  As river temperatures drop, smallmouth bass and other fish, including channel catfish and walleye, congregate below the warm water discharge in the river.  Shiner and fathead minnows are usually the bait of choice for bass at this location, though anglers casting flies and lures often have success as well.  Work artificial lures slowly to entice sluggish fish to strike if the action is slow.  Anglers fishing for carp and catfish usually report success on angleworms or nightcrawlers.

 

NORTHEAST REGION

 

Bradford County

 The Susquehanna River has produced some decent catches of smallmouth bass in good numbers, but small in size. Topwater lures were working well. The fall walleye bite has not started yet. There have been some small walleye caught on jigs tipped with live minnows.  Unfortunately, recent rains have brought the river close to flood stage.  It is high and can be dangerous for boating and fishing. 

 

Carbon County

Anglers are catching large and smallmouth bass in the area of Wild Creek Cove and Pohopoco Cove at Beltzville Lake.  Anglers are using minnows and plastic worms.  There are some reports of musky being caught in the area of Pine Run Cove.

 

Anglers are catching crappie, and doing well with the panfish at Mauch Chunk Lake.  Anglers are using minnows for the crappie and mealworms seem to be a good choice for other panfish.   Anglers report some nice trout catches at the Bowmanstown Pool on the Lehigh River.  Fly anglers are using woolly buggers and doing well.  Other anglers are using spinners or live bait.  Most trout streams in this county are still producing trout. Mud Run received a fall stocking last week and there are plenty of trout in this stream.

 

Columbia County

 Area 4 Fisheries Managers recently visited the Bloomsburg access area on the Susquehanna River and found shore anglers catching some nice smallmouth bass and walleye.  One angler said he caught several bass in the 19-inch range over the past week.  Also, the area around Berwick is producing walleyes for fishermen using shiners and tube baits.

 

Luzerne County

 Fishing activity is light considering the waters that have been stocked with trout this fall: Harveys Creek, Moon Lake, Lake Irena, Harveys Lake, Lake Took-A-While and Lily Lake. There are few anglers and a lot of fish present in the waters. Several trout in the 20-inch range were caught at Moon Lake. It will take some patience to catch trout because they are slow to bite.

 

Black crappies are starting to bite and some walleye are being caught in Frances Slocum Lake. Ceasetown Reservoir provides a good opportunity for walleye action.  Anglers are reminded to obey the special property regulations posted at the site by the owner.

 

Pike County

 The Dingmans Creek Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only area near Dingmans Ferry was recently stocked and should provide excellent catch and release fall trout fishing opportunities. The number of anglers fishing Dingmans Creek has been low. The few anglers fishing the special regulations waters have been having a great time with trout on wet flies. Fish from Doodle Hollow and upstream to the Milford Road near Dingmans Ferry.

 

Action has slowed down considerably for most species of game fish at Lake Greeley and Shohola Lake.  Panfish can still be caught in small numbers by the patient and the lucky.  Best chance for action is at Gobey Pond for warmwater species (primarily panfish and largemouth bass).  Be prepared for a 1-mile hike to get to the pond and observe Game Commission regulations, as the pond is located on SGL 316.

 

Monroe County

As a result of the recent fall stocking, anglers have been catching nice size rainbow trout from the section of Bushkill Creek located within the Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area.  The Delayed Harvest Fly Fishing Only area of the Bushkill Creek at Resica Falls was also recently stocked and should provide excellent fall trout fishing opportunities.

 

The Lehigh River through this county has been stocked with brook and brown trout. They are biting on artificial lures and live bait.  Salted minnows seem to be working well. Boaters and anglers should be wary, as prolonged rains have pounded the Pocono's region on Sunday and Monday.  Watch out for high stream flows well after the rain has stopped.

 

Sullivan County

 The Loyalsock Creek around the Worlds End State Park and downstream has been producing some nice brown trout on live minnows and on the fly rod.  But, recent rains have turned it into a torrent.

 

Wayne County

The Delayed Harvest Artificial Lures Only section of Butternut Creek has been stocked and the fish are hitting.

Boating activity at Lake Wallenpaupack has been minimal.  Fishing has also been slow at this lake. There has been some sporadic walleye catches.  There are a handful of dedicated anglers trying their luck on the Delaware River at Narrowsburg.  With the conditions being what they are, continue to have patience and fish slow and deep and try to keep the bait on the small side.

 

 


PA - PFBC urges Support for Pennsylvania Wildlife Conservation Heritage Act

State Representative David Levdansky and Chairman Bruce Smith of the House Game and Fisheries Committee are seeking co-sponsors for new legislation to authorize a Conservation Heritage Account.  The new law will be known as the Pennsylvania Wildlife and Conservation Heritage Act of 2003.  This bill will be introduced as House Bill 2142.

 

The success of this approach will depend on the support of sportsmen and conservationists from across Pennsylvania.  Now is the time to urge support for the creation of a Conservation Heritage Account! The new Conservation Heritage Account will be funded with a small portion of the so-called “tipping fees” collected for waste deposited in landfills.  This approach does not increase the tipping fees. Instead it provides that the first $12.5 million in tipping fees collected each year will be deposited in the Account.

 

Funds in the Conservation Heritage Account will be allocated annually as follows:

45% to the Fish and Boat Commission for construction and rehabilitation of infrastructure and habitat development and improvement.

 

45% to the Game Commission for construction and rehabilitation of infrastructure, habitat development and improvement and wildlife management programs.

 

10% to the Wild Resource Conservation Fund for the purposes specified in the Wild Resource Conservation Act.

 

The Fish and Boat Commission has demonstrated a clear need for a new source of funds for rehabilitation projects for state fish hatcheries, state dams, boating access and other state-owned infrastructure managed by the Commission.

 

Although state fish hatcheries have been well operated and well maintained, we need to install new modern waste water treatment plants at these hatcheries to meet increasingly strict environmental permit requirements and improve water quality. Similarly, although the state dams managed by the Commission have been regularly inspected and well maintained, many fail to meet current standards for passing possible maximum floods. All in all, the Commonwealth needs to allocate about $100 million over a period of years to upgrade this infrastructure. The Pennsylvania Wildlife and Conservation Act will provide the funds to pay the debt service on these major capital

projects and allow us to move forward now.

 

Both the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen Clubs and the Unified Sportsmen of Pennsylvania have been steadfast in their support of funding to meet fish and wildlife infrastructure needs.  Other sportsmen groups and individual sportsmen have agreed that Pennsylvania needs a better way of funding infrastructure needs for fish and wildlife.

 

A conservation account should be allocated to the Fish and Boat Commission, Game Commission and Wild Resource Conservation Fund.  The Fish and Boat Commission and Game Commission would each receive more than $5 million dollars per year to be used for infrastructure improvements and habitat development.

 

Fishing and boating and hunting and trapping provide major economic benefits for Pennsylvania.  Fishing and boating alone bring more than $2 BILLION each year to Pennsylvania's economy.  It's important to reinvest in state-owned infrastructure to support fishing and boating and the economic impacts they provide.

 

The Fish and Boat and Game Commissions serve all Pennsylvanians by managing nongame species, providing for public safety in our woods and on our waterways and preserving Pennsylvania's conservation heritage. Fishing license fees alone never have been -- and never will be -- sufficient in themselves to cover the costs of major capital projects on state-owned infrastructure managed by the Fish and Boat Commission.

 

The great conservation bond issues of the past -- Project 70 and Project 500 -- provided over $100 million in today's dollars for the Fish and Boat Commission to acquire and development the state infrastructure that needs upgrades today. The Pennsylvania Wildlife and Conservation Heritage Act (HB 1242) builds on past successes by providing a source of funds for infrastructure and habitat.

 

Pennsylvanians support conservation funding!  In a 2002 poll, nearly 80% of us support guaranteed state funding earmarked to protect and improve Pennsylvania's environment.  And 63 % of us support guaranteed funding, earmarked exclusively for the environment even if waste disposal costs increased. Nearly 3 out of 4 voters polled (74%) said they supported increased funding for state wildlife management agencies like the PFBC and the PGC.  Just less than half (45%) characterized hat support as being “strong.”  In addition, 63% supported additional funding for PFBC and PGC facilities, and 68% supported additional funding for land acquisition.


PA - Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Marks Completion of Bridge and Boat Launch

SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY:  PENNDOT and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission joined federal, state, county and local officials on October 31 for a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark two accomplishments along the Susquehanna River in Susquehanna County. The ribbon cutting celebrated the completion of a $6.5 million construction project that involved the construction of a new bridge to carry US Route 11 over the Susquehanna River between Hallstead Borough and Great Bend Township.  Today’s event also served as a dedication ceremony for a new boat launch near the bridge on the Hallstead side of the river.

 

“The new bridge will serve the residents of Susquehanna County and visiting travelers well in the 21st Century,” said Dave Skrocki, PENNDOT Assistant District Executive for Construction. “Those who would rather fish or boat on the river, rather than cross it, will also be well served by this new boat launch,” added Skrocki.

 

The ceremony was held at the new boat launch off Harmony Road on the Hallstead side of the river. Thanks to the joint efforts of the PA Fish and Boat Commission and PENNDOT, a staging area that was used by the contractor during construction of the bridge was converted into a permanent boat launch area for the use of fishing and boating enthusiasts. The boat launch site will be configured to accommodate seven parking spots, four of which will be double spots for vehicles with boat trailers.

 

“This project is the latest example of the good working

relationship that exists between the Commission and PENNDOT," said Dennis T. Guise, Deputy Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. "As a result of interagency cooperation, what began as transportation project expanded to also provide a public access area that improves recreational opportunities for anglers and boaters.”

 

The owner of Hallstead Sporting Goods and outdoor sports enthusiast, Mike Protz, is credited with spearheading the drive to install the new boat launch/access area along the Susquehanna River in the Great Bend/Hallstead area.

 

The new bridge over the Susquehanna River replaced the old 550-foot long steel truss bridge that was built in 1926.   The project also involved the design and construction of approximately 950 feet of roadway approach work, drainage and guide rail improvements to US Route 11, State Route 1033 (Church Street) and State Route 1010 (Harmony Road).

 

Fahs-Rolston Paving Company, Binghamton, NY is the construction contractor on the bridge project. The preliminary design was completed by Borton-Lawson Engineering of Wilkes-Barre. The final design was completed by McTish Kunkel and Associates of Allentown.

 

Construction began in the summer of 2001. In order to maintain traffic during construction, a temporary bridge was erected downstream, next to the old bridge. The old steel bridge was demolished in December of 2001. The new bridge was opened to traffic in October of last year. The entire project was completed this month.


Wisconsin

WI - Bill 569 would change fisheries laws

New regulation will allow culling for recreational anglers

BASS is urging its members and others to support a bill now before the Wisconsin General Assembly's Committee on Tourism that would bring more tournaments and tourism dollars to the state.

 

Assembly Bill 569 would change state fisheries laws to allow culling. Existing regulations require that anglers stop fishing after catching their limit. The inability to cull has made the state unattractive to tournament organizations.

 

BASS supports the proposed 2003 bill and believes the bill represents a change to progressive sportfish management," BASS Vice President and General Manager Dean Kessel wrote to Wisconsin BASS Federation president Mike Hoffman. "On behalf of the 10,767 Wisconsin BASS members, we want to thank you for your efforts towards modernizing Wisconsin's bass fishing regulations."

 

A BASS Conservation Department analysis determined the

following facts about the existing no-culling regulation:

 

1. No-culling regulations prevent fish from being released or, if released, count against a daily bag limit.

 

2. Such regulations are useful for fragile species like trout and walleye, but have little or no value for bass held in modern livewells.

 

3. No scientific data exists that concludes culling has negative impacts on bass populations.

 

4. These regulations discourage tournament fishing by not allowing anglers to cull for larger fish.

 

5. The Wisconsin BASS Federation has been instrumental in the development of this legislation to exempt permitted bass tournaments from the no-culling/no-sorting regulations.

 

6. The resulting legislation will facilitate an increase in tournament activity and a resulting boost to local economies.


Ontario

ON-Three Ontario Commercials fined $3,075

ST. THOMAS — Two Port Dover commercial fishermen have been fined $2,400 for smuggling fish and a Port Stanley commercial fishing company was fined $675 for unloading a catch after hours.

 

Ed Long, captain of the fishing boat Mi-Mar-Lynn, and Donny Hutchinson, a deckhand, were seen by a conservation officer smuggling 48 walleye fillets off the vessel on September 7, 2003, in Port Stanley harbour. The captain’s Daily Catch Report said they had been fishing for smelt and hadn’t caught walleye.  Long pleaded guilty and was fined $1,200 for submitting an inaccurate Catch Report.  Hutchinson pleaded guilty and was fined $1,200 for possessing walleye that had been caught in contravention of the Ontario Fishery Regulations.

In a separate case, LR Jackson Fisheries Ltd., of Port Stanley, pleaded guilty and was fined $675 for landing fish at Port Stanley harbour outside of the port hours set out in the licence. The commercial fishing licence specifies fish must be landed before 7:00 p.m. unless previous arrangements are made.  On September 21, 2003, a vessel owned by the company landed 4,075 pounds of yellow perch at 8:40 p.m.  No attempt had been made to notify Ministry of Natural Resources officials.

 

The cases were heard before Justice of the Peace E. Babcock in the Ontario Court of Justice in St. Thomas on October 24, 2003.

 

 


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