Week of November 7, 2005

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National

Shippers File Brief in Federal Ballast Water Case

Urges court not to rush to regulate under the Clean Water Act

San Francisco -- A Shipping Industry Ballast Water Coalition has filed a remedy brief in the Northern California Federal District Court case of Northwest Environmental Advocates and its partners against the USEPA.

 

The coalition consists of INTERTANKO, the American Waterways Operators, the Chamber of Shipping of America, the International Council of Cruise Lines, the Lake Carriers' Association, and the World Shipping Council.

 

According to INTERTANKO, the brief, whose four main arguments are detailed below, sets out the 'remedy' that should be imposed as a result of the Court ruling that the EPA's long-standing exclusion from Clean Water Act (CWA) requirements of operational discharges from ships is not authorized by the CWA and is therefore invalid.

 

After the Court issued its March 30 Order, the Shipping Industry Ballast Water Coalition was granted the right to intervene as a defendant in order to defend the maritime industry's interests in the "remedy" phase of the case. On September 6, the environmental groups and the States filed their briefs on the appropriate remedy.

 

The environmental groups proposed that the Court give EPA 90 days to declare whether or not it intends to replace the exclusion with a new permitting system. If EPA declares that it does not intend to do so, the exclusion would be repealed 270 days after the Court's final order. If, on the other hand, EPA declares that it does intend to replace the exclusion with a new permitting system, the exclusion would be repealed 520 days after the Court's final order (by which time EPA ostensibly would have developed and promulgated the new permitting system).

 

The shipping industry brief makes four main arguments:

Congress and the executive have implemented intensive and extensive ballast water discharge control measures, which the maritime industry has long relied upon and complied with. The National Aquatic Nuisance Pollution Control Act, as amended by the National Invasive Species Act of 1990, designated the U.S. Coast Guard as the lead federal agency

to address the problems surrounding the introduction of Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) through ballast water discharges.

 

Acting on its own initiative and in concert with other federal and state agencies and cooperative arrangements, the Coast Guard has mandated a system of open-ocean ballast water exchange, or in some cases salt water flushing of ballast tanks, for all vessels, including those not traveling beyond the 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone.

 

EPA should be afforded maximum discretion. The Court should not precipitate a rush to regulate under the CWA that would prevent EPA from accounting for the complex web of federal regulation that already is in place. If the Court must hold EPA to a deadline--as advocated by the Plaintiffs and the States--then the deadline should be consistent with the timetables adopted by the International Maritime Organization's International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships' Ballast Water and Sediments, which would require the installation of treatment technology on new vessels by 2009, and the retrofit of existing vessels by 2014 or 2016, depending on the size of the vessel.

 

Any specific remedy should be stayed pending appeal. There is a significant likelihood that the Court's Order will be reversed on appeal, because the Court erred in its March 30 Order, such as by failing to take adequate account of the many ways that Congress has acquiesced in the EPA's exemption. In addition, the Coalition could be significantly harmed by a precipitous rulemaking, but the environment--already protected by an extensive web of Coast Guard regulations and other federal laws--would suffer no harm from a stay.

 

The Court should modify its March 30 Order to clarify that it is limited to ballast water discharges only. The Court's March 30 Order could be read broadly to invalidate the application of the exclusion not only to ballast water, but to all other discharges that occur in the ordinary course of vessel operations. However, the environmental and conservation groups and the States claimed injury only from discharges of ballast water. Accordingly, the Coalition proposed that the Court either clarify that its Order applies only to ballast water or, alternatively, use its equitable discretion to order injunctive relief as to ballast water only.


Interactions between Walleyes and Largemouth Bass

Studies show implications for Walleye Stocking

Findings by three Wisconsin experts suggest that largemouth bass interact strongly with walleyes through predation, that they can limit the survival of stocked walleyes, and that walleye stocking can result in increased largemouth bass populations. Therefore, management goals seeking to simultaneously maximize largemouth bass and walleye populations may be unrealistic.

 

Research scientists Andrew H. Fayram, Michael J. Hansen and Timothy J. Ehlinger used a number of different data sets and four criteria to evaluate evidence of competition and predation between walleye and northern pike, muskellunge, smallmouth bass, and largemouth bass in northern Wisconsin lakes. The four criteria were as follows: (1) indices of population abundance were inversely related, (2) two species had shared resources or one species preyed on the other, (3) competition or predation was strong enough to produce a measurable effect, and (4) experimental manipulations produced results consistent with the hypothesis of competition or predation.

 

Using these criteria, they identified which species interact

most strongly with walleyes, determined the most likely mechanism for interaction (predation, competition, or both), and characterized the effects of walleye stocking on these species. Largemouth bass was the only species that strongly interacted with walleyes: (1) indices of largemouth bass and walleye population abundance were inversely related in lakes with self-sustaining walleye populations; (2) the diet of largemouth bass included juvenile walleyes; (3) walleye growth was positively related to indices of largemouth bass abundance; and (4) survival of stocked walleyes was negatively related to indices of largemouth bass abundance, and indices of largemouth bass abundances increased as an index of walleye stocking intensity increased.

 

An analysis of one lake that was stocked with 39,300 juvenile walleyes, but also has some natural reproduction of walleyes, suggested that the largemouth bass population could consume up to 82,500 juvenile walleyes per year.

 

The study was first received: November 29, 2004 and published online October 20, 2005

http://afs.allenpress.com/perlserv/?request=get-abstract&doi=10.1577%2FM04-203.1

 

 


Black Carp Comment Period Extended

Public invited to comment through Dec 16, 2005

October 31, 2005 -- A Federal Register  notice extending the public comment period on the proposed rule to add all forms (diploid and triploid) of live black carp to the list of injurious species published today. The public comment period will be open through December 16, 2005.

 

All documents are available on the USFWS webpage at http://contaminants.fws.gov/Issues/InvasiveSpecies.cfm . Comments may be

sent  by electronic mail (e-mail) to: BlackCarp@fws.gov . The notice is posted in the October 20, 2005 Federal Register,  Vol. 70, # 207 Pages 61933-94. The PDF document can be viewed at: www.fws.gov/policy/library/05-21440.pdf

 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to amend its regulations to add black carp (Mylopharyngodon piceus) to the list of injurious fish, mollusks, and crustaceans. This listing would have the effect of prohibiting the importation of any live animal or viable egg of the black carp into the United States. The best available information indicates that this action is necessary to protect the interests of human beings, and wildlife and wildlife resources from the purposeful or accidental introduction and subsequent establishment of black carp populations into ecosystems of the United States.

 

As proposed, live black carp or viable eggs could be imported only by permit for scientific, medical, educational, or zoological purposes, or without a permit by Federal agencies solely for their own use. Permits would also be required for the interstate transportation of live black carp or viable eggs, currently held in the U.S. for scientific, medical, educational, or zoological purposes.

The proposal would prohibit interstate transportation of live black carp or viable eggs, currently held in the United States, for any other purpose.

 

In February 2000, USFWS was petitioned to list black carp as an injurious species of wildlife under the Lacey Act (18 U.S.C.42). They published a proposed rule in the Federal Register to add all forms (diploid and triploid) of live black carp to the list of injurious fish, mollusks, and crustaceans under the Lacey Act on July 30, 2002.  They also posted notices in the Federal Register on June 2, 2000, June 4, 2003,  Aug 30, 2005.

 

Comments may be mailed or sent by fax to the Chief, Division of Environmental Quality, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 North Fairfax Drive, Suite 322, Arlington, VA 22203, or you may send comments by e-mail to: BlackCarp@fws.gov .

 

Reference Items:

 

Oct 27, 2005 Federal Register notice of Extension

www.fws.gov/policy/library/05-21440.pdf

 

Other Reference locations

 

Aug 30, 2005 Federal Register notice of Extension

www.fws.gov/contaminants/OtherDocuments/BlackCarpFRnotice8-30-05.pdf

 

About Black Carp

http://library.fws.gov/Pubs9/blackcarp02.pdf

 

USFWS Invasive Species Section

www.fws.gov/contaminants/Issues/InvasiveSpecies.cfm


Angler Numbers nationally on the Upswing

Anglers’ Contributions for Conservation Top $540 Million Annually

Alexandria, VA…The number of paid fishing license holders in the United States has slightly increased over the previous year, according to the USFWS’s recent National Fishing License Report. Numbers rose 2.1% from 27,908,272 in 2003 to 28,499,206 in 2004. The sportfishing industry sees this as a good sign that the trend of flat or slightly decreasing numbers may be on the upswing.

 

"Angling is one of America’s most popular sports," said Mike Nussman, president and CEO, American Sportfishing Association (ASA). “It’s a sport that everyone can enjoy. Spending time on the water is a great way for families and friends to connect. We see this as a good sign and a trend that we want to see continue.”

 

The number of resident licenses, tags, permits and stamps issued in 2004 increased nearly 2% over the previous year to 31.6 million, while the non-resident quantity posted at 6.6 million, an increase of 3.7% over 2003.

 

Anglers continue to contribute more and more dollars in pursuit of their sport. The 2004 figures show gross cost paid by anglers for licenses, tags, permits and stamps—the primary funding source for sportfish conservation and management programs in America—was $540.9 million. That total represents an increase of 5.3 percent over 2003. Currently, one out of every 10 Americans has a fishing license. The number of anglers in America peaked in the mid-1980s at 31.5 million. At the time, anglers represented approximately 19 percent of the U.S. population.

 

The table provides a snapshot of fishing license sales

over the last three years:

 

2002

2003

2004

Certified Paid Fishing License Holders

28,859,584

27,908,272

28,499,206

Total Licenses, Tags, Permits & Stamps

37,951,435

37,564,694

38,421,267

Resident Licenses, Tags, Permits & Stamps

31,344,300

31,000,424

31,612,513

Non-resident Licenses, Tags, Permits & Stamps 

6,607,135

6,564,270

6,808,754

Gross Cost Contributed by Anglers

$500,106,181

$512,970,894

$540,933,776

 

Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund

Earlier this year, President Bush signed into law the most significant legislation for sportfishing and boating since 1984. The centerpiece of the legislation is the successful capture of the federal fuel tax on motorboats and small engines which will now be dedicated to sportfish restoration, angler and boating access and boating safety. The legislation will consolidate the receipts of the new Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund and distribute them according to a simpler and more equitable formula supported by the American Sportfishing Association and a coalition of 33 other fishing and boating organizations.

 

Formerly known as the Aquatic Resources Trust Fund, this reauthorization will recover approximately $110 million per year of federal fuel taxes currently being paid by anglers and boaters which was being diverted to the general treasury. The full capture of the fuel tax will significantly boost funding revenues for the Fund to approximately $570 million per year for important angling and boating programs.


Hunting numbers increased in 2004 after years of decline

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service recently released the 2004 Hunting License Reports for hunting and fishing licenses sold, as well as the gross receipts related to the sale of those licenses, permits, assorted stamps and tags.

 

Nationally, there were 28,499,206 fishing licenses sold with 38,421,267 total licenses tags and stamps, grossing $540,933,776.  Paid hunting license holders in America increased in 2004, putting the brakes on a downward drift that has had hunting enthusiasts concerned for a decade or more.

 

The National Shooting Sports Foundation closely monitors these numbers and noted that 2004 numbers "rose less than 1& (0.3 percent), from 14,740,188 to 14,779,071, but hunting advocates are hoping the up-tick indicates stabilization following a long downward trend."

 

The 2004 figures show gross cost paid by hunters for licenses, tags, permits and stamps--the primary funding source for wildlife conservation and management programs in America--was $703,794,135.24. That's an increase of 3.5% over 2003.

"Over the past 20 years, good news about hunter numbers has been hard to find, but now we've seen increases in two of the past six years. I believe that's a tribute to the many wonderful programs today that are designed to recruit and retain hunters. The hunting community is working together, making a difference, and it's beginning to show," said Jodi Valenta, director of recruitment and retention programs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

 

The NSSF administers a variety of programs to increase hunting participation, particularly among youth. According to the NSSF, the number of hunters in America peaked in the mid-1980s at 16.8 million. At the time, hunters represented just over 9 percent of the U.S. population.

 

But, many recall hunting in the mid 1980s or even the 1960s and '70s and the level of sophistication in hunting destinations, equipment and other things that consume resources was minuscule compared to the options of today. People are spending more to participate in their outdoor passions, particularly on gear, trips, travel and other factors that increasingly influence the outdoor experience in the new millennium


Beyond Red Lake —The Persistent Crisis in Tribal America

Yvette Roubideaux, M.D., M.P.H

A troubled American Indian teenager, on March 21, 2005 went on a shooting rampage, killing nine people at the Red Lake Indian reservation high school in Minnesota, before turning the gun on himself.

 

Most of the news reports highlighted his past, including a history of depression and suicide attempts, and the daunting socioeconomic conditions in his reservation community. Reporters mentioned high rates of poverty, alcoholism, unemployment, and violence among young people as possible factors in the tragedy. Although similar events have occurred in wealthier communities — the shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, leap to mind — this calamity seems to have reminded our country that many American Indian and Alaska Native communities face deep-rooted challenges every day and continue to be affected by significant socioeconomic and health disparities.

 

An American Indian physician, I spent three years in the 1990s working in an Indian Health Service hospital in rural Arizona and witnessed the harsh realities of life on an Indian reservation. Having spent 11 years in Boston for my education and training, I felt I was embarking on a great adventure as I drove the desolate stretch of highway that led to the reservation. As I entered it, however, I noticed a change in scenery. Scattered along the road were small houses in various states of disrepair, often with litter and beer cans scattered about the high desert landscape around them. Even some of the newer homes had wooden outhouses close by and small children played in a yard full of trash and abandoned cars. Some of these houses, no larger than 500 square feet at best, had at least six cars parked in front of them. As I later discovered, many housed more than one family.

 

As I drove into the center of town, I found that the main street was only about three blocks long. The town center was framed by the elementary school, the hospital, a small café, a grocery store, tribal offices, and an abandoned gas station. I breathed a sigh of relief when I arrived at the hospital and spotted the government-owned houses for hospital staff across the street — in much better condition than the homes I had passed on my way into town. Driving into this community, I was reminded of my family's visits to my grandmother on an Indian reservation in South Dakota, but the poor living conditions had not been as striking to a child as they were to a physician.

 

During a brief orientation, my supervisor described the community of approximately 10,000 people and the challenges it faced. The unemployment rate hovered around 80 percent, and alcoholism, substance abuse, injuries, accidents, and violence were common. National statistics show persistent disparities in socioeconomic conditions between the people who live on most Indian reservations and the U.S. population at large, with higher rates of unemployment, lower median incomes, lower educational levels, and higher rates of poverty. For most American Indians, relocation to rural reservations in the 1800s resulted in a loss of culture, traditions, and familiar ways of life and left them isolated in places that were far removed from the resources available in urban areas. Years of poor educational systems and lack of opportunity have resulted in seriously depressed socioeconomic conditions on most reservations.

 

The outdated, understaffed hospital in this community had only four beds, a busy outpatient clinic with five working exam rooms, and a small emergency room with four stations. A few run-down trailers held additional clinics and services. A sign on the door of the emergency room cautioned patients not to bring firearms into the facility — a constant reminder of perennial violence and trauma. After the vast, shiny university teaching hospital in which I had most recently worked, this facility came as quite a shock.

 

Part of my job was to help cover the emergency room. Although the hospital was built to be staffed by 12 physicians, only 3 others worked there when I arrived. During every emergency room shift, I cared for adults and children with broken bones from unintentional injuries and car accidents, attended to patients in various stages of alcohol or drug intoxication, and treated the unfortunate and often preventable complications of chronic disease.

 

In particular, American Indians and Alaska Natives are experiencing an epidemic of diabetes, with a prevalence two to three times that among non-Hispanic whites in the United States. In some Indian communities, more than half of all

adults have diabetes, and without access to high-quality medical care, the ability to obtain or prepare healthful food, and the money to buy shoes that fit, many patients end up in the clinic or emergency room with infections, strokes, and heart attacks. The lack of fresh vegetables and healthy choices at the local grocery store means that most families live on high-fat foods such as fried bread, Indian tacos, and junk food. Physicians were often frustrated by patients' noncompliance with medication, but I found that the reason for it was usually a misunderstanding or a lack of information, alcohol or substance abuse, or the need to work or care for others, rather than a lack of caring. Talking with patients about their living situation often helped more than handing them a bottle of pills.

 

Some people came to the emergency room for the sole purpose of requesting an over-the-counter medication such as Tylenol because they could not afford to buy it. But many came with more serious — and theoretically preventable — problems. I hated to hear the voices of the emergency medical technicians blast over the radio system, because they were usually warning us of their imminent arrival with yet another victim of an alcohol-related accident. Alcohol-related death rates are 7.4 times as high among American Indians and Alaska Natives as in the overall U.S. population and alcoholism continues to be a substantial health and social problem on reservations.

 

Not all my experiences in this small Indian community were so gloomy. I made friends among the hospital employees, and some gracious community members invited me to their homes for family events. Many tribal members, despite their difficult circumstances, worked hard at their jobs or planned to further their education. As in any community, many parents did everything they could to create a better life for their children. Still, I worried about the children I saw in the clinic: they had to grow up so quickly in order to help their families survive daily hardship and were always at risk of succumbing to peer pressure to use alcohol or drugs or to join gangs. Young Indians are more likely to die as the result of homicide, suicide, or accidents than are other young people in the United States, and they have higher death rates from alcoholism and substance abuse. I hoped that the children would see me in the clinic wearing my starched white coat and realize that it is possible for an American Indian to become a physician.

 

Some Americans purport to believe that the problems of American Indians have been solved by economic enterprises such as casinos. But the enormous successes of a few tribal casinos in the Northeast are far from the norm. The bright lights and ringing bells in most casinos do no more than divert attention from the continued challenges and hardships faced by Indian communities each day. And far too little has changed since I worked in that community 10 years ago.

 

Although the federal government has a trust responsibility to provide health care for American Indians and Alaska Natives, the Indian Health Service is substantially underfunded and understaffed. This service was established in 1955 to provide primary care and public health services on or near Indian reservations. Although it can take credit for great improvements in health status, significant disparities in health and the quality of care persist 50 years later. Many factors contribute to these disparities, but the failure of the federal government to adequately fund the Indian Health Service for the provision of care to the 1.8 million patients it is supposed to serve means that the promises of treaties signed in the 1800s have never been fulfilled. Indian Health Service per capita health care expenditures are much lower than those of other health care systems in the United States.

 

I left that community after three years, the last two of them as the medical director. During my stay, I tried to improve the quality of health care by implementing changes in the clinic structure and hiring well-qualified physicians. My efforts, however, were constantly thwarted by obstacles to good health that extended far beyond the hospital — problems whose roots lie in the high rates of poverty, unemployment, alcoholism, and other ongoing public health crises. I hope, at least, that the tragedy in Red Lake serves as a wake-up call to the federal government and health professionals about the pressing need for more resources to address the persistent crisis in health care for American Indians and Alaska Natives.

 

Dr. Roubideaux is an assistant professor in the College of Public Health and the College of Medicine at the University of Arizona.   Source:  http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/353/18/1881?query=TOC


Federal funding proposed for cormorant control projects

MARQUETTE - A Congressional conference committee late last month approved a 2006 agriculture appropriations bill with a range of items, including $200,000 for cormorant population control.

 

U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Menominee, MI worked with the committee to secure the funding for several Michigan

priorities. In addition to the funding secured for cormorant control, emerald ash borer control projects were funded at $10 million and wolf population control was appropriated at $1 million for Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

 

Stupak said he was pleased to see many local projects receive "soft earmarks," which place the projects on a priority list to receive funding if it becomes available.


Regional

Coast Guard Station Chicago back in action

Joint facility gets state-of-the-art technology

Vacated by the U.S. Coast Guard almost 50 years ago, the Chicago Marine Safety Station, at the foot of the Chicago River and its related locks, has reopened and offers state-of-the-art technology to its new inhabitants.

 

The like new facility is now home to a combined marine task force of city, state and federal marine officials including the Chicago police marine unit, Conservation Officers from the IL DNR, and the U.S. Coast Guard

 

The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, prompted the combined agencies and Dept of Homeland Security to split a $6 million tab to revitalize the structure and make it the new home for a Chicago area Marine Safety Station.

 

The building, officially dedicated two weeks ago, now houses cameras that monitor the locks controlling river traffic, smart boards and computers linked to the city's Office of Emergency Management and Communications, and a geothermal heating and cooling system that the city's General Services Department says is the first in Chicago.  The 160 pilings the station and command center sits on had become unstable,

and needed upgrading, as did the entire infrastructure including plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems.

 

City, state and federal authorities say the project is important because they have created a template for intergovernmental cooperation.  The Chicago marine unit, the Coast Guard and the state Natural Resources Department patrol the same waters but operate on different radio frequencies and have used separate facilities.

 

"Not only has the Marine Safety Station brought the Coast Guard back to the building it sold to the city for $800 in the late 1960s, but it has also put its officers in the same room with agencies that must coordinate operations," said Jim Harmon, Coast Guard commanding officer of Station Calumet Harbor.

 

The site has been recognized as strategically important since the 1890s, but the Coast Guard left the facility in the late 1960s and has patrolled the waters off Chicago from Calumet Harbor and Wilmette bases. Two high-speed pursuit boats are now docked at the station.

 

All agencies are now operational at the site.


Michigan Hosting Midwest Fish & Wildlife Conference Dec. 11-14 in Grand Rapids

The 66th Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference will be hosted by Michigan governmental agencies and universities on Dec. 11-14 at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids. Each year, the conference draws nearly 1,000 fisheries and wildlife professionals from around the Midwest and is one of the oldest natural resource management conferences in North America.

 

The conference will feature several symposia and workshops on a myriad of wildlife and fisheries topics including cormorants, tribal fisheries management, comprehensive wildlife strategies across the Midwest, Lake Huron's recent food web transformation and its impact on the fisheries, hunter recruitment and retention, amphibian and reptile conservation and management, media, use of the National Hydrography Dataset in fisheries management, the Farm Bill and its benefits to wildlife and fisheries, and a student workshop about careers in wildlife and fisheries

management.

 

The registration cost for the 4 day conference is $200 if registration is received by Friday, Nov. 4, and $275 afterward. Participants can register online at the conference's Web site at www.midwestfishandwildlife.com . One day registrations are available at the door of the conference. A full schedule of events and more information also are located on the Web site. The last day to reserve a hotel room at the Amway Grand Plaza at the conference rate of $95 a night is Thursday, Nov. 10. After Nov. 10, room reservations at the hotel will be on an availability basis and subject to the hotel's regular rates.

 

The conference is being held in conjunction with the 9th National Wild Turkey Symposium, with free admission for Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference attendees. The conference will be hosted by the Michigan DNR, USFWS, USFS, Grand Valley State U, Central Michigan U, Michigan State U and the U. of Michigan.


Federal funding for Great Lakes will be limited

Region should focus on what can be accomplished within current budget dollars, says EPA

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich (AP). - The long-range project to restore the Great Lakes ecosystem likely won't receive the huge infusion of federal cash supporters had hoped for, a Bush administration report said last month.

 

The report, issued by the USEPA on behalf of a Cabinet-level task force Bush appointed in 2004, said federal officials had "serious concerns" with a draft version of the Great Lakes initiative released in July. The draft called for devoting $20 billion over 15 years to fixing some of the lakes' most serious problems, such as invasive species, toxic spills and sewer overflows that have prompted beach closures in many areas.

While some of the proposed funding would come from state and local governments, Washington would provide the lion's share - about $3 billion in new money annually, the EPA report said.  But federal dollars already supports about 140 Great Lakes programs, the report said. The restoration plan "should focus on what can be accomplished within current budget projections" and on improving existing programs, "based on likely spending levels and shared responsibilities," it said.

 

The administration has invested about $500 million a year on Great Lakes cleanup, EPA spokeswoman Eryn Witcher said. The report said federal spending on water quality activities in the region would total $5 billion over the next 10 years.

 


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for Nov 4, 2005

Lake Level Conditions:

All of the Great Lakes, except Lake Ontario, are 4 to 7 inches below the levels of a year ago.  Lake Ontario is at the same level as a year ago.  Dry conditions this spring and summer are the main reason that water levels on the Great Lakes are below last years levels.   Looking ahead, Lake Superior is expected to fall 3 inches over the next month, but will remain above chart datum in December.  Lake Michigan-Huron is below chart datum and should decline 2 inches over the next 30 days.  Lake St. Clair is projected to drop by an inch in the next month.  Lakes Erie and Ontario are expected to fall 3 inches over the next 30 days.  Levels over the next few months on all the Great Lakes, with the exception of Lake Ontario, are expected to remain lower than 2004/2005.   Evaporation rates during the fall may be higher than average due to warmer surface water temperatures.

 

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions:

The Lake Superior outflow through the St. Marys River into Lake Huron is projected to be near average during the month of November.  Flow in the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers are anticipated to be below average during November.  Flow in the Niagara River is predicted to be near average during this month.  St. Lawrence River is projected to be below average in November.

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.

 

Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels Data Summary

Nov 4, in inches except as noted

Superir

Mich-Huron

St. Clair

Erie

Ontario

Expected water level

601.5

577.2

573.2

570.7

244.7

Chart datum, in ft

601.1

577.5

572.3

569.2

243.3

Diff from chart datum

+5

-3

+10

+18

+16

Diff from last month,

0

-5

-6

-5

-3

Diff from last year

-6

-7

-6

-4

0


 

Lake Erie

New proposed walleye bag limit

Ohio DNR’s greatest estimate of Lake Erie’s walleye population was 145 million. Now the modern working number is between 20 and 40 million, which means about 30 million. What happened to about 100 million walleyes?

 

Isn’t it the job of the ODNR to maintain and save our natural resources? For those of us who fished Lake Erie for walleyes back in the 1980’s it seemed as if we really had a 145 million eyes in the lake. The estimated economic impact to Ohio’s economy of about 700 million dollars was very factual. Now we are down to about 30 million eyes and the economic impact is down proportional to about 150 million, according to the latest figure that I know of.

 

It appears Ohio is losing about 1 million dollars a day for 365 

days a year from previous peak years. Ohio lost over 500,000 fishing licenses over the last 9 years. In 2004 DOW says that the effort of the little guys and the charter boats were down almost 20% from the previous year, the lowest on record since the 1980’s. The charter boat harvest was down over 30%.

 

Please note that all of the figures are going in a downward direction, it doesn’t take an Einstein to realize that this is a trend, everything is going down.

 

To counter this downward trend the Chief has come up with a mystic plan to improve our walleye fishing and recoup the economic losses, he intends to kill more spawning walleyes. --SAY WHAT!!!!

Tom Mayher Chairman-NCSFC, and Ohio GLSFC Director.


Illinois

New River Access in Chicago area preserves

DuPage Forest Preserve News Release

Canoeists and kayakers may now enjoy free access to the West Branch of the DuPage River, the East Branch of the DuPage River and Salt Creek in any DuPage forest preserve the waterways pass through with the exception of Oak Meadows Golf Club. Paddlers may enter the waterways anywhere practical at their own risk. At Oak Meadows Golf Club, paddlers on Salt Creek may pass through the course but will not be allowed to access the shoreline to enter or exit the water.

 

The District's four launch sites will remain open for use. Sites are available at Blackwell and McDowell Grove forest preserves along the West Branch of the DuPage River, Churchill Woods Forest Preserve on the East Branch of the DuPage River and at Fullersburg Woods Forest Preserve near

Graue Mill on Salt Creek.

 

Watercraft must be registered with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Federal and state regulations require that watercraft contain one well-fitting personal flotation device for each member on board and that children under 13 years of age wear life preserves when underway in recreational vessels. For additional information about boating in the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, call Visitor Services at (630) 933-7248.

 

With over 24,000 acres, 140 miles of trail and 60 preserves all right at your feet, there's a perfect way to enjoy DuPage County's forest preserves that's just waiting for you. For information, call (630) 933-7200, or visit www.dupageforest.com .


Landowners can enroll in Conservation Reserve Enhancement program

SPRINGFIELD – For the first time since 2001, there will be a two-week signup for the Illinois Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) starting Monday, November 14, 2005, and running through Friday, November 25, 2005, at county USDA-Farm Service Agency service centers.  CREP is a successful partnership involving federal, state and local agencies in which farm landowners can voluntarily enroll their agricultural land and receive funding assistance to help establish conservation practices to reduce sedimentation and nutrient loss in the Illinois River basin, while enhancing wildlife and fish habitat.

 

“This program gives farmers the chance to help the environment, make money and improve Illinois’ economy,” said Governor Rod R. Blagojevich.  “Illinois farmers who voluntarily signup for CREP can put less productive farmland aside, without losing income,” he added.

 

Blagojevich’s fiscal year 2006 budget includes $10 million for the CREP program.  As a result of the Governor’s commitment, Illinois is now able to leverage a significant

federal match for the program.  For every dollar the state invests in CREP, the U.S. Department of Agriculture contributes four dollars, or in this case, $40 million.  This totals a $50 million benefit for Illinois.

 

Illinois was the third state in the country to implement the CREP and it has been one of the most successful programs nationwide with enrollment exceeding 110,000 acres.  Implementation of CREP is a partnership of the USDA - Farm Service Agency, USDA – Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the Illinois Department of Agriculture, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, Illinois Department of Natural Resources and County Soil and Water Conservation Districts.

 

CREP is administered in Illinois by the Department of Natural Resources and offers three different levels of participations once enrolled in the Federal side.  Landowners can enter into a state conservation easement for an additional 15 years, 35 years or permanently.

 

For more info go to www.fsa.usda.gov/il/  or www.dnr.state.il.us/orc/conservation_programs/crep/


Michigan

Fishing Regs Changes for 2006

Department of Natural Resources Director Rebecca Humphries late last week signed several fisheries orders that will go into effect on April 1, 2006. Humphries signed the orders at the monthly meeting of the Natural Resources Commission.

Changes from 2005 fishing season are:

Statewide Trout, Salmon, Whitefish and Lake Herring Regulations:

Several inland lakes have been removed from the type designation, and several other lakes have been added to the order so they can be regulated by the type designation listing. There also are some changes to stream designations. The 2006 Inland Trout and Salmon Guide will contain all local changes.

 

Great Lakes lake trout and splake regulations have been modified in several lake trout management units for Lake Superior, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. In Lake Superior, lake trout management unit MI-6 has been changed to a 15-inch minimum size limit with daily possession of three. This change makes all the lake trout regulations for the Michigan waters of Lake Superior consistent throughout.

 

Lake Michigan lake trout management unit MM-4 has been changed to a minimum size limit of 20 inches with a maximum size limit of 25 inches, except that one fish in the daily possession limit may be 34 inches or greater in length. Lake Michigan lake trout management unit MM-5 has been changed to a maximum size limit of 23 inches except that one fish in the daily possession limit may be 34 inches or greater in length. In Lake Huron, lake trout management unit MH-1 has a 22-inch minimum size limit. This change makes regulations consistent between MH-1 and MH-2 which will simplify regulations for anglers.

 

In Lake Huron, splake regulations have been changed to be consistent with lake trout throughout each of the units. The open season for splake has been changed to open May 1 through Sept. 30 for all Lake Huron waters. In units MH-1 and MH-2, the minimum size limit for splake has been changed to 22 inches with a 15-inch minimum size limit for splake for units MH 3 through MH-6.

 

Michigan-Wisconsin Boundary Waters:

On Michigan-Wisconsin boundary waters the minimum size limit for lake sturgeon has been changed to 60 inches with an open season from the first Saturday in September through Sept. 30. In the Menominee River from the Hattie Street dam downstream to the mouth, sturgeon possession is zero.

 

Statewide Coolwater Regulations for Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike, Walleye, Sauger, Muskellunge, Channel Catfish, Flathead Catfish and Yellow Perch

Several changes have been made to walleye and bass regulations effective April 1, 2006. The two-month closure on walleye harvest for Lake Erie has been removed, resulting in year-around open season. Also, walleye may now be taken from the Michigan waters of Green Bay from the mouth of the Menominee River northward to the latitudinal line (45 degrees/15 minutes) located approximately three miles south of Rochereau Point. This regulation involves a change to the current season and possession limit: the open season from March 12 through the first Saturday in May, the daily possession limit is one walleye and from the first Saturday in May to March 1, five in combination. The minimum size limit remains unchanged. Anglers fishing in this area must have a valid Michigan fishing license.

 

Another change includes allowing anglers to fish for bass during a catch and immediate release season prior to the possession season. Catch and release fishing will be allowed from the last Saturday in April through the Friday before Memorial Day in the Lower Peninsula including the Great Lakes and connecting waters, from the last Saturday in April through the third Saturday in June in Lake St. Clair, and from May 15 through the Friday before Memorial Day on Upper Peninsula waters including the Great Lakes and connecting waters. The opening day for harvest on Lake St. Clair remains unchanged. The previous regulation allowing catch and release bass fishing beginning April 1 on six lakes in the Lower Peninsula has been dropped.

 

For more information on these and other fisheries orders previously signed by Humphries, please visit the DNR Web site at www.michigan.gov/dnr , and click on the "Fishing" section.

 


Ohio

Steelhead Trout Seminar to be held Nov 17

At Lake Erie Nature and Science Center in Bay Village

Start off a successful steelhead fishing season at Ohio Sea Grant’s annual Steelhead Trout Angling Seminar to be held Thursday, November 17, 2005 from 7:00 P.M. to 10:00 P.M., in Bay Village at the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center, 28728 Wolf Road.

 

The seminar is co-sponsored by Ohio Sea Grant and the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center. Seating is limited! Pre-registration and payment of $5.00 per person (to help support the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center) will be necessary to guarantee seating; registration at the door will be accepted only if seating is available. Call the Nature and Science Center at (440) 871-2900 to register and pre-pay for the seminar. For more info call Kelly Riesen, Ohio Sea Grant, (440) 808-5627.

 

This seminar will feature Dave Kelch and Kelly Riesen of Ohio Sea Grant, Monte Casey, local guide and steelhead fly fishing expert, and Jim Craig, respected northeast Ohio spin fishing expert. Kelch, district specialist with Ohio Sea Grant, will teach participants the basics about steelhead trout biology, why trout are stocked in Ohio’s Lake Erie tributary streams, and will give

an overview of this extremely successful Ohio DNR program.

 

Riesen, fisheries program coordinator with Ohio Sea Grant, will inform participants about current issues regarding steelhead fishing. A short session will also be included about finding information about steelhead fishing on the internet.

 

Monte Casey of Westlake, owner/operator of The Steelhead Guide local guide service and steelhead fly fishing expert, will reveal his secrets regarding where, when and how to catch steelhead trout in local Ohio Lake Erie tributary streams using fly fishing gear.

 

Jim Craig of Grafton, a local steelhead fishing expert, will detail where, when and how to catch steelhead in local Ohio Lake Erie tributary streams using spinning gear with live bait, spawn bags and artificial lures.

 

For more info: From: Kelly Riesen, Fisheries Extension Coordinator, (440) 808-5627 riesen.4@osu.edu , or

Dave Kelch, District Specialist, (440) 326-5851 kelch.3@osu.edu


Ontario

Anglers could face cruelty charges; If Bill C-50 gets approved

Catching a fish or baiting a hook may put you in hot water

How would you like to be charged with cruelty to animals for catching and safely releasing a fish?  How about for clubbing another fish for the dinner table? Or for shooting a Canada goose? Or even for putting a worm on a hook?

 

Crazy you say, or maybe columnist sensationalism. Well, believe it or not, it could happen if the latest version of Ontario’s Bill C-50 is passed. Bill C-50, the latest in a long line of Provincial animal cruelty legislation is currently making its way through the House of Commons.  This bill contains serious flaws which will allow it to be used to threaten the practices of hunting, fishing, trapping, farming and other animal uses.

 

Animal-cruelty legislation isn't new. It dates back decades in different forms and bills, but C-50 -- the latest version -- was only reintroduced for first reading on May 16. And while it has yet to be debated, if it passes as it's worded, it will open the door for the animal-rights community to push for precedent-setting prosecution of anglers, hunters, farmers or others.

 

Even the Senate believes the bill is full of problems -- ones that could affect anyone who uses animals like anglers, hunters, farmers and even researchers. In fact, a Senate committee concluded that even if anglers and hunters were licensed, Bill C-50 would not exclude them from possible prosecution for traditional practices under its present wording.

 

Initially, the Senate was successful in making some amendments to the bill, but the document is still rife with ambiguity. In short, the bill contains nothing that gives definitive protection for traditional users of natural resources, except for aboriginals. The latter have a constitutional right to fish and hunt. This bill is saying that non-aboriginals don't have a constitutional right to hunt and fish.

 

Under the bill's proposed wording, both domestic and wild

animals will be taken out of the property section of the Criminal Code and now be seen more as "beings." The bill would also make killing an animal brutally or viciously illegal, regardless of whether the animal dies immediately.

 

The two words "brutally" and "viciously" are the problem because the government really doesn't define what the words actually mean. And while most people believe that they have a fair and moral understanding of the meaning of the words, many in the animal rights community -- like the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) -- brutal and vicious mean catch and release fishing, hunting, penning animals and the list goes on.

 

According to PETA, "A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy" and they should all be treated equally because they are indeed equal according to the organization. But as radical as they are, they have deep pockets and, as a result, are effective. "With an annual budget of over $24 million, PETA pushes its agenda through the power of the media and through endorsements from high-profile celebrities," said Mike Reader, executive director of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters.

 

"Their campaigns and emotional rhetoric unlock the pocketbooks of unsuspecting cat and dog lovers, unaware that these groups also claim that pet ownership is the moral equivalent of slavery."

 

Bill C-50 does call for an increase in fines and penalties for animal cruelty and everyone should back that part of the legislation. However, without the exclusion of legitimate animal-use activities such as hunting and fishing, among others, Bill C-50 will lead to legal nightmares for anglers and hunters as court doors will be open for PETA and other animal-rights fanatics to seek well-funded prosecution.

 

If you enjoy hunting and fishing, are a farmer or even just own a pet, you should be talking to your MP and making your feelings known.


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