Week of Dcember 5 , 2011
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Words to Ponder
"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter, and lose our freedoms, it will be because we
Major implications for fresh – and saltwater fishery
With a Dec. 31 deadline looming, support is mounting for legislation to ensure that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service uses sound science to set catch limits for the nation's fisheries. A Senate version of the Fishery Science Improvement Act – H.R. 2304 was introduced Nov.28 by Sens. Bill Nelson, D-FL and Marco Rubio, R-FL.
As amended in 2006, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act requires Regional Fishery Management Councils to put in place annual catch limits for every fishery by Dec. 31. The requirements were intended to end overfishing by 2011, but were predicated on two critical assumptions: Catch limit decisions would be based on up-to-date and accurate stock assessments, and there would be improved catch data to better anticipate potential problems in a given fishery.
Neither of these obligations has been met, according to a release from the National Marine Manufacturers Association and other concerned stakeholders, including the American Sportfishing Association, the Center for Coastal Conservation, the Coastal Conservation Association, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, the International Game Fish Association and The Billfish Foundation.
Similar to legislation introduced in the House by Rep. Rob Wittman, R-VA., and 34 bipartisan co-authors, the Nelson/Rubio bill has the backing of a broad coalition of fishing, boating and industry groups that see a critical need for federal managers to avoid an unacceptable situation in which the groups say arbitrary deadlines are being allowed to trump the need for science-based management of marine resources.
“Fishery management decisions should be based on sound science,” Nelson said in a statement. “This legislation will ensure that science is a priority.”
“It’s a simple formula,” Rubio added. “Regulatory decisions, if necessary, should always be based on sound science. This legislation provides a simple answer to fishermen and to fishery managers.”
The Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus — the largest bipartisan, bicameral caucus in Congress, with nearly 300 members representing all 50 states — has lent its voice to calls for this legislation, which will safeguard the strong conservation standards of the Magnuson-Stevens Act while addressing shortcomings within NOAA Fisheries.
To maintain MSA’s conservation tenets, the Nelson/Rubio bill would not apply to stocks that already have been determined to be overfished. However, it offers key components that are intended to steer NOAA Fisheries back to the true intention of the 2006 Magnuson-Stevens Act reauthorization. The bill states that if NOAA Fisheries has not done a stock assessment on a particular stock in the past six years and there is no indication that overfishing is occurring, no annual catch limit on that stock is required.
The federal government has about 528 fish stocks or complexes of stocks under management, and today only 121 of those stocks are considered “adequately assessed.”
“The Nelson/Rubio bill provides a timely path for NOAA Fisheries to manage all of America’s marine fish stocks based on sound science,” according to the stakeholders’ statement.
Agency released a new draft Vessel General Permit on November 30, 2011
In addition, EPA released the draft the Small Vessel General Permit, a simpler, shorter permit to provide coverage for smaller vessels if they need it after December 19, 2013.
WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is issuing two draft vessel general permits that would regulate discharges from commercial vessels, excluding military and recreational vessels. The proposed permits would help protect the nation’s waters from ship-borne pollutants and reduce the risk of introduction of invasive species from ballast water discharges.
The draft Vessel General Permit, which covers commercial vessels greater than 79 feet in length, would replace the current 2008 Vessel General Permit, when it expires in December 2013. Under the Clean Water Act, permits are issued for a five-year period after which time EPA generally issues revised permits based on updated information and requirements. The new draft Small Vessel General Permit would cover vessels smaller than 79 feet in length and would provide such vessels with the Clean Water Act permit coverage they will be required to have as of December 2013.
Both permits will be subject to a 75-day public comment period, which will allow a broad array of stakeholders, including industry and communities, to provide feedback. That information will help inform EPA’s decision on the final permits, which are expected to go into effect in 2013. EPA intends to issue the final permits in November 2012, a full year in advance, to allow vessel owners and operators time to prepare for new permit requirements.
Information on the draft Vessel General Permit:
The updated permit would reduce the administrative burden for vessel owners and operators, eliminating duplicative reporting requirements, clarifying that electronic recordkeeping may be used instead of paper records, and streamlining self-inspection requirements for vessels that
are out of service for extended periods. The permit would continue to regulate the 26 specific discharge categories that were contained in the 2008 permit and, for the first time, manage the discharge of fish hold effluent.
A key new provision of the permit is a proposed numeric standard to control the release of non-indigenous invasive species in ballast water discharges. The new ballast water discharge standard addressing invasive species is based upon results from independent EPA Science Advisory Board and National Research Council National Academy of Sciences studies. These limits are generally consistent with those contained in the International Maritime Organization’s 2004 Ballast Water Convention.
The new standard is expected to substantially reduce the risk of introduction and establishment of non-indigenous invasive species in U.S. waters.
The draft Vessel General Permit also contains updated conditions for mechanical systems that may leak lubricants into the water and exhaust gas scrubber washwater, which would reduce the amount of oil and other pollutants that enter U.S. waters. EPA will take comment on potentially more stringent requirements for bilgewater discharges.
This permit would be the first under the Clean Water Act to address discharges incidental to the normal operation of commercial vessels less than 79 feet in length. Recognizing that small commercial vessels are substantially different in how they operate than their larger counterparts, the draft Small Vessel General Permit is shorter and simpler. The draft permit specifies best management practices for several broad discharge management categories including fuel management, engine and oil control, solid and liquid maintenance, graywater management, fish hold effluent management and ballast water management, which consists of common sense management measures to reduce the risk of spreading invasive species. The permit would go into effect at the conclusion of a current moratorium enacted by Congress that exempts all incidental discharges from such vessels, with the exception of ballast water, from having to obtain a permit until December 18, 2013.
And a 14" piece of shoestring is a "machinegun"
Government run Amuck
World Net Daily reports a letter has surfaced from the federal government warning against consumers stockpiling Chore Boy household scrubbers because they can be considered a component of a gun silencer and, therefore, regulated by federal gun laws.
The letter is from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the ATF. It was obtained by David Codrea, who publishes online as the Gun Rights Examiner. And it comes from a federal agency that earlier determined a 14-inch-long piece of shoestring must be regulated under federal gun laws and restrictions because it is a "machinegun."
The latest unusual determination from the agency is found in a letter submitted to the agency on behalf of a client. The letter is dated Nov. 26, 2010, and Codrea said it was obtained recently.
In it, an attorney was asking about a repair that a client wished to make on an already-registered silencer for a .22 caliber rifle. "Does sound/gas absorbing materials manufactured from Chore Boy copper clean pads, along with fiberglass insulation, constitute a silencer part as defined in 18 U.S.C 921(a)(24)?" he asked.
"Yes," confirmed the letter signed by John R. Spencer, the chief of the Firearms Technology Branch. "Gas/sound-absorbing material is the same as a baffle in that it is designed to reduce/trap hot gases within the expansion tube to allow cooling before they are released from the silencer, subsequently reducing sound."
Spencer, responding to a question about whether such material which becomes worn in a silencer could be replaced, said it would be a violation of federal law. "Replacement of any component part or parts of a
registered silencer, other than a silencer wipe, would be a violation of the NFA if performed by a non-licensed manufacturer," the letter said.
The correct procedure would be for the owner of the registered silencer to submit an application to the ATF and pay a $200 tax, the letter said. "Further, he would have to submit a 'no-marking' variance to FTB since there is no viable area in which to apply a serial number to the sound-absorbing material," Spencer wrote. He also noted that it would not be lawful for the owner of the registered silencer to "have a stockpile of sound-absorbing materials for his own use in replacing deteriorated sound-absorbing material."
Here's Page 1 of the letter, which is available online:
Codrea pointed out that not even two years ago, ATF seized toy guns designed to shoot plastic BBs and said it would take only a "quick retooling" to make them fire live ammunition. The "retooling" would involve replacing the barrel, bolt, upper and lower receivers and trigger assembly, he said. The letter from Sterling Nixon, then-chief of the branch, said any part designed and intended for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun is a machinegun.
"The FTB examined and classified a 14-inch long shoestring with a loop at each end. The string was attached to the cocking handle of a semiautomatic rifle and was looped around the trigger and attached to the shooter's finger. The device caused the weapon to fire repeatedly until finger pressure was released from the string. Because this item was designed and intended to convert a semiautomatic rifle into a machingun, FTB determined that it was a machinegun as defined in 26 U.S.C. 5845(b)."
The agency also has classified the M1 Garand, a rifle used by the U.S. military for two decades and issued to thousands of soldiers and Marines during World War II and Korea, as a "threat to public safety in the U.S."
CHICAGO – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) announced November 28 they will return the operating parameters of the electric barrier to the higher operating parameters established in October 2011. The barrier had been temporarily reset to pre-October 2011 settings while USACE investigated possible interference with railroad signals adjacent to the barrier site.
Technical experts from USACE (and contractors) worked with railroad representatives to determine potential causes. Engineers at the barrier site were able to identify a piece of equipment that was contributing to the issue. The equipment has been reconfigured to avoid interference with the railroad signals.
The operating parameters of 2.3 volts, 30 hertz and 2.5 milliseconds are expected to go into effect on November 29, 2011.
USACE continues to work in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard and other members of the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee to ensure both safe and effective operation of the electric barrier system and
continued progress on all Asian carp efforts.
"The Corps remains committed to operating the barriers safely and effectively," said Colonel Frederic Drummond, Commander, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Chicago District. "We have high confidence in the effectiveness of the barriers and continue to work with our partners and stakeholders to assess the Asian carp threat and make informed decisions regarding barrier operations."
It is important to note that all evidence strongly indicates that very small Asian carp are not close to the vicinity of the fish barrier, and in fact have been observed at locations of verified spawning 152 miles away from Lake Michigan. Expanded use of ultrasonic telemetry to determine fish behavior near the electric fields has shown that of more than 2.7 million detections of tagged surrogate fish in the barrier area, no tagged fish have crossed any of the electric barriers in the upstream direction.
"Nevertheless, as long as the electric dispersal barriers can be operated in a safe manner, I intend to operate Barrier II at the higher operating parameters as a conservative precaution," Drummond said.
The temperatures throughout the Great Lakes basin remained about average this past week for this time of year. Lake Erie, Michigan-Huron and Ontario received significant rainfall last week, while Lake Superior received average precipitation. The Great Lakes basin as a whole has received slightly above average precipitation for the month of November. Looking ahead to the weekend, expect a chance for some showers with temperatures near seasonal averages. Leading into the early part of next week, there is a chance of continued showers throughout the area.
LAKE LEVEL CONDITIONS
Currently, Lake Superior is 1 inch below its level from a year ago. Lakes Michigan-Huron is 4 inches higher than it was last year. Excessive rainfall this past week led to significant rises on Lake St Clair and Lake Erie. As a result, they are 22 and 15 inches, respectively, higher than they were at this time last year. Lake Ontario is 2 inches higher than it was last year. Over the next thirty days, Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are projected to drop 3 and 2 inches respectively, from their current levels. The water levels of Lakes St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are forecasted to decline 12, 2, and 0 inches, respectively, over the next month. All of the lakes are in their period of seasonal decline. FORECASTED MONTHLY OUTFLOWS/CHANNEL CONDITIONS
Lake Superior's outflow through the St. Mary's River and the outflow from Lake Huron into the St. Clair River are
projected to be below average for the month of December. The outflow from Lake St. Clair into the Detroit River is expected to be near average throughout the month of December. Lake Erie's outflow through the Niagara River and the outflow of Lake Ontario into the St. Lawrence River are both predicted to be above average in December.
Lake Superior's water level is currently below chart datum. Michigan-Huron's water level is currently at chart datum. 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.
A memorable experience in the Ozarks
Experience the great outdoors in luxury. America’s Premier Wilderness Resort, Bass Pro Shop’s Big Cedar Lodge located near Branson, MO. offers a pleasant and exciting change from your highly urbanized job and big time destinations. A luxurious tour of the Missouri Ozarks will be a rewarding and exhilarating experience. Rolling hills and wooded pastures are the first change you trade for steel and glass urbania. Roll down your windows and enjoy the crisp, fresh air.
Ideal for families, businessmen and angling groups alike, Bass Pro Shops' Big Cedar Lodge offers about everything a big city dweller wants in his getaway vacation. The lodge, a Bass Pro Resort, and its marina, are tucked away in the wooded hillsides of the Ozark Mountains in a quiet cove on sprawling Table Rock Lake. It’s just 10 miles south of Branson and only 5 miles from the Branson airport with direct flights to many major cities.
Big Cedar offers a wide selection of lodging facilities, all with rustic and woodsy but contemporary appointments; great views, and opportunities that will accommodate any number in your party, sleeping and living needs, extravagant tastes, or the conservative pocketbook.
Lodging choices at Big Cedar Lodge, all with rustic amenities, include rooms at three lodges, private cottages and log cabins. Experience the best of Big Cedar by choosing a luxurious accommodation in one of their spacious log cabins. Featuring spacious Jacuzzis, real wood-burning fireplaces, contemporary kitchens, spacious balcony views and vaulted ceilings, these deluxe remote cabins in secluded coves offer the finest of appointments for honeymoons to family reunions.
Deluxe rooms are perfect for one to four people. Beautiful lobbies filled with oversized couches and wood burning fireplaces at The Falls, Valley View and Spring View Lodges offer opportunities to relax and enjoy the view. Value accommodations are an economical way to enjoy the resort with unique four-poster beds, rustic décor and gorgeous views. Most are equipped with a refrigerator or are available at no charge upon request. For specific amenities and pricing visit www.big-cedar.com.
Bent Hook Marina offers professional fishing guides, a pro ski school, personal watercrafts and other boating rental opportunities that will tempt your scheduling activities, often making you late for lunch or dinner at the many lodge venues offered to temp any palates. The Bent Hook Market offers a variety of grocery items and sundries, for your cooler. It also offers lake cruises, covered slip rental, fishing licenses, boat rental opportunities and complimental launch and trailer parking.
This is where you can leave everything behind and enjoy everything the great outdoors has to offer – memories that will last a lifetime. Whether you like fishing, cruising, waterskiing, tubing, wakeboarding jet skiing or just venturing out for a quiet paddle in a canoe, Big Cedar’s Bent Hook Marina has it all.
This classy, rustic, contemporary and enticing facility is designed to keep you indoors if that is your pleasure, or for a change of pace. From Spa Services to a Fitness Center with possibly your personal trainer, these opportunities can upgrade your state-of-health and mental outlook. Whatever your fitness goals, Big Cedar Lodge can accommodate them all. Their expert staff will help you unwind and have you leaving rested and renewed.
For the kids, Big Cedar Lodge offers a unique introduction to the Lodge’s extensive 800-acre playground. The Little Cedar Kids’ Club welcomes children of all ages, who can explore, interact and play in a magical environment, offering nutritious snacks and hands-on experiences. Daily pony rides are available for kids 10 and under. Guided horseback rides are available for adults also.
Dining at Big Cedar’s variety of dining locations is another notable experience. From an early breakfast or quick snack to fine dining or a late night cocktail, the lodge has four free standing restaurants, all with spectacular views, to cover your taste buds, and time table.
One of the original structures on the property, The Truman Café will cover your early morning breakfast needs, or for lunch or supper for an assortment of sandwiches, soups, soups and delicious sides. While the interior has been re-designed, the exterior still reflects its 1920’style and charm.
Devil’s Pool Restaurant offers a casual dining experience that combines the best in southern home-style fare with rustic elegance steeped in the rich history of local Ozark favorites. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served daily, with a sumptuous Sunday brunch. Indulge in the comfort of the past and present, or savor the taste and aroma of hickory smoked prime rib, Smoked Trout or one of the other local Ozark favorites
Buzzard’s Bar is located downstairs from Devil’s Pool, and offers a warm reception in legend and superstition. Comfortable seating is available indoors offering an
excellent selection of specialty drinks, or in an outdoor
setting on their patio overlooking the pool. They even boast their own selection of sandwiches, salads and house-made soups. Each evening, the Bar offers country singing entertainment, singing all your favorites.
Devil’s Pool and Buzzard’s Bar are steeped in legend that is now barely a memory, mysteries of a bottomless pool buried under Table Rock Lake. Early on, indistinct images of the mind and sacred icy waters of the Osage Indians spilled out of its seemingly bottomless confines and twisted and turned on its winding path to the powerful White River below. A legend of hundreds of buzzards mysteriously appearing nightly, steeped in the minds of the first white settlers to the Ozarks. However, if you see buzzards circling overhead…
The grandeur of The Worman House, a legendary historic home going back to the early 1920’s is well noted with the exciting experience of dining in a lakeside casual atmosphere. Incredible dining from a menu created to please the discriminating palates, a sumptuous Sunday brunch or an elaborate buffet featuring all your favorites.
Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, a property of Big Cedar, offers 2200 acres of preserved American wilderness. One of its greatest appeals is trout fishing in sparkling spring-fed waters, home to their magnificent rainbow trout. The park offers guided catch-and-release fishing trips, fly casting clinics, and multi-day fly fishing schools. It also offers horseback riding, hiking and biking trails, mini golf, romantic carriage rides and chuck-wagon dinners at rustic campsites. A small tackle and souvenir shop with a limited lunch menu is available at the general store.
Tram tours of the entire park highlight rustic pastures with herds of elk, native buffalo, deer and other native wildlife. You might even see some great blue heron and American eagles. The park also has one-, two- and three-bedroom rustic log cabins offering ample opportunity for extended outdoor exploration.
Big Cedar Lodge is equipped to accommodate all your business needs, weddings or family reunions from an intimate group of 10 to conferences up to 1000. Situated near the two largest lodges, the Grandview Conference Center has over 21,000 square feet of flexible meeting space on two levels. The resort’s rustic theme is carried out in conference center décor with 21st Century technology and equipment. Relaxing Ozark ambiance is complemented by floor to ceiling windows offering splendid views. In addition to the Conference Center’s 15 meeting rooms, there are smaller meeting facilities scattered throughout the resort, including Dogwood Canyon
Complimentary shuttle service is offered to any facility on the 800 acre property from your home away from home or from Bent Hook Marina or any other amenity back to your lodging –or some other property location. Shuttle service is also available to Branson, its airport or other nearby locations. Check for fees and availability.
Although ample opportunity exists to fill your daily schedule at Big Cedar, a side trip to Springfield and the Bass Pro Shops’ signature store would be a memorable experience.
The mere entrance into the store shows giant, exquisitely crafted outdoor themed chandeliers, made by Bass Pro Shops’ own artisans, hanging throughout the store. Lifelike images of elk, deer, raccoon, rabbit, turkey, bobcat, bear and water fowl are in the store’s center arena. Museum quality wildlife exhibits and dioramas are also seen around the walls. Waves of waterfowl along with geese, pheasant and eagles may be seen flying and roosting throughout.
One last word about fishing; incidental catches of record class feisty blue gills will keep you occupied between those catches of Kentucky, Largemouth or Smallmouth bass. There are plenty of ‘gills, at every cove and point you stop to wet a line.
A memorable trip to Missouri Ozarks’ Big Cedar Lodge can be planned any time of the year. The seasons will vary with each presenting its own outstanding sights, opportunities, adventures and panorama.
Some contact info for your next outdoor experience:
Big Cedar Lodge
Dogwood Canyon Nature Park
Devil’s Pool Restaurant
The Worman House
The Truman Café
612 Devil’s Pool Road
Ridgedale, MO 65739
White River Fish House
1 Bass Pro Drive
Branson, MO 65616
Bass Pro Shops
1935 South Campbell
Springfield, MO 65807
A federal judge in Denver has allowed a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Postal Service's ban on guns in post offices to go forward, the Denver Post reports. A Colorado couple filed the lawsuit last year, saying the ban violates their Second Amendment rights.
Avon residents Debbie and Tab Bonidy filed the lawsuit last year, saying the ban violates their Second Amendment rights.
The Bonidys say they carry handguns for self-defense and both hold concealed-carry permits, and they do not receive mail service at their remote home. They say the ban, which prohibits carrying guns both in post offices and in their parking lots, makes it impossible for them to pick up their mail.
James Manley, an attorney at the Mountain States Legal Foundation who represents both the Bonidys and the National Association for Gun Rights in the lawsuit, said the case could have a nationwide impact. "This is a situation that hasn't been challenged before, where you have members of the general public who want to exercise their right to carry," Manley said.
In a motion seeking to dismiss the case, the Postal Service noted that the Bonidys could simply park on the street and leave their guns in the car. But it also defended the ban as lawful. The U.S. Supreme Court, while affirming an individual's right to possess firearms, has ruled that laws prohibiting firearms in "sensitive places" are OK, the
Postal Service argued.
"Large numbers of people from all walks of life gather on postal property every day," the motion stated. ". . . The Postal Service is thus responsible for the protection of its employees and all the members of the public who enter postal property."
But earlier this month, U.S. District Senior Judge Richard Matsch rejected the Postal Service's motion, allowing the case to proceed. Attorneys on both sides will now prepare for a more substantive fight on the law, which could be decided by the end of next year.
In its defense, the Postal Service has pointed to a case in which the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans upheld the conviction of a man who was found to have a handgun in his vehicle in a Postal Service parking lot. That court concluded that Postal Service property was a "sensitive place." But the 5th Circuit's decision is not binding on the Bonidy case.
Manley counters that the defendant in the 5th Circuit case was a Postal Service employee whose vehicle was parked in a restricted, employees-only lot. No court in the country, he contends, has taken up whether the Second Amendment right to possess firearms extends to public areas of post offices.
"The ruling could have national implications for all post offices," Manley said, "certainly in post offices in areas like the Bonidys' in rural areas."
Reduced Chinook salmon stocking
DNR handout material summarized the decision timeline and process for the Chinook salmon stocking reduction in Lake Huron. This was accomplished in a timely manner over five months allowing reductions to be made starting with the 2011 fall egg take. The final decision resulted in a target of 693,000 Chinook salmon to be stocked in Lake Huron beginning in 2012 with 250,000 at Nunns Creek, 67,000 at Cheboygan and 375,000 at Swan River.
This is the first year that mass marking will be conducted on all Chinook salmon stocked in the Great Lakes. The State of Michigan will also be partnering with the tribes to recover tagged Chinook from Nunn’s Creek. These fish will have the adipose fin clipped since all fish marked with coded wire tags (CWT) in their nose have the adipose fin removed.
This is the first year for stocking marked steelhead in net pens at Harbor Beach, Oscoda and Harrisville. A comparison is being made to determine if steelhead stocked after becoming acclimated in net pens survive better than steelhead stocked directly into Lake Huron. This study will continue in 2012 and 2013 and it is crucial that captured marked fish are turned in! These fish have an adipose fin clip and a coded wire tag in their nose.
Three Lake Huron tributaries including the East Branch of the Au Gres River, Riffle River, and Ocqueoc River each received a plant of 100,000 fall fingerling steelhead. These fish were not marked and measured 2-3 inches in length. Survival is anticipated to be low, but fishing opportunities should result.
Atlantic salmon experimental rearing study
Currently all the rearing space is utilized for production of yearling brown trout and steelhead. There is some space available, however, at the Platte River State Fish Hatchery
because of an overall reduction in Great Lakes stocking in addition to the Lake Huron Chinook salmon cuts. Emphasis will be placed on determining if production level Atlantic salmon can be obtained at the Platte River Hatchery.
Currently, tests have shown that fingerling Atlantic salmon produced at other facilities and transported to the Platte River State Hatchery can be raised to an acceptable yearling size. During 2008, eyed Atlantic salmon eggs were reared at this Hatchery but the spring fingerlings became infected with Whirling Disease and had to be destroyed. This fall a UV filter system, at a cost of $150,000, was installed on the Brundage Creek water supply to control the organisms that cause the disease. Tests will be conducted in 2011 and 2012 to determine if the new filter was successful and if Atlantic salmon can be raised from egg to yearling. This will be a less than a full production trial with a target of 40,000 to 120,000 yearlings raised from eggs for stocking in 2013 and 2014.
The final step in the Atlantic salmon experiment is to determine the full capacity of the Platte River State Hatchery using both the indoor and outdoor rearing space.
Brown Trout update
2011 began the third and final stocking year of the fall yearling brown trout project. We are now entering the review phase of the study. Jim Baker’s crew surveyed the harbor at Harbor Beach on September 27 shocking and capturing 14 brown trout that appeared to be from the 2009 plant. These preliminary results indicate we are potentially starting to see some return on these fish but so far it appears that the fish are not
returning in big numbers. The goal is to have a return of at least 5% and to determine more accurately how the study is progressing we will revisit this topic at the January 11, 2012 Lake Huron Citizens Fishery Advisory Committee Meeting. The discussion will include the creel and charter boat data from the 2011 harvest.
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources plans to reduce Chinook salmon stocking in Lake Huron by more than half in 2012, compared to 2011 levels. The DNR plans to stock 693,000 spring Chinook fingerlings in 2012, down from almost 1.5 million stocked in 2011, because of poor return and harvest of stocked Chinooks.
“Recreational harvest of Chinook salmon has virtually vanished in the southern two-thirds of Lake Huron,” said acting DNR Fisheries Division Chief Jim Dexter. “It’s obvious the forage base is no longer available to support large numbers of Chinooks in Lake Huron.”
Analysis of recreational catch data shows only the northern portion of Lake Huron – where there is significant Canadian natural reproduction of Chinook salmon -- continues to produce a viable recreational fishery.
Michigan will continue to stock Chinook salmon at Nunns Creek, Cheboygan River and Swan River in the northern Lake Huron watershed. All three stocking sites are within the boundaries of the 2000 Consent Decree with Tribes in the 1836 Treaty area. The DNR consulted with the
Chippewa-Ottawa Resource Authority, the Lake Huron Citizen Fishery Advisory Committee, Ontario fisheries officials, and held three public meetings in the Lake Huron Basin before reaching this decision.
Reduced Chinook salmon stocking is likely to continue for the immediate future.
“Angler harvest of stocked Chinook salmon has been at record low levels for the past few years. Poor returns of stocked fish and a collapse of prey fish populations throughout Lake Huron were key factors in the decision to suspend Chinook salmon plants in the southern two-thirds of Lake Huron,” said Todd Grischke, the DNR’s Lake Huron Basin coordinator. “We will continue to monitor biological data for the next six years and will make interim stocking adjustments as necessary.”
The DNR has committed to mass marking all Chinooks stocked in Lake Huron during the next three years to help biologists better understand the contributions of natural reproduction to the fishery.
For more information on Chinook salmon, visit www.michigan.gov/fishing.
The Department of Natural Resources recently confirmed the presence of a radio-collared cougar just north of the city of Hancock in northern Houghton County. The animal was captured on a trail camera on Nov. 13, walking directly in front of the camera, with the noticeable presence of a radio collar.
DNR Wildlife Division staff visited the property on Nov. 17 where the trail camera is mounted and verified the location of the camera. Property owner Jesse Chynoweth submitted the pictures to the DNR for confirmation.
“This is the third time this animal has been captured on trail cameras in the Upper Peninsula.” said Adam Bump, a wildlife biologist with the DNR’s Cougar Team “The Wisconsin DNR earlier verified two trail camera pictures of this cat as it passed through Wisconsin on its way to the UP.”
The Department has also verified a set of tracks from a cougar in southern Keweenaw County on Nov. 20. The cougar passed about 30 feet from a deer hunter who later returned to the area with a friend to snap pictures of the cougar’s tracks. The animal is almost certainly the same, radio-collared cougar that was photographed about 15 miles south near Hancock a week earlier.
The DNR is still in the process of tracking down where the cougar is from and has been checking frequencies from collars of cats from South Dakota, Utah and Montana. Only western states currently have cougars collared for research projects, so the animal likely traveled a great distance to reach the Upper Peninsula.
Cougars, also known as mountain lions, were once found throughout North America, including Michigan. Habitat loss and heavy persecution led to cougars being eliminated
from Michigan in the early 1900s. The last known wild cougar taken in Michigan was killed near Newberry in 1906. Although sightings have increased and are regularly reported in the Upper Peninsula, verification is often difficult. Cougar tracks and a cougar photo from in the eastern Upper Peninsula were verified in 2009. Additionally, the DNR was able to verify several sets of cougar tracks in Marquette and Delta counties in 2008. The radio collared cougar has been photographed in Houghton and Ontonagon counties in 2011.
Established cougar populations are found as close to Michigan as North and South Dakota, and transient cougars dispersing from these areas have been known to travel hundreds of miles in search of new territory. Characteristic evidence of cougars include tracks, which are about three inches long by three and a half inches wide and typically show no claw marks, or suspicious kill sites, such as deer carcasses that are largely intact and have been buried with sticks and debris.
Reports of cougar tracks and other evidence should be made to a local DNR office or by calling the department's 24-hour Report All Poaching line at 800-292-7800.
Cougars are classified as an endangered species in Michigan. It is unlawful to kill, harass or otherwise harm a cougar except in the immediate defense of human life. For more information about the recent cougar tracks and photo, call your local DNR office to report it or report it on our website. To learn more about cougars and how to identify their tracks, go www.michigan.gov/cougars.
Apply online at www.wildohio.com
COLUMBUS, OH - Controlled trout-fishing opportunities on Cold Creek, one of Ohio’s most unique streams, awaits fishing enthusiasts who enter a special lottery conducted by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife.
A half-mile section of the creek, located at the Castalia State Fish Hatchery in Erie County, will again be open to a limited number of anglers on selected dates between April 2 and November 2 next year. Anglers interested in fishing the stream must apply online and pay a non-refundable $3 application fee between December 1, 2011 and January 31, 2012 in order to be eligible for the random drawing. Applicants can apply on the Division of Wildlife website at wildohio.com.
Only one application is allowed per person. Anglers age 16 and older must hold a valid fishing license in order to apply. Application information can be obtained from the ODNR Division of Wildlife website wildohio.com.
Two seasons will be offered; adults and teens 16 and older from April 2 through June15 and again from August 20 through November 2. A second season will be held for
those 15 and younger from June 18 to August 17. Individuals selected to participate in either season will be allowed to bring two adults (includes 16 and older) and three youths age 15 and younger (no more than six people total). Anglers 16 and older must hold a valid fishing license in order to participate in this event. Participation is determined by a computer-generated, random drawing, which is held in early February. The results of the drawing will be posted on the division’s website at www.wildohio.com. Applicants not chosen will not be notified.
Special fishing rules will be in effect for this event to ensure that a quality fishing experience is maintained throughout the season. This includes a no catch-and-release rule; anglers keep all fish they catch. The daily bag limit will be five trout per angler. Anglers will be required to check in at the hatchery upon arrival and check out at the end of their session. Fishing sessions will be open from 7 a.m. to noon. Anglers age 16 and older will need a valid 2012 Ohio fishing license.
An Ohio resident annual fishing license costs $19; a one-day fishing license costs $11. Those who purchase a one-day fishing license may later return it to a license agent to receive credit toward purchase of an annual fishing license.
Other Breaking News Items
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The state DNR hoped to catch a couple hundred ciscos to transplant in Lake Wazee, a deep lake in Jackson County, to fill the role of forage fish for hungry walleye, smallmouth bass and brown and rainbow trout. Using seine nets to capture ciscos is a relatively obscure way to fish in Wisconsin, though a small
Anders Andren Retires
Proposed EPA ballast water regulations
The USEPA has proposed stricter requirements for cleaning ballast water but enables invasive species to reach U.S. waters, where they have ravaged ecosystems and caused billions of dollars in economic losses. The new standards would require commercial vessels to install technology strong enough to kill at least some of the fish, mussels and even microorganisms such as viruses
Manistee receives grant for new fish cleaning
Pesky shrimp may prove a food source
Army Corps to return Asian carp barrier to
higher voltage after month-long tests
EPA is hog-tying the economy with dozens of proposed major new rules. One of them, aimed at coal-fired power plants that generate electricity, will add at least $18 billion in compliance costs by 2020. As Kathleen White of the Texas Public Policy Center told the House Energy and Commerce Committee earlier this year, “never in its 40-year history has EPA promulgated—at the same time—so many costly new regulatory dictates. The rules on track to go into effect in the next three years could cost more than $1 trillion and result in hundreds of thousands of jobs lost.”
EPA proposes standards for cleansing ship
ballast water, leading pathway for invasive species
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