Week of December 6 , 2004






Lake Michigan




New York



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WWF and National Geographic Kick Off Study of the World's Largest Freshwater Fish
A groundbreaking scientific adventure to find the world's largest freshwater fish started last week on the Mekong River in Southeast Asia.  The project will explore rivers and lakes around the world for fish such as the Mekong giant catfish, which is listed by The Guinness Book of World Records as the Earth's largest freshwater fish. Some grow to 10 feet in length and more than 600 pounds. Scientists believe that larger species exist. Hogan will work with a network of more than 100 scientists in 17 countries to investigate these fish and find out why their numbers are declining.

Scientists will be searching for goliath catfish, giant stingrays, razor-toothed gars, massive carps, caviar-producing sturgeon, and predatory salmon, all of which can grow to six feet or longer and weigh more than 200 pounds. Many of these giant fish are threatened by overfishing and habitat destruction.

"These giants are the freshwater equivalents of elephants and rhinos, and if they were visible to us on land the world wouldn't stand by while they disappeared," said Robin Abell, freshwater conservation biologist with World Wildlife Fund. "This study will give us new insight into how these species live and what threatens their survival. In the end, we'll know better how to manage fishing and protect habitats to save the species for the future."

Despite their size, finding and studying these freshwater giants will not be easy. They are extremely rare and getting rarer. Some are already listed on the World Conservation Union's Red List of Threatened Species and, with the information gained in this study, more species will likely be listed for the first time.


A century ago, Mekong giant catfish, for instance, were found the entire length of the river from Vietnam to southern China. Since then populations of this species, and other giants in the same system, have plummeted. Scientists estimate that the total number of Mekong giant catfish has decreased about 90 percent in just the past two decades.

Efforts to save this species from extinction will hinge on many factors - including how well biologists understand the migratory behavior of these animals. So, scientists will tag these elusive creatures and track their movements. In an earlier study, a river catfish Hogan tracked traveled 185 miles in less than a month, more than 3 miles a day.

The Mekong River Basin is home to more species of massive fish than any river on Earth. It is also the most productive fishery in the world, generating $1.7 billion each year. Fish from the Mekong are the primary source of protein for the 73 million people that live along the river.


Leaders vow joint effort to protect Great Lakes

Chicago - (GLSFC) - Government and tribal leaders met in Chicago last week to join forces in signing an agreement that outlines a comprehensive plan to protect and restore the Great Lakes and it's major waterways from pollution, invasive species and other environmental dangers.  The Great Lakes Regional Collaboration Conveners meeting was held as a result of an executive order signed by President Bush in May.


As one of President Bush's major environmental initiatives, the Great Lakes Regional Collaboration combines federal, state, local and tribal resources to broaden the continuing restoration efforts that previouosly have lacked such coordination.


The meeting brought together officials from the U.S. and Canadian governments, the Great Lakes States, Indian tribes, and other stakeholders in the Great Lakes region to better coordinate efforts and develop new strategies to protect and restore the lakes.  Some participants saad more money and a clear action plan are still needed.


"This is the largest formal collaboration of its kind focusing on the environmental and economic health of the Great Lakes Basin," said Michael Leavitt, Environmental Protection Agency administrator, who presided over the signing ceremony in Chicago. "Today, we are committing our collective organizations to protecting and improving this national treasure." "Protecting and improving the Great Lakes ecosystem is challenging, and collaboration among states and local leaders is messy.  But there's absolutely no substitute,'' he said.


Leavitt attended the meeting along with Governors Rod Blagojevich of Illinois, Jim Doyle of Wisconsin, Jennifer

Granholm of Michigan and Bob Taft of Ohio as well as regional tribal leaders and representatives of  Great Lakes conservation and environmental groups.


efforts were uncoordinated and the results difficult to measure, the GAO said.


Officials pledged quick action in drafting a plan to coordinate combined efforts at protecting the Great Lakes. Officials deemed it a high national priority,  and with great fanfare and ceremony leaders promised that in less than a year they will have put together a plan figuring out how to clean up and protect the world's largest source of fresh water. The region's leaders called their effort an unprecedented attempt to coordinate federal and state programs dealing with the lakes.


Leaders who gathered at the Chicago Hilton and Towers vowed to make the Great Lakes a national priority, similar to multibillion-dollar efforts to restore the Everglades and Chesapeake Bay. U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) said eight studies have been done recently on how to clean up and protect the Great Lakes. ''We must be sure that this initiative is not simply No. 9. It's time for action,'' she said.


The gathering, at which participants signed a declaration of support for cleaning up the Great Lakes, was prompted by an executive order issued in May by President Bush. He named a 10-member Cabinet-level task force, chaired by EPA chief Mike Leavitt, to coordinate Great Lakes cleanup efforts among states, federal agencies and Canada.


The General Accounting Office found last year that 33 federal and 17 state programs have spent more than $2 billion on the environmental restoration of the Great Lakes. However, the


Canadian boating group will fight tariff plan

The Canadian Marine Manufacturers Association is joining the fight against a 100-percent tariff on U.S.-built recreational boats that has been proposed by the Canadian government.  “This tariff would be completely devastating to the Canadian boating industry,” said Sandy Currie, executive director of CMMA, in a statement.


The tariff is retaliation for the Byrd Amendment, a law that allows funds collected from anti-dumping fines and countervailing duties to be given to U.S. firms that petition for tax relief. The World Trade Organization has ruled that the amendment violates international trade laws, and has given other countries a green light to implement a tariff on selected U.S. manufactured products.


CMMA says it is against this tariff being applied to any product in the boating industry. The association will be appealing to the Canadian government to have Chapter 89.03 — “yachts and other vessels for pleasure or sports; rowing boats and canoes” — removed from the list of products for the proposed tariffs.


In addition, CMMA supports an appeal of the Byrd Amendment

and will be working with other marine industry associations in Canada and the National Marine Manufacturers Association on this issue. CMMA is encouraging its members to contact their local members of Parliament about the “tremendous stress and devastating impact” the tariff would have on their businesses.


“How would 100-percent tariffs affect me? The answer is severely,” James Malcolm, who sells Johnson Outdoors boats through his Kingston, Ontario dealership, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.  Several Wisconsin-based boatbuilders said the tariff would double the price of U.S. boats sold over the border, and make it impossible for them to compete in the Canadian market, the newspaper reports.


“You would never be able to survive in the boat business in Canada,” Genmar Holdings chairman Irwin Jacobs was quoted as saying. Genmar is the parent company of Pulaski, Wis.-based Carver Yachts.


The Canadian government has set a Dec. 20 deadline for accepting comments about the proposed tariffs.



Asian Carp Prevention - The effort continues

Our Asian Carp fund drive continues, and with many clubs beginning to hold their monthly meetings again, our drive picks up momentum.  But we need your help.  We still need $600,000 to keep this program alive, and we are the ones that will feel the impact of any invasion of Asian carp.  It’s our resource – and recreation, that will be affected.


We need everyone to help.


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


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


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


The Second Barrier        

A second larger, more powerful barrier has been designed and after a year of false starts construction is now scheduled to begin next week and completed by April 2005. However, the cost of the barrier design to stop Asian carp from entering the lake still exceeds the available funds by $600,000. We need more funding to help support construction of the barrier and to help pay for the rapid response plan if it has to be used.


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


Asian Carp Rapid Response

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

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


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


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


Use of Contributed Funds

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

1)         Implement the Asian Carp Rapid Response Plan

2)         Construct Barrier II

3)         Improve or operate Barrier I

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




Send your donations to:

GLSFC – carp fund

P.O. Box 297

Elmhurst, IL  60126


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

Help protect the Great Lakes

Help keep the Asian carp out of the Great Lakes


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


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


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


Use of Contributed Funds

Funds will be held by the Great Lakes Sport Fishing Council

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


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


1)      Implement the Asian Carp Rapid Response Plan

2)      Improve or operate Barrier I

3)      Construct and operate Barrier II


Send your donations to:

GLSFC – carp fund

P.O. Box 297

Elmhurst, IL  60126


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

Waukesha hopes to win approval for diversion from Great Lakes

Waukesha - With a daily need of 20 million gallons of fresh water, Waukesha officials intend to ask Gov. Jim Doyle early next year for his help in making this community of 66,000 a test case for diverting Great Lakes water, the city's water manager said last week.


The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports the city is troubled with declining groundwater supplies and unacceptable levels of cancer-causing radium in its drinking water, and is on the hunt for new water sources to serve its growing population and established industries.


Lake Michigan is only about 20 miles east of Waukesha, but the historical reluctance of regulators of Great Lakes resources to divert water to communities outside lake

drainage areas makes the city's pursuit a dicey one. Waukesha is west of the Great Lakes drainage basin. But new rules for water diversion called Annex 2001 are coming together, and they could provide a chance for communities such as Waukesha to get Great Lakes water.


Doyle is co-chairman of the Council of Great Lakes Governors, and Waukesha's request would go to Doyle, who could then send it to the council to be reviewed by governors of other Great Lakes states.


The basin is key because in 1986, Congress passed the Water Resources Development Act, which required the governors of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York to unanimously approve any water diversions outside the water shed boundary.


Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for December 3, 2004

Current Lake Levels: 

All of the Great Lakes except Lake Ontario are 3 to 8 inches above last year’s levels.  Lake Ontario is 9 inches below its level of a year ago.  Lakes Michigan-Huron and St. Clair remain below their long-term averages by 11 and 5 inches, respectively. Lakes Superior and Erie are at their long-term averages and Lake Ontario has dropped below its long-term average by 1 inch.

Current Outflows/Channel Conditions: 

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


Temperature/Precipitation Outlook: 

A series of quick moving systems will push through the Great Lakes basin this weekend.  There is a chance for heavy snow across the northern snow belts as the lake-effect machine gets going on Friday and Friday night.  A stronger storm system is forecasted to arrive early next week. 


Forecasted Water Levels:

 Lake Superior and Michigan-Huron are in their seasonal declines and the levels are expected to fall 4 and 2 inches, respectively, over the next month.  Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are continuing their seasonal decline and expected to drop by 1, 1, and 2 inches, respectively.



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.




Parents reminded of thin ice danger to children

In the wake of a 4-year-old Park Rapids boy falling through thin ice last week, safety officials from Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are warning parents to caution their children to stay off water bodies that may now have a thin coating of ice. Many small ponds as far south as southern Minnesota have a skim of ice.


"We are asking parents and other adults to keep an especially close watch on children," said Tim Smalley, DNR water safety specialist.  "It seems as though nearly every year around the holidays, we receive reports of young children falling through ice and it's just so incredibly tragic," Smalley said. "Kids are attracted to ice like a magnet, and they just don't have the knowledge of how much ice it takes to support a person or the understanding of what is or is not safe. I think a reminder to busy, holiday stressed adults is timely."

Danger to children and potential drowning is as close as the frozen pond or stream near their house if they aren't properly supervised.  The DNR recommends that even when conditions improve, children should not go out on the ice without adult supervision. 


Ice conditions vary widely from none in the south to a couple of slushy inches in the far northern part of the state. The DNR urges winter recreationists to check with a local bait shop or resort before heading out. "Right now there is no walkable ice in the state," Smalley noted.


The DNR has a free packet of ice safety information including a pamphlet and a minimum ice thickness wallet card available by calling (651) 296-6157 in the Twin Cities area and toll-free in Greater Minnesota at 1-888-MINNDNR (646-6367).

Traveling with self-inflatable life preservers

Airlines and TSA forbid armed life vests in checked or carry-on luggage

Planning to fly to your next fishing destination?  Packing your self-inflatable life preserver? They will not allow your preserver in your carry-on or checked baggage - if your preserver is armed with the self-inflating devise.  That is if “the regulator valve is still attached.  The regulator valve must be completely disconnected.”  Check the rules below whether the Feds and airline regulations will allow it even in your checked baggage.


 “A compressed gas cylinder is allowed in carry-on or checked baggage ONLY if the regulator valve is completely disconnected from the cylinder and the cylinder is no longer sealed (i.e. the cylinder has an open end).  The cylinder must have an opening to allow for a visual inspection inside.  TSA

Security Screeners will NOT remove the seal/regulator valve from the cylinder at the checkpoint.  If the cylinder is sealed (i.e. the regulator valve is still attached), the cylinder is prohibited and not permitted through the security checkpoint, regardless of the reading on the pressure gauge indicator. TSA Security Screeners must visibly ensure that the cylinder is completely empty and that there are no prohibited items inside.”


The ruling is located on the Transportation Security Agency’s Web site by clicking on the url at: http://www.tsa.gov/public/interapp/editorial/editorial_1190.xml and following these links: Click “Travelers & Consumers” then clickTransporting Special Items” then click “Transporting Scuba Equipment”.  You can also talk to a live body in TSA’s Washington DC office at:  866-289-9673.

Arkansas Declares Cormorants Invasive Aquatic Species

Recently, the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission declared double-crested cormorants "an invasive aquatic species." The  fish-eating birds, problems for fish farmers and for fish

hatcheries, had previously been declared a nuisance species by the Arkansas Legislature.    Deputy Director David Goad said the action was needed as part of the AGFC's role to monitor breeding colonies of cormorants in the state.


Lake Michigan

FWS Completes 2004 lake Michigan Mid-lake Lake Trout Survey

Unclipped, presumably wild fish at each of 5 sites positive sign of natural production

From October 26-28 and November 1-3 staff from the FWS’ Alpena Fishery Resources Office (FRO) completed a mid-lake lake trout spawning survey on Six Fathom Bank and Yankee Reef. Due to scheduled repair work on the USFWS vessel M/V Togue, the 2004 survey was completed using the USGS vessel R/V Grayling and crew—Captain Ed Perry and Engineer Bill Boyle.


The goal of this survey is to collect abundance and biological data of spawning lake trout at index stations at two mid-lake reef complexes. The Service has stocked hundreds of thousands of lake trout yearlings on these 2 off-shore reefs in recent years. Three 400’ long, large-mesh gill nets were set on Six Fathom Bank, and two 400’ long, large-mesh nets were set on Yankee Reef.


All lake trout collected were measured for length, weighed, checked for lamprey wounds, sexed, assessed for maturity and visceral fat content, and sampled for ageing structures. Non-target fish species were worked up in a similar manner as well. The Service has  conducted the annual mid-lake lake

trout spawning surveys on these reefs since 1993. In 2004, catch rates were down at the north and middle Six Fathom Bank sites and up at the south site compared to 2002 data. At Yankee Reef, catch rates were up slightly at the northern site and equal at the southern site compared to 2002 data. This survey was not conducted in 2003 due to inclement weather.


In 2004, catch rates were above 100 spawners/1000 ft of net at the southern Six Fathom Bank Sites and both Yankee Reef sites. Catch rates were close to 100 spawners/1000 ft of net at the north and middle Six Fathom Bank sites. 50 spawners/1000 feet of net is the mean abundance of spawners needed to support a viable, naturally reproducing lake trout population at other sites in the Great Lakes. Also, the presence of unclipped, presumably wild fish at each of the 5 sites in 2004 is a positive sign of naturally produced recruitment.


Six Fathom Bank and Yankee Reef were historically important lake trout spawning sites. This outcome is consistent with the Service’s goal of maintaining self-sustaining populations of native fish species under the “Aquatic Species Conservation and Management” priority of the Fisheries Program Vision for the Future.




2005 Chicagoland Outdoors show in Rosemont Jan. 12-16

Explore Adventures Above and Below Water at One of Midwest’s Largest Consumer Events at Stephens Convention Center

CHICAGO (Oct. 19, 2005) - Field & Stream and Outdoor Life will present the 2005 Chicagoland Outdoors Show featuring the 35th Annual Our World-Underwater (OW-U) on Wednesday, Jan. 12 through Sunday, Jan. 16 at the Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill., near Chicago’s O’ Hare International Airport. 


The 26th annual Chicagoland Outdoors Show is the largest sport fishing show in the greater Chicago area, and now with the addition of OW-U, enthusiasts will have the opportunity to explore leisure sport and travel activities above and below water.  Attendees can see, feel, test and purchase the newest products from fishing and hunting manufacturers; shop for boats, recreational, sports utility and all-terrain vehicles; participate in educational seminars and activities; plan outdoor-oriented vacations to more than 200 destinations; and also dive into the amazing world of aquatic life and exotic travel.


“With Chicagoland Outdoors Show attendance up significantly in 2004, we are thrilled to offer show-goers even more outdoors adventures in 2005, created through joining the Chicagoland Outdoors Show with Our World-Underwater.  These two popular expositions cater towards an audience that is both comfortable with on- and off-water sports and leisure activities,” explains Sandy Pochapin, marketing director, Reed Exhibitions.


Some show highlights include:

•       Our World-Underwater

•       Fishing Hall

•       Outfitters & Lodges

•       North American Travel Pavilion

•       Boat Hall

•       RV/ATV/4WD Hall

•       World Record Fishing Museum Bass

•       Kids Day - On Saturday, Jan. 15

•       Midwest Outdoors Hawg Tank

•       Trout Pond

•       3-D Laser Sports Target Shooting

•       Air-Rifle Shooting Range

•       Chicagoland Open Goose Calling Championship

•       Bassmaster’s CastingKids Contest



Show hours for the 2005 Chicagoland Outdoors Show presented by Field & Stream and Outdoor Life are Wednesday, Jan. 12, from 1 - 9 p.m.; Thursday, Jan. 13 from 1 - 9 p.m.; Friday, Jan. 14 from 1 - 9 p.m.; Saturday, Jan. 15, from 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.; and Sunday, Jan. 16, from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.  Admission is $8 for adults; $7 for seniors; $3 for children ages 6-12; and free for children under the age of 6.  Adult two-day passes are $12.  The box office closes one hour prior to show closing except on Sunday, Jan. 16, when the box office will close at 4 p.m.  The Chicago Sun-Times is the official media sponsor, Toyota is the official truck and Yamaha is the official ATV of the Chicagoland Outdoors Show.  FIELD & STREAM and


The Chicagoland Outdoor Show is one of 13 sports and recreation shows produced by Reed Exhibitions.  Reed Exhibitions Worldwide produces over 470 events in 29 countries.  Reed Exhibitions North American produces about 70 events in the US and Canada, serving 25 different industries and over one million professionals.  For more information on the Chicagoland Outdoor Show, or to purchase show tickets in advance, please visit


or call 1-800-511-8376.


Scientists study toxins in Great Lakes

BLOOMINGTON, Ind (AP). -- Indiana University scientists are leading a federal effort to track the fluctuation of PCBs, pesticides and other toxins in the Great Lakes basin.


IU recently received a $3.5 million EPA grant to continue operating a network of instruments on the five lakes -- Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior -- which are the world's largest source of fresh water. The study is part of a cooperative effort with Canada to measure pollutants coming from the air. IU has operated the network since 1994.


"We're trying to understand how (the toxins) behave; how compounds move around, where they come from and how fast they go from place to place," said Ronald A. Hites, an IU professor who is an internationally known expert in environmental toxins.  Earlier this year, Hites co-authored a report showing that farmed salmon had higher concentrations of PCBs -- polychlorinated biphenyls -- than wild salmon.


His work on the Great Lakes could help the EPA determine whether new measures are needed to reduce toxins, said Melissa Hulting, an EPA scientist who manages the data collection program. "The Great Lakes are pretty sensitive to inputs of these pollutants from the air," Hulting said. "It may take awhile to get the chemicals out of the lakes."


PCBs, an organic compound suspected of causing cancer and other ailments, were once used to cool and lubricate


transformers and electrical equipment. PCBs persist for years in the environment and build up in the fatty tissue of fish and mammals, becoming more toxic as they move up the food chain.


The EPA banned the manufacture of PCBs nearly 30 years ago, but it and other chemicals continue to accumulate in the Great Lakes at levels that pose health risks to people.


PCBs move easily between a liquid and a gas, evaporating into the atmosphere from soil and water before falling back to earth and starting the cycle again.  Although the chemicals' levels in the lakes have been declining, they're still high enough to prompt the EPA to advise people to limit consumption of fish caught in all five Great Lakes and many regional waterways.


As part of the study, researchers measure PCBs and other toxins in the atmosphere every 12 days at five U.S. locations, including Chicago and Cleveland. Canadian researchers measure sites on lakes Ontario and Huron. Researchers then analyze the data to determine how much of the compounds ends up in the lakes -- and how much is coming from the lakes, Hites said.


Hites hopes the research explains the unsolved mystery of why levels of PCBs, after dropping steadily for years, suddenly spiked in 1997 and 1998, then dropped again.

O'Bannon Woods is Indiana's 24th state park

Park honors generations-long contribution of O'Bannon family

"Parks help people see how they fit into this thing called life," said former First Lady Judy O'Bannon at an O'Bannon Woods State Park dedication.


View of Ohio River from the O'Bannon Woods State Park Shelter House Two overlook. (DNR Photo/J.F. Maxwell)

The new 2,000-acre state park in Harrison County was

created out of the former Wyandotte Woods State Recreation Area. The park contains more than 100 miles of recreational trails and is surrounded by the 24,000-acre Harrison-Crawford State Forest.

Frank O'Bannon's grandfather, Lew, served as a member of the Historical Commission for Indiana's Centennial. In 1916, the commission recommended the creation of a state park system as a birthday present for the citizens of Indiana. That year the state purchased McCormick's Creek and Turkey Run State Parks.

Harrison-Crawford State Forest, created in 1932, grew to become one of the state's largest properties. Like Indiana's 12 other state forests, it is managed for a variety of uses including hiking, hunting, camping, horseback riding, wildlife watching and forest products.


Photo:DNR interpreters Chris Bell and Jarrett Manek man the unique 19th century haypress with Jack the miniature donkey and Lion the ox at O'Bannon Woods State Park Pioneer Homestead. (DNR Photo/J.F. Maxwell)


O'Bannon Woods State Park already boasts a modern 281-site campground, a horse rider's campground, an interpretive center, Wyandotte Caves, a pioneer village, a

19th Century working haypress and hiking and horse trails that lead into the state forest. The Blue River, a favorite among canoeists and anglers, flows through the new state park.


A park master plan calls for development of a new aquatic facility, expansion of the horse campground and a possible state park lodge and cabins.

Ohio River anglers asked to retain tags from walleye and sauger

Anglers catching a tagged fish from the Ohio River are asked to retain the tag for a 2-year, multi-state study of sauger and walleye movement and angler catch rates in the Ohio River. The river-wide study will provide Ohio River biologists with an extensive understanding of sauger and walleye harvests and movement.


Since November, fisheries biologists from Indiana, West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio and Illinois have been placing colored tags at the base of the fish's dorsal fin. Each tag from this project is numbered and addressed to the West Virginia DNR, who is summarizing tag return data.


The study is being conducted by the Ohio River Fisheries 

Management Team (ORFMT). This group of cooperating biologists was formed in 1990 to facilitate interjurisdictional fisheries management. This study is funded by Federal Aid for Sport Fish Restoration.


Anglers catching a tagged fish from the Ohio River should mail the tag or tag number, date and exact location of catch and whether the fish was kept or released. Information can be mailed to the WVDNR, 2311 Ohio Ave., Parkersburg, WV 26101, e-mailed to [email protected]  or called in 304-420-4550.


Additional information can be obtained from Tom Stefanavage, Indiana Big Rivers biologist, at 812-789-2724 or Chris O'Bara, project coordinator, at 304-420-4550 in West Virginia.



Low Head Dam removed in Petosky, MI

On October 20, a 4’ X 20’ low head dam on Tannery Creek in Emmet County was removed.


The project is located in Petoskey, Michigan on the property of the Petoskey Bay View Country Club. The dam removal project was funded by the Service Fish Passage and Coastal Programs to increase availability of native brook trout habitat. Tannery Creek is a cold water, high gradient stream with a resident brook trout population flowing into Lake Michigan. Removal of the dam has opened approximately three miles for native brook trout spawning and rearing habitat.


Prior to removal a barrier to sea lamprey passage was added

downstream of the dam. This barrier is a stop log structure that will be in place during the sea lamprey spawning season. This was required to prevent sea lamprey entering the system from Lake Michigan.


The many partners and interagency cooperation was integral in completing this project, an example of collaboration between federal, state and local governments and watershed groups. Their combined efforts will enhance aquatic habitat which will benefit fish and wildlife resources including native brook trout. This project was collaboration between many partners and addresses the Fisheries Vision priority of “Aquatic Habitat Conservation and Management”.

Barge sinks in Straits

ST. IGNACE - The sinking of a 32-foot transportation barge in the Straits of Mackinac has prompted an investigation by the U.S. Coast Guard.


The barge, according to published accounts, had been used for dock work and transporting construction materials to a remote area in the Les Cheneaux Islands. At the time of the sinking, the vessel was en route to St. Ignace for a routine inspection with the 26-ft Grafton, a former Isle Royale National

Park Service craft, propelling the barge.


Reports further indicate the barge began taking on water in the rough water conditions. The pumps were unable to keep up with the incoming water and only an air pocket deep in the bowels of the vessel kept it from disappearing beneath the waves. It sank approximately a quarter mile off of the St. Ignace shore in more than 30 ft of water.  The U.S. Coast Guard said the barge was essentially empty at the time it went down. There were no injuries associated with the mishap.

Ruffe Range Expands 110 Km in Lake Superior

A fall aquatic invasive species survey conducted by the USFWS Ashland FRO detected the presence of Eurasian ruffe in Marquette harbor, MI, Lake Superior.


On October 6th, a 41 mm (1.6 inch) young-of-the-year (YOY) ruffe was captured in a bottom trawl from a heavy boat slip adjacent to the power facility in lower Marquette harbor.  This slip is one of five index transects in Marquette harbor established to monitor for presence and abundance of Eurasian ruffe and other aquatic invasive species.  The discovery is 110 km (68 miles) east of the Sturgeon River

Sloughs, Keweenaw Waterway, the previous detected eastern boundary of the ruffe range along the south shore of Lake Superior.


The ruffe, a member of the perch family, spread rapidly eastward from the Duluth-Superior harbor reaching Ontonagon, MI in 1994.  Due to the Ruffe Control Plan and unfavorable habitat, ruffe expansion stalled in Ontonagon, until it was detected in the Keweenaw Waterway and Lake Michigan in 2002.  Ruffe have a negative impact on yellow perch, and are very invasive.

Stakeholder Meetings held on St. Marys River Fishery

The St. Marys River Fishery Task Group (SMRFTG) held stakeholder meetings in late October to educate the public about coordinated activities conducted by the group to assess harvest and fish community in the St. Marys River and future tasks of the SMRFTG. The meetings were held at the Lake Superior State University Cisler Center in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and at the Sault College of Applied Arts and Technology in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.


PowerPoint presentations were provided by the Michigan DNR on behalf of the group summarizing the assessment projects. The USDA Wildlife Services Unit from Gaylord, MI was invited by the group to provide a presentation on their cormorant control activities in Northern Lake Huron and the St. Marys River at the Michigan meeting. Ten people attended the Michigan meeting and thirteen people attended the Ontario meeting.


News interviews were conducted by the Sault Evening News in Michigan and the Sault Star and EZRock/Q104 in Ontario. Alpena FRO and other task group members including the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Michigan DNR, Chippewa Ottawa Resource Authority, Bay Mills Indian 

Community, Lake Superior State University, Dept of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and Sault College of Applied Arts and Technology took part in the meeting.


The SMRFTG is a multi-agency and multi-national group that was established in 1997 by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission's Lake Huron Committee to develop a coordinated assessment and review program for the St. Marys River fish community and its associated habitats. Anjanette Bowen of the Alpena FRO currently chairs the group.


A number of joint projects have been accomplished by the group that have provided an improved knowledge base of the fish and fishery in the St. Marys River. Several of the reports have been published and are posted on the Great Lakes Fishery Commission web site (http://www.glfc.org/lakecom/lhc/lhchome.asp#pub). Partnerships between management agencies within the St. Marys River Fishery Task Group and stakeholders on the St. Marys River are necessary to protecting and managing the fishery of the river. Partnerships in aquatic resource protection and management are an important component of the "Partnership and Accountability" priority of the Fisheries Program's Vision for the Future.


New York

Governor Announces $5.8 million in winter recreation grants

Funding Supports Snowmobile Trail Maintenance and Law Enforcement Efforts

Governor George E. Pataki today announced more than $5.8 million in State grants for snowmobile trail maintenance and local law enforcement efforts for communities across New York.  The funds include $4.9 million in direct municipal grants, $150,000 for law enforcement and $795,000 to secure insurance coverage for the snowmobile organizations whose members provide regular maintenance on the 10,175-mile State-designated trail system.


Snowmobiling is a highly popular winter recreational activity in New York. The State ranks fourth in the nation in total snowmobile registrations, with nearly 170,000, and is among the leading states in state-sponsored trail mileage.


The local grants program is funded by snowmobile trail grant fees collected by the State Department of Motor Vehicles at the time of registration. This year's funding is a $3.25 million increase over the previous year. State Parks administers the program with trail grant recipients receiving 70 percent of the grant immediately and the remaining 30 percent in the spring.


State Parks publishes the New York State Snowmobile Corridor Trails Map 2004-2006 which highlights the 10,000+ miles of state designated trails. In addition to general information about snowmobiling around the state, the trail

map includes local and regional snowmobile trail contacts, important safety features, registration requirements and camping opportunities at select winterized state park facilities.


The vast majority of snowmobile trails are located on private land open to the public for this recreational activity.  The comprehensive trail system and trail assistance program acts to keep snowmobilers on designated trails rather than on lands where their use is not permitted.  Working with the New York State Snowmobile Association, the portion of the registration fee which is dedicated to the snowmobile program was increased last year.


Under the New York State Snowmobile Law Enforcement Reimbursement Program, 24 counties, towns and villages will share approximately $150,000 to reimburse 50 percent of their related enforcement costs from last winter. The snowmobile law enforcement state aid program provides municipalities with funding for the purpose of patrolling snowmobile trails and enforcing state snowmobile laws.


The State trail grant monies also fund a $795,000 blanket insurance policy to provide insurance coverage for snowmobile clubs who maintain the trails. Two years ago coverage was jeopardized and trails were temporarily closed when individual insurance policies for trail groups were cancelled or not renewed. Under the terms of an agreement reached last year, NYSSA will secure and administer the blanket policy for clubs.


Steelhead Fishery Benefits Erie Economy

As if trophy trout nearly three feet long weren’t catch enough, a new study shows that steelhead fishing in Pennsylvania’s Lake Erie tributaries is a “keeper” for the local economy in Erie County, generating $9.5 million in economic activity annually.   


According to freshly released results from a study of Economic Impact of Sports Fishing  (EISF) in Erie County, steelhead fishing activity in Pennsylvania nearly tripled in the last decade, going from around 70,000 trips in 1993 to over 200,000 trips in 2003.  As interest in the fishery has grown, attracting anglers from across Pennsylvania and the country, it has become a notable part of the local tourism economy.


The study revealed that anglers catch more than 500,000 steelhead each year.  Not only are large numbers being caught, but the catch rate is impressive as well, with the average angler landing a steelhead about every hour and a half.  


“The Lake Erie tributary steelhead fishery is one of the Commonwealth’s top trophy trout fisheries.  As a result, Erie County is a premiere fall fishing destination,” said PFBC Executive Director Dr. Doug Austen.  “Fishing is great recreational pastime for families and as this study illustrates, it’s also a tremendous contributor to local and regional economies across the state.”      


The steelhead study results represent Phase II of the EISF study. According to Phase II of the study, the economic impact of steelhead fishing in Lake Erie tributary fisheries is $9.5 million.  That figure is part of the overall $28 to $36 million in total fishery expenditures in Erie County as determined in Phase I of the study.        


Under the direction of Pennsylvania Sea Grant and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, researchers collected information regarding angler expenditures.  That data was analyzed by the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology, Pennsylvania State University and released in a report by the PFBC’s Lake Erie Research Unit.       


 “There is a very real and direct economic impact to Erie’s economy through sports fishing,” said Robert Spaulding, senior vice president/COO, Erie Regional Chamber.  “The $9.5 million in trip-related expenditures in 2003, results in $5.71 million in new value-added economic activity in Erie County which directly and indirectly creates 219 local jobs.”

Spaulding notes that the important number for economic impact is the value-added figure, i.e. new money created in Erie County.  The retail mark up (the difference between wholesale and retail values) on the $9.5 million is $6.85 million.  Applying the IMPLAN model to this number results in both a direct and secondary economic impact total of $10.68 million.  This translates into 170 steelhead-related jobs, and another 49 jobs created due to the spin-off effects of the steelhead fishery. 


Of the $10.68 million, $5.71 million is value-added or new money created in Erie County solely due to the steelhead fishery;  $3.57 million of which is from directly related activities, and $2.13 million from spin-off activities due to the steelhead fishery. 


“We believe this is only a fraction of the economic impact as we are using a very conservative economic model and focusing on short-term, trip-related expenditures,” said Spaulding.  “Those expenditures, however, clearly suggest the pathway for developing the strategy of increasing the impact of that industry segment.” 


Phase II of the study noted that sports fishing for steelhead is high in October through December.  The average out-of-town angler spends $62 per day while the local angler spends $6.60 per day. 


“People are coming to Erie County from all over the world, and they are coming at a time many would consider off season, and they are spending money here because of the steelhead fishery,” said Senator Earll.  “Steelhead fishing is unique to Erie County; it is the only place in Pennsylvania you can catch them.  We should use that fact to our advantage, and do all we can to enhance that industry even more,” she said.


In Phase I of the study, the Erie Regional Chamber and the study partners compiled the economic impact of sports fishing through research and data collection.  That research showed that Pennsylvania anglers account for $580 million in fishing expenditures statewide, with a $26 to $30 million economic impact in Erie County.


For a more in-depth look, the Economic Impact of Sports Fishing is available online at www.fish.state.pa.us  (Phase II) and www.eriepa.com  (Phase I)



Governor Signs Fishing & Boating Funding Bill

Governor Edward G. Rendell has signed House Bill 2155 into law, providing much-needed operating revenue for the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) through modest increases in the fees charged for fishing licenses and boat registrations.  The bill was one of several pieces of legislation the governor signed November 30.


The new fees go into effect January 1, 2005 – the first time since 1991 that boat registration rates have changed.  Fishing license fees were last adjusted in 1996.  HB 2155 also includes new forms of licenses and permits including a Lake Erie stamp, a combo Lake Erie/Trout stamp and charter boat/fishing guide permits.


Unlike most state agencies, the PFBC does not receive General Fund tax revenues for its day-to-day operations, relying instead almost exclusively on the revenues generated from registration and license sales.


While HB 2155 addresses the pressing need for revenues for the PFBC’s daily operations, the question of funding for state-owned infrastructure managed by the agency continues to loom large.  There is an estimated $110 million backlog at state lakes, fish hatcheries and boat launches managed by the Commission.  A separate dedicated, long-term source of funding – not license and registration dollars – is needed to

address these issues.


The fee package in HB 2155 is as follows:


Fishing Licenses

Resident                                 $ 21.00

Nonresident                           $ 51.00

Resident Senior (annual)    $10.00

Resident Senior Lifetime    $50.00

7-day tourist                           $33.00

3-day tourist                           $25.00

1-day resident                       $10.00

Trout Stamp                           $8.00

Lake Erie Stamp                   $8.00

Combo Lake Erie Stamp    $14.00


Boat Registrations  (2 yrs)


Unpowered         $ 18.00


Less than 16'        $26.00


16' to 20'               $39.00


20+' to 40'            $52.00


40+' to 65'            $52.00


Fish Population Estimate Conducted for Whittlesey Creek

Four days of electrofishing surveys were conducted in Whittlesey Creek to obtain a population estimate for salmon and trout species. 


Assessment crews were also evaluating survival of coaster brook trout egg and fingerling plants conducted in 2004.  Staff

members from the Wisconsin DNR, USFWS Ashland FRO, Whittlesey Creek National Wildlife Refuge and private groups joined efforts to collect this important fish population information.  This survey is a part of a long range data set the WDNR has been collecting on Whittlesey Creek, and part of the experiment to establish a self-sustaining coaster brook trout population in Whittlesey Creek.


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