Week of December 6, 2010

Beyond the Great Lakes
Fishing beyond the Great Lakes
Hunting & Shooting Products/Issues

Other Breaking News Items


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Beyond the Great Lakes

A Right to Bear Arms & knives

PHOENIX — Arizona used to be a knife carrier’s nightmare, with a patchwork of local laws that forced those inclined to carry knives to tread carefully as they moved from Phoenix (no knives except pocketknives) to Tempe (no knives at all) to Tucson (no knives on library grounds).


But that changed earlier this year when Arizona made its Legislature the sole arbiter of knife regulations. Arizona is now a place where knives can be carried statewide. In combination with Arizona's recently enacted constitutional concealed carry law, knife owners in Arizona will enjoy the most accommodating knife laws in the country.


The passage of Arizona's Knife Preemption Law is precedent setting for knife owner rights. Arizona is the first state to establish specific preemption for knife laws and this

represents the successful kick-off of Knife Rights' National Knife Law Preemption Campaign, a key component of Knife Rights’ national legislative agenda to protect and enhance knife owners’ rights.


Knife Rights anticipates that the Arizona preemption law will serve as a model for preemption efforts in other states whose citizens are subject to a similar patchwork of restrictive local knife laws with attendant civil rights issues. We have already been approached by a number of legislators and citizens who want to initiate knife law preemption for their states. Knife Rights will aggressively pursue these opportunities.


Knife advocates are hoping that, just as Arizona’s immigration law has led to a national debate on that topic, its move to end knife restrictions will lead more states to take up the cause.

Fishing beyond the Great Lakes

Washington State to consider Lead Fishing Tackle on Lakes with Loons

OLYMPIA - The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is scheduled to consider restrictions on the use of lead fishing tackle at 13 lakes with nesting loons during a meeting scheduled December 2-4 in Olympia.

In addition, the commission will hold public hearings on changes to Puget Sound crab fishing regulations, management alternatives for bottomfish in Catch Area 4B (western Strait of Juan de Fuca), and several other proposed changes to sportfishing rules in Washington.

The commission, a nine-member citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), will meet Dec. 2-4.  On the third day of the three-day meeting, the commission is scheduled to consider restricting the use of certain lead fishing tackle at

lakes with nesting loons.


The commission held a public hearing on the issue in October, when it reviewed the findings of a WDFW advisory group established to assess scientific studies on risks posed to loons that ingest lead fishing tackle and recommend ways to minimize those risks.

The 13 lakes where loons breed in Washington include Ferry, Long and Swan lakes in Ferry County; Calligan and Hancock lakes in King County; Bonaparte, Blue and Lost lakes in Okanogan County; Big Meadow, South Skookum and Yocum lakes in Pend Oreille County; Pierre Lake in Stevens County; and Hozomeen Lake in Whatcom County.

Additional information on loons and lead tackle is available on WDFW's website at

Hunting & Shooting Products/Issues

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Judge rules Chicago locks can stay open

CHICAGO (AP) — A federal judge Thursday turned down a plea from five states to order the immediate closure of shipping locks on Chicago-area waterways to prevent Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes, where scientists fear they could disrupt the food chain and starve out other fish.


U.S. District Judge Robert Dow said the states had failed to show that closing the locks immediately was essential to block the Asian carp's path to Lake Michigan.  Dow acknowledged in his 61-page opinion that a carp invasion might do great harm to the lakes but said the states had not shown it was likely or imminent.


In fact, he said, the evidence suggests that flooding and economic damage to barge operators and businesses that rely on them would "outweigh the more remote harm associated with the possibility that Asian carp will breach the electronic barriers in significant numbers, swim through the sluice gates and locks, and establish a sustainable population in Lake Michigan." Chicago business groups urged Michigan and the other states to drop the lawsuit, saying there was little chance it would prevail


The decision does not end a lawsuit filed by Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin that seeks lock closure and other measures to keep the unwanted invaders out of the lakes. But Dow's refusal to issue a preliminary injunction appears to settle the lock issue for the foreseeable future.


The ruling stated in part "Plaintiffs have not established that Asian carp are positioned to establish a breeding population above the electric barrier. Nor have Plaintiffs shown that the fish is anywhere near, much less on the verge of, establishing a population in Lake Michigan. In short, as Mr. Chapman concluded, there is “no evidence as yet that [Asian carps have entered the Great Lakes in sufficient numbers to establish a successful breeding population]” or that they are close to doing so."


"No one puts the probability of Asian carp establishing in the Lake at zero.  Most, if not all, of the experts involved in the USFWS Risk Assessment answered in the affirmative to a “yes” or “no” question concerning whether there was an imminent threat that Asian carp would establish a self-sustaining population in Lake Michigan. However, “imminent” was not defined, and the evidence before the Court at this time does not demonstrate the likelihood of irreparable injury that would be required for a mandatory preliminary injunction to issue. The Court concurs in Mr. Chapman’s (USGS scientist) credible assessment that while the potential for damage to the Great Lakes is high, the level of certainty that any damage will occur is low."

"Because the level of certainty of harm is low based on the evidence adduced to date, it cannot be said that irreparable injury is “likely,” as must be the case to justify the entry of any preliminary injunction. And here, the showing of irreparable harm would have to be higher still under the sliding scale, given the less than compelling showing on the merits of both of Plaintiffs’ substantive claims and the judicial restraint principles that come into play where, as here, multiple federal and state agencies are expending significant effort carrying out their statutory and regulatory duties to maintain and operate the CAWS (Chicago Area Waterway System), study and address the threat of Asian carp, and take whatever emergency measures they deem appropriate to prevent Asian carp from dispersing into the Great Lakes."


Officials in Michigan and Wisconsin said they were disappointed and would discuss with the other states whether to appeal the ruling or continue the legal battle. A hearing on the status of the suit is scheduled for Jan. 7.  In the meantime, Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox called on President Barack Obama to overrule the Army Corps of Engineers, which operates the lock system and has declined to shut it down.


Bighead and silver carp, both Asian species, have migrated up the Mississippi River and its tributaries for decades after


 in the Deep South. They have advanced to within about 25 miles of Lake Michigan, and DNA evidence suggests at least some may have evaded an electronic barrier on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, part of a network of waterways eventually linking the lakes and the Mississippi.


Biologists disagree on what would happen if they established a breeding population in Lake Michigan. But a worst-case scenario envisions them spreading across most or all of the lakes and decimating their fishing industry, valued at more than $7 billion.


The Obama administration in February released a $78.5 million strategy for battling the carp. It calls for strengthening the fish barrier system, netting and poisoning carp in selected areas of the Chicago waterways and developing biological controls such as methods to disrupt their spawning.


In their July 19 suit, the states called for closing the two locks and placing screens, nets and other devices at selected points as temporary measures. They requested an order that the corps speed up a promised study of ways to permanently separate the Great Lakes and Mississippi River watersheds. The suit contends the corps' position on the locks is arbitrary and accuses the agency of operating a nuisance.



Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for Dec. 3, 2010

Weather Conditions

Throughout November, the Great Lakes basin had received relatively low amounts of precipitation until the last part of the month. A frontal system passed through on Tuesday of this week bringing rain to most regions and snow to a few northern areas.  Wednesday and Thursday brought heavy lake-effect snow to the eastern shores of the lakes while inland regions also received flurries.  This scattered mix of weather will persist as eastern lakeshores see significant snow and other regions experience mostly cloudy skies with a few snow showers.  Temperatures across the basin are currently below seasonal averages and will drop a little more through Monday.

Lake Level Conditions

Lakes Superior, Michigan-Huron, St. Clair, and Erie are 6 to 13 inches below last year's levels, while Lake Ontario is 1 inch above its level of a year ago.  Over the next month, Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are expected to decline 3 and 2 inches, respectively.  Lake St. Clair is expected to decline 1 inch while Lake Erie is expected to remain at its current level.  Lake Ontario is predicted to decline 3 inches.

Forecasted December Outflows/Channel Conditions

The outflows from Lake Superior into the St. Mary's River and from Lake Huron into the St. Clair River are expected to be below average in December.  The Detroit River's flow from Lake St. Clair is predicted to be below average and the

Niagara River's flow from Lake Erie is predicted to be near

average this month.  The flow in the St. Lawrence River is forecasted to be above average throughout December.


The water levels of both Lake Superior and Lake Michigan-Huron are currently below chart datum and are forecasted to remain below datum over the next six months.  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.





St. Clair



Level for Dec 3






Datum, in ft






Diff in inches






Diff last month






Diff from last yr






Regional Fishery Workshop, January 8, 2011

Ludington Ramada Inn & Convention Center

4079 West U.S. 10, Ludington, MI 49431

Michigan Sea Grant invites you to attend the annual Ludington Regional Fishery Workshop to be held on Saturday, January 8, 2011. Topics presented will cover current research on issues that affect Lake Michigan fisheries. A hot lunch buffet will be included in the conference registration fee of $20. Advanced registration is requested to assure an accurate count for food 

service. Please use the cut-off registration form at the bottom of this sheet and mail it with your check made out to Ottawa County MSU Extension.


mailing address is listed on the registration form. If you should have questions, please call (616) 994-4580. The conference will be held at the Ramada Inn and Conference Center located at 4079 West U. S. 10, on the southeast corner of the US-31/US-10 intersection.


Ice Fishing Championships Dec 18 & 19

Wisconsin Lakes Thompson and George

RHINELANDER, WI - Tournament records could be shattered. That's the feeling of tournament organizers as for the first time in the history of the North American Ice Fishing Circuit (NAIFC), two lakes will be fished for their national championship next month. Rhinelander, WI, designated by the state as, "The Ice Fishing Capital of the World", is the host community as nearly 70 teams will go after their portion of an estimated $20,000 pay out.

Set for December 18th & 19th, Lakes Thompson and George will provide two distinct challenges to competitors. While Thompson is largely a natural structure lake, George is littered with man made cribs and boulders and insiders believe the largest tournament catch ever could be realized. NAIFC tourney coordinator Brian Gaber of Rhinelander says, "I wouldn't be surprised to see crappie over 16-inches from this event". Crappie and sunfish are the primary species. This is

the third consecutive championship held in this Northern Wisconsin community, the first two on Boom Lake. Rhinelander was also home to the World Championship last March when, for the first time, anglers from eleven countries came to the United States to compete, drawing thousands of spectators to the city and global news coverage.


Residents and visitors alike can also take part beginning with free fishing clinics Thursday evening (16th) for both kids and adults. Raffles and prizes will be available and live music is also being planned at the Northwoods Banquet Center beginning at 6pm. It's also the location for the weigh-ins at 2pm that weekend. Competition begins both days at 8am.

The NAIFC is a corporation established by fishermen, for fishermen. Their mission is to advance the sport of ice fishing in North America by providing the highest level of competition, education and product promotion.



Regional Fishery Workshop, January 8, 2011

Ludington Ramada Inn & Convention Center

4079 West U.S. 10, Ludington, MI 49431

Michigan Sea Grant invites you to attend the annual Ludington Regional Fishery Workshop to be held on Saturday, January 8, 2011. Topics presented will cover current research on issues that affect Lake Michigan fisheries. A hot lunch buffet will be included in the conference registration fee of $20. Advanced registration is requested to assure an accurate count for food 


service. Please use the cut-off registration form at the bottom of this sheet and mail it with your check made out to Ottawa County MSU Extension.


mailing address is listed on the registration form. If you should have questions, please call (616) 994-4580. The conference will be held at the Ramada Inn and Conference Center located at 4079 West U. S. 10, on the southeast corner of the US-31/US-10 intersection.


Deer Hunters Increase Kill on Opening Day

Statewide harvest up over 12 % from 2009 

COLUMBUS, OH - Ohio hunters had near ideal weather for the opening day of deer-gun season.  Hunters took 37,805 white-tailed deer on Monday, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.  The deer-gun season remains open through Sunday, December 5, and then reopens for two days on Saturday and Sunday, December 18-19.

The preliminary figures from deer check stations throughout the state show an increase of 12.5 percent from last year's opening day total of 33,607.


Counties reporting the highest numbers of deer checked on Monday included: Tuscarawas - 1,806; Coshocton - 1,536; Harrison - 1,439; Guernsey - 1,406; Holmes - 1,312; Licking - 1,259; Washington - 1,192; Ashtabula - 983; Muskingum - 930; and Athens - 886.


Combining the results of Monday's harvest with those from the early muzzleloader season, the first six weeks of archery season and the recent youth deer-gun season, a preliminary total of 97,371 deer have been killed so far this deer hunting season.  That number compares to 97,371 harvested last year at this time.  In all, hunters took a total of 261,314 deer during all of last year's hunting seasons.


Approximately 420,000 hunters are expected to participate in the statewide deer-gun season.  Ohio's deer population was estimated to be 750,000 prior to the start of the fall hunting seasons.


The white-tailed deer is the most popular game animal in Ohio, frequently pursued by generations of hunters.  Ohio ranks 8th nationally in annual hunting-related sales and 10th in the number of jobs associated with the hunting-related industry.  Each year, hunting has an $859 million economic impact in Ohio through the sale of equipment, fuel, food, lodging and more.


Hunters who give their deer to a food bank are not required to pay the processing cost as long as the deer are taken to a participating processor and funding for the effort lasts.  Counties being served by this program can be found online at www.fhfh.org.

Hunters who wish to share their success can submit a photo of themselves and the deer they killed this year for publication on the Division of Wildlife's Web page.  A detailed listing of deer-hunting rules is contained in the 2010-2011 Ohio Hunting Regulations, available wherever licenses are sold, and online at www.wildohio.com.


AEP Ohio Adds 26,000 Acres to ReCreation Land

ATHENS, OH– American Electric Power (AEP) Ohio continues to add to their conservation legacy with the opening of an additional 26,000-acres in the ReCreation Land agreement area located in Morgan, Muskingum, Noble and Guernsey counties, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.  This area will be in addition to the existing 34,000 acres of the ReCreation Land for a new total of approximately 60,000 acres in a cooperative management agreement with ODNR’s Division of Wildlife.


The AEP ReCreation Land is the largest of five agreement areas owned by AEP Ohio that allow for public use of the property including hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing, and hiking and camping in designated areas.  With the addition of these acres, AEP has more than 85,000 acres of agreement land in more than nine counties including Athens, Coshocton, Gallia, Guernsey, Meigs, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble and Perry counties.   Other AEP lands that are in agreement with the Division of Wildlife include: Avondale Wildlife Area (4,919

acres), Conesville Coal Lands (14,640 acres), Gavin Wildlife Area (6,885 acres), and Poston Plant Lands (2,300 acres).


Visitors of the AEP ReCreation Land and all other AEP agreement areas must obtain and carry a lifetime permit issued by AEP.  The permit is free and can be obtained online, from the McConnelsville American Electric Power office, the Division of Wildlife or at many local convenience stores in the area.  An AEP permit allows recreational use of lands that are posted as public recreation areas only.  Visitors to all AEP agreement areas are responsible for obtaining maps of the areas and reminded to respect fences, gates and the boundaries of these areas.  Entering AEP properties that are not open to recreational use is prohibited by law.   

Recreational users must obey all Ohio laws and regulations in addition to regulations specific to AEP agreement areas.  An updated map of the area is available online, by calling the McConnelsville AEP office at (740) 962-1205 or by calling ODNR’s Division of Wildlife at (740) 589-9930


$5.2 million Fox River – Green Bay PCB cleanup agreement

MADISON – Today, the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Government and two tribal nations, filed an agreement reached with the City of Green Bay, Brown County and the Army Corps of Engineers totaling $5.2 million covering further clean up of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contaminants dredged from the Fox River.


The agreement is one of several associated with cleanup of PCBs contaminating the Fox River and lower Green Bay and addresses damages to natural resources resulting from redepositing PCB-laden sediments, dredged from the navigation channel, into Green Bay waters. The sediments were deposited in locations designated as confined disposal facilities (CDFs). The Bayport CDF has since been improved and the Renard Island CDF is no longer used.


The dredging was done by the Army Corps of Engineers prior

to this practice being banned by Wisconsin state law.


Under the proposed Consent Decree, Brown County and the City of Green Bay would each pay $350,000 and the United States Government would pay $4.5 million. Most of the payment ($4,350,000) is directed to natural resources damages (NRD) with $850,000 directed to past and future response costs. The payment shares, say officials, reflect the roles of the Corps, the County and the City in the resulting damages to natural resources.


“This agreement represents another step forward in completing the Fox River cleanup and restoration of damaged natural resources,” said DNR Secretary Matt Frank. “I am pleased with the cooperation of the parties to the proposed Consent Decree and the assurance this success gives the citizens of Wisconsin for a timely completion of the world’s largest PCB cleanup.”


Other Breaking News Items

(Click on title or URL to read full article)


Wind farm issue threatens to discredit green movement
Large-scale wind energy developments like the ones proposed for Bow Lake and Goulais River will actually increase our carbon footprint, says John Laforet, president of Wind Concerns Ontario.


Invasions demand leadership, action

Over a half-century ago, the Great Lakes collapsed in the manner many now fear. Crippled in the 1940s by decades of overfishing and a century's worth of wanton pollution, the lakes suffered a knockout blow when sea lamprey slithered their way in from the Atlantic Ocean via man-made shipping canals


Salmon’s demise in Lake Huron a boon for walleye

DNR officials suspect the disappearance of alewives is a big reason for the change; those little invaders feasted on juvenile native species while providing a miserable diet for native predators like lake trout.


Anti-carp bill awaits president's signature
Legislation to help stop the spread of Asian carp to the Great Lakes crossed a final legislative hurdle Wednesday, passing the House. It awaits only President Barack Obama's signature.


Snyder shakes up cabinet roles, adds corporate structure
Under Michigan Gov.-elect Snyder's plan, he'll split up the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Quality, which were combined by Gov. Jennifer Granholm in January.


Offshore wind debated, but statewide rules will have to wait
Testimony was taken for the first time Tuesday on comprehensive offshore wind turbine legislation, which seems destined to remain in committee as the Michigan Legislature ends its term this week.

National Park Service holds meetings on Isle Royale long-term plan
The National Park Service will hold four meetings, starting today, to get input on its long-range plans for Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior. A big focus will be on what to do about long-term private leases on the island that are nearing expiration




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Reproduction of any material by paid-up members of the GLSFC is encouraged but appropriate credit must be given. 

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