Week of February  24, 2014


Veterans Issues
Other Breaking News Items


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Rod & Reel Raffle

Rod & Reel Raffle


We are raffling off 5 rod n’ reel sets to raise funds for a local VFW Post that does a whole lot of good for returning veterans.

Your participation and purchase of a ticket – or tickets - will help us raise the necessary funds to meet our goal and help these guys; thanks.


Rod & Reel Raffle


Tickets $20.00 each      Only 500 tickets to be sold

Proceeds to aid Veterans


5 winners (100 to 1 odds)


Brands to be raffled include:

Abu Garcia       Okuma             Pflueger

Pinnacle   Quantum   All Star


High-end pro edition units in sets or combination

Spinning and Baitcast sets                   IM 8 rods in 6', 7 and 8' lengths


For detailed rod & reel info: click here



Seamless digital maps of surface waters done along Canada/U.S.Border

Clearer views of waters along the U.S. and Canadian border are now possible with new seamless digital maps. These maps make it easier to solve complex water issues that require a thorough understanding of drainage systems on both sides of the International Boundary.


 "In the past, cross-border maps were not always accurate, but now these new digital maps are fully linked across the entire U.S. and Canadian border," said Peter Steeves, physical scientist with the USGS. "This cooperative project allows scientists on either side to look at the water just as nature does, irrespective of the artificial line separating the two nations."


Developed cooperatively by both countries, the digital maps make tackling difficult issues more effective. For example, levels of phosphorous flowing from Lake Champlain in Vermont into Quebec can now be better understood; flooding in the Red River Valley (which flows north from Minnesota and the Dakotas into Manitoba) can be traced; salmon fisheries in the Columbia River Basin in the Pacific Northwest can be efficiently restored; and understanding localized water use and water availability all along the border is now improved.


"The USA/Canada coordinated mapping efforts along the International Border have opened doors to joint scientific analysis that rely on hydrography integration", said David Harvey, National Manager with the

Environment Service of Canada. "Water quality and quantity modelling are already being developed on top of this enriched database."


The advent of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) over the past 20 years has allowed for advancements in the analysis potential of digitally mapped water features to a degree hardly imagined when the USGS started mapping in the 19th century.  As technology improves in the years to come, even more progress will be made, such as in the use of lasers to map the earth, new techniques to analyze information, and faster computers to process the data.


For more than 125 years, the USGS has provided accurate maps of the nation's surface waters. During the last two decades this mapping has become digital, using computers and new technologies to provide unprecedented knowledge of water resources. This data is stored in the National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) and Watershed Boundary Dataset (WBD).


The principle agencies involved in this effort are the USGS and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), with oversight by the International Joint Commission (IJC).  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Agricultural Foods Canada, Environment Canada along with many provincial and in-state partners participated throughout the process.  

Additional information on the NHD and WBD can be found at http://nhd.usgs.gov/.


Veterans Issues

VA - New Secure Veteran Health ID Cards

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) last week announced the phased roll out of newly designed, more secure Veteran Health Identification Cards. The new cards are distinguished by additional security features and will have a different look and feel. 


In addition to being more secure, the card has been transformed into a Veterans Health Identification Card (VHIC).  Similar to a typical health insurance card, the VHIC displays the Veteran’s Member ID, a new unique identifier, as well as a Plan ID, reflecting the Veteran’s enrollment in VA health care. 


“VA is committed to providing high quality health care while ensuring the personal security of Veterans,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.  “These new identification cards are an important step forward in protecting our nation’s heroes from identity theft and other personal crimes.”


The VHIC is personalized to display the emblem of the Veteran’s branch of service.  It also provides features that make it easier to use, such as the addition of “VA” in Braille to help visually impaired Veterans, and the

printing of VA phone numbers and emergency care instructions on the



The card replaces the Veteran Identification Card (VIC), which was introduced in 2004.  As part of a phased rollout, starting this month, the card will only be offered to newly enrolled and other Veterans who have not been issued a VIC.  Then, in early April, VA will begin a three month effort to automatically issue the more secure VHIC to current VIC cardholders.   VA recommends Veterans safeguard their VIC as they would a credit card, and cut up or shred the card once it is replaced.  While not required to receive VA health care, all enrolled Veterans are encouraged to get a VHIC.   


Enrolled Veterans can get more information about the VHIC by visiting their VA medical facility enrollment coordinator or the website www.va.gov/healthbenefits/vhic, calling 1-877-222-VETS (8387) or visiting their local VA health care facility.


Veterans who are not enrolled in the VA health care system can apply for enrollment at any time by visiting www.va.gov/healthbenefits/enroll, Calling 1-877-222-VETS (8387) or visiting their local VA health care facility.



New license options coming in March
Starting Saturday, March 1, Michigan sportsmen and women will see something they haven’t witnessed in many years: changes to the state’s hunting, fishing and ORV license options – a lineup that hadn’t undergone real change since 1997. The changes are happening for good reason.

The new license structure provides a simpler license-buying experience, brings Michigan’s license options and prices in line with those of other states, and generates the revenue necessary to deliver the best in outdoor recreation opportunities.

The first thing customers will notice is an easier-to-navigate number of license choices – from 227 down to just over 40. Individual archery deer and firearm deer licenses? Gone. Restricted fishing license? Ditto. Pricing on several items has changed, too; some prices have risen, some remain the same, and others have decreased.

Department of Natural Resources Director Keith Creagh says the changes will provide valuable support for the work the DNR does in close cooperation with partner organizations.

"World-class natural resources belong to everybody in Michigan and define who we are as a state,” Creagh said. “Those resources are fundamental to why people live in, visit and set up shop in Michigan – and that’s vital to our state and local economies.

“We want to make it easier for people to get the licenses they need and ensure the funding that will allow the DNR and our partners to enhance and protect our natural resources for current and future generations,” he added.

New for hunters
All hunters will be required to purchase a base license, with different price points for resident, junior, senior and nonresident hunters. The base license (which allows the buyer to hunt small game) is needed to purchase any other licenses. Deer hunters will have the option of buying one deer license ($20) or two-deer licenses ($40). Hunters may choose one option or the other.

The single deer license replaces the separate firearm and archery season licenses of previous years, and is valid for archery, firearm and muzzleloader seasons. Hunters who opt for the single tag won't be able to purchase a second, but they will be able to purchase antlerless licenses where available.

With the two-tag deer combo license, both licenses are valid for archery, firearm and muzzleloader seasons.  It includes one regular and one restricted license, as in previous years. Antler point restrictions will apply based on the area of the state.

Antlerless deer licenses cost $20, and will continue to be available based on license quotas set for each deer management unit (DMU); quotas should be finalized in July.

New for anglers
The two previous options for fishing licenses – one for everything except trout and salmon and another that included trout and salmon – have been rolled into one license. A resident fishing license will cost $26 and includes fishing for trout and salmon (down from $28 if you bought the all-species license under the old system). A one-day fishing license will cost just $10.

New fishing licenses are required beginning April 1.

The hook-and-bullet crowd can try the hunt/fish combo (the base license, a fishing license and two deer tags), which is available for $76, a modest savings compared to buying them separately.

Discounts on some licenses will be available for youths and seniors. Active military and veterans with 100-percent disability who were or are Michigan residents will also be eligible for free licenses.

New for off-roaders
Off-road vehicle (ORV) riders haven’t seen a license price increase since 1996. Starting March 1, operators will pay $26.25 for a license to operate


on eligible county roads and national forest roads, state forest roads in
the Upper Peninsula and the frozen surface of public waters. No license is needed for use on private land.


If you want to head out on state trails, routes or ORV areas, you’ll need to pick up an additional $10 ORV trail permit.

Return on investment
The DNR anticipates the new license options, when fully implemented, could bring in up to $18 million annually in new revenue. Director Creagh said residents will see these critical dollars reinvested into Michigan’s natural resources in a number of meaningful ways.

  • One dollar from the sale of every base hunting license, all-species fishing license and hunt/fish combo is earmarked to build public awareness about game and fish management, the role hunters, trappers and anglers play in conservation, and the overall economic impact of hunting and fishing. This program was included in statute and is based on a Colorado project that is yielding greater public acceptance of hunting and fishing since it was adopted.

  • Anglers will see projects to improve habitat in inland waters, additional capacity for fish-rearing at state fish hatcheries, and increased creel surveys and assessments of both inland and Great Lakes waters.

  • Hunters will benefit from more habitat improvement projects for both big game and small game, increased target-shooting opportunities at state game areas, and expanded access to hunting opportunities on public and private land.

  • All outdoor recreation enthusiasts will benefit from the presence of additional conservation officers across the state.

  • ORV users will see an expanded trail system, as well as existing trails that are safer because of better grooming, brushing, signage and overall maintenance (including the replacement of failing bridges and culverts). 

Changes like these – along with a grant program devoted to improvement of the state’s wildlife and aquatic habitat – are exactly what the DNR had in mind. The department was pleased to see a broad range of outdoors, conservation and environmental groups lend their support to the restructured license package last year, in anticipation of just such deliverables.


A better buying experience
Michigan’s new pricing structure is also accompanied by an easier, faster buying process. Retail license agents’ terminal screens have been streamlined to clearly show available choices with new help options should an issue arise – and many of these changes were made in direct response to customers’ requests and suggestions of how to best improve the system.

Sportsmen and women will only be able to purchase the licenses they qualify for, which DNR Licensing and Reservations Manager Denise Gruben says will eliminate potential confusion.

Buying licenses online will get easier, too.

“Our customers can take advantage of the mobile buying experience for smart phones and tablets, adding a whole new level of ease,” Gruben explained. “When you buy your license on a mobile device, it will save as a PDF on that device. You can print and laminate if you want, or just save it on your device to conveniently show an officer, if asked.”

The bottom line? Starting March 1, Michigan’s outdoor recreation community will be introduced to a simpler, fairer and more efficient license structure, and know that every dollar will be reinvested for the current and long-term good of the natural resources we all treasure.

If you would like to learn more about the new license structure – including pricing charts, frequently asked questions, and how the revenue will be used – visit www.michigan.gov/dnr and click on “Learn about the restructuring of hunting, fishing and ORV.

2014 Fishing Guide available at license dealers 
The Michigan DNR announced the release of the 2014 Michigan Fishing Guide, which includes rules and regulations effective April 1, 2014 - March 31, 2015. Copies of the guide can be obtained at any location where fishing licenses are sold.

This year’s guide is the second year the DNR has implemented

improvements geared toward the request of anglers. The 2014 guide is
printed on higher quality paper to better withstand the wear and tear of fishing in Michigan, is of a smaller physical size (better able to fit in anglers’ tackle boxes), and includes an easier-to-read font size.

The 2014 Michigan Fishing Guide will also be available in electronic format at www.michigan.gov/fishingguide starting April 1.



DNR beginners fly-fishing seminar for youth-adult pairs,

May 2-4

Register now

An opportunity to learn the basics of fly fishing from experienced mentors is being offered to adult and youth pairs during a special fly-fishing weekend at the Eagle Bluff Environmental Learning Center near Lanesboro, May 2-4, according to the Minnesota DNR.


Participants will also try their hand at tying flies and learn how anglers catch more fish when they understand fish habits and habitat. There will be time for fish tales and a campfire.


To qualify, the youth/adult pair must have little or no fly-fishing experience. Both should have a sincere interest in learning. Eligible youth include Minnesota boys and girls who will be between the ages of 11 and 17 on May 2.

The cost is $120 per youth/adult pair and includes meals, lodging, guiding services, equipment and additional materials. Each youth and adult will set up and fish with a new fly rod that is theirs to keep. Sponsorships to offset registration fees may be available from angling and conservation organizations.


The event is sponsored by MinnAqua, a statewide educational program through the DNR, designed to connect youth and families to Minnesota’s waters through fishing.


Activities begin after check-in Friday night and wrap up by 2 p.m. Sunday. This event is limited to 20 youth/adult pairs. Application form and program information are available online at www.mndnr.gov/minnaqua (on events calendar, click on MinnAqua Fly-Fishing Weekend) or by contacting Deb Groebner, DNR regional MinnAqua specialist, 507-359-6049, [email protected]



Open house on 2014-2015 Hunting Season Proposals

Input also accepted online at wildohio.com

OLUMBUS, OH – The Ohio DNR invites public comments regarding the 2014-2015 hunting, trapping and fishing regulations at open houses on Saturday, March 1, 12-3 p.m., and online through Sunday, March 2. Input concerning proposed hunting season dates, bag limits and rule changes will be accepted during open houses and online at wildohio.com. Comments about Ohio’s white-tailed deer and wild turkey hunting seasons are welcomed. Regulation proposals were presented to the Ohio Wildlife Council at meetings on Jan. 8 and Feb. 5.


Open houses are open to the public. Anyone interested in providing input and participating in Ohio’s professional wildlife management process is welcome. ODNR Division of Wildlife biologists and law enforcement officers will be available to answer questions and receive comments.


People who are not able to attend an open house at one of the seven locations can provide input online. Comments are accepted through March 2 at wildohio.com. Click on Proposed Rule Changes/CSI Review to share comments.


Public input gathered at these open houses and through the online form will be considered during the formulation of regulations. For more information or directions to the open houses, visit wildohio.com or call 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543).


Open house location information for March 1:

• Central Ohio: Wildlife District One office, 1500 Dublin Road, Columbus 43215; 614-644-3925;

• Northwest Ohio: Wildlife District Two office, 952 Lima Avenue, Findlay 45840; 419-424-5000;

• Northeast Ohio: Wildlife District Three office, 912 Portage Lakes Drive, Akron 44319; 330-644-2293;


• Southeast Ohio: Wildlife District Four office, 360 E. State Street, Athens 45701; 740-589-9930;

• Southwest Ohio: Greene County Fish and Game, 1538 Union Road, Xenia 45385; 937-372-9261;

• Lake Erie (east): Fairport Fisheries office, 1190 High Street, Fairport Harbor 44077; 440-352-4199;

• Lake Erie (west): Lake Erie Shores and Islands Regional Welcome Center, 770 SE Catawba Rd, Port Clinton 43452; 419-625-8062.


Open house attendees and online visitors will have the opportunity to learn more about and comment on Ohio’s State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP), which is currently under revision. The purpose of Ohio’s SWAP is to provide direction for conserving wildlife diversity in Ohio. The plan specifically addresses species and habitats in greatest need of conservation and the development of conservation actions to abate problems for those species and habitats. Ohio’s SWAP is being revised for use by people with an interest in wildlife conservation. Comments will be accepted at wildohio.com from Saturday, March 1, through Wednesday, April 30.


A statewide hearing on proposed rules will be held on Thursday, March 6, at 9 a.m. at the ODNR Division of Wildlife’s District One office. This hearing is open to the public, and comments on the proposed rules will be accepted.


The Ohio Wildlife Council is an eight-member board that approves all of the ODNR Division of Wildlife’s proposed rules and regulations. The council will vote on the proposed rules and season dates during its meeting on April 9 after considering public input. Council meetings are open to the public. Individuals who want to provide comments on a topic that is currently being considered by council are asked to preregister at least two days prior to the meeting by calling 614-265-6304. All comments are required to be three minutes or less.

Ohio Licenses now on Sale

COLUMBUS, OH - Ohio’s 2014-2015 fishing, hunting and trapping licenses are now available for purchase. Ohio’s 2013-2014 licenses are valid through Feb. 28, 2014. White-tailed deer and fall wild turkey hunting permits will go on sale later in 2014.

The prices for Ohio’s hunting, fishing and trapping licenses and permits are unchanged from 2013-2014.


Licenses and permits can be purchased online at wildohio.com and at

hundreds of participating agents throughout the state. A complete list of

participating license sales agents can be found at wildohio.com. Mobile fishing licenses will also be available beginning Saturday, Feb. 22.


Ohio’s 2014-2015 licenses include a transaction receipt and effective dates that match the fishing, hunting or trapping season. Licenses and permits are printed on plain white paper that is not waterproof. Licenses and permits will be printed with additional information relevant to the license or permit purchased.


Other Breaking News Items

(Click on title or URL to read full article)


Army Corp urged to dredfe deeper in Lake Ontario harbors

Rochester's harbor is among several ports in Lake Ontario scheduled for dredging to remove sediment deposited by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.  Because the dredging will remedy only sedimentation caused by the storm, U.S. Sen. Schumer is urging the Corps to use


Deadlines approach to remove ice fishing shelters
MADISON - The first of a number of deadlines for ice anglers to remove ice fishing shelters from boundary waters is this week, when all ice fishing shelters must be removed from Wisconsin-Iowa boundary waters by Wednesday, Feb. 20. This earlier date, applying to Mississippi River south of the Minnesota-Iowa border, corresponds with Iowa regulations. 


Upper Great Lakes Mgt. Unit undertakes walleye project in North Channel
The Manitoulin Expositor (2/21)
The Upper Great Lakes Management Unit of the Ministry of Natural Resources has undertaken a walleye project in Lake Huron and the North Channel.


Muskegon Lake chosen for habitat improvement plan
WWMT News (2/21)
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration chose the western Michigan lake and the St. Louis River estuary in Wisconsin and Minnesota to be part of government program designed to improve wildlife habitat.



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