Week of May 27, 2013

Beyond the Great Lakes


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Beyond the Great Lakes

Record-setting Burmese Python Captured in Florida's Miami-Dade County
A Miami man has caught and killed the longest Burmese python ever captured in Florida: 18 feet, 8 inches. The python was a 128-pound female

that was not carrying eggs, according to University of Florida scientists who examined the snake. The previous record length for a Burmese python captured in the wild in Florida was 17 feet, 7 inches



Bipartisan support passes legislation to keep fishing open on Cumberland River

The Freedom to Fish Act Will Remove Access Restrictions on 10 Dams

Alexandria, VA – May 22, 2013 - In a bipartisan move applauded by the sportfishing industry and the broader sportfishing community, both Houses of Congress passed the Freedom to Fish Act which will remove unnecessary access restrictions to recreational fishing along the Cumberland River in Tennessee and Kentucky. The bill passed on May 21, and now awaits the President’s signature.


The bill, which is strongly supported by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), prohibits the Army Corps of Engineers from installing physical barriers that bar boats from entering the tailwaters of ten dams along the Cumberland River. In addition to prohibiting access to prime fishing areas, these barriers would impede potential rescue efforts in these same areas.


“In this political climate it is refreshing to see a bill receive bipartisan support in the interest of recreational anglers and boaters alike,” said ASA Vice President Gordon Robertson. “While angling and boating access are important to the area’s economy, the proposed barriers along the Cumberland River were also unnecessary and counterproductive from a

safety standpoint.”


“Particularly concerning with these proposed closures was the lack of public input that went into the Army Corps’ decision,” noted Robertson. “If anglers had been provided an opportunity to weigh in on this proposal, Congressional action might not have been needed. It is critical that the public be allowed sufficient opportunities to provide input on any policy decision that might affect the public’s ability to access and enjoy public resources.”


The Freedom to Fish Act prohibits any restrictive area on the Cumberland River by the Army Corp for two years and also requires the Army Corps to remove any physical barriers that have been constructed since August 1, 2012. Any future restrictions must be based on operational conditions that might create hazardous waters, and must follow an extensive opportunity for public input.


The legislation is now waiting President Obama’s signature. More information on the Freedom to Fish Act and the Cumberland River issue can be found at ASA’s angler advocacy website, www.KeepAmericaFishing.org



Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for May 24 


While most of the Great Lakes basin experienced above normal temperatures, the Lake Superior basin remained slightly below the seasonal average temperatures this past week. The entire basin received significant precipitation with the greatest amounts falling in the Superior and Michigan-Huron basins. Cool temperatures will accommodate a fair weather pattern over the Memorial Day weekend. A chance of precipitation and a rise in temperatures will follow the weekend.


The water level of Lake Superior is 6 inches above its level of a year ago, while Lake Michigan-Huron is 4 inches lower than at this time last year. Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are 6, 7, and 1 inches, respectively, lower than their levels of a year ago. Over the next month, Lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron are forecasted to rise 4 and 2 inches, respectively. The water levels of lakes St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are projected to rise 1, 1, and 3 inches, respectively, in the next thirty days.


Lake Superior’s outflow through the St. Marys River is projected to be below average for the month of May. Lake Huron’s outflow into the St. Clair River and the outflow from Lake St. Clair into the Detroit River are also expected to be below average throughout the month of May. Lake Erie’s outflow through the Niagara River is predicted to be below average

and the outflow of Lake Ontario into the St. Lawrence River is expected to be below average in May.


Official records are based on monthly average water levels and not daily water levels. Lake Superior is near its chart datum and Lake Michigan-Huron is below chart datum. Users of the Great Lakes, connecting channels and St. Lawrence River should keep informed of current conditions before undertaking any activities that could be affected by changing water levels. Mariners should utilize navigation charts and refer to current water level readings.





St. Clair



Level for Aug 4






Datum, in ft






Diff in inches






Diff last month






Diff from last yr







2nd Amendment Issues

Court dismisses suit to ban traditional ammo

NEWTOWN, Conn. -- The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia today dismissed a lawsuit brought by the radical anti-hunting Center for Biological Diversity and six other groups demanding the Environmental Protection Agency ban traditional ammunition containing lead components.


Traditional ammunition represents 95 percent of the U.S. market and is the staple ammunition for target shooters, hunters and law enforcement, with more than 10 billion rounds sold annually.


NSSF filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit last August. The court today agreed with NSSF that EPA does not have the authority to regulate traditional ammunition under the Toxic Substances Control Act.


EPA had already twice denied attempts by CBD to have the agency ban traditional ammunition, and the court had dismissed an earlier case brought by CBD seeking the same relief.


“We are gratified that the court has found this second frivolous lawsuit, which is essentially the same as the one dismissed last year, was equally without merit,” said Lawrence G. Keane, senior vice president and general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms and ammunition industry. “This was a waste

of taxpayers' dollars and EPA resources spent in having to defend a baseless lawsuit.”


CBD's serial petitioning of EPA and its repeated lawsuits were designed to cripple the shooting sports in America by banning the ammunition that millions of hunters and target shooters choose to use safely and responsibly.


"There is quite simply no sound science that shows the use of traditional ammunition has harmed wildlife populations or that it presents a health risk to humans who consume game taken with such ammunition," said Keane. "Banning traditional ammunition would cost tens of thousands of jobs in America and destroy wildlife conservation that is funded in part by an 11 percent excise tax on the sale of ammunition. The protection and management of wildlife is properly handled by the professional biologists in the state fish and game agencies, as it has been for over a hundred years.


In addition to NSSF, the National Rifle Association, Safari Club International and the Association of Battery Recyclers intervened in the case.  Organizations that joined CBD in its lawsuit were the Cascades Raptor Center of Oregon, the Loon Lake Loon Association of Washington, Preserve Our Wildlife of Florida, Tennessee Ornithological Society, Trumpeter Swan Society and Western Nebraska Resources Council.

Message from Texas Attorney General

UN approves Arms Trade Treaty   

Your Liberty -- as a United States citizen -- was weakened and threatened yesterday when the Obama Administration helped the United Nations pass the Arms Trade Treaty.  Immediately after this disappointing vote, I wrote a letter to President Obama urging him not to sign the treaty.  If the President signs the treaty allowing the UN to be involved in regulating firearms in the U.S., Texas will lead the charge to have the treaty overturned in court as a violation of the U.S. Constitution.  I need your support.  Please help us get the word out by referring 3 of your friends right now, and forwarding this email to 5 of your friends.  Together, we can make a difference.  America is exceptional in part because our Constitution safeguards our individual liberties – including the right to keep and bear arms enshrined in the Second Amendment.  The new UN treaty threatens your rights:


• It doesn't recognize the individual right to keep and bear arms or the fundamental right to defend yourself, your family, or your property;


• It empowers a new UN bureaucracy focused on firearms restrictions that will be run by international bureaucrats who are not accountable to the people of the United States.

• It could impose firearm registration requirements that may empower international authorities to get information about American citizens and businesses.


This UN treaty does more than trample Second Amendment rights.  It also threatens to erode all liberties guaranteed to Americans in the Constitution by giving the UN power to govern our lives.  Please refer 3 of your friends today and forward this important message to 5 of your friends right now.  Your voice must be heard on this issue.  When the Constitution says, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed,” it means no one—including the UN—can infringe upon that right.  UN treaties do not trump the Constitution.  And with your help, we will make that message clear to President Obama and this administration.




Greg Abbott






Fishing hook restrictions relaxed and clarified

Anglers can affix up to three hooks, three artificial lures, or a combination of hooks or lures not to exceed three per pole under a temporary rule that takes effect May 24.

The long-standing permanent rule allowed just two hooks per pole. Other changes in the temporary rule define "artificial lure," "bait," "fly," "hook," "pole" and "line."

"These changes were needed to clarify Indiana's fishing regulations so that everyone can more easily determine what fishing tackle can be used," said DNR director Cameron Clark. "New devices are always coming onto the market and in the past, it has not always been clear if

they were permissible."

Under the new rule, an umbrella rig, for example, now can have up to three hooks and unlimited hookless attractors. When artificial lures are used on an umbrella rig or similar device, they are considered one hook, even if the lure has multiple hooks. Under the old permanent rule, it was uncertain how many hooks could be used on umbrella rigs. A temporary rule that allowed five hooks on umbrella rigs expired last December after a one-year trial.

As in the past, anglers are still allowed to fish with up to three fishing poles or lines at a time.



Tributaries may save large-river fish

Thinking ‘big’ may not be best approach to saving large-river fish

MADISON, Wis. — Large-river specialist fishes — from giant species like paddlefish and blue catfish, to tiny crystal darters and silver chub — are in danger, but researchers say there is greater hope to save them if major tributaries identified in a University of Wisconsin-Madison study become a focus of conservation efforts.


The study says 60 out of 68 U.S. species, or 88 percent of fish species found exclusively in large-river ecosystems like the Mississippi, Missouri and Ohio rivers, are of state, federal or international conservation concern. The report is in the April issue of the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.


On the other hand, says lead author Brenda Pracheil, a postdoctoral researcher in the UW’s Center for Limnology, the study offers some good news, too.


Traditionally, the conservation emphasis has been on restoring original habitat. This task proves impossible for ecosystems like the main trunk of the Mississippi River — the nation’s shipping, power production, and flood control backbone. While the locks, dams and levees that make the Mississippi a mighty economic force have destroyed fish habitat by blocking off migration pathways and changing annual flood cycles species need to spawn, removing them is not a realistic conservation option.


But, says Pracheil, we’re underestimating the importance of tributaries. Her study found that, for large-river specialist fish, it’s not all or nothing. Some rivers are just big enough to be a haven.


For any river in the Mississippi Basin with a flow rate of less than 166


cubic meters of water per second, virtually no large-river specialist fishes are present. But in any river that even slightly exceeds that rate, 80 percent or more of the large-river species call it home.


That means Mississippi tributaries about the size of the Wisconsin River and larger are providing crucial habitat for large-river fishes. When coupled with current efforts in the large rivers themselves, these rivers may present important opportunities for saving species.


“Talk to any large-river fish biologist, and they will tell you how important tributaries are to big river fish," says Pracheil. "But, until now, we’ve not really understood which rivers are most important. Our study tackles that and shows which tributaries in the Mississippi River Basin show the most promise for conservation of large-river fishes.”


Current policies governing large river restoration projects are funded largely through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which requires that funds be spent on mainstems — or the big rivers themselves. Pracheil's study suggests spending some of that money on tributary restoration projects might do more conservation good for fish, while also letting agencies get more bang for their habitat restoration buck.


“Tributaries may be one of our last chances to preserve large-river fish habitat,” Pracheil says. “Even though the dam building era is all but over in this country, it’s just starting on rivers like the Mekong and Amazon — places that are hotspots for freshwater fish diversity.  While tributaries cannot offer a one-to-one replacement of main river habitats, our work suggests that [they] provide important refuges for large-river fishes and that both main rivers and their tributaries should be considered in conservation plans.”

Governor announces Wisconsin Walleye Initiative

Madison – Governor Scott Walker announced the Wisconsin Walleye Initiative today. The initiative, developed by the Department of Natural Resources, will dramatically increase the number of walleyes in Wisconsin by expanding production at state, private, and tribal fish hatcheries.


“Fishing is such an important part of Wisconsin’s sporting heritage, and demand for walleye continues to increase,” Governor Walker said. “With this historic investment, we are making long-term improvements to Wisconsin’s lakes and our state’s fishing and tourism industries. I thank Senator Joe Leibham (R-Sheboygan) and Representative Dan LeMahieu (R-Cascade) for their work on this issue.”

The Wisconsin Walleye Initiative includes the following:


 $8.2 million in existing unencumbered bonding authority to expand hatchery capacities.

 $1.8 million for operating costs over the biennium.

 $2 million over the biennium for a competitive grant program for private organizations to expand walleye production and to cover operational costs.

 $160,000 in one-time funds for the UW Extension to continue their work with private aquaculture through the end of Fiscal Year 2014.

 $500,000 annually beginning in Fiscal Year 2015 to contract with organizations to acquire additional walleye fingerlings.

 $250,000 annually to expand the summer Tribal Youth Program. The program is a state-tribal partnership giving high school-aged tribal youth the opportunity to work on natural resource-related projects.


Under this initiative, production is estimated to increase from 60,000–120,000 large walleye fingerlings to well over 500,000 by 2016.




The opinions expressed here are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the GLSFC, its officers or staff. 

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

Reproduction by others without written permission is prohibited.

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