Week of July 9, 2012



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Weekly Great Lakes Water Levels for July 6, 2012


Temperatures have been extremely high this week across the Great Lakes basin. Many areas in southern Wisconsin and southwestern Michigan are experiencing very dry conditions. Some isolated storms occurred Thursday, but expect temperatures to remain well above seasonal averages through Friday. Chances of showers and thunderstorms will arrive late Friday into Saturday. By the end of the weekend, expect a drop in temperatures back to near seasonal averages along with less humidity.


Lake Superior's water level is 3 inches higher than its level of a year ago, while Lake Michigan-Huron is 8 inches lower than its level at this time last year. Lakes St. Clair, Erie, and Ontario are 10, 13, and 15 inches respectively lower than their levels of a year ago. Over the next month, Lake Superior is forecasted to rise 2 inches while Lake Michigan-Huron will remain near its current level. The water levels of Lakes St. Clair, Erie and Ontario are expected to fall 3, 3, and 2 inches respectively over the next thirty days.


Lake Superior's outflow through the St. Marys River is projected to be below average for the month of July. 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 July. Lake Erie's outflow through the Niagara River and the outflow of Lake Ontario into the St. Lawrence River are predicted to be below average in July.


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



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Duck Populations Hit All-Time Record
North America's total spring duck population is the highest ever recorded, according to the annual Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey released July 3. Conducted each May by the USFWS and the Canadian Wildlife Service, the survey puts the duck population at 48.6 million birds. That represents a 7 % increase from 2011′s record number of 45.6 million.


�This is the highest duck count since we started the survey in 1955,� says Dr. Frank Rohwer, Delta Waterfowl�s scientific director. �We had excellent wetland conditions in 2011, the second-highest pond count ever. So last year, we made a pile of ducks. This year, we�re counting them.�


Mallards, blue-winged teal, green-winged teal, gadwalls, canvasbacks, northern shovelers and scaup are all up significantly from last year, with both species of teal and shovelers at all-time highs. Blue-winged teal are estimated at 9.2 million, green-winged teal number more than 3.4 million and shovelers now top 5 million.


►Mallard breeding numbers sit at 10.6 million, a 15 % increase over 2011 and 40 % over the long-term average

►Gadwall increased 10 % over last year, and now total 3.5 million. The population is nearly double the long-term average for gadwalls

►American wigeon are up to 2.1 million, but are still 17 % below their long-term average

►Scaup numbers are up 21 % to 5.2 million, the seventh straight year of increase; their highest breeding population since 1991

►Redheads declined slightly to just under 1.3 million, but still registered the second-highest population in the survey

►Canvasbacks jumped 10 % to 760,000, the fourth-highest count on record


�All in all, this is a great duck count,� says Rohwer. 


While the total breeding population is strong, the news is different for breeding habitat. The survey is calling 2012 an �average to below-average� year for moisture. The total pond count for prairie Canada and United States combined has dropped 32 %, from an estimated 8.1 million ponds last year to 5.5 million this year.  �The ponds that are dry are the important ones for ducks � the temporary and seasonal wetlands,� Rohwer says. �We kept the large ponds, but lost the small ponds.�

Drier conditions may account for the one species that shows a significant drop in the survey area. Northern pintails are down more than one million birds, from 4.4 million birds last year to 3.4 million. One possible explanation is that pintails didn�t like the look of the drier conditions and just kept flying north.


�Pintails numbers increased in northerly habitats such as Alaska,� says John Devney, Delta�s senior policy director of U.S. policy. �This suggests sprig over-flew the prairies this spring. Research has well documented that in average or dry conditions, many pintails head north to the boreal forest. The survey�s ability to detect them is reduced.�


Significantly, the biggest decline in wetland conditions has occurred on the U.S. prairies. The pond estimate for the Dakotas and Montana is 1.7 million, which is 49 % below the estimates from last year. Only the Coteau Region of North and South Dakota is rated good for 2012. No areas are rated excellent.


�The Dakotas have carried a disproportionate load of continental duck production over the last few years,� says Devney. �If we get dry here and lose the wetlands and upland nesting cover, the U.S. prairies just won�t be able to produce at the amazing levels we have seen since the mid-1990s, and that will have a real impact on hunters almost everywhere.�


Conditions across the Canadian prairies have also declined this year. Temporary wetlands, crucial to successful breeding, retained little moisture because of a shallow frost seal and below-average participation. Last year, most of Saskatchewan and Manitoba was inundated with water. May pond estimates for 2012 in prairie Canada have dropped 21 percent, from 4.9 million to 3.9 million.


The overall pond count is still 9 percent above average, but as the prairies dry out, you can expect a direct impact on hunting, says Joel Brice, Delta�s senior director of conservation.


�Let�s not forget that we hunt the fall flight, not the spring count,� says Brice. �Lots of ducks jammed into fewer wetlands negatively impacts breeding success. There�s a good chance we won�t see as many juveniles as last year, and those are the birds that are easiest to decoy. Still, it promises to be great year. We may just have to work a bit harder.�


U.S. Boating Industry projected to exceed $10 Billion by 2016

A recent report by the Freedonia Group had some good news for the boating industry contained within its pages. It said the industry is growing and is expected to grow 8% to $10.1 billion by 2016. Although this number is a positive turn for an industry heavily hit by the recession, it still doesn�t bring sales numbers back to pre-recession days.


The US recreational boating industry was decimated by the economic and housing market downturns that began in 2007, given that boating products are luxury items and the market depends on consumer spending and access to credit. The industry suffered its worst contraction in nearly 50 years, with a sharp drop in demand each year between 2007 and 2010 and a number of bankruptcies among industry suppliers and dealers.


Following this collapse, the recreational boating industry is attempting to gauge the �new normal.� This will include determining not only how far retail boating product demand will recover, but also how much stock boat dealers will maintain and, even more fundamentally, how many dealers and boatbuilders will survive. The industry also faces difficulties brought on by demographic factors, including the aging of the large �baby boom� generation beyond the traditional age for boat buying and the increasing share of minorities � traditionally underrepresented among boat owners � in the US population. These and other trends are presented in

Recreational Boating, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland based industry market research firm.


In 2011, demand had begun to recover from the depths plumbed in 2010, but in the short term, the market is unlikely to bounce back as quickly as it has in past downturns because consumers continue to deleverage and the economic recovery remains tepid.

By 2016, the recreational boating market (including boats, propulsion systems, and accessories) is expected to rebound, with demand increasing 8.0 percent annually to $10.1 billion. The market will be driven by gains in consumer spending and disposable income and the increasing strength of the financial sector. The boating industry�s efforts to expand the boating market to women and minorities will boost sales of entry level boats. Growth in the 55-64 age bracket will support demand, since boat purchases become more likely near the onset of retirement (although they tend to decline shortly thereafter).


Despite the rapid sales growth, the market in 2016 will only be about two thirds of what it was in 2006, and is not expected to recover to the pre-downturn levels for the foreseeable future. Demand for traditional powerboats will see the fastest gains, rebounding from especially sharp declines beginning in 2008 as credit conditions made financing expensive boats difficult.



DNR Super Saturday � for kids

Take the kids to the Illinois State Museum on Sat., July 14 for the next Super Saturdays program �Let the Games Begin � the Summer Olympics.�  Come celebrate the start of the Summer Olympic Games by learning more about the sports that will be featured at the Games.  Recommended for children ages 4-8, there will be activities from 11 a.m.

until 3 p.m. with hands-on fun and take-home crafts.  Parents and families are encouraged to participate.  Super Saturdays are free.  The Illinois State Museum is located in the State Capitol Complex in Springfield.  For more information, phone 217-782-6044 or go online at www.museum.state.il.us/events

DNR Wingshooting Clinics

The IDNR and participating partners sponsor wingshooting clinics at sites throughout Illinois to help improve the shooting skills of participants.  Youth/Women's clinics are designed to teach participants basic firearm safety and the fundamentals of wingshooting.

Hunter clinics are designed to enhance the wingshooting skills of hunters and provide sound wingshooting practice techniques.  Upcoming clinics will be conducted on weekends from mid-August through late October.  For a complete schedule, check the webpage at this link:http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/programs/wingshooting/WingshootingDates.htm


DNR to start second round of input on fish, hunt, trap regulations

From July 15 to Aug 1, the DNR wants to hear your thoughts about suggested fishing, hunting and trapping regulations in Indiana.  The public can use a convenient online form to provide input to the DNR. The process is like a �virtual� open house.


To participate, go to wildlife.IN.gov and click on the �Got INput?� box near the middle of the page. The form will be available for use beginning July 15. A list of potential regulations will also be available on the �Got INput?� page.


There will also be two on-site open houses, one in southern Indiana and another in northern Indiana.  The first open house will be July 25 from 5-7 p.m. at the Spring Mill State Park Inn near Mitchell. The second open

house will be July 30 from 5-7 p.m. at the Plymouth Public Library in Plymouth.


Input on specific suggested regulations can also be mailed to:


DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife

Attn: Proposed Regulatory Changes

402 W. Washington St., Room W273

Indianapolis, IN 46204


The July 15 to Aug. 1 public input period is the second input period by the Division of Fish & Wildlife this year. The earlier round was May 15 to June 1.  After reviewing input, DFW staff will consider all suggestions before proposing regulations to the Natural Resource Commission.



DNR Handgun, shotgun shooting classes for women

This July in southeast Michigan

 The DNR� Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) program will offer its popular beginning handgun and shotgun shooting classes in southeast Michigan this July.


Introduction to Handgun Shooting

Detroit Sportsmen�s Congress (www.d-s-c.org)

49800 Dequindre Road, Utica

Monday, July 16, 7 to 10 p.m.


Supervised by certified firearm instructors, this class will include:

  • firearm safety instruction, presentation of the video Women�s Guide to Firearms and overview of pistol shooting fundamentals;

  • shooting .22 handguns on the shooting range;

  • discussion of ammunition basics, pistol shooting for sports and hunting, and tips on purchasing a handgun; and

  • a display for handling various firearms under certified instructor supervision.


No skill level is required, and beginners are welcome. The cost is $35 per person. All firearms and ammunition, eye and ear protection will be provided. Participants are asked not to bring their own firearms to the class. The class is limited to 24 students, so those interested in

attending are encouraged to register early. Registration using e-store is highly recommended as this class is very popular and fills up quickly.


Introduction to Shotgun Shooting

Island Lake Shooting Range (www.mishoot.com)

13600 East Grand River Road, Brighton

Wednesday, July 18, 5:30 to 8 p.m.


This shooting clinic, for beginners as well as those who would like to sharpen their shotgun skills, will provide expert, one-on-one instruction on safe firearm handling at home and at the range. Participants will learn the proper way to mount the shotgun and how to shoot a moving target. Group instruction with live fire will take place on the skeet and trap fields, and the class will include a short lesson on firearm cleaning after shooting.


Cost is $45 per person and includes one box (25 rounds) of target-load ammo per participant and one-on-one shooting instruction. Eye and ear protection will be available for those who do not have their own. Participants may bring their own shotgun to this class or one will be provided for their use.


For registration and more info:  www.michigan.gov/bow, email [email protected] or call 517-241-2225.  

DNR offers Women charter fishing tour,  July 21
The Michigan DNR invites female anglers of all skill levels to enjoy an afternoon on Lake Michigan casting for king and coho salmon, steelhead and lake trout on Saturday, July 21. Part of the DNR�s Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) program, this six-hour fishing charter designed specifically for women will leave from Ludington at 3 p.m.

Ludington Charter Service/Raptor Charters will provide all of the equipment and show participants how to fish for and catch some of the most exciting game fish on the Great Lakes.

All boats are inspected, piloted by a U.S. Coast Guard-licensed captain, and include all safety and navigational equipment and enclosed bathrooms. Anglers should bring their own cooler, food, beverage, camera, sunscreen and sunglasses and should dress for the weather,

including non-slip footwear. The captain and crew will clean the fish after arriving back at the marina.

A valid all-species fishing license is required for this trip. A one-day license is available online at www.mdnr-elicense.com or at most local sporting goods retailers.  Cost per participant is $125. Space is limited to 12 participants. This popular BOW class fills up quickly, so those interested in attending are encouraged to register by using e-store for payment.

Ludington Charter Service
(www.ludingtoncharter.com) is located at 801 S. Washington Ave. in Ludington.  For registration forms and more information on this and other BOW events, visit www.michigan.gov/bow, email [email protected] or call 517-241-2225.

DNR hosts Walleye strategy meeting July 11 in Escanaba
Management strategy for Little Bay de Noc

The Michigan DNR� Fisheries Division will host a meeting to discuss the proposed walleye management strategy for Little Bay de Noc on Wednesday, July 11, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Bay College�s Heirman University Center in Escanaba. 


Given the changing environment of Lake Michigan and the desire to improve the use of stocked walleyes, Fisheries Division proposes using several criteria to guide walleye stocking decisions for northern Green Bay waters. The criteria were initially discussed at a May 2011 meeting with stakeholder groups, and refined during five subsequent stakeholder meetings during 2011.


Fisheries Division and representatives from stakeholder groups reached consensus that walleye stocking decisions for Little Bay de Noc should

be guided by evaluation of multiple criteria documenting the status of the

walleye population and its forage base. The proposed criteria describe: 


  • Trends in walleye abundance;

  • The amount and sources of walleye reproduction; and

  • Predator-prey balance (prey fish abundance and walleye growth).

For additional information on the walleye management strategy for Little Bay de Noc, please review Fisheries Division�s summary at www.michigan.gov/fishing.

Individuals attending the meeting are requested to refrain from using heavily scented personal-care products, in order to enhance accessibility for everyone. Persons with disabilities needing accommodations for the walleye management strategy meeting should contact Jessica Mistak at 906-786-2351, ext. 127, a minimum of five business days before this meeting. Requests made less than five business days before this meeting may not be accommodated. 

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Five states to continue suit demanding Asian carp fix
ive states are continuing a lawsuit against the federal government demanding action to prevent Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes, despite recent congressional action.



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