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Monday
Jul162012

Legislation Proposed to Increase Access for Anglers, Hunters

If you fish and/or hunt, you should express your support for the HUNT Act (H.R. 6086), recently introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives. Go here for contact information.

The Hunt Unrestricted on National Treasures Act would direct federal agencies to inventory all public lands greater than 640 acres where hunting and fishing are legal but inaccessible, according to the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP) and National Wildlife Federation (NWF). It also calls for improving access and would finance land acquisitions from willing sellers through a small percentage of Land and Water Conservation Fund monies.

“Surveys conducted over the last few years show that, for the first time ever, access trumps Second Amendment rights as hunters’ No. 1 priority,” said John Gale, a NWF regional representative.

 “This important legislation by Congressman Heinrich will set a course that secures access to places like New Mexico’s iconic Sabinoso Wilderness while also ensuring the health of wildlife habitat and water quality.”

The funding provided for in the HUNT Act “gives the plan some legs” and means that hunters will see immediate impacts, he added.

“If passed, the HUNT Act will directly benefit millions of American sportsmen and the nation’s powerful outdoor recreation economy,” said Joel Webster, director of the TRCP’s Center for Western Lands.

“A recent poll of Western voters identifying as sportsmen shows that a majority supports upholding measures conserving clean air, clean water, natural areas and wildlife,” continued Webster. “And more than 9 in 10 agree that public lands are an essential part of their state’s economy. To this end, the TRCP and our partners remain dedicated to advancing efforts that enable conservation of and access to these invaluable public resources.”

Go here to learn more.

Monday
Jul162012

Carp Threat to Great Lakes Highlighted in New Report

A new report suggests that the Asian carp threat to Great Lakes fisheries could be greater than previously believed.

U.S. and Canadian researchers say that just 10 mature females and even fewer males could establish a population in all five lakes --- if they gain entry. Previously, some said that hundreds of carp probably would be needed for a successful invasion.

Michael Hansen, chairman of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, calls the report sobering.

"It concludes that arrival of Asian carp is looming, and should the fish become established in the Great Lakes, that their effects on the ecosystem would be severe."

"Ever since these non-native fish first escaped and began to breed prolifically in the rivers of the Midwest, the questions everyone has been asking are: 'Can a breeding population survive in the Great Lakes and would it be a significant problem if they did?'" said Marcia McNutt, director of the U.S. Geological Survey.

"Now we know the answers and unfortunately they are 'yes and yes.'"

How might the carp gain entry into the Great Lakes? Most likely they will migrate into Lake Michigan through a series of canals that connect the Great Lakes to the Illinois River and the massive Mississippi River watershed. Already carp DNA has been found above an electric barrier intended to repel the invaders, just a few miles from Lake Michigan.

But now, sadly, carp DNA also has been found in Lake Erie.

“The results from these water samples are certainly concerning, as this marks the first time Asian carp eDNA has been detected in water samples from Lake Erie, or any of the Michigan waters intensively surveyed for the presence of invasive carp,” said Michigan DNR Fisheries Division Chief Jim Dexter.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers still is pondering a strategy to keep the carp out of the Great Lakes.

Thursday
Jul122012

FishSmart Program Introduced at ICAST

A new program to improve survival of released fish has been unveiled by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA).

"In fresh water we've done a great job in reducing fish mortality with fish that anglers catch," said ASA's President and CEO Mike Nussman. "More than 80 percent of anglers who caught fish that they could have kept, reported releasing some of them.

“In saltwater alone, the number of released fish exceeds 200 million annually, and with increasing regulations such as size limits, bag limits and seasons this number is sure to grow."

"However, one of the keys to successful catch and release efforts is having the right kind of tackle that improves the chance that released fish will live. The overall FishSmart program is designed to address this and other fisheries conservation issues, such as angler education, head on."

The announcement came during the fishing industry trade show, ICAST, in Orlando, Fla.

Read the full story here. Go here to visit the FishSmart website.

Thursday
Jul122012

Flashing Lights, Bright Signs Used to Fight Invasive Species

Star Tribune photo

Up in Minnesota’s Hennepin County, officials are trying a different tactic to minimize the spread of invasive species, such as zebra mussels and Eurasian watermilfoil.

The Star Tribune reports:

Instead of a bare parking lot with brown signs, boaters now are greeted by tall signs replicating red, yellow and green flashing stoplights and listing simple prompts to remove weeds. Bright signs in blue -- thought to be a more empowering color -- reinforce positive messages such as "You can protect these waters."

And large, colorful markers on the pavement direct boaters to specific inspection areas.

"This hasn't really been done before," said Tony Brough, a senior environmentalist who has seen more boaters complying with state invasive species prevention laws since the signs were installed. "That proves to be more effective than 'Do it or else.'"

Thursday
Jul122012

Oops! Climate Actually Has Been Cooling for 2,000 Years

Not that it matters to those on the left for whom manmade global warming/climate change is a religion, but yet more evidence has been presented that they don’t know what they are talking about.

Researchers found that temperatures were warmer during the Roman era and Middle Ages than previously believed. And they determined that the climate globally has been cooling by about 0.3 degrees Centigrade during each of the past 1,000 years

Here is how Fox News reported it:

A new study in the journal Nature Climate Change shows a long-term cooling trend playing out over the past 2,000 years.

An international team of scientists used tree-ring density measurements to reconstruct temperatures going back to 138 B.C. 

They found cooling by a little over a half-degree Fahrenheit per millennium due to gradual changes in position between the sun and the earth.

They note that -- quote -- "The large-scale climate reconstruction shown by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) likely underestimate this long-term cooling trend over the past few millennia." 

And here is what the lead scientist, Dr. Jan Esper from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, had to say:

"We found that previous estimates of historical temperatures during the Roman era and the Middle Ages were too low. Such findings are also significant with regard to climate policy, as they will influence the way today's climate changes are seen in context of historical warm periods."

In publicizing the findings, the university added:

In addition to the cold and warm phases, the new climate curve also exhibits a phenomenon that was not expected in this form. For the first time, researchers have now been able to use the data derived from tree-rings to precisely calculate a much longer-term cooling trend that has been playing out over the past 2,000 years.

Their findings demonstrate that this trend involves a cooling of -0.3°C per millennium due to gradual changes to the position of the sun and an increase in the distance between the Earth and the sun.

"This figure we calculated may not seem particularly significant," said Esper.

"However, it is also not negligible when compared to global warming, which up to now has been less than 1°C. Our results suggest that the large-scale climate reconstruction shown by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) likely underestimate this long-term cooling trend over the past few millennia."

Okay, Mr. Gore, your turn.