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Entries in Great Lakes (127)


Michigan Record Muskie Receives Additional Honors


The state-record Great Lakes muskellunge caught by Joseph Seeberger of Portage, Mich., on Oct. 13, 2012, has now been listed as a world record by the International Committee of the Modern Day Muskellunge World Record Program (MDMWRP). 

Seeberger caught the fish on Lake Bellaire in Antrim County. Michigan Department of Natural Resources verified the record and documented that the fish weighed 58 pounds. Although the DNR did not measure the length (Michigan records are determined by weight only), the angler measured the fish at a length of 59 inches with a flexible tape. Later in the day, a taxidermist reported the length at 58 inches.

“Mr. Seeberger’s fish is another example of the capacity of Michigan waters to produce enormous, world-record fish,” said acting Central Lake Michigan Management Unit manager Scott Heintzelman. “Added protection from recent regulation changes will allow more of these magnificent fish to reach their maximum potential and provide anglers the chance to catch the fish of a lifetime.”

MDMWRP is a committee of muskellunge scientists, industry leaders, anglers and outdoor media personalities that formed in 2006. The program facilitates the recording and verification of muskellunge world records, covering a current void of record availability to North American muskellunge anglers for fish in the 58- to 68-pound range. This range has been chosen because it is considered the maximum ultimate range of growth for this species. Prior to Seeberger’s submission, there had not been a MDMWRP world-record entry verified.

MDMWRP is one of many organizations that recognize world-record catches. Many of these organizations differ on their required criteria.

Over the past year, the DNR has made changes to muskellunge fishing regulations in an effort to improve fishing opportunities and to further protect the species. Starting April 1, the possession limit will change to allow anglers to keep only one muskellunge per season, instead of one per day. Anglers must also obtain a free harvest tag that must be attached to the muskellunge they intend to keep. These tags are available wherever fishing licenses are sold and will be available March 1.


Low Water the 'New Normal' for Great Lakes?

Leader-Telegram photo.

Anglers and recreational boaters were warned in late fall of dangerously reduced water levels in Lakes Michigan, Huron, and Superior, with a likelihood of all three falling to record lows in early 2013.

Michigan and Huron were 11 inches lower than the year before and 2 feet, 4 inches lower than their long-term averages for October. Superior was at its 1925 record-low average for that month.

Mostly, the decline is blamed on a mild winter with little snow followed by a hot summer with little rain, according to Keith Kompoltowicz, a hydrologist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“We are seeing much lower water levels than we had last year, and that is the case all over the Great Lakes,” he said.

But more and more, attention is turning to what man has been done to alter the water levels and what might be done in the way of mitigation. For example, reversing the Chicago River in 1900 so it flowed out of Lake Michigan instead of into it resulted in a loss of about 2.1 billion gallons a day, which has dropped the long-term average for both Michigan and Huron by two inches.

Key focus, though, is on the St. Clair River, which has been heavily dredged, allowing more water to flow out of Huron and into Erie and, from there, eventually into the Atlantic Ocean. Scientists generally believe this alteration has resulted in a drop of the long-term average for Huron and Michigan by about 16 inches. But a recent joint study by the U.S. and Canada suggests that erosion in the St. Clair might have reduced the long-term average for those two lakes by an additional 3 to 5 inches.

That has prompted a coalition of mayors from 90 cities around the Great Lakes to ask the International Joint Commission, which advises on boundary water issues, to further investigate engineering options to raise lake levels in order “to compensate for human activities, notably dredging in the St. Clair River . . .”

Another group, Save Our Shoreline, wants a mechanism to control water flow in the St. Clair.

“Given the history of consistent water level reductions since 1855, the unmitigated and unplanned increase in conveyance in the St. Clair River since 1962, and the uncertainties presented by climate change, we believe it would be irresponsible not to begin the process toward a regulatory structure now,” it said.

Water levels on the Great Lakes typically fluctuate by inches seasonally and by as much as several feet over a period of years. But, until now, anglers, marina operators, and lakefront property owners felt secure in believing that water levels wouldn’t drop below the 1964 record lows.

(This article appeared originally in B.A.S.S. Times.)


States Lose Latest Battle to Protect Great Lakes from Asian Carp

A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit by five states that want to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes by forcing closure of the manmade connection between the Mississippi River basin and the Great Lakes.

I can’t say that I’m surprised. Bureaucracy and status quo almost always will trump change, even if that change clearly is in the best interests of those affected.

On the positive side, the judge did say the he is “mindful of, and alarmed by, the potentially devastating ecological, environmental, and economic consequences that may result from the establishment of an Asian carp population in the Great Lakes.”

But he added that the proper way for the states to win approval is through Congress.

Read the full story here.


Can Software Help Stop Invasion of Our Waters by Exotic Species?


Can software help protect our waters from more invasions by exotic species?

That’s what the Great Lakes Commission (GLC) wants to find out as part of a two-year project entitled “Protecting the Great Lakes from Internet Trade of Aquatic Invasive Species.” With assistance from a variety of sources, it hopes to develop web-crawling software that will identify online sellers of invasive species.

“The purpose of this project is to find out what the availability of the species we are concerned about is online, and then provide sellers information on invasive species and let them know either the species is regulated or that there might be a potential risk with the species they are selling,” said Erika Jensen, senior program specialist at GLC. “Also, to provide that information to state and federal agencies so they have a better idea of what the situation is.”

Although this strategy reminds me of “Big Brother” oversight, it is a good idea, I think.  In fact, I wish that something like this had been developed sooner. In a civilized society, some degree of regulation and oversight is required to protect citizens and their public resources. And we’re long over-due for some innovative and effective ways of combating the invasion of our lands and waters by exotic species.

See the full story here. 


Low Water Threatens Access, Navigation on Huron, Michigan, Superior

Top photo of Lake Michigan shoreline at Pere Marquette Park is from Oct. 12, 2012, while the lower is of the same location on July 20, 2011.

Lakes Michigan, Huron, and Superior all are dangerously close to all-time record lows.

Additionally, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers warns that if the current trend continues, these lakes will reach historic lows later this year or early in 2013. That could have serious negative implications for access and navigation, as well as the environmental health of the Great Lakes ecosystem.

A mild winter with little snow followed by a hot summer with little rain likely is the biggest factor leading to these low-water conditions.

Read more here