Outdoors Round-up: Corps has new ideas to keep Asian carp from heading to Great LakesOutdoor News
-- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has some new ideas to keep Asian carp from migrating in the waters that link the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes.
CHICAGO - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has some new ideas to keep Asian carp from migrating in the waters that link the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes.
The Corps has been looking at other options besides a permanent separation of the two basins. The latest ones include freezing and drying parts of the waterways, and zapping invasive species with carbon dioxide pellets. In December, the Army Corps issued a draft report that included over-fishing, water guns, ultra-violet light, and adding native predators to gobble up the invasive carp in the Chicago area rivers and shipping canals that link the Great Lakes and the Mississippi. The corps will now review all the ideas, and decide which ones should be considered further. Wisconsin is among the states fighting to keep the bloated Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. Those states say it would ruin the multi-billion-dollar Great Lakes fishing industry. Chicago business interests oppose closing the canals, saying it would cut off a vital shipping avenue in the nation’s third-largest city.
Almost 500 acres of pristine nature lands are being preserved in Door County. The County Land Trust said yesterday it bought several privately-owned properties next to the Shivering Sands State Natural Area. It’s located about 10 miles northeast of Sturgeon Bay on the Door Peninsula, close to Lake Michigan. The 483 acres cost one-point-two-million dollars – and it’s the biggest land conservation deal in Door County since Newport State Park was expanded 45 years ago. Shivering Sands has Wisconsin’s largest cedar swamp, but Land Trust director Dan Burke says there are 19 different landscapes which provide habitat for rare plants in danger of becoming extinct. The area also has about 100 species of birds. And one rare feature of the newly-obtained property is a stream drains into a bedrock area and vanishes. Burke said it took three years for the deal to be completed, and he thanked landowners for their patience. One of them, Dick Baudhuin, said nature lovers will have a new place to share common interests – and the increased public access is a major reason he sold his property. The DNR will manage the site.
A move to delay a wolf hunting season in Minnesota for five years failed this yesterday in the state Senate. Minneapolis DFLer Sen. Scott Dibble says wolves were on the brink of extinction a short time ago and because of wise decisions the population has rebounded somewhat, but he doesn't under this rush to get out and kill wolves. But Cook Democrat Sen. Tom Bakk responded it's a lot different for people in wolf country. He handed out a Grand Marais newspaper article about a woman pruning bushes near her deck who turned around a big black wolf was baring his teeth just a few feet away. Bakk says wolves are losing their fear of humans and it would probably be good for that species' genetic code if they regained some of that fear.
Plans to start Minnesota 's fishing season one week earlier than usual this year are losing steam at the State Capitol. Cook DFLer Sen. Tom Bakk tested the water by proposing an amendment to a game-and-fish bill, but withdrew the measure after comments from Alexandria Republican Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, who said: "If this amendment were to pass, we would be giving Minnesotans less than probably even a week's notice here, and we just think that probably isn't the best idea." But Ingebrigtsen adds lawmakers should look at changing the fishing opener so it doesn't fall on Mother's Day.
The state Health Department is out with a reminder that some fish taken from Minnesota waters have contamination, including mercury. The levels are not alarming but residents are advised to periodically check contamination levels via the Internet. The Health Department's Pam York says it differs depending on what lake or river you're talking about so some of the fish are more of a concern. York says it's not a good idea to eat fish raw after they've been taken from a lake, river or stream. She says fish should first be cooked to remove parasites and other contaminants. York says a healthy diet should include fish - assuming it's properly prepared.
Wisconsin has not been struck yet by a fungal disease that has killed almost six million bats – but you’ll know when it happens. State DNR biologist Paul White says white nose syndrome is getting closer. And if it gets here in the summer, you could immediately feel more mosquito bites. That’s because bats play a natural role in killing mosquitoes and other insects. Wisconsin has not confirmed any cases yet of a disease which leaves a tell-tale shade of white on the noses of bats. The closest cases are in Missouri and Ontario. White says the state can try some management ideas, but there’s really no way to stop the disease. In the Fox Valley, the Heckrodt Wetland Reserve is trying to help. For the second summer in a row, the reserve at Menasha is running a volunteer bat detector program, to learn more about the numbers and types of bats in the region. The Heckrodt reserve is also working with Lawrence University bat expert Jodi Sedlock to spread the monitoring program to five other locations. White says the Badger State would feel the effects of a large bat die-off almost immediately, not just with more mosquito bites – but with a larger threat of West Nile virus and more pesticide usage. Last fall, UW-Madison scientists found that white nose syndrome was caused by a fungus common in Europe, but was never spotted in the U.S. until about six years ago.