ANGLERS CONTINUE TO SUPPORT STUDENTS STUDYING FISHERIES AND WILDLIFE
On Good Friday, March 29, 2013, Anglers of the Au Sable awarded its annual scholarship to a worthy college student studying in the field of fisheries and wildlife. This year, the Anglers of the Au Sable awarded its scholarship to Joseph Parzych a senior at Michigan State University majoring in Fisheries and Wildlife. Joe will receive his degree from MSU this spring. In the fall he is headed to Washington State University to pursue a master’s degree in Environmental Sciences.
While at Michigan State University, Joe maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.95. Despite all the effort put into his studies, Joe finds time to fish on the Tittabawusee River. He is also and avid hunter pursuing small and large game. Joe’s long term goal is to become a project manager for an environmental consulting firm working on stream restoration and dam removal with a focus on restoration of salmon and trout spawning grounds. Sounds like Michigan could use a person with such skills. Anglers will continue to award scholarships. We believe in supporting the young people as they will be recreating and/or managing our watershed in the future. Yes, it was a Good Friday. Shown in the pictures is Joe receiving the award at the Kellogg Center on Michigan State’s campus. Also pictured are Joe and his proud parents Judy and Randy Paryzych. A special thank you goes out to Director Tess Nelkie who administers the awarding of the Anglers’ scholarship.
- Bruce Pregler - President
Atlantic Salmon Offer Hope for Anglers and Communities on Lower Au Sable River
(Oscoda, MI) – This once great salmon fishery may have a future.
The planting of 30,000 Atlantic salmon by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Fisheries Division on April 2nd at Whirlpool landing and other spots may be a shot-in-the-arm for a reach of the Au Sable River that used to be a Mecca for Great Lakes salmon.
The area has seen the King and Coho salmon run all but disappear due to invasive species changing the food web in Lake Huron. That, in turn, destroyed a vibrant sport fishing industry, which included an offshore fleet, river guides, and bait and tackle shops. All of these businesses thrived, as did others such as gas stations and motels, in the golden years of salmon during the 1970s and 1980s.
“We are excited at the planting of these salmon not just because we are anglers and would love to catch them, but also due to the fact these fish should help rejuvenate the sport-fishing industry in Oscoda and other coastal towns,” explained Bruce Pregler, President of Anglers of the Au Sable, a cold-water conservation group based in Grayling, about 70 miles from the mouth of the fabled Au Sable River.
Anglers of the Au Sable teamed up with the Lake Huron Advisory Committee, a group of stakeholders led by Frank Krist, to work with MDNR’s Fisheries Division on this task. The Au Sable Big Water Preservation Association and Great Lakes Council of the Federation of Fly Fishers also participated in the process. The three groups are more noted for their work on the preservation of inland coldwater fisheries but all of them saw the importance of this opportunity.
The planting is a result of a long-term plan to introduce Atlantic salmon in several parts of the Great Lakes Basin. The fish are reared at the Platte River Hatchery near Beulah. As the numbers of young have increased over the years, additional sites across the region have had plantings. The nearby Thunder Bay River also received over 20,000 Atlantics this spring.
It took 18 months to get the Atlantics ready for release. Most of the young fish, called smolts at this stage, are only about six inches long and weigh just a few ounces. According to MDNR Platte River Hatchery Biologist, Aaron Switzer, the smolts will imprint on the areas of their release, leave for the open water with the next major run-off or rain, and be back to spawn in 2014 when they will average about six pounds. Unlike other salmon they can spawn more than once and perhaps as many as five times over their six-to-eight year natural life. By “old age” they should weigh around 20 pounds.
The feeding habits of Atlantic salmon vary from those of Kings and Cohos. The fish may be adaptable enough to flourish in an environment that became unsuitable for its two cousins. If that occurs, it is very likely to bring back the salmon industry in Oscoda and other coastal towns.
The rise of Zebra and Quagga mussels in the 1990s, brought in via the ballast of ocean going freighters, gravely affected the primary food source for Kings and Cohos, alewives. This once over abundant fish, itself an invasive, provided ample food to allow for the original planting of both salmon in the mid to late 1960s. Without the presence of alewives, Dr. Howard Tanner, the architect of the plan, would likely never have introduced salmon to the Great Lakes.
As the alewives faded, so did the Kings and Coho.
Now comes a fish with a renowned reputation as both a sport-fish and an excellent food fish. Any type of angler will enjoy fishing for Atlantic salmon.
Baseball great, and world-class fisher, Ted Williams called Atlantics one of the three great sport-fish in the world (tarpon and bonefish filled out the list), and probably the best of them all. He fished for Atlantics often over his lifetime, and was constantly tinkering with wet fly patterns in order to improve his success.
“We are very grateful to the Fisheries Division for this attempt at bringing salmon back to the lower Au Sable,” Pregler added. “If this fish makes it then the good times at Oscoda are back again!”
If the hatchery numbers permit then another planting of Atlantics would occur next spring.
Anglers everywhere and Oscoda businesses are crossing their fingers.
Trouble in Paradise!
Michigan Legislature Wants to Strip Forests of Biodiversty and Sound Forestry Management in Brazen Attempt to Turn Clock Back a Century to Unfettered Industry Use
This is breaking news so we will provide as much information from credible sources as we can. Look for an official statement from Anglers to this legislation in the near future. Please read up on this very bad bill and voice your opposition to Governor Rick Snyder 517.335.7858/ EMAIL HIM! and your House Representative, Contact Info. The Bill just passed the Senate at 11 AM on March 5th. We'll have vote breakdown and you may contact your senator as you see fit, (Senate Contact).
Here's The Bill (SB 78) That Would Do It
We have updated the story to March 7th. To see recent Free Press article CLICK HERE. To see see recent Free Press editorial CLICK HERE. Below is a summary from Brad Garmon of recent events including key members of the House Natural Resources Committee.
Here are two recent radio interviews of Senator Caseperson.
SB 78, the "Anti-Biodiversity Bill" passed the full Michigan Senate on March 5.
It was approved on what appeared to be a strict party-line vote of 26-11.
Notably, Sen. Rebekah Warren took a courageous stand against SB 78 on the Senate Floor, arguing eloquently on behalf of Michigan's history of science-based natural resource management. You can watch her statement here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYkQvY3i0a8
She also offered several helpful amendments including language that would have reinstated the original, science-based definition of biodiversity; another to keep original language saying that human activity is the primary cause of biodiversity loss; and a substitute bill that would have ensured humans could access any designated Biodiversity Stewardship Areas -- an attempt to address an unfounded concern about "locking up land' often reiterated by the bill's Republican sponsor. All amendments were rejected on what again appeared to be party-line votes.
The fight for biodiversity will next move to the House Natural Resources Committee. We will alert you when a bill is up for consideration there, but feel free to reach out to House Committee members about this issue now. They are:
Andrea LaFontaine (R) Committee Chair, 32nd District: (517) 373-8931, AndreaLaFontaine@house.mi.gov
Bruce Rendon (R) Majority Vice-Chair, 103rd District: (517) 373-3817, BruceRendon@house.mi.gov
Ken Goike (R) 33rd District: (517) 373-0820, KenGoike@house.mi.gov
Joel Johnson (R) 97th District:(517) 373-8962, JoelJohnson@house.mi.gov
Ed McBroom (R) 108th District: (517) 373-0156, EdMcBroom@house.mi.gov
Roger Victory (R) 88th District: (517) 373-1830, RogerVictory@house.mi.gov
Charles Smiley (D) Minority Vice-Chair, 50th District: (517) 373-3906, email@example.com
Scott Dianda (D) 110th District: (517) 373-0850, firstname.lastname@example.org
John Kivela (D) 109th District: (517) 373-0498, email@example.com
For complete background on this issue, we recommend the following links:
"Legislation redefining conservation puts Michigan's diversity of nature at risk: MEC Commentary." Detroit Free Press
"Anti-Biodiversity Bill hearings Continue." MEC blog: http://michigandistilled.org/
- Brad Garmon, Director of Conservation and Emerging Issues, Michigan Environmental Council, 602 W. Ionia Street, Lansing, MI 48933
Michigan Senate Criticized for Passing Anti-Science, Anti-Conservation Bill
Casperson bill attacks MDNR’s management for biodiversity
LANSING – Sierra Club condemned the MI Senate passage today of Senate Bill 78, which proposes to block the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) from designating and managing Michigan lands using scientific principles of biodiversity*. SB 78, sponsored by Senator Tom Casperson (R - Escanaba), attempts to remove biodiversity as a management option for the MDNR. The bill has been roundly criticized by Michigan's top scientists as "ridiculous," a threat to forest health, and a reversal of almost 100 years of conservation stewardship of Michigan's public lands.
“SB 78 would prevent Michigan’s public land managers from using the most up to date scientific knowledge about Michigan’s habitats and ecosystems to manage and restore the lands that belong to all the people of Michigan” said Anne Woiwode, State Director of Michigan Sierra Club. “This legislation would hurt our state’s wildlife and natural resources, will diminish the value of Michigan’s public lands in the future, and sets a dreadful precedent of allowing the DNR to ignore science. The Senate should be ashamed of themselves for passing this anti-science bill.”
Since its founding in 1921, the MDNR has used biodiversity principles in management for restoration and protection of state lands. Without this authority, the MDNR would not have been able to successfully restore habitat and wildlife following the land clearing and the devastating wildfires that devastated Michigan in the late 19th and early 20th century.
Scientists, researchers, and ecological experts largely oppose this legislation as well. “Senate Bill 78 is lacking in common sense, ecologically literacy, and vision; it is divisive, counterproductive, mean-spirited; couldn't be worse” said Dr. Burton Barnes, emeritus professor in the School of Natural Resources & Environment of the University of Michigan. Dr. Barnes continued, “Biodiversity has become a huge economic force and opportunity throughout the world. It is a vital and inseparable part of ecosystem services provided by the lands managed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR).”
Mike Berkowitz, Legislative & Political Director, Sierra Club Michigan Chapter, 109 E. Grand River Ave., Lansing, MI 48906, Office: (517) 484-2372 Ext. 13, Cell: (248) 345-9808
What Do The Experts Say About SB 78?
Dr. Brad Cardinale - Associate Professor, School of Natural Resources & Environment, University of Michigan, Testified on 2/21/2013:
“There are several scientific inaccuracies in this bill.”
“Senate Bill 78 would directly hamper the DNR’s ability to manage public lands for invasive species, pests and disease, and thus, the productivity and sustainability of wood.”
Burton V. Barnes - Professor Emeritus, School of Natural Resources & Environment, University of Michigan, Testified on 2/14/2013:
“Senate Bill 0078 is lacking in common sense, ecologically literacy, and vision; it is divisive, counterproductive, mean-spirited; couldn't be worse. As Mark Twain said of a book he reviewed—it is a cemetery.”
“Biodiversity has become a huge economic force and opportunity throughout the world. It is a vital and inseparable part of ecosystem services provided by the lands managed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR).”
Dr. J. Michael Vasievich - Retired Research Scientist for the USDA Forest Service, Masters and PhD in Forestry, Duke University, Testified on 2/14/2013:
“Severely restricting the DNR from considering biodiversity takes away an important element of scientific forest management.”
Judy Kelly - President of the Michigan Botanical Club, Biology Professor, Henry Ford Community College, Testified on 2/14/2013:
“We oppose Senate Bill 78 because it is environmentally harmful in ways that ultimately diminish both our economy and quality of life in Michigan.”
“We must make wise decisions based upon the best science, which includes recognizing the elemental value that biodiversity supports in the health of our ecology and economy.”
Kim Herman – Former National President of the Nature Areas Association, Masters in Botany/Plant Ecology, Michigan State University, Testified on 2/14/2013:
“To pass this bill will further endanger already imperiled ecosystems and species and immeasurably hurt the health of our state forests and wildlife lands.”
“To pass SB 78 is analogous to spending all the capital in our savings accounts. To manage our state forests and all our state lands sustainably, including biodiversity conserves our capital and grows interest for today and future generations.”
Information from Michigan League of Conservation Voters:
Michigan’s forests and endangered species are on the line.
Proposed legislation would bar the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) from carrying out their mission to protect and conserve Michigan’s natural resources for future generations. It would eliminate biodiversity as a legitimate reason to protect public land and it would weaken the Endangered Species Act.
The biodiversity bill, Senate Bill 78, flies in the face of science and puts too much in jeopardy. Michigan’s endangered species and long-appreciated natural beauty will be harder to protect. Our federal forestry funding and sustainable forestry certificates are at risk.
Biodiversity is scientifically proven to keep our dunes, pines, rivers, and shorelines healthy. Take action to protect our invaluable natural resources. Tell your State Senator tosupport Senator Rebekah Warren’s substitute bill, which provides a practical solution that allows the DNR to continue managing land based on science and sustainability.
Michigan’s biodiversity is invaluable and must be protected. Speak up and protect Pure Michigan!
Political Director, Michigan League of Conservation Voters
ANGLERS' POSITION REGARDING PROPOSED FISHING LICENSE FEE CHANGES
Mark Your Calendars!
The Anglers’ board thought it would be nice to give a special thank you to all our donors who gave $500 or more to the Anglers in the past year. As such, mark your calendars for Saturday, August 3 at 4:00 p.m. at Fullers in Lovells. Anyone in the past year who has donated more than $500 is cordially invited to attend a reception in your honor as a small way of saying thank you for your generous donation. Beverages and appetizers will be served. The board looks forward to seeing you there! If you do plan on attending, please RSVP to Joe Hemming, Fundraising Chair for the Anglers at (248) 433-9777 or email Joe at firstname.lastname@example.org . As always, thank you for your support.
Michigan DNR Fisheries Division Release 5 year Strategic Plan
Fisheries Division has released its draft five-year strategic plan, which will guide its future management activities for 2013-2017. "Charting the Course: Fisheries Division's Framework for Managing Aquatic Resources" is available for review (click here to go to DNR website) and the DNR encourages readers to share input on the draft plan's proposed strategies for managing Michigan's aquatic resources. Your individual input is welcome and due by February 10, 2013.
The Anglers of the Au Sable Resource Agency Committee and Habitat Restoration and Environment Committee reviewed the Draft Fisheries Division Strategic Plan and submitted comments on behalf of the Anglers on February 6, 2013. (Click on this link to see the signed letter)
The Au Sable lost the best friend it ever had. Calvin “Rusty” Gates Jr., "Da Gator" to his legion of acquaintances, passed away on 19 December 2009. Things in this beautiful valley will never be the same.
Once in a lifetime there is someone that touches your life in so many ways. Rusty Gates was one of those people. His spirit and tenacity had an affect on everyone involved in environmental causes, from hikers to hunters to the many of us who came here to cast a fly far and fine. He was a fighter and it was the good fight that he chose to engage; catch and release on the Holy Waters, National Guard noise pollution on the North Branch, oil wells on the South Branch, and toxic chemicals on the Big Water. Da Gator led the way. A tap on the shoulder, a glance from those blue/grey eyes, a short conversation; that was usually all it took. We set to our tasks with a brio, partly from the cause, partly not to let him down.
He had all the connections and could accomplish more in a phone call than anyone else could do in six months of work. Where would we be without him these last 20 plus years?
A man of character and courage, he brought both, as well as his wry sense of humor, to his final battle. In the end, only his body gave out, Rusty’s spirit remained indomitable.
Rusty Gates has left us as a leader, but left a legacy as big as the river. The vigilance that he began will go on!
John Russell of Great Lakes Images is the official photographer for Anglers of the Au Sable. Our sincerest thanks to all that have contributed pictures. With this note we acknowledge each and every one of you and appreciate your contribution.
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