Asian carp and old Chicago waterways


March 7, 2017

University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences


For more than 100 years, the Illinois-Michigan Canal, the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, and the Cal-Sag Canal have connected the Great Lakes and Mississippi River systems. Asian carp, currently confined to the Mississippi River system, are threatening to invade Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes through the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. Researchers reaffirm that providing safe drinking water to Chicago residents must remain the number one priority; however, the Asian carp must be blocked to prevent them from getting into the Great Lakes.

University of Illinois researcher Ken Olson and his colleague from Iowa State University, Lois Wright Morton observe that reversing the flow of the Chicago River in 1892, construction of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal in 1900, and subsequent management still constitute a good solution to the city’s unique water problems.

This ingenious feat should be recognized, according to Olson. “A mammoth undertaking, the canal originally had four aqueducts and 17 locks to enable navigation of the 140-foot drop from Lake Michigan to the Illinois River,” Olson says. “The permanent reversal of the Chicago and Calumet rivers was an immense municipal public works achievement that became internationally known as one of the seven wonders of American engineering.” Continue reading

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Secretary Zinke Applauded


Washington D.C. (March 2, 2017)

The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies applauds today’s announcement of Secretarial Order 3346 and Secretarial Order 3347 by Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. These orders revoke a non-toxic ammunition and fishing tackle order signed by the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on January 19, 2017 and “enhance conservation stewardship, increase outdoor recreation, and improve the management of game species and their habitat.”

“Outdoor recreation is about both our heritage and our economy. Between hunting, fishing, motorized recreation, camping and more, the industry generates thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity,” said Zinke. “This package of secretarial orders will expand access for outdoor enthusiasts and also make sure the community’s voice is heard.” Continue reading

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Missouri confirms female mountain lion in Shannon County



Robert Hemmelgarn

Jan 27, 2017

COLUMBIA, Mo.  – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) recently received DNA results from a confirmed mountain lion in Shannon County. Those results indicated the mountain lion was a female with a probable origin in the Black Hills of Wyoming and South Dakota, and Northwest Nebraska. This is the first definitive confirmation of a female mountain lion being present in Missouri since 1994.

“Mountain lions are still rare in Missouri,” said MDC Wildlife Management Coordinator Alan Leary. “The detection of a female increases the likelihood that breeding could occur within the state, but at this point we don’t have evidence that a breeding population exists in Missouri.” Continue reading

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Northern Wisconsin congressman looks to remove gray wolves as endangered

Posted: Wednesday, January 11, 2017 7:00 am

U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy introduced legislation Tuesday that would return authority to states for determining the protected status of gray wolves.
The Wausau Republican’s plan would let states manage Western Great Lakes and Wyoming gray wolf populations within their boundaries after two U.S. District Court rulings in 2014 put the animals under the protection of the federal
In Wisconsin, we cherish our wildlife and work diligently to conserve our natural resources, but the Endangered Species Act has allowed courts to misuse judicial oversight to stop science-based wildlife management from moving forward to delist the gray wolf,” Duffy said in a statement.
Two state lawmakers from Northern Wisconsin expressed support Tuesday.
A joint statement from state Sen. Tom Tiffany, R-Hazelhurst, and state Rep. Adam Jarchow, R-Balsam Lake, said, “The overpopulation of gray wolves on Wisconsin’s landscape is harming farmers, hunters and residents of rural Wisconsin.”
Last August, the state Department of Natural Resources said a record number of hunting dogs had already been killed by wolves for the year. As of the close of Wisconsin’s bear season in October, at least 40 hunting dogs were confirmed killed by wolves, far exceeding the previous record of 23.
Opponents have argued removing the species from the federal list benefits a handful of people who want to hunt the animal and say a strong wolf population helps the state’s ecosystem as a whole.
Gov. Scott Walker has asked President-elect Donald Trump to help on several issues after he is inaugurated, including the legalization of gray wolf hunting in Wisconsin.

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Obama Administration Takes Steps to Protect Watershed of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness



December 15, 2016

Agencies deny sulfide-ore copper lease renewal application; Commit to further study of potential impacts of mining near pristine watershed

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture today announced important steps to protect the watershed of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness (BWCAW), a spectacular area in northeastern Minnesota comprised of more than a million acres of lakes and forests.

Citing broad concerns from thousands of public comments and input about potential impacts of mining on the wilderness area’s watershed, fish and wildlife, and the nearly $45 million recreation economy, the agencies today took actions that denied an application for renewal of two hard rock mineral leases in the area, as well as initiated steps to withdraw key portions of the watershed from new mineral permits and leases.

“The Boundary Waters is a natural treasure, special to the 150,000 who canoe, fish, and recreate there each year, and is the economic life blood to local business that depend on a pristine natural resource,” said Secretary Vilsack. “I have asked Interior to take a time out, conduct a careful environmental analysis and engage the public on whether future mining should be authorized on any federal land next door to the Boundary Waters.” Continue reading

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