Archive for category Streams

TU Opposes House of Representative Appropriations Bill

Trout Unlimited (TU) strongly opposes the appropriations bill for Interior, Environment and Related Agencies passed Thursday by a subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill cuts funding for essential conservation programs like the Land and Water Conservation Fund and North American Wetlands Conservation Act, and contains harmful riders that undermine the Clean Water Act and other protective rules for rivers and streams.

“Fishing and hunting generate $76.7 billion annually in economic activity in the U.S.,” said Steve Moyer, VP for Government Affairs at Trout Unlimited. “We can’t expect to sustain this powerful economic engine if we’re removing the very conservation programs that make it run.”

The bill contains numerous harmful legislative riders, including attachments that will:

Stop the Army Corps of Engineers and EPA from finalizing guidance or conducting a rulemaking to restore Clean Water Act protection for some wetlands and streams which were curtailed by two harmful and confusing Supreme Court decisions (Rapanos in 2006 and SWANCC in 2001).

Discontinue rulemaking processes designed to protect streams from mountaintop removal mining.

Block the Interior Department’s protection of 1 million acres of federal lands near Grand Canyon National Park from new hard rock mining.

Delay EPA action on post-construction stormwater controls. Stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces can result in the elimination of natural filtration, scouring of rivers and streams, increased pollutant load discharges, and degradation of the physical integrity of aquatic habitats, stream function, and overall water quality.

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DNR Looking for feedback on water standard changes

Missouri environmental officials are seeking public comment on possible changes in water quality standards on the state’s rivers and streams.

The Department of Natural Resources has posted a report on its website examining the likely effects of proposed changes. That’s the first step in the process of setting administrative rules on environmental standards.

The report addresses environmental benefits and economic costs tied with the proposed changes.

For example, it reviews the effect of designating thousands of miles of currently unclassified waters as “fishable” or “swimmable.”

The possible changes also stem from a 2009 decision by federal regulators that new standards are needed for a nearly 29-mile stretch of the Mississippi River near St. Louis.

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Tagged bass can hook you some cash!

he Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) is tagging 1,600 legal-sized smallmouth bass on five rivers in southern Missouri as part of a research project. Anglers who catch tagged bass can earn $25 or $75 by reporting their catches to MDC researchers.

MDC biologists are tagging smallmouth bass in the Black River, Castor River, Courtois Creek, Current River and the North Fork of the White River, and will continue tagging during the spring season over the next two years.

According to Fisheries Management Biologist John Ackerson, these types of research studies have been successful with other fish species such as catfish and walleye.

“The research project will help biologists learn more about angler catch rates and fish movement in these rivers,” Ackerson said. “Information gained from anglers reporting their tagged catches will help us manage this species, which many Missourians love to fish.”

He explained that tagged bass do not have to be kept to receive a reward. Anglers may just remove the tag and release the fish. Tags must be returned to the MDC to receive a reward.

To report tagged catches, anglers must call the phone number listed on the tag and provide the following information:

• Tag number

• If the fish was kept or released

• Date of catch

• Total length of fish

• Approximate location of catch

For more information on the research project, contact Ackerson at 471-255-9561, extension 275, or John.Ackerson@mdc.mo.gov.

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Black bass season opens Saturday for Ozark Streams

"Courtesy Missouri Dept. of Conservation"

The fourth Saturday in May marks the opening of catch-and-keep black bass season in Missouri Ozark streams for largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass. The Ozark-streams season runs from May 28 to Feb. 29, 2012.

Black bass fishing and possession is open year ‘round for impoundments, and areas of the state other than the Ozarks. These other areas are defined as: the Mississippi river, all waters north of the south bank of the Missouri River, the St. Francis River downstream from Wappapello Dam and on streams in that portion of southeast Missouri bounded by a line from Cape Girardeau following Missouri highways 74 and 25, U.S. highways 60, 67 and 160, and the west bank of the Little Black River to the Arkansas state line.

While the daily limit on black bass in most of the state’s waters is six with a possession limit of 12, there are many lakes, rivers and streams with special daily limits, as well as different length limits. It is important for anglers to know the specific black bass fishing regulations for the areas they will fish.

More information is available in the Missouri Department of Conservation’s 2011 Summary of Missouri Fishing Regulations available from permit vendors, Department of Conservation offices and online at www.MissouriConservation.org.

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Gone Fishin’ Free Fishing Days June 11-12

Photo: "Courtesy Missouri Department of Conservation"

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – “Gone fishing” signs will be posted on doors across the state June 11 and 12 as Missourians enjoy a favorite outdoor pastime at no cost. Each year, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) designates the weekend after the first Monday in June as Free Fishing Days in Missouri. The idea is to encourage people to explore the state’s fishing opportunities without having to purchase permits, trout stamps or trout park daily tags.

Fishing is a pastime suitable for all ages. Free Fishing Days encourages experienced anglers to practice a favorite hobby and lures new anglers to try something that could catch them hook, line and sinker. With more than 300 conservation-area fishing lakes or ponds, these opportunities are in no shortage. Missouri waters hold more than 200 fish species. Anglers target 40 of these as game fish, including crappie, catfish, walleye, muskie, goggle-eye and bass.

Normal fishing regulations, such as limits on size and number of fish, remain in effect during Free Fishing Days. Regulations are outlined in the 2011 Summary of Missouri Fishing Regulations, which is available wherever fishing permits are sold, or online at www.mdc.mo.gov/node/11414. Special permits may still be required at county, city and private fishing areas. Free Fishing Days exempts anglers from permit and tag fees only, not parking or other park fees.

Public fishing areas are available in every county in Missouri. Many offer disabled-accessible facilities. For more information about places to fish, visit www.mdc.mo.gov/node/2478 or contact the nearest MDC office.

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Bait Bucket Introductions

Bait bucket introductions is perhaps an unusual term to some of you, however this is the most common means of spreading aquatic invasive species within the state.  You can help Missouri’s lakes, ponds, rivers, streams and protect our waterways by destroying unused bait or throwing it in the trash—not in the water. This simple practice can keep invasive species from colonizing new waters, and turning our local waters into a virtual nightmare.

Non-native or non-local species are frequently larger, more aggressive and more fertile than local native species. Their habits can also be more destructive, and they often lack local predators or other natural controls. The rusty crayfish is a good example of a species that became invasive when it was moved from its native Ohio River basin drainage, largely via bait buckets. The rusty crayfish is larger than most native Missouri crayfish, so it outcompetes them, and its size makes it unattractive prey for many fish. It also destroys the aquatic plant beds that serve as cover and food for other aquatic organisms, as well as nursery habitat for sport fish. In addition, rusty crayfish prey on fish eggs, further harming local fish populations. Other bait crayfish, including native Missouri species that are moved from one water body to another, have caused similar problems.

Identification:

Rusty crayfish are larger than most Missouri native crayfish and their claws are larger in comparison to their bodies than most native species. Key characteristics include: Rusty patches on the back of the carapace which look like someone picked the crayfish up with brown or reddish paint on their fingers, and black-tipped claws which may have some red or orange on the very tips.
If a crayfish resembling the rusty crayfish is found, please save 1-4 specimens by freezing them in a zip-lock bag. Report this find to MDC biologist Al Buchanan by calling 573-882-9909. He will make arrangements to send them to an expert for positive identification.

Related Story from Oregon.

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Take your kids to summer school, go bluegill fishing.

It’s getting close to the time to start thinking big bluegills. The best method of determining this period of bluegill spawning activity is water temperature. Spawning activity peaks when the water temperature is 75 degrees F. This period usually corresponds closely with Memorial Day here in the Ozarks. Fish a week or two before and after this holiday, and you will center the major spawning activity. It is often easy to spot the saucer-shaped depressions because bluegill build their nests in shallow water very close to shore. Carefully search water from 2 to 6 feet deep and locate a spawning bed. Male bluegills guarding nests are as easy to catch and the kids will be fishermen for life after a good trip.

Although the same factors apply to the spawning habits of bluegill, there may be great differences depending on habitat. In larger waters, like Table Rock up the James arm, the fish prefer to spawn among stumps and dead bottom-hugging trees and other quiet areas; commonly these are backwaters and sloughs. Here they find habitats where the constant current will not disturb the nest. Current is not a major factor in natural lakes, ponds, and reservoirs, where males build their nests in shallow water or along protected shorelines. In these habitats bluegill spawn among sticks, stumps, or thinly-spaced vegetation. A shallow flat adjacent to a flooded creek channel is also a good place to find spawning bluegill. Nearly all species of sunfish, which include bluegill, prefer a sand or gravel bottom for nest building, but lacking this habitat the nests will be fanned out of silty muddy bottom. Beds may be as small as 3 or 4 feet long and 4 feet across or as large as 25 feet across and 50 feet long, and a single bed may contain only a few nests or several hundred. By and large, spawning locations in large rivers are considerably smaller than those found in lakes and pond.

Fishing for bluegill that are guarding the nest is a load of fun. One of the best ways is to wade or boat within easy casting distance of the nests and use a small lure or bait just below a small bobber. Cast a piece of worm, jig, or other bait beyond the bed and slowly retrieve it through the nesting area. Depth of the nests determines how deep to set the float. Fish close to the bottom, keep both lure and float as small as possible, and set the hook quickly, or the aggressive males will swallow the bait.

A bed of spawning bluegills can be a flyrod fisherman’s dream. If the water is shallow enough, they will usually rise to hit poppers, especially in the evening. Wet flies or ultra-lite leadheads will take them from deeper beds.

Of the fish caught from nests, 95 percent will be males. The male fish is more vulnerable to catching because he builds the nest within a well-defined territory and aggressively protects the eggs against all intruders. Females are more often caught on casts into the adjacent, deep water. Many times they hang just off the spawning beds prior to inshore movement. Sounds alot like a bass doesn’t it.

Get your kids, grandkids or be a Big Brother or Sister and take kid fishing, share a little of your knowledge and make a friend for life.

More information on family fishing  from the Missouri Department of Conservation and Missouri State Parks.

Free Fishing Days

This is your chance to try fishing without having to buy a permit. Our annual Free Fishing Days are the Saturday and Sunday following the first Monday in June (in 2011, that’s June 11-12). Any person may fish state waters without permit, trout permit, and prescribed area daily tag during Free Fishing Days.

Requirements for special permits still may apply at some county, city or private areas. Normal regulations, such as size and daily limits, still apply, too. Borrow a neighbor’s rod and reel, or come out to a Conservation Area where a Free Fishing Days program is scheduled, and borrow ours. Some good events are on tap for this week.  (more)

Full listing of events…click here.

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Ozark Greenways Adventure Race

The date for the 12th Annual Ozark Greenways Adventure Race has been set for Saturday, May 21, 2011.

The Ozark Greenways Adventure Race is a sprint adventure race (8-14 hours) which features running, trekking, mountain biking, orienteering and paddling. Race Headquarters will be the River Ranch Resort, 101 River Road, Noel, MO 64854 (http://www.riverranchresort.com/) All distances and the race itinerary are kept secret until race morning. Every bit of net income from this event is used to help the Ozark Greenways develop a comprehensive network of greenway trails in the Springfield community in Southwest Missouri. We appreciate your support in the past and hope you are able to join us again this year for a great adventure race. More information about Ozark Greenways, our mission and our trails can be found at www.ozarkgreenways.org.

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Booze on Missouri’s Waterways

Throwing a party on the river may not be the smart thing to do in today’s society. I wouldn’t want my neighbors to bust out a keg and act like idiots, why should landowners along our riverways expect a different standard? Let’s set the record straight on what is acceptable and what is not on Missouri’s riverways.

Controlling Rowdy Behavior on the Rivers

View From the Riverways

By Reed E. Detring, Superintendent September 16, 2008

During the scoping meetings for the public input for the upcoming General Management Plan (GMP) for Ozark National Scenic Riverways we asked the public a series of questions.  We asked you what do you like about the park, what concerns you the most, and what would you do if you were the superintendent?

We analyzed 274 comments and 374 pages of flip chart comments from the series of open houses that were held around the countryside.  We will be coming to you once again after the first of the year with the draft alternatives for the new GMP.  These alternatives will stand as a beginning for our discussion with you, the public, about how the park should be managed.  There will once again be a series of open houses throughout the area where we will seek your input and comments.

During the scoping process it became quite clear that there was a near universal concern about the drunken and disorderly behavior that had become commonplace on the riverways.  We heard loud and clear that families were being offended and in some cases frightened by this outrageous behavior.  It had come to the point where many families were no longer coming to the riverways because of this offensive behavior.  The rivers of Ozark National Scenic Riverways must be a place where all citizens can come to enjoy the beautiful and dynamic scenery that surrounds us.  A balance is being sought where this enjoyment can be available to all people.

The park responded to this overwhelming request by our stakeholders to make the riverways safe and enjoyable for everyone. We began by holding meetings with the park law enforcement rangers, concessioners, partners, and other subject matter experts to develop an action plan to address this issue.  This action plan has been in the implementation phase for the last four seasons with a large degree of success.

A new superintendent arrived at Ozark National Scenic Riverways in June of this year.  During travels throughout the area, going to meetings and talking with people who live and recreate on the rivers it was voiced by citizens over and over again how much the new style of visitor management on the rivers was appreciated. People from all walks of life echoed how they and their families were once again enjoying the river and feeling secure that they would be much less likely to encounter outrageous or offensive behavior.  We feel that the action plan that has been implemented over the last four years is being successful in bringing a balance to the recreational opportunities afforded for all visitors.

Continuing into the 2009 season the plan to bring a balance to the use patterns on the riverways will continue.  The plan will include the following rules and regulations that will be enforced by the law enforcement rangers as promulgated in the Superintendent’s Compendium.

-   Enforcement of no illegal drugs, public intoxication, minors in possession of alcohol and disorderly conduct regulations.

-   All sizes of beer kegs, and all types of “beer bongs” or other volume drinking devices within the park boundary are prohibited.  This will also include “Jell-O shots” or similar containers in which gelatin and alcohol are mixed.

-   Excessively loud stereo systems that intrude on the areas enjoyment by family oriented groups will not be allowed.  The rangers will be using audio decibel readers to enforce National Park Service regulations on noise.  The use of air horns and other excessive noise producing devices will also not be allowed.

-   Glass containers will not be allowed on the rivers within the park boundary and there will be active enforcement against the use of dry ice bombs.

-   All forms of polystyrene foods and beverage coolers often marketed under the name “Styrofoam” will not be allowed.  These containers often end up in the rivers as unsightly trash that can also be dangerous to the aquatic life in the river. This does not include bait buckets.

- Jumping from cliffs and bluffs, and the use of rope swings are prohibited.Cliff jumping is a serious safety issue which also impacts fragilevegetation growing in thin soils on the cliffs.

Alcohol in moderation is not banned in the park. Rangers will be making a concerted effort this season to welcome visitors to the riverways and provide education and information about park regulations that will help our visitors to understand the importance of the resources.  They will also be asking people to help us make this a safe and fun place for all to enjoy.

The rangers will also be working with our partner agencies Missouri Department of Conservation, Missouri Water Patrol, Missouri State Highway Patrol, and the Sheriff’s departments of our surrounding counties to provide a safe and secure experience for all visitors to the riverways. If you should encounter any problems, record the watercraft number and report it to any ranger, to the above partner agencies, or to any canoe outfitter.

So, please come, bring your families and join us this next season in enjoying the outstanding beauty and natural wonder that makes Ozark National Scenic Riverways one of the most unique and compelling places in our great country.

Responsibility

From our standpoint it’s probably not a good idea to publish an article along these lines. With the issue becoming more heated as years go by. The tolerance level of the states Water Patrol is zero.

The Alcohol Policy in accordance to the National Parks Service: The 36 CFR, (Code Of Federal Regulations), along with applicable state and local laws, prohibits certain types of alcohol uses as follows:

  • It is prohibited for a person to be publicly intoxicated in regards to aberrant behavior or endangerment to oneself, another person, or damage to property or park resources.
  • Carrying or storing a bottle, can, or other receptacle containing an alcoholic beverage that is open or seal is broken, or the contents of which have been partially removed, within a motor vehicle in a park is also prohibited.
  • Operating a bicycle while consuming an alcoholic beverage or carrying in hand an open container of an alcoholic beverage is prohibited.
  • It is prohibited for a minor to be in possession of alcohol (under 21 years of age) as well as any type of sale or gift of alcohol to a minor.
  • It is also prohibited to operate or be in actual physical control of a vehicle/vessel while under the influence of alcohol or a drug, or drugs, or any combination thereof, to a degree that renders the operator incapable of safe operation, or if the alcohol concentration in the operator’s blood or breath is.08 or greater.

All sizes of beer kegs, and all types of “beer bongs” or other volume drinking devices within the park boundary are prohibited.  This will also include “Jell-O shots” or similar containers in which gelatin and alcohol are mixed.

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Missouri Warning on Eating Raw Crawfish

By Arkansas Game and Fish

First posted on 11-27-2009

At least three individuals have contracted a lung parasite after eating raw crawfish from rivers in southern Missouri. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services along with the Missouri Department of Natural Resources has issued a warning to not eat raw crawfish.

Crayfish, crawfish or crawdads contain parasites that can cause severe lungworm disease in people and animals. Cooking crawfish kills the parasite and makes the invertebrate edible for humans.

The Missouri individuals contracted the parasites by eating raw crawfish from a tributary of the Meramec River and another from the Current River. There are no reports of anyone contracting the parasites in Arkansas. These particular parasites have a life cycle that involves snails, crayfish and mammals.

Before eating crawfish, people should make sure they are adequately cooked. Symptoms associated with lung disease include fever, difficult or labored breathing, chronic cough, coughing up blood and abdominal pain. However, many infections can go unnoticed, or result in only mild symptoms. The disease may also involve other areas of the body such as the spleen, abdominal cavity, skin, brain and central nervous system. If the disease is contracted, symptoms usually last about five years. These symptoms tend to subside after five years, but they have been known to persist for as long as 20 years.

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