Conservation News

Email conservation director: mgoetting@mnbfn.org

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ReBaitsŪ: Recycle Soft Plastic Baits

March 3, 2012
Minneapolis, MN
The Minnesota B.A.S.S. Nation is launching ReBaitsŪ. ReBaits is designed to keep potentially discarded soft plastic baits out of the water and out of the stomachs of bass, and into recycling, not landfills.

In September 2011, B.A.S.S. Times Senior Writer Robert Montgomery described the story of Joe Ford, an angler who had caught a 10-pound bass that died. The bass' stomach contents revealed that the bass had eaten 12 large soft plastic lures, which had created a mass in the bass' belly. "Too many anglers tear worn baits off their hooks and toss them over the side," said Montgomery in his monthly conservation column. "Either they do so without thinking about it, or they believe that a little bit of plastic can't hurt anything. They are wrong."

At the March B.A.S.S. Nation meeting, each club representative was given a ziplock bag to kickoff the program. Each bag has contact information to return and recycle the baits. A collection bin will be available at all B.A.S.S. Nation events such as the Junior Tournament of Champions in June and the Adult Tournament of Champions in September. Also each Federation tournament contestant will be given a ReBaits bag and we will be attempting to partner with our tournament organizations in Minnesota.

The Minnesota B.A.S.S. Nation will be partnering with MG Lures to help sort and recycle the soft plastic baits. Mickey Goetting, owner of MG Lures, "We hope this project will be a win for all parties involved. We will keep plastic out of lakes and rivers and these lures will be recycled and given to youth."

If you are interested in partnering with the Minnesota B.A.S.S. Nation, contact Mickey Goetting, Conservation Director at mgoetting@mnbfn.org.

Noreen Clough Returns As B.A.S.S. Conservation Director

January 11, 2011
Celebration, FL
Noreen Clough, a highly respected and experienced leader in conservation and natural resource organizations, has been named B.A.S.S. conservation director, the organization announced today.

Clough, who served 20 years with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, including director of the FWS Southeast Region, formerly served as B.A.S.S. conservation director from 2004 until her retirement in 2007. Chris Horton held the position from that time until last fall, when he became midwest director of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation.

“I’ve known Noreen for many years, and I am excited about the enthusiasm and dedication to sportfishing she brings back to B.A.S.S.,” said Jerry McKinnis, an owner of the company. “Anglers contribute so much time and money to conservation already. It’s great to have her providing leadership for bass fishermen on behalf of our resources.”

She will be working closely with state conservation directors and other leaders in the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation, and she will represent sportfishing interests on national conservation and natural resource boards, in addition to other responsibilities.

Her first priorities will be to help “re-energize the state conservation director program and help them establish meaningful, exciting conservation priorities,” Clough said. “They have done a remarkable job over the years, and they are respected for the work they’ve done throughout the sportfishing industry.”

She identified efforts to make large areas of key fisheries off-limits to sportfishing, such as Marine Protected Areas, as a major threat to recreational angling. “The whole idea that giant areas need to be set aside as protected areas — in freshwater as well as saltwater — violates good fishery management,” she said. “I want to ensure that B.A.S.S. stays connected to the larger fisheries and sportfishing community and will remain a player at the table when key decisions are made regarding the future of fishing.”

Clough has received numerous honors for her work, including being named the American Sportfishing Association Woman of the Year and receiving the U.S. Department of the Interior Meritorious Service award and the Coleman Outdoors award. She currently serves on the board of the Berkley Conservation Leaders Advisory Team and is a member of the Michigan State University Fly Gals team, mentoring graduate students in sportfishing and conservation advocacy.

EPA Denies Ban on Lead Tackle

November 5, 2010
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) denied a petition by the Center for Biological Diversity and four other groups requesting a ban of lead for use in all fishing gear.
View B.A.S.S. press release

Aquatic Plant Permit Fee Rules

December 28, 2009
The 2008 Legislature directed the DNR to establish Aquatic Plant Management (APM) permit fees that recover the full cost of administering and enforcing the permit program. The fees shall be based upon the cost of receiving, processing, analyzing, and issuing the permit, and additional costs incurred after the application to inspect and monitor the activities authorized by the permit, and enforce aquatic plant management rules and permit requirements. The current fee structure recovers approximately one third of the APM permit program costs; therefore, the DNR must propose fee changes to comply with this legislative directive.
Public Hearing Schedule

DNR Urges Extra Precautions for Prior Lake

April 10, 2009
A recent discovery of zebra mussel shells in Prior Lake means boaters and anglers should take extra precautions when using the popular southwestern metro lake, according to officials from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Although officials aren’t certain whether the shells originally came from live zebra mussels in the lake or were brought to the area on equipment and fell off, they said it’s likely the lake is infested.

After a homeowner reported finding unusual looking shells along the southeast shore of lower Prior Lake, DNR biologists found about a dozen empty zebra mussel shells. DNR staff will look for zebra mussels in Prior Lake as soon as ice is off the lake and will designate the lake as infested if live zebra mussels are found.

A nonnative invasive species, zebra mussels pose serious ecological and economic threats to Minnesota’s lakes and streams. Heavy infestations can kill native mussels, may impact fish populations, can interfere with recreation, and can increase costs for industry, including power and water supply facilities. Native to Eastern Europe and Western Russia, zebra mussels were first discovered in Minnesota in 1989 in the Duluth harbor. They subsequently have spread to eight inland lakes, including Mille Lacs, and to portions of the Mississippi, St. Croix and Zumbro rivers.

If the presence of zebra mussels is confirmed in Prior Lake, it could pose risks for other waters, said Luke Skinner, supervisor of DNR’s invasive species unit.

“As one of the larger lakes in the Twin Cities metro area, Prior Lake has significant boat traffic, with people coming and going all the time,” Skinner said. “Everyone is going to have to be extra vigilant to keep from spreading these pests to other waters.”

Boaters can help prevent further spread of zebra mussels and other invasive species by taking a few simple extra precautions:

  • inspect and remove all visible aquatic plants, animals and mud from boats, trailers and equipment such as anchors before leaving a water access;
  • inspect and remove all visible aquatic plants, animals or mud from docks, boat lifts and swim rafts before transporting to another water;
  • drain all water from boats - including live wells, bilges and bait buckets - before leaving a water access;
  • spray or rinse boats with high pressure and/or hot water, or let them dry thoroughly for five days before transporting to another water.

The DNR steps up inspections, enforcement and education around infested waters. Under Minnesota law it is a misdemeanor to transport water or prohibited invasive species from designated infested waters.

View related Star Tribune article

Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment Passes

On November 4, 2008, the 2008 General Election ballot stated: "Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to dedicate funding to protect our drinking water sources; to protect, enhance, and restore our wetlands, prairies, forests, and fish, game, and wildlife habitat; to preserve our arts and cultural heritage; to support our parks and trails; and to protect, enhance, and restore our lakes, rivers, streams, and groundwater by increasing the sales and use tax rate beginning July 1, 2009, by three-eighths of one percent on taxable sales until the year 2034?"

A non-vote constituted a "no" vote for the amendment. View DNR Dedicated Funding Fact Sheet

Get in the Habitat

The Minnesota Bass Federation will be evaluating the "Get in the Habitat" curriculum developed by MinnAqua whose purpose is to teach angling recreation and stewardship as well as the ecology and conservation of aquatic habitats. We will likely select several of the 39 lessons and tailor them for our junior bassmasters clubs. If you wish to see the curriculum, it is available upon request to Federation members. Contact mgoetting@mnbfn.org and provide your mailing address to receive the CD.

Asian Carp Reporting Required

As of August 1, 2007 anglers who catch bighead, silver or grass carp in Minnesota waters must report their catch to the DNR. A few individual Asian carp have been found in Minnesota border waters. A large grass carp was caught by a commercial fisherman in the St. Croix River on April 7, 2006. The grass carp harms aquatic ecosystems by eating aquatic plants that are important for fish and wildlife and can harm water quality by increasing nutrients.
Resources:
United States Senate bill: S. 726: Asian Carp Prevention and Control Act co-sponsored by Senator Norm Coleman
Asian carp fact sheet
Feasibility Study to Limit the Invasion of Asian Carp into the Upper Mississippi River Basin

Largemouth Bass Virus Found in Inland Minnesota Lakes

December 12, 2006
St. Paul, Minnesota

The Minnesota B.A.S.S. Nation collected bass in nine lakes known to receive high fishing pressure. Jim Battin, Federation Treasurer, organized the bass sampling and delivered the bass to the Minnesota DNR to test for the existence of largemouth bass virus.

Largemouth Bass Virus (LMBV) was first discovered in Minnsota five years ago in the Mississippi River. LMBV is a virus that only affects fish, amphibians and reptiles, has been found in 20 states since its discovery in 1991. This has now spread to Minnesota's inland lakes as it was found in five of nine lakes sampled last summer. View DNR press release
View Largemouth Bass Virus fact sheet

Minnesota Federation Nation Conservation Director Resigns

"The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you"
All, I'm needing to temporarily decrease my activities in the conservation and fishing community. I've been coping with a chronic health condition since 1998 and soon I'll once again be trying a series of drug/chemo injections. If after three months on these drugs, they show some positive effects, I get to stay on them for 34-60 more weeks.

The first time around with these drugs I didn't respond to them, but this time I'm trying a more aggressive approach. Last time the side-effects were substantial and really sapped my energy. Due to this I must reluctantly step away from my role as BASS Conservation Director and need to curtail other board and advisory positions.

I'm hoping to stay involved in occasional meetings as my energy permits and be available by phone. Since I'll be starting a new position at work, I have no time or energy for board or fishing politics. I'm grateful for the friends I've made and thank God that none of them were my enemies.

I'm optimistic about the future. My goal is to be kissing fish for years to come, being an activist for conservation and a thorn in the side of those who would take away our rights to hunt and fish.
Vern Wagner

50th Annual Litchfield Watercade

July 20, 2006
Minnesota BASS Federation Nation extends a helping hand to Litchfield Watercade to promote conservation and improved tournament practices. On Saturday, July 8th the Minnesota BASS Federation Nation (MNBF) took the opportunity to further demonstrate their commitment to promote conservation best practices by sharing their knowledge for improved tournament operation. The Litchfield Watercade board chairman contacted the MNBF in February of this year and requested consulting to improve their tournament efficiency, and to provide a professional look and feel for their 50th anniversary celebration, which features a tournament on Lake Ripley. Read full story

What disease is this? Find out

October 2002 Conservation Update

August 2002 Conservation Update

May 2002 Conservation Update

April 2002 Conservation Update

Largemouth Bass Virus

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