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Clean Angling News
February 2011

The Latest On Felt Bans

   In our last issue we reported that the Montana and Oregon legislatures would be taking up felt ban bills. In each case, it seems that the proposals will not move on to become law. In Montana, the bill was tabled by the sponsor and was never debated in committee. The fact that the bill was introduced generated a lot of debate about felt, invasives and cleaning and got the attention of a lot of anglers who had been unaware of the threat.

   The Oregon proposal was heard by the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. Curt Melcher, the deputy director of the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Department said the agency wouldn't take a stance on the bill. He agreed that felt was a particularly effective carrier for invasive species. But he also said that his staff preferred felt soles to the rubber alternatives in terms of traction. After the meeting, Co-Chair Brian Clem said he'd be "surprised" if the bill received a second hearing.   Read more

   Meanwhile, legislators in Idaho are considering adopting a resolution that would highlight aspects of the threat and response. In part, the bill would "congratulate those fishing tackle manufacturers that offer alternatives to felt soles, for their foresight and efforts to offer products that reduce the threat and potential transfer of aquatic nuisance species".    Read more

   Both Maryland and Vermont are close to implementing their felt bans and there continue to be indications that others are looking at bans as well. We have put together a new resource that tracks the status of the felt ban proposals in the US that we are aware of. We will keep this updated to provide a single source for information about felt.   Status of Felt Restrictions in the USA

Asian Carp Offer New Commercial Opportunities

    Dr. John Holden, a reproductive endocrinologist, was convinced that there had to be something that could be done about the Asian carp invasion and he set out to see if he could find it. As part of his background research, he learned that Asian carp are an extremely oily species, which means that they contain a lot of Omega 3 fatty acid — a very hot commodity these days, as the oil is believed to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and to have anti-cancer effects. This got Dr. Holden thinking that perhaps there could be a commercial opportunity.

    “I thought, ‘Oh, so I guess they’re not a worthless fish,’” Holden said. “So I Googled ‘fish rendering for fish oil’ and found out that it is a dirty, smelly process that no one wants in their backyard, and it uses a 4,000-year-old process.”  Holden did not accept this as the final answer and believes that his new rendering process will revolutionize the industry. He and his partner are building a plant in Illinois to begin commercial production of processed carp and they expect to grow the business very rapidly.  Read More 

New Science About Invasives

   Invasive plant species present a serious environmental, economic and social problem worldwide as their abundance can lead to lost native biodiversity and ecosystem functions, such as nutrient cycling. Despite substantial research, little is known about why some species can dominate new habitats over native plants that technically should have the advantage.  Read More

   New research into the encroachment of exotic species into mountain areas, that have so far largely escaped biological invasion, is giving cause for concern. About 1,000 different imported plant species (neophytes) have already been found in mountain regions around the globe; however, their species richness is greatest at lower to intermediate elevations. The variety of neophytes declines rapidly with increasing altitude. In mountain environments above 1,500 meters altitude, most species are no longer able to become established. The few species that have managed to do so are sufficiently specialized to survive under the extreme conditions of high mountain environments, it was previously assumed..Read More

  A new study into the movement of invasives on  boots and waders has been conducted in the Mediterranean. The researchers report "This study provides evidence that dispersal via footwear and motor vehicles may result in frequent dispersal of aquatic invertebrates on a local scale, and we presume also occasionally over longer distances. Given the rapid spread of invasive zooplankton species (e.g. Artemia franciscana encountered in this study), we promote caution and recommend cleaning before transport of any equipment which comes in contact with water or aquatic sediment.".  Read More

Just One Step From School Project To New Invasion

   Invasive crayfish represent a serious threat to many waters. They will quickly out compete and eliminate native species and eat fish eggs, invertebrates and even small fish.  

    Many aquatic invasives are spread by anglers and other recreationists but experts are confident that the first releases of these invaders west of the continental divide are the result of students and teachers releasing them from classroom aquariums.. Read the story and watch the video

Clean Angling Featured on Popular Podcast

   Promoting Clean Angling was a focus of a recent episode of the popular Fish Schtick weekly fishing Podcast. In a special stewardship edition of the show, hosts Teeg Stouffer and Brian Bennett interviewed Leah Elwell, Program Director for the Center For Aquatic Nuisance Species, about the Clean Angling movement.

    In a wide ranging interview Elwell discusses some of the problem species, what anglers can do to take personal action and engages in an interesting discussion of the balance between some of the potential angling benefits from some invaders. Elwell is the last guest of the show and her interview begins about 41 minutes into the Podcast.  Listen Here

State by State

  Michigan - Mute swans aren't usually what comes to mind when you think of invasive species, but they're causing trouble and officials are trying to fix the problem before it gets out of hand. Read More

   Montana - Concern that Flathead Lake may have been infected by invasive mussels appear to be unfounded as further testing shows no evidence of mussels. Read More

  California - Lake County boaters will face inspections and new fees in addition to an invasive sticker requirement. Non-residents will have to purchase stickers monthly. Read More 

  Idaho - The Idaho State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) needs $153,600 in state money to pay for the state's  boat inspection program.   Read More

  Wyoming - Participants in the "Burbot Bash" fishing contest on Flaming Gorge removed more than 4,000 invasive burbot from the Reservoir.  Read More

  Missouri - Didymo is moving closer to Missouri and that has state officials very concerned.  Read More

  Tennessee - A long time resource manager offers frank comments about the long term effort to control aquatic invasive plants in TVA waters.    Read More

  Louisiana - The battle against the giant salvinia that covers Lake Bistineau seems to be never-ending, but biologists might be getting a little help from mother nature.  Read More

Whirling Disease in Montana - 15 Years Later

  Fifteen years ago, words like "crisis" and "devastation" were used to describe the expected impacts whirling disease would have on Montana's fisheries after it was discovered in rainbow trout in the Madison River in 1994. Officials called whirling disease the "single largest threat to wild, naturally reproducing trout populations in the Rocky Mountain Region." Within a year of its discovery in Montana, the disease had spread to 14 streams, and people feared it would kill nearly all of Montana's prized rainbow trout population.

    These are the opening lines from a Helena, MT Independent Record article that provides an  overview of the history of whirling disease in Montana. From the initial concern that wild trout fisheries would collapse, angler interest has waned and whirling disease is now largely ignored. This article provides a good overview of whirling in Montana..Read More

Army Corps: "Our Electric Fish Fence Works, But You Can't See The Study That Proves It"

   In this National Resource Defense Council staff blog, Thom Cmar posts a critical piece that asks a lot of pointed questions about the efficacy of the electric barrier that is supposed to protect the Great Lakes from the Asian Carp assault. Cmar wants to know why the Corps claims their study shows that the barrier is effective but will not allow anyone to examine the research data - including the Corps own Technical Advisory Committee. He reports that groups have gone as far as filing Freedom of Information requests for the information.  Read More


  A selection of stories not directly related to aquatic invasives.

    Oregon lawmakers are considering a ban on untreated firewood from out of state. Backers of the measure say it will help prevent invasive species from devastating Northwest forests. Read More

    World Record Alligator Gar Pulled From Mississippi Lake - Tangled in Fisherman's Net (8+ ft long, 327 lbs)  Read More

     Michigan declares war on feral pigs! Now officially designated as an invasive species, there are 3,000 to 5,000 feral pigs in Michigan and they are making trouble.  Learn More

       Stinkbugs are swarming across the country, expanding into new territories and reaching new densities where they are already in place. Native to Asia, these bugs have no natural enemies and are a serious problem.  Read More 

        New research has found that red fire ant invasions around the globe in recent years can be traced to the southern U.S. where the nuisance insect gained a foothold in the 1930s.  Read More

February News 

   Felt legislation remains a big story and it is hard for most people to keep up with all that is happening. We've put together a new resource which tracks all of the felt action that we know of. Check out  Felt Bans in the US for the latest updates. We need your help to keep this current so please let us know if you hear of a felt restriction proposal.

  There is a lot of other legislative activity underway right now. Things change rapidly and there is no telling what laws will actually be enacted. We will report on legislative activities around the country in future issues.

   National invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW) kicks off in Washington D.C. on Feb. 28. NISAW is a new effort to highlight invasive species issues both in the Capital and across the country. Organizers hope that NISAW will grow to feature activities across the country in 2012. 

   Welcome to our newest Clean Angler! Congratulations to Leah and Russell Elwell for the birth of their son Nikolas on Feb 21. Leah is the Program Director for the Center for Aquatic Nuisance Species and promises that Nikolas will be a Clean Angling leader!  Please join me in wishing the best for Leah, Russell, Nikolas and older brother Ruben.

  As always, there is lots of additional news this month. I hope that we are providing stories that interest you. Email us at newsletter@stopans.org and let us know what you would like to see in future issues of the News.

Bob Wiltshire
Executive Director CANS

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Diatom Identification Guide available for free download

The Clean Angling News is regularly produced by the Center for Aquatic Nuisance Species. If you have questions, suggestions or would like to learn more about invasive species please contact us:
Center for Aquatic Nuisance Species
215 East Lewis, #201
Livingston, MT  59047