Fishing in the area near the new sea lamprey barrier on Trail Creek in Michigan City, Ind., has been prohibited by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), by emergency rule. The purpose is to protect migrating trout and salmon.
The rule, which took effect Oct. 26, prohibits the taking or possession of fish within 100 feet upstream of the barrier and from the barrier downstream to the Pottawatomie Country Club Golf Course property line, which is located adjacent to Springland Avenue in Michigan City.
The rule was needed because as migrating fish approach the barrier, a concentrated number of fish develops. Some fish jump over the barrier, and others are directed into a trap. The concentration makes the fish particularly vulnerable to illegal snagging and poaching.
So far this season, DNR biologists have trapped and transferred 2,000 trout and salmon over the barrier, while countless other fish have jumped the barrier on their own. The barrier was installed to block upstream migrations of the parasitic sea lamprey as the species returns to Trail Creek to spawn.
Each adult lamprey can kill about 40 pounds of fish in Lake Michigan during its lifetime. Before the barrier was installed, repeated chemical treatments were needed to control the lampreys. The barrier eliminated the need for such treatments.
Construction of the barrier was a cooperative project involving the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Indiana DNR.
The emergency rule could remain in effect for up to one year. In the meantime, the DNR will seek to include the closed area in a permanent rule change.
DNR goes to 24-hour dispatch
Indiana Conservation will soon extend its Central Dispatch Center to a 24-hour operation in order to maintain radio contact with conservation officers across the state.
The Central Dispatch Center currently operates daily from 7 a.m. to midnight. The 24-hour operation began at midnight on Oct. 29. Central Dispatch is located at Paynetown State Recreation Area on Monroe Lake near Bloomington.
Major Michael Portteus said, “For the first time in the history of the DNR Law Enforcement Division, Indiana conservation officers may be contacted 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by calling 812-837-9536.”
Central Dispatch provides a way for the public, other law enforcement agencies and DNR properties to gain immediate assistance and response from DNR Law Enforcement. Historically, officers were dispatched through district, regional and local law enforcement agencies.
In addition to DNR’s Central Dispatch, conservation officers will continue to monitor and respond to local radio communications.
Officers work in 10 operational districts and have at least one officer in every county when fully staffed at 214 officers. Their primary duties are to enforce laws pertaining to natural resources, fish and wildlife rules and regulations, boating laws and recreational laws. Primary patrol areas include state properties, state waterways and rural locations.
Communications commander Lt. Bryant Lucas said, “Recent radio technology upgrades and improvements have allowed statewide radio communications from one location to conservation officers.”
Central Dispatch will also be answering calls to the Turn-In-a-Poacher/Polluter Hotline at 800-TIP-IDNR (847-4367).
“The immediate response by a conservation officer to tips received on a 24-hour basis will greatly enhance the enforcement efforts of our fish and game violations,” said Joe Cales, president of the TIP Advisory Board. “This is a monumental improvement that will benefit all citizens and ethical sportsmen.”
Indiana DNR starting its own YouTube channel
With Indiana DNR’s new YouTube channel, Hoosiers may experience the outdoors at the click of a button. The channel is available on DNR’s website at www.dnr.IN.gov/7426.htm
Forty-five videos are already featured on the channel. Viewers may learn about Monument City, a former town normally submerged under Salamonie Lake during the summer and exposed by the drought.
They can watch Gov. Mitch Daniels commemorate the groundbreaking of a visitors center at Goose Pond Fish & Wildlife Area, learn how to fillet a crappie or take in a time-lapse recording of the Perseid meteor shower over Lake Michigan. A video featuring DNR biologist Chad Stewart discussing changes to deer hunting regulations has been seen nearly 6,000 times already.
The videos on the YouTube channel are produced by videographer Michael Carney, who joined DNR this year. Carney worked previously as a seasonal naturalist at Brown County State Park.
“Video adds a powerful tool for telling the DNR story, and YouTube gives us the forum to share those stories with a broader audience,” DNR Communications Director Phil Bloom said. “Despite little fanfare about our videos, the viewing numbers we have seen so far tell us we are on the right track.”
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of Farm World. Readers with questions or comments for Jack Spaulding may contact him by email at email@example.com or by writing to him in care of this publication.