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61
Thanks for sharing David!

The Ohio EPA should be producing an "Integrated Water Quality Assessment & Report" in 2014. The report will indicate the general condition of Ohio’s waters and list those waters that are currently impaired. The report will also list those waters that may require Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) development in order to meet water quality standards.

A TMDL is a written, quantitative assessment of water quality problems in a waterbody and contributing sources of pollution. It specifies the amount a pollutant needs to be reduced to meet water quality standards (WQS), allocates pollutant load reductions, and provides the basis for taking actions needed to restore a waterbody.

Ohio TMDLs will likely include nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment as "contributing sources of pollution," among others. The TMDL would set a maximum amount of each of those pollutants that can be discharged from individual “point sources” — such as wastewater treatment plants, industries, large stormwater systems and large animal feeding operations — all of which are required to have discharge permits. There will also be recommendations and implementation plans for how to address discharges from nonpoint sources, such as polluted stormwater runoff.

Several watersheds in Ohio already have TMDLs that have been approved by USEPA, others are nearly complete and still others are in progress. Updates on TMDLs by watershed can be found at: http://epa.ohio.gov/dsw/tmdl/index.aspx

Also, you can find more information about the Integrated Report here: http://epa.ohio.gov/dsw/tmdl/OhioIntegratedReport.aspx

Cheers!

-Sarah
62
Well put, Fred. 

The biggest point I took from this was that if grass carp can spawn successfully in the Sandusky, then it's a real possibility that bighead and silver carps could too if they ever got here in numbers.  They have pretty similar spawning requirements.  Not really a surprise based on recent models, but another point of evidence in that direction. 

And to your point regarding regulations, hopefully the Tactical Plan referenced in the original post helps make enforcement even more effective.
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Thanks for the kind words John.  I'll see if I can fit that video in at the conference.  I like the video too, but wish they had some live specimens to show.  Preserved ones just have a different look to them, even though the anatomical features are the big ones to look for.   I'm guessing this was filmed in Michigan, so they wouldn't have access to the live bighead or silver carps. 

Regarding this years walleye and yellow perch hatch, I believe the ODNR has all the info at this point.  As they originally suspected, it appears that yellow perch had a decent hatch, and walleye had a below average hatch (but better than the past couple years!) So, now it's just rooting for good conditions for their survival from here to 15 inches. 

64
Hi Tory and all,

This is an unfortunate development but one which may have had a degree of inevitability considering the "bandits" who operate out there, and by that I mean fish suppliers at various levels who aren't concerned with restrictive regulations.

Grass carp in Ohio have had useful applications, but just as there is no free lunch, there's always a "but" attached to their stocking.  Yes, they can control nuisance levels of the rooted aquatic plants that choke some ponds, but in ponds with lots of plant biomass, the nutrients they release through waste sometimes change a pond from a rooted plant problem to an algae bloom concern.

Ohio's regulations require that any grass carp stocked must be triploid, a genetic alteration that prevents reproduction.  This works quite well when everyone follows the rules.  If fertile (diploid) grass carp escape into the environment, we get a non-native species that potentially can alter wetland and nearshore habitats.

Grass carp have escaped ponds for many decades; I've seen many dead ones washed up on beaches.  If they're sterile, the threat is very minor.  But some importers have brought diploid (fertile) grass carp into the state in violation of regulations, and it doesn't take much of this (especially with escapement) to launch a reproducing population.

So now fertile grass carp have been found in the wild in the Sandusky River.  It causes me to think back 4-5 years when a Fremont resident called me about a huge "buffalo fish" that was stranded in his yard after little Minnow Creek had hit flood levels and then receded.  I stopped in and found hanging from a screw hook in his garage a 53 lb. grass carp. There were no ponds in that Fremont neighborhood for the grass carp to escape from; it must have come up from the Sandusky River.  Who knows if it was fertile or not?

I don't think any blame goes to agencies like ODNR, USFWS, etc.  Strict regulations have been imposed.  But it's a big world out there, and you just can't watch everyone.  A few bandits are going to do as they like.
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Lake Erie Hot Topics / Re: Juvenile Asian carps identification video
« Last post by John Keefe on 10/30/13, 03:43 »
Nice video Tory. This would be a good one to show to the group at the Captains conference in March.
BTW...did the Canadians ever get us some more information on the hatch for 2013?
Thanks for all you do,
John
66
Lake Erie Hot Topics / Re: Ohio's new Harmful Algal Bloom Response Strategy
« Last post by David Libby on 10/29/13, 19:39 »
A recent news item:

Ohio seeks limits on phosphorus in streams

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2013/10/14/ohio-seeks-limits-on-phosphorus-in-streams.html

Ohio could become one of three states to establish limits for farm and sewage-treatment-plant pollution that feeds toxic algae in lakes.

An Ohio Environmental Protection Agency proposal under review by federal officials would establish limits for phosphorus and nitrogen in streams. Both are found in fertilizers, manure and sewage. They’re called nutrients because they help plants, including algae, grow.

Ohio EPA Director Scott Nally said he is optimistic that U.S. EPA officials will approve the proposal, which would be used to set specific limits for each Ohio stream.

continued in the link
It could be worthwhile to read the comments at the bottom of the news story as well
67
This just came across my email.  Unfortunate news.  As the release states, the grass carp are not to be confused with the silver and bighead carp, although all three species are lumped in to the "Asian carp" moniker.  Silver and bigheads would be a major blow because they feed mainly on plankton, which is the bottom of the aquatic food chain.  Grass carp feed on aquatic vegetation instead of plankton.  However, the aquatic vegetation plays an important role in the environment as well, so this is not good news and definitely bears watching. 


         
            
    
For Immediate Release
Oct. 28, 2013
       
ODNR, USGS Collaborate
on Grass Carp Study      
ODNR develops tactical plan
to address threats from invasive carp
       
COLUMBUS, OH – The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) collaborated on a USGS study released this week on the origins of grass carp caught in the Lake Erie basin. The study analyzed four grass carp provided by commercial fishermen to ODNR from Ohio’s Sandusky River and concluded through bone analysis that the fish were at least one year of age and likely produced through natural reproduction in the Lake Erie basin.
Grass carp eat aquatic vegetation, and there is concern that should the species spread, they could impact fish and waterfowl habitat through aquatic plant removal. The ODNR Division of Wildlife is actively engaged in discussions with the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), USGS, Great Lakes states as well as Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the province of Ontario about next actions to address knowledge gaps about grass carp population status in the Great Lakes, evaluate risk from this species and potential to develop integrated pest management strategies to control impacts of feral, naturally reproducing grass carp.
"Grass carp are considered an Asian carp but should not be confused with bighead and silver Asian carp,” said ODNR Division of Wildlife Fish Administrator Rich Carter.
Bighead and silver carp are threatening to invade the Great Lakes from the Mississippi River Basin, and extensive effort is directed at closing the connections between these basins. Bighead and silver carp compete with native fishes for microscopic plankton and compromise the quality of sport fishes.
Grass carp have been stocked across the U.S. since the 1960s. Feral (wild) grass carp have been documented from numerous locations in the Great Lakes and Lake Erie since the mid-1980s, but ploidy status (sterile versus fertile) has not been tested until recently. Feral grass carp have been collected in the Ohio River watershed since 1980. Reproducing populations exist in the lower Ohio River. Recent research documented fertile (diploid) grass carp in Lake Michigan and Lake Erie at Monroe, Mich.
Ohio and 42 other states allow the sale of sterile (triploid) grass carp that are used for controlling aquatic vegetation in ponds. Ohio law does not allow importation or stocking of fertile (diploid) grass carp. Ohio law has allowed importation and stocking of certified sterile (triploid) grass carp since 1988. A certification program is administered by USFWS.
ODNR has developed an Ohio Asian Carp Tactical Plan that provides detailed approaches to address the threats by bighead, silver and grass carp. The plan is currently being finalized incorporating stakeholder comments. ODNR’s strategies to address grass carp outlined in the plan include:
•   Statewide testing of fish collected in ODNR assessments to determine fertility.
•   Random testing of certified triploid grass carp for fertility status in Ohio shipments.
•   Enforcement of prohibitions on diploid grass carp importation.
•   Engaging regional partners in discussions on grass carp use and threats/risk assessment.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.
- 30 -
For more information, contact:
Eileen Corson, ODNR Office of Communications
614-265-6860
Rich Carter, ODNR Division of Wildlife
614-265-6345
    
   
        
        
   
        

68
Here is a handy little video that came across my email this morning.  Live bait is a potential vector for the spread of many invasive species, and Asian carps are an example.  This video gives some tips on how to identify juvenile Asian carps compared to common bait species. 
Juvenile Asian carps identification video

And remember, never dump your unused bait in the water!  Whether it came from the bait shop or a different body of water, it has the potential to spread aquatic invasive species.  The best way to dispose of unwanted bait is to dump it in the trash, or on land, far enough away from the water that the critters can't reach it.  For more information, check out the Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers! website.

As always, good luck out there.
69
Just FYI-

Here's an opportunity for your voice to be heard for those of you that enjoy outdoor recreation. 

http://www2.ohiodnr.gov/news/post/odnr-seeks-input-from-ohioans-regarding-outdoor-recreation-preferences


Cheers!
70
Lake Erie Hot Topics / Re: 2013 Hatch
« Last post by Tory Gabriel, Ohio Sea Grant on 10/02/13, 13:20 »
Hi Jim,

Nothing concrete from Ontario, but from all the data they have it appears the Ohio numbers are accurate.  Decent yellow perch hatch, a little below average for the walleye hatch. 
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