Strong support for marine sanctuary at meeting
About 110 citizens packed Knudson Hall above the Algoma Youth Club Monday night for a meeting on a proposed Lake Michigan National Marine Sanctuary.
Public meetings were also held this week in Manitowoc, Sheboygan and Port Washington.
About 20 citizens spoke Monday in Algoma, all in favor of Kewaunee County’s inclusion. Five of them (including this writer) also urged including Door County, though that’s not currently part of Alternative B: the original three counties (Ozaukee, Sheboygan and Manitowoc), plus Kewaunee.
Prior to the meeting, I got a call and some emails about marine sanctuaries in the ocean where sport and commercial anglers were concerned about loss of fishing area.
In his opening comments, Russ Green, the regional coordinator for the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, said rules can be customized but in general, things like fishing, kayaking and other recreational uses are compatible with the proposed Lake Michigan sanctuary.
A 15-seat advisory council made up of stakeholders is a component of all marine sanctuaries, and a representative from the only one currently on the Great Lakes — Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary on Lake Huron — said there’s been no off limits area for anglers there.
Contacted Wednesday, Green said the intent is to protect the wrecks, not interfere with other recreational uses of the water.
“I don’t see any conflict here,” Green said. “Obviously we want to make sure we don’t have any unintended consequences, so when we’re creating our final management statement, we’ll try to figure that out.”
He continued, “We’ve had a sanctuary in Lake Huron for 17 years, and fishing is huge there, too. Anglers are welcome to fish around the wrecks.”
Green said if there’s enough organized support, it’s likely that Door County could be added in five years when the management plan is reviewed.
“Thunder Bay grew nine times the size in 2014,” Green said. “It was because other communities saw what it could do for heritage tourism, and they wanted in.”
A public comment period runs through March 31. You can see a summary document, socioeconomic report and more at sanctuaries.noaa.gov/wisconsin.
Comments can be submitted via www.regulations.gov using docket number NOAA-NOS-2016-0150. Click the “Comment Now!” icon.
Pig Out for fisheries
The third annual Pig Out pig roast fundraiser featuring local beers from Ahnapee Brewery and Badger State Brewing will be held at Badger State Brewing Co. in Green Bay on April 8.
Ahnapee Brewery has been selling spent grain from their brewing process to a local pig farmer. For this event, a pig or two are butchered for both the pulled pork and for packaged meat for raffle prizes at the event.
The first year, Habitat for Humanity was the beneficiary. Last year, it was Wisconsin Public Television. This year — and the reason for the plug in the outdoors column — the non-profit group Fisheries Forever was selected.
Fisheries Forever has supported a number of area projects over the years, including annual salmon fishing outings for families of terminally ill kids or handicapped vets at Algoma; northern pike habitat rehabilitation on Green Bay; and donating to Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources whitefish, muskie and salmon projects in Kewaunee and Door counties.
Tickets are $35 and available at the Ahnapee Brewery Tap Room. For more information, visit www.pigoutyear3.eventbrite.com.
DNR’s Go Wild licensing system is busy as new 2017-18 fishing and hunting licenses are now on sale.
This year’s 2017 Conservation Card features a hunting theme. The optional personal conservation cards offer one of several ways to provide proof of hunting, fishing and other license and stamp purchases.
The system, introduced in 2016, secures licensing information electronically and enables customers to provide proof of their purchases through an optional personal conservation card, an authenticated Wisconsin driver’s license, a plain paper printout or a PDF display on a mobile device such as a smartphone.
Thanks to its 24-7-365 availability, the Go Wild system also expands the opportunities to purchase fishing and hunting licenses, as well as register boats, ATVs, UTVs, off-highway motorcycles and snowmobiles beyond the hours offered at vendors or DNR service centers.
Licenses purchased for the 2016 license year remain in effect through March 31. Licenses purchased on or after March 8 are valid immediately for any open season.
Meanwhile, leftover Zone 2 wild turkey permits go on sale March 21 at 10 a.m.
The annual Wisconsin Deer & Turkey Expo is returning for March 31-April 2 at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison. Learn more at deerinfo.com/wisconsin.
Kevin Naze is a freelance outdoors writer. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or by calling 920-883-9792.
This article originally appeared on Wisconsin: Strong support for marine sanctuary at meeting