Tuesday, April 6, 2010

WDNR Spring Hearings Right Around the Corner

(Photo: One of our lead poisoned Bald Eagle patients who came in over the winter.)

On Monday, April 12, each Wisconsin resident will have the opportunity to have your voice heard at the DNR Spring Wildlife and Fisheries Proposed Rules Hearing and Annual Conservation Congress County Meeting. The spring hearings are an opportunity for individuals interested in natural resources to provide input through a non-binding vote to the DNR, Natural Resources Board and Conservation Congress. You can access the questionnaire before attending the hearing to get an idea of what other issues are being voted on and what changes are being proposed. While there are many proposals to be voted on at this hearing, and each them holds equal importance, there is one rule that will be voted on that is very near and dear to our hearts here at REGI. That is rule 61.

QUESTION 61 – Lead reduction in fishing tackle Lead in the environment is poisonous to wildlife. This proposal is designed to reduce the incidence of lead poisoning (lead toxicosis) in waterbirds, shorebirds and secondary poisoning of raptors, such as eagles and ospreys by reducing the amount of lead added to Wisconsin waters due to lost fishing tackle. Studies have shown wildlife is most likely to ingest fishing tackle measuring less than 2.5 cm (1 inch) length and 25g (1 ounce) in weight. Removing lead in fishing tackle of this size would be the most effective way of protecting wildlife. The Federal lead shot ban for waterfowl hunting, and state restrictions on lead use in fishing tackle in MA, VT, NH, NY and ME have reduced toxicosis in waterfowl. A follow up study on the effectiveness of lead free fishing tackle in New England has shown a reduction in bird mortality. A similar ban in Wisconsin will protect our wildlife resources and migrating populations moving through our state. Since inexpensive non-lead alternatives to lead sinkers and jigs are currently being manufactured and are available to retailers at a reasonable cost, transition to non-lead alternatives will not put an undue hardship on Wisconsin anglers. Would you support efforts by the state to phase out the use of lead fishing tackle less than one inch in length and less than one ounce in weight for use in Wisconsin waters?
61. YES ___X____ NO ______

Be sure to check YES! to support efforts by the state to phase out the use of lead fishing tackle! This change could make the world of a difference to many birds.

(Photo: Bald Eagle suffering from lead poisoning.)

If you have been following our blog for a while you have no doubt seen the impact that lead has had on our patients time and time again. Lead poisoning affects water fowl who scoop up lead tackle from the bottom of waterways along with gravel as well as Bald Eagles and Osprey. Some of the symptoms of lead poisoning include bright green feces and eyes, indicating liver failure, seizures and disorientation. Lead poisoned patients require a series of chelation treatments to try to rid the body of the lead. A tiny amount of lead can cause toxicosis in a bird.

We are looking forward to having a chance to make our voices heard on this issue. There are 72 of these meetings to be held in each county in Wisconsin. Find out where your counties spring hearing is being held by checking out the full list.

(Photo: Marge Gibson massages a Trumpeter Swan who is suffering from lead poisoning.)

So lets get out there and make our voices heard! This is a great opportunity to do something important. We hope that all of our readers will take the time to attend the DNR Spring Hearing and vote YES! to reduce lead in the environment. Put it on your calendars Monday, April 12 at 7:00 pm.

Hope to see you all there!

Molly McKay
Environmental Education Coordinator

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