Off the wire


Mercury in fish is widespread, U.S. survey finds
WASHINGTON — No fish can escape mercury pollution. That's the take-home message from a federal study of mercury contamination released Wednesday that tested fish from nearly 300 streams across the country.
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Iowa woman, 63, missing for 5 days found on raft
IOWA CITY, Iowa — A 63-year-old eastern Iowa woman trapped on a small raft caught in tangled river brush could hear passing cars and people talking but wasn't discovered until a fisherman on his way to his favorite hole spotted her five days later, the woman's son said Tuesday.
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Vt. man pleads no contest in son's hunting death
ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt. — A Vermont man who accidentally shot his 17-year-old son to death while they were turkey hunting has pleaded no contest to involuntary manslaughter in exchange for a deferred three-year sentence.
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Judge considers Yellowstone snowmobile cap
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — A judge heard arguments Tuesday over whether he has the authority to block a federal proposal reducing snowmobile traffic in Yellowstone National Park, saying he would issue a decision in about a week.
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Program cut to hurt NV, nation's driest state
RENO, Nev. — The most arid state in the nation is about to become drier. Nevada will lose enough water to supply 130,000 households annually because the state's cloud-seeding program is being closed due to budget cuts.
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Gar-gantuan: Huge fish ties Alabama state record
Richard Johnson and Andrew Larson went fishing for dinner Thursday evening and brought home something big. Johnson, of the White House Forks community, and Larson, of the Crossroads community, both outside of Bay Minette, were catching croaker at Tensaw Point when Johnson decided he'd try for something that pulled a little harder.

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Counts up for steelhead passing Bonneville dam
VANCOUVER, Wash. — When Joe Hymer first saw the figure, he thought it must have been a typo. The veteran fishery biologist for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife was reviewing the daily count of steelhead passing Bonneville Dam. Tuesday's figure didn't seem right: 18,671.
Read complete story from The Seattle Times

Yukon River sees poor chum, king salmon runs
FAIRBANKS — Subsistence fishermen along the Yukon River who were hoping to catch more fall chum salmon to make up for a lack of king salmon are caught in a bind.
Read complete story from NewsMiner.com

Scientists, regulators consider protection plan for massive stretch of deep-sea coral reefs
FIFTY MILES OFF CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Deep beneath the crystalline blue surface of the Atlantic Ocean off the southeastern U.S. lies a virtual rain forest of coral reefs so expansive the network is believed to be the world's largest.
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Vilsack calls for renewed emphasis on forests
SEATTLE — U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Friday outlined a vision for managing the nation's forests that placed a high priority on restoration to protect water resources and combat climate change.
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Experts recommend steps to protect moose in Minn.
MINNEAPOLIS — Moose aren't likely to vanish from Minnesota anytime soon, but the iconic animals of the northwoods are vulnerable to things like climate change and need more protection from the state, a panel of experts said Tuesday.
Read complete story from the Chicago Tribune

Tribal efforts to fix broken world hinges on condor
ORICK, Calif. — The tribes of the lower Klamath River have since ancient times decorated themselves with condor feathers when they performed the dances designed to heal a world gone wrong.

"It can soar the highest, so we figured that was the one to get our prayers to heaven when we were asking for the world to be in balance," said Richard Myers, a member of the Yurok Tribal Council and a leader in the revival of the tribe's world renewal ceremonies.
Read complete story from Winston-Salem Journal

Bonneville summer steelhead count shatters all records
Numbers at Bonneville Dam continue to stun biologists. After a record count Tuesday at just over 18,000 summer steelhead, Wednesday's count was 28,000, leaving everyone kind of scratching their heads. As they were still trying to figure out what's going on, Thursday's count jumped past 34,000 and who knows what's happening today (Friday).
Read complete story from OregonLive.com

Bumps, bruises, cuts and slime are all part of boating trips on the Illinois River these days. Spend enough time on the Illinois and you're bound to have at least one close encounter at least one flying Asian carp. But your odds of a collision go way up when you are actively trying to make the fish jump so you can shoot them with a bow and arrow.
Read complete story from PrairieStateOutdoors.com

Wolf release in Mexico sparks concern in US
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — American wildlife officials and ranchers are raising questions over a plan to release a rare North American gray wolf to its historic range in northern Mexico: Will it stay south of the border and what can be done if it threatens livestock? The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said this week it learned of the plan to release captive-bred Mexican gray wolves during a meeting with Mexican officials.
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Fisherman fined $50k in record undersized-lobster bust
A Nova Scotia fishing captain has been fined $50,000 and suspended from lobster fishing for the next two years in what fisheries officials said was the largest seizure of undersized lobster in Canadian history.
Read complete story from cbcnews.ca

States weigh benefits, risks of drilling in parks
COLUMBUS, Ohio — State parks aren't just for hiking, camping and other recreation anymore. Increasingly, these lands are being used for oil and gas drilling as budget-strapped states seek new sources of revenue.
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Twig-snap alerts dog-walker to charging grizzly
For Soldotna fishing guide Greg Brush, the rare and precious finally arrived — a summer day off between king and silver salmon seasons. The slightest noise — a twig snapping — prompted Brush to glance over his shoulder. Less than 20 yards away, a brown bear was charging, "ears back, head low and motorin' full speed.
Read complete story from Anchorage Daily News

Gator glory: Hunter Matt Thornton, 5 partners bag behemoth on first night of alligator season
There is a new, undisputed Alabama state record alligator. Matt Thornton of Mobile, along with five of his hunting partners, killed a 13-foot, 5-inch behemoth that tipped the scales at a whopping 701 pounds on the first night of the fourth gator season on the Mobile-Tensaw Delta.
Read complete story from al.com

Complaints over gun law follow Obama on tour
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. — Family in tow for a tour of national treasures far from Washington, President Barack Obama is trailed by criticism from gun opponents and parks advocates for allowing firearms into such majestic places as this.
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Obama makes good on Montana fly-fishing promise
BELGRADE, Mont. — President Barack Obama didn't let thunderstorms and unseasonably cool weather stop him from learning how to fish for Montana's famous trout during his weekend trip to the rustic West and its national parks.
Read complete story from the Associated Press

Go west, Mr. President, to America's wilderness
GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, Ariz. — President Barack Obama is hardly the consummate Western outdoorsman. The Marlboro Man he's not.
Read complete story from the Associated Press