(Below: Come on, just for fun ... )
Tuesday, September 01, 2020: It has been a quite quiet week on LBI, at least when juxtaposed to the overflow summer we’ve had, starting back in spring. Not that the beaches and roads don’t have plenty enough folks to fill the August bill. There was simply a very noticeable drop off in mainly kids, as in students from K through pre-PhD. That chunk of society is still coming to grips with whatever terms their institutes of learning are offering, with many variables still to play out.
Now we sit back and wait for September and beyond to play out. I’ll likely be seeing the playout during my drives between office and Holgate.
As of now, LBT is opening the entrance at the Holgate parking lot. I needed to let the refuge know the opening was taking place since they had heard the township was not allowing buggying. The township’s front beaches aren’t scheduled to open for a couple weeks yet. As to the Holgate’s front beaches, it’s up to the Refuge. I have to think pedestrian traffic is already allowed. I’ll offer Facebook notice regarding buggying after my drive down there tomorrow.
‘YOTE NOTES: In my weekly column, I’m mentioning the Queen City coyote sighting. Trying to tabulate the total coyote count on the Island, I have to guess there are possibly three. I know of one, and possibly two, on the north end. Then there was the one blurrily photographed in Ship Bottom a goodly time back. I have to reckon that sighting might account for the one clearly seen in Beach Haven, though it is super hard to tell one photographed coyote from another. What’s more, a coyote in Ship Bottom could just as readily head back over the bridges to the mainland, the most common route for wildlife doing the mainland/Island flipflop.
Coyote in the dunes. Beach Haven.
It won’t take long to determine if a ‘yote has made it to the Forsythe Wilderness Area in Holgate. No place is easier to read tracks, based on sands smoothed by dropping tides or gusty winds.
RAINBOW FOR THE AGES: Last weekend’s rainbow show might be the most recorded prismic event ever, in other words, just another one of those 2020 things. As if you haven’t seen enough, suffer through my closeups. It was absolutely the brightest piece of rainbow I have ever seen, anywhere. That was due to the sun being suddenly freed of any clouds, as its crystal clear beams hit a departing cell of misty rain. It was almost as if H. Laura was parting on a bright note.
DINE IN/OUT: It will be interesting to see how the public reacts to the semi-opening of restaurants this week. I’ve heard from many a frequent dine-outer that they are now totally into outside dining.
By the same open-air token, recent weeks have seen al fresca diners contending with 90-degree air temps and even black flies.
Having cooked for oh so long, I chatted with a line chef regarding any hassles he was running into with outside dining. Short of the typical need to keep servers getting the orders out quickly – knowing the great outdoors can cool food temps very quickly -- there has not been an increase in folks wanting their entrees reheated, something I thought might be a problem.
SANDBAR BUILDING UPDATE: The project to take sand from a Barnegat Inlet dredging project and transport it by hopper dredger to build up sandbars off of south Harvey Cedars has been put on hold due to these times of uncertainty. That sand recycling experiment is still very much in the offing, which was recently explained to Harvey Cedars mayor, Jonathan Oldham.
Interesting, the second part of the same sediment dispersion plan, to buttress Barnegat Bay sedge islands with material from dredge projects, will be happening this winter.
Material from the approaching deepening work at Double Creek will be placed on a couple chosen sedges. The placement will match a template devised by the Army Corps. In sound theory, this sediment transfer plan should create sedge-related shallows and uplands conducive to both subaquatic and salt meadow vegetation.
Again, the overall goal of the multiphase program is to capture and reuse sand instead of letting it muck up the maritime ecosystem.
During a talk I had with one of the Corps movers, there is still much attention being aimed at reusing (my word) the sand currently filling Little Egg Inlet and, far more significantly, augmenting the shoals just east of the inlet’s mouth. The amount to shoal sand is massive, to the point of easily matching sand stocks in offshore borrow areas. It’s a guarantee that all that excess sand – once part of LBI’s beachfront – will be returned to the Island in one way or other. By the by, Little Beach is all but begging for rescue sand. It might also be in line for shoal material. Further below is ACE release about the Regional Sediment Management and Engineering with Nature ...
OUT THERE STUFF: I regrettably know absolutely no sign language. But I know I’m not the only one who has repeatedly gawked in disbelief at some of those sidebar folks standing right next to prime-time speakers, allegedly translating some of the nation’s most important news reports. I’ll even take credit for telling some friends, “That lady is just making that hand crap up!” -- referencing some important hurricane-related announcements where a gal was clearly replacing interpretation with spontaneous hand jive.
Now, I’m seeing where the hard-of-hearing are slowly but surely speaking out -- with both hands and keyboards.
A couple of the most famous cases of bogus hand signing include a gal literally walking in off the street during a news conference to announce the arrest of a Tampa Bay area serial killer.
I assure you that you would have noticed the disconnect between the chief of Police – who hired the rather wacky translator -- even without my mentioning it.
Below: It seems this nearby Tampa Bay detective was soon getting suspicions of the translator:
Then, there’s the fraudulent hand actions of the translator at the worldwide broadcast of a Nelson Mandela memorial. Dailymail.com headlined: “Sign language translator at Nelson Mandela's memorial in Johannesburg was a FAKE: South Africa's deaf federation confirms his movements had 'no meaning'” That was made even more significant by the fact there are over 360 million deaf people worldwide. The memorial was broadcast around the planet. The fake-o translator signed for US President Barack Obama, making deaf people around the planet think he was insane … along with all the other speakers.
As is the case with many forms of populous up-close-and-personal wildlife, there is a love/hate relationship between us all and all these Canada geese.
the “hate” side, these overpopulating birds have become the bane of many parks and beach areas, especially along the coast, where they frequent many school grounds, leaving fecal calling cards the size of a small dog’s droppings.
Canada goose manure is not the cleanest matter on the block. In fact, per nrcs.usda.gov, “The elderly, children, and pregnant or breastfeeding women are particularly susceptible to health risks posed by parasites that inhabit Canada geese feces. At even higher risk are those with weak immune systems, such as people with HIV/AIDS, chemotherapy recipients, recent organ donors and recipients, or those with lupus. Similarly, people with gastrointestinal (GI) problems, such as ulcers and irritable bowel disease, are also at increased risk, since they too cannot easily combat parasites from Canada geese feces.”
To prove goose crap can turn deadly all too fast, a goose-related Cryptosporidium (bacteria) was responsible for a 1993 outbreak of disease in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, after the city's water supply became crap contaminated. One hundred people died and 400,000 became ill during this epidemic
Researchers have gone as far as quantifying the amount of feces in parks, estimating that “a person taking a one-mile walk in a park was likely to physically come in contact, on the bottom of his or her shoes, with 4 to 8 piles of feces that contained virulence determinants.”
Other problematic poop zones are grassy athletic fields, which become fields of feces.
To prove I’m not on a Canada goose hunt, I’ll begin be assuring folks in good health seldom have health issues even in heavily goosed territories.
The state hypes them by noting, “Canada geese provide many positive benefits for New Jersey residents. Annually, recreational opportunities such as wildlife-watching and sport hunting contribute a significant amount of money to the New Jersey economy. Canada geese also provide ecological benefits that aid in the survival of other plants and animals. Many New Jerseyans take pleasure in knowing that Canada geese are present in the Garden State.”
NJDEP suggests: “Some of the recreational, economic, aesthetic, and ecological benefits of Canada geese include: common landscaping practices of maintaining open areas of short grass, often near bodies of water, have contributed to resident Canada goose populations becoming established in many suburban and urban areas around the state.”
Back Bay Adventures
Fishing is really good right now. There's a game plan for every weather scenario. Flat ocean? We're headed to the tuna grounds where 60 to 80 lb yellowfins are the norm this season. Mahi mahi round out the catch when we are lucky enough to stumble on some debris or they find us. Chunking, jigging, and trolling are all producing. We put most of our effort into catching them on bait, it's my favorite way to catch them, the hit is frightening.
Semi calm ocean? We are headed to Barnegat Ridge for bonita and false albacore. Trolling and drifting with bait offers great sport on light tackle. Any given day you can also encounter spanish mackeral, king mackerel, mahi, or bluefin tuna. It's best to expect bonita and albacore and anything else is a bonus.
Windy or rough ocean? We anchor up with live grass shrimp in Barnegat Light where we are catching weakfish. 14 to 18 inch fish on 6 pound spinning tackle. In the mix are also fluke, blowfish, sand sharks, silver perch, snapper blues, and many other critters. Lots of fun on the ultralite gear.
We are available for live grass shrimp charters this Thursday and Friday, Sept 3 and 4, Noon to 5PM. Also Mon and Tues, Sept 7 and 8, 7AM to Noon. $550 for 5 hour trip.
We are running Open Boat or charter to the tuna grounds Saturday and Sunday, Sept 5 and 6, 2AM to 4PM. $1,800 plus tip for private charter up to 4 people. Open Boats are $450 per person, 4 people max, all fish are shared.
Hot off the presses... Our 2020-2021 buggy permits are IN! If you’re a fisherman or lady with a 4x4, come on down and get your permit today! Be sure to bring the vehicle you’re registering (yes, we need to physically see it), along with your valid license, registration, insurance card and $25 cash or check when you come in to see us at the police department. We’ve included a copy of the buggy permit rules for all the new folks and as a reminder/refresher for all you seasoned buggy pass holders.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers solicited and received 95 proposals from across the country for beneficial use of dredged material pilot projects pursuant to Section 1122 of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2016.
A team of subject matter experts evaluated the proposals and selected 10 projects for the program, including a proposal to beneficially use dredged material from the Barnegat Inlet navigation channel in Ocean County, N.J.
Barnegat Inlet is one of the most dangerous inlets on the East Coast from a navigation standpoint. The District typically dredges the inlet twice a year with the USACE-owned dredge Currituck or Murden. However, a large amount of sediment remains shoaled in the state and federal navigation channels with limited funds and places to put the material.
The District is currently working in partnership with the state of New Jersey on the pilot project, which will incorporate Regional Sediment Management and Engineering with Nature principles. The project is expected to be implemented as a one-time dredging and beneficial use placement effort providing environmental and economic benefits and reducing future channel maintenance.
Section 1122 requires USACE to establish a pilot program to carry out 10 projects for the beneficial use of dredged material. Proposed projects included projects for the purposes of providing storm damage reduction; promoting public safety; protecting, restoring and creating aquatic ecosystems; promoting recreation; enhancing shorelines; civic improvement; and, other innovative uses and placement alternatives that produce public economic or environmental benefits.
Capt Harvey let Brayden drive us to one of his secret spots today and it paid off with a 27” fluke. I hooked it and bray helped winch it to the net. One of several keepers today.
Genetics study gives surprising insight into tautog population
Pictured above: Mixing business with pleasure: The study’s lead author, Dr. Hamish Small, displays a beautiful 19-pound tautog caught while sampling a wreck with a blue crab and stout conventional gear offshore of Virginia. -Photo by Ken Neill
It’s no secret that tautog are to reefs, wrecks, and bridge pilings what ‘tog fishing is to snags: they’re inseparable. This tendency to aggregate around structure, combined with their slow growth rate, relatively low reproductive output, and willingness to bite a hooked crab, makes tautog particularly vulnerable to overfishing and slow to recover from such declines. As with any other species, effective tautog management starts with understanding population structure, which helps inform at what spatial scale—local, regional, or coastwide—management actions should occur.
In 2017, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) switched from managing tautog as a single coastwide stock to dividing it into four regions to be assessed and managed independently: Massachusetts-Rhode Island; Long Island Sound; New Jersey-New York Bight; and Delaware-Maryland-Virginia. The ASMFC made this shift based on tagging data showing limited north-south movement and differences in fishery characteristics for each of these four regions. The ASMFC’s Tautog Management Board, however, was interested in using other scientific approaches to ensure this regional approach was appropriate.
Scientists at William & Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) answered the call. With funding from the Virginia Marine Resource Commission’s Virginia Saltwater Recreational Fishing Development Fund and the NOAA Fisheries Saltonstall-Kennedy Program, they recently completed a study that used genetic techniques to better understand the population structure of tautog along the East Coast.
Coastwide Sampling Yields Unexpected Results
Working with recreational anglers and state fisheries scientists from Cape Cod to Cape Hatteras, the research team collected fin-clip samples from a total of 789 tautog for their genetic work. For Dr. Hamish Small, an associate research scientist at VIMS and lead author of the study, such “sampling” often meant joining anglers on winter runs to Virginia’s inshore and offshore wrecks in search of outsized whitechins. “It was great to involve recreational anglers where we could, and without their help collecting samples, specifically from Virginia and North Carolina, we wouldn’t have a coastwide study,” he explained. “These are the people who know the fishery and have a vested interest in making sure the best available science is used to support management actions.”
Dr. Hamish Small takes a fin-clip sample from a tautog. Genetic analysis based on nearly 800 such samples showed that tautog from north and south of Cape Cod represent genetically distinct populations. -Photo by Ken Neill
For the actual analysis, the team identified specific repeat patterns in segments of tautog DNA—known as microsatellites—and examined how those patterns changed across fish sampled from different locations.
Their findings were striking. The team identified no genetic differences in fish sampled from south of Cape Cod to Cape Hatteras, suggesting that there is some level of population connectivity. However, tautog from north of Cape Cod were found to be genetically distinct, meaning that fish in the Gulf of Maine represent a separate population.
So, what do these results mean? One part is easy. “Cape Cod is clearly a significant barrier to dispersal, and tautog in the Gulf of Maine represent a different evolutionary unit than those to the south,” said Jingwei Song, a PhD student in Dr. Jan McDowell’s lab at VIMS and a co-author of the study. These results certainly suggest that tautog in the Gulf of Maine should be managed separately.
The story south of Cape Cod is a bit messier, as a lack of genetic population structure doesn’t necessarily mean that the ‘tog population is one well-mixed stock all along the coast that should be managed as a single unit. Even if there were several largely distinct tautog populations from south of Cape Cod to Cape Hatteras, it takes only a few fish moving between those populations and spawning to maintain the lack of genetic difference that the researchers found. “There’s enough gene flow, or interbreeding, of tautog along the coast that we aren’t seeing genetic differences,” explained McDowell, a research associate professor at VIMS and study co-author. “But it doesn’t mean that there’s enough connectivity that if you fish out one area it will be repopulated with fish from elsewhere.”
The author, in his younger days, displays a surprise tautog double-header caught off Gloucester, Massachusetts, that contorted his winter flounder spreader bar into a pretzel. Researchers are looking for assistance in collecting tautog samples from north of Cape Cod, so be sure to reach out if you encounter Gulf of Maine whitechins.
In other words, genetics is just one tool managers should use to inform the spatial scale of their efforts, along with other approaches like tagging, fishing pressure, and differences in tautog life-history characteristics among regions. “While our findings suggest that the ASMFC’s Massachusetts-Rhode Island management unit should be separated into regions north and south of Cape Cod, they don’t necessarily imply that the other regional management units are inappropriate,” McDowell added.
As for what’s contributing to the lack of genetic variation, there are two possible explanations: adult fish migrations and larval dispersal. While both of these are plausible, given that tagging studies have shown limited ‘tog movements, the drifting of larvae on ocean currents is most likely the culprit. This is especially true in the Mid-Atlantic, where tautog are notorious homebodies and suitable habitat is pretty patchy compared to the continuous rocky bottom of the northeast. “If tautog are dispersing a lot in the larval phase, separate groups of fish can live on wrecks or reefs miles away from each other but still maintain genetic connectivity,” Small explained. “In Virginia, for example, fish from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel and wrecks 30 to 50 miles offshore were genetically similar, despite there being very limited suitable habitat in between.” To the north, meanwhile, Cape Cod likely represents a barrier to larval dispersal, effectively sealing that population off from the rest.
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While this lure is marketed as "rainbow trout," tell me this wouldn't pass for a weakfish lookalike.
HE RAINBOW TROUT
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- Lure Details-
2.75 oz, measures 7"long
Size 2 VMC treble hooks that will make this lure last a life time
Sinks slowly, for full water column coverage
Internal balancing beads create rattle and a perfectly balanced cast
Mine is 4.20 Gary S Fecaks is 4.02 he got a nice seabass also.
Now Available: Webinar Demonstrating New Tool for Assessing Offshore Energy and Other Projects
Developers of energy and other ocean-based projects have a new, readily accessible tool that may help them get to know many facets of a proposed location long before they take costly steps related to selecting sites.
The tool is OceanReports, and its use is explained in the first 30 minutes of a one-hour, how-to webinar available on BOEM’s website.
BOEM and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) developed OceanReports, which allows agencies to “modernize the acquisition, distribution, and use of the best available ocean-related science and knowledge” as called for in President Trump’s Executive Order 13804, Ocean Policy to Advance the Economic, Security and Environmental Interests of the United States.
OceanReports is an online resource that produces infographics for any area of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf the user wants to learn about. These graphics are generally available in six topic areas: general information, energy and minerals, natural resources and conservation, oceanographic and biophysical, transportation and infrastructure, and economics and commerce.
The information is generated on offshore wind potential, wind planning areas, current wind leases nearby, oil and gas potential, current oil and gas leases in the area, and electric power stations near the coast. Information from the other topic areas reveals what features predominate on the surface through the ocean column to the seabed in the same accessible format.
The webinar is a recording of one delivered live stakeholders all over the U.S. and the world during an Ecosystem Based Management Tools webinar on July 28. It’s posted with other mapping resources on BOEM.gov.
For more information, visit OceanReports.
I swear I’m not going anywhere political or racial with this -- since there is more than enough of that madness already afoot – I just need to know how in bloody hell skateboards became both the offensive and defensive symbol/weapon of choice for demonstrators, rioters and even looters!? What did I miss? Future history books: "The Great Skateboard Riots of 2020."