- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 17, 2009

This isn’t going to make the Humane Society of the United States or the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals happy, but the Maryland Department of Natural Resources says it will continue to reduce the Chesapeake Bay’s population of mute swans that threaten the ecosystem in response to recommendations by a state task force.

The DNR says the mute swan is one of six species identified as a priority invasive species. They threaten precious new aquatic vegetation that is critical to the survival and propagation of native species, including blue crabs, striped bass, perch and native waterfowl. The swans are native to Asia and Europe.

The DNR’s control efforts have been successful. A decade ago, it was believed that 4,000 mute swans - originally introduced by private land and pond owners who thought they would dress upscale rural estate properties - inhabited the Bay. Today, about 500 remain.

The DNR recently convened a group of environmentalists, scientists, animal rights advocates and other stakeholders to discuss its mute swan plan and come up with ideas on how Maryland should proceed. The majority of the task force agreed that a continued reduction of mute swans was necessary, though two animal rights advocates who were members of the group argued in favor of maintaining a population of the birds in the Bay.

“While the swans may be beautiful, they continue to pose a serious threat to the Chesapeake Bay and its native wildlife, and nonlethal controls have proven insufficient for reducing the population,” DNR Secretary John Griffin said. “For these reasons, we are unfortunately compelled to continue Maryland’s mute swan control efforts through both nonlethal and lethal means.”

The Maryland Ornithological Society, which has supported mute swan control because of the tendency of the swans to drive declining native birds from their nesting grounds, agrees with Griffin.

Father and son to fish in 50 states - Warrenton, Va., residents Jeff Turner and his 17-year-old son, Taylor, have started a nationwide fishing expedition, vowing to fish in all 50 states in 50 days. I’m not at all sure this can be done because they’re using a motor home, which makes traveling to and fishing in one state every day more than a little tough. The duo will fly to Alaska and Hawaii, but even there they would have to get off the airplane, fish a few hours and then get back on the plane to make it back to the next state. Support is provided by Wrangler Rugged Wear, the National Fatherhood Initiative and other partners and outfitters. Check it out at www.fish5050.com.

New fishing chapter - The 14th chapter of the Maryland Saltwater Sportfishermen’s Association will begin operations July 1 in Bethesda. Jeremy Bendler of Silver Spring has been named president. The first meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. at the Bethesda Chevy Chase Regional Services Center. For more information, call 410/255-5535 or go to www.mssa.net.

Smallmouth bass club meets - The Potomac River Smallmouth Club will meet at 7 p.m. June 24 at the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department on Center Street. The meeting will be conducted outside in the parking lot. Members and guests (there is no charge) will display their fully equipped river boats. There will be kayaks, pontoon boats, canoes and a jet boat or two. Bring your appetite for a cookout. Need more information? E-mail [email protected]

• Look for Gene Mueller’s Outdoors column Sunday and Wednesday and his Fishing Report on Thursday, only in The Washington Times. E-mail: [email protected] Mueller’s Inside Outside blog can be found at washingtontimes.com/sports.

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