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Friday, March 26, 2010

Fly Fishing Podcasts

Tom Rosenbauer and the Orvis company have really landed a big fish with their Orvis Fly Fishing Podcasts. The simple fact that it's called a Pod"cast" places it right in the realm of fly fishing.

In this ever growing series of informative broadcasts you will find varying topics from winter fishing, surf fishing, casting, leaders, lines, flies,  interviews with some of the leading authorities of the sport and much more.  The only part of these podcasts that smell even a little bit like an infomercial or advertising is that in order to access them you have to take a trip to the Orvis website.  Not an unpleasant experience, but if you'd like a detour around that click this link and go directly to the Orvis Podcast Page

The next time you are looking up any fly fishing topic be sure to check with the Orvis Podcast for an experts answer to question or an education on a new technique. This is the type of thing you may want add as a bookmark or favorite in your browser.

Of all the different casts you can learn to make you a better fly fisher it would be a good idea to start with the Orvis Podcast.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Scientists Link Climate Change and Atlantic Croaker Fishery


NOAA Scientists Link Climate Change and Atlantic Croaker Fishery
Model Could be Used to Forecast Climate Impacts for Other Fisheries

A new climate-population model developed by NOAA scientists to study rising ocean temperatures and fishing rates on one East Coast fish population could also forecast the impact of climate change and fishing on other fisheries. The model is one of the first to directly link a specific stock with future impacts of climate change.

In a paper in the March 2010 issue of the journal Ecological Applications published online today by the Ecological Society of America, NOAA researchers forecast the future of the Atlantic croaker fishery in the mid-Atlantic under various climate and fishing scenarios. Atlantic croaker (Micropogonias undulatus) is a coastal marine fish inhabiting the East Coast of the United States with an $8 million annual commercial fishery. Previous studies have shown a strong link between croaker abundance and winter temperature.

“Some fish populations will increase and others decrease as a result of climate change,” said lead author Jon Hare of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) laboratory in Narragansett, R.I. “Our results demonstrate that climate effects on fisheries must be identified and understood, included in the scientific advice to managers, and factored into fishery management plans if sustainable exploitation is to be achieved.”

For various temperature and fish population scenarios over the next 90 years to 2100, the researchers forecast that at current levels of fishing, the spawning population of Atlantic croaker would increase between 60 and 100%, the center of the population would shift 50 to 100 kilometers (roughly 30 to 65 miles) northward, and the maximum sustainable yield from the resource would increase between 30 and 100 percent.

With ocean temperatures expected to increase through the 21st century, the researchers developed the population model for Atlantic croaker based on the hypothesis that recruitment, or survival of juveniles to adulthood, is determined by winter water temperature. Atlantic croaker spawn in the coastal ocean and larvae enter estuaries in Delaware Bay, Chesapeake Bay, and Pamlico Sound 30-60 days after hatching. Juveniles spend their first winter in these estuarine nursery habitats. Temperature during this winter period is very important to juvenile survival.

Temperature forecasts were obtained from 14 General Circulation Models (GCMs)
used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to simulate three carbon dioxide emission scenarios through 2100: atmospheric carbon dioxide fixed at 350, 550, and 720 parts per million (ppm). By comparison, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide in February 2010 was 389.91 ppm.

Hare and colleagues from NOAA’s Northeast and Southeast Fisheries Science Centers, in collaboration with climate modelers from NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo., linked the Atlantic croaker population model with forecasts of minimum winter temperature in the 14 GCMs. These linked modeling efforts provided estimates of the abundance, distribution, and yield of the Atlantic croaker population under different climate change scenarios and different fishing rates.

With increasing minimum winter temperatures, the NOAA model predicted that Atlantic croaker abundance will increase. Higher temperatures result in higher recruitment, which leads to a larger spawning stock. At current levels of fishing mortality, all 14 GCM models and all climate scenarios predicted higher population abundances than observed since the early 1970’s, when estimates of spawning stock were first developed. Even at higher fishing mortality rates, the models and climate scenarios predicted higher populations than observed in the past.

“Although our model does not include all potential environmental complexities, the recruitment hypothesis on which it is based is supported by both laboratory and field work, and is consistent with current fishery population models,” Hare said. “The modeling work represents one of the first attempts to link a group of general circulation models to fish population models. The outputs from 14 GCM models are all consistent, so we have confidence in our long-term forecasts.”

This approach could be used for other species where an environmental link to population dynamics is established.

“Most stock assessments that inform fishery management decisions do not include the effect of a changing environment because they are conducted annually or every few years and do not provide a long-term view. Understanding and quantifying the effect of climate change on populations, in combination with the effect of exploitation, is a major challenge to rebuilding and maintaining sustainable fisheries in the coming decades.”

Another challenge is developing climate models that forecast on shorter time scales than the current 50 to 100 years.

“Fishery management does not operate on these long time scales, and shorter-term forecasts are required,” Hare said. “In the future, a range of climate forecasts that include the effects of fishing and climate on fish populations over time intervals of 5 to 20 years, 20 to 50 years and 50 to 100 years, could be provided. These kinds of coupled models will help provide the best scientific advice for managing fisheries under changing climate conditions in the future.”

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Youth Fly Fishing Team USA to Host 2010 Fly Fishing Film Tour

Block out May 7, 2010 on your calender. This is when the United States Youth Fly Fishing Team is hosting the widely acclaimed Fly Fishing Film Tour

The Expo opens at 11:00 am with films from some of the best independent outdoor film makers being showcased.  Fly fishing films will be featured throughout the day. The big screen will open at 7:00 pm. 

Admission is only $10.00 and is for a worthy cause.  So plan on making a trip to State College, PA to support Team USA and maybe even get some fishing in on the legendary central Pennsylvania trout streams.

While you're at the Expo enjoy meeting noted fly fishing personalities like Joe Humphreys, Bobby Clouser, Dave Rothrock, Eric Stroup, Mike Heck, Lance Wilt, and a host of industry reps from Orvis, Hardy & Greys, St. Croix Rods, TCO Fly Shops, Trout Unlimited and more.

Click on this link for tickets and more detailed information: Team USA Fly Fishing Film Tour

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

New York Shad Fishing Under New Restrictions & Closures

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Action Needed to Address Historic Declines in Shad Stocks

In an effort to help restore the American shad population in New York's waters, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced new regulations that ban commercial and recreational fishing for the species in the Hudson River and the Marine and Coastal District of New York, effective today. The regulations also prohibit the sale or offering for sale of any American shad caught in New York State.

"Unfortunately, the Hudson River shad stock has declined dramatically for more than a decade and even the restrictions enacted in 2008 have not triggered a rebound," DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis said. "As a result, closing the fishery for now is the best way to try to prevent this historically important species from permanently vanishing from the Hudson River ecosystem. It's not a step we take lightly and we will continue to work on a process for reopening the fishery if and when the shad population recovers to sustainable levels."

The regulations enacted today also set new restrictions for American shad in the Delaware River by reducing the daily creel limit from six fish a day to three and prohibiting commercial shad fishing in the river.

These regulations are one part of a multi-phase effort being undertaken by New York State to enable the American shad population to recover. DEC's Hudson River American Shad Recovery Plan (PDF) (107 kB) sets forth an array of actions designed to facilitate recovery and rebuilding of the stock. In 2009, DEC and its partners implemented several Recovery Plan projects including: a tagging/tracking study to better to understand adult spawning habitat use; a bycatch monitoring program to quantify American shad caught in ocean fisheries; sample collections to evaluate habitat use by early life stages of fish; and a continuation of diet studies of predatory fish such as striped bass. DEC continues to work on developing criteria for reopening the fishery. A progress report on Recovery Plan projects (PDF) (20 kB) is available on DEC's website.

The regulations governing the shad fishing changes are published in the March 17 edition of the New York State Register.

Boat Sewage Ban Proposed In New York State Canal System

Here is something you would think is already prohibited. Dumping sewage in New York's canal system is definitely a bad idea. Read the following release from the EPA and send in your comments.

Boat Sewage Ban Proposed In New York State Canal System

Release date: 03/16/2010

Contact Information: Caroline Newton (212) 637-3937, newton.caroline@epa.gov

(New York, NY) In an effort to improve the water quality of upstate New York, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has given preliminary approval to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) proposal to establish a “No Discharge Zone” throughout the New York State Canal System. If the proposal is approved, the discharge of sewage from boats into canal waters will be prohibited. Boat sewage discharge can contain harmful levels of bacteria and chemicals such as formaldehyde, phenols, and chlorine, which negatively impact water quality and impair marine life. EPA is asking the public to comment on this plan.

The New York State Canal System is 524 miles long and includes the Erie, Cayuga-Seneca, Champlain and Oswego canals; as well as Onondaga, Oneida and Cross Lakes. Currently, vessels operating in these waters are not restricted from discharging treated sewage from approved marine sanitation devices. When a “No Discharge” Zone is established, boats are required to use pump-out stations to dispose of waste.

A 30-day public comment period began March 15, 2010. EPA will review and respond to any comments received. Written comments must be postmarked no later than April 14, 2010 and should be addressed to: Moses Chang, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 2, Clean Water Regulatory Branch, 290 Broadway, 24th Floor, New York, New York, 10007-1866. Telephone: (212) 637-3867. They may also be emailed to: chang.moses@epa.gov. Please include “Comments on Tentative Affirmative Decision for NYS Canal NDZ” in the subject line of the message.

For more information about No Discharge Zones, visit http://www.epa.gov/owow/oceans/regulatory/vessel_sewage/.

Region 2’s No-Discharge Zone website: http://www.epa.gov/region02/water/ndz/index.html

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Fish & Boat Commission, Coldwater Heritage Partnership Supporting Grassroots Work to Conserve PA’s Valuable Coldwater Streams, Trout Fisheries

Harrisburg – A cooperative partnership that includes the Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is helping local organizations protect and conserve Pennsylvania’s coldwater stream habitats — waterways that are critical to the health of the state’s wild trout fisheries.

The Coldwater Heritage Partnership — which also includes Pennsylvania Trout Unlimited, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds — recently provided more than $42,000 in grants to seven organizations to develop conservation plans that provide a better understanding of coldwater streams, identify challenges and form strategies that engage local communities in addressing these issues.

“This type of grassroots conservation work is vital for the future of the state's coldwater streams and wild trout fisheries,” said PFBC Executive Director John Arway. “We look forward to seeing these conservation plans developed and implemented.”

“Local grassroots conservation efforts are responsible for the return of healthy waterways in Pennsylvania,” said DCNR acting Secretary John Quigley. “The work is far from over, however, as many streams still face threats and degradation. This partnership provides the much-needed funding to continue the long-term stewardship of our world-class coldwater streams.”

“Pennsylvania Trout Unlimited is excited to award grants to worthy organizations for the conservation and protection of their local streams,” said Dave Rothrock, president of the Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited.

All three partnering organizations contribute funds toward the grants being made to the following organizations during 2010:

* Northampton County Conservation District, Northampton County: $6,000 to document baseline data for the Hokendauqua Creek watershed to serve as a foundation for water resource protection through prioritized recommendations; increase community awareness of the watershed; and collect data for potential upgrade to an exceptional value designation.

* Lehigh County Conservation District, Lehigh County: $6,000 to carry out a watershed and stream assessment for the Coplay Creek Watershed.

* Juniata Clean Water Partnership, Juniata County: $6,400 to conduct a stream assessment and prepare a conservation plan for Willow Run and Dougherty Run.

* Dauphin County Conservation District, Dauphin County: $6,273 to assess Clark Creek and raise local awareness in protecting its high-quality cold water fishery classification; and create a coldwater conservation plan.

* Lycoming County Conservation District on behalf of the Larry’s Creek Watershed Association, Lycoming County: $5,000 to complete a stream assessment and compile a cold water heritage plan for the Larry’s Creek watershed.

* Somerset County Conservation District on behalf of Paint Creek Regional Watershed Association, Somerset County: $6,000 to work collaboratively and gather data to protect Little Paint Creek;

* Point Park University (of Allegheny County) for work in Columbia and Sullivan counties: $6,000 to investigate the restriction of native brook trout in the headwaters of Fishing Creek and to develop a plan to improve the habitat and water quality for coldwater fishes.

Funded organizations will be responsible for creating coldwater conservation plans that:

* Gather existing data about the coldwater ecosystem;
* Identify potential impacts, threats, problems and opportunities to coldwater streams;
* Formulate plans of action for proposed conservation and protection strategies; and
* Build community awareness and support for conserving coldwater streams.

Besides offering grants, the Coldwater Heritage Partnership works to provide technical and educational assistance to organizations interested in protecting coldwater ecosystems. For information, contact Deborah Nardone at the Coldwater Heritage Partnership at (814) 359-5233, or visit www.coldwaterheritage.org.

The mission of the Fish and Boat Commission is to protect, conserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s aquatic resources and provide fishing and boating opportunities. For more information about fishing and boating in Pennsylvania, please visit our website at www.fishandboat.com.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

$862 Million to States for Fish and Wildlife Conservation Projects

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced today that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will distribute more than $862 million to all 50 states, U.S. commonwealths and territories, and the District of Columbia to support hunting, sport-fishing, and fish and wildlife conservation and education programs.

The funding, through the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, is derived from excise taxes and import duties on sporting firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, sport-fishing equipment, electric outboard motors, and fuel taxes attributable to motorboats and small engines.

"Americans have few higher callings than to conserve our treasured landscapes and bountiful wildlife and connect our children and grandchildren to the great outdoors,” Salazar said. “For more than half a century, boaters, hunters, anglers, and recreational shooters, and the hunting and fishing industries have supported some of our nation’s most successful programs to conserve fish and wildlife and its habitat and make it possible for Americans to enjoy them.

“Thanks to sportsmen and other outdoor enthusiasts, the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program has created countless opportunities for conservation and recreation and improved the lives of all Americans who treasure fish and wildlife," he said.

The Wildlife Restoration apportionment for 2010 totals nearly $473 million, with more than $86 million going to hunter education and firearm and archery range programs. The Sport Fish Restoration apportionment for 2010 totals more than $389 million. The federal government pays up to 75 percent of the cost of each eligible project in the 50 states and up to 100 percent in the commonwealths and territories.

“The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs are highly effective federal conservation programs. In addition to providing a stable financial source, the funding is protected by legislative safeguards preventing its diversion away from state fish and wildlife agencies,” said Rowan Gould, acting director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “For states working to ensure a future for fish and wildlife, conservation education for our children, and opportunities for people to enjoy the outdoors, few programs offer this level of support and reliability.”

Examples of state activities to be funded under the program include:

* The Kansas Wildlife Department of Parks and Wildlife will provide increased access to hunting on private lands through their 1,125,000 acre "Walk-In Hunting Access" program.
* New Mexico will use their funds to research factors affecting the viability of the black bear population of the Sandia Mountains, leading to improved management of the species.
* Colorado is constructing a 400-foot floating recycled tire breakwater at McPhee Reservoir in Montezuma County, Colorado in an effort to enhance fishing and boating experiences at the reservoir.
* Georgia is conducting population surveys on recreationally-important fish populations, and developing fishery management strategies to help prevent recreational overharvesting of marine sport fish species.

Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act funding is available to the 50 States, the Commonwealths of Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands, and the territories of American Samoa, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands (State(s)). For more information on Pittman-Robertson or the Wildlife Restoration program, please visit the Fish and Wildlife service website at http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/Subpages/GrantPrograms/WR/WR.htm.

Modeled after Pittman-Robertson, the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act provides funding to the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the commonwealths of Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands, and the territories of American Samoa, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands through a formula based on 40 percent of the land and water area of a state and 60 percent of the number of paid fishing license holders. For more information on the Sport Fish Restoration Program please go to: http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/Subpages/GrantPrograms/SFR/SFR.htm

Please visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program Web site at http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/ for state, commonwealth, and territory funding allocations or for more general and background information on the program.

Delaware River Reservoir Releases Increased Due To Snow

New York City Increases Reservoir Releases to Accommodate Record Snow Pack in Upper Delaware River Basin, Reduce Flood Risk Downstream

HARRISBURG -- Pennsylvania Environmental Protection Secretary John Hanger said today that New York City has stepped up the amount of water it releases from its reservoirs to reduce the threat of flooding from the historic snow pack throughout the upper Delaware River basin.

This action is one of several new flood-mitigation measures established under a cooperative agreement between New York City and states along the Delaware River. The city controls several large reservoirs in the headwaters of the basin that can affect water levels on the main stem of the river.

“The record-setting snows of February have deposited snow pack amounts up to three times the average in the upper Delaware River basin, creating the potential for flooding along the river in the event of a rapid snowmelt,” Hanger said.

To put it in perspective, the upper basin typically contains 60 billion gallons of snowpack water at this time of year, but recent snowstorms have tripled the water content in the region’s snowpack to an estimated 175 billion gallons.

“To lessen the threat to downstream lives and property, New York City is releasing the maximum amount of water allowed under the Flexible Flow Management Plan to increase the storage capacity in their reservoirs,” said Hanger. “This is the sort of cooperation we hoped for when we created this multi-state agreement to manage water levels along the Delaware, and I applaud the New York City officials for their quick action.”

The Flexible Flow Management Plan for New York City’s reservoirs was adopted in 2007 following major flooding along the Delaware River and is the first operating plan for the reservoirs to include flood mitigation principles, as well as public water supply and in-stream habitat protection. New York City has agreed to operate their reservoirs to provide a measure of flood control for the main stem of the river while ensuring that the city has sufficient water to meet its needs.

US Fish & Wildlife Service Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced the appointments of 19 individuals to the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council, an advisory panel created in 1993 to advise the Secretary on nationally significant recreational fishing, boating and aquatic resource conservation issues. The announcement was made on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. at the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation reception for members of Congress.

“This council plays a vital role in exploring ways to increase boating and angling participation, particularly youth participation, while conserving our precious aquatic resources” said Salazar. “The wealth of experience and expertise offered by both returning and new council members is impressive and their efforts will most assuredly enable us to reconnect more people with boating, fishing and the natural world.”

The Secretary announced the appointment of the following individuals – whose terms begin immediately – to serve on the Council for the upcoming two-year term:

* James Adams of the States Organization for Boating Access
* James Anderson of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission
* Lynne Borden of the University of Arizona
* Douglass Boyd of the Coastal Conservation Association
* Jeffrey Crane of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation
* Thomas Dammrich of the National Marine Manufacturers Association
* Ned Dikmen of the Great Lakes Boating Federation
* Chris Horton of the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society
* Betty Huskins of the Southeastern Tourism Policy Council
* Scott Kovarivics of the Izaak Walton League of America
* Ryck Lydecker of BoatUS
* Michael Nussman of the American Sportfishing Association
* Geoff Ratte of Water Gremlin Company
* John Sprague of the Marine Industries Association of Florida
* Roy Elicker, Director of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
* David Graham, Chief of the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

Three alternate Council appointments, who may attend meetings and vote when the primary member is unable to attend, were also announced. Alternates are Maria del Valle Hamilton of the American Sportfishing Association; Steve Miller of the States Organization for Boating Access; and Gary Kania of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation.

During its 17 year history, the Council’s advice and recommendations have played a major role in helping the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shape the new strategic focus of its fisheries program and improve the efficiency of grant programs delivered through the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program. The Council played a leading role in the development of the National Fish Habitat Action Plan, a groundbreaking, partnership-driven strategy to restore fisheries and aquatic habitat across the nation. It also continues to offer support and guidance to the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, a non-profit organization it helped establish and whose mission is to increase the number of conservation-minded recreational anglers and boaters.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

PA Fish & Boat Commission Names New Executive Director

Harrisburg, PA – A 30-year veteran of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) has been chosen as the agency’s next executive director. During a special public meeting today, the Board of Commissioners selected John Arway to lead the Commission, one of the oldest and most effective conservation agencies in the nation.

“John brings a wealth of professional experience and institutional knowledge to the executive director post,” said Commission President Thomas Shetterly. “He is an avid angler, boater and hunter with a passion for the outdoors. He embraces the Resource First management philosophy and understands that only by protecting aquatic resources can we accomplish the other part of our mission, which is to also provide fishing and boating opportunities.”

The 57-year-old Mr. Arway had served as chief of the Environmental Services Division within the Bureau of Fisheries.

“I am grateful to the board for providing me the opportunity to lead the agency where I have devoted most of my professional life,” said Mr. Arway, who becomes the agency’s 10th executive director. “Our agency has a tremendous responsibility to the resource and to the anglers and boaters who enjoy and benefit from the resource. We have a very dedicated staff that I am looking forward to working with on the many challenges ahead of us – including the protection of water quality from future pollution events, the threat of aquatic invasive species, the increasing loss of habitat and the restoration of American shad to the Susquehanna River. I am also looking forward to working with our staff and the anglers and boaters on improving recreational fishing and boating opportunities throughout the Commonwealth.”

Mr. Arway has been the environmental advisor to the executive director and other agency staff for more than 20 years. In addition to leading the Environmental Services Division, he represents the Commission on numerous committees and boards, including the Director’s alternate on the Environmental Quality Board; the Pennsylvania Biological Survey’s Steering Committee; PA Council of Trout Unlimited’s Environmental Committee and Rivers Conservation Camp and Fly Fishing School’s Board of Directors; Governor’s Pesticide Advisory Board; Governor’s Green Government Council; Coldwater Heritage Partnership Program; and the Susquehanna River Smallmouth Bass Water Quality Workgroup.

A native of North Huntingdon, Mr. Arway holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Pittsburgh and a master’s degree in biology from Tennessee Technological University. He holds memberships in numerous organizations, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science; American Fisheries Society (currently first Vice President of the Northeast Division); North American Benthological Society; Ducks Unlimited; PA Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs; National Trout Unlimited; and the SONS of Lake Erie.

The mission of the Fish and Boat Commission is to protect, conserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s aquatic resources and provide fishing and boating opportunities. For more information about fishing and boating in Pennsylvania, please visit our website at Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.