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Monday, January 31, 2011

I Thought Hawks Were in the Pentagon?

Cooper's Hawk Safely Captured in Library of Congress

After spending a week trapped in the Library of Congress, a female Cooper's hawk was safely captured Wednesday, Jan. 26, and taken to a rehabilitation center in Virginia. The hawk, nicknamed “Jefferson,” eluded rescuers as it swooped overhead in the dome of the Thomas Jefferson Building's Main Reading Room. The hawk may have flown in through a broken window.

At 8:40 a.m. Wednesday, a three-member team consisting of eagle/raptor biologist Craig Koppie, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Chesapeake Bay Field Office; Linda Moore, vice president of the Raptor Conservancy of Virginia; and Kennon Smith, a federally licensed raptor bander, captured the bird using a caged pair of starlings, named Frick and Frack, as bait. It took 28 minutes.

"Cooper's hawks feed mostly on other birds. High concentration areas for the non-native pigeons and starlings common throughout Washington DC are very attractive to these hawks specially during winter, when food resources are more scarce." said Craig Koppie.

Weighing in at 424 grams, the hawk was considered emaciated and was taken to the conservancy in Falls Church, Va. Cooper's hawks captured, weighed and banded at the Blue Ridge Raptor Banding Station, Jefferson County, WV, during the fall migration period, showed the average weight for a first year female Cooper's hawk is 528 grams. The Library’s Cooper's hawk had a weight of 424 grams which was approximately 90-100 grams below average weight. After it is restored to health, the hawk will be released into the wild, far from the Library of Congress.

"These birds can adapt very well to urban conditions as demonstrated by this situation. I think it is a great opportunity for all of us to learn more about this and other migratory bird species" said Leopoldo Miranda, Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Chesapeake Bay Field Office

For more information on Cooper's hawks, visit:

The Raptor Conservancy of Virginia

Trout in the Classromm

New Jersey's successful Trout in the Classroom is a partnership between the New Jersey DEP Division of Fish & Wildlife and Trout Unlimited.  This program is currently in 111 schools around the Garden State with more than 14,00 participating students.

Through a science-based educational program students learn about cold-water conservation by hatching and then rearing brook trout from eggs provided by NJ DEP Division of Fish & Wildlife with learning materials and curriculum provided by Trout Unlimited, the nations leader in cold-water conservation.

The enthusiasm this program develops among students not only teaches them about the biology of aquatic life but also instills a conservation ethic. There are also applications in science, social studies, fine arts, mathematics and language arts, and the program is unique in that it allows teachers to tailor the program to fit their own curricular.

According to the NJ DEP Division of Fish & Wildife, the initial set up of this program currently costs $1,200 with an annual operation cost of $50. A little hard to believe, but even if it's double that, it's still a very inexpensive program that spawns big benefits.

Check out the NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife's website for more information and details: http://www.njfishandwildlife.com/tic.htm  and the official "NJ Trout in the Classroom"  site at: http://www.njtroutintheclassroom.org/

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Winter Nesting Great Horned Owl

I like when I stumble across some interesting bit of info on some relatively common piece of nature that a lot of people probably know about but I didn't until just now.

This wild trivia hit me in an email newsletter from the NY DEC.  It's about the Great Horned Owl and the fact the owls nest in January & February and can hatch their eggs in hollow tree cavities when the air temperature is well below zero, as low as -27 F.

That one fact prompted me to do some research, well at least a Google search, and there I came upon the following tidbits of Great Horned Owl life I'll share with anyone who is still reading this and wants to continue.

Great Horned Owls nest in hollow trees, stumps, ledges, abandoned squirrel nests, old crow nests, caves, bards and abandoned buildings.  They are the most widespread and common of the owls.

Their diet is varied, capturing and eating what opportunity presents them with.  It includes small mammals like mice, voles, rabbits, squirrels, rats, bats and skunks.  They're one of the few predators the skunk has. Domestic cats are also on the owls menu.  They eat other birds too, even other owl species and birds like hawks, osprey, falcons, waterfowl, and crows.

Their eyes are almost the same size as a human eye and they are fixed, in other words they can't move them in their sockets.  In order to look in another direction the owl has to turn its head which it can rotate an amazing 270 degrees.  Their hearing is superb with each ear located on a slightly different axis.  This helps them differentiate the direction a sound is coming from, something they excel at.

So when the evening comes you hear an owl call that sounds something like, "Who cooks for you; Who cooks for you all?" rest assured it's not the Great Horned Owl but the Barred Owl announcing its presence.  The Great Horned Owl is more of a hoot, as in, "hoo-hoo hoooooo hoo-hoo".  Sometimes the they let out a hair raising, blood curdling shriek.

Well that's it, that concludes this lesson on great horned owls.  Like I said earlier, I did some research, not a lot but enough to satisfy my curiosity. It's been a hoot!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Habitat Restoration Aids Gulf Striped Bass

The Gulf striped bass was once common in many locations along the Northern Gulf coast and on the Mississippi River. But a combination of factors – including fishing, dams, and pollution – diminished the population and limited it to the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River system in Florida, Georgia and Alabama.

For years, there has been a cooperative effort by these states and the Federal government to restore and save habitats for this imperiled species. Recently, that effort has concentrated on Bovine Springs, a small spring on the Flint River in Baker County, Georgia, that is an important refuge for the Gulf striped bass.

“The Gulf striped bass is imperiled due to limited summer thermal habitat, and springs are vital to their survival,” said John Kilpatrick, senior fisheries biologist for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. “We only have about 10 of these springs on the Flint River that flow consistently in the summer and that the fish need as refuges.

Cattle owned by local landowners have used the spring and nearby river for years as a watering hole, however, degrading the spring with sediment to the point that Gulf striped bass could no longer use it as a refuge.

“The fish aren’t going to stay where there’s that much disturbance,” said Kilpatrick. “In the summer, with high temperatures, if striped bass are forced out of that spring they’ll die really fast if they don’t find another spring.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, working with its partners the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and the Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership (SARP), is now finishing a project to restore Bovine Springs for the Gulf striped bass. Using $15, 952 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding (popularly known as stimulus funds), the rehabilitation of Bovine Springs was begun in 2009 and is expected to be completed the week of Jan. 24, 2010.

The partners enlisted local landowners as stakeholders in the need to protect the spring. They contracted with local businesses to dig a well and a watering trough for the cattle, and to erect fencing between private lands and the river and spring to keep the cattle out of the spring. They cleared the spring of sediment and rocks to provide better refuge, and reshaped the river bank. In the spring, native vegetation will be planted to prevent further erosion.

“It’s a win-win,” said Kilpatrick. “It’s better for the cattle and it’s much better for the river, and it’s specifically good for the striped bass.”

The Department of Interior allotted $280 million in stimulus funding to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and $56.6 million of that was allotted to 169 projects in the Southeast Region, including the Bovine Springs restoration. Projects were selected based on the greatest demonstration of need in the region, those that would meet the requirements of the Recovery Act, and those that fit into the categories where funding was received.

The Southeast Aquatic Resources Partnership (SARP) is a regional collaboration of natural resource and science agencies, conservation organizations and private interests developed to strengthen the management and conservation of aquatic resources in the southeastern United States. SARP’s mission is to, with partners, protect, conserve and restore aquatic resources including habitats throughout the Southeast for the continuing benefit, use and enjoyment of the American people. Nationally recognized as one of the first groups designated as an official “Fish Habitat Partnership” by the National Fish Habitat Board, SARP is implementing the goals of the National Fish Habitat Action Plan in the Southeast in some of the most ecologically and economically significant watersheds in the country.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with many of its partners through SARP to support aquatic habitat restoration projects in the region. To learn more about SARP and its programs and other resources, visit SARP’s website at www.southeastaquatics.net or contact SARP Coordinator, Scott Robinson at 770-361-5639  or scottr@southeastaquatics.net.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Gogal Publishing Launches Ultimate Fishing Maps™ Software for GPS

Software suite is at the forefront of fishing maps technology

Gogal Publishing, Warrington, PA, has announced the launch of its integrated fishing maps software suite for Garmin GPS, and the re-launch of its printed fishing maps, intended to complement the GPS software. Both Ultimate Fishing Maps™ products are designed to guide fishermen to trout and bass fishing waters anywhere across the state of Pennsylvania. Both become available February 1, 2011.

“With our GPS units and the 2011 updated edition of our print fishing maps, it is our hope that fly and sport fishermen will no longer have to spend their time searching the Internet looking for directions to the nearest trout-stocked or bass fishing waters,” says Mike Gogal, co-founder and CEO of Gogal Publishing. “We’ve done the work, gathered the data, and created a GPS software suite that puts directions, official stocking information, and all other pertinent regulations at a fisherman’s fingertips.”

Gogal Publishing first produced print trout fishing maps in region-specific editions for trout waters across Pennsylvania and New Jersey in 1993. Mike Gogal ceased publication of the maps in 1996 following a personal tragedy. Thirteen years later, Gogal joined forces with neighbor Mark Burdack, and the men spent more than a year gathering and verifying data, and designing and creating the software program that is now Ultimate Fishing Maps.

The Ultimate Fishing Maps software provides mapping and directions for more than 5,000 miles of Pennsylvania trout-stocked waters, more than 2,000 miles of class A and wilderness trout waters, and more than 3,200 miles of the state’s bass fishing areas. In addition to providing detailed driving directions to these rivers, streams, and lakes from any starting location, all navigation points have been verified using satellite data. Each navigation point includes fishing regulations, fish species available, seasons, size and creel limits, along with general information such as the nearest town and county associated with each navigation point. For boaters, the software also provides boat launch and access locations, access names, parking information, and boating size limitations where applicable.

“When we created this software, we did so first and foremost with ease of use in mind,” Gogal says. “But what makes Ultimate Fishing Maps stand out is that users will have access at their fingertips to all the information they’ll need, from current stocking information and tackle restrictions, to boat-size limits and any special regulations that apply to specific waters.”

For trout fishermen specifically, the software highlights the exact section of each stream, lake, and pond stocked in 2011 by the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission. For bass anglers, the GPS maps detail the specific rivers, lakes, and streams that have been surveyed by fisheries’ biologists and hold quality populations of largemouth or smallmouth bass. The GPS product also guides fishermen to walleye, muskie, pike, and crappie fishing.

Serving as a perfect complement and supplement to the GPS software are the 2011 Ultimate Fishing print maps. The original maps for trout waters were treasured by fishing guides and outdoorsmen alike who have kept the original versions.

Gogal Publishing has partnered with Franklin Maps, King of Prussia, PA, to introduce the 2011 maps. The first edition of these maps will be printed in three large-scale, two-sided maps covering specific regions – Eastern PA, Central PA, and Western, PA. The 36- x 48-inch maps fold for easy storage. Featuring the quality draftsmanship offered by Franklin, the maps are designed to be functional as well as works of art.

Each map features color coded and flagged fishing regulations specific to streams, lakes or ponds, and separate indexes for trout and bass waters, with keyed grid coordinates and detailed road information. Designed for both function and artistic quality, the maps can be thrown in the tackle box or framed and hung on a wall.

All Ultimate Fishing Maps products can be purchased online at www.ultimatefishingmaps.com. The GPS software can be downloaded directly into compatible Garmin devices or can be shipped on preloaded Garmin GPS units or on MicroSD cards with SD adapters included. Both the GPS software and printed maps can also be purchased at select retailers, tackle shops, and convenience stores throughout the state. For more information, visit the Ultimate Fishing Maps website.

About Ultimate Fishing Maps™
Ultimate Fishing Maps™ is a product of Gogal Publishing Company. The Warrington, PA, mapping company specializes in fishing maps for print and GPS software. Incorporated in 2009 by Mike Gogal and Mark Burdack, the company designs and creates GPS software and updated print maps, both of which are available beginning February 1, 2011, at select retail locations and at www.ultimatefishingmaps.com.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Former Spawning Grounds Reclaimed

For the first time in more than a century American shad, striped bass, American eels, and herring will be able to swim up the Raritan River in NJ to traditional spawning grounds. This in turn will also benefit species like weakfish and bluefish that feed on the young herring as they return to the Raritan Bay and eventually to the ocean.

For the last hundred years or more various dams have impeded the migration of these important game and food fishes. These dams are now scheduled for removal as part of an agreement reached with the El Paso, Corp as compensation for the harm done to the Raritan River from pollutants discharged by El Paso and its subsidiaries.

El Paso will finance the project that will also provide better flushing of the river removing sediment overloads that have been a problem to the ecology of the river. Nutrient loading should also be reduced and healthy populations of zooplankton restored contributing to a healthy food chain in the river.

It is hoped that in time this and other projects like it will restore the natural balance to the Raritan River estuary.

All in all, nearly 10 miles of the Raritan will be opened along with up to 17 miles of tributaries benefiting fish reproduction and receational opportunities along the river.

Pennsylvania Announces Some Changes in Their Fisheries Management & Recreation

At their most recent meeting, The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission (PFBC) added eight trout steams in Venango, Warren, Blair, Huntingdon, Lycoming and Potter counties to their list of Class A self sustaining trout streams.

Little Juniata River fared well too with an additional 19.7 miles of river listed as a wild trout river.

Steelhead anglers gained 2,600 feet on Elk Creek on the Tome property through an easement to allow access to fishermen.  Through an arrangement and grant with the Girard Borough, the PFBC has engineered an additional 5,310 feet of access on Elk Creek.  Granted some of this was already accessible and used by anglers, but now it will be locked in for that purpose.

River herring might get some respect too. The PFBC has decided to pursue a rulemaking change for a closed season on the Delaware River, West Branch Delaware River and River Estuary, the Lehigh River, the Schuylkill River and their tributaries, and the Conowingo Reservoir.  Protection for this important forage species is long overdue.

Don't Feed the Bears

At least not in New York.  A new regulation makes it illegal to intentionally or unintentionally feed bears. 

Unintentional feeding is when you have bird feeders, garbage cans or other food items out where bears can reach them.  In this case the NY Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) can remove these things if they are causing any bear problems.  The state calls this incidental bear feeding.

Intentional feeding is pretty self explanatory and had been previously banned in NY when conducted around certain locations.  Now it applies everywhere.

Bear numbers have grown in New York and this is one way that human-bear conflicts might be reduced.

Pennsylvania Natural Gas Well Control Incident

DEP Investigating Marcellus Shale  in Tioga County
Talisman Energy Well is on DCNR State Forest Land

WILLIAMSPORT -- The Department of Environmental Protection is investigating a well control incident that occurred Jan. 17 at a Talisman Energy natural gas well located on state forest land in Ward Township, Tioga County.

Talisman also has been conducting its own investigation and has been cooperating fully with the department.

“This was a serious incident that could have caused significant environmental harm had it not been brought under control,” said DEP North-central Regional Director Nels Taber. “DEP is conducting a thorough investigation to determine why this incident occurred.”

Talisman began having problems controlling the well in the early afternoon of Jan. 17. The well was successfully shut in about 3:45 p.m. that day.

During the well control incident, which began during hydraulic fracturing of the well, fracking fluids and sand discharged from the well into the air. It does not appear that any significant amount of natural gas was released and there was no fire or explosion.

DEP Oil and Gas and Emergency Response program staff responded to the well, and Talisman Energy contacted CUDD Well Control to assist with gaining control of the well. CUDD recently opened an operations center in Canton, Bradford County, and was able to quickly respond to the site.

Talisman voluntarily shut down all hydraulic fracturing operations in North America while investigating the cause of this incident.

Inspections conducted last week by DEP staff verified that the fluids had been contained to the lined well pad. The fluids were cleaned up by a contractor and further sampling will be conducted to determine if any contaminated soil needs to be removed.

Oil and Gas Program staff also collected soil samples last week from beneath the well pad liner. Those results have not yet been received.

The department sent a notice of violation letter on Jan. 24 which requires the company to submit a sampling plan for the site, information on any fluids released, an analysis of the main cause of the incident, and changes to be implemented in all of its Marcellus operations as a result of the incident.
For more information, call 570-327-3659 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              570-327-3659      end_of_the_skype_highlighting or visit www.depweb.state.pa.us.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Southeast Alaska's Salmon and Trout Fisheries Contribute Nearly $1 Billion Annually to Regional Economy

Study Finds Combined Value of Commercial, Sport, Subsistence and Hatchery Fisheries Tops $986 Million and Accounts for More than 10 Percent of Jobs
January 17, 2011

(Juneau, Alaska) – A new study commissioned by Trout Unlimited Alaska finds that Southeast Alaska’s healthy salmon and trout populations pump nearly $1 billion into the local economy every year and account for more than one in ten jobs.

This is the first study that takes a combined look at the economic value of all four sectors of the region’s salmonid fisheries – commercial, sport, subsistence/personal use and hatchery production. Previous studies have looked at each of the sectors separately.

“The study shows the healthy and abundant salmon and trout populations of Southeast Alaska are a huge driver of the regional economy. The reason we have such rich and sustainable fisheries is careful harvest management as well as a lack of the dams, pollution, and agricultural and urban development that have decimated so many runs in the Lower 48,” said Tim Bristol, director of Trout Unlimited Alaska.

Southeast fishermen and regulators agree.

“I hope this study helps to raise awareness of the critical importance of coldwater fish to the economy, ecology and identity of this region. I think we as Southeast Alaskans sometimes take salmon for granted—and yet it’s literally the lifeblood of our communities,” said Linda Behnken, a Sitka-based commercial longliner/troller and executive director of Alaska Longline Fishermen's Association.

Although past timber harvesting has degraded fish habitat in some Southeast Alaska watersheds, Southeast still supports a disproportionately high share of the wild stocks of trout and salmon remaining in the Pacific Northwest. Limiting habitat degradation, restoring impacted streams and riparian areas and minimizing the negative impacts of climate change will be key to continuing Southeast Alaska’s salmon success story.

“As someone who worked in the timber industry 35 years ago, I welcome the chance to be involved with efforts to restore impacted high-value, fish-producing watersheds. Especially given the economic and environmental importance of salmon to the communities within the Tongass National Forest, I’d also like to see some intact watersheds safeguarded from future development that could negatively affect the productivity of these areas,” said Steve Reifenstuhl, general manager of Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association.

The study, conducted by economist Thomas Wegge of TCW Economics, used 2007 as a snapshot year. Wegge determined that Southeast Alaska’s salmon and trout populations contribute nearly $1 billion to the region’s economy by calculating the economic values and impacts of Tongass fisheries. Use values measure the monetary importance of these fisheries to those who participate in them. Economic impacts, on the other hand, measure the contribution the fisheries make to economic activity within a region, as measured in terms of jobs and personal income. An input-output model developed by Wegge’s colleagues for the Southeast Alaska economy specifically allowed Wegge to estimate how fishery economic activity multiplies as it ripples through the regional economy.

The following are some of the study’s highlights:

• $986.1 million: estimated annual total economic output generated by commercial, sport, subsistence and hatchery production of salmon and trout in Southeast Alaska, as purchases made in each sector ripple through the regional economy

• $466.1 million: estimated annual value of salmon and trout to people who fish them commercially, for recreation and for subsistence and personal use

• 7,282: estimated number of full or part-time jobs sustained by the four fishing sectors

• 10.8 %: approximate portion of regional employment that stems from salmon and trout fishing

• $188.9 million: estimated annual personal income generated by salmon and trout fisheries and hatcheries

“With this study, we can now say conclusively that salmon and trout are a cornerstone of the Southeast Alaska economy and that maintaining and enhancing the conditions that allow these fish to thrive should be a key goal for land managers and everyone else who cares about jobs in this state,” said Bruce Wallace, a Juneau-based purse seiner who has commercially fished Southeast Alaska waters for three decades. Wallace also sits on various boards including United Fishermen of Alaska and the Southern Southeast Alaska Regional Aquaculture Association.

The full report and an executive summary can be downloaded at:


Maguire Daisy In Full Bloom

If you're the type who stops to smell the flowers, you'll be glad to know that the Maguire Daisy can now be one of those flowers you stumble across.  That is if you happen to be in southeastern Utah.

This plant was down to just seven plants in 1985 but with protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) it now flourishes in ten different locations and numbers over 163,000 plants.

Tom Strickland, Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Fish and Wildlife and Parks said, “The delisting of the Maguire daisy shows that the Endangered Species Act is an effective tool not only to save species from the brink of extinction but also to recover them to healthy populations”

The Maguire Daisy is a member of the sunflower family. Native plants are important for their ecological, economic, and aesthetic values. They play an important role in the development of disease resistant crops, and in crops that resist insects, and drought.

The Maguire Daisy is the 21st species in the US and US territories to be delisted due to recovery.  Other species that have recovered enough to be removed from listing under the ESA, and the dates of their delistings, are as follows:

Brown pelican (Atlantic coast population 1985, rest of the range in 2009)
Virginia northern flying squirrel (2008)
Bald Eagle (2007)
Eggert’s sunflower (2005)
Tinian Monarch (2004)
Columbian white-tailed deer (Douglas County Population, 2003)
Hoover’s woolly-star (2003)
Robbins’ cinquefoil (2002)
Aleutian Canada goose (2001)
American peregrine falcon (1999)
eastern gray kangaroo (1995)
western gray kangaroo (1995)
red kangaroo (1995)
Arctic peregrine falcon (1994)
gray whale (eastern North Pacific (California) population, 1994)
American alligator (1987)
Palau ground dove (1985)
Palau fantail flycatcher (1985)
Palau owl (1985).

North Carolina Striped Bass Atrocity

January 15, 2011 marked the opening of the North Carolina commercial striped bass fishery and also the needless death to thousands of striped bass that are under the states 28 inch minimum size.

In order to increase profits, some commercial fishermen cull smaller fish hoping to fill their 50 fish limit with nothing but large striped bass.  Many of these smaller dead fish are reported to be larger than the 28 inch minimum.

The US Coast Guard has cited several vessels for having more than their limit, but unfortunately the way the law is written it seems nothing can be done to end the culling that is resulting in the massive die off of mostly sub-legal fish.  A Striped Bass Reporting Hotline to turn in poachers has been established by the Coast Guard at 757-398-6598. 

Here's a video on Youtube that shows the carnage that is taking place. The only good news at the moment is the season is scheduled to end on January 20th.

More information can be found on the Examiner.com, Charlotte, NC local news.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Pennsylvanians Choose Delaware as 2011 River of the Year

HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The people have spoken: the Delaware River is Pennsylvania's River of the Year for 2011.

Chosen for the first time through a public vote, the Delaware bested five other candidates in an online contest that saw more than 10,000 ballots cast from across the state. The Delaware received 2,520 votes.

"The Delaware River is the longest un-dammed river east of the Mississippi and is steeped in history, diverse in resources, and is vital to protect," Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary John Quigley said. "Its waters serve the needs of more than 15 million people from four different states, including more than 5 million Pennsylvanians. It boasts the largest freshwater port in the world, as well as threatened and endangered species, and a thriving tourism industry.

"A goal of the River of the Year designation is to raise awareness of the river and its conservation needs. The public voting format used to nominate and select the River of the Year for the first time this year certainly generated local enthusiasm for conservation and recognition of the importance of our waterways," Quigley said.

The five other finalists were: Clarion River, Conewango Creek, Kiskiminetas River, Pine Creek, and the Stonycreek River.

DCNR and the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers, or POWR, administer the River of the Year program. Local organizations submit nominations.

"Although we could only have one winner, each of the waterways that were nominated is special and important in its own way," Quigley said. "Congratulations to all the local groups who nominated their rivers, and rallied support for them not only for this vote, but through all of their activities and advocacy."
POWR helps train and organize local watershed associations, as well as the groups who lead a dozen sojourns on rivers around the state each year.

"The Delaware River is simply an incredible resource – not just for Pennsylvania, but for the nation as a whole," said POWR Executive Director Jon Meade. "To honor it with the River of the Year award reflects the importance of preservation to those who live near it and experience it every day."

There are a number of organizations that work in partnership to support conservation and recreation activities along the Delaware, including: the Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC); Delaware Canal State Park; National Canoe Safety Patrol; National Park Service; and Upper Delaware Preservation Coalition.

These groups will organize several events throughout the year, including the 17th annual Sojourn paddling trip, a symposium, photo contest and river legacy fundraiser. The eight-day sojourn will include educational programs, and give paddlers a chance to experience the Delaware River to encourage greater understanding of the river and stewardship needs.

"On behalf of the steering committee and all our partners, I would like to thank everyone who voted for the Delaware. Having the Delaware be Pennsylvania's 2011 River of the Year is truly an honor, especially since it is the people's choice and with this the DRBC's 50th Anniversary year," said Kate O'Hara, co-coordinator of the Delaware Sojourn Steering Committee. "This designation will not only showcase the Delaware and all it has to offer, but also highlight the numerous organizations, agencies, and individual volunteers who work together to protect and enhance the river for future generations."

The Delaware also will be celebrated with an annual Rivers Month poster issued in June.

Pennsylvania's River of the Year has been presented annually since 1983.

For more sojourn event information, visit POWR's website at www.pawatersheds.org or contact Jon Meade at info@pawatersheds.org.

To learn more about DCNR's Rivers Program, visit www.dcnr.state.pa.us/brc/rivers.

Media contacts: Christina Novak or Terry Brady, 717-772-9101

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

2011 The Year of the River

American Rivers, a leading conservation organization based out of Washington, DC is calling 2011 The Year of the River. Founded in 1973, American Rivers has been working to bring awareness to the plight of our nations river systems and has led successful campaigns to restore and protect over 100,000 miles of rivers and streams.

American Rivers is active coast to coast, working to bring back rivers from their dammed state to being once again free flowing. From the Penobscot in to the White Salmon and Elwa in Washington, American Rivers is working to restore water quality, fish and wildlife on these valuable waterways.

In Washington, Olympic National Park is the headwaters for the Elwa River. For 100 years dams on this river have hindered the migration of steelhead trout and six species of Pacific salmon. With American Rivers help more than $50 million has been secured to remove the Glines Canyon Dam and the Elwa Dam. This will open over 70 miles of habitat to migrating fish from the Puget Sound. Upon it's completion, the Glines Canyon Dam will be the highest dam ever removed from a river.

The White Salmon River is a tributary to the Columbia River. American Rivers is working with its partners to dismantle the Condit Dam. This dam has been impeding salmon and steelhead migration for the last 75 years. It's removal will open up over 45 miles of migratory fish habitat.

Over on the east coast Maine's Penobscot River will see two dams removed and a bypass channel constructed around a third. The dams to become history are the Veazie and Great Works. Howland Dam will see the bypass channel. This will restore over 1,000 miles of river habitat to New England's second largest river system. The Penobscot River is widely known for its abundant fisheries and these improvements will go a long way to enhancing them.

The Chesapeake Bay is the crown jewel of the Mid Atlantic proving valuable spawning and nursery habitat for many fish species. This system has suffered through the years from the manipulation and pollution of its tributaries that feed it with its life giving water. Maryland's Patapsco River is one of these damaged tributaries. Here, the removal of the Simkins and Union dams is expected to improve water quality and fisheries while also contributing to the improvement of the Chesapeake Bay.

Join American Rivers in celebrating 2011 as "The Year of the River" by supporting these important projects but just as important, supporting and helping with river restoration projects in your own community, state or region.

Monday, January 10, 2011

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to Conserve Working Lands and Wildlife Habitat in the Everglades Headwaters

The US Fish & Wildlife Service is planning to develop a new national wildlife refuge in the headwaters of Florida's Everglades.  The motivation for this refuge comes from a desire to protect the fish and wildlife of the Everglades while also conserving the local community's ranching heritage.

The size of the refuge and conservation area is planned to be 150,000 acres with 100,000 of those acres to be left in private ownership. A study is currently being done in the Kissimmee River Valley south of Orlando, FL.

“The Everglades rural working ranch landscapes are an important piece of our nation’s history and economy, and this initiative would work to ensure that they remain vital for our future,” Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said in making this announcement.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson concurred with Seretary Salazar stating, "This is an important first step aimed at preserving and protecting thousands of acres vital to the Everglades." Adding, "Projects like this will ensure future generations will be able to benefit from and enjoy the River of Grass."

Dozens of partners have joined with the US Fish & Wildlife Service, including;  the Florida Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services; Florida Department of Environmental Protection; Florida Division of State Lands; Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; Osceola County Parks Division; South Florida Water Management District; National Wildlife Refuge Association; The Nature Conservancy; U.S. Air Force - Avon Park Air Force Range; and the U.S. Department of Agriculture - Natural Resource Conservation Service.

To read more about this proposed refuge sytem in southern Florida read the official press release:  http://www.doi.gov/news/pressreleases/Salazar-Announces-Initiative-to-Conserve-Working-Lands-and-Wildlife-Habitat-in-the-Everglades-Headwaters.cfm

Museum Holds Annual Fly Fest & IceCapades

On February 12, 2011 from 10 AM to 4 PM The Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum in Livingston Manor, NY is again hosting their annual Fly Fest and IceCapades. This is the fourth year for the Fly Fest and the second year for the IceCapades.

Dump the winter blues and cure your cabin fever by joining over 50 fly tiers who come form all over the northeast to get together for some fun, share their new patterns and techniques and tell some stories of fish caught and lost.

If you like ice fishing then you'll like the IceCapades where anglers willing to brave the cold try their luck ice fishing the museums pond where large yellow perch and brown trout lurk under the frozen surface. A member will be on hand to drill your ice fishing hole or drill your own with the hand auger that will be made available. Participants are encouraged to make a minimum $5 donation to fund children's educational programs. Mike Canazon, Jan Weido and CFFCM friends from the Mid Hudson Trout Unlimited will be running this event.

Fly Fest is sponsored by the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum, Catskill Flies and ClassicTrout.com

Mid Winter Fly Fishing Update & News

Cross Current Guide Service & Outfitters
Capt. Joe Demalderis
2010 Orvis Endorsed Freshwater Guide of the Year
607-241-7000 or 914-475-6779 cell
It never ceases to amaze me how the New Year sneaks up on us.  The season begins in April chasing rainbows and browns on the Upper Delaware and with a few diversions for striped bass, false albacore, bluefish and steelhead, bang, we're shouting "Happy New Year!".

It’s a good thing January hurries and arrives each year. It catches us off guard after a busy year of meeting many new fish.  The colder days the month brings makes it the perfect time to take a short break and reflect back on the past year. It also allows time to look forward to the coming season with all the exciting new plans laid down.  Relaxing hours spent at the tying vise daydreaming of hungry fish with the completion of each new fly.

2010 was as interesting as any with some spectacular days on the water and other days that presented a host of challenges not all that different from other years.  The one common denominator on each and every day was the camaraderie and the good times we shared.

This coming season there are a few new things coming up.  First, not really new, but worth mentioning again is our trip to Patagonia this February.  We’ll be hosting several weeks at different locations in Chile. If you’re interested in coming along drop an email or call for more details.  There's only a couple of spots open.

This summer is a trip fishing for Atlantic salmon on the Gaspe peninsula in Quebec with our good friend, Glenn LeGrande at his Camp Bonaventure Lodge.  This is an excellent Atlantic salmon destination with access to some outstanding water, top notch guides and excellent food and lodging.  A trip not to be missed!  Drop a note to crosscurrent@optonline.net if you want to learn more.

We’ve added a new guide to our Delaware River line up.  Ryan Furtak will be joining us this coming season.  Some of you know Ryan from Border Waters Fly Shop where he’s worked the last couple of seasons and from guiding on the Lake Erie tributaries also.  Check the guide page on our website where Ryan’s complete bio will be posted in the near future.  Ryan is a hard working, personable and knowledgeable guide whose training as an engineer at Penn State University has him paying attention to the details others often miss.

Some “reel” excitement comes with the unveiling of the Double Haul Club.  This has been a yearlong project that has finally come together. We’ll be sending out a separate announcement real soon, but briefly the Club will provide its members with many benefits including discounts on goods and services, savings on sporting travel, and private access on the Upper Delaware and other locations. All the information will be available at the two fly fishing shows we'll be at this winter or drop us a note at crosscurrent@optonline.net for more info.

We’ll be at the Somerset, NJ Fly Fishing Show January 21, 22, 23, 2011 and at the new Philadelphia Fly Fishing Show on March 5, 6, 2011.  Coz is a featured “ fly fishing celebrity” at both shows joining the likes of Lefty Kreh, Cathy & Barry Beck, Dave Whitlock, Conway Bowman and others.  Come and check out Coz’s informative and entertaining presentation, then stop by our booth for a visit and learn about the new programs we’re offering.

Joe Demalderis