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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Much On PA Fish Commission's Agenda for April Meeting

Fish & Boat Commission to Hold Quarterly Business Meeting
Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) will hold its spring quarterly meeting on April 11-12 at its Harrisburg office.
Commission committees will meet beginning at 10:15 a.m. on Monday, April 11, and again at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, April 12. Formal consideration of the agenda by the full Commission will begin at approximately 11:20 a.m. on Tuesday, April 12. All committee meetings and the formal meeting are open to the public.
Commissioners will address a variety of issues during Tuesday’s formal meeting, including:
  • A recommendation to place permanent catch and release regulations on smallmouth and largemouth bass in portions of the Susquehanna and Juniata rivers in order to reduce fishing mortality. The regulations have been in place since January 1 under a temporary order issued by PFBC Executive Director John Arway;
  • A proposal related to the above-mentioned bass regulations which would extend the regulations to a point one-half mile upstream from the mouth of all tributaries within the affected areas of the Susquehanna and Juniata rivers. The proposal would also create a closed season during the bass spawning period. If approved through a final rulemaking, these amendments would take effect Jan. 1, 2012;     
  • A recommendation to acquire property rights along Elk Creek in Fairview Township, Erie County. Acquiring the property would provide anglers with increased access to this popular steelhead fishery;
  • A recommendation to renew a property lease at Franklin County’s Letterkenny Reservoir, an approved trout water which is heavily used by anglers;
  • A proposal to require mandatory life jacket use during the cold weather months from November 1 through April 30 for anyone operating a canoe, kayak or motorboat 16 feet or less, including when boats are anchored;
  • A recommendation to remove the “slow, no wake” designations on Hawns Run Cove and Anderson Bay in Raystown Lake;
  • A recommendation to approve a grant to the Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited of $10,000 per fiscal year for the next three fiscal years to further expand the Trout in the Classroom program;
  • A recommendation to approve a final rulemaking order which would allow anglers to use three rods when fishing. Current regulations allow for the use of two rods;
  • A proposal to add 99 new water to the list of wild trout streams; and
  • Proposals to renew a grant with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to support the Conowingo Dam fish lift on the west side of the Susquehanna River; and award a grant to American Rivers, Inc. to remove the Norristown Farm Park Dam on Stony Creek, Montgomery County and enhance habitat.        
A complete copy of the meeting schedule and the full agenda for the meeting can be found on the Commission’s web site at www.fishandboat.com/minutes.htm.   

Sunday, March 27, 2011

2009 Fishing License Sales Show Increase

Overall 2009 Recreational Fishing License Sales Up

Sales up 4.7 percent according to industry state license sales index…

Alexandria, VA – In 2009 more anglers got out of the house and out on the water as fishing license sales rose by 4.7 percent in states that participate in the fishing license sales index released by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) and the American Sportfishing Association (ASA). Florida, Minnesota, North Carolina and Texas, four of the 12 participating states, are among the top ten states in terms of the impact anglers have on the nation’s economy.

The 12-state index represents recreational fishing in the United States. Eight of those states recorded higher license sales increases from January through December of 2009 over the previous year, according to Southwick Associates, a research firm that monitored the license sales information.

“Although the RBFF/ASA Fishing License Sales Index is a strong indicator of fishing license sales, it isn’t an exact measure of all fishing license sales nationally. However, should the 4.7 percent rise hold true nationwide, it would represent one of the largest percentage increases in fishing license sales in over 30 years,” said ASA President and CEO Mike Nussman.

“We feel confident that our national Take Me Fishing™ direct mail marketing program and other efforts designed to reach lapsed anglers contributed to the 2009 rise in fishing license sales,” said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson.

According to Southwick Associates, fishing license sales increased at a faster rate in the first quarter of 2009 compared to the second quarter. Increases of 20 percent or more were common in the first quarter. However, a larger volume of sales occurred in the second quarter – the peak period for license sales nationally – and had the greatest effect on 2009 sales. In general, more fishing licenses are sold during the second quarter (April, May, June) than any other time of the year. Although the growth rate for license sales eased slightly in the latter half of the year, sales were still up for a majority of states in the index.

State natural resource agencies reporting license sales numbers in 2009 include Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas and Utah. They were selected on their ability to provide consistent license sales data to illustrate both a national and regional perspective. As more states expand their data reporting capacity, the number of reporting states will increase. For participating coastal states, adjustments were made to account for new federal saltwater license requirements that went into effect in 2009.

“The typical angler spends $176 a year on just fishing tackle alone and contributes over $40 annually to conservation via license dollars and excise taxes. When the license sales index moves by just a tenth of a point, 40,000 anglers have entered or quit sportfishing. Even a small uptick in the index represents big changes in recreational fishing participation,” said Nussman.

“While more people fishing is good news, what’s key to growing the sport is keeping them coming back every year and introducing newcomers at the same time. RBFF’s Take Me Fishing Web site, our education outreach and other integrated marketing efforts will continue to work to accomplish this goal,” said Peterson.

Ultimately, anglers, and other sportsmen and women, are the most significant funding source for conservation in the United States. Through the purchase of fishing licenses and special excise taxes on gear and motorboat fuel, hundreds of millions of anglers’ dollars each year are collected or funneled to states for conservation and recreation. In 2008, $720 million of these excise taxes were distributed for fisheries management and recreational boating enhancement. In addition, fishing license sales generated $600 million in revenue for state fish and wildlife agencies.

About the American Sportfishing Association
 The American Sportfishing Association (ASA) is the sportfishing industry’s trade association, committed to looking out for the interests of the entire sportfishing community. We give the industry a unified voice speaking out when emerging laws and policies could significantly affect sportfishing business or sportfishing itself. We invest in long-term ventures to ensure the industry will remain strong and prosperous as well as safeguard and promote the enduring economic and conservation values of sportfishing in America. ASA also represents the interests of America’s 60 million anglers who generate over $45 billion in retail sales with a $125 billion impact on the nation’s economy creating employment for over one million people.

About the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation
The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase participation in recreational angling and boating, thereby protecting and restoring the nation’s aquatic natural resources. RBFF helps people discover, share and protect the legacy of boating and fishing through national outreach programs including the Take Me Fishing™ campaign and Anglers’ Legacy™.

About Southwick Associates
Southwick Associates, located in Fernandina Beach, Fla., specializes in fish and wildlife economics and related business statistics.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Atlantic Menhaden Board Wants to Increase Numbers and Spawning Stock

ASMFC Atlantic Menhaden Board Initiates Addendum to Increase Abundance and Spawning Stock Biomass

Arlington, VA – The Commission’s Atlantic Menhaden Management Board initiated a draft addendum proposing an interim biological reference point of 15% maximum spawning potential (MSP) with the goal of increasing abundance, spawning stock biomass, and menhaden availability as a forage species. The MSP approach identifies the fishing mortality rate necessary to maintain a given level of stock fecundity (number of mature ova) relative to the potential maximum stock fecundity under unfished conditions. In this case, a 15% MSP would equate to a fishing mortality rate threshold required to maintain approximately 15% of virgin stock fecundity. The current MSP level is 9%. The draft addendum will also include a suite of management measures to achieve 15% MSP.

At the same time, the Board placed a high priority on continuing work on developing ecosystem reference points using a multispecies modeling approach (MSVPA). Ecosystem reference points are expected to address the forage needs of menhaden’s predator species such as striped bass, weakfish, and bluefish. This work is anticipated to take a few years.

The Board received an update on the revised 2009 Atlantic menhaden stock assessment, which finds the stock is not overfished but is experiencing overfishing in 2008. Given the current overfishing definition, which sets the fishing mortality rate (F) target at 0.61 and the F threshold at 1.25, this is the first time overfishing has occurred since 1998 (see figure on next page). F in 2008 (the latest year in the assessment)is estimated at 1.26. This change in stock status is a result of a corrected error in the code of the stock assessment model. No other significant changes in estimated stock trends were identified in the stock assessment. The Board accepted the corrected stock assessment for management use.

The Board will review and consider approval of the the draft addendum for public comment at the Commission’s Summer Meeting in August. If approved, the draft addendum will be released for public comment in late summer, with state public hearings occurring throughout early fall. Final Board approval of the addendum could happen in November at the Commission’s Annual Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts.

For more information, please contact Toni Kerns, Senior FMP Coordinator, at tkerns@asmfc.org or 703/842-0740.

ASMFC Atlantic Striped Bass Board Initiates Addendum to Reduce Fishing Mortality

Alexandria, VA – The Commission’s Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board has initiated development of Draft Addendum III with the goals of reducing striped bass fishing mortality (F) up to 40% and further protecting spawning stock when it is concentrated and vulnerable. The addendum was initiated in order to allow managers to promptly respond to the results of the stock assessment update in the fall if necessary. Provisions of the addendum, if passed, could be implemented prior to the start of the 2012 fishing year.

The Board’s action responds to recent trends in the fishery and resource, including a 66% decline in estimated recreational catch from 2006 to 2009; a 25% decline in estimated striped bass abundance from 2004 to 2008; and lowered recruitment in recent years. Additionally, states in the northern extent of the fishery have expressed concern over decreased availability of striped bass as a result of the diminished water quality in the Chesapeake Bay during the summer months that may also contribute to increased prevalence of mycobacteriosis in striped bass.

Draft Addendum III will propose a range of fishing management measures including, but not limited to, adjustments to commercial and recreational minimum size (for jurisdictions outside Chesapeake Bay and Albemarle Sound/Roanoke River), reductions in annual coastal commercial allocation, reductions in recreational bag limits, revisions to the target F rate (for Chesapeake Bay and Albemarle Sound/Roanoke
River), and reductions on fishing for striped bass in known spawning areas during the spawning season by at least 50% (for jurisdictions bordering the Hudson River, Delaware River, Chesapeake Bay and
Albemarle Sound/Roanoke River).

The commercial and recreational fishery is currently managed through Amendment 6 to the Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan. The Amendment, passed in 2003, allocates the coastal commercial quota and set a two fish bag limit and a 28 inch size minimum for the recreational fishery, with the exception of the Chesapeake Bay fisheries, Albemarle Sound/Roanoke River fisheries, and states with approved alternative regulations.

The Draft Addendum will be developed for preliminary review by the Atlantic Striped Bass Management Board in August. For more information, please contact Kate Taylor, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, at ktaylor@asmfc.org or 703.842.0740.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Feds Add Bighead Carp to Federal List of Injurious Wildlife

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will publish a final rule in the Federal Register on March 22, officially adding the bighead carp to the federal injurious wildlife list. The final rule codifies the Asian Carp Prevention and Control Act (S. 1421), signed into law by President Obama on December 14, 2010. The injurious wildlife listing means that under the Lacey Act it is illegal to import or to transport live bighead carp, including viable eggs or hybrids of the species, across state lines, except by permit for zoological, education, medical, or scientific purposes.

Under the Lacey Act, an injurious wildlife listing means the species has been demonstrated to be harmful to either the health and welfare of humans, interests of forestry, agriculture, or horticulture, or the welfare and survival of wildlife or the resources that wildlife depend upon. The penalty for violating the Lacey Act is up to six months in prison and a $5,000 fine for an individual or a $10,000 fine for an organization.

Curbing interstate transport of live bighead carp promotes the federal government's goal of preventing the carp's spread into new lakes and rivers in the United States, where it can have devastating effects on native species. The Service listed other Asian carps (the black carp, silver carp, and largescale silver carp) as injurious wildlife in 2007.

Bighead carp were imported from eastern China to Arkansas in the 1970s to improve water quality in aquaculture ponds and sewage treatment lagoons. The fish, which can grow to 60 or more pounds, have since spread through the Mississippi River basin and have been collected as far north as Lake Pepin in Minnesota. Because of their large size and abundance, bighead carp routinely out-compete native fish for food. If bighead carp enter the Great Lakes and become established, they potentially threaten the 1.5 million jobs and $62 billion in wages connected to the Great Lakes.

The bighead carp injurious wildlife listing is just one of many steps the federal government is taking to protect the country's aquatic ecosystems from Asian carp. On December 16, 2010, the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee (RCC) released an updated version of the Asian Carp Control Strategy Framework. The RCC represents a state and federal partnership dedicated to stopping the spread of all types of injurious Asian carp, including bighead, into the Great Lakes.

For more information on how the Service is working with partners to control Asian carp, please visit http://www.fws.gov/midwest/Fisheries/asian-carp.html.

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.

Monday, March 21, 2011

2011 Spiny Dogfish Quota Increased Proposed

NOAA’s Fisheries Service Proposes 33 Percent Increase for 2011 Spiny Dogfish Quota
The spiny dogfish has been blamed by many sport and recreational fisherman as a contributor to the decease in many bottom fish species due to their large numbers and voracious appetite.  Whether that claim is true or not has been a subject of debate between some fisherman and fisheries managers for quite a few years.

The announcement by NOAA Fisheries to increase the spiny dogfish quota by 33% is sure to be welcome news to the many anglers who regard this species a nuisance.  The few commercial fisherman who fish for them should enjoy the additional opportunity an increase in the harvest quota will bring.  Other commercial groundfish fishermen will welcome the additional income spiny dogfish will provide to their current fisheries.

The spiny dogfish is a small schooling shark that will form schools of thousands of individuals preying on any smaller fish in their path.  Once one of the most numerous shark in the ocean, the spiny dogfish was commercially fished to very low numbers prompting a call for international attention.

Though never highly regraded as a food fish in the US, the dogfish is marketed in Europe under various names and was a popular fish in England's fish & chip restaurants.  In France it was found in fish markets as samounette (small salmon).

NOAA Fisheries updated the stock assessment of spiny dogfish in the Fall of 2010 and determined that the fish was not being overfished and that the stocks were healthy.

Members of the public are invited to comment by April 18 by no later than 5:00 pm EDT:

Online: http://www.regulations.gov

Fax: 978–281–9135, Attn: Lindsey Feldman

Mail: Patricia A. Kurkul, regional administrator
NOAA’s Fisheries Service
Northeast Regional Office
55 Great Republic Drive,
Gloucester, MA 01930.
Mark the outside of the envelope: ''Comments on 2011 Dogfish Specifications.''

Winter Fish Kills Expected to Increase

DEC Advises Public on the Potential for "Winterkills" on Area Waters

Small Nutrient-Rich Waters Most Vulnerable

As the ice melts across the state, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) expects to get increasing reports of fish kills in small ponds. Reports of fish mortalities have already been received from some small waters in the southeastern portions of the state.

Whenever large numbers of dead fish are observed, there is concern that a pesticide spill or disease caused the mortality. However, in most cases fish kills that become obvious when the ice melts can be attributed to "Winterkill," a natural phenomenon that occurs when waters rich in nutrients, algae, and other aquatic plants are covered with ice and snow for long periods of time.

Winterkills occur when ice and snow prevent sunlight from entering the pond and prevent aquatic plants from producing oxygen, necessary to maintain life in the pond. The ice cover also prevents oxygen from mixing into the pond's waters from the atmosphere. Instead, the decomposition of organic matter and respiration of aquatic organisms in the pond cause a steady decline in oxygen. If the snow and ice cover persists long enough, as was the case in some state waters this year, fish mortalities can occur. Once the ice melts, hundreds of dead fish can be found floating at the pond surface. Winterkills are most common in small, shallow, nutrient-rich ponds with plentiful decaying aquatic vegetation. Winterkills are rare in waters over 20 acres in size and do not occur in larger lakes which have sufficient volumes of oxygen rich water to maintain aquatic life through even the worst of winters.

Winterkills are rarely complete as different fish species and sizes of fish have varying tolerances to low oxygen levels. Some fish also find isolated locations of sufficient oxygen in ponds to hold them through low oxygen periods. Fish populations in these waters often rebound a few years after the fish kill occurred.

Anyone noting a fish kill involving a substantial number of fish that they believe cannot be attributed to Winterkill should contact their local DEC regional office.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

New Plan for Pennsylvania's Major Rivers

The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission (PFBC) has put together a draft management plan fro each or its three major river systems.  This is good news for a state who is said to have more miles of streams and creeks than any other state in the lower forty-eight.  Now, for the first time, Pennsylvania proposes to manage each major river system separately instead of simply lumping them in with the rest.

The unique challenges and environments of these rivers that ultimately feed such diverse habitats as the Delaware Bay, Chesapeake Bay and the Gulf of Mexico need to have their own individual management plan and it's good news the PFBC has recognized this and stepped up to the challenge.

The commission has put together a draft management on each of these rivers, the Delaware, Susquehanna, and the Three Rivers in the western part of the state.  These three western rivers, the Ohio, Allegheny and Monongahela.  The Allegheny and Monogahela join to form the Ohio and their interrelationship in fisheries and historic use lend itself to treat these rivers as one.

The Management Plans for these rivers can be found online on the PFBC website at the following links:

Delaware River Management Plan

Susquehanna River Management Plan

Three Rivers Management Plan

Public comments are encouraged on each of this plans and the commission provides a convenient online form for this purpose at the end of each plan proposal.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

One Bug Fundraising Event on the Upper Delaware River

The Friends of the Upper Delaware River (FUDR) are once again hosting their annual One Bug Fly Fishing Tournament and Dinner.  This year the date is set for April 29 through May 1.
Saturday and Sunday are the tournament dates where each contestant is limited to using just one fly each day, hence the name One Bug.  You can find out more about the tournament and the rules on FUDR's website, http://fudr.org  Entries in the tournament are limited.

The event kicks off with a banquet and auction on Friday evening, April 29 at the Old Capital Theater located at 170 East Front St., Hancock, NY. This event is open to anyone who would like to come out for an evening and support the important conservation work FUDR is doing. Tickets can be purchased separate from the tournament by simply sending an email to: sherr@fudr.org

The Banquet & Auction include an excellent buffet dinner and open bar.  Come join the fun and do your part for the conservation of this wonderful river system.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declares eastern cougar extinct

The US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) has proposed removing the eastern cougar from the endangered species list because the have determined the species is extinct.  If you think about it, if a couple of the cats are lurking about the hidden recesses of the eastern mountains and some knucklehead harms them, the cougars have no special protection anymore.  I don't know why they can't be declared extinct and left on the endangered species list.  It's tough to be more endangered than extinct.

Cougars are sighted in the east every so often and I personally know some people who swear they have seen one.  From time to time pictures of a cougar pop up on suspect emails and there is more than one website touting their existence. The USFWS explain these sighting as being that of either western sub species that wandered across the Mississippi or of a South American cougars that have escaped from or been released from captivity.

The eastern cougar doesn't include the Florida panther, a separate subspecies, whose numbers have dwindled to just 120 animals in southwest Florida.  Their historic range was the southeast US, but now occupy less than 5% of their historic range.

According to Dr. Mark McCollough, the Service’s lead scientist for the eastern cougar, the subspecies of eastern cougar has likely been extinct since the 1930s.

Native Trout Fare Best When Dams Use Natural Stream Flow Management Practices

The USGS just released a study where they found that native trout populations, especially in the upper Columbia River Basin which was the location for the study, do better when the rivers flow regimes aren't messed up by dams.  Go figure...

The study focused on native bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout that have been on a decline in their native ranges.

Here's a link to the USGS page that gives more details on the study.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Arctic Seals Seen in Northeast Waters

Spring is Pupping Season for Seals
NOAA reported today that there has been a large influx of harp seals into Northeast region waters. Harp seals typically are found from the Arctic to the southeast coast of Atlantic Canada, but they have been known to venture much further south.

"In the spring, the Western North Atlantic harp seal population migrates to the waters around Newfoundland and Gulf of St. Lawrence to give birth to their young on pack ice," said Gordon Waring, who leads the seal program at NOAA's Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass. "However, in the past few years, we've seen an increasing number of adult and juvenile harp seals in U.S. waters from Maine to New Jersey in the spring." 

So far this year, the most southerly reported sightings have occurred off North Carolina, while last year there were seven harp seal sightings reported off Virginia during this same time period. Two juvenile harp seals recovered from New York beaches by the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation were fitted with satellite tags in February. As of March 7, these animals were reported to be in the deep waters of Hudson Canyon, having travelled distances of 213 miles and 155 miles respectively.

"Harp seals, like other more common harbor and gray seals found in local waters, shouldn't be approached or disturbed," said Mendy Garron, marine mammal stranding coordinator for the Northeast Region of NOAA Fisheries Service "Even though they look cute, these are wild animals and getting too close puts the animal, humans and pets at risk."

A disturbed seal can bite and even transmit diseases like distemper virus or rabies to humans and pets. In other instances, a disturbed seal may abandon its pup to flee an approaching human or dog.

Under federal law it is illegal and punishable by law to pick up, handle or interact with free-swimming, dead or beached marine protected species. This includes seals, whales, dolphins, porpoise, sea turtles and manatees. Penalties for harassing these animals can be up to $50,000 and a year in jail.

What to do when encountering a sick or abandoned seal on a beach:
  • Stay at least 150 feet away from it. Pup's mothers may be just around the corner.
  • Don't handle it, and keep other people and dogs away. Call NOAA Fisheries Service's stranding hotline at 1-866-755-NOAA (6622), or a local marine mammal stranding network member or visit NOAA's Northeast Region website (http://www.nero.noaa.gov/prot_res/stranding) for local contact information. To report violations or for more information on NOAA's Office of Law Enforcement call the toll-free number: 1-800-853-1964.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Million Dead Sardines

In Redondo Beach, California what appeared to be an environmental disaster may turn out to be nothing more than a natural occurrence according to Andrew Hughan, spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Game, saying "It looks like Armageddon, but it really isn't. It's a sad, unfortunate event."

It's believed ocean storm conditions forced large schools of sardines inshore where overcrowding depleted oxygen levels causing the small silvery fish to die.

The Orvis Company Announces Winners of its Commitment to Protect Nature Grants for 2011

Manchester, VT- The Orvis Company announced today the winners of their Commitment to Protect Nature Grants for 2011. Every year, Orvis reviews projects submitted from around the world. From those submissions Orvis chooses the best ones to share with their customers in matching grant campaigns in their catalogs and online. This year’s projects reach around the globe and include: Protection of the endangered black rhino of Zimbabwe and of the Coral Triangle fishery at the intersection of the Indian and Pacific Oceans; as well as restoration of Montana’s famous Upper Clark Fork River and of the dwindling Florida panther populations. 

“The Orvis Company believes that if we are to benefit from the use of our natural resources, we must commit to protecting them. The winners this year exemplify that commitment,” said Orvis CEO Perk Perkins. Perkins recently received the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership’s Lifetime Conservation Achievement Award  "We are pleased to endorse these projects to our customers.”

This year’s winners are:

- The
International Rhino Foundation ; The IRF is on the front lines in Zimbabwe protecting rhinos from poachers who have nearly wiped out the species. The IRF  may be all that stands between the black rhino and extinction.

The World Wildlife Fund’s Coral Triangle Initiative ; The Coral Triangle harbors 75 percent of all known coral species and  some 3,000 species of reef fish. WWF is teaching sustainable fishing practices to keep the “Amazon of the ocean” alive and thriving.

The Clark Fork Coalition; Named by
Meriwether Lewis after William Clark (both of the famed Lewis and Clark Expedition), The Clark Fork river is in dire trouble. The Clark Fork River Coalition and Trout Unlimited have teamed up in one of the most historic restoration efforts in our country's history to restore vital trout spawning tributaries.

National Wildlife Refuge Association's Northern Everglades Program ; Florida’s northern everglades region is home to some of the nation’s most threatened or endangered animal species, including the Florida panther. Orvis is helping to sponsor creation of a new refuge in the everglades to ensure some of our nation's most endangered species live on for future generations.

For the remainder of 2011, Orvis will match donations to the above efforts and reach out to its customers through both catalog and the Internet  to encourage support. You can learn more about the Orvis Commitment to protecting nature and doubling your donation to these worthy and vital organizations  at

About The Orvis CommitmentFounded in 1856, Orvis donates five percent of pre-tax profits each year to programs that protect nature and has raised over 10 million dollars through matching grant challenges with its customers over the last 20 years. You can read more about Orvis on their website at www.orvis.com

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

NY Senate Confirmation of DEC Commissioner and others...

Governor Cuomo Announces Unanimous Senate Confirmation of DEC, DOT, Parks & Rec, Taxation & Finance Commissioners

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the State Senate unanimously confirmed his selections for Commissioners of Environmental Conservation, Transportation, Tax and Finance, and Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

"I applaud the legislature for recognizing the talent and dedication to public service possessed by these individuals," Governor Cuomo said. "We are rebuilding the state of New York to make it work for the people and this team of hard-working leaders will contribute great things to our state. I look forward to working with each of them as we usher in a new New York."

Joseph Martens will serve as Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation. Beginning in 1998, Mr. Martens served as President of the Open Space Institute, directing and overseeing land acquisition, sustainable development, historic preservation, and farmland protection. Previously, Mr. Martens served as Deputy Secretary to the Governor for Energy and the Environment from 1992-94. He has served as Chair of the Olympic Regional Development Authority and the Adirondack Lake Survey Corporation. Mr. Martens studied Resource Economics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and received an M.S. in Resource Management from the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry based out of Syracuse University.

Commissioner Martens said, "Governor Cuomo has been a steadfast advocate for environmental protection and I am proud to stand with him in that mission. The challenges we face will be many but the decisions that are made will be based on a simple principle – let's leave a cleaner environment for our children than the one we inherited."

Senator Mark Grisanti, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environmental Conservation, said, "Commissioner Martens will be a strong voice for environmental stewardship and for the preservation and enhancement of New York's natural resources. He is very receptive to input from all sides of the aisle and he has a thorough understanding of the issues facing the environmental community today. In addition, Joe has made it clear that his number one priority is making the DEC a business friendly department. I have full confidence in Commissioner Martens and look forward to working with him and the Governor."

Senator Tony Avella, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environmental Conservation, said, "I applaud Governor Cuomo's selection of Joe Martens as Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation. At a time when many of our State's most vital natural resources are threatened by pollution and contamination, it is important that we have a strong and competent leader with an extensive resume of environmental protection to head this agency. Mr. Martens' history of environmental stewardship in this regard gives me hope that the DEC will be alert and actively involved in protecting our beautiful State in the battles ahead."

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. said. "Joseph Martens is the right person at the right time to lead the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation into a new era. His career of public service and advocacy for responsible and achievable environmental stewardship is unequaled, and showcases a true passion for New York's resources. I applaud Governor Cuomo for his selection and the state Senate for its swift confirmation of Mr. Martens."

Joan McDonald will serve as Commissioner of the State Department of Transportation. Ms. McDonald most recently served as the Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development. In 2008, she was appointed Chair of Connecticut Innovations, an authority providing development capital to emerging businesses. Prior to that, she was the Senior Vice President of Transportation for the New York City Economic Development Corporation and Vice President of Jacobs Engineering. Ms. McDonald also served as Deputy Commissioner for Planning & Traffic Operations for the New York City Department of Transportation and as the Director of Capital and Long Range Planning for the MTA Metro-North Railroad. She served as Special Assistant to the Speaker of the New York State Assembly from 1991-1992 and began her career in public service with the Assembly in 1978. Ms. McDonald received a Bachelor of Arts in English from Lemoyne College and a Master's Degree in Public Administration from the John F Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Commissioner McDonald said, "Rebuilding New York's economy begins with maintaining and growing our transportation infrastructure. DOT will continue to look for ways to operate more efficiently while delivering the services that are vital to keeping New York moving. I thank Governor Cuomo for giving me this important opportunity and I look forward to working with him to ensure our entire transportation system remains strong."

Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., Chairman of the Senate's Transportation Committee, said, "Commissioner of the Department of Transportation is a position which carries an enormous amount of responsibility because millions of people depend on our transportation infrastructure every day to get to and from work, conduct business, and go about their lives. Commissioner McDonald has a strong background and will bring a wealth of professional experience to her new position. She is well qualified to lead the Department of Transportation, and I look forward to working with her."

Senator Martin Malave Dilan, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Transportation, said, "The Department of Transportation provides an essential service to our state and must be managed by a capable, intelligent and innovative individual who understands the intricacies of New York's infrastructure. Furthermore, Commissioner McDonald is familiar with the fundamental need to find efficiencies and prioritize within the department. I look forward to working with both the Governor and Commissioner, and congratulate her on the confirmation."

Jay Simson, President of the American Council of Engineering Companies, New York, said, "The Department of Transportation's role in New Yorkers' everyday lives is prevalent. It takes a dedicated expert who knows how the state functions and can address challenges head-on. Joan McDonald has great experience in the public and private sectors and is an excellent choice to lead this agency. New York's travelers will be in good hands under her leadership. I congratulate the Governor and Joan on this confirmation."

Thomas H. Mattox will serve as the Commissioner of the Department of Taxation and Finance. Mr. Mattox worked at Goldman Sachs & Co. for nine years, where he served as a Managing Director in the Finance Division, and Chief of Staff in both the Controller and Finance and Resources Divisions. Mr. Mattox also served as a Senior Vice President of Chase Manhattan Bank and as a consultant at Monitor Company for two years. Mr. Mattox has also served as treasurer of the Harvard Club in New York City. Mr. Mattox has an AB from Harvard College and MBA from Stanford University Graduate School of Business.

Commissioner Mattox said, "I look forward to working with Governor Cuomo to develop a more efficient state agency that delivers results for the people of New York. It is an honor and privilege to be a part of his administration and to be associated with the hardworking professionals at Taxation and Finance."

Senator Carl L Marcellino, Chairman of the Senate Investigations and Government Operations Committee said, "Commissioner Mattox has demonstrated that he is both qualified and ready to meet the unique challenges that will face the department going forward. His experience and willingness to serve the state will be an asset during these difficult financial times. I look forward to working with Commissioner Mattox."

Senator Daniel L. Squadron, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Investigations and Government Operations, said, "In this fiscal crisis, New York needs expert hands to help our state recover. In Commissioner Mattox, Governor Cuomo has chosen a proven professional. I congratulate Commissioner Mattox on his confirmation and I look forward to working with him and with Governor Cuomo to make New York state government more effective and more accountable to millions of New Yorkers."

Former State Comptroller H. Carl McCall said, "Tom Mattox understands that our state's financial picture is wholly dependent on sound, effective and responsible leadership. I am pleased that Governor Cuomo has selected him for this important role and I am happy the State Senate recognizes Tom's leadership qualities and moved to confirm his nomination in a quick manner."

Rose H. Harvey will serve as Commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. For 27 years, Ms. Harvey has held multiple leadership positions with The Trust for Public Land. Ms. Harvey was a senior fellow at the Jonathan Rose Companies, where she acted as an advisor and researcher on parks and open space issues, and launched a non-profit organization to fund, design, and develop safe, well-managed parks in urban neighborhoods. She was also recently a McCluskey Fellow and Lecturer at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Ms. Harvey began her career in parks and open space at the Maryland Environmental Trust. Ms. Harvey received her B.A. from Colorado College in 1977 and M.E.S. at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies in 1984.

Commissioner Harvey said, "New York's world-class park system is a public treasure and part of our shared heritage. From the Adirondacks to the Finger Lakes to Long Island and beyond, every region of the state has wonderful open spaces and historical sites to enjoy. I will work diligently to promote and protect all of them. It is truly an honor and enormous responsibility to be chosen by Governor Cuomo to lead such a prestigious agency."

Senator Betty Little, Chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation, said, "Our state's bountiful resources are unparalleled throughout the country. Therefore, we need a dedicated professional with a vast understanding of open space like Commissioner Harvey to maximize the accessibility, usage and stewardship of our state's treasures. New York's many parks and historic sites are in good hands, and I look forward to working with the new Commissioner in this vital role."

Senator Jose M. Serrano, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation, said, "New York's incredible parks and historic sites are among the most diverse and invaluable resources in the state. Rose Harvey's multifaceted credentials, passion, and experience in parks operation, development, protection and enhancement - particularly her work with urban areas and underserved communities - make her the ideal candidate to lead this agency. I commend Governor Cuomo for his selection, and I look forward to working with Ms. Harvey to preserve our state's greatest gift to future generations."

Kim Elliman, CEO of the Open Space Institute, said, "Rose's lifetime of public service suits New York's Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation well. She knows and believes in the importance that open spaces play in our daily lives and has fought tirelessly to protect them. Governor Cuomo has made a smart choice in selecting Rose as his nominee, and the Senate has done the right thing by promptly confirming her nomination."

NOAA Fisheries Testifies before US Senate

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Assistant Administrator for Fisheries, Eric Schwaab testified before the US Senate Commerce Committee on March 8, 2011 stating, “We know that nearly $31 billion in sales and as many as 500,000 jobs are lost because our fisheries are not performing as well as they would if all stocks were rebuilt,” Schwaab said. “While we are turning a corner toward a brighter future for fishermen and fishing communities, many fishermen are struggling in part as a result of years of decline in fishing opportunity.”

According to Scwaab, NOAA is committed to working with fishermen and communities during this period of transition. Recent estimates place the value of U.S. commercial and saltwater recreational fisheries at almost two million jobs and more than $160 billion in sales.

“We have turned a corner in our management of fisheries in this country, and the sacrifices made and being made by so many who rely on this industry are showing great promise,” Schwaab said. “As we end overfishing and rebuild stocks, we will increase the economic output of our fisheries, improve the economic conditions for our fishermen, and create better, more stable and sustainable jobs and opportunities in our coastal communities.”

These comments by Eric Schwaab, were made before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and the Coast Guard during a hearing on the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson Act).

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

US Fish Hatchery Visitor Center achieves Gold rating

The visitor center at the Neosho National Fish Hatchery in southwest Missouri has received a Gold rating from the U.S. Green Building Council

The Neosho National Fish Hatchery was established in 1888 and is the oldest operating Federal fish hatchery in the country.  The hatchery raises pallid sturgeon, an endangered species, for recovery efforts in lower Missouri River, rainbow trout for Lake Taneycomo, cave fish and several species of native mussels.

It's new visitor center and headquarters opened in December 2010 after being completely rebuilt.  The Gold rating comes from energy efficiency and building materials that make this building the first of the US Fish & Wildlife Services to be so named.

Building Materials

  • Environmentally friendly, natural materials including fiber cement siding, wood framing, metal roof, stained concrete and marmoleum flooring.
  • Low VOC (volatile organic compounds) emitting materials selected to reduce indoor air contaminants and provide a healthy environment for occupants.
  • Regionally extracted and manufactured materials utilized.
  • Materials selected for high recycled content.
  • Polished concrete floors with stainless steel fish in-lays reduce maintenance.

Energy Efficiency

  • Building configuration and windows strategically placed to maximize natural sun light and views.
  • Low-e insulated glass minimizes solar heat gain while maximizing visible light transmittance.
  • Double hung, aluminum clad windows for ease of maintenance.
  • Building systems and enclosures designed to achieve 30% or better energy savings over ASHRAE 90.1 requirements.
  • Insulation R-values meet energy code values - exterior walls (R-19), interior walls (R-11), ceilings (R-38) and nail base insulation (R-38).
  • Geothermal wells provide 60 degree glycol to HVAC heat pumps for heating and cooling of fresh supply air.
  • Zoned heat pumps are controlled by individual thermostats to maximize thermal comfort.
  • Mechanical ventilation treated separately by an energy recovery unit to recover energy and maximize energy savings.
  • Lighting control system including occupancy sensors, time sensors and dimmer panels designed to minimize energy use.
  • Operable windows utilized for individual control of ventilation.
  • Sixteen photovoltaic panels contribute up to 3.5 KW to the energy used on site.