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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

NY DEC Seeks Volunteers and Local Coordinators for Stream and River Monitoring

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is actively recruiting citizen scientists to conduct water quality assessments in Lake Ontario and the Niagara, Genesee, Delaware, Hudson and Mohawk River watersheds as part of the Water Assessments by Volunteer Evaluators (WAVE) project, DEC announced today.

While DEC regularly receives data and information from the public to consider in its water quality assessments, the WAVE Program provides information about how to collect data most useful to the agency. WAVE data is used to augment the work of the DEC Stream Biomonitoring Unit, which samples streams and rivers across the state to create an inventory of stream water quality.

"Responsible environmental stewardship starts with everyday residents who have an interest in protecting and conserving natural resources we all rely on," said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. "I invite volunteers to register for this worthwhile training to work alongside DEC professionals to identify water quality concerns."

Citizen scientists provide DEC with valuable information to assist in identifying healthy stream sites and flagging sites that potentially have water quality concerns. This data is included in federal and state water quality reports and helps to target professional assessments and local restoration and conservation efforts to where they are most needed.

This year, citizen scientists can participate in the WAVE project in one of two ways: citizen scientists can join a local WAVE group lead by a trained local coordinator or they can sample independently. For the first time, DEC is offering training sessions for local coordinators so that they may train and coordinate their own team of WAVE participants. Citizen scientists working under a trained local coordinator do not need to attend a WAVE training session. Citizen scientists who wish to work independently must attend a WAVE training session.

Citizen monitors will visit stream sites once per year, anytime between July and September, and collect macroinvertebrates - insects and other small organisms - from the rocks and rubble on the stream bottom. If six or more of the "Most Wanted" organisms are found, the stream segment is assessed as having no known impacts and fully supporting aquatic life. If mostly "Least Wanted" organisms are found, then the stream segment will be flagged for possible investigation by professionals.

The WAVE training sessions are rotated throughout the state's 17 major drainage basins on a five-year schedule, targeting those basins that will be sampled by the DEC Stream Biomonitoring Unit in the following year (see the professional monitoring schedule). This year, DEC is offering WAVE training sessions in the Niagara River, Lake Ontario and Mohawk River basins.

Local Coordinator and basic WAVE training sessions are scheduled for May and June at locations in the following counties:
  • Schenectady County, Alplaus, (May 17)
  • Wayne County, Huron, (May 23)
  • Jefferson County, Ellisburg, (May 24)
  • Erie County, West Seneca, (May 31)
  • Chautauqua County, Village of Westfield, (June 1)
  • Schoharie County, Esperance, (June 14)
  • Wyoming County, Wyoming, (June 21)
  • Oneida County, New Hartford, (June 29)
For more information, or to register for a training session, visit DEC's website.

Monday, April 07, 2014

NOAA Fisheries Commits to Developing a National Recreational Fishing Policy

Spurred on by the sportfishing and boating community, the new policy
will better integrate recreational fishing into NOAA Fisheries' mission

An announcement by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration that NOAA Fisheries will develop a national recreational fishing policy was greeted enthusiastically by sportfishing and boating leaders, who have urged the agency to adopt exactly this approach to define and coordinate efforts throughout the federal government, and particularly the National Marine Fisheries Service, to advance saltwater recreational fishing.

NOAA Fisheries' announcement capped off its national Saltwater Recreational Fishing Summit held April 1-2, in Alexandria, Va. Leaders from the saltwater recreational fishing and boating community met with NOAA Fisheries' leadership to assess recent progress, identify goals and strengthen ties between NOAA and stakeholder groups.

"With the 'Vision for Managing America's Saltwater Recreational Fisheries' report as our guiding document, we came to the NOAA Summit with a clear vision for where saltwater recreational fisheries management must go," said American Sportfishing Association President and CEO Mike Nussman. "NOAA is clearly listening, as evidenced by their immediate commitment to accomplish the first goal of the report: to establish a national policy for saltwater recreational fisheries management. We're looking forward to working with NOAA to accomplish this goal, as well as the other key recommendations presented in the report."

The announcement comes on the heels of a recent series of meetings on Capitol Hill during which the Commission on Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Management, co-chaired by Johnny Morris, founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops, and Scott Deal, president of Maverick Boats, presented recommendations from "A Vision for Managing America's Saltwater Recreational Fisheries." This new report outlines recreational fisheries management issues that need to be addressed in the congressional reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act, the law that governs the nation's marine resources. Chief among those recommendations is the establishment of a national policy for recreational saltwater fishing.

"In order for our nation to understand and embrace the positive aspects of recreational saltwater fishing in this country - be they the economic, cultural or quality-of-life benefits - our fisheries managers need to have policies and laws that reflect recreational interests," said Deal. "NOAA has demonstrated it is ready to develop those policies."

The commission, composed of anglers, scientists, former agency administrators, conservationists and economists, as well as prominent members of the industry, wants to ensure that saltwater recreational fishing becomes a priority of NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service. In 2011, approximately 11 million Americans saltwater fished recreationally, making them one of NOAA's largest organized constituencies and one with a substantial economic impact.

"America's 11 million saltwater recreational anglers spent $27 billion in 2011, generating more than $70 billion and sustaining 450,000 jobs," said Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. "The importance of this economic sector - and its contributions to fisheries habitat and conservation via excise taxes, donations and license fees - cannot be ignored. We commend NOAA Fisheries for acknowledging it."

FOR TWITTER - Use #MarineVison2014 to comment on this landmark report.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

One Fish Photo Could Make You a Big Winner

There’s a lot to pack before you head out for the spring fishing season. Just don’t forget the camera to take shots of your catch to submit to the BoatUS Angler “Catch of the Month” photo contest at BoatUS.com/angler/contest, which kicks off today and runs monthly through October 31, 2014.

Courtney Bacco of Orlando, Florida, won a bass mount in last year’s BoatUS Angler photo contest
Monthly winners, one freshwater and one saltwater, will receive a one-year basic BoatUS Angler membership which includes $50 on the road and $50 on the water towing, a $50 Visa gift card and a “prize pack” filled with fishing and BoatUS Angler gear. In addition, winning photos will appear in BoatUS Angler Magazine and Tacklebox fishing e-newsletter.

Monthly winners will be automatically entered to win the grand prize in November: an upgrade of their BoatUS Angler membership to include Unlimited on water towing and on road towing assistance from Trailer Assist, a high-quality fish replica of their winning catch from FishReplicas.com and a $50 gift certificate from BoatNameGear.

Trailer Assist, BoatUS Angler’s roadside assistance service for boat trailers and tow vehicles and the BoatUS on water towing service helps anglers spend more time fishing and less time worrying about breakdowns. Anglers can also check out all of the photos submitted at BoatUS.com/angler/contest.

About the Sponsors:
FishReplicas.com offers the highest quality in fish replicas today. By combining 40 years of molding experience and today's technology, the Pierce Brothers and crew are able to create the most life-like fish replicas money can buy. BoatUS members save 10% on replicas of their favorite catch.

BoatNameGear offers a unique, hand-picked selection of high-quality personalized gifts, clothing and gear.

BoatUS members enjoy a 10% discount on all products plus free shipping on all orders of $99 or more.