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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

New Report Shows U.S. Fishing Participation Rate Holding Steady

2015 Special Report on Fishing offers detailed information on participation by gender, age, ethnicity, income, education and geographic region

Forty-six million Americans, or 15.8 percent of the U.S. population ages six and older, participated in fishing last year according to the 2015 Special Report on Fishing released today by the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) at the International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades show (ICAST) in Orlando, Fla. Produced in partnership with the Outdoor Foundation, the report details the state of fishing participation throughout the country in 2014, offering detailed information on participation by gender, age, ethnicity, income, education and geographic region.

"We are pleased with the findings of this report, including the 2.4 million newcomers who tried fishing for the first time in 2014," said RBFF President and CEO, Frank Peterson. "Fishing remains a popular outdoor activity and with increasing numbers of newcomers, we look to growing overall participation in the future, securing critical support for state conservation efforts."

Now in its seventh year, the report provides a comprehensive look at overall trends in participation. The report also looks into barriers, motivating factors and preferences of key groups while also identifying opportunities for engaging new audiences. As both foundations look to tap into the growing youth and Hispanic populations, special attention is paid to these segments of the U.S. population in the report.

"Recreational fishing is an essential piece of America's outdoor tradition, often leading children to a love of the outdoors and a healthy, active lifestyle," said Chris Fanning, executive director of the Outdoor Foundation. "We hope this report will help the fishing industry - and the entire outdoor industry - engage young fishing participants and ultimately create the next generation of passionate outdoor enthusiasts."

  • Outdoor Activity - Among adult outdoor participants, fishing is the second most popular outdoor activity 
  • Newcomers - More than 2.4 million people, had their very first fishing experience in 2014 
  • Women anglers - Over 47% of first-time fishing participants are female 
  • Social - Nearly 82% of fishing trips involve more than one person 
  • Youth - Fishing participation as a child has a powerful effect on future participation - more than 85% of adult anglers fished as a child, before the age of 12 
  • Future Participants - Almost 4.3 million youth (11%) would like to try fishing, a growth opportunity for the industry 
  • Number of outings for Hispanic participants - Hispanic Americans fishing participants average 25.8 days on the water per year; over six days more than the average for all fishing participants (19.4 days) 
  • Spontaneous - 81% of fishing trips are spontaneous or planned within a week of the trip 
  • Motivation - Spending time with family and friends continue to be the largest reason to participate in fishing, specifically, 72.2% for ages 6-12 and 66.8% for ages 13-17 
To download the report, as well as an infographic detailing the top findings, visit the Take Me Fishing Resource Center

About the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF)
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 developed the award-winning Take Me Fishing™ and Vamos A Pescar™ campaigns to create awareness around boating, fishing and conservation, and educate people about the benefits of participation. Take Me Fishing and Vamos A Pescar help boaters and anglers of all ages and experience levels learn, plan and equip for a day on the water. The campaign websites, TakeMeFishing.org and  VamosAPescar.org feature how-to videos, information on how to get a fishing license and boat registration, and an interactive state-by-state map that allows visitors to find local boating and fishing spots.

About The Outdoor Foundation Founded in 2000, the Outdoor Foundation is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to inspiring and growing future generations of outdoor leaders and enthusiasts. Through youth engagement, community grant-making, and groundbreaking research, the Foundation works with young leaders and partners to mobilize a major cultural shift that leads all Americans to the great outdoors. In just five years, the Foundation has invested $4 million into 785 not-for-profit and college programs that have connected 200,000 young people to the outdoors. Importantly, 90¢ of every dollar goes directly into this critical work. Visit us at outdoorfoundation.org and outdoornation.org for more information.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

New York City's Hydro Scheme Threatens Entire Ecosystems

NYC has trashed the Cannonsville Reservoir and the Upper Delaware River. Due to their negligence in installing a hydo turbine on a dam never designed for hydro power, they may have caused serious harm to a drinking water reservoir and the river system it feeds. This river just happens to be the longest free flowing river east of the Mississippi.  The river is home to one of the finest cold water fisheries in the US, and is also a major spawning ground for the imperiled American shad. It is home to the endangered dwaf wedge mussel, and is a major breeding ground for Bald Eagles too.

Their negligence leaves them no choice but to dump 95 billion gallons of drinking water that more than 10 million people depend on. Right now, all looks good for the West Branch & Main Stem with an abundance of cold water flowing down the river. But, this water can come to an all to soon end as the reservoir that feeds the river is prematurely depleted due to New York City's negligence & mismanagement. NYC drinking water is also threatened by a man made artificial drought thanks to NYC misdirected management and gross negligence. 

Already we are seeing the results of this through a table change in the Flexible Flow Management Plan that regulates the discharge from the reservoirs. The incident that's causing the city to drain Cannonsville reservoir has dropped the average storage in the Delaware reservoirs to a level that has has triggered a large reduction in the water flow in the East Branch of the Delaware via Pepacton reservoir. The Mayor & his DEP Commissioner have been eerily silent on this. Their response has been to send their underlings to hold some public meetings in upstate NY towns whose safety has been threatened, never once showing their own faces or making any public statements or acknowledgements that a problem even exists. Unbelievable!

Friends of the Upper Delaware River has been on top of this from the start and is the #1 advocate the river has. Below is an update from them. It would help a lot if you could take a minute and visit their website  www.fudr.org and become a member:

We were informed this morning from personnel working at the Cannonsville Dam that the emergency repair work to address the leak incident may not involve around-the-clock shifts. In the interest of public safety and to salvage what remains of the recreational season below the dams, please give the authorities at NYCDEP a phone call and urge them to accelerate the repair work and stabilize this situation as quickly as possible.

Adam Bosch: 845-334-7868
Paul Rush: 845-340-7800

For the river,

Jeff Skelding, Executive Director

We need your help - to become an FUDR member, renew your membership, or make a donation, go to www.fudr.org

Saturday, July 04, 2015


 Mid-year survey documents 277 nests statewide

It was a scene that warmed many hearts.

A bald eagle incubating two eggs in a falling snow, unwilling to budge as the nest turned white. As the flakes piled high, the bird was blanketed. Only its head could been seen, periscoping above the snow. 

A bald eagle incubates two eggs during a March snowstorm, as its mate stands atop the snow in a nest near Hanover, Pa. The event, which was livestreamed on the Pennsylvania Game Commission's Eagle Cam, drew national attention and helps to explain why the state's bald eagles have been so successful in their comeback. So far this year, a record-high 277 nests have been documented statewide. Get Image

         The images captured in early March on the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Eagle Cam spotlighted the sacrifices parents make, and showed a lot about the resilience of bald eagles, and why they have been so successful in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.

And as the Game Commission releases its annual mid-year report on bald-eagle nests statewide, the preliminary numbers represent an all-time high.

So far this year, 277 bald-eagle nests have been documented in Pennsylvania, with nesting eagles present in at least 58 of the state’s 67 counties.

That shatters the 2014 preliminary number of 254 nests, which also was an all-time high. And more nests remain to be counted as the year goes on.

Game Commission Executive Director R. Matthew Hough spoke with excitement about the record numbers.

“Like many Pennsylvanians, I remember a time when bald eagles were absent just about everywhere in the state, and it truly is astonishing how things have turned around,” Hough said. “Through our reintroduction program, our protection of eagles and effective management, we’ve gone from three nests statewide to what soon could be 300, all within the span of my career with the Game Commission.

“It’s an accomplishment of which all Pennsylvanians can be proud,” Hough said.

Of the nests reported so far this year, 20 are new, which could mean they were built and used for the first time this year or, if they existed previously, they were reported for the first time this year.

The Game Commission urges all eagle nests be reported.

Even if nests were reported in a previous year, it’s important to report them again if they were used again this year, said Patti Barber, a biologist with the Game Commission’s Endangered and Nongame Birds section.

People who have reported a nest as active in a previous year might not realize they should report back each year to help the Game Commission track the population over time, Barber said. It’s one of the challenges of documenting bald-eagle nests as the population of eagles continues to grow. Also, folks might assume bald eagles they’re seeing are associated with long-established nests, as opposed to new pairs setting up territories near established nests, Barber said.

Reports of bald-eagle nests always are appreciated. Perhaps the easiest way to report a nest is to contact the Game Commission through its public comments email address: pgccomments@pa.gov, and use the words “Eagle Nest Information” in the subject field. Reports also can be phoned in to a Game Commission Region Office or the Harrisburg headquarters.

“Even if nests are well known locally, please don’t hesitate to report them,” Barber said. “You might be adding a new nest to the list, or making certain that one reported in a previous year is accurately counted this year.”

Each year, bald-eagle nests continue to be reported as the year goes on. In 2014, for instance, the preliminary number of 254 nests ballooned to 273 nests by year’s end. Other years have produced similar results.

But the mid-year numbers are an accomplishment in their own right, Barber said.

In 1983, when the Game Commission launched a seven-year reintroduction program, only three bald-eagle pairs were nesting statewide. Today, there are 277 with more remaining to be counted.

“We so often refer to the story of the bald eagle as one of the greatest wildlife success stories out there, but it just keeps getting better all the time,” Barber said. “People are fascinated with eagles, and their chances to see them and watch them are better now than they’ve ever been.”

Hough said the nearly 1.4 million people who viewed the Game Commission’s Eagle Cam online this year illustrate the connection people have with bald eagles. And that connection is an important part of the bald eagle’s success, he said.

“Without people who care, we wouldn’t have nearly the number of bald eagles we have in Pennsylvania today, and we probably wouldn’t have them at all,” Hough said. “When bald-eagles were in decline, it was people who led the way for their recovery. We joined to clean up the environment, entrusted wildlife agencies like the Game Commission to jumpstart restoration of eagle populations, and placed priority on protecting eagles to give them a chance to take hold.

“The rest we left up to the eagles, and they continue to prove they’ll continue to be here for more and more Pennsylvanians to enjoy,” Hough said.

Eagle cam to go offline 
         For the second straight year, the Pennsylvania Game Commission livestreamed video from a bald-eagle nest, giving visitors to the agency’s website an opportunity to see eagles up close through their nesting cycle.

The nest was successful, with the adults hatching two eggs, and both chicks growing large enough to fledge in June.

The Eagle Cam is slated to go offline sometime on Thursday.

The Game Commission would like to thank the more than 1.4 million people worldwide who watched the livestream from the nest near Hanover.

Eagle reintroduction
       While Pennsylvania’s bald-eagle population is soaring, just a few decades ago, the bald eagle’s future looked bleak.

Its population decimated by the effects of water pollution, persecution and compromised nest success caused by organochlorine pesticides such as DDT, only three pairs of nesting eagles remained in the state – all of them located in Crawford County, in northwestern Pennsylvania along the Ohio border.

In 1983, the Game Commission launched a seven-year bald eagle restoration program. The agency, as part of a federal restoration initiative, sent employees to Saskatchewan to obtain eaglets from wild nests.

Initially, 12 seven-week-old eaglets were taken from nests in Canada’s Churchill River valley and brought to specially constructed towers at two sites. At these towers – at Haldeman Island on the Susquehanna River near Harrisburg, and at Shohola Lake in Pike County – the birds were “hacked,” a process by which the eaglets essentially are raised by humans, but without knowing it, then released gradually into the wild.

In all, 88 bald eaglets from Canada were released from the sites as part of the program, which was funded in part by the Richard King Mellon Foundation of Pittsburgh and the federal Endangered Species Fund.

This reintroduction jumpstarted the recovery.

By 1998, Pennsylvania was home to 25 pairs of nesting bald eagles. Within the next three years, the number of nesting pairs doubled and by 2006, more than 100 nests were confirmed statewide.

The bald eagle population has continued to grow and expand in Pennsylvania and in 2014 the Game Commission removed the bald eagle from the state’s list of threatened species.

 Eagle-viewing tips
        While the bald eagle is no longer threatened in Pennsylvania or nationally, care still should be taken when viewing eagles, to prevent frightening them.

        Those encountering nests are asked to keep a safe distance. Disturbing eagles is illegal under the federal Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Some pairs are tolerant of human activity, while others are sensitive. Their reaction often depends on the activity and approach of the individual, the nesting cycle stage, and if the eagles are used to seeing people.

Adults that are scared from a nest could abandon it, or might not return in time to keep unhatched eggs or young nestlings at the proper temperature. Frightened eaglets also could jump from the safety of the nest, then have no way to return.

Those viewing eagle nests are urged to keep their distance and use binoculars or spotting scopes to aid their viewing.

For more information on bald eagles and eagle-viewing etiquette, visit the Game Commission’s website, www.pgc.state.pa.us.