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Thursday, July 27, 2017

Fishing Participation up 1.5 Million According to 2017 Special Report on Fishing

Report also reveals participation trends and motivating factors
The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) today announced the release of its 2017 Special Report on Fishing. Most significantly, the report shows fishing participation has increased by 1.5 million over the previous year. Additionally, several trends and participation increases among key segments are highlighted in the report. 
  • Fishing is still the number two adult outdoor activity, but it's gaining ground on jogging
  • 2.5 million participants tried fishing for the very first time
    • New participants accounted for 5.3% of the total participant base and tended to be young and female
  • 3.8 million Hispanics participated in fishing (an 11% increase)
  • Hispanic anglers go on 6 more outings per year than their general market peers
  • Youth participation increased 3% to 11 million total participants
  • Americans took 855 billion total fishing trips, equating to 18.8 trips per participant
"These findings energize us and provide some validation for the work we are doing on a daily basis," said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson. "Our efforts to recruit new audiences and bring families to the water are certainly paying off. 60 in 60 is off to a great start, and effective R3 (recruitment, retention and reactivation) programs will only grow the participant base and secure funding for conservation programs for years to come."

The Special Report on Fishing is the product of a partnership between RBFF and the Outdoor Foundation and looks into participation trends, barriers to entry, motivating factors and preferences of key groups of anglers.

"Research shows that fishing is an essential piece of America's outdoor tradition, and it often leads children to pursue outdoor activities and healthy living into adulthood," said Ivan Levin, deputy director of the Outdoor Foundation. "This report aims to help the fishing industry, and the entire outdoor industry, understand fishing participation in order to engage even more people in recreational fishing and create the next generation of lifelong anglers and outdoor enthusiasts."

The full report and an accompanying infographic is available in the RBFF Resource Center.

NY DEC Confirms First Infestation of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid in Adirondacks

A minor infestation of the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (Adelges tsugae) was confirmed on Forest Preserve lands in the town of Lake George in Warren County on July 18, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced. This is the first known infestation of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) in the Adirondacks.

"To track and prevent the spread of this invasive pest, Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, DEC has surveyed 250 acres of forest in the Adirondacks," said DEC Commissioner Seggos. "Preventing the spread of invasive species is the most effective way to fight and address the damage these species can cause to our natural resources. DEC encourages hikers, campers, boaters, sportsmen, and others recreating on or along forestlands in northern Schenectady, Saratoga, and southern Warren counties to check Eastern Hemlock trees and report any HWA infestations."

A small cluster of early stage HWA was detected on one branch of an old-growth Eastern hemlock tree on Prospect Mountain during a field trip by a Senior Ecologist from the Harvard Research Forest.
NYDEC immediately dispatched a survey crew to the site and was joined by staff from Cornell University's New York State Hemlock Initiative. HWA was located and confirmed on a number of branches on the tree by a Cornell scientist and later by DEC's DEC Diagnostic Lab. The mature tree had no visible sign of crown thinning.

The crews surveyed 250 acres of forest and found only one other tree, a small Eastern hemlock near the original infested tree, that contained one branch with a small cluster of early stage HWA.

This is the first recorded infestation of this invasive, exotic pest in the Adirondacks. Previously, it has been detected in 29 other counties in New York, primarily in the lower Hudson Valley and, more recently, in the Finger Lakes region. Seventeen other states along the Appalachian Mountain range from Maine to Georgia also have HWA infestations. HWA is a listed prohibited species under DEC's invasive species regulations.

DEC is evaluating means to eradicate this infestation and prevent it from spreading. This will not include cutting down trees, which is not an effective means for controlling HWA as it is with other invasive forest pests.

The most effective treatment method for control of HWA is the use of insecticides. The insecticide is applied to the bark near the base of the hemlock tree and are absorbed and spread through the tissue of the tree. When HWA attaches itself to tree to feed, it receives a dose of the pesticide and is killed.

In the past three years DEC has treated infested hemlock trees with insecticides at a few select locations where the control is likely to slow the spread of HWA, or where the hemlocks provide a significant public value. New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation has treated many hemlocks trees at a number of State Parks. Both chemical and biological control options are important in the long-term fight against HWA.

Dispersal and movement of HWA occur primarily during the first life stage ("crawler") as a result of wind and animals that come in contact with the sticky egg sacks and crawlers. Isolated infestations and long-distance movement of HWA, most often occur as the result of people transporting infested nursery stock.

DEC monitors the distribution and spread of HWA by annual aerial and ground surveys as well as reports from partners and the general public. DEC has been involved in biological control efforts against HWA since the 1990s, and has released several approved natural enemies of HWA at locations in the Finger Lakes and Catskills regions.

HWA, a tiny insect from East Asia first discovered in New York in 1985, attacks forest and ornamental hemlock trees. It feeds on young twigs, causing needles to dry out and drop prematurely and causing branch dieback. Hemlock decline and mortality typically occur within four to 10 years of infestation in the insect's northern range.

Damage from the insect has led to widespread hemlock mortality throughout the Appalachian Mountains and the southern Catskill Mountains with considerable ecological damage, as well as economic and aesthetic losses. HWA infestations can be most noticeably detected by the small, white, woolly masses produced by the insects that are attached to the underside of the twig, near the base of the needles.

Eastern hemlock trees, which comprise approximately 10 percent of the Adirondack forest, are among the oldest trees in New York with some reaching ages of more than 700 years. They typically occupy steep, shaded, north-facing slopes and stream banks where few other trees are successful. The trees help maintain erosion control and water quality, and the hemlock's shade cool waters providing critical habitat for many of New York's freshwater fish, including native brook trout.

Survey efforts by DEC and Cornell's New York State Hemlock Initiative will continue to determine if other infestations are present in the surrounding area. As the closest known infestation of HWA is 40 miles away in Schenectady County, DEC is asking hikers, campers, boaters, sportsmen, and others recreating on or along forestlands in northern Schenectady, Saratoga, and southern Warren counties to check Eastern Hemlock trees and report any HWA infestations.

New York is particularly vulnerable to invasive species due to its rich biodiversity and role as a center for international trade and travel. Rapid response and control is a critical line of defense in minimalizing the establishment, and ultimately permanently removing, an invasive population.

More information on HWA, including identification, control techniques, and reporting possible infestations can be found at Cornell's New York State Hemlock Initiative (link leaves DEC's website) or DEC's website. You can also call DEC's toll-free Forest Pest Information Line at 1-866-640-0652 to ask questions and report possible infestations.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Pennsylvania to Host Wild Trout Summit

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) will host a wild trout summit open to the public at its Centre County regional office on Saturday, Aug. 26 beginning at 9:30 a.m.
“This is the first time the agency has hosted a meeting to discuss wild trout,” said Andy Shiels, Director of the PFBC Bureau of Fisheries. “This will bring agency, academic and Trout Unlimited experts together to present and discuss the past, present and future of Pennsylvania’s wild trout resources.”
The event will be held at the PFBC’s newly renovated Centre Region Office Building, located at 595 East Rolling Ridge Drive in Bellefonte, PA 16823. This Centre County location can be easily reached via I-99 by taking the Bellefonte/Route 150 North exit.
Registration will begin at 9:30 a.m. The program will start at 10:15 a.m. and conclude at 4 p.m.
Speakers will present information on the history of wild trout management in Pennsylvania, the Unassessed Wild Trout Waters Initiative, special regulations for wild trout, and how environmental permit review affects wild trout protection.
In addition, there will be presentations on the potential impacts of climate change, the PFBC’s wild trout stream habitat improvement priorities, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Wild Trout Management Plan, and Implications of Genetics on Wild Trout Management.
New information on several Penn State University trout radio-tracking studies will also be provided.
Finally, there will a panel discussion at the end of the day to bring the presenters together for a question and answer session with the attendees. A tentative agenda can be viewed on the PFBC website.
The Wild Trout Summit is open to the public, but registration is required. Attendees may register online.
“This will be an informative event and an opportunity for wild trout enthusiasts and supporters to spend a day learning about a truly unique Commonwealth aquatic resource,” added Shiels.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Public Lands Spur Local Economies

Joint Economic Committee Democrats released state fact sheets today on the economic impact of public lands on their neighboring communities. Our nation’s public lands are a cherished aspect of American heritage and a key contributor to local economies. Each state-specific fact sheet highlights the importance of public lands to communities across the country.

 The fact sheets show that in 2016, the 331 million people who visited national parks spent an estimated $18.4 billion in local gateway communities, supported 318,000 jobs, and added $34.9 billion in economic output to the national economy. Protected public lands also boost local economies by increasing income per person.

“America’s public lands are not only a part of our heritage that we cherish passing onto our children and grandchildren, but they are also the backbone of a thriving outdoor recreation economy,” said U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich, Ranking Member of the Joint Economic Committee. “National monuments, national parks, and other public lands draw locals and visitors alike to go outdoors and represent billions of dollars in economic output and millions of American jobs—especially in rural areas. The campaign to shrink or even sell off our shared lands would devastate outdoor traditions like hunting, camping, and fishing that are among the pillars of Western culture and a thriving outdoor recreation economy. I remain deeply committed to standing with New Mexicans and all Americans to protect our public lands, water, and wildlife for our children and all future generations to enjoy.”

Click here to find your state’s fact sheet.