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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

PA Fish and Boat Commission offers FREE Fishing Skills Instructor course

Meadville, PA – The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission is looking for adult volunteer leaders, teachers, and educators to introduce youth and adults to fishing. A Fishing Skills Instructor workshop will be held on Saturday July 30th from 9:00am to 7:00pm at the Bossard Nature Center at Woodcock Creek Lake in Crawford County. This workshop is designed for adult educators and other group leaders that are interested in teaching youth and their families about fishing. After completion of classroom and on-shore fishing sessions, new instructors can lead Commission-sponsored SMART Angler Clinics and Family Fishing Programs. All training and access to materials needed to conduct these programs is provided. Participants should come prepared for hot, sunny, or wet conditions and bring their own water and lunch. Pre-registration is required. Contact Chad Foster at 814-683-5126 or chfoster@state.pa.us . This course is ACT 48 approved.

The mission of the Fish and Boat Commission is to protect, conserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s aquatic resources and provide fishing and boating opportunities. For more information about fishing and boating in Pennsylvania, please visit our website at fishandboat.com.
Keith Edwards

New York Brook Trout Record Broken

The New York brook trout record was broken by 3.5 oz. at South Lake in Herkimer County in the southwest corner of the Adirondack Park on 6/15.  The new record is now at 5 pounds, 8 ounces.  A Lake Clear Wabbler and worm did the trick in fooling the 22 inch brookie..

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

New York Looks to Reduce Cooling Intake Fish Kills

New DEC Policy Targets a 90% Reduction in Fish Kills
Power plants and other industrial facilities throughout the state will be required to use the Best Technology Available (BTA) to protect aquatic wildlife when seeking cooling water intake permits under a new policy finalized by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today. A BTA determination is required in each State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) permit for industrial facilities operating a cooling water intake system.

"Billions of fish are killed each year when they are caught up in the intake of cooling water for industrial processes," Commissioner Joe Martens said. "The policy we are implementing today will reduce fish kills by 90 percent while allowing flexibility for the industry to reach our goal of protecting aquatic wildlife."
Throughout New York State, more than 16 billion gallons of water are permitted to be withdrawn each day for the purposes of industrial cooling. As a result, more than 17 billion fish of all life stages (eggs, larvae, juveniles and adults) are entrained or impinged annually. The policy outlines mitigation measures that facilities must implement in order to minimize impacts to fish and other aquatic organisms from the intake of billions of gallons of the state's surface waters. Implementation of this policy through the permitting process is anticipated to significantly reduce these losses of the state's aquatic resource.

Fish of all life stages can be subject to entrainment, passing through a plant's cooling systems along with the cooling water, or to impingement, where they are smashed against the intake structure directly. They can suffer from lethally high water temperatures, contact with impellers or heat-exchangers, or from exposure to the chemicals used to maintain heat-exchanger cleanliness. Steam electric power plants account for the majority, though not all, of this industrial cooling impact, with some power plants using more than a billion gallons of water every day for cooling purposes. Other industries in New York using non-contact cooling water include manufacturing facilities (e.g. cement and sugar industry) and large office buildings.

The policy identifies closed-cycle cooling or its equivalent as the performance goal for BTA to minimize these impacts. Many existing facilities use once-through cooling where water is drawn into the facility, passed through the cooling system, and then discharged back into the waterbody. Fish and other organisms are killed or injured in the process. Closed-cycle cooling systems, such as cooling towers, use significantly less water and recirculate the water they use, reducing millions of gallons of water that is actually withdrawn from the water body. This, in turn, greatly reduces the impingement and entrainment of organisms - by more than 90 percent.

However, closed-cycle cooling is not always an available technology for existing facilities as issues of space availability and compatibility of new technology with the facility's original design frequently make it infeasible to implement. The performance goal of the policy allows facilities to propose an alternative mitigative technology, or operational measure, such as flow reduction, to achieve reductions in impact equivalent to what could be realized with cooling towers. This provides flexibility to the industry in designing a mitigative system while ensuring that aquatic impacts are reduced to the greatest extent possible.

A draft of the policy was released for public notice and comment in March 2010. Following public review, meetings were held with various stakeholders to discuss comments and questions on the draft policy. The revised, final policy is available on the DEC public website, along with a Response to Comments and final SEQR Negative Declaration.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pennsylvania Offers State Forest & Parks Smart Phone App

Harrisburg – The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is partnering with the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation and ParksByNature Network to offer a state parks and forests mobile app for smart phones.

“This mobile app will allow our visitors, while they are on-the-go, to search for park and forest locations; activities and events; get directions; share photos and even make a reservation,” DCNR Secretary Richard J. Allan said. “This project supports our conservation initiatives by reducing the need for printed material; provides the opportunity to use technology to better connect with visitors; and creates an additional revenue stream for DCNR.”

The software has both free and paid versions that are available through the Apple App Store and Android market. The paid version, which includes additional GPS features, costs $3.99.

“This is an ingenious way to involve and interest more people in our parks and forests. Each app downloaded or purchased will result in a donation to the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation for revenue-producing projects in state parks,” said Marci Mowery, PPFF president.

The free features are: search by activity of interest on-the-go; search by park, forest or region; stay current on park and forest events; receive news, alerts, and location-based weather updates; access park information such as hours of operation; view maps of facilities, trails and campgrounds; learn about state park or forest history; get directions; get contact information; access online reservations; network through Facebook and Twitter; and?share photos on Flickr.

Paid features include: ability to work with content, maps and features offline; GPS mapping options include road, satellite, hybrid and terrain; pre-programmed state park GIS and points of interest will help guide you; a friend-finder feature lets you keep track of companions while on a trail; a built-in compass can help point to your direction; record, save and recall tracks or waypoints; and let your family and friends know your whereabouts with the alert communication feature.

You can search for ‘Pennsylvania State Parks’ or ‘State Parks’ or ‘Pocket Ranger’ through your phone’s app link, or follow the directs links for Apple at http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-official-guide-for-pennsylvania/id435566050?mt=8 or Android at https://market.android.com/details?id=com.avai.amp.lib.pbn_penn&feature=search_result.

With 2.2-million acres of state forests, and 117 state parks covering 295,000 acres, there is a state park within 25 miles of nearly every Pennsylvanian. They feature an array of recreational opportunities and conserve thousands of acres of unique natural areas, among many other features.

State parks also serve as economic generators to the communities that surround them, with visitors spending about $928 million annually.

For more information about Pennsylvania state parks and forests, visit DCNR online at www.dcnr.state.pa.us.

PPFF is a non-profit organization that supports Pennsylvania’s 117 state parks and 2.2 million acres of state forest by coordinating volunteers, activities and donations. Learn more about the foundation at www.paparksandforests.org.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

New Fisheries Report Issued by NOAA

Annual stock report shows steady progress toward rebuilding our nation’s fisheries

July 14, 2011
Spiny dogfish.
Spiny dogfish was declared rebuilt in 2010, meaning its population level is high enough to provide the maximum sustainable yield over time.
(Credit: Shutterstock)

Three fisheries stocks from the Northeast – Georges Bank haddock, Atlantic pollock and spiny dogfish – have now been rebuilt to healthy levels, bringing to 21 the number that have been rebuilt nationwide since 2000, according to a report to Congress from NOAA’s Fisheries Service issued today.

“We are making great progress ending overfishing and rebuilding stocks around the nation,” Eric Schwaab, assistant NOAA administrator for NOAA’s Fisheries Service said. “We are turning a corner as we see important fish stocks rebounding.”

NOAA’s Status of U.S. Fisheries reports on the fishing activity and population level for fish stocks in the country. Scientists announced today that in 2010, 84 percent of the stocks examined for fishing activity (213 of 253 stocks) were free from overfishing, or not fished at too high a level, and 77 percent of the stocks with known population levels (159 of 207 stocks) were above the overfished level, that level too low to provide the maximum sustainable yield.

“Commercial and recreational fishing depend on healthy and abundant fish stocks and marine ecosystems to provide lasting jobs, food and recreational opportunities,” Schwaab said. “By working with the nation’s eight regional management fishery councils and commercial and recreational fishermen, we are making steady progress each year to fully rebuild overfished stocks.”

Beyond the three rebuilt northeastern stocks, there were other positive changes since last year:
  • Four stocks were removed from the low-population list, all from the Northeast: Gulf of Maine haddock, American plaice, Gulf of Maine cod and southern New England windowpane.

  • Two stocks were removed from the list of stocks being fished at too high a level: Georges Bank yellowtail flounder and Southern Atlantic Coast black grouper.
Bering Sea southern Tanner crab.
The Bering Sea southern Tanner crab was added to the list of species with a low population level. Many different factors, including environmental factors, disease, fishing, and habitat degradation, can influence a stock's population. Scientists believe the Tanner crab's decline may be due to environmental factors.
High resolution (Credit: NOAA)

Scientists examined more stocks than ever before in 2010, and findings on these stocks with a previously unknown status were mixed:
  • Gulf of Mexico black grouper was found to be free from overfishing, and had a population above the low-population level.

  • Southern Atlantic Coast black grouper was found to have a population above the low-population level.

  • Pacific bluefin tuna was found to be fished at too high a level, though its population was above the low-population level.

  • Gulf of Maine/Georges Bank Atlantic wolffish was found to have a low population.
A handful of other stocks were moved onto the overfishing and overfished lists this year:  
  • Added to the list of stocks experiencing fishing at too high a level were Northwestern Atlantic witch flounder, Gulf of Maine/Georges Bank windowpane flounder, and Southern New England/Mid-Atlantic windowpane flounder.

  • Added to the list of low-population stocks were Northwestern Atlantic Coast witch flounder, Gulf of Maine/Georges Bank windowpane flounder, Georges Bank winter flounder, Southern Atlantic Coast red grouper, California Central Valley Sacramento (fall) chinook salmon, and Bering Sea southern Tanner crab.
Although it is often assumed that a stock has a low population due to too much fishing, other factors influence the health and abundance of fish stocks, including environmental changes, disease, and habitat degradation. Scientists believe that one of the stocks added to the overfished list, the Tanner crab in Alaska, may have been affected by environmental factors.

The report, which has been issued annually since 1997, summarizes the best available science for the 528 federally-managed fish stocks. Since not all stocks are targeted by commercial and recreational fishermen, NOAA prioritizes collecting information on the commercially and recreationally important species that constitute most of the domestic fishing activity in the country. Stocks are added or removed from the lists only when new information becomes available. Knowing the status of stocks allows fishery managers to identify and address problems, and effectively rebuild and maintain healthy stocks.

Under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, NOAA and the eight regional fishery management councils are required to end overfishing, use annual catch limits and accountability measures to prevent future overfishing, and rebuild stocks to levels that can provide the maximum sustainable yield. NOAA’s Fisheries Service works with the regional fishery management councils around the country to end overfishing for all stocks. Annual catch limits and accountability measures are already in place for 203 of the 528 federally-managed fish stocks, including all stocks that are identified as being fished at too high a level.

Fully rebuilt, U.S fisheries are expected to add $31 billion to the economy and an additional 500,000 jobs. Commercial and recreational fishing currently generate $72 billion per year and support 1.9 million full and part-time jobs.

To complete the annual report, NOAA examines a variety of sources, including landings data and log books, and conducts its own surveys. The 2010 Status of U.S. Fisheries, which contains data and analysis nationally and by region, is available online at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/stories/2011/07/docs/report.pdf.
NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Facebook, Twitter and our other social media channels.

Summer on the Upper Delaware

Cross Current Guide Service Summer Newsletter July 2011
Trout Fishing on the Upper Delaware River
It’s been a high water year so far and that has resulted in some excellent fishing on the Delaware.  The Main Stem trout fishing hasn’t been this good, this time of the year for many years!
Sulfurs, Olives, Slate Drakes (as many Delaware fly fishers call, Isos), and Cahills have been on the trout’s menu offering some wonderful late evening fishing.  This has prompted us to offer a new float trip package for as long as these conditions hold together.
Staring now, join us for a Magic Hour evening float trip where you can try your hand on twilight fishing for the Delaware’s famed wild rainbow trout.  This 3 to 4 hour float trip begins with meeting us around 6:00 PM and fishing until dark from the safety and comfort of a drift boat. Catch the excitement of evening spinner falls for just $200 for one or two anglers.
Our Full Day guided trip for up to 2 people is still available for $395. A five hour Half Day’s trip is $295.

Smallmouth Bass Fishing on the Upper Delaware River
Field & Stream Magazine names the Upper Delaware as one of the top five smallmouth bass Rivers in the US - July 2007
The number one reason you should fish for smallmouth bass with us is because it's just downright fun! Perfect for the novice or expert. On spin tackle or on a fly rod the smallmouth is inch for inch and pound for pound, the sportiest fish in freshwater.  As soon as they're hooked a smallmouth lets off with an exciting series of runs and jumps, fighting against the rod and giving the impression that it's a far bigger fish than it is. 
Our Full Day guided Smallmouth trip for up to 2 people, 8+ hours, snacks, soft drinks, and lunch included, is  $350.

Call us at 607-241-7000 or email crosscurrent@optonline.net

Latest attack on clean, safe water passes the House

July 13, 2011
Washington, DC - The House of Representatives today voted to turn back the clock 40 years on clean water protections, in one of the most sweeping attacks on clean, safe water in our nation’s history. American Rivers and our partners have led the charge against this bill, and in support of clean water protections for all Americans.

The “dirty water bill”, H.R. 2018 was introduced by Representative Mica (R-FL) and Representative Rahall (D-WV) and undermines critical Clean Water Act safeguards for public health, wildlife, and rivers.

“Clean water is an American value. We all expect and deserve clean water for drinking, clean rivers for fishing, clean lakes for boating, and clean beaches for swimming. Americans should be appalled by this attack on public health, recreation, and our many local economies that depend on clean water and healthy rivers,” said Katherine Baer, senior director of the clean water program at American Rivers.

The bill removes the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to ensure states effectively implement state water quality standards and improve them when those standards fail to protect clean water. Without this federal backstop, weak standards in one state may result in polluted waters downstream in other states regardless of whether those states have strong water quality standards or not. This bill would also prevent EPA from objecting to state-approved National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits that manage discharges of pollutants into our water.

This bill also removes EPA’s authority to veto dredge and fill permits issued by the Army Corps of Engineers when a proposed activity would discharge dredge or fill materials into our rivers, lakes, and streams. Activities like mountaintop removal mining, for instance, where the tops of mountains are blown off to expose coal seams and the surrounding valleys and streams are filled with discarded rubble, would no longer be subject to veto by the EPA. This veto authority is scarcely used – it has only been employed 13 times in 38 years. But when EPA does use this authority, it’s to stop projects that would cause overwhelming harm to people and clean water.

When Congress adopted the Clean Water Act in 1972, it was to prevent pollution and protect clean water – relying on a careful balance between state and federal responsibility and public participation. Before the Clean Water Act, there was not an effective federal safety net to prevent drinking water contamination -- and some rivers became so polluted that they actually caught on fire. Rivers, lakes, and streams aren’t bound by state borders and the Clean Water Act provides critical federal backstops that help to ensure minimum national levels of water quality, protecting all Americans.

“American Rivers will work to make sure this dirty water bill stops here, and does not pass the Senate. We need more protections for clean water and public health, not less,” said Baer.

American Rivers is the nation’s leading voice fighting for clean water and healthy rivers. For almost 40 years we have protected and restored rivers, scoring victories for communities, fish and wildlife, and future generations.  American Rivers has offices in Washington, DC and nationwide, and more than 100,000 supporters and volunteers. Visit www.americanrivers.org, www.facebook.com/americanrivers and www.twitter.com/americanrivers.

Contacts: Katherine Baer, Stacey Detwiler, 202-347-7550  Amy Kober, 503-708-1145

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

GPS Navigation in Jeopardy

Voice Your Opinion: Comment Period Closes July 30!

ALEXANDRIA, Va., July 13, 2011 - As a result of a proposal by a private company to use radio frequency bandwidth right next to the existing GPS radio bandwidth, the future reliability of the GPS system across the United States is now in question. The nation's largest recreational boaters group, BoatUS, says boaters could have a hard time avoiding treacherous shoals or simply finding their way home if GPS signals are interfered with, and is urging boaters to speak out during a 30-day comment period.

"This is a remarkably short comment period for an issue that has such dire consequences for America's boaters and every other GPS user in the country," said BoatUS Vice President of Government Affairs Margaret Podlich.

At issue is an unusual conditional waiver granted in January by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to a broadband wireless communications provider, LightSquared, to permit the dramatic expansion of land-based use of mobile satellite spectrum. This spectrum, or frequency bandwidth, is directly adjacent to the frequencies used for Global Positioning System (GPS) communications.

The company has proposed to build 40,000 ground stations. LightSquared's high-powered ground-based transmissions from these stations have shown to cause interference in hundreds of millions of GPS receivers across a wide range of uses, including aviation, marine, emergency response and industrial users such as delivery and trucking companies. A new report requested by the FCC says, "all phases of the LightSquared deployment plan will result in widespread harmful interference to GPS signals and service and that mitigation is not possible."

Recreational boaters lost their only other viable navigation system, LORAN, when the Department of Homeland Security shut the system down last year. At that time the US Coast Guard urged mariners to shift to GPS-based navigation systems. Boaters rely on GPS-enabled chart-plotters to steer clear of navigation hazards, keep them in the safety of deep-water channels, or even get them home when storms shut down visibility. "They are a critical piece of safety gear," said Podlich. "What will boaters do if they are unreliable, and how will the US Coast Guard's new emergency search and rescue system that stands watch over 36,985 miles of coastline, Rescue 21, remain effective, since it relies on GPS?"

Boaters and other GPS users are urged to speak up now by going to www.BoatUS.com/gov to send their comments to the FCC and their members of Congress.

BoatUS is a member of the Coalition to Save Our GPS, which works to resolve this serious threat to the GPS system.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Orvis Bestows its 2011 Awards on the Very Finest Sporting Operations

MANCHESTER, Vermont (June 2011) – At their annual Endorsed Operations Rendezvous in Key Largo, Florida and Endorsed Guide Rendezvous in Casper, Wyoming the Orvis Company announced the winners of their 2011 Endorsed Lodges, Outfitters, and Guide Awards.
There are seven categories, three for lodge operations and four for guiding operations. The awards are chosen based on customer survey feedback that Orvis solicits from their customers who patronize these operations.

“We feel the best criteria for these awards is customer response,” said David Perkins, Vice Chairman of Orvis. “What we at Orvis think is not nearly as important as the quality of the experience the customer receives. Each year we go through these surveys and find those operations that have given our customers an extraordinary experience and service. It is a difficult task because all of our endorsed operations are excellent or they wouldn’t be in the program, but each year there are those that really stand out.”

This year’s winners are:

Wingshooting Lodge of the Year – Greystone Castle in Mingus, Texas, a 5,000 acre hunting preserve for upland birds and waterfowl, specializes in providing large numbers of hard flying birds and high volumes of shooting.

Fly-Fishing Lodge of the Year – Crystal Creek Lodge on the Naknek River in the Bristol Bay Region of southwest Alaska. Crystal Creek has been endorsed by the Orvis Company for nearly two decades and is considered one of the finest fishing lodges in the world.

International Lodge of the Year – Estancia Tecka in Patagonia is one of the biggest ranches in South America. The fly fishing lodge is set up with some of the best English-speaking guides in Argentina and they are well outfitted with drift boats to get to the best pools on the Corcovado River.

Outfitter of the Year – CB’s Saltwater Outfitters in Sarasota, Florida. Their Fishing Charter Service serves Siesta Key as well as Longboat Key, Lido Key, Sarasota, and Venice and offers inshore/backcountry & offshore fishing charters for both fly-fishing and spin anglers.

Expedition of the Year – Fortress Lake Retreat of Alberta, Canada provides a full service lodge accommodation and guided fishing experience as well as providing hikers, canoeists, and kayakers a back country oasis near Jasper and Banff National Parks and Lake Louise.

Guide Service of the Year – Sunrise Anglers of Boulder, Colorado offers a tremendous diversity of fishing on the Front Range of the Rockies, fishing the Colorado, Blue, South Platte, and Roaring Fork Rivers as well as a number of small rivers, creeks and still waters.

Guide of the Year – Derek Young of Snoqualmie, Washington specializes in fishing the Yakima River, famous for its wild cutthroat and rainbow trout.

For twenty years the Orvis Company has been recognizing excellence in sporting experiences through its Endorsed Lodges Outfitters and Guides program. Each endorsed operation has its own character, but all share the same high standards: great service, great fishing or wingshooting, and an experienced, professional staff. These standards of excellence are continually reviewed by the Orvis staff and evaluated by visiting guests in post-visit critiques sent directly to The Orvis Company. Orvis-Endorsed operations cater to every ability from beginners to experts.

Founded in 1856, Orvis pioneered the mail order industry in the United States, operates a chain of retail stores in the U.S. and England including its Flagship store in Manchester, VT; and maintains a network of over 400 dealers worldwide. Orvis donates five percent of pre-tax profits each year to environmental programs. You can read more about Orvis on their website at www.orvis.com.

Friday, July 01, 2011

2011 Striped Bass Spawning Stock Assessment in the tidal Delaware River

The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission sampled striped bass at 21 index sites ranging from the mouth of Rancocas Creek, NJ (near river mile 109) downriver to the mouth of Raccoon Creek, NJ (near river mile 80).

336 striped bass were collected with males comprising over 70% of the catch.  In 2011, the averages for the total catch were similar to the long-term averages observed from 1996 to 2010.

Since 1995, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission tagged a total of 3,349 striped bass in the Delaware River and tidal Schuylkill River.  19% of the tags have been returned providing migration, mortality and growth data.  Tags returns have been reported from anglers fishing waters ranging from North Carolina to Massachusetts with the greatesr tag returns coming from New Jersey.

For more information you can read the report here:

Public Meeting on Asian Carp in Port Clinton, OH

WASHINGTON, D.C. – White House Council on Environmental Quality Asian Carp Director John Goss will lead a public meeting of the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee (ACRCC) on Thursday, July 7, 2011, in Port Clinton, OH, to discuss the proactive efforts of the Obama Administration and the Great Lakes states to prevent Asian carp from establishing a self-sustaining population in the Great Lakes. The meeting will feature updates by ACRCC members on actions underway as part of the Asian Carp Control Strategy Framework, an unprecedented, multi-tiered strategy that includes monitoring; barrier construction; harvesting; enforcement; outreach; and research and development of long-term biological controls for Asian carp. The event also will include an opportunity for the public to comment and provide feedback on ACRCC efforts.

The ACRCC is led by the White House Council on Environmental Quality and includes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation and all eight Great Lakes states, as well as the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, and the City of Chicago.

WHO: John Goss, Asian Carp Director, White House Council on Environmental Quality
Members of the Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee

WHAT: Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee Public Meeting and Media Availability

WHEN: Thursday, July 7, 2011
Public Forum from 9:00 AM - 11:45 AM (EDT)
Media Availability from 11:45 AM - 12:15 PM (EDT)

WHERE: Sutton Center Technology Conference Center
1848 E. Perry Street
Port Clinton, OH 43452

WATCH: The event will be webcast at: https://www.mymeetings.com/tetratech/join/
Conference number: PG5314996
Passcode: ASIAN CARP

LISTEN: Dial: (888) 603-8914 to listen in to the conference.