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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Kirk Deeter named new editor of TROUT Magazine

Long-time journalist, editor will lead Trout Unlimited's signature publication 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Trout Unlimited today named Kirk Deeter, renowned journalist, editor and author, as the newest editor of TROUT Magazine, the conservation organization’s flagship publication. Deeter replaces Steve Kinsella, who is leaving TROUT to pursue other opportunities.

"Steve Kinsella did a remarkable job putting out a great magazine," said TU's President and CEO, Chris Wood. "Kirk is the perfect choice to continue that good work and to pilot TROUT into a new era. As TU continues to grow, TROUT will become increasingly important to anglers who understand the connection between healthy habitat and quality fishing, and who want to get more involved in conservation. Kirk will contribute greatly to the magazine's future while still honoring TROUT's rich history and industry-leading standards."

Deeter is deeply involved in the fly fishing world. In addition to his new responsibilities at TROUT, he's also an editor-at-large for Field & Stream, writes the FlyTalk blog at fieldandstream.com, and serves as co-publisher of Angling Trade magazine. He also pens a column for MidCurrent.com.

"TROUT is the Gold Standard in this industry," Deeter said, "and I take my new responsibilities very seriously. I've been a Trout Unlimited member for years, and I've long admired TU and the work it does on behalf of fish and fishing all over the country. Serving its members through the pages of TROUT, and helping them channel their passion for fishing into helping TU accomplish its goals is something I'm very excited to take on."

TROUT Magazine publishes quarterly and is delivered to all 140,000 TU members all over the country. The award-winning magazine's spring 2012 issues hits newsstands next week.

In addition to his regular work as a writer and editor, Deeter is also the author of a number of books. His most recent book is The Little Red Book of Fly Fishing, co-authored with the late Denver Post outdoors writer Charlie Meyers.

National Water Trails System

The Department of the Interior announced today the creation of the National Water Trails System. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar signed a Secretarial Order that creates national water trails as part of the national recreational trails under the National Trails System Act of 1968. The Chattahoochee River Water Trail in Georgia will be the first river to receive this new designation.

“The Chattahoochee River Water Trail provides clean water, greenspace, and river access for millions of Americans every year,” Salazar said. “As our nation opens a new chapter on rivers - one where we value our waterways for their recreational, economic and ecological importance - it is fitting that the Chattahoochee River Water Trail leads the way.”

To learn more about the National Trails System visit: http://www.nps.gov/nts/

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


From Oscar-winning® screenwriter Simon Beaufoy, this inspirational comedy is about a fisheries expert (played by Ewan McGregor) and consultant (Emily Blunt) who have the job of bringing fly-fishing to the Middle East. It opens in select theaters on March 9, 2012.

Could this be the next movie the fly fishing industry has hoped for since A River Runs Through it?

Directed by: Lasse Hallstrom
Written by: Simon Beaufoy (screenplay), Paul Torday (novel)
Produced by: Paul Webster
Starring: Emily Blunt, Ewan McGregor, Kristin Scott Thomas, Amr Waked
Studio: CBS Films

A journey of faith and fish to prove the impossible, possible.

National Parks Pumps $31 Billion into Local Economies, Supporting 258,000 Jobs

The National Park Service released a report today that shows an increase over last year of $689 million and 11,500 jobs that National Parks adds to the economy.

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said, "By investing in our parks and promoting them to visitors, especially internationally, we can have the dual benefit of an improved National Park System and a stronger economy that produces more jobs."

The majority of the spending and jobs come from lodging, food, and beverage service (52 percent) followed by other retail (29 percent), entertainment/amusements (10 percent), gas and local transportation (7 percent) and groceries (2 percent).

You can read the entire report on the web at:  http://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/products.cfm#MGM click on  Economic Benefits to Local Communities from National Park Visitation and Payroll, 2010.

Orvis Announces Four Recipients of 2012 Orvis Customer Matching Grants to Protect Nature

Manchester, VT (February 2012) – The Orvis Company, Inc. of Manchester, VT announced four new recipients of its annual Customer Matching Grant program, the cornerstone of Orvis’s perennial commitment of 5% of its pre-tax profits to protecting nature. This year’s grants are targeted to raise $400,000 or more for these projects.

Orvis has awarded cash grants
to match its customers’ contributions up to equal amountsto the following four organizations:
  • Trout Unlimited, who will partner with Orvis in a multi-year initiative to establish the Orvis/Trout Unlimited Culvert Fund, which will reconnect stream passage for fish in watersheds throughout the United States through the repair, modification and/or removal of several of the nation’s most obstructive culverts each year.
  • The Petfinder.com Foundation, for its programs benefitting shelters and providing homes for rescued dogs across America.
  • The Chesapeake Bay Foundation for its on-the-ground restoration projects to improve water quality and provide essential habitat for oysters, blue crabs, and other important species of the Bay watershed.
  • The National Wildlife Federation and Greater Yellowstone Coalition for their efforts to provide vital winter range for the American Bison herd of Yellowstone National Park.
“I am always gratified, but never surprised by the willingness of our customers to contribute meaningfully to our conservation efforts,” said David Perkins, Vice Chairman of Orvis. “Together over the years we have achieved some remarkable results, and that’s why our commitment of 5% of pre-tax profits is not only a commitment to protect nature, but is a commitment to our customers. Each year, we carefully select partners whose programs meet our common goals, and we highly commend these four outstanding programs to our customers and to the general public, through these matching grants and the year-long, multi-channel promotional campaigns we have committed to them.”

Throughout 2012, Orvis will feature each of the four grant programs in its catalogs, website, and retail stores, as well as in other print and online promotions, social media and its conservation blog. Each partner organization will also feature the grant program in their marketing channels. These promotional efforts, coupled with the matching funds from Orvis, provide a remarkable opportunity for customers, organization members and the general public to amplify their contribution to the protection of nature through these programs.

Over the past 15 years, Orvis has raised in excess of $10 million for a wide variety of conservation programs, from Kodiak Island, AK to the Florida Everglades; from the Mountain Gorillas of Rwanda to the great Coral Triangle of the South Pacific; and in dozens of vital fisheries through America and the world. Details of this and past year’s Orvis Customer Matching Grant projects can be seen at www.orvis.com/commitment. A brief synopsis of each of this year’s grant recipients follows:

 Trout Unlimited – The Orvis/TU Culvert FundWith an initial cash grant of $90,000 to match its customers’ contributions up to the same amount, Orvis is partnering with Trout Unlimited to create a new multi-year fundthe Orvis/TU Culvert Funddedicated to repairing or modifying culverts throughout the United States. Outdated, damaged or impassable culvertsthe passages that connect streams underneath roadways everywhereare a major threat to all species of trout and other coldwater fish, often blocking passage to vital upstream spawning habitat. Thousands of culverts around the country need to be removed or modified. Compared with dam removal, these relatively low-cost, high impact projects, according to Trout Unlimited President and CEO Chris Wood, “make fixing a culvert so that fish can pass one of the best investments we can make in trout recovery.” The Orvis/TU Culvert Fund will go toward the engineering and removal of culverts. Each year TU will determine a list of watersheds that will most benefit from a concerted effort to replace culverts. Orvis is donating $90,000 in customer matching funds to establish the new fund in 2012. Both organizations share a vision for a sustained, multi-year investment in the Orvis/TU Culvert Fund, with the potential to impact dozens of culvert projects nationally.

Each of the other three recipients have won a $30,000 matching funds grant, with which Orvis will match its customers’ donations up to $30,000 for each program, thus doubling customer contributions and raising up to $60,000 or more for each of these organizations:

 Petfinder.com FoundationEach year, five out of every ten dogs in shelters across the United States are euthanized for the simple reason that no one is there to adopt them. Nationwide, there were an estimated 8 million new pets added to the shelter system this year. The Petfinder.com Foundation is a nonprofit charity whose mission is to ensure that no pet is euthanized for lack of a home. Founded in 2003, the foundation helps homeless pets by saving lives through adoptions, helping shelters prepare for and recover from disaster, and working to make shelters across the country more sustainable. The foundation supports more than 14,000 animal-welfare organizations, providing direct funding, as well as training, education, and grants of equipment and supplies so that homeless pets have happier lives.

 Chesapeake Bay Foundation – Oyster Restoration ProjectSpanning six states (New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia), plus the District of Columbia, the Chesapeake Bay watershed occupies 64,000 square miles and directly affects the lives of some 17 million Americans. This rich ecosystem—containing one of the largest estuaries in North America—must cope with the environmental impact of agriculture, development, and some of our most densely populated urban areas. The leading threats to the health of the Chesapeake Bay are nitrogen and phosphorous pollution, which promote excess algae growth and results in low-oxygen “dead zones,” and sediment pollution, which smothers oysters. Oysters restore water quality by removing excess nitrogen that can deplete the oxygen needed to support life in the Bay. The Chesapeake Bay once supported a large enough oyster population to filter the entire Bay’s volume every day. Today, the reduced oyster population requires nearly a year to complete the task. CBF’s Oyster Restoration Program will plant 25,000,000 oyster “spat” in the Bay in 2012. This will enhance the Bay’s filtration capacity, helping to provide cleaner water, which will benefit the wild fish and bird populations that live there.

 National Wildlife Federation – Yellowstone Bison ProjectThe American bison once roamed North America in vast herds—some estimates put the population at some 60,000,000 animals—before succumbing to overhunting and the ravages of American westward expansion during the 19th century. By the mid-1880s, these majestic animals were approaching extinction. Fortunately, conservation efforts were underway by 1900, beginning the buffalo’s long march back from the brink. Although most American bison are raised in captivity today, there is still one large, continually wild herd in America: the bison of Yellowstone National Park. This group of more than 3,000 animals roams freely, spending summers in the green upper elevations, and, when winter arrives, moving downslope to find available grazing land. This often results in encroachment on land that has been leased by cattle ranchers, who seek to eliminate contact between their cattle and the wild bison herd because it is thought by some that bison can transmit brucellosis—a disease that can cause stillbirth—to cattle. The National Wildlife Federation has helped minimize these conflicts since 2002 by retiring grazing allotments totaling nearly 600,000 acres. With the help of the Orvis grant, NWF has turned its attention to the 7,200-acre Slip and Slide retirement, which has been a significant source of seasonal grazing conflict along the northern border of the national park for more than a decade. Once this retirement has been purchased, the bison herd—along with other wild animals, including elk, mule deer, grizzly bears, and wolves—of Yellowstone will be free to roam outside the park bounds in the Gardiner Basin in the winter months.

About The Orvis Company
Founded in 1856, Orvis pioneered the mail order industry in the United States; operates more than 80 retail stores in the U.S. and the U.K. including its Flagship store in Manchester, VT; and maintains a network of over 400 dealers worldwide. The oldest continuously operated catalog company in the country, Orvis is the premier outfitter of the distinctive country lifestyle and sporting traditions. The company’s international headquarters for its mail order, e-commerce, retail, and wholesale businesses are in Manchester, Vermont. Learn more at www.orvis.com.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Pennsylvania forms Governor’s Advisory Council for Hunting, Fishing and Conservation

Governor Tom Corbett today issued an executive order creating the Governor’s Advisory Council for Hunting, Fishing and Conservation to help ensure the concerns of hunters, anglers and others are heard at the highest levels of state government.

“Pennsylvania’s rich outdoor heritage, including activities such as hunting, fishing, trapping, birding, wildlife viewing, boating and hiking, are enjoyed by more than 5.9 million Pennsylvania residents and visitors each year,” Governor Corbett said.

“These outdoor recreational activities annually generate more than $5.4 billion for Pennsylvania’s economy, which makes this council’s input very critical.”

The order consolidates several previous advisory councils into a single entity. The new council consists of individuals concerned with the recreational use and conservation of Pennsylvania’s natural resources, including hunters, trappers, anglers and other conservationists. Council members will:

· Review and make written recommendations to the governor regarding any issue appropriate for governmental action that might affect the recreational use and conservation of the state’s wildlife and other natural resources.

· Review and make written recommendations regarding policies adopted or regulations issued by the Fish and Boat Commission, the Game Commission, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources or the Department of Environmental Protection, that might affect the recreational uses of the state’s natural resources.

· Review and make written recommendations regarding pending legislation and proposed regulations impacting natural resources.

The panel includes a diverse representation of stakeholders, including four members between the ages of 14 and 18. It does not include any elected statewide officials, legislators or employees of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Fish and Boat Commission or the Game Commission.

Governor Corbett also appointed Justin N. Leventry as his liaison to the council. Leventry, a legislative specialist with the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, is an avid outdoorsman who lives in Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County.

The council will be chaired by Richard Mislitsky of Mt. Holly Springs, Cumberland County.

Members appointed by the governor today are:
· Ron Andrews, Emporium, Cameron County
· Rodney S. Ansell, Mount Pleasant, Westmoreland County
· C. Thomas Baldrige, North Huntingdon, Westmoreland County
· Thomas Boop, Sunbury, Northumberland County
· Dale C. Butler, Noxen, Wyoming County
· James A. Chapman, Warren, Warren County
· Clair Clemens, Hatfield, Montgomery County
· Christopher M. Czop, Collegeville, Montgomery County
· Patrick Domico, Curwensville, Clearfield County
· Kory R. Enck, Elizabethtown, Lancaster County
· Michael R. Foust, Johnstown, Cambria County
· Dennis R. Fredericks, Amity, Washington County
· Greg Grabowicz, Mechanicsburg, Cumberland County
· Jeffrey Haste, Harrisburg, Dauphin County
· Maria D. Heil, New Freedom, York County
· John Hohenwarter, Elizabethtown, Lancaster County
· Mary Hosmer, Ridgway, Elk County
· Michael J. Martz, Dalmatia, Northumberland County
· Freddie L. McKnight, Shirleysburg, Huntingdon County
· Robert McRae, West Chester, Chester County
· Richard Mislitsky, Mt. Holly Springs, Cumberland County (Chair)
· Janet D. Nyce, Green Lane, Montgomery County
· Vern Ross, Camp Hill, Cumberland County
· Randy Santucci, McKees Rocks, Allegheny County
· Bruce R. Snyder, Bellefonte, Centre County
· Kim Stolfer, McDonald, Allegheny County
· Harold L. Stoneberger, Lewisberry, York County
· Brett Unruh, Coventryville, Chester County
· Daniel Wilkinson, Gettysburg, Adams County
· David Youells, Perkasie, Bucks County.
The four youth members are:
· Mitchell A. Good, Hershey, Dauphin County
· Cody Lambert, West Brownsville, Washington

Members will serve one-year terms and are not compensated for their participation.

Trout in the Classroom, Jersey Style!

New Jersey's very successful Trout in the Classroom program is a joint effort between the NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife and Trout Unlimited.  There are currently 119 schools participating, reaching over 14,000 Garden State students.  That's quite a testament to the most densely populated state in the country.

This year the state is looking to increase the number of students they reach by enrolling even more schools in the program.  A noble effort to a wonderful program by a state that recognizes the brook trout as their state fish.

Trout in the Classroom is a science-based program that teaches children about conservation with a hands-on approach to learning by not only raising trout from eggs, but by allowing teachers to customize the program to serve learning in the fields of science, social studies, fine arts, mathematics and language arts.

It only costs a school $1,200 to get started with the program and then about $50 per year after that. The initial cost is for some hard equipment like a tank, chiller, aerator, filter, and habitat materials.

“Raising trout is a hands-on activity that engages students and helps to connect them to real-life water quality and fish and wildlife issues and problems, and inspires them to seek solutions,’’ said Dave Chanda, Director of the State Division of Fish and Wildlife. “Watching fish hatch from eggs and develop from fry to fingerlings generates enthusiasm among students, and helps them develop caring attitudes about fish species and their habitats, as well as a conservation ethic.’’

To learn more about the Trout in the Classroom program and helping students develop a conservation ethic visit the NJ Fish & Wildlife website at: http://www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/tic.htm

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A one minute fishing trip

The guys from OMS Photography fished with us last June and did some filming. Here's a one minute short from some of the edits from the full length version... that version is yet to be released. We ran this clip at our fly fishing show exhibit booth this winter and received many compliments, so I thought I'd post it here for you to see too.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this quick jaunt on the West Branch of the Delaware. Thanks to Brent, Monty, Pippin and the rest of the crew from OMS Photography for putting this together.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Atlantic Menhaden Public Information Document Available for Public Comment

The Public Information Document (PID) for Amendment 2 to the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Atlantic Menhaden is now available for public comment and review on the Commission's website at http://www.asmfc.org/speciesDocuments/menhaden/fmps/Amend2PID_DraftForPublicComment.pdf. As the first step in the development of Amendment 2, the PID presents the current status of the fishery and resource, and solicits public input on which major issues and alternatives should be included for consideration and analysis in Draft Amendment 2.

The PID’s primary focus is to initiate discussion on the timing and implementation of achieving the new fishing mortality threshold (F = 1.32) and target (F = 0.62) reference points recently adopted through Addendum V. Since fishing mortality in 2008 (the latest year in the assessment) is estimated at 2.28, overfishing is occurring, however, the stock is not overfished. The goal of the new reference points is to increase abundance, spawning stock biomass, and menhaden availability as a forage species. The PID also seeks public input on a more timely and comprehensive catch reporting system, and scopes potential options to be used in managing Atlantic menhaden commercial bait and reduction fisheries as well as recreational fishery.

Alongside the development of Amendment 2, the peer-reviewed stock assessment will be updated with data through 2011 to provide a more recent estimate of fishing mortality. Results of the assessment update will be used to estimate the harvest reductions needed to achieve the new threshold and target fishing mortality rates. Therefore, preliminary harvest reductions are provided in the PID but will likely change based on the results of the stock assessment update.

 Fishermen and other interested groups are encouraged to provide input on the PID either by attending public hearings or providing written comments. Public comment must be received no later than 5:00 PM (EST) on April 20, 2012 and should be forwarded to Michael Waine, Fishery Management Plan Coordinator, at 1050 N. Highland St, Suite A-N, Arlington, VA 22201; 703.842.0741 (FAX) or mwaine@asmfc.org (Subject line: PID). A subsequent press release will announce the state's public hearing schedule. For more information, please contact Michael Waine at 703.842.0740.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

NOAA Fisheries Booze Cruising?

According to US Sen. Scott Brown, NOAA Fisheries purchased a 35' pleasure boat under the guise it was to be used as an undercover vessel to patrol whale watching boats of the Washington state coast. As it turns out the vessel spent much time hosting barbecues onboard, ferrying friends and family across Puget Sound to restaurants and resorts, and for what one person called "a pleasure cruise."

The $300,000 to buy the boat came from the Asset Forfeiture Fund, which is the money from fines collected under the Manguson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation and Management Act.  NOAA also hit the fund up for mooring, fuel and maintenance costs to the tune of another $9,400.

The 35 foot Boston Whaler in question comes standard with a 20-inch flat-screen TV, hardwood cabin floors and vanity counter tops, just what a fisheries patrol boat needs.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Humpback Whales Sing Year Round in the Northwestern Atlantic Ocean



Male humpback whales in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean sing complex songs not only on their winter breeding grounds but also on higher latitude feeding grounds, according to a new study on whale songs heard in one of their western North Atlantic feeding grounds.
Researchers at NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC), Cornell University, and Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary report that humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) sing year-round with peaks in singing during the spring and late fall months. The study was published online January 23 in the journal Aquatic Biology.

Continuous year-long recordings were made in 2006 and 2008 in the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary (SBNMS) off the coast of Massachusetts, which is a part of the humpback whales’ western North Atlantic Ocean feeding grounds. Bottom-mounted marine acoustic recording units deployed throughout SBNMS revealed that humpbacks sing throughout the year and over multiple years on the feeding ground.

“The presence of song year-round on this foraging ground is not too surprising because previous studies in both Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean humpback whales have shown that singing occurs in higher latitudes on feeding grounds and along migration routes,” said Elizabeth T. Vu, lead author of the study as a researcher at the NEFSC’s Woods Hole Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass.

“The novel finding of our study was the detection of year-round patterns of song in an area outside of the winter breeding grounds where songs are traditionally heard,” Vu said.  “We still don’t know how northern feeding areas may contribute to the maintenance of dominance hierarchies in the population, to the attraction of females, or how songs on the feeding grounds relate to those on the breeding grounds.”
Humpback whales in the western North Atlantic population migrate annually between higher latitude summer feeding areas, such as the Gulf of Maine and off Greenland and Iceland, and winter breeding grounds in warmer Caribbean waters.  Between April and December, humpback whales forage in the waters of the SBNMS, feeding primarily on sand lance.

The number of humpback whales in SBNMS is highest from May to October and lowest from November to April, so researchers think the differences in song production are more likely the result of changes in singing effort than the number of individual whales present.

“It is unlikely that a single individual was responsible for all of the songs recorded over the year because groups of whales regularly move in and out of the sanctuary,” said study co-author Sofie Van Parijs of the Northeast Fisheries Science Center’s Protected Species Branch in Woods Hole. “The shortest songs occurred in summer and early autumn months. Since foraging is the main occupation of humpback whales during these months, reduced singing in periods of intense feeding is not unexpected, although the presence of any song during this period is surprising.”

Why do humpback whales sing if they aren’t trying to attract a mate? Previous studies suggest that males sing outside of the breeding season to maintain dominance hierarchies and to advertise to females. Seasonal hormonal changes may also play a role, but there is no clear understanding as yet, especially since not all humpback whales, male or female, leave feeding grounds to migrate each year.

Being able to understand these behaviors and what causes them is something to look at in future studies,” said Vu. “We are only starting to piece the puzzle together with increasing use of passive acoustic monitoring.”

NOAA Fisheries Service is dedicated to protecting and preserving our nation’s living marine resources and their habitat through scientific research, management and enforcement. NOAA Fisheries Service provides effective stewardship of these resources for the benefit of the nation, supporting coastal communities that depend upon them, and helping to provide safe and healthy seafood to consumers and recreational opportunities for the American public.