Popular Posts

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Scientists Link Climate Change and Gray Snapper

Models Project Northward Distribution Shifts Using Temperature, Estuarine Habitats as Key Factors 

NOAA scientists continue to develop and improve the approaches used to understand the effect of climate change on marine fisheries along the U.S. east coast. Their latest study projects that one common coastal species found in the southeast U.S., gray snapper, will shift northwards in response to warming coastal waters.  

In a study published online December 20 in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers from the Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) and the University of North Florida developed projections of gray snapper distribution under several climate change scenarios. Gray snapper (Lutjanus griseus) is an important fishery species along the southeast U.S. coast.

Associated with tropical reefs, mangroves and estuaries, gray snapper is found from Florida through the Gulf of Mexico and along the coast of Brazil. Juvenile gray snapper have been reported as far north as Massachusetts, but adults are rarely found north of Florida, leading researchers to look at estuarine habitats as a key piece of the puzzle.

"Temperature is a major factor shaping the distribution of marine species given its influence on biological processes," said Jon Hare, lead author of the new study and director of the NEFSC’s Narragansett Laboratory in R.I. "Many fish species are expected to shift poleward or northward as a result of climate change, but we don’t fully understand the mechanics of how temperature interacts with a species life history, especially differences between juvenile and adult stages."

Hare and NOAA colleague Mark Wuenschel, a fishery biologist at the Center’s Woods Hole Laboratory, worked with Matt Kimball of the University of North Florida to project the range limits of gray snapper, also known as mangrove snapper, using coupled thermal tolerance-climate change models. Kimball also works at the Guana-Tolomato-Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve in Florida.

Gray snapper was chosen for this study given previous temperature and physiological studies by all three authors, providing a foundation upon which to build. Hare and colleagues believe their approach applies more broadly to other fishery species that use estuarine areas during their life history. Those include a large number of commercially and recreationally important species such as summer flounder, black sea bass, weakfish and pink shrimp.
NOAA scientists continue to develop and improve the approaches used to understand the effect of climate change on marine fisheries along the U.S. east coast. Their latest study projects that one common coastal species found in the southeast U.S., gray snapper, will shift northwards in response to warming coastal waters.

Unlike earlier studies on climate change and its impact on species like Atlantic croaker, Hare and colleagues developed a model based on a specific hypothesis that is supported by laboratory experiments and field observations. Their new study is based on laboratory research that determined the lower thermal limit, the temperature at which a fish can no longer survive. This limit is expressed as cumulative degree days below 17°C (about 63°F). The team then equated these limits to estuarine water temperatures. Prior research has shown that estuarine temperatures are closely related to air temperatures, so the team then linked the thermal limits to air temperature. Projections of coastwide air temperature were then extracted from global climate models and used to project changes in the distribution of thermal limits for juvenile gray snapper.

The researchers made climate projections for winter water and temperatures for 12 estuaries from Biscayne Bay in south Florida to northern New Jersey. Data collected in previous studies from the Guana-Tolomato-Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve nearJacksonville, Florida, along with temperature data from the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserves in New Jersey, provided valuable background information.

The results indicate that gray snapper distribution will spread northward along the coast into the future. The magnitude of this spread is dependent on the magnitude of climate change: more CO2 emissions resulted in greater northward spread.

The uncertainty in the study’s projections was also examined by the researchers, who looked at multiple global climate models and the uncertainty in each model’s estimates of lower thermal limit. Surprisingly, biological uncertainty was the largest factor, supporting calls for more research to understand and characterize the biological effects of climate change on marine fisheries.

This latest study by Hare, Wuenschel, and Kimball joins a growing number of studies that predict climate change is going to affect marine fish distribution and abundance, creating challenges for scientists, managers, and fishers in the future.

"Further, this works supports the conclusion that along the U.S. east coast, some species will be positively affected by climate change while other species will be negatively affected." Hare said. "There will be winners and losers."

"In the past we have assumed that ecosystems were variable but not changing. Now we understand that they are both variable and changing," said Hare. "That complicates the big picture since each species and each ecosystem is different."

"The challenge facing scientists, managers, and fishers alike is identifying the potential effects of climate change and developing a response that will increase the long-term sustainability of resources," Hare said.

US Fish & Wildlife Service Announces $20 Million in Grants to Conserve Coastal Wetlands

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced $20 million in grants to 24 critical coastal wetland projects in 13 states and territories to conserve and restore coastal wetlands and their fish and wildlife habitat.  An additional $21.3 million in matching funds will be provided by partner contributions from state and local governments, private landowners and conservation groups through the 2013 National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grants Program. 

Coastal areas comprise less than 10 percent of the nation’s land area yet support a significant number of wildlife species, including 75 percent of migratory birds, nearly 80 percent of fish and shellfish and about half of all threatened and endangered species.

“These coastal wetlands are extremely important to the future of both wildlife and humans,”  Director Dan Ashe said. “As Superstorm Sandy showed, it is essential to have natural wetlands available to act as a buffer against extreme weather events. 

“Coastal wetlands also serve as some of nature’s most productive fish and wildlife habitat while providing improved water quality and abundant recreational opportunities for local communities. These grants will help our state partners implement some high-quality projects that support conservation and outdoor recreation."

The grants will be used to acquire, restore or enhance coastal wetlands and adjacent uplands to provide long-term conservation benefits to fish, wildlife and their habitat. States and territories receiving funds are California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin and American Samoa. 

The National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and funded under provisions of the 1990 Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act. Funding is provided by Sport Fish Restoration Act revenue – money generated from an excise tax on fishing equipment, motorboat and small engine fuels.

A 50-State Report lists more than 100 of the country’s most promising projects, including three projects that will be supported by today’s grants. These three projects are:
  • Dickinson Bayou Wetland Restoration Project – The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department was awarded $500,000 to restore and enhance approximately 27 acres of estuarine intertidal emergent wetlands and tidal channels along Dickinson Bayou part of the Galveston Bay estuary, a nationally significant ecosystem benefiting invertebrates, fish and wildlife species. The project also will improve water quality and enhance recreational fishing and birding opportunities for the public.
  • Illinois Wolf-Lake Powderhorn Lake Connection – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources, in partnership with the Forest Preserve District of Cook County and Openlands, was awarded $1 million to acquire coastal wetlands within the Millennium Reserve in southeast Chicago. The acquisition will expand the amount of contiguous, protected coastal wetland and natural areas to about 1,200 acres on an important bird migration route. This acquisition will increase opportunities for outreach, education and outdoor recreation in economically disadvantaged and underserved communities in the Chicago area.
  • Penobscot River Restoration – The project was awarded $1 million to remove the Veazy Dam on the Penobscot River and restore about 225 acres of in-stream habitat and about 65 acres of streamside habitat. Removal of the dam will enhance connectivity and functional value of 188,000 acres of wetland habitats for native sea-run fish, including endangered Atlantic salmon, endangered shortnose and Atlantic sturgeon, and eight other fish species. The project is a joint effort between the Penobscot Indian Nation, the Penobscot River Restoration Trust, six other non-governmental organizations, the State of Maine, the Department of the Interior, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and hydropower companies.
Including the 2013 grants, the Service has awarded about $320 million to coastal states and territories since the program began in 1992. When the 2013 projects are complete, about 298,000 acres of habitat will have been protected, restored or enhanced as a direct result of these grants. 

A complete list of projects funded by the 2013 grant program can be found online at http://www.fws.gov/home/feature/2013/pdf/2013awardslist_v2.pdf.

2013 Atlantic Tropical Storm & Hurricane Names.

Storms started being named by the National Weather Service in 1953. Prior, there was a naming system in the West Indies that used the saint's day that a hurricane landed on for its name. This system was used for a couple of hundred years until the US military started using the phonetic alphabet to name storms. Storm number one would be named Able, storm two, Baker and so on. This went on until the phonetic alphabet was changed in 1953 and the National Weather Service began using female names for storms.

In 1978 using just female names ended, first with the Pacific storms, and male names were added to the mix. Today there is an international committee of the World Meteorological Organization that assigns storm names. They don't appear to a real creative group since they rotate the same names on a six year cycle. This system has been in place since 1979.

Some storm names have been retired. This honor is given storms that are extra horrific. The well recognized storms, Katrina, Igor, Ivan, Andrew, Gloria and Hugo are just a few of the retired names.

For 2013 the Named Storms for the Atlantic are:

In the event a year is extra stormy the names then become the Greek Alphabet beginning with Alpha.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Pennsylvania DEP Provides Update on Susquehanna River, Waterways

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) its final 2012 Integrated Waters report, a biannual assessment of the state’s rivers and streams required by the federal Clean Water Act. The report describes the health of various waterways in the state and, where needed, the state proposes listing waterways as impaired.

“Our final report is firmly grounded in sound science, and we expect that EPA will agree with it based on the science presented,” DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said. “Based on the science and law, we do not believe that the main stem of Susquehanna River should be proposed as impaired under the Clean Water Act. While we recognize that the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and others had requested that DEP propose to impair a 98-mile stretch of the Susquehanna River, as we have pointed out on many occasions before, that view is based on very limited, piecemeal data and is not supported by the existing data or the law. But DEP takes the concerns expressed about the Susquehanna very seriously and we are doing something about it. We will be taking, separately, a comprehensive and strategic approach to ensure that the Susquehanna River is protected.

“My staff will be working with the Fish and Boat Commission, the Susquehanna River Basin Commission and the U.S. Geological Survey to ensure water quality and aquatic life are being protected in the Susquehanna River. In particular, we recognize that there are issues facing smallmouth bass, such as what is called young-of-year die-offs; lesions on adult bass; and inter-sexing of the species,” Krancer said. Inter-sexed fish are males with female characteristics, and young-of-year are recently hatched bass.

“The actual cause of these issues has not yet been determined or linked to any particular water quality issue, but DEP is dedicated to finding the answer through a disciplined scientific approach.”

DEP’s work in this area has been underway for some time. Last summer, agency staff spent 187 combined days on the river collecting hundreds of samples to characterize the water quality in the Susquehanna and its many tributaries. Samples collected included fish, macroinvertebrates, algae, chemistry and data on the river’s dissolved oxygen, pH and temperature.

“Our scientists report that there does not appear to be any demonstrated cause and effect between water quality and the young-of-year die-offs, which, is contrary to what the Fish and Boat Commission has suggested is happening in tributaries outside of the Susquehanna, including the Delaware and Ohio river basins,” Krancer said. “Within the Susquehanna River, this condition has appeared in a few tributaries and the impact is limited to smallmouth bass.

“Our scientists also tell me that no cause and effect can be established right now between water quality and the tumors and lesions found on adult bass. It is not at this point clear how prevalent the tumors and inter-sex conditions are throughout the river, nor if they are related to the young-of-year die-offs,” Krancer said. “It is important to note that the Fish and Boat Commission has not reported any diseased young-of-year in the lower Susquehanna this past summer.

“We plan on keeping our efforts up,” Krancer said. “We will continue sampling at 30 locations throughout the Susquehanna River basin to develop a very comprehensive set of data. We will continue to look at water quality issues facing the river, such as pesticide runoff; hormone-disrupting compounds and nutrients, such as phosphorus and nitrogen.”

The agency will also continue to consult with Dr. Hunter Carrick of Central Michigan University, a respected algal expert, and Dr. Vicki Blazer of the U.S. Geological Survey, a respected fish pathologist.

Secretary Krancer also announced a veteran DEP staff member will serve as Susquehanna River Coordinator to ensure the continuing efforts with the river happen efficiently and with scientific rigor.

“Should the data indicate that a proposed impairment listing is called for in the Susquehanna or any waterway, we would do so,” Krancer said. “In addition to this, we continue to move forward with a very comprehensive federally mandated Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), which is in part responsible for improved water quality across the Chesapeake Bay watershed that includes the Susquehanna.”

To view the 2012 Integrated Report and its accompanying comment and response document, visit www.dep.state.pa.us and click “Water,” then “The Bureau of Point and Non-Point Source Management,” then “Water Quality Standards” on the right-hand side, then “Integrated Water Quality Report - 2012.”

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Pennsylvania DEP Announces Comprehensive Oil and Gas Development Radiation Study

At the direction of Governor Corbett, the Department of Environmental Protection announced today it will undertake a study to look at naturally occurring levels of radioactivity in by-products associated with oil and natural gas development.

In the coming weeks, DEP will seek a peer review of its study plan and begin to sample and analyze the naturally occurring radioactivity levels in flowback waters, treatment solids and drill cuttings, as well as associated matters such as the transportation, storage and disposal of drilling wastes

DEP routinely reviews radioactivity data in wastes the oil and natural gas industry and other industries generate, and the information the agency has obtained to date indicates very low levels of natural radioactivity. This study, which is expected to take 12 to 14 months, is aimed at ensuring that public health and the environment continue to be protected.

“This administration is undertaking what will be the most comprehensive study of its kind anywhere, and Gov. Corbett has directed us to do so in order to be proactive for the future and to continue Pennsylvania’s leadership in responsible development of domestic natural gas resources,” DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said. “This thorough and rigorous study, which will focus on conditions here in Pennsylvania, is further demonstration that states are best suited to responsibly oversee the natural gas exploration and production activities taking place in our respective borders."

“DEP’s current regulations and monitoring networks are designed to protect the public from exposure to unsafe levels of radiation, and our regulations in this field have led the nation for years,” Krancer said. The agency will collect samples of flowback water, rock cuttings, treatment solids and sediments at well pads and wastewater treatment and waste disposal facilities. The study will also analyze the radioactivity levels in pipes and well casings, storage tanks, treatment systems and trucks.

Throughout the study, DEP will provide progress reports to its water, waste, radiation and citizens’ advisory councils.

Pennsylvania is the only state that requires through regulation that landfills monitor for radiation levels in the incoming wastes. Should waste trigger a radiation monitor, the landfill must use a conservative and highly protective protocol that DEP developed to determine if the amount and concentration of the radioactive material can be accepted. This protocol ensures that the materials, such as Marcellus Shale drill cuttings and other sources of naturally occurring radiation in the waste stream, do not pose a risk to public health during disposal.

Drill cuttings and other materials associated with oil and gas have occasionally triggered radiation monitors at landfills. DEP’s data indicates that less than half a percent of all drill cuttings produced by the Marcellus Shale industry in 2012 that were disposed of in landfills triggered radiation monitors. The cuttings did not contain levels of radioactivity that would be harmful to the public, and they were safely disposed of in the landfills.

In 2011, DEP announced the results of in-stream radiation water quality monitoring for seven rivers in Pennsylvania. The monitors were placed downstream of treatment plants that had been discharging treated Marcellus Shale wastewater, a now defunct practice as a direct result of DEP’s call to industry to cease delivery of wastewater to plants that were not equipped to fully treat it. The in-stream monitoring results showed that radioactivity levels in all seven rivers were at or below normal background levels and below federal safe drinking water standards.

In 2011, DEP also required 14 public water suppliers to report early the results of routine monitoring for radioactivity in drinking water. Such monitoring is required as part of the state’s oversight of public water supplies. Most results showed no detectable levels of radioactivity, and the levels that were detectable did not exceed safe drinking water standards.

DEP will work on the study with Perma-Fix Environmental Services of Pittsburgh, which has worked with the agency as a consultant on health physics and radiological issues and has assisted DEP for more than a decade with radioactivity monitoring and assessments.

The agency will consult with independent members of academia to peer review the project’s detailed study plan. Once the peer review is complete, DEP will publish the study plan on its website, where the agency’s proposal for the study is currently viewable.

For more information and to view the study proposal and a summary of the study, visit www.dep.state.pa.us and click the “Oil and Gas Development Radiation Study” button on the front page.

New Jersey asking saltwater anglers to participate in survey

The Division of Fish and Wildlife would like saltwater anglers to participate in an angler survey. The survey measures not just what fishermen catch but it also looks at the effort and way they fish.

Information on what wasn't caught is just as important as what was caught. State biologists are looking for this information to better understand the states fish stocks so informed decisions can be made in increase New Jersey's recreational fishery opportunities.

If you fish in NJ saltwater and would like to participate simply follow this link: http://www.njfishandwildlife.com/marinesurvey.htm

Monday, January 21, 2013

American Sportfishing Association (ASA) Releases New Fishing Statistics Report

Sportfishing in America: An Economic Force for Conservation, is title given to the recently released statistical report by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), the trade association that represents the sportfishing industry.

The study reports that approximately 60 million anglers spend nearly $46 billion per year on fishing equipment, transportation, lodging and other expenses associated with their sport. With a total annual economic impact of $115 billion, sport fishing supports over 828,000 jobs and generates $35 billion in wages and $15 billion in federal and state taxes. Even in a down U.S. economy for the past five years; the amount spent on sport fishing, which includes tackle, travel and other equipment, grew five percent.

Read the full report (PDF) below.

Sportsmen continue to urge caution on development of oil shale, tar sands

A sportsmen's coalition applauds the Bureau of Land of Management's balanced decision on the protection of many vital fish and wildlife habitats, but has concerns about the increased risk to the greater sage-grouse.

The final programmatic environmental impact statement released Friday would make about 800,000 acres available for oil shale and tar sands production in northwest Colorado, southwest Wyoming and northeastern Utah. Sportsmen for Responsible Energy Development supports the BLM's move to require more research before issuing commercial leases on public land and believes it is prudent for companies with existing research parcels to show tangible results before additional land is leased.

While many important habitat areas were protected, some key greater sage-grouse habitats in Wyoming were opened to potential development, which is of concern, the coalition said. The National Wildlife Federation, Trout Unlimited and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnerships are the SFRED coalition's lead partners.

"We need to understand fully the trade-offs we are making before we seal the deal to commit a thousand square miles of public land to this risky business," said Kate Zimmerman, the National Wildlife's public lands policy director. "If we don't, good air and water quality, fish and wildlife values could be lost forever."

The proposal revises a 2008 plan to open about 2 million acres of public lands in the three Rocky Mountain states to oil shale and tar sands development. The BLM took another look at the plan after challenges from several conservation groups.

"Colorado's Piceance Basin has the region's richest oil shale deposits and is also the heart of what's long been called the state's mule-deer factory," said Suzanne O'Neill, executive director of the Colorado Wildlife Federation. "The BLM has said oil shale and tar sands development might fragment or destroy wildlife habitat."

Northwestern Colorado was home to about 120,000 mule deer in the early 1980s, O'Neill said, but the population had dropped to about 50,000 by 2010.

"Culverts are significant impediments to fish passage and survival — just as significant as a major dam — but the solution is dramatically simpler, costs less, and the overall benefits to many watersheds is profound," said Dave Perkins, Vice Chairman of Orvis. "By removing these impediments, we not only add vital habitat for fish, but we also open many miles of fishable waters for anglers. We're proud to partner with TU in this effort to engage the fly-fishing community in support of this often overlooked opportunity to dramatically improve fish habitat across the country."

"Oil and gas drilling has increased substantially in the area and more development is planned," she added. "We don't know how much more pressure the herds can bear."

Hunters and anglers commend the Interior Department for taking a more prudent approach to oil shale and tar sands development, said Ed Arnett, director of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership's Center for Responsible Energy Development.

"We support responsible energy development," Arnett added, "but oil shale remains an unproven source of energy and we don't know how much water or electricity will be need to unlock the oil in the rocks."

The region's public lands are crucial for hunting, fishing and recreation, all sustainable, important parts of the economy, said Brad Powell, energy director for Trout Unlimited's Sportsmen's Conservation Project

"The region's fish and wildlife populations are dependent on the availability of clean, cold water. Our water supplies in the West are too valuable to put at risk until the technology is better developed," Powell said.

Sportsmen for Responsible Energy Development is a coalition of more than 500 businesses, organizations and individuals dedicated to conserving irreplaceable habitats so future generations can hunt and fish on public lands. The coalition is led byTrout Unlimited, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, and the National Wildlife Federation.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Great Backyard Bird Count Goes Global in 2013

Bird watchers worldwide can take part for the first time

After 15 years of success in North America, the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC) will open up to the entire world for the first time in 2013. Anyone, from anywhere on earth, can participate by visiting www.birdcount.org and reporting the kinds and numbers of birds they see during the 16th annual count, February 15­­–18, 2013.

A joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society, with partner Bird Studies Canada, the four-day count typically receives sightings from tens of thousands of people reporting more than 600 bird species in the United States and Canada alone.

Red-breasted Nuthatch,
Christine Haines,
WA, 2012 GBBC
“This year’s count will give us a whole new perspective as sightings pour in from around the globe in real time,” said Marshall Iliff at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. “Millions of people encounter birds every day all over the world. Imagine what scientists will learn if each one of us shares observations from our own area!”

During the 2012 count, participants reported 17.4 million bird observations on 104,000 checklists. Snowy Owls thrilled many participants when these striking birds-of-prey ventured south from the Arctic in record numbers. In 2013, scientists predict that U.S. and Canadian bird watchers will see an influx of Red-breasted Nuthatches and winter finches (such as Pine Siskins) because of scarce food supplies on their northern wintering grounds.

“The GBBC is an ideal opportunity for young and old to connect with nature by discovering birds and to participate in a huge science project,” said Gary Langham, Audubon’s Chief Scientist.  “This year, we hope people on all seven continents, oceans, and islands, will head out into their neighborhoods, rural areas, parks, and wilderness to further our understanding of birds across the hemispheres.”

Participating is easy. Simply watch birds for at least 15 minutes at the location of your choice on one or more of the count days. Estimate the number of birds you see for each species you can identify. You’ll select your location on a map, answer a few questions, enter your tallies, and then submit your data to share your sightings with others around the world.

The global capacity for the count will be powered by eBird, an online checklist program for all of the world’s 10,240 bird species. Participants will be able to view what others are seeing on interactive maps, keep their own records, and have their tallies recorded for perpetuity.

“The popularity of the Great Backyard Bird Count grows each year," said Dick Cannings, Senior Projects Officer at Bird Studies Canada, "and with the new features, participation will be even more exciting.”
The Great Backyard Bird Count is sponsored in part by Wild Birds Unlimited.

Friday, January 18, 2013

75 Years of Conservation and Partnership Success Through the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program

The anniversary publication – “Celebrating the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, 75 years of Conservation and Partnership Success” – comes at the end of a year-long awareness campaign with state fish and wildlife agencies, non-governmental conservation organizations, fish and wildlife agencies, industry partners (including the American Sportfishing Association, the Archery Trade Association, National Marine Manufacturers Association, and the National Shooting Sports Foundation), and friends highlighting the Program, one of the most significant and successful conservation initiatives in history. 

The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service has released a landmark publication celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, the cornerstone of fish and wildlife conservation in North America. This vital program provides more than $700 million each year through the sale of hunting and fishing equipment to support habitat conservation and outdoor recreation projects across the nation. 

“All Americans, whether or not they hunt or fish, benefit from this program. There’s a good chance that the trail they hike, the park where they watch birds, and the wildlife they see every day wouldn’t exist without the funding provided by hunters and anglers,” said Assistant Director Hannibal Bolton, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  “In addition to providing conservation benefits, Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration funds – along with revenue from state fishing and hunting licenses – support local economies and generate thousands of jobs.” 

Since its inception in 1937, the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program has generated more than $14 billion, which state fish and wildlife agencies use to purchase public land, improve essential wildlife habitat and create additional outdoor opportunities for everyone.  It is funded through an excise tax on hunting- and shooting-related merchandise, fishing supplies and boat fuel. In 2011, hunters, anglers and wildlife watchers spent $145 billion on related gear, trips and other purchases such as licenses, tags, land leases and ownership. 

For example, the State of Kentucky has used Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration funding to re-establish elk in the state. Elk once roamed the hills of Kentucky, but by the mid-1850s, none were to be found. In a true partnership effort, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Shikar Safari Club joined forces to bring this magnificent animal back to its native range. From 1997 to 2002, a total of 1,556 elk were captured from herds in six states and released in Kentucky. The project has been a resounding success. In 2009, the herd reached the project goal of 10,000 elk. 

And in Alabama, the State Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park have teamed up to offer an aquatic education experience to thousands of school children. Last year, approximately 3,000 children from 23 schools participated in “Creek Kids.” With its rolling hills, cold water springs, rapids, pools and a mill dam, Tannehill is the perfect setting to get kids out of the classroom and immersed in nature. Students learn about watersheds and the aquatic environment from wildlife biologists, and get the chance to see firsthand how they can help conserve this unique heritage. 

These are just two of dozens of examples of success stories contained in the anniversary publication, which offers an overall description of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program and its role as the economic backbone of state and federal fish and wildlife management and habitat conservation activities across the United States. 

Additional publication highlights include:

  • Descriptions of successful conservation partnerships involving state agencies, non-governmental organizations, and additional Fish and Wildlife Service partners throughout the country.
  • Accounts of diverse fish and wildlife species and outdoor recreation activities that are supported by the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program and its partners, as well as the federal grant programs conducted by the Fish and Wildlife Service.
  • A detailed history of the program from its inception in 1937.
  “The success of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program over the past 75 years to restore fish and wildlife populations, open access for outdoor recreation and provide safety education has been the greatest untold conservation story," said Ron Regan, Executive Director of the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies. "This publication illustrates the trust between America's sportsmen and women; the hunting, shooting sports and angling industry; and state and federal agencies that is the backbone of our users-pay, everyone benefits funding system for fish and wildlife conservation.”

Click here to download the publication.

The Wildlife and Sport  Fish Restoration Program  is a 75-year partnership to benefit fish and wildlife, and provide Americans with access to the outdoors through a self-imposed investment paid by manufacturers and users of gear bought by anglers, boaters, hunters, and shooters and managed by Federal and State fish and wildlife agencies. Fishing and hunting licenses and motorboat fuel tax also support fish and wildlife. For 75 years, the program has provided more than $14 billion for fish and wildlife, supplied jobs for many Americans, and benefited local economies through boating, fishing, hunting, and shooting activities.

New Jersey Announces more than 5,000 Acres Preserved in Great Egg Harbor Watershed

The Department of Environmental Protection in partnership with the New Jersey Pinelands Commission, The Nature Conservancy, and Conservation Resources, Inc., has preserved 5,079 acres of woodlands and wetlands in Atlantic County’s Great Egg Harbor River watershed at a cost of $9.7 million.

The DEP’s Green Acres program finalized two related land purchases securing 4,970 acres from Lenape Farms and 109 acres from HBH Associates. The more than 5,000-acre project, one of the largest state preservation effort in years, helps link together more than 56,000 acres of previously existing state wildlife management areas, plus thousands of additional acres of county parkland in an area where the Pine Barrens meets a coastal estuary ecosystem.

The property flanks U.S. Route 50 in Estell Manor. The bulk of the property, known as Lenape Farms, contains large expanses of forested uplands that merge into coastal marshlands. The preserved property is now part of a state wildlife management area, providing hunting, fishing, hiking and bird watching opportunities for the public. It will also protect headwaters of Steven’s Creek, Gibson’s Creek and Mill Creek, which are tributaries to Great Egg Harbor River.

The preserved land directly links Atlantic County’s Estell Manor Park to three DEP wildlife management areas – the Tuckahoe Wildlife Management Area and Gibson Creek Wildlife Management Area to the south and the Maple Lake Wildlife Management Area to the west. The Great Egg Harbor River Wildlife Management Area and the sprawling Peaslee Wildlife Management are also located nearby.

The newly acquired land is now the Lenape Farms unit of the Tuckahoe Wildlife Management Area. The public can access the property by foot immediately as the DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife develops and implements a management plan, which will include formal trail development.

“This is the largest single New Jersey land deal we have ever been involved in—a huge amount of acreage in a priority conservation area, with important implications for forests, wildlife and water systems,’’ said Barbara Brummer, New Jersey State Director for The Nature Conservancy.

“We are deeply gratified to have been a leader in protecting this watershed for the future.’’

The tract had been used as a private hunting game preserve since the early 1900s, and was privately managed for forestry and wildlife purposes for many years.

 “Lenape Farms has done a wonderful job of enhancing tree quality, encouraging forest regeneration, reducing wildfire hazards and protecting wildlife habitat for almost 100 years,’’ said Terry Caruso, Supervising Program Development Specialist for the DEP’s Green Acres program.

The property provides habitat for a number of wildlife species, including the barred owl, northern pine snake, Pine Barrens tree frog, Cooper’s hawk, timber rattlesnake, Cope’s gray tree frog, bald eagle, red-headed woodpecker, black rail, osprey, black-crowned night heron and diamondback terrapin. 

Under terms of the agreement, Lenape Farms was paid $9.4 million and HBH Associates received $334,000.

The DEP provided $6.5 million in Green Acres funding. The Nature Conservancy provided $3.2 million, which included a $2.3 million Pinelands Conservation grant from the Pinelands Commission and a $264,000 grant from Conservation Resources Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides financial and technical services to the conservation community in New Jersey.

“The Lenape Farms acquisition represents the permanent preservation of one of the largest remaining private parcels in the State” said Michael Catania, President of Conservation Resources, Inc.  “This tract, which has been wonderfully managed by private stewards for generations, is reminiscent of one of the huge Adirondack “camp” properties that have recently been preserved by public/private partnerships in New York. CRI salutes both the sellers and the partnership of buyers who had the vision and perseverance to save this gem in perpetuity.”

“It has been difficult for Lenape Farms to let go of this beautiful and pristine tract of land,” said Stew Keener, President of Lenape Farms Inc. “Our organization has enjoyed and carefully maintained the Lenape Farms property for multiple generations.

“Our stewardship and tree farming, which has been inspired and implemented by our forester, Bob Williams, is well documented and is a source of great pride for us,’’ said Keener. “We sincerely hope that this tradition of excellence continues in perpetuity now that the land is in the public domain. We are honored to have played a part in preserving one of the largest tracts in the state’s history.”

“This is an excellent addition to our efforts to preserve environmentally-sensitive land,” said Nancy Wittenberg, Executive Director of the Pinelands Commission. “Including this parcel, the Commission has now paid out a total of $7.9 million toward the permanent preservation of 6,670 acres of land.”

Together with public and private partners, the Green Acres program has directly protected 650,000 acres of open space and provided hundreds of recreational opportunities for a wide range of activities, including natural areas, hiking and fishing areas, city parks, playgrounds, athletic fields, boat ramps, docks, fishing piers and environmental education.

In addition to providing recreation opportunities, Green Acres projects help protect water quality and stimulate economic development by creating jobs, at the same time making cities and towns more attractive places to live and work.

To view a map of the site, visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/docs/lenapefarms-map.pdf

Invasive Species in Lake George

DEC and LGPC Announce Strategy to Address Invasive Species in Lake George

Comprehensive Environmental Impact Study Process on Preventing Spread of Invasive Species in Lake George is Underway


Working together, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Lake George Park Commission (LGPC) will take actions to prevent the spread and threat of invasive species such as Asian clams in preparation for the summer 2013 boating season, the agencies announced today. In addition, an environmental review of a comprehensive and long-term plan to address invasive species will begin shortly.

To further protect Lake George from the threat of invasive species in 2013 while the review of the long term plan takes place, the DEC and LGPC will:
  1. Expand the Lake George Association's boat steward program from May to September. The season previously ran from June to August. This will provide additional protection during months when boat traffic is relatively high but stewards are not currently funded.
  2. Develop and implement a more comprehensive outreach program to local and regional boaters who boat on Lake George on how they can reduce the risk of spreading and introducing invasive species.
  3. Increase patrols by DEC Environmental Conservation Officers and LGPC officers trained in aquatic invasive species spread prevention. These officers will work the launches on a regular required basis.
The state Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) will provide $50,000 from the 2012-13 invasive species prevention allocation to fund the lengthened boat steward program and additional outreach efforts.

LGPC to Receive Additional $200K

In addition to the actions above, the LGPC will receive $200,000 from the EPF to help contain and prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species including Asian clams. As with the allocation above, EPF funds from 2012-13 will be used. Earlier this year the state provided LGPC with $100,000 from the Aid to Localities fund and $100,000 from the EPF to help combat invasive species.

Environmental Impact Review Process

Building upon its work last year, LGPC, in cooperation with the involved state and local agencies, will continue its work pursuant to the State Environmental Quality Review Act to develop a long-term plan for protecting Lake George from invasive species. LGPC will develop a scope for an Environmental Impact Statement and invite public comment to ensure that all reasonable alternatives are considered in the EIS, including mandatory inspections and boat washing. The draft EIS will be subject to public review and comment. Following the comment period, a final EIS will be developed to determine the best course of action on how to prevent the spread of invasive species in Lake George.

The SEQR process must be completed before mandatory inspections and boat washing could be implemented. It is anticipated the SEQR process will be completed by the end of the year.

DEC and LGPC share the goal of preparing a comprehensive long-term plan to address invasive species. Through the environmental review process, including a thorough examination of alternatives, LGPC, DEC and other state and local partners will determine the best course of action. 

State Actions to Combat Invasive Species

The Invasive Species Prevention Act (ISPA) directs DEC and the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets to develop by September 2013 a proposed list of invasive species to be regulated and prohibited. In addition, the Invasive Species Council, comprised of nine state agencies, will work with stakeholders on its implementation. Additional actions taken this year by New York State to fight invasive species include:
  • The Adirondack Park Agency has further streamlined its review process for the removal of invasive species in lakes across the Park. APA has approved a general permit that allows for the management of aquatic invasive species using benthic mats and hand harvesting. LGPC is currently using benthic mats under this general permits to control Asian clams on Lake George.
  • Launched I-MAP invasives, a web-based tracking system being used by various state agencies to collect invasive species data from the public and private sector and make information available to fight invasives.
  • Increased efforts post-Sandy to ensure that woody debris was treated correctly, thereby reducing risk of spreading the Asian Long-horned beetle.
  • Selected four new Partnerships in Invasive Species Management (PRISMs). Once these PRISMs are under contract, all of New York State will be encompassed as part of this PRISM system. PRISMs work with state agencies to coordinate local partner efforts, recruit and train citizen volunteers, identify and deliver education and outreach, establish early detection monitoring networks, and implement direct eradication and control efforts.
  • Dedicated funds to fight the hydrilla infestation in Cayuga Lake Inlet.
Prevent the Spread of Invasive Species 

Inspect & Clean your fishing, boating and other water recreation equipment and gear. Remove all mud, plants and other organisms that might be clinging to them when leaving waters, especially those that are known to contain an aquatic invasive species. 

Dry your fishing and boating equipment before using it on another body of water. Drying is the most effective "disinfection" mechanism and is least likely to damage sensitive equipment and clothing. All fishing and boating equipment, clothing and other gear should be dried completely before moving to another body of water. This may take a week or more depending upon the type of equipment, where it is stored and weather conditions. A basic rule of thumb is to allow at least 48 hours for drying most non-porous fishing and boating gear at relative humidity levels of 70 percent or less. 

Disinfect your fishing and boating equipment if it cannot be dried before its use in another body of water. Disinfection recommendations vary depending on the type of equipment and disease of concern. Be particularly aware of bilge areas, live wells and bait wells in boats. These areas are difficult to dry and can harbor invasive species.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

How You Can Help Tackle the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’

Activist Shares 5 Tips to Reduce Plastic Waste& Ocean Pollution

It’s a growing problem in the northern Pacific Ocean and one that could change life on our planet within the next 20 years. 

“I remember the first time I felt it; I was paddling out on my surfboard and noticed a mushy, plastic-like substance sliding through my fingers. That’s what started my obsession with the Great Pacific Garbage Patch,” says charity fundraiser and environmentalist Veronica Grey. “The patch is located between Hawaii and California in the northern Pacific Ocean, where millions of small bits of plastic have gathered in a vortex of ocean currents known as a gyre.”

As someone with ample experience raising awareness for worthy causes, Grey paired her professional skills with her personal passion for the ocean, creating the award-winning documentary “Aqua Seafoam Shame,” (www.Pacific-TV.com), which spotlights the mess in the ocean that has garnered precious little media attention, she says. 

“Fifteen years ago The Patch was the size Texas, but now it’s the size of the continental United States,” says Grey, who used her iPhone to shoot the documentary, which features renowned scientists, journalists and environmentalists.

Plastic in the ocean has far-reaching implications that, if not addressed within 20 years, could change life on this planet, she says. To date, 177 species of sea life are known to ingest plastic; other species feed on those creatures, extending the chain of damage. 

“People eat the seafood that eats plastic, and the planet gets its rain from the oceans, which are being polluted at an exponential rate,” she says. “We use significantly more of our planet’s surface as a dump than for growing food; this has to change.”

To begin addressing plastics pollution, Grey encourages people to use alternatives:
Americans buy 2 million bottles of water every five minutes; ditch plastic bottles and use glass or recyclable cans.
Carry a cost-effective canvas bag instead getting disposable plastic bags at the grocery store. We waste 10 billion plastic bags every week!
Do not line your trash cans with plastic bags. Use paper bags or nothing.
Skip the lid on your to-go drinks. The paper cup is normally recyclable but the lid usually isn't.
Remember that each and every time you flush; it all ends up in the ocean. Be mindful of what you toss in your toilet!
About Veronica Grey
Veronica Grey is an award-winning author and filmmaker. A graduate of UCLA, she is a regular contributor to TV stations across the country and is the recipient of the 2011 New Media award from the Pare Lorentz Film Festival. “Aqua Seafoam Shame” is a critically acclaimed documentary that explores the diagnosis that 25 percent of our planet's surface is now a landfill, due to the Pacific garbage patch and plastics. The movie also explores the process by which conscientious companies, some because of her encouragement, switched from plastic to a more sustainable alternative. Grey was born on PI (3.14) in PI (Philippines Island) and she is recognized as a numbers savant.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Woods Hole Science Aquarium Announces 2013 Summer Programs for High School Students

The Woods Hole Science Aquarium (WHSA) is offering three summer programs for high school students in 2013, a five-week internship and two two-week seminars devoted to careers in marine science. All three programs are designed for students who are interested in marine science and marine animals, aquarium operations, and marine education and conservation.     
Interns in the five-week program will spend approximately 25 hours per week in the aquarium helping to care for animals. The interns will learn about animal husbandry and will be trained as assistant naturalists for shore-side collecting trips for the public. Interns are expected to help with cleaning tanks, preparing fish food, and other animal husbandry chores that can be messy and smelly. The five-week program will run from June 24 through July 26.; In the last two weeks, the interns will participate in the two-week Careers seminar.

The Careers in Marine Science seminars will run from July 15-26 and July 29 to August 9.  The seminar are designed to give students an idea of what people working in Woods Hole science institutions do, and how different disciplines contribute to the larger effort to understand the marine world and to manage marine resources wisely.

Seminar participants will learn animal husbandry and basic aquarist skills, hear presentations from scientists working in a variety of fields, go on collecting trips, and visit other science institutions and aquariums.

To participate in either the internship or the seminar, students must have finished 10th, 11th or 12th grade and must be at least 16 years old by June 24. Applicants must have U.S. citizenship.  Application forms are available in the aquarium and online at http://aquarium.nefsc.noaa.gov/hsinterns.html/. Applicants must also provide a transcript and two references. E-mail applications are welcome.  All application materials must be postmarked by March 15.  The 2013 interns and seminar participants will be announced by April 1.

The Woods Hole Science Aquarium holds approximately 120 species of marine animals in several dozen tanks that provide cold water, temperate water, and tropical water habitats. In a typical summer the aquarium hosts more than 50,000 visitors from all 50 states and more than 50 countries.

The summer programs are run by the staff of the Woods Hole Science Aquarium and are a project of NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service in partnership with the Marine Biological Laboratory.

The aquarium welcomes applications from students of all backgrounds. Students from groups currently under-represented in marine sciences are especially encouraged to apply – this includes African American, Cape Verdean, Hispanic, and Native American students. 

Questions about the program may be directed to George Liles, WHSA Curator, (508) 495-2037, or george.liles@noaa.gov.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Federal Agencies Announce National Council to Build 21st Century Conservation Corps

Leaders of eight federal departments and agencies today announced that they have signed an agreement setting up a national council to guide implementation of the Obama Administration’s 21st Century Conservation Service Corps (21CSC) – a national collaborative effort to put America’s youth and returning veterans to work protecting, restoring and enhancing America’s great outdoors. By signing the Memorandum of Understanding finalized today, the Secretaries of the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, and Labor, as well as the EPA Administrator, Chair of the President’s Council on Environmental Quality, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service and Assistant Secretary for the Army (Civil Works) established the National Council for the 21CSC—fully implementing the first recommendation of the America’s Great Outdoors initiative introduced by President Obama in 2010.

The 21CSC focuses on helping young people – including diverse low-income, underserved and at-risk youth, as well as returning veterans – gain valuable training and work experience while accomplishing needed conservation and restoration work on public lands, waterways and cultural heritage sites. It builds on existing partnerships with youth conservation corps across the country to engage thousands of young Americans in hands-on service and job training experiences on public lands and community green spaces.

 The USDA Forest Service’s focus on expanding youth engagement opportunities resulted in an investment of more than $18 million in FY 2012 on programs and partnerships that provided volunteer, service and employment opportunities on national forests and grasslands for nearly 10,000 young people.

Creating the National Council was a key recommendation from the Federal Advisory Committee in support of outdoor youth engagement announced by Secretaries Salazar and Vilsack in December 2011. Composed of representatives of the nation’s conservation, service and workforce development groups, along with representatives from federal agencies, this committee was charged with advising the federal agencies on how to build on the important ongoing work of local, state, federal and non-profit youth conservation corps. Within their six-month deadline, the committee provided Salazar and Vilsack with guidance on a framework for the Conservation Service Corps’ vision, principles and strategies.

The National Council will work across the federal government to support the 21CSC by enhancing partnerships with existing youth corps programs around the nation; stimulating existing and new public-private partnerships; and aligning the investment of current federal government resources. Members will be represented on the National Council by members of the senior leadership of each agency, bureau or office. The National Council will initially be co-chaired by representatives from the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture, for a one-year term, after which the two co-chair positions will be chosen from among the National Council members by consensus.

For a copy of the MOU, visit: http://on.doi.gov/UZma3a
For additional information on the 21CSC, visit: http://www.doi.gov/21csc 

Monday, January 14, 2013


Thousands of monthly weather records were broken in communities throughout the US in 2012, as detailed in an updated interactive extreme weather mapping tool and year-end review to be released at Noon EST on Tuesday, January 15, 2013, by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). 2012 tallies reveal even more monthly weather records set than the 3,251 records smashed in 2011, with record-breaking heat, rainfall and snow events catalogued by state.

New this year, the interactive map at www.nrdc.org/extremeweather will also rank all 50 states by their percentage of weather stations reporting at least one monthly heat record broken in 2012. The top 10 states to be highlighted (in alphabetical order): Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, Tennessee, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

In 2012, Americans experienced several unforgettably devastating extreme events. Climate scientists say these types of events are fueled by climate change:

* 2012 was the warmest year ever recorded in the US, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) State of the Climate report released last Tuesday.

* Hurricane Sandy's storm surge height, 13.88 feet, broke the all-time record in the New York Harbor, and ravaged communities across New Jersey and New York with floodwaters and winds.

* The summer of 2012 was the worst drought in 50 years across the nation's breadbasket, with over 1,300 US counties across 29 states declared drought disaster areas.

* The hottest March on record in the contiguous US, and July was the hottest single month ever recorded in the lower 48 states.

* Wildfires burned over 9.2 million acres in the US, and destroyed hundreds of homes.

NOAA has estimated that 2012 will surpass 2011 in aggregate costs for U.S. annual billion-dollar disasters, in large part due to the trails of destruction from Superstorm Sandy and the yearlong drought.

WHEN: Noon EST on Tuesday, January 15, 2013

CONTACT: For more information, contact Ailis Aaron Wolf, (703) 276-3265 or aawolf@hastingsgroup.com, or Jackie Wei at jwei@nrdc.org.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Pennsylvania Releases Final White Paper on Using Mine Water for Drilling

The Department of Environmental Protection announced today it has finalized the process it will use for encouraging and reviewing proposals to use mine-influenced water, such as acid mine drainage, in oil and gas operations. The process is outlined in a white paper the agency released today.

“Abandoned mines present Pennsylvania with one of its biggest environmental challenges,” DEP Secretary Mike Krancer said. “This initiative, which combines remediating abandoned mine water with responsible extraction of our natural gas resources, is a win for our environment and our economy.”

The white paper, available on DEP’s website, outlines the process to submit proposals and how agency staff will review the proposals to use mine-influenced water in drilling operations. It also identifies possible storage options for the water and describes potential solutions to long-term liability issues. Proposals to use mine-influenced water must include sampling and characterization of the water, as well as details about how the water will be transported, stored and used.

DEP has also developed lists of major mine discharges in the state that it is encouraging operators consider first, but the agency will review proposals for using water from any mine discharge in Pennsylvania. Operators must follow all applicable environmental laws and regulations when treating, using, storing and moving the water.

DEP is also encouraging interested parties to work with non-profit organizations and watershed associations that operate mine water treatment plants and to consider creating or supplementing existing trust funds for long-term treatment of mine-influenced water.

The agency developed the white paper after discussing throughout 2012 a draft version with stakeholder groups from across the state.

More than 300 million gallons of water is discharged from mines into Pennsylvania’s waterways every day. Such water has impaired more than 5,500 miles of rivers and streams in the state.

In 2011, the Governor’s Marcellus Shale Advisory Commission included among its recommendations encouraging the use of non-freshwater sources in drilling operations.

For more information and to view the white paper, list of major discharges and other information, visit www.dep.state.pa.us and click “Mining” then “Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation.”

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

New Jersey Fish & Wildlife Launches a New Smartphone App

The Department of Environmental Protection has launched a new mobile phone application designed to provide information and technology to guide and enhance users’ hunting, fishing and wildlife watching experiences, and to provide added safety and enjoyment for outdoor enthusiasts at all of New Jersey’s wildlife management areas, state parks and forests, and other public open spaces.

“This is part of the Christie Administration’s continuing effort to bring more people into our state parks and wildlife areas, to enhance offerings and make it easier and more convenient for our residents to enjoy the great diversity of fish and wildlife and outdoor recreation opportunities in New Jersey,’’ said DEP Commissioner Bob Martin.

The free Pocket Ranger® New Jersey Fish and Wildlife application is a cutting-edge mobile app that provides on-the-spot information on the state’s fish and wildlife species along with extensive mapping of public open spaces, showing and providing site information on access points for hunting, fishing, boating and wildlife watching.

Pocket Ranger has social networking capabilities, and provides an advanced map-caching feature that allows users to continue to navigate even if mobile service is lost. In addition, advanced GPS technology allows users to keep track of where they are, how far they’ve gone and to mark favorite hunting spots, fishing holes or wildlife sightings.

The application also has a Friend Finder feature that allows users to keep track of the location of friends and family. As an added safety utility, Pocket Ranger has an alert feature that notifies select contacts of your GPS coordinates in the event of an emergency. The application has many other features including weather information, a real-time calendar of events, rules and regulations, and important permit and licensing details.

“This exciting new app, along with the State Parks app, provides our residents and visitors with great tools to make their outdoor experiences even more enjoyable and memorable,’’ said Dave Chanda, DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife director. “This application has features that are valuable to anyone interested in the outdoors in New Jersey from the novice sportsperson learning how and where to hunt and fish to the most seasoned wildlife watcher looking for rare species information.”

In future versions of the app already under development, users will be able to submit rare species sightings and connect after a fruitful day in the field sharing, commenting, and comparing what they saw or harvested through online message boards, including a “trophy case’’ for proud anglers and hunters.

The application is compatible with both Apple and Android mobile devices. Links for downloading either version are provided at http://www.pocketranger.com/apps/nj-fw/apps.php.

“Our expectation is for the Pocket Ranger Fish and Wildlife Guide to encourage a new generation of users to explore and discover all that New Jersey has to offer in the way of fish and wildlife related recreation,” said ParksByNature co-founder and program coordinator Brett Melillo. “This robust mobile app will enhance the outdoor experience, raise awareness about New Jersey’s incredible outdoor resources and help maintain the license revenues necessary to maintain and improve the state’s fish and wildlife populations.”

The DEP will receive a portion of advertising revenues generated by the application, which is being provided to the Department at no cost.

Monday, January 07, 2013

The Fly Fishing Industry's Largest Event Embarks on a Continent-wide HD Tour

Adventure film tour showcases global locales while supporting local businesses and filmmakers 

(Boulder, CO) – Fly fishing’s most celebrated annual event, the Fly Fishing Film Tour (F3T), the original and largest event of its kind begins its continent-­‐wide trek January 26th. The traveling spectacle serves as a stage for the best filmmakers in the industry, an avenue for supporting critical conservation groups, an expo for local retailers and outfitters, and one heck of a party for aspiring outdoor enthusiasts and avid anglers alike.

With never-­‐seen footage from across the globe, a party atmosphere, audience giveaways and valuable coupons, the annual high-­‐energy spectacle is the sport’s most anticipated live-­‐event. This year’s tour will make stops in over 125 cities across the U.S. and Canada. Along the way local businesses, conservation groups, filmmakers and fans all stand to benefit from each screening.

“Our goal in doing this is to share our passion and support the sport we love”, says F3T producer Chris Keig. “This year our tour will donate over $30,000 to filmmakers. We’ll work in conjunction with over 175 local business and 150 conservation groups, and we’ll give away over $350,000 in prizes to fans who come to our shows. It’s important people know that walking the talk is at our core.”

This year’s spectacle promises a greater sense of adventure and diversity of content than any prior tour or other touring show. “We’ve got incredible footage from our favorite backyard locales like Montana, Florida, Idaho, and the Gulf, and we’ve got some amazing segments from destinations like the Bahamas, Belize, Alaska, New Zealand, and Canada”, says F3T Filmmaker and Road Manager Thad Robison. “But on top of that is the unique stories that are told along the way. We’ve got a punk rock band fishing in Wisconsin, a surgeon with Parkinson’s getting after it at Hemingway’s favorite old spots, a touching father-­‐son story from Scotland, even this amazingly shot piece about nothing but insects. We believe adventure is what you make it, and regardless of where you are, it’s all about doing what you love.”

With nearly 75% of the shows selling out in advance, the F3T is the fastest growing event of its kind. “We hear from people constantly who couldn’t get tickets, or want us to bring the tour to their town”, Robison says. “As far as tickets go, we recommend our fans visit our local fly shops where they can get discounted tickets.”

As for adding screenings, Robison continues, “We add markets each year but we can only be in so many places at once. So we have a program where local fans and groups partner with us to put on shows. Using our existing national ads, digital presence, sponsors, and distribution lists we can supply all the support anyone needs to put on a great show. We can even provide flyers, posters, tickets, prizes and audience giveaways.”

For a tour schedule, film trailers, tickets, photos, info on hosting your own show and much more visit www.theF3T.com. Filmmakers and fisherman are available for interviews upon request and in many cases they serve as emcees and hosts at shows.

The Fly Fishing Film Tour is produced by Webeye Group, LLC. It is sponsored by Costa, Patagonia, Sage, Hardy Reels, Yeti Coolers, Scientific Anglers, Trout Unlimited, Mountain magazine, El Pescador, Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures, and is presented in HD by the Outdoor Channel.