5 U.S. Presidents with Ties to the Outdoors

Take a second to read about 5 U.S. Presidents who have made their mark on the world of outdoor recreation.

Theodore Roosevelt: The Cowboy Conservationist

Teddy-Roosevelt-Was-the-Toughest-Person-Ever

No discussion of outdoor-loving presidents would be complete without mention of Teddy Roosevelt. This guy’s penchant for rugged outdoor activity was truly remarkable. He first meandered onto the western landscape in his younger days, with hopes of hunting bison, and eventually found himself running a small cattle ranching operation in North Dakota.

Unlike many of his peers, who traveled West only to exploit the land for their own financial gain, Roosevelt saw the inherent value it had to offer a nation that was rapidly growing but still in its infancy. His early years out West were dominated by hunting trips and cattle drives, but once he saw the havoc that unregulated hunting and ranching was wreaking on the landscape, his thirst for adventure gave way to a desire to help preserve the beauty of the West forever.

To this day, few presidents can claim a conservation legacy as profound as the one left by Theodore Roosevelt. In addition to creating the U.S. Forest Service and designating 150 national forests, the Roosevelt administration produced 4 national game preserves, 5 national parks and 18 national monuments.

To this day, Roosevelt is considered the father of the modern conservation movement.

Gerald Ford: Yellowstone Park Ranger

ford

Long before Gerald R. Ford was keeping American entertained with an epic highlight reel of presidential bloopers, he was holding it down as a park ranger in the Canyon Ranger District of Yellowstone National Park.

Still the only POTUS to have actively served as an NPS ranger, Ford enjoyed the distinguished title of ‘armed guard’ on one of Canyon’s bear feeding trucks.

In addition to contributing to the dangerous habituation of Yellowstone grizzlies, Ford handled meet and greets for important park visitors. Years later he would call his brief stint as an NPS ranger one of the greatest summers of his life.

Jimmy Carter: Paddler, Fly Fisherman and Environmental Stalwart

 

According to a New York Times article from 1994, former Georgia peanut farmer Jimmy Carter was far and away the most skilled fly fisherman to ever occupy the Oval Office.

“Since taking up the sport in the early 1970’s on Georgia’s Chattahoochee River, Carter has passed the big tests of casting a clean line,” the article reads, “taking heavy trout on fine tippets, and tying flies that can stand close inspection.”

Carter didn’t stop at fly fishing. He also enjoyed paddling the many whitewater tributaries of the North Georgia mountains, famously braving the class IV rapids of the Chattooga while lobbying for the river’s protection as a wild and scenic waterway during his tenure as governor.

During his single term as president Carter kept a steady eye on environmental issues, implementing the Soil and Water Conservation Act, the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act, the Antarctic Conservation Act, and the Endangered American Wilderness Act.

Herbert Hoover: Master of the Rapidan

Herbert Hoover is probably best known for presiding over the worst financial collapse in the history of the civilized world, but man could he cast a mean dry fly.

It’s said that Hoover, who honed his fly fishing skills on Virginia’s Rapidan River, turned to fishing as a respite from the demanding rigors of life in the public eye.

Hoover himself famously claimed that “there are only two occasions when Americans respect privacy, especially in Presidents. Those are prayer and fishing.”

He was what we call in today’s terms a “fly fishing purist” or “trout snob”, whichever you prefer.

In an interview with the National Park Service, Pete Hoover, the grandson of the 31st President, recalled Hoover saying “that really there’s only one kind of fishing and that’s trout fishing in streams.”

Hoover

Barack Obama: Bear Grylls-trained Survivalist and Environmental Conservationist 

Okay, that’s not a recognized certification of any kind, and our 44th President isn’t really known for his outdoor prowess. But hey, he dined on half-eaten salmon with Bear Grylls in Seward, Alaska. How could I leave him off the list?

He also preserved 260 million acres of land for future generations, more than any of his predecessors, by designating 19 national monuments.

Credit: TRAVIS HALL, GO OUTSIDE

5 U.S. Presidents With Ties to the Outdoors

Take Your Kid for A Hike — Any Hike

A mom learns something new about her son on the short, crowded trail to the summit of Oahu’s Diamond Head.

I’ve been to Honolulu numerous times: as a kid with my parents (my Korean-born dad loved vacationing on Waikiki Beach, I think mostly for the readily available Asian food), for high school and college volleyball tournaments, and as an adult. But I’ve never hiked to the top of the iconic mountain that sits at the end of Waikiki, the one in all the postcards.

Of all the hikes on the island of Oahu—many through bamboo forests and to waterfalls—the .8-mile, mostly paved trail up Diamond Head has always seemed like an outing best left to sandal-wearing tourists.

But on a recent trip to Honolulu, I felt compelled to hike the mountain locals think is the true “mana” or, mother, of the island with my 10-year-old son, Sam. I also felt compelled to show him the pearls of Waikiki—like how you can get great sushi and fresh pineapple and shop for a shark tooth necklace in one convenience store.

I knew the short hike would be no problem, physically, for my soccer-playing, 10K-running son. But, he’s a kid, so I never really know whether I’m going to get enthusiasm or moodiness when I take him out.

Thanks to jet lag and the three-hour time difference from our home in Boulder, Colorado, we were up before dawn. And since it was a Saturday morning and I knew the popular hike would be crowded, we arrived at the trailhead when the park opened at 6 a.m. 

“That’s a vulture,” Sam said, pointing out the large bird overhead as we started walking. I’m not sure that it was, but I didn’t care. It was nice to be chatting about wildlife, breathing the humid morning air, and stretching our legs.

A light rain fell, and that felt great. We passed other hikers—a guy in a North Carolina T-shirt, a Japanese family, a large group of Korean tourists. Sam and I talked about how, since Hawaii sits in the middle of the Pacific between the mainland U.S. and Asia, at least half the tourists—and the majority of the locals—are of Asian descent. They look like my son’s grandpa, my dad. They look like me, a hapa haole (half-Asian, from the mainland). And they look like him, also hapa (of mixed Asian descent). I’ve always felt more connected to my own Asian heritage while in Hawaii, and hoped Sam would, too.

The gradually climbing trail became a steep staircase, then led us through a dark, damp tunnel. The manmade features on the mountain were built in 1908 as part of the Army’s coastal defense system, and the hike leads right through concrete bunkers, batteries, and searchlight and fire control stations.

Sam and I talked history as we climbed a steep spiral staircase before squeezing our bodies through a tight opening to follow the trail. “The opening is small to keep the people inside safe during a war,” I explained.

I followed him up the last few steps to the summit, and audibly exhaled at the sight of the sun rising over green fields and the blue Pacific to the east, painting the low clouds gold and pink. To the west bustled Honolulu, the slow-rolling waves of Waikiki Beach paralleling the high-rises.

The concrete observation tower at the top of the trail was already full of people. “Come on, Sam, let’s go up there and get a picture,” I said, and was surprised at the response.

“No, Mom, let’s go.”

Really? I thought. I asked him again, and he gave me some pre-teen attitude I’d not seen a whole lot of before. I’d definitely not seen it on the hike so far. I’d been walking with a pleasant 10-year-old boy, up until this point.

I pleaded with him to climb onto the platform and pose for a picture with me before attitude-laden Sam (who was this kid?) gave me a forceful, “Let’s GO!”

“Okay,” I acquiesced, and followed him down a different, more gradual route than we’d come up (the trail loops).

“You know,” I said, looking at his skinny back as we walked, “You can’t be punky to me like that. Can you tell me what’s going on? Was it the people?”

“No.”

“Then what?”

We sat down at an overlook and I pulled out leftover pineapple spears.

I had to coax it out of him, but he’s afraid of heights. I didn’t know this about him, but that’s why that he didn’t like climbing on top of the platform, on the top of the mountain.

I was struck by how it took this short, touristy hike (albeit, across the ocean) to find this out about my son, and was simultaneously grateful but ashamed that I hadn’t known before. I wondered what else I’d pushed him to do in the past that made him uncomfortable, and resigned myself to plan future outdoor family adventures accordingly. I’ve never been a fan of exposure myself, and I smiled to think that we were more alike than I had realized.

For the rest of the short hike, we marveled at how many people hike with selfie sticks and music playing out of their phones, and talked abou how we’d go to the farmer’s market to buy smoothies and picnic food for the beach. We talked about how his grandpa had done this hike many times and would be happy that Sam and I did it together. And, as I watched his little head bob up and down with every step, I realized that you don’t need a challenging backcountry adventure to transform your relationship with your kid—any hike will do.

Get more tips, trips, and stories about family outdoor adventures on BACKPACKER’s Families Gone Wild.

Elephants and economics: how to ensure we value wildlife properly

Ensuring the economic health of nations is one of the biggest tasks expected of governments. The elephant in the room has long been the health of the environment, on which the health of the economy (and everything else) ultimately depends.

Most countries still rely on gross domestic product as the lead measure of their economic health. But this does not account for the loss of environmental condition. There is a growing recognition of the environmental damage that human activity causes, our dependence on a functioning environment, and the need for new approaches to measure and manage the world.

We hope this new idea can be advanced internationally at the two-week meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity, which began this week in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.


Read more: Why we need environmental accounts alongside national accounts


Integrating the environment into national accounts has long been suggested as a way to improve information and has been tried in several countries.

In Botswana, where elephants are included in the nation’s environmental accounts, spending on wildlife conservation is now seen as an investment, rather than a cost. This example shows how integrating environmental assets into economic data can help provide a new policy framing for conservation. But worldwide, this type of “expanded accounting” has had limited impact on policy decisions so far.

On target

The Convention on Biological Diversity includes what are known as the Aichi Targets. Target 2 states:

By 2020, at the latest, biodiversity values have been integrated into national and local development and poverty reduction strategies and planning processes and are being incorporated into national accounting, as appropriate, and reporting systems. (emphasis added)

This provides a clear starting point for conservationists and economists to work together. So far, little has been done on the valuation of biodiversity, and the work that has been done so far has not progressed very far on the question of how to integrate environmental and economic values into national accounting.

On one hand, putting monetary values on biodiversity has been decried as the commodification of nature. But we argue that without using appropriately defined monetary values, the environment will always be vulnerable to economic forces. If Aichi Target 2 is to be met by 2020, we clearly need an agreed concept of biodiversity value, and a shared approach to recognising it.


Read more: It pays to invest in biodiversity


Crucially, as well as calculating the environment’s contribution to the economy, we also need to assess the requirements for maintaining and enhancing biodiversity. To return to the example of Botswana’s elephants, this means recognising that elephants need land and water (Botswana’s wildlife consumes 10% of all its water, with elephants accounting for most use). As tourism-related industries generated roughly US$2 billion in 2013 (Botswana’s second-largest sector by revenue, with mining the first), the allocation of water and land to wildlife is clearly a prudent investment decision.

This approach can also reveal the impacts and trade-offs resulting from different land uses on environmental values. In Victoria’s Central Highlands, for example, the cessation of native logging would reduce revenue from timber production, but would also help support a range of rare and endangered species, including Leadbeater’s Possum. It would also benefit a range of other industries like agriculture, as well as the people in cities like Melbourne.


Read more: Logging must stop in Melbourne’s biggest water supply catchment


Keeping the books up to date

Like any accounting system, these estimates of the economic value of the environment would need to be updated, ideally annually, if they are to remain relevant in underpinning governments’ decisions. This would also entail regular data collection on the species and ecosystems themselves.

Unfortunately, however, consistent long-term nationwide monitoring of biodiversity at the species or ecosystem level is rarely done. And while remote-sensing offers some promise for landscape-scale monitoring of major ecosystem types (such as tropical savannahs, temperate forests, wetlands), there is generally no substitute for boots on the ground.

This month’s summit in Egypt offers an opportunity for countries to reaffirm their recognition of the benefits that biodiversity provides to people and the economy. It also provides a chance to go further, to agree that integrated accounting will help us understand and appreciate the trade-offs between the environment and economy.

Recognizing and accounting for the elephant in the room would be a great achievement – not to mention a sound investment in the future.

 

Credit:

The authors would like to acknowledge the contribution of Heather Keith to this article.

https://theconversation.com/elephants-and-economics-how-to-ensure-we-value-wildlife-properly-107184

 

How Climate Change will impact the Snowsports Industry

From POW’s coverage in the New York Times, you know that the snowsports community can and should play an important role in addressing climate change; there’s a lot riding on it (pun intended).

To really understand how MUCH is riding on it, we teamed up with our buddies at ESRI to show just how much climate change will impact the snowsports industry. We broke down our 2018 economic report into this nifty story map. It’s interactive, it’s easy to understand and it’s even easier to share. Give it a scroll. You just might learn something new!

Our 2018 economic report shows how warming temperatures have impacted the snowsports industry since 2001, what the economic value of the industry is today (2015-2016) and what changes we can expect in the future under high and low emissions scenarios.

Taking another look at the changing winter sports tourism sector in America, we find:

  • In the winter season of 2015–2016, more than 20 million people participated in downhill skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling, with a total of 52.8 million skiing and snowboarding days, and 11.6 million snowmobiling days.
  • These snowboarders, skiers and snowmobilers added an estimated $20.3 billion in economic value to the U.S. economy, through spending at ski resorts, hotels, restaurants, bars, grocery stores, and gas stations.
  • We identify a strong positive relationship between skier visits and snow cover and/or snow water equivalent. During high snow years, our analysis shows increased participation levels in snow sports result in more jobs and added economic value. In low snow years, participation drops, resulting in lost jobs and reduced revenue. The effects of low snow years impact the economy more dramatically than those of high snow years.
  • While skier visits averaged 55.4 million nationally between 2001 and 2016, skier visits during the five highest snow years were 3.8 million higher than the 2001-2016 average and skier visits were 5.5 million lower than average during the five lowest snow years.
  • Low snow years have negative impacts on the economy. We found that the increased skier participation levels in high snow years meant an extra $692.9 million in value added and 11,800 extra jobs compared to the 2001–2016 average. In low snow years, reduced participation decreased value added by over $1 billion and cost 17,400 jobs compared to an average season.
  • Climate change could impact consumer surplus associated with winter recreation, reducing ski visits and per day value perceived by skiers.
  • Ski Resorts are improving their sustainability practices and their own emissions while also finding innovative ways to address low-snowfall and adapt their business models.

The winter sports economy is important for the vitality of U.S. mountain communities. This report shows the urgency for the U.S. to deploy solutions to reduce emissions and presents a roadmap for the winter sports industry to take a leading role in advocating for solutions.

 

February 7, 2019 – Anja Semanco

How Climate Change Will Impact The Snowsports Industry

Senate Passes a Sweeping Land Conservation Bill

WASHINGTON — The Senate on Tuesday passed a sweeping public lands conservation bill, designating more than one million acres of wilderness for environmental protection and permanently reauthorizing a federal program to pay for conservation measures.

The Senate voted 92 to 8 in favor of the bill, offering a rare moment of bipartisanship in a divided chamber and a rare victory for environmentalists at a time when the Trump administration is working aggressively to strip away protections on public lands and open them to mining and drilling.

“It touches every state, features the input of a wide coalition of our colleagues, and has earned the support of a broad, diverse coalition of many advocates for public lands, economic development, and conservation,” said Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, the majority leader.

Western lawmakers of both parties have been working for four years on the bill, which will next be taken up by the House of Representatives, where it also enjoys bipartisan support.

Among the most consequential provisions is the permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, a federal program established in 1964 that uses fees and royalties paid by oil and gas companies drilling in federal waters to pay for onshore conservation programs.

Although the program has long enjoyed bipartisan support, Congress typically renews it for only a few years at a time, and it expired on Sept. 30 and has not been renewed. The new public lands package would authorize the program permanently, ending its long cycle of nearing or passing expiration and awaiting Congressional renewal.

 

“Today’s vote is a big step toward ending the cycle of uncertainty that has plagued America’s best conservation program,” said Kameran Onley, director of United States Government Relations at the Nature Conservancy. “At no cost to the taxpayer, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has helped expand national parks, preserve pristine landscapes, and create trails and athletic fields across the country.”

The bill designates 1.3 million acres in Utah, New Mexico, Oregon and California as “wilderness,” the most stringent level of federal land protection. It prohibits any development and the use of most motorized vehicles. And the bill creates less-stringent but permanent protections of land in Montana and Washington state.

With the passage, the core group of lawmakers responsible for the negotiations was jubilant. Staff members fist-bumped in the hallway as the lawmakers — all from Western states except for Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia and the new ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee — celebrated the bill’s passage.

“It took public lands to bring divided government together,” said Senator Steve Daines, a Montana Republican.

Emily Cochrane contributed reporting.

For more news on climate and the environment, follow @NYTClimate on Twitter.

Coral Davenport covers energy and environmental policy, with a focus on climate change, from the Washington bureau. She joined The Times in 2013 and previously worked at Congressional Quarterly, Politico and National Journal. @CoralMDavenport Facebook

per https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/12/climate/senate-conservation-bill.html

Drilling in National Parks?

Oil and gas development already is harming dozens of national park sites around the country. It could get much worse.

Just how many national park sites are affected by domestic oil and gas development? 12 have active oil and gas operations on privately owned lands inside their borders, and 30 more parks could follow. At least 68 coastal national parks could be harmed by an offshore drilling plan President Donald Trump’s administration submitted in the beginning of the year. Since the start of 2017, the Trump administration has proposed oil and gas leasing close to more than 18 national parks in the West. At least 14 proposed major pipelines are in the works across the country, and some of them could end up going through national park sites.

Oil and gas development in and around park lands can harm fragile ecosystems, fragment wildlife habitat, pollute air and water, interfere with viewsheds, degrade visitors’ experiences, and ultimately hurt the economies of local communities that rely on park tourism. Pipeline construction requires developers to permanently clear land, and pipes running through parks could explode or rupture, devastating the landscape and jeopardizing human health and safety.

map

 

Author: Mike Wirth

Source: https://www.npca.org/articles/1916-drilling-in-national-parks

25 Reasons Why Hunting Is Conservation

Reason No. 1 why Hunting Is Conservation: In 1907, only 41,000 elk remained in North America. Thanks to the money and hard work invested by hunters to restore and conserve habitat, today there are more than 1 million.

Reason No. 2 why Hunting Is Conservation: In 1900, only 500,000 whitetails remained. Thanks to conservation work spearheaded by hunters, today there are more than 32 million.

Reason No. 3 why Hunting Is Conservation: In 1900, only 100,000 wild turkeys remained. Thanks to hunters, today there are over 7 million.

Reason No. 4 why Hunting Is Conservation: In 1901, few ducks remained. Thanks to hunters’ efforts to restore and conserve wetlands, today there are more than 44 million.

Reason No. 5 why Hunting Is Conservation: In 1950, only 12,000 pronghorn remained. Thanks to hunters, today there are more than 1.1 million.

Reason No. 6 why Hunting Is Conservation: Habitat, research and wildlife law enforcement work, all paid for by hunters, help countless non-hunted species.

Reason No. 7 why Hunting Is Conservation: Through state licenses and fees, hunters pay $796 million a year for conservation programs.*

Reason No. 8 why Hunting Is Conservation: Through donations to groups like RMEF, hunters add $440 million a year to conservation efforts.*

Reason No. 9 why Hunting Is Conservation: In 1937, hunters actually requested an 11% tax on guns, ammo, bows and arrows to help fund conservation. That tax, so far, raised more than $11 billion for wildlife conservation.*

Reason No. 10 why Hunting Is Conservation: An 11% tax on guns, ammo, bows and arrows generates $371 million a year for conservation.*

Reason No. 11 why Hunting Is Conservation: All together, hunters pay more than $1.6 billion a year for conservation programs. No one gives more!*

Reason No. 12 why Hunting Is Conservation: Three out of four Americans approve of hunting, partly because hunters are America’s greatest positive force for conservation.

Reason No. 13 why Hunting Is Conservation: Every single day U.S. sportsmen contribute $8 million to conservation.

Reason No. 14 why Hunting Is Conservation: Hunting funds conservation AND the economy, generating $38 billion a year in retail spending.*

Reason No. 15 why Hunting Is Conservation: Female participation in hunting (3.35 million) is on the rise thanks to a 10% increase from 2008 to 2012.

Reason No. 16 why Hunting Is Conservation: More than 95 percent of our 222,000 members are passionate hunters. More people hunt (19.3 million) each year than play soccer (13.7 million), tennis (13.6 million) or baseball (12.1 million).

Reason No. 17 why Hunting Is Conservation: A wildlife management tool, hunting helps balance wildlife populations with what the land can support, limits crop damage and curtails disease outbreaks.

Reason No. 18 why Hunting Is Conservation: Hunters help manage growing numbers of predators such as cougars, bears, coyotes and wolves. Our government spends millions to control predators and varmints while hunters have proven more than willing to pay for that opportunity.

Reason No. 19 why Hunting Is Conservation: Hunting has major value for highway safety. For every deer hit by a motorist, hunters take six.

Reason No. 20 why Hunting Is Conservation: Hunting supports 680,000 jobs, from game wardens to waitresses, biologists to motel clerks.

Reason No. 21 why Hunting Is Conservation: Hunters provide for conservation—and for their families. Hunting is a healthy way to connect with nature and eat the world’s most organic, lean, free-range meat.

Reason No. 22 why Hunting Is Conservation: Hunters are the fuel behind RMEF and its 7 million plus acres of habitat conservation. More than 95 percent of our members are passionate hunters.

Reason No. 23 why Hunting Is Conservation: Avid hunter Theodore Roosevelt created our national forests and grasslands and forever protected 230 million acres for wildlife and the public to use and enjoy.

Reason No. 24 why Hunting Is Conservation: With funding from hunters, RMEF helped restore wild elk herds in seven states and provinces.

Reason No. 25 why Hunting Is Conservation: As society loses its ties to wildlife and conservation, the bonds with nature formed by hunting are the greatest hope for creating the next generation of true conservationists.

*financial info via America’s Sporting Heritage: Fueling the American Economy (January 2013) & Hunting in America: An Economic Force for Conservation (January 2013)

*article via http://www.rmef.org/conservation/huntingisconservation/25reasonswhyhuntingisconservation.aspx
*pictures via http://sportingclassicsdaily.com/hunting-is-conservation/

BTT Conservation Partner SweetWater Brewing Co. Participates in Juvenile Tarpon Tagging Efforts

Before the holidays, BTT Juvenile Tarpon Habitat Program Manager JoEllen Wilson and Director of Development Mark Rehbein were accompanied by SweetWater Brewing Company’s Jake Basnett and BTT member Mark Spurgeon on a juvenile tarpon tagging trip. An arduous day of seine netting in southwest Florida yielded a batch of tarpon 12 inches or less that made for viable Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tagging candidates. After four productive years, this tagging effort marked the completion of BTT’s tarpon nursery habitat restoration project at Coral Creek Preserve.

An abandoned residential development with saltwater access, Coral Creek Preserve houses 6 adjacent canals connected by a main canal withan inlet to the west branch of Coral Creek. The original restoration plan was to fill in the canals and return them to their natural pine flatwood topography. But after realizing that juvenile tarpon inhabited one of the canals, the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) decided to change tact and hand creative license of the restoration design over to BTT. SWFWMD’s decision to entrust an outside source was unprecedented. With habitat in Florida already drastically reduced, informed restoration of degraded habitat provides the best opportunity to increase the amount of juvenile tarpon nursery grounds available.

The six canals will serve as monitoring locations for testing various tarpon nursery habitat designs. Over the next 12-18 months, BTT will be using PIT tags and antenna arrays provided by sponsors like SweetWater Brewing to gather data on growth rates and survival rates, and to track tarpon movement throughout the various treatment groups as juveniles emigrate out of the canals and into Coral Creek. 

With the support of SweetWater’s #fishforafish campaign, BTT has been able to tag a juvenile tarpon for every photo of SweetWater’s stacked Goin’ Coastal series of tarpon cans tagged on social media. And with every juvenile tarpon tagged, BTT will be better able to determine which habitat characteristics are most important to a nursery habitat’s success. The completion of Coral Creek and ongoing monitoring efforts will ultimately help inform future decisions regarding critical habitat restoration design elements.

If you’d like to learn more about this project and others, please join us at our Boca Grande Event on Friday, February 1st. Visit our website at www.btt.org/bocagrandefor more information.

Photo Credit: JoEllen Wilson

PC 1: JoEllen Wilson preparing to surgically implant a PIT tag into a juvenile tarpon

PC 2: A stack of SweetWater Brewery’s Goin’ Coastal cans

Credit: https://www.bonefishtarpontrust.org/blog/2019-01-09-btt-conservation-partner-sweetwater-brewing-co-participates-juvenile-tarpon-tagging

Modern Fish Act will change how recreational fishing is managed

Update:

Washington, D.C. – January 2, 2019 – The recreational fishing and boating community is celebrating the enactment of the Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2018 (Modern Fish Act), which was signed into law by President Trump December 31. The Modern Fish Act finally recognizes in federal law the differences between recreational and commercial fishing and adds more appropriate management tools for policymakers to use in managing federal recreational fisheries.
“Millions of American families take part in saltwater recreational fishing and boating activities and support multi-billion dollar industries that generate hundreds of thousands of jobs in our country,” said Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Sportfishing Policy. “Today, we are thankful for this important milestone for federal fisheries management and marine conservation, and we look forward to continuing to improve public access to our nation’s healthy fisheries.”
The Modern Fish Act, introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman Garret Graves (R-La.), enjoyed strong bipartisan support from a long list of cosponsors representing coastal and non-coastal states alike. On December 17, the Senate unanimously passed the Modern Fish Act (S. 1520) followed by overwhelming approval in the House (350-11) on December 19.
“This is historic for the recreational boating and fishing community, capping years of hard work to responsibly modernize recreational saltwater fisheries management,” said Thom Dammrich, president of the
National Marine Manufacturers Association. “The Modern Fish Act is a critical first-step solution towards establishing a framework for expanding access to recreational saltwater fishing, while ensuring conservation and sustainability remain top priorities in fisheries management. We thank President Trump and Congress for making the Modern Fish Act the law of the land and look forward to working with them in the coming years to advance polices that protect and promote recreational saltwater fishing.”
“The recreational fishing industry is grateful to see this legislation enacted,” said Glenn Hughes, president of the American Sportfishing Association. “We look forward to continuing to work with Congress, as well as NOAA Fisheries and the regional fishery management councils, to improve the management and conservation of our marine fisheries.”
“The Modern Fish Act signed by the President provides an opportunity for significant, positive change on behalf of millions of recreational anglers who enjoy fishing in federal waters,” said Jeff Crane, president of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. “We look forward to working with NOAA Fisheries, the regional fishery management councils and the states to fully implement the provisions of the bill and improve federal fisheries management for America’s saltwater anglers.”
“CCA is proud to be a part of this important coalition, and we are grateful to our champions in Congress who stood by us during the intense, sometimes contentious negotiations on this legislation,” said Patrick Murray, president of Coastal Conservation Association. “There is still work to be done, but this is a valuable first step. We are hopeful this opens the door to an ongoing discussion of tools and processes that can be developed to better manage recreational fisheries in federal waters in all regions of the United States.”
“This bill becoming law is the most significant step forward in federal recreational saltwater fishing management in the forty-plus years of the Magnuson-Stevens Act,” said Whit Fosburgh, president of Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “Recreational fishermen, conservationists and businesses united around a set of principles and worked together to get this bill passed and we will continue to work together on priorities like forage fish management and improving data collection in the future.”
The recreational fishing and boating community would like to thank the sponsors of the Modern Fish Act, Senator Wicker and Congressman Graves, who led this bipartisan effort in the 115th Congress to improve federal fisheries management for America’s 11 million saltwater anglers. We also appreciate the support of Senators Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Doug Jones (D-Ala.), and Congressmen Steve Scalise (R-La.), Rob Bishop (R-Utah), Marc Veasey (D-Texas), Rob Wittman (R-Va.), Gene Green (D-Texas), Daniel Webster (R-Fla.), and Austin Scott (R-Ga.).
For details on House and Senate passage of the Modern Fish Act and additional industry perspectives, please visit http://www.sportfishingpolicy.com/media-room/u-s-house-passes-modern-fish-act/.
The Modern Fish Act will provide more stability and better access for anglers by:
  • Providing authority and direction to NOAA Fisheries to apply additional management tools more appropriate for recreational fishing, many of which are successfully implemented by state fisheries agencies (e.g., extraction rates, fishing mortality targets, harvest control rules, or traditional or cultural practices of native communities);
  • Improving recreational harvest data collection by requiring federal managers to explore other data sources that have tremendous potential to improve the accuracy and timeliness of harvest estimates, such as state-driven programs and electronic reporting (e.g., through smartphone apps);
  • Requiring the Comptroller General of the United States to conduct a study on the process of mixed-use fishery allocation review by the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Regional Fishery Management Councils and report findings to Congress within one year of enactment of the Modern Fish Act, and
  • Requiring the National Academies of Sciences to complete a study and provide recommendations within two years of the enactment of the Modern Fish Act on limited access privilege programs (catch shares) including an assessment of the social, economic, and ecological effects of the program, considering each sector of a mixed-use fishery and related businesses, coastal communities, and the environment and an assessment of any impacts to stakeholders in a mixed-use fishery caused by a limited access privilege program. This study excludes the Pacific and North Pacific Regional Fishery Management Councils.

Saltwater recreational fishing is enjoyed by over 11 million Americans. As an industry, we contribute over $70 billion to the economy each year and support 455,000 American jobs all over the country. In spite of these impressive numbers, when it comes to federal management, our sport is frequently overlooked.

The current federal laws have never properly addressed the importance of recreational fishing. This has led to shortened or even cancelled seasons, reduced bag limits, and unnecessary restrictions – none of which is good news for the recreational fishing industry.

Fortunately, a solution is on the horizon. On April 6, 2017, the Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act, or the “Modern Fish Act” for short, was introduced in both the House of Representatives and Senate. This new bill will give federal managers the tools and data they need to both improve access and promote conservation of our natural marine resources.

Bottom line: the Modern Fish Act means more and better fishing for your customers – and that’s good news for everybody.

  • https://asafishing.org/advocacy_and_policy/advocacy/modern-fish-act/

 

Amidst all the turmoil in Washington, D.C., the Modernizing Recreational Fisheries Management Act of 2017 (Modern Fish Act) has made it through Congress and now awaits President Trump’s signature.

“We feel very good to have gotten this thing across the finish line (Wednesday) night,” Jeff Angers, president of the Center for Sportfishing Policy, said in a telephone interview Thursday. Angers noted that the Senate passed the bill (S.1520) by unanimous consent (100-0) Monday and shortly before 8 p.m. Wednesday it passed the House of Representatives.

“We wanted to have an update that made sure that the federal law recognized commercial fishing and recreational fishing are inherently different activities that need to be managed differently. We actually wrote that sentence into the law that was passed last night,” Angers said.

“This bill, the Modern Fish Act, is not a panacea. It’s not going to solve every problem in every fishery in every corner of the country. But the simple fact of the federal government recognizing the differences between the two activities is a huge win for recreational fishing and something we’ve been wanting for the last 40 years.”

Angers said the way U.S. fisheries has been managed dating back to 1976 and the establishment of the Magnuson Act was focused on commercial fishing and never addressed recreational fishing.

“I would always tell this story whenever I would walk into any congressman’s office in Washington. If the only tool available to manage fisheries in federal waters is the commercial fishing model of tonnage-based management, what percentage of a metric ton do my three kids get? How does that work? The problem is the federal government never looked back to see what tools are appropriate to manage recreational fishing.”

The attempt to bring recreational fisheries to the forefront began in 2014 by the Commission on Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Management in a report titled “A Vision for Managing America’s Saltwater Recreational Fisheries.” The Commission was know as the Morris-Deal Commission, named for co-chairs Johnny Morris (founder of Bass Pro Shops) and Scott Deal (president of Maverick Boat Group), and many of the recommendations are found in the Modern Fish Act.

It was supported by many fishing and boating entities, particularly the boat manufacturers found in South Carolina, Angers pointed out.

The coalition of groups supporting the Modern Fish Act includes American Sportfishing Association, Center for Sportfishing Policy, Coastal Conservation Association, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, International Game Fish Association, National Marine Manufacturers Association, Recreational Fishing Alliance, The Billfish Foundation and Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.

A news release on the passage noted that there are 11 million saltwater anglers in the U.S. who have an annual economic impact of $63 billion and generate 440,000 jobs. The news release also noted that ”$1.3 billion is contributed annually by anglers and boaters through excise taxes and licensing fees, most of which goes toward conservation, boating safety and infrastructure and habitat restoration.

The Modern Fish Act will provide more stability and better access for anglers by:

• Providing authority and direction to NOAA Fisheries to apply additional management tools more appropriate for recreational fishing, many of which are successfully implemented by state fisheries agencies (e.g., extraction rates, fishing mortality targets, harvest control rules, or traditional or cultural practices of native communities);

• Improving recreational harvest data collection by requiring federal managers to explore other data sources that have tremendous potential to improve the accuracy and timeliness of harvest estimates, such as state-driven programs and electronic reporting (e.g., through smartphone apps);

• Requiring the Comptroller General of the United States to conduct a study on the process of mixed-use fishery allocation review by the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Regional Fishery Management Councils and report findings to Congress within one year of enactment of the Modern Fish Act, and

• Requiring the National Academies of Sciences to complete a study and provide recommendations within two years of the enactment of the Modern Fish Act on limited access privilege programs (catch shares) including an assessment of the social, economic, and ecological effects of the program, considering each sector of a mixed-use fishery and related businesses, coastal communities, and the environment and an assessment of any impacts to stakeholders in a mixed-use fishery caused by a limited access privilege program. This study excludes the Pacific and North Pacific Regional Fishery Management Councils.

Angers feels the passage of this law will help bridge the distrust between anglers and federal managers.

“Generally speaking, anglers will say yes, let’s do the right thing for conservation. When the federal government makes an announcement, because there’s a lack of trust between anglers and federal managers, people are angry. When you hear bad news from your state guy, you’re a lot more accepting because you trust the state managers,” Angers said.

“Making federal management more like state management is a win-win for everybody.”

Angers said the bill doesn’t change the authority that (the South Atlantic and Gulf Fishery Management Councils) have over fisheries. But it helps facilitate the use of better management methods and incorporates better data, “things states already use but feds were not allowed to use.”

Per Tideline Magazine, https://www.postandcourier.com/tideline_magazine/modern-fish-act-will-change-how-recreational-fishing-is-managed/article_34db603e-0539-11e9-bd2c-bb51368ff5e1.html?fbclid=IwAR11V0DPVAVh2nB1Vh-2KC6VufXrUaXEnTYaMj9338ObAqrANCt8HtCvqSE

 

Bonefish Connectivity by Dr. Aaron Adams, BTT Director of Science and Conservation

There are two ways that fish populations in different locations can be connected – by migrations of adults and by the transport of fish larvae by ocean currents. Learning how, and to what extent, bonefish, tarpon, and permit populations are connected is important for conservation because this information allows us to design the most effective management plans.

On the local scale – say an island in the Bahamas, or the Florida Keys – bonefish in different locations are connected by spawning migrations. Tagging and tracking of bonefish in the Bahamas, Belize, and Florida Keys shows that for most of the year adult bonefish stick to a small area. In other words, if you fish a flat often, you are probably fishing to the same local population of bonefish. But during spawning season, these bonefish undergo long-distance migrations to spawning sites – we’ve tracked bonefish migrating 70 miles from their home flat to a spawning site, and then returning to their home flat. This means that during the spawning season, bonefish from a wide region can mix.

This leads us to the regional scale – say between Mexico, Belize, Cuba, Florida. Gathered in large groups, bonefish swim offshore at night to spawn. They spawn in the top 200 feet or so of water that is thousands of feet deep. They use a method called broadcast spawning – they eject eggs and sperm into the open water, where fertilization occurs. The fertilized eggs hatch in about 24 hours, and the tiny larvae live as plankton in the open ocean for between 41 and 71 days. During this oceanic phase, ocean currents can act to retain the larvae near their parents’ location, or the currents can transport the larvae long distances. So a larvae that is spawned in south Andros, the Bahamas, might end up becoming a juvenile in Andros, or it might end up on another island in the Bahamas or on the north coast of Cuba. The end result is that bonefish in separate locations are essentially part of the same regional population.

What does this mean for conservation? On the local scale, habitat conservation and protection must focus on adult home flats, spawning migration pathways, spawning sites, and juvenile habitats. On the regional scale, we have to make sure that bonefish populations are healthy in all locations, even if we only have one favorite fishing location. And that the local conservation measures, like habitat protection, are adequate in all locations to ensure that the local populations are healthy. In other words, every location where bonefish live is important to having a healthy regional population, and your local fishery depends on a healthy regional population as well as local conservation measures.

Article via Bonefish & Tarpon Trust