Daily Archives: August 13, 2013

New Angler Instructor Course to be Held at Schermerhorn Park

A new course designed to certify anglers to teach fishing techniques in Kansas will be held Aug. 31

Fishing’s Future and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism will host an angler education class Aug. 31 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Schermerhorn Park, 7693 SE 77th Terrace, Galena. The course, which will be held just outside of theSoutheast Kansas Nature Center, is part of a new educational program designed to enlist qualified volunteer instructors to teach fishing techniques throughout the state.

Although the class is not a requirement to teach, those in attendance will be given valuable information about working with children, sample curriculums and tips for preparing a class or clinic. Other subjects covered in the four-hour class will include current fishing rules and regulations, species identification, fishing ethics, equipment, knot-tying, casting, fish habitat, aquatic nuisance species, and conservation.

Anglers interested in registering for the Aug. 31 course can sign up by visiting www.fishingsfuture.org and clicking “upcoming events,” then “Kansas Angler Education Training Program.”

For more information, contact Fishing’s Future local coordinator Kevin Reich at [email protected], or by phone at (785) 577-6921.

Sportsmen Unite to Urge Action on Clean Water Act

Thirteen prominent sportsmen’s groups representing millions of hunters, anglers, conservationists, and resource managers nationwide today delivered a strongly worded letter to administration officials urging immediate action to clarify and restore Clean Water Act protections to the nation’s wetlands, lakes and streams.

Addressed to Sylvia Mathews Burwell, director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Howard Shelanski, administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, the sportsmen’s letter asks the administration to deliver on promises made in 2008 by presidential candidate Barack Obama to restore the CWA’s protections to wetlands and other waters left in legal limbo.

Signatories include the American Fisheries Society, American Fly Fishing Trade Association, B.A.S.S., Berkley Conservation Institute, Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance, Izaak Walton League of America, National Wildlife Federation, Pheasants Forever, Quail Forever, The Wildlife Society, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, Trout Unlimited and Wildlife Management Institute.

“For more than two years, the administration has conducted a comprehensive interagency and public process to clarify the reach of the Clean Water Act in a manner that is both legally and scientifically sound,” states the sportsmen’s letter. “We appreciate the heavy investment of resources in this effort by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Environmental Protection Agency, as well as the Council on Environmental Quality.

“However, the guidelines for identifying waters protected by the Clean Water Act have been pending at the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs for more than 18 months – since February 2012. Continued delay is inexcusable and puts critical wildlife and habitat at risk.”

The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers released draft replacement guidelines for public comment in early 2011. More than 230,000 comments – the vast majority positive – were submitted on the draft.

Clean water protections for millions of small and intermittently-flowing streams and wetlands have been in limbo for more than a decade because of a pair of Supreme Court cases and flawed policies put in place to implement those court rulings. As a result, the viability of many valuable wetlands, lakes and small streams is threatened, and others are harder to protect.

These waters and wetlands absorb flood waters, filter pollutants and contribute to the drinking water supply of more than 117 million Americans. They also support fish, waterfowl, and healthy waters that are prized by anglers and hunters and that support a multi-billion dollar outdoor recreation industry. Anglers alone generated nearly $115 billion in total economic activity in 2011, breathing life into rural communities and supporting more than 1 million jobs across the country.

“Action to protect the nation’s waters from pollution and habitat destruction is long overdue,” the sportsmen’s letter concludes. “We urge you to act immediately to finalize the guidance and launch the formal rulemaking that all sides agree is badly needed to provide clarity and certainty to landowners, developers, conservationists, and state and federal agencies alike.”  

Birding Trends

Public Participation in Birding Slows

Ken Cordell, Project Leader

Athens Research Group

In October, 2011, a film, The Big Year, opened to tell a story about 3 men looking to set a new record for seeing or hearing as many bird species as possible in a single calendar year. Kenny, Stu and Brad travelled the country competing to be theone to set a new record for the most species by one person, ever. This film underscores the unfolding story of growth in birding (bird watching mostly) in the U.S., and elsewhere.

In a Cover Story in Birding Business (February, 2006, pages 16 – 21), we gave results from the National Survey on Recreation and the Environment that highlighted the significance of this growth phenomenon. Reported were results from an earlier survey that estimated there to be 21 million birding participants in the U. S. in 1983. By 1995, new surveying indicated the number of participants had grown to 54 million. By 2001, the estimated number was 70 million. By 2004, the number had reached 83 million. Although growth continues, it appears to be slowing, reaching nearly 85 million participants by 2009.

            Birding Participants

            Interest in birding cuts across the demographics of the U.S. population. It is not just one group that is involved—there is broad participation. Birding ranks about 15th on the list of most popular activities included in the most recent National Survey on Recreation and the Environment (Cordell 2012). As an activity, birding ranks just below visiting a beach, swimming in lakes/streams/etc., and bicycling. Birding ranks just above day hiking, visiting natural areas and gathering mushrooms/berries/other nature products.

            Forecasts of Future Participation

            In research just published last year (Bowker et al 2012), birding was forecast to continue growth. Projected number of people 16 or older in the U. S. expected to participate in birding increases between 4 and 8 percent over the next 50 years to more than 36 percent, or 117 to 150 million people by 2060. This range of projected growth reflects testing for the possible effects of climate, income and population change scenarios over the next 50 years. The number of times (days) per year each person participates is projected to decline between 1 and 7 percent, which is a decline of about 4 days per participant. Given that adult birders average nearly 98 times per year, an annual decline of 4 days does not have much of an effect on the annual total days of birding. The rise in number of participants of between 37 and 71 percent by 2060 is enough to override this decline in days per year.

            To put these projections into perspective, the 2012 recreation projections showed the greatest anticipated increase in participants from 2008 to 2060 to be developed site use (112 to 116 million), nature viewing (112 to 114 million), interpretive site use (104 to 106 million), and swimming (99 million). Those are the four most popular activities we examined. Activities with participant increases of at least 40 million include day hiking (50 to 55 million), birding (47 to 53 million), primitive area use (42 to 47 million), and motorized boating (35 to 40 million).

Averaged over all futures scenarios and climate alternatives, the five activities for which days of participation increase the most over the next 50 years are nature viewing (13,597 to 14,635 million days), swimming (2,298 to 2,446 million days), hiking (1,366 to 1,470 million days), developed site use (1,185 to 1,294 million days), and birding (3,764 to 4,859 million days).