December 2010 SOBA Newsletter 

In This Issue:

 Letter from the President
 FWS Update
 Sportfish Council Update: A Message from President Thom Dammrich
 Wrap Up of the 24th Annual National Boating Access Conference in Park City
 2010 SOBA Annual Awards Presented at Park City Conference
 2011 Conference Update
 SOBA Strategic Plan
 SOBA and AMI Sign MOU
 RBFF Update & News
 AMI Update
 SOBA Boating Access Operations and Maintenance Manual

Letter from the President

Dear SOBA Members and Partners,

With the blink of an eye, time passes away from the great time we had at SOBA’s 2010 National Boating Access Conference in Park City, Utah. This annual event is a wonderful way to reconnect with colleagues, and hear about the latest news and critical issues within the world of boating access. The more conferences I attend, the more I realize how invaluable they are. Make sure you have our 2011 event (SOBA’s 25th Anniversary conference) marked firmly on your calendar: September 26-29, La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Our field trip, which brought us through some wonderful mountain terrain of Utah was very worthwhile, and our attendees learnt a lot about how boating access facilities work in this beautiful state. Hats off to Craig Walker and his Utah team on a truly memorable conference. If you missed it this year, the proceedings will shortly be available on our website, so stay tuned.

As incoming President, I am both humbled and honored to serve our members, and will work to ensure that SOBA continues to grow and prosper. I am grateful to have served with such admirable Presidents during my tenure on the board thus far (Terry Boyd, Ed Poolos, Kent Skaar and Wayne Shuyler), and I would like to thank them for their mentorship along the way which allowed me to succeed in this position. We have a strong, committed board of directors, a capable HQ staff, and a host of actions we want to undertake during the coming year. One of our first directives was to assign board members to work closely with our identified strategic partners in an effort to build upon and strengthen our working relationships with these entities. Some projects of continued focus for the board include: SFR Reauthorization, Production of Technical Publications, and an Improved Coordination of Efforts between our members and the USFWS. As we advance and engage in our strategic initiatives, we will call upon our members, as needed, to support and work within specific work groups or task forces in order to achieve our identified goals.

Some of our current Task Forces include:

  • Operations and Maintenance Handbook (chaired by James Adams)

  • CVA Best Management Practices (chaired by Andy Goldbloom)

  • SOBA 2011 25th Anniversary National Boating Access Conference (chaired by Steve Miller)

  • If you are interested in serving on a task force, please contact me. Participation is very rewarding, and most if not all meetings and correspondence are conducted electronically. We welcome your input, and I would love to hear from you.

    In closing, during my tenure as President I will strive to keep the board actively engaged with our members. There is great strength in numbers, and by working together we can keep SOBA moving forward and keep its mission relevant to our needs and wants. Members can view SOBA’s 2011 Strategic Plan under the “Members Only” section of our website at

    Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council
    Council President, Thomas Dammrich, appointed me to the Council Boat Issues Committee and the first business that I participated in was to attend a meeting on November 9th with Hannibal Bolton to hear the USFWS response to the Council Boating Access Assessment report. For a pdf copy of the final report, see at the Council web site. Of particular interest is that Hannibal requested assistance from SOBA on several of the report recommendations. The assistance will mostly be in the form of coordination, in either developing a tool kit for SOBA Members' use or to seek input from SOBA members on certain subjects. As you read the report, the recommendations that SOBA will assist the USFWS with are numbers 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. SOBA may ask for your assistance as this work unfolds.

    The Council CVA workgroup met on November 10th to discuss future actions that address the CVA program assessment recommendations. The workgroup will continue to work with SOBA for member feedback. I sent a survey to SOBA Member CVA program staff and received tremendous participation and response. There were 22 States that responded to the survey and the information will be used by USFWS to improve the CVA program and the grant application process; a big thanks to you all for your participation! Most of the survey information related to expenses to operations and maintenance; there was a focus on labor costs. Of particular interest was to understand how states are maintaining CVA program infrastructure so that the sites are operational for public boaters use. Expect me to continue to ask for your assistance and feedback.

    Ocean Policy
    I just wanted to keep this subject on your radar screen. The National Ocean Council,, has 2 functions; to arbitrate issues and to approve Regional Plans. The Ocean Policy will be developed through Regional Plans which are required to have 9 National Priority Objectives. The 9 objectives do not have recreation imbedded in the objectives. This is interesting as the Executive Order (7/19/2010) did mention that recreation was to be respected and preserved as part of our maritime heritage. Look for regional input sessions in your area and please participate as recreational boating and boating access should be made part of the regional plan and should be part of the baseline protections, particularly on public lands.

    James Adams
    SOBA President

    FWS Update

    Thanks to those of you that were able to attend and participate in the 2010 SOBA Annual Conference and the one-day Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program Workshop. The dialogue amongst all in attendance was constructive in increasing understanding of the grant programs we work with for the benefit of the recreational boating public. It was also a great opportunity for State and subgrantee participants to share their opinions and thoughts about improving the program through possible revisions to program regulations and policies. Thank you again for your thoughtful comments and participation.

    As mentioned below, we are accepting comments on the draft of the Boating Infrastructure Grant Program regulation through Dec. 23, 2010 and encourage you and your colleagues to review the draft and submit your comments through ThinkTank. If you have any questions about how to submit comments, please contact your Regional Coordinator or Lisa Van Alstyne ( in the Washington Office.

    Thanks for your excellent work throughout 2010! We look forward to working with you to improve the State – Federal partnership and our positive impact on recreational boating in the coming year.

    Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Basic Grants Management Course

    The Fish & Wildlife Service, Wildlife & Sport Fish Restoration (WSFR) Program encourages all State coordinators for WSFR grants to attend the Basic Grants Management Course. The course provides a basic overview of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration (WSFR) Program's grant management process with emphasis on knowledge and use of the Congressional Acts, Code of Federal Regulations, Service Manual Chapters, and associated guidance and documents.

    The next course is scheduled for April 11 – 14, 2011 at the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. NCTC staff work closely with the Washington Office to make sure they present the most current guidance available, as well as a snapshot of what is coming in the near future. This course is a must-have for all WSFR grant coordinators.

    For more information, visit

    For those who have already taken the Basic Grants Management Course, NCTC also offers an Advanced Grants Management Course. Check for updates on courses, other WSFR program information, and sign up to get WSFR tweets at


    Boating Infrastructure Grant Program

    The Boating Infrastructure Grant Program (BIG) provides grant funds to States, the District of Columbia and insular areas to construct, renovate, and maintain facilities with features for transient boaters in vessels at least 26 feet in length, and to produce and distribute information and educational materials about the program and available facilities.

    We offer BIG funding for two programs, Tier 1 and Tier 2. Tier 1 grants are up to $100,000 for States to do projects, routine maintenance, or other eligible activities. This year 27 States applied for BIG Tier 1 funding requesting a total of almost $2.7 million. BIG Tier 2 is a competitive program that includes applications from States for State projects and projects at private marinas. We received 25 applications requesting over $26 million in Federal funds that will be competing for approximately $13 in grants.

    The current rule for BIG, 50 CFR 86 is being reviewed and a proposed rule is expected in the Federal Register in 2011. It is currently being reviewed by SOBA members, the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council, WSFR Regional staff, and other interested organizations, with comments due back to the Washington Office by 10 pm December 23. States are encouraged to provide comments as we move forward with this new rule making.

    Clean Vessel Act Grant Program

    The Clean Vessel Act Grant Program (CVA) provides grant funds to States, the District of Columbia, and insular areas for the construction, renovation, operation, and maintenance of pumpout stations and waste reception facilities for recreational boaters. Grants also offer funds for educational programs that inform boaters of the importance of proper disposal of their sewage.

    Applications for 2011 CVA grants are due to their Regional Offices by December 3, 2010. Announcements are expected in the Spring of 2011.

    National Coastal Wetlands Program

    The National Coastal Wetlands program is a competitive grant program that provides funding for long-term conservation of coastal wetland ecosystems by helping States and Territories to protect, restore and enhance coastal wetland habitats. We held the 2011 ranking meeting in late October where we discussed, scored, and ranked thirty-six applications requesting over $28 million. The announcement of awardees for the approximately $19 M in FY 2011 funding is expected early 2011. We will be accepting applications for FY 2012 grants early 2011 through the deadline in June. See (CFDA 15.614).

    For more information on WSFR grants, contact your Regional Office.

    Christy Vigfusson
    Joyce Johnson
    Lisa Van Alstyne

    Sportfish Council Update: A Message from President Thom Dammrich

    Time sure does fly. It seems like yesterday that I was with many of you at the annual SOBA meeting in Park City, Utah. It was a pleasure to spend time with you discussing the important issues and challenges we all face in enhancing opportunities for the American public to enjoy our Nation’s aquatic resources. With the holidays upon us and 2010 drawing to a close, I am writing to update you on the latest news from the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council (SFBPC).

    A topic of much discussion in Park City was the recently completed SFBPC assessment of the boating access provisions of the Sport Fish Restoration Program. Our deliberations at the annual meeting regarding the assessment findings and recommendations were an excellent starting point in seeking implementation of the reports many recommendations, and I was heartened that SOBA has indicated it will take a lead role in working with the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and other programs stakeholders on scoping methods to complete a national boating access needs assessment.

    Subsequent to the SOBA meeting, the FWS formally responded to the SFBPC’s boating access program assessment. The full response is posted on the SFBPC website under “New items.” The response is very thorough and lays out, in detail, the FWS’ view of what it can and cannot do on its own to implement assessment recommendations. As you will see in the response, there are several items that will require coordination and collaboration with the States and other stakeholders. I and other SFBPC members look forward to working with you and the FWS to move forward on this front. I will be working with Boating Issues Committee Chair John Sprague to soon appoint a working group to lead this effort.

    Related to this, a group of SFBPC members recently met face to face with Assistant Director for Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration (WSFR) Hannibal Bolton and some of his staff to receive and discuss the FWS response. That meeting went very well, and the SFBPC wants to thank Hannibal and his staff for their frank and insightful conversations. I don’t think it is a stretch to say that the working relationship between the SFBPC and the WSFR program is the best it has been since I was appointed to the SFBPC back in 2007. This is due in no small part to Hannibal’s personal engagement and the engagement of his staff.

    Finally, the SFBPC is gearing up on 2 fronts related to the Boating Infrastructure Grant Program: 1) the rewrite of program regulations, and 2) offering recommendations for fiscal year 2011 project funding. The SFBPC is working to assure that recommendations and issues it has raised related to the BIG program are addressed through the rewrite of the program regulations. The draft regulation should be out for public comment in the very near future. The SFBPC is also gearing up to offer funding recommendations to the FWS Director on annual project funding. The SFBPC undertakes this activity at the request of the FWS.

    So, the year is ending just like it began: busy. That said; I hope you take time to contemplate all that we have to be thankful for over the holiday season, and recharge your batteries. 2011 is just around the corner and it promises to be just as busy 2010.

    Park City Conference Reflections

    SOBA Conference Attendees during the Annual Field Trip in Utah
    SOBA’s 24th Annual Conference was held at the Canyons Grand Summit Hotel in Park City, Utah on October 18 to 21, 2010. The conference theme, Partnering for Better Access, was an appropriate moniker for the event. The conference was a success because so many partners pitched in and helped to plan, organize, and carry out this annual event.

    First, SOBA wants to recognize Craig Walker, with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, and his entire host team for their outstanding hospitality and for providing a top-notch educational program and related events.

    We also want to acknowledge our federal partners from the US Fish & Wildlife Service, particularly Hannibal Bolton, Assistant Director of Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration, but also Joyce Johnson, Christy Vigfusson and Lisa Van Alstyne from D.C. along with the many regional staff who participated. Finally, we gladly thank the major sponsors of the Conference: CMI Gator Dock & Marine, Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC and Hurt & Proffitt, Inc. Their generous contributions helped SOBA provide a full slate of activities and programs. We also want to thank Thom Dammrich and NMMA for a generous cash contribution to the conference. Based on the success of the Utah conference, the unanticipated contribution from NMMA, and the replacement of SOBA's December face-to-face meeting with a conference call, SOBA's 2010 year will end with net INCOME of approximately $20K. SOBA's original budget projected a LOSS of $20K.

    During a year when a sagging economy challenged all of our resources, the Conference attracted 119 registered attendees and guests and fourteen exhibitors. Fortunately, the Conference surpassed the revenue projections and we can close the books calling it a resounding financial success!

    Over the course of the four-day conference, participants were able to engage in a day-long workshop, attend eighteen individual educational sessions, avail of ten inclusive meals (including seven in the exhibit hall), a networking room and breaks to meet other conference goers, an exhibit hall, and a field trip. Here are some highlights from the conference:

    Federal Aid Workshop

    This day-long event has become a tradition. The Utah workshop was co-facilitated by Wayne Shuyler and Joyce Johnson. Attendees heard an update on reauthorization of the Aquatic Resources Trust Fund and its associated programs. Without re-authorization or a continuing resolution all SFR programs would sunset on December 31, 2010. The likelihood of the lame duck Congress moving the Transportation bill that includes reauthorization is low, but the passage of an extension is highly probable.

    Participants learned from USFWS about recent and proposed changes in the CVA and BIG programs and received tips on applying for competitive BIG grants from a state and federal perspective. In the afternoon, USFWS provided updates on several issues, including clarifying that electric motor-restricted waterways are eligible to receive grants to improve motorboat access through the Sport Fish Restoration program. Representatives from SOBA, USFWS, and the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council discussed the need and outlook for a national assessment of boating access in a lively afternoon session. The workshop concluded with a “listening session” hosted by USFWS and the ever-popular “Stump-the-fed” session.

    Left to Right: Valerie Blajeski (AL) winning the grand prize drawing with Craig Walker (UT State Host Conference Coordinator)
    Educational Sessions

    Tuesday morning sessions focused on motorboat access and amenities while the afternoon speakers tackled various aspects of dealing with aquatic invasive species, including an outdoor demonstration of decontamination equipment and procedures used by Utah DNR.

    Wednesday’s sessions included presentations by state representatives and consultants issues surrounding infrastructure development, including the use of MOUs, meeting ADA requirements, and outreach efforts related to use of pumpouts. In the afternoon, attendees heard state and federal perspectives on boater satisfaction, including the new National Boater Survey sponsored by the US Coast Guard, as well as the use of surveys in local planning.

    SOBA Conference Attendees at Utah Lake Field Trip
    Field Trip

    Utah hosted a bus and boat field trip that included stops at Utah Lake Marina, Deer Creek Reservoir, and Jordanelle Reservoir. This tour offered conference attendees the opportunity to see how Utah has met boater needs. The tour showcased both successes and challenges faced by the State in developing boating access on reservoir with limited seasons of use and dramatic fluctuations in water levels. The tour also highlighted how conflicts between users were being managed with a combined approach of law enforcement and facility separation. At the final stop, a group photo was taken with the SOBA banner.


    SOBA awards were presented at the Awards Luncheon and the closing Banquet. Details on the award recipients are included elsewhere in this newsletter.

    Thanks again to the hosts, speakers and presenters, our federal partners, sponsors and exhibitors, and especially all the state program representatives who found a way to make attending the conference an important part of their on-going training and education. We all look forward to meeting again next year in La Crosse, Wisconsin September 26-29.

    Please note that the Conference Proceedings, including a list of attendees, will be sent as a PDF file to registered conference participants and posted on the members-only portion of the SOBA website. Conference photos will also be available on the website in the 2010 Conference section.

    2010 SOBA Annual Awards Presented at Park City Conference

    SOBA President James Adams and Immediate Past President Wayne Shuyler

    Each year SOBA provides the opportunity for boat access projects to be nominated for national recognition in four categories. These categories were established to acknowledge the range of boating access projects that states and other organizations often address. Cost in and of itself does not define the size of a project. Rather the need for access, the intended customer base and daily use, and the often unique circumstances of the site itself can greatly affect cost and the design of the project.

    These awards are given to an agency, group, local government, or corporation whose project is constructed in a SOBA member state.

    In 2010, a total of 17 projects were nominated: the winners are as follows:

    SMALL ACCESS CATEGORY: Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment for their Eight Point Lake Boating Access Site Development Project: Eight Point was the largest lake (400 acres) in Clare County with no public access. It is a one lane ramp with 22 parking spaces, and the cost of construction was $330,000. Obstacles that were overcome during the construction included:
    - Collecting Public Input
    - Addressing private landowner concerns
    - Storm water management to protect shoreline wetlands
    - Poor inbound road access
    - Poor geotechnical conditions
    - Inadequate ADA access

    2010 Recipient: Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries for the Lawnes Creek Boating Access Facility, located in Surry County, a site determined best to try out new alternative materials. The courtesy pier and wave screens were severely deteriorated, and materials used in construction included Fiberglass cylinder piles, PVC sheet piling, plastic composite whaler and top plate, and composite plastic material for the dock, pier and ladders. The cost of the project was $220,000.

    2010 Recipient: The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Watercraft for the Huron River Wildlife Ramp Access. This is a new 9 acre site on the mouth of the Huron River providing access to Lake Erie’s western basin. The project consisted of 4 launch lanes, 135 car/trailer parking spaces, 33 car only parking spaces, courtesy docks, LED lighting and restroom. The cost of construction was $2.4 million.

    2010 Recipient: Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Recreation Division for the Straits State Harbor. The project utilized many “green” technologies including wind turbines, solar tubes, motion light sensors, timed showers and low flow water and toilet fixtures. The marina includes 134 slips, fuel sales, sanitary pump-out, 3 lane ramp, and Harbormaster building. The cost of construction was $11 million.

    Left to Right: Dave Keiffer (OH), Julie McQuade (OH) and Wayne Shuyler (OR)

    This award is presented to a state agency that has primary responsibility for boating access development and which has excelled over time and provided outstanding service to its residents and visitors to the state. This award recognizes leadership and public service: in providing boating access site development, operation and maintenance; in providing programs that educate and inform boaters about boating access in the state; and in providing programs that resulted in innovation in all aspects of boating access management including financing.

    2010 Recipient: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Wisconsin is home to over 15,000 inland lakes totaling 982,000 acres. Additionally it has 659 miles of shoreline bordering Lakes Michigan and Superior, and it has 238 miles on the Mississippi River. The WI DNR owns and operates 620 access sites, and local government units operate another 2290 facilities. WI, DNR launched a popular boating access website in 2007. In addition WI DNR has an active land acquisition program spending $50 million per year, which includes acquiring additional motor boating access sites, shore fishing sites and non motorized access sites yearly.

    This award is presented to a state agency that has primary responsibility for implementing the provisions of the Clean Vessel Act of 1992 and which has excelled over time and provided outstanding service to its residents and visitors to the state. This award recognizes leadership and public service: in the administration of the CVA, in the operation and maintenance of CVA facilities; and in developing innovative CVA programs and projects.

    2010 Recipient: New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, CVA Program.
    Since the passage of the CVA program in 1992, New Jersey has designed a pumpout program model that integrates construction, renovation, operation and maintenance activities with boater education to address the concerns related to vessel generated sewage and waste. The key to the success of the NJ CVA is to plan and implement pumpout construction and public outreach activities through partnerships. This approach resulted in 249 pumpout units installed, 6 pumpout boats in operation and 5 million gallons of sewage and waste removed from recreational vessels. These units and boats have played an integral part in the protection of New Jersey’s marine estuaries from discharge of vessel generated waste. The CVA program is administered through a steering committee with participants from several public and private entities:

    - Division of Fish and Wildlife: CVA program provides guidance, grants management,information and education activities
    - Division of Coastal Engineering: prepares contract forms and oversees construction
    - Marine Trades Association receives and reviews applications for completeness
    - New Jersey marine Science Consortium/new Jersey Sea Grant Consortium chairs and coordinates all steering committee activities.

    Left to Right: Dave Kieffer (OH), Kent Skaar (MN) and Wayne Shuyler (OR)

    This award is presented to an individual or an agency who has made either a one-time or continuing contribution to provide improved access for boaters and anglers to our nation’s public waters. These contributions can relate to such activities as: obtaining funding at the national or a state level for boating access acquisition or improvement; enactment of legislation or policies that protects and improves the public’s right to access the nation’s waters; and similar activities.

    2010 RECIPIENT: Kim Elverum, Boat and Water Safety Coordinator for the Minnesota DNR.

    Kim has been with MN, DNR since 1971 and is a graduate of the US Coast Guard Institute’s Boating Course. He is a member and past president of both NASBLA (National Association of State Boating Law Administrators), and the Northern Association of Boating Law Administrators. Kim is the recipient of many NASBLA awards including the State Boating law Administrator’s Award in 1986, the Bonner Award in 1994 and the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001. Kim is being recognized with SOBA’s 2010 Outstanding Service Award for his role in offering funding for the acquisition, development and rehabilitation of public access facilities through the Sport Fish Restoration Program. The opportunity to effectively utilize Federal boating safety funding was instrumental in the growth of Minnesota’s public access program from approximately 1,000 state owned sites in 1975 to 1,600 today. Kim is an essential partner of Minnesota’s public water access program, continually finding ways to maximize the amount of public access projects completed and funded with boating safety funding.

    This award is presented to an individual SOBA member or a group of SOBA members (most often a designated Task Force or Committee) for service on a special project or for ongoing efforts on behalf of SOBA. From time to time SOBA establishes various committees or Task Forces that work on special projects and issue areas. These groups at times have continued their work over a period of years before a final product was produced. This award recognizes an individual or group effort on such projects completed on behalf of SOBA.

    2010 Recipient: 2009 Construction DVD Committee for their work on the completed DVD: Construction Techniques for Recreational Boating Access Facilities.

    This committee started their 3 year project in 2007, and the 8 member team donated large periods of time to this effort. Team members included:

    - Terry Boyd, (AL): Chairman
    - Gary Iles (IL): Vice Chairman
    - James Adams (VA)
    - Kevin Atkinson (CA)
    - Tim Bazley (CA)
    - Dave Kieffer (OH)
    - Ted Leverman (IN)
    - Lacy Nichols (DE)

    The final product was presented by the committee during SOBA’s 2009 annual conference in Corpus Christi, Texas.


    This award is presented to an individual, group, organization or political sub-division in recognition of activities that are singularly illustrative or supportive of SOBA’s mission. These activities can take various forms ranging from providing organizational support to SOBA, completion of special assignments for SOBA, providing leadership within or on behalf of SOBA, and for general leadership in public boating access issues.

    2010 Recipient: Lacy E. Nichols, Jr. Construction Project Manager for the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife. Before receiving his Master’s of Science from the Tennessee Technological University, Cookeville, Tennessee in 1971, Lacy spent two years in the US Army, including a tour of Vietnam. For the past 21 years he has been with the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife, first as the Supervisor of Field Operations and for the last 19 years as the Construction Project Manager. Lacy has been affiliated with SOBA since 1991, and served as a past Annual Conference Chair and Treasurer. During this long association, has been involved in numerous committee activities and task force groups including the 1999 Operational and Maintenance Program Guides for Recreational Boating facilities and the 2009 Construction DVD Committee. He has been responsible for 24 boating access projects in Delaware totaling more than 415 million. Three of these projects have won SOBA Outstanding Project Awards:

    - Wagamons Pond 1997 Small Access Award
    - Massey’s Landing Boat Ramp 2001 Large Access Award
    - Newport Boat Ramp 2004 Midsize Access Award

    Left to Right: Dave Kieffer (OH), Mike Hough (Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife), and Wayne Shuyler (OR)
    This award was established by the SOBA Executive Board in 1993 to honor the memory of William H. Ivers. Bill was one of SOBA’s early pioneering members whose vision, dedication and hard work helped establish SOBA as the primary organization dedicated to boating access. This award is presented to an individual who has significantly contributed over at least 15 years to the design, construction, management or administration of boating access facilities or programs. The nominee’s contributions will exemplify high standards of professionalism and outstanding achievement.

    2010 Recipient: Mike Hough (retired) Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife

    During Mike’s tenure with the KY Fish and Wildlife Division, he was in charge of the boating access construction program, drawing and designing plans for many projects. He served on the original SOBA Design Handbook committee and on the committee responsible for the recent update of the Design Handbook. He has been affiliated with the SOBA board of directors in several capacities, including Treasurer, Vice President, and President. He was the SOBA Newsletter Editor for several years, and continued in this role after his state retirement. He has represented SOBA on the Sport Fish Boating Partnership Council, and continues to promote boating access by representing SOBA on the Review Committee for the Council for the BIG program and the 15% Review. His strong leadership, expertise, commitment and knowledge have advanced recreational boating in the State of Kentucky, and contributed to the growth of SOBA.

    2011 Conference Update

    Happy Holidays from your friends in Wisconsin! The hotel is booked, special events and tours are coming into focus and the curriculum is starting to take shape. The elves are busy…‘Tis the season. By the way, did you know that La Crosse was named one of the top 20 fishing spots by Field and Stream Magazine? Thought you might like to know!

    When you have a minute, check out, which is the La Crosse Area Convention and Visitors Bureau web site. Here you can keep track of what’s featured and also what’s going on in La Crosse during the winter , spring and summer months leading up to SOBA’s 25th Anniversary Convention , September 26-29, 2011 at the LaCrosse Radisson Hotel, in LaCrosse ,WI. We can hardly wait!

    Best Wishes to all for a safe and Happy Holiday Season. Happy New Year 2011!

    Click here to view hotel information

    Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources SOBA 2011 Conference planning committee,

    Steve, Steve, Diane, Kelly and Kathy

    SOBA Strategic Plan

    The draft 2011-2013 SOBA Strategic Plan was sent to the SOBA mailing list and presented during the Annual Business meeting in Park City. The Board solicited comments from members and is prepared to adopt the final plan at the January meeting. The final plan has been posted on the members-only portion of the SOBA website at:

    If you are a member and do not already have a user name and password to the members-only pages, please contact Dee Konstanty at

    SOBA and AMI Sign MOU

    Wayne Shuyler (SOBA) and Jim Frye (AMI) sign MOU
    The SOBA Board has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Association of Marina Industries ( The MOU, signed on October 10, calls for the two organizations to work cooperatively to support each organization’s respective missions. Key provisions of the MOU include:

  • Routine communication about national issues, plans, policies, priorities, actions and other developments of mutual interest;
  • Invited representation at respective governing board meetings;

  • Invited representation on committees;

  • Reciprocal complimentary registration for one representative of each organization to attend the International Marina and Boatyard Conference and SOBA’s Annual National Boating Access Conference;

  • Promotion of each organization’s events, training, publications and resources, and;

  • Potential collaboration to develop new events, training, publications and resources that meet the needs of the members of both organizations.

  • Many SOBA members already know Wendy Larimer, AMI’s US Legislative Coordinator and an active participant in recent SOBA Conferences. The Board is excited to formalize the relationship with AMI and looks forward continuing to work closely with this important organization.

    The full signed MOU can be viewed on the SOBA web site on the Partnerships page.

    RBFF Update & News

    Take Me Fishing™
    RBFF and the Outdoor Foundation released important new research the recent International Convention of Allied Sportfishing Trades (ICAST). The 2010 Special Report on Fishing and Boating revealed that of the 48 million anglers in the United States, 41 million are participating in freshwater fishing, an increase of two percent from last year. Other key findings included: Fishing is recognized as the top "gateway" activity, spurring involvement in other outdoor interests; nearly 10 million outdoor enthusiasts are considering boat ownership; and 'next-gen' anglers, those under 18 years of age, make up more than 23 percent of all fishing participants.

    The national advertising campaign for Take Me Fishing, which launched on April 1, 2010, continues to focus on three core objectives: generating awareness for the brand, increasing participation in the sport of boating and fishing, and driving traffic to the website. National print and online display advertising continue to be the staples for generating awareness for the brand. New in FY 2011 was the addition of a three-time, celebrity athlete fishing advertorial series with Sports Illustrated. The advertorials featured Kent Hrbek, Ike Davis and Justin Tuck who shared their dedication and passion for the sport.

    To support state efforts and the lapsed angler direct mail program, Take Me Fishing partnered with ESPN Radio to execute a national radio buy, focusing on key fishing license and boat registration messages. The radio buy ran from April through August to coincide with peak fishing and boating season. Search Engine Marketing, across Google, Yahoo! and MSN/Bing, continues to be one of the main traffic drivers to the website, by providing relevant content to consumers who are actively searching for information.

    Free Advertising
    Google Grants awarded RBFF approximately $10,000 a month of free search engine marketing for ( Google Grants is a unique in-kind donation program awarding free AdWords advertising to select organizations. Non-profits that qualify must share Google's philosophy of community service in areas such as science and technology, education, global public health, the environment, youth advocacy, and the arts. Like a media purchase, this will be a critical component of our marketing efforts.

    Anglers' Legacy™
    RBFF introduced a new Anglers' Legacy recruitment tool called "The Bassador" in September. Featured in a series of fun and lighthearted viral videos, the Bassador is a talking fish that uses an irreverent approach to encourage current Ambassadors to recruit new members. For each friend they get to take the Anglers' Legacy Pledge, Ambassadors earn a chance to win a trip to the 2011 Bassmaster Classic in New Orleans. With 38,981 Pledges to date, the Anglers' Legacy program has already exceeded the goal of 20,000 Pledges for the fiscal year.

    Market Segmentation Task Force
    A Market Segmentation Task Force was formed to assist in selecting a market research firm to identify market segments that show the highest potential for growth. An RFP was issued in August and 11 proposals were submitted to RBFF in mid-September. The Task Force selected Strategic Marketing and Research, Inc. (SMARI) for the project. The first phase of the will include secondary research review, stakeholder interviews with the board of directors, a quantitative survey and recommended segmentation strategy.

    Boating Task Force
    The Boating Task Force, with contractor BrandSpark, completed a "Consumer Mindset" survey to better understand the impact of the recent economic downturn on consumer attitudes and behavior and future usage and purchase intent. The survey also identified the key barriers to and drivers of boat ownership among current and potential new boat owners. Survey results were presented at IBEX in late September and will be presented to the MRAA Board of Directors at the MDCE event in November. The full survey results can be viewed at:

    Education Task Force, a partnership of RBFF and Discovery Education, was expanded in September to include more robust materials for educators, parents and students. Educational curriculum including lesson plans, videos and multimedia content are now available to teachers in grades K-5 that cover social science, health, math, language arts, science and physical education. The site also contains activities and worksheets aligned to national education standards and an interactive online game called the "Thrill of the Catch."

    RBFF also entered into a Memorandum of Mutual Support with the Boy Scouts of America, agreeing to work collaboratively on initiatives that support one another's mission.

    Conservation Roundtable
    In August, the Conservation Roundtable held its first teleconference to review the results of the conservation survey and discuss the current and future direction of the conservation landing page on Based on suggestions from the Conservation Roundtable, additional conservation-specific questions were added to the Satisfaction Survey to determine what conservation content would be most valuable to site visitors and to guide development of new content on


    Site Enhancements
    RBFF introduced several new boating animations in August thanks to a partnership with A few examples include life jackets and PFDs, buoys and markers and weather and the elements.

    Digital Tools
    RBFF introduced a Take Me Fishing boat ramp app for consumers in July that can be used on both the iPhone and the Droid. Since the rollout, there have been more than 21,000 downloads. Additionally, the app received more than 161,000 queries for boat ramps and marinas since its debut.

    As you may know, 38 state partners and the USFWS are now working with RBFF on the boating and fishing access data project. As a result, we have received more than 12,000 locations to import into our interactive Hotspots map. And even more exciting—we've made the Hotspots map "portable" so that it can be used and displayed on partner sites too.

    By incorporating the embeddable Hotspots Map into their webpage, an RBFF partner receives all the benefits of displaying the map for their site visitors to use. When partners use the map, it helps to increase links to and grow traffic to our site. Kansas was the first partner to display the map on its site.


    Thirty-one states implemented the Fishing License Direct Mail Marketing Program and evaluations are currently being conducted. Unfortunately, Illinois and North Carolina were unable to participate this year due to budget and/or staffing constraints; however Michigan came onboard as a new partner this year.

    Additionally, RBFF issued a Request for Proposals this quarter to assess state agencies' needs, awareness and satisfaction with our programs and products. Results will be shared later in the fiscal year.


    During the second quarter, 12 press releases, nine e-blasts, one Anglers' Legacy Quarterly newsletter and three NewsWaves newsletters were distributed. NewsWaves' subscribers grew to nearly 6,000 this past quarter with a 94 percent delivery rate. The August issue which featured "Who's Buying Boats?" about the boating consumer research had the highest open rate this year. Also, the article linking to the new Take Me Fishing boat ramp app received the highest click-through rate this year so far.

    Additionally, RBFF will assess stakeholders' needs, awareness and satisfaction with programs and products.

    Watch for an upcoming e-mail survey in December from RBFF asking about your satisfaction with its programs and products. Your participation would be much appreciated!

    AMI Update

    In November, IMI hosted an Intermediate Marina Management (IMM) course in Boca Raton, FL, training eighteen marina professionals. Many of these professionals are making their way through the training curriculum to achieve the coveted Certified Marina Manager (CMM) or Certified Marina Operator (CMO) certificates, others are looking to gain continued education through the industry-leading faculty and peer networking.

    IMM attendees came from all over the United States including, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Maryland and Florida. International representation was strong, as well, with attendees from UAE, the Caribbean and Singapore.

    Course content included: Personal Development, Developing the right Marketing Plan, Environmental Compliance and Health and Safety, Marina Law, Emergency Response, and Human Resource Management. In addition, the class took a field trip to several area marinas to compare how these top notch facilities are managed compared to the student’s own marinas at home.

    For those aspiring to become CMMs or CMOs, the next step after the IMM is the Advanced Marina Management (AMM) course or the Marina Operator Course (MOC). The last run of the AMM for 2010 is scheduled for December 5-10 in Fort Lauderdale and the MOC is scheduled for September 25, 2011, also in Fort Lauderdale. IMI is very encouraged by the continued level of interest in the training programs during what has been a challenging economic time. IMI is accepting applications for the spring 2011 IMM and AMM courses scheduled to open on February 27, 2011 and March 20, 2011, respectively. These courses are being held in Charleston, SC. The AMM program is a profit-management training course designed for senior marina professionals. Through small groups, interactive workshops, and specific case studies, the AMM course examines such topics as profit-center management, regulations and permitting, operations, marina law, human-resource management, risk management and loss control, improving the quality and value of services, policy and procedure manuals, business strategy and financial management, and marketing, promotion, and pricing. The AMM offers its graduates a national and international business perspective on management issues, and a long-term network of international contacts to rely on in the future. Attendees learn about policies and practices that have been successful in other regions of the country and in different nations and they discover new solutions to traditional management challenges.

    For more information or to register for IMI’s training programs, please visit

    SOBA Boating Access Operations and Maintenance Manual

    The workgroup has completed the body of the manual and is now working on updating the photographs and appendices. Once this is completed, the draft will be reviewed for final editing. The workgroup is anticipating a completed manual by March 2011.


    Board of Directors

    James Adams
    Facilities Director
    Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries
    4010 West Borad Street
    P.O. Box 11104
    Richmond, VA 23230
    Tel: 804-367-0183
    Fax: 804-367-2311
    Cell: 804-640-8041

    Steven W. Miller
    Director, Bureau of
    Facilities & Lands
    Wisconsin Department of
    Natural Resources
    P.O. Box 7921
    Madison, WI 53707-7921
    Tel: 608-266-5782
    Fax: 608-267-2750
    Cell: 608-347-1136

    David Kieffer
    Watercraft Access Engineer
    Ohio Department of Natural Resources
    2045 Morse Road, Building A-2
    Columbus, OH 43224
    Tel: 614-265-6972
    Fax: 614-262-2197
    Cell: 614-309-9430

    Wayne Shuyler
    Assistant Director/Boating Facilities Program Manager
    Oregon State Marine Board
    435 Commercial Street NE
    P.O. Box 14145
    Salem, OR 97309-5065
    Tel: 503-378-2605
    Fax: 503-378-4597
    Cell: 503-851-2239

    Forrest Boe
    Deputy Director, Parks and Trails Division
    Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
    500 Lafayette Road
    St. Paul, MN 55155
    Tel: 651-259-5615
    Fax: 651-297-5475
    Cell: 612-382-0855

    Terry Boyd
    Chief Engineer
    Alabama Department of Conservation & Natural Resources
    64 North Union Street, Room 479
    Montgomery, AL 36104
    Tel: 334-242-3836
    Fax: 334-242-0289
    Cell: 334-868-9851

    Andy Goldbloom
    Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
    4200 Smith School Road
    Austin, TX 78744
    Tel: 512-389-8128
    Fax: 512-389-8242
    Cell: 512-350-4932


    Newsletter Editor

    Bernice McArdle
    SOBA Executive Director
    231 S. LaSalle St., Ste. 2050
    Chicago, IL 60604
    Tel: 312-946-6280
    Fax: 312-946-0388

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