SOBA newsletter - April 2011  

In This Issue:

 FWS: Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Grant Updates
 2011 National Survey


Dear SOBA Members and Partners,

Amazing how fast the months fly by and how quickly the next National Boating Access Conference is approaching. Steve Miller and his Wisconsin host team are busy with the many planning tasks to make the 25th SOBA Anniversary 2011 conference a success. Watch for updates via the SOBA List Serv email. Of course, the SOBA website will have updated postings of conference information so be sure to visit the site every so often.

The Boating Access Operations and Maintenance Manual Task Force has completed the 2011 revisions of the manual. The manual will be offered only in PDF format on a CD. Hats off to the SOBA members that gave generously of their time and knowledge in the creation of this excellent revised publication: Ron Christofferson (AZ), Tim Gilley (FL), Tom Hollman (MS), Dennis Kincer (WV), John Kirk (VA), Kristen Kuykendall (WA), Phil Miller (OH), Lacy Nichols (DE), and John Skains (MS).

As you may know, I represent SOBA on the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council. There are two issues that the Council is involved in that are far reaching for recreation, which of course impacts our industry: The first is the Ocean Policy, which I have previously told you about in a past newsletter. The purpose of the Ocean Policy initiative is to develop Regional Policies that will govern the spacial use of ocean and Great Lakes waters – sounds like zoning, doesn’t it? Of particular interest and concern is the protection of recreation as these Regional policies are developed. It is important that recreation be specifically protected as a baseline in ALL of these Regional policies, and in this regard I urge you to visit the web site and watch for opportunities to comment on these crucial Regional policies. The second issue of importance is the America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) initiative. The vision of this program is to reconnect Americans with the outdoors and to work together in conservation and towards restoration of the great outdoors. I may have oversimplified AGO’s vision, but what I have stated is embedded in the initiative. The intent is for this to be a community-based, driven proposal. As conservation public servants, we can make a difference, particularly in our outreach efforts to showcase the outdoor recreational efforts we are involved in day-to-day. Please visit the website and look for ways to become involved. In addition, there are many Federal agencies involved in both the Ocean Policy and AGO, including the US Department of Interior and USFWS.

The SOBA Board will host a meeting in June for several days, and one of our agenda items is to revisit several of the Strategic Plan items. Some of these include: Kicking off new task forces and initiatives, the National Boating Access Needs Assessment, supporting the Reauthorization of the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Safety Trust Fund (SFRBSTF or SFR), and the Use of a Cost Benefit Tool to support boating access projects. If you have an interest in serving on a task force or committee to support one or more of these initiatives, please let me know – we welcome your participation. These are just a few of the ways your Directors are serving you. Your board is involved in many projects that benefit our SOBA members, and you can read about some of these in this newsletter.

My last comment to you is about an item mentioned above: the Reauthorization of the SFR Fund. In case you are not aware, the reauthorization of SFR will have challenges as never before. This fund is one of the most successful user pay/user benefit programs in the Nation and in the World, and has the support of the boating industry, fishing tackle manufacturers, government and many other groups. The House Transportation Committee will be looking to reduce overall spending of the Highway Trust Fund, and with the SFR being a part of the Transportation Bill (Highway Trust Fund), Congress may be looking at reducing the SFR funding and perhaps even raiding the fund balance for highway projects. Please make your leaders aware of this issue and the importance of the SFR to what we do. Early indications show that strategically there may be a great struggle over the Federal budget, and user pay/user benefit programs may be the victims in all of this.

James Adams
SOBA President


SOBA encourages states to share best practices for Aquatic Invasive Species prevention

Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) is a hot topic in many parts of the country. It will therefore be the focus of several presentations and sessions at SOBA's upcoming 25th Anniversary Conference in La Crosse, Wisconsin, September 26 – 29, 2011. The conference will provide an important opportunity to share what your state is doing and how we can work together to keep recreational boating from becoming an endangered activity.

Although AIS is a national issue, most states have developed their AIS prevention and control strategies individually. Collecting and sharing the most effective strategies will benefit water access programs now and into the future.

Minnesota’s AIS prevention program was established in 1992 and has traditionally focused on boater education and awareness. In response to citizen demands, Minnesota has increased efforts to control the spread of AIS with many new initiatives. The goal is to encourage boaters to comply with Minnesota’s AIS laws, especially when inspectors are not present. Strategies include designating areas for stopping and completing AIS inspections, providing aquatic vegetation disposal areas, and posting positive, clear and consistent messages on signs.

New guidelines will determine where these strategies will be implemented first. For example, the 19 Minnesota lakes infested with Zebra Mussels will have the highest priority.

The SOBA Board recently decided to take a leadership role in developing AIS prevention strategies for access sites. A task force is being developed to work on AIS best management practices for access facilities. If you are interested in being part of this task force, please contact Nancy Stewart, Program Coordinator, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, at


SOBA is pleased to announce that its revised Operations & Maintenance Manual (O&M) is available for purchase. The manual will no longer be sold in print format and will be sold as a CD in PDF format. The cost will be $30 for members and $55 for nonmembers.

The O&M Manual is a hands-on guide to help the user establish procedures for the successful operation and maintenance of boating facilities. It includes clearly written, easily understood, updated detailed information for the general maintenance worker, as well as for the administrator with total program responsibility.

Its new edition includes information on risk assessment and management; site design and review procedures; operational staff considerations; staff training needs; equipment and funding requirements; importance of public outreach; methods of site accounting; recommendations for emergency preparedness and importance of environmental management efforts.

Click here to order.

If you have any questions regarding ordering this or any other SOBA publication, please contact Karen Schillinger at SOBA at 312-946-6248 or

SOBA LAUNCHES NEW WEB TOOL: National Boating Access Directory
The SOBA Board of Directors is pleased to announce the launch of the “National Boating Access Directory”, a new feature to the SOBA website. This Directory was developed by SOBA members to provide its membership and the recreational boating public with a quick reference guide to all State sponsored recreational boating and boating access web resources. SOBA colleagues are encouraged to take the opportunity in the coming weeks to visit the SOBA website and review this new web tool. Should you have any questions or comments on this Directory, please contact Bernice McArdle at: or 312-946-6283.

SOBA is partnering with the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF), the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), Association of Marinas International (AMI), and Responsive Management of Harrisonburg, Virginia to apply for a Multi-State Conservation Grant.

The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) cooperatively administer the Multistate Conservation Grant Program.

SOBA is submitting a Letter of Intent to AFWA, seeking a two-year grant. The focus of the grant is a comprehensive assessment of boaters’ experience, opinions, and perceptions related to boating access. What are the barriers, issues, and problems? What are the lost opportunities for participation in boating caused by access deficiencies?

Using the answers received from boaters through this national assessment, SOBA hopes to help policy makers at the national and state level target resources to meet priority needs and problems identified in the assessment. In addition, owners of public and private access sites can use the results to take specific actions to address access deficiencies, and boaters and boating interests can use the results to advocate for enhancements in boating access.

SOBA also intends to develop tools, such as assessment templates, that states can use to apply the results of the national assessment to address specific state, regional, and local access issues.

The Multistate Conservation Grant Program (MSCGP) funds projects that address regional or national level priorities of state fish and wildlife agencies. It was established in 2000 by the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs Improvement Act, which amended the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act and the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act.

Each year, the Association solicits Letters of Intent (LOI), which must address a National Conservation Need (NCN) identified by AFWA committees or regional associations. The SOBA proposal addresses the Outdoor heritage NCN that focuses on participation, recruitment and retention in hunting, fishing, boating and conservation-related recreational activities.

In May, AFWA’s National Grants Committee will invite selected applicants to submit full proposals, from which the Committee will make final selections that will be announced at the AFWA annual conference this fall. Selected proposals are reviewed by USFWS and award notices are sent in December. State Directors, particularly those who serve on the National Grants Committee, have a significant role in this process.

Up to $6 million is available to fund MSCGP projects. Projects may be funded for one, two, or three years on a calendar year basis. SOBA is seeking $212,000 over two years.

SOBA says goodbye to Dee Konstanty and hello to Karen Schillinger. Dee joined the SOBA staff in May 2010 and worked alongside Bernice McArdle on SOBA activities. Dee always had an interest in working within the Executive Search industry, and in March an opportunity came knocking to do so. We are delighted to welcome Karen Schillinger, who already is successfully juggling SOBA’s multiple projects. Karen can be reached at 312-946-6248 or by email at


Earlier this year SOBA announced a call for its 2011 awards nominations. The deadline for nominations is May 13, so there is still time to propose that outstanding project your state undertook. Each year SOBA requests nominations for the following awards:

• The William H. Ivers Award
• Outstanding Service Award
• Professional Service Award
• Special Recognition Award
• State Boating Access Program Excellence Award
• State Clean Vessel (CVA) Program Excellence Award and • Outstanding Project Awards in Four (4) categories: 1) small, 2) mid-size, 3) large, and 4) marina and harbors.

The awards will be presented at SOBA’s 25th Anniversary Conference, September 26-29, in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Your Nominations are Worth the Effort! Recognition of outstanding work is very important and all too often outstanding work goes unrecognized. The SOBA Awards Program allows us to help you by recognizing outstanding achievement of your staff, your peers, and the many cooperators and partners you work with. The SOBA Executive Board makes an extra effort to recognize outstanding work; a nomination in itself is a statement of recognition and definitely worth the effort!

How to Nominate A complete description of award criteria for all nominations is provided below. (NOTE: Outstanding Project Awards submitted in 2010 that were unsuccessful are automatically resubmitted in 2011 for consideration.) New Nominations should be forwarded electronically to Dave Kieffer no later than May 13, 2011 in one of two ways:

• By email (15 MG or less)
• Copied and mailed on a CD

All work initiatives should be completed when your nomination information is submitted, and if in rare circumstances this is not possible, please contact Dave Kieffer directly.

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

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

Award Descriptions

The William H. Ivers Award is presented to an individual who has contributed significantly over at least 15 years to the design, construction, management or administration of boat access facilities or programs. The nominee’s contributions will exemplify high standards of professionalism and outstanding achievement.

The Outstanding Service Award is presented to an individual or to an agency who have made either a one-time or continuing contribution to improved access on our nation’s public waters for boaters and anglers.

The Professional Service Award is presented to an individual SOBA member or to 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’s mission.

The Special Recognition Award is presented to an individual, group, organization or political subdivision in recognition of activities that are singularly illustrative or supportive of SOBA’s mission.

The State Boating Access Program Excellence Award is presented to a state agency that has primary responsibility for boat access development, and which has excelled over time and provided outstanding service to its residents and visitors to the state.

The State Clean Vessel Act (CVA) Program Excellence Award is presented to a state agency that has primary responsibility for the state clean vessel act program, and which has excelled over time and provided outstanding service to its residents and visitors to the state.

The Outstanding Project Awards are presented to agencies, groups, local government, or corporations involved in boating access projects that are judged to be useful, high quality, unique, economical and/or innovative. There are four (4) project award categories: 1) small, 2) mid-size, 3) large, and 4) marina and harbors (includes BIG projects).


It's finally spring in Wisconsin (we think!) and the forecasts are for the Mississippi River to exhibit some major flooding in April. However, by the time SOBA's 25th Anniversary Conference comes around, the river should be at normal flows. Our anniversary event will be at the Radisson Hotel in La Crosse, WI, located right on the banks of the Mississippi. There's a park and river walk along the river just outside the "back door" of the hotel that will be a great place to stretch one's legs and take a break from the meetings.

The agenda is shaping up nicely. Monday, Sept 26 will be a federal aid workshop focusing on CVA, BIG and Clean Marina topics as well as an opportunity to talk one on one with the Federal Aid staff from Washington DC and the FWS Regions. Tuesday Morning, Sept 27 will be the plenary session and will feature a special session highlighting SOBA's 25 years. A number of past Presidents and early SOBA members will be on hand to share their thoughts and views about how the organization has grown and changed over the years.

Tuesday afternoon will consist of two concurrent technical sessions. One will address aquatic invasive species, riverine habitat restoration and boating issues, and the other will focus on engineering boat access sites with some special emphasis on the challenges of managing access sites located in large riverine systems.

Wednesday morning September 28, will find us discussing economic issues and recreational boating, in addition to SOBA's Annual Business Meeting. Following the project awards luncheon at noon, the award winners will each give a presentation on their projects. We'll round out Wednesday afternoon by having an in-depth discussion of "What SOBA's role in Aquatic Invasive Species Control should be?" The SOBA Board recently decided to take a leadership role in developing AIS prevention strategies for access sites. The results of this forum will help give guidance and direction to SOBA's AIS Task Force as it is being formed. Wednesday evening is the awards banquet.

Thursday, September 29 we will embark upon our annual field trip and we will visit sites on both the Wisconsin and Minnesota sides of the river. It will be early fall, and the trees along the bluffs of the river should be showing their first signs of color.

The meeting just happens to coincide with Oktoberfest in La Crosse so there will be plenty to do in the evening with food, music and fun. We are looking at a possible river cruise on Monday evening and likely Tuesday evening will be on your own.

We hope you'll plan on joining us in La Crosse for a very informative, educational and special 25th Anniversary Conference.

Click here to view hotel information

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources SOBA 2011 Conference Planning Committee,
Steve, Steve, Diane, Kelly and Kathy


As winter recedes, springtime arrives and harkens in a very busy stretch for all of us that work to enhance the public’s ability to recreate on our Nation’s waters. Whether it is a boat show, a fishing and outdoor exposition, the initial work on constructing an access site or a meeting on national policy matters, we are all busy this time of year. Such is the same with the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council.

The SFBPC met on March 3 & 4, 2011, in Washington, D.C. Among the many matters that were considered there were three that I believe you will want to stay aware of: the recently announced final report of the America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) initiative, the on-going efforts to implement the National Ocean Policy and the future implementation of the Clean Boating Act. Even though the Clean Boating Act (CBA) will be implemented by the Environmental Protection Agency and not the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) or the Interior Department, it warrants the attention of the SFBPC and you. EPA staff briefed members of the SFBPC on the timelines for CBA implementation and on future efforts to assure community input as regulations to implement the law are drafted. EPA is currently seeking input prior to undertaking the regulatory process to better inform their rulemaking effort from the perspective of the affected public. The process will unfold over the next couple of years and the SFBPC will monitor the effort as it moves forward.

The Obama Administration continues to move forward in implementing the National Ocean Policy (NOP). The SFBPC heard a presentation from staff with the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) that laid out the overarching process and structure for implementing the NOP. It is a complex undertaking, to say the least. SFBPC members are working to make sure that recreational boating and angling are not forgotten as this process unfolds. We will continue to remind policy makers that recreational angling and boating are unique undertakings relative to other ocean uses in that they are part and parcel to funding the conservation and access programs authorized through the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund. Because of this link, we continue to remind staff at the CEQ, Interior Department and the FWS that every effort should be made to insure the greatest possible access to public waters, thereby protecting the future integrity of the trust fund.

Finally, the Council heard a briefing from current Acting Assistant Secretary Will Shafroth on the recently released final report of the Obama Administration’s Americas Great Outdoors (AGO) Initiative. This initiative holds great promise in not only providing increased recreational opportunities for the American public, but also in potentially increasing funding for the provision of access sites and infrastructure to make recreational opportunities a reality. While there are plenty of details yet to be filled in, AGO is definitely a positive initiative on which the SFBPC will be spending time and effort.

So, welcome spring! Even though your warmer weather and bursting flower buds bring with them a more hectic pace of work, they also give us renewed vigor in our efforts to get more Americans out on the water boating and angling.

FWS: Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Grant Updates

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 wetlands. In fiscal year (FY) 2011, 36 grant applications were received from 17 States, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The Service awarded grants for 24 applications totaling $19.1 million which will protect, restore, or enhance over 5,951 acres of important coastal wetland habitat, including several miles of shoreline.

We are currently accepting applications for FY 2012 through June 30, 2011. For a copy of the Request for Applications, see .

Boating Infrastructure Grant Program
The Boating Infrastructure Grant Program (BIG) provides grants to States, the District of Columbia and insular areas to construct, renovate, and maintain boating infrastructure 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. Applications are from States for projects at facilities open to the public, including privately owned and operated marinas.

We offer BIG funding in two tiers, Tier 1 and Tier 2. Tier 1 grants are up to $100,000 for each State. In FY 2011 27 States applied, and we awarded $2,693,141 in BIG Tier 1 funding.

BIG Tier 2 is a competitive program. We awarded $13,522,724 in BIG Tier 2 funding to 16 projects that will be matched with $14,532,232 in non-Federal funds from States and partners for a total of $28,054,956 to be expended for BIG Tier 2 projects to construct, renovate, or maintain boating infrastructure facilities and associated amenities for transient, non-trailerable recreational boats 26 feet in length or longer. The BIG Tier 1 and Tier 2 Requests for Applications for FY 2012 will be announced on by June 2012. The due date for applications will be in mid-September 2011.

The current rule for BIG, 50 CFR 86, is being reviewed and a proposed rule is expected in the Federal Register in mid to late 2011.

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. We received 31 applications from 25 States requesting $11.7 million of CVA funds for FY 2011. We will announce the awards by May 2011.
Click here for FY2011 awards.

The CVA Requests for Applications for FY 2012 will be announced on by September 2011, and the due date for applications will be early December 2011.

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


The 12th National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation (FHWAR) started April 1. This important survey is sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Service appreciates the anglers, hunters, birdwatchers, and other citizens throughout the country who participate in the survey when contacted by the Census Bureau. The survey results help wildlife and natural resource maangers quantify how much Americans value wildlife resources in terms of participation and expenditures.

The last survey revealed that 87.5 million U.S. residents 16 years old and older, 38% of the population, participated in wildlife-related recreation activities. These recreationist spent over $122 billion pursuing their activities.

Participation is totally voluntary and all responses are strictly confidential. Data collected is used for statistical purposes only and no participant can be identified from information contained in the database and follow-up reports.

The reports of previous surveys are posted at wsfrprograms. The 2011 survey reports will start being posted in the spring of 2012.


Nationwide Conservation Campaign with New Take Me Fishing™ PSA

RBFF recently sent thousands of copies of its new Public Service Announcement (PSA) to local television and radio stations across the country. This short, but powerful PSA reminds viewers they can make a big impact on the waters they enjoy when they purchase a fishing license or register their boat.

Stakeholders interested in downloading the PSAs can request the materials online. RBFF encourages stakeholders to help spread the ‘Conservation Through Participation’ message by using the TV, radio and print PSAs on their websites, in their newsletters and magazines, or on their TV and radio shows.

New Mobile Website for Boaters and Anglers

RBFF officially unveiled the Take Me Fishing™ campaign’s brand new, fully integrated mobile website this month. The new mobile site, which can be viewed from smartphones at, was developed to further support the campaign’s mission to be the premier online destination for boaters and anglers to learn, plan and equip for a day on the water.

The new, mobile version of includes:

* On-the-go access to the Hotspots Map
* The ability to save mobile hotspots
* Boating and fishing tips and tricks
* Links to state licensing and registration requirements

Boat Ramp App Honored

RBFF was recently honored for innovative achievement by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and Boating Writers International (BWI) at the 70th annual Miami International Boat Show & Strictly Sail Miami. RBFF received an Honorable Mention in the 2011 Innovation Awards for its state-of-the-art Take Me Fishing Boat Ramp App.

RBFF received recognition in the Consumer Electronics and Software category as one of 12 companies honored during NMMA’s State of the Recreational Boating Industry Breakfast held at the Miami Beach Convention Center. A panel of seven industry experts reviewed entries in nine unique categories for innovative distinction from same-category products, marine industry benefit potential, practicality of use and cost effectiveness.

Introduced in July 2010, the free app for iPhones and Android phones allows users to search a database of more than 35,000 launch points by city or zip code, offering turn-by-turn directions. The Take Me Fishing Boat Ramp App has already been downloaded by more than 27,000 mobile users.

Military Bases in SC Outfitted for Kids Fishing Program

In recognition of America’s veterans and those who currently serve in the military, RBFF has partnered with the Sierra Club’s Water Sentinels and the National Military Fish & Wildlife Association (NMFWA) to give families on military installations an opportunity to experience the great outdoors through fishing. Rod and reel manufacturer Zebco donated more than 500 rods and reels to the program, which otherwise would have fallen just short of reaching retail racks.

Since 2009, more than 59,000 youth have benefited from the donation initiative on 17 military bases in 11 states. The rods and reels provided by this program extend the opportunity for outdoors experiences to the nation’s military youth, who may otherwise face barriers such as overseas deployment of parents.

To learn more about the program or to donate your own rods and reels, visit

States Who Partner with RBFF Sell More Fishing Licenses

Fishing license sales are trending upwards nationally and, according to a recent data comparison, states participating in RBFF’s Fishing License Marketing Program are seeing a higher than average increase.

According to Southwick Associates, data recently collected by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to be used in apportioning the Sport Fish Restoration funds indicates a nationwide 0.02% average increase in fishing license sales in 2009. For the 30 states participating in RBFF’s Fishing License Marketing Program in both 2008 and 2009, the data shows a 0.76% average increase.

Participating states are currently designing their marketing plans for the upcoming year, which may include:

* Direct mail
* E-mail outreach
* Social media outreach (ex: Facebook/Twitter marketing campaigns, Facebook/Google Ads, QR Code campaigns)
* Additional marketing strategies to recruit and retain lapsed and current anglers


The reauthorization of the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund (SFRBTF)(formerly known as “Wallop-Breaux”) is likely to occur as part of highway transportation reauthorization in 2011. In recognition of the current economic/political climate in Congress and given the importance of the SFRBTF Congress is being asked to to support the reauthorization of the SFRBTF as the current statute is written with continued full funding. The SFRBTF is the premier aquatic conservation and boating infrastructure funding tool in the nation, providing over $650 million annually for efforts such as fish habitat restoration, the construction and maintenance of public boating access ramps, the successful implementation of pump-out facilities and other valuable boating and fishing programs.


From the snow-capped peaks of Washington’s Cascade Mountains to the white sand beaches of Florida’s Gulf Coast, and the vast expanses of forests, grasslands, rivers, lakes, farms, and rangeland that lie between, America boasts a stunning array of magnificent lands and waterways.

Our appreciation for these special places is rooted in the natural environment as well as in the rich diversity of people, stories, and traditions that have become associated with them over the course of our history. Since our earliest beginnings, the lands, coasts, rivers, forests, and mountains and the resources they hold have helped to define who we are as a people and as a nation. They have also been a source of America’s wealth, providing places to reflect, relax, recreate, and create lasting memories with friends and family.

However, Americans today have become increasingly disconnected from our great outdoors. We find ourselves cut off from the natural and cultural inheritance that has shaped our lives and history. Our natural resources remain central to our economic vitality, yet they are under intense pressure from development and fragmentation, unsustainable use, pollution, and impacts from a changing climate.

On April 16, 2010, President Obama launched the America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) Initiative and charged the Secretaries of the Departments of the Interior and Agriculture, the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality to develop a 21st-century conservation and recreation agenda that addresses these challenges. AGO takes as its premise that lasting conservation solutions should rise from the American people—that the protection of our natural heritage is a non-partisan objective shared by all Americans. Through listening sessions and utreach, AGO launched a robust public conversation about the future of conservation in America.

The result is a call for a grassroots approach to protecting our lands and waters and connecting all Americans to their natural and cultural heritage. AGO seeks to empower all Americans—citizens, young people, and representatives of community groups; the private sector; nonprofit organizations; and local, state, and tribal governments—to share in the responsibility to conserve, restore, and provide better access to our lands and waters in order to leave a healthy, vibrant outdoor legacy for generations yet to come.

To learn more about this program, click here


The International Marina Institute (IMI), a subsidiary of the Association of Marina Industries (AMI), has scheduled its annual fall conference for October 23–25, 2011. This year’s topic is “Increasing Marina Profits in the New Economy: From Surviving to Thriving” and the event will be held at the Sheraton Suites Cypress Creek in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

The economic recession and inaccessibility of capital has mandated the need for creativity, new ideas, and adaptability. Because of the increasingly competitive climate within our industry, marinas that stick with the status quo often find themselves at a disadvantage, This three day event will offer simple and affordable methods to improve existing facilities and, ultimately, the bottom line.

Seminar topics will focus on new profit ideas, how to use an existing marina footprint to its maximum capacity, and ways to survive and thrive in the new economy. Marina reconstruction, retrofit plans, best profit ideas, and ways to streamline business systems and processes will also be included in the program. In addition, the conference will feature products that assist marinas in increasing profits and offer many networking opportunities for speakers, vendors, and attendees. Save the date now so you don’t miss this unique opportunity to improve your businesses!

Held in south Florida prior to the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, IMI’s annual conference is dedicated to updates in drystack technology on a biennial basis while focusing on current and timely topics of interest during the years in between. For more information, please visit or call 401-247-0314.


The National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA) has several projects moving ahead in 2011. On April 11, the third edition of the National Vessel Numbering & Titling Manual went on sale through the NASBLA website. The manual contains vessel registration requirements and examples of certificates and vessel stickers from each of the states and U.S. territories.

NASBLA has also launched the application process for the new National Boating Education Standards Panel. This panel will oversee the process for updating and amending the National Boating Education Standards, which states and private boating education providers abide by in order to have courses approved by NASBLA. The panel is modeled after the Project Technical Committees of the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) that maintain the technical standards for boat manufacturing. The panel process will bring transparency and broader participation to the boating education standards process.

New Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, developed by NASBLA with the assistance of a grant from the United States Coast Guard, will be rolled out in the coming months. These new field tests were developed specifically for subjects in a sitting position, as they would be on a watercraft. The curriculum of the Boating Under the Influence Detection and Enforcement course offered by NASBLA is being updated to reflect the new testing procedures. The 52nd Annual NASBLA Conference will take place from September 11 – 14, 2011, at the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Details about the conference and the other programs mentioned above can be found on the NASBLA website:


Thanks again to our 2010 Platinum Conference Sponsor, GatorDock.

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If you have news to share with your SOBA colleagues please forward this to Bernice McArdle at by July 14th for inclusion in SOBA's next newsletter due out in August, 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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