SOBA Newsletter August/September Issue 

August/September 2011

Dear SOBA Members and Friends:

This year is going fast, and it has been both a pleasure and honor to have served as your President during SOBA’s 25th year. For the past seven months, our Executive Board has been working to accomplish some of the higher priorities identified in SOBA’s Strategic Plan. One initiative was to secure funding for the “National Assessment of Recreational Boating Access”. In this regard, SOBA submitted a “Letter of Intent” to the 2012 Multistate Conservation Grant Program managed by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. The grant request was strong, not only in the work to be accomplished but also in the area of support (financial and otherwise) from numerous partners (Responsive Management, Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, National Marine Manufacturers Association, Association of Marina Industries, and BoatUS). Due to the competitive nature of this process for limited funds, SOBA’s submission was unsuccessful for the second year in a row. We will not give up, and will continue to look at other avenues for potential funding.

Another strategic objective for SOBA is the Reauthorization Process for the Sport Fish Restoration Fund. As you may know, this fund is authorized through language in the Surface Road Transportation Act. The SOBA Executive Board has been engaged with the Angling and Boating Alliance (ABA) to identify how SOBA can be helpful as the ABA works with Congress to protect this fund. The ABA group of partners has worked with numerous Representatives and their staff to help them understand that the SFRF is a world model for a “User Pay and User Benefit” system, and is supported by government, industry, manufacturers, and users. The work of the ABA, particularly the NMMA, has been positive with strong support from key Representatives and Senators.

I continue to represent SOBA on the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council ( ), and most recently the focus of this group has been on the President’s “America’s Great Outdoors” initiative ( The Council is working hard to ensure that recreational boating and fishing is not ignored and remains front and center to people getting connected to the great outdoors. If you have a chance, please visit the website and see how you can get involved in your area.

As we celebrate SOBA’s 25th Anniversary year, don’t forget to mark your calendars for our National Boating Access Conference in La Crosse, Wisconsin, September 26-29. Our conference host, Steve Miller, and his team have worked hard to develop an exceptional program which includes lots of local flavor from this rich and bountiful area of water access. On Monday, the 26th, we will host a Federal Aid Workshop in conjunction with our USFWS partners, followed by two days of comprehensive technical and operational agenda items. Our conference will conclude on Thursday with an outstanding Field Trip where we will visit many diverse sites along the Mississippi River. Full details about the event can be downloaded from our website at
Hope to see you in La Crosse next month. Thanks as always for your support of SOBA.


Don't miss out on this special 25th Anniversary Event!

As the big anniversary quickly approaches, let’s recap on what we have to look forward to! The 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.

View from the hotel

We have an excellent agenda lined up for you. Monday, September 26th 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. The day will conclude with an opening reception on the La Crosse Queen River Cruise at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday Morning, September 27th,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. 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 during which 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.

As you may already be aware, 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 have an excellent program lined up for you, and we hope you’ll join us in La Crosse for a very informative, educational, and special 25th Anniversary Conference.

Have you booked your rooms yet?

If you have not already reserved a room at the Radisson, please do so by calling 800-395-7046 (or 608-784-6680) and be sure to mention that you are attending the SOBA conference.

UPDATE: There are no longer rooms available at the prevailing government per diem rate of $77 per room; however you can still make reservations at a rate of $100 per room. BOOK NOW and avail of these rates.

Our agenda (subject to change), registration package and hotel information are available online at

Door Prizes Needed!
Please consider providing some door prizes for our 25th anniversary event
Any/all items welcome. Please send these directly to
Steve Lewis, Wisconsin DNR, 101 S. Webster Street
PO Box 7921, Madison, WI 53707.
Call Connie Scott at 608-267-7465 with questions

SFBPC Update
Change is in the Air

As they say, “The only constant is change.” Such is the case with seasons, the weather, and terms of service on bodies such as the SOBA Board and Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council.

I say this knowing that the upcoming SOBA Annual Conference in La Crosse, Wisconsin, will mean a change in leadership on the SOBA Board of Directors. James Adams, current Board Chair, and my colleague on the SFBPC will turn over the gavel to a new organizational leader. I would like to take this opportunity to thank James for his leadership of SOBA over the last year and congratulate him on the accomplishments realized over his year-long term. I look forward to continuing to work with James through the end of the current SFBPC term to accomplish as much as the SFBPC can within the Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) and Department of the Interior (DOI) as is possible. I also look forward to continuing to work with the new SOBA Chair over the coming year.

Like the yearly changes on the SOBA Board, the current SFBPC term will end in March 2012. Members of the Council will work hard over the next seven months to complete items on our Strategic Work Plan.

Much of that work plan has focused on collaborative efforts with the FWS to finalize positive changes recommended by the SFBPC to the suite of boating programs which the FWS manages through its Sport Fish Restoration Program. We are also working diligently to increase recreational boating and fishing opportunities through suggestions to improve implementation of the Obama Administration’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative and the implementation of the National Ocean Policy. Finally, the Council continues to work with the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation to improve its efforts to increase participation in recreational boating and angling, and raise awareness of sound fishing, boating, and conservation practices.

It is sometimes easy to lose sight of the fact that all of these national initiatives, programs, and policies have a concrete impact on the ability of the American public to enjoy the waters and lands managed on its behalf. That is why the work of SOBA members and SFBPC members is so important. One constant amid all of the change is that SFBPC Coordinator Doug Hobbs will continue his liaison work with SOBA on the many issues of concern that you and the SFBPC share. He will also reach out to the SOBA Board as the SFBPC appointment process begins.

SOBA is an important partner and stakeholder within the FWS, the DOI and the broader conservation community. I commend you for your efforts, and I look forward to spending time with you in La Crosse and celebrating SOBA’s 25 years.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Grant Updates

We hope that you have all had a great summer filled with joyous times with family and friends enjoying the outdoors. Having been such a hot summer, boating and fishing are excellent forms of recreation.

If you haven’t made your plans already, please consider joining us for the Federal Aid Workshop on September 26, 2011 at SOBA’s 25th Anniversary National Boating Access Conference. We will update you on the grant programs that provide approximately $80 million to your States for boating specific projects and give you a chance to share your views on how we can make the programs stronger and more efficient. We would love to have you there.

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 recreational 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, BIG Basic grants are up to $100,000 for each State. Tier 2, BIG Competitive grants are up to $1,500,000 each. We expect to award approximately $12 million between the two funding tiers.
We are currently accepting applications for BIG. States can apply for BIG Tier 1 and Tier 2 for fiscal year (FY) 2012 funding through under CFDA 15.622. Read the Tier 1 and Tier 2 Request for Applications before applying. The due date for applying is September 21, 2011.

The current rule for BIG, 50 CFR 86, is being reviewed and a proposed rule is expected in the Federal Register later this year.

The BIG Project summary is now posted on the BIG Funding page on our website at:

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 are currently accepting applications for CVA. States can apply for CVA FY 2012 funding through under CFDA 15.616. Read the CVA Request for Applications before applying. The due date for applying is December 2, 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 wetlands. Applications for FY 2012 are currently under review. We plan to announce awards by January 2012.

Recreational Boating Access Subprogram

We published the Final Rule for 50 CFR 80: Financial Assistance: Wildlife Restoration, Sport Fish Restoration, Hunter Education and Safety in the Federal Register on August 1, 2011. This rule includes the Recreational Boating Access subprogram with specific requirements at section 80.61.
For more information on WSFR grants, contact your Regional Office.


Youth-Focused Organizations Receive Education Grants from RBFF

Three national boating, fishing, and conservation organizations that serve kids and families are the recipients of new education grants from RBFF. The three organizations include:

* Future Fisherman Foundation – For hands-on training with state aquatic-education partners, parks-and-recreation professionals, community civic organizations, and school teachers to implement fishing and aquatic-conservation education with their students.
* International Game Fish Association (IGFA) – To extend its Outreach Education Program in Florida into other states including fishing clinics, live touch tank demonstrations, safe boating practices, casting, rigging, and knot-tying demonstrations.
* National Recreation & Park Association (NRPA) – To expand its Take Me Fishing™ initiative with local communities through parks and recreation facilities across the country.

“The three grantees are among the most dedicated organizations in the United States to the mission of inspiring young people to get outdoors and conserve our natural resources,” said RBFF Education Task Force Chairman Lynne Borden. “The Education Task Force knows that each organization will make full use of the grants as they develop opportunities to educate and engage with a whole new generation of outdoor enthusiasts who honor the angling and boating tradition.”

Since 2007, RBFF has awarded $2.3 million in education grants and engaged 1.51 million young people. RBFF’s goal is to reach one million kids and families each year by 2013 through its education grants, “Explore the Blue” campaign, Scouting Patch Program, and participation in the Outdoor Nation youth movement.

For more information about RBFF’s education grant opportunities, visit

Wyoming Joins Nationwide Effort to Increase Fishing License Sales

Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) will participate in RBFF’s State Fishing License Marketing Program aimed at increasing fishing license sales nationwide. More than 30 states currently participate in the initiative, which was developed by RBFF to increase participation in the sport and generate awareness of the connection between fishing license sales and conservation efforts. "Getting people out in the field to enjoy our wildlife resources is a top priority for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department,” said Eric Keszler, WGFD’s Public Information Officer.

Launched in March 2008, the State Fishing License Marketing Program continues to integrate radio advertising and public relations support from RBFF to enhance states’ direct mail efforts. To date, 33 state partners have sold nearly 840,000 fishing licenses through the State Fishing License Marketing Program. Last year, the program led to the sale of more than 290,900 fishing licenses and permits in 31 states. Based on these results, last year’s program also contributed to fish and wildlife management efforts with more than $5.7 million in gross program revenue.

State Learnings Report Published

RBFF recently published its first-ever State Learnings and State of the States reports.

* The State Learnings report is based on the first three years of the Fishing License Marketing Program and RBFF State Marketing Workshops, as well as on RBFF research and ongoing feedback from participating state agencies.
* The State of the States report outlines state agency product usage and satisfaction. The results are used to improve RBFF initiatives and establish a baseline for measuring future progress.

State Marketing Workshop Scheduled

RBFF’s 2011 State Marketing Workshop will be held December 6 – 8, 2011 in Phoenix, Ariz. All 50 states will be invited to send two representatives to the workshop, which will highlight the importance of marketing and communicating with anglers and implementing integrated marketing efforts to increase fishing license sales. RBFF will send workshop invitations as details are finalized. Stay tuned to NewsWaves for more information.

If you have any questions or would like to join the State Fishing License Marketing Program, contact RBFF State Initiatives Director Stephanie Hussey via e-mail or call her at (703) 778-5152.

National Fishing & Boating Week Jumpstarts the Season

RBFF kicked off boating and fishing season during National Fishing & Boating Week (NFBW) in June with a national public relations, marketing, and social media campaign. Thousands of kids and families were enticed outdoors with state free fishing days and stakeholder events including fishing derbies, regattas, boating demonstrations and festivals across the country.

RBFF used multimedia news releases with satellite and radio media tours and partnered with the Outdoor Blogger Network to publicize NFBW to industry bloggers. RBFF also created an NFBW event invitation on its Facebook page and hosted the “Memories on the Water” video contest on Facebook inviting fans to submit videos sharing their fun times boating and fishing for a chance to win an all-expense paid trip to an outdoor destination.

Highlights from RBFF’s NFBW campaign include:

* 122,113 unique visitors to during NFBW – up 6% over last year’s NFBW traffic.
* 639 stories and 192 million impressions across all media platforms including television, radio, online, and print. Highlights include: “The Daily Buzz”,,,, and

* 2,123 new “likes” on the TMF Facebook page - a 396% increase over the previous month.
* 166,308 Facebook post views (views of News Feed posts/comments).

SOBA members are reminded to take full advantage of all the free programs and materials RBFF offers to stakeholders. If you have any questions about NFBW, please e-mail



We’d like to wish a warm welcome to the newest addition to the SOBA team, Jessy McCulloch. Jessy will be assisting Bernice McArdle in the day-to-day operations of SOBA. A Midwesterner through and through, she was born and raised in Milwaukee, WI, attended college in Duluth, MN, and now resides in Chicago, IL – from Lake Michigan to Lake Superior and back again! To reach her for any questions/requests/etc., you can email her at or call at 312-946-6248.

SOBA Announces its Proposed Slate of Candidates and Officers for SOBA Board of Directors

SOBA’s Nominating Committee has announced its proposed slate of officers and at-large members for its 2012-13 board of directors:

President: Steve Miller (WI)
Vice-President: Terry Boyd (AL)
Treasurer: Forrest Boe (MN)
Past President: James Adams (VA)
Member At-Large: Andy Goldbloom (TX)
Member At-Large: Janine Belleque (OR)
Member At-Large: Ron Christofferson (AZ)

Elections will be held during the annual business meeting on Wednesday September 28th at the Radisson Hotel, La Crosse, Wisconsin.

UW-Madison's Department of Engineering Professional Development Announces New Docks and Marinas Short Course

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is pleased to announce a new offering in its line of Docks and Marinas Courses: “Rehabilitating Docks and Marina Facilities," to be held October 10–11, 2011 in Madison, Wisconsin. This course is designed for consulting engineers, marina designers, operators, and managers interested in rehabilitating existing facilities to extend useful life and/or increasing profitability.

This new two-day class will focus on:
• Evaluating existing marina facilities.
• Planning & scheduling rehabilitation projects.
• Implementing specific marina rehabilitation projects.

This course will take you through the steps necessary to determine the cost and benefit of rehabilitating existing marina facilities. Attendees will learn how best to plan and schedule dock and marina rehabilitation projects. The course will specifically address technical aspects of the rehabilitation of basin protection, utilities, floating and fixed docks, and landside facilities.

In addition to this new course, the University of Wisconsin-Madison will present, for the 37th consecutive year, the Docks and Marinas Class, December 1–2, 2011. This nationally and internationally recognized program provides members of the marina industry with the latest technical information. Engineers, designers, and developers, as well as marina owner/operators, will learn about the latest innovations and practical techniques from leaders in the field.

**As a member of SOBA, you are entitled to receive a $100 discount when you enroll in any of the Docks and Marinas Courses.

Click on either of these links ( or for more details.

For general information on University of Wisconsin-Madison Docks and Marinas courses visit:

New Welcome to the Water Campaign Leverages Boaters to Grow Market

Discover Boating’s new Welcome to the Water campaign, launched in May, aims to tap current boat owners to help engage those new to boating. It is also designed to increase traffic to , therefore increasing the quality and quantity of prospects for manufacturers and dealers to grow sales of boating-related products and services.

Get Off Your Dock Guide to Boating: An evolution of the Get Started in Boating DVD, this digital brochure provides greater ease of use and the ability to leverage more content directly on The Guide features nine “chapters” to help potential buyers decide which boat is right for their needs and addresses common questions for first-timers (i.e., storage, trailering, maintenance, etc.), while showcasing the joys of getting out on the water. Future plans include the addition of accessory and engine information, as well as a printed version in Spanish. Goes Mobile: A mobile-friendly version of has been created, offering visitors access to the resources available on the main website from their mobile phones. Recent site upgrades include robust search engine optimization, easier navigation, enhanced personalization for the user, and an improved ability to gather and deliver leads. Both versions of the website are now available in three languages: English-American, English-Canadian, and French-Canadian.

Visit for more information on the campaign and how your business can get involved to help promote boating.


Long-anticipated AMI Marina Operations Manual Now Available

The Association of Marina Industries (AMI) has completed an extensively revised and updated Marina Operations Manual for 2011. Available to all marine professionals, the manual is distributed via AMI and offers templates and forms as well as advice and tips for running a successful marina or boatyard. AMI members who order before May 31 receive a 10% discount.

“This manual holds the key to running a successful marina and boatyard all in one publication,” Jim Frye, president and chair of AMI, says. “The materials in this 300-plus page book can be used as templates or customized for any operation. We’re thrilled to offer such an invaluable resource to our members and to the industry as a whole.”

Researched and updated by Milt Hazel, CMM, of Benchmark Marine Services, and thoroughly reviewed by Certified Marina Managers (CMMs) from the IMI advisory committee, the Marina Operations Manual includes information on OSHA requirements, employment policies, personnel forms, environmental management, emergency plans, and a new chapter on training.

“We are grateful for Milt’s willingness to take on this task,” Frye continues. “Without his assistance and expertise, we could not have this new training chapter, which will help marina operators and owners—or any small business owner for that matter—for years to come.”

The Marina Operations Manual is available to AMI members for $500. Professionals in the marine industry who are not AMI members may purchase the publication for $650. Interested parties can purchase the manual in electronic form or in hard copy by calling 1-866-367-6622, ordering online at, or by contacting AMI via email at

Continuing Education Through AMI
IMI and Wells Fargo Collaborate To Offer Online Training

The International Marina Institute® (IMI), a training subsidiary of the Association of Marina Industries (AMI), is partnering with Wells Fargo Insurance to offer online safety training to AMI’s members, beginning August 1, 2011.
AMI members will have access to two free IMI risk-management training courses: Hazardous Waste and Employee Safety Orientation. For AMI members who are not Wells Fargo customers, access to this important training will be available on a sliding scale, based on the type of AMI membership a facility has.

“The debut of this online training is an important step for IMI. This program offers our members access to training outside of IMI’s traditional delivery model,” Kayce Florio, IMI’s training coordinator, says. “It’s all about getting the training to the people who need it, in the most cost-effective manner possible. Wells Fargo has always been a great AMI supporter, and this is just one more way they are helping our members and the industry.”

Wells Fargo Insurance partners with Summit Training Source, Inc. to provide high-quality training, such as Internet-based safety training and online videos, to its customers. There are over 120 interactive training courses available through this program. For AMI members who are also Wells Fargo customers, the online training will continue to be free with full access to a spectrum of safety courses.

IMI Offers Most Popular Course in Six Discrete Segments
First course module scheduled for October 13, 2011

IMI is now offering its Intermediate Marina Management (IMM) course in six modules in order to make the trainings more convenient for those who are unable to attend the full four-day course, either because of time or travel restriction. The first module, “Marina Law,” will be delivered at the California Association of Harbor Masters & Port Captains (CAHMPC) conference on October 13, 2011, in Sacramento, California.
“We see this as a win-win for the industry and trade associations as a whole,” Kayce Florio, IMI’s training coordinator, says. The popular IMM has been broken down into six different modules with the intent of partnering with other regional marine trade associations to bring these convenient and cost-effective training opportunities to their memberships. “In the current economic environment, trade associations are constantly seeking ways to add value and to provide their members with quality products at discounted prices. This will do just that.”
CAHMPC Education Committee Chair and AMI Board of Director Brad Gross commented, “This is a wonderful opportunity for CAHMPC members to gain valuable education and training to enhance their personal and professional value. CAHMPC looks forward to a long term educational partnership with IMI and AMI.”
Dennis Nixon, a marina law expert and one of the founders of IMI back in 1986, will be delivering the Marina Law module of the IMM course at the CAHMPC conference.

For more information about online training or to register for access to any of these courses, please visit, and click on “training,” email, or call 401–247–0314.


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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