SOBA Newsletter - December 2011 Issue  

Letter from the (New!) President

Dear SOBA Members and Partners:

Time does fly. It seems like just yesterday my staff and I were rushing around attending to the last minute details for the annual conference in La Crosse. Now folks seem to be rushing around doing their last minute Christmas shopping and attending to other holiday details.

I am humbled to serve SOBA as President for the coming year. I’m grateful for the past leadership that served as mentors for me on the SOBA Board such as: Wayne Shuyler, Kent Skaar, and Ed Poolos. Your current Board of Directors also consists of outstanding leaders that I look up to such as: James Adams, Past President, who has really elevated the status of SOBA nationally, within the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council. And, Terry Boyd, also a former SOBA President, who is back on the Board as Vice President and brings years of experience and dedication to SOBA. In addition there are Andy Goldbloom and Forrest Boe who are veteran Board members and boating access administrators. Our two new Board members, Janine Belleque and Ron Christofferson bring fresh new perspectives necessary to keep the Board vibrant and forward looking.

The 25th Anniversary celebration of SOBA was a great success. I’m grateful that we had a very good attendance at the conference in La Crosse. The weather didn’t cooperate as we had hoped, but the conference agenda and the friendships renewed and new friendships made did make up for the rain and cool temperatures. Addressing the issues of boating access, engineering and access design, and aquatic invasive species on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River was a unique opportunity. Twenty-five years of SOBA, what a great legacy! There is no other organization dedicated to public boating access to the nation’s waters - SOBA is it, and all of you are part of this great 25 year legacy.

However, now we need to think ahead. The next 25 years is now underway, and SOBA needs to help shape the future. Terry Boyd is actively planning for the 2012 Conference in Mobile, Alabama, September 10-13. The 2012 Conference will be held concurrently with the NASBLA annual conference in Mobile, so this will be a good time to reconnect with our good friends in NASBLA. Janine Belleque is working on the arrangements for the 2013 conference in Portland, Oregon. And former Board member, Dave Kieffer, is already making the arrangements for the 2014 conference in Columbus, Ohio. The annual conference is a critical aspect of SOBA. It brings us together to renew friendships, to improve working relationships, and to learn about new challenges to providing public boating access, as well as staying abreast of new engineering techniques and materials.

In this coming year I have a few major objectives for my term as President:

First, I want to see SOBA continue to strengthen its presence with major partners such as: The Sports Fishing and Boating Partnership Council (SFBPC), James Adams is our representative; The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF), Wayne Shuyler is our representative; and The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) for which I am the SOBA representative. These are key organizations that help shape national policies on boating and public access to water. These organizations can make a major difference in promoting boating and SOBA can have a strong influence on their positions and policies. Other major partners such as NMMA, BoatUS, and AMI are likewise vital players on the national scene and critical allies in promoting boating access and boating facilities. Collectively SOBA’s partnering efforts with these organizations helps assure SOBA’s mission has a positive affect on national and local boating access programs and policies.

Second, I hope that this year we will be successful in obtaining funding to conduct “The National Boating Access Needs Assessment.” The SOBA Board has worked hard on this for the past few years and frankly we’re a bit frustrated we have not been successful with obtaining a multi-state conservation grant for this project through AFWA. James Adams and Wayne Shuyler have done great work building support and have secured matching funds for this project from NMMA, AMI, RBFF and BoatUS to help bolster the project through the highly competitive grant application process.

Third, I’d like to see SOBA stay involved with the results of “National Boating Industry Summit” recently held December 14 and 15, 2011 in Chicago. James Adams represented SOBA at the summit and provided the Board a very favorable summary of what went on. One of the strategic areas for these business leaders is assuring future public access to water for boating. And this is certainly an area where SOBA can help play a big role. SOBA’s collaboration with boating manufacturers and boating facilities suppliers is an essential partnership the Board and members can continue to cultivate.

Fourth, our relationship with the Fish and Wildlife Service staff and programs is excellent and we continue to seek additional ways of working together. We will miss working with Joyce Johnson (see article below) and we wish her well in her new role. However, Joyce and her staff have cultivated a solid foundation of cooperation and openness with SOBA and the states, and we look forward to even more success in the future. Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the WSFR program in 2012 will be another way to proactively work with the FWS.

Fifth, I am excited about our newest SOBA Task Force on Invasive Species (see article below). Board member Forrest Boe is leading this Task Force and he put together a great team of experienced people from around the country to work with him on this critical issue. I’m sure the work of this Task Force will gain national recognition and help states address the many problems of aquatic invasive species.

Last for now is the reauthorization of the SFR fund. We can only hope that the Congress will do the right thing. James Adams has provided us a brief summary below. SOBA will continue to work with its partners on this most critical legislation.

In closing, I hope you’ll reflect on the “Tribute to Senator Wallop” below. Every now and then a real conservation leader comes along in Congress and Senator Wallop was one of those. For those us who enjoy boating and fishing, and just being on the water we owe so much to him and his ally, Sen. Breaux. As we begin SOBA’s next 25 years, it is this legacy that we carry forward for future generations. It’s great to be part of this conservation and outdoor recreation saga.

Happy Holidays to you all, and on behalf of the Board, I wish you all a great New Year!

Steve Miller
SOBA President

2011 SOBA Annual Awards Presented at 25th Anniversary Conference in La Crosse, WI


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. With the carry-overs, this year we had a total of 16 projects nominated for these awards. Nine were new nominations, and seven were carry-over projects from last year. Our rules allow for projects that were nominated last year, but not selected, to be carried over for a second year.
For this year we had:
o 6 small access projects
o 4 mid-size access projects
o 2 large access projects
o 4 marina and harbor projects

The SOBA Executive Board greatly appreciates the time and consideration that was given to each nomination submitted. All the projects had great merit and all contribute to the goal of providing safe, well designed, public access to the waters of our many states. The winners are as follows:

SMALL ACCESS CATEGORY: Indian Mary Park Ramp, Josephine County Parks, Oregon. Indian Mary Park ramp is the most heavily used ramp on the famous Rogue Wild and Scenic River in Josephine County. The old ramp had become unsafe to use during the fall Chinook season due to a shifting river channel and deposition on the ramp. It is a one lane ramp with 12 parking spaces. Cost was $227,431.
Some obstacles that needed to be overcome included:
• Wild and Scenic River constraints on project design
• Mitigation needs for reduced riparian vegetation
• Threatened and endangered fish species, that being coho salmon
• In-water work window constraints for construction
• Possible Indian archaeological artifacts buried on the site
• Requirement for flood plain/proof construction

MID-SIZE CATEGORY: The Connecticut Dept. of Environmental Protection, Boating Division & Engineering Unit for the Gardner Lake State Boat Launch, a new two lane ramp in Southeastern Connecticut.
Some obstacles that needed to be overcome included:
• An access road with a difficult narrow turn that was so problematic that car/trailers regularly hit a boarder fence when driving by.
• A swim area existed adjacent to the old ramp causing an unsafe conflict of interest for users.
• There was no launch dock or ADA access.
• Traffic flow, turning radius and adequate all weather parking were issues.
• Cost of the project was $915,000.

LARGE ACCESS CATEGORY: The Georgia Troup County Roads and Engineering Dept. for their Pyne Road Park Mega Boat Ramp.
This improvement consists of a new 6-lane launch ramp, 49 new paved car/trailer parking spaces and 2 ADA parking spaces. This brings the facility up to 100 paved spaces with excessive additional grassed parking. The biggest attraction for this award was the method used to construct the ramp. It is billed as the Largest boat ramp ever “pushed” into place. Cost of the improvement was $800,000.

MARINA AND HARBOR CATEGORY: The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Divisions of Watercraft and of Parks and Recreation for the Middle Bass Island State Park Marina. Middle Bass has been a 10 year planning, permitting, design and construction project.
Some obstacles that needed to be overcome included:
• Constructing on an island, depending on ferry boats for transporting of staff and workers; and barges for equipment, fuel and materials.
• Short construction window due to in-water work restrictions.
• A project site surrounded by Category 3 wetlands
• The Lake Erie Water Snake – an endangered species
• High bedrock at the entrance and within the basin
• Cost of the project was over $10 million.


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.

2011 Recipient: The State of New York, Environmental Facilities Corporation, Clean Vessel Act Program.
New York was awarded its first grant under 1992 Clean Vessel Act in 1994. Since then, it has installed more than 373 pump-out units and 41 pump-out boats. New York provided more than $5.1 million in federal funding to install these units and boats for municipalities and private marinas. The Program has also helped upgrade or repair aging units through 33 “upgrade” grants totaling more than $136,000. The Clean Vessel Act Program Information Education Program provides municipalities and not-for-profit organizations with funding for projects that promote the use of pump-out installations. To date, 21 I&E projects, totaling $91,900 have been funded. In 2007, Operation & Maintenance Grants were offered for up to $2000 for land based facilities and $5000 for pump-out boats to keep these units running. In all, 226 disbursements totaling $497,000 have been made in this program.

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.

2011 Recipient: The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Watercraft.
Ohio has 431,116 boats registered and is ranked 9th in the United States by the Coast Guard. In 1967, The Division established a grant program to provide a more equal distribution for access funding across the state. From that date, the Division of Watercraft has provided over $58 million for 201 boating access projects. More than ¾ of those projects have been completed in the last 12 years. Projects range from small canoe access projects as low as $25,000 to large marinas costing $2.1 million. The program started as a reimbursement matching funds program of 2/3 state and 1/3 local funding. In recent years, the Division has revised the program to provide up to 100 % funding reimbursement funding. This has allowed us to fund and complete 12 to 16 projects per year. The Division of Watercraft partners with our Sister agency, the Division of Wildlife who receives the Sport Fish restoration Funds for boating access in Ohio. Ohio provides a Web access to our site by: county, electric only, 10 hp lakes, GIS coordinates, and carry-in access. New access sites are featured on Twitter and Facebook.


Presented to an individual, group, organization or political subdivision in recognition of activities singularly illustrative or supportive of SOBA’s mission.

2011 Recipient: The Federal Lakes Recreation Committee for Detroit Lake – Dave White Chairman. The group is located in Detroit, Oregon.
Detroit Lake is located in the Cascade Mountains. It is a 400’ deep lake created in 1953 by the Army Corps of Engineers. While the lake is managed by the US Forest Service, individual recreation sites are operated by Oregon State Parks, the City of Detroit and private marina operators. It is typically at full pool from May to September but can drop 119’ to low pool at other times of the year. During these periods of low pool the existing ramps would not allow boaters access to the lake. This was causing hardship to the boaters as well as the local merchants who benefit from the boaters using the lake for recreation. The committee members, local users, residents and business owners, were all volunteers. Their common goal was to construct a low water extension of the existing state park boat ramp.
In 2007, the Oregon State Marine Board approved a grant in the amount of $720,000 which included:
• $370,000 Marine Board funds
• $75,000 cash from State Parks
• $125,000 cash and materials from U S Forest Service
• $150,000 Federal Sport Fish restoration funds from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
Due to high water the first winter, construction took two years and included:
• Extending all four lanes of the main launch ramp
• Constructing a 665’ two lane gravel access road from the bottom of the main ramp to the top of the low-water ramp
• Constructing an 825’ long single lane low water concrete launch ramp
• Removing tree stumps in the vicinity of the new low-water ramp and re-using them for fish habitat elsewhere in the reservoir.
Because of this committee’s foresight, diversity, encouragement and diligence, this low-water ramp became a reality.

Presented to an individual or agency that has made either a one-time or continuing contribution to the fight to provide improved access for boaters and anglers to our nation’s public waters.

2011 Recipient: Ryck Lydecker
For the past 16 years, Ryck has served the boating community as the Assistant Vice President for Government Affairs through his position in BoatUS. During that time, if something important has been happening with boating, Ryck has probably been there – look at this summary:
1. In 2000 – appointed to the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council
2. In 2004 – Served as Chairman of the boating Infrastructure Grant Program Review Panel which conducted the comprehensive evaluation of the first period of the BIG program
3. In 2005 – appointed as the chairman of the Boating Issues Committee
4. In 2006 – served on the panel for the review of the Clean Vessel Act for the years 1992 - 2007
5. In 2007 appointed as the Chairman of the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council
6. For the last 10 years, Ryck has served as a member for the Boating Infrastructure Grant Program Ranking committee for the review of the Tier 2 projects.
Ryck is a tireless champion of boating, boating programs and clean water. His position with BoatUS is not just a job, but a passion that he carries through all aspects of his life. For anyone who has met Ryck, there is no question that he is devoted to the work he does and that his personal and professional lives often intertwine as someone whose passion is water-based recreation.

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.

2011 Recipient: The 2011 Boating Access Operations and Maintenance Manual Committee
The original O & M Manual was in book form and was getting out of date. This committee started work in 2009 to upgrade and add new sections. The committee chose to make this an electronic manual to make it easy to update in future years and to keep production costs down. The committee met briefly at both of the last two national SOBA conferences but conducted the balance of their work individually and by conference phone calls.
Committee Members are:
o James Adams, Chairman Virginia
o Ron Christofferson Arizona
o Tim Gilley Florida
o Tom Holman Missouri
o Dennis Kincer West Virginia
o John Kirk Virginia
o Molly Kirk, Editor Virginia
o Kristen Kuykendall Washington
o Rachel McMillan, Wood Proc Virginia
o Phil Miller Ohio
o Lacy Nichols Delaware
o John Skains Mississippi

This was an extremely cost effective effort completed at no cost to SOBA.

SOBA’S most prestigious award is presented to an individual who has contributed significantly over at least 15 years to the design, construction, management or administration of Boating Access facilities or programs. The nominee’s contributions must exemplify high standards of professionalism and outstanding achievement.

2011 Recipient: Steve Lewis
Steve Lewis started with his State’s Department of Natural Resources 25 years ago specializing in boat launch facility, shore fishing access design and construction. He has helped his home state spend roughly $3million per year on new ramps. His contributions to SOBA are almost too numerous to name:
• He was appointed to the Board in 2000 and served 4 years including a presidential rotation.
• At various times he represented SOBA at ICOMIA, AFWA, RBFF AND ALAB.
• Perhaps his most significant contribution came in 2001 when he was able to align SOBA with other members of ALAB to maintain or increase funding for not only Sport Fish Restoration but boating access, the Clean Vessel Act, and the Boating Infrastructure Grant Program.
• He has been a guest lecturer at the Annual Docks and Marinas Conference at the University of Wisconsin – College of Engineering
His nomination has received endorsements from Ron Stone, Bill Curry, and Brian Bohnsack – three of SOBA‘s most distinguish members and friends. Steve Lewis has helped his home state host our SOBA conference twice including this one – our 25th anniversary conference.



The 2012 SOBA Conference will be held September 10-13 at the historic Battle House Inn (a Renaissance Hotel & Spa) in downtown Mobile, Alabama. This updated facility, originally constructed in 1851, has become one of the premiere properties in the South.

We will be having a seafood bash and hog pulling (whole hog cooked over pit) at our 5 Rivers facility on the Mobile Causeway with NASBLA. A pre-conference wildlife harvesting will provide the bounty for the hog pulling. Tasty cuisine will be on the menu all week with the likes of sweet tea, lemonade, pork, beef, shrimp (and if you’re lucky my famous watermelon rind pickle bacon wrapped shrimp), oysters, fried chicken, fish, and for dessert -- pecan, key lime and my personal favorite peanut butter chocolate chip pies. Plus, the spa is one of the top-rated in the southeast, so bring your credit cards! We plan to have boat rides on Mobile Bay as well as fishing excursions. There will even be a post-conference deep sea fishing trip from Dauphin Island for those who want to stay over. We’re open and eager to hear any suggestions or topics for the conference agenda, as well. Send your ideas to

We look forward to seeing you in September 2012. Mark your calendars. It’s never too early to plan your trip. Y’all come – y’hear!

More details will be posted to our website shortly

Terry Boyd:
SOBA Vice President and 2012 Conference Host

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service


We hope that you are all having a great holiday season filled with joyous times with family and friends enjoying the outdoors. We are looking forward to the coming year, as it will mark the 75th Anniversary of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program and the success of the partnerships that have made this program what it is today.

On September 2, 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act (now the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act). This Act fostered partnerships between Federal and State fish and wildlife agencies, the sporting arms industry, conservation groups, and sportsmen to benefit wildlife – and has been key to implementing the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. In 1950, the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act (now the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act) passed. Together, the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program (WSFR) has contributed more than $10 billion to fish and wildlife conservation in the U.S. – more than any other single conservation effort.

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 are currently reviewing applications for BIG. We received 26 applications requesting $2.54 million for Tier 1 and 13 applications from 10 States requesting $9.3 million for Tier 2. The number of Tier 2 applications was significantly lower than in previous years. We expect to announce awards by February 2012.
The current rule for BIG, 50 CFR 86, is being reviewed and a proposed rule is expected in the Federal Register soon.

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 reviewing applications for CVA.

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 will be announced by January 2012.
For more information on WSFR grants, contact your Regional Office.


Many SOBA attendees, States’ representatives, vendors, and organizations recognize the name Joyce Johnson and associate it with someone who is upbeat, professional, forward-thinking, and ready and willing to communicate on all issues presented to her. Effective January 2012 Joyce will start another chapter in her life and impressive career to move back to Texas and work with WSFR on the Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP).

Joyce has contributed significantly to States and the Fish & Wildlife Service during her career. She started in 1977 with the Corps of Engineers in Galveston, Texas. Her work began at the bottom as a GS-2 Clerk Typist and she worked her way up to a GS-9 Environmental Specialist working on environmental compliance documentation and was the lead for the Aquatic Nuisance Plant Control contract and operations.

Joyce moved on to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in 1989 when she was hired as the Director of the Aquatic Habitat Enhancement Program and then moved to a Federal Aid Coordinator position handling P-R, Coastal Wetlands, Aquatic Plants, and competitive grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and SeaGrant.

In 1998 Joyce made the move to the Fish and Wildlife Service when she was hired as a GS-12 WSFR Region 6 grant manager assigned to grants in UT, MT and SD, and the BIG program. She was also the Regional representative to SOBA. In 2001, Joyce moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico to take the position of the Region 2 WSFR Division Chief working with Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas.

Joyce then made a huge change when she really put on her traveling shoes and headed east to the Washington Office. From 2007 to 2011, she served as Chief of the WSFR Division of Policy and Programs in Arlington, VA.

Effective January 2012 Joyce is expected to be re-assigned as the WSFR Special Assistant for Policy and Program Development, a position to be located in Austin, Texas. She has two grown children, Angel and Eliot, and one 3-year old grand-daughter, Madison -- that all live in Texas.

Her presence will indeed be missed by all those involved with SOBA. The following is an excerpt from the message sent to Joyce in celebration of her move:
“On behalf of SOBA and myself, I thank Joyce Johnson for her professionalism and the many contributions she has made to the boating programs in the short time she has been in the Arlington office. I wish her well as she pursues this new course in Texas with the Coastal Impact Assistance Program.
Due to the leadership of Joyce, SOBA and the USFWS shared information and learned from each other on how we can work together to improve information sharing to States and solve programmatic issues which benefits the boating public. SOBA is grateful to Joyce particularly as she offered many things that required work from her and her staff. Joyce and her staff has been a major contributor to the 2010 and 2011 SOBA conferences and numerous times shared valuable information to states through the SOBA List Service. Many thanks, Joyce!” --James Adams, Past-President.

The WSFR family prepared a memory/best wishes book for Joyce which we know doesn’t include thoughts from all those who wanted to send something. If you would like to be a part of this project, you can send pictures, email wishes, pdfs, or whatever else you want included to and we’ll make sure they get to Joyce to include in her book.
Joyce sends regards to all of her friends at SOBA, appreciation for all of the work the group accomplishes, and hopes to cross paths again.


If you’ve ever purchased firearms or ammunition, bows, arrows, fishing lures, rods and reels, hunting or fishing licenses, or fueled up your boat – you’re part of the most successful effort to conserve fish and wildlife in America – the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration programs. The effort has resulted in millions of acres of habitat saved and near-miraculous population increases in several species of game and sport fish. Join us in 2012 and celebrate 75 years of better hunting, fishing, boating, and wildlife-related recreation through WSFR.

For more information or to get involved, please contact Christina Zarrella, USFWS at: 703-862-5761 or

Update on the Newest SOBA Taskforce

The newly formed SOBA Aquatic Invasive Species/Aquatic Nuisance Species (AIS/ANS) Task Force had its first conference call meeting on December 1, 2011. The goal of the taskforce is to look specifically at boat access site modifications that can assist staff and boaters with AIS/ANS prevention programs.

AIS/ANS are invasive plants, animals, and disease-causing pathogens that are introduced accidentally or intentionally to rivers and lakes. Once introduced, AIS/ANS can be difficult to eradicate and can negatively affect certain water recreation activities and industry.

In many parts of the United States, AIS/ANS are affecting boat access acquisition, development, and operations. Requests by various stakeholders for increased regulation on the movement of watercraft have amplified. Each state has its own laws and AIS/ANS prevention programs, with most utilizing a combination of efforts including water craft inspections, decontamination stations, enforcement, and public awareness.

The guidelines being developed by the taskforce will show ways to enhance access sites for AIS/ANS prevention measures. The guidelines will also incorporate proper storm water management practices, accessibility, sound engineering and design principles, user safety, and low-maintenance installations.

The taskforce members are:
Forrest Boe, SOBA Treasurer (Minnesota), Nancy Stewart (Minnesota), Craig Walker (Utah), Wendy Flynn (Connecticut), Laura Norcutt (USFWS), Brian Bohnsack, (USFWS), Glenn Dolphin (Oregon), Anne Smith (Virginia), Todd Mize (Alabama), Kevin Atkinson (California), Bob Wakeman (Wisconsin), Ashley Peters (Minnesota)

Task force volunteers are always accepted. If you would like to assist with the SOBA AIS/ANS Task Force, contact Nancy Stewart at

Winter 2011 Sport Fishing & Boating Partnership Council update

Winding down, only to begin anew

The end of another year is upon us. That means rushing about in anticipation of celebrating the holiday season. It also harbors in a period of both taking stock of the past year and contemplating the new. This short update finds the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council (SFBPC), like many of you, doing these 2 things at once.

2011 has been a busy year for the SFBPC. We have actively engaged the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) on a number of issues that affect the American public’s ability to access and utilize the aquatic resources managed on its behalf. For example, the SFBPC has weighed in on multiple times over the course of 2011 on the FWS effort to update the operational “Vision” for the National Wildlife Refuge System. The Refuge System manages many million acres of lands and waters that provide substantial recreational opportunities to the American public. The SFBPC is working to reinforce the importance of maintaining boater and angler access to the Refuge System with both FWS and Refuge System leadership.

The SFBPC has also been proactively involved in providing feedback to Department of the Interior staff that is working the implementation of the America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) Initiative. The initiative seeks to boast participation in outdoor recreation, while also enhancing conservation efforts. The SFBPC is having dialog through the recently created Federal Interagency Council on Outdoor recreation to share its ideas on priorities for Federal agencies as they move forward in implementing the AGO Initiative.

Finally, the SFBPC continues to work with the FWS improve programs within the FWS’ Fisheries Program and the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration to maintain a clear focus on effective delivering programs which benefit the boating and angling public.

While the SFBPC has these and many other items on its plate, the current Council term is winding down, and ends in March 2012. SFBPC Coordinator Doug Hobbs has begun the process to establish membership for the next term. The current SFBPC membership has asked to hold a meeting, to close out the current term, in late January 2012. So, while we will be wrapping up the work undertaken over the course of the last 2 year term, we will also laying groundwork in anticipation of the new 2012-2014 SFBPC term. The successful completion of the current Council portends a quick start for the incoming term. Through the engagement of the many organizations that sit around the Council table, including SOBA, the coming term is bound to be just as busy and successful.

Happy Holidays to you all. I look forward to working with you in the New Year.
Thom Dammrich, NMMA President

RBFF News and Update

Take Me Fishing Boat Ramp App Tops 1 Million Searches

RBFF research reveals that most people want to find a place to boat and fish within 30 to 60 minutes of their home. RBFF developed the Boat Ramp App to help people find a place to launch and dock. The app recently topped more than one million queries, or searches, since its July 2010 launch.
The Take Me Fishing Boat Ramp App:

•Enables smartphone users to search a database of 35,000 ramps and marinas across all 50 states
•Provides users with directions to conveniently located boat ramps
•Is available for iPhone and Android phones

The Boat Ramp App has been downloaded 65,000 times since its launch.

Direct Mail Marketing Increases Boat Registrations in Ohio
RBFF’s Lapsed Boat Registration Pilot Program with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Watercraft generated more than 750 boats additional boats and nearly $14,000 in net revenue. The new registrations also generated an estimated $2,300 in additional revenue to the state of Ohio from the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund allocations.
In April 2011, more than 23,000 Ohio boat owners with lapsed registrations were sent direct mail pieces reminding them about the relaxation and excitement associated with boating and fishing, and the importance of renewing their registrations. Boat owners received one of three remittance forms, which targeted both angler and non-angler households. A separate group of lapsed boat registrations was set aside as a control group for comparison, and their owners did not receive a remittance form.
The Lapsed Boat Registration Pilot Program was developed by RBFF in 2009 in partnership with the Oregon State Marine Board (OSMB) and the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife, and is an extension of RBFF’s ongoing direct mail efforts with state fish and wildlife agencies. Similar pilot programs are currently being implemented in Florida and Tennessee. RBFF plans to expand the program with up to 15 more states in 2012.

2011 Special Report on Fishing and Boating
RBFF, partnering with the Outdoor Foundation, has published the results of a detailed survey with information on fishing and boating participation by gender, age, ethnicity, income, education and geographic region.
A total of 38,742 online interviews were carried out with a nationwide sample of individuals and households - 15,086 individual and 23,656 household surveys were completed. The report details participation among all Americans: youth, young adults and adults. The 2011 participation survey sample size of 38,742 completed interviews provides a high degree of statistical accuracy. Results from these interviews provide nationally representative data on boating participation among all Americans and can be projected to produce national numbers.
Previous surveys were conducted in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. To view the report, go to:

Market Segmentation Research
RBFF also released the results of Market Segmentation Research, identifying and exploring key niche markets for growth in boating and fishing. The aim of this research is to:

•Develop robust profiles of recreational boaters and anglers
•Identify market segments with highest potential for growth
•Explore attitudes and motivations of current audience
•Assess factors that influence participation rates over time
•Quantify representation of different segments
•Identify barriers to participation
•Forward actionable conclusions, recommendations & strategies

The results make interesting reading and can be viewed at the link above.

RBFF/State News
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department joined the State Fishing License Marketing Program.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency joined the Lapsed Boat Registration Pilot Program.

RBFF awarded education grants to three youth-focused organizations - the Future Fisherman Foundation, the International Game Fish Association and the National Recreation & Park Association.

Reauthorization of the Sport Fish Restoration Fund (SFR)

Congress passed a continuing resolution in September 2011 that keeps the Transportation Bill funded through March 2012. As you know, the SFR is funded through the Transportation Bill. SOBA continues to participate in the American Boating Alliance (ABA) which is a partnership of industry, manufacturers, trade groups and government. The ABA continues to be active in Congress through educating, coordinating and debating the continuing need to protect the user pay/user benefit system. ABA has provided the longstanding and length list of accomplishments from States and US Territories as they invest the SFR in boating programs. There is still strong support for the SFR in Congress but the fiscal pressures require constant vigilance. SOBA will keep you informed through the List Service and Newsletter.

James Adams, SOBA Past President

News from the Capitol

NMMA Evaluates Promising Alternative Biofuel
NMMA recently released findings from preliminary evaluations on isobutanol-gasoline blends supplied by Gevo. The tests were conducted by NMMA and the American Boat and Yacht Council (ABYC) as the recreational boating industry continues to explore alternative biofuels in response to the U.S. introduction of E15.

The testing conducted on isobutanol reveals it could be a promising biofuel alternative to E15.
The NMMA and ABYC isobutanol evaluations tested components, including older fiberglass tanks, and engines during on-the-water testing on inboard, outboard, jet pump and two-stroke outboard engines. The tests showed isobutanol to produce no more emissions than pure, EPA-approved test gasoline, while producing 30 percent more energy than ethanol.

The DOE has designated isobutanol a "drop-in biofuel," meaning it can be used to displace petroleum under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, and increasing its use could help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Support from Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) and Volvo Penta made the testing possible through the provisions of product, personnel and testing equipment. Gevo, Inc., producer of isobutanol, supplied the fuel for the testing.
For more information please contact John McKnight at 202-737-9757 or read the recently released Boat US article on this important evaluation, click here. To read NMMA’s full press release, click here.

NMMA urges its members to contact their Member of Congress to voice their opposition to Park Service proposals that would limit fishing and boating access in Biscayne National Park, closing more than 20 percent of the park’s public waters. Please click here to reach out to Congress and voice your strong opposition to this measure.

Boating and fishing are critical to South Florida’s economy and recreation in Biscayne Bay. To join the NMMA task force on this issue or for further information, please contact Nicole Vasilaros at or 202-737-9763.

The Senate Energy and Public Works Committee marked up and passed a two-year highway bill out of committee on November 9 on a unanimous vote of 18 to 0. The vote on this bill is a positive sign that there is a strong bi-partisan effort in the Senate to achieve a viable reauthorization, or update, of the nation’s premier transportation law; an outcome that the Congress has not been able to achieve in the past several years. However, a straight reauthorization of the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund (SFRBTF) was not included in the committee’s bill, though prospects for its eventual inclusion look promising. During the markup session, Senate EPW Committee Chairwoman Boxer, Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Sen. All agreed that addition of a straight reauthorization of SFRBTF must be and will be included.

SOBA will continue to follow this bill closely as it moves through committee and will update our membership should any decisions be made. Funding for the SFRBTF is attained through a “user pay” system. Taxes on fishing tackle equipment, motorboat fuel, imported boats, and small engines are pooled together to create this fund. In turn, the funds are then allocated to federal and state programs for wetlands conservation, sport fish restoration, boating safety, boating access and facilities projects, and aquatic education and outreach. If you have any questions, please contact Jeff Gabriel at 202-737-9776 or

Tribute to Senator Wallop

Former Senator Malcom Wallop Dies

Malcolm Wallop US Senate Archive Photo

The Casper (WY) Star-Tribune reports that former three-term United States Senator Malcop Wallop died Wednesday at his home near Big Horn in Wyoming. The 78-year old former senator was a staunch conservative and Reagan supporter, but is best known in the outdoors for his 1984 co-creation of the Wallop-Breaux Trust Fund, the federal account used to finance state fisheries and boating programs.

In the Senate from 1977 to 1995, Wallop was quite probably one of the more unusual Senators ever from the "far west". Born in New York, he was a third-generation Wyoming pioneer family who graduated from Yale University and whose grandfather had served in the British House of Lords. Queen Elizabeth, in her 1984 visit, stayed at Wallop's Big Horn Ranch. His sister, Jean, is married to a longtime royal family friend and manager of the queen's racing stables.

After retiring from the Senate in 1994, he founded the Frontiers of Freedom Institute, a conservative think tank, and chaired the 1996 presidential campaign of Steve Forbes.

Recreational Boating Stakeholders Growth Summit

SOBA was invited to participate in the Recreational Boating Stakeholders Growth Summit, held on December 13 and 14, 2011 at the Rosemont Hilton at O’Hare Airport (Chicago, IL). The summit was hosted by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and asked a select group of leaders from marine companies and boating organizations, representing every sector of the industry and every part of North America, to come together to figure out how to sustain and grow boating.
An online stakeholder survey was designed by the FCRC Consensus Center in preparation for the Summit and was conducted from October 10, 2011, through November 7, 2011. The Survey was designed to solicit feedback from the full range of recreational boating stakeholders regarding evaluating strategies for enhancing and sustaining recreational boating growth. There were 89 respondents to the Survey representing a broad range of recreational boating stakeholders from bankers to big box retailers to consumer organizations to dealers to distributors to manufacturers to marinas to trade associations to trade press.

Long story short, no matter how different the groups may seem we are all trying to accomplish the same ultimate goal – to increase recreational boating. Taking the “two heads are better than one” ideal to new heights, the Summit was an idyllic location to hear and be heard from virtually all areas of the recreational boating spectrum.
The outcome of the summit was to develop an action agenda that the broadest and most diverse group of recreational boating stakeholders can rally around in order to provide for a robust recreational boating industry and community. James Adams, current SOBA Past President and Executive Board Member attended on behalf of SOBA. SOBA will provide an update on the Summit in the next newsletter.

Welcome to the Water!

Join the industry movement to welcome more people to boating! The national Welcome to the Water campaign from Discover Boating is offering a variety of free promotional materials for you to incorporate into your marketing efforts. Get marketing ideas from Discover Boating social media webinars, order window clings and the Discover Boating video to use at events or your business, entice visitors to your website by embedding the professionally produced Discover Boating video or Cost Comparison Tool directly to your own site. Take a look by visiting or by clicking here. Please contact Kelly Kaylor at with questions.

AMI Update

Registration Open for IMBC

Registration is now open for the International Marina & Boatyard Conference (IMBC) taking place February 1–3, 2012 at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Lake Buena Vista, FL. Produced by the Association of Marina Industries (AMI), IMBC is the only conference designed specifically for marina owners, operators, and managers as well as dockmasters, harbormasters, boat builders and repairers, and industry consultants. The conference features over fifteen educational seminars, an exhibit hall with over 140 booths, numerous networking opportunities, and more.
In 2012, IMBC will celebrate its 10th anniversary with a special evening reception in Epcot®. The dessert reception will provide a special networking opportunity and allow attendees a front row seat to Epcot’s® IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth fireworks show. Entrance to the reception is included in an IMBC full conference pass and the guest pass for spouses or family members of participants. Other specials for the anniversary include complimentary raffle drawings and a behind-the-scenes tour of Walt Disney World Resort®.
New next year, IMBC will include a Golf Tournament prior to the start of the conference on Tuesday, January 31. The format of the tournament will be shamble and costs include play, lunch, and a closing reception. A portion of the proceeds also benefit AMI’s Neil Ross Fund which assists marina managers in costs associated with attending AMI training courses and obtaining the Certified Marina Manager (CMM) designation. Individual, foursome and sponsorship registrations are available.
The educational content planned for IMBC 2012 includes a clean marina workshop and seminars on marina trends, how to deal with oil spills, public relations, new ADA regulations, and marina development after the recession. Additionally an economic update, tips on how to build green on the water, and information on the Clean Water Act will be presented. The keynote address will be given by the highly recognized Disney Institute and will discuss Disney’s approach to business excellence.
IMBC’s exhibit hall will include displays from both veteran show participants and suppliers new to the show. All are industry leaders and offer many products and services to help marinas run their facilities effectively and grow their business. The exhibit floor will also include a business center and food and beverage receptions.

Full conference, exhibit hall only and day passes are available for IMBC. All passes are offered at a discount to members of AMI. For more information and to register,
click here to view IMBC’s preliminary brochure or visit
Contact IMBC at 401-682-7334 with questions.

Working Waterfronts and Waterways National Symposium on Water Access

Hello all,
It has been just over a year since the second Working Waterfronts and Waterways National Symposium on Water Access occurred in Portland, Maine. As you might recall, the Symposium concluded with a commitment among participants to continue efforts to advance working waterfronts and waterways around the country. To that end, an ad hoc group has been collaborating on these issues for the past 12 months and we are pleased to make three important announcements:

1. Launch of the National Working Waterfronts and Waterways Council. The Council is a new entity whose mission is to increase the capacity of coastal communities and stakeholders to make informed decisions, balance diverse users and plan for the future of working waterfronts and waterways. For a brief overview of the structure and function of this Council, please visit the website

2. EDA Funds Tools for Working Waterfronts. The Economic Development Administration, US Department of Commerce, has recently entered into a $533,000 cooperative agreement with seven partner organizations around to the country to "Create Community and Economic Development Tools for Preserving Working Waterfronts and Waterways." Cooperators include: Island Institute, Urban Harbor Institute at UMass Boston, Coastal Enterprises Inc., and Sea Grant programs in Florida, Virginia, Maine, and the National Sea Grant Law Center. For more information:

3. Planning Underway for Third National Symposium. Washington and Oregon Sea Grant, in partnership with the West Coast Governor's Agreement, announce that the third Working Waterfronts and Waterways National Symposium on Water Access will occur during the Spring of 2013 in Tacoma, Washington. Details to be announced.

Stay tuned in the coming months for communication about all of these developments, including how you, your organization, or your business can become involved.

National Working Waterfronts and Waterways Steering Committee Members (as of November, 2011):
Mark Breederland, Michigan Sea Grant,
Hugh Cowperthwaite, Coastal Enterprises, Inc.,
Heather Deese, Island Institute,
Liz Durfee, NOAA Coastal Management Fellow and Michigan Sea Grant,
Jeff Gabriel, National Marine Manufacturers Association,
Kristen Grant, Maine Sea Grant and University of Maine Cooperative Extension,
Dan Hellin, Urban Harbors Institute,
Jen Litteral, Island Institute,
Thomas J. Murray, Virginia Sea Grant,
Matthew Nixon, Maine State Planning Office,
Randall Schneider, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,
Stephanie Showalter Otts, National Sea Grant Law Center,
Natalie Springuel, Maine Sea Grant,
Suzanna Stoike, West Coast Governors' Agreement Sea Grant Fellow,
Robert A. Swett, Florida Sea Grant,
Jack Wiggin Urban Harbors Institute, University of Massachusetts Boston,

Natalie Springuel
Marine Extension Associate
Maine Sea Grant
College of the Atlantic
105 Eden St., Bar Harbor, Maine 04609
207-288-2944 x5834

Natalie Springuel is a member of The University of Maine Marine Extension Team (MET), a collaboration of Maine Sea Grant and Cooperative Extension providing educational and applied research programs in coastal community development, ecosystem health, fisheries, aquaculture, and tourism.

Board of Directors

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

Terry Boyd
Chief Engineer
Alabama Dept.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; 334-850-5184

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

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

Janine Belleque
Grants and Contracts Coordinator
Boating Facilities Section
Oregon State Marine Board
435 Commercial St. NE
PO Box 14145
Salem, OR 97309-5065
Tel: 503-378-2628
Fax: 503-378-4597
Cell: 503-302-8396

Ron Christofferson
Boating Facilities Program Manager
Arizona Game and Fish Department
5000 W. Carefree Highway
Phoenix, Arizona 85086
Tel: 623-236-7481
Fax: 623- 236-7327
Cell: 602-541-4119

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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