SOBA Newsletter - April 2012 Issue 

Letter From the President

Dear SOBA Members and Partners:

I hope you’re enjoying the spring weather wherever you are. Up here in the north country March was unbelievably warm. We had eleven days over 70 degrees yet in April we only had a few over 70. March was so warm it caught a lot of folks off guard. Though the ice had melted, it was a bit hard to get on the water if you were a boater since the piers had not been installed at most of the launches. But that is past us now, and in Wisconsin everyone is looking forward to the opening of the general fishing season Saturday, May 5.

The past few months have been busy ones for your SOBA Board Members. James Adams has been very active on a number of fronts: On April 3, he attended a follow up workshop of the National Boating Growth Summit whose inaugural meeting took place in December 2011. James, who is the SOBA representative within this group, reports there is excellent stakeholder interest in working together to promote boating. James along with new Board member Janine Belleque, attended the American Boating Congress in Washington D.C in mid April, and presented Senator James Inhofe (OK) with SOBA’s 2012 Congressional Award (see article later in this newsletter). This award is an important part of SOBA’s outreach and recognition to elected officials who play a significant role in supporting and promoting boating and boating access. I’m also pleased to announce that James was reappointed to a two-year term on the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council, with Janine appointed as the alternate member. These appointments will continue SOBA’s long presence on this strategic important national council. And last, but not least, James worked with Board Members and Mark Duda of Responsive Management to update our “Letter of Intent” for submission to the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies to seek a grant to conduct “The National Boating Access Needs Assessment”. This will be our third try – let’s hope number three is the magic number.

Terry Boyd and his team continue to work on developing a robust agenda for our 2012 Conference in Mobile, Alabama, later this year. It should really be a great conference with lots of informative and educational presentations. Alabama, and in particular Terry, are known for their hospitality so I hope you are already making plans to attend. A copy of the agenda is available on our website at You’ll also note later in the newsletter that Portland Oregon will be the site of our 2013 Conference, and Janine together with Past President Wayne Shuyler will be our conference hosts.

Andy Goldbloom and Ron Christofferson are coordinating the annual awards program for this year. To date only a few award submissions have been received. Please strongly consider submitting a project or individual for an award. There is a lot of great work being done in the states on boating access, and this is a great opportunity to publicly recognize and thank your staff and peers for all their hard work. Submitting a nomination is easy – please refer to the article later in the newsletter for more information.

SOBA Board Member Forrest Boe has been busy guiding the SOBA Task Force on Aquatic Invasive Species. This is a timely task force for SOBA. I know that in Wisconsin it seems like some new aspect of AIS comes to our attention every week. There will be a major report on the work of the Task Force in Mobile. This issue will just continue to grow in importance, so stay tuned.

Also since our last newsletter, Forrest was appointed Director of Minnesota’s Forestry Division. He will continue to oversee the work of the AIS Task Force through its reporting at the annual conference in Mobile. However, his new duties leading the Minnesota Forestry Division will probably make it difficult for Forrest to stay long term on the SOBA Board. We’ll await the announcement of his plans, and in the meantime greatly appreciate the valuable contributions he has made in the short time he has been on the Board.

Enjoy Spring. Thank you for your interest and contributions to SOBA. Without the support and involvement of our many partners and members, SOBA would not be the organization it is today. We look forward to working with, and for you, during the coming year.


Nominations for the 2013 SOBA Executive Board are now being accepted.

SOBA has a seven-member Board, which includes the Past President. Nominations may be submitted for President, Vice President, Treasurer and three Members-At-Large. Terms for officers and at-large positions are one year (renewable) beginning after the annual conference.
A slate of officers and at-large Board members for 2013 will be elected at our annual conference in Mobile, Alabama during the business meeting on Wednesday September 12. The Nominating Committee will select the slate based on nominations received from member states.

Individuals nominated to serve on the SOBA board must be a SOBA member and be able to secure a letter of support from the director of the member state agency.

The SOBA board is a working board and members are expected to participate in monthly conference call meetings, travel to quarterly face-to-face meetings including the annual conference, and take on committee or task force assignments.

Being a Board member is rewarding both professionally and personally. 2013 Board members will help the organization face new challenges arising from reauthorization, contribute to nationally renowned technical resources, help shape how federal programs are administered, work with the leaders of other boating industry organizations, and affect long-term positive change within the world of boating access.

Please consider serving on the Board and submitting a nomination for the 2013 SOBA Board. Nominations close Friday July 20th, 2012and a formal “Call for Nominations” will be sent in early June. Meanwhile, if you have any questions, or would like to propose a nominee, please contact me at

Thank you.

James Adams, Past President – Steve Miller, President – Janine Belleque, Member-at-Large
SOBA 2012 Nominating Committee

Frequently Asked Questions:

Are my expenses for attending meetings covered by SOBA? YES. SOBA will cover your travel, room and stipend for meals for all business meetings, including the meeting prior to the annual conference, and for your room for the night before or after the conference.

Are members paid to be Board members? NO, permission is needed from your agency to participate and any SOBA related work would be carried out during your regular work day.

What if I am only interested in being a Member At Large? YES, this is possible, and has been done by a number of members who were only interested in being involved in operational and logistical board work.

Do you need to be a member of States Organization for Boating Access (SOBA) to run for office? YES, you must be from a SOBA member state, and be in good standing with the organization to be considered.

How do I become President? The President is typically picked from among existing board members who have served in another officer capacity and as a member at-large.

When do board terms begin? Terms usually run from September/October through the following September/October to coincide with the annual conference.

If you are interested in being considered for a board position, OR know anyone who would be interested, please contact James Adams, Past President and Chair of the Nominating Committee at either 804-367-0183 or or any other Nominating Committee member.

**** NOMINATIONS CLOSE FRIDAY July 20, 2012 ****

SOBA 2012: Mark Your Calendars For Some Southern Hospitality in Mobile Alabama

SOBA’s 2012 Conference Committee is busy finalizing the conference agenda for its 26th Annual Boating Access Conference: Accessing New Horizons, scheduled for September 10 – 13 at the Battle House Renaissance Hotel in Mobile Alabama. Agenda topics and speakers include:

• CVA / BIG Pre-Conference Workshop
• ADA presentation (The Access Board has been invited as a speaker to discuss the new outdoor recreational ADA rules that took effect March 15th this year).
• Corps of Engineers Update including BP Oil Spill report
• Thom Dammrich (President of NMMA and Past President of the Sport Fishing and Partnership Council)
• Hannibal Bolton
• Margaret Bonds Podlich (President of BoatUS)
• B.A.S.S. (Trip Weldon Tournament Director)
• Engineering/Construction educational tracks
• AIS Session
• State Project Presentations from TN, GA, FL, LA and MS
• Field Trip (including some interactive stops at pumping sand stations)

In keeping with Southern hospitality, a Seafood Bash and Pig Pulling social evening is in store for attendees, and a program for Spouses and Guests is currently being developed. And some pre and post conference fishing trips are also being explored. More on all this later – watch for updates.

Room reservations can be made by calling the hotel at 251-338-2000 and referencing the SOBA conference.

Door prizes and donations are needed. Please contact Conference Host Terry Boyd at 334.242.3836 or by email at if you have something you would like to donate to the conference.

Mark your calendars for what is shaping up to be an excellent and memorable conference. Stay tuned to for updates.

SOBA 2013 Heads West

The 27th Annual National Boating Access Conference will be held September 30 to October 3, 2013 in beautiful Portland, Oregon – the City of Roses –at the Hilton DoubleTree Hotel and Conference Center. The Oregon State Marine Board, the conference host, will work with the State of Washington to develop an agenda and field trip that will focus on new technologies, sustainable design, and the challenges of providing boating access for a broad base of users.

SOBA members who are interested in making presentations that fit our “green” theme are encouraged to contact Janine Belleque ( or 503-378-2628) or Wayne Shuyler ( or 503-378-2605).

Vendors who are interested in sponsorships or exhibit space should also get in touch with Janine or Wayne.

Oregon hosted the conference in 1997 and attendees loved all that Portland had to offer back then. The City has only gotten better! We are excited to share our special town with SOBA. The next newsletter will have more detailed information and registration forms.

SOBA’s 2012 Congressional Award Presented to
Senator James Inhofe

Left to Right: Janine Belleque, Senator Inhofe and James Adams
On April 24th, in Washington DC during the American Boating Congress (, SOBA presented its 2012 Congressional Award to Senator James Inhofe from Oklahoma. James Adams, SOBA Past President and Facilities Director for the VA Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, and Janine Belleque, SOBA Board Member and Grants/Contracts Coordinator with the Oregon State Marine board presented the award to Senator Inhofe at his DC offices. “The SOBA Congressional Award is given annually to a member of Congress who has made significant contributions to public boating access programs in the nation” said James Adams. Senator Inhofe’s ongoing leadership in conservation and boating access on both the state and national levels made him a natural choice. His work to protect the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund in the Surface Road Transportation Bill was just one example of his exceptional commitment to recreational boating. SOBA is both thrilled and honored to present this award to Senator Inhofe on behalf of recreational boaters across the country”.

Call for 2012 SOBA Awards


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
• 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 26th annual conference, September 10-13, 2012, in Mobile, Alabama.

Your Nominations ARE Worth the Effort

Recognition of outstanding work is very important and all too often outstanding work goes un-recognized. 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 the awards criteria and nomination forms are available on the SOBA website: www.sobausorg. (NOTE: Outstanding Project Awards submitted in 2011 that were unsuccessful are automatically resubmitted in 2012 for consideration.) New nominations should be forwarded to Andy Goldbloom no later than May 14, 2012 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 Andy Goldbloom, details below.

Main Contact: Andy Goldbloom Texas Parks and Wildlife Department 4200 Smith School Road Austin, TX 78744 Tel: 512-389-8128 Fax: 512-389-8242 Email:

Secondary Contact: Ron Christofferson Boating Facilities Program Manager Arizona Game and Fish Department 5000 W. Carefree Hwy. Phoenix, AZ 85086 Tel: 623-236-7481 Fax: 623-236-7327 Email:

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 that 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).

RBFF: News from the Field

New Board Chairman
After long and dutiful service as a member and Chairman of the RBFF Board of Directors, Ken Hammond completed his appointed term. The new Chairman, Michael Cassidy, was elected by the Board at the January meeting. Cassidy currently serves as group publisher for the North American Media Group (NAMG). He has more than 30 years of sales and marketing experience in the fishing and outdoor recreation industry and has been on RBFF’s board of directors since 2007.

Prior to NAMG, Cassidy was with The Walt Disney Company as their senior director of sales and sponsorship fulfillment for their ESPN Outdoors and BASS franchise.

Other new officers elected in January include:

Vice Chairman - Chris Berg, BRP US (Outboard Engine Division)
Secretary – Mike Hebert, Texas Marine
Treasurer – Gregg Wollner, Normark Corporation

RBFF also recently announced two new members appointed to its board of directors by the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council (SFBPC):

Chris Edmonston, BoatU.S. Foundation
Dr. Kevin Hunt, Mississippi State University

RBFF Launches Nationwide State Fishing & Boating Marketing Programs
On Monday, April 2, RBFF officially kicked off its State Fishing License Marketing Program and its first-ever nationwide State Boat Registration Marketing Program. Both programs aim to bring lapsed participants back into the sport and generate awareness of the connection between participation and conservation efforts.

Thirty-five states have signed on to participate in the Fishing License Marketing Program, now in its fifth year - the latest is the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection, Bureau of Natural Resources has joined the program. The RBFF initiative includes direct mail, which some states supplement with e-mail outreach, social media and additional marketing strategies. To date, the State Fishing License Marketing Program has contributed to the sale of more than one million fishing licenses. And a new data analysis reveals states that partner with RBFF sell more fishing licenses.

New in 2012, the National Boating Program is now starting up. Fourteen states have signed on to participate in the newly-created State Boat Registration Marketing Program, which follows a series of successful direct mail pilot programs encouraging boat owners with lapsed registrations to renew. The program includes one direct mail reminder to boat owners who haven’t renewed their boat registrations for at least one boating season.

States participating in the Boat Registration Program include:

Arizona Game & Fish Department
Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission
Georgia Department of Natural Resources
Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries – New this month!
North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission
Ohio Division of Watercraft
Oregon State Marine Board
Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission – New this month!
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Results of both the Fishing and boating programs will be available in late summer 2012.

For more information contact State Initiatives Director Stephanie Hussey at or (703) 778-5152.

Biggest Increase in Years in Fishing License Sales
Fishing license sales are on the rise nationwide, according to new data recently released by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS). It’s the biggest increase in years in fishing license sales – up 3.27 percent in 2010 (at 29.31 million), which means nearly one million new license purchases!

In addition, a data analysis conducted by Southwick Associates reveals states who participated in RBFF’s 2010 State Fishing License Marketing Program saw license sales increase 3.62 percent, while non-participating states saw a 2.08 percent increase. The difference for RBFF partner states – an extra 1.54 percent – is quite substantial.

U.S. Fishing License Sales: 2001 – 2010

Future Board meeting and strategic planning session set
The Board of Directors will undertake the development of a new strategic plan at their next meeting, which is scheduled for June20-22 in Broomfield Colorado.

RBFF Takes Home A Webby Award:
RBFF announced its Take Me Fishing campaign mobile site,, was selected as an Official Honoree in the Mobile Web Lifestyle (Handheld Devices) category of the 16th Annual Webby Awards. The mobile site, which offers on-the-go access to the site's local 'how to' and 'where to' boating and fishing information, was recognized for excellence in the top 15 percent of all mobile work submitted.

"A Webby Award is the Internet's most respected symbol for success, and we are honored to be recognized in the mobile category," said RBFF President & CEO Frank Peterson.

Wildlife and Sport Fishing Restoration Grant Updates

Happy Spring! It sure feels great to have the weather warming with longer days and more time to spend enjoying the outdoors. We are excited to be celebrating 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.

In FY 2012, we awarded $8,106,444 in Tier 2 grants that was matched with $5,639,849 in non-Federal funds. We also awarded $2,541,181 in Tier 1 grants. Thank you for all of your work on these grants to bring boating infrastructure to the boaters of nontrailerable recreational transient boats.

BIG Regulation Update
Congress established the Boating Infrastructure Grant Program (BIG) through the Sportfishing and Boating Safety Act of 1998 as part of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21). The Fish & Wildlife Service published the Final Rule for BIG on January 18, 2001. The BIG Final Rule, codified at 50 CFR 86, tells grantees how they may apply for funding in this competitive program and how to administer the program. The rule has remained unchanged since 2001, but some laws have changed and with growth of a new program, things become evident that we need to rethink. In 2005, the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council published a report that included some BIG success stories and some considerations for improvement. We have also heard from States and Regions. The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (WSFR), Branch of Policy has been busy working with Branch of Programs staff and others to develop a Proposed Rule for BIG. The BIG Proposed Rule is en route to the Federal Register and we expect to publish it in March 2012.

We will announce when we publish the rule through the SOBA ListServe, through Regional Offices, and on our website and Twitter feed: Once published, you may access the rule for comment on, Docket No. FWS-R9-WSR-2011-0083.

You will have 60 days to comment on the rule and we encourage every State and interest group to send us their comments through We need you! During the comment period, you may contact your FWS Regional Office or the Washington Office to ask questions or discuss the Proposed Rule. After the comment period is over, we will take all comments received and consider what changes to make to the Proposed Rule to develop the Final Rule. We read and consider ALL comments. We hope to have the BIG Final Rule published in the Federal Register in 2012, but it depends on the number and depth of comments received.

We cannot stress enough how important it is to receive comments, both positive and negative, and the reasoning behind your comments. You may see something in the Proposed Rule that you are very happy to see changed, but if you do not tell us, and other comments reflect a negative perception, you may not see your positive change in the Final Rule. When you give reasons for your comments, it helps us to understand why something does or does not work for your program, which in turn leads to a better rulemaking. You are an important part of the process and we look forward to hearing what you have to say. If you have any questions, you may contact Lisa Van Alstyne 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 reviewing applications for CVA.

We are in the process of reviewing and approving the grant applications submitted. We expect to announce the grants by May 2012.

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. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service awarded $20.5 million in grants to support 24 projects in 13 states to conserve and restore coastal wetlands and their fish and wildlife habitat. The grants, awarded under the 2012 National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program, will be matched by nearly $21 million in partner contributions from state and local governments, private landowners and conservation groups.

For more information on WSFR grants, contact your Regional Office or read the News Release. For questions, please contact

Update From the Capitol

EPA Take Further Action on its E15 Partial Waivers
In 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted two partial waivers that together allow, but do not require, the introduction into commerce of gasoline that contains greater than 10% ethanol and up to 15% ethanol (E15) for use in model year 2001 and newer light-duty motor vehicles, subject to certain conditions.

On February 17, 2012, EPA released an evaluation of information submitted by the Renewable Fuels Association and Growth Energy for satisfying the emissions and health effects data requirements for registration of E15. The Evaluation Document, found here, concludes that the submission would be sufficient to satisfy those requirements. Fuel and fuel additive manufacturers who wish to register E15 may choose to rely on the submission for completing their applications. This action makes it easier for an eventual E15 fuel to be registered with the EPA.

E15 may be lawfully sold by a fuel or fuel additive manufacturer only after the manufacturer has registered E15 and met the conditions of the partial waivers. However, there are still a number of additional factors, including requirements under other federal, state, and local laws that may also affect the distribution of E15.

NMMA continues its work on Capitol Hill to combat any harms to marine engines through E15 misfueling. Additionally, oral arguments were heard on April 17 for the lawsuit challenging the E15 waiver brought by NMMA and others. For questions about E15 and the damage it does to marine engines, please contact John McKnight at 202-737-9757 or For questions about the lawsuit against EPA, please contact Cindy Squires at 202-737-9766 or

National Strategy Proposed to Respond to Climate Change’s Impacts on Fish, Wildlife, and Plants
The Obama Administration released the first draft national strategy to help decision makers and resource managers prepare for and help reduce the impacts of climate change on species, ecosystems, and the people and economies that depend on them.

The strategy represents a draft framework for unified action to safeguard fish, wildlife and plants, as well as the important benefits and services the natural world provides the nation every day, including jobs, food, clean water, clean air, building materials, storm protection, and recreation. The partnership is co-led by Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, representing state fish and wildlife agencies.

Five public information sessions will be held to provide details and encourage dialogue on the strategy and its development. To register for these meetings and for more information on the public comment process, please click here.

Wallop-Breaux Legislative Update
Recently, the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee held a markup of their bill. Over 100 amendments were offered and debated however the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund was not affected. The bill now waits for its companion pieces to clear their respective committees and be joined to it before being sent to the floor for consideration by the full House. Meanwhile, the Senate Banking Committee approved its portion of the Senate version of the highway bill. Both now await completion of the Senate Commerce Committee’s natural resources portion of the bill.

Senate EPW Chairwoman Barbara Boxer and Ranking Member James Inhofe continue to publicly indicate that a clean SFRBTF will be included in any final senate bill. SOBA, NMMA and its ABA partners are following this very closely and, to this point, have been very successful in keeping the trust fund intact. NMMA and SOBA will continue to provide updates as this important legislation moves forward. For questions please contact Jeff Gabriel at or 202-737-9776.

Biscayne Stakeholders Continue to Fight General Management Plan
Recently, NMMA convened a meeting of its fishing partners and other Biscayne National Park stakeholders to coordinate and plan for an advocacy campaign during 2012 to avert the implementation of the General Management Plan, closing more than 20 percent of the park’s public waters.

During this discussion, NMMA identified the non-combustion zones along the shore and the proposed Marine Protected Area (MPA) as particular problems within the proposed plan.

NMMA proposed that the group focus on measures to improve enforcement of existing fishing regulations rather than MPAs. Boating and fishing have a large economic impact in Florida particularly around the Park, and any closures would jeopardize this important source of local revenue. NMMA also noted that the group is glad to work with the National Park Service to limit the scope of non-combustion zones as long as there is allowance made for significant boater access.

Recently, NMMA staff toured Biscayne Bay by boat in order to obtain a more comprehensive understanding of the specific areas that the National Park Service is proposing to close. NMMA continues to work closely with the larger boating and fishing community and plans to be included in ongoing conversations around Biscayne. To join the NMMA task force on this issue or for further information, please contact Nicole Vasilaros at or 202-737-9763 or Jeff Gabriel at or 202-737-9776.

State Government Relations
From January through June, state legislatures introduce, debate and pass legislation at what can often be a furious pace. Some, like Utah, meet for a mere six weeks. Monitoring and acting to support or oppose legislation regarding the marine industry is a key component of the services provided by the NMMA Government Relations department. A number of bills are in play that will impact the funding and operation of marine-related agencies within several states. Bear in mind that, while this update was as current as possible when written in March, the bills may already have been amended, passed or killed by the various legislatures.

NMMA also sends out a bi-weekly update of state issues. If you would like to be added to this distribution list, or if you need further information about the bills highlighted within this newsletter, please contact David Dickerson, director of state government relations and executive director of the Personal Watercraft Industry Association, at A link to the State updates is provided here (LINK).

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources wants to double the state boat registration fee, which was last increased in 1983. The legislation would double the fee in all categories in 2013, and double them again in 2015. For example, a boat between 16 and 32 feet would pay $75 every two years in 2013, and $150 every two years beginning in 2015. Maryland Marine Trades Association and NMMA support the initial doubling because of the state’s significant need for funds to continue dredging operations, infrastructure maintenance and improvements. The second doubling is under discussion with DNR and legislative leaders.

In Kansas, legislators are considering a bill that would allow the state to double the maximum vessel registration fee from $30 to $60. State officials have testified that they do not intend to raise registration fees in the near future, but wanted to gain the ability to do so. State law currently caps vessel registration fees at $30.
Read documents here.

Invasive Species Proliferation Prevention Legislation. Several states this year are either considering or implementing legislation that would require mandatory inspections, and require boaters to purchase decals to fund prevention programs.

In Wyoming, SF 71 would require any conveyance entering the state by land to be inspected for aquatic invasive species. The bill provides for the Department of Transportation to create mandatory aquatic invasive species check stations at ports of entry or other department of transportation facilities in the state.

In Minnesota, the legislature is considering a bill that would increase the $5 fee currently paid by boaters for invasive species proliferation prevention. The proposed fee ranges from $10 to $25.
Read documents here.

Nevada now requires boat owners to pay an annual $10 resident/$20 non-resident aquatic invasive species fee, and affix a decal proving payment to their vessel’s transom. A $5 resident/$10 non-resident fee must be paid by owners of non-motorized vessels. The revenue will be deposited in the Wildlife Fund Account in the State General Fund and used for enforcement of anti-proliferation laws and for education about and management of aquatic invasive species. NRS 488.536 went into effect on January 1, 2012.
Read documents here.

Michigan Considers Ban on “Safety Checks.” Frustrated by being stopped numerous times by on-water officers patrolling different jurisdictions, a Michigan legislator is pushing for passage of a bill that would prevent an officer from stopping a vessel, unless there is a “reasonable and articulable” suspicion that the vessel is committing a marine law violation, or is in some way engaged in criminal activity. The bill also allows a peace officer that observes a crime to immediately arrest the person without a warrant or issuing a verbal warning. It specifically removes the provision allowing an officer to stop a vessel solely to check the number or adequacy of personal flotation devices. The Deputy Sheriffs Association of Michigan; Department of Natural Resources; and the Michigan Boating Industries Association testified in support of the bill.
Read documents here.

AMI Update

On Tuesday April 17, the Association of Marina Industries hosted twenty federal agency representatives from US Army Corps of Engineers, Environmental Protection Agency and US Fish & Wildlife Service on a tour of two marinas in Baltimore. The intent of the day was to educate those who contract with, regulate, provide grants to or otherwise work with marinas and boatyards on how the marina facilities are constructed, how they operate and who their customers are.

Anchorage Marina and Tidewater Yachting Center were the tour sites with managers Jim Ruscoe, CMM and Bob Brandon providing overviews of their facilities and operations. Both agreed opening their doors to the federal group would be beneficial to the industry as a whole as well providing an opportunity to show off the facilities they are proud to operate. Both managers made it clear that marina operators are concerned about clean waters and work to ensure their businesses are not contributing to water pollution. Brandon commented to the group, “If the Chesapeake becomes a place no one wants to be there will be no boaters. No boaters, no business.”

Susan Zellers, director of MD Marine Trade Association was on hand to talk about the economic, and recreational value of marinas in Maryland, and Donna Morrow coordinator of MD Clean Marina gave a presentation on the clean marina program. Zellers emphasized that there is seemingly no connection between a regulation being passed and how that same regulation is implemented. She gave the example that pressure wash wastewater is to be collected and recycled or turned out to public sewers only public sewage treatment plants in Maryland are refusing the take that waste leaving marina operators with no options.

The group had many questions ranging from why marinas don’t take advantage of grant programs, to what environmental best management practices they incorporate, to what are the biggest challenges facing marinas. The point of how crucial this hands-on experience was hit home when the attendees were asked how many had a boat and not one hand was raised.

“Too often it seems those who work with our industry know nothing about what we do so we felt this opportunity to see a marina first hand and ask any questions went a long way in building a better understanding or marinas and a better relationship between federal agencies and marinas,” said Wendy Larimer, Legislative Coordinator of AMI and organizer of the tour.

AMI plans to run more marina tours for federal agencies in coming months.

SOBA Signs on as Promotional Partner to
National Marina Day

Now in its eleventh year, National Marina Day (NMD), this year on June 9th, is a day put aside for marinas to open their doors to the people in their communities to show off the value of a marina in terms of providing access to waterway recreation, contributing to the local economy, and protecting the waterfront environment. The goal is to have non-boaters gain an appreciation for not only the marina, but also to build the attraction of boating as a chosen form of recreation.

SOBA enjoys a healthy and robust working relationship with the Association of Marinas International (AMI), the organizers of NMD. SOBA members have many connections with our nationwide marinas:

• Marinas have ramps and many are open for public use but may have a launch or parking fee.
• Many marinas have a CVA program.
• A number of marinas are involved with a Clean Marina or Clean Boater program, and while these are not SOBA initiatives or programs, SOBA does coordinate with them and feature educational sessions at their conferences covering these issues.
• Some marinas have Boating Infrastructure Grant (BIG) projects that provide for transient slips

SOBA has signed on as a “Promotional Partner” to NMD, and are encouraging their members and SOBA colleagues to promote this event through their communication channels, such as websites, newsletters, email blasts and general advertising. Education and awareness are key elements to the success of this program, and we hope that you will help SOBA do its part by promoting NMD, and getting involved in this initiative at your state and local levels.

For general information about NMD, visit AMI’s website at Those interested in sponsorship opportunities can contact Wendy Larimer at 202-350-9623 (

New Board Member Perspective

The first six-months serving on the SOBA Board has been exciting, challenging and rewarding. My experience working with the Clean Vessel Act, Boating Infrastructure Grant and Sport Fish Restoration grant programs has given me a solid background to dive in and be an active member. That experience, combined with past participation at SOBA Conferences, has been very beneficial, but what I realize most is that the SOBA Board is involved in so much more beyond these three boating access programs. I now have a greater knowledge of acronyms than ever before, and as each day passes, I continue to gain a greater understanding and appreciation of the relationship SOBA enjoys with many other recreational organizations whose focus includes better boating access.

Before I joined the board, I frequently read the SOBA newsletter for updates on Working Waterfronts, the Boating Growth Summit, America’s Great Outdoors, Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation, to name a few. Now as a Board member I’m learning an entire new level of detail about these organizations, and how SOBA works and partners with them to affect long-term positive change within the world of boating access.

There is an incredible amount of work carried out during the monthly conference calls, face to face meetings, and through email. I am fortunate and honored to serve with such an experienced and passionate group of individuals, who put boating access first, and are more than willing to answer my many questions, share information, and offer suggestions to me as I start my term as a board member. I encourage you to consider joining this board, or becoming involved in SOBA. Details on how to nominate are included within the article in this newsletter calling for Board Members, or on SOBA’s website at

SOBA's Immediate Past President Featured on Air Waves

Listen to an interview with James Adams, SOBA Past President highlighting the who, what, where, and why of SOBA. It aired on March 10th on KDKD-KXEA Radio in Missouri (“Bob’s Wake Zone”); click here to hear!

Washington State Parks Clean Vessel Program ArcGis Mapping Tool

by Alan Wolslegel, Washington State Parks
While I have worked for Washington State Parks for over 32 years my experience had been in the Operations Division working as a Park Ranger and later in management roles. About two years ago I was asked to take on the agency Clean Vessel Program which I agreed to do. It seemed like an interesting and important program, a new challenge for me and the agency had a vacancy that needed filling.

In trying to learn about the program and create a plan for providing pumpout and dump stations in the locations that most needed it I began thinking about the ArcGis program I had seen our Park Development staff demonstrate in the past and wondered if there was a way we could put it to use in the Clean Vessel Program.

ArcGis if you are not familiar with it is an electronic mapping tool with which you can select “layers” of data so they show or not over the top of a base map that can be a satellite (imagery option), street, or topographic maps.

The first layer of data was of course the statewide pumpout locations, shown by the letter “P” in a yellow box on the map. This was followed by the Department of Ecology fecal coliform testing areas which show up in different colors on the map from red (polluted waters that require a TMDL) to green (meets tested standards) with a total of five different colors. Each category has a drop down legend on the side of the screen making it easy to interpret.

The Governor has made shellfish and salmon recovery an item of importance for the state and having this in mind the Department of Health provided with their data on public beaches with potential for shellfish harvest, commercial shellfish water quality sample stations, and commercial shellfish growing areas.

County boat registration data was included in different applications such as registration per coast mile and standard deviations from average number of boat registrations per mile of shoreline (also a couple other variations) so we could see on the map where the pumpouts are in relation to the high use areas.

The final data layers included saltwater marinas, Department of Fish and Wildlife water access sites and a tool that allows the user to measure from one point to another. Other features of the software include a search feature that allows you to find a specific marina and zoom or pan to it. An identifier tool that will tell you which marina you are looking at, which is handy in areas where there are a several marinas close together. There is also a highlighter that can be used to show someone else the location you want a change to be made at, along with an eraser to remove the mark.

This information has allowed us to establish CVA grant application scoring criteria that are not subjective. In addition we will be able to monitor the success of placing pumpouts by seeing improvements in water quality and meeting boater needs in congested areas.

Other agencies are already seeing this tool as a valuable asset. The Department of Ecology is using it for one of their programs that involves a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency that will also provide pumpouts and other waste disposal facilities for recreational and commercial applications. We are in the process of exchanging ideas with Recreation and Conservation Office for Boating Infrastructure Grant Program application. Eventually, we would like to have this available to the public.

Example of a satellite view (imagery) of Bremerton in the Puget Sound:
P-pumpout locations
Green – meets tested standard
Yellow – waters of concern
Red – polluted waters that require a TMDL

Who is ARC?

AMERICAN RECREATION COALITION (ARC) — is a Washington-based non-profit organization formed in 1979. Since its inception, ARC has sought to catalyze public/private partnerships to enhance and protect outdoor recreational opportunities and the resources upon which such experiences are based. ARC conducts research on a regular basis, organizes and conducts national conferences and meetings and disseminates information through a variety of newsletters, columns and other media regarding recreational needs and initiatives. ARC also monitors legislative and regulatory proposals that influence recreation and works with government agencies and the U.S. Congress to study public policy issues that will shape future recreational opportunities. Find out more about them at


Thanks to our 2011 Platinum Conference Sponsor, GatorDock.

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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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