SOBA Newsletter - December 2012  

President's Message

2012 Conference Reflections

Let me start my President’s message by acknowledging Terry Boyd and his Alabama team. SOBA’s 2012 National Boating Access Conference in Mobile Alabama in early September was truly a great event, thanks to Alabama’s Southern hospitality, the beautiful Battlehouse Renaissance hotel, our excellent field trip, the superb conference sessions and subject content, our loyal exhibitors and last but not least, the weather which was picture perfect. And let’s not forget what a great treat it was to have Ray Scott speak at our awards dinner!

I must also reflect on the precious and limited time we had with Lacy Nichols during the conference. What a great pleasure it was to see Lacy and Merriane, and how fortunate we were that they made the trip. What a great honor it was too for SOBA to have presented Lacy with the William H. Ivers Award. Seeing Lacy’s face light up when he was announced as the recipient, and watching how our attendees reacted and joined in the recognition was very powerful indeed. I can still hear the applause and shouts, and this will stay with me a long time. It was also special to have the pleasure of previous recipients of the Ivers award (Dan Thompson and Erasto Nieves) be present, recognized and there for Lacy. Lacy was held in very high regard within Delaware, so much so that Colonel James Graybeal, Chief of Law Division with Delaware DNREC left the NASBLA conference to recognize Lacy and attend the award presentation. It is with great sadness to report that Lacy Nichols passed away on December 1st , and now we should reflect on times past, and be thankful for every minute we had with him. Please remember Lacy’s family in your thoughts and prayers, and look for Julie McQuade’s personal memorial later in this newsletter.

I would like to welcome the newly elected SOBA Executive Board, and thank them for offering up their time to serve and represent our SOBA members. Our new board consists of: James Adams (VA)-President, Janine Belleque (OR)-Vice President, Ron Christofferson (AZ)-Treasurer, Steve Miller (WI)-Past President, Terry Boyd (AL)-At Large Board Member, Patricia Harrell (FL)-At Large Board Member and Craig Walker (UT)-At Large Board Member.

Multistate Conservation Grant

AFWA made a recommendation to the USFWS to award a Multistate Conservation Grant to SOBA to conduct a national assessment of recreational boating access. SOBA expects that the USFWS will formally announce this grant in December 2012 or January 2013, and when this happens, we will immediately share this news with our SOBA colleagues. The project is entitled, Enhancing Fishing Access Through a National Assessment of Recreational Boating Access, and is designed to determine whether a lack of boating access has contributed to the decline in boating/fishing participation, provide states with a nationwide and regional context to address boating access issues, in addition to creating a menu of assessment tools for boating access that states and regions can replicate to measure their boating access needs, and guide funding decisions. In addition, expect a great project assessment lead by Mark Duda, Responsive Management and supported by SOBA partners (National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), BoatUS, Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF) and Association of Marina Industries (AMI). A project kick off meeting will be held on January 16th in USFWS’ offices in Arlington, VA. Status reports will be provided either via List Serv notices or in future Newsletters.

Well there is gas in the boat and the fish are biting, but before I head out, I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for all you do for SOBA, and to wish you and your families a very Happy Holiday Season.

2013 SOBA Conference: Mark Your Calendars

The Oregon State Marine Board is excited to be hosting the 27th Annual National Boating Access Conference, September 30 to October 3, 2013, hosted in Portland, Oregon, which can be a beautiful time of year in the Pacific Northwest. The venue – the DoubleTree by Hilton– located in downtown Portland can be conveniently reached from PDX Airport by the City’s famed light rail, the MAX. Rooms will be available at the prevailing federal per diem rate and the exhibit and meeting space are spacious and located on the main floor of the hotel.

The conference theme, New Dimensions in Boating Access, was selected to reflect Oregon’s leadership in sustainability. We will be offering educational sessions that highlight green and sustainable approaches, techniques, and materials. In addition, we want to focus on access for all recreational boats, looking at alternative designs and site features that can also meet the needs of a variety of boaters, including fast-growing paddle sport enthusiasts.

We are already working on the agenda, field trip, and other conference activities. If you can lead a session, have an idea for a topic, or know of good speakers that can fit in with the theme of the conference please drop us a line at We hope to offer concurrent sessions during many of the educational time slots. These sessions will incorporate a technical track with an engineering bent, a sustainable/alternative boating track, and a program track featuring more administrative and programmatic themes. Otherwise, the conference will follow the same format that has been used for several years now: a Monday all-day workshop focusing on federal programs (SFR, BIG, and CVA), Tuesday and Wednesday educational sessions; awards luncheon, business meeting, banquet on Wednesday; and the Thursday field trip.

We have looked at the evaluations from the Mobile conference and will be taking your suggestions to heart in planning the 2013 conference. Naturally, in lean fiscal times travel budgets can be tight. Please keep in mind that federal funds through SFR or CVA grants may be able to pay the registration fee and your travel cost. If you have questions about how to incorporate this into a grant, contact your regional USFWS office or their headquarters in D.C.

Finally, we are working on a web page just for the 2013 conference (see the mock up featured above). We will include links to local and state information to help you plan a personal trip or activities around the conference. Portland and the northwest offer plenty of attractions, from microbreweries and wineries to whitewater rafting, off-shore fishing, crabbing, hiking and mountain biking, and lots of other outdoor activities and cultural events. The web page is scheduled to be active by the first of next year, so check in January for a link to this dedicated conference page.

We hope you will be able to attend and look forward to hosting a special conference just for you!

A Thank You from SOBA 2012 in Mobile, AL

The 2012 SOBA Conference was a great success; we have had numerous emails and notes about what a great time everyone had in Alabama. Our goal was for everyone to go away saying they had the best time and the best food ever at a SOBA Conference-- I think we came close! The conference was a success because of the participation and contributions of the attendees, sponsors, exhibitors, donors, hotel staff, Alabama staff, SOBA staff and the board. I wish Bernice could have been there, but Joanne did and excellent job. Thanks again to all. You can have the best location and facility, but without sponsors and attendees the conference cannot be a success.

With that in mind, I want to encourage everyone to start planning now for SOBA's 2013 Conference in Oregon. I know Janine and Wayne will do a great job, but without attendance and participation, it cannot be a success. Hope to see you all in Portland and don't forget, when planning your next vacation, consider Alabama's Gulf Coast! If I can ever help you with this, let me know.

I want to extend our thoughts and prayers to Lacy Nichols’ family in their loss. I am grateful that Lacy and Merrianne were able to make it down to Mobile and that Lacy received the Iver’s Award this year. SOBA has lost a dedicated long time member, he will certainly be missed, by all who knew him.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Update
News from the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program

Happy Holidays and an upcoming Happy New Year to all SOBA members and friends. We look forward to continuing our positive working relationship with the SOBA board and members to help implement the grant programs we at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service administer.

  • WSFR continues to administer over a billion dollars in grants each year. Of these grants, the Sport Fish Restoration Program (SFR) awarded States $348.7 million in FY 2012, of which approximately 15% or $52.3 million went towards the Recreational Boating Access subprogram of SFR.

  • An exciting development that you may see over the coming months is the new Financial Assistance Wiki. The Service’s WSFR National Conservation Training Center staff will work jointly with our Regional and Headquarters staff to develop grant management resources aimed to be used by Service and State grantee partners.

  • Another upcoming new system is the program accomplishment tool, Wildlife TRACS. Wildlife TRACS implementation will begin with the system being “live” in January. The current timetable includes training for WSFR staff first and then State training on a rolling schedule. No State will be entering information in Wildlife TRACS until they have been trained. The proposed training schedule will go through 2013.

    Boating Infrastructure Grant Program (BIG) Update

  • WSFR is currently considering applications for the FY 2013 Boating Infrastructure Grant program that were received by the Sept. 19, 2012 deadline.

  • Of the applications submitted, 18 Tier 2 applications appear to be eligible for award. Further review will take place in the coming weeks to verify eligibility.

    • These applications were submitted by 16 States and territories, with two States submitting two applications each.
    • Tier 2 requests total $13 million in Federal funds and propose $11.8 million in non-federal matching funds. Tier 2 funding requests range from $112,000 to the $1.5 million maximum Federal share.
    • We received Tier 2 applications from most Regions, with the exception of Regions 2, 6, and 7, which are our Southwest Region, the Mountain-Prairie Region, and Alaska.

  • States and territories submitted 25 eligible Tier 1 applications, requesting $2.3 million Federal share, with a non-Federal match of $1.2 million.

    • Total Tier 1 and Tier 2 requests are $15.3 million.
    • How much money is available?

  • We are operating under the assumption that sequestration will take effect. In such a scenario, we expect $11.8 million in new funds. We are still determining how much carryover will be available, but we have at least $3.7 million that was unawarded last year. That brings available funds to at least $15.5 million.

  • We expect to have sufficient funds to awards all of the eligible applications submitted this fiscal year.

  • WSFR will work closely with the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council in receiving their advice on the FY 2013 awards.

  • The Service doesn’t plan on having a formal BIG Tier 2 ranking meeting this year.

  • The Service Director approves the BIG applications for award. We expect to announce the awards by March 2013.

  • We continue to make progress on addressing the comments received on the BIG Proposed Rule. We expect to publish the Amended Proposed Rule soon.

    Regarding BIG Program administration from the Service Headquarters Office, I, Christy Vigfusson, will transition BIG Program responsibilities to Paul VanRyzin (; (703) 358-1849) over the coming months. I will work closely with Paul through the announcement of the FY 2013 BIG awards and the publication of the Amended Proposed Rule.

    I will continue to lead the National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program, the Clean Vessel Act Grant Program, the Boating Access subprogram of the Sport Fish Restoration Program, and be the HQ lead for performance reporting for the Service's Operational Plan. This shift in duties will allow me to have greater time to address the rulemaking needs of Coastal Wetlands and CVA in the coming year.

    It has been a pleasure and a learning experience to work with each of you on the BIG program.

    Paul has worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service since July, 2011. His primary responsibilities include management of the State Wildlife Grants Program, serving on the Wildlife TRACS development committee, editing a variety of articles and other publications featuring WSFR programs, and representing WSFR on various Service-wide teams.

    Before joining the Service, Paul worked for the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Michigan, Colorado, and American Samoa, where he helped local governments, non-governmental organizations, and landowners develop conservation projects and programs.

    Paul was born and raised in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and learned to sail his family’s O’Day sloop on the Bay. In Michigan, he cruised Lake Superior in his 38’ Downeasterketch. He currently leases a 32’ Westsail sloop, moored in Solomons Island, MD.

    CVA Update

  • The Request for Applications was posted to, and were accepted applications through Dec. 5, 2012.

  • We expect $11.8 million in new funds and at least $4.2 million in carryover, resulting in at least $16 million in available funds.

    Thank you,

    Christy Vigfusson
    (p) 703-358-1748

    Aquatic Invasive Species and SOBA

    After passage of the Nonindigenous Aquatic Nuisance Prevention and Control Act (NANPCA) in 1990, and the passage of the National Invasive Species Act in 1996, several national efforts (e.g., the 100th Meridian Initiative and other regional panels) to prevent the spread of invasive species were undertaken by various local, state, provincial, regional, and federal agencies. These efforts were coordinated by the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force (ANSTF).

    Starting at the 2007 conference, SOBA members also began discussing the impact Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) and the role SOBA could play in the control of AIS. These early discussions culminated in the development of the SOBA AIS Task Force during the 2010 SOBA Conference.

    After the 2010 SOBA conference, the SOBA AIS Task Force was charged with the development of a Best Management Practices (BMP) document for use by state administrators of boater access/marina development programs as they engage in the control of AIS. At that time it was decided that the BMP information to be included in this document should encompass chapters on facility development and management related to:

  • AIS Outreach efforts,

  • Development of clean, drain, and dry areas for boaters at access sites,

  • Incorporation of manned decontamination stations at access sites,

  • Development of unmanned decontamination stations at access sites, and

  • Watercraft inspection stations.

    Since 2010, the SOBA Task Force has developed drafts of these chapters and is currently working on the integration of this information into a compiled BMP document tentatively titled Best Management Practices for Construction and Integration of AIS Control Facilities at Boater Access Sites (BMP Manual). In addition to compilation of this information, the SOBA Task Force is also working on providing guidance to administrators related to the availability of funding for AIS control efforts. The SOBA Task Force is currently conducting a survey of SOBA members for suggestions on how this document can be better tailored to meet the needs of boater access/marina development administrators.

    The ANSTF recently finalized their Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force Strategic Plan 2013 - 2017 (Plan) to maximize the impact of coordinated ANTSF activities. One of the objectives of this Plan is to "promote use of guidance documents, best management practices, and other outreach materials related to ANS," a goal that dovetails nicely with SOBA's effort to create the BMP Manual.

    The Task Force now anticipates that we will have a draft BMP Manual ready for review in spring of 2013. At that time SOBA members will be encouraged to review the BMP Manual for completeness and applicability to allow for finalization of this document. A long-term goal will likely be to have SOBA's BMP Manual reviewed and endorsed by ANSTF.

    For more information on ANSTF and other regional AIS control programs, visit the SOBA website or go to

    CVA Best Management Practices Task Force Established

    At the 2012 SOBA Conference there was discussion about forming a Clean Vessel Act: Best Management Practices Task Force to create a resource for Marinas and State Governments. A recruitment email was sent out on the SOBA Listserv and directly to the CVA Program Coordinators requesting volunteers. The following 17 people have volunteered their time to work on this project over the next 8-months to present their findings at the 2013 SOBA Conference in Portland, Oregon. If you work with any of these volunteers please thank them, because without their help projects like this could not happen:

  • Al Wolslegel, Washington State Parks
  • Andrew Bleier, Keco Inc.
  • Anthony Sullivan, Indiana Dept. of Environmental Protection
  • Brenda Leonard, Florida Dept. of Environmental Protection
  • Christie Fuentes, Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources-Boating Services Unit
  • Darryl Smith, Edson International
  • Ed Poolos Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
  • Kate Hughes-Brown, Connecticut Dept. of Energy and Environmental Protection
  • Kevin Atkinson, California Dept. of Boating and Waterways ( merging with State Parks).
  • Janine Belleque, Oregon State Marine Board
  • Preston Smith, Virginia Office of Environmental Health
  • Rick Cowen, Edson International
  • Rhonda Price, Mississippi Dept. of Marine Resources
  • Stan Linnell, Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources-Parks and Trails Division
  • Stephanie Cunningham, Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries
  • Tom Callahan, EMP Industries
  • Tom Jones, Arkansas Dept. of Health
  • Will Keene, Edson International

    Please watch for future updates and requests for information as the CVA: Best Management Practices resource takes shape.

    Pondering Return Engagements and Fiscal Cliffs
    Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council Update

    Now that November has come and gone, we can all recover from the blur of television ads, talking heads, and policy pronouncements that led up to the elections. It also means that we can go about the business of working to provide and maintain opportunities for the American public to access and utilize sustainably managed aquatic resources, and healthy waters managed on its behalf. The Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council (SFBPC) has begun its efforts to do just that. We are gearing up to reengage the returning Administration over the next 4 years on issues important to the recreational boating, angling, and conservation communities. At its most recent meeting, November 7 & 8, 2012 in Corpus Christi, Texas, the SFBPC considered issues that have the potential to impact us all. This update highlights just a few of those issues.

    One issue, while regional in nature, has the potential to benefit boaters and anglers in the Gulf of Mexico. The Department of the Interior (and specifically, the Bureau of Safety & Environmental Enforcement (BSEE)) is the lead on the Federal effort to manage the removal or reefing of decommissioned oil and gas production infrastructure. Since the Gulf has very little natural fish habitat, oil and gas rigs have over the years served to provide artificial reef habitat. Recreational angling has flourished around this artificial habitat. Recognizing the benefit provided to fish populations and recreational anglers, the Federal government and States work together to create this artificial habitat through the Rigs to Reefs Program. The Council met with BSEE Director James Watson, oil industry representatives, and conservation NGO representatives to discuss ways that the Federal government could implement this program to maximize the creation of fish habitat through rig decommissioning. Assuming this can occur, fishing and boating opportunities in the Gulf of Mexico will grow tremendously. The Council will be working with the Administration to identify ways to make this a reality.

    The Council also discussed the possible impacts of the Budget Control Act of 2011 on funding for the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund. I don’t have to tell you all that this money is critical to funding fishery management and boating access and infrastructure programs across the United States. Specifically, BIG, CVA and Boating Access are all funded through the Trust Fund. There is real concern that should sequestration of funds occur, part of the so-called “Fiscal Cliff”, funding for the Trust Fund will be negatively affected. The Council wrote a letter to Interior Secretary Salazar on this matter and we hope to work with the Administration and the boating and angling community to find a fix, both short and long-term, for this issue.

    Finally, the SFBPC’s Boating Issues Committee is preparing to take a detailed look at some issues related to both BIG and CVA. CVA continues to carry over unspent funding from year to year, leaving it at risk of being a target for Members of Congress looking to find dollars to use for other purposes. Similarly, the BIG Program has been through a couple cycles of decreased funding requests. The Council is going to look at what might be driving this and suggesting ways to increase participation. We will be looking to partner with SOBA, States, and the private sector on this issue.

    I look forward to updating you on the Council’s progress in moving forward on these and other important issues. In the meantime, I wish you all a happy and safe holiday season.

    Petitions Circulating to Prevent Damaging Program Cuts:
    SOBA monitoring important issues before congress

    Recent articles from across the nation are bringing attention to anglers, boaters, and the general public about what it would mean to have 7.6% cut from the Sport Fish Restoration Program and Boating Safety Trust Fund. If Congress does not exempt this Trust Fund from the cut, states will lose millions in funding. Congress has offered sequestration of the funding; however, this may impact states more. If the funding becomes available two years after the sequestration, states may not have sufficient match for the additional spending authority.

    Petitions have been sent by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Sport Fish and Boating Partnership Council and Bassmasters to US Secretary Salazar to urge Congress to exempt these funds. On December 5, 2012 representatives of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) participated in a meeting with members of Congress to discuss the potential impacts, while NMMA also participated in a White House briefing in November.

    SOBA will continue to monitor this issue and post any significant updates to members and coleagues via the ListServ.

    RBFF: News From the Field

    RBFF has kicked off the 2013 Boat Registration Marketing Program. States--sign up if you have not already!

    This program will be available to 25 state agencies looking to increase boat registrations among lapsed boaters. For more information on how to get involved, please contact State Initiatives Director, Stephanie Hussey at (703) 778-5152 or


    RBFF launched marketing efforts designed to lure current and potential anglers to boating. A natural extension of RBFF’s partnership with Discover Boating, these RBFF marketing efforts involve interactive website pages, social media and search engine support. The related appeal of fishing and boating has already delivered quantifiable success: the boat selector tool on has attracted more than 18,000 unique visitors in September alone.

    The center of the new outreach efforts is the Discover Boating Boat Selector tool an embedded widget on The tool allows visitors to search for their dream boat through a simple filter with options like preferred day-on-the-water activities, number of passengers, boat cost and length. Visitors can see information on each boat, such as photos and names of appropriate brands and dealers. The tool is fun to use and a great way to fan even casual enthusiasm for boating, as visitors begin to visualize themselves on board a boat just right for them.

    Another recent addition is the new ““Discover Boating” Facebook Tab, on the Take Me Fishing Facebook page, where fans can find quick links to “get on board with boating.” Boating resources on the Tab include:
  • Boat Selector Tool
  • Places to Boat and Fish Map
  • Take Me Fishing Boat Ramp App
  • Get Started in Boating DVD

    From this one page, Take Me Fishing Facebook fans can access all the tools they need to take their interest in fishing one step further … towards boating.

    Other components of Take Me Fishing’s collaborative, coordinated boating campaign include Search Engine Marketing (SEM) support, Discover Boating advertising on, and social media outreach.

    For more information, email


    Sometimes the hardest part of managing social media is producing the content. As advocates of the boating and fishing industry, RBFF can help. Below is suggested content that organizations can repurpose for their own communications. Feel free to share via e-mail, social media or on your website.

  • Fishing and Boating vs Other Sports
  • Field & Stream's Catchbook App
  • Five Tips for End-of-Season Boat Clean-up
  • Marketing & Social Media Tips
  • Best Times to Send Emails
  • Four Simple Ways to Get More Mileage Out of Your Press Release
  • How to Pitch Anything in 15 Seconds


    What do fishing and boating have that other activities that compete for Americans’ leisure time simply don’t have? A new infographic from RBFF, available to your organization to post and share. Fishing & Boating vs. Other Sports uses an eye-catching graphic that helps answer this question.

    The new infographic makes the point: fishing and boating are more rewarding, less expensive, more sociable, more relaxing, safer, healthier, better for the environment and more popular across all age groups than just about any recreational sport.

    Sprinkled throughout the infographic’s comparisons and illustrations are vital statistics and facts that advance fishing and boating’s appeal. Readers learn that 83 million Americans went boating in 2012 and 46.2 Americans went fishing. They discover America boasts 3.5 million miles of river and twice as many boat ramps as golf courses, translating into plenty of outdoor space and easy access to it. They also learn about the crucial link between aquatic conservation and their license and registration purchases.

    This sharable content is available to states and other partners and stakeholders. Consider making the most of Fishing & Boating vs. Other Sports by:

    • Downloading the infographic onto your website as a vertical banner graphic and adding it to your organization’s emails.
    • Liking and sharing the Take Me Fishing infographic post on your own Facebook page.
    • Re-posting the infographic from the Take Me Fishing blog and sharing with your consumers and followers through posts on your blogs and on Twitter and other social media.

    For more information about RBFF's social media content and resources, email RBFF Communications Manager Elizabeth Bender at


    Beginning December 2012, RBFF will be retiring the Anglers’ Legacy Ambassador Program. In its stead, RBFF plans to broaden the mentoring message throughout and the fishing community. RBFF advises that all Anglers’ Legacy branded materials should be removed from the marketplace, websites, or similar public spaces and campaigns. For additional information, contact Melissa Raynor at


    • Take Me Fishing logged 1.9 million unique visits to the ‘where to’ pages and 2 million unique visitors to the ‘how to’ pages.

    • The Hispanic language marketing test program deployed in August in partnership with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Results are being reviewed now and will be available in 2013.

    • Social media channels continue to grow; fans/followers are up 150% in the last six months at 172,000.

    • Our Nature’s Waterpark Showdown promotion generated a Top 8 State Parks for boating and fishing list which received nationwide coverage including pick up in USA Today and on A “Dismiss the Stress” infographic and “Fall into Fishing” satellite media tour featuring Take Me Fishing blogger Tom Keer also boosted PR coverage.

    • (desktop and mobile) won several new awards. Web Awards include: Best Leisure Website, Best General Interest Website and Best Mobile Website. W3 Awards include: Lifestyle, Homepage, Visual Appeal, Social/Networking, Education, Sports & Recreation and Community categories.

    • RBFF launched a new Facebook tab, directing current and potential anglers to the boating section of

    • RBFF’s first nationwide Boat Registration Marketing Program yielded 32,000 boat registrations in 15 states, reflecting an average 7.93 response rate. The program also generated $1.16 million for state conservation efforts.

    N.H. Fish and Game Acquires Boat Access Site on Lake Winnipesaukee

    CONCORD, N.H. -- On November 21, 2012, the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department purchased a private marina known as Downing’s Landing at the southern tip of Alton Bay. That means Fish and Game, after many years, has finally acquired a boat access facility on Lake Winnipesaukee, the state’s largest lake.

    "This is exciting news for New Hampshire's outdoor enthusiasts because it creates the first state-owned and controlled public boat ramp with parking on Lake Winnipesaukee," said Fish and Game Executive Director Glenn Normandeau. "For years, we've wanted to provide the public with a boat access site on the big lake, and I am thrilled that we've been able to do it."
    The Downing's Landing facility includes an existing boat launch with paved parking for vehicles with trailers, as well as a handful of cartop parking spaces. The site includes two buildings and several docks that will allow for excellent shorebank fishing opportunities, particularly during the spring salmon season. The facility will be open to the public for launching boats and shorebank fishing with no fee.
    The site may be temporarily closed while Fish and Game transitions ownership and determines what maintenance and repairs are necessary. Since the general use of the property will not change, it seems to be for the most part a "turnkey" facility that can be opened to the public with minimal work. This is quite different from most acquisitions of undeveloped property, which can take months or even years of planning, permitting and construction before a boat access site can be opened to the public.

    In the near term, parking configurations will be evaluated and maximized for the upcoming boating season. Future renovations will be planned as Fish and Game moves forward. Improvements may include dock repairs and installation of a newer concrete boat ramp. Fish and Game officials hope to have the site open this winter in time for the ice fishing season.

    New Hampshire's Public Boat Access Program is funded through boat registration fees and federal Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration funds, a true user-pay, user-benefit program. Fish and Game's Facilities and Lands Division acquires land for public water access sites, refurbishes existing sites and builds new public boat access areas. Fish and Game maintains more than 140 public boat access sites throughout

    Remembering Two Extraordinary SOBA Colleagues
    Honoring Lacy Nichols & Vaughn Douglas

    REMEMBERING LACY "NICK" NICHOLS (Dec. 22, 1944 - Dec. 1, 2012), by Julie McQuade, Ohio

    Unique, family oriented, conscientious and great friend
    Many of you became friends with Nick (Lacy) thru SOBA, and some may have just heard of him. I considered Nick a colleague and my friend.

    Lacy "Nick" Nichols

    Nick was a unique person. Why do I say unique? The definition of Unique is: “being the only one of its kind; unlike anything else” and that he was. Seriously – look at his picture, you instantly see his uniqueness – ahem… the handle bar mustache for example!

    Every Saturday morning Nick would meet three other longtime friends at his local restaurant in Dover for breakfast at 5:30 a.m. How do I know this? I had the good fortune to join them when I offered to hand deliver SOBA’s 2010. Special Recognition award to Nick since he was unable to attend the Conference that year. Uniqueness attracts uniqueness, and these four steadfast friends all came together from a variety of backgrounds, and were always there for each other. In fact two of these friends were his Doctors and convinced him to see a specialist, and ultimately had a part in extending his life. They often stopped by during their lunch hour to visit Nick when he was recovering from his chemo treatments.

    Nick was an avid lover of carpentry and woodworking, and he built some really beautiful furniture pieces, both for sale and for his family. Even the cabinetry in his house was built from his fair hand. I am very fortunate to be the owner of some pieces of furniture that Nick made, and these are pieces that I will cherish always.

    Nick has been a proud member of the SOBA family for as long as I can remember, and he served on the SOBA board of directors, on various task forces, and presented at many annual conferences. He was very passionate about providing quality facilities, and committed to SOBA’s mission. He was honored and thrilled to have been the recipient of SOBA’s 2012 prestigious Ivers award this year in Mobile. We served on the board together, and this is when we really became close friends. During those years Nick would call me at work, around 7:00 am, because we both were early risers, and we discussed everything from his projects to my projects, to SOBA stuff, what either of us were having for breakfast, and oh yeah the weather. Delaware seemed to get a lot of Ohio’s weather, and sometimes I would get a “Thank You” note for nice or not so nice weather from my great state of Ohio! I remember those conversations with great fondness, and I always appreciated Nick’s in-depth expertise and wealth of knowledge of building facilities, and advice on how to work well with contractors.

    Nick was a wizard at getting deals, and SOBA was often the beneficiary of such deals! I remember he once got his wife Merriane, an excellent leather artesian, to donate some of her work for door prizes at SOBA’s conference in Montana, and he also finagled some great deals on shirts too!

    Throughout our years of friendship, I learned that Nick was a Vietnam vet, and awarded the “Bronze Star”. He had two children and one grandchild PJ whom he adored. He spent a large part of his time with PJ, woodworking, fishing or just hanging out together. Nick’s very being lit up when he spoke of his times with PJ.

    I could go on and on about this very special man that shared his wealth of experience and friendship with SOBA, but that would take up a lot of newsletter space. We all have Lacy stories to share, and memories to look back on that we will cherish in our hearts forever.

    In closing, the Holidays, for one reason or another, are often an emotional time of year for people, and this year some of us will have heavier hearts with Nick’s passing. Let us also not forget to celebrate the life of this extraordinary man, and give thanks to those who had the good fortune to know him.

    We miss you already Nick.


    I’m sad to inform you about the passing of Vaughn Douglass whom many of you knew well. Vaughn was a career employee with the Fish and Wildlife Service in Region 5 and spent much time with SOBA at our annual conferences and in assisting states and SOBA in providing boating access and boating facilities. In 2009 SOBA presented Vaughn with its “Professional Service Award” for more than 25 years of federal grant assistance for boating access to the states in Region 5. The following is a message we received from his friends and colleagues in the Fish and Wildlife Service. Vaughn’s obituary will let you know how you can share remembrances and condolences with his family. Vaughn was a great ally for SOBA and we will greatly miss him. His commitment to public service, the federal aid programs, and his professionalism and friendship will be remembered by us all.

    Vaughn Douglass passed away at 4:00 am on Monday September 3 after battling lymphoma for over a year. He died peacefully with his family at his side. Vaughn left an indelible mark on the WSFR program, and was a quiet, strong, and caring leader, mentor, and friend to those of us who had the honor of working with him. We will miss him greatly. His obituary was published in the Boston Globe. You can read it by clicking HERE.

    IMBC Reorganizes Seminar Program

    The International Marina & Boatyard Conference (IMBC) is scheduled for January 30–February 1, 2013, at the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale, FL. The upcoming event will feature an expanded seminar schedule with new breakout sessions sorted into specific coastal, inland, and boatyard and service tracks, limited-attendance, hands-on workshops, an exhibit hall with over 125 industry suppliers, and networking events. IMBC attracts marina owners and operators from around the world as well as marina designers and developers, service technicians, repair professionals, and docking, decking, and construction suppliers.

    Many of IMBC’s general sessions will be run by professional speakers and authors, including the conference keynoter, author John Spence. In his keynote address, Spence plans to discuss his best ideas, strategies, and tools for achieving business excellence. Breakout sessions will be sorted into specific tracks so attendees can choose seminars based on whether they run an inland or coastal marina and whether their business includes a boatyard and service element. Topics include electrical safety at inland marinas, coastal land leases, and tips and tricks of owning a boatyard. IMBC will also offer new small-group workshops to full conference attendees. Workshops are included in full conference registration rates however participants must RSVP because space is limited.

    Other new additions to IMBC’s seminar program include a presentation style description for each session and seminar sneak peeks offered now on IMBC’s website. Each speaker has written an article or produced a video providing a “sneak peek” into their session. Viewers can comment on the pieces or post questions they would like answered during the session. This gives attendees a chance to get involved in the development of seminar content and stretch their engagement beyond the three days of the conference.

    To learn more about IMBC 2013 or to register, visit

    Sixth National Get Outdoors Day (GO Day) Announced for June 8, 2013

    Washington, D.C. – National Get Outdoors Day (GO Day) 2013 will be celebrated on Saturday, June 8. This will be the sixth year of a partnership effort by hundreds of government agencies, recreation and healthcare businesses and nonprofit organizations to introduce America’s youth to the healthy fun of America’s Great Outdoors. Events will be held at 200+ sites in urban centers, state and local parks and other places and the USDA Forest Service will waive many recreation fees on GO Day in national forests covering 192 million acres of the nation.

    If you are interested in becoming involved, please check out the GO Day website

    To learn more, visit


    The Arkansas Department of Health, with help from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, will be our annual hosts in 2014. Our conference will be held at the Wyndham Riverfront Hotel, Little Rock , October 6 – 9, 2014. Details as they unfold will be posted to SOBA’s website at

    Host Thomas Jones, Sr. Environmental Health Specialist for the Arkansas Marine Sanitation Program issued the following statement regarding the 2014 SOBA conference:

    The ADH welcomes this opportunity to represent the great state of Arkansas, the Arkansas boating programs, and our public boating culture for SOBA’s 2014 Annual Boating Access Conference.

    Thank You to our SOBA 2012 Conference Sponsors
    With special thanks to GatorDock Marine Access Solutions
    No SOBA conference is a success without the generous support of its sponsors and supporters. We would like to close by thanking all of our sponsors and giving special recognition to GatorDock Marine Access Solutions for going above and beyond to make SOBA 2012 a success.

    GatorDock™ Marine Access Solutions

    GatorDock™ systems have been perfected through our four decades of design and manufacturing experience. We take pride in providing our clients with long lasting, low maintenance and cost effective dock systems. Every GatorDock project begins by custom building a heavy duty, marine grade aluminum frame which has been designed to maximize strength and load efficiencies. Whether your project is for a small kayak launch, public boating access, or a large commercial marina, our team of experts can help you support you through the entire project. The team at Gator also devote themselves to designing GatorBridges™. Our line of prefabricated aluminum pedestrian and utility bridges can be found in nature preserves, universities, theme parks, public works facilities and on trails. Gator has been a proud supporter of SOBA for many years. We look forward to working with you on your next dock or bridge project.

    Visit us at or

    Thank you to all of our other sponsors, including:

  • ADEM Creation

  • Alabama Seafood Marketing Commission (ASMC)

  • BLUEWater Design Group

  • Duke Energy

  • Goodwyn, Mills, and Cawood

  • JADE Consulting, LLC

  • KESS Environmental Services, LLC

  • National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA)

  • Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation

  • Thompson Engineering

    To learn more about these sponsors and their services, click HERE.

  • Board of Directors


    James Adams
    Facilities Director, Infrastructure Division
    Virginia Department of Game & Inland Fisheries
    4010 West Broad Street
    P.O. Box 11104
    Richmond, VA 23230
    T. 804-367-0183

    Janine Belleque
    Grants and Contracts Coordinator
    Boating Facilities Section
    Oregon State Marine Board
    435 Commercial St. NE
    P. O. Box 14145
    Salem, OR 97309-5065
    T. 503-378-2628

    Ron Christofferson
    Boating Facilities Program Manager
    Arizona Game and Fish Department
    5000 W. Carefree Highway
    Phoenix, Arizona 85086
    Office: (623) 236-7481
    Fax: (623) 236-7327

    Steven W. Miller
    Director, Bureau of Facilities and Lands
    Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
    P.O. Box 7921
    Madison, WI 53707-7921
    T. 608-266-5782

    Terry Boyd
    Chief Engineer
    Alabama Dept.of Conservation & Natural Resources
    64 North Union Street, Room 479
    Montgomery, AL 36104
    T. 334-242-3836

    Patricia Harrell
    Boating Access Coordinator
    Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission
    Division of Law Enforcement
    Boating and Waterways Section, MS1M
    620 S. Meridian Street
    Tallahassee, FL 32399
    T. 850-617-9538.

    Craig Walker
    Aquatic Habitat Coordinator
    Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
    1594 West North Temple, Suite 2110
    Salt Lake City, UT 84114-6301


    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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