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October 28, 2014

What do Colorado water leaders have in common with the A-Team?

“I love it when a plan comes together.”
– John “Hannibal” Smith

As my favorite leader of a crack commando unit sent to prison for a crime they didn’t commit used to say, “I love it when a plan comes together.” Colorado hunters and anglers likewise should know that a plan is coming together in their state right now – and how these activities will impact the water they need for access to quality days afield.

Back in 2013, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper started a process to develop the state’s first-ever water plan, because there could be as much as 500,000 acre-feet more demand for water than there is water available in the state by 2050. Hickenlooper wants the Colorado Water Planto deal with this problem by combining plans from individual river basins in a way that comports with Colorado values, such as vibrant and sustainable cities, viable and productive agriculture, a robust outdoor economy and healthy watersheds, rivers and wildlife.

Fishing on the Gunnison river. Image by Kate Ter Haar.

Since the state’s outdoor legacy is built upon healthy streams that can support fish and wildlife, Colorado sportsmen’s organizations have been actively engaged in the process since the beginning. Back in May, six groups – the Colorado Wildlife Federation, Colorado Trout Unlimited, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Bull Moose Sportsmen, National Wildlife Federation and the TRCPwrote to Hickenlooper asking him to address the needs of sportsmen in the water plan. Specifically, the groups said the final plan needed four essential components:

  1. Keep Colorado’s rivers healthy and flowing
  2. Increase water efficiency and conservation in Colorado’s cities and towns
  3. Modernize agriculture and water‐sharing practices
  4. Avoid new, large trans‐mountain diversion projects
Image by Dusan Smetana.

These values are widely held by all Coloradans, not just sportsmen. According to a recent poll, 90 percent of Coloradans said that keeping Colorado’s rivers and streams healthy and flowing is extremely important or very important.

Also earlier this year, the TRCP asked Colorado sportsmen to weigh in with the Colorado Water Conservation Board, the state agency tasked with drafting the plan, to reinforce these four priorities. As you can see from this timeline, the CWCB should deliver its draft plan to Hickenlooper by the end of the year.

Maintaining waters resources is critical for Colorado’s 2.3 million hunters and anglers, not to mention the $3.0 billion out-of-state visitors bring to the state each year while enjoying Colorado’s fish and wildlife. For the sake of the state’s economy and Colorado’s sporting traditions, the TRCP and its partners will be asking sportsmen to urge Gov. Hickenlooper to make healthy rivers and streams a priority as Colorado finalizes the plan in 2015.

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October 24, 2014

The TRCP’s 4th Annual Saltwater Media Summit: Day Three

This week, more than 50 journalists, policy makers, conservation experts, and business leaders will gather in Cape Coral, Florida, for the TRCP’s fourth annual Saltwater Media Summit. At this yearly meeting of the best and brightest in marine fisheries conservation and sportfishing, we will be focusing on habitat restoration in the Everglades, the recovery of Gulf of Mexico in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster and saltwater recreational fisheries policy, including the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

Check in throughout the week for updates on the summit, background information on these key marine policy issues and plenty of fishing photos.

Friday morning, October 24

Panel: Gulf of Mexico Habitat Restoration and Recovery

This panel examined the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and how it impacted the region and its fisheries.  It also looked at the current state of Gulf fisheries and how the RESTORE council and others are working to repair Gulf ecosystems and access for anglers.

Jerome Zeringue, Chair, Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority: “Louisiana lost 1883 square miles of coastline since the 1930s.”

 

Stephen E. Davis, Ph.D., Wetlands Ecologist, Everglades Foundation: “We have too much water coming down the Caloosahatchee River.”

 

Christine Shepard, Ph.D., Director of Science — Gulf of Mexico Program, The Nature Conservancy: “Another side benefit of restoration is jobs creation.”

 

Chris Macaluso, Director, TRCO Center for Marine Fisheries: “Louisiana is ahead of the curve getting restoration projects off the ground.”

Panel: A Vision for Managing America’s Saltwater Recreational Fisheries

This panel discussed the saltwater recreational fishing community’s priorities and opportunities for change.

Mike Nussman, President and CEO, American Sportfishing Association: “The more striped bass in water the more people fish. That’s why we support the management of our salt water species.”

 

Jim Martin, Conservation Director, Berkley Conservation Institute: Many recreational fisherman spend time being upset about change…our message is this: We can do so much better than the way we’re managing our marine fisheries.”

 

Larry McKinney, Ph.D., Executive Director, Harte Research Institute: “This is the most critical time for recreational fishing. There is a lot at stake.”

Learn more about our fourth annual Saltwater Media Summit here, catch the day one recap here, our photo gallery from our fishing outing here, and the day two recap here.

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October 23, 2014

The TRCP’s 4th Annual Saltwater Media Summit: Fishing Report

This week, more than 50 journalists, policy makers, conservation experts, and business leaders will gather in Cape Coral, Florida, for the TRCP’s fourth annual Saltwater Media Summit. At this yearly meeting of the best and brightest in marine fisheries conservation and sportfishing, we will be focusing on habitat restoration in the Everglades, the recovery of Gulf of Mexico in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster and saltwater recreational fisheries policy, including the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

Check in throughout the week for updates on the summit, background information on these key marine policy issues and plenty of fishing photos.

Photo recap of Day Two fishing:

Morning on the water at the TRCP Saltwater Media Summit.

 

TRCP’s Geoff Mullins found this nice snook.

 

Powered by Yamaha.

 

Giving it one last go before heading in.

 

Moha Bensofia of FishBrain with his morning catch.

 

Beautiful morning on the water near Cape Coral, Florida.

 

Howard Polskin lands a redfish.

 

Ben Holtzclaw of Fishtrack getting down to business.

 

Chris Fischer with OCEARCH (left), Sue Cocking with the Miami Herald and Capt. Gary heading to the honey hole.

 

Learn more about our fourth annual Saltwater Media Summit here, catch the day one recap here, and keep checking in for updates throughout the rest of the week.

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The TRCP’s 4th Annual Saltwater Media Summit: Day Two

This week, more than 50 journalists, policy makers, conservation experts, and business leaders will gather in Cape Coral, Florida, for the TRCP’s fourth annual Saltwater Media Summit. At this yearly meeting of the best and brightest in marine fisheries conservation and sportfishing, we will be focusing on habitat restoration in the Everglades, the recovery of Gulf of Mexico in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster and saltwater recreational fisheries policy, including the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

Check in throughout the week for updates on the summit, background information on these key marine policy issues and plenty of fishing photos.

Thursday morning, Oct. 23

Well before dawn, more than three dozen attendees from the TRCP Saltwater Media Summit headed to the hotel’s Tarpon Point Marina for a morning of fishing. As the first threads of blue sky cracked the horizon, a fleet of small boats carried the fishermen to fishing spots near Pine Island and Sanibel Island and along the Caloosahatchee River. After four hours of fishing under blue skies, 78-degree weather and a brisk wind, the summit attendees returned. The morning’s haul included several snook over 24 inches, flounder, trout and snapper.

TRCP’s Geoff Mullins found this nice snook.

 

TRCP’s Geoff Mullin takes a breather after catching a large snook.

 

TRCP’s Brian Clow examines his snook with charter Captain John Conway. Clow snagged his fish a few hundred yards from the hotel.

 

Twenty minutes after the break of dawn, fishermen from TRCP’s Saltwater Media Summit already had their lines in the water.

 

Thursday afternoon, Oct. 23

Following a morning of fishing, TRCP Saltwater Media Summit attendees listened to panels devoted to the restoration of the Everglades and the funding of Florida’s fish and wildlife habitat management. Luncheon speaker Sen. Bill Nelson talked extensively about his love of the recreational opportunities that abound in Floridian waters.

“We’re blessed here with the abundance of nature,” Nelson said. “It keeps us alive and helps us enjoy a good quality of life. Theodore Roosevelt’s words come to life when you take your children fishing and they feel the excitement of the tug of a fish. That’s why we need to do a better job protecting our natural resources.” The senator called the TRCP “a prestigious organization” and urged journalists in the room to educate the public and politicians about important conversation issues impacting Florida’s economy.

Panel: Everglades Restoration Policy: State and Federal Perspectives

Sen. Bill Nelson called the restoration of the Everglades “a multigenerational effort.”

 

Jo-Ellen Darcy, Assistant Secretary of the Army – Civil Works: “It’s great to be here and look at the ongoing efforts at restoration. I’ve had the privilege of going to the ground-breaking ceremonies for several of the projects.”

 

Col. Alan M. Dodd, Army Corps of Engineers: “How do we protect the water for 7 million people who depend on it for drinking?”

 

Doc Kokol, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission: “Pythons are hard to manage even when you catch them. And a bounty system does not work.”

 

Dane Eagle, Florida House of Representatives: “The No. 1 issue that I hear about from my constituency [southwest Florida] is water quality.”

Panel: Funding the Management and Conversation of Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Habitat

Terry Gibson, Senior Editor, Fly & Light Tackle Angler: “We should be finding kids who like fishing in college and help them enter a career in politics.”

 

Ray Judah, Coordinator, Florida Coastal and Ocean Coalition: “I’ve been shouting from the roof to try to educate the people of Florida about good stewardship. The cavalry is on the way but it’s not the Florida legislature.”

 

Thursday night, October 23, Bass Pro Shops, Islamorada Fish Co.

Matt Draper (left), GAFF Magazine, Katie McKalip, TRCP, and Matt Miller, The Nature Conservancy, pause for a photo opportunity before entering Bass Pro Shops for the Salt Water Summit’s second dinner. After a buffet dinner, Rae Waddell, Director of the Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network spoke. She was followed by shark researcher Chris Fischer.

 

Chris Fischer, OCEARCH Expedition Leader and Founding Chairman: “People are so unplugged when it comes to knowing what’s going on with the oceans. My mission is to plug them back in,” he affirmed. Fischer criticized the needless slaughter of sharks, which he pegged at 250,000 a day. “Sharks are the lions of the ocean,” he said. “They are the balance keepers.”

Learn more about our fourth annual Saltwater Media Summit here, catch the day one recap here, our photo gallery from our fishing outing here, and keep checking in for updates throughout the rest of the week.

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October 22, 2014

The TRCP’s 4th Annual Saltwater Media Summit: Day One

This week, more than 50 journalists, policy makers, conservation experts, and business leaders will gather in Cape Coral, Florida, for the TRCP’s fourth annual Saltwater Media Summit. At this yearly meeting of the best and brightest in marine fisheries conservation and sportfishing, we will be focusing on habitat restoration in the Everglades, the recovery of Gulf of Mexico in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster and saltwater recreational fisheries policy, including the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

Check in throughout the week for updates on the summit, background information on these key marine policy issues and plenty of fishing photos.

Whit Fosburgh, TRCP president and CEO.

Whit Fosburgh, TRCP president and CEO, welcomed attendees and guests to the TRCP Saltwater Media Summit to Florida’s Gulf Coast following an opening reception that was held outdoors despite threatening skies.

“The goal of the TRCP Saltwater Media Summit is to mix recreation and education,” said Fosburgh. “We want you to leave our 2014 gathering with a better understanding of the complex issues impacting saltwater recreational experiences.”

Eric Eikenberg, CEO, Evergrlades Foundation

The evening’s guest speaker was Eric Eikenberg, CEO of the Everglades Foundation, who discussed the current state of the Everglades and efforts to restore and improve the habitat throughout south Florida. “Water is the new oil,” he affirmed. “We have to ensure that we have a good, clean supply.” Eikenberg noted that the Everglades supplied water to 8 million Floridians, nearly half the state’s population. “It must be protected,” he said.

Eikenberg talked at length about excess phosphorous that plagues Lake Okeechobee and the impact of that phosphorous on the Everglades. He cited figures estimating that the cost of a lake cleanup could top $15 billion.

 

More photos from Day One:

The Fort Myers area from the air.

 

Despite overcast skies and the threat of rain, a lively cocktail party was held on an outdoor terrace at the Westin Cape Coral Resort Hotel before the TRCP Saltwater Media Summit’s opening night dinner.

 

The Westin Cape Coral Resort Hotel, where the TRCP summit was held, is flanked by water.

Learn more about our fourth annual Saltwater Media Summit here and keep checking in for updates throughout the rest of the week.

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