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April 1, 2024

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New Video Explains Why Some PA Trout Streams Lack Full Protections

TRCP’s short production explains how the state’s best waters receive necessary safeguards, but also why a growing list awaits full protections

With Pennsylvania’s 2024 trout fishing season opener slated for this Saturday, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership is sharing a short explainer video that highlights the problem of a growing backlog of streams that have been recommended for additional environmental designations, but have not yet received them.

The hunting and angling-focused conservation nonprofit will post the video (embedded below) on social media channels in its entirety on April 6, the Pennsylvania trout fishing opener, to ensure that anglers are aware of the issue.

Some trout streams that the state’s Fish and Boat Commission have designated as Wild Trout or Class A streams, and recommended for full protection to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection years ago, still haven’t received these safeguards. Thus there is a growing backlog of streams awaiting designation at the department. TRCP’s video will ensure that anglers are aware of the problem and urge officials to resolve the bottleneck in the process by describing it in an easy-to-understand structure.

“We want to ensure that everyday anglers are aware of how Pennsylvania’s streams and trout fishing opportunities are safeguarded, and how they can take actions to help protect their favorite waters,” said Alexandra Kozak, Pennsylvania field manager for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “This is a somewhat complicated process, but with a single issue preventing the realization of full protections for many streams.”

In Pennsylvania, as in other states, TRCP works to build coalitions from the sporting and conservation communities to identify and work toward shared policy goals around conserving habitat and funding conservation programs. The organization seeks to advance public policy in the state’s General Assembly through strategic campaigns, grassroots organizing, and scientific research. This is accomplished by maintaining relationships with the Governor’s office, state agencies, hunting and fishing organizations, and regional and local businesses that help champion a hunting, fishing, and conservation-focused agenda.

Top issues TRCP focuses on in Pennsylvania include securing water quality protections for the state’s trout streams and the Chesapeake Bay watershed, ensuring legislative support for the outdoor recreation economy, defending hunter and angler access, and promoting the benefits of state-level conservation funding.

To learn more about TRCP’s conservation efforts in Pennsylvania, visit the organization’s webpage dedicated to state issues at trcp.org/pa.

You can also send DEP a message to clear the streams backlog through our simple comment form.

Banner Image Credit: Noah Davis

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March 27, 2024

In the Arena: Lindsay Agness

TRCP’s “In the Arena” series highlights the individual voices of hunters and anglers who, as Theodore Roosevelt so famously said, strive valiantly in the worthy cause of conservation.

Lindsay Agness

Hometown: Honeoye Falls, New York
Occupation: Retired. Previously an IT Director for Eastman Kodak Co. and Project Director for a local health care system.
Conservation credentials: VP of Youth Education, New York State Council Trout Unlimited; Trout Unlimited Costa 5 Rivers program volunteer; Girls Scouts STREAM Girls Program volunteer; New York State Fishing Guide.

Lindsay Agness is an angler, conservationist, and passionate outdoor educator. Introduced to the outdoors by her grandparents, Agness has effectively used her passion for fly fishing to engage youth, teens, and college students on the importance of conservation and stream health to ensure that the joy of fishing carries on for future generations. Agness was inducted into the New York State Outdoorsman Hall of Fame in 2022 for her fisheries and conservation focused volunteer work.

Here is her story.

I was blessed to be born into a hunting and fishing family.  My grandparents were born in Germany in 1902 and then came to the U.S. They introduced me to the outdoors— we had a lot of woods to run and play in.  My grandfather, an avid deer hunter and fisherman, owned a summer cottage on Honeoye Lake in upstate New York, and he and my grandmother taught me about fishing there. My grandmother was a great role model for me, and she is the one who taught me to love the outdoors.

Today, my favorite place to fish is in the hills of Potter County, Pennsylvania in the Susquehannock State Forest area for wild brook trout. These small mountain streams are so pristine, and the mountains are fun to explore. The wild book trout there are so beautiful. I can spend hours fishing and just get lost in nature. There is little cell phone reception, so you are completely off the grid and the evening hatches are unbelievably spectacular!

My most memorable outdoor adventure was fishing for arctic char in Bristol Bay, Alaska. I did a trip with The Lodge at 58 North and guides Kate and Justin Crump.  We started each day with an early morning fly-out on a float plan to the Becharof National Wildlife Refuge and fished in gorgeous scenery for beautiful arctic char. It is my favorite fishing memory and the excitement of that day is still with me.

Where I live in New York, the biggest conservation challenge is low water levels and higher than normal water temperatures. They are stressing out our trout species. These challenging conditions, over extended periods of time, can be lethal for our brown trout, brook trout and rainbow trout. I believe that the survival of these species is critical, and it will ensure that future generations enjoy the sport of fly fishing. Our fisheries cannot take care of themselves, and I believe that our actions can speak for the trout. We need to champion our local watersheds for future generations.

I currently serve as the Vice President for Youth Education on the New York State Council for Trout Unlimited.  As a volunteer, I work with youth, teens, and college clubs to teach about conservation, stream health, fishing and how to be stream ambassadors through a variety of initiatives. Our youth and teens need to be engaged and exposed to the joy of the outdoors and nature — and I believe that these experiences also improve their physical and mental health.

Through the Stream Explorer programs like Trout in the Classroom, which put aquariums in schools to raise trout for release into local streams, we have partnered with over 272 schools in New York, educating over 21,828 students on cold water conservation.  We also help educate teens through Girls Scouts STREAM Girls programs and the Scouts BSA merit badge — teaching the basics of stream ecology, stream science and fly fishing. Additionally, we engage with the local college fishing clubs across 10 college campuses in New York through the Trout Unlimited Costa 5 Rivers programs, fostering the involvement of students in local conservation work near their college campuses.

Conservation is a huge part of my outdoor life.  I love fly fishing for trout and being an ambassador for my local waters is essential to the efforts of maintaining a healthy population of fish. I am steadfastly committed to keeping our local streams and trails litter free and supporting our local Trout Unlimited chapter in tree planting and stream conservation work.

Do you know someone “In the Arena” who should be featured here? Email us at info@trcp.org


Hunters and anglers have always been the unsung heroes of conservation in America, quietly paying it forward every time we buy a license, a box of ammo, or a tank of boat fuel. We know you’re not satisfied with simply going hunting or fishing and then going home—so go the extra distance.

Click here and help us wake the woods by taking action on the conservation issues that matter right now.

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March 25, 2024

Wyoming Conservation Wins from the 2024 Legislative Session 

The Kelly Parcel, HB 60, and elk were in the spotlight

We’ve made it through the tumultuous 2024 Wyoming legislative session. Thanks to the efforts of Wyoming sportspeople, we can count several wins for wildlife and the future of our great state!

The Kelly Parcel PASSED!

One section of the Governor’s budget that gained special attention was the sale of the Kelly Parcel to Grand Teton National Park for $100 million – a windfall for public education and wildlife. This parcel of state trust land contains valuable big game habitat and migration routes, including the famous Path of the Pronghorn, which is why the TRCP and a coalition of nine sportsmen’s groups submitted a letter of support for conveyance.

Our voices were heard, and an amendment to retain hunting and grazing on the Kelly Parcel in perpetuity was also added. More work is needed to finalize the conservation of this important parcel, but we’ve passed a major hurdle!

The TRCP thanks the lawmakers who advocated for conserving the Kelly Parcel, our members for their public testimony and written comments, and our partner organizations for their work on this issue.

Invasive Grasses Funding PASSED!

The Governor’s budget also includes a $9 million allocation for battling the spread of invasive grasses, such as cheatgrass, which degrades habitat and threatens big game winter range.

Large Projects Funding PASSED!

This annual legislation authorizes the Wildlife Trust to allocate matching funds to leverage important conservation projects across the state. This year’s projects include a $2.9 million fish passage project in the Greybull River drainage and over $7.5 million for several habitat enhancement projects for mule deer, elk, moose, and antelope.

HB0067 Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Trust Fund Administration-2. PASSED!

House Bill 67 sets up a board to allocate funds sitting in the Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Trust Fund established in 2023. This bill will help fund small outdoor recreation infrastructure projects such as shooting ranges, boat ramps, and trails in communities throughout Wyoming.

HB 60 – Excess Wildlife Damage Amendments DEAD

House Bill 60—Elk Population Damage Amendments—was a highly controversial bill that could have had major impacts to the sportspeople-funded budget of WGFD without solving the elk overpopulation issues it sought to address. It would have also disincentivized the partnerships we need between the department, landowners, and sportspeople to find durable solutions.

The TRCP recognizes that wildlife damage can be a significant issue for landowners, and we look forward to sitting down with all parties to find a Wyoming solution to this issue.

Thanks for Entering the Arena of Conservation!

While this session delivered wins for the outstanding wildlife values of the Kelly Parcel and funding for important conservation projects across the state, we were also faced with threats to publicly held wildlife. We thank our dedicated supporters for entering the arena of conservation and advocating for our issues. Wyoming is a small town with a very long street, and your voice makes a difference.

Photo Credit: Josh Metten

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March 21, 2024

Tracking Congress: The Impact of 2024 Budget Allocations on Hunters and Anglers 

Appropriators in Congress recently began passing fiscal year 2024 funding bills that contain both highlights and disappointments for conservation.

After arduous negotiations, Congress has finally started to pass funding bills for fiscal year 2024. These bills bring about significant changes to the funding levels of programs that hold a special place in the hearts of hunters and anglers. Listed below are some highlights and disappointments from the recently enacted federal spending bills. 

Robust Funding for Everglades Restoration  

Everglades restoration has come a long way since the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan was authorized by Congress in 2000. Harmful discharges from estuaries have been reduced, wetlands have been restored, and greater amounts of water are flowing from north to south. However, there is still work to be done, including the continued construction of the Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir. When completed, the reservoir will hold overflows from Lake Okeechobee and filter the water before sending it south. This $425 million investment will boost Everglades restoration efforts and improve hunting and fishing opportunities.  

Increased Funding for WaterSMART 

WaterSMART grants provide financial assistance to water managers for initiatives aimed at conserving and optimizing water usage, implementing renewable energy, exploring water marketing tactics, mitigating conflict risks in high-risk water areas, and achieving other sustainability objectives in the western United States. The increased funding for WaterSMART grants will help safeguard habitats that sustain fish and wildlife and are important to hunters and anglers. 

Increased Funding for Atlantic and Pacific Salmon for National Marine Fisheries Services 

The populations of Atlantic and Pacific Salmon both feature endangered subpopulations.  In the Pacific, this funding has led to stabilization and recovery of several subpopulations, such as the chum, Snake River Chinook, Lower Columbia Steelhead, and Lower Columbia River Coho salmon. These increased funds will continue to bolster habitat restoration, improvements to upstream and downstream fish passage, and other conservation efforts aimed at contributing to higher functioning watersheds and better-quality fishing opportunities for future generations. 

Good Neighbor Authority Extended to National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 

Good Neighbor Authority allows federal agencies to authorize states, counties, and tribes to conduct land management and restoration projects on federal lands. GNA is a win-win-win as it enables federal agencies with limited capacity to partner with states, counties, and tribes to achieve large-scale forest, watershed, and rangeland health outcomes.  By extending the GNA to the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, hunters and anglers will continue benefiting from the collaboration it fosters to conduct land management and restoration projects on new swaths of federal land. 

Funding Cuts at The Bureau of Land Management  

Among the Bureau of Land Management programs receiving funding cuts are the Recreation Management program, Resource Management Planning program, Rangeland Management program, Wildlife Habitat Management program, and the Aquatic Habitat Management program. The funding cuts will impact the BLM’s ability to help manage and improve vast amounts of public land for hunting and fishing.  

Funding Cuts to the National Wildlife Refuge System 

For the past fifteen years, the National Wildlife Refuge System has functioned with a Fiscal Year 2010 budget. Not once in a decade and a half have their funds been adjusted for inflation, and this lack of investment is reflected in the number of full-time staff diminishing even as the system expands. Low staffing levels directly affect the system’s ability to conduct habitat restoration and management, provide visitor services, and support law enforcement. The National Wildlife Refuge System budget saw a 3% budget cut from 2023, which means more staff dedicated to managing these public lands, and the hunting and fishing opportunities they provide, will be lost.  

Funding Cuts at The U.S. Geological Service   

The U.S. Geological Service saw cuts of up to 5% for its scientific research programs focused on Chronic Wasting Disease, controlling invasive species, and adapting to climate change. Investment in CWD research is essential as the always-fatal disease has now been detected in 32 states. The cost to control and eradicate aquatic invasive species in the U.S. amounts to more than $100 billion each year.  

Funding Cuts at The U.S. Forest Service  

The Wildlife and Fisheries Habitat Management, and Recreation, Heritage, and Wilderness initiatives of the USFS received cuts of up to 20%. These cuts will hamper the ability of USFS to manage habitat on their lands, and research best practices to manage forests and reduce wildfire risk. The Wildlife and Fisheries Habitat Management funding goes towards restoring fish and wildlife habitat, conserving threatened species, and maintaining wildlife habitat connectivity on USFS land. The Recreation, Heritage, and Wilderness initiative provides funds for improving access to and recreation on USFS land, including planning resources, trail management, and the off-highway vehicle program.


Hunters and anglers have always been the unsung heroes of conservation in America, quietly paying it forward every time we buy a license, a box of ammo, or a tank of boat fuel. We know you’re not satisfied with simply going hunting or fishing and then going home—so go the extra distance. You can take action on the conservation issues that matter right now. Click here to get started.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

CHEERS TO CONSERVATION

Theodore Roosevelt’s experiences hunting and fishing certainly fueled his passion for conservation, but it seems that a passion for coffee may have powered his mornings. In fact, Roosevelt’s son once said that his father’s coffee cup was “more in the nature of a bathtub.” TRCP has partnered with Afuera Coffee Co. to bring together his two loves: a strong morning brew and a dedication to conservation. With your purchase, you’ll not only enjoy waking up to the rich aroma of this bolder roast—you’ll be supporting the important work of preserving hunting and fishing opportunities for all.

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