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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Board Elects New Officers at Quarterly Business Meeting

Board Elects New Officers at Quarterly Business Meeting

HARRISBURG, Pa. (July 16) – At its quarterly business meeting held today, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) elected new officers; authorized the acquisition of access areas in two counties; approved a lease of its access areas in Philadelphia County; and proposed regulation changes which would allow anglers to use more than three hooks on a single fishing line and would permit anglers to fish with a resident license after they move to another state.

At the start of today’s formal business meeting, the Board elected Commissioner G. Warren Elliott as the new president and Commissioner Norm Gavlick as vice-president.

“I am honored to serve as president of this terrific organization,” said Elliott, who resides in Chambersburg, Franklin County, and represents the PFBC as one of two Boating-at-Large Commissioners. “One of my top goals will be to continue to build on the foundation we have established with the state legislature to stabilize our funding.”

“We have strong allies including the majority and minority chairs of the Senate and House Game and Fisheries committees,” he said. “I will be spending time at the Capitol to make personal visits to these and other key leaders as we work to get the largest new piece of funding secured through the enactment of the transportation bill.”

Vice-President Gavlick resides in Kingston, Luzerne County, and represents the PFBC’s Seventh District, which includes Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming counties.

In Erie County, Commissioners voted to purchase for $50,200 an easement of 6,295 linear feet along the East Branch of Conneaut Creek in Albion Borough. The agreement also provides easements for parking and a footpath. The project is being funded with proceeds from the special permit to fish in Lake Erie and its tributaries.

“This is a worthwhile investment because the East Branch provides significant steelhead fishing opportunities and the PFBC’s Fishing and Boating Access Strategy identified a need for more access on this section of Conneaut Creek,” said PFBC Executive Director John Arway.

In Elk County, Commissioners approved the acquisition of approximately 2,400 linear feet of access along the Bennett’s Branch of Sinnemahoning Creek in Benezette Township. The access area is part of 24 acres purchased last year by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) with a $50,000 Sinnemahoning Creek Watershed Restoration grant from the PFBC. As part of the purchase, the WPC agreed to grant the PFBC the easement.

In Philadelphia County, Commissioners agreed to lease the PFBC’s Frankford Arsenal and Tacony access areas to the City of Philadelphia for a 25-year period. The city will manage the properties through its Parks and Recreation Department as a key component of the Kensington and Tacony (K&T) trail, which is a two-mile trail section of a planned continuous eight-mile riverfront trail system. The properties will be managed as public, open park space and will continue to be open to public fishing and boating.

Also today, Commissioners proposed removing the regulation which restricts anglers to using three or fewer hooks on a fishing line. Within the last few years, anglers have asked the PFBC to use the “Alabama rig,” an umbrella-type rig which contains five lures on short wire lines that merge to one point to attach to a fishing line. If adopted on a final rulemaking, the change would take effect after being published in the PA Bulletin.

Commissioners also approved a proposed regulation change that would permit anglers who purchase a fishing license and then move out of state to continue to use the license until it expires. The change would make fishing more convenient for anglers who purchase a one-year, multi-year or senior lifetime license and then move out of Pennsylvania. If adopted on a final rulemaking, the change would take effect after being published in the PA Bulletin.

In other actions, Commissioners:

Added to the list of wild trout streams 47 new waters in Adams, Cambria, Cameron, Centre, Clarion, Clearfield, Clinton, Elk, Forest, Franklin, Huntingdon, Jefferson, Lycoming and Sullivan counties. The list can be found on the PFBC website.

Added to the list of Class A wild trout streams 18 waters in Cambria, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Fayette, Tioga, Warren and Westmoreland counties. The list can be found on the PFBC website.
Proposed a change to its policy statement on managing Class A wild trout populations which adds categories for mixed wild brook and rainbow trout fisheries and for mixed wild brown and rainbow trout fisheries. The proposal also adds a statement noting that no water will be removed from the Class A designation unless the causes leading to the reduction in the wild trout population have been clearly identified and the PFBC has determined that the water is beyond remediation to reestablish the Class A population. If adopted at a subsequent meeting, the change would go into effect once published in the PA Bulletin.

Codified a long-standing policy into a regulation that establishes a set of requirements consultants must meet to become a qualified surveyor for endangered and threatened species and their habitat sometimes needed during the environmental review process. The regulation goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2014.

Proposed eliminating the regulation which requires boat owners to affix a temporary validation decal to their boats while their registration application is being processed. In the absence of the decal, boat owners would demonstrate proof of registration by showing a copy of their registration application. If adopted on final rulemaking, the change would go into effect on April1, 2014, or upon publication in the PA Bulletin, whichever is later.

Approved a federal pass-through grant of $1.49 million to the Borough of Bristol, Bucks County, for the construction of 25 dock spaces for transient boaters and day dockage users with large, non-trailerable boats over 26 feet in length. The project will provide these boaters access to the historic Bristol waterfront along the Delaware River. The PFBC worked with the borough to secure the funding through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Boating Infrastructure Grant Program.

Adopted a final rulemaking establishing a harvest slot limit on Section 03 of Penns Creek, which stretches from the confluence with Elk Creek downstream seven miles to 650 yards downstream of Swift Run. Under the regulation, anglers can harvest two trout per day provided the trout are at least seven inches but less than 12 inches in length.

“Penns Creek provides a unique opportunity to evaluate a new special regulation on a productive limestone stream,” said Dave Miko, chief of the PFBC Division of Fisheries Management. “The new regulation will direct limited harvest to intermediate-sized fish while protecting larger fish in the population. The regulation strives to meet the biological objectives for the fishery as well as the preferences of anglers and landowners.”

The regulation will take effect Jan. 1, 2014, for a seven-year period ending Dec. 31, 2020. The regulation will apply from opening day of trout season through Labor Day, with catch and release for the remainder of the year. All tackle is permitted. During the seven-year period, the trout population will be monitored to determine the effectiveness of the regulation at meeting biological and social objectives for the Penns Creek fishery.

A complete copy of the meeting schedule and the full agenda for the meeting can be found on the Commission’s web site at www.fishandboat.com/minutes.htm. For more information about fishing and boating in Pennsylvania, please visit our website at www.fishandboat.com.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

GAME COMMISSION EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR TO RETIRE



GAME COMMISSION EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR TO RETIRE

The Pennsylvania Game Commission’s executive director has announced his plans to step down next year.

Upon his retirement in January, Carl G. Roe will have spent more than eight years heading the agency.

In making his announcement today, Roe said it has been his pleasure to serve Pennsylvania’s hunters and outdoor enthusiasts while working to benefit the state’s wildlife.

“Serving with the Game Commission, particularly in the role of executive director, has been a great honor and privilege,” Roe said. “I take pride and satisfaction in the years I’ve spent here, and our many, many achievements.

“I’ll never stop caring about Pennsylvania’s wildlife, but the time is right for me to step into retirement, where I’ll have more time to spend outdoors enjoying it,” he said.

Upon his retirement Jan. 17, Roe will leave behind a lengthy list of accomplishments, some of which predate his appointment as executive director.

Roe joined the Game Commission in 2001 as the agency’s first-ever long-range strategic planner. The Game Commission’s strategic plan, which charts a course for present and future wildlife management statewide, is a product of his efforts.

Among its many objectives, the plan contains one of Roe’s most well-known guiding philosophies – that Pennsylvanians should understand the Game Commission plays an integral role in the encounters people have with wildlife. To that end, Roe developed the “Connect with Wildlife” slogan the commission has used for several years.

Roe later was named director of the commission’s Bureau of Administrative Services, where he spearheaded a transition to electronic hunting-license sales. Today, the Pennsylvania Automated License System helps nearly 1 million hunters annually to purchase licenses.

The Board of Game Commissioners in December 2005 unanimously selected Roe as executive director.

At the agency’s helm, Roe chalked countless achievements. More than 50,000 acres were added to the state game lands system during his tenure. He oversaw the expansion of bear season to four days, including a Saturday opener. He implemented the Mentored Youth Hunting Program. He helped establish wild pheasant recovery areas and doubled to 200,000 the number of pheasants released annually. He helped to enact a permit-only fisher trapping season in select areas of the state. He shifted the focus of the deer management program to take into account things like the herd’s health and habitat – a change that was lauded by independent outside audits.

And, of course, bald eagles continued their remarkable comeback, and biggest population gains, during Roe’s tenure.

The list goes on and on.

All the while, Roe earned a reputation for being an approachable leader.

Robert Schlemmer, president of the Board of Game Commissioners, said Roe’s charismatic personality and his willingness to openly answer questions from the state’s sportsmen are among the qualities that will make him hard to replace.

“He’s been quite an ambassador for hunters and other Pennsylvanians who enjoy wildlife, and the type of enthusiasm he brings to the job you just don’t find every day,” Schlemmer said.

Schlemmer said the board will consider both internal and external candidates in finding the most-qualified person to replace Roe as administrator. He said the decision-making process will be guided by the board’s Policy Manual, and that the commissioners are seeking a comprehensive search and a smooth transition.

“The board wishes Director Roe the very best in his retirement,” Schlemmer said. “His service to wildlife, sportsmen, sportswomen and the citizens of the Commonwealth shall remain his legacy for generations to come.”

Roe’s work with the Game Commission represents his second career.

He served with the U.S. Army from 1970 to 2000, taking part in combat tours in Vietnam and El Salvador and retiring with the rank of colonel. At his retirement, he was as Director of the Americas Studies at the U.S. Army War College’s Department of National Security & Strategy, where he taught strategic planning for national security.

Roe is a lifelong scholar, earning a master’s degree in public administration from Penn State University; a master’s degree in management from Salve Regina University in Newport, Rhode Island; a master’s degree in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas; and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

A native of Wayne, Montgomery County, Roe grew up hunting and fishing in Pennsylvania, and continued these activities during his young adulthood on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. He is a member of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited, Woodcock Limited and the National Rifle Association.

Roe currently resides in Carlisle with his wife, Ines. They have two daughters: Courtney and Ashley.

Accomplishments:

In the nearly eight years Carl G. Roe has served as the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s executive director, the agency has tallied many accomplishments in which Roe played an integral role. Among them are:

· Developed Pennsylvania’s Automated (Point-of-Sale) License System.

· Developed and implemented the agency’s 2009-2014 Strategic Plan, and established operational reporting based on this plan.

· Added more than 50,300 acres – nearly 79 square miles – to the state game lands system.

· Began live broadcasting Board of Commissioners and Working Group meeting to increase transparency to the public.

· Revamped the Hunter-Trapper Education curriculum to be more customer- and instructor-friendly. Added advanced HTE classes to the statewide offering such as Successful Furtaking and Successful Turkey Hunting.

· Eliminated requirement to display the hunting license.

· Conducted a statewide survey of Pennsylvania residents about deer.

· Initiated a permit-only fisher trapping season in select wildlife management units.

· Changed bear season to include a week of archery, and lengthened the traditional season to four days, including a Saturday opener.

· Changed turkey season to include a three-day “Thanksgiving” season, and extended the spring gobbler season to the end of May, with all-day hunting for half a month.

· Established wild pheasant recovery areas, and doubled to 200,000 the number of pheasants released annually.

· Expanded bobcat taking seasons to all licensed furtakers via a bobcat permit and added a separate hunting season segment.

· Expanded junior hunting opportunity by adding another Saturday for junior pheasant hunting, and added a weeklong cottontail rabbit season.

· Guided transition of deer management program with objectives focused on deer density on the landscape to objectives defined by specific measures of deer health, forest habitat health and deer-human conflicts; independent, outside audits of the deer program lauded the program.

· Established the use of citizen advisory committees to solicit and obtain stakeholder input on WMU level

· Established a porcupine season.

· Approved the implementation of the Computer Aided Dispatch program that increases officer safety and boosts the amount of time they can spend in the field.

· Approved officers to carry TASERs, enhancing their safety.

· Implemented the Mentored Youth Hunting Program.

· Increased the prescribed-fire program from 700 to 3,000 acres annually, better treating invasive species and enhancing forest regeneration.

· Conducted a statewide survey of Pennsylvania residents about deer.

· Dramatically increased the number of Hunter-Trapper Education classes during peak demand period of September, October and November, resulting in significant gains in enrollment.

· Added independent study Hunter-Trapper Education classes to increase opportunity for those unable to attend an instructor-led class.

· Offered the first Pennsylvania Game Commission "apps" for Smartphones.

· Started a daily radio program with WITF in Harrisburg, reaching listeners through more than 30 stations statewide.

· Created more than 149,000 acres of food plot and herbaceous habitat on state game lands.

· Created or improved infrastructure on game lands, including more than 310 bridges, 10,500 parking lots and 5,350 miles of access roads.

· Hired the agency's first Human Dimensions Specialist to increase research and surveys on the people side of wildlife management.

· Hired the first Outreach Coordinator to oversee the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) and to increase outreach, recruitment and retention efforts aimed at hunters, trappers and shooters.

· Grew the number of schools participating in NASP in Pennsylvania by more than 400 percent.

· Began social media marketing efforts to better communicate with all stakeholders.

· Began bi-weekly reporting of bureaus efforts to implement the strategic plan.

· Implemented e-mail marketing campaigns to better communicate with the various publics.

· Fostered strategic partnerships with a variety of organizations and agencies.

· Established the first agency “Wildlife Diversity Summit,” a large gathering of conservation partners and stakeholders to guide future wildlife conservation planning, especially for species and habitats of conservation need.

· Converted nine ‘limited term’ Wildlife Diversity biologist positions into permanent status – thereby securing this program into the future.

· Approved more-appropriate wash-and-wear uniforms for wildlife conservation officers, saving dry cleaning expenses.

· Supported production and publication of Second Atlas of Breeding Birds in Pennsylvania, making it more accessible.

· Treasurer, NEAFWA, restoring sound fiscal management to the organization.

· Enhanced direction to the field force by greatly expanding the standard operating procedures and making them available on the intranet for easy access and use by field officers.

· Approved the implementation of a new automated permit system data base which significantly streamline permit systems and processes.

· Implemented the Wildlife Conservationist Certificate Program to achieve a better understanding of Pennsylvania wildlife, their management, as well as outdoor enjoyment.