PCE

Partnerships in Action

When an angler buys a fishing license and a boater registers a boat, he or she is helping to fund the programs under the jurisdiction of the Fish & Boat Commission. Unfortunately, as everyone has recognized for many years, angler and boater dollars are not enough, in and of themselves, to pay for our growing infrastructure needs and fully fund many conservation projects around the state. In recent years, conservation-minded citizens have also stepped up to help protect Penn-sylvania's aquatic resources through voluntary donations to the Fish & Boat Commission. As a result of these contributions, we were recently able to award grants to 10 organizations for local aquatic resource conservation and access improvement projects.

For more than 10 years, the Commission has collected donations for the conservation and enhancement of aquatic resources and for acquisition of lands for fishing and boating access. Through the Conservation Acquisition Partnership and Conserve 2000 programs, monetary contributions are placed in special accounts from which funds may be expended only for specified purposes. Last spring, the Commission took action to establish a grant program, through which organizations and individuals could apply for and receive funding from the Fish & Boat Commission for local aquatic resource conservation and access improvement projects.

Partnerships in Action

Applications were received requesting funding for a variety of activities, including habitat/access acquisition, riparian restoration, and instream habitat enhancement projects. In all, we received 40 grant applications requesting $1.7 million in project funding.

Amazingly, we were able to fund one-fourth of the projects, wholly or partly, despite having only $30,000 available for this grant program. Grants were awarded to 10 worthy organizations and projects:

In spite of the limited nature of the resources available, this small amount of seed money from the Conserve 2000 Program will go a long way. Many of the applicants will be using Conserve 2000 funding to attract funding from other existing state and federal sources, like the Governor's new Growing Greener Initiative. This funding partnership is good for everyone involved, but most importantly, it's good for the resource.

The Conserve 2000 grant program is just one example of the many partnerships between the Commission and Pennsylvania's many active conservation and sportsmen's organizations. One of the areas in which the efforts of anglers and sportsmen's organizations has been particularly important is in defending the public's rights to use Pennsylvania's public waterways. In one case, these efforts took the form of litigation over the status of the Lehigh River. This case was described in the July/August 2000 issue of Pennsylvania Angler & Boater. The Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen's Clubs was the only statewide conservation group directly involved in the Lehigh River litigation. The Commission salutes the Federation's key role in this case, which is more fully described in this issue's "Currents" section, on page 61.

The Fish & Boat Commission recognizes the importance of working together for our aquatic resources. Thousands of Pennsylvanians volunteer millions of hours to help protect, conserve and enhance these resources. Others make voluntary gifts to the Commission to support our Conservation Acquisition Partnership and Conserve 2000 efforts. To all those who go the extra mile to help, the Commission says: "Thank You."

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Peter A. Colangelo
Executive Director
Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission

 


September/October 2000 Angler & Boater


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