|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.
Eric Levis, Press Secretary