Contact your Representative and urge them to act on, and vote for, Senate Bill 30

Fiscal Responsibility for Pennsylvania Anglers and Boaters

     The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) is a government business funded primarily by sales of fishing licenses and boat registrations. The majority of government agencies receive general fund appropriations of tax revenues to support public service programs. The PFBC generates revenues through customer sales like a for-profit business, but the PFBC must also follow the rules of government for managing operations and receive legislative approval to increase fees charged for the goods (hatchery fish) and services (public safety; aquatic resource protection and conservation) provided to meet angler and boater customer expectations. The agency’s spending and earning model is really a mix of business and government principles.

     The agency is mindful of the responsibility of managing its angler and boater customers’ hard-earned dollars wisely. Until this year, the PFBC has been able to balance its budget and not spent more than it earned. This fiscal management approach has allowed it to build a rainy day fund of uncommitted reserves to prepare for and meet foreseen pension costs. The agency proudly leads the nation in how efficiently it operates. The Legislative Budget and Finance Committee found in 2014 that “of the states for which we have expenditure information, Pennsylvania’s

PFBC has the lowest expenditures per license (emphasis added).”

     In order to meet the escalating costs of employee pensions, health care, and general inflation faced by all Commonwealth agencies, the PFBC has cut spending in large part by reducing staff from a high of 432 to around 360. At the same time, the value of a fishing license adjusted for inflation has dropped to about $16.25, while fish production costs have climbed dramatically. The true cost of today’s fishing license adjusted for inflation would be $37.18. At $22.90, today’s license value is a real bargain for PA anglers!

               Revenues & Expenditures                             Major Cost Drivers – Employee BenefitsPicture1

Additional annual personnel and operating costs of $6.2 million have caused expenditures to now exceed annual revenues. Absent a revenue increase, the PFBC will begin using an uncommitted reserve fund balance of about $60 million to cover essential health care and pension obligations and maintain operations and services, which will deplete the reserve fund within five years if revenues don’t increase.

     In an analysis of the PFBC, Penn State’s Smeal College of Business and College of Agricultural Sciences found “the agency’s reserve fund should be seen as a ‘strategic strength’ and should be maintained as a type of rainy day fund for unforeseen needs. It would weaken the agency if the reserve fund were depleted to zero.”

     Facing escalating costs and declining revenues after 12 years without an increase in the price of a fishing license, the PFBC Board of Commissioners voted on September 25, 2017, to reduce spending by $2 million in fiscal year 2018-19 if no additional revenues are received. The current plan for achieving the $2 million reduction in operating expenses would involve closing two warm water hatcheries and one trout hatchery in FY 2018-19. The plan would reduce the number of trout stocked in 2019 by 7.5 percent and result in severe reductions to the cooperative nursery program. Barring a price increase, the agency must begin to take these steps to remain financially solvent and provide basic services to Pennsylvania’s 1.1 million anglers and nearly 3 million boaters.

     Senate Bill 30, which delegates authority to set license fees to the PFBC, has passed the Senate and stalled in the House. It is imperative for the legislature to act on some form of fee increase for the PFBC to continue to be fiscally responsible. Fiscal responsibility means maintaining a balanced budget and not spending more than it earns. SB 30 would allow the PFBC to generate sufficient revenue to immediately spend unrestricted reserves on over $6.4 million of deferred critical needs and a prioritized list of $110 million in deferred infrastructure projects.

     Pennsylvania anglers significantly contribute $1.2 billion to the $46 billion in national fishing expenditures.

Successful businesses require funding to sustain operations and to invest in new ideas to grow sales and participation. The same applies to successful government businesses like the PFBC, which reinvests license revenue locally. It is time the legislature recognizes that the Commission is fiscally responsible and provide the necessary funds to meet the expectations of current and future generations of Pennsylvania anglers and boaters.

We are asking you to contact your Representative and the House Game and Fisheries Committee leadership and urge them to support Senate Bill 30 and to vote yes for this important Bill. If you do not know who your representative is, please go to http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/findyourlegislator/

Hon. Keith Gillespie, Chair
House Game and Fisheries Committee
45 East Wing
PO Box 202047
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2047
717) 705-7167
Fax: (717) 782-2914

Hon. Bryan Barbin, Democratic Chair
House Game and Fisheries Committee
321 Irvis Office Building
P O Box 202071
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2071
717) 783-1491
Fax: (717) 705-7001

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“Great Fall Trout Fishing: Where, When & How”

“Now is the Time for Great Fall Fishing” will be the theme of the Wednesday, October 11th monthly meeting of the Susquehanna Chapter of Trout Unlimited at 7 pm at the Fellowship Hall at the rear of the First Presbyterian Church, 102 East Third Street in Williamsport.  Veteran local angler Jim Latini will describe the many notable trout streams here in northcentral PA which can provide exceptional fall fishing opportunities. Jim will cover how to obtain maps to find the best spots, up-to-date stream conditions such as flows and temperatures by using internet sites, and some tips on how to fish those streams when you go. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend.

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Wild Trout Summit

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, along with TCO Fly Shop and the PA Council of Trout Unlimited, held the Pennsylvania Wild Trout Summit on August 26 in Pleasant Gap. The first of its kind in the state, it was attended by over 240 people and attendees were provided with a tremendous amount of information. This summit is only the first of hopefully many more gatherings where all parties concerned about wild trout can come together so that we (the anglers, conservationists, biologists, etc) can work to protect and further enhance the wild trout. For those who were not able to attend the meeting, the PFBC has posted videos and documents of the entire summit on their website.

Trout Summit Page

An additional opportunity is coming up on September 20, 2017. A Sportsmen’s Forum: Protecting PA Wild Trout will be held at 7 pm at the Monroe Township Fire Hall ( 1225 Peffer Road, Mechanicsburg, PA). This event is being hosted by the Cumberland Valley TU, Adams County TU, Codorus TU, Doc Fritchey Chapter of TU, and the Chambersburg Rod & Gun Club Falling Springs Trout Nursery. PFBC Executive Director John Arway and Commissioners Richard Lewis and B. J. Small will be the moderators of this event.

 

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Chapter to Host Fly Casting Instruction and Picnic

Want to learn about fly casting as a first-timer or sharpen your skills under the instruction of experienced fly fishers? Anglers and everyone interested in experiencing what it is like to cast a fly are invited to attend the Wednesday, September 13 outing of Susquehanna Trout Unlimited. The fly casting instructions and demos will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the “Gram and Pap” Lundy Memorial Pavilion and pond located on Pleasant Valley Road, 0.4 miles north of Warrensville (north of the Warrensville Road and PA Rt. 973 east intersection). A picnic will follow with hot dogs, corn on the cob, beverage and other goodies provided. Participants are encouraged to bring their own rods, reels and line, but a number of outfits will be available for those who do not have them.

Map to Lundy Pond

 

 

 

 

 

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Wild Trout Summit

The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) announced today that it will host a wild trout summit and is open to the public.

This is the first time the agency has hosted a meeting to discuss wild trout,” said Andy Shiels, Director of the PFBC Bureau of Fisheries. “This will bring agency, academic and Trout Unlimited experts together to present and discuss the past, present and future of Pennsylvania’s wild trout resources.”

The event will be held at the Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology, located at 540 North Harrison Road, Pleasant Gap, Pa. 16823. This convenient location is one exit (Exit 80 ) north on I-99. (Please note this is a change in location).  Registration will begin at 9:30 a.m. The program will start at 10:15 a.m. and conclude at 4 p.m.

Speakers will present information on the history of wild trout management in Pennsylvania, the Unassessed Wild Trout Waters Initiative, special regulations for wild trout, and how environmental permit review affects wild trout protection.
In addition, there will be presentations on the potential impacts of climate change, the PFBC’s wild trout stream habitat improvement priorities, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Wild Trout Management Plan, and Implications of Genetics on Wild Trout Management.

New information on several Penn State University trout radio-tracking studies will also be provided.

Finally, there will a panel discussion at the end of the day to bring the presenters together for a question and answer session with the attendees. A tentative agenda can be viewed on the PFBC website.

The Wild Trout Summit is open to the public, but registration is required. Attendees may register online.

“This will be an informative event and an opportunity for wild trout enthusiasts and supporters to spend a day learning about a truly unique Commonwealth aquatic resource,” added Shiels.  

Taken from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission Website http://www.media.pa.gov/Pages/fish-and-Boat-Commission-Details.aspx?newsid=149

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Will You Take the 70 Degree Pledge?

70 degree pledge

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Jerry Zeidler Memorial Cane Pole Derby

     The 2017 Cane Pole Derby will be held on Monday, May 29, at Rose Valley Lake (north access area).   Last year 150 kids participated! The purpose of the derby is to provide kids with an opportunity to enjoy and appreciate the natural resources of the Watershed.  The kids have a chance to compete for awards for the largest fish, the most fish caught, and the most trash gathered.  Tackle/ bait are provided and many prizes are awarded.  Every year local artist Ron Beach designs a patch to commemorate the Derby and each participant will receive a patch. Collectors can purchase the current patch plus patches from previous years.        Please note: all children must be accompanied by a parent or responsible adult. Please mark the date on your calendar and spread the word about the Derby to your friends and relatives. Your help (donations, manpower, etc.) can make this come true and would be appreciated.  Here is what we need:    Before the Derby:  We need gifts of new fishing/outdoor related items for prizes, or cash donations to offset the cost of everything the kids need to take part in this fun, free day.  We would like to see every child receive a prize.  On Derby Day (Monday, May 29th):  6:00 – 7:00 am: help with setting up tables and tents ·  7:30 – 9:30 am: help with registration; registration starts at 8:00 am, but eager anglers arrive early ·  9:00 – 11:30 am: help with food service ·  9:00 – 11:30 am: help the kids!  Some children arrive with parents who have little experience with fishing.  Having some people just walking around to help and encourage would be much appreciated ·  11:30 – 1:30 pm: take down tents; load tables and tents onto trucks If you would like to help with this project, please contact Jon Larson at 570-971-9153

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