NC Sportsmen Rally Behind Clean Water Act Proposals

Provided By:
Lenny Smathers  (NCBFN Vice President)
 

 


Below Content / Contact:
Tim Gestwicki, CEO, North Carolina Wildlife Federation, tim@ncwf.org, 704-332-5696

Raleigh, NC July 22, 2104 – Over the last few weeks, 60 groups totaling tens of thousands of members and supporters weighed in on the recent Clean Water Act rules affecting intermittent, headwater streams and isolated wetlands. These groups represented a huge range of North Carolina citizens, and included members from statewide hunting and fishing groups, the two most prestigious societies of fish and wildlife biologists and professionals, and even student groups. The groups submitted formal comments conveying collective support for the “Definition of ‘Waters of the United States’ Under the Clean Water Act” rule recently proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers.

Historically, the Clean Water Act has been a vital tool for maintaining or restoring water quality and wetland habitats where hunters and anglers spend their time pursuing fish and game.  Despite this, the Clean Water Act has been weakened by two Supreme Court Decisions and subsequent agency guidanceTim Gestwicki, CEO of the NC Wildlife Federation, said his group fully supported the 40-year-old Act and clarifying rules. “If we don’t act responsibly on full water protections,” he said, “it’s like having protection for your home, but then leaving the door unlocked and the alarm system turned off.”

The letter underscored the proven connections between these non-adjacent wetlands and downstream waters, and outlined how best to address protections for these wetlands in the final rule. There is sufficient scientific evidence that these waters as defined by the agencies have important biological, hydrological, and chemical connections to these downstream waters. “We stand firm and united in calling for strong clean water rules to be issued,” said Jim Mabrey, Council Chairman of NC Trout Unlimited. “It’s imperative we do this for our coldwater fisheries.”

By standing up for these small streams and wetlands, the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers are protecting some of our state’s most important fish and waterfowl habitat. Lenny Smathers, Vice President of NC BASS Nation, was encouraged by the wide and broad scope of the signing groups. “It’s a resounding call for action to protect the places important to us as hunters and anglers. Regardless of our preferred sports, our common denominator is we all need healthy habitats for outdoor pursuits.”


The comments also pointed out:

  • Forestry and farming exemptions remained intact.
  • Emphasis on encouraging the rules to also cover Carolina bays and prairie potholes, also known as the “duck factory” region.
  • North Carolinians depend on the state’s 242,500 miles of rivers and streams for clean and abundant drinking water, diverse and abundant fish and wildlife habitat, and local fishing, hunting, birdwatching, and boating recreation that supports a strong outdoor recreation economy.
  • Wildlife recreation related activities lead to $3.3 billion spent per year in NC alone, and these expenditures support more than 95,000 jobs in the state.

The comment letter ended with a statement of support for all of North Carolina’s aquatic ecosystems and the species and hobbies they support.

“We applaud the agencies for their efforts to protect these waters and look forward to working with them to finalize and implement the waters of the U.S. rule. From mountain trout anglers, to Piedmont bass enthusiasts and duck hunters in eastern NC, this is a critical step towards protecting our sporting heritage and our outdoor future.”

Link to the full letter and sign on groups at http://www.ncwf.org/images/docs/Sporting_group_final_comment.pdf  The open public comment period runs through October 20, 2014.

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Conservation News

Update Provided By:

Bill Fazier (NCBFN Conservation Director)

Article By:
H Kenneth Hudnell, PhD, VP & Dir. of Science
New Bern, NC
GridBee®  / SolarBee®

Medora Corp.

The need for water body treatments in impaired reservoirs is explained in the below 750 word paper. Installing SolarBees in Jordan Lake is only the first step in developing and implementing an Adaptive Systems Approach to Freshwater Management – complementing cost-effective watershed management Best Management Practices with cost effective water body management technologies to finally enable a large, impaired water body to attain water quality standards. An Adaptive Systems Approach to Freshwater Management and other water body management technologies are further described in recent EPA webinar slides – http://www2.epa.gov/nutrient-policy-data/epa-webinar-prevention-control-and-mitigation-cyanohabs-presentations

Saving Jordan – Improving Freshwater Reservoir Management

Safe drinking water and clean recreational waters are essential for North Carolina’s growth and prosperity. Much of our state derives these services from reservoirs such as 14,000-acre Jordan Lake. However, reservoirs are artificial waterbodies constructed to control water quantity, not quality. Built on low-lying, nutrient-rich farmlands, and filled with water that can take more than a year to traverse the lake, Jordan has always been impaired. Jordan is eutrophic, having high nutrient levels and quiescent, stagnant water that enable detrimental blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) to predominate the beneficial algae at the base of the aquatic food web.

Cyanobacterial “blooms” cause high chlorophyll-a, pH, and turbidity levels, Jordan’s “official” impairments. These surrogates indicate the potential for serious effects on health and the sustainability of aquatic ecosystems. Some cyanobacteria produce bad-taste and odor compounds, and toxins that can kill or cause illnesses. “Blooms” stress aquatic processes, reduce biodiversity, and deplete dissolved oxygen during die-offs, causing fish kills. Luckily, little toxin and few fish-kills have been observed in Jordan so far, but increasing temperatures further favor cyanobacteria. To avoid realizing the potential, we must improve Jordan’s water quality.

Developing a cost-effective plan to improve Jordan’s water quality requires addressing these questions: 1) what is federal policy; 2) is it working well; 3) if not, why not, and; 4) how can we do better?

Federal freshwater policy requires implementing the Clean Water Act’s watershed management programs. The point-source (pipes) and nonpoint-source (runoff) programs reduce the input of new pollutants such as phosphorus that promotes “blooms.” Current policy does not require implementing the CWA’s waterbody management (Clean Lakes) program to improve water quality through in-reservoir treatments. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) deemphasized waterbody treatments to focus on watershed management without scientific and economic justification. Current policy prescribes “preventive medicine,” but not “supportive therapy.”

Nationally, 64% of lake and reservoir acres are impaired, and only 7.9% of ~55,000 freshwaters listed as impaired prior to 2003 are restored, mainly small, point-source dominated waters. And the problem is increasing. Whereas EPA estimated in 1972 that 10-20% of lakes and reservoirs were eutrophic, the Agency now estimates that ~50% are eutrophic. EPA river-and-stream data indicate those with excessive phosphorus increased from 47-66% between 2004-2008/9. No eutrophic waterbody of at least 1,000 acres in size and 90% of nutrient input from runoff has ever attained water quality standards. Jordan and other large, impaired waterbodies will stay impaired as long as policy partially implements the CWA – watershed management only.

Current “preventive medicine” policy fails because it lacks a sound scientific and economic basis. Point-source pollutant inputs are now only 5-10% of total inputs nationally, but nonpoint-source inputs are increasing. Nonpoint-source “best management practices” are difficult and expensive to implement over large areas, and many are only marginally effective. The Jordan Lake watershed is ~1,700 square miles, 77 times larger than the lake itself. Jordan’s nutrient strategy rules recently suspended by the NC General Assembly are designed to reduce new phosphorus inputs by only 5% at a cost-estimate of $2B. The rules do not address nutrient inputs from groundwater or atmospheric deposition, or the huge internal-nutrient load that will cycle between sediment and the water column stimulating “blooms” for decades. No scientific assessment indicates that implementing the rules will restore Jordan. Current policy is not based on cost-benefit analyses, and accountability is lacking.

Current policy also does not address the second factor that promotes cyanobacterial predominance, quiescent, stagnant water. Scientific literature and over 300 U.S. lake applications indicate that artificial circulation suppresses cyanobacteria and stimulates beneficial algae, channeling nutrients up the trophic levels of the food web. Circulation also helps oxidize some pollutants, prevent mercury methylation, deactivate pathogens, and synergize other technologies that remove nutrients and degrade toxic substances in lakes and inlets where they are more accessible and concentrated. Like human bodies, waterbodies require continual circulation and viable biochemical processes to maintain good health.

Cost-effective freshwater management requires an Adaptive Systems Approach (http://www2.epa.gov/nutrient-policy-data/epa-webinar-prevention-control-and-mitigation-cyanohabs-presentations). A systems approach uses scientific and economic analyses to identify the optimal set of components and processes to bring about the functionality required by the system’s users. An optimal strategy for Jordan would combine cost-effective watershed management input controls with waterbody management treatments to form an adaptive system providing a relatively high likelihood of success, short time to restoration, downstream protection, and low cost. Deploying SolarBee© circulators in Jordan is a good first step, but implementation of a full Adaptive Systems Approach is needed. It’s time we complement “preventive medicine” with “supportive therapy” to save reservoirs like Jordan.

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NC Anglers Finish 5th At National Championship

Day #4 B

Tyler Dunn and Matthew Shrewsbury showcased one heck of a roller coaster ride during the inaugural B.A.S.S. High School National Championship on Kentucky Lake and Carroll County Reservoir. After a disappointing day #1 On Kentucky Lake, the pair were well outside of the top 30 and needed to make up plenty of ground in order to continue fishing after day #2. Digging deep into their box of angling skills the duo bounced back with a strong performance during day #2 on Kentucky Lake and ended up in the 27th position, earning the tandem a spot in the next leg of competition.

With a move of venue to the Carroll County Reservoir on days 3 and 4, the scores were reset to zero for the thirty teams that would start the second leg of this championship event. Dunn and Shrewsbury were all smiles at weigh-in as the teammates walked off stage in first place and easily bypassed the top 10 cut for the final day of the event.

Day #4 CWith the last day of competition to go, the pair had to overcome the pressures associated with their newly earned spot at the top of the leaderboard, ignore the numerous ESPN camera boats chasing the top 10 angling teams, and simply focus on catching fish for one more weigh-in period. “It was a tough day for them” said Mark Williamson, boat captain for Dunn and Shrewsbury. “Matthew had made a very long cast and hooked up with a five pounder. With that fish biting on such a long cast it was hard for Matthew to get a really good hook-set and the fish came up near the rear of the boat Day #4 Aand simply threw the lure. It was a devastating blow to the two anglers.” After some time reflecting on the disappointing moment, Williamson focused on helping bring the two anglers back mentally and keep their spirits up for the remaining hours of the event. The tandem did manage several other bites, but were only able to bring one fish to the scales by days end, ultimately landing the team in the fifth position.

For more information, photos, and stories from this event, visit Bassmaster.com or click here to be redirected to the Bassmaster web page.

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NC Youth Rise To The Top

Shrewsbury & Dunn Take Control Of The B.A.S.S. High School National Championship

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Proving that anything is possible, Matthew Shrewsbury and Tyler Dunn have climbed their way back into contention for hoisting the B.A.S.S. National Championship trophy high above their heads by days end on Saturday. Shrewsbury and Dunn have defied the odds and have moved all the way to the top of the standings with their day #3 performance. With only one day of competition to go, the duo will attempt to fend off any of the remaining contenders. Only the top 10 teams will compete on day #4.

8_145Falling a little short on day #3 was the second North Carolina team, consisting of Chris Chavez and Ethan Howard. Holding strong after the first two days of competition, the tandem finished day #3 in the 22nd position. Although physically out of the competition, Chavez and Howard continue their adventure through the eyes of their fellow North Carolinians, Shrewsburry and Dunn, by offering lures and moral support for the final day of the event. The four high schoolers have become close over the course of the week and their team spirit is evident with their actions among each other.

Bassmaster.com will offer live coverage once again during the final weigh-in and can be viewed by clicking here.

To read the full story provided by Bassmaster.com regarding Shrewsburry and Dunn click here.

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NC High School Teams Advance To Day #3

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17_103With two days of B.A.S.S. High School National Championship competition in the books, the field of 61 has now been cut to 30. Chris Chavez and Ethan Howard, representing Clayton High, netted a decent showing on day #1 of competition with a five fish limit weighing 10lbs – 12oz leaving the duo in 20th place. However, the Beddingfield team of Tyler Dunn and Matthew Shrewsbury were not so fortunate on day #1 and were forced to cross the stage at days end with only one keeper, landing the tandem in 50th spot.

41_16On day #2 Chavez and Howard created a bit of drama by only bringing three fish to the scales at 6lbs – 10oz bringing their two-day total to 17lbs – 6oz and landing the pair in 23rd position overall. Dunn and Shrewsbury showed their “Never Give Up” attitude and hauled in an impressive three-fish / 12lb – 5oz catch that leaped the tandem slightly above the top 30 cut-off to end the day in the 27th position.

Days 1 & 2 Results

The 30 teams that made the cut will now converge onto Carroll County Lake where the event will finish out the final two days of competition.

Additional event information, stories, and photos can be found at the bassmaster.com site or by clicking here to be re-directed to the page.

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NC Teams Contending At National Championship

Chris & EthanTyler & Matthew

Two high school teams from North Carolina have embarked on a journey that will create memories for a lifetime. Chris Chavez and Ethan Howard from Clayton High, along with Tyler Dunn and Matthew Shrewsbury from Beddingfield High, are competing this week in the Bassmaster High School Championship presented by Carhartt.014071495105141

IMG_1329731353629659Hosted by Bethel University, the event will take place on the waters of Kentucky Lake and Carroll County Reservoir near Paris, Tennessee. A total of 58 teams from 33 states have converged to test their angling skills for the chance at not only holding the championship trophy, but their share of over $66,000 in scholarships.

Both teams were able to get some valuable time in on the water both Monday and Tuesday during the official practice days. The tournament days are Wednesday through Saturday and will consist of cuts after day two and day three that will eliminate teams from competition.

For more information on this unique event and to follow the action, visit Bassmaster.com or click here to be taken directly to the site.

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Western Carolina University – East Regional Video

Western Carolina University, Austin Neary and Zack Hicks competing in the eastern regionals on Watts Bar lake June 2014. ESPNU highlight video

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East Regional Results

Robert Conway Takes Eastern Regional Win

1st Place-Robert Conward (3)
Edenton, NC
The North Carolina B.A.S.S. Nation East Regional qualifying event was held May 16th and 17th out of Pembroke Creek on the Albemarle Sound. The Bayside Marina & Grill was the host site where anglers were greeted by friendly staff and were able to enjoy a hot breakfast inside before taking to the water.

Due to a slow moving storm system, containing high winds and flooding rain, the start of day number one was delayed until 10:30AM for safety concerns. In an effort to give everyone ample time on the water, the afternoon weigh-in was also pushed back to 5:00PM. By day’s end Chuck Murray was controlling the lead with a five fish limit weighing 13.37 lbs. Jeff Narron followed in the second position with 11.78 lbs. Glen Cannon was occupying the third spot with 11.73 lbs while David Swain held down the fourth position with 10.79 lbs. In the fifth spot was Jay Wright with 10.42 lbs. Drew Johnson was located in sixth with his catch of 10.41 lbs while Robert Conway held the seventh spot at 9.87 lbs.

Day number two saw a continuation of high winds, but brighter skies. Making a strong move was Robert Conway streaking from his seventh position on day one to the lead and Eastern Regional win with a total two day weight of 21.90 lbs. Roger Thomas moved from outside the top seven to finish in the second position with 21.71 lbs overall. David Swain gained one position to finish in the third spot with his final weight of 21.64 lbs. Phil Bain also moved from outside the top seven on day one to eventually end up fourth overall with his final weight of 19.82 lbs. Two others making the move from the outside looking in were fifth place Adam Richardson with 19.40 lbs and sixth place Josh Lanaville with 18.59 lbs overall. Rounding out the final qualifying spot was Jeff Narron with his two day total of 18.43 lbs.

In the team weight category, Pitt County won the title with a combined weight of 68.93 lbs, thus taking the rein away from an often dominate Sandy Creek team. The Bassmasters of Indian Springs captured the second position with 61.66 lbs, while Sandy Creek settled for third with 58.44 lbs. Team Bassmasters nailed down the fourth spot with 57.60 lbs while the Carolina Bassers followed closely in the fifth position with 56.56 lbs. The Five County Bassmasters grabbed the sixth spot with 54.79 lbs while team Reel ’em In filled the seventh position with 53.61 lbs.

The top seven individuals from this event will join the top seven from the North Carolina B.A.S.S. Nation West Regional qualifying event to represent North Carolina as a fourteen-member team at the B.A.S.S. Nation Southern Divisional held in South Carolina in the Spring of 2015. There anglers can advance to the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship event and furthermore to the prestigious BassMaster Classic.

Eastern State Tournament-Qualifers-Chowan River-5-2014

Final Results

Club Results

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West Regional Results

Roger Hoover Takes Western Regional Win

W Region 1st-Roger Hoover (2)

Story: Bill Frazier
Photos: Lenny Smathers

May 9 and 10, 2014, Pinnacle Landing- Lake Norman, North Carolina hosted the Western Region NC BASS Nation state qualifier. It is the first of two state championship tournaments to select the next Southern Divisional Team in their quest for a berth in the prestigious BASSMaster Classic. The weather in North Carolina has been a little unforgiving this spring with plenty of uncharacteristic snow and ice delaying the spawn. Recent day tournaments have been off and on with this weekend’s championship being a little spotty itself.

First place overall individual winner from the Outdoor Rush club, Roger Hoover, stayed strong finishing with a 2 day total of 25.14 pounds. The balance of the Western Region qualifiers in second to seventh places were Carson Orellanna, David Williams, Chuck Camp, Scott Hammrick, Mark Swink and Pat Tiemey. Most of the talk around the weigh-in centered on the shad spawn and whatever jigs the contenders thought imitated the shad best.

The top three clubs were Outdoor Rush with 108.20 pounds, Carolina Hawg Hunters with 105.66 and BASS Casters with 95.82.

Along with the great performances by these fishermen, the tournament was treated to some high excitement on Day 2 at the weigh-in. At the exact check in time of the second flight, a rather lively storm hit the ramp. Fishermen dodged pea-sized hail while NCBN President Chuck Murray and his weigh-in officials just about got blown off to fantasy land trying to hold down the tents. Not to underestimate the seriousness of the situation, score keepers Lori Murray and Vicky Smathers sheltered their computers and paperwork in the equipment trailer while Chuck, Lenny and some of the fishermen nearly did a little kiting.

The next qualifier will be at Chowan River May 17 and 18, 2014.

W Region- State Qualifiers

Final Results

Club Results

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NC Angler wins B.A.S.S. Nation Southern Divisional

Rob Digh 1

Rob Digh, of Denver, N.C., wins the B.A.S.S. Nation Southern Divisional on Lake Eufaula with a total weight of 54-15. After leading by just over a pound after day two of the event, North Carolina finishes second in the overall team competition. The North Carolina youth members bag two days of solid keepers to come home second in the youth competition.

Read the full story here.

 

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Only one angler came away with this trophy.

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The Lakepoint Lodge offered great amenities for the NC team members.

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NC anglers begin the registration process.

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B.A.S.S. Nation sponsors were on hand during the registration meeting and dinner.

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NC anglers await the start of the tournament briefing.

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Southern Divisional anglers seated for the dinner.

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