07/16/2019

PFBC BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS ELECTS NEW OFFICERS, APPROVES PROPERTY ACQUISITION FOR ACCESS AREA, EXPANDS NO WAKE ZONE IN PITTSBURGH

​HARRISBURG, Pa. (JULY 16) During today's formal meeting, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) welcomed several recently confirmed members to the Board of Commissioners and elected new officers.

Eric Hussar of Lewisburg, Union County was appointed to a new 4-year term as District 5 commissioner, representing Bradford, Columbia, Lycoming, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga and Union counties. Also rejoining the board was Richard Kauffman of Leesport, Berks County, who will continue to serve as District 8 commissioner, representing Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia and Schuylkill counties. Kauffman previously represented District 8 for two years, filling the unexpired term of a former commissioner who had resigned.

Dan Pastore of Fairview, Erie County joined the Board, representing Butler, Clarion, Crawford, Erie, Forest, Lawrence, Mercer, Venango and Warren counties. William Gibney of Honesdale, Wayne County was welcomed as District 7 commissioner, representing Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming counties. Charlie Charlesworth of Clarks Summit, Lackawanna County, was confirmed as one of two boating-at-large commissioners on the board.

All new board members were nominated by Governor Tom Wolf and confirmed by the state Senate on June 18.

The Board elected Hussar as President, and Richard Lewis, a Boating-at-Large Commissioner from Gettysburg, Adams County, as Vice President. Both will serve 1-year terms.

In other official action, Commissioners authorized the acquisition of an approximately 3-acre parcel of property located in Muncy Creek Township, Lycoming County. Pending further due diligence, the Commission will pay $71,500 for the land to be used for the development of a new public access area along the West Branch Susquehanna River. The access area will replace the former Muncy Access, which was closed in July 2016 due to unsafe conditions caused by the accumulation of sediment from the Muncy Creek, creating a sandbar at the boat launch. Local legislators were able to secure $250,000 in Capital funding to assist in the acquisition and development of the new access area which is downriver from the previous site.

In Allegheny County, the Board approved amendments to a boating regulation that will extend a No Wake Zone along the Allegheny River within the City of Pittsburgh. The amended regulation change will apply to the area known as The Point, where the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers come together to form the Ohio River. The current No Wake Zone on the Allegheny River will be extended from the 9th Street Bridge upriver to the Veterans Bridge. Additionally, the period during which the regulation is enforced will be extended from October 1 to November 1. The change is intended to create safer conditions for mooring vessels along the Riverwalk due to increased boating traffic in the fall. These amendments will go into effect upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

Commissioners approved the publication of a notice of proposed rulemaking to amend the section of the Pennsylvania Code related to the enforcement of Motorboat Noise Control (Title 58, Chapter 119). Under the proposal, which was approved by the Boating Advisory Board, the regulation would become less subjective and more enforceable through a more highly defined set of standards. The proposal will be considered for final rulemaking at a future meeting.

In Northampton County, the Board approved the publication of a notice of proposed rulemaking to amend fishing regulations for Minsi Lake, requiring catch and release/no harvest for all species except trout, and applying Commonwealth Inland Waters regulations for trout. This reservoir was completely dewatered in June 2017 to complete dam and spillway repairs and modifications per Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) dam safety standards. The application of this special regulation is intended to protect fish populations during the restocking process beginning in spring 2020 or as soon as refilling conditions allow with fingerling plants of select fish species to establish a high quality warm-water and cool-water fishery. Once the warm-water fishery has been reestablished, the lake will be recommended for removal from the miscellaneous special regulation and inclusion in one of the Commission's existing warm-water regulation programs. If approved on final rulemaking at a future meeting, the amendment will go into effect upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. With the addition of the new miscellaneous special regulations, the Board voted to remove Minsi Lake from Big Bass Program effective on January 1, 2020.

In Westmoreland County, Commissioners approved the publication of a notice of proposed rulemaking to amend fishing regulations for Donegal lake, requiring catch and release/no harvest for all species except trout, and applying Commonwealth Inland Waters regulation for trout. This reservoir was completely dewatered during fall 2016 to complete control tower, dam and spillway repairs and modifications per PA DEP dam safety standards. The application of this special regulation is intended to protect fish populations during the restocking process beginning in spring 2020 or as soon as refilling conditions allow with fingerling plants of select fish species to establish a high quality warm-water and cool-water fishery. Once the warm-water fishery has been reestablished, the lake will be recommended for removal from the miscellaneous special regulation and inclusion in one of the Commission's existing warm-water regulation programs. If approved on final rulemaking at a future meeting, the amendment will go into effect upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

In other action, Commissioners approved the designation of three stream sections to the list of Class A wild trout streams. The board also approved the addition of 67 new waters to the Commission's list of wild trout streams and a revision to the section limits of one water. These additions and revisions will go into effect upon the publication of a second notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. A list of waters proposed for wild trout stream and Class A Wild Trout Stream designation can be found on the PFBC website.

In Huntingdon County, the Board voted to add Spruce Creek, Section 03 to the Catch-and-Release Artificial Lures Only Program. The intent of this management strategy is to provide anglers with a unique opportunity to fish over an exceptionally high-quality wild trout population where fishing mortality would not be a major factor determining population structure. Recently, the 13-acre Indian Caverns property near the Village of Franklinville, Huntingdon County was acquired by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) for conservation purposes to include conveyance of the riparian land to the PFBC for public fishing access to the portion of Spruce Creek flowing through the property. This portion of the stream was formerly closed to public angling when privately owned and operated as a commercial limestone cave attraction; however, it now provides approximately 0.15 river-miles of new public fishing access to Spruce Creek. As such, Spruce Creek, Section 03, was established and extends approximately 800 linear stream feet upstream from the vehicle access bridge to Indian Caverns located along State Route 45. It is anticipated that angler use in Section 03 will be high and warrant harvest and terminal tackle restrictions to adequately protect the trout population and provide greater sustainability of the quality of the fishery than would be provided under less restrictive angling regulations. Furthermore, application of Catch-and-Release Artificial Lures Only angling regulations would provide for consistent management with Spruce Creek, Section 04 (PSU Experimental Fisheries Area), currently managed with these regulations. The designation will go into effect upon the publication of a second notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

Commissioners approved the addition of Little Mud Pond, 26-acre glacial pond owned by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (PA DCNR) located within the Delaware State Forest in Porter Township, Pike County to the Stocked Trout Open to Year-round Fishing Program. In addition to hatchery trout, Little Mud Pond supports popular warm-water and cool-water fisheries for Yellow Perch, Bluegill and Black Crappie. This designation would allow for trout angling on a catch-and-release basis as well as angling for resident warm-water and cool-water species during the current closed period, thus substantially increasing and diversifying recreational angling opportunities. The designation will go into effect on January 1, 2020.

The Board approved the addition of Lily Pond, a 23-acre impoundment owned by the PA DCNR located within the Delaware State Forest in Milford Township, Pike County to the Stocked Trout Open to Year-round Fishing Program. In addition to hatchery trout, Lily Pond supports popular warm-water and cool-water fisheries for Yellow Perch, Bluegill and Black Crappie. This designation would allow for trout angling on a catch-and-release basis as well as angling for resident warm-water and cool-water species during the current closed period, thus substantially increasing and diversifying recreational angling opportunities. The designation will go into effect on January 1, 2020.

In Monroe County, Commissioners voted to remove Bradys Lake, a 229-acre infertile impoundment owned by the Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) located within State Game Lands (SGL) 127 in Coolbaugh Township, Monroe County from both the Big Bass Program and Panfish Enhancement Program. This reservoir was completely dewatered in 2003 to rebuild the dam and refill was completed in 2008. The PFBC stocked the lake from 2008 through 2013 with select fish species to establish a high quality warm-water and cool-water fishery. Since 2009, Bradys Lake black bass and panfish fisheries were managed with Big Bass and Panfish Enhancement special regulations while all other species are managed with Commonwealth Inland Waters angling regulations. The black bass and panfish populations were evaluated during 2012, 2015, and 2018 to monitor progress towards development of a high quality warm-water and cool-water fishery and determine efficacy of the of the special regulation programs. Total catch per hour of Largemouth Bass during nighttime boat electrofishing surveys did not meet the minimum recommended program criteria for waters managed with Big Bass regulations during any of the survey years, and inconsistently met catch per hour program criteria for bass greater or equal to 12 inches and bass greater than or equal to 15 inches. In addition, assessment trap net catch rates did not meet the minimum recommended program criteria for waters managed with Panfish Enhancement regulations throughout the assessment period and overall results suggested poor recruitment to the panfish fishery. Bradys Lake will revert to Commonwealth Inland Waters angling regulations on January 1, 2020.

The board voted to approve the addition of Pecks Pond, a 300-acre impoundment owned by the PA DCNR located within the Delaware State Forest in Blooming Grove and Porter Townships, Pike County to the Catch-and-Release Lakes Program. This reservoir was completely dewatered in September 2016 to complete dam and spillway repairs and modifications per PA DEP dam safety standards. Prior to the drawdown in 2017, the lake offered angling opportunities for multiple warm-water and cool-water fish species. Dam and spillway repairs are expected to be completed by during winter 2019/20 with re-filling initiated soon after. The Commission plans to initiate stocking the lake beginning in the spring of 2020 or as soon as refilling conditions allow with fingerling plants of select fish species to establish a high-quality warm-water and cool-water fishery. During the process of rebuilding the fishery, the reservoir will be open under the Catch-and-Release Lakes Program on a temporary basis. This approach will allow for the most rapid development of a balanced warm-water fish community, while offering acceptable levels of recreational angling opportunities.

The Commission's next meeting was scheduled for October 21-22 at the PFBC headquarters in Harrisburg.

A complete copy of today's agenda is available on the PFBC website.

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Media Contact:
Mike Parker, Communications Director
(717)705-7806
michparker@pa.gov