America Outdoors Association
America Outdoors Association

March 24, 2014

America Outdoors Association Bulletin

Delaware Riverkeeper and NRDC Sue to Designate Eastern Seaboard Watersheds as Critical Atlantic Sturgeon Habitat

A lawsuit filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Delaware Riverkeeper is petitioning the National Marine Fisheries (NMFS) to designate "critical habitat" for Atlantic sturgeon.  NMFS listed Atlantic sturgeon as threatened or endangered two years ago and is generally obligated to designate "critical habitat".  Designation may impact any federally-funded activities, project operations, permits as well as infrastructure projects or any activity which constitutes potential distrubance of the specie, also known as a "taking".  Designation of critical habitat will be done through a rule making process, which will offer effected governments, agencies and the public with the opportunity to comment and preserve their ability to challenge an overly broad designation of critical habitat.  Read the details in the Holland Hart bulletin.

Atlantic sturgeon are magnificent fish, growing to 14 feet in length and 800 pounds.  Overfishing caused the population to crash around the turn of the 19th century.  According to NOAA, historically, Atlantic sturgeon were present in approximately 38 rivers in the United States from St. Croix, ME to the Saint Johns River, FL, of which 35 rivers have been confirmed to have had an historical spawning population. Atlantic sturgeon are currently present in approximately 32 of these rivers, and spawning occurs in at least 20 of them.  The Altamaha River in Georgia is reported to have one of the healthiest populations.  The lower Delaware is considered to be an important feeding ground for juveniles.

In other endangered species news:  some outfitters operating in western states under federal permit will soon be dealing with critical habitat designations for various subpopulations of "sage grouse", which have been listed as endangered.

BLM Renews Agreement with Disabled Sports USA to Provide Trips in the Southwest to Disabled Vets

From the press release from the Utah State office:  

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Utah State Office has renewed a Memorandum of Understanding with Disabled Sports USA that will allow wounded military veterans to participate in several multi-day river trips on the Colorado, Green, and San Juan rivers over the next five years.
 
Disabled Sports USA is a national, non-profit organization established in 1967 by disabled Vietnam veterans to serve the war injured.  The organization offers sports rehabilitation programs to anyone with a permanent disability, including targeted programs for disabled veterans, through its national network of more than 100 chapters in 38 states.
 
Participation in outdoor recreation activities is proven to enhance persons with disabilities’ self-confidence, physical and mental well-being, and quality of life. Several of Disabled Sports USA’s local chapters, including Adaptive Adventures, Adaptive Sports Association, Adaptive Sports Center Crested Butte, Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center, Challenge Aspen, Colorado Discover Ability, Common Ground Outdoor Adventures, Team River Runner and others, are collaborating with BLM Utah’s Moab, Monticello, and Price field offices to organize the river trips.  

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