PFBC Board of Commissioners Take Action To Obtain Public Fishing Access

HARRISBURG, Pa. – During today’s formal meeting, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) Board of Commissioners recognized and welcomed Tim Schaeffer, who assumed the role of Executive Director in November.

Commissioners acted on numerous property access and real estate matters. Among them was the proposed sale of easement rights on an approximately 1.6-acre undeveloped PFBC property known as the Equinunk Access along the Delaware River in Buckingham Township, Wayne County. In acquiring the easement, PennDOT intends to conduct a slope stabilization project to protect portions of State Route 191. The transaction remains dependent on further review and legal considerations by both parties.

In Crawford County, Commissioners approved the acquisition of several easements that would provide public fishing and boating access along Conneaut Creek in Springboro Borough. Under one agreement, PFBC would purchase easement rights from a private property owner for $29,300 to obtain access to 2,170 linear feet of creek. In a second transaction, PFBC would pay $10,600 for an easement along 790 linear feet of property owned by the North West Crawford County Sewer Authority. Both easements would be funded using monies collected by PFBC through the sale of special Lake Erie fishing permits. To date, the PFBC has acquired 26.33 miles (139,025 linear feet) of public fishing access in the Lake Erie Watershed through easements and land purchases under the Erie Access Improvement Program.

The Board approved a proposed amendment to extend a No Wake Zone on waterways within the City of Pittsburgh. Under the proposal which was approved by the Boating Advisory Board, the regulation change would apply to the area known as The Point, where the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers come together to form the Ohio River. If the proposal is approved, the current No Wake Zone on the Allegheny River would be extended from the 9th Street Bridge upriver to the Veterans Bridge. Additionally, the period during which the regulation would be enforced would 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. The proposal will be considered for final rulemaking at the Commission’s July meeting.

In other action, Commissioners approved the designation of 26 stream sections to the list of Class A wild trout streams. These additions will go into effect upon publication of a second notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

The board also approved the addition of 69 new waters to the Commission’s list of wild trout streams. These additions will go into effect upon the publication of a second notice in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. A list of waters proposed for Class A wild trout stream designation can be found on the PFBC website.

Related to habitat and environmental matters, the Board voted to approve a Sinnemahoning Creek Watershed Restoration Grant in the amount of $200,000 to the Cameron County Conservation District (CCCD). CCCD plans to use the PFBC grant dollars combined with other funding to conduct restoration efforts along the Upper Jerry Run Watershed for the benefit of native eastern brook trout. Upper Jerry Run is a tributary to the main stem of Sinnemahoning Creek.

Commissioners also approved several changes to Pennsylvania’s list of Endangered Species. Based on field data examining the status, distribution and relative rarity of each species, added to the list were the Pugnose Minnow and the Blacknose Shiner. Removed from the list of endangered species were the Banded Sunfish and the Gravel Chub, which have not been detected in the Commonwealth for many years. Being removed from the list of candidate species were the Central Mudminnow and the Eastern Mudminnow, both of which have been detected in greater numbers and no longer meet threatened or endangered species criteria. These amendments will go into effect upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. These fish species status assessments were funded by the State Wildlife Grant (SWG) program of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The Commission’s next meeting was scheduled for April 29-30 at the PFBC headquarters in Harrisburg.

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