Good News for Georgia Coastal Habitat

State moves to ramp up funding for marine habitat
House of Representatives approves measure to direct
new license tag funding to Georgia coast

ATLANTA, GA – A measure carried by Rep. Alex Attwood (St. Simons) to strengthen the state wildlife license tag program was approved by the House last week and now needs only the companion bill carried by Sen. Ben Watson (Savannah) to pass the Senate to open the door for additional funding of coastal habitat projects. Coastal Conservation Association Georgia is the sponsor for HB 736 and has high hopes for the potential of the legislation. “We are truly grateful to Rep. Attwood and Sen. Watson for their work on behalf of recreational angling and our marine resources. HB 736 will ensure that the wildlife license tag program will be able to grow and sustain itself far into the future,” said Brooks Binder, chairman of CCA Georgia’s Government Relations Committee. “We have a great opportunity to provide our citizens, particularly those with an interest in our coastal area, with a new wildlife tag to provide voluntary funding for marine habitat conservation, restoration, and enhancement.” HB 736 will be a simple amendment to the existing program to direct $19 of every wildlife tag to a restricted fund administered by the Coastal Resources Division (CRD) of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, $1 paid to the local tag-issuing authority, and $5 to the General Fund. The Marine Habitat Conservation Fund administered by CRD would be used exclusively for projects to restore and enhance marine habitats through oyster reef creation, construction of manmade reefs along the shorelines of tidal rivers and creeks, and construction of manmade reefs in the Atlantic Ocean.

In addition to providing habitat for aquatic species, these projects also provide nursery and foraging areas of many reptile, bird and mammal species. Oyster reefs also help stabilize shorelines protecting them from the effects of storm erosion. None of the restricted funds will be used for administrative, overhead or salary costs. “We believe that the marine habitat conservation tag is a great opportunity to enact smart public policy that does not require any new tax revenue or allocation of existing tax revenue from other programs,” said Binder. If all goes well and the coastal license tag becomes reality, CCA Georgia is ready with a recommendation for what the image on the tag should be. “The red drum is Georgia’s state saltwater fish and was given gamefish status by CCA Georgia efforts with the Georgia Legislature a few years ago,” said Binder. “Given the popularity of this species with anglers and its reliance of the marine habitats to be conserved by the funds generated by this tag, we think that this iconic fish would be a fantastic candidate for the first coastal tag.” ### BROOKS SCHOEN bsgofish@gmail.com 404-786-1626 M

CCA March 8th Seminar – Walter Hopkins and Chad Dubose of Rivers & Glen Trading Company

CCA – March Meeting & Seminar – March 14th – (Correction NOT March 8) 

The Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) of Skidaway will present an introduction to fly fishing at the March meeting and seminar to be held on Monday, March 14, at St. Peter’s Church beginning at 7:00 pm.  Walter Hopkins and Chad Dubose of Rivers & Glen Trading Company will be the featured speakers.

Walter and Chad will give attendees an overview of fly-fishing knots, casting, flies for fishing for coastal gamefish and fishing the lagoons in The Landings, as well as a complete rundown of the tackle needed, such as fly rods, reels, line, tools, and accessories.

Walker Hopkins is the owner of Rivers & Glen Trading Co. with locations in downtown Savannah and Augusta, Ga.  His two passions are golf and fly fishing, having over 20 years of fly-fishing experience in the Rocky Mountains West, Patagonia, and most of the Southeast.  He truly enjoys showing others his love and passion for fishing, whether salt or freshwater.

Chad DuBose is the manager of Rivers & Glen in its Savannah location.  He has been a fly- fishing guide in Montana for the summer season, and 2016 will be his 6th year guiding in there, following a winter spent guiding in Patagonia.  Having also fished Canada and too many states in the US to count, there are not many weeks in the year Chad is not on the water.

A fly-casting rod from Rivers & Glen will be the March raffle prize for attendees.

CCA is a non-profit organization with chapters on the Atlantic, Pacific, and Gulf Coasts.  For more information about CCA of Skidaway contact Joe Tyson, 598-8765.  For more information about CCA’s Georgia District, contact Tom Rood, 598-9753.  For information about this month’s meeting and seminar, contact Dave Devore, 330-329-6457.  Area residents are invited to attend the CCA of Skidaway meetings and seminars held on the second Monday of the month at St. Peter’s Church.

Photo:  Chad DuBose holding a Redfish (popular gamefish species in the low country) caught on a fly in shallow water at low tide this January.

Donate Now for Joe’s Cut Habitat Project

DONATE NOW

Don’t Wait! Help CCA raise $12,000 to implement Joe’s Cut reef enhancement. Two of our four committed habitat projects (the Savannah Reef Enhancement and the Henry Vassa Cate piling reconstruction off Jekyll Island) were completed in 2015 at a cost of $34,200 to CCA GA. The next up of the final two projects is the Joe’s Cut reef enhancement scheduled to be completed in the April/May time frame and will require us to raise an additional $12,000. Joe’s Cut inshore artificial reef is located in Wassaw Sound. This reef was constructed in the 1980s but materials are mostly now covered in sediment. The intention is to deploy 50 Fish Attracting Devices (FADs) like the one shown below: Various forms of marine life will colonize these structures and should create improved fishing opportunities in this popular and easily accessed location. Thus far in 2016, we have received about $1300 in CCA member donations to go towards this project, so we need about $10,700 to get Joe’s Cut implemented by the April timeframe. So, we’re asking you, our CCA members, to again consider making a tax free contribution (CCA GA is a 501C3 organization so all donations are tax deductible) to help us obtain these needed funds. And, we have an easy way for you to make your contribution. Please click on the “Donate Now” button above or below and follow the instructions to make an on-line contribution or to obtain a Habitat Project Donation form to fill-out and mail in. Thank you for your consideration of this request. We will keep you posted on our progress of meeting our goal of making the reef enhancement at Joe’s Cut a reality.

PLEASE: DONATE NOW

CCA GA at National Seminar Series

On Saturday, February 6th, CCA GA had a booth at George Proveromo’s National Seminar Series stop held at the Armstrong Conference Center in Savannah. This fishing seminar was co-hosted by Georgia’s DNR/CRD Executive Director- Spud Woodward and had about 300 anglers who paid to attend the show. Former CCA GA board member and one of Savannah’s premiere fishing guides- Roger Burge was a presenter at the seminar. Pictured above is CCA GA membership chair- Pat Brooks and his son Walker manning our booth. Our interactions with the crowd resulted in signing up 15 new CCA members and getting one donation to our Habitat Conservation projects. Tom Rood- CCA GA Chairman and Skidaway member – Dave Devore also spent time at the booth answering questions about who we are and what we do.

Godspeed to Fred “SMOKE” Craig

cca fred craig photoGodspeed to our friend, Fred “SMOKE” Craig. We will always remember your bright smile, keen wit and incredible stories of your Blue Angel and USMC adventures. You contribution to Coastal Conservation and enthusiasm for CCA Skidaway was a blessing to us all.

Semper Fi!

Use the link below for some photos and tributes by many ofScreen Shot 2016-02-07 at 8.04.10 AM Fred’s closest friends. E.G. running into an old dear friend while signing autographs after a Blue Angels show at Andrews:

“..the startled mob standing all around, somewhat taken aback by our spectacular display of camaraderie at its center. We were finally brought back to the business at hand when one of the spectators– a comely, buxom blonde lass called out, “Damn, all I got was an autograph.” Fred spent hours poring through my archive on ‘his’ Blues …”

www.loylessfuneralhomes.com/obituaries/obituary-listings?obId=715741#/obituaryInfo

Live From The Field

Skidaway CCA January 2015 Meeting and Free Public Seminar.  Shallow water fishing in the Southeast Coastal Georgia waters will be the focus of the CCA of Skidaway’s January meeting to be held on Monday, January 11, at St. Peter’s Church beginning at 7:00 pm. This is free and open to the public. The panel of speakers, which will consist of Landings residents Robert Hale, Matt Amman, and Mark McGarity, will discuss the techniques necessary to be successful with live bait, artificial bait, and with fly tackle for saltwater species. Collectively, the panel has over 80 years of shallow water fishing experience, and they appreciate the challenges associated with catching fish during seasonal weather changes. This will be an interactive seminar. Come prepared to learn some great fishing tips!

CCA Georgia Banquets

Each chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association Georgia sponsors an annual fundraising banquet. While these banquets vary by chapter (some banquets may feature a sit down dinner with crystal and linen, while other banquets may feature home cooked barbeque or a low country shrimp boil), one thing, is certain; you will have a fantastic time, meet new friends, and chances are, will go home with some very unique prizes!  

CCA Georgia’s banquets include raffles, silent auctions and live auctions. Auction items typically include everything from name brand sunglasses to rods and reels to exotic trips to Europe, South America, the Caribbean and Africa. Bring along your spouse and friends and be prepared for a fun filled evening!  See you at the next banquet!

For detailed information on any of our fundraising banquets, please contact the CCA GA state office at 1-912-927-0280 or send an email to Stephanie Barkley – sbarkley@ccaga.org