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Fishing Barge status on the rivers
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Mark Clements
Posted: Feb 14 2004, 05:15 AM


Hi Everyone,

Have some news that you all may be able to help me with. It seems that the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service is putting together a Comprehensive Conservation Plan for the Upper Mississippi River Refuge. This plan may call for some changes that I want you, the fishing public to be aware of. First of all, if you hear of any public meetings about the refuge, please attend them. They are putting together a long term plan for the river and if there is some service or "freedom" that you get to do on the river now and don't want to lose it, attend the meetings!

We just found out that our government may want to make changes to the Fishing Barge status on the rivers. This could range from eliminating this service to putting a large lease payment in place, to help with government costs. Whatever they come up with, it won't be the same as it has been for the last 64 years. How does this affect the fisherman. Well, you may have no place to go fishing or you may end up paying such high fees, that the business may close anyway. We won't know their intention until next month at a meeting. The problem with this is where will it stop, how far will this plan go. Perhaps one day, they will want the refuge to be one big park, where everyone can visit and not fish or hunt. This is pretty serious. We really don't know what is going to happen at this point.

We could use your help though. I am going to write a letter to let them know how many people and the kind of people who come to enjoy fishing in this area, give them an idea of who they may affect with their decision. If you have any pearls of wisdom or interesting stories of fishing here with your family or friends that I could either use or attach to my letter, I would sure appreciate it. We hope that this comes out well for everyone, but when your dealing with the government and officials who are making decisions in Washington, anything could happen. Send me what you can. Thanks for your help.

Mark Clements
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