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Re: Requesting advice/help from the TU guys on the site

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From Bethlehem, PA
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The PFBC does not have to fund the project.

Posted on: 2013/2/15 7:41
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Re: Requesting advice/help from the TU guys on the site

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Squaretail,

The logic and reason is simple – there are certain organizations that are powerful and well funded with contacts in all the right places and they are better able to get fund money funneled their way for projects they want to do than organizations that don’t have the deep pockets and the political contacts. Don’t kid yourself, most of this isn’t about restoration for the good of the stream it’s about companies lobbying for fund money and all they care are about is finding the easiest “sell” project so they and not others can get their hands on the money. This is exactly how public works projects work. How many public work projects do you see that you shake your head and wonder what was someone thinking when they determined that needed to be done? No different.

The bottom line is BS had a great story – a fabled past that somehow went into decline and became a shadow of its former glory but with the right help from man it can be brought back to its former glory (even though it was reaching its former glory on its own and didn’t need help). The Little Conemaugh, what story does it have? The LC has always been a marginal stream that never really amounted to anything but we think with some help it maybe could become a good stream? Not a good story at all.

Go to the national TU website and check out their financials. They are not a small organization and they control millions and millions and millions of dollars in money for stream projects. And there are lots and lots of corporate donors to TU who want to get their hands on this money and it goes to those who have the best connections and not necessarily the most meaningful projects. Don’t think some PA company from county A donates $25k to TU and doesn’t expect to get that back plus more for work they can do on some stream in their area. Trust me, if that company kept donating $25k/year and all the TU money was being allocated to stream work on the other side of the state and they didn’t get a piece of it, that annual donation would come to a screeching halt.

Posted on: 2013/2/15 8:29


Re: Requesting advice/help from the TU guys on the site

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2010/3/29 6:56
From Portage, PA
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I am planning to reaching out to a few of the "environmentally hazardous" operations and see if they will put in a few bucks to help with this project. It would be good PR for them to actually do something for stream improvements, considering the mine they took over is essentially, wiping out the Little Conemaugh. Maybe set up a few fund raisers and things of that nature. Search deep and wide for any types of programs that require companies to put money back towards the environment. Maybe even hit up a few of the Marcellus guys, and see what I can do. The point is, the only thing I am not gaining by not going with the commission is the 3,000 grant and possible assistance in setting up a management plan.

I recieved the list and there is nothing in Cambria county to build from. I recieved positive words of encouragement from the contact in charge of the stream improvement committe. I may take photos of the stream and submit them to him to review with his team and see if they can give me any advice on what to place where. I may try and request a bilologist to come out and help me with the assessment. I have a very good friend who is affiliated with DEP that I used to conduct water quality test with in the area, so I may get some help in that area as well.

I still support the PFBC, I just hope that the streams on this list that show "no work has been started" actually do get work done. Just stinks that you have an organization ready to take a step, right now to do something, but has to wait until any of the priority streams are handled first.....

Bummer but it is the way things go. I may just have to think "Suck it up Sally, and Get it done" ;)

Posted on: 2013/2/15 9:36
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Re: Requesting advice/help from the TU guys on the site

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2006/9/13 10:18
From LV
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So did you contact Lenny Lichvar yet? He's the commissioner in that area, and has been working in that watershed for a very long time, probably 30 years. My guess is no you haven't.

Posted on: 2013/2/15 11:37
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It's time to stop stocking all wild trout streams no matter what Classification they are, and time to eradicate brown trout in some of our limestone streams and re-establish brookies in them.


Re: Requesting advice/help from the TU guys on the site

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2006/11/2 8:50
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The Little Conemaugh does not support wild trout, and is not stocked by the PFBC. And the original post says that it has pretty good pool and cover habitat.

Given those factors, it should not be surprising that the stream is not at the top of the PFBC priority list.

Also, despite the length of this thread, nothing has yet been posted about what the actual problem(s) you think exist and that you hope to fix. Your description indicated that the pool and cover habitat is pretty good. So why "fix" it if it isn't broken? The point of habitat improvement projects is to work on stream stretches where pool and cover habitat is poor, because of historical disturbances, limiting the ability of the stream to hold trout.

But if you think there are problems that need addressing, you probably will get the best results going through groups that have already been working in the watershed for decades, i.e. the TU chapter already mentioned, and The Stonycreek-Conemaugh River Improvement Project.

Posted on: 2013/2/15 12:17


Re: Requesting advice/help from the TU guys on the site

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2009/10/15 13:45
From Eastern PA
Posts: 10220
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You have identified a stream, however you have not identified a problem I agree with Chaz (pass around the smelling salts) and Troutbert. You have created a "Conversation Committee" and had yourself appointed as same. Your passion and concern are admirable, however it seems that you may be misdirected in your goals. Or maybe you don't understand the complexity of what you are trying to undertake. You dismiss the PFBC stating, in so many words, that you don't care about their $3,000 and assistance in setting up a management plan. I don't know, nor would I care, about the $3,000 as that is preciously squat when it comes to stream improvement projects. However the management plan? Do you have any idea what so ever on what this entails? Have you read the GP forms? Do you know what the GP forms and apps are for in relation to stream improvements? I can tell you right now it's a hell of a daunting task, yet you seem determined to ignore advice given by very knowledgeable a people because you have to make it a us versus them thing.

IT SEEMS THAT YOU ASK QUESTIONS, YOU GET ANSWERS YOU DON'T LIKE THEN PROCEED TO MOVE ON LIKE A BULL IN A CHINA SHOP.

You are talking about soliciting funds for this imaginary project. This simply does nothing but take valuable resources from people who know what to do with the money. Do your research. You need to coordinate with your county conservation district. They may tell you they surveyed this stream last year, applied for every grant in the world and was told to go pound sand as it was an impossible shithole.

Lastly, have you performed in stream studies? Micro and macros? Have you determined variations in years? Have provided a single piece of documentation of the "impairment"?

Go out and take a bunch of photos. Take a video and publish it on Youtube, link it here and then ask some questions. You may get some relevant responses.

Posted on: 2013/2/15 18:15


Re: Requesting advice/help from the TU guys on the site

Joined:
2009/10/15 13:45
From Eastern PA
Posts: 10220
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Quote:

GreenWeenie wrote:
Squaretail,

The logic and reason is simple – there are certain organizations that are powerful and well funded with contacts in all the right places and they are better able to get fund money funneled their way for projects they want to do than organizations that don’t have the deep pockets and the political contacts. Don’t kid yourself, most of this isn’t about restoration for the good of the stream it’s about companies lobbying for fund money and all they care are about is finding the easiest “sell” project so they and not others can get their hands on the money. This is exactly how public works projects work. How many public work projects do you see that you shake your head and wonder what was someone thinking when they determined that needed to be done? No different.

The bottom line is BS had a great story – a fabled past that somehow went into decline and became a shadow of its former glory but with the right help from man it can be brought back to its former glory (even though it was reaching its former glory on its own and didn’t need help). The Little Conemaugh, what story does it have? The LC has always been a marginal stream that never really amounted to anything but we think with some help it maybe could become a good stream? Not a good story at all.

Go to the national TU website and check out their financials. They are not a small organization and they control millions and millions and millions of dollars in money for stream projects. And there are lots and lots of corporate donors to TU who want to get their hands on this money and it goes to those who have the best connections and not necessarily the most meaningful projects. Don’t think some PA company from county A donates $25k to TU and doesn’t expect to get that back plus more for work they can do on some stream in their area. Trust me, if that company kept donating $25k/year and all the TU money was being allocated to stream work on the other side of the state and they didn’t get a piece of it, that annual donation would come to a screeching halt.


GW,
While I respect your position and understand your feelings with Big Spring, I think your overall understanding and view of stream restoration maybe a bit out of whack. BS is a very low gradient stream which lead to stream improvement projects that reflect the same (for better or worse).

Regarding TU national, I very much disagree with your position on fundraising and concentration of efforts. Some of the biggest protection issues they are spending their money on, such as Bristol Bay, are not receiving large local/regional donations. In fact, there is usually quite a controversy inside of national TU on the membership contributions of east coast versus west cost and the disproportional distribution of resources and efforts out west.

I don't follow your last paragraph. Are you stating a company in Centre County PA will donate $25k in expectation of receiving at least $25k in business favors in return? I would be very surprised to see any single private entity donating $25k per year to any given local chapter.

Posted on: 2013/2/15 18:26


Re: Requesting advice/help from the TU guys on the site

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Jdaddy, TU national is a big business although not for profit. There are millions and millions of dollars available for projects and there are companies that specialize in stream work. It is no different than companies that specialize in road design, bridge design, parking garage design, etc., wherever money is available for boutiquette projects, boutiquette firms are there trying to get their hands on it and tring to convince the money holder that their project is best.

And with all due respect, when you state that there is strong disagreement between east coast and west coast expenditures based on disproportionate allocations of funds, that is exactly what I am saying. If an east coast firm was truly concerned with protecting cold water fisheries, it shouldn't matter where the money is spent IF it is going to the highest priority projects irrespective of location. But it isn't it is going to those with the most pull within and they want their equal share of the pie. Why do companies make political donations? To get their fair share of work.

My last paragraph was an illustration of the above.

Posted on: 2013/2/15 20:48


Re: Requesting advice/help from the TU guys on the site

Joined:
2006/9/13 10:18
From LV
Posts: 7214
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GW, the way you characterize the funds available to TU as millions and millions, well you can say that, but on a scale of 1 to 10 millions and millions is a drop in the bucket compared to what GDP is. I know you have an axe to grind, but it's not appropriate in this discussion.

Posted on: 2013/2/15 21:48
_________________
It's time to stop stocking all wild trout streams no matter what Classification they are, and time to eradicate brown trout in some of our limestone streams and re-establish brookies in them.


Re: Requesting advice/help from the TU guys on the site

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Posts: 5782
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For those critiquing stream projects, do not assume that they are all TU projects. Find out who actually is sponsoring them.

Many of the projects, including many of the large, expensive projects, are not TU projects.

For example, here are 3 of the larger "natural channel design" projects in PA. None were TU projects:

1) Big Bear Creek

2) Bentley Creek

3) Lycoming Creek

Posted on: 2013/2/15 22:09


Re: Requesting advice/help from the TU guys on the site

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2009/10/15 13:45
From Eastern PA
Posts: 10220
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I know nothing about the validity of this site purposing this, so I will not cite it's credibility. I will note the site appears to be hostile toward TU and it's charitable receiving/giving. However, they are stating they annual budget of TU is $20m. Not exactly big bucks.


Separate and unrelated, I was checking out the bottom of this site:

http://www.undueinfluence.com/trout_unlimited.htm

I noted the 35 foundation grants totaling $10,747,500 made to TU from 2000-2006. $5,990,000 came from Philadelphia.

The other $4,000,000 came from a trust in CA.

At any rate a $20,000,000 operating budget is not very much when you consider some of the multi-million dam removals performed annually, etc. As a comparison, NRA operating budget is around $300,000,000. Want to see some crazy numbers? Take a look at Ducks Unlimited. Those guys have their stuff together.

But to say National TU is big business and a lucrative target for profit organizations? $20,000.000? Among many, many states and projects? It;s not big business. Take the BS project that you frequently speak of and I am sure that 90% of TU's "donations" were "in kind labor donations".

Some interesting information into TU venture into trust and easements:

http://www.tu.org/easternlandprotection

http://www.tu.org/easternlandprotection/clcf

Posted on: 2013/2/15 23:22


Re: Requesting advice/help from the TU guys on the site

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2008/9/12 12:41
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20mil is what runs through their books. Securing a 1mil or whatever amount state or federal grant or other private conserancy grant doesn't always run through their books. An org like tu has the ability to access these funds and these funds get spent on something and there are a lot of companies who want to be the ones who get this money.

All I'm saying is which projects get attention doesn't necessarily mean those are the most deserving. If there are 10 projects looking for funding and only enough money to fund 5, those projects with the most push behind them get the money and the push isn't necessarily for the most needed projects.


Posted on: 2013/2/16 7:45


Re: Requesting advice/help from the TU guys on the site
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Trout Unlimited is the only major national organization made up of local chapters with the goal of both conserving and enhancing coldwater fisheries....the places we all love.

They have done a lot of great things, but much more help is needed given the threats from development and industry. Give a little time and/or money to your local TU chapter to preserve and enhance the last remaining CW fisheries.

The Grinch stole Christmas....don't let him steal our streams by using nonsense, drivel and propaganda to poison our opinion about a great organization, with a lot of good folks, that accomplish great things with very little money and even less help.

Attach file:



jpg  Grinch.jpg (7.59 KB)
53_511f879ed6399.jpg 289X174 px

Posted on: 2013/2/16 8:20

Edited by afishinado on 2013/2/16 8:36:15


Re: Requesting advice/help from the TU guys on the site

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I am not saying they aren't a great organization with good intentions what I am saying is they have politics just like everywhere else so don't blindly put your faith in them and think everything they are doing is the right thing. If there is a useful project that could use their help, you need to get a lot of support behind the project to make it happen - you can't just rely on the project itself to make it happen. You need to get the right people behind the project because they are the ones who can make things happen.

Ignoring the stream for a minute, if mike Richardson and the head of tu both called the pfbc about state fund or grant money available to fix a stream and both gave the exact same reasons why it should be fixed, mike gets no attention, tu gets attention. And if you want something done you've got to get the tu people behind your project and its more than just its a good project. There is money involved that exchanges hands in these projects and while some stuff is donated, companies make money off these projects.

Do you think GLeim environmental restores streams for free or do you think they make money off these projects?

It's similar to a land developer who buys a tract of farmland and wishes to rezone it and build a shopping mall. They get the right attorneys, engineers, contractors, unions, etc., behind the project and that's how it gets done. It is the same thing at tu except on a smaller and different scale but the mechanisms for getting it done are very similar.


Posted on: 2013/2/16 9:05


Re: Requesting advice/help from the TU guys on the site
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Quote:

GreenWeenie wrote:
20mil is what runs through their books. Securing a 1mil or whatever amount state or federal grant or other private conserancy grant doesn't always run through their books. An org like tu has the ability to access these funds and these funds get spent on something and there are a lot of companies who want to be the ones who get this money.

All I'm saying is which projects get attention doesn't necessarily mean those are the most deserving. If there are 10 projects looking for funding and only enough money to fund 5, those projects with the most push behind them get the money and the push isn't necessarily for the most needed projects.



All of the monies that are spent on projects at the local chapter level are reported through the Finanacial Reports. I am not sure if they are included in the $20mil figure. I'd bet they are. TU national has ZERO input or influence on Chapter level projects. These chapter level projects (at least in PA) are typically funded by state or federal dollars and the grading system to fund projects has become increasingly more difficult. The first test of muster is whether the project is on a watershed designated as impaired. These places get all the dough.

It is true there is a little "wag the dog" going on in the construction industry. But even that has become less prevailant. When money is available the contractors come out of the woodwork to court TU chapters for work. As Jdaddy said any value that exchanges hands between contractor and chapter are typically in-kind donations for match and perhaps loss-leader investment toward projects funding. (ie. help with grant writing, project scope recommendations, etc.)

Your last line suggests there is corruption involved. This could be true but it is not in TU's to pick the projects funded at state and federal levels.

If anything the Contractors are a big help to bring money to regions and watersheds in which a TU chapter that would otherwise not have the resources to do alone.

Its not a perfect system but with any system in any industry where there are copetitive cash cow funds, one soon learns the path of least resistance whether sponsor or funding awarded contractor. It is up to the cow to sort it out. And they do a pretty good job of making the red tape wider each year. Hurdles higher and obstacles more difficult to navigate.

But make no mistake, the decisions to which projects are priority are ultimately determined by the Chapter BOD, Which ones funded by the Cash Cow, and the contractors selected through an Request For Proposal process.

Its not surprising that those not directly involved in the process see the suggestion of innappropriateness but there are clear tests of muster to prevent the corruption you allude to.

Posted on: 2013/2/16 10:38
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