Attacks on Clean Water Act Continue

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New Trout Unlimited report documents importance of small streams to clean water and fishing in America

AS CONGRESSIONAL ATTACKS ON THE CLEAN WATER ACT CONTINUE, ANGLERS MUST MOBILIZE TO PROTECT HABITAT AND FISHING OPPORTUNITY

WASHINGTON, D.C.—A new report from Trout Unlimited details the importance of small seasonal streams across America to the overall health of the country’s rivers, its fish and fishing opportunity, and it asks anglers to take action to protect these waters by contacting their members of Congress and telling lawmakers to keep the Clean Water Act intact.

Rising to the Challenge: How Anglers Can Respond to Threats to Fishing in America is a brief report and a call to action for all who fish in the United States. Trout Unlimited scientists mapped how small streams influence historic native trout and salmon habitat in 16 states. Legislation in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate would halt a rulemaking process that would restore protections to small “intermittent and ephemeral” headwater streams under the Clean Water Act.

The proposed rule, drafted by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers, was crafted in response to two Supreme Court rulings in the 2000s that jeopardized 30 years of protections given to small headwater streams under the Clean Water Act. The Court questioned the nexus between these waters—which run low or dry at certain times of the year—and larger rivers downstream. In the aftermath of the court’s decision, dozens of interests, including the American Petroleum Institute and the National Association of Home Builders, requested that the federal government issue clarifying rules.

Both agencies have since affirmed scientifically that there is, indeed, a substantial connection between these small waters and the navigable waterways into which they feed, and the rule clarifies that connection, as required by the court.

The draft rule is currently in the public comment phase, but if proposed legislation is approved, the entire rulemaking process would be derailed.

Rising to the Challenge further details the importance of these small waters and incorporates maps showing the vital nature of headwater streams to the overall health of rivers, as well as how they contribute to successful angling across the United States.

“Small, seasonal streams are vital spawning and rearing areas for fish, and are the sources of cold, clean water that make up larger rivers,” said Chris Wood, president and CEO of Trout Unlimited. “All we are asking for is that the Clean Water Act protects small streams as it did so stunningly well for the first 30 years under the Clean Water Act. If Congress succeeds in stopping their protections, fishing and opportunities to fish will seriously decline from pollution and development.

“Anglers need to make their voices heard. Tell Congress to let the rulemaking process continue, and to suggest changes to the rule through the established process rather than killing it altogether for political reasons. Playing politics with clean water and fishing opportunity is not acceptable.”

The report includes comprehensive maps showing these “intermittent and ephemeral” streams for 16 states where intact headwaters and their seasonal streams contribute greatly to overall river health as well as angling opportunity. The full report, as well as individual, print-ready maps produced by TU’s Science Team with data from the United States Geological Survey are available for download by news outlets here.

“Smaller headwater and ephemeral streams are the life support system for our larger waters, providing essential cold water, nutrients and woody material,” said Jack Williams, TU’s senior scientist. “Restoring their protective status under the Clean Water Act is an elementary step toward protecting fish and fishing all across the country.”

Trout Unlimited is the nation’s oldest and largest coldwater fisheries conservation organization dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North America’s trout and salmon and their watersheds. Follow TU on Facebook and Twitter, and visit us online at tu.org.

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AFFTA Announces New Ex-officio Board

AFFTA is excited to announce a change in our former Advisory Board.  The Advisory Board has been transitioned into an Ex-officio Board role, participating as full board members, but without voting rights. These positions will be appointed for one-year terms. This transition will provide AFFTA with a greater voice, guidance and support from industry professionals.

Our first Ex-officio board member is David S. Heller, his biography is listed below and we are keen to welcome David aboard!

David brings more than 25 years of Outdoor Industry experience to the AFFTA board, including past President and Co-Owner of Ross Reels USA / Ross Worldwide Outdoors, and most recently working with Winston Rod Company as Vice President of Sales and Marketing. David has previously served as AFFTA’s Vice Chairman, lead the change in Board nominating procedures to support greater Board diversity and most recently work with AFFTA’s EXCOM to revise industry bylaws that better support transparency and Member equality.

 David earned his B.A. in English literature from Colorado College and a minor in finance and marketing from the University of London. He is community-minded and is committed to making a difference in the world. In this spirit, David has held or currently holds board of director positions with Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Rocky Mountain Research and Injury Prevention Institute and River Reach Youth Initiative; an organization focused on the preservation of Colorado’s South Platte River Valley though education and youth volunteer participation. David is an avid fly fisherman, bird hunter and horseback field trailer. He is also an avid triathlete and ultra marathoner who recently finished his first full Ironman.

2014 David Heller, Photo,

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Our Voices Were Heard, YOU Helped Protect the Clean Water Act!

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As Chris Hunt (Communications Director for Trout Unlimited and AFFTA Board Member) recently blogged, the Clean Water Act was in danger.  On Friday we learned that a bill moving through the Senate Appropriations Committee would derail the Clean Water Act and, in turn, put our fisheries and drinking water at risk.

Within hours our industry mobilized and called/emailed/tweeted our elected federal officials.  We posted alerts on Facebook and Twitter.  We gave our fellow anglers a nudge to do the same.  And our efforts worked!

It was announced late last night that the proposed amendment is now dead.  However the work is not over.  Comment period for the Clean Water Act is ongoing into July.  Submit your comment TODAY and continue to stand up for our fisheries.  Together we DO make a difference!

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ACT TODAY on behalf of our fisheries! Support the Clean Water Act!

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A spending bill in the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee shouldn’t be the place the Clean Water Act gets neutered, but if a handful of senators on the committee have their way this week, that’s exactly what could happen.

Earlier this spring, the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers announces a proposed rule to clarify the protection given to small headwater streams by the Clean Water Act—a couple of misguided Supreme Court decisions in the early and mid-2000s muddied the water and left some of the most important trout and salmon habitat unprotected under the CWA.

This rule is now out for public comment, and will be well into July. But, if committee allows the spending bill to be amended by senators willing to play politics with clean water, then the rulemaking just becomes a colossal waste of time.

To that end, Trout Unlimited is asking anglers across the nation to contact the committee’s members and let them know that sportsmen aren’t too keen with politicians interfering with quality fish habitat and their fishing opportunity. Because the amendment is a last-minute development, TU is asking anglers to call, not write or e-mail, members of the committee, particularly if their senator or senators are on the committee.

“As many anglers know, few laws have helped sustain and restore America’s coldwater fisheries more than the Clean Water Act,” said Steve Moyer, TU’s vice president for government affairs. “Since 1972, the Clean Water Act has improved water quality in thousands of our nation’s streams and made fishing better for everyone. We now have the chance to restore protections to perhaps the most important waters in the country and a handful of senators want to stop that from happening, largely for political reasons. That’s not acceptable.”

Headwater streams provide vital spawning and rearing habitat for trout and salmon, and they contribute cold, clean water to countless American watersheds—water that ends up coming out of taps and faucets all over America. Protecting these waters is a huge priority for TU and for anglers across the country, Moyer said.

“We need anglers to step up and call their senators on this one,” he said. “It’s hugely important that we be heard and that the committee leadership nips this amendment in the bud.”

Chris Hunt is the national communications director for Trout Unlimited, and an AFFTA board member.

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AFFTA Board of Directors Nominations Now Open

AFFTA Board of Directors Nominations Now Open

Let Your Voice Be Heard! Board Positions Open to All AFFTA Members

Overview

The American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA) is pleased to announce that it is now accepting submissions for open Board of Director positions. AFFTA seeks to maintain a strong, balanced, strategic-thinking Board that accurately represents the varied businesses in the fly fishing industry. As a member-driven organization, AFFTA solicits candidates each year to fill open seats on the Board of Directors to represent the interests of the fly fishing industry and all AFFTA members. Submissions will be accepted through Wednesday July 18, 2014.

Do you want to be a leader in the fly fishing industry and help make decisions that will shape the future of fly fishing for years to come? Are you passionate about the fly fishing industry, conservation and the recruitment of new fly fishing participants? If you answered yes to any of these questions, we encourage you to submit your bio today and help lead our industry into the future!

Board Member Requirements

The requirements to serve as an AFFTA Board Member are as follows:
► Be an AFFTA member in good standing
► Participation in at least two sub-committees
► Attend three board meetings per year.
► Travel, lodging, phone and most food expenses associated with AFFTA events/meetings; expenses are not covered by AFFTA and are the responsibility of the Member
► Support AFFTA’s mission of promoting the sustained growth of the fly fishing industry
► Help develop and guide the association’s actions with respect to organizational priorities and strategic planningby staying informed about AFFTA matters, preparing in advance for meetings, reviewing and commenting on documents and reporting on issue of concern to the association in a professional and timely manner
► Three year board term

Bio Submission
To be considered for a Board position, your bio must be emailed to the AFFTA Corporate Office no later than July 18, 2014. The email address is info@affta.com.

YOUR ONE-PAGE BIO SHOULD INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION:
Complete contact information
Personal background information to support your bid for an AFFTA board position
A summary of why you are interested in serving the fly fishing trade

All Board Member nominees’ bios and a voting ballot will be emailed to the AFFTA membership by August 1, 2014. Voting must be completed on or before August 15, 2014. Votes will be tallied on August 18, 2014. The top vote recipients will be contacted that day to inform them that they have become the newest AFFTA Board Members. A broadcast email will be sent to all AFFTA members on August 19, 2014 to announce the newly elected directors.

New Board Members will take office at the Board of Directors meeting held at the October 20, 2014 Board Meeting Location and Date TBD.

AFFTA Election Timetable

►June 12, 2014 – Nominations Process Begins
► July 18, 2014 Bios due
►August 1, 2014 – Bios and Ballots Emailed to Membership
►August 15, 2014 – Return Ballot Deadline
► August 18, 2014 – Votes Tallied and New AFFTA Board Members Notified
►August 19, 2014 – New Board Member Announcement Membership and Public
►October 20, 2014 Fall Board Meeting Location TBD

Board Diversity

The AFFTA Board of Directors consists of fifteen elected members and one ex-officio Member. The desired make-up of the Board consists of no fewer than two Members representing each category of the industry; manufacturers, retailers, sales representatives, media, and travel/guides. To maintain this diversity, elections will first focus on the appointment of Members to support the two member category representation. If candidate resources do not support this effort, Board positions will then be filled with Members who receive the highest number of votes.

Based on the current board term expirations, there are currently four Board of Director seats to be filled with this election. To maintain the diversity of the board as outlined in the AFFTA bylaws, the association is searching out at least 1 Media/ PR/Mrktg/Associations/Government/Educational, 2 Sales Representative, and 1 at large open seat.

If you have any questions about running for the AFFTA Board of Directors please feel free to contact any of the Nominating Committee Members listed below or the AFFTA office at 406-522-1556

Michael White- michael@blueribbonreps.com Chairperson
Jen Lavigne- Jen@waterworks-lamson.com
Jim Klug- jim@yellowdogflyfishing.com
Riley Cotter- rcotter@umpqua.com
Ben Bulis- ben@affta.com

 

 

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Clean Water Act

AMERICAN FLY FISHING TRADE ASSOCIATION ∙ BACKCOUNTRY HUNTERS AND ANGLERS ∙ B.A.S.S., LLC ∙ BERKLEY CONSERVATION INSTITUTE ∙ BULL MOOSE SPORTSMEN’S ALLIANCE ∙ INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF FLY FISHERS ∙ IZAAK WALTON LEAGUE OF AMERICA ∙ NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION ∙ NORTH AMERICAN GROUSE PARTNERSHIP ∙ PHEASANTS FOREVER ∙ QUAIL FOREVER ∙ SNOOK AND GAMEFISH FOUNDATION ∙ THE NATURE CONSERVANCY ∙ THEODORE ROOSEVELT CONSERVATION PARTNERSHIP ∙ TROUT UNLIMITED

The Honorable Dianne Feinstein, Chair Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development
Committee on Appropriations Room S128, The Capitol Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Jack Reed, Chair Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
Committee on Appropriations
Room S128, The Capitol Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Lamar Alexander, Ranking Member Subcommittee on Energy and Water
Development Committee on Appropriations Room S128, The Capitol Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Lisa Murkowski, Ranking Member Subcommittee on Interior, Environment,
and Related Agencies Committee on Appropriations Room S128, The Capitol Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senators:
June 3, 2014
As sportsmen-conservation organizations representing millions of hunters and anglers nationwide, we ask you to oppose any legislation that would block the administration’s very deliberate and vital action to clarify and restore longstanding Clean Water Act protections for headwater streams and wetlands across the country.
America’s 47 million sportsmen rely on clean water for access to quality days in the field hunting, angling, and enjoying other outdoor-based recreation. When wetlands are drained and filled and streams are polluted, we lose the ability to pursue our passions and pass them on to our children. Moreover, pollution and destruction of headwater streams and wetlands threaten America’s hunting and fishing economy – which accounts for over $200 billion in economic activity each year and 1.5 million jobs, supporting rural communities in particular.
Since its enactment, the Clean Water Act has been highly successful at improving water quality and stemming the tide of wetlands loss. However, Clean Water Act safeguards for streams, lakes and wetlands have been eroding for over a decade because of a pair of Supreme Court decisions (Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook Cty. v. Army Corps of Engineers (2001) and Rapanos v.
United States (2006)) that cast doubt on more than 30 years’ worth of Clean Water Act implementation. As a result of the decisions, 60 percent of stream miles in the United States, which provide drinking water for more than 117 million Americans, are at increased risk of pollution and destruction. Wetlands are at risk as well. In fact, the rate of wetlands loss increased by 140 percent during the 2004-2009 period – the years immediately following the Supreme Court decisions. This is the first documented acceleration of wetland loss since the Clean Water Act was enacted more than 40 years ago during the Nixon administration.
There is widespread agreement that action is necessary to clear up the confusion caused by the SWANCC and Rapanos decisions. Stakeholders on all sides of the issue and the Supreme Court have called on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct a formal rulemaking to clearly define which waters the Act protects. Fortunately, the administration is doing just that. On March 25, 2014, the Corps and EPA jointly proposed a rule for public comment.
Members of our organizations, who include farmers, ranchers, landowners as well as conservationists, seek pragmatic, common sense solutions to restore protections for the nation’s wetlands, streams, and other waters that existed prior to the SWANCC decision. We also recognize the need to maintain existing exemptions that have been in the Act since 1977, including those for standard agricultural and silvicultural practices. The current rulemaking is the best chance in a generation to restore protections for streams, wetlands and other waters critical to our sporting traditions and outdoor economy, give greater certainty to the regulated communities and shore up longstanding agricultural exemptions.
We strongly oppose any legislation that would bar the administration from proceeding with the rulemaking, because it could prevent the public from commenting on and improving the proposed rule and it would perpetuate existing confusion over one of our bedrock conservation statutes and the inefficient implementation thereof. After more than a decade of confusion, we are finally in an open, public process to restore critical Clean Water Act protections for waters important to sportsmen, and it needs your support.
We know you understand the value of wetlands to waterfowl nesting, of headwater streams to trout and salmon spawning, of coastal estuaries to scores of food and gamefish, and of other waters to high-quality aquatic habitat critical to the success of hunters and anglers in the field. Therefore, we ask you once again to oppose any legislation that would scuttle the current Clean Water Act rulemaking.
We look forward to working with you in the months ahead to safeguard our waters, habitat, and the hunting and angling traditions that are important to so many Americans.

Sincerely,

American Fly Fishing Trade Association
Berkley Conservation Institute
Backcountry Hunters and Anglers
Bull Moose Sportsmen’s Alliance
B.A.S.S., LLC
International Federation of Fly Fishers
Izaak Walton League of America
National Wildlife Federation
North American Grouse Partnership
Pheasants Forever
Quail Forever
Snook and Gamefish Foundation
The Nature Conservancy
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership
Trout Unlimited

CC: The Honorable Barbara Mikulski, Chair, Committee on Appropriations
The Honorable Richard Shelby, Ranking Member, Committee on Appropriations Members, Energy and Water Development Subcommittee
Members, Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee

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AFFTA’s Letter to President Obama to Protect Bristol Bay

Jan. 29, 2014
To: President Barak Obama
From: The American Fly Fishing Trade Association
CC: Administrator Gina McCarthy, Environmental Protection Agency
Re: Pebble Mine, Bristol Bay, Alaska

 
Dear Mr. President:

As the industry association representing hundreds of fly fishing manufacturers, retailers, guides, outfitters and dealers from coast to coast, the American Fly Fishing Trade Association respectfully asks you to use existing provisions within the Clean Water Act to proactively prohibit the development of Pebble Mine in Alaska.

Our members have a keen understanding of the relationship between intact fish and game habitat and sporting opportunity—and the economic impact that relationship generates, both in Bristol Bay, Alaska, and across the nation. Simply put, Pebble would destroy more than 90 miles of high-quality salmon spawning and rearing streams and put hundreds more miles of fishable salmon waters in peril for years and years to come. It’s too risky, and our members vehemently oppose the development of this mine in this location.

Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act allows the Environmental Protection Agency to prohibit development in sensitive watersheds, like the Bristol Bay watershed in southwest Alaska. This watershed is home to the world’s largest and most economically important sockeye salmon runs, as well as some of the best fishing on earth for all five species of Pacific salmon, trophy rainbow trout, Dolly Varden, grayling and Arctic char. Our members, who provide everything from gear, lodging and travel to anglers all over America, believe this mine meets the requirements within this section of the Clean Water Act, and we urge you to direct the EPA to use this section and stop this mine in its tracks.

Alaska’s fishing industry is worth $1.5 billion each and every year, and the Bristol Bay fishery provides 14,000 jobs annually to the region and beyond. Risking this sustainable commercial and recreational fishing economy for a finite and ecologically toxic endeavor like Pebble Mine is simply not acceptable.

Please do everything in your power to stop this mine and protect our nation’s most vibrant fishery, the culture of the region, the booming commercial fishing industry in southwest Alaska and our country’s sporting heritage.

Respectfully,

Tucker Ladd, Chairman of the Board, American Fly Fishing Trade Association
Benjamin Bulis, President and Executive Director, American Fly Fishing Trade Association.

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Bi-Partisan Sportsmen’s Act

May 27, 2014

The Honorable Harry Reid Majority Leader
United States Senate Washington DC 20510

The Honorable Mitch McConnell Minority Leader
United States Senate Washington, DC 20510

Dear Leaders Reid and McConnell,

On behalf of the undersigned organizations and America’s 40 million hunters and anglers, we ask that you bring S. 2363, the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2014, to the floor of the United States Senate in the most expedited, bipartisan fashion possible.

The Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act includes sensible provisions to expand public access and conserve fish and wildlife habitat. It enjoys the support of every major hunting and angling organization in the country and that support has convinced an incredibly robust list of bipartisan Senators that S. 2363 deserves not only their support, but their active cosponsorship.

The risk to this important legislation lies not in its content, but in the perils of partisanship. America’s hunters and anglers, who annually contribute $200 billion to the national economy, deserve expedited floor action on this proposal which has matured in a bipartisan way over the last several months. Our groups urge you to work together in the same way the bill’s bipartisan cosponsors have done thus far, to bring S. 2363, the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2014, to the floor in a way that maximizes the bill’s chances for passage.

As you are no doubt aware, similar legislation in 2012 met with wholly unnecessary political failure late in the year. Another setback in the Senate would likely have implications for the sportsmen’s community for years. We are hopeful that with your leadership this regrettable situation is not repeated in 2014.

With the House having already passed a similar piece of legislation in a bipartisan manner, 40 million sportsmen await positive action by the United States Senate to make the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act a reality. Our organizations stand ready to work with you and all members of the Senate to ensure a positive vote in support of this bill. Indeed that work has been going on for more than two years. Failure to pass this now would be a step in the wrong direction for the future of our American hunting and angling traditions and the significant contributions of sportsmen and women to fish and wildlife conservation, from which all of our citizens benefit.

Please bring the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act to the floor in a manner that insures the bipartisan support necessary for final passage, and help us to ensure that future generations of Americans can enjoy our great outdoor traditions.

Sincerely,

American Fly Fishing Trade Association
American Sportfishing Association Archery Trade Association
Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies B.A.S.S., LLC
Berkley Conservation Institute
Boone & Crockett Club
Bowhunting Preservation Alliance
Campfire Club of America
Catch-A-Dream Foundation
Coastal Conservation Association
Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation Conservation Force
Dallas Safari Club
Delta Waterfowl Foundation
Ducks Unlimited
International Hunter Education Association – USA
Izaak Walton League of America
Masters of Foxhounds Association
Mule Deer Foundation
National Shooting Sports Foundation
National Trappers Association
National Wild Turkey Federation
National Wildlife Federation
North American Bear Foundation
North American Grouse Partnership
Pheasants Forever
Pope and Young Club
Quail Forever
Quality Deer Management Association
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
Ruffed Grouse Society
Safari Club International
Sand County Foundation
Texas Wildlife Association
The Conservation Fund
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership Tread Lightly!
U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance
Whitetails Unlimited
Wildlife Forever
Wildlife Management Institute
Wildlife Mississippi

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AFFTA Member Perk: Staples Advantage

AFFTA members now have another tool in their quiver…the Staples Advantage program can save thousands of dollars in the general cost of running a business.  Each member can purchase discounted supplies thanks to the buying power of the entire organization.  Contact Lauren Hemphill at: lauren.hemphill@staples.com or call 303.525.4802.

Once you get set up on the AFFTA Master Account, start reaping these benefits:

  • Discounted business pricing
  • Next business day delivery
  • Free delivery on all orders over $50, and $5 shipping on orders under $50
  • Easy online ordering
  • Invoicing or credit card payment options available

AFFTA Logo

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AFFTA Hires Communications Director

For Immediate Release:
Contact:
Ben Bulis
406-522-1556
ben@affta.com

American Fly Fishing Trade Association Hires Communications Director

 AFFTA Poised for Significant Growth With Acquisition of Seasoned Media Relations and Marketing Professional 

Bozeman, MT 3/27/14:  The American Fly Fishing Trade Association (AFFTA) has hired a Communications Director to effectively message to members and the general public to further AFFTA’s mission of promoting sustained growth of the fly fishing industry.  Becky Edwards enthusiastically accepted AFFTA’s offer and will begin her role as Communications Director on April 1, 2014.

Becky has over a decade of high-level media relations and communications strategy experience.  For the past four years she has owned and operated a communications and marketing consulting company, Sun Snow Creative, based in Bozeman, Montana.  In this capacity she advised on media relations, marketing, political advocacy and fundraising development to clients including conservation organizations, philanthropic foundations and for-profit ventures that held a deep appreciation for conservation and recreation at their core values.  Previously, Becky was a Public Relations Executive with MercuryCSC in Bozeman servicing the Montana Office of Tourism account.

Veterans of the fly-fishing industry may remember Becky as a former Dealer Services Rep at Simms Fishing Products in the early to mid 2000’s.  She stated: “I’m delighted to have the opportunity to work amongst all of the passionate members of the fly fishing industry again at this point in my career.  Working with AFFTA to develop and execute a strategic communications plan from the ground up is incredibly exciting.”

AFFTA president Ben Bulis remarked: “We’re positioning AFFTA to grow from the renewed vigor for the sport and industry we’ve witnessed over the past several years, and take it to the next level and beyond.  Becky is here to help us achieve some lofty goals.”

Becky can be reached at becky@affta.com or 406.570.9427.

AFFTA advocates for and promotes the sustained growth of the fly fishing industry.  By igniting consumer demand for products and services, providing businesses the tools to be successful, and advocating for access, protection and restoration of fishing waters, we will continue to enhance the passion and profitability of the sport of fly fishing. 

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