Dedicated to promoting stewardship and responsible use of aquatic resources, fisheries and habitats.

News and announcements

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  • February 10, 2019 9:17 AM | Anonymous

    David Sommers pleaded guilty today in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to trafficking protected turtles.  

    On July 10, 2018, a grand jury charged Sommers with smuggling a package containing diamondback terrapins to Canada and several Lacey Act offenses for mislabeling the package and trafficking turtles domestically. Sommers pleaded guilty to one felony count of violating the Lacey Act and agreed to forfeit nearly 3,500 diamondback terrapin hatchlings. The Lacey Act is the nation’s oldest wildlife trafficking statute and prohibits falsely labeling packages containing wildlife, fish, or plants.

    Sommers acknowledged that he falsely labeled and trafficked turtles taken from their New Jersey marsh habitat from Aug. 7, 2014, through Oct. 24, 2017. According to the plea agreement, Sommers admitted to sending a package to Canada in 2014 containing 11 terrapin hatchlings. Sommers mislabeled the package as a book and underreported its value to avoid detection by customs authorities. Wildlife authorities from Environment and Climate Change Canada intercepted the package.

    Read whole article in the U.S. Department of Justice press release:

  • January 15, 2019 4:30 AM | Anonymous


    Why? We are holding the A.R.E.A. - North Central Region Conference - Fall 2019

    Where? The Great State of Michigan has offered to host and we accepted the invitation.

    Benefits? The Prime salmon run is on, great fishing opportunities are available, and a tour with perhaps a hands on session taking eggs at the weir. 

    Planning Committee being formed. If you would like to assist with the A.R.E.A. - North Central Region Conference - Fall 2019 - Planning Committee please let me know. Email 

    This is your Conference!   Be a part of it!  Mark your Calendars today!

    Michael R. Brand
    Aquatics Resource Education Association
    Board of Directors
    North Central Region Representative
    cell: 314-477-8120

  • November 08, 2018 7:53 AM | Anonymous


    RBFF’s 2018 State R3 Program Grants help fund state programs that are sustainable and replicable angler and boater recruitment, retention and reactivation (R3) initiatives and plans that focus on increasing fishing license sales and boat registrations to help achieve 60 million anglers in 60 months.

    The program is designed to support state R3 strategies that fall into one of two focus areas: (1) enhancing the capability of agencies to develop and implement effective angler and/or boater R3 efforts, and (2) implementing angler and/or boater retention or reactivation strategies to help increase participation to 60 million anglers in 60 months by utilizing RBFF’s Toolkits. Proposals are reviewed by RBFF staff and a Proposal Review Working Group, made up of industry Board members, Federal agency and NGO representatives.

    RBFF is no longer soliciting proposals for the 2018 State R3 Program Grants. The RFP for the next grants cycle will be available in 2019. Please view the 2018 State R3 Program Grants RFP and Application for current program information. 

    Contact Stephanie Hussey, State R3 Program Director, with any questions.

  • November 01, 2018 8:49 AM | Anonymous

    Vilmarie Roman shared the following announcement – Congrats Vilmarie! For more information about the program, you can contact her at

    The Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources and the Department of Education signed a collaboration agreement.  The agreement will facilitate the participation of Teachers and students in the Aquatic Resources Education Program activities organized to promote recreational fishing in Puerto Rico.  The Aquatic Resources Education Program, as several other PRDNER programs, is sponsored by the Wildlife and Sport fish Restoration program of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.

  • October 11, 2018 6:37 AM | Anonymous

    The AREA Board voted to update AREA memberships.

    1.  Memberships will be in effect for a 12-month period from a new join date or a membership renewal date.

    2.  A new Organizational Membership level was established to allow an organization to register five (5) members at the price of four (4) which is $100.  Each member has full voting status and other regular benefits.

    3.  The fee levels are: $25 for an individual 1-year membership; $10 for a retiree 1-year membership; $10 for a student 1-year membership; $100 for a 1-year organization membership (covers 5 individuals); and $100 for a 1-year sponsor membership (Biennial conference sponsorships are covered under the AREA Biennial Conference package).

  • September 11, 2018 8:56 AM | Anonymous

    Interior has been able to use drones for land surveillance, wildlife monitoring and visual assistance when dealing with natural disasters. In 2017, Interior drone operators were able to identify a spot fire that had started as a result of a larger wildfire they were fighting in southern Oregon. The identification via drone saved approximately $50 million in infrastructure damage.

    Interior plans on using drones to dart animals, as it is one of the most dangerous jobs they have to do, and to try analyzing and dropping charges on potential avalanche areas to safely clear the snow masses without endangering park rangers.

  • September 10, 2018 8:58 AM | Anonymous

    New lesson on fish migration is now available. 


    Designing Fish-Friendly Culverts (and bridges) is an environmental education science lesson created for educators of grades 5 – 8 to teach kids about fish migration. This hands-on, introductory lesson, can be adapted to other grade levels as well. All materials are easy to download and public domain. Feel free to take the lesson, edit to include your local barriers to fish migration, the fish they affect and even nearby fish passage projects. 

    This lesson was developed for the National Fish Passage Program.

      Denise Wagner

    Branch of Communications and Partnerships, Fish and Aquatic Conservation

    U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
    405.635.4784 email:

  • August 08, 2018 8:59 AM | Anonymous

    Since the 1990s there have been widespread reports throughout the world of male fish from different water bodies that exhibit female traits. This "feminization", which includes changes to the appearance and reproductive ability of the males, has often been associated with exposure of the fish to chemicals in runoff from animal feedlots and discharges from wastewater treatment plants. Chemicals responsible for feminization are collectively referred to as endocrine disruptors, because of their ability to "mimic" the effects of estradiol, a natural estrogenic hormone that controls endocrine systems involved in reproduction in female animals and humans.

    A significant amount of research has been focused on the identity of the estrogenic chemicals causing endocrine disruption, so that their release to the environment might be controlled. A recent paper authored by EPA researchers, "Re-evaluating the Significance of Estrone as an Environmental Estrogen", showed that the hormone estrone may be a very important cause of feminization of male fish. Estrone is produced naturally by livestock and humans, and is excreted from the body in waste. It has been known for some time that estrone can be present at high concentrations in wastewater discharges, but it has not been thought to be particularly important in causing feminization because it is a weak estrogenic chemical. However, the EPA scientists found that estrone can be changed by male fish to the much stronger estradiol, to a degree sufficient to cause their feminization. This indicates that estrone could be a much more important estrogenic endocrine disruptor than previously supposed.  

    The paper describing this work is featured on the cover of the May 16th issue of Environmental Science & Technology and was recently selected by The American Chemical Society as an Editor’s Choice article. 

    Sent by: Dennis Riecke, 2016 SDAFS Past President

  • February 20, 2018 7:55 AM | Anonymous

    Minnesota DNR is establishing clear guidelines that are very conservative with regard to collecting and releasing electronic data involving minors.  If you are interested in seeing the MN DNR policy and procedures for the Release of Electronic Licensing Service minor data, just let me know and I can send that to you.

    The following article from Pediatrics – the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics opened my eyes to some of the serious issues and implications of data collection and data mining of minors in this digital age.
    Children’s Privacy in the Big Data Era: Research Opportunities

    Michelle Kelly
    Education Specialist | MinnAqua Program
    Fish and Wildlife Outreach Section
    Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
    Region 3 HQ
    1200 Warner Road
    St. Paul, MN, 55106
    Phone: 651-259-5751
    Fax: 651-772-7974

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Our organization leads the discussions for aquatic leaders. AREA is organized for educational purposes. AREA members include representatives of State, Federal, industry, fisheries and educational professionals involved in aquatic resource education programs. The nationwide non-profit Association is created to foster, promote and encourage aquatic education.

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