The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation announced Thursday the 2016 grantees of its State Innovative R3 Program Grants.
A total of more than $118,000 has been granted to five state agencies to help fund programs that focus on increasing fishing license sales and boat registrations in ways that can be replicated throughout the country utilizing methods for recruiting, retaining and reactivating (R3) anglers and boaters.
A new mobile fishing application will be developed by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife that will help anglers find fishing access points, identify fish, record their catches in a fishing journal and more. This app will be used as a tool to engage anglers and assist them in having more successful and memorable fishing experiences. CPW will be able to communicate with the fishing community through the app and will also be able to track user downloads and data to compare it to license sales history.
"We're excited to help Colorado anglers have more successful and memorable fishing opportunities, as well as providing a new avenue of communication with Colorado's fishing community," said Bob Broscheid, director of Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will work to increase high school participation in fishing teams and clubs across Florida with a particular focus on counties with high Hispanic compositions. Working with the FLW Foundation and Student Angler Federation, FWC will focus on the Hispanic community in establishing new and growing existing high school angling teams. At the same time, they will provide students and families with important conservation and boating safety education.
"We are committed to helping Florida's families and youth fully enjoy healthy outdoor activities such as fishing and boating," said Nick Wiley, executive director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. "Participating on a high school fishing team is a great way for teenagers to learn more about conservation and boating safety. We are grateful for this opportunity to expand high school fishing within our highly diverse communities of Florida."
The Georgia Wildlife Resources Division is increasing its R3 efforts by enhancing its online Georgia Outdoor Map with additional information and features to increase public participation, and help retain existing participants, in recreational angling and boating. The map is a web-based application that identifies outdoor recreational opportunities on DNR-managed properties including state parks, wildlife management areas, public fishing areas, boat ramps and historic sites. The enhanced map will include a link to the mobile-friendly license and registration purchasing website, and targeted messages will encourage license purchase or upgrade.
Dan Forster, director of the Georgia DNR, Wildlife Resources Division said, "Our goal is to improve how we provide customers information about recreational opportunities. We will use these grant funds from RBFF to improve how we provide the information. As a result, Georgiaoutdoormap.com will be even more user friendly, and anglers will be able to find where to fish near them on any internet capable device."
Emerging digital strategies will be explored by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, who will also develop a partnership with the Iowa Tourism Office to promote fishing as a "leisure activity of choice" for Iowa families. Utilizing the branding and imagery of the Travel Iowa campaign, the program will focus on a joint website with a landing page featuring Iowa-specific information on how to take a family fishing trip, where to go, and most importantly a "buy your license" button which will track visitors through license purchase.
"We are excited to partner with the Iowa Tourism Office and the RBFF to expand fishing participation," said Chuck Gipp, Iowa DNR director. "We hope this unique approach will introduce more Iowa families to fishing and the outdoors."
Angler recruitment events will be taken to the next level by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission by working to sell on-site permits to Family Fishing event participants, and collect data that allows the tracking of, and marketing to, program participants. When data is collected at an event, NGPC will be able to introduce participants to the mobile permit system, validate contact information, track recruitment and retention of participants through permit sales and program attendance, and continue communication with participants after the event. With this project, NGPC's goal is to increase license sales at events and accurately be able to evaluate and refine their recruitment efforts.
"Nebraska Game and Parks is pleased to partner with RBFF to use technology in a way that gets families excited about fishing together," said Jim Douglas, director of NGPC. "This grant will also help us collect feedback to improve our family fishing programs and to measure the value of our recruitment efforts - both of which are invaluable."
Now in its second year, the 2016 State Innovative R3 Program Grants were selected from 27 proposal submissions, which were reviewed by RBFF staff and a Proposal Review Working Group made up of industry board members, federal agency and NGO representatives. For information on the 2015 program grantees, including case studies, visit the RBFF Resource Center.
"We're excited to see the results of these pioneering initiatives," said RBFF President & CEO Frank Peterson. "The impact of these programs on fishing and boating participation, and ultimately the funding they will help provide for conservation efforts, will have a lasting effect on our industry and we hope that these programs will be replicated by other agencies across the country."