Volunteers Sought For Flounder Surveys

OCEAN CITY — The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has partnered with the Atlantic Coast Chapter of the Maryland Saltwater Sportsmen’s Association (MSSA) to conduct a survey to assess the recreational flounder catch rate.

Beginning in July, MSSA members will take to the water to distribute the survey to anglers in Maryland’s coastal bays as part of the innovative program.

“This cooperative effort between MSSA and DNR is designed to test the assumptions made by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in their estimates of the overall catch of summer flounder,” said Linda Barker, Ph.D, the DNR lead research statistician on the project. “This is a unique partnership that could lead to better estimates of angler impact and better summer flounder management.”

NMFS interviews anglers at public launch sites as they return from their trips in order to obtain catch rate information. However, the anglers that return to private docks, ramps and marinas are not interviewed. The aim of this new survey is to explore the results of information from anglers who leave and return from private locations.

DNR and the MSSA volunteers will perform the survey by collecting private and public access summer flounder catch rates during July and August. The surveys will cover “Flounder Alley,” a popular flounder fishing area in the Isle of Wight and Sinepuxent Bays. DNR will then compare that information against the official NMFS survey estimate.

Area anglers can participate in this simple survey by filling out and returning the self-addressed, postage-paid survey cards distributed by volunteers.

“Considering the generosity of the MSSA members who have come forward to support this project and the potential for improving fish management, we are asking our coastal flounder anglers to lend a hand,” said Barker.

Brittingham Appointed To Worcester School Board

SNOW HILL — The Worcester County Commissioners last week appointed local resident and former Sheriff’s Deputy Barry Brittingham, Sr., to fill the District 2 vacancy on the Board of Education.

Brittingham was appointed last week to serve the seat vacated by long-time school board member Garry Mumford, who stepped down this spring to become warden of the Worcester County Jail. Mumford served on the school board for 12 years, including stints as president and vice president.

Brittingham is a Stephen Decatur High School graduate who served in the U.S. Army for three years before beginning a 26-year career with the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office. He retired from the sheriff’s office in August 2010.

Brittingham has been married to his wife, Iris, for 33 years and the couple have three grown children, all of whom are products of the county public school system and Stephen Decatur High School graduates. In addition to his service with the sheriff’s office, Brittingham for years has volunteered with many area non-profit organizations and is an active member of the community.

Environmental Report Cards Score Officials

BERLIN — The Maryland League of Conservation Voters this week issued its environmental report cards for state legislators with mixed results for the Eastern Shore’s representatives in Annapolis.

The MLCV each year issues a scorecard of sorts rating the environmental voting records of state senators and delegates across Maryland from the most recent General Assembly Session. The annual publication reviews each legislator’s individual voting record on a wide variety of environmental bills and assigns an overall percentage to each lawmaker akin to a grade-point average.

Overall, state senators achieved a score of 61 percent in 2011, up from the 56 percent scored in 2010. Democratic senators scored 70 percent in 2011, while Republican senators scored just 34 percent. State delegates scored 68 percent in 2011, down overall from 78 percent in 2010. Democratic delegates (78 percent) outscored Republican delegates (42 percent).

Locally, Senator Jim Mathias (D-38) scored 57 percent in 2011, down from his lifetime score of 78 percent. Senator Richard Colburn (R-37) scored 25 percent in 2011, which is up from his lifetime score of 14 percent, while Senator E.J. Pipken (R-36) scored 29 percent in 2011, compared to his 28 percent lifetime score.

On the House side, Delegate Norm Conway (D-38B) scored 75 percent in 2011, up from his 63 percent lifetime score, while freshman Delegate Mike McDermott’s score for 2011 and lifetime came in at 50 percent. Delegate Addie Eckard (R-37B) scored 50 percent this year, up from her 40-percent lifetime score, while Delegate Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio scored 50 percent this year, up from her 46-percent lifetime score. Delegate Rudy Cane (D-37A) scored 63 percent in 2011, down from his lifetime score of 81 percent.

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