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Smallmouth Alliance - National Site


Mike G
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There has not really been a National Alliance as an organization for quite a while. We have tried on occasion to revive it but there was wasn't anyone to step in and keep it going. My guess is that who ever had been paying for the site, stopped paying and it has been shut down. I haven't heard any official word about it's demise, and I don't even know who owned the site although there might be someone else here who knows.

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There has not really been a National Alliance as an organization for quite a while. We have tried on occasion to revive it but there was wasn't anyone to step in and keep it going. My guess is that who ever had been paying for the site, stopped paying and it has been shut down. I haven't heard any official word about it's demise, and I don't even know who owned the site although there might be someone else here who knows.

 

Thanks Scott. It is interesting that Tim Holschlag's website still lists Tim's being a cofounder of the SA as one of his accomplishments. I guess it always will be though it is kind of hollow if the national org does not exist anymore. One would think Tim would be more interested.

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Thanks Scott. It is interesting that Tim Holschlag's website still lists Tim's being a cofounder of the SA as one of his accomplishments. I guess it always will be though it is kind of hollow if the national org does not exist anymore. One would think Tim would be more interested.

 

Even though the National Alliance does not exist today, it is because Tim and others started that group the ISA is here today. You also cannot fault Tim because he did not stay with the Smallmouth Alliance for 20 years. It failed because after he stepped aside there was not a succession of other volunteers to continue what he started. In those early days, there were 6 states involved. Half of those, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa folded their chapters. Wisconsin has since started up again. Ohio also has had their troubles. Missouri and Illinois are still going strong.

All of these chapters are made up of volunteers who work for no pay and give up their free time for the organization. Over time, those who were active move on or have to take a break. If any group finds itself without people to lead, it soon disappears. The ISA has been lucky to this point that we have had a steady stream of volunteers. When the current officers decide it's time to take a break, if no one steps up to take their place, we could find ourselves in the same place the National Alliance finds itself now.

Tim Holschlag should be proud that he was a big part of starting the Smallmouth Alliance. It's up to us not to tarnish that legacy.

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Those are good points about the history of SA. Tim did more than his fair share getting it started. I guess I still find the lack of a national alliance odd. I can Google up 5 currrent state alliances-Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Ohio. Do they ever talk about some kind of federation?

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Yes Indiana is doing great and getting stronger every year.

 

There was talk of a National Alliance basically headed up through ISA but our officers are overworked and most of us have been with the ISA for 5 to over t10 years which is a lifetime when you're talking about volunteer officers.

 

Putting together a National is a strong undertaking and will take the right leadership to make happen successfully.

 

You can see what happened with other states. Where the Alliance was founded (Minn) doesn't even have one and has not for at least ten years. Ohio is virtually defunct after having a good group for quite a while. The reason Indiana is going strong is because new leadership stepped up and is working hard.

 

So that's the story.

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There are channels in place for the state Alliances to communicate with each other. We actually have a an internet forum where the officers of other states Alliances can discuss issues that effect us all. Honestly, there hasn't been many, if any, issues brought up where national group involvement has been needed. There probably are areas that could be addressed, but no one involved has brought up anything yet.

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most of us have been with the ISA for 5 to over 10 years which is a lifetime when you're talking about volunteer officers.

 

No question about it.

I happened to pick up a Bronzeback Bulletin from 2003 the other day.

There were something like 15 officers at the time.

Only 5 of the same names remain.

We either managed to piss off all the rest over that time, or it goes to show we have been really lucky to have a core that has weathered many storms over the years......burnout being the biggest obstacle of them all.

To even consider somebody doing this for 20 years is astounding.

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  • 2 weeks later...

No question about it.

I happened to pick up a Bronzeback Bulletin from 2003 the other day.

There were something like 15 officers at the time.

Only 5 of the same names remain.

We either managed to piss off all the rest over that time, or it goes to show we have been really lucky to have a core that has weathered many storms over the years......burnout being the biggest obstacle of them all.

To even consider somebody doing this for 20 years is astounding.

 

 

Yeah but one of them is moving back, his time might be limited more but there's a possibility i could help a bit::Talking as if im a third person: Yeah were headed home the south has been brutal on us...Can't wait until i get a smallie on my line. Should be back in the area by ice out.

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  • 4 weeks later...

As noted in the other thread, this is a five year project; it seems a bit early to start looking for officers. The first thing is to get the history straight. An American philosopher said, "If you don't learn the lessons of history. you will be doomed to repeat it's mistakes." I hope we can do a lot of work via the web to keep the investigation efficient. Since the national web site was up till recently, I figured that some skelital organization was still there. Reviving it would beat reinventing the wheel. Who would know about that? Though that trail actually may be getting cold, it is worth checking.

 

But even now I am getting ahead of myself. First, I should be asking if anyone wants to join an informal comittee to look into the National ISA. Then we would submit our plan to the ISA officers for approval. Then we could proceed with caution reporting regularly as we go. This is important to keep the ducks in a row and keep the waters smooth. It will do most of its work via the net I hope.

 

So, first, is there anyone interested in being on the committee?

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I posted in the Inter-Alliance board but this thread has a little more activity.

 

Look at the national hook & bullet conservation scene:

 

Ducks Unlimited [Wetlands] ($263 million in annual revenue; 676,000 members)

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation [Mountains/forests] ($55 million; 158,000 members)

Pheasants Forever [Prairies] ($26 million; 120,000 members)

Trout Unlimited [Cold water streams] ($20 million; 140,000 members)

 

Notice what's missing? Angler-backed conservation for warm water rivers/streams.

 

There's no doubt in my mind that significant potential exists for a national organization. There is essentially no nationally-active warm water fishing/conservation group in the U.S.--and we have a hell of a lot of warm water. I read that intersex smallmouth bass were found in a third of male bass at almost half of the sites examined in the Columbia, Colorado, and Mississippi River basins,or see personally that our streams are overloaded with sediment and nutrients, and know that there is reason for widespread concern.

 

To me it's not a matter of developing a group of interested conservationists; that group already exists. It's a matter of activating them. Obviously that's an extremely challenging task; I'm on the board for two nonprofits and fully recognize the struggles of running volunteer-based organizations with limited funding. Burnout is the elephant in the room.

 

But I can sense that the vision is there. I can sense that the motivation is there. You're making it happen in Illinois and we're holding our own over in Indiana. There are promising reports from Wisconsin and Missouri.

 

What will it take to reach the next level? What are we doing to take us there? How can the state groups support each other establish a base that can be mobilized to eventually create and fund a national organization?

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What will it take to reach the next level?

 

 

1)a meeting involving the various midwest alliances that results in committment

to a national alliance

 

2)a successful grant application or significant donation to get it started

 

3)if an individual or group not affiliated with existing alliances tried to do it

they would be met with suspicion rather than support

 

My 2 cents worth

Gregg

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Nate, you make a really strong case regarding warm water stream conservation.

Excellent post.

 

But reality for me personally rounds out something like this....

When I agreed to handle the overall conservation agenda for the ISA, I had no idea it would evolve into something that almost equates to a full-time job.

When I get a call telling me we need to meet with an IL Senator, or appear in Springfield to represent ISA interests in conservation, that speaks to my passion for IL rivers and streams...but more importantly and to the point- the accountability to our members.

600+ people aren't necessarily contributing faithfully each and every year so that I devote my time towards a national smallmouth conservation agenda. I'm pretty sure that the majority of them would like to see their own favorite watersheds addressed, as we have promised them we would do our very best to represent their interests.

 

For me to dilute my own efforts by dispersing them among national concerns would be doing our members a disservice.

 

I understand fully the old adage "We all live downstream".

That in itself is where the Illinois Smallmouth Alliance is best represented by their Conservation Director.

A case in point-

The Kankakee River continues to receive the brunt of Indiana's narrow-minded thinking where this watershed is concerned.

In order to abate the enormous sediment problem that occurs to this day, the Indiana Smallmouth Alliance, the ISA and those working towards a resolution to this problem should be considering some kind of major effort to put a major hurt on those responsible for affecting the IL stem to the point of killing off the smallmouth bass population.

 

That's where I'm intrigued by a national alliance effort.

One word means business- MONEY.

Everybody lawyers up on every river issue important to their own cause.

The ones with the most money get the most support and the loudest politicians to back them.

 

Back to my original thought.

If I was to begin receiving notes and calls regarding some CAFO or factory destroying a stream in New York, for instance....my defense mechanism would kick in and I'd give everything I have toward saving smallmouth that most reading this will never have a stake in preserving.

 

We pick our battles accordingly sometimes, and in this case I have more right here at home than I can possibly manage as it is.

 

For anyone that does choose to expand their horizons- I'm your biggest fan from the word go.

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Hey Mike,

If you, or someone else, was paid a living wage to do it rather than trying to do it around another method of earning a living, alot more would get done. This is where money does come in. A national alliance would work if a grant paid the salary of an "Executive Director" whose job included rallying and supporting volunteers and affiliates, or if it paid for a "Policy Director" that lobbied elected officials and/or sued polluters, etc.

Look at Prairie Rivers Network, Sierra Club, Nature Conservancy, Duck Unlimited for example. Volunteers and board members are important but paid staff have time to see projects to conclusion. It doesn't hurt to dream does it?

 

Gregg

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Hey Mike,

If you, or someone else, was paid a living wage to do it rather than trying to do it around another method of earning a living, alot more would get done. This is where money does come in. A national alliance would work if a grant paid the salary of an "Executive Director" whose job included rallying and supporting volunteers and affiliates, or if it paid for a "Policy Director" that lobbied elected officials and/or sued polluters, etc.

Look at Prairie Rivers Network, Sierra Club, Nature Conservancy, Duck Unlimited for example. Volunteers and board members are important but paid staff have time to see projects to conclusion. It doesn't hurt to dream does it?

 

Gregg

 

::And the simpleton raised his hand:: "I need a job!"

 

And my 2 cents, as a once officer of the ISA and may I add the largest Smallmouth Alliance in the US i seem to remember a time not long ago that some members felt we were giving too much already as far as our time was concerned, that it was starting to feel like at least a part time job. By going to a national level it will take one state to at least propose the idea and recruit the starting of it which more then likely would be the ISA with it's large member base.

 

But break down the ratio of members who give sometimes and members who almost give until it hurts and that percentage is a big difference. I remember as an officer that although we had a nice sized member base it at times still felt overwhelming to be an officer and see to all the duty's asked. Deligating became nessecary to get things accomplished and thats when the fun kind of gets lost in the equation of being a member.

 

So my point is it would take a large very dedicated non for profit team thats already very knowledged to what the alliance has done in the past to even kick it off on a national level.Do we have those team members in place now that would be willing to donate that much unpaid time to see it get started.

 

And as somebody said i believe Mike, would we have as much passion fighting for rivers 1000 miles away that we may never fish or visit as we would have for rivers in our own back yards.

 

Guys i would think the smart thing to do is help other alliances get better, possibly alliances that have already been and are dropping in membership,alliances that we sometimes share waters with and my point being...Wisconsin and Indiana Alliances. Geez we give away and bid on fishing trips at the blowout to fish on a lot of rivers up north why not back the people who guide us and share their spots with us while we vacation?

 

I can't even count on one hand the amount of different rivers iv'e fished in Wisconsin, or the lakes in the UP. It's our home away from home so why not back those places if were going to do anything at all.

 

Help them with a better website, a better newsletter,trade trips maybe? Who knows again just a thought.

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Kevin Dells, ISA Conservation Director- has a nice ring to it.

One other person has expressed interest.

You guys can flip for it!

 

A little early, but welcome home!

 

 

Thanks Mike but don't throw me into it that quick!

Im still trying to keep my wife by my side and that title warrants a lot of time away and PC time!

 

Does sound dam nice though seeing as that im always on the crusade to stop the bad guys!LOL

Would i get to wear a shiny badge and knock over buckets????PLEASEEEEE!! LMAO

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It is good to see the discussion that has sprung up here. Right now job 1 is the Blowout for many. So we can return to the discussion with less distractions later. I also put the National SA in my bucket list with two important conditions here's my statement with emphasis added:

 

"Within the next five years:

 

"Without adding to the burden on the ISA officers, I would like to do what I can to see ISA play a leading role in reconstituting the National Smallmouth Alliance."

 

Our officers already have a full plates and there are waiters standing behind them with more platefuls for when they finish. So for this to work a lot more folks will have to step up. More after the Blowout.

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Guest airbornemike

I like the idea that warm water fisheries would have a stronger voice with a national alliance, TU mainly address's cold water salmon and trout fisheries but they wield alot of power because there a larger $natonal organazation$

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A paid staff member or two is key to getting started. There's so much potential for a warm water organization that it would take flight quickly with the right one or two people working 40+ hours a week. I don't think it would be out of the question for one of the larger national organizations to provide seed money if the right business model/plan was proposed to them. I recognize that a lot of work would be needed for such a plan and that I'm being entirely optimistic about the potential for seed money.

 

Maintaining and supporting the other state chapters is key while that plan is being developed. I agree about waiting for post Blowout/Stravaganza to discuss further. We will be talking about a national group at the INSA Stravaganza, even if it is a far-off goal.

 

In the mean time...50 degree highs on Saturday/Sunday in Indiana. You probably won't see me back here for a few days B)

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After writing what i did here yesterday i went and looked at the wisconsin SA website and there are a few things that seems their missing that we do that would help them a lot.

 

The biggest thing is a forums section of their website, it's not there or not to my seeing because im not an actual member so maybe thats something they give acssess to after youv'e become a member, who knows.

BUT if in fact they do not have that section. I would find it very hard to discuss a LOT of issues that an alliance needs to discuss, meetings, speakers, conservation projects and on and on. Pretty much a good working board to make things happen as we do here.

 

Imagine how slow we would move with out our forums board, imagine how hard it would be to keep people interested.Thats pretty much the boat their in.

Now the good news and i would be very willing to play Liason between the two states SA. Their monthly meetings are held only a half hours drive from me.

 

Should we take the inititive and ask them if they would like our help, would Eric be able to help set up a good working forums board or is this a huge task?

 

 

Another thing that i could see needing a little tweaking would be their Newsletter, it's two pages and thats it and the three i did look at(they have an archive section) is very basic with very little information about smallmouth fishing. Again i would love to write for our and their newsletter, maybe submit one article for both seeing as that Illinois members don't get theirs and vice versa. Make it my monthly agenda to write for both.

 

Missing both a forums board and a good interesting newsletter how do you keep members interested in the club, what are their dues going towards?

 

Their meetings.... they hold their meetings monthly right around the Madison area, im 30 miles away and when i read this i thought hey why not attend one. But at the same time i saw their speakers for meetings were not even talking about smallmouth but other species???? They also only hold meetings from January through april so that's only four months for actual bussiness discusion on a face to face basis.

 

So my question is does anybody from the Illinois Alliance know anybody from their alliance well enough we could offer advice without seeming pushy, maybe giving somebody on their team a call and saying hey were sending this guy up to help discuss idea's to help you make your alliance stronger in time? I wouldn't want to walk into their meeting and just outright ask this.

 

If i could do this with the Wisconsin Chapter and somebody could help the Indiana and Missouri chapters (if they need help) improve their membership and agenda's then i think at least the Midwest would be moving in the right direction to becoming a national alliance start.

 

Thoughts?

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After writing what i did here yesterday i went and looked at the wisconsin SA website and there are a few things that seems their missing that we do that would help them a lot.

 

The biggest thing is a forums section of their website, it's not there or not to my seeing because im not an actual member so maybe thats something they give acssess to after youv'e become a member, who knows.

BUT if in fact they do not have that section. I would find it very hard to discuss a LOT of issues that an alliance needs to discuss, meetings, speakers, conservation projects and on and on. Pretty much a good working board to make things happen as we do here.

 

Imagine how slow we would move with out our forums board, imagine how hard it would be to keep people interested.Thats pretty much the boat their in.

Now the good news and i would be very willing to play Liason between the two states SA. Their monthly meetings are held only a half hours drive from me.

 

Should we take the inititive and ask them if they would like our help, would Eric be able to help set up a good working forums board or is this a huge task?

 

 

Another thing that i could see needing a little tweaking would be their Newsletter, it's two pages and thats it and the three i did look at(they have an archive section) is very basic with very little information about smallmouth fishing. Again i would love to write for our and their newsletter, maybe submit one article for both seeing as that Illinois members don't get theirs and vice versa. Make it my monthly agenda to write for both.

 

Missing both a forums board and a good interesting newsletter how do you keep members interested in the club, what are their dues going towards?

 

Their meetings.... they hold their meetings monthly right around the Madison area, im 30 miles away and when i read this i thought hey why not attend one. But at the same time i saw their speakers for meetings were not even talking about smallmouth but other species???? They also only hold meetings from January through april so that's only four months for actual bussiness discusion on a face to face basis.

 

So my question is does anybody from the Illinois Alliance know anybody from their alliance well enough we could offer advice without seeming pushy, maybe giving somebody on their team a call and saying hey were sending this guy up to help discuss idea's to help you make your alliance stronger in time? I wouldn't want to walk into their meeting and just outright ask this.

 

If i could do this with the Wisconsin Chapter and somebody could help the Indiana and Missouri chapters (if they need help) improve their membership and agenda's then i think at least the Midwest would be moving in the right direction to becoming a national alliance start.

 

Thoughts?

 

 

We have offered our assistance in the past. But before we move in to tell them how we think things should be done, you have to consider the people they have. I'm sure they would like to have a better newsletter and if they had someone who wanted to create or improve the one they have, they would have already done it. If they aren't lucky enough to have someone in the club who can and is willing to produce a better newsletter, paying for someone to do it for them could cost more than they can afford. Same thing with the forums. If they had someone who knew how to set up a forum on the web, they probably would have done so.

 

We often get suggestions on things we should do but we often don't have anyone to do the work. Around here, if you come up with an idea, you'd better be prepared to step up to do the work if you want to see it get done. All of our officers already have jobs they are responsible for and often don't have the time to take on new assignments. I'm sure the Wisconsin Alliance is just like 99% of all the other clubs where 90% of the work is done by just a couple of people. What they probably need more than our suggestions is members who are willing to do the work they need to get done. The same holds true for the other states alliances as well.

We will always be willing to give whatever assistance we can, and we can let them know we are here if they need us. But, we should let them run their club as they want to and wait for them to tell us what we can do, instead of us telling them what they should do.

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Scott,

 

My thought was to actually take on a lot of work myself if they accepted it, i can't build a forums board but i can moderate it and put topics up that might draw interest. Design is not my forte, but you know me i love to talk fishing and conservation so i would jump all over the chance to be the webmaster or Moderator for it.

 

The Newsletter i would be more than happy to write articles for it if they do have somebody in place that can put them together, again im not to skilled in putting a newsletter together. My strong points are writing, photography, and finding interesting things to write about. Being as you put together the ISA newsletter what does it involve to put together such a beast!LOL Is it a layout program you use?

 

Im not in anyway trying to step on toe's so please don't think that,you know me im the guy alwasy trying to fight the good fight and better anything i can alliance wise within my ability's. My thought really is since their meetings are a half hour drive then maybe i can help them.

 

The toughest part for me is i just don't know any of these guys and i wondered if anybody might be in good relation with any of their officers. Being as that i am up north now making meetings would be easy for me to do.

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