Almanack Contributor NYS DEC

NYS DEC

Information attributed to NYSDEC is taken from press releases and news announcements from New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation.


Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Be on the Lookout for Amphibians Crossing the Road

wood frogWith the arrival of spring temperatures, amphibians have begun their annual migrations to woodland pools to breed. Often, they must cross roads to reach these pools. In New York, this migration usually occurs on rainy nights in late March and early April, when the night air temperature is above 40F. When these conditions exist there can be explosive, “big night” migrations, with hundreds of amphibians on the move. Volunteers can help document these locations and help amphibians like wood frogs, spotted salamanders, American toads, or spring peepers safely cross the road. Drivers on New York roads are encouraged to proceed with caution or avoid travel on the first warm, rainy evenings of the season. Amphibians come out after nightfall and are slow-moving; mortality can be high even on low-traffic roads.

Photo of wood frog by Laura Heady.


Saturday, April 3, 2021

$650,000 in grant funding available for dam repairs

Floating islands going over Higley Dam, c. 1943Funding Available to Local Government and Non-Profit Owners of ‘High Hazard’ Dams for Pre-Construction Activities
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced $650,000 in grant funding is now available to assist eligible dam owners with infrastructure repair costs. Funding is provided through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) High Hazard Potential Dam (HHPD) grant program. Of the dozens of states that applied to this federal program, New York was one of two states that received the maximum amount of funding. DEC is now accepting applications for grants to assist with technical, planning, design, and other pre-construction activities associated with the rehabilitation of eligible dams classified as High Hazard dams.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, April 2, 2021

Mud season advisory: Stay off high-elevation trails

mudNYS DEC has released an early season muddy trails advisory urging hikers to postpone hikes on trails above 2,500 feet until high elevation trails have dried and hardened. As snow and ice continue to melt at high elevations, steep trails can pose a danger due to thick ice and deep, rotten snow. Thin soils are susceptible to erosion and sensitive alpine vegetation can be easily damaged.

Despite recent warm weather, high elevation trails are still covered in slowly melting ice and snow. The remaining compacted ice and snow on trails is rotten, slippery, and will not reliably support weight. These conditions, known as “monorails,” are difficult to hike and the adjacent rotten snow is particularly prone to postholing.

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Friday, April 2, 2021

Outdoor conditions (4/2): AMR permit system

outdoor conditions logoDEC and the Adirondack Mountain Reserve (AMR) have launched a no-cost pilot reservation system to address public safety at a heavily traveled stretch on Route 73 in the town of Keene in the Adirondack High Peaks.

The Adirondack Mountain Reserve is a privately owned 7,000-acre land parcel located in the Town of Keene Valley that allows for limited public access through a conservation easement agreement with DEC.

The pilot reservation system does not apply to other areas in the Adirondack Park. The reservation system, operated by AMR, will facilitate safer public access to trailheads through the AMR gate and for Noonmark and Round mountains and improve visitors’ trip planning and preparation by ensuring they have guaranteed parking upon arrival. In recent years pedestrian traffic, illegal parking, and roadside stopping along Route 73 have created a dangerous environment for hikers and motorists alike.

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Thursday, April 1, 2021

DEC Announces Online Falconry, Wildlife Rehabilitator, and Leashed Tracking Dog Exams

Online Exams Scheduled for Friday, April 30

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today that examinations for individuals seeking a license to practice the sport of falconry, become a volunteer wildlife rehabilitator, or use leashed tracking dogs to find wounded or injured big game animals are scheduled for Friday, April 30. To ensure access to the examinations, and prevent the spread of COVID-19, DEC is offering exams online this year instead of in-person. The exams will be available from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on April 30. Registrants will have two hours to take each exam.

To register for any of these exams, click on the exam registration link and follow the directions provided. An email will be sent acknowledging registration.

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Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Rangers conduct two overnight Search & Rescues

Recent NYS DEC Forest Ranger actions

Town of Keene
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
On Mar. 25 at 5:14 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a hiker reporting he was concerned that his 18-year-old friend was lost after the pair were separated on the trail for Mount Marcy in the High Peaks Wilderness Area. After speaking with the caller, Forest Ranger Praczkajlo advised that he and Forest Ranger O’Connor were responding to assist. Once on scene, Ranger Praczkajlo notified Dispatch that he and Ranger O’Connor made contact with the reporting party at Marcy Dam. Ranger Praczkajlo continued up the trail to locate the lost hiker while Ranger O’Connor began to escort the friend out of the woods. Lt. Burns advised that Ranger Lewis would respond to the Garden parking lot and begin to hike up the Mount Marcy trail from Johns Brook Valley.

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, March 28, 2021

Species Spotlight: the Northern Cardinal

male cardinalThe Northern cardinal is a fairly large, long-tailed songbird with a short, very thick bill and a prominent crest. Male cardinals are brilliant red all over, with a reddish bill and black face immediately around the bill. Females are pale brown overall with warm reddish tinges in the wings, tail, and crest. They have the same black face and red-orange bill.

The male cardinal will fiercely defend its breeding territory from other males. When a male sees its reflection in glass surfaces, it frequently will spend hours fighting the imaginary intruder.

Photo of male Northern cardinal by John Mack/DEC


Saturday, March 27, 2021

Time is Running Out to Practice Winter Tree ID Skills

tree identificationIt’s officially spring! Warmer weather, longer days, and green leaves are headed our way. That means there’s just a short window of time left to practice your winter tree identification skills in the forest!

Did you get a chance to tune into our walk in the woods with DEC foresters last month where they provided winter tree ID tips for common New York State species? If not, be sure to check it out on our Facebook page.

Photo: Foresters from DEC’s Division of Lands and Forests provided a tour of common New York State trees during a Facebook Live in February.

Editor’s note: For more about identifying trees in winter, read this recent post by Paul Hetzler.


Friday, March 26, 2021

Outdoor conditions (3/26): Flood watch in effect

outdoor conditions logoThe following are the most recent notices pertaining to public lands in the Adirondacks. Please check the Adirondack Backcountry Information webpages for comprehensive and up-to-date information on seasonal road statuses, rock climbing closures, specific trail conditions, and other pertinent information.

Northern Adirondacks: There is a flood watch in effect for the northern regions of the Adirondacks this weekend. Heavy rainfall combined with continued snowmelt is expected to swell rivers and waterways. Use extreme caution when driving or walking near waterways and at water crossings. Do not attempt to drive through flooded roads or flooded waterways.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, March 24, 2021

DEC begins ‘mud season’ seasonal road closures

Adirondack Mud SeasonClosures due to Spring Thaw 
Effective Monday, March 22, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Region 6 began closing all mud gates to snowmobile trails and seasonal access roads on Forest Preserve, State Forest, and Conservation Easement lands, due to spring thaw and muddy conditions. Gate closures are expected to be completed by Friday, March 26.

Motor vehicle use during the spring mud season damages roads, resulting in road opening delays. DEC will reopen the roads once they become dry enough to safely handle motor vehicle traffic and any necessary maintenance is completed.

Region 6 is comprised of Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Herkimer, and Oneida counties.


Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Lost hikers, illegal brush fire and more

forest ranger reportsRecent NYS DEC Forest Ranger actions:

Town of Fort Ann
Washington County
Wilderness Rescue:
 On Mar. 20 at 8:11 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a request for Forest Ranger assistance from Warren County 911 for a report of three 19-year-old hikers from Saratoga Springs lost on Buck Mountain in the Lake George Wild Forest. The reporting party stated the hikers had no light source and were cold. Forest Rangers St. Claire and Donegan responded to the trailhead and hiked into the woods, locating the lost group at 9:44 p.m. The hikers were in good condition and able to hike out on their own. All parties involved were cleared of the incident at 10:15 p.m.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Pack up that birdseed, as bears are coming out of hibernation

black bearPublic Encouraged to Remove Birdfeeders, Feed Pets Indoors
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) reminds New Yorkers to avoid conflicts with bears by taking down bird feeders and securing garbage.

DEC has already received a few reports of bear sightings across the state. As bears emerge from their dens, they use their sensitive noses to find food. Human-related food sources such as bird feeders, pet food, and garbage can attract bears and lead to potential conflicts. Feeding bears either intentionally, which is illegal, or unintentionally through careless property management, has consequences for entire communities, as well as the bears themselves.

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Friday, March 19, 2021

Good news for Lake Champlain trout

lake champlain fishIn light of increased wild production, the Lake Champlain Fish and Wildlife Management Cooperative (NY, VT, USFWS) is reducing lake trout stocking by 33 percent (~27,060 fish). This decision is based on data that indicates increased catches ofild lake trout in annual standardized nettings used to monitor the contribution of wild vs. stocked fish to the lake trout population. Biologists and researchers deem the stocking reduction an essential management action that must be taken to ensure a healthy balance between salmonine (trout and salmon) sport fish and prey so a quality fishery can be maintained. The stocking reduction will be achieved initially by eliminating lake trout stocked by DEC.

The observations of increasing wild lake trout production in Lake Champlain is exciting news and a testament to the progress that has been made toward the restoration of a self sustaining lake trout population over the past 60 years.


Friday, March 19, 2021

Outdoor Conditions (3/19): Seasonal roads closed for mud season

outdoor conditions logoThe following are the most recent notices pertaining to public lands in the Adirondacks. Please check the Adirondack Backcountry Information webpages for comprehensive and up-to-date information on seasonal road statuses, rock climbing closures, specific trail conditions, and other pertinent information.

Moose River Plains Complex: Gates on the Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road are closed for mud season.

Lake Desolation State Forest and Conservation Easement: Snowmobile trails in the Lake Desolation area are closed. Trails in northwestern Saratoga County are managed by the Saratoga Snowmobile Association.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Injured hiker calls for help when separated from group

forest ranger reportsRecent NYS DEC Forest Ranger actions:

Town of North Elba
Essex County
Wilderness Rescue:
 On Mar. 13 at 6:41 p.m., DEC’s Ray Brook Dispatch received a call from a 27-year-old subject from Rochester suffering from a sore knee while hiking to Mount Marcy in the High Peaks Wilderness. The hiker did not have a headlamp or flashlight and reported that his four friends hiked out ahead of him. Just before 10 p.m., at Marcy Dam, Forest Ranger Sabo made contact with the hiker and two friends who had turned back to help him. Ranger Sabo and the hikers arrived back at the Loj parking lot at 11:16 p.m. and reunited the hikers with their group.