Recent heavy snows combined with earlier thaws have brought about inconsistent ice conditions on the surfaces of lakes, ponds and other waters in the Adirondacks and surrounding areas, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) warns snowmobilers, ice anglers, skiers, snowshoers and other recreationists today.
The weight of snow has caused ice to sink slightly forcing water from below the ice up on to the surface. Water, in some places up to a foot deep, may refreeze resulting in alternating layers of ice and water all covered by a blanket of snow. The snow acts as an insulator preventing the water from refreezing completely even in very cold temperatures. » Continue Reading.
Hidden in a very limited number of Adirondack lakes is a jewel of a fish, the Frost Fish. The Frost Fish or Round Whitefish is an endangered species that is only known to exist naturally in approximately seven lakes within the Blue Line. This indicator of clean water is actually a relative of salmon, trout and char. Being of the family Salmonidae, they live in cold, deep lakes with adequate dissolved oxygen.
What makes the Round Whitefish so unique, is that they will spawn in late November, early December over gravel. They have even been known to spawn under the ice. The eggs will drift down into the cracks between the rocks to wait for the warmth of spring to hatch. Unfortunately it seems, that the deck is stacked against this important forage species. » Continue Reading.
Students at Ticonderoga Middle School and Whitehall High School are raising salmon, through a new environmental education program presented by the Lake George Association (LGA) called Salmon in the Classroom.
Kristen Rohne, the LGA’s watershed educator, visited the schools to help set up a 25 gallon tank, chiller and pump, along with testing materials and fish food. Salmon eggs were provided at no cost by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. This winter the students will raise the salmon from eggs to fingerlings. They are expected to learn to monitor tank water quality, study stream habitats, and perform stream-monitoring studies to find the most suitable place to release the salmon in the spring.
“Our goal is to foster a conservation ethic in the students, while increasing their knowledge of fish lifecycles, water quality, aquatic ecosystems and biodiversity,” said Rohne. “By working hands-on with the salmon, we believe the students will gain a greater appreciation for water resources and will be inspired to sustain and protect our natural environment.”
This year’s program was funded by a grant the LGA received from the International Paper Foundation. The Lake Champlain-Lake George Regional Planning Board and the Adirondack Resource Conservation and Development Council are partners in the project. Trout Unlimited, a national non-profit organization with more than 400 chapters, designed the Salmon in the Classroom program.
Photo: Kristen Rohne, watershed educator for the Lake George Association, works with students at Ticonderoga Middle School to set up a salmon tank, along with testing materials, eggs and food.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced that registration for the 2011 summer camp programs began this week. Applications from sponsors must be postmarked no earlier than Jan. 15. Parents may submit applications postmarked no earlier than Jan. 29.
The Summer Camp Program offers week‑long adventures in conservation education to children ages 12-17. DEC operates four residential camps for children ages 12-14: Camp Colby in Saranac Lake, Franklin County; Camp DeBruce in Livingston Manor, Sullivan County; Camp Rushford in Caneadea, Allegany County; and Pack Forest in Warrensburg, Warren County. Pack Forest also features Teenage Ecology Workshop, a three-week environmental studies program for 15-17 year old campers. DEC is also encouraging sporting clubs, civic groups and environmental organizations to sponsor a child for a week at camp. Those groups who sponsor six paid campers will receive one free scholarship.
Campers participate in a wide variety of outdoor activities including fishing, bird watching, fly-tying, archery, canoeing, hiking, camping, orienteering and hunter safety education. Campers also learn about fields, forests, streams and ponds through fun, hands-on activities and outdoor exploration. DEC counselors teach youth conservation techniques used by natural resource professionals, such as measuring trees and estimating wildlife populations.
Changes for the 2011 camp season include:
* Camp fee for one week is $350.
* All four camps will run for seven weeks, beginning July 3.
* Children who have attended camp in the past may register for any of the seven weeks.
* Campers may attend for more than one week during the summer. The fee for the total number of weeks must be included with the application. Please note that campers will not be able to stay at camp on Saturday night, so parents should make alternative arrangements if two consecutive weeks are selected.
* Camp Rushford will no longer offer one week for 15 to 17 year olds. Older campers are encouraged to sign up for the Teenage Ecology Workshop at Pack Forest for one of the first three weeks of camp, beginning July 3.
For information and applications visit DEC’s website or call 518‑402‑8014.
Interested parents may also sign up for DEC’s camps listserve or contact DEC in writing at DEC Camps, 2nd Floor, 625 Broadway, Albany, New York 12233‑4500.
Photo: A fishing lesson at Camp Colby. Courtesy DEC.
A “Sportsmen and Outdoor Recreation Legislative Awareness Day” will be on Tuesday, January 25, 2011 in Albany. An event held earlier this year included 24 vendors from around the state and nearly 3,000 supporters. National Rifle Association (NRA) CEO & Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre will join outdoor enthusiasts from across the state at the event, which is focused on the Second Amendment and shooting sports.
“Due to the overwhelming success of the January 2010 event we have decided to make this celebration of our Second Amendment rights a yearly gathering,” event organizer Brian M. Kolb, the State Assembly’s Republican Minority Leader from Canandaigua, said in a press release, “Our goal is to highlight the rich tradition of outdoor activities in the lives of New York’s residents and our economy, and offer hunters, sportsmen and outdoor recreation enthusiasts from around the state an opportunity to meet with their legislators to discuss the legislative and policy issues affecting them.” Kolb noted that LaPierre will give the keynote address again this year. Additionally, the slate of speakers is expected to include Tom King, President of NYSRPA; James A. Rabbia, Plant Manager for Remington Arms; Stephen Aldstadt, President of S.C.O.P.E.; and William Schwerd, Executive Director of New York State 4-H Shooting Sports.
“Hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation are essential to New York’s economy, contributing over $6 billion every year” Kolb’s statement says. “It has always been important to me that sportsmen and women have the opportunity to network with colleagues and meet with their legislators to discuss the important role of ‘Heritage Sports’ and other outdoor activities.”
Vendors scheduled to showcase their products and services include NYSRPA, S.C.O.P.E., the West Albany Rod and Gun Club, the Federated Sportsmen’s Clubs of Ulster County, New York State 4-H Shooting Sports, New York Houndsmen Conservation Association, Outdoor Writers Association, Safari Club International, Conservation Alliance of New York, National Wild Turkey Federation, Sportsmen’s Association for Firearms Education, Inc., Remington Arms, New York State Trappers Association, Harvest Sun Charters, Livingston County Federation of Sportsmen Clubs, Springville Field and Spring Club, New East Coast Arms Collectors, Savage Arms and Columbia Greene Friends of the NRA, and others.
To RSVP or for more details about the event, e-mail Kolb at firstname.lastname@example.org, call (518) 455-5073, or look for “Sportsmen and Outdoor Recreation Legislative Awareness Day” on Facebook.
The Lake Champlain Fish and Wildlife Management Cooperative is reporting unprecedented success resulting from the on-going sea lamprey control program. The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are working together to improve and manage the fisheries of Lake Champlain. » Continue Reading.
New studies by the U.S. Geological Survey confirm arguments that Lake George conservation organizations and agencies have made for years: development threatens the aquatic life of streams.
“We learned that there is no ‘safe zone,’ meaning that even minimal or early stages of development can negatively affect aquatic life in urban streams,” said Tom Cuffney, a USGS biologist.
“When the area of driveways, parking lots, streets and other impervious cover reaches 10 percent of a watershed area, many types of pollution-sensitive aquatic insects decline by as much as one third, compared to streams in undeveloped forested watersheds,” said Cuffney. Native fish also decline in streams even at low levels of development, levels historically considered safe for stream life, the studies found.
“The studies validate the findings of our Lake George Stream Assessment Project, initiated three years ago by Waterkeeper Chris Navitsky, namely, that land uses impact the health of our streams,” said Peter Bauer, the executive director of the Fund for Lake George.
“We know from the sites we sampled that streams decline in water quality as they pass through areas that are more heavily developed,” said Bauer.
“These studies show that we need to be careful,” said Emily DeBolt of the Lake George Association, which operates a stream biology monitoring program for volunteers.
While even the most developed watersheds within the Lake George basin are not yet urbanized, protection of existing stream corridors should be a priority, said Bauer and DeBolt.
According to the USGS, the studies examined the effects of urbanization on algae, aquatic insects, fish, habitat and chemistry in urban streams in nine areas across the country.
“As a watershed becomes developed, the amount of pavement, sidewalks and other types of urban land cover increases. During storms, water is rapidly transported over these urban surfaces to streams. The rapid rise and fall of stream flow and changes in temperature can be detrimental to fish and aquatic insects. Stormwater from urban development can also contain fertilizers and insecticides used along roads and on lawns, parks and golf courses,” the USGS said.
The Lake George Park Commission is authorized by New York State law to protect stream corridors within the Lake George watershed, said Mike White, executive director of the Lake George Park Commission.
The Commission has drafted regulations that will limit construction and the cutting of trees and vegetation within 35 feet of a tributary of Lake George.
The regulations are currently under review by the Governor’s Office of Regulatory Reform. Once that office approves the draft, a series of public hearings will be held, said White.
“Stream buffers are the most efficient way to protect the water quality and ecology of streams, and regulations are the only effective way of preserving those buffers,” said Peter Bauer.
“Once a buffer is disturbed, it’s very difficult to restore it to its original function,” Bauer said.
Investing in stream corridor protection is also an investment in the water quality of Lake George, he said.
“One half of all the water entering Lake George comes from streams,” said Bauer. “The fate of Lake George is tied inextricably to the health of its streams.”
Photo: Lake George Stream Assessment monitors, 2008.
It’s been a good year for DEC wildlife biologist Gordon Batcheller. In October, weeks after he received a top honor from the National Trappers Association, Batcheller was appointed DEC’s chief wildlife biologist. Batcheller succeeds John Major, who retired earlier this year. Batcheller had been serving as acting wildlife chief since Major’s departure.
Batcheller, an avid deer and turkey hunter, said one of his priorities will be getting more people, particularly young people, outdoors hunting, trapping and bird-watching. “We want to eliminate barriers, and that could be complicated by regulations or an inability to find places to go hunting or (finding) parking areas,” Batcheller said. “We need to try to work to unify our stakeholders so that we’re all pulling together for the same purpose.” He said he would like to see the age for big-game and small-game hunting lowered to 12. He said he also wants to take advantage of the “citizen scientists” who are outdoors and can help the DEC in this time of limited resources, getting them working together for common goals.
Batcheller has been with the DEC since 1981, starting as a wildlife biologist in Region 9 and working his way up the ladder. He’s led a number of major studies in recent years and been an active participant on several DEC teams responsible for managing furbearers, big game, and game birds.
DEC spokeswoman Maureen Wren said Batcheller has helped develop policies to reform DEC’s response to nuisance wildlife problems, including coyote, deer and bear conflicts. And as a regional biologist, he led a study to assess the status and management needs of threatened common terns; monitored contaminants in waterfowl and mink; and mapped and regulated freshwater wetlands, she said.
DEC has also announced the appointment of a new Bureau Chief of Fisheries, Phil Hulbert. Hulbert received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Maine at Orono in 1971 and 1973, respectively. His initial professional employment was as a Research Associate with the Migratory Fish Research Institute in the Maine Cooperative Fisheries Research Unit.
Hulbert started with DEC in 1977, working with the Coldwater Special Studies Unit in the Stamford sub-office. In 1986, he was appointed Coldwater Fisheries Unit Leader at DEC’s Central Office. Since 1996, he has served as Superintendent of Fish Culture, overseeing DEC’s 12 fish hatcheries and the Rome Fish Disease Control Unit (Rome Lab). He has worked on projects including evaluations of stream improvement structures, statewide creel and minimum length limits in trout streams, sea lamprey control, the statewide trout stream stocking system and manual, and the development and use of ultra-low phosphorus fish feed in DEC’s fish hatchery system.
A white paper Hulbert prepared on hatchery infrastructure needs in 2003 was instrumental in efforts to obtain Capital Budget appropriations for projects such as the reconstruction of broodstock ponds at Rome Lab and the construction of a new office/early rearing/visitor center building at Rome Hatchery.
Spiny water fleas, an aquatic invasive species, have been found in Sacandaga Lake in the southern region of the Adirondack Park near Speculator, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. It was previously confirmed in the Great Sacandaga in 2008, Peck Lake in 2009 and Stewarts Bridge Reservoir earlier this year.
Native to Eurasia, the spiny water flea feeds on tiny crustaceans and other zooplankton that are foods for fish and other native aquatic organisms, putting them in direct competition for this important food source. The tail spines of the spiny water flea hook on fishing lines and foul fishing gear. » Continue Reading.
The Lake Champlain Fish and Wildlife Management Cooperative (Cooperative) will be applying lampricide to portions of five tributaries to Lake Champlain during the month of September. Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will be treating the Salmon River, Little Ausable River, Ausable River, and Putnam Creek in New York, and Lewis Creek in Vermont.
Treatments are scheduled to begin in New York on September 14th and finish in Vermont by the end of the month. These treatments are part of the Cooperative’s long-term sea lamprey control program for Lake Champlain. The trout and salmon populations of the lake are the primary beneficiaries of these efforts, yet lake sturgeon, walleye, and many other species are affected too. » Continue Reading.
The 2010-2011 hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses and Deer Management Permits (DMPs) are now being sold by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
New Regulations for 2010-2011
Hunters and trappers should be aware of several new regulations in effect for 2010-2011. Air guns may now be used for hunting small game. Pheasant hunting areas and seasons have been modified. The Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) containment area has been decommissioned, and hunters in that area are no longer required to have their deer checked for CWD. Several trapping regulation changes have been made, including elimination of the requirement of furbearer possession tags and pelt sealing for beaver. More details for each of these changes are available in the 2010-2011 Hunting and Trapping Regulations Guide.
Licenses and permits can be purchased at one of DEC’s 1,500 license sales outlets statewide. Sporting licenses can also be ordered by mail or by telephone and via the internet. Sporting licenses are valid beginning Oct. 1 – Sept. 30, 2011.
The Automated Licensing System (DECALS) is the State’s program for issuing sporting licenses and tracking license sales and revenues. For questions regarding license purchases, call the DECALS Call Center at (1-866-933-2257). Hours of operation for the Call Center are 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday from Aug. 16 – Oct. 16, 2010. Regular weekday hours of 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. will resume on Oct. 18, 2010.
License buyers should have the following items ready when applying: complete name and address information, customer ID number if you have it, proof of residency information (driver’s license number or non-driver’s ID number to qualify for a resident license), and, if purchasing by phone or internet, credit card and card expiration date. Hunting license purchases require individuals to provide proof of hunting education certification or a copy of a previous license, or this information must already be contained in their DECALS file.
Sales of all sporting licenses are deposited into the Conservation Fund (the fund’s Advisory Board meets today in Lowville) which is used for the management of New York’s fish and wildlife populations and for protection and management of wildlife habitat.
Deer Management Permits
DEC issues Deer Management Permits (DMPs), often called “doe tags,” to move the population closer toward objective levels in each Wildlife Management Unit. The target DMP allocation for 2010 varies by unit, but outside of the Adirondack Park and the Tug Hill Plateau, only WMUs 3A, 4L, 4U, 4Z and 5T will be closed for DMPs in 2010. Applicants are reminded that DMPs are only valid for antlerless deer in the WMU specified on the permit.
DMPs will be available at all license issuing outlets and by phone, internet or mail, from Aug.16, 2010 through close of business Oct. 1, 2010. DMPs are issued through a random selection process at the point of sale, and customers who are selected for DMPs will receive their permits immediately. Chances of selection in each WMU are available at License Issuing Agent locations, or you may call the DMP Hotline at 1-866-472-4332. Chances of getting a DMP remain the same throughout the application period, so hunters do not need to rush to apply for a DMP on the first day of sale.
If a significant number of DMPs are still available in a WMU after Oct. 1, leftover DMP sales will commence on Nov. 1 and will continue on a first-come/first-serve basis until the end of the hunting season or until all DMPs have been issued in the WMU. Additionally, bonus DMPs will be available in the bowhunting-only WMUs 3S, 4J, and 8C and in Suffolk County (WMU 1C).
Fish and Wildlife Supporters
DEC encourages all outdoor enthusiasts to consider purchasing a Habitat/Access Stamp and/or a Trail Supporter Patch. These stamps and patches help support the DEC’s efforts to conserve habitat and increase public access for fish and wildlife-related recreation and maintain non-motorized trails. Buying a $5 stamp or patch or donating directly to the Conservation Fund is a way to help conserve New York’s wildlife heritage and enhance outdoor recreation in New York State.
Venison Donation Program
Additionally, anyone – not just hunters and anglers – can help feed the hungry by contributing to the Venison Donation Program at all license issuing outlets. Individuals should inform the license sales agent that they want to make a donation of $1 or more to support the program.
Participate in Citizen Science to Benefit Wildlife Management
Each year, thousands of hunters, trappers, and anglers help DEC monitor wildlife populations by recording their wildlife observations while afield. To learn about how you can participate in the Cooperator Ruffed Grouse Hunting Log, Bowhunter Sighting Log, Winter Wild Turkey Flock Survey and other citizen science programs.
The public is invited to attend the day-long summer field meeting of the Conservation Fund Advisory Board (CFAB), which begins at 9 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 19, 2010, at Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Lowville Field Office on State Route 812 in Lewis County.
The Conservation Fund Advisory Board was created by New York State law to make recommendations to appropriate state agencies on plans, policies and programs affecting fish and wildlife. The board submits an annual report to the DEC Commissioner and a fiscal report to sportsmen and women and the public. “This year’s CFAB summer field meeting will highlight many of the significant natural resource projects that DEC regional staff is involved in,” DEC Region 5 Regional Director Judy Drabicki said. “We invite hunters, anglers and all who enjoy outdoor recreation to attend the meeting and learn about the efforts of the board and how sporting license fee money is being used throughout New York.”
The field meeting provides an opportunity for the board to hear from people who are unable to travel to Albany to attend the regular monthly meetings. This year’s CFAB field meeting will feature the opportunity to attend the meeting via video conference at many of the DEC regional offices. In addition to an abbreviated board meeting there will be several presentations by region 6 professional staff about the significant projects that have been undertaken locally. Topics currently planned include:
* CFAB Business by CFAB chairman Jason Kemper
* Status of the Lake Ontario Fisheries Current Research/Potential for Deep Water Cisco Reintroduction by Steve LaPan Manager, Cape Vincent Fisheries Station Manager
* Lake Sturgeon Restoration on the St. Lawrence River – Rodger Klindt, Senior Aquatic Biologist
* Fish and Wildlife Management and Sportsman Access Programs on Fort Drum – Raymond Rainbolt, Fish and Wildlife Manager CIV USA IMCOM US Army
* Lands and Forests- Public Outreach – Scott Healy, Senior Forester
* CWD Update and Deer Management Issues in Region 6 – James Farquhar, Sr. Wildlife Biologist
* Region 6 Wind Power Projects – The Land Where the Wind Always Blows – Bill Gordon
The meeting will also be available via video conference at many DEC regional offices. Those who plan to attend at the DEC offices in Ray Brook or Warrensburg should contact David Winchell at 897-1211 or email@example.com
All CFAB members are volunteers who have a longstanding interest, knowledge and experience in fish and wildlife management, including hunting, fishing, trapping and related conservation activities. Additional information about the CFAB and the Conservation Fund can be found on DEC’s website. For more information on the summer field meeting, call DEC’s Fish and Wildlife office at (315) 785-2263.
A “free fishing” event will be held on Saturday, July 24, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the South Bay Fishing Pier on Lake Champlain, hosted by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) I FISH NY program.
No fishing license will be required for this event, which is free to all participants. DEC fisheries staff and Washington County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs members will provide instruction on the use of gear, fishing techniques, and information on aquatic biology and fish identification. Fishing rods, bait and other necessary tackle will be provided free of charge. Adaptive fishing equipment will be available to participants who require it. Quantities are limited, however, so attendees are encouraged to bring their own gear if possible.
South Bay Pier is a 300-foot long universally designed, wheelchair accessible fishing pier providing the community with barrier-free access from the parking area to the fishing rail. The pier is designed to provide a variety of places to fish from shallow water, to the deepest channel of the bay. Benches are provided along the pier, and the covered pavilion area over the end of the pier provides shelter from the sun and inclement weather.
South Bay of Lake Champlain has traditionally offered anglers outstanding opportunities for catching popular sportfish species such as northern pike, largemouth bass and chain pickerel. Yellow perch, white perch, crappies, sunfish, brown bullhead and catfish are also common.
The pier is located near an existing DEC boat launch facility, which has additional parking and an accessible privy. Constructed in 2008, South Bay Pier is one of many universally accessible recreation projects DEC has completed statewide over recent years. The pier is just west of the State Route 22 Bridge over South Bay near Whitehall in Washington County.
The free fishing event is one of four DEC sponsored free fishing clinics permitted by law in each DEC Region annually. The Free Fishing Days program began in 1991 to allow all people the opportunity to sample the incredible fishing New York State has to offer.
Everyone is invited to participate in this event, whether they have a fishing license or not. Ordinarily, anyone age 16 or older is required to obtain a license when fishing or helping another person to fish. Participants should note that all applicable fishing laws and regulations are still in effect during the event.
For additional information regarding this event contact Joelle Ernst with DEC’s Bureau of Fisheries at (518) 402-8891 or visit the DEC website for further information on a number of “Free Fishing Events” held in various locations throughout the state: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/27123.html
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is seeking public input on the current ban on transporting uncertified baitfish. The ban was established in 2007 after an outbreak of viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS) in the Great Lakes system in 2005. VHS is a disease that causes internal bleeding and sometimes death in certain fish when they are stressed in cooler temperatures. While VHS was the primary concern, eight other pathogens also were addressed when the rules were established.
The current regulations ban “the overland (motorized) transport of personally collected baitfish (baitfish that are uncertified as far as not tested for fish diseases).” This is the only part of the state’s fish-health regulations that DEC is seeking comment on at this time. DEC has slated a series of public meetings across the state (schedule attached). For two of the meeting dates, there will be live video feed at multiple locations. In addition, members of the public may participate by web conference. To learn how to use a home computer to participate, visit this website. Additional background information about the overland transport regulation and about the upcoming meetings is also available on DEC’s website.
In addition to public meetings, written and online comments will be accepted until Sept. 10, 2010. Written comments should be submitted to Shaun Keeler, NYSDEC, Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233 or e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Locally, the public meetings will be held at NYSDEC Region 5 Headquarters (the meeting will include a live video feed) at 1115 NYS Rte. 86, in Ray Brook.
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