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May 14, 2010 - Field Notes

Noteworthy Dates

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Check out the Watchable Wildlife Events page to find upcoming wildlife viewing and other outdoor fun-filled activities near you.

Significant Notes

  • Emergency Shellfish Closures in Town of Huntington. On May 12, 2010, a closure on all shellfishing activities in waterbodies surrounding the Town of Huntington was instituted due to the detection of saxitoxin, a marine biotoxin which causes paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) when consumed. The closure will continue until a determination is made that shellfish marine biotoxins are no longer present at levels that may make shellfish hazardous for consumption. Review the press release for information on specific closure locations and ways to check the status of the closure.
  • Aquatic Invasive Found in Kayaderosseras Creek. Didymo (Didymosphenia geminate) or "rock snot," an aquatic invasive algae, has been recently identified in a popular stream for trout fishing, kayaking and canoeing activities. Kayderosseras Creek in Saratoga County is now the fifth confirmed water body of New York State that has been invaded by didmyo, an algae which rapidly infiltrates the stream bed creating an unfit environment for many aquatic organisms, including trout and other fish species. Please review the press release for more information about didymo, and learn how you can help prevent its spread into other water bodies of the state.
  • Common Merganser Predation on Stocked Trout. The NYSDEC Bureau of Wildlife and SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry are investigating common merganser habitat use, migration timing, and diet, as it relates to stocked brown trout in southeastern New York. Common mergansers feed on trout or other game fish when available, and are of concern to fisheries biologists and local fishermen because of their recent breeding range expansion in New York State (see Breeding Bird Atlas Map from 1980-1985 compared to 2000-2005). Common mergansers return to breed on local streams, lakes and rivers in March, and numbers seem to peak in mid-April, which coincides with the majority of trout stocking in the region. During spring 2010, Joshua Stiller (M.S. candidate), with help from wildlife staff and volunteers, captured and tagged 38 common mergansers along the West Branch of the Delaware River. Twenty-two of the birds received radio-transmitters which will allow for tracking their local movements and habitat use. In addition, 24 stomach samples by non-lethal means have been taken which will help assess diet composition. This two-year study will help evaluate the impact of common merganser predation on stocked trout in southeastern New York.
  • Volunteering for Fish and Wildlife. This spring, approximately 250 students and community volunteers are helping NYSDEC Hudson River Estuary Program and Research Reserve monitor American eel and other migratory fish species within Hudson River and its tributaries. With American eel populations in decline over much of its range, studies of migrations are crucial for effective management. For more details about this volunteer program review the press release or visit the Citizen Science: American Eel Research webpage. If interested in finding additional volunteer opportunities to help monitor New York's wildlife resources, visit DEC's Citizen Science webpage.
  • Want to know more about DEC fisheries surveys? Check out the Biologist Reports pages on the DEC Website, and make sure to check back often as new reports are added as they become available. Last week, ten new reports were posted for East-Central New York: DEC Region 4 fish population surveys.

Did You Know...?

Photo of a spring peeper
Spring Peeper (Pseudacris crucifer)
~Photo courtesy of USGS

Although significantly small at about an inch in size, a male spring peeper can produce up to 4,000 high-pitched peeps per hour that can be heard up to a mile away!

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