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June 18, 2010 - Field Notes

Noteworthy Dates

June 26-27: New York's FREE FISHING WEEKEND! Ordinarily, anyone age 16 or older is required to obtain a license when fishing or helping another person to fish. However, the requirement for either a freshwater fishing or recreational marine fishing license is waived for June 26-27, 2010. It's the perfect opportunity to try fishing for the first time or introduce someone to the sport of fishing. Make sure to review and follow the freshwater fishing regulations and/or marine fishing regulations before you enjoy your free weekend of fishing!

June 26: Free fishing clinics will be offered in Rensselaer, Chenango and Erie Counties. Visit the 2010 Free Fishing Clinics webpage for location and contact information.

Helping Protected Species

Eastern Massasauga
An Eastern Massasauga
~Photo courtesy of Rori Paloski, WDNR

DEC Receives Federal Grant to Restore Eastern Massasauga Habitat. The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) awarded NYSDEC with a $60,264 federal grant under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for DEC's Eastern Massasauga Habitat Restoration Plan within the Cicero Swamp Wildlife Management Area (WMA). The Eastern Massasauga is a rattlesnake species found in only two sites within New York State. It is listed as an endangered species in New York State and is a candidate for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act. The status of endangered species serves as important indicators of the health of an ecosystem, and therefore are a key component in the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Since the snake is dependent on access to open sunshine to regulate its body temperature, forest growth (succession) has been a major factor negatively affecting Massasauga reproduction. DEC plans to remove over story vegetation to enhance their habitat within Cicero Swamp. Visit www.fws.gov/glri to learn more about the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI).

wild lupine drying
In Albany, lupine pods are dried by
laying them out on a barn floor and
turning them frequently to prevent
mold growth.
~Photograph courtesy of NYSDEC

Harvest Time for Lupine. The annual harvest of wild blue lupine is underway in Saratoga and Albany counties. This plant is the only food source for the caterpillar of the state and federally protected Karner blue butterfly. It is also the sole food source for the caterpillars of the state endangered Persius duskywing butterfly and state threatened frosted elfin butterfly in the upstate portion of their range. Habitat restoration for these species relies on the harvesting of large amounts of lupine seed that will be planted to create additional feeding areas. This will allow for the expansion of existing populations and the establishment of new colonies. DEC's Saratoga Tree Nursery has been a key player for the increase in harvest achieved in the last 10 years. With the help of the nursery, harvest results can go from a few handfuls to up to 50 pounds of seed! Staff, interns, and volunteers of DEC, the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission, and The Nature Conservancy will continue to collect seed until the pods in the field dry up and pop their seeds out. To find out how you can volunteer, visit the Albany Pine Bush Preserve and the Wilton Wildlife Preserve websites (links leaving DEC's website, leaving DEC website), or call the Saratoga Tree Nursery at (518) 581-1439.

Significant Notes

Commercial Fishing Daily Trip Limit Updates. Effective June 20, 2010, the daily trip limits for both horseshoe crab and summer flounder (fluke) commercial fisheries will be changing. For details on the updated trip limits, visit the Commercial Fishing Limits webpage on the DEC website. For questions or concerns please call the Bureau of Marine Resources at (631) 444-5621 or send an e-mail.

Vermont License Required to Fish "The Gut." The 2009-2010 NY Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide has an error in the Lake Champlain Reciprocal Agreement Area Map. The area between South and North Hero Islands, known as "The Gut," requires a Vermont fishing license. Please review the press release for more information.

Town of Huntington Shellfish Areas Reopen. All certified shellfish harvest areas in Northport Bay, Duck Island Harbor and Centerport Harbor are now open. After testing and analyzing the marine biotoxin levels in these harvest areas, DEC has determined that the shellfish are now safe for consumption. Review the press release for more information and to find a map of the certified shellfish areas.

ASMFC Public Hearing on Striped Bass Fishery Management Plan. On July 21, 2010, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) will hold a public hearing on Draft Addendum II to Amendment 6 of the Interstate Fishery Management Plan for Striped Bass. The Draft Addendum proposes two changes to the management plan: an increase in the coastal commercial quota, and a revised definition of recruitment failure. The hearing will be held at the NYS DEC Marine Resources Headquarters at 205 North Belle Mead Road, Suite 1, East Setauket, NY 11733. The draft addendum can be viewed at the ASMFC website http://www.asmfc.org/ (offsite link, leaving DEC website), under Breaking News. For more information, contact Carol Hoffman at (631) 444-0476 or Steve Heins at (631) 444-0436.

2009 Lake Ontario Annual Report. Each year the Bureau of Fisheries submits an annual report (PDF, 4.4mb) for the Lake Ontario and St Lawrence River Units to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. The report covers monitoring efforts on the lakes fish populations, recreational fish surveys, fishing boat surveys, salmonid stocking programs, native fish rehabilitation efforts and cormorant management activities. This report provides a good review of the status of Lake Ontario's valuable fishery resource.

Did You Know...?

karner blue butterfly on lupine
Karner Blue Butterfly
~Photograph courtesy of NYSDEC

The endangered Karner blue butterfly is found in scattered locations from Minnesota to New Hampshire, and was named after the hamlet of Karner in the Pine Bush Preserve of Albany County, New York?!

Read more fun facts about this small blue butterfly!

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