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March 18, 2011 - Field Notes

Noteworthy News from the Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources

Noteworthy Events

  • March 22 -- Why Did the Salamander Cross the Road?
    A spotted salmander crossing the road
    Help collect data on amphibians like this
    spotted salamander by participating in
    "road surveys" through DEC's
    Amphibian Migrations and Road Crossings
    citizen science project.
    ~Photo by L. Heady~
    Each spring, salamanders and frogs travel long distances from their forest habitats to breed in small wetlands called "woodland pools." Along their journey roads often cross their path, leading to mortality of these small yet ubiquitous creatures. The NYSDEC Hudson River Estuary Program and Cornell University are working together to conserve forests, small wetlands, and other critical habitats in the Hudson Valley. Join Laura Heady, Biodiversity Outreach Coordinator, for DEC's Amphibian Migrations and Road Crossings citizen science project and a presentation on woodland pool ecology.
    The event will be held at the Columbia Land Conservancy (link leaves DEC website), 49 Main Street, Chatham, NY from 7:00 to 8:00 PM. This is a great opportunity to witness these incredible spring migrations, learn how to help amphibians survive their overland travel and conserve important habitats in your community. To register, contact Marcia Cary at 518-392-5252, ext. 202 or send an e-mail to marcia@clctrust.org.

Significant Notes

  • Increased Fish Kills During Spring Thaw.
    This winter's harsh cold and record snowfalls may cause increased observance of fish kills this spring. Winter fish kills, or "Winterkills" are the result of oxygen depletion in a water body that has been covered by ice and snow for an extended period of time. The layers of snow and ice block atmospheric oxygen from entering the water, and also inhibit sunlight from reaching aquatic plants, resulting in no oxygen production. Winterkills are usually rare in larger water-bodies over 20 acres in size, as they have the capacity to maintain a sufficient volume of oxygen to sustain life through the worst winters. However, fish kills are more prominent in small ponds that are high in nutrients. Fish populations can often rebound a few years after a Winterkill, as different fish species and sizes of fish have varying tolerances to low oxygen levels and can survive. Additionally, some fish find isolated locations of sufficient oxygen to carry them through the winter. Anyone noting a fish kill that they believe cannot be attributed to Winterkill should contact their local DEC regional office.
  • January Monthly Highlights Available.
    mourning dove with an identification band on its leg
    In the latest Monthly
    Highlights issue, read
    about wildlife staff banding
    mourning doves for
    population monitoring.
    Learn about our Division's latest research, management and outreach activities by reading the January issue of our Monthly Highlights (PDF) (1.5 mb). Topics in this issue include: management of deer and turkey populations in urbanized areas, Chronic Wasting Disease detection in Maryland, population surveys of bald eagles and mourning doves, status reports of fisheries in the Salmon and Genesee Rivers, population analysis of mussels in Lake Ontario, and more!
  • Return a Gift to Wildlife on your Tax Form.
    Consider donating to Return a Gift to Wildlife on your tax form. To date, your generous contributions have helped completely or partially fund over 250 important fish and wildlife projects. This includes supporting programs such as New York's Natural Heritage Program that helps monitor our rare and endangered animals, and Project Wild that offers instruction to school teachers about incorporating wildlife education in school curricula. The contributions also help fund major publications, such as the Atlas of Breeding Birds in New York State, the Inland Fishes of New York State, and hundreds of research reports and educational pamphlets. To contribute, look for the Return a Gift to Wildlife line on your New York State Income Tax Form, or tell your tax preparer that you wish to make a donation. Thank you for the support!
  • Commercial Summer Flounder Weekly Trip Limit Program Closed.
    Effective March 12, 2011, the summer flounder weekly trip limit program closed. The daily trip limit remains at 70 pounds. View additional commercial fishing limits online. For questions or concerns, contact the Bureau of Marine Resources at 631-444-5621 or send an e-mail.
  • Birdfeeders and Bears, Oh My!
    bear on top of a birdfeeder
    This bird feeder may be high from the
    ground, but a hungry bear will find its
    way to reaching favorite foods.
    When bears emerge from their dens in March, natural foods are lacking and bird feeders represent a readily abundant food source. DEC highly recommends that bird feeding activities cease this time of year if you live in bear country. According to bear nuisance complaint records from DEC's Region 3 office in New Paltz, bird feeders are involved in over 80% of the bear problems around houses at certain times of the year. The problem often escalates to other food sources such as garbage cans, barbecue grills, and compost piles as bears become bolder and more acclimated to people. The resulting presence of bears affects neighbors' homes as well, and in the long run does more harm to the bears than good. Bears that become accustomed to approaching houses and people often become chronic nuisances, sometimes resulting in the demise of the animal. To help control these bear-human interactions, read more about preventing bear conflicts on DEC's website.
  • Assisting in Gulf of Mexico Habitat Restoration.
    DEC's Long Island Sound Study (LISS) Coordinator, Sarah Deonarine, traveled to Louisiana at the end of February to assist with coastal habitat restoration in response to the oil spill that occurred last spring. Joined by an LISS member from New York Sea Grant and a group from the New York State Marine Education Association (NYSMEA), the team worked together to re-establish tidal wetlands and maritime forest communities debilitated by man-made disasters as well as natural disasters. Across the world, tidal wetlands are crucial habitats, serving as a feeding, breeding and nursery ground for many species of fish and wildlife. For more details on this habitat restoration project, visit nysmea.blogspot.com (link leaves DEC website).

Upcoming Recreational Sporting Season Reminders

A complete list of sporting season dates can be found by following the appropriate links:

Small Game/Furbearer Hunting

-- March 20, 2011 --

  • Final Day for Cottontail and Varying Hare Hunting in Northern Areas of New York. All areas of the state are now closed.

-- March 27, 2011 --

  • Final Day for Hunting Coyote in All Areas of New York.

Game Bird Hunting

-- March 28, 2011 --

  • Final Day for Hunting Crow in All Areas of New York.

Fishing (Freshwater & Saltwater)

-- April 1, 2011 --

  • Trout (brook, rainbow, brown and hybrids, and splake), Lake Trout, Landlocked Atlantic Salmon, and Kokanee Fishing Season Opens. For catch and size limits view the freshwater fishing regulations.
  • Winter Flounder Fishing Season Opens. The daily catch limit is two fish with a minimum length of 12 inches. All recreational anglers fishing in the marine and coastal district must obtain a recreational marine fishing license.

Did You Know...?

barred owl
A barred owl. ~Photo by Randolph
Femmer, courtesy of life.nbii.gov~

Most birds cannot move their eyes around, up, down, left or right like humans. Instead, they have extra bones in their neck that allows them to move their heads around much further. Impressively, an owl can rotate its head up to 270 degrees!

Read more about Birds of New York in colorful posters and brochures previously published by the Conservationist magazine.

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