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July 15, 2011 - Field Notes

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

Significant Notes

  • Raising Awareness for Turtles!
    2011 Year of the Turtle logo
    ~Year of the turtle logo by Partners in
    Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC)~
    As nearly half of all turtle species are identified as threatened with extinction around the world, the Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) along with other Conservation groups have designated 2011 as the Year of the Turtle! Over 200 million years ago, turtles first appeared in the fossil record during the Triassic Period, with today's turtles bearing much resemblance to their ancestors. Despite their long evolutionary history, turtles are now in danger of disappearing due to a variety of threats including habitat loss, overexploitation, pet trade, hunting for use in traditional medicine, by-catch, invasive species, disease, and climate change. The 2011 Year of the Turtle is an opportunity to raise awareness of these threats and to increase conservation actions to help reduce problems turtles face. To get more details and identify ways to help in conservation efforts, visit the PARC Year of the Turtle website (link leaves DEC website).
  • 2010 Annual Fisheries Report for Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River.
    The 2010 Annual Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River Report, now available online, provides results of surveys and assessments conducted in Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River including creel (angler) surveys, forage fish assessments, warm water gillnetting, lower food web monitoring, Chinook salmon marking studies, native species restoration efforts, Cormorant management and diet studies, and much more! Survey work was conducted by staff from DEC's Lake Ontario Unit and Regions 6, 7, 8, and 9, as well as staff from the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Cornell University, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.
  • New Division Monthly Highlights Available.
    Learn about the most recent research and other activities conducted by our fish and wildlife staff in the latest Division Monthly Highlights (PDF, 306 kb). In this issue, you will find highlights on the status of peregrine falcon populations in New York, a survey on round whitefish in Franklin County, a study on the atmospheric transfer of toxic chemicals into the Great Lakes, an update on the number of human-bear conflicts for the year, and much more!
  • Fox Sightings More Common in Summer.
    red fox and its reflection in the lake as it stops for a drink
    Red fox.
    ~Photo credit: Marty DeLong~
    DEC wildlife offices have received several calls in recent weeks regarding an apparent increase in red fox sightings within suburban areas. Fortunately, in most reported cases, the foxes were not displaying aggressiveness or other unusual behavior, which typically indicates rabies infection. While fox activity is primarily nocturnal, one reason for increased sightings is probably a result of adults searching for food during the daylight hours to meet the demands of their hungry pups. Another possible factor for more fox sightings is due to an increase in coyote populations within New York State. Coyotes and fox often do not co-exist, which can force fox to move into residential areas to set up their territories. For more information, visit the Red Fox webpage.

Health & Safety

  • Temporary Shellfish Harvest Closure in Three Mile Harbor.
    From sunrise this Saturday, July 16 through sunrise Wednesday, July 21, the DEC Bureau of Marine Fisheries is temporarily closing all shellfish harvesting of mussels, clams, oysters, and scallops at Three Mile Harbor in East Hampton, NY. This is due to the large number of boats that visit the harbor to watch the "Great Bonac Fireworks Show" and remain in the area overnight. This increases the chance of illegal waste discharge into the water causing unsafe and unsanitary conditions for consumption of shellfish harvested in the area. Detailed maps and closure information can be found on the Special Shellfish Closure webpage.

Get Involved - Volunteer!

  • July 16 - New York Annual Loon Census.
    Adult common loon on the water
    An adult common loon.
    ~Photo credit: Barbara Nuffer~
    If you like to watch loons, consider participating in the New York Annual Loon Census this Saturday, July 16, from 8-9 a.m. During the one hour period, observers record the number of adults, chicks, and immature loons they see. In recent years, about 500 observers have participated and submitted results from about 200 lakes. Conducted since 2001, the census provides data to monitor the status and trends of New York's breeding loon population in the Adirondack Park and the summering loon population across New York State. Similar loon counts are conducted in other Northeast states at the same time and date to help gather a broad regional overview of loon populations. The results help guide DEC and other conservation agencies in management decisions and policies that affect loons. To sign up for this event and get more information, visit the website of the Wildlife Conservation Society or the Biodiversity Research Institute (links leave DEC website). Also, learn some fun facts about this intriguing bird on DEC's Watchable Wildlife - Common Loon webpage.

Noteworthy Dates

  • August 19 - Leashed Tracking Dog Exam; Sign-up by August 12.
    Sign-up by August 12 to take the leashed tracking dog license exam on August 19 from 10 a.m. to noon at designated DEC regional offices near you. The license allows for the use of a trained dog to track and find dead, injured, or wounded deer and bear during the Big Game Hunting Season. If interested, you must fill out and send in an application by August 12 to: DEC Special Licenses Unit, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4752. To get an application and find out more details of the license, visit the Leashed Tracking Dog License page, or contact the DEC Special Licenses Unit by phone: 518-402-8985 or by e-mail: fwslu@gw.dec.state.ny.us

Upcoming Recreational Sporting Season Reminders

Hunting (Small Game)

-- July 15, 2011 --

  • Snapping Turtle Hunting Opens Statewide. Hunters will need a Small Game Hunting License and may harvest snapping turtles by means of a firearm or bow. The season remains open through September 30, 2011. For details on size and bag limits during the season, please check the Reptile Hunting page online.

Saltwater Fishing

-- July 16, 2011 --

  • Oyster Toadfish Fishing Opens. Anglers may catch three fish daily, each at a total length of 10 inches or larger. The season remains open through May 14, 2012. Don't forget to enroll in the New York State Recreational Marine Fishing Registry prior to going fishing.

View complete sporting season dates and regulations online:

Other News in the Press

Below are additional links to noteworthy DEC press releases. Click on the links for detailed information:

  • DEC Report on Recommendations for Permitting of Hydraulic Fracturing Now Online
  • NYSDEC Commissioner Martens Warns Ohio on Water Withdrawal Legislation

Did You Know...?

loggerhead sea turlte swimming near a reef
Juvenile loggerhead sea turtle
(Caretta caretta). ~Photo credit:
Fondazione Cetacea, courtesy
of NMFS ~

Long Island is a popular summer destination for sea turtles! Out of the seven species of sea turtles, loggerhead, kemp's ridley, green, and leatherback are among the most frequent visitors to New York's coastal saltwaters. They travel here to feast on the abundance and assortment of crabs, molluscs, jellyfish, seagrass, and algae found in our marine waters before heading back to tropical waters in the fall.

A Conservation Note: A favorite meal for leatherback sea turtles is the jellyfish. Often times, plastic bags and balloons are mistaken for jellyfish and ingested. This creates an obstruction in the turtle's digestive path and leads to their eventual death. Please help this ancient turtle and other marine animals by using re-usable canvas and tote bags rather than plastic bags on your next shopping trip.

Read more about sea turtles on the DEC website!

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