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January 13, 2012 - Field Notes

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

In This Issue:

Get Involved!

a peeper among some fallen leaves
Spring peepers make their distinct
"peeping" call in early spring.
~Photo by Kelly Mckean

Lend a Hand in Monitoring New York's Frogs and Toads
Amphibian populations are declining worldwide and scientists need your help to determine exactly where and why this is happening. The North American Amphibian Monitoring Program (NAAMP) is a citizen science-based effort to collect more information on local frogs and toads. New York's NAAMP program is active in the Hudson River Valley and is holding trainings for prospective volunteers this February. To learn more and get involved, visit the Frog and Toad Monitoring page on DEC's website.

Noteworthy Dates

January 17 - Marine Resources Advisory Council
Public Meeting
Get caught up in the management of New York State recreational and commercial marine fisheries at the next Marine Resources Advisory Council (MRAC) meeting at the DEC Marine Resources Headquarters in East Setauket. Topics to be discussed at the January meeting include: 2012 recreational fluke and black sea bass regulations, hard clam restoration efforts in Great South Bay, assessment of unusual marine animal mortality events, and more. Complete meeting details and agenda items are available on DEC's website.

bobcat in the snow
Bobcats are solitary animals
and active both day and night.
~Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish & Wildlife

January 29 - Lecture on "Big Cats of the Adirondacks"
Learn about "Big Cats of the Adirondacks" with DEC wildlife biologist Paul Jenson as he explores the current and historical distribution of mountain lions, Canada lynx and bobcats in the Northeast. Jenson will also discuss how these species may be affected by changes in landscape and the warming climate in the future. Sponsored by the Adirondack Museum, this lecture is open to all and will be held at the Adirondack Lakes Center for the Arts in Blue Mountain Lake at 1:30 p.m. The lecture is free for children and Adirondack Museum members, and $5 for non-members.

Significant Notes

Report Deer Found Sick or Dead from Unknown Causes
After a recent discovery of an unusual illness in a white-tailed deer in Warren County, DEC is asking anyone who sees deer that are acting abnormally or are found dead from unknown causes to report it to the nearest DEC regional office, an Environmental Conservation Officer, or a Forest Ranger. More details are available in DEC's press release online.

Commercial Fisheries 2012 Draft Quota Distribution Plans Online
Now available on DEC's website are the 2012 draft quota distribution plans that show the breakdown of "quotas" or the limit of fish that can be harvested throughout the year for the following species: black sea bass, bluefish, summer flounder and scup. These plans are a result of the annual November meeting with commercial fisherman representing the hook and line, pot or trap, gill-net and trawl-net fisheries. Final plans will be available online near the end of January.

Commercial Fisheries Trip Limit Updates
The black sea bass commercial fishery opened on January 8 with a 50-pound daily trip limit. The summer flounder weekly trip limit program will open on January 14 with a limit (maximum of two landings per week) of 1,500 pounds. Other details and fish harvest limits are available on DEC's Commercial Fishing Limits webpage.

Nannyberry, a fruit-bearing plant
Nannyberry provides edible fruit
to humans and is enjoyed by many
birds and animals.
~Photo courtesy of DEC
Saratoga Tree Nursery

Get Your Tree and Shrub Seedlings Today to Plant for Tomorrow
Help conserve the future of our habitat and wildlife by purchasing seedlings from DEC's Saratoga Tree Nursery through the annual seedling sale. A variety of individual seedlings and seedling packets are available through mid-May. These seedlings provide benefits to many wildlife species, including songbirds and game birds like turkey and ruffed grouse. Besides planting trees and shrubs to provide food for animals, think of the many other benefits these seedlings offer, like stabilizing stream banks, preventing erosion, cleaning the air, beautifying the landscape, and much more. Learn more about the types of seedlings available and how you can order yours at DEC's Seedling Sale webpage.

Celebrating 75 Years of Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration

Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration poster

In 2012, join us as we celebrate better hunting, trapping, fishing, boating and wildlife-related recreation thanks to 75 years of the federal aid in Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration (WSFR) (link leaves DEC website) program. WSFR provides a reliable source of funds for the recovery of fish and wildlife populations through excise taxes placed on purchases of firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, fishing gear, boats and boating equipment. In New York State, funding from WSFR supports programs that:

  • Protect and restore wildlife through regulation and management of habitat and acquisition of natural areas
  • Monitor the status of fish and wildlife populations
  • Provide hunter safety education courses
  • Improve wildlife and fisheries management through research
  • Educate the public about water resources

Laws and Rulemakings

Blackfish/Tautog Recreational and Commercial Fishery Harvest Reductions
New regulations were adopted by DEC on December 30, 2011 to comply with the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission's (ASMFC) efforts to end overfishing and rebuild blackfish/tautog populations. Based on the latest ASMFC Fishery Management Plan, New York State has to reduce harvest by 48%, resulting in the following regulations now in effect:

  • Recreational Limits
    The season now only runs from October 8 through December 4. The minimum size limit has been increased from 14 inches to 16 inches. The daily possession limit remains at 4 fish.
  • Commercial Limits
    The minimum length has been increased to 15 inches. All other blackfish/tautog limits (found in the commercial regulations) remain the same.

Recreational Sporting Season Reminders

Saltwater Anglers: Remember to Enroll in the 2012 Recreational Marine Fishing Registry
Make sure to enroll in the 2012 Recreational Marine Fishing Registry before going on your next saltwater fishing excursion this calendar year. The registry is free and is a requirement when fishing for all saltwater and migratory fish in New York State. Visit DEC's website for information on the marine registry and how to enroll.

Upcoming Seasons

During the next two weeks from January 13 through January 27, there are no recreational sporting season changes occurring. For all season dates and to view more information about hunting and fishing in New York State, visit DEC's Outdoor Activities webpage.

Other News in the Press

Below are additional links to noteworthy DEC press releases:

Did You Know...?

rainbow trout
In this rainbow trout, you can faintly see the lateral line
along the light pink stripe in the middle of its body.
~Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

All fish have a special sixth sense running along the length of their body called the "lateral line." This unique sensory organ, a line of individual cells, allows the fish to feel vibrations in the water, helping them locate prey, avoid collisions as they swim in schools, and steer clear of predators.

Read more fun facts on fish in the Conservationist for Kids article, "Fish Features"

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