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Selkirk Shores BCA Management Guidance Summary

Site Name: Selkirk Shores BCA

State Ownership and Managing Agency: Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation

Location: Oswego County, Town of Pulaski

Size of Area: ~ 1000 acres

DEC Region: 7

OPRHP Region: Central

General Site Information: The Selkirk Shores BCA is part of Selkirk Shores State Park. It is located on Lake Ontario about 0.3 miles south of Port Ontario. Overlooking a bluff, the park offers swimming, camping, fishing, birding and hiking.

Vision Statement: Recreational/interpretive opportunities and access will continue in a manner consistent with conservation of the diverse assemblage of bird species using the area for breeding or during migration.

Key BCA Criteria: Migratory bird concentration site; diverse species concentration site; species at risk site (ECL §11-2001, 3.e, f and h.). During spring migration Neotropical migratory songbirds concentrate along the lake. The BCA supports assemblages of birds associated with marshes, forests and shrub/scrub including more than 80 species that have been confirmed as breeders. The BCA has supported at risk breeding marsh birds such as pied-billed grebes (threatened), American bitterns (special concern), least bitterns (threatened), and black terns (endangered). Other regularly occurring species at risk include osprey (special concern), sharp-shinned hawk (special concern), common tern (threatened) and golden-winged warbler (special concern).

Critical Habitat Types: Shallow and deep emergent marshes at Grindstone Creek and especially the mouth of the Salmon River are breeding habitat for black tern (endangered) and pied-billed grebe (threatened). Forests, including successional northern hardwoods, pine plantations and hemlock-northern hardwood forest, with interspersed shrubland are important to neotropical migrant songbirds during spring migration. The presence of the conifer plantations and large mature pines make this area very different from other habitats in the Oswego County coastal zone. It attracts breeding birds of more northern affinities such as Blackburnian warbler. The Pine Grove, an old growth stand of white pines, is considered rare in Oswego County. Pine warblers have been breeding here for at least 25 years.

Operation and Management Considerations:

  • Identify habitat management activities needed to maintain site as a BCA.
    The mouth of Grindstone Creek is shallow and may slowly be filling in. In addition, purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) crowds out native emergent vegetation and forms stands too thick for black tern nesting. The marshes along Grindstone Creek have recovery potential if loosestrife is controlled. Initiate, where appropriate, invasive species control to protect critical habitat areas. Water chestnut has been reported in the Salmon River. If it is documented to be at the park, it should be monitored closely for its impacts on habitat for birds and other wildlife.

    Large areas along both sides of Route 3 are a mix of successional hardwoods, shrublands and old fields. These areas are an important contribution to habitat diversity. Management of this area will maintain habitat for shrubland and old field species.

    Develop a plan, in consultation with DEC, to make the habitat at the Grindstone Creek and Salmon River Marshes more suitable for black terns. The plan should consider management of vegetation, water level, nest substrate, predators and people.

    Deer are abundant. Monitor impact of deer browse on understory.

  • Identify seasonal sensitivities; adjust routine operations accordingly.
    None identified.

  • Identify state activities or operations that may pose a threat to the critical habitat types identified above; recommend alternatives to existing and future operations, which may pose threats to those habitats.
    None identified.

  • Identify any existing or potential use impacts; recommend new management strategies to address those impacts.
    Monitor potential disturbances from boat traffic and wakes to black tern and pied-billed grebe nests at the mouth of the Salmon River. Canoeists and other small craft may have higher potential for disturbance because they are able to enter breeding areas.

  • Assess current access; recommend enhanced access, if feasible.
    Current access is adequate. Grounds are open year round. Trails are available for hiking, skiing and snowmobiling. A boat launch for small boats is located at Pine Grove. A launch for larger boats is located at nearby Mexico Point.

Education, Outreach, and Research Considerations:

  • Determine education and outreach needs; recommend strategies and materials.
    Update OPRHP's checklist: Birds of Selkirk Shores State Park.

    A BCA kiosk will be designed and installed in an appropriate location.

    Develop/enhance partnerships with environmental organizations and bird conservation groups such as Onondaga Audubon and The Nature Conservancy.

  • Identify research needs; prioritize and recommend specific projects or studies.
    Develop a plan, in consultation with DEC, for monitoring bird species that contribute to the three BCA criteria especially black tern and marsh birds e.g. pied-billed grebe, American and least bittern, Virginia rail, sora, common Moorhen and American coot.

James Semar, OPRHP, Selkirk Shores, 315-298-5737
Tom Lyons, OPRHP, Albany, phone: 518-474-0409
Ray Perry, OPRHP, Albany, phone: 518-474-0409

Agard, K. 1994. Lake Ontario Migratory Bird Study. The Nature Conservancy, Central and Western New York Chapter, Rochester, New York

Birds of Selkirk Shores State Park. 1994. NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Albany, New York

Burger, M. and J. Liner. 2005. Important Bird Areas of New York: Habitats Worth Protecting. Audubon New York, Albany, New York.

Drennan, S. R. 1981. Where to Find Birds in New York State, Syracuse University Press, Syracuse, New York.

New York State Breeding Bird Atlas 2000, Maps and Species Lists.

NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, 1992. Selkirk Shores State Park Final master Plan and Final Environmental Impact Statement.

Olivero, A.M., P.G. Novak and T.W. Weldy. 2002. Rare Species and Ecological Communities of Selkirk Shores State Park and Mexico Point Boat Launch. New York Natural Heritage Program, Albany, NY

Wells, J. V. 1998. Important Bird Areas in New York State. National Audubon Society, Albany, New York.

Date Designated: 9/25/06

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