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For Release: Thursday, January 16, 2014

DEC Releases Two Draft Species Management Plans

Plans Will Guide Management of Black Bears and Mute Swans for the Next Ten Years

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today released draft species management plans for black bears and mute swans, and will be accepting public comments on these management plans through February 21, 2014.

"Wildlife management can present challenges in trying to balance populations, hunting opportunities and environmental impacts," Commissioner Martens said. "These plans will guide the management of these species for the next 10 years, and we encourage people to review and submit comments on the draft plans."

These management plans also reflect Governor Cuomo's NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, an effort to improve recreational activities for in-state and out-of-state sportsmen and sportswomen and to boost tourism opportunities throughout the state. This initiative includes the streamlining of hunting and fishing licensing and reducing license fees, improved access for fishing at various sites across the state, and increasing hunting opportunities in various regions.

Black Bears

The draft Black Bear Management Plan for New York State, 2014-2024 is available on the DEC website.. Black bears are a very popular wildlife species among the general public, but can pose significant challenges when the bears become too abundant or are acting boldly in populated areas.

DEC's draft plan describes five primary goals that reflect the current priorities of bear managers and desires expressed by the public:

  • maintain bear populations at levels acceptable to the public;
  • promote and enhance bear hunting as an important management tool;
  • minimize the frequency and severity of human-bear conflicts;
  • foster understanding and communication about bear ecology, management, and conflict avoidance; and
  • ensure the necessary resources are available to support effective management of black bears in New York.

The plan also describes the current and desired future status of bear populations in various geographic regions of New York.

Many of the strategies identified in the plan are already occurring; others reflect new work to be more fully developed during the next 10 years. The plan includes proposals to expand bear hunting opportunities in many wildlife management units, especially in the Catskills and western Hudson Valley where in recent years human-bear conflicts have become more common and pose a serious threat to human safety and property.

Comments on the draft bear plan may be submitted in writing through February 21, 2014 to: NYSDEC Bureau of Wildlife, Bear Management Plan, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4754 or by e-mail to (please type "Bear Plan" in the subject line).

Mute Swans

The draft Management Plan for Mute Swans in New York State is available on the DEC website. The mute swan is a non-native, invasive species brought to North America from Eurasia for ornamental purposes in the late 1800s.

Mute swans are most numerous on Long Island and in the lower Hudson Valley, but have expanded their range in recent years, especially around Lake Ontario. Mute swans can cause a variety of problems, including exhibiting aggressive behavior towards people, destruction of submerged aquatic vegetation, displacement of native wildlife species, degradation of water quality and potential hazards to aviation.

This draft management plan supports actions by DEC to eliminate free-ranging mute swans from New York by 2025, while allowing responsible ownership of these birds in captivity. DEC recently proposed listing mute swan as a "prohibited species" under new Invasive Species regulations, which would prohibit the sale, importation, transport, or introduction of this species in New York.

Comments on the draft mute swan plan may be submitted in writing through February 21, 2014 to: NYSDEC Bureau of Wildlife, Swan Management Plan, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4754 or by e-mail to (please type "Swan Plan" in the subject line).

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