From the February 2012 Conservationist
By Jenna Kerwin and David Nelson
The application period for DEC's Day-old Pheasant Chick Program is open from now until March 15th. The program provides pheasant hunting opportunities through a partnership between DEC, hunters, 4-H youth, and landowners. Chicks are available at no cost to participants who are able to monitor the birds' health, provide daily care, a brooding facility, a covered outdoor rearing pen, and an adequate release site. Approved applicants receive chicks in April, May or June. Cooperators bear the cost of raising the chicks to adulthood, and release them before December 1st on DEC-approved sites on lands open to public hunting, before the season opens. In 2011, DEC distributed more than 46,000 day-old pheasant chicks to qualified 4-H and sportsmen applicants. Anyone interested in raising and releasing pheasants to expand next year's hunting opportunities should contact DEC's Reynolds Game Farm at 607-273-2768.
DEC's Hudson River Estuary Program has a new newsletter! Available online, the quarterly RiverNet delivers information on ensuring clean water; protecting and restoring fish, wildlife and their habitat; providing river access and recreation on the water and throughout the watershed; and more. In its first issue, readers can learn about the effects of Hurricane Irene in New York; check out new grants, training, and volunteer projects open to the public; and discover unusual Hudson River animal sightings! Learn more, including how to subscribe.
Falconer and Wildlife Rehabber Tests
The annual written examinations for New Yorkers interested in becoming either a licensed volunteer wildlife rehabilitator or an apprentice to practice the sport of falconry will be held on April 20th at DEC regional offices throughout the state. Applications to take either exam are due no later than April 6th. Wildlife rehabilitators care for injured, sick and orphaned wild animals, with the ultimate goal of preparing the animals for their return to the wild. Falconry has a rich history and tradition throughout the world; in New York, the tradition is continued by more than 200 licensed falconers. Both endeavors are demanding and require significant commitments of time and effort. See the Special Licenses page on DEC's website to learn more about wildlife rehabilitation, falconry, and a list of DEC's regional offices where the tests will be administered.
Reductions in Menhaden Harvest
For the first time, there will be reductions in the harvest of Atlantic menhaden after a vote by the Menhaden Management Board of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC). Menhaden are the primary forage fish of most predatory fish, and have steadily declined; recently they hit a record low. The public submitted more than 90,000 comments on the proposed reductions; most were in favor of reducing the menhaden harvest. Check out the Coastal Conservation Association's press release to read more about the decision, and to find out what comes next.
New Fishing Map
Freshwater anglers will be happy to learn there's a new free fishing map/ brochure available from DEC. The large, fold-out I FISH NY Guide to Freshwater Fishing in New York State contains valuable fishing information-including fish species present, the type of access available, whether ice fishing is allowed, what (if any) permits are required, and the location of fishing piers, marinas or local campsites-for more than 320 lakes and ponds and 112 rivers and streams. The map also contains color photos and descriptions of New York's most popular sportfish, important contact information, and a list of recommended fishing waters. The fishing map was completed using Federal Aid in Sportfish Restoration monies and can be obtained free of charge from any DEC regional office, or by sending an e-mail to email@example.com (include "NY Fishing Map" in the subject line).
No Discharge in Lake Ontario
DEC and the Environmental Protection Agency recently declared New York's portion of Lake Ontario as a "no discharge zone," meaning boaters are banned from discharging treated on-board sewage into the water. Instead, boaters must dispose of their sewage at specifically designated pump-out stations. Even waste treated by on-board septic systems contains chemical additives which can be harmful to water quality, and pose a risk to marine life and people's health. Visit DEC's "No Discharge Zones" webpage for more information.