From the June 2012 Conservationist
By Jenna Kerwin and David Nelson
Don't Harass Loons
Photo: Wayne Jones
Summer is a great time to spend outdoors with family and friends, and to enjoy the wonderful recreational opportunities found in New York State. It's important to remember, though, that sometimes that means sharing space with wildlife. The Biodiversity Research Institute would like to remind people that summer is when loons nest and raise their young. Common loons are protected by both state and federal laws, and disturbing them is illegal. ECOs will ticket people who approach nesting loons or loons with chicks, so please remember to admire the birds from a distance. Visit the Biodiversity Research Institute website for more information about loons.
For the Love of Fishing
Photo: James Clayton
The American Sportfishing Association (which represents the interests of the sportfishing industry, and helps to ensure we have clean water, abundant fish and places to fish) recently commissioned two studies to examine: 1) nationwide sales of state fishing licenses; and 2) why people stop fishing, what keeps them from fishing as much as they'd like, and what would make people return to fishing. Top reasons why people fish include: relaxing, spending time with family and friends, catching food and being outdoors. The major reason for fishing less was cited as "not enough time," though simply being invited to accompany another angler would encourage many anglers to return to the sport more often. For more information on these studies, visit the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation and Southwick Associates. For recreational fishing ideas, visit DEC's fishing webpages.
New York is Climate Smart
Recently, Saratoga Springs became New York's 100th Climate Smart Community by adopting the program's ten-point pledge to address climate change, and by press time 103 communities had taken the pledge. Launched in 2009, the Climate Smart Communities program is sponsored by five state agencies and has guided and supported local climate change leadership across the state. Each community on the list is applauded for its leadership in reducing greenhouse gas emissions-from the Town of New Castle, the first Climate Smart Community to the most recent inductee, the Town of Brant. Furthermore, the Town of Babylon, another Climate Smart Community, was recently selected to partner with the Earth Day Network (EDN) and several other U.S. cities to further reduce their carbon emissions through the adoption of alternative energy polices. The program is part of EDN's Billion Acts of Green®-Campaign for Communities and has been recognized by the Clinton Global Initiative for its commitment to prevent one million pounds of new carbon emissions. Check out "A Change in Climate" in the February 2010 Conservationist or visit the Climate Smart Community program and to see if your community is Climate Smart.
Clean Water for All
Photo: James Clayton
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, the nation's law for protecting our waters. An earlier act was revised in 1972 and again in 1987 to better protect and restore our rivers, streams, lakes, wetlands and coastal waters. We have made great progress in reducing pollution, but many challenges remain. To see what we've achieved in the past 40 years, and to look toward the next 40 years, visit the Environmental Protection Agency's website.
Manhattan Hawk Deaths
DEC recently posted a detailed report highlighting the causes of death of four adult, red-tailed hawks found in Manhattan during February and March. DEC's Wildlife Health Unit performed necropsies (animal autopsies) and found evidence of rodenticide poisoning in three of the four birds. The cause of death in the fourth hawk was undetermined. Visit the Wildlife Necropsy Reports page and click on the link to read the full report.
Cycling the Erie Canal Guidebook
Photo: Parks and Trails NY
Parks and Trails New York recently produced a newly revised Cycling the Erie Canal guidebook. The 144-page book is packed with information on attractions, historic sites, visitor centers and parks, updated color maps that include the newest sections of the trail, and much more! It's great for walkers, hikers, bikers, boaters and anyone in-between, and its high-quality spiral binding and convenient 9" x 5" size make it easy to tuck inside a saddle bag or backpack. You can order your copy by visiting the Parks and Trails New York website.
Fraudulent Emissions Inspections
DEC recently fined certified inspectors at auto sales businesses in the Bronx for fraudulent emissions inspections. Investigations revealed the inspectors used electronic simulators instead of the actual vehicles to carry out more than 5,000 false state emission inspections over a two-year period. The fraudulent inspections jeopardized human health and the environment, and were direct violations of DEC's motor vehicle emission inspection regulations. In addition to fines imposed by DEC, the NYS Department of Motor Vehicles imposed fines totaling $50,400 and revoked station and inspector licenses. Get more information on the NYS Motor Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance programs.