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From the February 2013 Conservationist


By Jenna Kerwin and David Nelson

New Fishing Regulations

An ice fisherman holds up a fish on a frozen lake

New freshwater fishing regulations went into effect on October 1, 2012. The new regulations include some changes that apply to all waters in New York, while others apply only to specific waters. Highlights include changes pertaining to walleye, salmon, black bass, baitfish, and fishing gear; as well as changes allowing ice fishing on several stocked trout lakes in northern and western New York. A complete list of regulation changes can be found under "Recently Adopted Regulations (Previous Twelve Months)" on DEC's website.

Grants across New York

Nearly $1 million in grants was recently awarded to communities and organizations across the state for a variety of urban forestry projects, through the New York State Urban and Community Forestry Program, DEC Urban Foresters and volunteers from New York ReLeaf (a program that informs people about trees). A total of 66 recipients across the state received grants to support a variety of projects involving community tree planting, tree inventories, and management plans. Recipients were chosen based on several factors, including how each project would benefit the local environment. Get more information about New York State Urban and Community Forestry program and the New York ReLeaf Program.

Volunteers Wanted

DEC wildlife staff remove a net from a wild turkey
Photo: James Clayton

If you have wild turkeys on your rural property, we want to hear from you! DEC is beginning a new turkey survival study, and we are looking for cooperating landowners in upstate New York (all of NY except NYC and Long Island) who are willing to allow turkey trapping on their property. Once turkeys are banded, they will immediately be released unharmed at the same location. This study will provide valuable information on turkey survival rates and population size to help guide future management of this important game species. For more information on this project, send an e-mail to wildlife@dec.ny.gov. Put "Turkey Study" in the e-mail subject line. We'd also like to know if you see flocks of turkeys this winter. Observations can be reported using the Winter Flock Survey form.

Restoring Fish

DEC and partners recently re-introduced two fish species to New York State waters. Approximately 1,200 gilt darters (2- to 3-inch long bottom feeders) were released in the Allegheny River and Oswayo Creek. In summer, male gilt darters develop striking yellow, black and green shades across their backs. Although they are found in 12 other states, to the best of our knowledge, gilt darters have been absent from New York for 75 years. Improvements to water quality and land use conservation practices bode well for the fish's future survival. Read more about gilt darters.

Two gilt darters underwater
Gilt darter (Photo: Isaac Szabo/Engbretson
Underwater Photography)

In collaboration with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, DEC recently re-introduced the "bloater fish" (a deepwater cisco) into Lake Ontario. Deepwater ciscoes were once an abundant prey fish in the lake and supported many commercial fisheries. Bloaters feed mostly on invertebrates and spawn in the winter at great depths. Overharvesting and expanding populations of invasive alewife and rainbow smelt led to the fish's decline by the mid 1900s. The bloaters' re-introduction will provide food for predators like trout and salmon, and diversify the Lake Ontario fish community. See the press release on the cisco reintroductions for more information.

Programs Awarded for Excellence

The DEC commissioner and two environmental excellence award winners pose with the award
Photo: James Clayton

Seven organizations recently received New York State Environmental Excellence Awards for outstanding commitment to environmental sustainability, social responsibility and economic viability. These DEC awards recognize those who are improving and protecting New York's environment and contributing to a healthier economy. This year's winners are: Ecovative Design, LLC (pictured with DEC Commissioner Martens) for producing bio-based, zero-waste packing material to replace traditional foam; City of Rome, for using green infrastructure in its Canopy Restoration Project­ Owens Corning's EcoTouchTM Insulation for using a starch-based binder in place of formaldehyde; Solar One-Green Design LabTM for teaching NYC school students to be better environmental stewards; Monroe County Crime Lab, whose building is the first of its kind to earn LEED Platinum Certification; The Golub Corporation (Price Chopper) for its Corporate Sustainability Model; and IBM East Fishkill for its catalytic hydrogen peroxide wastewater treatment system. For more information, and to apply for the 2013 awards, visit the Environmental Excellence Awards page.

Honoring the Hudson

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar recently added the Hudson River to the National Water Trails System. The System is designed to protect and restore the nation's rivers and other waterways, and to boost outdoor recreation along their shores. The Hudson's National Water Trail designation will shine a spotlight on the river as a recreational resource, and increase eco-tourism in the Hudson Valley, said Mark Castiglione, acting director of the Hudson River Valley Greenway and National Heritage Area. Check out RiverNet e-news for more details.