From the April 2013 Conservationist
By Jenna Kerwin and David Nelson
Stocking Lake Herring
lake herring (Photo: Steve Gerving,
Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources)
DEC recently stocked lake herring into Irondequoit Bay on Lake Ontario. Lake herring were once an important prey fish in the lake and supported important commercial fisheries that collapsed in the early 1950s largely due to overharvest. The stocking of this once-abundant fish represents another pivotal benchmark in DEC's efforts to restore native species to the lake. DEC recently re-introduced the bloater, a deepwater whitefish, into Lake Ontario. Lake herring occupy and spawn in shallower water than the bloater, and spawn earlier in winter. Visit the Herrings of New York webpage to learn more about lake herring, or learn more about DEC's re-stocking efforts.
Scientists and conservation professionals are monitoring invasive species in New York, and you can help! The NY Natural Heritage Program uses its iMapInvasives database to track invasive species threatening the state's natural resources. Educators, landowners, citizen scientists and volunteers are encouraged to help update the map by reporting invasive species locations and management efforts. Training is required to enter data, and the Heritage Program is offering free sessions throughout the state this spring. Visit the nyiMapinvasives website for schedule details and registration, and contact email@example.com with general questions.
Salamander Success Story
eastern hellbender (Photo: Kenneth
Last November, DEC staff captured an eastern hellbender (a large salamander, up to 2 feet long) that had been raised in captivity in DEC's Hellbender Headstart Program at the Buffalo Zoo and then released into the wild. Apparently the hellbender was adapting well, as it weighed nearly 40 grams more than when it was released last July. Beginning in 2009, more than 400 young hellbenders were raised at the Buffalo Zoo as part of DEC's effort to revitalize dwindling populations of eastern hellbenders. To date, 146 juveniles have been released into the Allegany River watershed, with the rest to be released soon. Biologists implanted a small electronic chip in each animal to track its progress. DEC plans to monitor release sites through 2017 and hopes for more success stories like this one. Learn more about the eastern hellbender. Also, check out the Buffalo Zoo website.
New Cycling Guidebook
The non-profit advocacy group Parks & Trails New York recently produced a newly revised Cycling the Hudson Valley guidebook. The 142-page book includes color maps, and is full of information on Hudson Valley attractions, historic sites, visitor centers, lodging, parks and much more! It's great for walkers, hikers, bikers and boaters, and its spiral binding and convenient size make it perfect to tuck inside a saddle bag or backpack. You can order your copy by visiting the Parks & Trails New York website.
Youth Summer Camp
DEC's summer camps are now accepting registrations for campers ages 11-17. Register using the new online application. Those registering campers will be able to see immediately which sessions have openings, sign campers up directly (including selecting the optional Sportsman Education program offered at each camp), and pay by credit card or e-check. Confirmation will be sent via e-mail. Paper applications and paper checks will no longer be used. The fee is $350 per session per camper.
Reminder: Don't Burn!
Like Kenneth Grahame's Mole from Wind in the Willows, many people across the state find spring perfect for "cleaning time." DEC reminds everyone that burning trash is prohibited across New York, and in some areas burning yard waste is also prohibited. Open burning can create air pollution and increases the risk of wildfires. There are several alternatives to burning trash and yard waste, including composting and recycling. Visit DEC's Don't Trash Our Air webpage for links to more information, including answers to common questions and more alternatives to burning.
Turkey Hunting Tips
Photo: National Wild Turkey Federation
To ensure safe and successful turkey hunting this spring, the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) has advice for turkey hunters. For instance: never wear blue, white or red-not even on buttons or socks-as these are the colors of a gobbler's head and body; and if you're using one, always make sure your decoy is not visible when you're transporting it. Also, make sure your back is to a stump or rock wider than your shoulders and higher than your head when calling turkeys. For more tips, search "safe turkey hunt" in the press release section on the NWTF website, and have a safe season!