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Braddock Bay Bird Conservation Area

General Site Information: The Braddock Bay BCA consists of the entire Braddock Bay Wildlife Management Area. This BCA is comprised of a diverse array of habitats along the Lake Ontario shoreline. These habitats include marshes, open water, forests, grasslands, and shrub-scrub. Braddock Bay is a shallow water bay-marsh complex that includes Buck Pond, Long Pond, Cranberry Pond, Braddock Bay, and Rose Marsh. All of the ponds are connected to the lake by intermittent channels, which plug and open up as lake currents and wave action change the character of the gravel and sand barrier bars. The bay-marsh complex provides excellent nesting, resting, and feeding habitats for waterfowl, shorebirds, songbirds, raptors, and marsh birds. In addition to the marsh areas, there are wooded areas, grasslands, and shrublands. The area is a noted hawk, songbird and owl migration corridor and observation area. The grasslands support bobolink, meadowlark, sedge wren and savannah sparrow.

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Braddock Bay BCA Management Guidance Summary

Site Name: Braddock Bay Bird Conservation Area

State Ownership and Managing Agency: Department of Environmental Conservation; site also includes a designated Department of State Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitat.

Location: Monroe County, Town of Greece

Size of Area: 2,576 acres

DEC Region: 8

Vision Statement: Continue management to conserve the bird species and diversity of the area. Promote research and management activities for wetland dependent (in particular, to benefit black tern nesting at the site) and grassland species, as well as raptors during migration.

Key BCA Criteria: Waterfowl concentration site; migratory concentration site; diverse species concentration site; species at risk site; bird research site (ECL §11-2001, 3.a, e, f, h and i). The area supports breeding populations of state-listed wetland species including pied-billed grebe (threatened), American bittern (special concern), least bittern (threatened), northern harrier (threatened), black terns (endangered), and sedge wren (threatened). Site is a critical migration area for raptors, songbirds, and waterfowl.

Critical Habitat Types: High quality marshes and open water. Grasslands, shrublands and forested lands. Rare or exemplary ecological communities include: deep emergent marsh. A small stand of conifers is of particular importance to migrating raptors, in particular, owls.

Operation and Management Considerations: 

  • Identify habitat management activities needed to maintain site as a BCA.
    Review needs of wetland-dependent bird species and assess current state of habitat for those species. Maintain proper hydrological flow to provide habitat and food resources for wetland dependent birds. Assess level of non-point source pollution on wetland habitats and bird species. Inventory and monitoring for special concern species. Assess level of impact of invasive species (purple loosestrife) and carry out control and eradication, if necessary. Maintain an interspersion of open water and emergent vegetation for nesting black terns.

    Management will include establishment and management of native grasses, trees, and shrubs on the upland areas. Maintain and enhance the conifer stand that is critical during raptor migration.

  • Identify seasonal sensitivities; adjust routine operations accordingly.
    Make sure that routine operations do not disturb black tern nesting areas during the breeding season (May - July). Adults temporarily abandon nests when humans get too close, leaving eggs and chicks vulnerable to predators and/or harsh weather. Also, black terns' fragile nests, built on floating substrates, may be inundated by strong boat wakes. Access to the conifer stand during raptor migration might cause stress and disturbance.

    Mowing of grassland areas will need to occur after the nesting season.

  • Identify state activities or operations which may pose a threat to the critical habitat types identified above; recommend alternatives to existing and future operations which may pose threats to those habitats.
    Part of the state land is leased to the Town of Greece and is used for a marina. There is a need for continual dredging to keep the channel into the marina open. The effects of this dredging, and the boat traffic, on the wetland breeding birds, and their habitats needs to be assessed.

    Ensure that bird conservation concerns are addressed when the WMA management plan (1973) is updated for the site.

  • Identify any existing or potential use impacts; recommend new management strategies to address those impacts.
    Continue to improve management of human use.

Education, Outreach, and Research Considerations: 

  • Assess current access; recommend enhanced access, if feasible.
    Access, which includes nature trails, parking and a raptor viewing platform, is generally adequate, but construction of additional parking, construction of a fishing pier, and acquisition of additional lands would be beneficial.

  • Determine education and outreach needs; recommend strategies and materials.
    There is currently an advisory committee for the Braddock Bay Wildlife Management Area that provides input to managers. The committee consists of DEC, the Town of Greece, and local interest groups. The Braddock Bay Raptor Research Institute and Braddock Bay Bird Observatory perform considerable local outreach and research efforts. Hawk watches, songbird banding, owl watches, and other long term monitoring studies are conducted on the BCA, or on adjacent lands.

    Continue to outreach with municipal land-use planners and local interest groups to help define management and educate the public about importance of area for birds.

  • Identify research needs; prioritize and recommend specific projects or studies.
    Inventory and monitor bird species. In particular, continue studies of back terns including data collection on their use of artificial nesting platforms, investigations of nest predators, banding efforts and collection of specimens for contaminant analysis. Manipulation of water levels, where feasible, may have potential as a beneficial management tool for black terns, but needs further study. Assess level of non-point source pollution and human disturbance on wetland habitats and bird species. Assess level of impact of invasive species.

DEC Region 8 Wildlife Manager, 585-226-5460

Mazzocchi, I. M. 1998. Black Tern (Chlidonias niger) Investigations in Northern New York, 1997. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources, Watertown, NY.

New York State Department of State. 1993. Significant Coastal Fish and Wildlife Habitat Narrative.

Novak, P. G. 1990. Population Status of the Black Tern (Chlidonias niger) in New York State, 1989. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources, Delmar, NY.

Wells, J. V. 1998. Important Bird Areas in New York State. National Audubon Society, Albany, New York.

Date BCA Designated: 5/5/00

Date MGS Prepared: 1/26/01

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