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For Release: Friday, October 30, 2020

DEC Announces Completion of Wetland Enhancement Project at Perch River Wildlife Management Area

New Water Control Structures Better Manage Water Levels to Promote Quality Wildlife Habitat

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the completion of wetland habitat enhancements at Perch River Wildlife Management Area in Jefferson County. The announcement marked the completion of a three-year construction project to install water control structures and other critical habitat improvements that will benefit the migratory and resident wildlife and the recreational opportunities they help support.

"Critical improvements like those announced today at Perch River Wildlife Management Area are helping provide quality habitat for wildlife reproduction and survival, as well as new opportunities for wildlife-related recreation that bolsters local economies," said Commissioner Seggos. "New York State is fortunate to have Perch River WMA and the hunting, trapping, birdwatching, and other outdoor activities it provides and we thank our partners at the State Office of General Services, local partners in Jefferson County, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for helping us improve this significant resource."

Perch River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is 7,932 acres of wetland and open water habitats located in the towns of Brownville, Orleans, and Pamelia, renowned for excellent waterfowl hunting. The WMA is a designated Bird Conservation Area that supports a variety of waterfowl species, as well as several species of rare wetland- and grassland-dependent birds. The area is also well known for its furbearer populations and supports deer, upland small game, and a variety of unique non-game species.

"Through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration grant program, we are pleased to support the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's effort to restore critical waterfowl habitat and provide opportunities for hunting and other wildlife-oriented recreation at the Perch River Wildlife Management Area," said Colleen Sculley, Chief of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program. "These grant funds come from excise taxes on firearms, ammunition and archery equipment that have sustained a nearly 90-year state/federal/industry partnership to fund conservation and provide public access to wildlife in the United States."

"Team OGS is very pleased to support DEC's efforts to protect and enhance bird populations and their habitats on State-owned land," New York State Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn Destito said. "Construction in a water-rich environment such as the Perch River Wildlife Management Area takes a great deal of hard work and effort, and we are proud of what has been accomplished by all involved in this project."

DEC recently completed the installation of two new water control structures at the Upper and Lower Pools and the renovation of an existing water control structure at the Stone Mills Pool. Water control structures give DEC staff the capability to manage water levels in the impoundments and enhance breeding habitat for waterfowl and other water-dependent bird and furbearer species. Water level management also aids in improving public access to the WMA. The $4.8 million project was primarily funded by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Pittman-Robertson grant and $1.2 million from the State's Environmental Protection Fund, with additional assistance provided by the New York State Office of General Services.

Perch River Wildlife Management Area is one of the largest protected wetland complexes in the St. Lawrence Valley, said Ed Farley, NY Regional Biologist, Ducks Unlimited. "It provides critical habitat that can be managed for many priority waterfowl species and other species of concern, like the state listed black tern. Ducks Unlimited works very closely with the DEC on wetland restoration projects throughout the state. Perch River WMA is an excellent example of how DU, DEC, and many other local conservation partners are able to leverage federal funding, like Pittman-Robertson Act and the North American Wetland Conservation Act to deliver high quality habitat. Partnerships are the key to successful projects, and the Perch River WMA restoration provides the DEC with the tools to manage the wetland complex and maximize recreational opportunities for the local community through hunting, birding and trapping."

While hunting is safer than ever, DEC encourages hunters to remember that every hunting-related shooting incident is preventable. Follow the primary rules of hunter safety:

  • Treat every firearm as if it were loaded;
  • Control the muzzle, keep it pointed in a safe direction;
  • Identify your target and what lies beyond;
  • Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire; and
  • Wear hunter orange or pink.

For more information about safely hunting this season, visit DEC's website. For more information about Perch River WMA wildlife, recreation, and related activities and regulations, go to DEC's website.

Commissioner Seggos opening flood gate landscape view of the Perch River WMA

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