Category Archives: News

News and events around the Lake Champlain Valley of northern New York and Vermont and southern Quebec

Vermont: Fish & Wildlife Urges Vermonters to Remember Non-game Wildlife Fund Tax Checkoff

Vermont: Fish & Wildlife Urges Vermonters to Remember Non-game Wildlife Fund Tax Checkoff

Vermont: Fish & Wildlife Urges Vermonters to Remember Non-game Wildlife Fund Tax Checkoff

Osprey are now much more common in Vermont thanks to recovery efforts supported by the Non-game Wildlife Fund.

Vermonters interested in helping conserve wildlife should consider donating to the Non-game Wildlife Fund on line 29 of their Vermont income tax form this tax season. The fund helps conserve some of Vermont’s most threatened wildlife species such as bald eagles, lynx, and bats.

Vermont: Fish & Wildlife Urges Vermonters to Remember Non-game Wildlife Fund Tax Checkoff

Peregrine Falcon

Donations are leveraged by a match from a federal grant, meaning that a $50 donation brings up to $150 to Vermont wildlife conservation. This has helped recovery efforts for Vermont’s bat species that were recently hit with a devastating fungal disease known as white-nose syndrome. These donations also help conserve declining pollinators such as butterflies, beetles and bees, which are critically important to agriculture and ecology.


Biologist Steve Parren manages non-game wildlife projects for the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. He works on the recovery of Vermont’s rare turtle species, including the state endangered spiny softshell turtle. Parren monitors and protects the turtle’s nests, and each winter he raises dozens of baby turtles in his own living room before releasing them back into Lake Champlain in the spring.

“The Nongame Wildlife Fund has been responsible for some of the great conservation success stories in Vermont,” said Parren. “Thanks to the generous donations of thousands of Vermonters, we are working to restore many of the iconic species of our Green Mountain State.”

Past donations to the Non-game Wildlife Fund have helped recover peregrine falcons, osprey, and loons in Vermont. “It’s clear that Vermonters care deeply about wildlife,” said John Buck, a wildlife biologist who works to recover the state’s endangered bird species. “These donations demonstrate that the people of our state share a strong commitment to conservation.”


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New York’s 2016 Aquatic Invasive Species Control Efforts

New York’s 2016 Aquatic Invasive Species Control Efforts

The New York State Park’s Boat Steward Program is one of many boat steward programs throughout New York State. These programs offer targeted educational programming to increase awareness about aquatic invasive species (AIS) and other environmentally significant issues.

New York's 2016 Aquatic Invasive Species Control Efforts. Boat Launch stewards

Ariana London, Lake Champlain Steward, completes a boater survey on her tablet computer at the Great Chazy boat launch in 2015, (photo by Meg Phillips, State Parks.)

NY State Parks adopted regulations in 2015 to help try to protect lakes and rivers from the costly effects of invasive species. Learn more about the new regulations here.

The regulations states that a boater:

  • shall not launch or retrieve their watercraft from a Parks-owned boat launch facility unless the watercraft’s water-containing compartments (livewell, bilge, bait bucket) are dry.
  • has inspected the watercraft to ensure that there is not plant or animal material attached to the motor, trailer, body of the vessel, etc.

The Boat Steward Program maintains stewards at many of NY Parks-owned boat launches who conduct educational boat inspections to give step-by-step instructions on ways to effectively inspect your boat and dispose of invasive species. These demonstrations are both free and voluntary.

Boat Stewards can teach how to prevent spreading aquatic invasives and what to look for. They are primarily educators and do not play a role in the enforcement of regulations.

Many New York State Parks-owned boat launches across the state are also equipped with disposal stations for aquatic plant or animal material. The disposal stations are designed to provide a place for plant or animal material to dry in an upland area. The dried out material is typically collected and placed in the garbage to prevent further spread.

If you see a red-shirted Boat Steward, stop and ask any questions you might have.

New York's 2016 Aquatic Invasive Species Control Efforts. Boat inspection

Becca Reile, Buffalo Harbor Steward, completes a boat inspection in 2015, (photo by Meg Phillips, State Parks.)

2016 Boat Steward Program Highlights:

  • 2016 was the first year of a 2-year $500,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to expand the boat steward program at state park launches
  • 16 stewards worked 30 launches within the Great Lakes Basin, Lake Champlain Basin, and Saratoga Lake
  • There were 21,431 voluntary inspections out of 22,344 boats (95% of boaters allowed their boat to be inspected)
  • 2,982 boats were discovered carrying aquatic invasive species
  • 54,627 boaters interacted with Stewards, with many boaters receiving education about Clean-Drain-Dry and aquatic invasive species
  • 11 invasive species removal projects in partnership with Strike Teams and other partners
  • 10 educational events
  • Approximately 500 bags, or around 12.5 tons, of water chestnut were removed from Selkirk Shores State Park.
 New York's 2016 Aquatic Invasive Species Control Efforts education

Jared Reed Saratoga Lake steward participates in Invasive Species Awareness Week in Albany (Matt Brincka, State Parks.)

 New York's 2016 Aquatic Invasive Species Control Efforts

Kelly Butterfield, Sunset Bay steward and Holly Flanigan, Fort Niagara steward pulling invasive water chestnut at Grindstone Marsh in Selkirk Shores State Park (Matt Brincka, State Parks)

Click on these links for more information about the Boat Steward Program and aquatic invasive species.

If you’re interested in volunteering to help remove invasive species in your area, become a member of your local Partners for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM) program.

If you are interesting in seasonal work removing invasive species in State Parks, check out the State Parks employment page.

Ghosts and Legends of Lake Champlain
Lake Champlain is located between New York’s majestic Adirondacks and Vermont’s famed Green Mountains. Yet despite the beauty of this region, it has been the site of dark and mysterious events; it is not surprising that some spirits linger in this otherwise tranquil place. Fort Ticonderoga saw some of early America’s bloodiest battles, and American, French and British ghosts still stand guard.
Champlain’s islands–Stave, Crab, Valcour and Garden–all host otherworldly inhabitants, and unidentified creatures and objects have made appearances on the water, in the sky and in the forests surrounding the lake.
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New York DEC Adopts New Freshwater Fishing Regulations

New York DEC Adopts New Freshwater Fishing Regulations

New or Modified Regulations Established for Various Fish Species and Methods of Take

New freshwater fishing regulations go into effect April 1, 2017, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced yesterday.

“New York State is known for fantastic freshwater sport fishing opportunities,” said Commissioner Seggos. “These regulatory changes will help maintain these opportunities and enthusiasm for the sport.”

The changes to sport fishing regulations are the result of a two-year process that included biological assessment, discussions with anglers, and a formal 45-day public comment period. DEC used public comments to complete the changes. These regulations will be published in the 2017-18 Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide that will be available at all license sales vendors and on-line in March.

Highlights of the new regulations include:

  • Adjustments to existing walleye regulations in various waters throughout the state, including measures to protect spawning walleye and conservative minimum harvest size and creel limits in waters where managers are trying to establish self-sustaining populations of this popular sport fish. Regulations have also been liberalized for two waters where successful management has resulted in increased walleye abundance, Chautauqua Lake (Chautauqua County) and Franklin Falls Flow (Essex County);
  • Modifications to DEC Region 7 Finger Lakes rules to increase survival of rainbow trout, brown trout, and Atlantic salmon and to create a greater balance between these species and lake trout;
  • Allowing ice fishing in some waters and restricting the number or use of devices used for fishing through the ice (including, but not limited to hand line, tip-up, tip down, etc.) in other waters to protect self-sustaining populations or limit fishing pressure;
  • Simplification of the black bass regulations in Lake Erie by compressing the three existing seasons into two while expanding opportunities to use live bait and harvest one large bass per day during a special season;
  • Greater protection for northern pike in the St. Lawrence River due to the declining abundance of spawning adults and poor recruitment of young-of-year fish in the Thousand Islands region;

  • Relaxing of special regulations for trout and Atlantic salmon for various waters in DEC Region 5 (Adirondack Region) due to poor survival; and
  • Multiple updates to clarify existing regulations.

For a summary of the regulations changes, visit DEC’s website.



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2017 Lake Champlain Waterfowl Season Public Hearings

2017 Lake Champlain Waterfowl Season Public Hearings

March 14, Whitehall, NY- March 15, Essex, VT-March 16, Newport, VT

2017 Lake Champlain Waterfowl Season Public Hearings

Public hearings on the status of waterfowl populations and proposed waterfowl hunting seasons for the State of Vermont and Lake Champlain zone in New York will be held Tuesday, March 14, in Whitehall, New York, Wednesday, March 15 in Essex, Vermont and Thursday, March 16 in Newport, Vermont.

The annual hearings are being held by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department and Board.

Hearing Locations:

The March 14 meeting will be held at the Skenesborough Rescue Squad building, 37 Skenesborough Drive, Whitehall, New York 12887. The March 15 meeting will be held at Memorial Hall, 5 Towers Road, Essex, Vermont 05452. The March 16 meeting will be held at the Emory Hebord State Office Building, CCV Conference Room, 100 Main Street, Newport, VT 05855.

The hearings will run from 6:30 to 9 p.m.


2017 Lake Champlain Waterfowl Season Public HearingsWaterfowl hunters are encouraged to attend one of the hearings and share their preferences and opinions about the proposed seasons.

Under Federal regulations, waterfowl seasons, bag limits, and shooting hours in the Lake Champlain Zone must be uniform throughout the entire zone. Waterfowl seasons in New York’s part of the Lake Champlain Zone must be identical to the waterfowl season in Vermont’s part of the Zone.

Comments received, as well as recommendations from the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, will be reviewed by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Board.

The proposed 2017 migratory bird hunting seasons are on the Fish & Wildlife website ( Comments can be sent to ANR.FWPublicComment@Vermont.Gov.

Reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities are available upon request at the Vermont meeting. Please include a description of the accommodation you will need. Individuals making such requests must include their contact information. Requests should be made as early as possible, such as an interpreter must be requested at least two weeks in advance, if possible. Please send an e-mail to: David.Sausville@Vermont.Gov or call the office staff at 802-878-1564 (voice), 1-800-253-0191 (TTY).

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