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.
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.”
New York DEC Advises Ice Anglers and Others About Poor Ice Conditions
Ice anglers and others thinking of traversing the frozen surface of waters in the Adirondacks and other locations should be aware that due to the recent warm temperatures and rain, ice has thinned.
Areas of ice around inlets, outlets and shorelines of largely open water or thin ice should be avoided. Rivers, streams and most channels of moving water through lakes and ponds are also open or covered with thin ice and should be avoided.
Ice near boathouses and docks, especially those using “bubblers” or other ice prevention devices, should also be avoided. Motor vehicles, snowmobiles and ATVs should not be taken on any ice at this time.
No ice should be considered safe without checking the thickness and condition of the ice first.
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.
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.
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.
Jared Reed Saratoga Lake steward participates in Invasive Species Awareness Week in Albany (Matt Brincka, State Parks.)
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)
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.
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