East Bay Wildlife Management Area
The East Bay Wildlife Management Area encompasses 38 acres in the Washington County town of Whitehall, New York. The WMA is north of the Sciota Road (County Route 10).
The land was purchased from Donald and Ann Touch in 1984 with money from the Environmental Bond Act of 1972. The area, known locally as part of Finch Marsh, lies in a narrow river valley among steep sided hills. A scenic; ledge borders the northern portion of the property. The rest of the marsh to the west and northwest are lands owned by the Nature Conservancy. The neighborhood around the marsh is used for agriculture and rural residential purposes.
The majority of the parcel is emergent marsh. Emergent marshes are areas that have approximately six inches of water during the growing season or permanently. The dominant plants are “emergent” species such as cattails, arrowhead, pickerel weed, rush and smartweed to name a few.
The wetland portion of the property has also been designated as a flood hazard zone. Flooding occurs not only during heavy rains and intense spring thaws, but also during periods of prolonged Northerly winds in which the water from Lake Champlain is displaced to the south.
Fish and Wildlife
Emergent marshes are considered the most valuable of our wetland areas and East Bay Wildlife Management Area is no exception. Here, waterfowl can be found in abundance, using the area for resting during the spring and fall migrations and for rearing young ducklings during the summer months. Hunters can find should look for mallards, black duck, teal, merganser and wood ducks. Trappers will find that the high productive quality of the marsh is such that it produces a high population of muskrats. During the winter months, muskrat houses can easily be seen protruding above the ice and snow. These valuable and prolific furbearers also share their wetland home with beaver, mink and otter.
East Bay is home to a diverse fisheries community and a popular fishing hot spot in both the summer and winter months. Fisherman can expect to find bass, crappie, walleye, pike, catfish and panfish in relative abundance. Two hand launches are located a short distance from the parking area off of Sciota Road (County Route 10).
East Bay WMA is an identified Bird Conservation Area (BCA). New York State Bird Conservation Areas are state-owned lands and waters designated to safeguard and enhance populations of birds in New York State. These areas provide important habitats for birds. In spring and summer, many birds rely on these areas for breeding, food, and shelter. Some birds winter at BCA’s, while others use BCA’s as resting and feeding areas during migration. BCA’s are designated as they support one or more of the following: An unusually high diversity of bird species; large concentrations of one or more bird species; endangered, threatened, or rare bird species; or an exceptional or rare bird habitat.
A variety of wildlife can be seen in the area.
The primary purposes of East Bay Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is for wildlife management, wildlife habitat management, and wildlife-dependent recreation. The WMA is open year-round, but parking lots are not plowed in winter months.
East Bay WMA is managed by DEC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife for wildlife conservation and wildlife-associated recreation (hunting, trapping, wildlife viewing/photography). Funding to maintain and manage this site is provided by the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration or “Pittman-Robertson” Act, which is acquired through excise taxes on sporting arms, ammunition and archery equipment.
The following activities are not permitted in East Bay WMA:
- Using motorized vehicles, including:
- all-terrain vehicles
- Swimming or bathing
- Kindling fires
- Using metal detectors, searching for or removing historic or cultural artifacts without a permit
- Damaging or removing gates, fences, signs or other property
- Overnight storage of boats
- Cutting, removing or damaging living vegetation
- Construction of permanent blinds or other structures such as tree stands
- Storage of personal property
NOTE: Ticks are active whenever temperatures are above freezing but especially so in the late spring and early fall. Deer ticks can transmit Lyme and several other diseases.
From Whitehall, take US Route 4 east for 1 mile. Turn left onto County Route 9A and proceed 1 mile to end. Turn right onto County Route 9 and proceed ½ mile. Turn left on Stalker Rd. and proceed ½ mile to end. Turn right on Sciota Rd. (County Route 10) and proceed for ¼ mile. The WMA and parking area is on the left
- East Bay Wildlife Management Area
- East Creek Wildlife Management Area
- Sandbar Wildlife Management Area
- The Narrows Wildlife Management Area
- Bird-watching Opportunities at Vermont WMA’s