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Bad News: Emerald Ash Borer hits the Catskills
Cole Start: Bear season has been open for less than a week and so far we haven't heard of any luck yet. In fact, the only guys who are having success is DEC nailing bear-baiters. If you have been in the woods chasing bears, please let us know how you are doing and also what you are seeing for deer sign, mast cropts, etc. Grouse season opens this weekend (Sept. 20) in the Northern Zone. Nothing better than a little "wild chicken" in the frying pan. We're also looking at a cold snap that could put an end to the growing season and perhaps kick-start the foliage season into high gear. Meanwhile, the Pine Tree Rifle Club in Fulton County has updated their road sign (below).
Click here for more photos from 2013
DEC AND STATE PARKS RELEASE STATE OPEN SPACE CONSERVATION PLAN FOR PUBLIC COMMENT
Public Comments Accepted Through December 17; Public Hearings to be Held Statewide
(9/17) Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens and Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) Commissioner Rose Harvey today released the 2014 State Open Space Conservation Plan for public comment. The plan guides State Environmental Protection Fund investments in open space protection. Public comments on the draft plan will be accepted from September 17 until December 17 and a series of public hearings will be held across the state from October 21 to October 23.
The Draft Plan makes recommendations on how open space conservation will help accomplish Governor Cuomo’s goals, which include: ensuring clean water, air and land for a healthy public and vibrant economy; greening New York’s economy; protecting natural resources and promoting outdoor recreation; increasing and improving the visitor experience; creating a 21st century parks system that is aesthetically compelling, energy and operationally efficient, and built to last; and working to address climate change.
Building upon the recommendations of Regional Advisory Committees, the Commissioners now ask the public to make recommendations on how open space conservation programs can make the state better prepared and more resilient in preparation of future storms and climate change. Governor Cuomo created the NYS 2100 commission in response to Superstorm Sandy to generate recommendations to improve resilience and strengthen the state’s infrastructure in the face of natural disasters and other emergencies. Many of the open space recommendations included in the 2100 Commission report are integrated into the draft plan.
“By increasing funding for the Environmental Protection Fund and incorporating resiliency principles in Sandy recovery and NYWorks, Governor Cuomo has demonstrated his commitment to protecting New York’s open spaces,” DEC Commissioner Martens said. “New Yorkers and visitors to the state love open spaces and the plan will ensure New York’s natural resources are protected and preserved for future generations. Specifically, the draft plan makes a series of common sense policy recommendations that will protect wildlife habitat, protect water quality, provide opportunities for public recreation, protect working farms and forests, and build resiliency and protect property from the effects of storm surges and flooding. The 137 priority projects identified by Regional Advisory Committees will extend New York’s proud tradition of open space protection.”
State Parks Commissioner Harvey said, “New York State parks and public lands remain essential pieces in the building of communities. These lands offer visitors peaceful or fun-filled getaways, promote healthier lifestyles and serve as important economic drivers for the State and local communities. New York’s abundance of parks and open spaces are reason enough alone for families and business to relocate to New York. We look forward to hearing from the public on the draft plan.”
The draft plan was created through the work of nine Regional Advisory Committees composed of representatives of county governments and people knowledgeable in open space conservation selected by DEC and State Parks. The nine committees correspond to DEC’s nine administrative regions. Each committee was asked by the Commissioners to review the existing 2009 plan, including the list of priority open space conservation projects, as well as policy recommendations, to make New York’s comprehensive open space conservation program stronger in the future.
The Commissioners invite the public to comment in writing and at the public hearings. Specifically, comments could offer suggestions on:
· how the state and its partners can promote and enhance existing and new state lands as tourism destinations as part of a comprehensive open space conservation program;
· how the state can make public lands attractive to a diversity of New Yorkers;
· how DEC and State Parks can offer better access for sportsmen and women;
· how DEC and State Parks can work to provide outdoor recreation opportunities for New Yorkers and visitors of all abilities through Universal Access;
· where DEC and State Parks can further develop Universal Access; and
· what the state can do to acquire and make more accessible lands near and in urban centers.
“The draft plan covers a lot of ground,” Commissioner Martens added. “We urge the public to review the draft plan and give us comments that can strengthen the State’s Open Space Conservation program in the future.”
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, “Open space and agriculture are inherently connected. Farms not only provide an opportunity to grow local products, but a habitat for wildlife and scenic vistas that are a draw for tourists across the state. Many of the goals of the open space plan such as maintaining critical natural resources and enhancing scenic, cultural and historic resources are made possible in large part due to the existence of working farms and woodlands. Updating the state’s Open Space Plan every three years is a good way to ensure that our existing open space resources are inventoried and enables the state to better plan for future open space protection efforts.”
Public comments can be submitted by email to LF.OpenSpacePlan@dec.ny.gov or mailed to DEC by December 17 to:
Open Space Conservation Plan
Albany, NY 12233
An electronic version of the draft plan is available at http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/317.html.
A SERIES OF PUBLIC HEARINGS WILL BE HELD from October 21 to October 23 throughout the state. There will be a workshop before each hearing and the public will have an opportunity to attend either an afternoon or evening session. Please note that hearing times are different for Region 9.
Workshop: 1:00 - 2:30 p.m.
Afternoon Hearing: 2:30 - 4:30 p.m.
Evening Hearing: 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Since 1992, the Open Space Conservation Plan has served as the blueprint for the State’s Open Space Program, guiding the investment of land protection funds from the Environmental Protection Fund. As required by law, the Plan is updated periodically, relying heavily on the work of the nine Regional Advisory Committees, which have worked with staff from both agencies and the public to produce a draft for public hearings and comments in 2014. Following the public comment period the Plan will be finalized and submitted to Governor Cuomo for approval in 2015.
2014 Youth Pheasant Hunt
Willsboro Fish & Game Club,
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation,
The Essex County Fish & Game League
Pre-Registration for head count, etc. Must attend a practice session before being allowed to hunt.
PRACTICE: At Willsboro Fish & Game Clubhouse:
Sunday, September 21, 9am – 12noon
Wednesday, September 24, 3:30pm – 5:30pm
To include shooting instructions, pre – hunt training and review safety measures. Pizza will be provided.
Open to all youths, ages 12 to 15 with a NYS Hunting License.
**New Participants – MUST attend a practice session in order to participate in the hunt. Past participants
– it is highly recommended to attend a practice session as a refresher**
HUNT: Meet at the corner of School St. & Middle Rd. Ext. at 9am on:
Sat. & Sun, September 27 & 28, 9am – 12noon.
To include guided hunt with experienced sportsmen & women with bird dogs.
Safety equipment will be provided. Lunch will also be provided.
For Further Information Please Contact:
John Oliver 518-963-4421
Jim Hotaling 518-963-7430
DEC Announces That 2014-15 Sporting Licenses Are Now Available
"New York is home to some of the best hunting, trapping and fishing opportunities in the nation," Commissioner Martens said. "Governor Cuomo's NY Open for Fishing and Hunting initiative is creating new and improved, year-round recreation opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts, and DEC continues to develop and manage programs to enhance the outdoor experience while protecting our state's natural resources. Hunting and trapping licenses and the DMPs will enable sportsmen and sportswomen to enjoy these outdoor opportunities for the 2014-15 season."........
Sporting licenses and permits can be purchased at one of DEC's 1,100 license sales outlets statewide. Licenses can also be ordered by telephone or online. The 2014-2015 hunting and trapping licenses are valid for one year beginning September 1, 2014. (Under a new law that took effect in February, fishing licenses and recreational marine fishing registrations are now valid for 365 days from date-of-purchase.) Funds from the sale of all sporting licenses are deposited into the Conservation Fund, which is used to manage New York's fish and wildlife populations and protect and manage fish and wildlife habitat.
As part of the NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, New York streamlined the hunting and fishing license structure, made it consistent for resident and non-residents, and reduced license fees. Some hunters and anglers may not be familiar with these license changes, but licensing-issuing agents are prepared to provide assistance and ensure the license buyers secure all the desired permits and privileges. Highlights of the changes are available on DEC's website.
In addition, the new Hunting & Trapping regulation guides are available at all license issuing outlets, as well as on DEC website. New Fishing regulations guide will be available next spring.
Individuals may donate to the Habitat Access Stamp Program, Venison Donation Coalition, Conservation Fund or the Trail Maintenance Program via DEC's sporting license system. The DEC Call Center at (1-866-933-2257) is accessible from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday through October 4 for people with questions regarding license purchases. Regular Call Center weekday hours from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. will resume on October 5.
To facilitate the purchase of a sporting license, individuals should have the following items ready when buying a license: complete name and address information, DEC customer ID number if you have it, proof of residency information (driver's license number or non-driver's ID number with a valid NYS address to qualify for a resident license), and, if purchasing by phone or internet, a credit card and card expiration date. Hunting license purchases require individuals to provide proof of a hunting education certification or a copy of a previous license, if this information is not already contained in their sporting license system file.
With the introduction of a new computerized system this year, it may take license-issuing agents some additional time to find previous license holders in the system. DEC asks that license purchasers remain patient as these agents gain experience with this new system.
Important updates for 2014-2015
Deer Management Permits
Because too few female deer are being taken to reduce populations as needed across the Lake Plains, Finger Lakes Region, Mohawk Valley, and Long Island, DEC will be issuing approximately 17 percent more Deer Management Permits (DMPs; tags for antlerless deer) this year. DEC issues DMPs to control antlerless harvest and move the deer population closer toward objective levels in each Wildlife Management Unit (WMU).
DMPs will be available at all license issuing outlets and can also be obtained by phone, internet, or mail, through close of business October 1, 2014. DMPs are issued through a random selection process at the point of sale, and customers who are selected for DMPs will receive their permits immediately.
For planning purposes, review the 2014 chances of selection for DMPs in each WMU on DEC's website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/30409.html. Charts of the chances of selection are also available at License Issuing Agent locations, or on the DMP Hotline at 1-866-472-4332. The chances of obtaining a DMP remain the same throughout the application period - hunters do not need to rush to apply for a DMP on the first day of sale.
If a significant number of DMPs are still available in a WMU after October 1, the sale of the remaining DMPs will commence on November 1, and continue on a first-come, first-served basis until the end of the hunting season or until all DMPs have been issued in the WMU. Additionally, Bonus DMPs will be available in the bowhunting-only WMUs 3S, 4J, and 8C and in WMUs 1C. For information about Bonus DMPs, visit DEC's website.
An outline on how DMP targets are set and permits are issued is available on DEC's website. Hunters are reminded that DMPs are only valid for antlerless deer in the WMU specified on the permit. To learn more about what to expect for deer hunting throughout the state this fall, see Deer Hunting Season Forecasts on DEC's website: http://www.dec.ny.gov/
Buy your hunting license on-line but don’t forget to donate $1.00 to feed the hungry
It’s time to buy your hunting license! Best news yet is that you can now purchase it online at NYS Department of Conservation’s website. But please don’t forget to donate a dollar or more to the Venison Donation Program when you purchase it.
Don’t worry, if you are not web savvy, you are still able to purchase your hunting license the old fashion way, through your Town Clerk’s office or anywhere hunting and fishing licenses are sold like you have in the past. Just be sure to inform the D.E.C.A.L.S. licensing agent that you wish to make a donation to support the Venison Donation Program. All donations through D.E.C.A.L.S. are deposited directly into the Venison Donation Fund. Donations can also be accepted through their secure website, www.venisondonation.org or send a check payable to: Venison Donation Coalition, Inc., 3 East Pulteney Sq., Bath, NY 14810. Again, please don’t forget to tell the clerk you would like to donate to New York’s Venison Donation Program.
Financial donations are appreciated and tax deductible. Every dollar that is donated to the Venison Donation Coalition is used towards processing the venison. With approximately 500,000 deer hunters in New York State, imagine if every one of YOU donates just $1 how financially sound the program would be. Venison could be processed and the hungry would be able to have highly nutritious meat on their tables.
The season opener is just around the corner and the Venison Donation Coalition is wishing you a Happy Hunting Season. We hope you share your success with us by donating a deer, or even a few pounds to our program. You can find a local processor on our website at www.VenisonDonation.org or call 1-866-862-3337.
Since 1999, the Venison Donation Coalition has been highly successful in its goal to feed the hungry throughout New York State. We have processed and average of 36 tons of venison each year and more than 4 million servings of highly nutritious meat was provided to individuals and children in need. Please help to keep the Venison Donation Coalition successful in your neighborhood. Donate today! One dollar goes a long way to help curb hunger throughout New York State.
The Venison Donation Coalition, Inc. is a non-profit organization that coordinates and funds the efforts of venison processing to feed the hungry throughout New York State. For more information, please call 1-866-862-3337.
Venison Donation Coalition seeks new processors
The Venison Donation Coalition has been providing highly nutritious ground venison to New York State’s Food Banks for the past 14 years. They have averaged approximately 36 tons per year. This venison ends up in your local food pantries and soup kitchens to help your neighbors in need.
As the Venison Donation Coalition prepares for the 2014 deer season, they would like to expand their participating processor list. It’s very obvious the processors are key players in this program. Without the participating processors accepting donated deer throughout New York, this program wouldn’t exist.
If you know deer processors in your area, please contact them about joining with the Venison Donation Coalition as a participating processor. The ground venison is picked up from the processors by the Food Banks and processors are paid per pound for their efforts. Please help us “beef up” our processor participation by contacting the Venison Donation Coalition as soon as possible. Their Contact information is: Toll Free 1-866-862-DEER (3337), Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to: Venison Donation Coalition, 3 East Pulteney Sq., Bath, NY 14810. Of course the web address is: http://www.venisondonation.org.
The Venison Donation Coalition, Inc. is a non-profit organization that coordinates and funds the efforts of venison processing to feed the hungry throughout New York State. For more information, please call 1-866-862-3337.
WORK BEGINS IN LAKE GEORGE ON $6.3 MILLION IMPROVEMENT PROJECT
(9/11) Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced work will begin on the $6.3 million Lake George Beach Improvement Project to improve water quality protections and increase recreational access to the Lake. The project includes repaving the beach parking lot, installing infrastructure to better manage stormwater, rerouting Beach Road and constructing a boat launch on the eastern end of the beach with a nearby boat washing station. NY Works and state Department of Environmental Conservation capital funds will pay for the project.
"Lake George is an iconic New York landmark and a major driver of tourism in the region," Governor Cuomo said. “These improvements will protect one of New York’s most beautiful natural features and one of Upstate’s most popular attractions, while also making it more accessible to all."
A boat launch with the capacity for 26 boats will be built on the east side of Lake George Beach and will have significant operational and structural improvements. The boat launch, which will replace the existing one on the west side of the beach, will operate throughout the boating season and provide needed distance from the bathing area and local residences. Larger boats will be able to use the new location as access will no longer be through the tunnel under Beach Road. A boat washing station will be constructed within the car and trailer parking area to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.
Additional improvements to the boating site include:
· Safer configuration of walkways and roads with the road rerouted around the facility;
· A roundabout at the western end of the parking lot providing entrance to the beach parking area;
· A new multiuse path through the facility, so bikers and walkers can utilize the whole distance along the south end of the lake;
· Paving the overflow and boat launch parking lots with asphalt; and
· Easier and safer access for people with disabilities.
The beach and the boat launch are scheduled to be open to the public by Memorial Day Weekend in 2015.
Improvements to the 348-space parking lot will include use of a porous asphalt system in much of the area, which will protect water quality on the mile-long stretch of road on the southern shoreline. Stormwater management infrastructure will complement the work already done on Beach Road during the first two phases of the project.
In 2013, the New York State Department of Transportation, Warren County Department of Public Works and the Town of Lake George completed rebuilding of two sections of road on either side of the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Lake George Beach facility using porous asphalt and installing stormwater management infrastructure. The Department of Environmental Conservation completed the same rebuilding effort in 2014 on the section of the road it maintains.
The new road and parking lot systems decrease the amount of sedimentation and the pollutants attached to them, decrease the amount of salt and sand needed to keep the roads safe during winter weather and significantly decreases the frequency and depth of flooding of the road and parking lots.
DEC Announces $475,000 in Upgrades Planned For Upper Saranac Lake Boat Launch
Launch Will Close September 8 to Facilitate Repairs and Reopen May 2015
To support improved access to Upper Saranac Lake, $475,000 in upgrades will be made to the Upper Saranac Lake Boat Launch, state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. The upgrades, funded by NY Works, will be completed prior to the 2015 Memorial Day Weekend.
"Governor Cuomo has demonstrated a strong commitment to increasing access to the state's beautiful natural resources," Commissioner Martens said. "Upgrades to the Upper Saranac boat launch will allow outdoor enthusiasts easier access to recreate on this magnificent lake and will better protect the lake's water quality."
The boat launch, located at the intersection of County 46 and Back Bay Road, is one of two public boat launches that provide access to Upper Saranac Lake. The planned improvements include:
Camp owners and others that use the Upper Saranac Lake Boat Launch to take their boat off the lake for the winter will need to use private marinas to launch or retrieve boats during the reconstruction period, September 8, 2014 through May 15, 2015.
Small boats can use the boat launch at DEC's Fish Creek Pond Campground. Shallow water at the boat launch and less than eight feet height between the water and the bottom of a campground road near the boat launch allows only small boats to use the Fish Creek Campground Boat Launch. There is no fee to launch or retrieve a boat, but there is an $8.00 parking fee for vehicles.
The renovated boat launch will be open for public use prior to Memorial Day Weekend 2015.
GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES CONSERVATION EASEMENT OF
ADIRONDACK SITE WHERE FEDERAL WILDERNESS ACT WAS PENNED
Family of Howard Zahniser donates historic cabin and lands
(9/11) Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the family of Howard Zahniser has granted New York State a conservation easement on the cabin where much of the Federal Wilderness Act of 1964 was drafted, allowing for the site to be protected as part of the Adirondack Forest Preserve. Additionally, the family donated more than five acres of land to the state as a tribute to their late father’s wilderness advocacy. The lands border the Siamese Pond Wilderness near the hamlet of Baker Mills in the Town of Johnsburg in Warren County. The gift commemorates the 50th anniversary of the signing of the historic Wilderness Act.
"New York is not only the proud home to two of the most sterling examples of natural beauty anywhere in the world, the Adirondack and Catskill Parks, it is also the birthplace of the wilderness movement that inspired the work of Howard Zahniser and other advocates," Governor Cuomo said. "We are honored to accept this generous gift from the Zahniser family and ensure that this important piece of history is preserved for generations to come."
Howard Zahniser befriended Adirondack wilderness conservationist Paul Schaefer in 1946, who introduced him to the Adirondacks and to Article XIV of the New York State Constitution. Zahniser purchased property near Mr. Schaefer’s property and built a cabin. He spent many days at his cabin in the Adirondacks drafting more than 60 versions of the historic federal law that established the National Wilderness Preservation System. Zahniser referred to the Adirondacks as the place “where wilderness preservation began.”
In 1894, New York established its “Forever Wild” constitutional amendment, known as article XIV, protecting what is today the approximately 3 million-acre Forest Preserve in the Adirondacks and Catskills. New York State was the first in the nation to preserve its wild forest lands by its own constitution.
Since the signing of the National Wilderness Act 50 years ago, the amount of federally designated wilderness areas on federal public land has grown to 109 million acres in 44 states and is viewed by many as one of the most important environmental laws ever enacted.
Zahniser had passed away before President Lyndon Johnson signed the National Wilderness Preservation System into law on September 3, 1964.
2013-14 Freshwater Fishing Regulations Extend Thru March 31, 2015(8/24) The current (2013-14) freshwater fishing regulations will extend thru March 31, 2015, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. New freshwater fishing regulations will take effect April 1, 2015 and a new regulations guide will be available from all license sale vendors at that time.
“This change was made based upon the change to the effective dates of our freshwater fishing licenses,” said Commissioner Martens. “In the past, fishing licenses, like our hunting licenses were effective October 1 thru September 30. Fishing licenses are now effective 365 days from the date of purchase and it made sense to adjust the effective dates of our fishing regulations to coincide with the April 1 opener of the statewide trout season which is our traditional kickoff to the freshwater fishing season.”
Anglers should continue to refer to the 2013-14 Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide for the fishing regulations in effect through March 31, 2015. The Freshwater Fishing Regulations Guide is available from all license issuing agents, DEC regional offices and on-line at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7917.html. The current regulations are also available on the new free New York Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife mobile app. Developed by DEC in partnership with Parks by Nature the app is available for iPhone and Android devices; users can download it for free in the iTunes App Store and the Android Market. The proposed new regulations will be available for public review and comment beginning in mid-September at www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/34113.html.
Anglers are also reminded that combination licenses are no longer available. If a person desires to fish in New York State, they must purchase a separate fishing license. Anglers should also be aware of the expiration date of their current fishing license, since expiration dates now vary depending upon when the license was purchased.
LAKE CHAMPLAIN FISH AND WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT COOPERATIVE WILL TREAT
SIX RIVERS and THREE RIVER DELTAS TO CONTROL SEA LAMPREY POPULATIONS
(8/24) The Lake Champlain Fish and Wildlife Management Cooperative (Cooperative) will be applying lampricides to portions of six tributaries and three delta areas of Lake Champlain during the months of September and October. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife, and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will be treating the Boquet, Ausable, Little Ausable, Salmon, and the Great Chazy rivers in New York and Lewis Creek in Vermont as part of the Cooperative’s long-term sea lamprey control program for Lake Champlain. The Boquet, Ausable, and Salmon river deltas will also be treated in New York. Treatments are scheduled to begin with the Boquet River on September 9th. Treatment dates are always contingent on weather and may change with short notice.
While trout and salmon populations of the lake are the primary beneficiaries of these efforts, lake sturgeon, walleye, and many other species also benefit from sea lamprey control. Sea lamprey control also generates economic activity by increasing angling opportunities and the time that boaters, anglers, and their families spend in the Lake Champlain area.
Annual sea lamprey assessments continue to show the success of the program where we recorded an average of 54 sea lamprey wounds per 100 lake trout and 15 per 100 Atlantic salmon in 2013. This is down from a high of 99 for lake trout in 2007 and 79 for Atlantic salmon in 2003. Several control initiatives are underway that will further reduce the sea lamprey population and reduce their impacts on Lake Champlain’s fish populations.
Larval sea lamprey live in rivers and on deltas for about four years before transforming to their parasitic phase and emigrating to Lake Champlain where their effect on the fishery becomes apparent. One of the Cooperative’s Integrated Pest Management approaches is to apply selective pesticides (lampricides) to rivers and deltas in prescribed and precise concentrations. The concentrations used are carefully chosen and monitored to ensure effective elimination of sea lamprey larvae and protection of non-target species. TFM (3-trifluoromethyl-4-nitrophenol) will be applied in the rivers for 12-14 hours depending on environmental conditions.
A second lampricide, Bayluscide 20% Emulsifiable Concentrate, may be included in the application on the Boquet River. The use of 1% Bayluscide with TFM reduces the amount of TFM needed by about 40%, resulting in a reduction of total lampricide applied and substantial cost savings. Temporary water use advisories will be in effect for each of the treatments to minimize human exposure to affected waters. Each state’s Department of Health recommends that the treated river and lake water not be used for drinking, swimming, fishing, irrigation, or livestock watering while the advisories are in effect.
The treatments and water use advisories will have no effect on most residents in the Champlain Basin. Cooperative staff have identified all landowners with property in the affected areas. A letter was sent to residents informing them of the planned treatment and asking them if they or their livestock use water from a surface supply that will be affected by the treatment. Days before the treatments begin, another letter will be sent to inform residents of the impending treatment and to arrange any water usage accommodations.
Local television and radio stations will be provided with dates when advisories begin and expire. The treatment schedule is subject to change as weather conditions, stream flows, or logistical issues may arise during the treatments. Residents will be kept apprised of any such changes through these media. Communities and residents that utilize the following bodies of water should consult the advisory table.
Our toll-free number (1-888-596-0611) provides information on the treatment schedule for each of the treatments, progress reports, updates on treatments, and water use advisories.
DEC ANNOUNCES PLANS TO REVISE ESSEX CHAIN DRAFT UNIT MANAGEMENT PLAN
(8/13) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will make substantial revisions to the Essex Chain Draft Unit Management Plan (UMP), DEC Commissioner Joe Martens announced. In response to public comments from local businesses, community representatives, individuals and a variety of stakeholders – including many who recommended that potential locations for a snowmobile trail should be addressed in the current Draft UMP – DEC has decided it will revise the Draft UMP to fully assess the options for locating a snowmobile trail and propose a preferred alternative.
DEC expects to release the revised draft UMP for public comment this fall and complete the UMP in time for implementation in 2015. Until that plan is approved, DEC will continue to manage these recently acquired lands and resources under a stewardship plan to guide access and recreation.
“This extraordinary property offers an outstanding outdoor experience and is already attracting a large number of visitors,” Commissioner Martens said. “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, DEC is working closely with the Adirondack Park Agency (APA), environmental organizations, local officials and other stakeholders to protect the area’s critical resources while also providing opportunities for appropriate public use. Our interim stewardship plan provides appropriate public access in this area and reflects the work of that partnership. Through the draft UMP process, we will also give the public the opportunity to provide input into the future public use of this magnificent property.”
When the APA issued its classification of these Essex Chain lands and adjacent areas earlier this year, it anticipated that DEC would consider alternatives for locating a snowmobile trail through these lands to connect the communities of Indian Lake, Newcomb and Minerva. In June, DEC released a Draft UMP for public review, which noted that the location of this snowmobile trail would be addressed in a future amendment to the UMP.
In addition to addressing the preferred alternative for a snowmobile route through the Essex Chain Complex, the revised Draft UMP will include proposals in the previously released draft plan to designate mountain bike routes on gravel roads used by the lessees within the Essex Chain Complex through 2018, limited parking near the Chain of Lakes for persons of all ages and abilities, and the construction of a bridge over the Cedar River to provide access for all-season recreation from Indian Lake to the Essex Chain area. Originally, this bridge had been proposed for non-motorized recreation including hiking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
In the revised Draft UMP, DEC will explore options that could include using this bridge for mountain biking and snowmobiling as well.
DEC will also update its interim recreation plan for the Essex Chain Area and issue a formal Stewardship Plan that will guide DEC’s management of the area and accommodate continued public use and recreation.
“DEC staff have spent a great deal of time and effort preparing this area for the public, recognizing that it contains sensitive natural resources that must be protected,” Commissioner Martens said. “The Stewardship Plan will guide public access and use of this area while DEC prepares the revised Draft UMP pursuant to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan.”
DEC is working with partners, including the towns of Newcomb, Minerva, North Hudson, Indian Lake and Long Lake, the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry Adirondack Ecological Center and the Student Conservation Association to implement the Stewardship Plan.
Public access projects already completed include:
· Designating 13 primitive tent sites on and around the Essex Chain Lakes and related water bodies, which require a (free) permit;
· Posting signs prohibiting fires within 500 feet of water bodies and at all permitted sites;
· Posting signs indicting no at-large camping within the Essex Chain and Pine Lake Primitive Areas;
· Designating primitive tent sites throughout the remaining area of the Complex;
· Establishing parking areas in the vicinity of Deer Pond;
· Relocating a parking area closer to the Polaris Bridge;
· Establishing parking at the vicinity of the Outer Gooley Club;
· Designating canoe carries;
· Establishing a horse trailer parking/staging area along the Chain Lakes Road (north); and
· Designating a cross-country ski loop.
The Stewardship Plan will also include enhanced seasonal access during big game hunting season on the Camp Six Road and Chain Lakes Road (South). This enhanced recreation access will be allowed on an interim basis and will also be addressed in the revised
New trail open in the Eastern Adirondacks!
(7/31) The trail to OK Slip Falls in the Hudson Gorge Wilderness is open to the public. The three-mile hike leads to an overlook that provides a scenic view of the falls. The parking area for the trailhead is located on the south side of Route 28, approximately 7.5 miles east of the community of Indian Lake. The trailhead itself is on the north side of Route 28, 0.2 miles west of the parking area. The trail also provides access to Ross, Whortleberry and Big Bad Luck Ponds. Approximately a half mile from the trailhead hikers should turn right onto the trail to OK Slip Falls. Follow the trail another 2.5 miles to the overlook on the east side of the OK Slip Gorge. OK Slip Falls is considered one of the highest falls in the Adirondacks and its waters flow into the Hudson River near the center of the Hudson Gorge. Here's a link to a map of the trail.
Expanded Hunting Opportunities to Limit Population Growth and Help Alleviate Problems Caused by Black Bears
(7/31) Black bear hunting opportunities have expanded this year as a result of regulation changes adopted by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Commissioner Joe Martens announced today.
DEC deemed the changes necessary to limit population growth and range expansion by black bears in New York. Bears are a tremendous resource in New York, but they can have negative impacts too, through damage to camps, crops, homes and other property. In extreme cases they are a serious threat to public safety. DEC's bear plan fosters a comprehensive approach to reduce negative black bear impacts by increasing public awareness of its role in preventing human-bear conflicts, addressing individual incidents of bear damage and reducing bear populations where necessary.
The adopted season changes are as follows:
The final Black Bear Management Plan for New York State, 2014-2024 is available on DEC's website. Key elements of the final plan include the scientific monitoring of bear populations; continued use of stakeholders to assess bear impacts and identify population trend objectives; recommendations to expand areas open to bear hunting throughout upstate New York and to increase hunting opportunities in portions of southeastern New York.
Hunting Or Trapping Of Wild Boars In New York Now Prohibited
(4/28) A new regulation that prohibits hunting or trapping of free-ranging Eurasian boars in New York State was formally adopted state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. The regulation is designed to ensure maximum effectiveness of DEC’s statewide eradication efforts.
“Enacting a statewide regulation was important to support DEC’s ongoing work to remove this invasive species from the state and to ensure that it does not become established in the wild anywhere in New York,” said Commissioner Martens. “Eurasian boars are a great threat to natural resources, agricultural interests, and private property and public safety wherever they occur and DEC will continue to work to protect these resources and remove wild boars from the state.”
Eurasian boars were brought to North America centuries ago and wild populations numbering in the millions are now present across much of the southern U.S. In recent years, wild boar populations have been appearing in more northern states too, often as a result of escapes from enclosed shooting facilities that offer “wild boar hunts.”
Governor Cuomo signed legislation on October 21, 2013, which immediately prohibited the importation, breeding or introduction to the wild of any Eurasian boars. Furthermore, the law prohibits possession, sale, transport or marketing of live Eurasian boars as of September 1, 2015. The new law was an essential step in the state’s efforts to prevent Eurasian boars from becoming established in the wild.
However, there are already small numbers of Eurasian boars on the landscape in New York. Since 2000, wild boars have been reported in many counties across the state, and breeding in the wild has been confirmed in at least six counties (Tioga, Cortland, Onondaga, Clinton, Sullivan and Delaware) in recent years. DEC is working closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services program to remove any Eurasian boars that are reported in New York. To date, more than 150 animals have been captured and destroyed. However, eradication is expensive, time consuming and requires a great deal of manpower.
“Hunters have offered to assist our efforts by hunting for boars wherever they occur, but experience has shown this to be counter-productive,” Martens said. “As long as swine may be pursued by hunters, there is a potential conflict with our eradication efforts. Eurasian boars often join together to form a ‘sounder,’ the name for a group of pigs that can number 20 or more individuals. Shooting individual boars as opportunities arise is ineffective as an eradication method often causes the remaining animals to disperse and be more difficult to remove.”
Hunters pursuing wild boars in locations where baited traps have been established by DEC or USDA can also undermine these costly and labor-intensive capture efforts. Shooting may remove one or two animals, but the rest of the sounder scatters and rarely comes back together as a group, thereby hampering eradication efforts. In addition to prohibiting take of free-ranging swine by hunters, the new regulation prohibits anyone from disturbing traps set for wild boars or otherwise interfering with Eurasian boar eradication activities. Hunting wild boar is still allowed at enclosed hunting preserves until September 1, 2015.
The regulation does provide necessary exceptions for state and federal wildlife agencies, law enforcement agencies, and others who are authorized by DEC to take Eurasian boar to alleviate nuisance, property damage, or threats to public health or welfare.
Anyone who observes a Eurasian boar (dead or alive) in the wild in New York should report it as soon as possible to the nearest DEC regional wildlife office or to: mailto:email@example.com and include “Eurasian boar” in the subject line.
Because it is sometimes difficult to distinguish a domestic pig, pot belly pig or Eurasian boar based solely on a description, reporting of all free-roaming swine is encouraged. Please report the number of animals seen, whether any of them were piglets, the date, and the exact location (county, town, distance and direction from an intersection, nearest landmark, etc.). Photographs of the animals are especially helpful, so please try to get a picture and include it with your report.
Full text of the regulation can be viewed on DEC’s Weekly Environmental Notice Bulletin for April 23, 2014, available at http://www.dec.ny.gov/enb/95072.html.
2013 Deer Harvest Comparable to 2012
(4/28) Hunters harvested approximately 243,550 deer during the 2013-14 hunting seasons, nearly equivalent to the statewide take last year, state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced. The 2013 deer take included approximately 128,850 antlerless deer (adult females and fawns) and about 114,700 adult bucks (1.5 years or older), both estimates being within 4 percent of the 2012 take (see table below). Hunters in the Northern Zone walked out of the woods with roughly 32,300 deer, including 19,500 adult bucks. In the Southern Zone, excluding Long Island, hunters took 208,300 deer, including about 94,200 adult bucks. To compare these harvest estimates with other past seasons, visit the DEC website.
2013 Deer Harvest Comparison
2013 Total 2012 Total Previous 5-Year Average (2008-2012)
Total Take 243,567 242,957 229,439
Adult Male 114,716 118,993 108,752
Antlerless 128,851 123,964 120,687
Adult Female 88,634 86,644 83,565
DMPS Issued 650,472 605,105 544,530
DMP Take 98,945 94,367 89,507
DAMP Take 12,285 10,497 10,689
Muzzleloader 14,970 16,104 7,511
Bowhunting 36,676 36,208 34,795
Crossbow NA 438
Youth Hunt 1,275 1,411
N-Zone Bucks 19,538 19,437
N-Zone Total 32,369 30,843
For a full report of the 2013 Harvest viste DEC's website: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/96610.html
More Antlerless Deer Need to be Taken
This year's harvest shows a continuing trend of concern to DEC deer managers. In many Wildlife Management Units (WMUs), including portions of southeastern New York and the Lake Plains region of western New York, harvest trends indicate that deer populations are too high - above levels recommended by local stakeholder groups who live, hunt or manage land in those areas. Even with very liberal opportunities for take of antlerless deer, not enough females are being taken to reduce populations to desired levels. In these areas, DEC and hunters must begin considering new ways to the increase antlerless deer take to achieve deer populations that are compatible with ecosystem health and consistent with the public's interests.
Older Bucks Becoming a Larger Portion of Adult Buck Harvests
Hunters took a record number of bucks (approximately 55,300) aged 2.5 years or older in 2013. These older bucks, which many hunters desire, accounted for 48 percent of harvested adult bucks statewide in 2013, compared to only 33 percent (45,350) in 2000 when New York's deer population peaked, and only 28 percent (about 33,000) in the early 1990s. In part, this is influenced by the overall size of the deer population, which in much of the state is larger than desired. Although mandatory antler restrictions in 11 WMUs in southeastern New York are a contributing factor, many New York hunters outside those areas are voluntarily choosing not to take young bucks, thereby letting these bucks get another year or two older before they are taken.
Deer harvest data are gathered from two main sources: harvest reports required of all successful hunters, and DEC staff's examination of nearly 16,200 harvested deer at check stations and meat processors. Statewide harvest estimates are made by cross-referencing these two data sources. Much additional information about the 2013-14 deer harvests, including charts and maps describing the harvest, is available on DEC's website.
DEC Announces 2013 Bear Harvest Results
Record Takes Again In the Southern Zone
(4/9) New York bear hunters took 1,358 black bears during the 2013 hunting seasons, making last year the second highest bear harvest on record in New York, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced. “New York has excellent bear habitat and vast, accessible public lands that offer exciting opportunities for bear hunting,” said Commissioner Martens. “With abundant natural foods this past year, bears were in great condition, and we heard of several hunters who took bears weighing more than 500 pounds dressed. Under New York's Open for Fishing and Hunting, our Fish and Wildlife Programs are being enhanced and our hunting and fishing licenses are streamlined to ensure increased opportunities for recreational in this state.”
Regionally, bear hunters took a record 636 bears from the Southeastern bear hunting area and a near record 342 bears (2nd highest take) from the Central-Western bear hunting area. These high harvests reflect that bear populations have increased over the past decade. In addition, an abundance of hard mast (e.g., acorns and other nuts) kept many bears actively feeding later into the fall and available for harvest through the duration of the regular firearms season. Hunters took 224 bears in the Central-Western area and 431 bears in the Southeastern area during the regular firearms season. Bear populations in these ranges are in need of higher harvest rates in coming years in order to stabilize population growth generally and reduce populations in the Catskill region.
In the Adirondack bear hunting area, hunters took a total of 380 bears, fewer than the recent 5-year average. However, Adirondack bear harvest is the tale of two seasons. Bear harvest during the early bear season, which runs from mid-September through mid-October, is strongly influenced by availability of soft mast (e.g., apples, cherries and berries), and harvests tend to be poor during years with abundant soft mast like the 2013 year. Early season only accounted for 84 bears taken, approximately 65 percent below average. In contrast, hunters did well during the regular season, taking 246 bears, about 13 percent greater than average.
A complete summary of the 2013 bear harvest with results by county, town, and Wildlife Management Unit is available on the DEC website: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/42232.html.
NYS Black Bear Management Plan
In January, DEC released a draft black bear management plan for public review and comment. The plan describes DEC’s approach to bear management which includes population management through regulated hunting, mitigation of human-bear conflicts, and technical guidance and outreach to the public about bears and conflict avoidance. The plan proposed several changes to bear hunting, including expanding the area open to bear hunting to encompass all of upstate New York and establishing a supplemental firearms season in September for bears in the Catskill and lower Hudson Valley region. DEC is reviewing the comments received on the plan and anticipates publishing a final version of the plan this spring. See www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7215.html to review the draft plan.
NYS Black Bear Cooperator Patch Program
Hunters play a pivotal role in bear management through reporting their bear harvests, and many hunters also submit a tooth sample from their bear for DEC to determine the age of harvested bears (see www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/45598.html). For all hunters who report their harvest and submit a tooth, 680 hunters in 2013, DEC provides a NYS Black Bear Cooperator Patch and a letter informing them of their bear’s age. DEC is still processing tooth submissions from 2013, but we anticipate hunters will receive their patch by September 2014.
Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative is an effort to improve recreational opportunities for sportsmen and women and to boost tourism activities throughout the state. This initiative includes streamlining fishing and hunting licenses, reducing license fees, improving access for fishing and increasing hunting opportunities in New York State.
In support of this initiative, this year's budget includes $6 million in NY Works funding to support creating 50 new land and water access projects to connect hunters, anglers, bird watchers and others who enjoy the outdoors to more than 380,000 acres of existing state and easement lands that have gone largely untapped until now. These 50 new access projects include building new boat launches, installing new hunting blinds and building new trails and parking areas. In addition, the 2014-15 budget includes $4 million to repair the state's fish hatcheries; and renews and allows expanded use of crossbows for hunting in New York State.
This year's budget also reduces short-term fishing licenses fees; increases the number of authorized statewide free fishing days to eight from two; authorizes DEC to offer 10 days of promotional prices for hunting, fishing and trapping licenses; and authorizes free Adventure Plates for new lifetime license holders, discounted Adventure Plates for existing lifetime license holders and regular fee Adventure Plates for annual license holders.
Photo: Dan Reed
Four national conservation organizations team up for conservation
(3/3) MEMPHIS, Tenn. – February 21, 2014 – Four of the nation’s largest wild bird conservation organizations have joined forces to ensure that wild bird habitat conservation and our shared hunting heritage remain strong for generations to come. Ducks Unlimited (DU), the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), Pheasants Forever (PF) and Quail Forever (QF) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the goal of furthering sporting traditions across North America.
“By entering into this unique partnership, we will be able to reach more than 1 million conservation supporters throughout North America,” said DU CEO Dale Hall. “This MOU is the first step to ensuring our hunting heritage remains strong. I look forward to working with each organization and I know that together we can accomplish great things.”
The goals of the partnership will be achieved through the support of an engaged and growing community of sportsmen and women and other outdoor enthusiasts, including the members and supporters of the partner organizations, who all share similar visions.
“We’re losing 6,000 acres of habitat every day. Hunters fund conservation but now we’re at the point where less than 10 percent of the American population hunts, so the funding source is going away,” said NWTF CEO George Thornton. “We know we can’t solve this alone. It’s bigger than one organization.”
This historic partnership also takes cooperation to an entirely new level, proving that conservation organizations aren’t always competitors. Rather, this MOU shows how separate organizations can come together to achieve common goals.
Combined, these organizations have helped conserve more than 30 million acres of wildlife habitat, and through this partnership, shared conservation goals will be achieved more efficiently.
“In the face of the most rapid loss of wildlife habitat in modern times, it simply makes sense for our organizations to team up wherever possible,” explains Howard Vincent, President & CEO of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever. “From our local chapters holding youth mentor hunts to state land acquisition projects, our goal is to accomplish more for current and future generations of bird hunters as partners in conservation.