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Entries Tagged as 'invasive species'

DEC Proposes Regulatory Changes to Prevent the Introduction of Aquatic Invasive Species at Boat Launches

January 9th, 2014 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Public Comments Accepted Through February 24

NYSDEC LogoThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is proposing new regulations to prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) at DEC boat launches, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens announced. The proposed regulatory changes require boaters to remove all visible plants and animals from boats, trailers and associated equipment and to drain boats before launching at or leaving a DEC boat launch and waterway access.

DEC will accept public comments on the proposal through February 24, 2014. The full text of the proposed regulation can be found on DEC’s website at: Proposed Regulations.

Clean, Drain, and Dry“These proposed regulatory changes are the latest in a series of actions DEC has taken over the past few years to combat the spread of harmful invasive species, including the emerald ash borer,” Commissioner Martens said. “Cooperation and assistance from the public is essential in order for these efforts to succeed. Boats, trailers and the equipment can spread aquatic invasive species from waterbody to waterbody and significantly harm recreational and commercial use of a waterbody while having a detrimental effect on native fish, wildlife and plants. This regulation is an important component of DEC’s efforts to help ensure AIS-free waters remain free and additional AIS are not introduced to other waters.”

Boaters are advised to carefully check their boats, trailers and equipment for any plant or animal material that may be clinging to it and remove it if found. Nuisance Invasive Species Disposal Stations are provided at many DEC boat launches for this purpose. The boat should also be completely drained, including live wells, bait wells and bilge tanks, and dried before it is used in another waterbody.

Recommended drying times for each month of the year can be calculated at: Drying Time Estimator. Additional information on aquatic invasive species and preventing their spread can be found on DEC’s website.

Comments on the proposed regulations can be sent via e-mail to fishregs@gw.dec.state.ny.us, or mailed to Edward Woltmann, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Bureau of Fisheries, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4753. Hard copies of the full text may also be requested from Mr. Woltmann at the above address.

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Eurasian Boars No Longer “Fair Game” in New York

December 13th, 2013 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Proposed Regulations Would Prohibit Hunting or Trapping of Wild Boars in New York

NYSDEC LogoNew York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner (DEC) Joe Martens today announced the proposal of new regulations that would prohibit hunting or trapping of free-ranging Eurasian boars in New York. The proposal is designed to ensure maximum effectiveness of DEC’s statewide eradication efforts. Public comments on the proposed regulations will be accepted until January 25, 2014.



“Eurasian boars are a great threat to natural resources, agricultural interests, private property and public safety wherever they occur,”Commissioner Martens said. “It’s important that we do all in our power to ensure that this invasive species does not become established in the wild anywhere in New York State.”

Eurasian boars were brought to North America centuries ago and wild populations numbering in the millions now occur 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, and to date more than 150 animals have been captured and destroyed. However, eradication is expensive, time consuming and requires a great deal of manpower.

“Many 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 swine eradication efforts. Eurasian boars often join together to form a ‘sounder’, the name for a group of pigs sometimes numbering 20 or more individuals. Shooting individual boars as opportunities arise is ineffective as an eradication method, and this 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 proposed regulation would prohibit anyone from disturbing traps set for wild boars or otherwise interfering with Eurasian boar eradication activities. Hunting wild boar can be done at hunting preserves until 2015.

The proposed regulations 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.

Commissioner Martens encouraged anyone who observes a Eurasian boar (dead or alive) in the wild in New York to report it as soon as possible to the nearest DEC regional wildlife office or to: fwwildlf@gw.dec.state.ny.us and include “Feral Swine”in the subject line.

Since it is sometimes difficult to distinguish a domestic pig, pot belly pig or Eurasian boar based solely on a description, reporting of all feral 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 feral swine are greatly appreciated, so please try and get a picture and include it with your report.

Text of the proposed regulation was published in the New York State Register on December 11, 2013. The full text of the regulation change and instructions for submitting comments can be found on DEC’s website at: Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources Proposed, Emergency and Recently Adopted Regulations. Comments on the proposed regulations can be sent by email to WildlifeRegs@gw.dec.state.ny.us or mailed to: Kelly Stang, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4754. Hard copies of the full text may be requested from the same address listed above.

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DEC Rids Adirondack Pond of Non-Native Fish to Restore Native Brook Trout Fishery

November 13th, 2013 · No Comments · Adirondack News

NYSDEC LogoThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently completed a major effort to eradicate non-native fish from Lower Sargent Pond in Hamilton County, DEC Regional Director Robert Stegemann announced today. The pond will be stocked with fish next year to reestablish the high quality, naturally reproducing native brook trout fishery that had existed there before its population was depleted due to the presence of the non-native fish.

“Native brook trout populations have been significantly reduced in the Adirondacks and other areas throughout the east, but we are committed to restoring these populations in local waters,” said Director Stegemann. “This tremendous coordinated effort will ensure the continued existence of a natural aquatic community and provide a high quality wilderness fishing experience for anglers.”



Providing a high quality wilderness fishing experience on Lower Sargent Pond promotes Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Hunting and Fishing Initiative, which has improved recreational activities for in-state and out-of-state sportsmen and sportswomen, and boosted tourism opportunities throughout the state. This initiative includes the streamlining of hunting and fishing licensing along with reduced license fees, improved access for fishing at various sites across the state and increased regional hunting and recreational opportunities.

The eradication of non-native fish, followed by restocking with native brook trout is a key component of DEC’s Brook Trout Restoration Program. DEC is a partner in the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture (http://easternbrooktrout.org/), which is working to protect, restore and enhance brook trout populations and habitats across their native range.

For decades Lower Sargent Pond was considered a high quality fishery, which sustained natural reproducing brook trout population. It was one of the most popular fly-in fishing destinations in the Adirondacks, and many anglers would walk the two miles into the pond to fish for brook trout.

Decline of Brook Trout - Map

As the abundance of largemouth bass increased in the pond, the brook trout population severely declined. In 2012, no young brook trout were present; only large, older brook trout that had been hatched before the bass population had grown. The decline in the brook trout population was not due to overfishing. The primary causes were illegal fish stocking and use of bait fish.

The eradication of non-native fish from a water body is known as a “reclamation.” The reclamation procedure is used to return the water to a historic natural aquatic community, provide higher quality fishing opportunities and, where possible, to reintroduce endangered fish species such as round whitefish.

The reclamation of the131-acre Lower Sargent Pond is the largest reclamation in New York State in several decades. A considerable amount of resources and a extensive coordination were needed to complete the reclamation over a five-day period. The effort included the participation of dozens of DEC staff from various regions and programs, and assistance from the State Police Aviation Unit for helicopter transport of personnel, equipment and supplies. There were 37 trips by helicopter during the project, but many workers still had to walk two miles to and from the nearest road carrying equipment and supplies.

Non-native fish, such as bass, yellow perch and golden shiner, negatively impact the native fish communities and ecosystems of Adirondack waters. Non-native fish prey on the eggs and young of native fish. They out compete brook trout and other native fish by consuming large quantities of zooplankton (very small aquatic animals) and other prey food that the native fish feed upon.

It is illegal to move fish from one water body to another without a permit from DEC. The possession or use of fish as bait is prohibited in Lower Sargent Pond and many other trout ponds in the Adirondacks to prevent the introductions of non-native fishes.

Adirondack heritage strain Little Tupper brook trout will be stocked in the pond next year. It is projected that in the next three to five years, Lower Sargent Pond will once again be a high quality wilderness brook trout fishing destination.

Brook trout thrive on a diet of insects and other invertebrates, and grow to large size in ponds that do not have minnows as forage. The current state record brook trout is a 6 pound fish caught in an Adirondack wilderness pond that contains no other fish species. Minnows can become abundant in a pond or lake and compete with brook trout for food – decreasing the brook trout population.

More information on protection of native brook trout, impacts of non-native fish, rotenone and other topics can be found at: Protecting Adirondack Fish.

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