News Archive 2003
Comment Period Now Open for Draft Revised: Chittenango Ovate Amber Snail
Recovery Plan (Endangered Species):
is welcome to submit comments to this office by January 15, 2004, on the draft recovery plan. Comments may
be submitted by email to Robyn Niver or sent to New York Field Office, 3817 Luker Rd., Cortland, NY 13045. For
questions please call (607) 753-9334.
copy of the December 5, 2003, Federal
Register Notice of Availability for this plan is also available.
Analysis of Snapping Turtle Eggs and Bird Eggs for PCBs in Hudson River
on two projects undertaken by the Hudson River Natural Resource Trustees
as part of the ongoing Hudson River Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA)
was presented at the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry's
24th Annual (North American) Meeting in Austin, Texas, during November 9-13,
2003. The poster, "PCB Contamination of Common Snapping Turtle Eggs
from the Hudson River, New York" (abstract available here;
poster available here)
discusses the results of the Trustees' June 2002 collection of eggs from
common snapping turtles (Chelydra serpentina serpentina) from various
sites along the Hudson River, and subsequent analysis of those eggs for
PCBs. Total PCBs (as sum of homologues) in those Hudson River snapping turtle
egg samples ranged from about 70 parts per billion (ppb) to about 31,800
ppb. PCB concentrations in snapping turtle egg samples tended to display
a decreasing concentration gradient moving downstream from Hudson Falls
to Lower Schodack Island. The presentation, "Egg PCB Contamination
of Various Avian Feeding Guilds from the Upper Hudson River Valley"
(abstract available here;
pdf presentation available here)
discusses the Trustees' Spring-Summer 2002 collection of eggs from 11 avian
species in the Upper Hudson River Valley, and subsequent analysis of those
eggs for PCBs. Total PCB concentrations ranged from 20 ppb to about 56150
ppb and varied by avian species and collection location. Data reports on
these two preliminary investigations are in preparation and will be posted
on the Trustees' web sites (including http://contaminants.fws.gov/restorationplans/HudsonRiver.cfm).
Notice of the availability of the reports will be provided on this web site.
Partners in Flight Northeast Website Takes Flight:
Click here to see the new website!
FERC issues new license to NYPA for St. Lawrence-FDR Power Project (Fish
& Wildlife Conservation):
23, the FERC issued a new 50-year license to the New York Power Authority
for the St. Lawrence-FDR Power Project. The license was issued consistent
with the Comprehensive Settlement. Among the measures to be implemented
are a $24 million Fish Enhancement, Mitigation, and Research Fund (FEMRF)
to be administered by the Service, several Habitat Improvement Projects,
a fund for future Habitat Improvement Projects, a ladder to facilitate upstream
eel passage, a research and education fund, and numerous recreational enhancements.
Among the fish and wildlife species benefitting will be American eel, walleye,
lake sturgeon, northern pike, Blandings turtle, bank swallow, common loon,
osprey, and common tern. The key to the swift completion of relicensing
was the collaboration of many parties to address many difficult issues.
The FEMRF was a unique approach developed by the Service to address the
unique features of this project and was instrumental in the development
of the Comprehensive Settlement.
on this important Comprehensive Settlement will be published in a future
issue of Environment and Energy magazine.
Piercefield Settlement to be filed (Fish & Wildlife Conservation):
Regional Director Bennet signed the Piercefield Settlement. The Settlement,
which will be filed with the license application later this month, includes
fish protection and downstream passage measures, reduced impoundment fluctuations
which will benefit a large wetland complex, base flows, and recreational
amenities at the 2.7 MW project located on the Raquette River in St. Lawrence
County. The parties to the settlement, in addition to the Service, included
Reliant Energy, NYSDEC, New York Rivers United, Adirondack Mountain Club,
Adirondack Park Agency, National Park Service, American Whitewater, and
the Towns of Altamont and Piercefield.
Environmental Technical Working Group Water Levels Study (Fish & Wildlife
Steve Patch attended a meeting of the Environmental Technical Working Group
(ETWG) for the International Joint Commission's Great Lakes Water Levels
Study. The ETWG is developing models to predict how different water level
control plans will impact fish and wildlife resources. The water levels
study can be seen in more detail here.
NYFO/LIFO gathers for retreat in Cortland:
|The New York
Field Office held a retreat with the Long Island Field Ofice during
September 22-24, featuring in-office conferences, field trips, and
events to focus on issues and program priorities for the federal 2004
fiscal year that began October 1, 2003. A field trip to Spafford Creek,
a tributary to Otisco Lake, allowed for observation and discussion
of a successful Partner for Fish and Wildlife stream restoration project.
Electro-fishing portions of the restored stream reach recovered numerous
species of fresh water minnows and several brown trout. A subsequent
trip to Cornell’s new Lab of Ornithology provided insight into
the Lab’s successful Citizen Science projects and additional
projects being undertaken for bird conservation.
Two New Recovery Plans Available (Endangered Species):
blue butterfly and Great Lakes piping plover recovery plans have both been
finalized. Both plans can be viewed on our Recovery
Service Proposes Revisions to Conservation Programs (Endangered Species):
details at http://endangered.fws.gov.
Hudson River Natural Resource Damage Assessment ListServ Established (Environmental
River Natural Resource Trustees - the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,
the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the U.S.
Department of the Interior - have established a listserv to provide updates
on the ongoing natural resource damage assessment and restoration efforts
for the Hudson River. The public is invited to join the listserv for periodic
updates on this effort.
the Hudson-NRDA listserv:
a message to: email@example.com
in the subject: Subscribe hudsonnrda
will receive a confirmation email to which you MUST reply within 24 hours.
Raquette River Hydroelectric Projects Settlement Measures On-site Review
(Fish & Wildlife Conservation):
Steve Patch participated in an on-site review of settlement measures implementation
for the Raquette River Hydroelectric Projects. Over the past two years,
Reliant Energy has implemented many of the biological mitigation and enhancement
measures agreed upon in the 1998 settlement package. Licenses were issued
by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission fo rthe four projects in 2001.
The Service was instrumental in developing a settlement package that allowed
a group with many varied interests to reach consensus. Among the measures
implemented are flows in almost 10 miles of dewatered river, reduced impoundment
fluctuations, gravel placement for habitat, fish passage, and protection
of fish from entrainment.
National Wildlife Federation provides restoration habitat funding for butterflies
College received funding from the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) to
restore habitat for two imperiled butterflies in central New Y ork, the Karner
blue butterfly (Lycaides melissa samuelis) and the frosted elfin
(Callophyrus irus). Karner blue butterflies are listed as an endangered
species under both Federal and New York State law. The frosted elfin is
listed as Threatened by New York State. For more information, please go
to the NWF website at: http://www.nwf.org/keepthewildalive/grantrecipients2003.cfm
Hudson River Natural Resource Damage Assessment documents released to the
public (Environmental Contaminants):
Trustees have released several documents pertaining to the on-going Hudson
River Natural Damage Assessment. Released for public information are: Responsiveness
Summary fo rthe Hudson River Natural Resource Damage Assessment Plan, Sampling
and Analysis Plan for Hudson River Fish Health Assessment, Analytical Quality
Assuranc ePlan - Version 1.0, Public Participation Plan - Phase I, Public
Participation Plan - Phase II, Factsheet - Spring 2003. These documents
may be viewed here.
Bat Biology Presented to Cornell Institute of Biology Teachers:
Field Office biologist Tim Sullivan presented two programs on bats to the
annual Cornell Institute of Biology Teachers. These programs provided information
on bat biology and ecology, and on the Fish and Wildlife Service's role
in protecting bats federally-listed as threatened or endangered. In New
York State, the Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) is an endangered species.
The program provided an overview of techniques and equipment for monitoring
bat populations at summer roost sites and winter hibernaculum. The teachers
were particularly interested in the Anabat bat detector, which records the
ultrasonic frequencies emitted by bats during echolocation. Program participants
were able to use the Anabat bat detector to monitor bats feeding at a pond
and roosting in a maternity colony in a bat house.
Summer Monitoring Program Initiated for Completed Restorations (Partners
for Fish & Wildlife):
Figure 1. Restored marsh in Wyoming County
New York Field Office has initiated a summer monitoring program to
assess the success of completed Partners for Fish & Wildlife projects.
Lindsay Eiser, an intern from SUNY ESF, has been visiting restoration
projects throughout the state. One particular project is located in
Wyoming County. Two adjacent wetlands, totaling eight acres (an emergent
marsh, Figure 1, and an emergent marsh abutting a forested swamp with
red maple and slippery elm, Figure 2) were constructed in September
Figure 2. Restored Forested Wetland, Wyoming
Figure 3. Blandings Turtle, Jefferson County
Lindsay visited this month (eleven years later), she observed or found
evidence of blue herons, American toads, several species of frogs
and turtles, deer, song birds, geese and muskrats. The landowner has
seen ducks including mallards, teal, and widgeons using his wetlands.
Figure 3 shows a Blandings turtle (Emydoidea Blandingii) found
when visiting a restored wetland in a restored Scrub Shrub wetland
in Jefferson County (Figure 4). This species of turtle is considered
threatened on the New
York State List of Endangered, Threatened, and Special Concern Fish
and Wildlife. After visiting each site, Lindsay prepares a monitoring
report addressing the quality of the habitat and species using it.
Figure 4. Restored Scrub Shrub Wetland
Draft Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances (CCAA) Handbook
available for review and comment (Endangered Species):
due August 15, 2003. On June 23,2003, the Service released the draft
CCAA Handbook for public review and comment. CCAAs are designed to encourage
landowners to manage their lands to benefit declining species that may require
the protection of the Endangered Species Act in the future. See
the complete news release.
NYFO participates in Annual Cortland County Envirothon (Outreach):
New York Field Office participates annually in the Cortland County Envirothon.
The Envirothon is a one day competitive test-taking event for teams representing
high schools in Cortland County. Sponsored by the Cortland County Soil and
Water Conservation District, teams have 25 minutes to complete tests on
various subjects, including environmental current issues, soils, wildlife,
forestry, and aquatics. Teams rotate from test to test. The event winner
is the team with the highest score after each test has been taken. Team
winners are announced for each of the subject area tests too. The event
winner moves on to a regional envirothon and possibly toward the New York
State finalist competition. The New York Field Office has written aquatics
and current issue tests used in this event.
Cortland County Envirothon Group Photo
Fred Caslick of NYFO challenging students on Envirothon
New York State Bog turtle Workshop (Endangered Species):
Group photo of participants at the Oswego County session.
New York Field Office (NYFO) and the New York State Department of Environmental
Conservation (NYSDEC) held 2 two-day workshops in May and June to increase
coordination among State and Federal agencies within the New York State
range of the Bog turtle. These were the first workshops of this type
in New York and were considered quite successful. The classroom portion
included presentations on Bog turtle biology and recovery, as well as
various State and Federal regulations. The field portion was designed
to help agency personnel learn more about the characteristics of potentially
suitable Bog turtle habitat.
Caryn Crook (NYFO) holding a Bog turtle.
USFWS Participates in Collection of Screech Owl Eggs (Otus asio)
from Hudson River (Environmental Contaminants):
Department of the Interior, with cotrustees New York State and the U.S.
Department of Commerce, is engaged in a Natural Resource Damage Assessment
(NRDA) for the Hudson River. The Hudson River NRDA addresses natural resource
injuries that have occurred due to the release of hazardous substances,
particularly polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), to the Hudson River. In April
2003, as part of a continuing preliminary investigation by the Hudson River
Natural Resource Trustees of avian exposure to Hudson River PCBs, a representative
of the Service's New York Field Office participated in the collection of
screech owl eggs from nests along the Hudson River. The eggs will be analyzed
for PCBs. The investigation will provide an indication of the exposure of
this species to Hudson River contaminants, and facilitate potential design
of future avian injury studies. More information regarding the Hudson River
NRDA can be found at: http://contaminants.fws.gov/restorationplans/HudsonRiver.cfm
1. Female common
screech incubating eggs
2. Gray phase
of the common screech owl
3. Screech owl
(rufous phase) with a clutch of 3 eggs
4. The typical
clutch size of the screech owl is 3 to 5 eggs
Interior Secretary Norton Announces Grants to Protect Imperiled Species
in the Northeast (Endangered Species):
May 28, 2003, Interior Secretary Gale Norton announced that thirteen
landowners in Maine, Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West
Virginia, and Virginia will receive a total of $629,812 in federal
grant funding to undertake conservation projects to benefit threatened
and endangered species on private lands. The entire story is here.
Norton between Joseph Jannsen (TNC) and Steve Papa (USFWS), and with
Rick Bennett (USFWS).
Great Sacandaga Lake Biological Studies (Fish & Wildlife Conservation):
The Service is partnering with Cornell University's Biological Field Station
at Shackelton Point and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation,
Region 5 Office, to study the zooplankton and phytoplankton communities
found within Great Sacandaga Lake near Northville, Fulton County. The purpose
of the study is to fill data gaps and determine the extent of these communities
which form the base of the lake's food web. Ultimately, the goal of the
work is to improve the fishery of this man-made lake. Samples will be collected
over the course of the next 6 months and results will be analyzed at Cornell's
lab. Funding for the project is being provided by the Great Sacandaga Lake
Advisory Council. Contact Tim Sullivan for further information.
Chautauqua County Wind Farm Proposal (Fish & Wildlife Conservation):
The New York Field Office is currently reviewing a proposal to build 34
wind turbines mounted on towers with a total height of approximately 400
feet above ground level along a ridge in the Towns of Ripley and Westfield.
Raptors often take advantage of thermal updrafs and wind currents along
ridges. The project location, along the coast of Lake Erie, makes it a prime
spot for migrating avian species. Coasts tend to funnel or direct avian
species during the migration. In addition, the project is south of the Niagara
River Corridor Important Bird Area, an internationally recognized bird concentration
The proposed wind turbine project has the potential to effect migratory
birds, such as waterfowl, passerines, and raptors. These species are Federal
trust resources and are protected by provisions of the Migratory Bird Treaty
Act (40 Stat. 755; 16 U.S.C. 703-712). It has been documented that wind
turbines cause avian mortality to a variety of species (National Wind Coordinating
Committee, 1999). Research to date indicates that raptors are prone to wind
turbine collisions but songbirds, particularly those individuals migrating
at night under poor visibility conditions, are very susceptible. Service
Biologist Tim Sullivan is currently working with the project sponsors to
study avian use of the project area and develop ways to minimize potential
Wind turbine farm located in Town of Fenner, Madison
Turbine components: Tower, blades and nacelle
Underside of working components
NYFO Biologist Begins Project Reviews on Eel Ladder at St. Lawrence Dam (Fish
& Wildlife Conservation):
Patch attended a meeting in Massena, New York to commence Project Reviews on
the design for the eel ladder for upstream passage at the St. Lawrence/FDR
Power Project on the Moses-Saunders Dam. The meeting included a tour of
the new ladder at Quebec Hydro's downstream Beauharnois Project, as well
as a tour of Ontario Power Generation's Saunders ladder on the opposite
site of the Moses-Saunders Dam. Beauharnois uses a newer passage technology
substituting PVC pipe sections for artificial vegetation to help eels climb
a steeper grade. We intend to duplicate the Beauharnois design at FDR. The
ladder is expected to be constructed in 2005. See photos below:
Lower Section of the Beauharnois ladder
Tubes on the ladder help eels climb steep grades
Same section of Beauharnois ladder with cover in place to prevent
eels from escaping
Section of the Saunders ladder showing artificial vegetation used
to help eels climb
North Hempstead Bar Beach Lagoon Project Update (Environmental Contaminants):
Bar Beach Lagoon Natural Resource Damage Assessment project has been
integrated into an ongoing Hempstead Harbor Shoreline Trail project
initiated by the Town of North Hempstead, New York. This project will
improve fish, bird and shellfish habitat, and provide an opportunity
for the public to enjoy this ecosystem. We have dedicated a separate
page to this project here.
NYFO has Landmark Year for Energy Project Settlements (Permits & Projects):
York Field Office's Energy Project biologists have reached settlements on
several hydroelectric project relicensings in recent years. Many of the
licenses were issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in the
past two years. Thus, many of the required protection, mitigation, and enhancement
measures are coming due for implementation. We recently reviewed the settlements
and licenses for several projects on the Raquette, Hoosic, Hudson, St. Regis,
and Oswegatchie Rivers. Among the measures to be implemented this year are
bypassed reach flows at several sites on the Raquette, Hudson, and Oswegatchie
Rivers, fish passage facilities on the Raquette, Hoosic, Oswegatchie, and
Hudson Rivers, flow monitoring equipment on all five rivers, and modified
operations at most of the projects. Cumulatively, these measures should
provide several additional miles of aquatic habitat in previously dewatered
reaches, along with improvements to miles of riverine and impoundment habitats.
Most major riverine gamefish species, including salmonids, northern pike,
walleye, and smallmouth bass should benefit, along with panfish, prey fish,
and invertebrate communities.
Oswego River Settlement Offer Signed by USFWS (Permits & Projects):
signed the Oswego River Settlement Offer on April 18, 2003. This Settlement
resolves issues related to two of Reliant Energy's hydroelectric projects,
the Oswego River Project and the Oswego Falls Project. The Settlement culminates
16 years of Project Reviews and 5 years of negotiations. The key issues were
downstream fish passage, upstream passage for American eel, bypassed reach
flows, impoundment fluctuations and base flows. Both upstream and downstream
fish passage facilities will be phased in over time, while operations will
be modified to imrove aquatic habitats and bypassed reach flows will be
provided shortly after new licenses are issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory
Commission. In addition to the Service and Reliant, other signatories are
expected to be Trout Unlimited, New York Rivers United, New York State Department
of Environmental Conservation, Izaak Walton League, New York State Conservation
Council, New York State Canal Corporation, and Adirondack Mountain Club.
Long Island Intracoastal Dredging Project Article Published on RSM Website
Sediment Management website has published the current dredging project here.
Please click on the article's title: "Multi-agency effort to ensure
safety of endangered birds".
Endangered Species Program Workshop:
held a 2-day endangered species workshop at the Central Office of the New
York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) on March 27-28,
2003. The workshop focused on two programs for non-Federal landowners: Safe
Harbor Agreements (SHAs) and Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances
(CCAAs). Neither of these programs have been used in New York State to date.
Attendees included government agencies, conservation organizations, and
other interested parties. For more information on either of these programs,
please visit our national endangered species website at http://endangered.fws.gov,
or contact our office at (607) 753-9334.
U.S Fish & Wildlife Service Releases Proposed Rule on Double-Crested
Cormorant Management (Partners in Flight):
release available here.
Partners for F&W 12 Year Project Summary:
Our Partners for Fish & Wildlife branch just summarized
their 12 year history on a map shown below. Note the voids which represent
the Adirondacks and the Catskills. Click on the map for a larger view.
for Natural Resource Restorations (Fish & Wildlife Conservation):
The Department of the Interior (including the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service), along with State, Tribal and other Federal partners act
as Trustees for natural resources. The natural resource Trustees are empowered
by several laws to ensure that impacts to natural resources as a result
of contaminant releases into the environment are identified and that compensation
is provided by the parties responsible for the contaminant release.
During the period of March, 1996 through December, 2000, natural resource
damage assessment settlements were achieved for the Love Canal, 102nd Street,
and Forest Glen Mobile Home Subdivision Superfund Sites, all located within
the City of Niagara Falls, Niagara County, New York. All settlements were
sought as compensation for impacts to natural resources as a result of contamination
or remedial activities at the sites. Money recovered by Trustees for injuries
to natural resources or service losses due to the release of hazardous substances
must be used to restore, replace, or acquire natural resources or services
equivalent to those lost. Approximately $1.3 million is available for restoration
The Trustees are soliciting the following types of restoration proposals
to be incorporated into a Draft Restoration Plan:
|I. Wetland restoration, enhancement and acquisition
II. Grassland and Savannah restoration
III. Stream habitat restoration and protection
IV. Niagara River habitat improvement
Please submit project proposals by April 25, 2003 to:
Anne L. Secord
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
3817 Luker Road
Cortland, New York 13045
(607) 753-9334 (telephone)
(607) 753-9699 (FAX)
Essex County Bats (Endangered Species):
The most common wintering bat in New York State is the little brown bat
(Myotis lucifugus). This species hibernates in a number of mines and caves
throughout the state where temperatures stay just above freezing throughout
the winter. They typically hang from ceilings or high on walls during hibernation.
They may hibernate singly or in clusters, sometimes mixing with Indiana
bats (Myotis sodalis).
Small-footed bats (Myotis leibii) are considered a species of concern by
the Service. Like little brown bats, they are found in a number of hibernacula
throughout the state, but in much lower numbers. They typically select cooler
locations in the hibernacula than little brown bats and generally hibernate
singly. Over half of the known wintering population of small-footed bats
hibernate in one mine in New York State.
Fishways Designed for the Chase-Hibbard Dam located on the Chemung River
in Elmira, New York (Fish & Wildlife Conservation):
Last summer, representatives from the Services New York
Field Office (NYFO) and the Lower Great Lakes Fisheries Office met with
representatives of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
(DEC) and the Elmira Water Board to initiate discussions regarding the construction
of fishways at the Chase-Hibbard Dam. The DEC indicated their interest in
fish passage centered on the restoration of American shad in the Chemung
River which is part of the Susquehanna River Basin. The Service indicated
that passage could be designed for the dam but design considerations should
be given for riverine fish including walleye and white sucker.
In coordination with the NYFO, Regional Engineer Ken
Brownell developed two conceptual design drawings of 4-foot wide Denil
fishways proposed at 1:10 slope for fish passage at the Chase-Hibbard
Dam. These drawings were recently forwarded to the DEC for their review
and initiation of project funding.
Historic records indicate that substantial shad runs did reach
to Binghamton and a limited fishery also occurred in the Chemung (pre-1830).
Shad fry were stocked into New York waters this summer. Survival rates were
outstanding as indicated by downstream collection efforts this fall. Plans
are to continue releasing shad fry in New York in the hopes of generating
a long-run, early arriving subpopulation.
Photos of Chase-Hibbard Dam taken during the site inspection
on August 6, 2002 by D. Bryson.
Karner Blue Butterfly is Model for New Recovery Initiative (Endangered Species):
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proud to be a member
of the Butterfly Conservation Initiative (BFCI), alongside the American
Zoological Association, the Xerces Society, Environmental Defense, State
agencies, and other conservation organizations. The New York Field Office
took part in an initial BFCI Karner blue butterfly workshop in June 2002.
The American Zoological Association featured this workshop in their December
issue of Communique. For more information about these BFCI partners
(formal and informal), please see the websites below:
State Department of Environmental Conservation
The Nature Conservancy
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Page
FAA Works Toward Conserving the Karner Blue Butterfly (Endangered Species):
The New York Field Office completed formal Section 7 Project Reviews
with the Federal Aviation Administration regarding the Saratoga County Airport
Master Plan Update (Plan). The Saratoga County Airport is the site of largest
population of the Federally listed endangered Karner blue butterfly in New
York. The 5-year Master Plan Update includes a variety of projects associated
with airport operations and maintenance. Part of the Plan involves clearing
about 70 acres for obstruction removal, and these cleared areas will be
reseeded with native grasses and flowers, including blue lupine to create
additional habitat for the Karner blue butterflies. The Plan also includes
management and glider operations agreements with the New York State Department
of Environmental Conservation to avoid and minimize adverse impacts on the
Karner blue butterfly and its habitat.
St. Lawrence Settlement will Benefit Fish and Wildlife (Fish & Wildlife
On February 6th, 2003 the New York Power Authority filed a comprehensive
settlement package with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in
conjunction with its application to obtain a new 50-year license to
operate the St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Project in Massena,
New York. This proposed settlement package contains important provisions
sought by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the protection and
enhancement of fish and wildlife resources.According to David Stilwell,
Field Supervisor of the New York Field Office of Ecological Services
in Cortland, New York, the mitigation projects set forth by agreements
in the settlement package will help the Service ensure the
future operation of the power project will not harm key fish and wildlife
species, like the American eel. This long and complex
settlement for this important project is one that all parties can
be proud of, he said.
In adopting and incorporating agreements with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service into the Comprehensive
Accord, the settlement package stipulates the creation of a $24 million
dollar fish enhancement, mitigation, and research fund to be established
no later than November 1, 2003, after NYPA accepts a new license.
The fund will be financially managed by the National Fish and Wildlife
Foundation, at the direction of the Service. These funds will provide
mitigation for impacts to fish resources of the Lake Ontario/St. Lawrence
River Basin and continued research on the American eel, and other
species that may be affected by the project. Funds may be used anywhere
within the Lake Ontario St. Lawrence River Basin, including its tributaries
within the waters of the United States.
The following priorities have been established for expenditure
of these funds:
Projects in the Lake Ontario/St. Lawrence River Basin
with benefits to multiple species;
Projects in the Lake Ontario/St. Lawrence River Basin
to benefit declining species,
species of special concern, or species listed under the Endangered Species
Research by the Service determined necessary to support
upstream or downstream passage of fish at the Project;
Projects in the Lake Ontario/St. Lawrence River Basin
waters to benefit species of ecological or economic importance;
Projects in Canadian waters with benefits to species
of international importance or concern
An additional agreement incorporated into the settlement provides for
the construction, operation and maintenance of ten habitat improvement
projects within the project boundary. These projects will benefit a
diverse variety of fish and wildlife, including lake sturgeon, walleye,
osprey, common tern, loons, and grassland dependent bird species.
American Fisheries Society has Annual Meeting in Canandaigua, NY (Fish &
New York Chapter of the American Fisheries Society held its annual meeting
January 8-10 at the Canandaigua Inn on the Lake, Canandaigua, New York.
The meeting's theme was "Restoring Natural Flow Regimes: Dam Removal
as a Tool in River Restoration." Currently, there are more than
10,000 dams throughout New York State ranging in size from those that
create small ponds to those spanning the St. Lawrence River. While dams
have historically played an important role in the State's development,
they have altered the ecological integrity of watersheds. The removal
of a barrier dam has the potential to provide a number of public benefits,
including the fisheries restoration. Dave Bryson (pictured at right),
a fisheries biologist at the New York Field Office, served as the president
of the New York Chapter during 2002.
Cooperative Endangered Species Grants Request for Proposals Available (Endangered
more information, see our National website http://endangered.fws.gov/grants/index.html
New York Awarded Wetland Conservation Grant (Endangered Species):
York State's Department
of Environmental Conservation will acquire approximately 40 acres in
the Pipes Cove Focus Area in Suffolk County through the National
Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program.
Indiana Bat surveys: (Endangered Species)
In January and
February, biologists from NYFO will be assisting biologists from
New York State with biennial hibernacula surveys for the endangered
Indiana bat. Surveys are conducted during the winter months when
bats are concentrated in caves and mines in the central and eastern
portions of the State. Surveying known hibernacula allows the Service
and the State to track population trends over time. Indiana bats
hibernate in dense clusters (several hundred animals per square
foot) in caves with high humidities and relatively stable temperatures
(usually between 37 and 43 degrees Fahrenheit). Surveys are done
every other year to reduce disturbance to the bats during this critical
period. During hibernation, bats are sensitive to disturbance and
may become active, which uses considerable amounts of their stored
fat reserves. Repeated disturbances may cause the bats to use up
too much of their reserves and leave them unable to survive until
they emerge in the spring and they can begin feeding on insects.
New York and
New England form the northeastern edge of the Indiana bat's range.
We estimate that there are between 20,000 and 30,000 bats in New
Watch out for the buffalo: (Partners for Fish & Wildlife)
for Fish and Wildlife staff worked in an active buffalo pasture to install
1850 feet of fencing on Crowfield Farm. A number of volunteers assisted
our staff with installing the non-electric ten-strand fence. The area that
was fenced includes an intermittent stream that flows into the Clyde River,
which also flows through U.S. Fish & Wildlife's Montezuma National Wildlife
Refuge. The fencing project will allow the streambanks to stabilize and
a ripariga Lake: (Environmental Contaminants)an buffer to establish, decreasing the amount of silt and nutrients
entering the river. Partners staff have been working with Crowfield Farm
since 1998 where three sites have been completed, totaling 32 acres of restored
wetland habitat. Another wetland restoration site is planned for next field
season. For more information on Crowfield Farm please see their website here.
Featured National Priority List Site: Onondaga
35 miles north of our Cortland, New York, Field Office is what has been
referred to as one of the most contaminated lakes in the country. The Service
has, through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Biological Technical
Assistance Group, been actively engaged in assessing the ecological risks
posed by contaminants in the lake.
Lake site includes the Lake itself, seven major and other minor tributaries,
and upland sources of contamination to the Lake (sub-sites). The Lake has
an areal extent of about 4.5 square miles, with a drainage basin of approximately
233 square miles. Effluent from various industries and the Metropolitan
Syracuse Sewage Treatment Plant discharge into the Lake. The Lake flows
to the northwest into the Seneca River. Historically, industrial processing
plants and municipal wastewater treatment plants routinely discharged their
wastes into the Lake. Onondaga Lake adjoins park lands owned by Onondaga
County. Public fishing was banned from the Lake in 1970, but the Lake was
opened to allow catch-and-release fishing in 1986.
of Potential Concern (COPCs): Mercury, polyclorinated biphenyls (PCBs),
pesticides, creosotes, heavy metals, including lead, copper, and cobalt,
polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and VOCs are among the hazardous waste
COPCs. Other stressors to the ecological receptors that are in the Lake
include calcium, chloride, nitrogen, phosphorous, and reduced dissolved
EPA's BTAG, and in partnership with the New York State Department of Environmental
Conservation, the Service has played an active role in reviewing and revising
the Lake-wide Ecological Risk Assessment and the Remedial Investigation.
These draft documents, along with a revised Human Health Risk Assessment,
were completed in December of 2002.
Upper Hudson/Sacandaga River Energy Projects (135.5 MegaWatts): (Fish &
licenses for four projects in Fall 2002. All of the projects are covered
by a settlement signed in 1998. All but one license expired in 1992. FERC
also issued a water supply license for Great Sacandaga Lake to the Hudson
River Black River Regulating District, which was a key provision of the
settlement and the cause of much of the delay in license issuance. Key provisions
of the licenses include a modified rule curve for Great Sacandaga Lake to
improve fish and wildlife habitat and recreation, reduce impoundment fluctuations,
fish protection and downstream movement, base flows, minimum bypassed reach
flows, recreational amenities, and funding for lake and river enhancement
projects. Other current energy projects include Newton Falls, Hoosic River,
Waterloo/Seneca Falls, Piercefield, Saranac River and the St. Lawrence/FDR
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