New York Field Office
Northeast Region

News Archive 2005

12/1/05 Grant Program Helps Landowners Protect Endangered Species Habitat (Endangered Species):

See Federal Assistance Statement and the Times-Herald article

11/14/05 Tragic loss of Dave Bryson, New York Field Office Senior Biologist:

We are all deeply saddened by Dave's passing and remember his loyal friendship and strong service to USFWS.

11/10/05 New York Bight Fact Sheet:

See the fact sheet here.

10/5/05 Hudson River NRDA: Screech Owl Egg Data Report Released by Trustees (Environmental Contaminants):

The Hudson River Natural Resource Trustees have released the "Data Report for the Collection of Eggs from Eastern Screech Owl Associated with the Hudson River from Hudson Falls to Schodack Island, New York." The Data Report provides the results of a screening level survey of Eastern screech owl (Otus asio) eggs conducted in April 2003 pursuant to the NRDA as a means of evaluating regional avian contamination. Ten Eastern screech owl egg samples collected in April 2003 were analyzed for select PCB congeners, PCB homologue groups, total PCBs, percent lipids, and percent moisture. Total PCB concentrations in those eggs range from 744 parts per billion (ppb) to 7,450 ppb (fresh weight basis, as sum of homologues) with a mean of 3,370 ± 2,100 ppb. The Data Report is available at: http://contaminants.fws.gov/restorationplans/HudsonRiver/HudsonRiver.cfm. Contact: Kathryn Jahn
screech owl eggs

9/21/05 Hudson River Natural Resource Trustees release "Responsiveness Summary for the Study Plan for Year 2004 Avian Investigations for the Hudson River." (Environmental Contaminants):

The Hudson River Natural Resource Trustees (Trustees) -- New York State, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Department of the Interior -- are working cooperatively to conduct a Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) for the Hudson River. This Responsiveness Summary provides Trustee agency responses to public comments on and questions about the Study Plan for Year 2004 Avian Investigations for the Hudson River, Draft for Public Review and Comment, dated March 11, 2004, released by the Trustees for public review and comment. The Responsiveness Summary is available at: http://contaminants.fws.gov/restorationplans/HudsonRiver/HudsonRiver.cfm

9/14/05 Hudson River NRDA: Analytical Quality Assurance Plan, Version 2.0 (Environmental Contaminants):

The Analytical Quality Assurance Plan, version 2.0, dated September 1, 2005, has been released by the Hudson River Natural Resource Trustees. This Plan describes the minimum requirements for the chemical analysis of the environmental samples that are collected in support of the NRDA. This document supercedes earlier versions of the Hudson River NRDA Analytical QA Plans, including version 1.0 (Hudson River Natural Resource Trustees 2002). The document is available at: http://contaminants.fws.gov/restorationplans/HudsonRiver/HudsonRiver.cfm

8/24/05 Latest Nine Mile Creek Restoration Article (Partners for Fish & Wildlife):

Read about the latest improvements on Nine Mile Creek in a Syracuse Post Standard article from August 21, 2005:

Part one & part two.

8/17/05 Niagara Power Project Settlement Agreement Signed (Federal Projects):

On August 11, 2005, the Service signed the Settlement Agreement for the Niagara Power Project relicensing. This project is the second largest hydroelectric project in the U.S. and the largest project licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The settlement includes 10 habitat improvement projects to benefit a variety of fish and wildlife species, a $16 million fish and wildlife enhancement and research fund, and $1 million per year for the life of the license (expected to be 50 years) for ecological projects as part of the Niagara Greenway Corridor. The Service was instrumental in aiding development of the settlement to address the project impacts, which include water level fluctuations and fish entrainment. For more information, contact Steve Patch.

8/11/05 Weir Designed for Varick Bypassed Reach (Federal Projects):

The NYFO worked with the NYSDEC and Brascan Power to design a weir, allowing the minimum flow to spill into the Varick bypassed reach on the Oswego River rather than into the tailrace, thus providing more habitat benefits. The bypassed reach flow regime will be implemented commencing in Spring 2006. The flow release will vary seasonally from 200 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 800 cfs, and will benefit salmonids, walleye, and other aquatic organisms utilizing the bypassed reach. varick

8/9/05 NYFO Involvement in American Eel Research (Federal Projects):

The NYFO is working with the Canadian American Eel Steering Committee to discover ways to protect and increase the American eel population. The NYFO is part of a subgroup examining impacts from hydroelectric turbines on the St. Lawrence River. Extensive research is needed to develop long-term solutions. Short-term measures being examined include reduction in the commercial fishery, trap-and-transport, and stocking various life stages in different areas such as Lake Champlain and Lake Ontario. A final meeting to develop the alternatives to move forward on is scheduled for September in Ottawa.

Steve Patch and June DeWeese have been designated to work on the status review for the American eel. Steve is the Region 5 representative for Ecological Services and is one of the experts being consulted regarding impacts from hydroelectric dams. June will be involved in many aspects and will help coordinate the Great Lakes/Canada workshop.

The NYFO has been working with our Regional Engineer and the New York Power Authority on the design of an eel ladder for the St. Lawrence-FDR Power Project. The final design was recently submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for approval. The ladder is scheduled to be operational in the summer of 2006, and will combine with the ladder on the Canadian side of the dam and the two ladders on the downstream Beauharnois Project in Quebec to allow eels effective passage from the Atlantic Ocean all the way to Lake Ontario and its tributaries. Contact Steve Patch.
Beauharnois eel ladder

The NYFO reviewed the Lake Ontario St. Lawrence River Water Levels Study. Three alternatives are being considered. Plan D is similar to the status quo and provides negligible environmental benefits. Plan A is a balanced economic plan that provides limited environmental benefits. Plan B, which is endorsed by the Service, provides the most environmental benefits and is favored by many recreational boaters because it is the only plan that extends the boating season past late August. Plan B is also the best plan for hydroelectric power production and is good for commercial navigation and water supply. The primary negative impacts of Plan B are slight increases in shoreline protection costs, primarily in the Montreal area. The Service cautioned that any plan must address potential impacts to the piping plover critical habitat along eastern Lake Ontario.

7/28/05 Service conducting status review of Chittenango ovate amber snail (Endangered Species):

See pdf here.

7/27/05 Hudson River NRDA: Peregrine Falcon Egg Work Summary and Data Report (Environmental Contaminants):

A "Work Summary and Data Report for the Collection of Eggs from American Peregrine Falcon, Hudson River, New York," has been released by the Hudson River Natural Resource Trustees. The report documents the collection and analysis of five eggs, collected in May and June 2002, from American peregrine falcon nests at two locations on the Hudson River (the Rip Van Winkle Bridge and the Dunn Memorial Bridge). The eggs were collected only when it became apparent that they were not going to hatch. No viable eggs were collected; only addled eggs were collected. The contents of the peregrine falcon eggs were subsequently analyzed for various contaminants, including PCBs, dioxins and furans, various pesticides, polybrominated diphenylether compounds, and metals (mercury, cadmium, and lead). Percent lipid and percent moisture of each egg were also determined. Total PCB concentrations (as sum of homologues), in four of the five peregrine falcon eggs, range from 5.29 parts per million (ppm) to 6.69 ppm on a wet weight basis (that is, not adjusted for moisture loss). The PCB value for the fifth egg - which was cracked and severely dessicated - is not included in this range due to the potential loss of egg contents prior to its collection. The report is available at: http://contaminants.fws.gov/restorationplans/HudsonRiver/HudsonRiver.cfm
Contact: Kathryn Jahn
peregrine falcon

7/25/05 Land Trust Alliance and State Officials Announce $450,000 in New Grants to Enhance Open Space Conservation in New York State (Endangered Species):

For more information please see http://www.lta.org/newsroom/pr_051305.htm

7/25/05Hudson River NRDA: Revised Avian Egg Exposure Data Report (Environmental Contaminants):

The Final Avian Egg Exposure Data Report, dated September 17, 2004, has been revised and released by the Hudson River Natural Resource Trustees. Revisions to the report include the insertion (into Appendix C) of the analytical chemistry results for spotted sandpiper eggs that were unintentionally omitted from the original report. The Data Report provides the results of a preliminary investigation of PCB contamination of select Hudson River avian species conducted in 2002 pursuant to the NRDA. The document is available at: http://contaminants.fws.gov/restorationplans/HudsonRiver/HudsonRiver.cfm

7/25/05St. Lawrence Natural Resource Damage Assessment Update (Environmental Contaminants):

The Trustees and companies (Alcoa and General Motors) continue to make progress on this cooperative natural resource damage assessment. We are now ready to begin running Habitat Equivalency models to quantify injury to birds. We are also working to coordinate NRDA efforts with EPA remedial activities.

7/19/05 Scolnik site in Madison now restored (Partners for Fish & Wildlife):

This site in Madison County was originally constructed in the 1930’s for waterfowl habitat. These 7 acres of wetland have slowly been depleted over the last couple of years due to the cement water control structure and rusted metal piping. The Partners for Fish and Wildlife (PFW) program replaced the old materials with a heavy plastic water control structure and 2 pieces of PVC piping. PFW biologists Eric Rozowski and Carl Schwartz worked on replacing the water control structure and making small repairs to the berm. The area was reseeded to prevent erosion of the disturbed berm. Many thanks to our Pennsylvania Partners for Fish and Wildlife for lending us their backhoe!

before Scolnik restoration

1. Before construction

rust on conduit

2. Rusty pipe

back berm in Scolnik

3. During construction

after Scolnik restoration

4. After construction

7/15/05 Revised Hudson River PCB Contamination Document Released (Environmental Contaminants):

The Final Avian Egg Exposure Data Report, dated September 17, 2004, has been revised and released by the Hudson River Natural Resource Trustees. Revisions to the report include the insertion (into Appendix C) of the analytical chemistry results for spotted sandpiper eggs that were unintentionally omitted from the original report. The Data Report provides the results of a preliminary investigation of PCB contamination of select Hudson River avian species conducted in 2002 pursuant to the NRDA. The document is available at: http://contaminants.fws.gov/restorationplans/HudsonRiver/HudsonRiver.cfm

7/13/05 Americal Eel status assessment posted (Endangered Species):

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has initiated a status assessment for the American Eel. For more information, see
http://www.fws.gov/northeast/ameel/

Right: American eel (Anguilla rostrata). Credit:USFWS

American eel photo

7/1/05 Please click here for fireworks guidance! (Endangered Species)

6/20/05 New Informational Article posted on Shorebirds (Long Island Field Office):

Please see : http://nyfo.fws.gov/info/breezyptcoop.htm

6/16/05 Leedy's roseroot survey on Seneca Lake (Endangered Species):

The NYFO assisted the NY Natural Heritage Program with a survey for the Federally-listed threatened Leedy's roseroot along the shores of Seneca Lake this June. For more information, please contact Robyn Niver of the Endangered Species Program.

biologists at waterfall

5/31/05 The New York Field Office Helps Brascan Power Save Nearly $2 Million (Federal Projects):

Historically, Brascan Power on the Sacandaga River has drawn down the Stewarts Bridge impoundment 15' on an annual basis to conduct inspection and maintenance of the turbines at the upstream E.J. West Project. This practice potentially had substantial impacts to fish and wildlife resources in the reservoir. As part of the project settlement and new license, Brascan agreed to eliminate the seasonal drawdown and install gates to dewater the E.J. West draft tubes. However, when Brascan discovered that it might cost up to $2 million to install the dewatering structures, they examined alternatives and determined that a 2' drawdown for 1-2 days once every three years in early April would suffice for inspections and maintenance. At the Service's suggestion, a drawdown demonstration was held. The habitat that was exposed is excellent fish spawning and nursery habitat and would be substantially impacted by drawdowns after about May 1. However, the schedule suggested by Brascan would have negligible impacts and would save the company between $1 and $2 million. Brascan will consult with the Service and the NYSDEC prior to conducting any future drawdowns. Contact Steve Patch for further information. Sacandaga river panorama

5/31/05 New Hudson River PCB Contamination Documents Released (Environmental Contaminants):

USGS Study Plan Amendment for 2005, “ dated May 4, 2005, was released by the Hudson River Natural Resource Trustees. This document describes year-2 of an avian investigation being conducted by USGS entitled, "Exposure and effects of PCB contamination on spotted sandpipers, belted kingfishers, and tree swallows on the Hudson River." Work by USGS in 2005 will focus on an assessment of reproductive endpoints and malformations in tree swallows. The document is available at: http://contaminants.fws.gov/restorationplans/HudsonRiver/HudsonRiver.cfm

The Hudson River Natural Resource Trustees publicly released two documents containing data on PCB contamination of the Hudson River and its resources: Floodplain Data Summary (June 2004); and, “The Accumulation of Sedimentary PCBs in Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) Tadpoles from the Upper Hudson River,” a presentation given at the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry’s November 2004 meeting. The documents are available at: http://contaminants.fws.gov/restorationplans/HudsonRiver/HudsonRiver.cfm

5/19/05 Efforts to Attract Common and Roseate Terns to Cedar Beach, New York (Long Island):

The Long Island Field Office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service partnered with Ms. Jean Donnelly’s fifth grade from the Timber Point Elementary School, and the Town of Babylon in efforts to attract the New York State-listed common tern (Sterna hirundo) and federally endangered roseate tern (Sterna dougallii) to a historic breeding area at Cedar Beach, Town of Babylon, New York. Ms. Donnelly’s class helped to paint and deploy tern decoys in late April and early May of 2005.

The Service, with assistance from Town of Baylon personnel, then deployed a solar-powered sound system to broadcasts terns calls. These efforts were undertaken in hopes of attracting these tern species to a historic site that is more suitable than several of the Great South Bay island breeding areas that are regularly flooded and disturbed from boating activities. The Service will monitor the site during the 2005 breeding season to assess this effort’s success.

kids doing survey
biologists installing solar panel

4/26/05 Water Levels for Hyde Lake and its' Outlet Stream Restored (Partners for Fish & Wildlife):

For over 30 years, users of Hyde Lake wanted to restore the stream and wetlands that had been drained many years ago as part of a farming operation. The New York Field Office’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program used PVC sheetpile and a cross vane to repair the channelized stream and bring back the water to previous natural levels. Hyde Lake has nesting loons, as well as New York State Department of Environmental Conservation fishing access. As a result of our efforts, waterfowl, beaver, and other wetland species are very active in the 200-acre lake and associated wetlands.

Hyde Lake outlet stream cross vane PVC installed

4/10/05 Cowaselon Creek Watershed Evaluation Completed (Federal Permits & Projects):

Historically, the wetlands and streams of this watershed likely provided diverse aquatic habitats for many of Oneida Lake’s fish species and may have served as important spawning and nursery areas. However, the construction of numerous ditches and the installation of drainage tiles during the late 1800's through the 1950's allowed the rich, organic muck soils to be used for agriculture (Madison County Planning Department, 2001). Valuable wetlands and aquatic habitats were significantly altered during this period, severely reducing, and in many cases precluding, their continued use and benefits to the fish and wildlife resources. This report provides information for the Cowaselon Creek Watershed which: describes the watershed’s existing aquatic habitats; documents historic and existing fish communities; discusses existing fisheries management; evaluates opportunities for angler access and use within the watershed; and, discusses barriers to
fish passage. View pdf's of the report (pdf, 1.8 MB) and appendix (pdf, 5.8 MB)

3/17/05 Wetland Enhancement Project Completed (Partners for Fish and Wildlife):

Mid-February, 2005 was the perfect time of year to complete a wetland enhancement project six miles west of Lake Champlain. Eric Rozowski, a biologist with the Partners for Fish and Wildlife (PFW) program worked closely with Plattsburgh State University (PSU), the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS) and others to enhance a forty acre monotypic cattail marsh that will now provide better habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife. This area is an important migratory corridor in the Atlantic Flyway. Partners supported PSU in applying for a grant that would enhance additional wetland and upland acres. The Partners program, in addition to supporting the grant wanted to provide additional on-the-ground habitat work.

Many thanks to the NWRS for supplying an Equipment Operator and transport (Iroquois NWR), a CAT 312C excavator (Great Swamp NWR) and logistic support (Wallkill River NWR). PSU is recognized in cooperating with project design specifications and student participation in constructing the timber equipment work mats and operator support.

CAT moves brick work mats
Digging shallow depressions
snow-adorned potholes
FWS Equipment Operator, Jeff Graves enroute to site crosses a frozen channel on timber equipment work mats. Approximately 200 hundred yards were traversed in this leap-frog fashion. The mats displace weight so machine does not break through ice. Shallow depressions are excavated to provide some open water in the monotypic cattail marsh. This “hemi-marsh” provides a diversification of habitat and supports a wider range of aquatic plant species, ultimately enhancing the entire wetland for wildlife.

A small section of the enhancement project shows the shallow excavation work. This is commonly referred to as potholes. In approximately one year this area will naturalize and provide excellent waterfowl habitat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3/15/05 Tern Decoy Outreach Event at USFWS Long Island Field Office:

students painting decoys

students displaying decoys

On March 11, 2005, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Long Island Field Office hosted an outreach event at their Islip, New York office with Jean Donnelly’s fifth grade class from the Timber Point Elementary School. The event focused on the biology and efforts to recover the federally listed roseate tern and New York State-listed common tern. The event included a power point presentation to the class, and class participation in the painting of tern decoys- designed to attract these colonial nesting terns to sites restored for shorebird breeding. Ms. Donnelly’s class will also assist in the installation of the decoys at an island, located in Moriches Bay, where common and roseate terns had historically nested. The number of roseate tern breeding sites on Long Island was limited to only 5 locations during the 2004 breeding season. The expansion of the number of roseate tern colonies is essential in the recovery of this species. Common terns are also important in roseate tern recovery since roseate terns usually nest in common tern colonies.

More information on roseate terns can be found at:
http://www.dec.state.ny.us/website/dfwmr/wildlife/endspec/rotefs.html
http://ecos.fws.gov/docs/life_histories/B07O.html

and on common terns at: http://www.dec.state.ny.us/website/dfwmr/wildlife/endspec/cotefs.html

3/11/05 Funding available for Planning Activities and Land Acquisition (Endangered Species):

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) is now seeking proposals from States and U.S. territories interested in acquiring land or conducting conservation planning for endangered species. Through the fiscal year 2005 appropriation from Congress, more than $70.5 million is available to fund planning activities and land acquisition for federally protected species. For more information, please go to http://endangered.fws.gov/grants/section6/index.html

3/10/05 NYFO participates in Cornell Career Fair (Outreach):

Amy Roe represented the New York Field Office at Cornell's Nonprofit & Government Career Fair on March 3, 2005. Over 70 local, regional, and national nonprofit and government organizations were represented to discuss career options, volunteer and work study opportunities, internships, and summer or full-time jobs.

2/23/05 Wind Energy Update Page (Federal Projects):

See our new web page for Wind Turbines here!

2/14/05 Indiana bat Hibernacula Survey (Endangered Species):

Staff from the New York Field Office assisted the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation with their biennial Indiana bat hibernacula surveys. Indiana bats (Myotis sodalis) hibernate in caves or mines with high humidity levels and stable temperatures usually between 37º and 43º F. They typically hibernate in dense clusters that may contain more than 300 individuals per square foot. Other bat species such as little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus) and big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus) sometimes use the same caves or mines, but may occupy a different site with slightly different environmental conditions.

The surveys include direct counts of the smaller clusters. Photographs are taken of larger clusters, those not easily visible from the ground, or clusters containing more than one species. These photographs are then enlarged and the bats identified and counted. Aluminum wing bands with identifying numbers have been attached to numerous Indiana bats in New York and Vermont. Banded individuals were captured when possible and band data recorded. Population data will be tabulated later this year. See last year's video clip here (Quicktime, a free download, is necessary to view this clip). For additional information about bats, please contact Alex Chmielewski or Robyn Niver of the New York Field Office.

Indiana bat collage

1/21/05: LIFO STEP Student Receives D. Dwight Davis Award:

Hired under the Student Temporary Employment Program, known as STEP, Jill Olin has worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Long Island Field Office, located in Islip, New York for over three years. She has contributed to the program areas of Endangered Species Recovery, Federal Activities and Contaminants. The majority of her time is spent in the Federal Activities Program working with the Section 404/Section 10 Federal Permit Program. She also assists colleagues in the recovery efforts for the Federally-listed threatened piping plover and seabeach amaranth located on Long Island, as well as offering Shoreline Clean-Up Assessment Team (SCAT) assistance in regional oil spills.

She is completing her Masters’ degree in Marine Science at Hofstra University on Long Island. Recently she attended the annual meeting of the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, held in San Diego, California. There she received the D. Dwight Davis Award for Best Student Poster Presentation under the Division of Vertebrate Morphology for her research. The title: Histological Comparison of the Retinal Structure of Deep-Water and Epipelagic Sharks.

J. Olin presenting her poster

1/19/05: Highlands Conservation Act Signed into Law (Endangered Species):

President Bush signed the Highlands Conservation Act into law December 1st, 2004, bringing federal recognition to the Highlands as a national conservation priority area and the promise of funds for land conservation in the region. The bill recently passed both the House and Senate under the leadership of Rep. Frelinghuysen (R-NJ), Sen. Corzine (D-NJ), Sen. Lautenberg (D-NJ), Sen. Santorum (R-PA), Sen. Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Specter (R-PA). The law authorizes $100 million in federal matching funds over ten years to assist the states of CT, NJ, NY and PA in conserving priority lands in the region through public acquisition or purchase of development rights.

Click map for larger version.

For the entire story go to: http://www.highlandscoalition.org/pressreleases.html#Signed_Into_Law

Additional articles on the Act:

http://www.fs.fed.us/na/highlands/index.shtml
http://www.shawangunkridge.org/articles/nv110104.htm
http://www.outdoors.org/conservation/highlands/hca_passage.cfm

Highlands map of NY

1/18/05: Latest news from Butterfly Conservation Initiative (Endangered Species):

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is a partner organization of the Butterfly Conservation Initiative (BFCI). The BFCI is a coalition of AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums, non-governmental organizations, and government agencies — all working together to aid the recovery of imperiled butterflies in North America. Here is the latest news from the BFCI. For more information on the BFCI, please visit http://www.butterflyrecovery.org/

1/14/05: New York Field Office Participates in Delaware River Oil Spill Clean Up Effort:

In mid December Alex Chmielewski and Amy Roe (NYFO) traveled to Philadelphia, PA to work with staff from other Fish and Wildlife Service field offices on the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) for the Athos 1 oil spill. Land and boat crews surveyed areas where birds, particularly waterfowl and gulls, congregate and collected information on the number of oiled and unoiled birds, degree of oiling, and collected dead birds that appeared to have been oiled. The spill occurred on November 26, 2004, when an undetermined quantity of crude oil was released into the Delaware River.

Current information on the status of the Delaware River oil spill clean up effort can be found at:

http://www.incidentinfo.com/external/index.cfm?cid=864

Click photos for enlargements.

Oiled underside of flying gull
2 biologists recover dead snow geese Large oil sheen on water surface Oil-covered dead Canada goose

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Last updated: June 9, 2014
All images by FWS unless otherwise noted.