New York Field Office
Northeast Region

News Archive 2006

12/26/06 Fact Sheet for Avian Investigations, Hudson River NRDA Released (Environmental Contaminants):

The Hudson River Natural Resource Trustees have released a Fact Sheet for Avian Investigations for the Hudson River NRDA. The Fact Sheet gives an overview of Trustee bird studies from 1994 to 2005, provides a summary of the avian egg injection study the Trustees initiated this year, and discusses next steps for avian injury assessment. Please visit the following website for a copy of the Avian Fact Sheet: http://www.fws.gov/contaminants/restorationplans/HudsonRiver/HudsonRiver.cfm. Contact: Kathryn Jahn Belted kingfisher

12/20/06 New Fish Enhancement, Mitigation & Research Fund page!

See the Outreach Update page here.

12/19/06 Fish & Wildlife Service Seeks Proposals Under Several Endangered Species Grant Programs (Endangered Species):

1) Habitat Restoration- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is seeking proposals for conservation projects to benefit imperiled species on private lands through its Private Stewardship Grants Program. This program provides federal grants on a competitive basis to individuals and groups engaged in voluntary conservation efforts on private lands that help federally listed endangered or threatened species as well as proposed, candidate and other at-risk species. Proposals must be submitted to the appropriate Service Regional Offices by February 14, 2007.

http://www.fws.gov/endangered/grants/private_stewardship/index.html

2) Land acquisition, Habitat Conservation Planning, Habitat Conservation Plan Land Acquisition- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently seeking proposals from states and U.S. territories interested in securing Federal grant assistance to acquire land or plan for endangered species conservation efforts. For fiscal year 2007, the President’s budget request for the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund would provide approximately $80 million in grant funding for conservation planning activities and habitat acquisition for federally protected species. Proposals must be submitted to the appropriate Service Regional Offices by February 7, 2007.

http://www.fws.gov/endangered/grants/section6/index.html

Please contact our endangered species program with any questions at 607-753-9334

12/19/06 Service is Soliciting Comments on Draft Environmental Assessment for the Definition of "Disturb" (Endangered Species):

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has made available a draft environmental assessment of its proposed regulatory definition of "disturb" under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. Comments will be accepted until January 11, 2007.

Copies of the Environmental Assessment and Federal Register Notice are available at http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/baldeagle.htm

12/11/06

The Long Island Field Office recently moved to Brookhaven, onto Long Island National Wildlife Refuge property.

Please use the following new contact information:

Long Island Field Office
340 Smith Rd.

Shirley, NY 11967
Phone: (631) 286-0485
Fax:
(631) 286-4003

LIFO Barto House

11/29/06 Bog turtle Phase One Habitat Survey Report Available! (Endangered Species):

See our Section 7 page or click here for a direct .pdf link of the report.

11/29/06 New Eel ladder to be built at Phoenix Project, Oswego River (Federal Activities):

The New York Field Office conducted a site visit with Algonquin Power to determine the best location for an eel ladder at the Phoenix Project on the Oswego River. Algonquin is voluntarily constructing an eel ladder to allow eels upstream passage through the last blockage on the Oswego River.
Oswego River dam

11/21/06 Seventy-five acres of upland habitat restored on Grindstone Island, Jefferson County (Partners for Fish & Wildlife):

St. Lawrence River NYFO Partners Biologist and Hydro-Ax Operator Eric Rozowski recently completed seventy-five acres of upland habitat restoration work on Grindstone Island located on the St. Lawrence River, Jefferson County, New York. This work will benefit a host of species including ground nesting waterfowl and American woodcock. The Partners Program is coordinating and implementing additional project work on Grindstone Island. Projects are being completed through partnerships with Ducks Unlimited and the Thousand Islands Land Trust (TILT).
Bulldozer on Grindstone Island

10/30/06 Mink Investigations of the Hudson River Natural Resource Damage Assessment (Environmental Contaminants):

The Hudson River Natural Resource Trustees have released a Fact Sheet for Mink Investigations for the Hudson River NRDA. The Fact Sheet provides a summary of the mink PCB-feeding laboratory study the Trustees have initiated this year, per the Final Study Plan for Mink Injury Investigations for the Hudson River recently released by the Trustees. Please visit the following website for a copy of the Mink Fact Sheet: http://www.fws.gov/contaminants/restorationplans/HudsonRiver/HudsonRiver.cfm. The Final Study Plan is also available at that web site.

10/23/06 Onondaga Lake Consent Decree Issued, Pending approval in Federal Court (Environmental Contaminants):

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), NYS Department of Law, and Honeywell International have reached agreement in a Consent Decree to a $451 million clean up of Onondaga Lake. The lake bottom which this Consent Decree covers is one of eight subsites included in the Onondaga Lake NPL Site. The remedy includes dredging up to 2.65 million cubic yards of contaminated material, isolation capping of 425 acres of the lake bottom, thin layer capping of an additional 154 acres, and substantial habitat restoration. The remedy is based on a Record of Decision issued by NYSDEC and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). The Service has been and continues to be a significant contributor through the USEPA’s Biological Technical Assistance Group to develop remedial documents for this National Priority List Site. Public comment period on draft Consent decree is from October 12, 2006 to November 13, 2006. See also: http://www.dec.state.ny.us/website/der/projects/ondlake/index.html

10/11/06 Long Island Field Office Radio Interview:

Steve Sinkevich of the LIFO participated in a radio interview at WUSB in Stony Brook, New York, on September 29, 2006. The interview included discussions on fish and wildlife resources in coastal areas of Long Island, what the Service does on Long Island, what its mission is, and how listeners could get involved in protecting and enhancing fish and wildlife habitats. Contact: Steve Sinkevich

10/3/06 Mink Injury Assessment Work for the Hudson River Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA):

The Hudson River Natural Resource Trustees have released the Final Study Plan for Mink Injury Investigations for the Hudson River. This Final Study Plan describes a mink PCB-feeding laboratory study the Trustees will initiate this year to evaluate whether mink reproduction and/or development is affected as a result of exposure to PCBs from the Hudson River. In the future the Trustees may propose additional work to supplement this effort. . Please visit the following website for a copy of the Final Study Plan: http://www.fws.gov/contaminants/restorationplans/HudsonRiver/HudsonRiver.cfm.
Contact: Kathryn Jahn

9/29/06 State Wildlife Grants Partnership Kick-off Meeting:

This week the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) Director of the Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources, Gerry Barnhart, convened the first meeting of a new partnership of State, Federal, and local resource, regulatory agencies, and non-governmental advocates for fish and wildlife AND concerned citizens groups. This Partnership will guide development of stepped-down watershed basin strategic plans for conservation of non-game species in the State. Specifically, the teams will begin to work together to set priorities for funding for the types of activities which were proposed as priorities for conservation as part of the State’s Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy (SCWCS). The SCWCS received a stamp of approval in February from our Federal Assistance Division in Hadley; proposals for future Service funding from the State Wildlife Grant Program must show adherence to the NYSDEC SCWCS. NYSDEC’s plan identified 537 species of conservation need in 11 watershed-based geographic areas. In attendance for the Service were Project Leader David Stilwell, State Coordinator PFFW Carl Schwartz, FEMRF Project Manager June Deweese, Endangered Species (Recovery) Biologist Robyn Niver, and Deputy Supervisor Laury Zicari.

9/13/06 Service Updates List of Candidate Species for Endangered Species Act Listing (Endangered Species):

On September 12, 2006, the Service released its updated Candidate Notice of Review, a yearly appraisal of the candidate species list detailing those plants or animals that may warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Ten species have been removed from the candidate list and seven species have been added to the list since the last review in May 2005. There are now 279 species currently recognized by the Service as candidates for ESA protection.
Candidate List
News Release
Federal Register (pdf)

New England Cottontail

New England Cottontail, credit Anne Brown

9/7/06 Fish Enhancement, Mitigation & Research Fund (FEMRF) links with Great Lakes Watershed Restoration Program (GLWRP):

FEMRF links with GLWRP. The Great Lakes Watershed Restoration Program (GLWRP) announced their second annual Request for Proposals (RFP) on September 1, 2006, and included a link to NYFO’s website about the Fish Enhancement, Mitigation, and Research Fund (FEMRF), so that applicants with projects in either Lake Ontario or the St. Lawrence River will receive consideration from both programs. NYFO’s FEMRF Project Manager is a representative on the GLWRP panel and will evaluate projects that could be funded from either program. The GLWRP receives contributions from EPA, FWS, NOAA, FS, and NRCS to fund small grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000. The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is trustee for both the GLWRP and the FEMRF, so it was possible to develop a coordinated RFP beginning this year. This is the first formal RFP for the FEMRF, however, the FEMRF informally received applications throughout FY2006, via community-public outreach and posting the proposal process on the NYFO website. Five projects were awarded FEMRF funds in FY2006. The FEMRF Project Manager is hoping that the outreach resulting from the GLWRP RFP will direct more applicants with qualifying projects to the fund. The deadline for submitting applications is November 15, 2006. Awards will be announced in April 2007. For more information, go to http://www.nfwf.org/programs/greatlakes/index.cfm

8/31/06 Black River Project Update (Federal Projects):

The FERC denied Erie Boulevard Hydropower, LP’s (Erie) request for license amendment to add two new hydropower developments to the existing Black River Project. Although the two new sites at Felts Mills and Great Bend are located between two developments of the 5-development Black River Project, the dams are currently breached and have never had hydropower. A competitor has applied for preliminary permits for the two sites. The two sites were licensed to another developer back in the 1990’s but never constructed, thus the licenses were terminated. A coalition of the Service, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and New York Rivers United opposed the original licenses in the 1990’s. The same group opposed this amendment attempt. The sites represent the last free-flowing section of the lower Black River and represent important walleye spawning sites. The FERC rejected the amendment application for failure to properly consult with the agencies and failure to conduct studies. Erie had attempted to complete the application process in 4 months, and had proposed doing studies after the amendments were granted. Correspondence from the Service and our partners helped convince the FERC that Project Reviews was inadequate. Erie must now go through a complete three-stage licensing process (as their competitors must) and file a competing application at the appropriate time.

Black river photo

8/30/06 LIFO & NYS Natural Heritage Program Conduct Seabeach Amaranth Surveys on Long Island (Endangered Species):

LIFO staff has partnered with the New York State Natural Heritage Program in conducting seabeach amaranth surveys along the south shore of Long Island during the week of August 21, 2006. These surveys are essential to determine the status of this annual coastal plant and its recovery. LIFO is also coordinating with landowners on managing for this species. LIFO biologist surveys seabeach amaranth site

8/23/06 Chittenango Ovate Amber Snail Recovery Plan Released (Endangered Species):

The New York Field Office is pleased to announce the availability of the Chittenango Ovate Amber Snail Recovery Plan. Here is a link to the Federal Register Notice and here is a direct link to the plan. For more information, please contact Robyn Niver of this office.

8/21/06 Long Island Field Office conducts Federally listed coastal species presentation to beach community residents:

LIFO staff conducted a Powerpoint presentation at a Breezy Point Co-operative board meeting on Monday, August 14, 2006. Topics addressed included identification, biology, and habitat requirements of the various Federally and state listed coastal species on the Co-op property, methods to keep the residents informed of beach closures, and status of coastal species, recovery goals of species, and approaches to minimize coastal species/human conflict.

8/14/06 Hudson River Natural Resource Damage Assessment Avian Egg Injection Summary (Environmental Contaminants):

The Hudson River Natural Resource Trustees have released a Responsiveness Summary for the Avian Egg Injection Study Plan. The Responsiveness Summary provides Trustee agency responses to public comments on and questions about the Trustees’ Study Plan for Avian Egg Injection Study, Draft for Public Review and Comment, dated February 14, 2006, released earlier this year by the Trustees for public review and comment. Please visit the following website for a copy of the Responsiveness Summary: http://www.fws.gov/contaminants/restorationplans/HudsonRiver/HudsonRiver.cfm.

8/7/06 Hudson River NRDA Draft Report Available (Environmental Contaminants):

The Hudson River Natural Resource Trustees have released a draft report "Injuries to Hudson River Surface Water Resources Resulting in the Loss of Navigational Services," dated July 31, 2006. The report describes how polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) released by The General Electric Company (GE) have adversely affected the public's ability to use the Upper Hudson River and the Champlain Canal for navigation and documents the legal basis for the State's claim for damages. The public is invited to review the draft report and provide comments. The draft report will be finalized after the public comment period ends on August 31, 2006. The report is expected to form the basis of a natural resource damage claim against GE for the cost of restoring the navigability of the canal. Please visit the following websites to view the report and the accompany press release that provides contact information for submitting comments on the report:
Trustee Report
Press Release

7/26/06 Oswego River Delisted as Great Lakes Area of Concern (Federal Projects):

In a ceremony held in Oswego, New York, on July 25, 2006, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the delisting of the Oswego River as a Great Lakes Area of Concern (AOC). The Oswego River was one of 43 AOC’s designated by the International Joint Commission in 1985. The Oswego River becomes the first U.S. AOC to be delisted (two Canadian AOC’s have previously been delisted). The impairments that resulted in the listing were sewage pollution, loss of fish habitat, degraded fish populations, and restrictions on fish consumptions. The loss of fish habitat and degraded fish populations were restored primarily through the relicensing of hydroelectric projects on the Oswego River. The Service played a major role in developing the terms and conditions included in the 2003 Oswego River Settlement with Reliant Energy (now Brookfield Power), the owner of the hydroelectric sites. The settlement included a variable flow regime through formerly dewatered reaches, reduced impoundment fluctuations, fish protection and downstream passage measures, a structure to divert low flows into the Varick bypassed reach to restore fish habitat, and ladders to provide upstream passage for American eels. The EPA cited this settlement, along with measures to reduce combined storm and sewer overflows, as the main reasons for delisting. Contact: Steve Patch.
Oswego River
Oswego river dam

7/18/06Hudson River NRDA - Final Study Plan for an Avian Egg Injection Study (Environmental Contaminants):

The Hudson River Natural Resource Trustees have released the Final Study Plan for an avian egg injection study, prepared pursuant to the Hudson River NRDA Plan. A draft study plan for this work was released by the Trustees on February 28, 2006, for public review and comment. All comments received on the Draft Avian Egg Injection Study Plan, as part of the peer and public review process, were considered by the Trustees in development of this Final Study Plan. A Responsiveness Summary is being prepared by the Trustees for public release. Access to a copy of the Final Study Plan for the avian egg injection study is available here.

Contact: Kathryn Jahn

tree swallow

Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)
Photo credit: Donna Dewhurst Collection

7/13/06 St. Lawrence-FDR Power Project Eel Ladder Now Operational (Federal Projects):

The eel ladder for the St. Lawrence-FDR Power Project became operational on July 1. A dedication ceremony will be held in Massena, New York on August 9 and will feature speakers from the New York Power Authority, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the Service.

7/11/06 Salmon River Enhancement using log vanes (Partners for Fish & Wildlife):

Before restoration
During restoration
Following restoration

Log vanes were installed on the Little Salmon River to provide fish habitat, reduce bank erosion, and reduce sediment loads. The landowner was a logger and provided the hemlock trees and a load of a dozen large rocks. His original proposal was to riprap the bank but was very pleased when he found that the log vanes saved him over $3,000 and will accomplish his objectives. Contact: Carl Schwartz

The areas for construction of a rock vane and channel block were surveyed on the Salmon River. Construction is supposed to start before July 15 when they start drawing down the reservoir to make repairs; the flows will go from 185 cfs to 340 cfs. The river was operated for peaking power with daily discharges of 2,000 cfs and has been operating with flows of 185 and 340 for the last 10 years so bedload has deposited in some of the pools and the river is taking a chute cutoff that has major implications for the fishery. Contact: Carl Schwartz

7/6/06Mink Injury Assessment Work for the Hudson River Natural Resource Damage Assessment (Environmental Contaminants):

mink on rock The Hudson River Natural Resource Trustees have released for public review and comment a "Study Plan for Mink Injury Investigations for the Hudson River." This Draft Study Plan describes a mink PCB-feeding laboratory study the Trustees propose to undertake to evaluate whether mink reproduction and/or development is affected as a result of exposure to PCBs from the Hudson River. In accordance with the Hudson River NRDA Plan, the Trustees are issuing this Draft Study Plan for public review and comment. Comments should be submitted by July 20, 2006. Please visit this website to view the Draft Study Plan. Contact: Kathryn Jahn

7/5/06 East Hampton Star Plover Article:

Read the recent East Hampton Star article here!

6/15/06 New Fish Enhancement, Mitigation and Research Fund page added (Federal Projects):

Please visit our FEMRF page!

5/18/06 Whooping cranes set back on track (Federal Projects):

After a false start the previous week when the birds decided to go to Vermont for the weekend, on May 5, NYFO Biologist Tim Sullivan worked with R-3, the International Crane Foundation (ICF), Ontario Ministry of the Environment (OM), and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) to retrieve whooping crane Nos. 9 03 and 20-05 in Lewis County, New York. The capture involved four biologists disguising themselves as whooping cranes with white suits and helmets. A tape of crane vocalizations was played and biologists donned whooping crane puppets to imitate the cranes’ feeding behavior near a portable feeder. The birds were tracked down by Tim, then after the team from Wisconsin arrived, enticed first over to the feeder, then into two cardboard boxes and transported by air to Necedah NWR, where they were released and remain there to roost. Richard Urbanek of Region 3 describes crane No. 9-03 as having “migration problems.” The capture site in New York was No. 9-03’s summering area in 2005, and she led juvenile No. 20 05 there this spring (apparently brought along a friend for the road trip). These birds are part of an experimental population which had been accompanied by an ultralight plane on what scientists hoped would be their routine migratory route between Wisconsin and Florida. They are equipped with satellite and radio transmittters so their whereabouts can be detected.
whooping crane attractor outfit
person mimicking whooping cranes We had great cooperation from many partners to pull this off. Many thanks to Terry Kohler, Mike Mauer, Stu Walker, Mike Frakes, and Charles Koehler (Windway Capital Corporation) for providing air transport, capture team members Sara Zimorski (ICF), Richard Van Heuvelen (OM), Dave Adams (NYSDEC), and Chris Dobony (Fort Drum, Natural Resources Branch), landowner Brian Reape for access, and Nancy Businga (Wisconsin DNR) for medical examination of the transferred birds. It only took a few hours for representatives from these organizations, the International Crane Foundation, and the Service to complete the task at hand. Hopefully, these birds will stay with the rest of the flock in the future. Contact: Tim Sullivan

4/27/06 Article praises plover fencing on Hobart Beach, Huntington, NY (Endangered Species):

Please read this accurate summary of our current Long Island Field Office efforts to protect piping plovers.

4/25/06 Youngsville (Sullivan County) seeks advice on flooding from Partners for Fish & Wildlife:

See external link to article here or local server file here.

4/13/06 Declining American eel population soon to have access to the entire Oswego River (Federal Projects):

Brookfield Power will complete the installation of eel ladders on four of the six dams on the Oswego River by the end of 2008. The City of Oswego has agreed to install a ladder at their High Dam facility in 2007, and the Service is working with Algonquin Power to reach an agreement for a ladder at the Phoenix site. The American eel population has been rapidly declining for the last two decades and is currently undergoing status review as a potential endangered species candidate in both the United States and Canada. The eels migrate up the St. Lawrence River, through Lake Ontario, and into the Oswego River. Ladders allow them to pass over the two St. Lawrence River dams, Beauharnois and Moses-Saunders. After spending 20 or more years in fresh water, the eels migrate back to the Sargasso Sea to spawn. The Oswego River will be the first major Lake Ontario/St. Lawrence River tributary to have eel ladders and downstream fish passage/protection measures at all dams. Contact: Steve Patch.
High dam Varick dam Eel ladder at Beauharnois

4/4/06 Saranac River Hydroelectric Project License Rehearing Issued (Federal Projects):

The New York Field Office requested rehearing of the license recently issued to New York State Electric and Gas Corp. for the Saranac River Hydroelectric Project. The license allowed immediate releases into the bypassed reach at High Falls for whitewater boating, and required an immediate study of the impacts of these releases. The Service argued that the bypass has been periodically dewatered for many years, and that the new flow regime required under the license would improve the habitat. For the study to be valid, the ecosystem must have time to become established under the new flow regime. Whitewater boating can still occur on existing spillage. The FERC concurred and delayed the releases and study and required baseline data collection. Contact: Steve Patch. Saranac River Hydro dam

3/10/06 Hudson River NRDA: A Draft Study Plan for an Avian Egg Injection Study Released (Environmental Contaminants):

The Hudson River Natural Resource Trustees have released for public review and comment a Draft Study Plan for an Avian Egg Injection Study.

Past and continuing discharges of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have contaminated the natural resources of the Hudson River. The Hudson River Natural Resource Trustees – New York State, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Department of the Interior – are conducting a natural resource damage assessment (NRDA) to assess and restore those natural resources injured by PCBs. Based on results of avian investigations conducted by the Trustees, and considering factors such as the life histories of various Hudson River avian species, avian toxicology, and the goals of the NRDA, the Trustees determined that it was appropriate to conduct further investigations focused on avian species. Pursuant to that determination and to the Hudson River NRDA Plan, the Trustees conducted a study of belted kingfisher, spotted sandpiper, and tree swallow in 2004 and 2005. The Trustees further proposed conducting an avian egg injection study. Accordingly, the Trustees have developed a Draft Study Plan for an avian egg injection experiment focused on Hudson River bird species. As this study will entail injury endpoints, the Trustees will perform a peer review of the proposed study and are issuing the draft Study Plan for public review and comment, in accordance with the Hudson River NRDA Plan. The Draft Study Plan is available at:

http://www.fws.gov/contaminants/restorationplans/HudsonRiver/HudsonRiver.cfm. The comment period closes March 31, 2006.
Contact: Kathryn Jahn

2/28/06 Service Reopens Comment Period on Removing the Bald eagle from the Endangered Species Act, Seeks Comment on Management Tools:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today proposed voluntary guidelines and a regulatory definition designed to help landowners and others
understand how they can help ensure that Bald eagles continue to be protected consistent with existing law. Learn More

2/13/06 Fish Enhancement, Mitigation, and Research Fund Fact Sheet (Federal Projects):

See Adobe pdf here!

1/9/06 Settlement for Brascan Power flow violations in the Allen's Falls reach of the St. Regis River (Federal Projects):

Brascan Power has filed a report with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regarding last summer's minimum flow violations in the Allen's Falls bypassed reach on the St. Regis River. After hearing reports of low and erratic flows, the New York Field Office investigated and determined that Brascan Power was releasing only 13 cfs to a 2-mile long bypassed reach that required a minimum release of 50 cfs. The resulting low flows may have been harmful to fish and invertebrate populations in the St. Regis River and probably reduced the effectiveness of the 2005 trout stocking efforts. Through subsequent investigations, it was determined that the release gate was incorrectly set and blocked with debris, resulting in reduced flows. The NYFO instituted negotiations among Brascan, the Service, NYSDEC, New York Rivers United, and Trout Unlimited. The resulting settlement included reimbursement to TU for expenses incurred stocking trout in 2005, five years of funding by Brascan to allow TU to continue stocking rainbow trout into the St. Regis River, reimbursement to the St. Regis River Advisory Council of money spent for rainbow trout stocking, water flow and water temperature monitoring by Brascan, a continued stocking and assessment program for brown trout by NYSDEC, and funding to NYRU to initiate activities related to river protection in northern New York. For further information, contact Steve Patch. Allen's falls dam

1/3/06 Article on Danby Wetland Preservation, Ithaca Journal (Partners for Fish & Wildlife):

Ithaca Journal Article: Danby Residents Preserve Wetlands

 

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