New York Field Office
Northeast Region

News Archive 2003

12/4/03: Comment Period Now Open for Draft Revised: Chittenango Ovate Amber Snail Recovery Plan (Endangered Species):

Everyone 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.

A pdf copy of the December 5, 2003, Federal Register Notice of Availability for this plan is also available.

11/14/03: Analysis of Snapping Turtle Eggs and Bird Eggs for PCBs in Hudson River (Environmental Contaminants):

Information 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 Notice of the availability of the reports will be provided on this web site.

10/29/03: Partners in Flight Northeast Website Takes Flight:

Click here to see the new website!

10/29/03: FERC issues new license to NYPA for St. Lawrence-FDR Power Project (Fish & Wildlife Conservation):

On October 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.

An article on this important Comprehensive Settlement will be published in a future issue of Environment and Energy magazine.

10/22/03: Piercefield Settlement to be filed (Fish & Wildlife Conservation):

Acting 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.

10/17/03 Environmental Technical Working Group Water Levels Study (Fish & Wildlife Conservation):

Biologist 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.

10/9/03: 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. biologists biologists sampling

9/25/03: Two New Recovery Plans Available (Endangered Species):

The Karner blue butterfly and Great Lakes piping plover recovery plans have both been finalized. Both plans can be viewed on our Recovery Plans page.

9/12/03: Service Proposes Revisions to Conservation Programs (Endangered Species):

Please see details at

8/20/03: Hudson River Natural Resource Damage Assessment ListServ Established (Environmental Contaminants):

The Hudson 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.

To join the Hudson-NRDA listserv:

1. Send a message to:

2. Write in the subject: Subscribe hudsonnrda

3. You will receive a confirmation email to which you MUST reply within 24 hours.

8/18/03: Raquette River Hydroelectric Projects Settlement Measures On-site Review (Fish & Wildlife Conservation):

Biologist 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.

8/15/03: National Wildlife Federation provides restoration habitat funding for butterflies (Endangered Species):

Hamilton 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:

8/13/03: Hudson River Natural Resource Damage Assessment documents released to the public (Environmental Contaminants):

Federal 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.

7/25/03: Bat Biology Presented to Cornell Institute of Biology Teachers:

New York 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.

7/7/03: Summer Monitoring Program Initiated for Completed Restorations (Partners for Fish & Wildlife):

restored wetland

Figure 1. Restored marsh in Wyoming County

The 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 of 1992.

riparian habitat

Figure 2. Restored Forested Wetland, Wyoming


Figure 3. Blandings Turtle, Jefferson County

When 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.

restored wetland

Figure 4. Restored Scrub Shrub Wetland

7/2/03: Draft Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances (CCAA) Handbook available for review and comment (Endangered Species):

Comments 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.

6/18/03: NYFO participates in Annual Cortland County Envirothon (Outreach):

The 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.

Group photo, students and F.Caslick

Cortland County Envirothon Group Photo

Students taking tests

Fred Caslick of NYFO challenging students on Envirothon tests

6/11/03: New York State Bog turtle Workshop (Endangered Species):

Oswego Bog turtle group photo

Group photo of participants at the Oswego County session.

The 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 of NYFO holds Bog turtle

Caryn Crook (NYFO) holding a Bog turtle.

6/6/03: USFWS Participates in Collection of Screech Owl Eggs (Otus asio) from Hudson River (Environmental Contaminants):

The U.S. 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:

screech owl view 1

1. Female common screech incubating eggs

screech owl view 2

2. Gray phase of the common screech owl

screech owl view 3

3. Screech owl (rufous phase) with a clutch of 3 eggs

screech owl view 4

4. The typical clutch size of the screech owl is 3 to 5 eggs

6/2/03: Interior Secretary Norton Announces Grants to Protect Imperiled Species in the Northeast (Endangered Species):

On 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.

Sec. Norton with USFWS biologistsSec. Norton w/ Rick Bennett, USFWS
Secretary Norton between Joseph Jannsen (TNC) and Steve Papa (USFWS), and with Rick Bennett (USFWS).

Sec. Norton delivering speech
Secretary Norton delivers speech.

6/2/03: 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.

5/28/03: 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 area.

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 impacts.

Fenner turbine farm

Wind turbine farm located in Town of Fenner, Madison County

A nacelle from a turbine

Turbine components: Tower, blades and nacelle

view from under a turbine

Underside of working components

5/21/03: NYFO Biologist Begins Project Reviews on Eel Ladder at St. Lawrence Dam (Fish & Wildlife Conservation):

NYFOs Steve 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:

Beauharnois ladder section
Lower Section of the Beauharnois ladder
Tubes on ladders
Tubes on the ladder help eels climb steep grades
Tubes covered by metal
Same section of Beauharnois ladder with cover in place to prevent eels from escaping
Saunders ladder photo
Section of the Saunders ladder showing artificial vegetation used to help eels climb

5/14/03: North Hempstead Bar Beach Lagoon Project Update (Environmental Contaminants):

Hempstead harbor restoration sign The 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.

5/6/03: NYFO has Landmark Year for Energy Project Settlements (Permits & Projects):

The New 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.

4/28/03: Oswego River Settlement Offer Signed by USFWS (Permits & Projects):

The Service 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.

4/18/03: Long Island Intracoastal Dredging Project Article Published on RSM Website (Environmental Contaminants):

The Regional 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".

4/10/03: Endangered Species Program Workshop:

The Service 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, or contact our office at (607) 753-9334.

3/25/03: U.S Fish & Wildlife Service Releases Proposed Rule on Double-Crested Cormorant Management (Partners in Flight):

Full press release available here.

3/21/03: 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.

Thumbnail of NYS with points for all Partners projects

3/16/03: Wanted: Proposals 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 projects.

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)



Gill Creek photo

Gill Creek

3/7/03: 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.

3/6/03: Fishways Designed for the Chase-Hibbard Dam located on the Chemung River in Elmira, New York (Fish & Wildlife Conservation):

Last summer, representatives from the Service’s 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.

Hudson fish passage view 1

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.

Hudson fish passage view 2

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.

2/24/03: 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:

American Zoological Association

Environmental Defense

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

The Nature Conservancy

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Page

Xerces Society

2/21/03: 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.

2/20/03: St. Lawrence Settlement will Benefit Fish and Wildlife (Fish & Wildlife Conservation):

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.

St. Lawrence dam photo
    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 Act;
  • 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.

2/3/03: American Fisheries Society has Annual Meeting in Canandaigua, NY (Fish & Wildlife Conservation):

The 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. D. Bryson speaking at Fisheries

1/17/03: Cooperative Endangered Species Grants Request for Proposals Available (Endangered Species):

For more information, see our National website

1/17/03: New York Awarded Wetland Conservation Grant (Endangered Species):

New 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.

1/10/03: 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 York State.

banded Indiana Bat

1/3/03: Watch out for the buffalo: (Partners for Fish & Wildlife)  
fencing and buffalo close-up of fence

Partners 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.

1/3/03: Featured National Priority List Site: Onondaga

Approximately 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.

The Onondaga 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.

Contaminants 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 oxygen.

Through 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.

1/3/03: Upper Hudson/Sacandaga River Energy Projects (135.5 MegaWatts): (Fish & Wildlife Conservation)

FERC issued 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 Project.

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Last updated: February 15, 2019
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