DEC

Friday, August 11, 2017 at 4:16 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, Sports, hunting, DEC.

Press release:

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos recently announced the release of a draft New York State Interagency CWD Risk Minimization Plan for public comment.

The plan describes proposed regulatory changes and actions that DEC will take to minimize the risk of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) entering or spreading in New York. It was designed to protect both wild white-tailed deer and moose, as well as captive cervids including deer and elk held at enclosed facilities.

DEC biologists worked with the State’s Department of Agriculture and Markets veterinarians and wildlife health experts at Cornell University to craft a comprehensive set of steps that are the most advanced CWD prevention strategies in the nation.

"New York is leading the way in protecting our valuable deer and moose herds," Seggos said. "Not only does this horrible disease kill animals slowly, but wild white-tailed deer hunting represents a $1.5 billion industry in the state.

"Our CWD Risk Minimization Plan is in the best interest of all of us who care about wildlife and especially about the health of our wild white-tail deer herd. Gov. (Andrew) Cuomo's commitment to high-quality hunting opportunities in New York also supports our taking action now to prevent a serious problem down the road."

Disease prevention is the only cost-effective way to keep CWD out of New York. Together with the State Department of Agriculture and Markets, New York is using cutting-edge science and common sense to ensure that everything possible is done to protect the state's herds from CWD.

"The Department's veterinarians and licensed veterinary technicians were responsible for the early detection of New York's only CWD incident and played critical roles in the response to the discovery of CWD in 2005,” said State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball.

“Our staff continue to work hard to control the risk of this serious disease and maintain our early detection system. This plan will further support these efforts to protect our wildlife."

CWD, an always fatal brain disease found in species of the deer family, was discovered in Oneida County’s wild and captive white-tailed deer in 2005. More than 47,000 deer have been tested statewide since 2002, and there has been no reoccurrence of the disease since 2005. New York is the only state to have eliminated CWD once it was found in wild populations. In North America, CWD has been found in 24 states, including neighboring Pennsylvania and Ohio, and two Canadian provinces.

CWD was first identified in Colorado in 1967 and is caused by infectious prions, which are misfolded proteins that cannot be broken down by the body's normal processes. They cause holes to form in the brain. Prions are found in deer parts and products including urine and feces; they can remain infectious in soil for years and even be taken up into plant tissues. It is in the same family of diseases, transmissible spongiform encephalopathies, as "mad cow" disease in cattle.

Millions of cattle were destroyed because of mad cow disease in England and Europe in the 1990s and the disease also caused a fatal brain condition in some humans that ate contaminated beef products. Although there have been no known cases of CWD in humans, the Centers for Disease Control recommends that no one knowingly eat CWD-positive venison.

The proposed plan would streamline operations between DEC and the State Department of Agriculture and strengthen the state's regulations to prevent introduction of CWD.

Some examples of the proposed changes include:

    • Prohibit the importation of certain parts from any CWD-susceptible cervid taken outside of New York. Require that these animals be deboned or quartered and only the meat, raw hide or cape, and cleaned body parts, such as skull cap, antlers, jaws, and teeth, or finished taxidermy mounts be allowed for import into the state;

    • Prohibit the retail sale, possession, use, and distribution of deer or elk urine and any products from CWD-susceptible animals that may contain prions, including glands, or other excreted material while allowing New York captive cervid facilities to continue to export deer urine outside of the State;

    • Maintain and reinforce the prohibition on the feeding of wild deer and moose in New York State;

    • Provide DEC Division of Law Enforcement the necessary authority to enforce Department of Agriculture and Market's CWD regulations;

    • Explore possible penalties or charges to defray costs associated with the removal of escaped cervids from the environment or the response to disease outbreaks;

    • Require all taxidermists and deer processors (people who butcher deer for hire) to dispose of cervid waste and waste byproducts in compliance with 6 NYCRR Part 360, such as in a municipal landfill;

    • Promotion of improved fencing methods for captive cervids to further prevent contact with wild deer or moose;

    • Partner with the State Department of Agriculture and Markets to enhance captive cervid testing while continuing DEC's rigorous surveillance testing in hunter-harvested deer;

    • Improve record keeping and data sharing between departments through joint inspections of captive cervid facilities, electronic reporting, and animal marking;

    • Improve handling requirements, record keeping, and disease testing of wild white-tailed deer temporarily held in captivity for wildlife rehabilitation; and

    • Develop a communication plan and strategy to re-engage stakeholders, including captive cervid owners and the public, in CWD risk minimization measures and updates on CWD research.

The New York State Interagency CWD Risk Minimization Plan has had extensive outreach and vetting by sporting groups in the state to address the concerns of myriad stakeholders while maintaining the strength of purpose to protect the public and the environment. The plan updates reporting requirements, improves communication to stakeholders, and simplifies regulations to reduce confusion while protecting our natural resources.

The draft plan is available for public review on the DEC website

Written comments on the draft plan will be accepted through Sept. 1. Comments can be submitted via email at wildlife@dec.ny.gov, subject: CWD Plan or by writing to NYSDEC, Bureau of Wildlife, 625 Broadway, Albany 12233-4754.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017 at 6:25 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, news, announcements, environment, DEC.

Press release:

New York’s native turtles are on the move in May and June seeking sandy areas or loose soil to lay their eggs. Throughout the state, thousands of turtles are killed each year when they are struck by vehicles as they migrate to their nesting areas, say Department of Conservation (DEC) officials. 

It may take more than 10 years for a turtle to reach breeding age, and they lay just one small clutch of eggs each year, so the loss of a breeding female can have a significant effect on the local population. All 11 species of land turtles that are native to New York are declining, officials say.

The DEC offers the following tips:

    • Turtles can often be seen crossing roads this time of year. While the DEC encourages motorists to avoid hitting the turtle, do not swerve suddenly or leave the lane of travel.  

    • Be on the lookout for turtles and slow down, especially on roads near rivers and marshy areas.

    • If a turtle is seen in the road or shoulder and it is safe to stop, the DEC asks motorists to consider moving it to the shoulder on the side of the road in the direction it is facing.

    • Picking the turtle up by its tail may frighten or injure it. Most turtles can be picked up by the side of their shell.

    • Use extreme caution when moving snapping turtles; either pick her up at the rear of the shell near the tail using two hands, or slide a car mat under the turtle to drag her across the road.

    • Please do not take the turtle home. All native turtles are protected by law and cannot be collected without a permit.

For more information, click here.   

Monday, April 24, 2017 at 4:26 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, hunting, fishing, Sports, DEC, announcements.

dec_pocket_ranger_app.jpg

Press release, photo submitted

New features have been added to the New York Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife mobile app, say officials from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). 

The new E-license and Game Harvest features allows the user to:

    • report game harvests with a smartphone or mobile device while afield

    • create game harvest reports even when out of cellular range

    • access an electronic version of a current sporting licenses

    • share harvest reports with friends and followers on Facebook

To access the new features, users need only click on the HuntFishNY icon within the app. The New York Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife app can be downloaded on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, or by going to the DEC website.

As a reminder, it is a legal requirement to report all deer, bear and turkey harvests within seven days of harvest.

DEC urges hunters to remember the hunting safety basics they learned in their sportsman education courses when going afield this spring hunting season. While statistics show that hunting in New York State is safer than ever, mistakes are made every year. Every hunting-related shooting incident is preventable.

Safety rules include:

    • Assume every gun is loaded.

    • Control the muzzle. Point your gun in a safe direction.

    • Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot.

    • Be sure of your target and beyond.

    • DEC encourages hunters to wear blaze orange or pink. Wearing orange or pink prevents other hunters from mistaking a person for an animal, or shooting in your direction. Hunters who wear hunter orange are seven times less likely to be shot.

    • When hunting in tree stands use a safety harness and a climbing belt, as most tree stand accidents occur when hunters are climbing in and out of the stand. Also, never climb in or out of a tree stand with a loaded rifle.

Monday, March 27, 2017 at 5:16 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, hunting, fishing, Sports, DEC.

tricounty_fishing_derby_-_arcade_1.jpg

Press release (file photo):

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is proposing four free sportfishing days be added to complement the state's existing free sportfishing days. DEC is seeking public comments on the proposed changes. The days are based on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's signed legislation in 2014 authorizing additional statewide free fishing days.

First established in 1991, free sportfishing days allow New York residents and non-residents to fish for free without a fishing license at any of the state's 7,500 lakes and ponds or 70,000 miles of rivers and streams.

The free events give people who might not fish a chance to try the rewarding sport at no cost, introduce people to a new hobby, and encourage people to support the sport by purchasing a New York State fishing license.

The proposed additions are:

    • Presidents Day Weekend (the weekend immediately preceding Presidents Day in the month of February) – These two days generally coincide with winter recess for schools, making it ideal for families to try ice fishing.

    • National Hunting and Fishing Day (one day) – Takes place annually on the 4th Saturday in September and links to events taking place nationwide. Fishing at this time of year is generally good for many species, including fall salmon fishing in the Great Lakes tributaries.

    • Veterans Day (one day) – Fishing is considered one of the most therapeutic outdoor activities, making it an excellent tribute to veterans and those currently serving in the military. Cuomo specified Veterans Day as a free fishing day in 2015, and this proposal would make it a permanent free fishing day.

In addition, to avoid confusion concerning the existing free fishing days in June, DEC is proposing the regulation be changed from "the weekend which includes the last Saturday in June," to the "last full weekend in June."

Defining specific free fishing days allows DEC to more effectively promote these days well in advance of their occurrence, ultimately increasing public participation. Furthermore, having a designated set of free fishing days allows those planning vacations around these dates to do so without issue.

Public comments will be accepted through May 6.

Comments can be sent to the address Joelle Ernst, NYSDEC Division of Fish and Wildlife, 625 Broadway, 5th Floor, Albany, N.Y. 12233-4753 or emailed to fwfish@dec.ny.gov - enter "Free Sportfishing Days" in the subject line.

Friday, March 10, 2017 at 10:31 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, Sports, hunting, DEC.

Press release:

The State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently announced that the 2016 hunting season in New York had only 13 hunting-related shooting incidents. This is the lowest number on record since DEC began compiling hunting-related shooting statistics in 1958.

"Hunting is a proud tradition in New York State that continues to be safely enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of residents and visitors each year," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "The trend of declining hunting accidents is proof that our Sportsman Education Program is working, thanks in large part, to the efforts of the 3,000 volunteer instructors that teach our hunter safety courses every year."

Of the 13 hunting-related shooting incidents in 2016, seven incidents were self-inflicted and six incidents involved more than one person. In 2015, there were 23 incidents. In 1966, there were 166 incidents, 13 of which were fatal.

Despite these low numbers, there were four fatalities in 2016 -- two two-party incidents and two self-inflicted incidents.

"While hunting is safer than ever, accidents can still happen," Seggos said. "It is important to remember that every hunting-related shooting incident is preventable. We urge every hunter going afield this year to wear hunter orange. It's the smart thing to do."

This year's report indicated that eight of the people involved in multi-party incidents were not wearing hunter orange.

With approximately 500,000 licensed hunters spending an estimated 10 to 15 million days afield each year, New York continues its trend of declining hunting-related shooting incidents. The incident rate (incidents per 100,000 hunters) has declined almost 80 percent since the 1960s. The past five-year average is down to three-and-one-half incidents per 100,000 hunters, compared to 19 per 100,000 in the ‘60s.

DEC encourages hunters to follow the primary rules of hunter safety:

    • Assume every firearm is loaded;

    • Control the firearm muzzle in a safe direction;

    • Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire;

    • Identify your target and what is beyond; and

    • Wear hunter orange.

DEC's Sportsman Education Program is mandatory for all hunters. The program was introduced in 1949 and has significantly reduced the number of hunting incidents. Beginning in 2016, DEC instituted new course homework requirements for all hunter and trapper education courses. Students are now required to review course materials and complete homework prior to attending classroom and field sessions.

The new homework portion of the course provides an introduction to the subject and enhances students' understanding of the course material. DEC offers all courses free of charge. The Sportsman Education Program is always looking for interested individuals to volunteer their time to help students take the first step in developing the skills and knowledge to be better hunters and trappers.

Only incidents involving firearms, bows, and crossbows are included in the annual report. Incidents involving falls from tree stands or hunter health-related issues are not included. Investigations of all hunting-related shooting incidents are undertaken by DEC's environmental conservation officers.

For more information on taking a course, becoming an instructor, and on the 2016 Hunting Safety Statistics, visit the Sportsman Education Program Web page on DEC's website.

Friday, March 3, 2017 at 4:55 pm

Press release:

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) welcomes angler observations as it begins its angler diary program on the Genesee River in Allegany and Wyoming counties. 

The diarist program aims to record dates for trout and bass fishing trips on the Genesee River from the Pennsylvania line downstream through Letchworth State Park from March 1 through Oct. 31.

"Angler participation in this program is greatly appreciated and will help us to evaluate the Genesee River's fishery quality," said Regional Fisheries Manager Mike Clancy. "This is a great opportunity for anglers to contribute observations and help shape future fishery management actions."

Those who fish the Genesee River (even once) and are able to contribute observations by keeping a fishing diary for DEC can contact the Region 9 Fisheries Office at (716) 372-6372 or via e-mail at fwfish9@dec.ny.gov.

Friday, February 24, 2017 at 4:53 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, news, environment, firefighting, Warsaw, DEC, announcements.

Press release:

Foam used by some fire departments may now be listed as a hazardous substance. On Feb. 1, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) filed a Notice of Adoption with the New York State Department of State to amend Part 597, Hazardous Substances Identification, Release Prohibition, and Release Reporting, effective March 3.

The regulation classifies perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA-acid), ammonium perfluorooctanoate (PFOA-salt), perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS-acid), and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS-salt) as hazardous substances at the request of the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH). 

The amendments finalized the:

    •  addition of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA-acid, Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) No. 335-67-1), ammonium perfluorooctanoate (PFOA-salt, CAS No. 3825-26-1), perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS-acid, CAS No. 1763-23-1), and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS-salt, CAS No. 2795-39-3) to the list of hazardous substances at 6 NYCRR Section 597.3;

    • allowance for continued use of firefighting foam that may contain PFOA-acid, PFOA-salt, PFOS-acid or PFOS-salt to fight fires (but not for training or any other purposes) on or before April 25, even if such use may result in the release of a reportable quantity (RQ), which is otherwise prohibited; and 

    • correction to the list of hazardous substances by providing units for RQs.

The final rule-making documents, including the Assessment of Public Comment, are available on DEC’s website at http://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/104968.html

See related: Firefighting foam may contain newly listed hazardous substances

Thursday, February 23, 2017 at 7:58 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, events, agriculture, DEC, Warsaw.
Event Date and Time: 
March 21, 2017 - 8:15am

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Wyoming County (CCE) is offering a pesticide applicator training session and recertification course from 8:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. March 21 at the Wyoming County Agriculture and Business Center, 36 Center St., Warsaw. The exam begins at 1 p.m..

This session is geared for individuals planning to take the Core and Category Pesticide Certification exam specific to the focus of their work. 

Thursday, February 23, 2017 at 7:56 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, Business, agriculture, Warsaw, DEC.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Wyoming County (CCE) is offering a pesticide applicator training session and recertification course from 8:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. March 21 at the Wyoming County Agriculture and Business Center, 36 Center St., Warsaw. The exam begins at 1 p.m..

This session is geared for individuals planning to take the Core and Category Pesticide Certification exam specific to the focus of their work. 

If applying for Core Recertification credits, you must bring your Pesticide Certification ID card with you. This session will carry 3.50 Core Recertification Credits. This course is open to those seeking private or commercial category Pesticide Applicator certification. 

Individual responsibilities with CCE include:

    • Preregister with CCE for the training session only, by calling Don Gasiewicz at (585) 786-2251 or emailing him at drg35@cornell.edu. There is a $20 fee for extension enrollees and a $25 fee for non-enrollees. Any questions regarding the certification class can be directed to Gasiewicz as well.

    • You need to purchase the required training manual(s) from the CCE office. Manuals for all categories must be ordered through CCE. Once you know which manual(s) you need, contact Gasiewicz to purchase and/or order. Questions regarding which manual(s) you may need to order, must be directed the NYSDEC at (716) 851-7220.

Individual Responsibilities with New York State DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation)

    • DEC pesticides test. The pesticide exam is conducted by the DEC and is held at the Wyoming County Agriculture and Business Center at 1 p.m. March 21.

    • NYSDEC requires advance registration to be eligible to take the certification exam. If you are planning to take the exam, you must first call the NYSDEC Pesticide Division at (716) 851-7220 to discuss eligibility.

    • If you are eligible, DEC will send you an exam packet, which you must fill out and return to them with your examination fee of $100. You must be preregistered with DEC to take the exam. No walk-ins will be allowed. All questions regarding your certification should be directed to the DEC.

Monday, February 6, 2017 at 5:22 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, events, environment, DEC, camps, Wildlife Federation.

The Wyoming County Wildlife Federation (WCWF) officers and delegates are offering four partial sponsorships for Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) “Camperships” in 2017. 

These camps are open to youth 11 to 17 years old. 

To be considered for one of the $200 WCWF sponsorships, the applicant must be a Wyoming County resident and demonstrate that they are registered for a DEC camp for the 2017 season. Additionally, a brief application must also be submitted to the WCWF. 

The registration period for the DEC camp is now open and information can be found here

The WCWF is also offering four full sponsorships to the 2017 Pat Arnold Memorial Trapping Camp. The registration period for this camp has not yet been established, WCWF officials say. 

To qualify for this sponsorship, applicants must be a Wyoming County resident and be registered for the trap camp. For more information, click here.

For more information about the sponsorships email the WCWF at krawczykbrian@gmail.com.

Thursday, January 5, 2017 at 11:39 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, hunting, Sports, DEC.

Press release:

Anglers and hunters should be aware of at least two currently active non-Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) websites where one can, purportedly, purchase a fishing license, hunting license, or receive hunter education training that meets New York requirements.

According to the DEC, the websites are Fishinglicense.org and Hunting-license.org

Among other things, these sites offer information on how their products can simplify the purchase of a New York State fishing license or hunting license. Though some of the logistical licensing information is correct and may be useful, these sites also offer a consumer the ability to purchase time-saving downloads for recreational licensing services. These services are “specifically not affiliated” with the DEC. 

The consumer on these sites should understand that they are only getting assistance for their money and not an actual fishing or hunting license. Additionally, the money being charged by these websites is not a credit toward the purchase of any New York fishing or hunting license.

All of the New York licensing information that one needs can be found on the DEC Sporting Licenses webpage.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016 at 6:30 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, Sports, hunting, DEC, wildlife.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has posted options for several changes to wildlife regulations in 2017 on its website. The DEC is inviting the public to review and provide comments.

Prior to initiating a formal rulemaking process, DEC routinely seeks public input in continuing efforts to keep hunters and the public informed.

In many situations, DEC uses scientific surveys to gather public opinion about potential rule changes. In other cases, DEC communicates informally through emails, letters or meetings in response to ideas and suggestions. In all situations, it is helpful to obtain informal feedback to gauge public interest and support and to learn of any concerns that may exist before the formal rulemaking process is initiated.

DEC is inviting informal feedback regarding several issues:

    • Prohibiting feeding wild white-tailed deer;

    • Issuing permits for 4-Poster TickicideTM and 4-PosterTM deer treatment devices;

    • Strengthening measures to protect New York deer from Chronic Wasting Disease;

    • Eliminating the special permit for hunting and trapping bobcats in the Harvest Expansion Area; and

    • Closing the season for take of diamondback terrapin.

The issues listed are not formal proposals at this time, but rather options being considered as potential changes for 2017. Visit http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/104785.html to read the details of each issue and to provide feedback.

Submit your comments by Dec. 23 to wildlife@dec.ny.gov or by writing to NYSDEC, Bureau of Wildlife, 625 Broadway, Albany, 12233-4754.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 at 12:23 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, hunting, Sports, DEC.

Press release:

In the wake of a number of recent hunting-related shooting incidents, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos is reminding hunters to follow basic hunter safety rules when going afield this hunting season.

"While statistics show that hunting in New York State is safer than ever, mistakes are made every year. But every hunting-related shooting incident is preventable," Seggos said. "We urge hunters to use common sense and remember what they were taught in their DEC Hunters Education Course."

DEC's Hunting Safety Rules:

    • Assume every gun is loaded;

    • Control the muzzle. Point your gun in a safe direction;

    • Keep your finger off the trigger until you are ready to shoot;

    • Be sure of your target and beyond;

    • DEC encourages hunters to wear blaze orange or pink. Wearing orange or pink prevents other hunters from mistaking a person for an animal, or shooting in your direction. Hunters who wear hunter orange are seven times less likely to be shot;

    • When hunting in tree stands use a safety harness and a climbing belt, as most tree stand accidents occur when hunters are climbing in and out of the stand. Also, never climb in or out of a tree stand with a loaded rifle;

    • Always be prepared for winter conditions when venturing in the woods, inform a friend or relative of your whereabouts, and pack emergency supplies.

DEC Environmental Conservation Officers (ECOs) are currently investigating two hunting-related shooting fatalities that occurred in the last week, both involving accidental shootings that could have been avoided.

DEC requires every hunter to take a special Hunters Education Course before they can receive a license to hunt. Since New York's Sportsman Education Program was first introduced in 1950, the number of hunting-related accidents have declined by 80 percent.

A DEC report showed 2015 was the first year without a hunting-related shooting fatality in New York since record-keeping on hunting statistics began more than 60 years ago. Last year also continued the trend of declining incidents with respect to New York's hunting-related shooting incident rate (incidents per 100,000 hunters). The past five-year average is down to four incidents per 100,000 hunters, compared to 19 per 100,000 hunters in the 1960s.

There were 23 hunting incidents documented in 2015, the third lowest number on record, with 10 incidents self-inflicted and 13 two-party incidents.

View and print the 2015 Hunter Safety Statistics report (PDF, 141 KB)

Tuesday, November 8, 2016 at 1:51 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, Sports, hunting, wildlife, DEC, bears.

Press release:

This winter, State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) wildlife biologists are seeking the public's help to learn about new black bear dens throughout New York.

As part of DEC's ongoing monitoring of black bears in the state, wildlife biologists periodically check on the mammals during the winter den season. The bears may be fitted with a radio collar to help biologists track their activities throughout the rest of the year and to relocate dens in subsequent years for monitoring cub production, condition and survival.

Bears may den in a rock crevice, tree cavity, or under heavy brush or fallen trees. Since female bears generally give birth in January or early February, a high-pitched squeal from the cubs may be audible if near a den. New York hikers and hunters typically cover countless miles of wooded terrain each year. DEC urges anyone who finds a bear den to not approach or disturb the den, but simply to note the location and move away from the den site.

DEC requests that anyone locating a bear den contact their local DEC Wildlife Office with specifics about the den location, including GPS coordinates if possible. 

More information about black bears in New York is available at DEC's Black Bear Web page.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016 at 11:07 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, DEC, environment, government, agriculture.

Press release:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service is contacting 25,000 farmers and ranchers through August to take part in a national survey. The survey will more accurately measure the environmental benefits associated with implementation and installation of conservation practices on agricultural land.

The results of the National Resources Inventory Conservation Effects Assessment Project (NRI-CEAP) survey will help further develop the science-based solutions for managing the agricultural landscape to improve environmental quality.

“The survey gives farmers and ranchers the power to provide a more complete and accurate picture of the conservation practices on their operations,” said NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “If contacted, I encourage farmers and ranchers to participate. Their collective responses can directly benefit themselves and all producers by helping leaders focus on what producers need to install conservation practices that are best for their operations environmentally and financially.”

The results of the survey will demonstrate the work of America’s farmers to conserve natural resources while producing the food, fuel and fiber the world requires, participating farmers and ranchers support our cause for continued science-based conservation programs that protect natural resources while supporting farm-related jobs.

Survey results will guide USDA conservation policy and program development and help conservationists, farmers and ranchers more efficiently and effectively conserve natural resources. In addition to helping determine the effectiveness of existing conservation practices, NRI-CEAP analysis provides estimates of resources farmers may need to further protect the soil, water and related resources. For additional information about CEAP visit its survey Web page.

NASS conducts the NRI-CEAP survey under a cooperative agreement with Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). NRI-CEAP results help determine not only the effectiveness of existing conservation practices, but also what resources farmers may need to further protect the soil, water and related resources in selected watersheds. The findings will document on-farm conservation accomplishments as well.

The NRI-CEAP survey will be conducted in two parts. In the first survey, which is shorter, NASS will determine eligibility for the more in-depth survey that will take place between October and February. The privacy of all respondents is safeguarded, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified, as required by Federal law.

Thursday, August 4, 2016 at 1:05 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, drought, weather, DEC.

Press release:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, under executive order, directed the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to issue a heightened drought warning yesterday for regions VI, VII and VIII. Wyoming County, as well as most of Western New York, falls under the warning.

Other counties affected include: Allegany, Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Chemung, Erie, Genesee, Jefferson, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Onondaga, Ontario, Orleans, Oswego, Seneca, Schuyler, Steuben, Tompkins, Wayne and Yates. 

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos issued the warning after consulting with experts from the State Drought Management Task Force and Federal technical agencies. The remainder of the state remains under a declared drought watch. 

"Recent rains helped to reduce the severity of drought conditions in the eastern portion of the state. However, much of Western New York did not receive large rainfall amounts over the past weekend and continues to experience significant drought conditions with extremely low stream flows and reduced groundwater levels," Cuomo said. "Residents throughout the state should continue to conserve water whenever possible during the coming months."

A “warning“ is the second of four levels of state drought advisories – watch, warning, emergency, and disaster. While there are no statewide mandatory water use restrictions in place under a drought watch or warning, citizens are strongly encouraged to voluntarily conserve water. Local public water suppliers may impose water use restrictions depending upon local needs and conditions.

"While there are no mandated water use restrictions in place we do encourage the public to do their part to conserve water by taking some fairly simple steps,” Seggos said. “Minor changes in everyday practices can go a long way in helping to prevent any increased drought levels.”

The following are some conservation tips that homeowners can take to reduce their outdoor water use:

    • Fix dripping and leaking faucets and toilets;

    • A faucet leaking 30 drops per minute wastes 54 gallons a month;

    • Raise your lawn mower cutting height. Longer grass needs less water;

    • If your community allows watering, water lawns and gardens on alternate mornings instead of every day. Less frequent watering will develop grass with deeper roots, and early morning watering minimizes evaporation;

    • When using automatic lawn-watering systems, override the system in wet weather or use a rain gauge to control when and how much water to use. A fixed watering schedule wastes water. Irrigate only when needed. It saves water and can actually improve your lawn's health; and

    • Sweep sidewalks and steps rather than hosing them. Eliminating a weekly five-minute pavement hose-down could save between 625 and 2,500 gallons of water per year, depending on the flow rate.

For more water saving tips, visit DEC's website.

The drought watch and warnings are triggered by the State Drought Index, which reflects precipitation levels, reservoir/lake levels, and stream flow and groundwater levels in the nine drought regions of the state. Each of these indicators is assigned a weighted value based on its significance to various uses in a region. For more detailed drought information, visit DEC's website.

Friday, July 29, 2016 at 3:48 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, Sports, hunting, DEC.

Press release:

Sporting licenses and Deer Management Permits for the 2016-17 season will be available for purchase Monday. Licenses and permits can be purchased at any one of the Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) license-issuing agents, in person, by telephone, or online. Hunting and trapping licenses are valid for one year beginning Sept. 1.

"Hunting, trapping and fishing opportunities in New York have never been better and are an essential economic driver for communities across the state," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "Gov. (Andrew) Cuomo's continued commitments to the NY Open for Fishing and Hunting initiative are bolstering our efforts to provide world-class hunting and fishing opportunities statewide. The DEC is committed to enhancing our science-based management programs to provide for abundant opportunities for our sportsmen and sportswomen to go afield during the upcoming hunting and trapping seasons."

Under the 2016-17 budget, the initiative provides $3 million for State land access projects and $4 million for hunting and fishing infrastructure. The 2015-16 budget also created a new capital account, leveraging federal funds to manage, protect and restore fish and wildlife habitats – an initiative that will improve and develop public access for fish and wildlife-related recreation.

Outdoor recreation and sporting activities continue to generate significant economic revenue across the state. According to the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, sportsmen spent $4.95 billion on hunting and fishing in New York in 2011 and support more than 56,000 jobs across the state. In addition, spending by hunters and anglers generated $623 million in state and local taxes that same year. Revenues from the sale of all sporting licenses provide direct support to the state's efforts to protect, preserve and enhance wildlife species and the habitats they depend on.

Deer Management Permits

Deer Management Permits will be available through Oct. 1. The permits, which are used to ensure proper management of the deer herd, are issued through a random selection process at the point of sale. Customers who are selected will receive their permits immediately. The chances of obtaining a Deer Management Permit remain the same throughout the application period – hunters do not need to rush to apply for one on the first day of sale. The 2016 chances of selection in each Wildlife Management Unit are available online, through License Issuing Agents, or the Deer Management Permits Hotline at 1-866-472-4332. Detailed information is available on DEC's website

The new Hunting & Trapping Regulations guide, which provides an easy-to-read compendium of all pertinent rules and regulations, will be available in August. The guide will be at all license issuing outlets and on the DEC Hunting Regulations webpage along with a list of license-issuing agents. You can also find that list at License Center or by contacting the DEC Call Center at 1-866-933-2257.

Expanded Call Center Hours

Starting Aug. 1, the DEC Call Center will be accessible from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays through Oct. 1. Regular call center weekday hours (8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) will resume on Oct. 2.

Individuals should have the following items ready when buying a license:

    • Complete name and address information;

    • DEC customer ID number (if applicable);

    • Proof of residency (driver's license or non-driver's ID with a valid NYS address); and

    • If purchasing by phone or internet, a valid credit card.

If not already entered in DEC's automated licensing system, individuals are required to provide proof of hunter or trapper education certification or a copy of a previous license for all hunting and trapping license purchases. For additional information, visit General Sporting License Information

Other Programs:

Free Sportsmen Education Training Courses Offered

DEC works closely with thousands of dedicated certified instructors statewide to provide sportsmen education training courses free of charge. Courses are offered for Hunter Education, Bowhunter Education, Trapper Education and Waterfowl Identification. Courses do fill quickly, so anyone interested should register soon. Education courses are added continuously throughout the year. To locate a nearby hunter or trapper education course, visit Sportsman Education or call  (716) 851-7200.

New Opportunities for Junior Hunters & Trappers

In an effort to foster the next generation of hunters in New York, the DEC has expanded opportunities for junior hunters (licensees 12 to 15 years old) and trappers (under 12 years old) by designating special youth hunts for deer, wild turkey, pheasants, and waterfowl through the Mentored Youth Hunter and Trapper Program. These opportunities allow youth hunters and trappers to spend time in the field with experienced adults and gain the necessary knowledge and skills to become safe and responsible members of the hunting and trapping community.

Habitat Stamps and Trail Supporter Patch

The DEC encourages all outdoor enthusiasts to consider purchasing a Habitat/Access Stamp and/or a Trail Supporter Patch. These stamps and patches support the state's efforts to conserve habitat, increase public access for fishing and wildlife-related recreation, and maintain non-motorized trails. Buying a $5 stamp or patch or donating directly to the Conservation Fund is a simple way to help conserve New York's rich wildlife heritage and enhance outdoor recreation in the state.

The Venison Donation Program

Additionally, anyone – not just hunters and anglers – can help feed the hungry by making a monetary contribution to the Venison Donation Program at any license issuing outlet. Individuals should inform the license sales agent if they are interested in making a donation of $1 or more to support the program. Since 1999, these funds have been used by the Venison Donation Coalition for the processing of more than 330 tons of highly nutritious venison, the equivalent of 2.8 million meals served.

Participate in Citizen Science to Benefit Wildlife Management

Each year, thousands of hunters, trappers and anglers help the DEC monitor wildlife populations by recording their wildlife observations while afield. Information on how to participate in the Cooperator Ruffed Grouse Hunting Log, Bowhunter Sighting Log, Winter Wild Turkey Flock Survey and other Citizen Science programs is available at Citizen Science: Wildlife Observation Data Collection

Friday, July 29, 2016 at 3:12 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, DEC, environment, hunting, Sports.

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Press release, file photo.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and its Commissioner, Basil Seggos, are encouraging New Yorkers to participate in a survey for wild turkeys this summer.

"Citizen science" efforts such as this provide wildlife managers with invaluable data. It also gives people the opportunity to partner with the DEC to help monitor New York's wildlife resources. Participants can record observations of turkeys while exploring the forests and fields around their home or driving throughout the state this summer.

"Having up-to-date population data is essential to ensuring effective management decisions and possessing a better understanding of how wild turkey populations fluctuate in New York," Seggos said. "The DEC encourages all New Yorkers to participate in this valuable survey and help collect this vital information on turkey populations and survival rates."

Since 1996, the DEC has conducted the Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey to estimate the number of wild turkey poults (young of the year) per hen statewide. Weather, predation, and habitat conditions during the breeding and brood-rearing seasons can all significantly impact nest success, and hen and poult survival. This index allows the DEC to gauge reproductive success and predict fall harvest potential.

During the month of August, survey participants record the sex and age composition of all flocks of wild turkeys observed during normal travel. To participate, download a Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey form from the DEC website. Detailed instructions can be found with the data sheet. Survey cards can also be obtained by contacting your regional DEC office for Wyoming County (716) 851-7200, by calling (518) 402-8886, or via email wildlife@dec.ny.gov (type “Turkey Survey” in the subject line). You can also submit your observations online.

The following survey resources are available on the DEC website:

    • Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey

    • Citizen Science Initiatives

    • DEC Regional Office Contact Information (Wyoming County is in Region 9.)

Tuesday, July 26, 2016 at 4:07 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, Sports, nature, DEC, Bliss, fishing.

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It wasn’t until 1993 when the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) purchased the first public fishing rights easements on the north branch of the Wiscoy Creek (.3 miles) in Bliss. In 2009, it added another .6 miles. Water monitoring on the lower creek in 2006 found stream temperatures never exceeded 70 degrees and were normally in the upper 50s or low 60s. Averaging 20 feet wide, the stream is a very fertile home capable of supporting high densities of trout, making it an optimal fishing spot for anglers.

With a $38,000 grant from the Great Lakes Habitat Restoration Initiative in hand, habitat enhancement work on the stream was completed in July 2011. The project’s objectives were to “increase pool depths to at least 2 feet, greatly increase the amount of linear bank cover, and restore the stream’s riparian area (wetlands adjacent to rivers and streams) to a forested condition,” stated DEC Fishery Biologist Scott Cornett.

In a 1928 Conservation Department Biological Survey, the stream’s potential was recognized when an abundant population of wild brown trout was found. The recommendations in surveys taken in 1961 included purchasing public fishing rights (PFR) and doing “extensive stream habitat improvement” (New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) Region 9 files).

More than 450 feet of lunker structures, which act as artificial undercut bank habitat for trout, were installed on a 2,100-foot section of the stream for habitat improvement. According to Cornett, there is a link between pool depth and the amount of undercut banks or large woody debris to the abundance of adult wild brown trout. The fish preferred water with a mean depth of 2.2 feet for feeding habitat, however, water velocity is also an equally important factor. Additionally, trees were planted throughout the project area to provide both shade and “large woody debris.” 

Prior land use practices – removal of mature forest and the grazing of livestock – left much of the stream’s riparian areas dominated by grasslike plants (sedges) and alders. Long sections of the stream became wide and shallow, lacking in adult brown trout habitat.

In a section of the north branch the adult brown trout abundance ranged from 3,450 fish per mile to 6,475 fish per mile. Within that range, 475-975 fish were greater than 12 inches. This section of the creek is on private property, where the landowner had done extensive habitat enhancement. This enhanced habitat portion had the same water quality and volume as other sections which supported far fewer adult trout. Based on this information, the project design was submitted for funding.

In addition to creating a more forested area around the creek, the DEC monitors and evaluates the improved area to get an idea of the population of fish and its growth (age) via electro fishing.

Volunteers, alongside DEC employees, make two “runs” of the creek for sampling – of which are kept in separate tubs. Electro fishing puts an electrical current in the water, just enough to stun the fish, so volunteers can net the trout and place them in the holding tanks. The fish are then counted and measured, which gives authorities an idea of the school’s growth and ratio of larger trout as compared to before the project enhancements.

In second year of sampling, July 2013, similar overall numbers of wild brown trout 1 year and older were found in both 2012 and 2013, as compared to 2010 and 2011. However, the “abundance of larger wild brown trout and total adult trout biomass increased significantly over the same time period.”

The abundance of trout greater than 10 inches increased more than three times from 2010, to 332 per mile in 2013. The abundance of trout greater than 12 inches increased six times, to 90 per mile and trout greater than 14 inches increased more than 6 times, to 20 per mile. 

The amount of living matter (biomass) of brown trout also increased significantly – more than doubling from 2010, to 134 pounds per acre in 2013. Additionally, sites where lunker structures were installed narrowed and deepened substantially from pre-enhancement values. While water temperature monitoring during the summer of 2013 indicated the project may have increased temperatures slightly, it remained at ideal levels for brown trout survival and growth.

Although the 5-mile-long stream has not been stocked for the last 50 years, it supports a substantial population of wild brown trout and has some of the best water quality for the fish in Western New York, DEC officials report. The DEC will continue its monitoring of the habitat enhancement through 2017.

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Thursday, June 9, 2016 at 5:46 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, announcements, environment, turtles, DEC.

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Turtles are on the move. Every June, the Testudines seek sandy areas to lay their eggs. In New York, thousands of turtles are killed each year when they are struck by vehicles as they migrate to their nesting areas. 

According to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), it may take more than 10 years for a turtle to reach breeding age. Additionally, they lay just one small clutch of eggs each year. All 11 species of land turtles native to New York State are declining in numbers. The loss of a breeding female can have a significant effect on the local population.

The DEC recommends the following to avoid hitting the reptiles:

    • If you see a turtle on the road do not swerve suddenly or leave your lane of travel, but take care to avoid hitting turtles while driving;

    • Be on the lookout for turtles and slow down, especially on roads near rivers and marshy areas; and

    • If you see a turtle in the road or shoulder and you can safely stop your vehicle, consider moving it to the shoulder on the side of the road in the direction it was facing. Only do this on quiet roads so that you remain safe. We do not recommend approaching snapping turtles.

The snapping turtle is a very aggressive predator and one of the largest turtles in North America. Living to about 30 to 40 years on average, it’s the state’s official state reptile. Its shell is approximately 8 to 20 inches long and weights 8 to 35 pounds on average.

With an upper shell that is tan, brown, black, or olive gray with three ridges (keels), the mud makes a perfect hideout for unsuspecting prey. It often buries itself in the mud with only its nostrils and eyes showing. These turtles will snap at anything they find threatening and is so powerful it can easily shear fingers. Additionally, it has a long tail with jagged saw-toothed ridges.

Snapping turtles can be found in lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, and marshes. They are particularly fond of slow moving, shallow waters with a muddy bottom. One of the most adaptable reptiles in the state, they are even found in urban waterways. 

Females move to upland nesting locations predominantly in the early morning or early evening. They prefer nesting within 100 feet of the water and typically occur in sandy or loamy soils. Backyard gardens are also a frequent nesting location. Additionally, snapping turtles may occasionally be seen atop rocks that provide easy access back into the water. 

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