State releases bloater fish in Lake Ontario
OSWEGO (AP) — New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation is partnering with federal and Canadian agencies to restore the “bloater” fish to Lake Ontario.
Juvenile bloaters raised in a hatchery were released offshore of Oswego on Thursday, bringing the fish to the lake for the first time in 30 years. Biologists say re-establishing the species will add stability to the lake’s ecosystem and sport fisheries.
The bloater is a type of deepwater cisco and was once the most abundant prey fish in the lake. Populations declined dramatically by the mid-20th century due to over-harvesting and expanding populations of invasive alewife and rainbow smelt.
Re-introducing bloaters will provide more food choices for lake trout and salmon, which can develop vitamin B deficiency if they feed primarily on alewife.
State puts gilt darters into river
OLEAN (AP) — Biologists have released about 1,200 baby gilt darters into the Allegheny River and Oswayo Creek in western New York as part of efforts to restore populations of the endangered fish.
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens says the release on Wednesday was a milestone in the recovery of gilt darters in New York.
The restoration work involves scientists from New York’s DEC and state university at Cobleskill, as well as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
The gilt darter has been identified as a priority species for recovery efforts. This is the first time it’s been stocked in New York waters. The bottom-feeding fish average two to three inches in length.
DEC adopts bobcat management plan
After carefully considering more than 1,600 public comments and analyzing all information on New York’s current bobcat population, the state Department of Environmental Conservation adopted a five-year bobcat management plan to maintain and enhance bobcat populations in New York state while providing for sustainable use and public enjoyment of the animal, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. The final bobcat management plan, which is significantly revised from the draft plan, is now available on the DEC website.
Observation reports and analysis of harvest data have made it clear that bobcats have increased in abundance over the past several decades throughout upstate New York, although they are rarely seen in the wild due to their secretive behavior. DEC estimates New York’s bobcat population to be approximately 5,000 animals and growing, even in areas where regulated hunting and trapping seasons have been in place since the 1970s.
In accordance with the management plan, DEC will propose in regulations simplifying hunting and trapping season dates by establishing dates that are consistent throughout much of the state. The plan also establishes new hunting and trapping opportunities in several wildlife management units across the Southern Tier. Hunting and trapping season changes in the plan will not take effect prior to fall 2013, as a rulemaking process is necessary to implement such changes.
While hunters and trappers are the most common users of the bobcat resource, wildlife enthusiasts, nature photographers and the public also benefit from a healthy bobcat population.
Public comments on the draft bobcat management plan were carefully reviewed by DEC, and based on the input received, DEC made extensive revisions to the plan, including:
▶ Adding a more clear explanation of how DEC estimates population size, predicted harvest increases and impacts of additional harvest on population growth;
▶ clarifying that there is no intent to reduce bobcat populations anywhere in the state.
▶ Reducing the emphasis on negative human-bobcat interactions because they are not a major concern or motivation for actions proposed in the plan;
▶ Recognizing the public interest in restoring bobcats to Long Island and willingness to cooperate with feasibility studies.