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- BEARS AND BIRDFEEDERS
- SPRING TROUT STOCKING BEGINS
- TAX SEASON: THE SEASON TO SUPPORT ENDANGERED WILDLIFE
- HELP STOCK SALMON FRY
- TUNING IN TO TURTLES
- 2006 MOOSE/CAR COLLISIONS
- UPCOMING PUBLIC MEETINGS
- CALENDAR OF EVENTS
BEARS AND BIRDFEEDERS
To avoid possible seasonal conflicts between people and bears in central and western Massachusetts, MassWildlife recommends that bird feeders be taken down by mid-March and that other preventive actions be taken. With the lack of snow and warmer days, bears are now leaving their winter dens. "There is little in the way of natural foods and bears learn to seek out high-energy human foods such as bird seed," says Jim Cardoza, MassWildlife Bear Project Leader. "This may lead to conflicts that pose hazards to both bears and people." Though Massachusetts is third most densely populated state in the country, it is also home to approximately 2000 resident bears with the majority living west of the Connecticut River. Bears also reside as far east as Worcester County and northern Middlesex County.
Bears have excellent long-term memories and remember which foods are available at different seasons, and where these foods can be found. Even if a feeder is inaccessible to bears, they will be attracted by the scent of seed and suet and they will scavenge seed spilled on the ground. Once they learn the location of these foods, they will return. Bears are typically shy and fearful of people but deliberate feeding or indirect availability of human food, coupled with a lack of harassment can cause bears to become accustomed to people. If bears lose their fear of people and develop a taste for human foodstuffs, bears can become bolder and may cause damage that ultimately leads to harm to people or to the demise of the animal.
If a bear is passing through a neighborhood without stopping, enjoy the sight. However, if the bear stops to feed on trash, bird seed or other human generated foods, remove those foods after the bear has left and advise all neighbors to do the same. Due to their fear of people, bears tend to leave a yard when people step outside. Garbage and pet food must be secured from bears. Keep garbage in airtight containers, securely stored in a cellar, garage or shed. Put trash out for roadside pickup the day of trash pickup, not the night before. Keep trash cans clean and wash them regularly to remove food scraps and fluids. Bears can break into small sheds with loose doors, especially when attracted by sweet or meaty smells. Ammonia or bleach may help deodorize trash containers. Refrain from feeding pets outdoors. Do not deposit sweet or meaty items in your compost pile as bears will soon find it. In residential areas where bears are known to be present, the entire neighborhood must take recommended actions or bears will move from yard to yard seeking food. Cardoza noted these actions also reduce problems with other common wildlife species such as coyotes, raccoons, skunks and foxes. Common sense, good sanitation, and knowledge of bear behavior and habits will go a long way to alleviating human-bear conflicts, allowing everyone to enjoy this magnificent animal while preventing damage or disturbance to our homes and yards. For more detailed black bear information, click the Wildlife button on the MassWildlife website (www.mass.gov/masswildlife).
2007 SPRING TROUT STOCKING BEGINS
Bay State anglers can look forward to over 625,800 feisty brook, brown, rainbow and tiger trout being stocked this spring according to figures released by MassWildlife. Weather and water conditions permitting, MassWildlife stocking trucks will be making their spring trout stocking runs to selected lakes and ponds in the northeast, southeast and central regions of the state by mid March.
"Half of the trout we will be putting out trout will be over 12 inches long," observes Chief Fish Culturist Dr. Ken Simmons. "They'll be distributed statewide throughout the stocking season by our five regional Wildlife District offices." 354,000 rainbows will be stocked along with 150,500 brown trout. The larger water bodies will receive the larger fish with the smaller brooks and streams receiving the younger fish. 112,400 brook trout will be stocked in a similar fashion. Anglers can also anticipate trying to take some of the 8,000 tiger trout to be released. These handsome fish, a cross between a female brown trout and a male brook trout.
Weekly trout stocking reports will be updated each Friday on the MassWildlife website (www.MassWildlife.org). All schedules are subject to alteration or cancellation due to equipment failure, inclement weather, high water or other unforeseen circumstances. Please refrain from asking when a particular water body will be stocked for the same reasons! Anglers without Internet access may also call the nearest District office for information on trout stocked waters: Western 413/447-9789; Valley 413/323-7632; Central 508/835-3607; Northeast 978/263-4347 or Southeast 508/759-3406. Don't forget to bring a new angler, youth or adult fishing!
TAX SEASON: THE SEASON TO SUPPORT ENDANGERED WILDLIFE
Since 1983, Massachusetts tax filers have been able to donate to MassWildlife's Endangered Species Fund while filing their state income tax (Line 32). When you contribute to the fund, you help to protect and restore rare and endangered animals, plants, and their habitats. Your past donations have helped conserve and restore in the Commonwealth populations of the Bald Eagle, Hessel's Hairstreak butterfly, the Northern redbelly Cooter, and the beautiful Eastern Silvery Aster. Donations to the Fund may also be made year round by sending a check made out: Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Fund and sent to: MassWildlife Field HQ, NHESP, 1 Rabbit Hill Rd Westborough MA 01581 Check the Natural Heritage area of MassWildlife's website.
HELP STOCK SALMON FRY
Volunteers from schools, sporting clubs, civic groups and individuals with a passion for rivers, fish or fishing are needed to assist MassWildlife in stocking 1.7 million salmon fry (juvenile fish) as part of the Atlantic salmon restoration program. According to Dr. Caleb Slater, MassWildlife's Anadromous Fish Project Leader, at least 20 stocking dates are planned in April and early May to release salmon fry into dozens of Connecticut River tributaries. The fry will come from MassWildlife's Roger Reed Hatchery in Palmer and the White River National Fish Hatchery in Bethel, Vermont. Fry will be trucked to meeting sites where volunteers will gather and caravan to release sites. The tiny fish will then be moved from truck to water by bucket using volunteer man and woman power.
Dr. Slater offers some tips for potential volunteers, "You may get wet! A change of clothes is a good idea. You will be walking on slippery stream and river beds, so waders or other waterproof footgear is useful." There are a few waders to loan. Volunteers will also be climbing up and down steep stream banks and should be in good physical condition. MassWildlife aids anadromous (migratory) fish in a number of ways: stocking fry in tributaries of the Connecticut River, monitoring fish passage at dams on the Connecticut, Westfield and Merrimack Rivers; trapping salmon and shad for transport to hatcheries and/or upstream release locations, working with other federal agencies to ensure safe upstream and downstream fish passage at hydroelectric dams, and working with local watershed groups to improve freshwater habitat for fish. For more information on dates, meeting locations and times for fry stocking check out www.mass.gov/masswildlife or contact Dr. Caleb Slater at 508/389-6331.
TUNING IN TO TURTLES!
With spring just around the corner, turtle enthusiasts can now acquire several new turtle related items produced by MassWildlife's Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program and other conservation partners. Posters and a DVD focusing on Massachusetts native terrestrial and freshwater aquatic turtles (not including sea turtles) are now available from the agency.
Educators, conservation commissioners, environmental organizations and consulting firms will find "Turtles of Massachusetts" and "Hatchling Turtles of Massachusetts" posters valuable tools aiding the identifying physical and habitat characteristics of adult and juvenile turtles. "Turtles of Massachusetts" includes images of 10 native adult turtles, with views of the carapace (upper shell), the plastron (lower shell) and a hatchling turtle. Information about each turtle's population status, size, identifying field marks, description of habitat and distribution in the state are also provided. A paragraph on assisting turtles across roads is also included. "Hatchling Turtles of Massachusetts" illustrates 10 native turtle hatchling images with carapace and plastron views, egg clutch size, season of hatchling emergence, physical description, population status and the range of these turtles in Massachusetts. Threats to hatchling turtles are also briefly described.
These posters were a collaborative effort supported by MassWildlife's Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program, the Vernal Pool Association, and the University of Massachusetts/Boston Electronic Field Guide supported by the National Science Foundation.
The turtle DVD, "An Introduction to The Turtles of Massachusetts; Why They Need Our Help!" is 12 minutes in length. It features information about rare turtles including interviews of a variety of turtle experts, major threats to turtles and ways in which people can help turtles. "People of all ages and walks of life have had experiences with turtles and are fascinated with these animals," said Lori Erb, Turtle Conservation Biologist with MassWildlife's Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program. "Our purpose was to promote greater public awareness about the status and threats to native turtles and also to provide useful information for those people who want to assist turtles." Erb noted that the DVD was produced by college students enrolled in Boston University's Center for Digital Imaging Arts. "It was a great learning experience for the students-not only about the production process, but also the challenges of filming in a variety of environments. We're grateful for their efforts."
Turtle posters are free and can be picked up at the MassWildlife Field Headquarters in Westborough and MassWildlife District offices in Acton, Bourne, W. Boylston, Belchertown and Pittsfield. The DVD is also available in those offices. Cost for the DVD is $5 but is free for educators.
2006 MOOSE/VEHICLE COLLISION FIGURES
There were 39 reported moose/vehicle collisions in 2006, a 35% increase from the 29 moose/vehicle incidents that were reported in 2005. Also, 1 moose was destroyed for public safety, 11 were found dead, 1 was hit by a train, and 9 moose immobilized and relocated. The record number of reported moose/vehicle accidents was 52 in 2004. All moose/vehicle collisions should be reported to MassWildlife at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling a MassWildlife District Office or Massachusetts Environmental Police with the following information: date and location of the collision and if the animal was a male or female. This information allows biologists to follow moose population trends as well as knowing where moose are active. Unlike deer, moose may not be salvaged by a Massachusetts driver or passenger of the vehicle killing the moose. The disposition of any moose carcass is only at the discretion of the Massachusetts Environmental Police or the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. More information about moose may be found in the Wildlife area of MassWildlife's website www.mass.gov/masswildlife.
UPCOMING PUBLIC MEETINGS
The Fisheries & Wildlife Board will be meeting on March 27, 2007 at 1:00 PM at the MassWildlife Field Headquarters in Westborough off North Drive. Open to all, these public meetings provide Board members with information on wildlife and related topics and issues across the state. The Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Advisory Committee will meet on April 12 at 1:30PM at the MassWildlife Field Headquarters in Westborough. For directions, check the MassWildlife website in About MassWildlife (www.mass.gov/masswildlife ) or call 508/389-6360. Both meetings are open to the public.
Calendar of Events
Check mass.gov/masswildlife for weekly updates to the MassWildlife Calendar
- March 21 - 22 -- Wildlife Disease Conference, Turners Falls -- The Wildlife Society's New England Chapter is presenting a conference on wildlife diseases that is open to interested attendees at the Silvio Conte National Wildlife Refuge's Great Falls Discovery Center. This is an opportunity to learn about avian influenza, chronic wasting disease, West Nile virus, eastern equine encephalitis and various tick borne diseases. MassWildlife's Chronic Wasting Disease Biologist Nicole Hamilton-Smith will be presenting information on Chronic Wasting Disease and Tom O'Shea, MassWildlife Assistant Director of Wildlife will be talking about Wildlife Disease Surveillance. Registration is limited to 90 people for each day and the fee includes breakfast pastries, break refreshments, and a catered lunch. Visit the New England Chapter website for registration information. The conference is co-hosted by the Silvio Conte National Wildlife Refuge and funding provided by USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services.
- March 22-23 - Outdoor Recreation at Tourism Conference, Worcester - At the 20th Annual Governor's Conference on Travel and Tourism, MassWildlife, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Conservation and Recreation will be collaborating on an interagency table display of outdoor opportunities available through EOEA agencies. The conference theme, "Tourism: The Economic Engine" will be a jam-packed, two-day conference promises to be the most exciting and interesting yet and will offer quality, keynote addresses; breakout sessions and networking opportunities designed to keep tourism related entities informed about the current state of the industry, marketing trends and the latest research on this 11 billion dollar industry for Massachusetts. For more information and registration go to www.massvacation.com.
- March 24- Gearing Up For Outdoorswomen, Kittery, Maine --Take a comfortable tour bus ride from MassWildlife's Field Headquarters in Westborough to Kittery Trading Post and learn about the outdoor clothing, equipment and other geat that is right for you from the experts. Seminars on fly casting, turkey calling, turkey hunting techniques and more! No purchase required but there will be a discount for participants. Space is limited, fee is $45.Call Sue Fritze at 508/389-6329 for space availability.
- March 27--17th Massachusetts Land Conservation Conference, Worcester -- Sponsored by The Trustees' Putnam Conservation Institute & the Massachusetts Land Trust Coalition. Through workshops, discussions, and informal conversations, this conference provides land trust board members, volunteers, staff, municipal commission members, and others interested in land conservation with the knowledge, skills, and connections needed to be effective. MassWildlife realty staff will be in attendance. Registration is required.
- April 2, 9, 23, 30-- Basic Freshwater Fishing Course, Shrewsbury -- Open to beginning anglers of all ages, this free clinic co-sponsored by the Shrewsbury Parks & Recreation Department and will be held from 6:30-8:30 PM at the Spring Street School. Equipment is already provided but if you have equipment, you are welcome to bring it along! MassWildlife's Angler Education Volunteer Instructors will be teaching this free clinic. For more information, contact Shrewsbury Parks & Recreation Department at 508/841-8339.
- April 12-- Black Bears in Massachusetts, Carlisle -- Join Jim Cardoza, MassWildlife biologist and Bear Project Leader at a presentation about black bears. Black bears have been sighted in the region and this program will answer many people's questions about bruins! This presentation is co-sponsored by the Carlisle Conservation Commission, Carlisle Public Schools and the Carisle Conservation Foundation.This free program will begin promptly at 7:30 P.M. in the Corey Auditorium at the Carlisle Public Schools on Church Street.