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- VERNAL POOL SEASONAL NOTES AND PUBLICATIONS
- COLDWATER FISHERIES RESOURCES LIST ON THE WEB
- 2009 WILDLIFE STAMP STAMP ART DEADLINES
- SALMON FRY STOCKING REMINDER
- BOAT SMART. BOAT SAFE. WEAR IT!
- SHOOTING SPORTS DAY FOR OUTDOORSWOMEN
- UPCOMING PUBLIC MEETINGS
- CALENDAR OF EVENTS
VERNAL POOL SEASONAL NOTES AND PUBLICATIONS
Despite the seeming lack of spring weather, the season for amphibian movements is upon us. Salamanders, spring peepers, wood frogs, and toads will be ambling and hopping across Bay State roadways on warm wet nights, heading to vernal pools and other wetlands to mate and lay their eggs. The height of spring amphibian activity comes during warm, rainy nights when spring peepers are heard calling. Thousands of frogs, salamanders, and toads move across roadways during these conditions and many amphibians are squashed by vehicles traveling after dark. Some local communities and conservation groups host salamander crossings where traffic is slowed to allow for safe progress of amphibians. Other local groups meet at known "Big Night" crossings or look for new road crossings to share this seasonal phenomenon with the public or to document the presence of nearby vernal pools. Consider doing your daily errands before dark or during dry evenings as a way to reduce amphibian traffic mortality.
A revised poster on vernal pools and the creatures that depend on them is now available from MassWildlife's Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (NHESP). "Vernal Pool Life: A Race Against Dryness" is a beautiful color poster using twenty-six images to depict the many animal species which depend on vernal pools. The poster's images and text have been updated and serves as a wonderful educational aid. Support for the production and distribution of this poster has been provided by NHESP, Sweet Water Trust, the Vernal Pool Association, EnviroNet, and Tuft's Wright Center for Education. The poster is available for free when picked up at MassWildlife District offices and the Westborough Field Headquarters.
To find out much more about what vernal pools are, what they look like,
and what is found in them in Massachusetts, order a Field Guide to the
Animals of Vernal Pools published by MassWildlife's Natural Heritage
Program and the Vernal Pool Association. Beautiful photographs and descriptive
text are combined to aid in the identification and study of amphibians,
reptiles and many invertebrates. The Field Guide may be ordered by sending
a $12 check made out to Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Fund
and mailed to Vernal Pool Guide, MassWildlife, 1 Rabbit Hill Rd, Westborough
MA 01581. Visit the MassWildlife website for other
information about ways to certify and protect vernal pools. Another
useful website with information on vernal pools, crossing signs, and
additional educational materials can be found at the Vernal Pool Association
COLDWATER FISHERY RESOURCES LIST ON THE WEB
Anglers, conservation commissions and other conservation groups and agencies can now find lists of coldwater fishery resources (CFRs) in the Fisheries Conservation area of MassWildlife's website. Coldwater fishery resources (or habitats) are those waterbodies in Massachusetts containing wild, self-sustaining populations of coldwater species of fish including Atlantic salmon, brook, brown and rainbow trout populations as well as lesser known fish such as longnose sucker and slimy sculpin. The presence of these fish in brooks, streams and some rivers indicate excellent water quality conditions. The Massachusetts Wildlife Action Plan has listed CFRs and their associated fish species among the habitats and species in greatest need of conservation in Massachusetts. For ease of use, the list of CFR's on the website is geographically organized by watershed. Currently, there are over 700 streams identified as CFRs. Link to the CFR information.
As the agency responsible for protection and management of freshwater fisheries in the state, the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife initiated a project in 2001, to identify waters that contained sections of coldwater fishery resources. Since then, MassWildlife biologists have been surveying potential CFR waters, collecting fish samples, and determining which streams are CFRs. Because of the enormous scope of this project, sampling activities are ongoing throughout the state. The CFR lists are updated annually after the field season and fish samples are analyzed.
"The CFR list provides a means for the public to know not only
where fishing for wild trout would be productive, but also which areas
are in need of higher levels of conservation and habitat protection
ensuring the continued presence of these coldwater species, said Todd
Richards, MassWildlife fisheries biologist and CFR project coordinator.
"The CFR listing is a useful tool that highlights environmentally
sensitive areas. Conservation commissions, consultants, land trusts
and town open space committees should find this information useful for
conservation planning in their communities." Richards reminds interested
conservationists that the lists are not yet definitive as many more
streams in the state have yet to be sampled and evaluated. Questions
regarding the CFR list may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
2009 WILDLIFE STAMP STAMP ART DEADLINES
MassWildlife invites artists who wish to submit entries for three 2009 wildlife stamp competitions to be aware of the deadlines. The archery and primitive firearms entries are due May 31, 2008. Waterfowl stamp entries are due June 30, 2008. Rules regarding the stamp competitions, go to www.mass.gov/masswildlife and visit the Hunting and Fishing area; click on Stamps and Permits. Hard copies of contest regulations may be obtained from the Westborough Field Headquarters by calling 508/389-6300.
Each year, the Commonwealth issues three wildlife recreation stamps: an archery stamp, a primitive firearms stamp and a waterfowl stamp. These stamps are required of hunters who wish to hunt deer during the archery and primitive arms seasons and waterfowl hunters must purchase the state waterfowl stamp in order to hunt ducks and geese. All three of the stamps feature artwork selected through open competition. Separate entries for the archery stamp and primitive firearms stamp are required. For the archery stamp, the subject is the artist's choice but must relate to bows and/or bowhunting for deer. For the primitive firearms stamp, the subject is again the artist's choice and the design must relate to muzzleloaders and/or muzzleloader hunting for deer. The waterfowl stamps, most popular of the three stamps, were first issued in 1974 and feature decoys crafted by Massachusetts decoy makers. Massachusetts is the only state in the country whose stamp design feature decoys instead of migratory game birds.
Wildlife stamps are critical to wildlife management in Massachusetts. These stamps generate about $300,000 annually, which is used to enhance vital wildlife habitat. The stamps are issued both in beautiful full color hard copy and in a black and white stamped version for those who choose to purchase their licenses on line. The stamps are required for hunters and are collected by hunters, other conservationists, and stamp collectors.
Through the competition, MassWildlife wins the right to generate and
reproduce a stamp using the winning artwork. The winner receives an
engraved plaque, retains ownership of the original artwork and prepares
prints that are of very specific interest to members of the Massachusetts
Bowhunters' Association, Ducks Unlimited, and to sportsmen and conservationists
throughout the Commonwealth and beyond. Full sets of stamps are on display
at MassWildlife's Field Headquarters in Westborough. A detailed history
of the waterfowl stamp program is available in a book published by the
Essex Museum in Salem. Artists needing further information may contact
Ellie Horwitz at 508/389-6305.
SALMON FRY STOCKING REMINDER
Volunteers from schools, sporting clubs, civic groups and others with a passion for rivers, fish or fishing are invited to assist MassWildlife in stocking over a million salmon fry (juvenile fish) for the Atlantic salmon restoration program. According to Dr. Caleb Slater, MassWildlife's Anadromous Fish Project Leader, stocking dates are planned from early April through 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. Dr. Slater offers some tips for potential volunteers, "You will 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 very good physical condition. Dates, meeting locations and times for fry stocking or contact Dr. Caleb Slater at 508/389-6331.
BOAT SMART. BOAT SAFE. WEAR IT!
Lakes and ponds are shedding their winter ice, rivers are swelling with flood waters and the boating season is just around the corner. If in a canoe or kayak, you are required by law to be wearing a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) from September 15 - May 15. Life jackets save lives. The Environmental Police will be issuing citations to those individuals in violation of PFD requirements in all boats and watercraft. All boaters are urged to wear their life jackets. The majority of boating fatalities in Massachusetts involve small boats. In over 80% of recreational boating fatalities the victims were not wearing lifejackets. For the past 10 years, there has been an annual average of 10 boating related fatalities in Massachusetts. In 2007, there were 9 reported boat related fatalities; none of the victims were wearing lifejackets. Of the 9 incidents, 4 of the victims were in canoes, 1 victim was in a kayak, all of which capsized during the fall or spring when water temperatures were dangerously cold. The North American Safe Boating Campaign is urging all boaters to get on board; Boat Safe. Boat Smart. Wear It! More information on this national campaign, go to www.safeboatingcampaign.net. Here in the Bay State, the Massachusetts Environmental Police Boat Safety Bureau offers Boating Safety courses for boaters of all ages and experience. Course schedules or contact the Environmental Police Boat and Recreational Vehicle Safety Bureau at 508/759-0002.
SHOOTING SPORTS DAY FOR OUTDOORSWOMEN
The Massachusetts Becoming an Outdoorswoman program invites adult women to sign up for a day of shooting sports on May 17th at the Harvard Sportsmens Club in central Massachusetts. If your interest is in target shooting or simply in qualifying for a Federal Identification Card, required for firearms ownership, this workshop provides what you need. If you just wonder why people are passionate about the shooting sports, check it out. The workshop is designed for women novices ages 18 and up. Participants will be introduced to rifle, shotgun, handgun and bow & arrow in a safe, relaxed and non-competitive atmosphere where they will learn the basics from expert instructors. All materials, equipment and lunch will be provided. Registration materials are now posted in the Education area of MassWildlife's website.
UPCOMING MEETINGS & PUBLIC HEARING
The following meetings will be held at the MassWildlife Field Headquarters. Both are open to the public and the building is handicapped accessible.
- April 10-Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Advisory Committee Meeting - This meeting will be held from 1:30- 4:30 pm. The role of the Committee is to provide the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife with independent scientific advice on the conservation and protection of over 400 species of wild plants and animals that are not hunted, fished or trapped. In addition, the Committee advises the Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program on matters such as promotion of the Natural Heritage Fund, funding priorities for biological field research and inventory as well as other issues concerning the protection of biodiversity in Massachusetts.
- April 22--Fisheries and Wildlife Board Meeting & Public Hearing, Westborough --The April meeting of the Fisheries and Wildlife Board will be held Tuesday, at 1 PMat the Division of Fisheries & Wildlife Field Headquarters, 1 Rabbit Hill Road, (off North Drive) in Westborough. This meeting is open to the public. The Field Headquarters is handicapped accessible.
- A Public Hearing will be held on Tuesday, April 22, 2008, at
3:00 P.M. at the Division of Fisheries & Wildlife Field Headquarters,
1 Rabbit Hill Road, Westborough, Mass., to establish rules and regulations
relative to declaration of a public health hazard by the Commissioner
of Public Health in areas occupied by state-listed rare species.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
For a complete listing of wildlife related events go to: www.mass.gov/dfwele/dfw/calendar/calendar_home
- April 12--Turtle Talk at the Green Fair, Taunton -- The Green Fair is an event co-sponsored by The Environmental Advocates for Massachusetts Southeast (TEAMS) and the Taunton River Watershed Alliance (TRWA). The Fair will be held from 10 AM - 4PM at the Ted Williams Camp where a variety of presentations, exhibits and demonstrations will be offered. At 1 PM, Lori Erb, Turtle Conservation Biologist for MassWildlife's Natural Heritage Program will talk about the many special turtles of Southeastern, Massachusetts, everything from their distribution and habits to a technique to keep them off the road. For more information contact: TEAMS-INFO@hotmail.com.
- April 22 & 23 -- Project WILD & Aquatic WILD Workshop for Educators, Holyoke -- K-12 educators from classrooms, youth and scout group leaders, homeschool educators and other educators are invited to participate in an exciting eight-hour interdisciplinary environmental hands-on/minds-on workshop focusing on terrestrial & aquatic wildlife and ecosystems. This WILD workshop will take place at Light of Restoration Church on 98 Suffolk St from 9:30 am - 1pm each day. Participants will actively engage in activities, evaluate materials for unique needs & settings, share experiences with other educators, take home ideas & resources to integrate in to their teaching, and make correlations to national & state content standards. Scout leaders, youth group leaders, after school program leaders, and formal & non-formal educators find the materials & workshop experience very valuable. Hours may be used toward obtaining PDP's. Pre-registration is required. Contact Tony Symasko or Yvonne Garcia at 413/532-0403.
- April 24--Snakes of Massachusetts, Sudbury--This presentation offered through the Friends of the Assabet National Wildlife Refuge and hosted at the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge on Weir Hill Rd at 10:30 AM is designed for kids and their families. Peter Mirick, Wildlife Biologist with the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife who will will teach everyone how to identify all 14 species of native snakes, including their life histories and ecological importance, and describe his experiences with each species. For more information about this program, contact Susan Russo, Great Meadows NWR, 978/443-4661 x34.
- April 27--Brookline Reservoir Family Fishing Festival, Brookline--This event is designed to introduce curious or beginning anglers of all ages who have an interest in learning about fishing. On the shores of Brookline Reservoir, cast a line, learn about fish in our waters, safety, ethics, and fishing equipment. No equipment is needed, but if you have your own, bring it along! 10 AM - 2 PM. The Festival is organized in cooperation with the Brookline Parks and Recreation Department. MassWildlife Angler Education volunteers will be on hand to assist. For more information, contact Jim Lagacy at 508/389-6309.
- April 27--Fishing Clinic at White Oak Land Trust Spring Carnival,
Holden--This annual event organized by the White
Oak Land Trust, is loaded with outdoor activities for all ages!
Education Program is participating in this annual event to introduce
fishing skills to curious or beginning anglers of all ages. Cast a
line, learn about fish in our waters, safety, ethics, and fishing
equipment. No equipment is needed, but if you have your own, bring
it along! 9 AM - 12. The event is taking place at Trout Brook Conservation
Area on Manning Street. For more information about the Spring Carnival
contact Nancy at 508/829-5739.