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- TURTLE CROSSINGS
- MILE-A-MINUTE ALERT!
- YOUTH ARTIST FROM QUINCY WINS JUNIOR DUCK STAMP CONTEST
- MASSACHUSETTS RIVERS MONTH CALENDAR
- 2009 FISHING AND BOATING ACCESS PROJECTS COMPLETED
- UPCOMING EVENTS, MEETINGS AND PUBLIC HEARING
June heralds the peak of activity when normally-aquatic Snapping, Painted, Spotted, Red-bellied, Blandings, and other turtles leave the relative safety of their water world and venture overland in search of nesting sites. With alarming frequency, these ancient reptiles are cut off from traditional nesting areas by an ever-increasing network of roads, leaving the turtles vulnerable to high rates of road-kill.
Dubbed the Killing Grid by herpetologists studying the dilemma, roads take a terrible toll on female turtles, which normally offset low reproductive success rates with long reproductive life spans. When adult life spans are cut short it limits recruitment of young wild turtles and can ultimately result in the complete loss of local turtle populations. To add to the crisis, roads bring increasing development, which translates into loss of nesting habitat and additional losses of turtles and turtle nests to people and to residential-area predators such as skunks, foxes, and raccoons.
What can an individual or groups do? Citizens can assist turtles attempting to move to and from nesting areas by helping them across roadways. While this act should not be attempted if any human risk is involved, a successful road crossing can make the difference between nesting now and well into the future, versus no nesting at all. Always remember to help a turtle only when it is safe to do so and always move the turtle in the direction it is heading. Do not take the animal to another location or a pond! Snappers may be safely held by the tail with one hand on the underside of the animal to support their weight, while Painted, Spotted, and other turtle species can be safely grasped by the sides of the shell. More useful turtle conservation tips and turtle FAQs.
On a landscape scale, large tracts of habitat need to be protected to ensure the viability of Massachusetts native turtles. The Division of Fisheries & Wildlifes (MassWildlife) BioMap and Living Waters Map, both created by the Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program with funding from the then-Executive Office of Environmental Affairs (now the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs), identify such tracts on a statewide map, creating a greenprint for the conservation of biodiversity. State, local, and private conservation agencies and organizations embrace the BioMap and Living Waters Map to guide habitat protection efforts. The effort to adopt Green Certification standards by state environmental agencies for sustainable forest management also helps to ensure that care is taken to conserve rare species during the planning and implementation of timber sales on state-owned forest lands.
Encounters with rare, state-protected turtles such as Box, Wood, Spotted, Red-bellied, Bog, or Blandings should be reported to MassWildlife with photo and map documentation. To report a rare turtle species, visit the MassWildlife Rare Species Observation Report web link in the Natural Heritage area.
Mile-A-Minute vine (Persicara perfoliata) also known as Devils Tear-thumb, is an invasive weed that has appeared in Massachusetts. Native to Asia, this species was accidentally imported and became established in Pennsylvania by the 1930s. Closer to home, it appeared in New England in the past decade, with populations in southwestern Connecticut and on Block Island. Here in Massachusetts, Falmouth and Milton are the only towns with known Mile-A-Minute infestations; control efforts are underway in both locations.
Mile-A-Minute is a rapidly spreading spiny annual vine that grows at a rate of 6 inches per day and smothers native vegetation on its way to attaining a final length of 20 feet. It tolerates various soil types and produces abundant bird-dispersed blue fruits with seeds that can grow after being buried for up to seven years.
Mile-A-Minute vine is an easily identifiable plant, says Division of Fisheries & Wildlifes (MassWildlife) State Botanist Bryan Connolly. He noted that the most obvious features are the almost perfectly triangular leaves and the circular leaf-like bract that surrounds the stem at the base of every leaf. The vine is slender and covered in small, curved spines. It also produces very distinct metallic-blue fruits. Images of this highly invasive plant can be found at www.hort.uconn.edu/cipwg/mam. If you believe you have seen Mile-A-Minute, please make detailed notes on the location and take close-up photos.
Knowing where any new populations Mile-A-Minute infestations are located is the first step to controlling its spread. Report your find to Bryan Connolly, State Botanist, at email@example.com or call him at (508) 389-6344. Hard copy notes and photos can be mailed by postal service to: Mile-A-Minute Report, MassWildlife Field Headquarters, 1 Rabbit Hill Road, Westborough, MA, 01581.
YOUTH ARTIST FROM QUINCY WINS JUNIOR DUCK STAMP CONTEST
Mackenzie Haertlin of Quincy, a high school student who studies with Platka's Traveling Art Studio, won top honors among youth artists in the 2009 Massachusetts Junior Duck Stamp Contest. Her acrylic painting of a drake (male) and a hen Mallard was selected from 234 entries as Massachusetts Best of Show in the Junior Duck Stamp (JDS) Contest. Haertlin's award winning work also represented Massachusetts entry in the national JDS Contest held at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum in Washington, D.C. Across the state, students from kindergarten through 12th grade submitted original works of art depicting waterfowl in the appropriate wetland habitat, sharing both their talents as young artists and their knowledge of the importance of wetlands for wildlife. The awards ceremony for the top 100 winning artists was held by the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (MassWildlife) at The Trustees of Reservations Doyle Center for Conservation in Leominster. A complete list of all winners from each age group category from Amherst to Amesbury is posted on the Massachusetts JDS webpage.
A combination of the top 100 pieces of art will be on exhibit throughout Massachusetts during 2009-2010. The Miller's River Environmental Center in Athol is hosting the first JDS exhibit June 4 - July 2. Contact Sue Cloutier at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details on the exhibit. Borderland State Park in North Easton will host the exhibit during the month of August. Call (508) 238-6566 for more details. Check the MassWildlife JDS webpage schedule of the Junior Duck Stamp Traveling Art Exhibit. Other sample artwork can also be found in the JDS web pages.
The Massachusetts Junior Duck Stamp Program is sponsored by MassWildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Massachusetts Wildlife Federation, and Massachusetts Waterfowler's, Inc. The USFWS initiated the Federal JDS program in 1994, to showcase the talents of the nation's young artists while teaching youngsters about the value of wetlands and waterfowl conservation. To purchase Junior Duck Stamps from the USFWS, call (800) STAMP24 or visit their website for purchase information. Proceeds from Junior Duck Stamps support conservation education and provide awards and scholarship for the students, teachers, and schools that participate in the program. Massachusetts JDS awards included family passes to Buttonwood Park Zoo in New Bedford and to the Eric Carle Museum of Picturebook Art in Amherst, art journals, and JDS tote bags.
MASSACHUSETTS RIVERS MONTH CALENDAR
June is Rivers Month and the Department of Fish and Games Riverways Office has compiled a Rivers Month Calendar covering river-related events in Massachusetts from May through early July, to provide citizens with the opportunity to participate in events in, on, and along the rivers of the Commonwealth. The 2009 Massachusetts Rivers Month Calendar is accessible online or as a downloadable MS Word document. This is an excellent opportunity to invite friends, family, and others in your community to clean up, paddle, protect, enjoy, and celebrate your favorite rivers and streams or experience new ones. Enjoy healthy exercise on or along the Commonwealths many scenic waterways. A number of activities require reservations in advance. Contact the event organizers with questions using the contact phone numbers, emails, or web links provided for each listing.
2009 FISHING AND BOATING ACCESS PROJECTS COMPLETED
Just in time for National Boating and Fishing Week (June 6-14, 2009), Department of Fish and Game (DFG) Commissioner Mary Griffin announced the completion of ten boating and fishing access projects valued at more than $1.3 million in fiscal year 2009. These projects involved repair and new construction of boat ramps, car-top access areas, parking lots, and barrier-free shore fishing platforms overseen by the DFGs Office of Fishing and Boating Access (OFBA). The Commonwealth invested $923,000 in these projects while most cooperating cities and towns contributed through staff time spent on construction. The towns of Wellfleet and Truro were able to provide $400,000 on cooperative projects.
These recreation facilities are important to the estimated one million residents and visitors who enjoy recreational fishing in the Commonwealths waters, and hundreds of thousands of people who use motorboats, canoes and kayaks in Massachusetts, said DFG Commissioner Mary Griffin. I would like to thank our partners the cities and towns and other government agencies who work with us to ensure that the Commonwealths funds go further in providing better access to the states coastal and inland waters. Griffin further noted that the Bay States green tourism economy also benefits from these projects.
The OFBA is charged with providing access to more than 1,200 miles of seashore and hundreds of great ponds, rivers, and streams in the Commonwealth. Presently, the agency oversees boat and canoe launch sites and fishing piers at 260 coastal and inland locations in Massachusetts, giving residents and visitors extensive opportunities to enjoy fishing, canoeing, kayaking, sailing, waterskiing, and recreational boating.
The OFBA 2009 projects, locations, facility management responsibility, and project details follows:
BILLERICA--Winnings Pond; managed by the Town of Billerica. New car-top boat access area and barrier-free shore fishing platforms.
CLINTON--South Meadow Pond; managed by Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. New car-top boat access to a stocked trout pond.
FAIRHAVEN--Acushnet River Basin, (Pease Park); managed by the Town of Fairhaven. Reconstruction of existing ramp, a new float loading system and a parking area.
HAMILTON--Chebacco Lake; managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation. Significant repairs to the existing parking area.
MARSHFIELD--Green Harbor; managed by the Town of Marshfield. A joint project with the Marshfield Harbormaster to construct a new safety railing system on the east end of the boat ramp.
PLYMOUTH--Plymouth Harbor; managed by the Town of Plymouth. An extension of the safety railing system at the pier and a float system adjacent to the existing boat ramp.
SPRINGFIELD--Chicopee River; managed by City of Springfield. A new car-top access to be completed by June 30.
TRURO--Pamet River; managed by the Town of Truro. Reconstruction of the parking area at the existing ramp.
WELLFLEET--Wellfleet Harbor; managed by the Town of Wellfleet. A joint project with the town involving reconstruction of the parking area at the existing boat ramp.
WESTBOROUGH--Chauncy Pond; managed by the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. A joint project with the Town of Westborough involving reconstruction of the existing boat ramp and the parking area, and the addition of a new barrier-free shore fishing station.
The OFBA manages the construction, repair, and operation of state boat ramps, canoe and car-top launch sites, parking areas, and approach roads. The OFBA oversees facility design and construction, which is usually performed by private contractors or municipal public works departments. OFBA funds are also used to construct handicapped accessible sport fishing piers and to purchase and improve shoreline fishing areas.
Most state boat ramps are open free of charge to the general public. However, some heavily-used sites are authorized by the DFG to collect user fees in order to recover the costs of site maintenance and daily management. Unlike the OFBA sites, boating facilities acquired and constructed entirely with municipal funds may charge higher fees to out-of-town users or prohibit use by non-residents.
Funding for the acquisition, construction, and maintenance activities of the OFBA come from several sources. The office receives state general funds and bond appropriations. Federal reimbursement for some projects is provided by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service under the Sportfish Restoration Act.
A complete table of information about the individual access locations, maps, and fisheries information is available on the OFBA website.
UPCOMING EVENTS, MEETINGS AND PUBLIC HEARING
June 6 & 7 -- STATEWIDE FREE FISHING WEEKEND! Take a friend or family member fishing for free! You won't need a fishing license to fish any waterbody statewide for these two days. It is time well-spent with family and friends. Once youre hooked, your purchase of a fishing license directly supports fishing, stocking, education, and fish habitat management programs. For information on fishing events this weekend and for the rest of the summer (which dont require a license) go to the MassWildlife link.
June 14--Explore High Ridge Wildlife Management Area, Westminster-- Join Nashua River Watershed Association (NRWA) Land Programs Director Al Futterman and Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife (MassWildlife) Central District Land Agent Brandon Kibbe for a free guided hike exploring a portion of the 2,000+ protected acres of High Ridge Wildlife Management Area, located in Gardner, Westminster, and Ashburnham. High Ridge is a wonderful example of land conservation and wildlife protection, where the agricultural fields are leased as "working landscapes," providing private economic stimulus while accommodating public access and recreation. The hike includes varied terrain, with sloping hillsides, forests, fields, marshes, and coldwater streams. It is recommended that attendees bring drinking water and insect repellant. This hike is part of a series of free programs, open to the public, which the NRWA is offering in celebration of its 40th Anniversary. Registration is required. 2:00- 4:00 P.M., High Ridge Wildlife Management Area in Gardner/Westminster/Ashburnham, meet at Overlook Road parking area. To register and receive directions, or for more information, call (978) 448-0299 or email AlF@NashuaRiverWatershed.org.
June 22--Fisheries & Wildlife Board Meeting and Public Hearing, Bourne--The Fisheries & Wildlife Board will hold its June meeting on Monday, June 22, 2009, at 11:00 A.M. at the Canal Sportsmens Club, 324 Main Street, Buzzards Bay.
A Public Hearing will be held at 1:00 P.M. at the Canal Sportsmens Club, 324 Main Street, Buzzards Bay, MA, relative to rules and regulations pertaining to the use of certain lead-based fishing sinkers and fishing jigs in the inland waters of Massachusetts. Oral and written public comments are invited at this hearing and written comments will be accepted for 14 days following the Public Hearing. The Fisheries and Wildlife Board will most likely vote on the proposed regulation at the July Board Meeting.
Visit the MassWildlife Events Calendar for a Complete Listing of Wildlife-related Activities, Talks, Festivals, and Workshops.
Last Updated: 01/22/2010