Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How To Make a Fish or Wildlife Pond

When constructing a pond for fish or wildlife, engineers employ a variety of structures that provide essential habitat.

The following list includes several structures that may be required, depending on the size, type and intended use of a pond.
  • fish feeders
  • pond aerators
  • deep channels
  • sloping shorelines
  • brush piles
  • fish attracting devices or artificial reef materials
  • shoreline trees-shrubs
  • submerged aquatic vegetation (sav)
  • lily pads (spatterdock)
Each of these structures have specific requirements and benefits. Some features, such as depth and grading must be calculated during the design phase and implemented at the time of construction.

Other features such as aerators, brush piles, and populations of fish can be placed and supplemented in later phases.

With almost any pond design, size is the most critical factor. Some designs, such as stock tank type ponds, provide some ability to expand the pond size or increase depth.

In some applications, nearby structures will also be required such as food plots for attracting and sustaining migratory waterfowl.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Abundance of Geese Expected Along Atlantic Flyway

light geese
An abundance of geese and other waterfowl are expected to migrate along the Atlantic Flyway this season.

According to Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the number of breeding Atlantic Population Canada geese were significantly higher during the spring of 2011, increasing from approximately 154,000 pairs in 2010, to 194,800 pairs this season.

Although the number of pairs increased, a cold spring on the Ungava Peninsula contributed to a slightly reduced nesting effort, with fewer eggs laid compared to a normal nesting year.

Light geese are also expected to be abundant. Greater and lesser snow geese and Ross's geese are collectively referred to as "light geese". These birds have become so abundant that they are causing harm to wetland habitats throughout their range.

Birdwatchers and wildlife enthusiasts that wish to support wild populations of waterfowl can purchase a Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (Federal Duck Stamp).

Federal Duck Stamps are available at most U.S. Post Offices, National Wildlife Refuges, and some DNR sport license agents. Federal Duck Stamps can also be purchased by calling toll-free 1-800-DUCK499, 1-800-STAMP24 or order online at

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

NOAA Columbia-Snake River Salmon BiOp Fails

On August 2, 2011, U.S. District Court Judge James Redden ruled that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries Service failed for the third time in ten years to produce a legal and scientifically adequate plan to protect imperiled Columbia-Snake River salmon from extinction.

Fishing and conservation groups, the state of Oregon, the Nez Perce Tribe, and the Spokane Tribe opposed the federal biological opinion, or BiOp, in court.

This is the third time Judge Redden has found a BiOp for the Columbia-Snake Basin inadequate and illegal. Today, salmon populations are critically low, lingering near just 1 percent of their historic levels.

In finding the current plan’s heavy reliance on unidentified and uncertain habitat actions illegal, the court wrote: “Coupled with the significant uncertainty surrounding the reliability of NOAA Fisheries' habitat methodologies, the evidence that habitat actions are falling behind schedule, and that benefits are not accruing as promised, NOAA Fisheries' approach to these issues is neither cautious nor rational.”

Endangered Snake River salmon and steelhead tackle a migration like no other salmon on earth. Some swim more than 900 miles and climb almost 7,000 feet to reach their spawning grounds, scaling eight dams along the way.


Friday, July 29, 2011

USGS Red Knot - Horseshoe Crab Research

According to a U.S. Geological Survey study, ecological links exist between
red knots and horseshoe crab populations

Population health of the red knot, a shorebird species whose population has plummeted over the last 15 years, has been directly tied to the number of egg-laying horseshoe crabs in Delaware Bay during the red knot’s northward migration each spring.

The research appears to support the hypothesis that managing horseshoe crab populations and their harvest may help conserve red knots. Horseshoe crabs are harvested for bait. They are also used in the pharmaceutical industry, which collects their blood for its clotting properties.

The study, which looked at data from more than 16,000 birds over a 12-year period, revealed that the chance of a red knot gaining significant weight after arriving at Delaware Bay is directly related to the estimated number of female horseshoe crabs that spawned during the shorebird stopover period each spring.

Birds that do not gain enough weight tend to have a lower chance of surviving the rest of the year, and in some years the difference between heavy and light bird survival can be large.

The research also found evidence that the annual survival of these birds is not only partly dependent on their body mass when they leave Delaware Bay but is also strongly related to snow conditions when the birds reach their arctic breeding grounds.

The research, Demographic consequences of migratory stopover: linking red knot survival to horseshoe crab spawning abundance, was authored by Conor McGowan (USGS), James Hines (USGS), James Nichols (USGS), James Lyons (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) and others.

It was published in this month’s edition of Ecosphere, a new open-access journal of the Ecological Society of America. The article is available online.

source: USGS

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Oil Spill in Yellowstone River

On July 1, 2011, crude oil spilled into the Yellowstone River. According to Montana officials, the spill released over 1,000 barrels of crude oil into the river.

These are a few details concerning the spill:

- The spill occurred when a pipeline feeding the ExxonMobil refinery in Lockwood broke.

- On July 2, Governor Brian Schweitzer, Disaster and Emergency Services (DES) and other state agencies were notified by Yellowstone County DES that crude oil was released into the Yellowstone River from an ExxonMobil Company pipeline.

- Evacuations took place in the immediate area of the spill due to the odor from the oil.

- Unified Command for the incident includes the EPA, State of Montana and Exxon Mobile.

- Other agencies involved include: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard, Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks, North Dakota Disaster and Emergency Management, National Response Center, PPL Montana.

- Following the spill, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks issued a consumption advisory for fish caught in the Yellowstone River in the area of the oil spill.

- For more information, visit: visit

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Discarded Fishing Line Kills Wildlife

Fishing line discarded along waterways can harm animals. Each year across North America, birds, mammals, and other wildlife get tangled up in fishing line along rivers, creeks and reservoirs.

Some birds use fishing line to build nests. The result is that chicks and young waterfowl end up tangled in the mess.

Fishing line also cuts into the tender legs and feet of birds, waterfowl and other wildlife. Those cuts then can become infected and result in an agonizing death for the animals. Pets can also get tangled in fishing line with a potential to cause injury.

Monofilament line is very strong and can remain hazardous for years. Unfortunately, line can be found along reservoirs and stream banks throughout North America.

Outdoor enthusiasts who encounter discarded monofilament line or other trash should pick it up. Also, tell anglers about the dangers of discarded line.

If you want to recycle your old fishing line, it can be sent to: Berkley Recycling, 1900 18th Street, Spirit Lake, Iowa, 51360.

Fishing and sport shops that would like to offer recycling to customers, can contact Berkley at 800-237-5539. Berkley is a fishing products company.

source: Colorado Division of Wildlife

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Maine eBird Birdwatching Resource

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, the Maine Birding Trail and Cornell University have launched a state-specific version of eBird – a popular birding site where birdwatchers share information about sightings, trips and trends.

Birders are encouraged to visit the new Maine eBird site at or from MDIF&W’s website at There birders can submit their observations, look at data that have already been collected, view news stories relevant to Maine birders, read articles regarding Department research and conservation planning efforts, and consider volunteer opportunities.

For more information about Maine Birder Bands, visit

source: Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Red Fox Art in North America

Red fox artwork is a favorite of wildlife enthusiasts. These colorful predators are known for their intelligence, hunting ability and family-oriented lifestyles.

In the past, foxes were hunted for sport, killed for bounties, poisoned or simply shot. Centuries of mistreatment forced them to lead very shy lifestyles.

Eventually, cultures began to change and red foxes made an incredible recovery in North America. Today, red foxes are commonly seen along rural roads, fields, meadows and wildlife refuges.

Accompanying the return of red foxes is the popularity of red fox art. Nature enthusiasts love fox photos, illustrations, and other artwork. When choosing a gift for fox artwork collectors, shoppers often choose items such as coffee mugs, t shirts, hats or other items that can be enjoyed on a daily basis.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Art Contest

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies will be sponsoring an art contest designed to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program.

Submissions to the art contest must capture and illustrate the spirit of the Wildlife and Sport Restoration Program.

Artwork should highlight one or more land, and one or more water-dwelling species; wild mammal, sport fish (no reptile, amphibian, plant, invertebrate) -- found in the United States.

The contest is open to the public. There is no submission fee. For contest details, contact Kim Betton with the USFWS at 703-358-2081 or e-mail

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamps

The $15 Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp is one way to support wildlife in Ohio. Sales of Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamps go towards supporting restoration of endangered and threatened wildlife species, research projects, land purchases and conservation easements, and educational products for students and wildlife enthusiasts.

Each year, an Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp depicting a different animal will be issued to highlight the diversity of Ohio’s natural world.

Discover more about the stamp by visiting or calling 1-800-WILDLIFE

source: Ohio Department of Natural Resources

Monday, June 27, 2011

Urban Waters Federal Partnership Pilot Programs

The United States Department of the Interior recently announced the creation of the Urban Waters Federal Partnership (UWFP), a federal union of 11 agencies.

Agencies of the Urban Waters Federal Partnership include the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of the Interior, United States Department of Agriculture, Corporation for National and Community Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Commerce/Economic Development Administration, Department of Commerce/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Army Corps of Engineers, Department of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Efforts of the partnership will focus on stimulating regional and local economies, creating local jobs, improving quality of life, and other goals in communities across the country.

UWFP will focus its initial efforts on seven pilot locations including the Patapsco Watershed (Maryland), Anacostia Watershed (Washington DC/Maryland), Bronx & Harlem River Watersheds (New York), South Platte River in Denver (Colorado), Los Angeles River Watershed (California), Lake Pontchartrain Area (New Orleans, La.) and the Northwest Indiana Area

For more information, visit:

source: Department of the Interior press release

Thursday, June 2, 2011

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Awards Tribal Wildlife Grants

Three Alaska tribes will receive a total of almost $600,000 in tribal wildlife grants, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Tribal wildlife grants assist federally recognized tribes in carrying out activities that benefit fish and wildlife and their habitats.

Nationwide, tribal grants totaling more than $7 million were awarded to 37 Native American tribes in 16 states, including the 3 tribes in Alaska.

source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Songbird Photography Tips

female summer tanager
a female summer tanager
Throughout North America, photographing songbirds is a popular pastime. For many photographers, a rewarding experience occurs when a new songbird is captured by the camera's eye. In order to locate and photograph many of North America's most beautiful songbirds, one must learn a variety of techniques.

Before embarking on a trip into the field to photograph birds or other wildlife, it may be important to do preliminary research. Weather often plays a major role in the success of a trip. Other environmental factors may also affect bird behavior, such as tides, moon phases, or other events.

A checklist may also be helpful before heading into the field. These usually cover essential equipment such as camera batteries, sun block, insect repellent, hat, eyewear, and other gear.

Time of day is an important factor when photographing birds and other wildlife. Early morning is often the most active time for songbirds. Another busy period may come in the last hour or so of daylight. When photographing songbird species, the photographer must take into account, not only time of day, but light levels and the sun's position.

Some birds are extremely shy and will not tolerate the presence of humans. In some cases, A blind may be necessary in order to get high quality songbird photographs. In other situations, the photographer cannot get close and instead must use telephoto lenses.

Hundreds of species of birds tend to be found near water. Obviously, ducks, geese and shorebirds are drawn to water, but songbirds such as warblers, waxwings and others are often found along streams, creeks, lakes or ponds. Kayaking or canoeing is often one of the most effective means of approaching these birds.

As the saying goes, patience is a virtue. Successful bird photography often requires that the photographer remain still in the environment. Movement, noise and the glimmer of equipment is likely to alarm birds. In some cases, birds are actually quite curious and if a photographer's actions are non-threatening, they may actually approach to investigate.

To capture images of songbirds, photographers should dress appropriately. Earth toned clothing is preferred as it seems to attract less attention. Bright colored jackets, hats, or shiny accessories are usually avoided as they can draw attention to the photographer. During cool weather, layered clothing will allow photographers to add or remove items as conditions change.

Before going into the field, it is important to be familiar with cameras and accessories. In some cases, camera settings may need to be hastily adjusted in the field. Knowing equipment features can make the difference between a once in a lifetime photograph and a missed opportunity.

Always be alert and ready when scouting out potential areas. Birds often appear unexpectedly but rarely remain in view for long. An opportunity to photograph a bird of interest may last only a few seconds.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

North American Blue Songbird Identification

Spotting North American songbirds is always enjoyable, but identification of bird species can be sometimes be complicated.

This series of photographs show how a wide range of bird species can be quite similar in appearance. Below are several blue male songbirds of North America's Mid Atlantic region.

Distinguishing songbirds starts by looking for identifying characteristics such as beak shape, coloration, habitat, behavior, and other factors.

Binoculars, field glasses, or spotting scopes can be a big help. A good field guide is another indispensable tool to help with bird identification. When possible, digital photographs will allow bird enthusiasts to study birds at home in greater detail.

In the series below, several blue songbirds occupy similar habitats. Each bird has slightly different body coloration as well as behavior.

male blue grosbeak
male indigo bunting

male eastern bluebird

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

2011 National Walk in the Woods Day

National Walk in the Woods day (May 21, 2011) will take place in state and city parks as well as private forests and tree farms across the nation.

The American Forest Foundation created National Walk in the Woods day to inspire families to discover a forest and learn about its importance by taking “walk in the woods.”

National Walk in the Woods day is part of "Celebrate Forests, Celebrate Life," a comprehensive collection of events and resources to educate and inform the public on nationwide celebrations of forests. The project is a cooperative effort by The National Association of State Foresters and the US Forest Service.

The day is just one of many events to be held in connection with the 2011 International Year of Forests. Designated by the United Nations General Assembly, the International Year of Forests is designed to raise awareness of sustainable forest management and forest conservation.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Who is to Blame for Aquatic Invasive Species?

Across North America, a wide range of opinions exist concerning aquatic invasive species and the threats they pose to ecosystems.

In response to these threats, a number of government agencies have gotten involved in the war against aquatic invasive species.

Although science and research are valuable assets in the war against aquatic invasive species, information can be subject to misinterpretation.

One such example occurred in Maryland USA in 2011. Acting in response to the spread of didymo, an invasive algae, the state banned felt soled waders and other footwear.

While there is no doubt that felt soled waders can harbor the algae, the evidence which proves that anglers' boots are the sole source of  the spread of didymo is non-existent.

Even if the extermination of felt soled waders can be achieved, blue herons, raccoons and countless other bare footed creatures will continue to migrate from stream to stream as they have done for thousands of years.

The regulation is pointless. It serves only to divide anglers and law enforcement officials and create a sense of false security. Didymo, like other invasive species will require a culture change in order to combat. These changes cannot be achieved by creating a myriad of regulations that serve no practical purpose.

Meanwhile, Maryland and other states continue stocking their waters with non-native species of fish. While these programs promote outdoor recreation and may have cultural value, the environmental impacts are not always positive.

Hopefully federal and state agencies will review existing practices and discontinue those that have potential to harm native environments.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Colorado River Basin Water Use Study

An April 2011 report from the National Parks Conservation Association analyzes the impacts of water management in the Colorado River Basin and five national parks that lie along the Colorado River and its tributaries.

According to the report, water management has altered the natural state of the river, including the long-term presence of major dams and non-native species, and changes in water flow in the system.

National parks examined in the study include Grand Canyon National Park, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Canyonlands National Park, Dinosaur National Monument, and Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

The report cites several factors which affect the rivers in these parks:

  • Dams along the Colorado River have fundamentally changed ecological and environmental processes in these parks by  destroying natural habitats in some areas, creating highly unnatural flow regimes, trapping sediments that are critical for building and maintaining aquatic and riparian habitats and altering natural water temperatures that foster native fish communities.
  • Reintroducing more natural water flows in the rivers can protect park resources. In addition, any further alterations to the natural flow of the river must not compromise these treasured parks, which receive a total of more than 8.5 visitors annually. . Recent proposals to divert water from the River for municipal and agricultural uses would likely be detrimental to the parks. 
  • Climate change scenarios predict the western United States will become drier and warmer, which increases the likelihood that the volume of water in the river annually will decrease and releases from reservoirs like Lake Powell will be reduced.
  • Non-native fish have been introduced; causing issues for native species through predatory and competitive behavior and the non-native tamarisk has altered the river channel, further restricting river flows.

The report outlines steps that can be taken to reverse or mitigate some of the challenges facing the river, including:

  • Changes to dam operations to reduce impacts on endangered species and other resources, which would have relatively minor effects on hydropower revenues.
  • Climate change research to clearly understand and ensure that its effects on the River are taken into account for all future policies and decisions impacting water flow in the river.
  • Additional research on costs and benefits of restoring more natural flows so that the value of the parks along the River can be properly assessed.

To view a full copy of the report, please visit:

source: National Parks Conservation Association

Friday, April 22, 2011

Chesapeake Bay Ghost Pot Removal Program

In the Chesapeake Bay, commercial watermen have hauled up more than 10,000 derelict so-called “ghost pots,” lost fishing nets, and assorted metal junk from the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries in the third year of Virginia’s one-of-a-kind Marine Debris Removal Program.

The program, funded by NOAA through the Virginia Marine Resources Commission and administered by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, paid the watermen to use side-imaging sonar units to detect and retrieve lost or abandoned crab pots and other marine debris that litter the Bay floor.

Many of the recovered pots had been derelict for several years, and continue to inadvertently trap and kill crabs and a variety of fish and wildlife.

The recovered crab pots were found to have captured over the winter more than 11,000 animals, including thousands of crabs, as well as turtles, fish, eels, and whelks. Scientists have determined that each functional lost crab pot can capture about 50 crabs a year.
The program costs roughly $1 million a year. It is funded by NOAA through blue crab disaster funds made available to the Virginia Marine Resources Commission. Recovered marine debris are disposed of or recycled.

Since the Marine Debris Removal Program began in December 2008, more than 28,000 lost or abandoned crab pots have been removed from the water, as well as 150 lost fishing nets and 1,300 pieces of assorted metal junk. More than 27,000 animals, many already dead, were found in crab pots retrieved since 2008.

More information on the program’s results can be found on the program’s website

source: VMRC

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Best Places for Spring Birdwatching - Creeks and Streams

Springtime is an excellent time to look for songbirds around local waterways. Lakes, ponds, creeks and woodland streams are all good places to spot warblers, sparrows, chickadees and other songbirds.

As with most birdwatching, the best time to visit these areas is usually early morning or late afternoon, when birds are more active.

Although many birds are shy, some are quite curious and will actually approach humans that remain quiet and resist the urge to make sudden movements.

A camera is always worthwhile to carry on spring birdwatching trips as something new can appear at any moment.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wildlife Watching Boat Tours

Wildlife boat tours are a great way to see nature from the water. Wildlife tours are available seasonally on lakes, reservoirs, rivers, coastal bays and other waterways. Tour boats often travel to national wildlife refuges, state parks or other preserves where wildlife is abundant.

The types of wildlife that can be expected will vary widely by location, season, weather conditions, and time of day. A reputable tour guide will be up front about what to expect.

When choosing a wildlife or nature tour boat provider, a good starting point is always an online search. Another good source of information may be the local tourism information center. Hotels and inns are another possible source of  tourism information. State and local chambers of commerce may also be able to recommend a boat tour. In most areas, local outdoor guides or outfitters offer wildlife watching trips by boat.

Types of Wildlife Tour Boats:

Flat bottomed skiffs are extremely popular as touring boats. These are simple, sturdy craft that are designed to carry heavy payloads through shallow areas. Skiffs offer a comfortable platform at low speeds, although they are known for their harsh, wet ride in windy situations. Most skiffs are totally open, which allow for unobstructed views of wildlife. The down side to an open boat is that occupants have no shelter from the elements.

In some areas, pontoon boats are the predominant choice for wildlife tours. These craft offer several advantages over other styles of boats. They typically have tops, which shade occupants from the sun and provide some amount of shelter during rain showers.

Some wildlife tours utilize canoes or kayaks. These are among the most rugged of trips, with tour members needing a higher level of physical skills. Although canoeing and kayaking tours demand more effort, they offer advantages that no other tours can match. Among the most alluring aspects of these tours are the up-close encounters and individual experiences that only a small, self powered craft can produce.

For longer range tours such as whale watching trips, much larger craft are preferred. These specialized boats offer enclosed cabins, bathrooms and may even serve drinks and meals on board. These full featured boats are usually more expensive, but are suitable for a wider range of ages and skill levels. Depending on the area, length of trip and local water conditions, motion sickness remedies may be necessary when travelling on these vessels.

Questions to Ask When Choosing a Wildlife Tour Boat:

When are tour boats available?
Do I need to make reservations in advance?
Do any additional costs apply such as tips or other fees?
What are the capabilities of the boat?
What is the length of the trip?
How many occupants can the boat carry?
What do I need to bring on the boat?

Wildlife Tour Information

USA Nature Tours

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Fishing Novel: Brook Trout and the Writing Life

Author Craig Nova intermingles tales of fishing, family and writing in Brook Trout and the Writing Life. This exceptional book will appeal to anglers, fathers, daughters, writers, and readers of outdoor adventures.

Described in the book are the rivers and streams of  New England, with fishing for brook trout being the central theme. The author began Brook Trout and the Writing Life as a letter to his children, but it soon became an essay on American family life in the modern age.

Craig Nova is the award-winning author of twelve novels, including The Good Son, Cruisers, The Congressman’s Daughter, Trombone, and most recently, The Informer, published by Shaye Areheart Books. His writing has appeared in Esquire, The Paris Review, The New York Times Magazine, and Men’s Journal, among other publications.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Spring Themed Gifts

With Spring in full swing, almost every wildlife enthusiast is getting outside and enjoying nature. Unfortunately, many of us spend most of our time inside, working or dealing with daily chores.

For many people, nature-related collectibles are a way of expressing themselves and reminding us that weekends are never far away. For spring enthusiasts, these are just a few examples of artwork that celebrates springtime and nature:

Sunday, April 3, 2011

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Summer Jobs

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hopes to hire more than 2,000 young people this year, as it did in 2010. The agency is encouraging students to apply now for a job this summer on a national wildlife refuge or other public land. The summer jobs program is part of President Obama’s America’s Great Outdoors initiative.

To find summer jobs, applicants can visit the Refuge System web site to find 2011 youth job opportunities in the National Wildlife Refuge System. Scroll down and click on “Student Employment Opportunities” to learn about jobs through program partners such as the Student Conservation Association (SCA) and AmeriCorps.

Youth can apply directly for some openings on partner web sites. For other opportunities on refuges, such as those through the Youth Conservation Corps (YCC), job seekers can contact local refuges (use the “Find Your Refuge” feature on the Refuge System homepage).

Students can learn about other 2011 conservation job opportunities with the Department of the Interior (DOI) at a new web site, and explore the Department of the Interior's Youth in the Great Outdoors program. Listings are for both permanent and temporary jobs. DOI manages the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service and several other technical bureaus.  

Youth job candidates are considered without regard to race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Most internships include a stipend, and others are volunteer positions.

source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

USFWS National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced that it will soon be conducting the 12th National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation.

The survey is conducted every five years, polling American hunters, anglers and other wildlife enthusiasts. The survey provides important statistics about hunting, fishing and wildlife-watching in all 50 states.

The information is collected by the U.S. Census Bureau, primarily through telephone interviews to be conducted April to June and September to October in 2011, and January to March in 2012.

As part of the survey, outdoor stakeholders will be asked about their participation and expenditures in several categories of wildlife-associated recreation. The results will be available in a national report and in 50 individual state reports.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, participation is voluntary and all responses are strictly confidential. Data collected is used for statistical purposes only and no participant can be identified from information contained in the database and follow-up reports.

Sampling is to include 19,000 anglers and hunters and 10,000 wildlife watchers (wildlife photographers, feeders, and observers).

Preliminary survey findings will be available in the spring of 2012. Final reports will be issued beginning in the fall of 2012. The reports, when completed, will be available on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website.

source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Date Extended for Determining Endangered Species Act Status for Loggerhead Sea Turtles

On March 17, NOAA Fisheries and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced they will extend by six months the date for the final rule to list nine distinct population segments (DPSs) of loggerhead sea turtles as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

According the the agencies, the final determination will be made no later than September 16, 2011. Since 1978, the loggerhead has been listed as threatened throughout its range. On March 16, 2010, NOAA Fisheries and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to designate seven loggerhead DPSs as endangered and two as threatened.

The public is invited to comment on the issues related to the appropriate status for the Northwest Atlantic Ocean DPS. Comments will be accepted through April 11 and can be submitted here.

For more extensive information, visit the NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources website.

source: NOAA FishNews

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Job Opening: Salmon Project Director

The Nature Conservancy of California is hiring for a Salmon Project Director for a new salmon program dedicated to protecting and restoring priority salmon runs by removing critical bottlenecks across their lifecycle.

The Salmon Project Director will have primary responsibility for facilitating the implementation, monitoring, and adaptation of the California salmon strategic plan across the organization’s programs and departments under the direction of the North and Central Coast Regional Director.

The director will work with a core salmon team representing science, policy, and project staff to carry out statewide strategies and to engage staff across the state and Pacific Region to carry out place-based projects in line with the strategic plan. According to the Nature Conservancy, the position will remain open until filled.

To be considered for this position, interested candidates must use the link below to submit a resume, cover letter, and salary requirements:

Sunday, March 20, 2011

2011 Endangered Species Day in the USA

Endangered Species Day in the USA will be May 20, 2011.

Endangered Species Day events include festivals, field trips, park tours, community clean-ups, film showings, classroom presentations, and many other fun and educational activities.

Throughout the USA, the day is celebrated at parks, wildlife refuges, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, libraries, schools and community centers.

Created by the United States Senate, Endangered Species Day is celebrated every year on the third Friday in May. 

2011 International Migratory Bird Day Festivals

International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD) officially takes place on the second Saturday in May in the U.S. and Canada and in October in Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean each year.

In celebration of International Migratory Bird Day, a wide range of birding festivals occur within national wildlife refuges each spring.

The following is a list of popular festivals that are coming up in April and May, 2011:

San Diego Bird Festival
Thursday, March 3 - Sunday, March 6, San Diego, California

Attwater Prairie Chicken Refuge Birding Festival
Saturday, April 9 and Sunday, April 10, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. — Attwater Prairie Chicken National Wildlife Refuge, Texas

Santee Birding and Nature Festival
Friday, April 29 - Sunday, May 1 — Santee National Wildlife Refuge, South Carolina

Balcones Songbird Festival
Friday, April 29 - Monday, May 2 — Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge, Texas

Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival
Thursday, May 5 - Sunday, May 8, Homer, Alaska

Biggest Week in American Birding
Thursday, May 5 - Sunday, May 15 - field trips to Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, Ohio

Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge
Thursday, May 12 - Saturday, May 14, Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Virginia

Tualatin River Bird Festival
Friday, May 13 - Sunday, May 15 - Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, Oregon

Great Salt Lake Bird Festival
Thursday, May 12 - Monday, May 16 - Farmington, Utah

Celebrate Birds for International Migratory Bird Day
Saturday, May 14, 9 a.m. to noon - Toppenish National Wildlife Refuge, Washington, and McNary National Wildlife Refuge, Washington

Alaska Birding Festival
Thursday, May 19 - Sunday, May 22 - Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska

Detroit Lakes Festival of Birds
Thursday, May 19 - Sunday, May 22 — Detroit Lakes, Minnesota

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Maryland 2011 Midwinter Waterfowl Survey

Results of the 2011 Midwinter Waterfowl Survey have been released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Each winter, pilots and biologists from the two agencies count ducks, geese and swans along Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay shoreline and Atlantic coast. In January 2011, survey teams observed 640,700 waterfowl which is lower than the number of waterfowl observed in January 2010 (787,100).

Experts attribute the decline to the observance of fewer Canada geese and snow geese along bay shoreline habitats. Large numbers of geese likely went undetected at inland locations, which are not covered by the survey.

Canada goose populations remained high, partly due to additional numbers of geese that were pushed south by the cold temperatures and heavy snow cover in areas north of Maryland.

Overall, greater numbers of ducks were counted in 2011 (199,300) than last winter (173,700), mainly attributed to higher numbers of mallards (55,600) and canvasbacks (43,600). In addition, exceptional numbers of gadwalls were observed on the submerged aquatic vegetation beds on the Susquehanna Flats.

The Midwinter Waterfowl Survey has been conducted annually throughout the United States since the early 1950s.

source: MD DNR

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Virginia Turkey Populations

Below average success by Virginia fall turkey hunters may actually be a sign of improving conditions for wild turkeys. According to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, exceptional mast (acorn) crops and below-average reproduction likely contributed to the harvest decline.

Turkey harvest rates are often reduced when acorns are available. Bountiful acorn crops allow wild turkeys to spend most of their time in forested habitats instead of openings or fields. Abundant acorn resources make traveling less necessary as birds feed consistently on these nutritious foods. As a result their home ranges shrink and they are less noticeable. Collectively, these factors limit fall turkey hunting success.

For 2011, it appears that wild turkey reproduction was below-average. Turkey reproduction is variable and can be influenced by a variety of factors.

Inclement weather during the two weeks following hatching is thought to be hard on young birds. Juvenile birds typically make up a majority of the fall harvest, so low harvests could be related to a poor hatch in the spring.

North America's Wildlife

The continent of North America offers outdoor enthusiasts a chance to enjoy an incredible array of wildlife. In practically any rural area, small town, city or community, humans need only walk a short distance to encounter some sort of wildlife.