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.