Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Change of Scenery (7/10/09 - 7/15/09)

If you took a trip to your favorite dune site this past week you may have been surprised to see an unfamiliar steward monitoring the area. After several weeks of getting acquainted with our primary sites we've now begun swapping resource areas to broaden our experiences and get a taste of new scenery!

Eastern Lake Ontario Dune Stewards
Eastern Lake Ontario Dune Stewards Stacy Furgal and Greg Chapman will be alternating between Deer Creek Marsh Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and Sandy Pond Beach Natural Area. In Stacy's first few days at Sandy Pond Beach Natural Area, she was pleasantly surprised by the amount of regular visitors acting as informal stewards. With large amounts of litter washing up, many people have been contributing to the clean up effort by picking up, not only their own trash, but litter along the shore as well. Stacy was thrilled to see so many recreational users going above and beyond to take care of the resource area.

For Chief Steward Greg Chapman, who is accustomed to the sand beach and high visitor usage at Sandy Pond Beach Natural Area, the relatively quiet cobble beach at Deer Creek was a nice change of pace. Greg used the lull in visitors to do some much needed snow fencing repairs.

Boardwalk at El Dorado Nature Preserve. Photo by Eastern Lake Ontario Dune Steward Paul Dawson.

Eastern Lake Ontario Dune Stewards Paul Dawson and I, Liz Wolff, will each be monitoring El Dorado Nature Preserve/Black Pond and Lakeview WMAs for the remainder of the season. During Paul's first day at Black Pond WMA, he was happy to make conversation with many visitors who wanted to know about his duties as a steward. Paul did not have many violations to report from his first day at Black Pond WMA, but he did make note of several people trying to picnic and swim in the bird sanctuary of El Dorado Nature Preserve. From May until the end of September the bird sanctuary and rocky beach of El Dorado Nature Preserve are closed to human use because shorebirds utilize this vital area to feed and rest before their long migration south. Each time visitors disturb the shorebirds they will fly away, slowly depleting the energy reserves necessary for migration. However, visitors are welcome to enter from El Dorado, and then use the string path away from the shoreline to access Black Pond WMA for recreational use. Please note that pets are prohibited from the bird sanctuary and the rest of El Dorado Nature Preserve.

Kiteboarders at Lakeview Wildlife Management Area. Photos by Eastern Lake Ontario Dune Steward Paul Dawson.

The weather on Friday (7/10/09) was ideal for boaters. Temperatures in the mid 80s and the calm surf of Lake Ontario invited users from all over to spend a day along the shores of Lakeview Wildlife Management Area. For many boaters, Friday was the first day this summer that lake conditions allowed access to the site. I was excited to meet many people at Lakeview who have been accessing the site for 20 years or more. Beach goers were friendly and curious about organizing a cleanup for Lakeview's southern section which is only reachable by boat. Although a system-wide cleanup is not certain yet, keep an on this blog in case one is announced in the coming weeks!

Salmon River Stewards

Falls along the Salmon River. Photos by Salmon River Steward Emily Freeman.

Salmon River Stewards Jim Katz and Emily Freeman
both spent time at the Salmon River Falls Unique Area last week. Jim talked to a couple from Auburn, NY who has been visiting the falls for about 20 years. Emily has been encountering large groups of visitors and is glad to report a tremendous increase in responsible and respectful use of the area.

On the Salmon River in Altmar, Jim saw a lot of Skamania steelhead moving up the river from Lake Ontario. Skamania steelhead are summer-run steelhead that provide sport fishing opportunities for anglers not wanting to venture out during the busy fall Pacific salmon season or the colder winter months for winter-run Washington strain steelhead. He talked to multiple anglers that same day who have spotted steelhead in other areas of the Salmon River as well. Adult Atlantic salmon are also in the Salmon River as well this time of year as well. Atlantic salmon are not found in the numbers as the Pacific salmon during the fall months, but still exciting for those lucky anglers that find them during their fishing trip!

Salmon River Stewards Emily and Jim would also like to encourage people to check out the camping sites at the Culvert which are beautiful, and best of all, free!

Program on Aquatic Nuisance Invasive Species with Salmon River Steward Emily Freeman (left). Photo by New York Sea Grant Dune/Salmon River Steward Coordinator Mary Penney.

The Eastern Lake Ontario Dune and Salmon River Stewards are still in the process of presenting their public education programs. On Saturday (7/11/09) Salmon River Steward Emily Freeman presented a program on Aquatic Nuisance Invasive Species and the Nuisance Invasive Species Disposal Stations that are installed at State boat launches along the Salmon River Reservoir. Emily explained that the purpose of the stations is to allow boaters, anglers, and other recreationalists to dispose of nuisance invasive species safely without spreading them to other water bodies. She also gave a brief history and description of some local aquatic nuisance invasive species, helping attendees to recognize species that should be disposed of in these stations. Although the weather was threatening thunderstorms on Saturday, a few brave souls still attended Emily's program and learned some valuable information!

A recreationalist placing aquatic vegetation in a Nuisance Invasive Species Disposal Station at County Route 17 in Redfield, NY. Photo by Salmon River Steward Emily Freeman.

There are still two educational programs remaining in the steward series! Keep checking the blog for more details about dates and locations!

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