Thursday, July 2, 2009

Summer is here!! (6/25/09 - 7/1/09)

Summer is here! With the increase in temperature over the last week recreational users have started to come out in full force to all locations along eastern Lake Ontario and the Salmon River corridor. Summer temperatures bring the threat of thunder storms and rain showers. We want to remind everyone to keep an eye on the weather. Storms can move off the lake quickly.

This week Eastern Lake Ontario Dune Steward Stacy Furgal lead a wetlands wildlife walk at Lakeview Wildlife Management Area (WMA). Stacy reports that although it was a hot day on the walk they did get a chance to spot an oriole, a great blue heron, longnose gar, sunfish, remnants of a turtle nest, and signs that were left behind by a beaver. This is first of a series of free educational programs being run this summer by the Eastern Lake Ontario Dune and Salmon River Stewards.

Snapping turtles can often be seen in wetlands along the eastern shore of Lake Ontario and other local bodies of water. Photo by Salmon River Steward Emily Freedman.

Eastern Lake Ontario Dune Steward Greg Chapman reports that attendance at Sandy Pond Beach Natural Area (SPB) continued to increase as we approach the Fourth of July weekend. Although the weather around eastern Lake Ontario looked to be unstable, the sunshine held for the most part at SPB and afforded us with some excellent views of nearby thunderheads.

Gulls at Sandy Pond Beach by Chief Steward Greg Chapman

Although beach goers prefer no footwear at SPB and at other beaches, there are a number of items that should be watched out for, such as broken glass or fishing lures that occasionally wash onto the shore. This week also saw an increase in the number of water chestnut seeds, or nutlets, found along the beach. These black seeds have a number of sharp points and can definitely hurt an unprotected foot. Water chestnut is an invasive aquatic plant found in some area ponds, lakes and slow-moving streams. Thankfully, once the seeds are black and begin to float, they are biologically dead and can be removed and disposed of without worrying about spreading this invasive plant.

Photos of Water chestnut by Chief Steward Greg Chapman

Eastern Lake Ontario Dune Steward Liz Wolff reports Black Pond WMA/ El Dorado Natural Area has also seen an increase in usage over the last week. As a result, there has been a lot of litter in the area. Many visitors ask why there are not trash receptacles provided. This is because Black Pond WMA and all other WMA's, nature preserves, and natural areas are free facilities and not State Parks (which include trash removal services in park entry fees). Although there are not trash receptacles in these more primitive locations, they all have carry-in, carry-out policies. Visitors can do their part to be good stewards of these areas; help to keep them in their natural state so they may be enjoyed for years to come.

Lakeview WMA has also seen the same increase in visitors as the other sites. Eastern Lake Ontario Dune Steward Paul Dawson reports that Sunday was the busiest day at Lakeview so far this summer. With the increase in users Paul has seen more structures (temporary creations of piled drift wood and other debris), and wants to remind everyone that they are not permitted. The reason for this is they move the driftwood which is a very important dune stabilizer. Structures can also be dangerous if they collapse.

Structure found at Lakeview; by Eastern Lake Ontario Dune Steward Paul Dawson .

Lakeview WMA; by Eastern Lake Ontario Dune Steward Paul Dawson

Salmon River Steward Emily Freeman also reports an increase in visitor use. Over the weekend, one of the camping areas on the Salmon River Reservoir called Little America (CCC Rd) was full. Visitors brought canoes, kayaks, rowboats and even caught some bass for dinner. Emily wants to remind visitors that there are other places to camp on the Salmon River Reservoir such as the Culvert, which has six campsites and dikes. Both of these areas have had low use this year. If anyone is curious about where there are campsites just look for the River Stewards who will be happy to help and have maps available. Campers are reminded to burn ONLY local firewood since the Emerald ash borer (invasive forest pest) has been found in NYS that can easily be spread through firewood (for more on this invasive, click over to New York Sea Grant's Web Site).

View from Culvert on the Salmon River Reservoir Photo by Salmon River Steward Emily Freeman

With the nice weather over the weekend people covered the shore of Redfield Island where they were swimming, barbecuing and simply enjoying a day of sun. Salmon River Steward Jim Katz wants to remind everyone of the importance of carry-in, carry-out so that everyone can enjoy the area. He also talked to a group of men from Rome, NY who had just finished an impromptu smallmouth bass fishing "competition." They reported catching a lot of smallmouth however all were small in size. They released all of their captured fish. Size and limit regulations often change with water body, so please be sure to check local regulations before starting your fishing trip.

All stewards have continued working hard on their educational programs, check our upcoming events for dates!

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