Thursday, November 12, 2009

Studying the Past, Looking to the Future (11/5/09-11/11/09)

On Thursday, November 5th I attended the Eastern Lake Ontario Dune and Wetland Conference at the New York State Fairgrounds. The workshop's purpose was to reflect on past management strategies and plan for the future stewardship of the Eastern Lake Ontario Dune and Wetland Area (ELODWA). Attendees of the meeting included members of The Ontario Dune Coalition (TODC) which represent a variety of groups such as The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, The Nature Conservancy, New York Sea Grant, Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, Jefferson County Soil and Water and several private landowner associations, to name a few.

Views of Lake Ontario from Black Pond Wildlife Management Area, part of the ELODWA, during the summer of 2009. Photos by Eastern Lake Ontario Dune Steward Liz Wolff.

The discussion kicked off with a presentation about, "New York's Eastern Lake Ontario Dune and Wetland System: Guidelines for Resource Management in the 21st Century," a report prepared by Geoffrey Steadman that can be found here. After reviewing the progress of TODC's past initiatives, we were asked to break into groups and brainstorm ideas for future projects that would benefit the ELODWA. Suggestions covered a broad scope of issues enveloping everything from the management of invasive species, to the creation of an educational Visitor's Center along the eastern shore.

I enjoyed attending the meeting because I had the opportunity to contribute feedback from a steward's point-of-view. In the future, I would like to see public education programs expand so that all visitors to the eastern shore will grasp the complexity of human impacts on natural resource areas. The understanding of ELODWA as a unique and fragile system will help to ensure its continued protection for years to come.

Purple Jelly Drops or Ascocoryne sarcoides (top) and Armillaria Root Rot or Armillaria mellea (bottom) located at Trestle South along the Salmon River. Photos by Salmon River Steward Liz Wolff.

I am nostalgic about my times as an Eastern Lake Ontario Dune Steward, I and was happy to spend the early part of my week discussing the future of the resource areas that I've grown to love. Now though, I am back in "river mode," and am preparing for the conclusion of my term as a Salmon River Steward. While the upper sections of the river, specifically around Altmar, NY, have been relatively busy, finding anglers to talk with down river has been a challenging task. Anglers that I have spoken with, however, are pleased with the number of fish coming into the river during this early part of the steelhead run. An interesting fact that can impact angling success is that specific weather conditions and times of day are better to fish for steelhead than others. For example, steelhead do not like bright light, so when it is sunny outside the best time to fish is during the first and last hour of daylight. When the skies are overcast, steelhead are more likely to be active all day. The recent streak of sunny weather may be why fewer anglers have reported having good luck. Knowing the fish's behavior and preferences can help make any fishing trip more successful!

An angler catches a brown trout in the Upper Fly Fishing Area. Photo by Salmon River Steward Liz Wolff.

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