SUMMERTIME… AND THE TURTLES ARE CROSSING
Summer is when normally aquatic female snapping, painted, spotted, red-bellied, Blanding's, and other turtles leave the safety of their water world and venture overland in search of nesting sites. To help these ancient creatures survive now and into the future, consider the following turtle conservation tips:
· If It's Safe, Help Turtles Cross the Road - Be sure to assist a turtle only when it is safe to stop - pull over to the shoulder (if you are driving), and move the turtle across the road. Always move the turtle in the direction was headed, even if that direction is away from water. It knows better than you where it wants to go!
Please Don't Take a Wild Turtle Home or Move it Elsewhere - Keep wild turtles
· Help MassWildlife Locate Popular Turtle Road Crossings - Linking Landscapes for Massachusetts Wildlife offers opportunities for citizens to report online reporting turtle (and other wildlife) road mortality through a Google Maps interface.
· Identify and Report Rare Turtles - If you see a state-listed turtle: take a photo, visit the Natural Heritage area of DFW’s website www.mass.gov/naturalheritage and use the electronic Vernal Pool and Rare Species information system. Fill out the form and electronically submit your report.
· Learn About Turtles and Share Your Knowledge -You can hone your turtle identification skills with DFW's A Field Guide to Reptiles of Massachusetts by making a $3.00 check out to “Comm. of MA-DFW” and sending it to: Field Guide to Reptiles, Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, 100 Hartwell Street, West Boylston MA 01583. Free full color posters on both Adult and Hatchling turtles are available at MassWildlife district offices.
For more information about turtles visit MassWildlife’s Turtles of Massachusetts web page.
REPORT FISH KILLS
With the warm weather here, lakes and ponds are warming up and fish kills may be discovered in some bodies of water. The sight of dead and dying fish along the shores of a favorite lake, pond, or river can be distressing and can trigger concerns about pollution. Fish do act as the "canary in the coal mine," so it's natural to think a fish kill is an indicator of a problem with human caused pollution. However, the vast majority of summer fish kills reported are natural events.
Natural fish kills are generally the result of low oxygen levels, fish diseases, or spawning stress. Depletion of dissolved oxygen is one of the most common causes of natural fish kills. As pond temperature increases, water holds less oxygen. During hot summer weather, oxygen levels in shallow, weedy ponds can further decline as plants consume oxygen at night. This results in low, early morning oxygen levels that can become critical if levels fall below the requirement of fish survival. In addition to reduced oxygen levels, late spring and early summer is when many warm water fish such as sunfish, bluegill, pumpkinseed, and largemouth bass begin to spawn. At this time, large numbers of these species crowd into the shallow waters along the shore vying for the best spawning sites. These densely crowded areas become susceptible to disease outbreaks, especially as water temperatures increase. The result is an unavoidable natural fish kill, usually consisting of one or two species of fish.
To be sure there isn’t a pollution problem, it’s always best to report fish kills. When a fish kill report comes in, a MassWildlife fisheries biologist determines if the kill is due to pollution or is a natural event. Generally, pollution impacts all kinds of aquatic life, therefore the most important piece of evidence for the biologists is knowing the number and variety of fish associated with the fish kill. Fish kills in which only one or two species are involved are almost always a natural event. When it is likely a fish kill is due to pollution, MassWildlife notifies the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). DEP takes the lead on a formal investigation which includes analysis of water and fish samples to determine the source of pollution. DFW provides DEP with technical assistance by identifying the kinds and numbers of fish involved.
To report a fish kill Monday - Friday between 8:00 AM and 4:30 PM, contact Richard Hartley at (508) 389-6330. After normal business hours or on holidays and weekends, call the Fish Kill Phone at (508) 450-5869 or contact the Environmental Police Radio Room at 1(800) 632-8075.
SIGN UP FOR FAMILY CAMPING OR WOMEN IN THE OUTDOORS WORKSHOPS
Some exciting and fun opportunities for families and women to try outdoor skills are scheduled for this summer. MassWildlife’s Becoming an Outdoorswoman Program is working cooperatively with the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and the Central Massachusetts Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation on several summer outdoor skills workshops.
an Outdoor Family Camping Weekends are scheduled for
July and August. The first Family Camping Workshop will be held on July
26 and 27 at
opportunity for females 13 years and older is sponsored by the Central Mass.
Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF). The event will
be held on Saturday, July 19 with an optional overnight campout
STATE AND FEDERAL STAFF HONORED FOR BAITFISH CRIME INVESTIGATION
Dr. Ken Simmons, Chief of Hatcheries for the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, and Thomas Ricardi, Jr., Special Agent for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, were recently honored with an Investigative Achievement Award by the United States Attorney’s Office and the Department of Justice (DOJ). Cases receiving this award are selective and limited to those who have substantially and significantly contributed to the mission of the US Attorney’s Office and the DOJ. The award recognizes very high levels of commitment and professionalism within a prosecution team.
four years, Simmons and Ricardi worked on a federal
case along with the Massachusetts Environmental Police, and the New York
Department of Environmental Conservation involving Michael and Paul Zombik, owners and operators of Michael’s Wholesale Bait.
The crimes involved the transportation of tens of thousands of pounds of live
fish valued in millions of dollars across state lines without required health
certifications and permits. In addition, the Zombiks
imported protected Eastern silvery minnows into
UPCOMING PUBLIC MEETINGS
July 10 -- Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Advisory Committee Meeting, West Boylston -- The Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Advisory Committee will be meeting on Thursday, July 10, 2014, at the DFW Field Headquarters Office located at 100 Hartwell Street, Suite 230, West Boylston from 1:30- 4:30 P.M. in Conference Room A. Directions or call (508) 389-6360.
July 22 -- Fisheries and Wildlife