MassWildlife News

Commonwealth of Massachusetts – Division of Fisheries and Wildlife
Wayne F. MacCallum, Director

 

 

 

2014 SPRING TROUT STOCKING HAS BEGUN

Freshwater anglers can look forward to the nearly 500,000 brook, brown, rainbow, and tiger trout from the Division’s five hatcheries that will be stocked this spring. Between drought conditions that prevailed much of last summer and the extremely cold, icy, and snowy conditions of this winter, it has been a challenging year for trout hatchery managers. Nevertheless, the nearly 500,000 fish being stocked this spring, coupled with the more than 67,000 12+ inch trout stocked last fall should provide some excellent fishing in the coming months. With 71% of fish measuring over 12 inches in length and 41% over 14 inches, freshwater anglers can expect a great spring. Due to the delayed spring thaw, trout stocking may not begin in some areas of the state until the first week in April. Trout Stocking Schedules will be updated every Friday between April and Memorial Day in May.

2014 spring trout average lengths:

·         195,000 rainbows over 14″

·         71,000 rainbows over 12″

·         12,000 rainbows between 9-12″

·         500 brown trout over 18″

·         43,000 brown trout over 12″

·         81,000 brown trout between 9-12″

·         1,250 brook trout over 15″

·         31,200 brook trout over 12″

·         38,200 brook trout between 9-12″

·         10,000 brook trout between 6-9″

·         4,700 tiger trout over 14″

 

 

HELP WITH EAGLE COUNT IN EARLY APRIL

Eagle and other wildlife enthusiasts are reminded that the statewide Spring Bald Eagle Survey will take place on April 4, 2014 (inclement weather date is April 11). This effort will include a survey of the major rivers, lakes, and reservoirs across Massachusetts. The survey will be conducted by MassWildlife staff and volunteers. Reports of any eagles during this time of year, particularly if birds are seen carrying sticks, are welcome and helpful. Submit eagle sightings this spring and throughout the year using one of the following options: by mobile phone or computer utilizing the Vernal Pool & Rare Species Information System (mass.gov/dfw/nhesp/vprs),  by email to natural.heritage@state.ma.us, or by postal service to “Eagle Survey,” MassWildlife, Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program, 100 Hartwell Street, Suite 230, West Boylston, MA 01583. For more information, contact Andrew Vitz at (508) 389-6394.

 

 

PLEASE DON’T FEED THE BEARS!

Black bears are emerging from their winter dens and seeking food. If you feed birds and live in northern Middlesex County, Worcester County, western Massachusetts, or other areas where bears have been spotted, it’s time to take down bird feeders. In many cases, bears will ignore natural foods such as skunk cabbage and instead head to the nearest birdfeeder for a good meal. To avoid this problem, MassWildlife is asking property owners to be proactive by removing bird feeders and other potential bear foods promptly and taking other preventative measures. Bear range is expanding eastward and some residents in eastern Massachusetts may notice bear activity in the coming months and years. Taking action now, by removing feeders and securing trash, will help avoid conflicts with bears now and in the future. “If food such as bird seed, pet food, unsecured trash or dumpsters are easy for bears to find, conflicts can occur that pose hazards to both bears and people.” says Laura Conlee, DFW Wildlife Biologist. Removing bird feeders will not create a problem for birds as feeding stations are only supplement available natural foods. Click here for more tips on preventing bear conflicts.

 

 

SPRING AMPHIBIAN SEASON HAS ARRIVED

Warm evening temperatures and steady rain on March 12th triggered the first spring-breeding amphibian movements of 2014 in southeastern Massachusetts. Although many parts of the state are still experiencing cold days and scattered snowpack, the onset of spring amphibian season is just around the corner. As we experience rainy nights with temperatures above 40 degrees, Spotted Salamanders, Jefferson Salamanders, Blue-spotted Salamanders, and Wood Frogs will be emerging from their forest retreats and piling into vernal pools to mate and deposit their eggs. Spring Peepers, Pickerel Frogs, and Leopard Frogs will be chorusing in large, open wetlands. Other frogs and salamanders will become active, moving about the landscape in preparation for their respective breeding periods that come a bit later in the spring. You may observe many of these animals as they cross fields, yards, and roadways to reach their destinations.

 

2014 is The Year of the Salamander, as designated by the Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC) and its partner organizations. MassWildlife and the Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program (NHESP) are pleased to participate in this worldwide effort to promote salamander education, research, and conservation. Please consider contributing to this cause during 2014 and beyond. There are many ways to be involved including reporting amphibian observations and vernal pool locations, and educating yourself and others about the diversity of salamanders in New England. To get started, visit our 2014 amphibian website for a wealth of resources, fact sheets, and amphibian updates from around the state.

 

 

 

UPCOMING PUBLIC MEETINGS

April 10, 2014 – Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Advisory Committee Meeting, West Boylston – The Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Advisory Committee will be meeting on Thursday, April 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. Click here for directions or call MassWildlife at (508) 389-6360.

 

April 29 – Fisheries and Wildlife Board Meeting, West Boylston – The April meeting of the Fisheries and Wildlife Board will be held on Tuesday, April 29, 2014, at 1:00 P.M., at the Ludlow Elks Lodge (69 Chapin Street, Ludlow; http://www.ludlow-elks.org/directions.htm). Call MassWildlife at (508) 389-6342 for more information.

 

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CALENDAR OF EVENTS

April 2 – Public Information Meeting on Southwick Wildlife Management Area, Southwick Town Hall – The interested public is invited to join MassWildlife staff, Environmental Police, and local officials and police in a discussion about ongoing habitat management efforts on Southwick WMA, which have been hampered by illegal off-highway vehicle use. This activity has resulted in habitat degradation, nesting disturbance of rare grassland birds, and disruption of outdoor user’s experience at the WMA.  The meeting will be held at 7:00 P.M. at the Southwick Town Hall Auditorium, 454 College Highway, Southwick.

 

April 5 – Trout and Coldwater Streams in the Westfield River Watershed, Westfield Leanda Fontaine Gagnon, DFW Fisheries Biologist, will give this presentation at the Westfield River Watershed Association Symposium.  This year’s theme is The Health of Our Watershed: Forests, Wildlife, Water. MassWildlife will also have a booth at the Symposium, which is being held at Scanlon Banquet Hall at Westfield State University. The event is open to the public.

 

April 15 – The Big Picture: How Landscape Scale Patterns And Processes Affect Brook Trout Populations Within Whole Watersheds, Groton – DFW Fish Biologist, Jason Stolarski, will address the Nashua River Watershed Association. The meeting will take place at 7:00 P.M at 592 Main Street. The meeting is open to the public and the building is handicapped accessible.

 

April 22 – Peregrine Falcon Adoption Reception, Lowell A new nest box fitted with video cameras has been installed on the top of Fox Hall on the UMass Lowell campus to house and film a pair of Peregrine Falcons that has taken up residence there. The reception to officially “adopt” the pair will be held at the Hawk’s Nest restaurant (327 Aiken St. in Lowell) from 3:00-4:00 P.M. The University Chancellor and MassWildlife staff along with the River Hawk Party Band will be on hand to commemorate the birds’ new home. The public is invited. Go to http://www.uml.edu/falcons/ to access the live falcon webcam.

 

For the most up to date listing of events visit mass.gov/dfw/calendar.