Nine hours of hearings Thursday about the proposed New York Regional Interconnect power line application were pronounced “difficult” by a lawyer representing the main power line opposition group.
“Difficult for all parties,” said John Klucsik, an attorney for Communities Against Regional Interconnect.
The power-line company wants to move electricity from Marcy in Oneida County to the downstate New York area. Residents along the route have protested the plan for nearly three years.
On Thursday, a five-member panel of experts from NYRI was cross-examined on issues relating to possible power line routes.
NYRI President Chris Thompson was on the panel, but he spoke only a couple of times, and briefly each time.
Sometimes the discussions became highly technical. For example, several minutes were spent on the merits of “mass-impregnated non-draining cable.”
Under the proposed route, the line would go along the New York Susquehanna & Western Railway tracks through local communities including New York Mills, South Utica and Chadwicks.
CARI opposes the construction of the line, but is also trying to show that if the state Public Service Commission deems the line must be built, there are other viable routes.
Burying it along the route of the existing Marcy South power line, or along the Thruway, are among the opponents’ suggestions.
In numerous instances Thursday, the NYRI witnesses said certain decisions hadn’t been made yet or research wasn’t complete:
-- They said they didn’t know how many rivers and streams the line would cross on either the proposed route or the Marcy South alternative route.
-- They were unable to point to existing testimony that proved they had discussions with the operators of a downstate passenger railroad about burying the line beneath the tracks in certain places, despite having said they might want to do that.
-- They had not done detailed research on what other underground utilities they might encounter in areas where they proposed to bury the line, such as
Asked after the hearings about the occasional delayed response times of his winesses, Thompson said that was normal.
“There are I forget how many thousands of pages of documents you have,” he said. “It’s difficult to find the specific details people are asking for.”
There were plenty of times when the NYRI panel did have its facts in order.
Klucsik tried to pin NYRI witness Richard Bucci down on whether the line would be affected by maintenance problems more if it were underground or above ground.
While Bucci conceded that both underground and above-ground lines were reliable, he added that a given mile of above-ground line would need repairs once every 205 years.
“In either case, we won’t be around to verify,” he joked.
The hearings have been going on since March 16 and will continue into April. The commission wants to make its decision by early August.
March 28, 2009, Times Herald Record: Leisure Time Spring Water Co.'s death averted, Canadian firm to buy assets
Leisure Time Spring Water Co.'s death averted
Canadian firm to buy assetsvar isoPubDate = 'March 28, 2009'
POUGHKEEPSIE — The assets of Leisure Time Spring Water will be sold to a Canadian company that promises to preserve most of the company's 50 jobs, thanks to a last-minute deal reached Friday afternoon in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
Boreal Water Collection, a company based in Quebec and incorporated in Nevada, will pay about $2.5 million for the assets of A.T. Reynolds & Sons Inc. The 125-year-old spring water company in Kiamesha Lake, which does business as Leisure Time, had been operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection since December.
Most of the money will go to the company's largest creditor, Wells Fargo Bank, which had liens against the plant and its equipment. Boreal will also pay $113,000 in back real estate taxes.
Boreal's offer edged out another bidder who promised more money but couldn't consummate a deal as quickly. Time, in this case, was of the essence.
New York State Electric & Gas Corp. threatened to cut off Leisure Time's power on Monday if it didn't pay overdue bills, and a plant shutdown might have killed the sale.
While under bankruptcy protection, Reynolds burned through its available cash more quickly than anyone expected, and it failed to pay a number of bills, including NYSEG's.
After six hours of negotiation in and out of the courtroom Friday, all the necessary parties except the utility company had approved Boreal's bid.
In the end, Wells Fargo agreed to pay NYSEG $35,256.23 to keep the lights on. The bank will recoup some of the expense through a higher interest rate on its loan to Boreal.
"We will encourage the purchaser to seek wind and solar going forward," said Jeffrey Wurst, Wells Fargo's lawyer.
NYSEG did better than most of the company's creditors, who will receive nothing more than the chance to pick up a new client.
"In the current economic climate, that's something that cannot be ignored," said Ken Rosen, the lawyer for the committee of unsecured creditors.
Boreal expects to complete the purchase by the end of next week. It will sell off Leisure Time's delivery business for $700,000, with Dowser, the Pepsi water brand, expected to pick up the New York operations, and Black Bear the New Jersey business.
Boreal plans to keep the 30 to 35 people who work inside the Kiamesha Lake water plant, said CEO Francine Lavoie. The fate of the drivers will depend on the companies buying the delivery businesses.
"The companies told me they intend to hire them," Lavoie said.
Two Reynolds executives will be required to sign noncompete agreements. Harold Bruce Reynolds, the company's president, filed for personal bankruptcy March 11 to avoid being held liable for company debts he had personally guaranteed.
new york council Trout Unlimited
PO Box 815 * 146 Bayard Street, Port Ewen, NY 12466
Phone: (845)339-5938 * email: [email protected]
Gas Drilling in the Marcellus Shale
Protecting Coldwater Resources
New York Council of Trout Unlimited
March 30, 2009
Commissioner Pete Grannis,
Albany, NY 12233-4500
A major natural gas boom is underway in NY and PA. Energy companies from across the US have come to this region to drill for gas in a geological formation known as the Marcellus Shale. Trout Unlimited believes the Marcellus Shale gas boom has the potential to significantly damage coldwater resources and trout fisheries, if not managed properly and safely.
What is the Marcellus Shale?
Marcellus Shale is located in the Appalachian region of the US. It spans approximately 600 miles from the southern tier of New York through PA, OH and into West Virginia. Its area is estimated to cover about 54,000 square miles, and it coincides with the location of many of these state’s wild trout streams. Marcellus Shale is variable in depth. A majority of the shale is about a mile deep, and in some areas it is as deep as 9,000 feet below the surface. Marcellus Shale is a low-density rock with tight pores that hold natural gas. It is estimated that the Marcellus Formation holds 363 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of recoverable natural gas. In 2006, the US consumed more than 21 TCF of natural gas, and current estimates state that the US now uses approximately 30 TCF of natural gas per year.
How is gas extracted from Marcellus Shale?
Natural gas has long been produced from shallow shale formations. However, recent advances in deep well drilling combined with horizontal drilling, and advances in hydrofracturing (fracking), have made gas extraction from deep shale formations economically more feasible.
Depending on the geology, gas companies use both vertical and horizontal wells to capture the gas. Wells can be drilled vertically for several thousand feet. Then the drilling can be angled, creating an arc to the horizontal, and drilling can be continued horizontally through the shale formation for several thousands of feet. Multiple wells may be drilled from the same well pad site, radiating out horizontally from a central vertical well up to 8 on each side. Well pad sites can vary in size from 3 acres up to 30 acres, or more.
Fracking is a technique used to release natural gas from the tight pores of the shale. A mixture of water, chemicals and proppant (usually sand) is pumped down the well and into the shale at high pressures. The pressure creates fractures in the shale and the proppant holds open the fractures to allow gas flow from the shale and into the well. Chemicals used in fracking may include friction reducers, biocides, surfactants and scale inhibitors.
Fracking requires large quantities of water. Horizontal projects typically use between 1 and 3 million gallons of water for the initial fracking. It is important to note that wells drilled in Marcellus Shale may have to be hydrofractured several times over the course of their lifetimes to keep the gas flowing.
The millions of gallons of water must be piped or transported by truck to the well site prior to a fracture treatment. The flowback water (waste water) from the fracking operation must also be trucked out to a disposal facility. A large percentage (20% to 40%) of the injected fluid remains underground for some time. Fracking and treatment fluids do not come back all at one time. At first, the flowback is primarily treatment/fracking fluids, but this is diluted by formation water. As time goes on, the percentage of treatment/fracking fluids decrease and the percentage of formation water increases. Flowback of fracking fluids and water can continue over a period of years.
Presently there are 63,000 registered wells in Pennsylvania, including those currently producing natural gas, and those which have been drilled and capped for future production. NY has thousands of vertical wells already. The vast majority of these are vertical wells that have been developed using fracking with water and sand, similar to the fracking techniques used within the Marcellus Shales. Brines from vertical wells have been treated at several treatment plants throughout Pennsylvania that are dedicated to brine disposal. Other methods of disposal include use as dust suppression on dirt roads, use by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) for road treatment for ice and snow, and dilution through sewage treatment plants. NY has no facilities capable of proceeding in this procedure currently. While abuses have occurred, especially on the over-application of brines for dust suppression, major environmental impacts have been addressed and enforcement actions taken. Unfortunately, these brine treatment facilities are not currently equipped to effectively deal with some of the production fluids used in the Marcellus gas extraction process. NY will be vulnerable as well in the future.
What permits are required as exampled in PA?
Well Drilling Permit and Addendum – The operator must obtain a drilling permit, pursuant to the Oil and Gas Act, as well as an application addendum outlining a water management plan for that operation, pursuant to Title 25 PA Code 78.11-33.
Earth Disturbance Permit (ESCGP-1) – The operator must obtain a permit from the PA Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) for implementation of erosion and sediment controls, including stormwater management, if the site disturbance area is greater than 5 acres. A plan for erosion and sedimentation control is required if under 5 acres. Sites in excess of 5 acres must obtain a general sediment and erosion control permit under Chapter 102.
Preparedness, Prevention and Contingency (PPC) Plan – The operator is required to prepare and implement a PPC Plan and make it available to PA DEP upon request. The plan must address the types of wastes generated, disposal methods and a spill prevention plan. Construction and operation of on-site storage impoundments must also be described.
Water Withdrawal Permits – PA DEP has required water withdrawal permits for all withdrawals of surface or ground water. For projects located in the Delaware or Susquehanna Basins, a separate Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) or Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) water withdrawal permit is required.
Chapter 105 Obstruction and Encroachment Permit – An operator must obtain a permit from PA DEP for construction, excavation, or operation in a wetland, stream, or body of water. A similar requirement is also required under the Oil and Gas Act.
Water Quality Management Permit – An operator must obtain this permit if a centralized impoundment will hold fluids other than fresh water (such as drilling or fracking fluids). The siting, construction, use and closure of temporary pits are regulated under Chapter 78. Permits are only required if the pit is part of a treatment facility. However, permanent impoundments to hold drilling or fracking fluids are rare. In the case of freshwater impoundments, strict adherence to design and safety standards must be met and adequately enforced.
NY TU’s position on gas drilling
We understand that natural gas drilling and other energy developments are important to the economy of the state, residents, municipalities and the nation. However, we are adamant that this drilling be done in a manner that does not damage our natural resources. Deep gas well drilling is relatively new to NY, PA, Ohio and WV and the environmental concerns have not been fully evaluated prior to numerous permits being issued. Adequate permit restrictions and oversight are necessary. We encourage our regulatory agencies to actively ensure that all protections be enforced to protect our water resources as afforded under the Clean Water Act and the Clean Streams Law.
What are our concerns?
- 1. The removal of millions of gallons of water from streams and aquifers to frack the Marcellus gas producing zones.
- 2. The potential environmental damage the fracking water will do; both on site and during its disposal.
- 3. Drilling activity in Special Protection Watersheds (HQ and EV streams) and Wilderness Trout Designated areas may permanently affect these areas.
- 4. Bonding is inadequate to deal with plugging/closing of wells and to deal with any long-term environmental implications of orphan/abandoned well sites.
- 5. Potential increase in sediment and stormwater from the well pad sites.
- 6. Resource agencies may be inadequately staffed to deal with the increase in permit requests and on site enforcement.
What should happen?
- 1. Marcellus Shale drilling and production presents a new series of problems. Namely, the need for millions upon millions of gallons of water for fracking, and the need to properly treat and dispose of this water when it returns to the wellhead. Simply put, NY, PA, WV and OH must enact and establish criteria and disposal methods not yet employed in the states. As an organization concerned with coldwater fisheries and the water quality and quantity needed to support these fisheries, Trout Unlimited insists that NY DEC must meet this new challenge. For example, NY DEC should encourage the use of reverse osmosis units to remove salts and any associated heavy metals from production waters and reuse the resulting water for future fracking.
- 2. TU strongly believes that Marcellus Shale development cannot be permitted within Exceptional Value (EV) watersheds. We do not see how the existing Best Management Practices (BMPs) for sediment and erosion control, given the significant earth disturbances associated with roads and pad construction; can comply with the anti-degradation standards required under Clean Streams Laws.
- 3. TU sees an urgent need for NY DEC to change its present requirements for existing vertical wells, and to cover the likely higher plugging costs for Marcellus wells. NY DEC needs to take immediate steps to determine the anticipated costs of closing Marcellus wells. NY DEC needs to consult with surrounding states regarding their existing or proposed bonding rates for this class of wells. NY DEC also needs to work closely with the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) to assure that bonding rates meet the necessary closing costs for Marcellus wells. Without adequate bonding, NY will inherit more abandoned wells that cannot be properly closed, and that risk the spewing of contaminants into our waterways, much as we presently see from pre-Act drilling, and where bonding was inadequate to close the wells.
- 4. TU sees an urgent need for NY DEC to require a severance fee adequate to meet the Department’s costs for permitting, inspections and enforcement, including the logistical needs of the program.
- 5. In High Quality-Coldwater Fishery (HQ-CWF) watersheds, NY DEC should, at minimum, require individual permits for gas development. Individual permits assure that the public has an opportunity to review, object to, or request a public meeting on, the proposed drilling operation and its associated discharges prior to the issuance of the permit. These options, to my understanding, are not available with the present practice of issuing general permits.
- 6. Drilling projects have the potential to cause multiple impacts on our environment. Permit approvals should consider all of the impacts before issuing a permit, including water needs for drilling, treatment and discharge of backflows and brine, habitat destruction from drill site pads, and erosion from road construction and pipeline construction.
- 7. TU urges state agencies to prohibit any oil and gas development in Exceptional Value (EV) watersheds, Wilderness Trout Stream watersheds, EV wetlands or areas containing threatened or endangered species. Increased oversight should be applied in High Quality-Coldwater Fishery (HQ-CWF) watersheds.
- 8. We insist that water withdrawal permitting by SRBC, DRBC and NY DEC be closely monitored with sufficient staffing. Namely, flows from the permitted watershed need to be documented at the time of withdrawal to assure that the stream uses are protected. This will require that flow monitoring devices be part of the permit, thus assuring that regulations are not violated or compromised.
- 9. TU is obligated to consider the cumulative impacts these drilling sites will pose in a watershed. In addition, resource agencies should evaluate the overall impacts to groundwater and surface flows and place a cap on permits to prevent Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) from being reached. While any one project may do minimal damage, the cumulative impacts from multiple projects could cause significant damage in an area or region.
- 10. Surface landowners must consider the cumulative impacts of site development as it pertains to forest fragmentation and its potential impacts on our coldwater resources.
- 11. Roads built to and around well pad sites should be required to incorporate Environmentally Sensitive Maintenance principles as outlined by the Center for Dirt and Gravel Roads Program.
- 12. Fracking water must be treated at facilities built to meet NPDES permit requirements. Municipal sewage treatment plants are not capable of treating chlorides and toxins present in fracking water or many other chemicals used and known by historical information.
- 13. The public has the right to know what materials the industry is injecting for Marcellus Shale development. It also has the right to know the chemical analysis of the flowback water. This should be made as public records
Whom should I contact with concerns?
If you believe that drilling activities have affected water resources, degraded roads or caused pollution, you should contact your nearest DEC Regional office, County Soil and Water Conservation District or any other municipal office.
Ron Urban, Council Chairman
TU Celebrating 50 Years of Protecting through Conservation
Conserve, Protect and Restoring coldwater fisheries and their watersheds
Volume 78 - Number 42 / March 25 -31, 2009
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
A map showing the Marcellus shale formation in New York State, the watershed and where drilling for natural gas has been occurring.
No fracking way! C.B. 2 forum warns about water
By Albert Amateau
Worried about an imminent threat to the Catskill/Delaware watershed, which supplies New York City with 90 percent of its water, Community Board 2 last week voted unanimously to demand a ban on drilling for natural gas in New York State.
Improved technology involving horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, along with rising gas prices, have spurred interest in drilling for natural gas from the Marcellus shale formation deep beneath four counties in the Upstate New York watershed.
Hydraulic fracturing requires huge volumes of water laced with sand and a cocktail of toxic chemicals. In fact, at least 247 chemicals are used in the process — commonly known as “fracking” — 90 percent of them toxic, according to environmental experts. But gas exploration companies have refused to divulge the exact list of chemicals and their concentration in the fracking fluid, saying the information is proprietary — a trade secret.
“We can’t let the bad economy and people wanting to cash in on natural gas provoke wholesale drilling,” said Queens Councilmember James Gennaro at a March 18 forum held by the C.B. 2 Environmental Committee at Judson Church. “We can’t be the generation that loses New York City’s water supply to the lure of natural gas,” said Gennaro, who is a trained geologist.
Gennaro is the sponsor of City Council legislation calling on the state Legislature, the state Department of Environmental Conservation and Governor Paterson to prohibit drilling for natural gas within the watershed’s boundaries in Delaware, Greene, Ulster and Sullivan Counties.
Local Councilmembers Alan Gerson and Rosie Mendez have gone on record supporting the legislation, Gennaro said.
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer has called for a moratorium on drilling permits throughout the state, as well as a ban on drilling within the watershed that serves the city.
Council Speaker Christine Quinn has not taken a position yet on the city legislation, but her legislative aide Siobhan Watson, told the March 18 forum that Quinn was “keenly aware of the issue, and she’s very supportive.”
The forum, co-sponsored by NY-H2O, a watershed advocacy group, heard from a panel, including, in addition to Gennaro, environmental experts from Earthjustice, Riverkeeper and NY-H2O, as well as Dr. Stephen Corson, policy analyst for Stringer; and Jared Chasnow, legislative aide to state Senator Tom Duane.
According to a report by Corson, “Uncalculated Risk,” drilling for natural gas could begin this year, after the state Department of Environmental Conservation completes a supplemental generic environmental impact statement, or S.G.E.I.S., on gas wells using the fracking process. The S.G.E.I.S relates to legislation that New York State passed last year to allow wells to be drilled closer together. State Assemblymember Deborah Glick, who voted against that bill last year, supports Gennaro’s legislation to ban gas drilling in the watershed.
Despite the expected impact of gas wells using hydraulic fracturing on the city watershed, D.E.C. conducted scoping sessions for the S.G.E.I.S in six Upstate counties in November and December of last year but none in New York City. Gennaro and Duane protested the omission, but D.E.C. Commissioner Pete Grannis said in a November letter that opponents would have a chance to comment on the issue after the S.G.E.I.S. comes out in August.
Experts at the Judson forum said the process, pioneered by Halliburton in 1949, is a danger to the water supply. Not all the chemical-laden water is recoverable; 20 to 40 percent stays in the ground and could migrate to ground-water aquifers. Recovered wastewater stored in pits and tanks at the surface could also leak into the earth.
It takes between 3 million and 5 million gallons of water pumped at high pressure into the shale formation to fracture it and release the methane gas held in the rock. Each well could be hydro-fractured several times.
Moreover, each well must be surrounded by 3-to-5 acres of cleared land and must be served by roads to supply chemical-laden water and drilling material.
“It’s a public-health crisis and it would industrialize the landscape,” said Joe Levine, a founder of NY-H2O, who spoke at the forum.
Government safeguards have been eroding. In 2005, the oil and gas industry won exemptions from the Clean Water Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Right-to-Know Act and the Superfund Act. The federal Environmental Protection Administration reported at the time that hydro-fracking does not pose a threat to drinking-water supplies. However, the E.P.A.’s report took fire from independent researchers and government whistleblowers, according to a white paper sponsored by Damascus Citizens for Sustainability, a group located in northeast Pennsylvania, above the same Marcellus shale formation that underlies New York City’s watershed.
Levine said some residents of Damascus have reported being able to “flare” their drinking water by striking a match at the surface of water in a glass, and igniting a flame in the methane gas rising from the water.
“We’ve uncovered 24 examples in nine states of explosions from wells and spills and leaks of contaminated water,” he added, noting that many incidents have occurred in Wyoming and Utah, where drilling wells into shale for natural gas has been a common practice in recent years.
“We can’t repeat the same mistakes that we made out West,” Deborah Goldberg, managing attorney for the northeast region of Earthjustice, told the March 18 Village forum. Goldberg has been speaking recently with New York State environmental officials about the need to regulate natural gas exploration.
“What we’ve heard from them so far has not been encouraging,” she said. “I don’t expect government to come down on the right side of this issue. They’re still more friendly to industry.”
Because of efforts by New York City and local towns to control development, the Delaware/Catskill watershed is one of the nation’s few water resources exempt from federal filtration-plant requirements, Gennaro noted.
“It’s difficult up there [in the watershed area] to get a permit to pave your driveway,” said Gennaro.
A $3.9 billion filtration plant is currently under construction in the Bronx for the Croton watershed, which supplies 10 percent of the city’s water, Gennaro added. But if environmental problems threaten the Delaware/Catskill system, the federal government would order a filtration plant to be built for that watershed, at a cost of more than $10 billion to city taxpayers, Gennaro said.
The borough president’s report estimated that a Delaware/Catskill filtration plant could cost up to $20 billion.
“The whole notion of filtering out fracking fluids from the water supply is questionable,” Gennaro said. “I don’t think any filtration can do that.”
The chemicals involved include boric acid, theylene glycol, benzene and an undetermined number of other compounds. In undiluted form, they are carcinogens and could cause kidney, liver, heart, blood and brain damage through repeated exposure. Gas exploration companies assert that the chemicals are diluted, but they do not reveal what the concentrations are.
The need for energy and the money to be made from gas wells in the Marcellus shale formation could drive the number of wells in the Delaware/Catskill watershed to 20,000 in the next several years, said experts at the forum.
Although Community Board 2 has endorsed a ban on gas drilling in the entire state, Gennaro’s Council resolution seeks to ban drilling only in the city watershed and other threatened watersheds.
Gennaro said the state should also require drilling companies to fully disclose the chemicals and concentration of fracking fluids. Tracer chemicals should be added to see where unrecovered and spilled fluid winds up, he said.
March 27, 2009, Press Release: DEC Issues Tips and Reminders for Opening Day of Trout and Salmon Seasons
For more information contact: Yaney Roy, 518-402-8000
DEC Issues Tips and Reminders for Opening Day of Trout and Salmon Seasons
Grannis Encourages Anglers to Introduce Someone New to NY's Excellent Fishing
ALBANY, NY (03/27/2009; 1312)(readMedia)-- With the traditional April 1 opening day for New York's trout and salmon fishing seasons fast approaching, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today issued tips and reminders for anglers in every region.
"New York has some of the finest trout waters in the country, including many well established in trout fishing lore," said DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis, a longtime trout fisherman. "I can think of no better way to relax and connect with nature than to spend an afternoon fishing. DEC works hard to provide a wide variety of fishing opportunities and I encourage anglers to get out this year and perhaps take someone along."
Although early season trout angling in northern and mountainous reaches of New York may be slow due to lingering cold weather and melting snow, conditions in other areas of New York should be good for early-season angling. Waters on Long Island, the lower Hudson Valley and western New York tend to warm up earlier and provide the best early-season fishing opportunities.
Slow presentations using spinners or minnow-imitating lures and, where permitted, live bait, work well in the early season. Those preferring to fly fish will find that similar slow, deep presentations using weighted nymphs and streamers can be effective. Trout and salmon fishing on lakes and ponds is often best immediately after ice-out. Since many Adirondack and Catskill ponds are likely to remain frozen for the April 1 opener, anglers should scout out areas beforehand. Prime areas to fish are those locations that warm the earliest, including tributary mouths and near surface and shallow shoreline areas. Afternoons can be better than mornings during the early season, as the sun's rays can significantly warm surface waters. Early season anglers are reminded to be extra cautious as high flows, ice and deep snow can make accessing and wading streams particularly hazardous. Anglers are reminded that ice fishing is prohibited in trout waters, except as noted in the Fishing Regulations Guide.
Stocking and Hatcheries
Several hatchery improvement projects were completed last year. Most significant among these was the completion of an extensive pole-barn complex covering hatchery ponds at the Rome Fish Hatchery to reduce trout predation by birds. It is estimated that this project will save 50,000 to 100,000 fingerling trout annually from predatory birds and will lead to more efficient hatchery operations.
Additional hatchery rehabilitation projects are planned for this upcoming year including the rebuilding of the main hatchery building at Rome. Rome Hatchery is one of DEC's oldest and largest hatcheries, growing and stocking more than 650,000 yearling brown and brook trout annually.
Spring is a busy season for the DEC Hatchery System. From mid-March through mid-June, nine trout and salmon hatcheries stock fish five days a week using 30 state-of-the-art stocking trucks.
Stocking of catchable-size trout generally commences in late March and early April in the lower Hudson Valley, Long Island, and western/central New York, and then proceeds to the Catskills and Adirondacks. This year, DEC plans to stock more than 2.3 million catchable-size brook, brown, and rainbow trout in 304 lakes and ponds and roughly 3,000 miles of streams across the state. Approximately 100,000 two-year-old brown trout ranging from 12 to 15 inches in length will also be stocked into lakes and streams statewide.
More than 2 million yearling lake trout, steelhead, landlocked salmon, splake and coho salmon also will be stocked by DEC this spring to provide exciting angling opportunities over the next several years. For those who prefer a quieter more remote setting, 325,000 brook trout fingerlings will be stocked in 343 remote lakes and ponds this spring and fall to bolster "backwoods" fishing opportunities. For a complete list of waters planned to be stocked with trout this spring go to www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/30465.html. A listing of waters stocked with all sizes of trout last year can be found at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/30467.html. In addition to stocked waters, New York State has thousands of miles of wild trout streams that provide excellent fishing opportunities. Regional fisheries offices, which are listed in the Fishing Regulations Guide, can offer specific details about the locations and opportunities offered by these waters.
The general creel limit for brook, brown and rainbow trout is five fish per day and the open season for trout in most New York State waters runs from April 1 through Oct. 15. There are numerous exceptions however, so anglers should review the Fishing Regulations Guide before heading out to their favorite pond or stream.
A New York State fishing license is required for all anglers 16 years of age and older. Those looking to renew licenses can do so at http://www.dec.ny.gov/permits/6101.html or by calling 1-86-NY-DECALS. Fishing licenses can also be purchased from various sporting license outlets located throughout the state (town and county clerks, some major discount stores and many tackle and sporting goods stores).
When purchasing a fishing license, anglers should also consider purchasing a Habitat/Access Stamp, which is available to anyone for $5 from any sporting license issuing agent. Proceeds from sale of this stamp have funded many valuable trout stream access and habitat projects in New York, such as the development of a parking area and footpath on Felts Mill Creek in Jefferson County this past year.
For anglers seeking publicly accessible stream fishing locations, DEC continues to add to its inventory of public fishing rights (PFR) maps that can be downloaded from http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9924.html . New maps covering DEC Region 4 have recently been added to the existing maps covering DEC Regions 3, 5, 7, 8 and 9.
Prevent the Spread of Invasive Species and Diseases
With the recent discovery of the fish disease Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) in New York, and an invasive species of algae, didymo, in the Delaware River system and the Batten Kill, anglers are reminded of the important role that they play in preventing the spread of these and other potentially damaging invasive species and fish diseases. Please thoroughly dry equipment, particularly waders and wading shoes, for 48 hours before moving from water to water. If drying is not possible, equipment must be disinfected. One of the easiest and safest ways to disinfect gear is by soaking it for 10 minutes in a cleanser/disinfectant containing the ingredient alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride. This ingredient is found in most common household antiseptic cleansers such as Fantastic, Formula 409 and Spray Nine. Anglers are also encouraged not to use felt-soled waders as they are more apt to transport didymo and other invasives than other forms of wading soles. For more information on invasive species and disinfection procedures, request a copy of the new DEC brochure "Anglers and Boaters: Stop the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species and Fish Diseases in New York State" from your local DEC office.
New Baitfish Regulations Established to Protect New York Fisheries
Anglers are reminded that a new "Green List" of baitfish species that can be commercially collected and/or sold for fishing in any water body in New York where it is legal to use fish as bait has now been established in regulation. For a complete discussion of these regulations and how to identify these approved baitfish species, download the new brochure "Baitfish of New York State" at www.dec.ny.gov/docs/fish_marine_pdf/baitfishofny.pdf. Personal collection and use of baitfish other than those on the "Green List" is permitted, but only on the water from which they were collected and they may not be transported overland by motorized vehicle. These new regulations have been established to stem the spread of non-native baitfish and dangerous fish diseases in New York State.
Best Bets for Trout Anglers by DEC Region:
Long Island (DEC Region 1)
Long Island lakes, ponds and streams typically provide excellent early season trout angling. By the beginning of April, more than 12,000 trout, including 3,000 two-year-old brown trout in the 12- to 15-inch range, will have been stocked into Long Island lakes, ponds and streams. Another 11,000 trout will be stocked in April. For premier early season fly-fishing action, the Carmans and Nissequogue Rivers in Suffolk County are highly recommended. Tidal sections of these waters also provide excellent fishing opportunities and include trophy-size fish.
For still waters, Laurel Lake, Upper Lake, East Lake, West Lake, Southards Pond and Argyle Lake are recommended in Suffolk county. In Nassau county, Upper Twin Pond, Oyster Bay Mill Pond and Massapequa Reservoir are good bets. Many of these waters hold over a good number of fish from one year to the next, increasing the opportunity to catch large trout. Anglers are reminded that the trout season in Nassau and Suffolk counties is open year round. In addition to the fish that will be stocked this spring, 7,500 12-inch or larger brown trout were stocked during the fall of 2008.
Note that there is a three trout daily limit on Long Island and that brook trout are catch-and-release only in all streams on Long Island except the Connetquot and Nissequogue Rivers in the State Parks.
A great way for the whole family to kick off the fishing season is to participate in the Spring Family Fishing Festival at Belmont Lake State Park on Saturday, April 18, 2009 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The whole family can enjoy a day of fishing for stocked trout. Loaner rods, free bait and fish cleaning services will be available, along with fishing seminars, fly fishing instruction and other family oriented activities.
Long Island trout anglers are encouraged to participate in the region's Coldwater Angler Diary Cooperator Program. Cooperating anglers are asked to keep a diary of the species, length, location, and number of trout caught during their fishing trips on Long Island. In return, cooperators receive periodic summaries of the results of the program and the satisfaction of knowing that they are making a significant contribution towards the effective management of Long Island's coldwater resources. For more information on this program, please contact the regional office at (631) 444-0280.
For a complete list of Long Island trout stocked waters, send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to: Trout Stocking List, Bureau of Fisheries, 50 Circle Road, SUNY, Stony Brook, NY, 11790 or e-mail us at: [email protected] .
Hudson Valley/Catskills (DEC Region 3)
Public fishing rights (PFR) maps for Region 3 are now available on the DEC web site at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9924.html . These maps are designed to provide anglers with location information for public fishing easements in the Region. PFR easements are also marked with yellow signs to help anglers find these locations on the stream. Please contact the regional office if you have any questions or believe that a PFR is posted incorrectly.
Region 3 has introduced a new Fishing Hotline to provide information on how and where to catch fish throughout the region. Please call: 845-256-3101 or check the DEC web site at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/fishhotlines.html for timely updates.
Anglers looking for good early season trout fishing east of the Hudson River should consider Wappinger Creek, Ten Mile River, Sprout Creek and Fishkill Creek, all located in Dutchess County. These fairly large streams will be well stocked prior to opening day and all support holdover trout from previous years' stocking, as well as some wild brown trout. In Putnam County, good early season bets are the East Branch and West Branches of the Croton River. These streams are located on New York Watershed Property and a free NYC Public Access Permit is required. The New York City Department of Environmental Protection has updated and improved the permit issuing system. Permits can now be obtained online at http://www.nyc.gov/html/dep/html/watershed_protection/html/wsrecreation.html. Information and permit applications can also be obtained by calling 1-800-575-LAND. In Westchester County, the Croton River, below New Croton Dam, and Stone Hill River are well stocked early season favorites that do not require a city permit.
Although most of the Catskill trout streams are readily accessible by road, people looking for a more remote fishing experience have many options. There are thousands of acres of state lands in Sullivan and Ulster counties, and most have small wild trout streams. Some much larger waters also exist in remote settings, like the Neversink River Unique Area below Bridgeville and above Oakland Valley, and the Mongaup River below Rio Dam in the Mongaup Valley Wildlife Management Area.
Other notable trout resources in the area include 17 New York City reservoirs totaling more than 23,000 acres. Large brown trout, including some weighing more than 20 pounds, may be found in many of these waters. Ashokan Reservoir is famous for large rainbow trout, and Rondout and Kenisco Reservoirs have thriving populations of lake trout. Lake trout fishing in the Kensico, a 2,218-acre reservoir in Westchester County, has improved greatly in recent years and now is supported primarily through natural reproduction. Neversink and West Branch Croton Reservoirs have modest populations of landlocked salmon that supplement the more traditional brown trout experience. As noted previously, all New York City watershed lands require a free permit for recreational access.
During the spring and early summer, DEC hatchery staff will deliver over 300,000 trout to 85 streams and 30 lakes and ponds within Region 3. Included in this total will be nearly 16,000 of the larger (12-15") two-year-old brown trout, which will be distributed to about 40 of the larger and more accessible streams. This year's stocking information can be obtained by sending a stamped, self-addressed envelope to: Fisheries Office, DEC Region 3, 21 South Putt Corners Road, New Paltz, NY, 12561.
Northern Catskills/Hudson Valley/Capital District (DEC Region 4)
Though the winter has been long, flow conditions on most streams in the region have remained good. Furthermore, with the exception of one week in June, last summer was not particularly hot and stream flows were adequate to above normal which means that holdover survival should be good for both wild and hatchery trout. Good bets for fishing prior to stocking include the upper Kinderhook Creek and the upper Hoosic/Little Hoosic system; Poesten Kill and Wynants Kill in Rensselaer County; the upper Roeliff Jansen Kill in Columbia County; the upper Catskill and Onesquethaw in Albany County; and the upper Batavia Kill, Catskill, and Schoharie Creeks in Greene County; the East and West Branches of the Delaware River and Beaver Kill in Delaware County; and Schenevus Creek, Butternut Creek, Wharton Creek, and Otego Creek in Otsego County
Approximately 205,000 yearling trout, mostly browns, and 12,500 two year trout will be stocked in 43 streams and 24 lakes and ponds throughout Region 4 by the end of May. Trout stocking could be delayed by bad weather in March, but all streams will be stocked by late April. Waters to be stocked with two-year-old brown trout include both branches of the Delaware River, the Beaver Kill, the Batavia Kill, Butternut Creek, Catskill Creek, Canajoharie Creek, Charlotte Creek, Claverack Creek, Colgate Lake, East Kill, Greens Lake, Hannacrois Creek, the Holding Pond (Schoharie County), Kinderhook Creek, Oaks Creek, Onesquethaw Creek, Otego Creek, Ouleout Creek, the Poesten Kill, the Roeliff Jansen Kill, Schenevus Creek, Schoharie Creek, Tackawasick Creek, Taghkanic Creek, the Walloomsac River, and Wharton Creek.
Capital Region anglers will be pleased to know that the DEC will once again stock Six Mile Waterworks in Albany with rainbow trout. Stocking should be completed by the annual spring school break, providing an excellent opportunity to introduce youngsters to this wonderful sport. DEC plans to have fishing assistants at the pond from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the period April 13 to 17 to help those who would like to learn more about trout fishing. For more information contact 518-402-8891.
Anglers should remember that the Delaware River and West Branch Delaware River, where New York and Pennsylvania share a common boundary, has a delayed season that does not open until April 18 this year. The delayed season also applies to all tributaries to the Delaware River located in Delaware County and to the East Branch tributaries between Hancock and the Hamlet of East Branch.
Didymo (Didymosphenia geminata) is now present throughout the East Branch Delaware River below Pepacton Reservoir and in the West Branch Delaware River below Cannonsville Reservoir. Although didymo has not been verified in the Delaware River, it should be considered infested due to exposure from the East and West Branches. Didymo is a micropscopic algae (diatom) that can produce large amounts of stalk material to form thick mats on the stream bottom. Anglers fishing these waters should thoroughly dry or disinfect all fishing gear prior to fishing their home waters. Contact the Region 4 Fisheries Office for more information and disinfection methods.
Anglers looking for a new fishing spot can find many smaller, lesser-known streams in brochures such as Capital District Fishing and Fishing Delaware County. Stocking lists are also available. These can all be obtained by writing or calling DEC's Stamford Fisheries Unit. Anglers with access to the Internet can find a great deal of information from the DEC web site. Other web sites, such as the United States Geological Survey (http://water.usgs.gov/waterwatch), can provide up-to-date flow information for a number of the larger streams. West Branch anglers wanting to know current releases can call 1-845-295-1006. This hotline is run as a cooperative effort with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection and Trout Unlimited.
Public fishing rights (PFR) maps for Region 4 are now available on the DEC web site at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9924.html .
Adirondacks/Northeastern NY (DEC Region 5)
Adirondack trout streams are icy and there is plenty of snow in the mountains. A relatively mild thaw should clear the ice, but expect high stream flows until the snow pack is reduced. Best bets for early season angling in the southern part of the region are the Batten Kill, Kayaderosseras and Mettawee rivers. Catch-and-release regulations were enacted on the Batten Kill in 2004 from the Eagleville covered bridge to the Vermont state line. Year-round trout fishing is permitted in the catch-and-release section (artificial lures only). The lower two miles of the catch-and-release section will be stocked with two-year-old brown trout some time in May. A creel census of anglers will be conducted in 2009 to assess the fish population and the effectiveness of the catch-and-release regulations.
Many regional streams and rivers will be stocked in April and May. However, due to ice conditions, very few streams are stocked prior to opening day. If possible, yearling brook trout will be stocked in the Chateaugay River in Franklin County by April 1. The Chateaugay, Salmon and St. Regis rivers are scheduled for a creel census in 2009 to assess angler use and the fish population in these rivers. Rainbow trout might also be stocked in the Saranac River within the Village of Saranac Lake prior to April 1. Hundreds of smaller streams contain wild brook and brown trout. Fish slowly, especially if the water is cold, high, and swift. Contact the regional fisheries office for a brochure listing many of the wild trout streams in Region 5.
Remote ponds in the Adirondacks are rarely ice-free until mid-April or later, a pattern that is likely to hold this year. Once waters are ice-free and temperatures rise, surface trolling for salmon and lake trout is a good bet on the larger lakes. Brook trout pond fishing is good from ice-out through May. Anglers are reminded that in many Adirondack ponds the use of fish as bait is prohibited. For a list of these waters check the "Special Regulations by County" section in the Fishing Regulations Guide, or contact the DEC's Region 5 Fisheries Office in Ray Brook at (518) 897-1333. A variety of leaflets are also available from the regional office including stocking lists for Region 5, top fishing waters, a list of reclaimed trout ponds, and others. For up-to-date information on fishing conditions in the region, anglers can access www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9219.html on the DEC web site. While browsing the Region 5 Fisheries website, be sure to check out the public fishing rights maps at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/32610.html for many area rivers. These maps can be downloaded and printed out to provide detailed locations for stream sections with purchased and deeded public rights for angling. Maps are also available from the regional office.
Western Adirondacks/North Central New York (DEC Region 6)
The opening of trout season expands the region's trout fishing beyond Lake Ontario and a select set of large lakes, to the rest of the region's great variety of large and small streams, ponds and lakes. Region 6 includes the Western Adirondacks, Tug Hill, and the Black, Mohawk and St. Lawrence river valleys. The region's wide diversity of water types provide habitat for everything from small headwater brook trout to large deepwater lake trout.
Stocking proceeds from the Mohawk Valley in mid-April north to St. Lawrence County throughout the month of May. The Oswegatchie River below Cranberry Lake is the only river in the region that is stocked prior to April 1, if conditions allow. The popular two-year-old brown trout stocking occurs in early May on some of the region's larger, more accessible streams. Worms usually produce the best catches this time of year when the water temperatures are colder and the fish are more sluggish. Spinners and salted minnows also are popular lures. For best results, fish the pools and slow, deep riffles. Fishing in the late afternoon after the water has been warmed by the sun is also productive.
Lake Ontario tributaries should also offer good fishing conditions for steelhead. Try Stony Creek, North and South Sandy Creeks, Lindsey Creek, Skinner Creek and the Black River in Watertown, from the Mill Street dam down to the Village of Dexter. Use egg sacs, single hook spinners, wet flies and streamers.
Coldwater anglers in Region 6 should be aware of a few new regulations that are currently in effect. The catch-and-release section for trout on West Canada Creek in Herkimer and Oneida counties has been extended to the Route 28 bridge (Comstock Bridge) and is open year-round. A three-trout-creel limit with a minimum size limit of 12 inches has been established in Beardsley Lake (Montogomery and Herkimer Counties), Kyser Lake (Fulton and Herkimer Counties), and Stillwater Reservoir (Herkimer County). The catch-and-release season for trout on the West Branch St. Regis River in St. Lawrence County has also been extended to all year.
This year, Region 6 staff will be surveying approximately 25 remote brook trout ponds that contain stocked temiscamie hybrids to assess wild reproduction. This information will help guide future management of this unique resource.
Central New York/Eastern Finger Lakes (DEC Region 7)
Steelhead anglers heading to tributaries of Lake Ontario do not have to wait until April 1 to begin fishing because there is no closed season for trout and salmon in these waters up to the first barrier impassable to fish. The peak of the spring steelhead run generally occurs in mid-to late March with fish averaging eight to ten pounds. The Salmon River in Pulaski is the best area steelhead river, and anglers have reported exceptional steelhead action this winter. Other productive areas are Ninemile Creek (Oswego County) and the Oswego River. Nearshore brown trout fishing can also be very productive during the spring. Last season's spring brown trout fishing was one of the best in recent history. The peak of this fishery generally occurs in mid-April with the best areas being Fair Haven, Oswego Harbor, and Mexico Bay.
The Region 7 Finger Lakes are also early season favorites. Good fishing typically carries through to mid June on Cayuga, Skaneateles, and Owasco Lakes. Cayuga Lake is well known for rainbow trout, and along with Owasco Lake, offers excellent fishing for brown trout and lake trout. Skaneateles Lake offers good fishing for lake trout, rainbow trout, and, along with Cayuga, provides an exceptional opportunity for landlocked salmon as well. Otisco Lake also offers good brown trout fishing during early April.
For the best opportunities to catch lake-run rainbow trout in the Finger Lake tributaries (which open to trout fishing on April 1), try Salmon Creek, Cayuga Inlet, Yawgers Creek and Fall Creek on Cayuga Lake; and Grout Brook on Skaneateles Lake.
Other streams provide excellent early trout fishing as well. Most notable are: Nine Mile (Onondaga County), Limestone and Butternut Creek in Onondaga County; Oquaga and Nanticoke Creeks in Broome County; the Otselic River in Chenango and Cortland counties; Genegantslet Creek in Chenango County; Chittenango Creek and the Otselic River in Madison County; the west and east branches of Tioughnioga River and Factory Brook in Cortland County; Fall and Virgil Creeks in Tompkins County; and Owego Creek, the east and west branches of Owego Creek and Cayuta Creek in Tioga County.
Anglers are reminded that most waters in Region 7 are managed under a five-trout-daily-creel limit, with no more than two fish being greater than 12 inches. Many waters also allow the harvest of an additional five brook trout under 8 inches. Check the "Special Regulations by County" section of your Freshwater Fishing guide. Weekly fishing reports can be viewed on the Central New York Fishing Hotline web page at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9218.html or it can be heard at 607-753-1551. Public fishing rights maps can also be viewed and downloaded at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9924.html .
West-Central New York/Western Finger Lakes (DEC Region 8)
Numerous trout fishing opportunities abound in Region 8. Beginning April 1, Finger Lake tributaries Naples Creek (Ontario County), Catharine Creek (Schuyler and Chemung Counties), Cold Brook (Steuben County) and Springwater Creek (Livingston County) offer anglers excellent opportunities to pursue beautiful, quality rainbow trout in excess of five pounds, while catches of fish two to three pounds are common. Good fishing can be found into May in these tributaries. In addition to wild, stream run rainbow trout, numerous streams throughout the region are full of stocked and wild brown trout. Year-round, quality fishing can be found in Oatka Creek near Caledonia (Livingston and Monroe counties), throughout the Cohocton River from Cohocton to Bath (Steuben County), and Cayuta Creek near Odessa (Schuyler and Chemung counties). Additional opportunities beginning April 1 for stocked trout can be found in Post Creek (Steuben and Chemung Counties), Meads Creek (Steuben County), and Canandaigua Outlet (Ontario County). Check the Fishing Regulations Guide for other special regulations in the region.
As snow and ice on and around the lakes begin to thaw, good trout (brown and rainbow) fishing may be found from shore along many of the western Finger Lakes. Possibilities exist at the Keuka Lake State Park and from the piers at the southern tip of Seneca Lake in Watkins Glen. Pristine shore fishing can also be found along the shores of Hemlock Lake and Canadice Lake. When fishing Hemlock or Canadice a visitor pass must first be obtained at the north end of Hemlock or at www.cityofrochester.gov/des/docs/watershedbroch.pdf. Note that the trout fishing in the Finger Lakes is open year-round.
Lake Ontario tributaries in Region 8 such as Oak Orchard Creek (Orleans County), Sandy Creek, Genesee River, Irondequoit Creek (Monroe County), and Maxwell Creek (Wayne County) should provide good steelhead fishing prior to April 1. Most Lake Ontario tributaries are open for fishing year-round.
Early April should offer opportunities for near-shore fishing on Lake Ontario. Brown trout, rainbow trout, coho salmon and a few chinooks should be available near shore. Pier fishing and shallow water trolling in mid- to late-April should be very productive. Look for trout and salmon "hot spots" in warm water pockets from Rochester to Sodus and vicinity. Even small reaches having only two or three-degree warmer surface temperatures attract these fish.
Weekly fishing reports can be viewed on the Central New York Fishing Hotline web page at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9218.html or can be heard at 607-753-1551. To assist anglers in finding public fishing rights (PFR) areas on regional trout streams, color brochures of those streams can be found and downloaded from www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/9924.html. A list of boating access sites may be found at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/7832.html on the DEC web site.
Western New York (DEC Region 9)
A total of 57 streams and 24 lakes/ponds in Region 9 are stocked with thousands of yearling brown, brook or rainbow trout each spring. In addition to the yearling trout stocked, many waters receive hundreds of two-year-old brown trout (12-15 inches) or are salted with an occasional "surplus" breeder trout that would be a trophy in anyone's creel. The most popular and heavily stocked streams in the region are the Genesee River, Cattaraugus, Ischua, East Koy and Goose Creeks. When stream conditions are unfavorable due to high or turbid water, anglers may fish the seven inland trout lakes. Allen, Case, Harwood, New Albion, Rushford, Quaker and Red House Lakes all receive substantial stockings (after the ice thaws) and provide good access for shore and boat angling. Stocked waters in the Buffalo/Niagara metropolitan area include: East Branch Cazenovia Creek (towns of Holland and Wales), Little Buffalo Creek (towns of Lancaster and Elma), Ellicott Creek (Amherst), Sprague Brook Park Ponds (Concord), Oppenheim Park Pond (Wheatfield) and Hyde Park Lake (Niagara Falls). Brochures discussing management and stocking of western New York streams with maps showing areas with public fishing rights easements are available at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/31596.html, while management information and contour maps for the inland lakes can be found at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/31595.html .
A number of Region 9 streams support high-quality wild trout populations. Wiscoy Creek is considered the region's premier wild brown trout stream, with an average of more than 1,400 adult brown trout per mile of stream. Clear Creek (Ellington) is another good bet for wild brown trout. Lime Lake Outlet, Elton Creek, McKinstry Creek, Mansfield Creek and Clear Creek (Arcade) have excellent populations of wild brown and rainbow trout. Brochures discussing management for these streams and maps showing areas with public fishing rights easements can be found at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/29286.html, while information on fish population surveys in Region 9 can be found at www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/27272.html.
Great Lakes waters and their tributary streams are open year-round for trout and salmon. Late March through early April is prime time for Great Lakes-run steelhead. Western New York steelhead opportunities are exceptional, especially in Lake Erie tributaries. Recent angler surveys indicated very high success rates for steelhead on Canadaway Creek, Chautauqua Creek, Cattaraugus Creek, Eighteen Mile Creek (Erie Co.), Cazenovia Creek, and the Buffalo River. Popular Lake Ontario tributaries such as Twelve Mile Creek, Keg Creek, Eighteen Mile Creek, and the Lower Niagara River in Niagara County also provide excellent fishing for steelhead. Brown trout, rainbow trout, lake trout and coho salmon are typically found in shallow, nearshore waters of Lake Ontario, its tributaries and embayments during April. Brochures discussing management for these steelhead streams and maps showing areas with public fishing rights easements are available at http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/32426.html .
A number of fishing regulations have been enacted to expand trout fishing opportunities in western New York. Year-round trout fishing is now available on Cattaraugus Creek (upstream of Springville Dam), Elton Creek, Mansfield Creek, Elm Creek, East Koy Creek, Wiscoy Creek, Clear Creek (Arcade), Hosmer Brook, Lime Lake Outlet and McKinstry Creek. These streams can now be fished during the normally closed trout season (October 16 through March 31) on a catch-and-release basis, artificial lures only. During the regular season, the stream's normal regulations apply. Goose Creek in Chautauqua County is now open for fishing with the normal regulations applying all year (no minimum size, five trout/day, with only two trout greater than 12 inches allowed; no bait restrictions).
NYRI power line hearings thick in detail
Now, about that 'mass-impregnated non-draining cable'
Nine hours of hearings Thursday about the proposed New York Regional Interconnect power line application were pronounced “difficult” by a lawyer representing the main power line opposition group.
ALBANY (AP) — Citing an “unprecedented” crisis of bats dying off from West Virginia to New England, federal officials on Thursday asked for people to stay out of thousands of caves in states struck by “white-nose syndrome.”
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made the request to guard against the possibility that people are unwittingly spreading the mysterious affliction when they explore multiple caves. There is no evidence that white-nose syndrome, which has struck particularly hard in Ulster County, including in caves in Rosendale, is a threat to people.
Named for the sugary smudges of fungus on the noses and wings of hibernating bats, white-nose bats appear to run through their winter fat stores before spring. It was confirmed in eight states this winter from New Hampshire to West Virginia and there is evidence it may have spread to Virginia, according to wildlife service spokeswoman Diana Weaver.
Some death-count estimates run as high as 500,000 bats. Researchers worry about a mass die-off of bats, which help control the populations of insects that can damage wheat, apples and dozens of other crops.
The advisory seeking a voluntary caving moratorium also would cover states adjacent to affected states — a swath of the nation stretching from Maine down to North Carolina and west to Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio, Weaver said.
Recreational cavers, who have enthusiastically supported past white-nose control efforts, seemed bewildered by the breadth of the request. Peter Youngbaer, white-nose syndrome liaison for the National Speleological Society, said the advisory covers tens of thousands of caves and would affect everything from organized caving events to equipment sales.
“The ramifications are mind boggling, and I guess we’re all just trying figure out what to do,” said Youngbaer, who is based in Vermont.
“I think to great extent it will be followed, but there will be a lot of discussion and tweaking about it,” he said.
Researchers suspect a fungus that thrives in cold, moist caves causes white nose and that it is spread from bat to bat. But the syndrome has spread more than 400 miles from the cluster of caves near Albany where it was first observed two winters ago.
Researchers are concerned that humans could be helping the spread, perhaps through jackets or boots worn in an infected cave. Weaver noted that some of the affected caves are popular with cavers.
Federal officials also ask that cavers nationwide refrain from using gear that has been used in states struck by white nose or the adjacent states. Officials ask that everyone avoid caves and mines during the winter hibernation season so bats will not be disturbed.
On the Net:
DEC's four summer camps have room in coming season
TIMES ALBANY BUREAU
ALBANY — Applications are now available for the state Department of Environmental Conservation's four summer education camps.
The residential camps, for youths from 12 to 17, focus on conservation education during eight one-week sessions between June 27 and Aug. 22. Outdoor activities and games teach "the wise use of natural resources," while overnight hikes and canoe trips are also standard fare. Campers with parental permission may participate in hunter safety training.
DEC operates four camps — Colby and Pack Forest in the Adirondacks, DeBruce in the Catskills and Rushford in Western New York. Each serves children 12 to 14 years old. Additionally, DEC also offers week-long ecology workshops for teens 15 to 17 years old at Pack Forest during the first five sessions of camp.
One week's tuition at any of the camps is $325 per camper. Many campers are sponsored by local civic groups, garden and sportsmen clubs. Spaces are still available throughout much of the season.
Interested parties may write to: NYSDEC Camps, 625 Broadway, Albany, N.Y. 12233-4500, e-mail to: [email protected], or call 1 (518) 402-8014. Full information is online at: www.dec.ny.gov/education/29.html.
Fly-Fishing: Mohawk advocates meeting at Union
The Mohawk River begins and ends as fly-fishing water.
At its beginning, where it gathers at the foot of the Tug Hill Plateau, it’s a small, cool, trout stream with wild browns, and it ends as a vast, shallow plain of riffles, holes and falls below Cohoes Falls, loaded with smallmouth bass and carp, just before its confluence with the Hudson.
Its two main tributaries — and the Mohawk would be puny without them — are extraordinary streams rising in regions that are synonymous with trout fishing: West Canada Creek, draining the southwestern slope of the Adirondacks, and Schoharie Creek, flowing northward from the Catskills’ tallest peaks.
And the Mohawk is the last stop for many little brooks chattering past the meadows of dairy farms and through culverts under 18th century factories, which in their headwaters still harbor the precious and irreplaceable wild brookie.
Many experts and advocates will gather to sing the Mohawk’s praises Friday when the Mohawk Watershed Group at Union College holds the first symposium to examine the physical aspects of the river and its many headwaters. They’ll also be talking about the tough fights that must be fought to make sure science and environmental preservation prevail over politics and business in the competition for natural resources.
The West Canada Riverkeepers will be there, and they’ll have potentially good news to discuss involving the Mohawk Valley Water Authority’s attempt to more than double the amount of water it siphons away from West Canada Creek every day. The Riverkeepers were formed in late 2007, after reckless withdrawals by the Water Authority and especially the state Canal Corp. nearly wiped out the creek. They have sought to become a party to the court battle over the creek’s water, and now the judge in the case, over the Water Authority’s objections, has adjourned the trial indefinitely to consider it.
Also presenting at the symposium will be Dam Concerned Citizens Inc., a citizens’ group that stakes out positions on a number of issues relating to safety and ecology on the Schoharie — including the need for New York City to right an 80-year-old wrong and restore the flow of the creek downstream of Schoharie Reservoir, creating a new stretch of trout water.
There will be a presentation by the Environmental Study Team, an organization of teenagers based at the Schoharie River Center in Burtonsville which has been celebrated by the National Wildlife Federation for things like rapid bio-assessments, stream monitoring and clean-up projects along the Schoharie and its tributaries.
Other symposium participants will discuss matters like the chronic ice jams that flood the Stockade, and fisheries, aquatic habitats, groundwater, etc. There will even be a guest appearance by a team that studied the Little Chazy River way up on the northern side of the Adirondacks.
And wrapping it all up will be Robert H. Boyle, the big-time sportswriter and pioneering environmentalist who helped erase the Hudson’s reputation for pollution and is now in the trenches fighting for the West Canada.
Boyle does righteous outrage as well as anybody ever has, and he does the homework to back it up. His keynote address at the symposium banquet at Union Friday night will be titled, “Bums and Drums Along the Mohawk.”
It’s a great river and a great watershed, with delights that a fly-fisher could spend a lifetime discovering, and it’s greatly encouraging to see it being taken seriously by so many capable people.
link to complete article is here:
Growing up in New York State in the Wallkill Valley has made me realize the value of land. It's expensive! My father has told me that no one really owns land, but instead rents it. He was referring to the exorbitant taxes he pays each year in the Town of Gardiner in Ulster County. Similar to renting, if my father fails to pay, the land is taken away. It's that simple. The property tax issue becomes significantly worse if you are a producer and wish to make a living off the land. Certain costs are fixed, such as taxes and maintenance operations that must be paid for each year whether tending a forest for a local source of timber, apples, or a small organic vegetable farm. What happens when these fixed costs become too expensive? The land may have to be parcelized, which usually leads to development and fragmentation, or rights are sold away in a conservation easement. The entire property may have to be sold in fee to another buyer. As a result, parcels become smaller, more development occurs, and the community is stripped of those landowners who produce locally grown products. The community becomes a consumer-based one that will need to procure resources and products from elsewhere. Is this sustainable?
In the 1970s, the Vermont State Legislature faced this issue head on. The legislature heard testimony that farm and forestland was being sold for development because the property tax bills could no longer be supported by the returns from working the land. In order to help mitigate this situation, the legislature enacted the Use Value Appraisal (UVA) program. Traditionally, land such as in New York State is assessed by its fair market value or highest and best use. Market value is determined by recent sales of comparable land. Therefore, if someone can afford to buy a parcel that is similar to yours near your property for more money, your property can be reassessed for a greater value and create an increase in your property tax bill. The UVA program shifts the assessment from a market value to a value that the property is currently being used for. If the property is currently being used for forest management that creates a crop of timber or for cropland, it is assessed on this value instead. For this reason the UVA program is also known as the current use program.
In order to be eligible for the program a landowner must have at least 25 contiguous acres. However, a minimum of 2 acres are excluded if a home is on the property. Therefore, 27 acres is the minimum acreage for enrollment. The property owner must hire a private consulting forester who develops a forest management plan. The forest management plan must be followed and trees must be cut when appropriate. A report must be filed with the state detailing management activities, and the state must be allowed to inspect forest management practices to ensure good forest management standards are being upheld. Farm land can be eligible in the program too, but does not require a management plan or inspection of the property. Farmland that is enrolled in current use can be less than 27 acres if the sale of crops grosses $2,000 annually. If an enrolled property owner does not comply with the current use criteria, he or she can be charged a Land Use Change Tax.
Overall, the program has been greatly successful in Vermont and has helped preserve its working forests and farms. One of the fixed costs of management, such as property taxes, has been held lower so that profit margins for sustaining locally grown businesses and economies are more feasible and sustainable.
New York State does have programs for forest and farm owners. However, there are some key differences. First, forest owners who want to enroll in the New York State Forest Tax Law (480a) program in order to re-assess the value of their property to forest land must have 50 forested acres. In Vermont the minimum is 27 acres. This eliminates most forest owners, since the average parcel size in the Catskills is already approximately 16 acres. Agricultural assessments exist in New York as well, but farmers must gross $10,000 annually. In Vermont, the minimum is $2,000. In New York if a town does not have at least 3 percent of its parcels enrolled in the 480a program, lower tax bills on enrolled property is shifted to neighboring properties in that town to make up the difference since the town still requires tax revenue. In Vermont, the state picks up this burden and reimburses the assessment difference to all towns.
Vermont has taken progressive steps in meeting the property tax issue and preserving its working farms and forests. This problem in both states will continue to worsen as more people move to rural areas and demand more services that require higher tax revenues. Parcel sizes in both states continue to decrease, while the number of parcels increase, often leading to land that is more difficult to manage for production forcing local markets elsewhere. In New York the remedy to this situation has been for our public agencies such as the State of New York to acquire forest preserve lands in the Catskill and Adirondack Parks. However, this land is taken out of production and resources have to be acquired from, yet again, somewhere else. For example, most New Yorkers buy their maple syrup not in the Adirondacks or Catskills, which have plenty of sugar maples, but from Vermont! Why? Well, working landscapes have been preserved which lead to sustainable forest and agricultural practices and sustainable local economies and communities. A comparison of Adirondack and Catskill communities with those of Vermont would show that Vermont is still ahead. Another example would be the paper companies of the Adirondacks that have packed up and left behind vacant buildings and ghost-towns. In New York we are building museums about old wood products businesses that used to be vibrant, paralleling healthy communities. In Vermont, they are making things. In New York, we are looking at our forests as museums. In Vermont, they are managing them, because they can afford to. We need real property tax reform if we truly want to be environmental stewards of our region and state. The old notion of fence and forget inside a preserve is not working. We can do better! Find out more about how to manage your forest @ www.catskillforest.org or give us a call @ (845) 586-3054.
Information provided in part from Northern Woodlands: The Place You Call Home: A Guide for Caring for your Land in Vermont. "Current Use: Property Tax Program Helps Keep Working Land Well-Managed."
Directed by Ang Lee.
Release Date is August 14, 2009.