|Snapping turtle at Normanskill|
Sunday, May 10, 2015
Pushed from the Federal level with concern over recent Atlantic Coast-wide decline, New York State has to show biological data for sustainable levels or close all commercial and recreational fishing for herring (alewife and blueback herring) in the Hudson River. What was suppose to be a three year study has been extended to run through 2016. Frustrating, because study is not action — recently read about native tiger populations in Siberia — same rationale– we do not have data which we should have before we act. Good thing is there are limits set for herring harvest again this year. On the main stem of river 10 per angler from Waterford, NY to George Washington Bridge and for tributaries like the Normanskill and also The Mohawk River it is 10 per angler with no use of nets. American shad in same waters prohibited in tributaries and main stem. A different species, hickory shad have a limit of 5 fish which can be caught from August 1 — Nov. 30th. The simplified ecological sketch has the striped bass eating the shad who are eating the herring. Recovery for the Hudson River could be best served by a fishing ban for all three species for at least three years . In the meanwhile, I have not seen any data on current herring populations released.
Little Brown Bat Population News
A summer 2014 set of observations from New York State biologist Carl Herzog had some positive news concerning the massive die-off of the little brown bat species. Once New York State’s most numerous species, it now seems, according to Herzog the steep decline in little brown bats “appears to have abated”. It appears a complete die-off is not going to happen. Herzog also said “I can’t honestly say that there is a measurable recovery or anything that looks like a recovery.” White-nose syndrome has killed 90% of New York State’s population. The population going from 1.5 million to about 150,000 little brown bats.
Worried About the Wrong Bees
It is the 4,000 or more other bee species living in North America, species other than the domesticated (Apis mellifera) commercial pollinator and honey producer, that we need to be concerned about surviving. In 1622 a ship arrived in Jamestown that carried the honey bee to North America..The European honeybee is promiscuous and can reside almost any where. These bees quickly spread through-out Americas. Natives called them “English flies.” According to Charles C. Mann in the book 1493 (2011) so critical to European success were the honeybees that natives came to view them as harbinger of invasion. “The first sight of a bee in a new territory, the French-American writer Jean de Crevecoeur noted in 1782, “Spreads sadness and consternation in all minds”. These bees are now spread through-out the world. There is no doubting their importance as pollinators to current food production but they are in no danger of extinction. Many native bee species are in danger, for example four of our bumble bee species declined 96% in the last 20 years and three species are believed to already be extinct. I admit I didn’t think about wild bees until the problems with commercial bees was publicized.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Thursday, December 2, 2010
The cycle of life for the herring of the Hudson River found at the estuary waters of the Normanskill begins with a new hatch in the Spring. These new herring grow through the Summer months before swimming downstream and out into the ocean. If herring survive for three years or so, they can return to spawn. New York State DEC reports the size and age of Hudson River herring have been decreasing for at least 20 years. They once averaged about 11 inches and now days they only reach about 9 inches. These smaller and younger fish produce fewer eggs when they spawn. All the east coast ocean bordering states are being asked by the federal government to survey herring numbers and if, as expected, the numbers are declining in a few years there may be federal restrictions on the annual herring catch. Kind of slow moving process but there it is. I think the major problem is found out in deeper ocean waters although over fishing the Hudson River and an invasion of zebra mussels who eat plankton, a herring food source, may be contributing. Unsustainable numbers of anchovies, herring, sardines, menhaden, squid and krill are being taken by commercial harvesters from ocean locations. both inside and outside the 10 mile limits of US fishing laws. 90% of this catch is converted to fish meal and fish oil for livestock or aquaculture feed. These forage fish now comprises almost half of the wild marine global fish catch. Dr. Ellen Pikitch, executive director of the Institute for Ocean Conservation Science has issued this warning: “Forage fish are key players in the ocean’s complex food web. Their excessive removal from the oceans threatens to cause a breakdown of a very complex ecosystem in which species are interconnected.” Obeeduid and I traveled to Belfast, Maine for the August 21, 2010 “Sardine Extravaganza” which was part cultural arts festival and part community education event. Poets Gary Lawless and Karin Spitfire and the mostly Belfast crowd of divas and poets put together an event of consciousness raising. “For lack of a better word” Karin said in an interview for a local newspaper, “I believe in the power of prayer. We’re going to sing and dance. It’s a prayer for the power of herring” Gary Snyder in his book of essays Back On The Fire (2007) writes on how human song and dance might be perceived by the animal world: One time in Alaska a young woman asked me, “If we have made such a good use of animals, eating them, singing about them, drawing them, riding them, and dreaming about them, what do they get back from us? An excellent question, directly on the point of etiquette and propriety, and from the animals’ side. I told her, “The Ainu say that the deer, salmon, and bear like our music and are fascinated by our languages. So we sing to the fish or the game, speak words to them, say grace. We do ceremonies and rituals. Performance is currency in the deep world’s gift economy.” I went on to say I felt that nonhuman nature is basically well inclined toward humanity and only wishes modern people were more reciprocal, not so bloody. The animals are drawn to us, they see us as good musicians, and they think we have cute ears. --- Alan Casline originally appeared in RD Newsletter Vol.4, No. 4 November 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
oak leaves floating
wind brings some upstream
ghosts seep from cracks in the world
Back in my vehicle, I turned left at the junction with Foundary Road (right turn) and Grant Hill Road (left turn) There was a iron-decked bridge to add to my collection of Bridges of the Normanskill. There were so many State Police cars driving by, coming from the nearby shooting range (National Guard Training Center) that I didn't climb down under the bridge as I usually do. The piece of the Normanskill that runs through the shooting range has steep sides and as I climbed up Grant Hill there were nice views of the deep valley at this place. Here are some photos from the day. steep banks upstream from Grant Hill Bridge