Assembly bill A9289 - Relating to the adoption by the DEC of a revised management plan concerning mute swans - was passed by the Legislature and will soon be sent to the Governor for his approval or veto.
The New York State Conservation Council opposes this legislation and has requested that it be vetoed. This bill represents the third attempt to override the professional management of the DEC. We believe that it would impose an ill-advised hindrance to the DEC's ability to deal with a destructive invasive species.
The facts have not changed. There has arisen, however, an emotional response to the proposed removal of an admittedly attractive bird without proposing a viable alternative to dealing with the risk to the environment. Over 50,000 form letter and petition signatures have been submitted requesting the Governor's signature.
The management plan proposed by the DEC is a technically sound response to an existent problem and is based on solid research going back 40 years. This work has fully documented the negative impacts on native species and their habitats.
As an invasive species, mute swans are detrimental to the health of native species. They cause economic and environmental harm and pose a human health risk. The emerald ash borer, zebra mussel, Japanese knotweed and Eurasian Boar have already had major negative impacts in the state. All provide evidence that the sooner an invasive species threat is addressed the better.
These birds are destructive herbivores that devastate submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) along shorelines. A single bird can consume eight pounds of SAV a day and will uproot an additional 20 pounds in the process. This vegetation is vital to the health of the shoreline environment, averting shoreline erosion and providing shelter for small fish and shellfish, as well as being a key food source for a wide variety of species.
They are large, aggressive birds that displace native waterfowl species and will even attack humans. An adult male (cob) can weight about 35 pounds and have a seven-foot wingspan. While they pose little threat to adults on shore, they can pose a hazard for children or canoe/kayak users who venture too near. As these are feral birds, they have little fear of humans but they are definitely not good neighbors.
This is not a newly discovered problem. As stated above, research on the impact of mute swans in the Atlantic flyway goes back over 40 years. Over the last dozen years, the DEC has conducted research to document the significant population growth, geographic expansion and ecological impact of mute swans in the state.
In 2013, based on that research, growing awareness of the impact of invasive species in general and a more intensive effort to control free-ranging mute swans throughout entire eastern North America, the DEC developed a management plan to replace the dated 1993 management policy. Based on public comment, this plan was revised in 2015.
The management plan proposed by the DEC is consistent with the Atlantic Flyway Council (AFC) 2003 management plan. The AFC, composed of officials from the state and provincial wildlife management agencies along the eastern seaboard, is calling for a coordinated plan to significantly reduce populations and for increased efforts to educate the public about the serious ecological threat posed by mute swans.
The DEC plan encompasses a full range of measures to mitigate this problem: education of the public about the problem, prohibition of the importation and propagation of captive swans, encouraging control programs in bordering jurisdictions and banning the release of captive birds into the wild. Lethal methods, either through control activities or licensed hunting, are appropriate, and indeed necessary, in some instances.
The existing New York State rule making process provides ample notice of proposed management plans and offers the opportunity for public input. Mandating additional public hearings and requiring the repetition of completed work will add nothing to the process.
National wildlife conservation organizations, including the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the National Audubon Society and the American Bird Conservancy have all expressed strong support for reducing free-ranging mute swan populations as provided for in the AFC's Atlantic flyway management plan.
Call, write or email today and ask the Governor to veto this bill. We need the active support of New York's sportsmen. And make sure to tell your friends!
By mail: The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
the Capitol Building
Albany, N.Y. 12224
By telephone: (518)474-8390 from 9:00am to 5:00pm
By email: Go to www.governor.ny.gov and select "Contact" on the page header.
NRA NEWS New York: Final Gavel Drops with Gun Bills Failing To Advance In Albany
Donation's for next year's Deer Hides will be collected by Joe Snyder.
The Council's Memorandum of Opposition to the bill can be found on our website at www.nyscc.com under legislative information- memo and statements. The memo can be found in the second document library.
The full draft plan can be accessed at the DEC website:
The full draft plan can be accessed at the DEC website: http://www.nyscc.com/images/Mute_Swan_Management_Plan_2016-Memo_in_Opposition_UPDATE_02-2016_.pdf
Ladies and Gentlemen,
For those who missed the NYSDEC coyote presentation at SUNY ESF last week, Tom Merrill forwarded the below link so that we may still access most of the info presented.
SOUTH SHORE ASSOCIATION PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
6/10/2017 Today the South Shore Association announced the student who will receive up to $6000 each under their ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION ASSISTANCE awards for 2017. Those named are:
Zachary Hill Major in Environmental Sciences
These awards are made by South Shore and follow on to a program that has awarded over $50,000.00 to date. After graduating, past winners have gone on to careers in Wildlife and Forestry management, and Environmental Engineering in our County and State.
“These awards are an example of the strong belief South Shore has in the young people of our community ”said Ron Green, President of South Shore. committee member echoed Choosing those students who will eventually make the environment and conservation their profession helps to perpetuate the outdoor recreation traditions we love so dearly”. Joe Snyder the committee chair mentioned he felt “the tradition of these awards really says a lot about the South Shore membership’s ideals and commitment to the outdoors”.
To qualify for these awards the applicants must have demonstrated an interest in the environment and the academic ability to continue studies in a related field to one day promote enjoyment and use of the outdoors for future generations as the members of South Shore do today.
THE BILL TO CLARIFY THE DEFINITION OF SWITCHBLADE AND GRAVITY KNIVES HAS BEEN SENT TO THE GOVERNOR
Assembly Will Barclay
200 North Second Street
Fulton NY 13069
207 Genesee Street - State Office Building
Utica NY 13501
Assembly William B. Magnarelli
333 East Washington Street - State Office Building
Syracuse NY 13202
Assembly Albert A. Stirpe Jr.
5720 South Bay Road
Cicero NY 13039
Senator David J. Valesky
333 East Washington Street - State Office Building
Syracuse NY 13202
DEC ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR SPONSORED PHEASANT HUNT PROGRAM
APPLICATIONS FOR COOPERATIVE PROGRAM DUE BY SEPTEMBER 1
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today
announced the start of the application period to hold a DEC-Sponsored
Pheasant Hunts. This program enables experienced hunters and others to
obtain state-reared pheasants for use in sponsored hunts for youth,
women, novices, veterans, and people with disabilities.
The Reynolds Game Farm raises an additional 2,000 pheasants annually to
be used in sponsored hunts across New York State. DEC's partnership with
local sportsmen and sportswomen provides youth, novices, people with
disabilities, and veterans an opportunity to experience pheasant hunting
in a controlled setting alongside experienced hunters. In addition, the
sponsored pheasant hunt program gives experienced hunters a chance to
share their knowledge with a new generation of hunters.
Those interested in obtaining an application to hold a sponsored
pheasant hunt can contact the local DEC regional office for an
application (a list of DEC regional offices is provided below). Program
requirements and applications  can be downloaded from DEC's website.
Applications must be received by the regional wildlife office no later
than September 1. Successful applicants will be notified via phone. If
an application has been accepted, the applicant will be required to make
arrangements with the Reynolds Game Farm located in Ithaca, NY, to
coordinate a delivery time, date, and location.