Tags: wildlife

Eel populations return to Staten Island

Eel populations are making a comeback in the metropolitan region and along the eastern seaboard.  After years of rehabilitation of the area’s waterways, eel populations are showing signs of a resurgence in Staten Island.

Joining the work of the American Eel Research Project, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection has set up a testing site in Staten Island’s Richmond Creek, one of the improved waterways.

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Next Freshkills Birding Tour: Sunday, January 22

Join us for our first tour of 2012 as we search for the birds of Freshkills Park along the site’s wetlands, creeks and meadows. This tour, like all of our bi-monthly birding tours, will be held jointly by naturalists from the Staten Island Museum and a member of the Freshkills Park development team.

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Bird-watching as citizen science

The WildLab is an iPhone app that allows bird-watching citizens and students to contribute to research about bird populations and distributions. The app helps institutions like the Cornell Lab of Ornithology develop mobile strategies for citizen science initiatives, engaging learners with curricula and projects that contribute to scientific research.

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New York, new bees

Four new species of bees have been identified in New York State. Among them is  Lasioglossum gotham, discovered at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, as small as a grain of rice. It burrows its home underground. The species was distinguished  from other tiny look-alikes through DNA bar coding and digital imaging.

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NYC parks are good resources for migrating birds

A recent study by scientists at the Wildlife Conservation Society has found that urban parks are comparable stopover landscapes to non-urban sites in providing refueling grounds for migrating birds. Researchers examined migrant stopover biology in Prospect Park, Inwood Park and Bronx Park to better understand how birds use city parks during migration.

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Study examines wildlife-friendly biofuel crops

A two-year study at Michigan State University finds that growing native prairie grasses for biofuel harvesting is more beneficial to wildlife populations than monoculture stands of corn. The research team, headed by biologist Bruce Robertson, attempted to identify ecologically sound biofuel alternatives that are as cost-effective as corn, which is currently the primary feedstock for deriving ethanol in the US.

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Bird safety for wind farm development

According to the American Bird Conservancy (ABC), an estimated 100,000 to 440,000 birds die from collisions from wind turbines in the United States each year, and by 2030 that figure could easily surpass 1 million per year. Although ABC is in support of alternative energy choices such as wind power, they recommend passing regulations for the wind energy industry that take into consideration four measures of avian safety:

1.

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Waste Management enhances wildlife habitat

Waste Management, Inc. (WM) recently reached a company goal of supporting at least 25,000 acres of wildlife habitat across 100 of its properties, most of which are landfill sites.  Environmental projects on WM land vary  from pollinator gardens and birdhouses to wetland creation and native habitat enhancement, with many projects involving community involvement and environmental education components. 

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Winter/Spring Fresh Perspectives newsletter is out

The Winter/Spring issue of the Freshkills Park newsletter, Fresh Perspectives, is up on the official Parks homepage for Freshkills Park.  In this issue are a walk-through of the design for the first phase of South Park, a primer on composting toilets and how they work, and a history and guide to wetlands at the Freshkills Park site.

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Dr. Steven Handel on urban ecological restoration

We’re playing catch-up recapping some of our recent events.  Last month’s talk by Dr. Steven Handel, Director of the Center for Urban Restoration Ecology (CURE) at Rutgers University, was an informative and engaging overview of Dr. Handel’s work, including a discussion of ‘ecological services’ and why urban ecology is so important. 

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The Staten Island Greenbelt, unconcealed

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/17476706]

The PBS Thirteen series The City Concealed recently featured a segment on the Staten Island Greenbelt. This 2,800-acre continuous corridor of green space provides a host of natural recreational opportunities–including some of the best and most serene hiking in New York City–and acts as a refuge for native wildlife. 

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Deer crossing

Visitors on the Freshkills Park tour are always excited when we mention that there are deer on-site, but they rarely experience a sighting; deer can be shy when large vehicles and groups of people are on the approach.  But there have, in fact, been a number of sightings. 

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Norman J. Levy Park and Preserve, Merrick, NY

On Friday, the Freshkills Park Development Team took a field trip to the town of Hempstead on Long Island to check out the Norman J. Levy Park and Preserve, formerly the Merrick Landfill.  We were drawn to the site by its herd of Nigerian dwarf goats, purchased in 2009 and herded by park rangers to eradicate invasive weeds and overgrowth at the site (The initial herd of five had recently given birth to nine kids, and the names of these kids were announced on Friday, too). 

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Birds, bats help protect forests and grasslands

If you’re not a biologist or a wildlife hobbyist, it can be hard to understand what the big deal is about birds, bats and other creatures at the Freshkills Park site—why are our birding tours always booked months in advance?  Why so much concern—huge sections of environmental review documents, regulatory review on issues of habitat fragmentation—for the welfare of populations of small animals, when the site is so big?

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Welcome back, feathered friends

Last Sunday’s bird-watching tour at the Freshkills Park site was eventful.  Not only did we catch a glimpse of a snow goose fishing around the storm water basin on East Mound, we also noticed this osprey sitting in a nest atop the tall perch in Main Creek. 

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Birdwatching tour in New York Times

This past Sunday’s birdwatching tour at the Freshkills Park site is featured in today’s New York Times (and also on the City Room blog, where you can read and post comments).  The sky was overcast and hazy, but we still spotted a dozen or more red-tailed hawks and several northern harriers in addition to meadowlarks, buffleheads, hooded mergansers and great black backed gulls

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Canadian landfill to be world’s largest pollinator park

City planners in Guelph, Ontario have approved a master plan to transform a 200-acre decommissioned landfill into the world’s largest pollinator park.  The former Eastview Road Landfill, which operated as a municipal dump from 1961 to 2003, has been capped and outfitted with a methane capturing system that converts landfill gas into usable energy. 

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Return on investment in habitat corridors

Habitat corridors are planted or wild strips of land between natural areas that encourage wildlife to migrate from place to place and, in turn, to help fertilize a broader range of places through the seeds they carry on them or digest.   

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Nature Find

Nature Find is an online tool provided by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) to aid in finding local nature or nature-related amenities.   Users plug-in a zip code, and the software locates nearby events, city parks, science centers, zoos and other wildlife-related happenings.

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National parks need a climate change plan

The National Parks Conservation Association has drafted a 53-page report describing “a potentially catastrophic loss of animal and plant life” in national parks due to climate change. The report urges the National Park Service to develop an overarching plan to better manage habitat and population shifts.

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