For more than 30 years Bob Klein was the director of the Vermont Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. From the Little Otter Creek Wildlife Management Area in Ferrisburg to Victory Bog in the Northeast Kingdom, the Conservancy has helped protect an array of natural areas and unique habitats critical to threatened and endangered species. Bob shares some of his thoughts about conservation as we paddle the waters of Little Otter Creek.
The Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department has been collecting data from 11 Lake Champlain Fish Community Monitoring Stations. Every summer, two 125-foot long nets are set out at each location for a 24 hour period. The focus is on capturing yellow perch, white perch, pumpkin seed, rock bass and other fish species found in the warm water communities of the lake. This allows them to keep tabs on the population and to measure the impacts of invasive species and fishing pressure over a period of time.
Every November fisheries biologists and a team of assistants use electrofishing boats at night to capture lake trout on Lake Champlain. Data is collected from upwards of 400 lakers each fall to monitor the health of the fishery and measure impacts of the lamprey control program.
Since 2007, Vermont fisheries biologist Lenny Gerardi has been keeping records of fish that make their way up the Clyde River in Newport during the spring and fall spawning runs. Great Bay Hydro built a fish ladder at the power station below the Clyde Pond Dam as part of its re-licensing agreement. The ladder leads to a fish trap that is accessible to biologists, and it is a critical component of the Clyde River Salmon Restoration Program.
Ask any trout or salmon angler on Lake Champlain about the status of the fishery and they’ll all tell you it’s getting better. For decades the parasitic sea lamprey have had a tremendously negative impact on the lakes trout and salmon population. To turn the tide on these voracious creatures fisheries biologists from Vermont, New York and the US Fish and Wildlife Service have been working together on a sea lamprey control program since the early 90’s. While the application of lampracides is all that makes the press, fisheries biologists from Vermont, New York, and the US Fish & Wildlife Service work on controlling these pests year round.
Few things are more satisfying for landowners than seeing deer, wild turkeys and other wildlife on their property. And few things are more important to deer and other wildlife than engaged landowners. About 80 percent of Vermont’s forested habitat is privately owned, and as more land is lost to development each year, the importance of the remaining habitat has steadily grown. With the help of organizations like the Vermont Woodlands Association, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department hosts workshops that educate landowners on the benefits of actively managing wildlife habitat.
The boreal forest of the Nulhegan Basin is home to a wide variety of plant and animal species. Located in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont this area is a wildlife viewer’s paradise.
Download the teaching materials created by Sam Nijensohn (and students), Wheeler Mountain Academy, Barton, VT.
If you’re looking for a summer camp experience that’s more than just a playground for your children. Then the green Mountain Conservation Camps might be for you. Back in the 1960’s former Vermont Fish and Wildlife Commissioner, Ed Kehoe, developed a new summer camp experience for Vermont youngsters. He included traditional outdoor activities, but by integrating a strong conservation message and hands on experience with everything from firearms to bluebird boxes, Kehoe’s design offered a whole lot more. Now named in his honor, Camp Kehoe on Lake Bomoseen is a great way to introduce any child to the outdoors.
Only a few decades ago, Vermont's largest native game fish was widely considered extinct in state waters. It was thought that the last, remnant population of muskellunge in the Lake Champlain basin was wiped out by a chemical spill in the 1970s. But to the delight of anglers and fisheries managers, a small but steady number of these huge, toothy fish have been caught in recent years, which has both rekindled interest in fishing for muskie and sparked renewed efforts to restore these spectacular predators in Lake Champlain.
If you want to have the lights, computer and other household appliances come on at the flip of a switch, you need to have reliable energy. Generating and transmitting electricity has never been synonymous with wildlife conservation, but today one Vermont power company is leading the way in integrating wildlife management into its mission of providing safe, dependable energy to its customers. The Vermont Electric Power Company, or VELCO, manages 635 miles of power line right-of-ways, which collectively cover almost 13,000 acres across Vermont. For years management objectives were simply to keep the power line corridor free of high-growing vegetation to prevent potential power outages. With minor changes to its management practices, VELCO is now playing an important role in providing habitat for a variety of wildlife species.