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.
When it comes to making things out of wood no animal is more persistent and more proficient than the beaver. Beaver dams provide valuable wet land habitat for several species of fish and wildlife. But these same dams can cause a lot of damage to roads and septic systems. In this segment, we look at a unique project called the "Cooperative Beaver Baffle Demonstration Project" that uses water control structures to properly manage beaver dam water levels.
Over-harvesting in the 18th century combined with loss of natural habitat nearly lead to the extinction of the North American Wood Duck. But thanks to conservation efforts such as the construction and installation of wood duck boxes in wetlands this beautiful bird has had a resurgence. In this segment we tag along with District Wildlife Biologist John Mlcuch as he visits State-maintained duck boxes in Vermont and learn about the nesting habits of the North American "woodie."
- Ducks Unlimited - Duck Box Page
- Northern Prairie Wildlife Research
Center - Ducks at a Distance Waterfowl
- Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife
- For VT wood duck box info,
call: Bill Crenshaw, 802-879-5699
The Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife's Green Mountain Conservation Camp Program gives kids a chance to get hands-on experience in conservation, outdoor skills and hunter safety. In addition to developing social interaction, group cooperation and leadership skills, the camps promote an awareness and appreciation of the natural environment. We spent a day at Camp Kehoe on Lake Bomoseen to get a first-hand look at the summer fun and the learning experience of conservation camp.
Spiny Softshell Turtles are part of Vermont's natural heritage. But these shy creatures are at risk of vanishing in both Vermont and Quebec due to waterfront development of their natural habitats. There are only two know nesting sites of this turtle in Vermont. But even though the sites are posted, turtles are still killed every year by careless individuals. The Lake Champlain Basin Science Center recently rescued some baby turtles from damaged nesting areas. They were raised at both the center and the Ecomuseum and Montreal. We recently joined members of the center for the turtle's reintroduction to their original nesting sites.
To properly manage Vermont's streams, wildlife officials need to survey them. The information gathered from these stream surveys is used in determining minimum lengths and quantities for anglers in addition to stocking needs and assessments of the overall stream health. Detailed records are kept on each survey and compared with previous findings to help determine environmental impacts of development near the streams. We tagged along this past spring with two Vermont Wildlife Fisheries Biologists to see how a stream is surveyed.
- Bald Hill Fish Culture Station
60 Abbott Hill Road
West Burke, VT 05871-9644
Supervisor: Chris Thompson
Fish Culturist: John Talbot
- Bennington Fish Culture Station
R.R. 2, Box 3859
Bennington, VT 05201
Supervisor: Monty Walker
Assistant Supervisor: Vacant
Fish Culturists: Brook Bicking,
Fish Culture Worker: Thomas Dwyer
- Ed Weed Fish Culture Station
14 Bell Hill Road
Grand Isle, VT 05458
Supervisor: Dan Marchant
Maintenance Supervisor: Mark LaBonte
and Kevin Kelsey
Fish Culturists: James Bellinghiri,
Gabe Cameron,Tom Chairvolotti,Sean Hilpl,
Priscilla Stutz-Lumbra, Gregory Owens
- Roxbury Fish Culture Station
3696 Roxbury Road
Roxbury, VT 05669
Supervisor: Ralph Barber
Fish Culturists: Dudley Leavitt,
- Salisbury Fish Culture Station
646 Lake Dunmore Rd.
Salisbury, VT 05759
Supervisor: Tom Dumont
Assistant Supervisor: George Scribner
Fish Culturists: Michael Ellis,
- Vermont Agency of Natural Resources
- Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department
A natural community is an area that has experienced minimal human alteration. But when people spend time outdoors, in the woods or fields or along a stream, chances are they're passing through more than one natural community, sometimes resulting in a disturbance in the natural order. Understanding how these assemblages of plants, animals, insects, fish and reptiles co-exist can help preserve and protect the environment in which they live. We join Leif Richardson of the Vermont Non-game and Natural Heritage Program for a look at several natural communities in Niquette Bay State Park in Colchester.
- The Nature Conservancy -
- University of Vermont's School of
- The Vermont Agency of Natural Resources
- The Vermont Backyard Forest
A deeryard is a wintering habitat, a dense, overhead canopy of softwood trees such as hemlock, cedar, fir and spruce. In addition to providing a source of food, tree branches intercept snow before it reaches the ground and with time melts or dissipates it as water vapor, keeping the snow to a minimum. If the deeryard is on a south-facing slope, it can be a source of heat for the herd. The number of deeryards determines how many deer the landscape can support. We spent some time recently with wildlife biologist John Buck to learn more about deeryards and why they're so important to deer.
There are seven species of sturgeon in the United States. These long, armor-plated fish are virtually unchanged since prehistoric times. Mature lake sturgeon grow to about three to five feet in length and can weigh over 100 pounds. It wasn't long ago that Lake Sturgeon were commercially fished on Lake Champlain. Today they are an endangered (threatened) species. Host Lawrence Pyne joins Chet MacKenzie of the Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife's Lake Champlain Sturgeon Restoration Program, to find out what is being done to reestablish one of the lake's ancient creatures.
- Chet MacKenzie
VT Dept. of Fish & Wildlife
317 Sanitorium Road, West Wing
Pittsford, VT 05763
With the loon population of Vermont down to eight nesting pairs in 1983, the Loon Recovery Project combined the talents of the Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS) and the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department to study ways to increase the loon population. Outdoor Journal visits with Eric Hanson, project biologist and the kids of Vermont Audubon's "Take Part Program" as they demonstrate what they have done to increase the loon population to almost forty nesting pairs.