Spills Are Sandy’s Latest Wildlife Impact

The New York State Department of Wildlife Conservation (DEC) is reporting some oiled birds as a result of an oil spill on a Hudson River tributary in Kingston, NY.

More details about the spill are available from the Watershed Post and a report from the Hudson River’s Riverkeeper.
Read the Watershed Post piece, here.
And see the Riverkeeper site for more information about non-point source pollution in the area affected by Sandy.

There is also an oil spill in the Arthur Kill, a narrow waterway between Staten Island and New Jersey. The Hudson Valley Press Online is reporting a spill and clean-up at a local oil company on the Arthur Kill and nearby waterways. Read the story, here.

It appears a nearby marina is stumped by by the appearance of oil. New Jersey News 12 offers a brief write-up and a clip. See it here.

The New York State DEC also announced that shellfishing is closed off Long Island’s Nassau and Suffolk Counties until next week because of sewage in the water. Read the details in the NYS DEC press release, here.

Photo: DEC staff rescuing a great blue heron harmed by an oil spill in the Hudson Valley after Hurricane Sandy. Photo used courtesy of NYS DEC.

Fire, Water, and Wildlife

There is fire in the West, while flooding continues everywhere else.

Two of Arizona’s four packs of endangered Mexican wolves are in the immediate area of the Wallow Fire in eastern Arizona. An interagency team is monitoring the effects of the fire on the endangered wolves.

Read more in this press release from the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Or this very brief article from KPHO.

When flooding first struck the Mississippi River, there was also flooding in South Dakota and Vermont. The flooding continues there as well, prompting these two stories about flooding and wildlife.

The first, from the Greenfield (S.D.) Daily Reporter says that wildlife officials are asking the public not to rescue wildlife displaced by the flooding. They particularly ask people to leave fawns alone, since does can leave fawns for what seems to humans like a long time. Not sure how that relates to the floods. Wildlife officials all over the country are asking the public to do the same thing. Read more.

In Vermont, high water on Lake Champlain means that black terns — a state-threatened bird — probably won’t raise broods in the state this year. It is expected to be a rough nesting year for aquatic birds, and even ground-nesting birds may be effected by the flooding that hit the state last week. Beavers and muskrats are also dealing with the high water, and are seeking high ground, which is forcing them on to roadways more than usual.

The article ran in the Sunday Rutland Herald and Barre Montpelier Times-Argus, but is behind a paywall.

Update: Arizona Game and Fish has a Web page with information about the state’s fires and wildlife, including its impact on hunting and fishing in the area. It plans to update the site as needed:

Photo: a Mexican wolf in Arizona on a much cooler day. Photo courtesy of the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

More Wildlife in Floods

by Ken Lund

According to the Los Angeles Times, when flooding hit the Atchafalaya River Basin, wildlife headed for high ground — the levees. It says that even a turtle has been spotted escaping the flood waters on drier ground. The problem, says the article, is that when people head down the levee to get a look at the flooding, they scare the animals back into the water.

Read the article here.

The Jackson (Miss.) Clarion Ledger says that while wildlife in the region continues to be stressed by the floods, a recent check-in by biologists showed that the black bears are doing just fine. Read the rest here. 

Finally, not a single state wildlife biologist is mentioned in this article in The New York Times, about wildlife rehabilitators in Louisiana rescuing baby ospreys from alligators in the flood. The article suggests that denying the gators their raptor snacks is all good. Read the article here.

Photo: Atchafalaya River, in drier times.