New York Mixed Bag: DEC announces newly redesigned website – Outdoor News

Albany — The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has officially debuted a redesigned public website at that improves accessibility and the user experience, particularly on mobile devices.

The redesigned site offers a more responsive design and intuitive functionality, whether visitors are using a desktop, laptop, tablet, or handheld device. Features include streamlined navigation and new content presentation capabilities that allow DEC to better integrate video and other visual media. Updated DEC website URLs are all plain text, improving the ability of search engines to find and connect users to content.

Expanded, task-focused navigation makes it easier for visitors to find regulatory, environmental protection, licensing, and environmental education content and resources more quickly. Again, visit to experience the new website.

Thousands of Beetles Released to Combat Invasive Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

Gowanda, N.Y. — The NYS Hemlock Initiative through collaboration with DEC and the Western New York Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (WNY PRISM) released 1,700 tiny native beetles at Zoar Valley Multiple Use Area this month. Laricobius Nigrinus beetles, or more affectionately known by some as just ‘Larry’ will find and eat the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid – an invasive pest that threatens the native Eastern Hemlock Population at Zoar Valley, across WNY, and statewide. ‘Larry’ the beetle, is a natural predator of the woolly adelgid.


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The NYS Hemlock Initiative is run by Cornell University scientists who research ways to biologically control Hemlock Woolly Adelgid in order to preserve Hemlocks across New York State. WNY PRISM assists the initiative and DEC by surveying lands, like Zoar Valley, and reporting their findings.

Draft Access, Public Use Plan Released For John White Wildlife Management Area

Alabama, N.Y. — DEC has released a draft Access and Public Use Plan (APUP) for the John White Wildlife Management Area (WMA) for public review and comment.

The John White WMA encompasses 329 acres in the town of Alabama, Genesee County, and is primarily composed of grassland (82 percent), forest (nine percent), and wetland (seven percent). Large expanses of grassland like those on this WMA are uncommon in the region and provide important habitat for grassland-dependent birds, including some species listed as threatened or endangered in New York State. Ring-necked pheasants are also stocked in John White WMA’s grassland fields each year. Recreational activities on this WMA include hunting, fishing, trapping, and wildlife observation.

Public comments are welcome through Jan. 2, 2024. The draft APUP can be found on DEC’s website. Comments can be sent to NYSDEC Bureau of Wildlife, Region 8, 6274 East Avon-Lima Road, Avon, NY 14414, or by email at [email protected] with the subject line “John White WMA draft APUP.”

Biden Admin Approves Wind Farm Project Off New York And New Jersey Coasts

Washington, D.C. — The Biden-Harris administration recently announced its approval of the Empire Wind offshore wind project that supports the administration’s goal of deploying 30 gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity by 2030.

Empire Wind US LLC proposes to develop two offshore wind facilities, known as Empire Wind 1 and Empire Wind 2. The lease area is located about 12 nautical miles (nm) south of Long Island, N.Y., and about 16.9 nm east of Long Branch, N.J. Together these projects would have up to 147 wind turbines with a total capacity of 2,076 megawatts of renewable energy that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) estimates could power more than 700,000 homes each year. The projects would support over 830 jobs each year during the construction phase and about 300 jobs annually during the operations phase.

The Record of Decision includes measures aimed at avoiding, minimizing, and mitigating the potential impacts that may result from the construction and operation of the project. Among those measures, Empire Wind, LLC has committed to establishing fishery mitigation funds to compensate commercial and for-hire recreational fishers for any losses directly arising from the project.

Vermont’s Patrick Berry Named Backcountry Hunters & Anglers CEO

Missoula, Mont. – Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA), recently announced the appointment of Patrick Berry as its new Chief Executive Officer. Following an extensive continent-wide search process, Berry, of Middlebury, Vermont, will take the reins of the North America-wide organization on Jan. 1, 2024. Berry’s hire will kick off the group’s 20th-anniversary year.

Berry’s experience includes a successful tenure as the director of the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, where he spearheaded important conservation initiatives and has been credited for modernizing and bringing financial stability to the Department. He has also held roles directing conservation policy and government affairs at the Vermont Natural Resources Council and Vermont Law School.

Berry also served as President and CEO of Fly Fishers International, where his strengths in nonprofit leadership, conservation advocacy, and strategic vision have been instrumental in the organization’s recent evolution.

“It is an incredible honor to lead an organization that has seized the mantle as a leader in effective and passionate advocacy for the special places where fish and wildlife thrive and where so many of us find solace, renewal, and reward,” Berry said of his latest appointment.