As part a collaborative effort to mitigate the impact of acid rain and restore brook trout to the Adirondacks, New York state helicopters delivered 80 tons of lime to an acidified pond in the Five Ponds Wilderness Area in the town of Webb, Herkimer County, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Regional Director Judy Drabicki announced.
On March 10, 12 and 13, approximately 40 DEC staff and New York State Police helicopter crews conducted the liming operation, which included 120 helicopter flights to transport 160,000 pounds of lime from a staging area near the boat launch at Stillwater Reservoir to Bear Pond. Crews deposited the lime on the ice at the pond and later spread it across the frozen surface. The liming of acidic lakes or ponds is a management tool used to neutralize the water’s acidity and create water quality that is more favorable for fish and aquatic life. When the pond thaws this spring, the lime will enter the water and reduce its acidity level.
"Each year, fisheries staff selects an Adirondack pond for liming to reintroduce brook trout in the Adirondacks," Regional Director Drabicki said. "This effort involves months of planning and coordination with DEC operations staff, forest rangers and forestry staff, along with State police helicopters, pilots and crews. This joint effort is critical to reclaim waters impaired by acid rain and restore native habitats to these Adirondack waters."
DEC fishery staff is optimistic that these operations will successfully return brook trout to some large Adirondack ponds and lakes. Larger water bodies in the Adirondacks maintain a deep cold water layer right through the summer (referred to as stratification), unlike the smaller ponds where water layers mix, which results in warmer water temperatures that are not as suitable for brook trout.
For additional information on DEC’s liming program or a list of Adirondack trout ponds, contact the Watertown fisheries office at 315-785-2263.
Governor Cuomo’s NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative is an effort to improve recreational opportunities for sportsmen and women and to boost tourism activities throughout the state. This includes streamlining fishing and hunting licenses, reducing license fees, improving access for fishing and increasing hunting opportunities in New York State. In support of this initiative, $10 million in NY Works funding has been dedicated to fish hatchery repairs and 50 new land and water access projects such as boat launches, hunting blinds, trails and parking areas.
Under the initiative, the 2015-16 Executive Budget proposes an additional $8 million for state land access projects and an additional $4 million for the state’s hatcheries in NY Works funding. The Budget also proposes to create a new capital account which along with federal Pittman-Robertson funds will be used to manage, protect and restore fish and wildlife habitat, and to improve and develop public access for fish and wildlife-related recreation.