New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

04/10/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/10/2024 09:34

DEC and Partners Announce Completion of Wetlands Enhancement Project at Lakeview Wildlife Management Area

Access Restrictions Now Lifted

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos and partners today announced construction is complete on a wetland enhancement project in the Lakeview Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in the town of Ellisburg, Jefferson County. The completed project improves spawning and nursery habitat for fish such as northern pike, as well as new breeding habitats for waterfowl and declining bird species like the state-endangered black tern. Additionally, the work enhances recreational opportunities in the WMA, including waterfowl hunting, bird watching, sport fishing, and kayaking. Public access restrictions due to construction at the WMA are now lifted.

"Wetlands perform crucial functions for the environment, fish and wildlife, and the public by protecting water quality, increasing resilience, and providing recreational opportunities like fishing, hunting, and wildlife observation," Commissioner Seggos said. "DEC is thankful for the dedication of our partners at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Great Lakes Commission, Audubon New York, Audubon Great Lakes, and Ducks Unlimited, as the joint efforts at Lakeview WMA will enhance wildlife habitat and increase opportunities for visitors to enjoy the outdoors."

DEC and partners, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Great Lakes Commission (GLC), National Audubon Society's Great Lakes and New York programs, and Ducks Unlimited (DU), supported the enhancement project on the 3,461-acre WMA. Located along the eastern shoreline of Lake Ontario, the WMA is part of the largest natural freshwater barrier beach system in New York. The area's diverse habitat includes open fields, shrub lands, woodlands, wetlands, and a natural barrier beach. Lakeview WMA is open to the public year-round, but public use restrictions apply to the sensitive barrier beach system. Due in part to artificial manipulation of water levels, altered habitat at Lakeview WMA became less diverse, with increasing stands and mats of dense cattails and encroachment of invasive species.

DEC partnered with NOAA, GLC, National Audubon Society's Great Lakes and New York programs, and DU to implement a wetland enhancement known as "channeling and potholing." This technique improves hydrology, depth heterogeneity, interspersion of open water, and habitat connectivity to benefit spawning northern pike and other fish, as well as breeding habitat for nesting black terns and migrating marsh birds and waterfowl.

Andy Hinickle, Senior Manager of Wetland Conservation for Audubon Great Lakes said, "Audubon is thrilled to see such meaningful improvements to Lakeview Wildlife Management Area's expansive coastal wetlands. Construction has successfully created the conditions which marsh-dependent birds like the Pied-billed Grebe-as well as fish and other wildlife-need to feed, nest, spawn, and thrive in the long-term. We are extremely thankful for the collaboration and support of our partners, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Great Lakes Commission, Audubon Great Lakes, and Ducks Unlimited, in enriching the quality of the wetlands for people and wildlife.

Matthew Wagner, Ducks Unlimited Regional Biologist for New York and Vermont said, "The work Ducks Unlimited and our partners have completed at Lakeview WMA, will enhance nesting, breeding, and foraging areas for waterfowl and water dependent species for years to come. DU is excited to see this project completed and looks forward to continuing to foster relationships with conservation partners to address quality habitat in these critical migration areas, this working partnership was crucial to the success of this project. We've set the stage for a great opportunity for wildlife and recreational users and hope to continue this momentum in the near future with similar enhancement approaches."

Funding for the project was provided by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through the NOAA and GLC Regional Partnership.

To learn more about the project please visit the Great Lakes Commission website.

Banner photo courtesy of Brian Gottfried, Ducks Unlimited: Lakeview WMA Wetland Restoration Project Complete