Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Long Island Head Light Transferred to National Park Service

The U.S. Coast Guard transferred management of Long Island Head Light to the National Park Service in a ceremony on Saturday, June 25, 2011.

Transferring lighthouses from the Coast Guard to others is part of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000. This act allows for lighthouse ownership transfer to other federal agencies or local government agencies as well as non-profit corporations or educational institutions, all of which must be committed to cultural or historic preservation.

Long Island Head Light became one of the first cast iron lighthouses in the US in 1844 and has been in and out of service since the early 19th century. It is currently operational after a renovation in 1985.

Long Island is city-owned and a restricted area. Now, with the park’s new addition, Long Island Head Light will be open to the public for special trips and programs organized by the park. The park service is currently making moves to assess the lighthouse’s overall safety before organizing excursions for the public.

The ceremony itself took place on city soil thanks to the help of Antonia Pollak, Commissioner of Boston Parks and Recreation, who also attended. The land transfer was a mere 0.06 acres of land between the two government agencies and is the only piece of land currently owned by the National Park Service within the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area.

The Coast Guard has been maintaining Long Island Head Light with the assistance of the Coast Guard Auxiliary. The Auxiliary currently assists with maintenance on Boston Light located on Little Brewster Island, another island part of the Boston Harbor Islands.

The Long Island Head Light’s grounds are being maintained with great efforts by the Auxiliary Flotilla 53-Constitution and hopefully Flotilla volunteers will continue their work after this transfer. The beacon itself will still continue to be run by the Coast Guard.

source: USCG 1st District

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Northern Goshawk Killed in Maryland

The remains of a female Northern Goshawk were found on June 17 by a Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Biologist in the Savage River State Forest, near Grantsville, Maryland.

Apparently the female was shot and killed, leaving three orphaned chicks in the nest to die. This was Maryland’s only known nesting goshawk, a State listed endangered species.

“Why someone would kill this amazing and beautiful animal is difficult to comprehend” said Jonathan McKnight, who manages DNR’s non-game wildlife programs.

The Northern Goshawk is a large, powerful and secretive forest raptor or bird of prey. Goshawks were driven out of Maryland in the early 1900s by extensive timber harvesting, but returned in 2001 because of improved forest habitat. This would have been Maryland’s first successful goshawk nest recorded since 2006.

The Maryland Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the responsible person(s).

The Natural Resources Police (NRP) are asking for the publics’ help in identifying the person or persons responsible for this crime. The investigation has determined that the hawk was shot between May 16 and June 17 in the Savage River State Forest near Westernport Road and McAndrews Hill Road.

If anyone has information about this crime or description of individuals or vehicles seen in the area, please call the Catch-a-poacher hotline at 800-635-6124. Callers may remain anonymous and are eligible for reward money.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mid Atlantic Bird Icons

Birds are commonly recognized as icons of the Mid Atlantic region. Waterfowl, shorebirds, birds of prey and songbirds are all represented in the list of icons for the area.


Along the coast, herons, egrets and other shorebirds have long been recognized as icons. Canada geese, snow geese, brant and a variety of ducks are also familiar symbols of the Mid Atlantic region's seasonal migrations.

In the Chesapeake Bay and other estuaries, the osprey is a popular icon. These seasonal birds of prey are famous for their ability to catch fish as well as their familiar nests. Closer to the Atlantic, bald eagles are common and are often seen on regional logos and other artwork.

Songbirds are also important in Mid Atlantic culture. Several songbirds are state birds or have cultural significance in other ways. Several songbirds are school mascots or icons of professional sports in the area. Some of the most famous songbird icons of the Mid Atlantic include the Baltimore oriole, northern cardinal, eastern bluebird, wood thrush and eastern goldfinch.

Bird logos and artwork are popular in artwork of the Mid Atlantic states. An extensive collection of waterfowl, shorebird, songbird and birdwatching artwork is available at North America online store.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Chesapeake Region Native Plant Center

A new online portal, the Native Plant Center for the Chesapeake Bay Region, allows for the identification and selection of native plant species for habitat restoration in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

Users to the portal,, can search for native plants by name, plant type, sun exposure, soil texture and moisture, and even find native plants with the same shape, color, size or other characteristics as some of their favorite non-native plants.

The portal also includes a geo-locator feature to identify plants suited to a user’s specific location. An online network for interacting with other Chesapeake Bay stewards is planned.

The portal uses the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service’s native plant database, associated with the publication entitled Native Plants for Wildlife Habitat and Conservation Landscaping: Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

The Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, with support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, contracted with Image Matters LLC to create an online version of the guide, the Native Plants Center, Chesapeake Region.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Black Racer Snakes

Summer is prime time to spot black racers, also known as black snakes. These attractive snakes feed on birds, eggs, rodents, lizards and other small prey.

Black racers are found throughout the Mid Atlantic region, in forests, swamps, and other habitats.

They are sometimes found living among humans, in backyard sheds, old vehicles and occasionally even inside homes where they visit to hunt for rodents.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office Biennial Report for 2009 - 2010

The NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office submitted its Biennial Report for fiscal years 2009 and 2010 to Congress in early May 2011.

The report highlights many of NCBO’s programs and projects, including recent actions in support of implementing the President's Executive Order on Chesapeake Bay Protection and Restoration.

The document describes the Office’s work, including:

 - Monitoring the Bay's health, improving boater safety, and interpreting the John Smith water trail through operation and maintenance of the Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoy System;

 - Surveying bottom habitat to collaborate with state and other partners in identifying prime locations for oyster restoration, sturgeon spawning habitat restoration, and derelict crab pot removal efforts;

-  Developing decision-support models for fisheries managers to evaluate different management options;

 - Providing states with funding, technical assistance, and data to restore native oysters in the Bay, including support for aquaculture efforts;

 - Improving blue crab management by providing key blue crab data and survey information to marine resource managers;

 -  Providing hands-on learning as part of the Bay Watershed Education and Training (B-WET) Chesapeake Program;

- Creating a new Environmental Science Training Center for environmental education professionals; and much more.

For more information, see:

Monday, June 6, 2011

2011 Mid Atlantic Free Fishing Days

Several Mid Atlantic States are offering free fishing days for 2011, including Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina.

To celebrate National Fishing Week, June 4-12, Delaware's Division of Fish & Wildlife is inviting anglers to visit their favorite fishing spot during Delaware free fishing days.

On Saturday and Sunday, June 11 and 12, 2011, anyone may fish the state’s waters without a fishing license. Anglers are reminded that even though they don’t need a license on those two days, if they intend to fish June 11 or 12, they are still required to obtain a free Fisherman Identification Network (F.I.N.) number.

With the exception of this one weekend, resident and non-resident anglers between the ages of 16 and 64 fishing in any Delaware ponds, impoundments, streams, rivers, bays and ocean are required to purchase a fishing license.

The 2011 Delaware Fishing Guide includes complete details on licensing, the F.I.N. program and exemptions, is also available from the DNREC Dover office, licensing agents and on the Division of Fish & Wildlife website.

Maryland offers 3 free-fishing days for 2011; June 4, June 11 and July 4. No fishing license is required to fish Maryland waters on these days.

Maryland free fishing anglers must still adhere to minimum size and creel limits for the 62 species that are managed by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

For fishing regulations and to download a copy of the 2011 Maryland Fishing Guide, visit or any of the seven DNR Service Centers,

Anglers fishing on Maryland’s free-fishing days do not need to register with the National Saltwater Angler registry.

Virginia’s free fishing days occurred on June 3-5, 2011. During the 3 day period, anglers and their families enjoyed saltwater fishing without having to buy a saltwater license.

North Carolina anglers can fish for free in all public waters (including coastal waters) on July 4, 2011 from 12:01 a.m. until 11:59 p.m.

North Carolina residents and non-residents must still abide by other fishing regulations, such as length and daily possession limits, as well as bait and tackle restrictions.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

National Recreation Trails

The U.S. Department of the Interior recently designated 41 trails as National Recreation Trails, adding almost 650 miles of trails to the National Trails System.

Spanning across 17 states, the land and water trails provide opportunities for communities to connect with nature and enjoy the great outdoors as part of a healthier lifestyle.

Several trails were designated in the Mid Atlantic region, including:

Catoctin Trail (Blue Trail) - Maryland
Barclay Farm Trails - New Jersey
Croft Farm Trails - New Jersey
Blue Marsh Lake Multi-Use Trail - Pennsylvania
Susquehanna River Water Trail (West Branch) - Pennsylvania

The announcement comes in advance of National Trails Day on Saturday, June 4, when hundreds of organized activities including hikes, educational programs, bike rides, trail rehabilitation projects, festivals, paddle trips, and trail dedications will take place around the country.

The National Recreation Trail designation recognizes existing trails and trail systems that link communities to recreational opportunities on public lands and in local parks across the nation.

The new trails join a network of more than 1,100 previously designated trails that total more than 13,000 miles.

For more information, visit the national recreation trails website at: