Tag Archives: independence day

Photo by Anthony Quintano/Flickr Creative Commons

Celebrating our Independence – Tips for Watching out for Wildlife

This post originally appeared in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Open Spaces blog

Photo by Anthony Quintano/Flickr Creative Commons

Photo by Anthony Quintano/Flickr Creative Commons

Celebrating Independence Day is, and should be, a lot of fun. Barbecues, beaches, parades and fireworks can be great ways to celebrate our country’s tremendous journey since the Continental Congress made that declaration July 4, 1776: “We hold these truths to be self-evident… “ But please remember that those bright colors and thunderous explosions can have a real impact to wildlife. Here are a few ways you can help mitigate the harm to wildlife and their habitats while you celebrate the Fourth of July.

  1. Be alert: The shock of fireworks can cause wildlife and pets to flee, ending up in unexpected areas or roadways, flying into buildings and other obstacles, and even abandoning nests, leaving young vulnerable to predators. If you’re out driving, please be on the lookout for animals.
  2. Help prevent fires: The threat to wildlife doesn’t stop at startling lights and sounds, fireworks also have the potential to start wildfires, directly affecting wildlife and destroying essential habitat.
  3. Keep it clean: Litter from firecrackers, bottle rockets and other explosives can be choking hazards for wildlife and may even be toxic if ingested.
  4. If you’re on the beach, watch out for nesting birds: Fireworks are very disruptive to piping plovers as well as many other nesting birds so be on the lookout for signs.  We can work together to protect nesting shorebirds.
  5. Cut back on using plastic or disposable utensils: During holiday celebrations we tend to break out the plastic utensils, plates and cups. Avoiding plasticware can easily reduce the amount of waste we create and inevitably help wildlife and their habitat, especially given the growing concern of plastic waste.
  6. Properly dispose of fishing gear: Anglers can reduce the injuries or deaths to wildlife simply by properly discarding fishing line and hooks. Retrieve broken lines, lures and hooks and deposit them in trash containers or take them with you.

    Osprey are among the many that appreciate when you properly dispose of your fishing line!

    Osprey are among the many that appreciate when you properly dispose of your fishing line!

  1. Follow laws and use caution: Federal law requires professional shows to be at least three-quarters of a mile from protected habitat. As you celebrate, choose fireworks shows that keep a respectable distance from wildlife habitat. If you plan to set off your own fireworks, make sure it is legal, use caution and you pick up any resulting debris. Stay away from wildlife habitat and avoid dry areas. Keep in mind that fireworks can’t be brought onto federal lands. Violations can come with stiff penalties, including fines costing thousands of dollars to jail time. Law enforcement officers are on the lookout for possession of illegal fireworks and use of fireworks in prohibited areas.
  1. Alternatives to Fireworks: If you are looking to celebrate without using fireworks, there are a number of alternatives. Here are a few ideas, but we’d love to hear other ideas.
  • Laser light shows
  • Gathering around a firepit
  • Participate in a parade or block party
  • Bubbles (for kids afraid of loud noises)
  • Glowsticks
  • Noisemakers and more

Stay safe this Fourth of July and thanks for keeping wildlife in mind as you celebrate!

 

Wednesday Wisdom: Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today’s Wednesday Wisdom is brought to you by famed transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson, on America and the outdoors:

ww rwe

Thanks Ralph. Something worth keeping in mind this Independence Day!

 

Running from the Canadian border to Long Island Sound, the Connecticut River and its watershed include 2.4 million residents and 396 communities. The estimated 1.4 million people who enjoy the natural beauty and wildlife of the Connecticut River watershed every year contribute at least a billion dollars to local economies, according to the Trust for Public Land. Credit: USFWS

What’s in a Blueway?

Former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar designated the region’s largest river system, the 410-mile-long Connecticut River, as the first National Blueway on May 24, 2012. The program recognizes diverse partnerships that support outdoor recreation and local and regional conservation of natural resources.

Running from the Canadian border to Long Island Sound, the Connecticut River and its watershed include 2.4 million residents and 396 communities. The estimated 1.4 million people who enjoy the natural beauty and wildlife of the Connecticut River watershed every year contribute at least a billion dollars to local economies, according to the Trust for Public Land. Credit: USFWS

Running from the Canadian border to Long Island Sound, the Connecticut River and its watershed include 2.4 million residents and 396 communities. The estimated 1.4 million people who enjoy the natural beauty and wildlife of the Connecticut River watershed every year contribute at least a billion dollars to local economies, according to the Trust for Public Land. Credit: USFWS

Watershed

The Connecticut River watershed spans four states in New England.

Silvio O. Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge conserves native plants, animals and their habitats throughout the 7.2 million acre Connecticut River watershed in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. The refuge has worked to reach communities throughout the watershed through partnerships and innovative visitor programs. Visitor contact points and exhibits describing the watershed and its resources are available at the Springfield Science Museum in Massachusetts and at the Cabela’s Connecticut River Museum Room in East Hartford, Conn. These “Conte Corners” are designed to show how public and private landowners, and the people that use and enjoy the Connecticut River watershed can all contribute to the refuge’s goals of conserving plants, fish and wildlife for people to learn from and enjoy.

A 1.2 mile long wheelchair accessible and interpretive nature trail is being built by Student Conservation Association employees, Youth Conservation Corps enrollees, and volunteers using excess lumber donated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The lumber will also be used to provide access to other land and water trails within the watershed.

The 410-mile Connecticut River Water Trail is also moving forward. River access is envisioned every 10 miles with overnight accommodations, ranging from campsites to bed and breakfast inns every five miles.

The refuge also works to bring the watershed to you. Schools, fairs, summer camps and events in rural and urban areas may soon be receiving a visit from the Watershed on Wheels or the Wow Express. The travelling interactive education exhibit is a partnership between the refuge and the Natural Resource Conservation Service that lets people experience plants and animals from habitats found in the watershed.

Wow

The Watershed on Wheels.

The 396 communities within the Connecticut River watershed are important to help accomplish the mission of protecting native species. Through partnerships and outreach, we can work together to maintain a healthy watershed that people and wildlife can enjoy.