Fort Drum's Fish & Wildlife Management Program manages all fish and wildlife species and their habitats on Fort Drum; conducts fish and wildlife surveys and research; promotes and manages outdoor recreation; works in cooperation with other entities to manage habitat; reviews proposed actions for potential impacts to fish, wildlife and their habitats, particularly threatened and endangered species; and participates in outreach events on Fort Drum and in the community. In 2008, the Fish & Wildlife Management Program was featured in an article titled Military Posts: Where Guns, Wildlife Coexist.
To ensure sound fish and wildlife management, an Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan (INRMP) was implemented in 2001. The INRMP was prepared in partnership and signatory cooperation with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), representing the state and federal agencies Sikes Act agencies, respectively. The INRMP is currently being revised and will be completed in 2010.
Fort Drum has an active outdoor recreation program that enhances the quality of life for Soldiers, their families, military retirees, DoD civilians and the general public. Fort Drum has approximately 70,000 acres of training lands available for hunting, fishing, trapping, birdwatching, primitive camping, and other recreational activities. Fort Drum follows NYSDEC regulations for seasons and bag limits for fishing, hunting, and trapping. Fort Drum also annually publishes its own Fort Drum Regulation 420-3, Hunting, Fishing, Trapping and Camping. A Fort Drum Recreation Permit and Access Pass is required before recreating on Fort Drum. For more information see http://FortDrum.iSportsman.net.
Fish & Wildlife Resources
Fort Drum has a wide variety of wildlife habitats and associated wildlife. Various surveys have been conducted and the information below is the most current related to flora and fauna on Fort Drum:
Fort Drum manages one of the largest contiguous open grassland communities on federal property in the northeastern U.S., and the Fish & Wildlife Management Program has long been active in grassland bird research, monitoring, and management activities. Fort Drum is recognized as important for grassland and shrubland breeding birds by Partners in Flight and the North American Bird Conservation Initiative, spans two different Bird Conservation Regions, and is listed as an Important Bird Area by the New York Audubon Society. Fort Drum is also involved with the Department of Defense Partners in Flight Program. Focal bird species on Fort Drum include the Red-headed Woodpecker, nightjars (Whip-poor-will and Common Nighthawk), Golden-winged and Blue-winged Warblers, and grassland species (including Henslow's Sparrow and Sedge Wren).
To report an interesting or unusual wildlife sighting, please call the Fish & Wildlife Management Program at one of the following numbers: 315-772-9636, 315-772-4999, 315-772-6283, or 315-772-9303.
Threatened & Endangered Species on Fort Drum
Currently there is only one federally-listed species on Fort Drum: the federally endangered Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis). Indiana bats are known to roost and forage on Fort Drum. Indiana bats and other bat species on Fort Drum and across the northeastern U.S. are currently being impacted by White-nose Syndrome.
There are 31 known state-listed wildlife species on Fort Drum including 5 endangered, 8 threatened, and 18 species of concern. Fort Drum is not required to afford state-listed species any special protection based on their status by the state.
The five NYS endangered species include: Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis), golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), short-eared owl (Asio flammeus), black tern (Chlidonias niger), and peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus). The eight NYS threatened species include: Henslow’s sparrow (Ammodramus henslowii), upland sandpiper (Bartramia longicauda), northern harrier (Circus cyaneus), sedge wren (Cistothayus platensis), bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), least bittern (Ixobrychus exilis), pied-billed grebe (Podilymbus podiceps), and Blanding’s turtle (Emydoidea blandingii).
Fort Drum is not required to afford state-listed species any special protection based on their status by the state.
Wildlife Surveys & Research
The Fish & Wildlife Management Program conducts various wildlife surveys throughout the installation utilizing several methods.
Migratory birds have been surveyed on Fort Drum in some capacity since 1991. Fort Drum participated in the Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS) program from 1992-2001 and has begun mistnet survey efforts again in 2009. Singing ground surveys for American woodcock have been conducted almost every year since 1992. Fort Drum has participated in a region-wide loon survey since 2007.
The Fort Drum Fish & Wildlife Management Program usually conducts biannual spotlight surveys on the ground and aerial surveys for white-tailed deer in the Cantonment Area. Aerial surveys for beaver had been conducted every October through 2007 but have been suspended due to deployments. Installation-wide bat surveys have occurred in 2007-2009.
The Fort Drum Fish & Wildlife Management Program has also contributed or cooperated with NYSDEC surveys including annual spring waterfowl breeding surveys, black terns, golden-winged warblers, reptiles and amphibians as part of the New York State Herp Atlas, migratory birds as part of the New York Breeding Bird Atlas, and dragonflies and damselflies as part of the New York Dragonfly and Damselfly Survey .
The USFWS' Lower Great Lakes Fishery Resource Office has been contracted to conduct fish surveys of Quarry Pond in 1995, the West Branch of the Black Creek in 2000-2001, Indian Lake in 2001-2002, Remington Pond in 2002, and Mud Lake and Conservation Pond in 2003.
In 2008 and 2009, Fort Drum's Fish & Wildlife Management Program surveyed and established long-term monitoring points on Pleasant Creek and West Creek.
In 2004, the Fish & Wildlife Management Program funded a black bear project in cooperation with the New York Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit at Cornell University and NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. The study was initiated in response to complaints of nuisance black bears interfering with military activities at bivouac sites and range facilities. A graduate student from Cornell University conducted the research from October 2004 - April 2007.
Fort Drum was one of two study sites for a ruffed grouse survival project conducted by the NYSDEC and State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) during the winters of 2007-2008 and 2008-2009. The objectives of the study were to (1) estimate fall-winter survival of ruffed grouse in habitats with different degrees of fragmentation; (2) identify principal causes of ruffed grouse mortality during fall-winter and relate those factors to habitat conditions on local and landscape scales; and (3) recommend harvest strategies or habitat management to sustain ruffed grouse populations. The other study area was Partridge Run Wildlife Management Area in Albany County.
The Fish & Wildlife Management Program works in close cooperation with various programs on Fort Drum as well as government agencies and other organizations off of Fort Drum to provide adequate or optimal habitat for wildlife species.
The Forest Management Program works closely with the Fish & Wildlife Management Program to ensure snags and other "wildlife" trees remain while planning timber harvests to provide habitat for wildlife such as woodducks, red-headed woodpeckers, bats, and other species.
In 2004-2005, the Fish & Wildlife Management and Forest Management programs worked closely together to remove woody vegetation within Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield to reduce suitable roosting and brood habitat for turkeys to minimize conflict between birds and aircraft.
In 2005-2006, both programs worked closely in cooperation with the Ruffed Grouse Society to provide early successional habitat for Ruffed Grouse, American Woodcock, and other early successional species in Training Areas 14E and 7A. See www.FortDrum.iSportsman.net for more information.
The ITAM program actively manages woody vegetation to enhance maneuver space which also sustains a large grassland habitat populated by many bird species with declining populations, such as the Henslow's Sparrow, Northern Harrier, Upland Sandpiper, Grasshopper Sparrow, Horned Lark and Vesper Sparrow.
Fort Drum is also an official cooperator of the St. Lawrence-Eastern Lake Ontario PRISM (Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management) and entered into a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Animal Plant Health Inspection Service - Plant Protection Quarantine to manage invasive plants. Beginning in 2006, biocontrol agents were released for the control of leafy spurge. In 2008, biocontrol agents were released for the control of spotted knapweed.
Since 1997, the Fish & Wildlife Management Program has co-sponsored and hosted an annual fishing derby at Remington Pond in Fort Drum's Cantonment Area in conjunction with the Free Fishing Day on Fort Drum. In 2008, Fort Drum also began sponsoring a birding field trip in the training area in conjunction with International Migratory Bird Day.
The Environmental Division hosts an Earth Day celebration every year at Fort Drum. The Fish & Wildlife Management Program also provides educational programs to surrounding schools and scouting organizations, and has participated in local environmental events.
A newsletter entitled Blaze Orange: Outdoor Guide to Fort Drum is published twice per year and provides natural resources information as it relates to recreational opportunities and fish and wildlife management activities on the installation. A variety of brochures and other publications are also available. See www.FortDrum.iSportsman.net for more information.