The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has released draft Access and Public Use Plans (APUP) for the Indian River and Upper and Lower Lakes Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) for public review and comment.
Indian River WMA encompasses 948 acres in Jefferson County acquired as a wetland unit consisting of three non-contiguous parcels. The Indian River WMA is predominantly a natural wetland complex consisting of open water, emergent marsh, shrub swamp, and floodplain forest. These wetlands and forests are important for ruffed grouse, golden-winged warblers, American woodcock, migratory waterfowl, turtles, and frogs.
Upper and Lower Lakes WMA, 8,727 acres in size, was purchased between 1963 and 2006 with funds from the Park and Recreation Land Acquisition Bond Act and the Conservation Fund. Roughly half of the Upper and Lower Lakes WMA is made up of a large wetland complex consisting of multiple wetland cover types.
These wetlands are among the most extensive in St. Lawrence County and provide habitat for marsh birds, waterfowl, and aquatic furbearers. The area is located on an important waterfowl migration route between eastern Canada and the Atlantic Coast.
The upland portion of the WMA consists of woodland, small blocks of conifers, shrubland, grassland, and agricultural land. Recreational activities available in this WMA include hunting, fishing, trapping, and wildlife observation.
These draft APUPs released for public comment complement the existing Habitat Management Plans (HMPs) for these WMAs and address management objectives for wildlife-dependent recreation, access features, and facility maintenance.
Together, the APUPs and HMPs form a comprehensive management plan for each WMA. These plans guide management for wildlife and public access over a 10-year time period, after which DEC will assess conditions and needs and update the plans accordingly.
Comments can be sent to NYSDEC Bureau of Wildlife, Region 6, 317 Washington St 7th Floor, Watertown, NY, 13601, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line – Indian River WMA draft APUP for Indian River WMA and Upper and Lower Lakes WMA draft APUP for Upper and Lower Lakes WMA.
Photo: Sunrise at Upper and Lower Lakes WMA (DEC photo).