Sunday, May 22, 2011

MassWildlife

Stocked Brookie
My son, a junior in high school, participated in "Job Shadow Day" last week. The students search out companies and organizations for jobs that might interest them after school, make contact with an employee and "shadow" that employee during a typical work day.

My son is very interested in wildlife management and contacted the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game for his job shadow. I dropped him off at the Northeast District Office at 8 AM.

We got a quick tour of the office and met the fish and game biologists.  They are just completing the spring stocking of the district's rivers and ponds.

After I left, my son traveled with the game biologist to a game check-in station. He was able to help with the measurement of a wild turkey brought in by a hunter. They travelled out to Plum Island, a coastal barrier island north of Boston, to monitor and count waterfowl that is part of an effort to protect their nesting sites.

His last stop was at a pond to meet a stocking truck. The guys in the truck left the district at 1 AM to drive to the Cape and pick up the fish at a hatchery and then drive them back to the ponds and rivers on their stocking schedule.



In addition to fish stocking and hunting management, much of their work involves monitoring and reporting on all things related to the health and well being of the fish and game in the district.  They cover a lot of territory with a very small staff.

Some of the reporting work helped with the creation of the Massachusetts BioMap2. This comprehensive biodiversity mapping of the natural resources in the state is a work of art. BioMap2 helps the state manage its natural resources and make sure that new developments don't damage the most fragile parts of the ecosystem.

Part of the planning and protection envolves strategic land acquisition. They recently acquired a 840 acre parcel of undeveloped land in Tolland that will help protect some of the Farmington River watershed. Last year, the Department of Fish and Game acquired 245 acres of land around Red Brook in Plymouth and Weymouth which will help protect and restore sea-run brook trout.

I have to applaud Mass Fish & Game on their forward thinking land management and planning to protect our natural resources.

Stuffed Trout with Bacon Wrap
Meanwhile back on the stocking pond, that brookie shown above was not doing very well in his new pond. He was plucked from the water, field dressed and handed to my son for dinner.

The stocking in this state is "put & take" -- meaning the state stocking program is for recreational fishing and the taking of fish from the stocked waters is allowed within a daily creel limit.

Overall, it was a great experience for him (and me). I appreciate the efforts of Mass Fish and Game which facilitate outdoor recreational opportunities today while conserving our natural resources for future generations .