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Follow a stream or river on Long Island and you will undoubtedly run across a dam or two. Beaver Lake is a result of a dam. Two streams run into Beaver Lake: Kaintuck Creek and Beaver Brook. Kaintuck has at least two dams on it of which I am aware. There are probably more. On Beaver Brook there is one at Frost Mill Road (Lower Francis Pond), the dam at Upper Francis Pond, and one more at the intersection of Oyster Bay Road and Beaver Brook. Among the tiny tributaries that feed into Beaver Brook within the Shu Swamp Nature Preserve there are three and possibly more that are on private property. So that’s a grand total of nine dams for a fairly small watershed! Now think about not just one watershed on Long Island, but the entire island, and even further, the entire US:

(I found this video through a post on the Sea Run Brook Trout Coalition Facebook Page which links to an Andrew Rifkin NYT blog review of John Waldman’s Running Silver).

No wonder anadromous fish populations have collapsed.

Swans Revisited

A few months  I wrote a post (A Dysfunctional Chain of Being: Swans, Canada Geese, Snapping Turtles and Raccoons) that was in part about the invasive swan controversy. I have been sympathetic to the recent efforts to eliminate swans from New York due to their potential to cause serious harm to aquatic habitats and their aggressive nature towards other nesting aquatic waterfowl. You see, my opinion is shaped by a scientific consideration of the facts, unlike those people who are guided by an emotional attachment to a beautiful animal, right?

Well I came face to face with my superior sense of rationality yesterday when I discovered a very sick cygnet at Shu Swamp.

I had just finished changing the batteries at the LIRR bridge antenna and was on my way back when I spied the distressed swan. I had seen the parents leave the pond just moments ago, which I found odd since as far as I know swan parents don’t leave their babies. When I approached the cygnet it was clear that something was wrong, although I could see no visible wounds. It was just so listless.

Whatever my feelings about general ecological destructiveness of swans, I wasn’t going to let this helpless animal suffer. Fortunately, Volunteers for Wildlife, a wildlife rehabilitation center, is located at nearby Bailey Arboretum. With the help of a family visiting the preserve, I threw a rain poncho over the cygnet and then picked it up and placed it in a cooler I had in my car. Five minutes later I dropped him off at Bailey. I found out today that the swan has a deep laceration in its foot (although I never saw any blood) and is on its way to the vet to have it checked out. Whatever happens I am sure the Volunteers will do the right thing and at the very least this poor creature won’t suffer.

After the Deluge

Monday might have been a beautiful day but for the rest of the week we got clobbered with torrential downpours. Mill Neck recorded almost 4 inches. This is what happens to Shu Swamp and Beaver Lake when it takes on all that extra water.

Water levels reached the bottom of the job box which contains our tag detection/data logging equipment. Fortunately the equipment was nice and dry but we may have to do some adjustments to the position of the antenna (you can barely see it underwater in the beginning of the video).

The first part of the second video was taken at the downstream footbridge near the parking lot. It looks like the water level had been several inches higher. The second part of the video is a natural dam well upstream and not too far from the Frost Mill dam.



Famous Brook Trout Rivers on Long Island

I came across a nice article by John Field that appeared recently in Fly Fisherman magazine, “Long Island Fly Fishing Triangle”, on the three most “trout-fishable” rivers on Long Island: Carmans, Nissequogue, and Connetquot. All three of these rivers host wild Brookies as well as stocked Brookies, Browns, and Rainbows.

I particularly liked the article’s emphasis on the environmental and management issues specific to each of the three rivers including dams, disease, pollutant run-off. Despite these insults, wild brook trout populations still soldier thanks in part to the diligent efforts of Long Island Trout Unlimited, Art Flick Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Long Island Fly Rodders, and the Sea-Run Brook Trout Coalition.

Want to Survey a Stream?

Long Island Trout Unlimited will be surveying Beaver Brook in Shu Swamp Nature Preserve on May 4 from 9 – 12. The survey involves a certified procedure called a Stream Visual Assessment Protocol. Briefly, sections of a stream are rated for water quality, invertebrate quality, attractiveness to fish, and hydrological characteristics. A higher rating is indicative of a stream attractive to trout and other fish species.


If you want to join in you can contact me and I will give directions and answer your questions:

Newsday Article on Trout in the Classroom in Longwood School District

An article about TITC in Longwood School District was published yesterday in Newsday:

Trout Release a Rite of Spring in Longwood Schools

I have just started corresponding with the teachers involved in TITC in this district. As the article mentions, they hope to get involved in radiotagging brook trout for release in Peconic River if they can get some funds for tags.  I have offered to help with surgery, equipment, and training.

You know it’s Spring at Shu Swamp when…


the skunk cabbage is stinking,


the trout lilies are emerging,


the marsh marigolds are blooming,


and the Canada geese are nesting in trees. Huh?

That’s an osprey nest about 20-30 feet up a tree on an island in the middle of Upper Francis Pond. The arrow is pointing to a Canada Goose. Sorry for the image quality but I took this with my camera phone quite a distance away. The same thing happened last spring! There have been ospreys interested in this nest but then this goose shows up and the ospreys seem to disappear. How does a goose even manage to land in tree nest?