Conservation Action Committee Minutes - January 24, 2013

By Candace Cornell

Present: Meena Haribal, Linda Orkin, and Candace Cornell, Chair

Discussion: Hunting Issue on Cayuga Lake: A recreation or conservation issue?

Since there is no data suggesting a conservation problem, we agreed that issues between hunters and birders is a recreational in nature. Both groups are stakeholders in waterfowl populations and land use. Jody Enck studies interactions between these groups. We will adjourn the topic until next meeting when hopefully he can attend. It was suggested that we form a recreation committee to address the issue of setting aside a hunting-free zone on Cayuga Lake for the enjoyment of birders, such as the Stewart Park environs. Issues about illegal hunting practices should be reported to the authorities.

Discussion: Indoor Cat Campaign: Need, feasibility, and delegation for action.

Candace distributed a publication from the American Bird Conservancy’s national campaign to keep cats indoors. Linda volunteered to lead the campaign for the CAC. We discussed the problem of domestic cats as exotic predators. It’s estimated cats kill between 500 million and 1 billion birds in the US each year. To date, the extinction of 33 species in the US is attributable to cats. The national policy to trap, neuter, and release homeless cats does not work, but reducing their populations (estimated to range from 60-100 million) and keeping house cats indoors is effective. There are nearly 100 million house cats in the US, with only 35% kept indoors. These cats represent a huge predation pressure that could be partially alleviated by changing cat owners’ behaviors. Keeping cats indoors also dramatically extends their life expectancy.

Discussion: Progress on fishing line issues.

Our first priority in spring: ask club members to ID trouble spots, such as at Myers Point and Cayuga Lake State Park, where there are fishing line tangles in the trees or bushes. Candace will see if the various municipalities will remove them. If not, the CAC will. We will begin outreach in spring with recycling bins at trouble spots, recycling bins in stores, and literature at CBC outreach tables. We will participate in a City of Ithaca shoreline cleanup in the spring.

Both the national fishing line and Cat Indoors campaigns have printed brochures we could copy/purchase for distribution at: Ithaca Festival in June; Dryden Lake Festival in July 17 (have table and give bird walks); Finger Lakes Land Trust Lakefest at Farmer’s Market in July; Lansing Harbor Festival, Aug 10; and the Ellis Hollow Fair, Ithaca Apple Festival, and Brooktondale Apple Festival. If any members know of other community events we might have a table, please contact Candace at 607.257.6220.

Discussion on invasive species at Renwick.

We could ask Dan Segal to go over the property and make recommendations for removing invasive species and suggest plantings and trails to increase the natural biodiversity. It would make sense to tie this into the Stewart Park improvement plans that several club members have been working on with Rick Manning since early Fall.

Omission from November 29 meeting. Members present were Marie Read, Meena Haribal, Linda Orkin, and Candace Cornell, Chair.