John Confer, assistant professor and coordinator for the Department of Biology, met recently with Commissioner Erin Crotty and Assistant Commissioner Denise Sheehan, both with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, as arranged by representatives of the New York Audubon Society.
To help sustain biodiversity, Confer described the importance of Sterling Forest State Park to the rapidly declining Golden-winged Warbler and urged that a proposed development in private lands within the park should be severely restricted for the sake of this and other rare species. After reviewing the Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed development, the DEC ruled against part of the development plan due to its negative effect on the Timber Rattlesnake, which is listed legally as a "threatened species" in New York based on data acquired by Confer and others.
In late February Confer, Rob Porter (TRLS) and Michael Rogers (physics), along with six students, will spend a weekend in a part of the park near the proposed development to establish two permanent wildlife census quadrants. Grid posts will be located with a laser transit, registered as part of a GIS map for the site and used to map the locations of wildlife observed during summer surveys.
Contributed by Nancy Pierce