Projects > Studies
and Information About York's Rivers, Maine > Wildlife Habitat
a fair amount of habitat information has been collected by both
state and federal agencies, much of this information is not published
in a formal report particular to the York River watershed.
Some study has been at a broader scale, and may or may not include
in-the-field study -- using instead satellite imagery or aerial
photography to make informed guesses about actual habitat.
Other studies have been very specific to species, such as turtle
surveys by the Maine Endangered Species Group.
the extent that these data exist largely in computer databases,
rather than a written report, it might be desirable to overlay
the data, by combining it in one GIS database or by using printed
maps and tracing paper.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife
Service, Gulf of Maine Coastal Program. Arnold Banner. 207-781-8364.
A local resource for help using the CD is the Coastal Mosaics Project,
computer database compiles U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service habitat
analyses for southern coastal Maine, from Kittery to Cape Elizabeth.
It identifies habitat for 43 species, all of which are
federal "trust" species, and which are further distinguished by
being rare or threatened at the federal or state level (or in
neighboring states). The CD includes some ready-made maps of priority
areas for southern Maine as a region. It also includes the raw
data, so that you can create your own maps/searches.
information is different than some other habitat information;
habitat was identified not so much by field observations, as by
remote sensing (computer modeling of satellite data) and by applying
models to information about topography, soils, etc. Accordingly,
the CD data should be field-checked when making management decisions
at a parcel or local level!
CD is useable on a home or office PC running Windows 95 or NT.
The CD includes a copy of ArcExplorer -- a free, simplified version
of the Graphic Information System (GIS) software.
Inland Fisheries & Wildlife (IF&W) also has a GIS database,
concentrating on game species: deer wintering areas, waterfowl
areas, some endangered species information, and plant information
from the Natural Areas Program. The game species information is
probably more complete than the non-game/endangered information.
is also a question of updating: a1998 paper report included a
swamp darter (Maine's only threatened fish) in Boulter Pond. However,
the IF&W database did not include this information (as of
late 1999). Also, the Swamp Darter is now officially classified
as threatened, but was listed in the database as "proposed." This
anecdote may provoke questions about how frequently updates make
it into the database.
the York River Watershed:
Map was produced by Maine Inland Fisheries & Wildlife Region
A, Grey, Sandy Eldridge. 207-657-2345. For Swamp Darter information,
contact Jim Pellerin (same office and number).
the end of 1999, U.S. Fish & Wildlife completed 4 aerial surveys
over coastal refuges: Rachel Carson, Great Bay and Parker River.
The survey is done like this: a small airplane flies over the
refuge, and the biologist speaks into a tape recorder describing
what birds are seen. The plane also has a GPS unit, so spatial
data is recorded as well. The survey concentrated on waterfowl,
and did not attempt to count wading shorebirds or other species.
Endangered Species: Blanding's Turtle, Eastern Box Turtle, Northern
Threatened Species: Spotted Turtle, Harlequin Duck, Swamp Darter
Species of Special Concern: Ribbon Snake, Wood Turtle.
data is available on tape, but has not yet been put into a report
or computer database. Surveys were done in Fall 1998,
Jan.1999, Mar. 1999, and Sept/Oct. 1999. The eventual plan is
to do all months.
Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge, Graham Taylor, 207-646-9226.
York County Audubon Society has been doing a volunteer bird
count for the past 30 years. This is part of the national
Christmas bird count. The volunteer count lists birds
species seen in a 15-mile radius circle, within 2 weeks of Christmas.
The "code" for the York County circle is MEYC.
of this data is not more specific as to location than the
15 mile circle. Circle-wide data since 1982 is available
on-line, and links are provided below. In the
past few years, there is data for specific "sectors" of the
circle; this is available in the paper reports.
this data is collected in the winter, it will have a bias
for species that winter in the area. A short list of
those includes: bald eagles, buffleheads, red-breasted mergansers,
black ducks, old squaws, red-throated and common loons.
National Audubon Society coordinates
the count each year, and Bird
Count data is available on-line through Cornell University (for
York, data is available since 1981). USGS has also developed
a bird-count database,
and includes an aggregate
species list for the York County circle.
Steve Pollock (a volunteer coordinator of the count) 207-780-5353,
in Flight Program of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
(IF&W) has conducted a study of salt marsh birds, including Nelson's
and Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed sparrows, which uses salt marsh habitat
almost exclusively. These birds are not listed as endangered
or threatened, but are considered a conservation priority in the northeast
(according to the 1999 Wildlife Division Research & Management
Report, 1999 (see below, H6))
tidal freshwater wetlands at the upstream edge of the saltmarsh
likely form habitat for rails and bitterns -- which are on the "special
concerns" list. However, IF&W has not done habitat surveys
specifically for these species in the York River tidal fresh wetlands.
Tom Hodgman, IF&W Endangered Program, 207-941-4466.
summary report for the entire state includes sections species
that are of particular relevance to York, both game and non-game:
wild turkeys (being reintroduced), waterfowl, salt marsh birds
including the sharp-tailed sparrow, Blanding's and spotted turtles,
and the swamp darter fish.
Mark Stadler, Director of Wildlife Division, Department of
Inland Fisheries & Wildlife. 207-287-8000.
survey of damselflies and dragonflies is being conducted by the Maine
Endangered Species Group. The first year of data was collected
in 1999. Although the York River itself has not been found to
support rare dragonflies, nearby boggy vernal pools have been found
to support the ringed
boghaunter. Dragonflies are likely to breed in faster-flowing,
more highly oxygenated waters than the meandering freshwater portions
of York River; a survey of the faster-flowing northern streams might
yield different results.
program already has over 100 volunteers, and may not have
enough training slots left for more. Volunteers who
are dedicated to doing the survey could however contact Phillip
deMaynadier to find out volunteer possibilities. Since
the volunteers are able to sample anywhere within the state,
there is no guarantee that the York River areas will be covered,
unless a few volunteers make it a priority area.
Endangered Species Group, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and
H8. Rookery Pond - Heron Data. Inland Fisheries
& Wildlife. 1996 and earlier.
data and reports on the Great Blue Heron rookery at Rookery
Pond in Eliot.
H9. Wildlife and Wetland Resources in Eliot, Maine.
H10. Flora of York Pond, based on 3 field trips. 1989.
volunteer-based method for riparian habitat assessment has been
developed nationally, and published by the Environmental Protection
Agency. It is a variation on a basic "stream walk" or
"shoreline survey" that places special emphasis on habitat considerations,
especially for the stream corridor and aquatic habitat.
It includes directions and a datasheet.
entire document is available on-line, including survey forms;
only the habitat chapters have been provided with the hard
Look at Chapter 4 in particular, of the Volunteer
Stream Monitoring Manual.
guide to finding potential vernal pools, looking for indicator
species (such as salamanders and fairy shrimp), and documenting
the existence of the indicator species. Vernal pools in
the York River area provide habitat to threatened/endangered
species; many of them in the Mount Agamenticus area have already
been identified by the Natural Areas Program and Nature Conservancy.
Vernal pool study is frequently used by school groups; see the
extensive curriculum developed by the Vernal Pool Association at
Reading High School in Massachusetts.
to Fish/Aquatic Habitat.
to the Index.