Got Nature? Blog

man with fishing polesJune 2019 IDNR Wildlife Bulletin Newsletter: Ever hooked a fish that left you scratching your head? There is now an easy way to help identify your catch. Just use the DNR Fish Identification Form to submit a request and email a photo or video. Not only will you be able to settle disputes, but we can also receive important location information for rare species.

Completion of this form is voluntary. Data submitted may be shared within DNR and partners with the discretion of DNR staff. Personal information will be used to process your observation and may also be used for participation in surveys and other secondary purposes. A fisheries biologist may contact you with questions about your observation or to set up a site visit to verify authenticity details of any photos submitted.

What we’re looking for in fish ID photos:

  1. A picture of the entire fish with something in it to reference size (e.g., ruler, coin)
  2. Close up of any unique features of the fish

Please email photos to fishid@dnr.IN.gov in medium size .jpeg file format. Videos should be .mp4, wmv or .mov and less than 10 MB in size.

Resources
Wildlife Bulletin Newsletter, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Fishing Guide and Regulations, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
List of Indiana Fishes, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Recreational Fishing and Fish Consumption, Got Nature?, Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources
A Fish Farmer’s Guide to Understanding Water Quality, The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center
Pond Management: Stocking Fish in Indiana Ponds, The Education Store
The Nature of Teaching: Adaptations for Aquatic Amphibians, The Education Store

Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)


Salmon and Trout of the Great Lakes: A Visual Identification GuideThe Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant and Purdue Forestry and Natural Resources Extension have recently released a new publication through The Education Store. This collaborative publication is a visual identification guide on salmon and trout of the Great Lakes.

The Great Lakes are home to eight species of salmon and trout. These species can be difficult to distinguish from each other as they overlap in their distributions and change appearance depending on their habitat and the time of year. This illustrated, peer-reviewed, two-page guide, courtesy of the Great Lakes Sea Grant Network, shows important body features and helpful tips to identify and distinguish between salmon and trout species in the Great Lakes.

View the Salmon and Trout of the Great Lakes: A Visual Identification Guide on The Education Store-Purdue Extension. See below for other related publications and websites.

Resources
A Fish Farmer’s Guide to Understanding Water Quality, The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center
Pond Management: Stocking Fish in Indiana Ponds, The Education Store
The Nature of Teaching: Adaptations for Aquatic Amphibians, The Education Store
DNR Fish Identification Form, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, IISG Homepage

Mitchell Zischke, Clinical Assistant Professor
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


Northern strain largemouth bass, photo by Mitchell ZischkeFish stocking in a pond is like a retirement plan—you need to have a vision of your ultimate goal. You want to start off in the right direction or your long-term investment may not pay the dividends you had hoped for. Pond Management: Stocking Fish in Indiana Ponds is an 8-page publication written by our experts partnering together from Purdue’s Pesticide Programs, Forestry and Natural Resources and Purdue Weed Science. They share recommendations regarding fish types, numbers, and predator/prey relationships for new and renovated ponds.

Main topics include:

  • Stocking new or renovated ponds with no fish present
  • Assessment of ponds with existing fish populations
  • Northern strain largemouth bass
  • Stocking fathead minnows
  • Stocking fish to control vegetation
  • Dissolved oxygen – fish need it to live
  • Fish health

Properly stocking your pond with the correct number of the recommended species at the right size are all important steps in creating a healthy and well-balanced pond that will provide good fishing into the future. For more information on pond management go to extension.purdue.edu/pondwildlife or contact Dr. Mitchell Zischke at mzischke@purdue.edu.

Other resources:
A Fish Farmer’s Guide to Understanding Water Quality, The Education Store, Purdue Extension Resource Center
Forestry and Water Quality: Pollution Control Practices, The Education Store
Marine Shrimp Biofloc Systems: Management Practices, The Education Store
The Nature of Teaching: Adaptations for Aquatic Amphibians , The Education Store
Aquaculture & Aquatics,Purdue Extension-Forestry & Natural Resources

Mitch Zischke, Clinical Assistant Professor
Purdue University, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


Posted on June 11th, 2019 in Aquaculture/Fish, How To, Safety | No Comments »

Proper disposal of medicine and personal care products is important not only Medicine Collectionfor you and your loved ones, but for the safety of the community around you. This article will walk you through methods of proper disposal for your area.

“Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant’s (IISG) Pollution Prevention Team is continually working with individuals, communities, and local governments to make the disposal of your unused, expired, or unwanted medicines convenient and safe. Since 2007, IISG has helped set up more than 70 new take-back programs, including more than 40 permanent take-back sites, collecting over 55 tons of unwanted medicines at collection events/locations in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin.” Read more and find out “Where to Dispose”. . .

Other Resources:
Unwanted Medicine, Indiana Department of Environmental Management

 

When encountering turtles, it is important to leave them alone to ensure their safety in their natural habitat. Several of Indiana’s turtle species are illegal to takeEastern box turtle or possess, including the Eastern box turtle (pictured right). Unless a turtle needs assistance crossing a road, it should never be picked up or moved.

What should be kept in mind if you encounter a turtle who may need help?

People often encounter nesting females on roads during May and June. If a female is taken out of the wild, she can no longer add to the population.

Turtles are long-lived species and have significant care requirements. Captive turtles cannot be released into the wild. They can introduce diseases or parasites to the wild population, and they will likely not survive.

You can help turtles cross the road. Always move the turtle across the direction that it was heading.

Any turtle collected from the wild requires either a legal license or permit and all reptile eggs and endangered species or species of special concern are protected.

View the resources below on reptiles and amphibians along with Indiana’s regulations answering any questions you may have for collection, handling and conservation efforts.

Resources:
Turtles of Indiana, The Education Store, Purdue Extension’s resource center
Snakes and Lizards of Indiana, The Education Store
Reptile and Amphibian Regulations, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Eastern Box Turtle Information, Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)


Eastern red-backed salamanders.The Purdue Extension-Nature of Teaching has recently released a new publication through The Education Store. The Nature of Teaching provides free Indiana Academic Standard-based lesson plans for students in grades second through sixth to guide them on how to help maintain a healthy environment.

Understanding adaptations for aquatic amphibians can help humans learn more about healthy ecosystems. Through this educational unit, students will be able to explain how amphibian adaptations benefit survival, describe the importance of Eastern Hellbender adaptations, and identify impacts that humans have on aquatic amphibians.

These packed lesson plans are great resources for school teachers, parents, 4-H leaders and other natural resource educators. View the Adaptations for Aquatic Amphibians for the latest installment in the Nature of Teaching resources. See below for other related publications, lesson plans and games.

Resources
Frogs and Toads of Indiana, The Education Store, Purdue Extension
Salamanders of Indiana, The Education Store
Snakes and Lizards of Indiana, The Education Store
Turtles of Indiana, The Education Store
Help the Hellbender, Purdue Extension
Hellbender Havoc Game, Google Play, Hellbender Havoc Game – Apple iTunes Store
Hellbender Decline, Purdue Extension-FNR Youtube
The Nature of Teaching, Lesson Plans K-12, Purdue Extension

Nick Burgmeier, Extension Wildlife Specialist & Research Biologist
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


Not sure when hunting season starts for you? This year’s Indiana Department of Natural Resources Hunting and Trapping Open Season Schedule is now available. Below are a few of the dates in each game category when season opens. See PDF for full list of dates and details Hunting Season (pdf)

For license information, youth hunting information, private land permission form and more check out IDNR Hunting and Trapping.

Hunting Season Open

Handling Harvested Game, FNR-555-WV, video

Click the image to be redirected to Handling Harvested Game.

Furbearers
Red and Gray Fox, October 15

Woodland Big Game
Deer Youth, September 28

Woodland Small Game
Gray and Fox Squirrel, August 15

Upland Game
Pheasant, November 1

Miscellaneous Game
Crow, July 1

Hunting Season (pdf)

Resources
Handling Harvested Game: Field Dressing (Deer), The Education Store

Wild Bulletin E-newsletter, Division of Fish & Wildlife
Indiana Department of Natural Resources


Posted on September 5th, 2018 in Aquaculture/Fish, Safety, Wildlife | No Comments »

box turle

People have been catching wild turtles and selling them as pets, leading to many species becoming endangered.  This is very dangerous for the health and survival of the turtle as well as being highly illegal in Indiana. We highly discourage you from taking turtles from their natural habitat and turning them into pets (or any animal for that matter). Here’s a list of reasons why it is not good to make a pet out of a wild turtle and what you can do if you see any turtle miss handling and turtle wrong doing.

Turtles DO NOT make good pets!

Reasons why turtles aren’t good pets:
  • Turtles require time and money for proper care, and some species can live up to 50 years.
  • Pet turtles do not like to be held and are loners; therefore, they can become boring pets for children.
  • Turtles are cold-blooded and need a source of heat. They also require an ultraviolet light for proper growth and health.
    • Without this special light, many health issues arise such as metabolic bone disease.
  • It is very important to know what kind of species you want and the care it needs before you acquire a pet turtle. Many need special food and tanks.
    • Each species has different feeding requirements, with some being strictly carnivores or herbivores. Map turtles, for example, have restricted diets that must include snails, aquatic insects and crayfish. Some species of aquatic turtles, such as the red-eared slider, map turtle and soft-shell, grow up to 12 inches long, requiring a large tank for swimming and basking.
  • Land turtles need a large pen, with sufficient substrate, properly sized water bowl, a hide area, as well as heat. Some require more humidity than others.
  • If you no longer want your pet turtle, you cannot release into the wild because it is not likely to survive.
    • It will have to find its own food, deal with the elements and deal with predators.
    • These once-captive turtles are also likely to transmit diseases to wild turtle populations.
  • Turtles can carry salmonella bacteria.
    • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that children, pregnant women, and persons with compromised immune systems avoid contact with reptiles to avoid getting Salmonella.
    • The DNR does not encourage the keeping of turtles as pets, but does allow it if the turtle species is obtained legally with a hunting or fishing license.

 

It is illegal to sell wild turtles

Many native, wild-caught turtles are still sold as pets, even though this practice is illegal in Indiana. The collection of wild turtles has caused many species to become endangered, especially when combined with habitat loss, water pollution and predators. Predators such as raccoons eat a large number of turtle eggs each year, and some species do not even breed until they are several years old, meaning that it can take many years for a population to become established. You can help protect Indiana’s turtles by helping to preserve turtle habitat, especially wetlands, through local conservation organizations or the Indiana Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program.

Help our endangered turtle species and report any wrong handling, contact DNR Customer Service Center.

For the full article, see Turtles As Pets, Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Resources:
Turtles of Indiana, The Education Store, Purdue Extension’s resource center
Reptile and Amphibian Regulations, Indiana Department of Natural Resources
Eastern Box Turtle Information, Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)


Hellbender Release

Hellbender release – Purdue biologists help a release attendee place a Hellbender in its temporary holding pen. Photo credit: Marci Skelton.

HellbenderThe Hellbender salamander is North America’s largest salamander. It is fully aquatic, living its entire life in rivers and streams throughout the midwest and southeast. Hellbenders require cool, clean rivers and streams with rocky substrates to thrive and reproduce. Unfortunately, over the past several decades the species has declined or disappeared from many of these areas. In Indiana, the species can only be found in the Blue River in south-central Indiana where there remains only a very small, geriatric population incapable of sustaining itself. In order to save the species in the state, Purdue University and its many partners have joined together to reverse the decline.

On November 1st and 2nd of this year, Purdue FNR’s Williams lab released 80, 4-year old Hellbenders into a site chosen as the best Hellbender habitat in the Blue River. Members from Purdue University, Mesker Park Zoo and Botanic Garden, Columbian Park Zoo, Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, Indianapolis Zoo, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, Duke Energy, and more all helped in the task of releasing the individuals into their new homes.

The chosen Hellbenders had been raised in captivity at Purdue University. Unfortunately, captive-raised animals are often times not equipped with the necessary set of skills to survive life outside of an aquarium. However, these were not all aquarium-raised individuals more akin to pets than wild animals. Forty of the individuals were raised in specially designed tanks called raceways that incorporated water flow to mimic that found in a natural river setting. The remaining forty individuals were raised in standard, low-flow conditions. The idea behind raising the animals in these differing conditions is to compare whether or not the individuals raised in conditions that are more natural (i.e., higher flow rates) will be better able to survive the varying water levels they will encounter in the wild than those that are raised without flow.

In order to document success, all 80 Hellbenders were implanted with radio-transmitters. These transmitters emit a signal that allows biologists to detect them with antennae and locate the exact location an individual is hiding. For the next six to ten months, through rain, snow, and shine, Purdue biologists will follow these animals to document their behavior, habitat preferences, and whether or not they survive life in the wild.

Transporting Hellbenders

Transporting Hellbenders – Release attendees work together to transport Hellbenders across the river to be processed before release. Photo credit: Marci Skelton.

The outcomes of this study could help solve two major problems facing Hellbender conservation. The first is that the addition of Hellbenders into the system could help spur natural reproduction and help to start stabilizing the system. This small step is important towards our eventual goal of repopulating the Blue River and other former Hellbender streams. The second problem this study will hopefully address is the issue of poor survival of captive-reared animals when released into the wild. If we find that raising animals in more natural conditions improves survival over those raised in the more common no-flow conditions, this technique could be easily adopted at captive-rearing facilities throughout the nation and help increase the overall success of Hellbender conservation in the United States.

For more information, please visit HelptheHellbender.org.

Resources:
Hellbender ID, The Education Store
HelptheHellbender.org, Purdue Extension
Help the Hellbender: North America’s Giant Salamander, The Education Store
How Our Zoos Help Hellbenders, The Education Store

Nick Burgmeier, Research Biologist and Extension Wildlife Specialist
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


Purdue University has teamed up with four zoos to protect hellbenders. This effort is a worldwide collaboration as zoos, government agencies, and other conservation groups, implement much-needed conservation initiatives. This recently published publication titled How Our Zoos Help Hellbenders shares the current zoos in Indiana that are collaborating with Purdue in this conservation effort. Zoos are conservation and research organizations that play critical roles both in protecting wildlife and their habitats and in educating the public. Thus, with hellbenders experiencing declines over the past several decades, teaming up with zoos in order to preserve and protect the hellbender species is ideal. The zoos that are currently partners with Purdue University in this effort are: Mesker Park Zoo in Evansville, Indiana; Columbian Park Zoo in Lafayette, Indiana; Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo in Fort Wayne, Indiana; and Nashville Zoo in Nashville, Tennessee.

Three videos have been released showing how the zoos are working with Purdue University to help protect hellbenders. You can check them out below!

Resources:
Conservation Efforts, Mesker Park Zoo
Hellbender Research Participation Spotlight, Columbian Park Zoo
Conservation, Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo
Hellbender Conservation, Nashville Zoo
Purdue Partners with Indiana Zoos for Hellbender Conservation – Purdue Newsroom
Help the Hellbender, Purdue Extension-FNR
Nature of Teaching, Purdue Extension-FNR
I found this in my barn. Is it a Hellbender? – Purdue FNR Extension, Got Nature

Nick Burgmeier, Research Biologist and Extension Wildlife Specialist
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


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