Got Nature? Blog

With all of the recent rain we have had throughout the state,raccoon close-up I have received several inquiries about effects on wildlife and what we can expect.  While some flooding is natural in low areas and wildlife are adapted to respond, extreme flooding can impact wildlife. Flood waters can wash away nests or drown developing or very young animals for those living in low-lying areas. For example, heavy spring rains can reduce nest success of wild turkeys.

In many cases, wildlife will adapt by simply moving to higher ground. I tend to get an increase in inquiries about snakes after flooding. They begin showing up in neighborhood homes when they have never been observed in years past. Certainly our environment changes over time and wildlife can and do respond to these changes.  However, sudden changes are likely due to a response of snakes moving to drier ground. The good news is this and other similar displacement of wildlife is usually temporary.

What can we do?  I’m afraid not much for our currently flooded friends. However, in the long-term, times like this reinforce the need to create and enhance quality wildlife habitat. Providing wildlife with quality habitat that contains the necessary food, cover and water resources gives them a fighting chance to deal with issues that inevitably arise. In addition, wetlands that landowners build and restore on their properties not only enhance wildlife habitat, but also help retain moderate flood waters and recharge groundwater supplies.

If some unwanted wildlife has overstayed their welcome in and around your home, check out the Purdue Education Store publication, Considerations for Trapping Nuisance Wildlife with Box Traps. If you think you have found a sick or injured animal, you can find a list of licensed Wild Animal Rehabilitators in your area on the DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Orphaned and Injured webpage. In Indiana, wildlife rehabilitators have necessary state and federal permits to house and care for sick or injured wild animals.

Additional Resources
Preventing Wildlife Damage – Do You Need a Permit? The Education Store, Purdue Extension
The Basics of Managing Wildlife on Agricultural Lands​, The Education Store, Purdue Extension

Brian J. MacGowan, Extension Wildlife Specialist
Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University


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


 

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


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


Students in Forestry and Natural Resources (FNR) continue to volunteer for Hands of the Future, Inc., a non-profit program whose mission is to help educate children about the outdoors and natural resources. As this program continues to grow, one of their dreams has been to find woods to create a children’s forest. To have a natural site that has been embellished upon with children’s needs in mind and to encourage outdoor play and adventures.

The students plan on transforming 18.8 acres of idle woods into Zonda’s Children’s Forest. The children’s forest will be composed of six main areas:

  1. A children’s garden, equipped with a greenhouse and kitchen, thChildren climbing on tree, Hands of the Futureat’ll allow children to learn how to properly grow and cook food.
  2. An enclosed area dedicated to allowing children having fun and safe adventures.
  3. A viewing area for butterflies, birds and other organisms of the wild, allowing children to easily enjoy the life of the forest.
  4. A maze designed by sunflowers, where children can have fun and do problem-solving, while close to nature.
  5. A walk dedicated to viewing the owls and other organisms composing the forest.
  6. Another enclosed area of the woods for adventures; However, it’ll also contain tree houses, bridges and other fun additions for the children.

Donations:
Donations to help make Zonda’s Children’s Forest a reality can be made here. They have six months to raise $235,000 in order to purchase the woods.

Volunteers & Interns:
Older students and adults can apply to be a volunteer. Volunteers are always appreciated, no past experience necessary. If you love nature and kids you will enjoy this program. Internships are available for college students, contact Zonda Bryant.

Resources:
Hands of the Future, Inc.
Junior Nature Club

Zonda Bryant, Director
765.366.9126
director@hands-future.org

 


It’s Arbor Day again, and it’s time to celebrate the importance of trees. The fact that trees are essential to both humans and wildlife is well-established. However, most people think of trees in the context of oxygen production, wood products, and habitat for wildlife such as squirrels and birds. I’d like to focus on one of the less well-known services that trees provide, keeping water clean. This service not only benefits people but alsoStream with soft bank. aquatic wildlife like the Hellbender salamander.

The 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 few decades the species has declined or disappeared from many of these areas. There are several causes that scientists suspect, but the loss of trees due to increases in agriculture and urban/suburban areas is at the top of the list.

Trees do a number of things to keep our water clean. The forest canopy intercepts rainfall and slows the rate at which water enters the ground. This helps reduce flooding. Trees provide shade to rivers and streams thus keeping them cool and allowing for higher levels of dissolved oxygen. Trees also filter nutrients and chemicals from runoff, preventing them from entering streams. One of the most important functions that trees provide is stabilizing our riverbanks and hillsides and preventing sediment from entering the stream and changing our rocky river bottoms to mud bottoms. These functions are especially important in our modern landscape, where agriculture and hard surfaces dominate many areas.

All of these functions help to create a clean environment for Hellbenders and other aquatic wildlife to live. Without trees, it is likely that our rivers and streams would be too dirty for many species to survive. If you are looking for a way to help the Hellbender, then please consider planting a tree this Arbor Day. Several Arbor Day celebrations for 2017 will be held on Saturday, April 29th. Check out activities around your area: Purdue Extension County Offices, Indiana Department of Natural Resources or Tippecanoe Soil & Water Conservation District.

For more ways you can help, please visit Help the Hellbender.org.

Resources:
Rainscaping, Purdue Extension
How Anglers and Paddlers Can Help the Hellbender, The Education Store-Purdue Extension resource center
Hellbender ID, The Education Store
Improving Water Quality by Protecting Sinkholes on Your Property, The Education Store
Improving Water Quality at Your Livestock Operation video, The Education Store
Healthy Water, Happy Home – Lesson Plan, The Education Store
Tree Planting Part 1: Choosing a Tree video, The Education Store
Tree Planting Part 2: Planting Your Tree video, The Education Store
Tree Installation: Process and Practices, The Education Store

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


Posted on March 13th, 2017 in Aquaculture/Fish, Aquatic/Aquaculture Resources | Comments Off on Raising Marine Shrimp in Indiana

Program Impacts identity

Issue

There continues to be significant interest in rearing marine shrimp in Indiana and the Midwest. Two issues of interest to existing and potential producers are supply of shrimp larvae and information on Best Management Practices for rearing shrimp here in Indiana.

 

What Has Been Done

The Indiana Soybean Alliance sponsored a demonstration project to see whether shrimp larvae could be raised using commercial feedstuffs (Live feeds are traditionally used). The theory being producers would not have to rely on shipments of larvae from tropical regions with significant risks. By using commercial feedstuffs, the footprint of operations could be reduced.
Shrimp, Purdue ExtensionA one day meeting for producers is planned for February 10, 2016, bringing together shrimp rearing experts from Texas A & M and Kentucky State Universities along with Purdue experts in marketing, economics and environmental controls. This program will encompass almost all phases of production through sales.

Results

Although the larval demonstration project was unsuccessful, with shrimp mortalities within one day of arrival, future research may be undertaken using different protocols by bringing in brood shrimp (parental stocks) instead of shrimp eggs.

Marine Shrimp Biofloc Systems: Basic Management Practices publication, The Education Store, Purdue Extension


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