VT Fish & Wildlife Manages Popular Wetland Area

Fish & Wildlife Manages Popular Wetland Area To Promote Bird Habitat, Improve Water Quality


Every August, biologists with the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department intentionally lower water levels along several impoundments at Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area in Addison. The goal of these annual water drawdowns is to promote healthy wetlands on the almost 3,000 acre property.

According to Amy Alfieri, a Vermont Fish & Wildlife biologist who manages Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area, systematically flooding the wetlands and exposing the soil allows plants that migrating waterfowl eat to grow. Many of these plants are annuals, such as smartweed, beggarticks, and millet. By mimicking the water level fluctuations of a natural wetland, cattails, bulrushes, and sedges flourish, providing food and nesting habitat for waterfowl. The drawdowns also create mudflats which attract migrating shorebirds in August and September that feed on invertebrates burrowed in the mud. Shallow flooding in September and October increases availability of seeds and invertebrates for wading shorebirds.

‘The wetlands promoted by the annual drawdowns provide places for a variety of birds to thrive from spring through fall,’ said Alfieri. ‘By the time the ducks and geese are done nesting among the reeds in the summer, shorebirds are passing through to feed in the mud flats and shallow waters. This is followed shortly by the arrival of thousands of migrating waterfowl, including snow geese. All the while, hawks and eagles can be seen soaring over the marshes and fields in pursuit of these birds.

Dead Creek remains one of the most popular destinations in Vermont for duck hunters, in large part because various species of waterfowl are attracted to its nesting and feeding sources. Bird watchers have documented more than 250 species of birds at the wildlife management area, and late August through September is one of the best times to spot shorebirds at Dead Creek. Statewide, wildlife-watchers and hunters each contribute roughly $290 million to Vermont’s economy each year, according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

In addition to providing wildlife habitat, these wetlands also improve water quality and help buffer against flooding.

‘By managing water levels and promoting wetland plants, we’re creating giant sponges of vegetation that soak up excess water during rainstorms,’ said Alfieri. ‘The wetland plants also filter nutrients and pollutants out of the water, improving water quality on Lake Champlain for fishing, swimming, and drinking.’

As costs from flood damage and Lake Champlain cleanup mount, conservationists are increasingly turning to conserving wetlands and other natural infrastructure as one of many cost-effective solutions to address these issues.


Other Articles on Lake Champlain Valley WMA's:

Vermont Fish & Wildlife Upgrading Fishing Access Areas

Vermont Fish & Wildlife Upgrading Fishing Access Areas

Department Focusing on ADA Accessibility Improvements


Vermont Fish & Wildlife Upgrading Fishing Access AreasThe Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is over halfway to completion on a series of fishing access area improvement projects designed to enhance accessibility for anglers and boaters, including those with disabilities.

“We’re working on various improvements to a number of fishing access areas across the state, all with the common goal of making the areas more user-friendly for all boaters and anglers,” said Mike Wichrowski, lands and facilities administrator with Vermont Fish & Wildlife. “One key component of the projects is ADA accessibility, including improved docks, access paths and parking spaces.”

This summer, eight new ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant docks have been installed at fishing access areas in Rutland, Newport, Orleans, Addison and Essex counties.

New docks can be found at Lake St. Catherine in Wells, Whipple Point and South Bay on Lake Memphremagog in Newport, Seymour Lake in Morgan, Crystal Lake in Barton, Island Pond in Brighton, Larrabee’s Point on Lake Champlain in Shoreham, and Benson Landing on Lake Champlain in Benson.

Additional access area upgrades are planned for next summer at Marshfield Reservoir in Cabot, Big Salem Lake in Derby, Chimney Point on Lake Champlain in Addison, and Lake Dunmore in Salisbury. Improvements will include ADA access paths and paved parking areas.

“We are always working to bring more access areas into alignment with the 2010 ADA standards for accessible design, and are proud to offer the public over 20 sites across the state that meet those requirements,” Wichrowski said.

In total, Vermont Fish & Wildlife maintains more than 180 developed fishing access areas that are open to the public, free of charge, year-round.

To find a fishing access area or learn more about Vermont’s access area program, visit www.vtfishandwildlife.com. For a complete listing of current ADA accessible access areas, use the “advanced search” option found on the fishing access areas page, and select the “universal access” filter.

Anyone with questions about Vermont’s fishing access areas may contact Mike Wichrowski at 802-917-1347.


Everyone Enjoys Lake Champlain Sunsets

Everyone Enjoys Lake Champlain Sunsets


Great Blue Heron. Everyone Enjoys Lake Champlain Sunsets

This Great Blue Heron is watching something very intently. Do you wonder what it Is?

It’s another beautiful Alburgh sunset over Lake Champlain.

Everyone Enjoys Lake Champlain Sunsets in Alburgh Vermont

Everyone Enjoys Lake Champlain Sunsets in Alburgh Vermont


These photos by Kathy Longe show that everyone enjoys Lake Champlain sunsets … even Blue Herons.

Great Blue Heron.. Everyone Enjoys Lake Champlain Sunsets

Great Blue Heron


Two fish certified as new Vermont state records

Two fish caught in Lake Champlain tributaries certified as new Vermont state records


Chase Stokes of Ferrisburgh holds the new Vermont state record carp he caught while fishing the Otter Creek in April - one of two new Vermont State records

Chase Stokes set a new state record for carp with this catch, weighing 33.25 pounds and measuring 40 inches in length. The carp was one of two new Vermont State records


A new state record carp, weighing 33.25 pounds and measuring 40 inches in length, was caught in Otter Creek by Ferrisburgh angler Chase Stokes in April. Stokes, an accomplished Vermont youth angler, caught the carp in the town of Panton. The fish had a total girth of 26.5 inches at its widest point. The former record carp weighed 33 pounds and measured 35 inches.

A second state record for redhorse sucker has also been certified. In May Mike Elwood of Burlington caught a redhorse sucker in the Winooski River that weighed 9.96 pounds, measured 29 inches in length and had a total girth of 18 inches. Elwood caught the redhorse sucker in the town of Colchester. The previous record redhorse sucker weighed 9 pounds and measured 27.5 inches in length.


Mike Elwood of Burlington with the new Vermont state record redhorse sucker he caught while fishing the Winooski River in May - one of two new Vermont State records

Mike Elwood of Burlington landed a redhorse sucker in the Winooski River in May which weighed 9.96 pounds, measured 29 inches in length and had a total girth of 18 inches. It was one of two new Vermont State records

Both of the new Vermont state records were made official this week after a thorough review process by fisheries biologists from Vermont Fish & Wildlife. The records are for the traditional method of angling, as opposed to bowfishing which are also recognized for records for both species.


“The two fish add to the remarkable list of record fish being caught in Vermont year in and year out,” said Shawn Good, fisheries biologist with Vermont Fish & Wildlife. “15 state records have been set for individual species of fish since 2010, and that list will likely grow as more and more anglers chase many of Vermont’s lesser-known, non-traditional fish species.

“We currently certify records for 41 different species of fish found in Vermont, so the opportunities for anglers to learn about and target trophy-class fish of a range of species are tremendous,” added Good. “Chase and Mike are both accomplished anglers and long-time participants of our Master Angler program, and their catches are certainly indicative of both their talent and passion for fishing.”


Good also noted that the frequency of record fish catches in Vermont in recent years provides added incentive for anglers to get out on the water this summer and fall.


“There seems to be some extra buzz in the Vermont angling community right now given the quality of fish being caught regularly across so many different species,” said Good. “It’s always exciting to go fishing, and it makes it that much more exhilarating when you know your very next cast could lead to a new state record.”


To learn more about Vermont’s record fish program, fishing in Vermont, or to purchase a fishing license, visit vtfishandwildlife.com.