In 2001, Congress charged each state and territory with developing a wildlife action plan. These plans are to assess the condition of each state’s wildlife and habitats, identify the problems they face, and outline the actions that are needed to be conserve them over the long term. State wildlife action plans outline the steps that are needed to conserve wildlife and habitat before they become more rare and more costly to protect. When combined, they present a national action agenda for preventing wildlife from becoming endangered.
Wade Island is located in the Susquehanna River near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It is part of the Sheets Island Archipelago. The island is home to the state’s largest nesting colony of black-crowned night-herons and great egrets.
"In May 2002, the annual survey of the waterbird colony on Wade Island in the Susquehanna River near Harrisburg was conducted. It is Pennsylvania's sole population of nesting great egrets, which is why this species is listed as endangered. This year 142 great egret nests were found, a 14 percent decrease from 2001. Wade Island is also home to the largest black-crowned night heron rookery in the state. Over the past decade this species has suffered a general decline. On a positive note, 107 black-crowned nests were found, 14 more than in 2001. This year surveyors noted a dramatic increase, a near doubling of cormorant nests from 11 to 21, a 91 percent increase. The most dramatic finding resulted from an assessment of the perimeter of the island taken by PGC biologist Cal Butchkoski during the 2002 survey. Comparison to a 1987 map revealed severe erosion on the east side of the island resulting in a loss of one third of its area over 15 years." PA Game Commission Wildlife Management Agency Report 2002
Natural Forces threaten Island | 2002 Survey | 2007 Survey
Double-crested cormorants – also colony nesters - have invaded the night-heron and egret nesting area.
PA Game Commission report on actions on Wade Island. | Natural Pennsylvania chapter P23-26 online through Google Books
Additionally, some people are advocating raising the water level at a nearby dam and causing the river to rise.
This will flood Wade Island.
What actions should the wildlife agencies take?
Basic Ecology A Free Online Textbook | Indicator Species @ The Futures Channel
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Pennsylvania Game Commission Renews Effort To Protect Nesting Colony Of Great Egrets And Black-crowned Night-herons On Wade Island