Product to avoid

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mywan
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Product to avoid

Post by mywan » September 6th, 2012, 4:13 am

One of my brothers bought a roll of plastic mesh (seen in photo) to add to the back fence to prevent a small dog from getting through the fence. Turns out this stuff is good at trapping snakes, and not in a nice way. So far I have had to rescue 3 snakes. Don't really know that they survived, but I give them the best chance possible.

Due to the high resolution (4288x3216) I'll just link the pics:
http://nanatives.com/rescue/DSCF1159.JPG
http://nanatives.com/rescue/DSCF1161.JPG
http://nanatives.com/rescue/DSCF1163.JPG

Here is a king that was stuck right in front of that rat snake at the same time. Didn't even notice at first. My nephew thought the snake was "nice" while seeing me handle it, then freaked out when he seen how aggressive it could be after being in the box while the rat snake was doctored. Luckily another brother, who may not know that much about snakes, at least understood the snakes behavior was controllable, and helped finish getting this king ready for release. :beer:

http://nanatives.com/rescue/DSCF1166.JPG

I have removed this infernal plastic netting the best I could.

jimoo742
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Re: Product to avoid

Post by jimoo742 » September 6th, 2012, 4:22 am

Nasty stuff. Seen it, or something similar, used by DOTs to (for some reason) cover or rip rap at sites near wetlands and it was akin to gill netting for small turtles and frogs.

Also have seen some condo associations put up fences of this stuff along shorelines to try to prevent Canada geese from coming up to the lawns (hello! the geese can fly over it!) and it acts as traps for turtles that get stuck on the wrong side.

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incuhead2000
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Re: Product to avoid

Post by incuhead2000 » September 6th, 2012, 4:45 am

Glad you were there to help!

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mywan
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Re: Product to avoid

Post by mywan » September 6th, 2012, 6:14 am

incuhead2000 wrote:Glad you were there to help!
Thanks :P

As a kid I hunted a lot for pets. Now I'm happy just to say hello, take some picks, and part our ways.

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chris_mcmartin
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Re: Product to avoid

Post by chris_mcmartin » September 6th, 2012, 11:34 am

This continues to be a problem. I raised the issue of this mesh being used as erosion control at my nearest federal land, and at first it sounded like they put a stop to it. HOWEVER, much of that type of work is contracted out, and apparently the contractors didn't get the word. :?

VICtort
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Re: Product to avoid

Post by VICtort » September 6th, 2012, 3:18 pm

This problem keeps showing up, it is good to inform everyone about it. I have witnessed gopher snakes, rattlesnakes and Rosy boas caught in it, even a few fence lizards. Truly nasty stuff, and people using it are blissfully unaware to the damage it does. I saw some BBC footage of gillnets deployed and catching thousands of snakes in Cambodia marshlands, so Yes indeed, reptiles are vulnerable to netting. I once used it to cover some tortoise enclosures, but I quickly discontinued after finding/saving a pair of gopher snakes that were apparently breeding and became entangled in it. A tiny pair of scissors I use for fly tying worked well to cut it away, and the tight meshes had cut them as they writhed around and became ensnared in it. People need to learn about this, and so many other things that become "traps" to wildlife. There was an interesting thread about this , I think on agency land in Minnesota or similar, Fox snakes, etc. It is amazing how many agencies and people who should know better use similar for erosion projects etc. I once rescued a wild mallard duck that was entangled in plastic netting used on hay bales. One of those things wildlife just does not understand.

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BillMcGighan
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Re: Product to avoid

Post by BillMcGighan » September 6th, 2012, 4:06 pm

I'm happy to say that all agencies in our area seem to be using Jute for erosion control.

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FunkyRes
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Re: Product to avoid

Post by FunkyRes » September 6th, 2012, 4:11 pm

I've rescued birds from either that stuff or something similar to it.

Coluber Constrictor
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Re: Product to avoid

Post by Coluber Constrictor » September 6th, 2012, 5:13 pm

There was a frog/fish farmer (?) who used to sell this stuff specifically to trap snakes with. :x

ugh
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Re: Product to avoid

Post by ugh » October 31st, 2012, 5:28 am

Figured this was worth sharing here-

After seeing enough of this monofilament erosion blanketing and what it can do to local wildlife esp. snakes, I decided to type up a letter describing the problem and asking for it to be banned. Initially I wasn’t sure who to send it to or if I was essentially wasting my time, but wanted to document it and show the negative effects it can have on a local snake population- just get it on paper and go from there. I did send a few pics of snakes stuck in it and pointed out a readily available alternative that doesn’t trap snakes in it- a woven product that doesn’t have fixed joints like the monofilament crap. Absolutely no reason not to use the bad stuff anymore.I mentioned he names of it, the loose good stuff was called Jute matting.The monofilament shit that I knew of was made by a co. called Curlex.


Went to the local environmental government agency, asked around til I met someone that works with relevant issues. She was stunned by the pics and descriptive text of my letter describing the risks for snakes where this junk is used. She made a couple calls.

Next thing I know a couple days later she forwards me a letter from a prominent developer that had been using the bad product. In short it was a company-wide letter from a bigwig ordering that the product no longer be used in the state on any of the company’s sites, effective immediately, and to switch to the more environmentally friendly alternative described above. A start- most definitely a positive step in the right direction.

I was pleasantly surprised by the prompt and positive response from just a letter I typed up with a grand total of about an hour of my time and thought.I’d written letters several times before to other government agencies and had gotten mixed results: from no reply, to angry replies, to hot air lip service, to other positive responses but this one felt like the most tangible and satisfying.

Anyway just thought it was worth showing here if it inspires one other person to do the same. The amount of innocent ignorance it reveals can be shocking. The girl with the state that I made initial contact with was shocked and disgusted by my letter and photos. It’s easy for any of us to assume that regular, non-herp/non-treehugger ordinary folks are aware of and just don’t care about something because we see it as common knowledge. We forget how specialized this niche of herp/naturalist obsession really is and that laypeople just are oblivious to it.


Lastly I will mention, that several like-minded herp folk and friends of mine were not compelled to do so though they saw the same in there areas. Why? Understandably, they felt it was a waste of time to do so. Obviously it wasn’t. Can you EXPECT the same positive response by the state agency in your area? Of course not; I had no expectations of a reply myself. But you won’t know till you give it a shot…If nothing else you’ll know you tried to do something though the proper channels of beureucracy.

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gbin
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Re: Product to avoid

Post by gbin » October 31st, 2012, 6:01 am

MAJOR kudos, ugh, for showing us all how one person can get something done! Seriously top notch.

:thumb: :thumb: :thumb:

Gerry

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chrish
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Re: Product to avoid

Post by chrish » October 31st, 2012, 7:26 am

Bravo ugh. Way to be the squeaky wheel. :beer:

I remember a few years ago a series of posts about this stuff catching/killing snakes. I think they were Foxsnakes in that series.

Maybe we could gather these and other photos and put together an informative pdf pamphlet/flyer that would could keep on the FHF for people wanting to get the word out to their local conservation and regulatory agencies.

We could also add Biker Dave's excellent resource about getting permission to do a herp survey.

Sort of an "educational resources" page. Maybe the NAFHA site would be a good place to house it?

Jimi
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Re: Product to avoid

Post by Jimi » October 31st, 2012, 7:32 am

Agreed - major Kudos. That IS worth sharing here. Just goes to show that one person DOING SOMETHING can actually have a major effect.
Can you EXPECT the same positive response by the state agency in your area?
Realistically, in terms of immediate outcomes you'll observe - probably not. But in terms of your own attitude - I would suggest doing exactly that. Simply behave as if that is precisely what you expect - for them to do something, or at least tell you why they will not. Make your expectations known. Behaviors will change. You might just need to be a little bit patient and flawlessly civil. Also maybe be prepared to be a little more flexible than demanding an outright ban right away - presenting the facts and offering a lower-impact, equal- or better-performance alternative will often suffice to get the ball rolling. And not generate a self-defeating defensive reaction - which is probably what you expected, which is why you're so pleasantly surprised.

I'm curious what state you're in. The perils of plastic erosion netting for entanglement of fish and wildlife (especially those with serpentine body form) have been known for some time. Definitely more than 5 or 6 years. At least in CA, MN, WI, FL, and a few other states I or friends have worked. Policies have been amended in some places to reflect this knowledge.

Finally, I think in this case the real "prime mover" was the bigwig at the consulting or development firm. (Not that I'm belittling ugh's initiative, not the woman at the state. Obviously both were crucial here. Both also could have been stuffed by "the machine".) What could have taken - literally - months or years of cautious deliberation and stakeholder engagement on the part of government, was handled in just days in the private sector. They voluntarily switched products as soon as they were shown the problem, nobody really had to ask them or make them do anything. I think there's an important takeaway here, for folks wanting to get things done. Don't overlook engaging the private sector, especially if you're not temperamentally inclined to dig in and work an issue for a couple of years (and who is???).

Thanks again, for the good news and the good work.

Jimi

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Gluesenkamp
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Re: Product to avoid

Post by Gluesenkamp » October 31st, 2012, 10:00 am

I don't like this stuff either and now our Habitat Assessment team provides guidance that specifically prohibits the use of such products for erosion control. Craig Rudolph with US Forest Service wrote a nice little white paper on this topic as well.

Andy

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muskiemagnet
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Re: Product to avoid

Post by muskiemagnet » October 31st, 2012, 1:26 pm

nice work ugh.

chrish, i second what you said about putting a pdf together on the subject. i know i would mail it around.

teejay in minnesota was the one who had a lot of documentation regarding the fox snakes there.

-ben

Jimi
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Re: Product to avoid

Post by Jimi » October 31st, 2012, 1:39 pm

now our Habitat Assessment team provides guidance
When I left Florida's FWC in 2008, Kevin Enge was doing the same thing there, or at least assembling info to craft and to back-stop the BMP's. Anybody there reading this, give him a holler if you want the product they must have developed. Or search their website.

I seriously doubt they dropped it, this was becoming a pretty big deal. Not just snakes, but turtles, small gators, glass lizards, sirens, eels, weasels etc. were very publicly, very cruelly, dying all over the place. Major bummer.

cheers,
Jimi

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Mike VanValen
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Re: Product to avoid

Post by Mike VanValen » November 1st, 2012, 9:11 am

I've seen the stuff being used in area where endangered species live. Although I've never seen a herp trapped, I've rescued several birds caught in the plastic nightmare.

Jimi
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Re: Product to avoid

Post by Jimi » November 1st, 2012, 10:43 am

Mike - I wonder if your state of CT has adopted & disseminated BMPs or regs on the use of this material. Thinking of folks I know in your DEP-Wildlife, I would be surprised if they haven't at least tried to get the ball rolling. You've got some sharp, dedicated, seasoned people working for you. If you think the problem is significant and it hasn't been dealt with, follow through with them.

The New England states are a national model for interstate collaboration in nongame wildlife management. So really - what I said above for CT, follows for you guys in ME, MA, etc. If even one of your neighboring states has something good going on this topic, then the good thing should be pretty readily propagated across your region. Your employees try to blur the state lines as much as possible, where appropriate and necessary.

Finally, it's really common for end-users to have not gotten the word about +/- recent "policy" changes. And it's basically effortless to log on to Amazon or whatever, and just order up a roll or case of "product x" and put it out there on the landscape, no matter its local legal or industry-standard status. I mean, nobody's out there inspecting every Fedex and UPS truck for every single flavor of "contraband". It could well be the case that BMPs or regs do exist, but your local contractors, inspectors, and salesmen just don't know it yet. I wouldn't assume any malfeasance - in my experience with the interactions of routine commerce with wildlife, people are much more likely to be busy with their business & uninformed about their effects on wildlife, than just plain bad (Americans really do love their wildlife). I'd follow ugh's example and make some phone calls to your wildlife agency, if you see this plastic netting stuff out there again, and you're not happy about it. You might be pleasantly surprised at how things go.

Cheers,
Jimi

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mywan
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Re: Product to avoid

Post by mywan » November 1st, 2012, 11:30 am

Anybody wanting to use my photos as part of any effort to educate the public or any agency is welcome to do so.

ugh
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Re: Product to avoid

Post by ugh » November 3rd, 2012, 1:30 pm

Thanks for the kudos guys

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