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 Post subject: Quabbin Reservoir Rattlesnake Project, MA
PostPosted: March 8th, 2016, 6:48 pm 
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Joined: January 30th, 2012, 10:01 pm
Posts: 23
Location: Northeast
This is an interesting topic, and has stirred up a bit of controversy. Mass. wants to introduce timbers to an island in the Quabbin, where they will be relatively undisturbed by and inaccessible to people. It's an interesting idea, and has the locals running for their snake shot shells. A group of people started a petition on change.org to stop the project. The associated Facebook page was interesting at first, but quickly got out of control and the moderators have decided to ban everyone who comments in favor of snakes. They have no interest in learning anything about timber rattlesnakes. A counter-petition was generated, and the pro signatures have now exceeded the anti signatures. I expect the final outcome will have important implications for rattlesnake conservation everywhere. There have been many stories in the press.


Here's the state page on the project:
http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/dfg/df ... ation.html

Here's the pro-petition, please sign if it makes sense to you. This will give the MassWildlife people something to present as a counter-argument:
https://www.change.org/p/tom-french-hel ... utm_source

And associated facebook page. I am not sure who is running the Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/Petition-to-He ... 2/?fref=ts

In the interest of democracy, here's the Anti petition:
https://www.change.org/p/gov-charles-ba ... nd-project

And their (now very exclusive) Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/Petition-to-St ... 291701303/


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 Post subject: Re: Quabbin Reservoir Rattlesnake Project, MA
PostPosted: March 9th, 2016, 10:46 am 
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Joined: July 8th, 2010, 10:14 am
Posts: 754
Location: Eastern Washington
OMG,

Image

So flawed.... so awfully flawed....


GOD, Can we have the Apocalypse yet? We really need it. There isn't much more subduing this planet can take.


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 Post subject: Re: Quabbin Reservoir Rattlesnake Project, MA
PostPosted: March 9th, 2016, 2:57 pm 
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Joined: January 30th, 2012, 10:01 pm
Posts: 23
Location: Northeast
Yes TravisK, unfortunately it looks like that. It is nothing new. Many people have fear of snakes, especially venomous snakes. It is possible that we are actually born with this, an evolutionary vestige from our time spent as monkeys! But that was a long time ago. If you think this project is worth a try, please sign the petition to support. Keep in mind that this "voting" is nothing like a referendum on the issue. It is simply a social media reaction to the plan. Most likely, this plan will go forward. But who knows?


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 Post subject: Re: Quabbin Reservoir Rattlesnake Project, MA
PostPosted: March 15th, 2016, 2:23 pm 
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Joined: August 19th, 2014, 8:31 pm
Posts: 64
Location: North Providence, RI
I was excited to read about this project. Wonderful to bring an species population back from the brink of extirpation. However , some of the comments on the local media pages have me fuming!


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 Post subject: Re: Quabbin Reservoir Rattlesnake Project, MA
PostPosted: March 21st, 2016, 7:29 am 

Joined: October 3rd, 2010, 5:43 am
Posts: 201
Location: north central Ma
As a fellow Ma resident, I can vouch for the hateful climate here. I personally got in over my head in a fishing forum when it got personal.

The hate sucks but can't be easily countered.

What I'm curious on is what folks here think of the natural history point of view. Can it work?

Also do those pettetions do anything? Should I post that on a couple FB pages that might turn out a signature or two?


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 Post subject: Re: Quabbin Reservoir Rattlesnake Project, MA
PostPosted: March 21st, 2016, 11:17 am 
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Joined: May 3rd, 2012, 7:12 pm
Posts: 209
Location: western MA and NC
James, thanks for sharing the links and for starting the discussion on this topic. I currently live in western/central MA and have been following this topic closely. I don't know if the petition will have an effect on the implementation of the plan, but it can't hurt to at least bring some balance to the discourse. Despite the venomous comments on media articles, quite a few people in the state seem to think that the project is a good idea but they aren't making as much noise about it. This was also evident at one of the first public hearings up in Orange. Knowing that it's not just big brother against the common man, but rather that this project DOES represent the interest of many tax-paying MA residents, might at least be useful to the folks that seem to hate everything that DCR and DFW does. If the petition were to have weight, I think it would be good to have more MA residents, not just environmentally-minded folks across the country or the greater region. I was initially disheartened by the haters, but I'm still optimistic overall. Heck, not that long ago there was still a bounty on timbers in some parts of new england.

Mike,
I'm also curious about whether it would work, ecologically speaking. It seems to work quite well for turtles but I couldn't find much literature on the success of head-starting snakes with such a strong tie to a hibernaculum area. It sounds like the state is going to try out some techniques with black racers before the rattlesnakes. I'd like to hear more about it. I also wonder why they don't get some snakes from other regions. From what I could gather, the state will be releasing snakes from extant MA populations. At this point, do the genetics matter? Why not find some neonates from climatically similar areas in NY or PA that have more robust populations. Is that even feasible? Seems like there would be less impact on the source populations that way.


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 Post subject: Re: Quabbin Reservoir Rattlesnake Project, MA
PostPosted: March 21st, 2016, 1:03 pm 
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Joined: January 30th, 2012, 10:01 pm
Posts: 23
Location: Northeast
I suggest signing the petition of your choice, it can't hurt.
Also, to go a step further, you could send your thoughts on the matter to the guy in charge, via email or letter:

Matthew A. Beaton
Secretary, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
[email protected]
617-626-1015
100 Cambridge Street, Suite 900
Boston, MA 02114

Check out Howie Carr's enlightened perspective on the topic here:
http://www.bostonherald.com/news/column ... r_serpents


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 Post subject: Re: Quabbin Reservoir Rattlesnake Project, MA
PostPosted: March 22nd, 2016, 5:05 am 
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Joined: January 30th, 2012, 10:01 pm
Posts: 23
Location: Northeast
Here are some of the emails that have been sent to MassWildlife

https://d3gn0r3afghep.cloudfront.net/fo ... 74_RES.pdf


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 Post subject: Re: Quabbin Reservoir Rattlesnake Project, MA
PostPosted: March 23rd, 2016, 9:55 am 

Joined: October 3rd, 2010, 5:43 am
Posts: 201
Location: north central Ma
I know Ma had a head start thing going with black rat snakes. It was very low key and used amateurs to raise the snakes. I don't know how successful it was or if its still going on. I think NEHS may have or did have something on their website.

I be interested to hear more on that for perspective on the timber project. Probably somebody reading this can fill us in.


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 Post subject: Re: Quabbin Reservoir Rattlesnake Project, MA
PostPosted: March 24th, 2016, 4:04 pm 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 6:25 am
Posts: 1135
Location: Mobile, AL
That Howie Carr guy seems like a real scumbag. he should move to Alabama, he'd fit in well with all these shitheads here.


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 Post subject: Re: Quabbin Reservoir Rattlesnake Project, MA
PostPosted: March 24th, 2016, 4:06 pm 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 6:25 am
Posts: 1135
Location: Mobile, AL
Is this really a good idea from the snakes' point of view though? Aren't they really picky about den sites that far north?


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 Post subject: Re: Quabbin Reservoir Rattlesnake Project, MA
PostPosted: March 25th, 2016, 5:40 am 
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Joined: May 3rd, 2012, 7:12 pm
Posts: 209
Location: western MA and NC
Yeah that Carr article is a real armful of ass.

James, yes they are picky about den sites this far north. The quabbin site (mt. zion) was selected because it was deemed to have ideal denning habitat AND is undisturbed by excessive human presence, in addition to good foraging habitat. They want to headstart young snakes and imprint them on that site. I think they are also worried about it 'sticking', hence the idea of trying things out with racers first. It will be a bit of an experiment. It sounds like they're still doing their homework so a lot of things might change regarding specific techniques. DFW currently estimates the timber population in MA to be ~200 individuals across about 5(?) sites, all but two of which are not looking great (from what I could gather). One site in particular has 2 individuals left, another is close to a highway, etc.


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