An interesting nugget gleaned from the state’s recently released Adirondack Road Salt Reduction Task Force report is the role that rock salt plays in the state economy.
“New York State ranks third in rock salt production, providing approximately 16% (~7.7 million tons) of the total national output,” the report states. “Today, rock salt is New York State’s third leading valued mineral product, behind crushed stone and cement respectively, contributing approximately $560 million to the state’s economy annually.”
Which is to say that for every green lobbyist in Albany on the salt issue, there is likely to be someone on the other side of the ball.
High-tech salt solutions — most notably some impressive, whiz-bang snowplow equipment and road cams — have received lots of attention, but the report points to some low-tech solutions as well, such as identifying “cold spots” on highways and applying “vegetation management” to reduce the need for salt. Pruning trees can allow for more sunshine on these problem spots. And here’s another idea for winter driving: slow down. The report recommends seasonal speed warnings as a way of reducing the need for salt.
Beginning this month, anglers on the Saranac and Boquet rivers will be asked to assist in monitoring efforts to re-establish the Lake Champlain salmon fishery.
According to the Department of Environmental Conservation, anglers will be asked to help with a creel survey to determine catch information along with the angler’s satisfaction with the fishery. Participating anglers are also encouraged to provide biological data from fish caught, including length, presence of fin clips, and number of sea lamprey wounds.
“Survey results will provide DEC fisheries biologists with a better understanding of angler use, catch, and harvest and angler expectations on major tributaries to Lake Champlain used by Atlantic salmon. Information gathered will be used to develop a bi-annual River Creel survey that will monitor the Atlantic salmon fishery and inform management actions on these rivers,” the DEC said in a press release.
The state and groups like Trout Unlimited have done good work revitalizing the long-moribund Atlantic salmon fishery. In the spring and fall these salmon can be caught at the mouths of Lake Champlain’s tributaries, either with flies or spin-casting gear.
Not bogged down
When you play word association with the Adirondacks, orchids aren’t the first thing that come to mind. But the park is indeed home to many varieties, from the ubiquitous Lady’s Slipper to the rare Hooker’s orchid that was discovered in Wilmington.
I’ve been working (working seems the wrong word) on a story about orchids scheduled to run next summer, and to help me understand a slice of orchid habitat, Adirondack naturalist Dan Spada was kind enough to give me a tour of some wonderfully soggy spots that orchids inhabit.
Classically these are known as bogs, but Dan prefers “peatlands” because it is more inclusive, covering multiple types of bogs and fens as well.
Peat — the accumulation of organic matter over the millenia — is the common denominator, and we are fortunate that in more industrial times it was not all dug up and sold in garden stores.
We walked out on a bog near Paul Smith’s, the sensation being similar to walking on a waterbed. Even with all the recent rain, Spada said these bogs never get flooded in the traditional sense; instead, the mat of sphagnum and other bog plants simply floats on a lens of water down below.
Bogs can be wide open plains, or small “kettles,” and all are fantastic, magical spots. Fall is a good time to visit, when the moss is scarlet and the tamaracks are canary yellow — once again, nature gets away with color schemes that would never fly on a fashion show runway.
Photo at top Almanack file photo. This first appeared in the Explorer’s weekly “Water Line” newsletter. Click here to sign up.