Monday, March 25, 2024

Signs of Spring

An American robin.

This week marks the first calendar-official days of spring. Some ground around the Adirondacks is covered in white while other parts are bare and evolving into the next season.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation in early March advised hikers to avoid elevations higher than 2,500 feet, an announcement made earlier than usual. The park saw the warmest winter on record, producing spring-like weather during the last weeks of the season.

But it’s still unknown how the conditions will impact the arrival of the traditional “signs of spring.”  We do know it’s been an early maple season. 

What other changes can we expect in the emergence of flora and fauna?

The Explorer looked back on nearly 30 years of data collected by scientist and Paul Smith’s College professor Curt Stager. The observations on the grounds of the college campus, in the northern Adirondacks, along with notes on the weather, offer material for analysis.

Read more here.

Cleaning up Lake Champlain

A new plan for New York’s side of the Lake Champlain watershed will guide state funding for years under a two-state attempt to control phosphorus pollution in the nation’s 13th largest lake, writes water reporter Zach Matson.

The plan lists specific projects to prioritize, including grants to improve agriculture practices, dredge sediment, restore streamside buffers and replace undersized culverts.

Read the story here.

No snow, no ski

In case you missed it: We had the warmest year on record. One reader wrote in about cross country skiing. He said he had a window of about 10 days across the season to ski.

“This is the first of my seventy winters on earth that I did not (lace) up my cross country, ski boots, and step into my bindings.”

Read my story “The Warmest Winter” here.

Watch: North Country School’s early sugar boil

YouTube video

“The sugaring season has trended earlier in the year by several weeks on average, but this is the most extreme we’ve seen yet. We’re at over 2200’ elevation in the high peaks of the Adirondacks so tend to be a little later than most others in New York.”

Here are some stories I’m following:

Boston Globe: Earliest ice-out on record declared at N.H.’s Lake Winnipesaukee

“Decreasing ice coverage is a concern of the Lake Winnipesaukee Association, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the lake’s water quality. A shorter ice-covered period results in warmer water and a longer time period for plant growth, including algae and cyanobacteria, said Bree Rossiter, the group’s conservation program manager.”

Alaska Beacon: Caribou declines causing angst for Alaska hunters are part of wider North America trend

“(Jim) Dau said there is compelling evidence that climate change is at least partly responsible for the declines. He believes, based on his observations, that the icing events that are becoming more frequent as the climate warms were tipping points for the Western Arctic herd.”

Grist: You can start applying for the American Climate Corps next month

“The White House plans to officially launch an online platform in April. At first, only a couple of hundred jobs will be posted, but eventually up to 20,000 young people are expected to be hired in the program’s first year.”

AP: As electric vehicle sales slow, US relaxes plans for stricter auto emissions standards for a while

“The Biden administration this week is expected to announce new automobile emissions standards that relax proposed tailpipe limits for three years but eventually reach the same strict standards set out by the Environmental Protection Agency.”

ProPublica: The U.S. Needs Wildland Firefighters More Than Ever, but the Federal Government Is Losing Them

“Fighting wildfires has always been a dangerous occupation, but in the last decade it has become staggering in its demands. Accelerating climate change, coupled with a century of suppression of wildfire, has created thick stands of trees primed to burn across much of the American West.”

flower graphic

The writing on the above photo is from a nature journal going back nearly 30 years. Do you or someone you know keep similar notes? Email me!

Photo at top: An American robin. Photo source: Pexels.

This first appeared in Chloe’s weekly “Climate Matters” newsletter. Click here to sign up.

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Chloe Bennett is a climate change reporter based in Lake Placid, NY. Originally from North Texas, Chloe has always been drawn to the natural world. In 2022, she graduated from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY where she focused on environmental reporting and audio production. She grew a deep appreciation for the Adirondack Park while interning for the Explorer in the summer of 2022.

One Response

  1. Arthur F Dodson says:

    I am still shoveling spring !😂😂

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