Zachary Matson has been an environmental reporter for the Explorer since October 2021. He is focused on the many issues impacting water and the people, plants and wildlife that rely on it in the Adirondack Park.
Zach worked at daily newspapers in Missouri, Arizona and New York for nearly a decade, most recently working as the education reporter for six years at the Daily Gazette in Schenectady.
The judge agreed with the association’s lawyer who argued the herbicide plan could be delayed without impacting the current state of the lake, but if the commission was allowed to carry out its plan, any outcome of the lawsuit would be meaningless. Next step in the case: a conference later this month to come up with a briefing schedule.
The Lake Champlain Basin Program – a federal program established to guide and fund research, restoration and protection of the lake – on Friday released the latest 5-year update to its guiding plan.
The plan outlined continued threats like high phosphorus levels, harmful algae blooms (HABs), toxic substances and pathogens, and aquatic invasive species. It championed the more than $20 million in grants to more than 600 groups and individuals the program has made to reduce pollution, educate the public, and research the lake and its health.
The new iteration will increase the focus on climate change impacts in the basin and seek to engage a more diverse group of stakeholders.
There’s plenty more happening on the water beat this time of year.
As people enjoyed a long holiday weekend on the water and trails in the Adirondacks, the unofficial start to summer, another season opened for the year: the dreaded harmful algal blooms (HABs).
The Department of Environmental Conservation last week announced the beginning of the reporting season for harmful algal blooms in waters across the state and the Adirondacks. The agency’s map keeps track of HABs reported in the past two weeks as well as the entire season and is the best real-time view of the spread of the potentially-toxic algal blooms across the state.
The Lake George Association last week made good on its promise to explore all options for blocking the planned use of an aquatic herbicide on Lake George.
The nation’s oldest lake association – along with Lake George Waterkeeper Chris Navitsky, the Town of Hague and a shoreline resident – sued Thursday to stop the herbicide plan. In its petition, the association took aim at the process that led to permit approvals by the Department of Environmental Conservation and Adirondack Park Agency, arguing the agencies failed to consider important concerns raised by the public. The suit accuses the state agencies of “behind the scenes decision-making” to rush the plan to approval.
Just how big is Quebec’s “green battery” of hydropower? When you add up the surface area of utility giant Hydro-Quebec’s dozens of dammed reservoirs, they are bigger than the Adirondack Park’s six million acres. One impoundment is four times the size of Lake Champlain. Another is 55 times the size of Lake George.
While I hope we are putting the winter weather behind us, a flash of snow last week that left thousands without power was a reminder of the damage that can be caused. It all depends on the kind of precipitation that actually hits the ground.
Using ground observations, soaring weather balloons, tank-like mobile radars and a specialized airplane to collect the data, the scientists hope to develop a better understanding of the fundamental dynamics of storms that sometimes end with freezing rain, sometimes with sleet and sometimes with a heavy snow in April that forces you to find a coffee shop to work from.
When I was camping a couple of summers ago at Sampson Lake in West Canada Lake Wilderness, all was silent in the dark night but the unforgettable calls of a pair of a loons.
Even someone with a tin ear for bird calls knew what they were hearing. It felt as if it was just me and the loons on that lake – maybe in the entire world. Visitors and residents of the Adirondacks have experienced that feeling of connectedness since time immemorial.
From sewers in North Creek to drinking water supplies in Essex and St. Armand, town supervisors often fight for years to get the funding to make improvements to their systems – updates that are often required under state directive. The economics of the park make these projects all the more challenging: too few residents to fund the work solely at the local level.
Happy World Water Day (on March 22). This United Nations observance day was established in 1993 to celebrate water and raise awareness of the 2 billion people across the world living without access to safe drinking water. This year’s theme is a focus on groundwater: “Making the invisible visible.”
The world relies almost entirely on groundwater for drinking water supplies, sanitation systems, farming and other uses, according to the UN. The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report emphasized concerns about the future of drinking water as warming trends and human development accelerate threats to water supplies.
From discussing tree cutting along roads (which in some places could require a constitutional amendment) to potential winter tire mandates or lower speed limits, members raised numerous complicated challenges that underscored the task ahead.
A group of scientists and representatives of government agencies met this summer in Saratoga Springs with an enormous mission: outline plans for a survey of hundreds of Adirondack Lakes.
The emerging plan hopes to focus on the effects of climate change on Adirondack lakes and would build on the last major survey of Adirondack lakes in the 1980s, which focused on lake acidification and served as a scientific basis for the 1990 federal Clean Air Act amendments. » Continue Reading.
Under current state rules, wetlands are only protected if they are included on official wetland maps – even if the parcels otherwise meet protection standards – but Hochul proposes scrapping that approach and ensuring wetlands of 12.4 acres or greater are automatically protected.
The proposal included $500 million for clean water infrastructure spent on local projects across the state. The funds will support improvements to wastewater treatment plants and drinking water systems.
The salt pollution challenge can be daunting: years and years of salt use have already penetrated surface and groundwater and will stick around for years to come. And salt is still the No. 1 way of keeping winter roads safe.
But the small highway crew in Hague, on the western shores of Lake George has started to show that if you use less salt on the roads, less salt will show up in the water. After the Hague crew reduced its salt use by nearly 70% over the last five years, researchers with RPI’s Darrin Fresh Water Institute have found an average 4% annual reduction in chloride concentrations in Hague Brook. More study is needed but it’s a positive sign that Hague is reducing salt on the roads and in the waters.
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