Thursday, July 11, 2024

DEC releases draft regulations to protect freshwater wetlands, public comments accepted through Sept. 19

Adirondack wetlands

On July 10, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Interim Commissioner Sean Mahar announced the release of proposed regulations to protect freshwater wetlands across New York State. The draft regulations are now available for public comment until Sept. 19, and would safeguard an estimated one million additional acres of unprotected wetland habitat by expanding the number of wetlands regulated by DEC.

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Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Adirondack Garden Club shares Essex Quarry Nature Preserve project update

Man shows people a tree branch

Keene, NY — In the roughly one year that the Adirondack Garden Club (AGC) has been tackling invasive plants on a one-acre plot in the Essex Quarry Nature Preserve in the town of Essex, progress has been significant, with the benefits extending well beyond the direct remediation of nuisance species. The project is funded through a three-year grant from the Garden Club of America’s Partners for Plants program. The Essex Quarry Nature Preserve is owned by Champlain Area Trails (CATS), which purchased the property in 2018.

In the Essex Quarry project, the AGC team, headed by Conservation Committee Chair Nancy Budd, removes invasive trees, seedlings, vines and shrubs — mainly buckthorn, honeysuckle and bittersweet. The stumps left behind are then covered with heavy plastic “buckthorn baggies” to prevent sprouting. The areas will then be planted with native species.

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Saturday, July 6, 2024

Rattlesnake discovered in common area of Lake George hotel, relocated into the wild

Timber rattlesnake in a metal barrel

Indian Creek Conservation Field Days – St. Lawrence County 
On June 4 and 6, ECOs participated in the Indian Creek Conservation Field Days at the Indian Creek Nature Center in the town of Canton. Approximately 300 fifth grade students from St. Lawrence County attended each day. ECOs gave a 20-minute presentation to each class on the duties of an Environmental Conservation Police Officer and their critical role in safeguarding New York’s environment and the public.

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Wednesday, July 3, 2024

DEC issues Notice of Violation to North Country Dairy for contributing to outbreak of sewer fungus in Deer River

nys dec logo

On July 2, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) issued a Notice of Violation to North Country Dairy for contributing to the contravention of State water quality standards. In addition to the enforcement action, DEC undertook a detailed technical review of North Country Dairy’s wastewater and treatment technologies to ensure pending modifications to the facility’s permit protect the receiving water.

“Immediately following the outbreak of Leptomitus lacteus in the Deer River, DEC experts launched an investigation to identify its underlying causes, resulting in the enforcement action announced today,” Region 6 Director Randall Young said. “Our team will continue to take appropriate action to restore and protect the river and the surrounding community.”

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Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Draft 30 X 30 conservation strategy released for public review, comments accepted until Aug. 30

Map of protected land in New York State

On July 1, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) released their draft “strategies and methodology” document detailing how they plan to protect 30% of the state’s lands and inland waters by 2030. According to DEC estimates, about 22% has already been protected, leaving about 3 million more acres across New York State to be protected in order to reach the goal.

The DEC will host two virtual public meetings on the report, one on Thursday, July 25 from 1 to 3 p.m., and one on Thursday, Aug. 15 from 6 to 8 p.m. The DEC is accepting public comment on the draft report until Aug. 30.

Read the draft report, submit comments, and learn how to participate in the public meetings here: https://dec.ny.gov/nature/open-space/30×30.

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Monday, July 1, 2024

Maintain the Chain event aims to clean up ADK waters one self-directed project at a time

What began as a Boon family tradition of sprucing up the area around their Fourth Lake camp has evolved into a widespread clean up event dubbed Maintain the Chain (MTC) that focuses on maintaining the beauty of the Adirondack Park. The 4th annual Maintain the Chain event is scheduled to occur during Adirondack Water Week, August 3 – 11, 2024. The volunteer event is comprised of self-directed, environmentally-focused improvement projects dedicated to preserving the lakes and watershed of the Fulton Chain of Lakes and beyond.

Registration for this year’s event is now open. Those who won’t be in the Adirondack region during this time are welcome to complete a self-directed project any time it is convenient for them. Please visit this RESOURCE MATERIAL page for project ideas.

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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Article XIV places a duty of restraint on using herbicide in Lake George

Lake George from Deer Leap, Tongue Mtn range.

In a recent Times Union opinion, former Governor George Pataki appealed to current Governor Kathy Hochul to block the state’s immediate plan to apply the herbicide ProcellaCOR to kill Eurasian watermilfoil in Lake George.

The stakes of using herbicide in Lake George is too high, Pataki wrote. The former governor used words to characterize Lake George as the public’s “priceless gem,” “ecological gem” and “priceless inheritance,” all at risk if the herbicide, on a non-emergency basis, is allowed to be used as an experiment.

Our former governor makes important points. Pataki rightfully views Lake George as a preeminent symbol of the values undergirding New York’s 150-year-old fight to slow if not halt the exploitation of New York’s woods, waters, and wildlife.  Pataki was and remains a Republican who believes in safeguarding our environment – and who acted on that belief while in office. The 1996 environmental bond act and approximately one million acres protected statewide during his dozen years as governor speak to that.

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Sunday, June 23, 2024

In wake of ProcellaCOR pilot approval, Lake George Association fights to keep lake chemical-free

Not 1 Drop yard sign

See below for a letter of concern written by Lake George Association Interim Executive Director Leigh Youngblood. Letter dated, June 21.

“Dear fellow Lake Protectors —

As you may have heard, the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) voted yesterday to approve the Lake George Park Commission’s permits to experiment with the aquatic herbicide ProcellaCOR in Lake George. We are baffled but not surprised by this.

Three New York State environmental agencies have consistently and willfully dismissed the objections of thousands of residents and visitors and public officials who have made it clear that Lake George is no place to test chemicals. It is not wanted, and it is not needed.

Since 2022, the Lake George Association and the Lake George Waterkeeper have invested in preventing the application of ProcellaCOR. We do not intend to stop now. Indeed, we are more determined and more convinced that no one knows enough about this herbicide to say with certainty that it will not harm the Lake or those who use it.

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Saturday, June 22, 2024

Extreme heat’s impact on health

map

As I write this, the Adirondacks are in the midst of a heat wave that reached across much of the East. Extreme heat is becoming more common, scientists say, as countries continue to release heat-trapping greenhouse gases through fossil fuel production.

Although the park is usually a cooler clime than the rest of the state, a heat dome is intensifying conditions in specific regions. Some of the park is under a Category 4 alert from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which indicates a rare or long-duration extreme heat event. (See above.)

I spoke with experts in the medical and environmental fields to find protection strategies from the heat in an area where people are used to getting by without air conditioning. Click here to learn more, including what heat illness symptoms to watch for.

This is an excerpt from Chloe’s weekly “Climate Matters” newsletter. To get the full scoop delivered weekly to your inbox, Click here to sign up

Photo at top: Source: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.


Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Temperatures rise, and so does Lake George’s debate around ProcellaCOR

quote from dave wick

The air isn’t the only thing heating up in the Adirondacks this week. The Adirondack Park Agency will be voting tomorrow on whether to issue a new permit to the Lake George Park Commission for the use of an herbicide that targets invasive watermilfoil. (There are other water bodies up for permits as well.) In Lake George, the debate around ProcellaCOR has intensified in recent weeks.

We published a pair of stories yesterday on the Explorer’s website. Both are from Zachary Matson, our water reporter, who has been closely following this issue. (Check out this overview on what ProcellaCOR is and how it works on milfoil to get up to speed.)

In one article, Zach speaks with property owners in the two bays slated for a “test” of ProcellaCOR, and they are against the idea of using a chemical in the lake.

The other article is a Q&A with Lake George Park Commission’s Executive Director Dave Wick, who addresses the concerns and defends his agency’s plan.

What’s your take on this issue? Leave your comments below. And to stay connected to this issue and all of Zach’s reporting on water quality issues in the Adirondacks, sign up for his weekly “Water Line” newsletter.

quote about procellacor


Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Where are the Adirondack Park Agency appointments?

The Adirondack Park Agency’s headquarters in Ray Brook

Where are the Adirondack Park Agency appointments?

Before lawmakers left Albany just over a week ago, state senators accepted a handful of appointments made by Gov. Kathy Hochul to some Adirondack Park-area boards. The Lake George Park Commission received four appointments and the Olympic Regional Development Authority received one.

But the Adirondack Park Agency, which oversees public and private development in the 6-million-acre park, did not get any appointments this year, despite a long-vacant seat and three board members sitting on expired seats. Two more appointments will also be expired after this month.

In June 2022, terms expired for both in-park board member Mark Hall and out-of-park board member Ken Lynch.

In January 2023, in-park board member Andrea Hogan resigned from her seat. Hochul has not yet filled it. In June 2023, in-park board member Dan Wilt’s term expired.

At the end of this month, the terms will expire for in-park board member Zoë Smith and out-of-park board member Benita Law-Diao.

Chairman John Ernst’s term expires next summer, as does board member Art Lussi’s term.

So far, no board members have signaled they’ll leave.

At the Lake George Park Commission, the Senate confirmed four of Hochul’s appointments: Thomas Jarrett, Michelle Jebb, C. Walter Lender and Jeffrey Zappieri.

At ORDA, the Senate confirmed Hochul’s appointment of Jennifer Holderied.

This is an excerpt from Gwen’s weekly “Adirondack Report” newsletter. To get the full scoop delivered weekly to your inbox, click here to sign up.


Monday, June 17, 2024

It’s National Pollinator Week: Learn how to protect pollinators

Male monarch butterfly

This week, June 17-23, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) recognizes the importance of protecting pollinators. Insects like bees, butterflies, wasps, beetles, flies, and even some birds and small mammals such as bats and honey possums,  have the important task of helping carry pollen from one part of a plant to the other. This action later enables the production of new seeds, fruits, and other plants. The NYS DEC wants to continue promoting the state’s pollinator population’s health and raise awareness about what can be done to protect their vital role in nature and economies.

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Saturday, June 15, 2024

The future of cycling

Man stands in front of bikes on wall

Justin Oliver recently took over ownership of Human Power Planet Earth Bike Shop in Saranac Lake. Oliver began selling and servicing bikes at the store, renamed Silver Birch Cycles, about three years ago. He’s enthusiastic about promoting more biking access and opportunities in the greater Adirondack region.

He points to the arrival and growth of electric bicycles in the U.S. could also contribute to the expansion of the sport. Around 1 million e-bikes were sold in 2022, data from the Department of Energy shows.

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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

PFAS in ProcellaCOR?

Eurasian watermilfoil

Minnesota’s PFAS report

A Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s report on pesticides gained unexpected traction in the Adirondack Park in recent weeks after opponents of a plan to use herbicide in Lake George figured out the report identified the herbicide’s active ingredient as PFAS.

A large and diverse group of chemicals, PFAS is an abbreviation for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances. Also known as “forever chemicals,” some types have been found to cause harm to human health or the environment.

Minnesota in 2023 passed a new set of laws limiting PFAS in cleaning supplies, pesticides and other consumer products, adopting a definition of PFAS broader than any other governmental body.

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Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Lake George Association’s Lake Protector Summit set for June 14

Lake George

Lake George, NY – Everyone who cares about Lake George is invited to learn how to participate in protecting the Lake at the Lake George Association’s second annual Lake Protector Summit on Friday, June 14, from 8:30-12:30 a.m. at Camp Chingachgook, 1872 Pilot Knob Road, Kattskill Bay. The event will be lived streamed via YouTube for those who would like to participate remotely. Registration for this free event is now open at https://lakegeorgeassociation.org/lake-protector-summit.

Entitled “Investing for Impact,” the Summit will focus on significant threats to Lake George water quality, what the LGA and other local organizations are doing to help, and actions the community can take to protect the Lake.

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