New York, like the nation and world, has big plans for using offshore wind power as a way of reducing carbon emissions and the severity of climate change. Recently we learned that the Adirondacks — far inland from the Atlantic Coast — will play a role in helping make that successful.
Stewart’s Shops and the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism (ROOST) are partnering this summer and fall to educate visitors on backcountry preparedness. As part of the Love Your ADK campaign, there will be messages aired at Stewart’s Shops locations about using the restroom before heading out to the trailhead and making sure adequate supplies are packed.
Look at the wild flowers. See how they grow. – Luke 12:27; International Children’s Bible
You belong among the wildflowers. – Tom Petty
Love is like wildflowers; it’s often found in the most unlikely places. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
As I walk along the fields, meadows, and roads or hike through the forests of northern New York, I often come across wildflowers and think, “those would look great in my yard.” Native wildflowers are hardy, low maintenance, and attractive to pollinators, which makes them very desirable for cultivated landscapes. And, because they’re adapted to the climate and soils of the region, when grown under similar conditions they’re generally well-suited for use in home gardens and landscapes.
DEC field staff often encounter littered balloons, even when working in NY’s most remote areas. In fact, some DEC Forestry staff who perform forest surveys find littered balloons almost daily, and DEC staff in the Bureau of Wildlife in Region 4 pickup and collect balloons they find while doing field work throughout the nine counties that makeup the region. On our beaches, DEC’s Marine Resources staff are learning more about balloon litter in NY’s coastal areas through coastal balloon litter surveys conducted through a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris grant.
Littered foil or latex balloons and their strings can be found on the ground, stuck in trees, and in water bodies including trout streams, lakes, coastal areas, and other sensitive ecosystems. Finding waste balloons in any wild place doesn’t just take away from the experience of being in these environments – when balloons end up as litter, they can also become a hazard to fish and wildlife or can become microplastic pollution. We can all do our part to make sure our decorations meant to show kindness do not end up harming the environment or our communities. Be part of the solution:
By David Crews
Aaron Mair of Schenectady, New York served as 57th President of the National Sierra Club. A retired epidemiological-spatial analyst with the New York State Department of Health, Mair’s experience includes more than three decades of environmental activism and over twenty-five years as a Sierra Club wilderness volunteer leader, where he has worked diligently for environmental justice. Mr. Mair recently joined the Adirondack Council to direct a “Forever Adirondack Campaign” to protect clean water, jobs, and wilderness. Editor and wilderness advocate, David Crews, had a chance to talk with Aaron about the inescapable mutuality of connection from Yosemite to the Hudson Valley and Adirondacks. This interview was previously published in Adirondack PEEKS, and is forthcoming in Wild Northeast (2021). (Reused by permission, thanks to John Sheehan at the Adirondack Council)
Not only does it form the basis of the aquatic food web, algae have the power to put a lid on bovine burps. Algae can also be made into a substitute for fossil fuels, and is a heathy and tasty food supplement for humans. But from mid-summer through early fall, certain algae can spread toxins through freshwater lakes and rivers, posing a risk to people, pets, fish, and more. Be on the lookout in northern New York State this summer for harmful algal blooms (HABs).
The term algae itself has no strict definition. It may refer to any number of photosynthetic organisms, many of which are not even closely related. Everything from single-cell microbes to giant kelp measuring 150 feet long can be labeled as algae. Worldwide, there are more than 5,000 species of algae, and nearly all of them are beneficial.
The Lake George Association’s Floating Classroom will be in Sandy Bay to support the Lake Stewardship Group of Cleverdale Asian Clam Day on Thursday, July 15. Asian Clam Day is a hands-on educational and awareness event for residents and visitors.
This spring, DEC has been receiving reports of larger-than-usual gypsy moth populations and leaf damage in several parts of New York State. Gypsy moths are non-native but are naturalized, meaning they will always be around in our forests.
Their populations spike in numbers roughly every 10 to 15 years, but these outbreaks are usually ended by natural causes such as disease and predators. Because of this, DEC and its partners typically do not manage it. At this time, DEC does not provide funding for treating gypsy moths on private property.
The caterpillars you are seeing now will begin to disappear around mid-July when they pupate and become moths. Spraying insecticides is not effective at this late stage of caterpillar development.
This time of year, you may choose to use or make a trap on your trees to catch caterpillars while they are still crawling, though this will not erase the population. Please monitor your traps regularly for unintended wildlife that may pass through. In winter, you can help DEC predict next year’s population numbers by conducting egg sampling surveys.
In spring, you may scrape egg masses to prevent some hatching, though that will also not erase the population. The spikes in gypsy moth numbers are an unfortunate but cyclical part of NY’s forests.
Pictured here: Gypsy moth caterpillars going into the pupa stage. Photo by Diane Parmeter Wills of Peru.
New #OnesToWatch Map Helps Protect our Lands and Waters
Making sure the lands and waters you love to hunt and fish stay healthy is one of the best ways we can support wildlife. Invasive species are plants and animals that not only harm our forests and waterways, they can harm New York’s fish and wildlife. Hunters, anglers, and wildlife watchers like you can be a first line of defense, and there’s an easy way for you to know what to look for: DEC’s #OnesToWatch interactive map!
The #OnesToWatch map makes sure you know what invasive species we are looking for in your area, how you can identify them, and makes it easier for you to quickly report them to us. Click on your region of the map to see the species DEC is tracking in your neck of the woods. Then follow the link for each species to find more detailed information, including info on how to easily report sightings. Your reports can help protect the places you know and love for generations to come!
For more information on DEC’s #OnesToWatch campaign and the successes we’ve had as a result of people like you getting involved, visit our find and report page.
Photo: Adult Asian longhorned beetle in a pool/DEC photo
In my line of work the list of boring topics is endless. There’s the emerald ash borer, lethal but oh-so aesthetically pleasing with its metallic-flake green paint job and subtle copper highlights. A handful of powder-post beetle species love to tunnel into floor joists and dead trees to mine talcum powder, leaving behind a field of microscopic holes perfect for anyone who has a sewing needle collection they need to organize. On the other end of the spectrum are fearsome Asian longhorned beetles that chew galleries in tree trunks faster than a Black & Decker cordless drill, leaving tunnels big enough to hide a Mini Cooper.
Aquatic invasive species, such as Eurasian watermilfoil and zebra mussels, can clog lakes, outcompete native wildlife, and harm ecosystems. Identifying these species early, before populations grow out of control, is essential for protecting the lakes we love from the negative impacts of invasive species. The state legislature recently passed a law that makes the New York State Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Act permanent and allows pilot programs in the Adirondacks to further efforts to prevent invasive species. You can do your part by always cleaning, draining and drying your boat, fishing gear and sports equipment when moving from one waterbody to another.
And as an Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP) Lake Protector, you can do more! Citizen scientists have surveyed over 400 lakes throughout the Adirondacks for invasives species in order to support critical early detection efforts. Lake Protector volunteers will learn how to identify, survey and record data about aquatic invasive plants. Once trained, volunteers can adopt an Adirondack lake or other waterbody to survey between July and September. APIPP provides all the training and resources you need to be part of this extraordinary network.
In recognition of Pollinator Week, we’ve compiled a selection of articles about pollinating birds and insects and the important roles they play.
An article from last years pollinator week by Jackie Woodcock. Jackie show cases a few insects, birds, flowers, and lizards, explaining how each organism plays a roll in the pollination process.
Another article from last year’s pollinator week by the Adirondack Almanack, meant to highlight the critical importance of pollinators to biodiversity, food supply, and the economy.
An article from pollinator week 2019, while the sale advertised within is no longer going on, the information on planting and growing pollinator gardens is still valuable.
In this 2018 article, the Adirondack Pollinator Project presented two lectures by Kim Eierman, and environmental horticulturist specializing in ecological landscapes and native plants. The lectures are no longer available but the article still contains valuable information.
In this article by Richard Gast, he explains in depth the process of pollination and its uses. The article also provides more information from the Northeast Pollinator Partnership.
In this article from 2020, Jackie Woodcock explains the trouble that pollinators find themselves in, and 10 ways that you can be of assistance to them.
More to explore:
- From 2021: An informative article on native bees
- From 2020: An article on hummingbirds
- From 2020: How to plant a Wildflower Habitat for Pollinators
- Also, check out AdkAction’s Adirondack Pollinator Project.
This week is NYS’s 8th annual Invasive Species Awareness Week and we’ve got aquatic invasives on our mind. In light of the current law expiring, here’s an excerpt from Explorer reporter Gwen Craig’s recent story:
“The old law in question requires boaters recreating in the Adirondack Park to take reasonable precautions against spreading aquatic invasive species like Eurasian watermilfoil and zebra mussels. Boats should be cleaned, drained and dried to prevent spreading any unwanted hitchhikers. The Adirondack Park is home to more than 3,000 lakes, 8,000 ponds and 1,500 miles of rivers. With more than 12 million visitors each year, the threat of a new invasive species introduction is always looming.”
What are your thoughts about best ways to keep our waterways safe from invasives? Should the state require — and enforce — boat inspections? Or is the current system working well enough?
Photo provided, Connor Vara/Adirondack Watershed Institute. AWI stewards recently finished a 2-week training at Paul Smith’s College to learn techniques for implementing Clean, Drain and Dry at area boat launches.
Over the past year, I’ve tried to gather data on the health of Adirondack lakes, despite major gaps.
So when a researcher emailed me out of the blue to say he’d just done a study of how lakes were recovering from acid rain and changing colors, I gave him a call.
The researcher, Paul Bukaveckas, is a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University. But he was here a few decades ago studying the effects of acid rain on Adirondack lakes in the late 1980s.
His new research, which brought him back to 20 Adirondack lakes in recent years, helps confirm what a few people have started talking about: As lakes recover from the effects of acid rain they are turning browner. That’s a good thing, unlike the brown in other lakes that may be the result of pollution.