In mid-February, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) opened the 21st Basic School for Uniformed Officers, the 28-week training academy in Pulaski that prepares recruits for positions as Environmental Conservation Officers (ECOs) and Forest Rangers.
The academy began with 34 ECO and 11 Ranger candidates. The recruits are from 28 of New York’s 62 counties and range in age from 22 to 44 years old. Graduation is tentatively scheduled for August 25. » Continue Reading.
The Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP) has announced they are hiring as many as ten boat launch stewards to work at New York and Vermont public boat launch access areas during the Program’s 11th season.
The stewards aim to reduce the spread of aquatic invasive species by identifying high-risk boats for courtesy inspection and providing information about invasive species spread prevention. » Continue Reading.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Budget proposal for FY2017/18 includes a $300-million appropriation for the Environmental Protection Fund. This is complemented by a five-year, $2-billion dollar commitment to clean water infrastructure grants; a $50-million “AdventureNY” proposal for recreational infrastructure; $32 million in public and private funds to establish the former Frontier Town in North Hudson as a new High Peaks gateway; and, $153 million for an “Empire State Trail” that would include a leg through the Adirondacks, near Lake Champlain. The Adirondack Council and others have been enthusiastic about these proposals. » Continue Reading.
The Lake George Land Conservancy (LGLC) has announced the addition of Michele DeRossi as the organization’s community engagement and events manager. In her new role, DeRossi is expected to manage community and fundraising events for the LGLC and work with the staff to raise funds and awareness of the importance of land protection in the Lake George watershed.
DeRossi brings a background in development, event planning, and conservation. Prior to joining the LGLC, she worked for The Nature Conservancy, where DeRossi spent three years working in development, most recently as a Donor Relations Manager around the eastern New York region and in New York City. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced that they are revising the Unit Management Plan to allow more access to more than 88,000 acres of Adirondack Forest Preserve lands north and east of Paul Smiths in the Debar Mountain Wild Forest, the Madawaska Pond/Quebec Brook Primitive Area, and the Deer River Primitive Area. (Adirondack Atlas Map).
These Forest Preserve lands are required to be managed in a manner consistent with Article XIV, Section 1 of the New York State Constitution, which includes the “forever wild” clause. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced the appointment of Rosa Méndez as Director of the Office of Environmental Justice.
Méndez comes to DEC from the New York Department of State’s Coastal Management Program. In this position, she analyzed federal proposals in coastal areas to ensure consistency with state policies and worked to meaningfully involve impacted communities in local waterfront revitalization programs. Her prior experience includes working in criminal defense law, and as a Public Service Fellow, empowering New York’s vulnerable homeless population. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced that more than 50 species of trees and shrubs from the DEC’s Saratoga Tree Nursery are now available to public and private landowners and schools.
Spruces, pines, shrub willows, dogwoods, high bush cranberry, winged sumac, white cedar, and wetland rose are among the 50 species available. » Continue Reading.
The Board of Directors, Congregational Delegates, and Members of Camp Unirondack, by vote of our 2016 Annual Meeting, hereby ask you to reject all of the four alternatives that you have set forth for the Boreas Ponds land classification. None of these alternatives truly protect the area around the Boreas Ponds as Wilderness.
Only an action that prohibits motorized vehicles and/or equipment on or within one mile of these ponds, and protects these lands as Wilderness to the south, is acceptable to the long-standing visionary legacy of the writers of Article XIV of the New York State Constitution. » Continue Reading.
Lake shore towns could reduce their salt usage by half simply by applying a liquid solution to roads before a storm arrives, highway superintendents, contractors and town officials were told at a workshop in Lake George in December.
Using the salt and water solution, commonly known as brine, as well as more advanced plows, especially when combined with conservation-minded practices, could reduce the amount of salt spread on local roads and highways even further, perhaps by 75%, said Lake George Waterkeeper Chris Navitsky, whose organization co-sponsored the workshop. “The more we learn about the impacts of road salt on the Lake George watershed, the more motivated we are to achieve road salt reductions in the earliest possible time frame,” said Navitsky. » Continue Reading.
Tom Colarusso and I teamed up for an invasive insect forest survey on a sunny, warm January day. Tom is a Plant Protection and Quarantine Officer for the United States Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. We survey one campground a year for invasive insects, and his expertise has fueled my understanding of these hungry bugs.
We headed to Moffitt Beach Campground to check trees for hungry bugs like Asian longhorned beetle (ALB), emerald ash borer (EAB), and hemlock woolly Adelgid (HWA). » Continue Reading.
Something’s not right when the APA stops writing about open space protection in permits for Resource Management and Rural Use lands – precisely where the State Legislature places great emphasis on open space and resource protection.
The latest example is the draft permit now on the APA website authorizing 15 new residences on 590 acres in Resource Management overlooking the High Peaks, to be accessed off Route 73 near Adirondack Loj Road in North Elba. This subdivision (Barile, Project No. 2016-0114) is up for a vote by the APA Thursday.
In the draft permit for Barile’s North Elba subdivision, project impacts and some mitigation to limit impacts of the 15 new homes, driveways, and accessory buildings are listed for a lot of resources, including Visual, Wetlands, Habitat, Soils, Surface Waters, Groundwater, Invasive Species, Vegetation, Infrastructure, Historic Sites or Structures, and Nearby Land Uses.
The Lake Champlain Basin Program has released a draft Opportunities for Action, LCBP’s management plan for Lake Champlain, and is seeking comments.
While the states of New York and Vermont both have Total Maximum Daily Loads to reduce phosphorus and other water quality parameters from a regulatory perspective, the LCBP focuses on regional non-regulatory education efforts, project implementation and scientific research with New York, Vermont and Quebec.
Since 1991, Lake Champlain’s ecosystem issues have changed over time including concerns with invasive species and cyanobacteria (blue-green algea), but high phosphorus levels have remained a constant. The four primary goals of Opportunities for Action are to identify priorities that will help move Lake Champlain toward clean water, healthy ecosystems, thriving communities, and a better informed and involved public that understands Lake Champlain and its watershed.
In response to the Adirondack Park Agency 2016 – 2017 Amendments to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan involving the Classification and Reclassification of 54,418 acres of State Lands in the Adirondack Park which include the Boreas Ponds Tract, 32 Additional Classification Proposals, 13 Reclassification Proposals, and 56 Classifications involving map corrections, The Nature Conservancy respectfully submits our comments related exclusively to Boreas Ponds. Our perspective is informed by nearly ten years of ownership and stewardship of this parcel, as well as focused stakeholder engagement. For over 50 years The Nature Conservancy has managed lands globally for both conservation and public use purposes, including our 160 preserves in New York State, and we are accordingly very mindful of the challenges and opportunities presented by this classification proceeding. We are grateful for the opportunity to provide input with respect to the classification of the Boreas Ponds parcel we conveyed to New York State in April 2016. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has released for public comment a draft rulemaking package to streamline the environmental review process that, if adopted, would make the first update to New York’s State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) regulations in more than two decades.
The proposed amendments to SEQR expand the actions not subject to detailed review, known as Type II actions, modifying certain thresholds for actions deemed more likely to require the preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS), making scoping of an EIS mandatory rather than optional, and modifying the acceptance procedures for a draft EIS, and more.
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