Thursday, January 16, 2014

Moratorium Sought On Local Bakken Oil Rail Transport

800px-Lac_megantic_burningIn the wake of two explosive derailments in the past two weeks involving crude oil from the Bakken region of North Dakota and western Canada, the Center for Biological Diversity is calling for a moratorium on rail transport of the oil in the Northeast.

Trains travel to Albany and the Hudson River Valley from the north as well as west-east rail lines that border the Adirondack region, bearing the same incendiary crude that has been involved in a total of five major rail accidents since summer 2013.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Youth Adirondack Guide Program Meeting Planned

Adirondack GuidesThe 4-H Adirondack Guide Program orientation meeting will be held on Thursday, February 6th, 2014, 6:30 p.m. at  the Cornell University Cooperative Extension Education Center, 377 Schroon River Road in Warrensburg, NY.

The 4-H Adirondack Guide Program is a unique program open to boys and girls (12-18 years old) who would like to explore, in depth, natural resource related topics.  The program gives teenagers an opportunity to gain knowledge in the biological sciences, and develop outdoor leadership skills. Activities include field trips and classes, canoe and camping trips, and community service projects. Topics taught include map and compass reading; canoeing; tree and wildlife identification; camping safety and survival skills; first aid training; and environmental career exploration. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Phil Terrie: ‘Forever Wild’ Isn’t Forever

NYCO Minerals Wollastonite Mine (Nancie B Photo)The “Forever Wild” provision of the New York State constitution has protected the Forest Preserve since the first day of January 1895. On that day a new constitution, drafted during the summer of 1894 and approved by New York voters in November, took effect. But over the ensuing years, we have learned that “forever” doesn’t mean exactly what it seems to mean.

It’s not easy, but the constitution can be amended, and land that appeared to be protected in perpetuity can be alienated from the Forest Preserve and become anything but wild. The reasons may seem sound, and the process may be difficult, but the Forest Preserve is forever wild only to the extent that we want it to be. (An invaluable source on this history is The Adirondack Forest Preserve by Norman VanValkenburgh.) » Continue Reading.


Monday, January 13, 2014

DEC Plans To Dismantle Marcy Dam

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen Tropical Storm Irene damaged Marcy Dam, draining most of the pond behind it, hikers debated passionately whether the dam should be rebuilt to restore an iconic vista enjoyed by tens of thousands of visitors over the years.

It looks like it won’t be.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation recently decided to dismantle the wooden dam in stages over the next five years.

DEC spokesman David Winchell said the cost of rebuilding the dam to modern standards would have been too costly and may have conflicted with the management principles for the High Peaks Wilderness Area. Those principles seek to minimize the presence of man-made structures. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, January 9, 2014

New Invasives Rules For Boat Launches, Access Points

LGPC Lake George Invasive Species PhotoThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is proposing new regulations to prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species at DEC boat launches and fishing access sites. The proposed regulatory changes require boaters to remove all visible plants and animals from boats, trailers and associated equipment and to drain boats before launching at or leaving a DEC boat launch and waterway access.

Boats, trailers and the equipment can spread aquatic invasive species from waterbody to waterbody and significantly harm recreational and commercial use of a waterbody while having a detrimental effect on native fish, wildlife and plants. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Making Lake George the Smartest Lake in the World

2013-0627-lakegeorgeThe Jefferson Project at Lake George, a multi-million dollar collaboration between Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, IBM, and The FUND for Lake George, is expected to better our understanding of, and help provide solutions to, the threats to Lake George water quality.

Priority concerns include road salt, storm water runoff, and invasive species.  This three year study, already underway, will build a model for balancing economic growth and environmental protection. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Dave Gibson: The State’s Environmental Protection Fund

Forest Preserve - Conservation Easement TableIt’s state budget time, and the members of regional advisory committees on open space conservation from the Adirondacks to Niagara and Long Island will be watching that fraction of one percent of the state budget called the Environmental Protection Fund. Will the EPF continue to recover from the recessionary influenza it caught in 2009?

New York State’s extraordinary three million acre Forest Preserve in the Adirondack and Catskill Parks, and its extensive State Park and Historic area system (330,000 acres) outside of these Parks are two big reasons why the state has been a national leader in conserving forests and open space since the 19th century.

Another is nearly million acres conserved through the use of conservation easements on private lands. The EPF and spending from the 1996 $1.75 billion Clean Water/Air Bond Act (expended years ago) has funded this growth: 85% growth in conservation easements since 1992, 5% growth in the Forest Preserve during that time span. » Continue Reading.


Monday, January 6, 2014

Lake Trout Research At Follensby Pond

2013 Lake PLacid Lake Trout Survey (Mary Thill Photo)Can well-managed lakes in the Adirondacks provide important refuges for lake trout in the face of climate change?

That’s the focus of a new intensive research effort being conducted at Follensby Pond, a 1,000-acre lake purchased by The Nature Conservancy in 2008.

The pond offers the perfect opportunity to research lake trout at the southern end of their range, to determine how these large and ecologically important fish could best be managed and protected given rising temperatures and other environmental changes. » Continue Reading.


Friday, January 3, 2014

Coping With Trees and Landscape Winter And Salt Damage

20131223BPWIcyPines4003crop(1)Each year the Northern New York region gets a half-dozen or more freezing rain events, and every few years we might see an actual ice storm (technically at least 0.25 inches ice accumulation). But the storm that froze the North Country in up to two inches of glaze between December 21 and 23, 2013, was exceptional.

It didn’t have quite the punch of “The Great Ice Storm of 1998” in which freezing rain tumbled for 80 solid hours, but in some locations damage was extensive.

Ice storms happen when a warm, moisture-laden front slides up and over a cold air mass, and then lets loose the water works. Cumulus clouds billow up (occasionally spawning winter lightning), and when cloud air temperature is between 25 and 30F, the resulting subcooled rain freezes to cold surfaces. Warmer than 30, it rains; colder than 25, it sleets. If the warm front is slow-moving—or worse yet, stalls—the ice really builds up. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Random Notes on Climate Change in 2013

namgnld_season22013 was another watershed year in climate change news. The reality of life on a warmer planet was seen in a variety of ways. The reality of the inability of U.S. and international efforts to reduce reliance on fossil fuels was also stark as use continues to rise. Here are some new data points about life on a warming planet.

The year’s biggest news was made last summer when scientists at a Hawaii research station measured 400 ppm (parts per million) of carbon in the earth’s atmosphere. NASA climate scientist James Hansen has famously called the 350 ppm carbon mark the safe zone for avoiding the worst of climate change impacts. Some terrific charts in The Guardian (probably the best news site for tracking climate issues) provides important context to carbon loading to the earth’s atmosphere. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Tips On Recycling Your Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree RecyclingLooking to recycle your Christmas tree when the holidays are over? If you want to let the birds benefit from your tree for a bit – you might think about staking it in the ground and leaving it out in your backyard for a while – after you have replaced the ornaments with some yummy bird feeders of course (think pinecones covered in peanut butter and bird seed or suet cakes).

You can then set it aside once all the needles have dropped and it no longer provides good cover for the birds to chip and use as mulch in the spring. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Cabin Life: The Wet Firewood

The Little StreamAs is my new custom, I’m sitting at the table looking out the big window at the winter weather, and I’m sweating.  The new stove is amazing, but way too large for my little cabin.  A wealth of heat is not necessarily a bad thing, but having the cabin feel like a too-hot summer is a little disconcerting.

I open one of the windows a little more, since all the windows that can open, are already open.  I’m greeted with sounds that are both welcome and unwelcome at the same time.  The sound of snow and ice dripping off of the roof is nice, but the sound of freezing rain is unpleasant.  I woke to a half-inch of ice covering everything.  I can also hear the small rushing stream out back.  It typically only flows in the spring, but now it sounds like constant traffic.  It’s eerily out of place.

Around noon I went out and started my car.  I wanted to get as much ice off as possible before the second round of sleet and freezing rain began.  It was only a little below freezing, but because it was thick and took me most of an hour with the defroster and an ice scraper.  The radio playing in the car told me to stay off the roads for unnecessary travel, but I was out of beer. » Continue Reading.


Monday, December 23, 2013

LG Porous Pavement Project Update

Map shows Beach Road area at the south end of Lake George.The recent round of snow, ice and rain has provided a good opportunity to see the winter performance of the porous pavement used at the newly reconstructed Beach Road, on  Lake George. In the last few days we’ve seen lots of black ice and freezing rain, but the porous pavement has been clear.

This road project is one of the biggest experiments in the northeast in stormwater management, but many also believed it will provide better winter driving conditions too. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Poll Results: What Readers Are Thinking About

Gothics Mountain Medium ResThank you readers!  The results of my little poll exceeded my expectations.  I received nearly 150 responses, a great number.

Let me remind you that this poll was intended to be neither scientific nor comprehensive.  It was designed by me to see if the results would highlight what I think is a hidden issue concerning the future of the Adirondack Park.  It did that for sure, but it also provided other insights.

Here is how the issues fell out, ranked by weighted average:

 

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Cabin Life: The Chicken Diapers

Midget, aka Little Jerry SeinfeldMy off-grid, simple living, homesteading lifestyle can sometimes lead me and my thoughts down very different roads.  For instance, if you had asked me five years ago, (heck, if you had asked me five months ago) what would be occupying my thoughts this winter, chicken diapers would not have entered my mind.  But here I am, wondering if and where I can get myself some chicken diapers.

Now, I don’t just go around thinking about chicken diapers.  I actually have a very good reason for shopping around for just such a thing.  It turns out that one of my chickens is a rooster.  Poor old Midget, who is no longer so little, started crowing the other day.

I had noticed some odd behavior a few days ago, but thought that maybe she was just being a jerk to Whitey.  I was watching the chickens in their run through the window, and saw Midget jump right on Whitey’s back.  Whitey is the one laying eggs, and maybe Midget was just a little jealous.  Nope, (s)he was horny. » Continue Reading.



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