Friday, September 24, 2021

Climate Week Updates

EV charging stationFor 2021 Climate Week, Sept. 20-26, DEC is highlighting two green initiatives in the Adirondack Region.

Solar Installation on Lake George Island
A new solar installation on Lake George Island now powers the caretaker cabin. The solar installation replaces an underwater power line that is used to provide electricity to the cabin. Not only is this green energy solution better for our climate, it is also more resilient.

Electric Car Chargers at DEC Campgrounds
Electric car chargers have been installed at Meadowbrook Campground in Ray Brook and Frontier Town Campground, Equestrian, and Day Use Area in North Hudson. Meadowbrook has one dual charging station with a solar-powered streetlight. Frontier Town has four single-car chargers. These stations are used by both visitors and campground staff. There are plans for more chargers to be installed at additional facilities in the region.


Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Book explores connections between water quality, algal blooms

algae bookSaint Albans Vermont based author, artist and aquatic biologist, Corrina Parnapy has released a new book compiled from over a decade of scientific research within the Adirondacks and Vermont, and articles she’s had published regionally and nationally, all focused on the connection between water quality and algae.  From road salt, acid rain, invasive species, sewage waste, fertilizers, to lawn care practices; all have a connection and impact on algae populations.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, September 20, 2021

A quarry in question

white lake quarryPushback against the granite quarry proposed for a forming mining site on White Lake in the town of Forestport (the northern tip of Oneida County) has been building for months.

In late August, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) issued a Notice of Complete Application for the project, kicking off the formal review process, that because of the location inside the Adirondack Park boundary, is taking place in collaboration with the Adirondack Park Agency (APA).

Representatives of both agencies recently presided over a hearing on the project. As our correspondent Megan Plete Postol has been reporting on this story, opposition to the project is strong, with more than 1,000 letters submitted to the APA and not a single person at the hearing made a comment in support of the project. (Although she did send us a photo of one pro-quarry sign she came across in her travels.)

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Monster Mosquitoes

Psorophora ciliata

As the Dalai Lama once said, “If you think you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.” Really all it takes is one or two of the little whiners in your tent to spoil a night’s sleep. I’m convinced their ear-buzzing is an adaptation to raise a victim’s blood pressure so they fill up faster. Makes you wish you could return the favor somehow. 

Well if mosquitoes actually slept, there is something that would likely keep them up at night: The Mosquito Monster! Or rather, the monster mosquito, Psorophora ciliata (sore AH fur uh silly AHT uh). In addition to terrorizing campers and picnickers, this hulking menace, which is two to three times the size of most species, regularly dines on its smaller kin. 

Such inter-family cannibalism only goes on in the larval stage, but I like to imagine that when an adult Psorophora ciliata touches down, the average mosquito would back away slowly, saying “Hey, this arm’s all yours, buddy. I was just leaving anyway and please don’t eat me, heh,” or a pheromone message to that effect. 

» Continue Reading.


Monday, September 13, 2021

Asters and Goldenrod: Late Season Native Perennials

Monarch-Butterfly-on-New-England-Aster-2-–-Rick-L-Hansen-US-Fish-and-Wildlife-Service.

As autumn approaches, the days grow shorter, evenings grow cooler, acorns fall from the oaks, and the maples, in anticipation of the coming change of season, start to reveal hints of the glorious spectacle of color that lies ahead.

It’s also the time of year when the goldenrod and the asters (also called starworts or frost flowers) present their showy blooms along roadsides and forest edges, in woodland openings, meadows, and old fields, and along stream banks. At a time when most other perennials have finished blooming, their eye-catching flowers are an abundant source of nectar for bees and butterflies, including adult monarchs, setting out on their remarkable flight to overwintering sites in the high-mountain forests of central Mexico. The seeds of both (and the insect larvae that feed on the plants themselves) are a valuable food source for birds, including migratory birds making their way south, and for many small mammals, as well.

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, September 12, 2021

DEC, USFWS to Collect Atlantic Salmon on Lake Champlain Tributaries

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Zach Eisenhauer holds an 11-pound salmon that he trapped on the Boquet River on Oct. 6 during a fish surveyData Collection Supports Evaluation of Restoration Efforts

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced a joint project with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to collect adult Atlantic salmon from major New York tributaries of Lake Champlain this fall. This work supports the State’s ongoing research and management of the fishery.

DEC and the USFWS will use various techniques to capture returning adult Atlantic salmon from the Saranac, Bouquet, and Ausable rivers through November. Fish captured as part of this effort will be examined and released back to the river where they were captured. Researchers will collect data on at least 80 fish per river to aid in assessing current stocking methods and the success of various genetic strains DEC and USFWS are assessing for improved survival.

Collection efforts will have minimal effect on recreational fishing but anglers should be aware of these efforts and avoid nets marked with orange buoys. Fishing tackle can get caught in the nets and impact the ability of this equipment to effectively capture fish, biasing the results of the study.

For more information about Atlantic salmon, go to DEC’s website.

Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Zach Eisenhauer holds an 11-pound salmon he trapped on the Bouquet River during a 2017 salmon survey.


Friday, September 10, 2021

‘If Allowed to Continue at Present Rates’

Here are a few excerpts from past Adirondack conferences preparing audiences for climate change, severe weather events, and consequences.

Photo: Post Hurricane Irene streambank and instream restoration efforts on the E. Branch Ausable River. Photo by Dave Gibson

September, 1989: George Woodwell, global ecologist and then director of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, from an address at the Ausable Club, St. Hubert’s, Keene:

By cutting vast tracts of the world’s forests without replacement, humans are seriously adding to the atmospheric pool of CO2 and diminishing the natural background modulating effect of the earth’s lungs – our forests. A 25% increase in atmospheric CO2 since the mid-19th century, if allowed to continue at present rates, will have a severe impact on our climate. It, in addition to even more dramatic increases in methane and other greenhouse gases, will inevitably lead to global warming and climatic changes on a large scale. Ecological and societal changes, many of which may drastically affect the Adirondack Park, are sure to follow.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 8, 2021

River restoration

ausable river restoration

Sometimes it’s not enough to let nature take its course. At least, when humans have intervened and altered a wild river, it can take humans to help restore the river’s health.

That’s what’s happening now on the East Branch of the Ausable River, as Explorer correspondent Tim Rowland reports. It’s one of the most revered watersheds in the East, and its health, water quality and ability to shelter cool, deep pools could prove critical to the persistence of native brook trout as the climate warms.

The work builds on years of improvements by restoration partners including the Ausable River Association, whose work restoring “the Dream Mile” intern Ben Westcott profiled for us a couple of years ago.

Ausable River Association stream restoration associate Gary Henry, left, and executive director Kelley Tucker go over restoration plans on the shore of the East Branch of the Ausable River in Upper Jay. Photo by Mike Lynch

Editor’s note: This first appeared in Adirondack Explorer’s weekly “Water Line” newsletter. Click here to sign up.


Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Warren County Offers Gypsy Moth Infestation Workshop

gypsy moth caterpillar

The defoliation of trees this spring and summer by Gypsy Moth (also known as Lymantria dispar) caterpillars left a lot of local property owners feeling helpless to protect their beloved trees. Should we expect similar problems next year? What can be done to prevent infestation, or lessen the damage?

On Thursday, September 23rd, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., Warren County and the Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District will host a discussion on Gypsy Moth caterpillar infestation featuring Rob Cole from New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Office of Forest Health. Cole and Soil & Water Conservation staff will give a general overview of the problems these caterpillars can cause, and how property owners can safely address them this fall and next spring.

“This past year was eye-opening for many people in our county and region, and this presentation will provide some understanding of this insect, its affects and what may be anticipated for next year and beyond,” explained Jim Lieberum, District Manager for Warren County Soil & Water Conservation District.

This event will be livestreamed through the Warren County YouTube page, and those interested in the subject can attend at Warren County Municipal Center as well. Participants will be able to ask questions during the presentation through YouTube chat, and we are encouraging people to submit questions or comments ahead of time for efficiency.

Please email questions or comments to: [email protected], with the subject line Gypsy Moth 2021


Sunday, September 5, 2021

Compost for Good Project receives funding to advance urine composting

compost for good team

Modern wastewater treatment plants are a marvel of engineering—dramatically reducing human disease and environmental issues. However, these plants are expensive to build and operate, and they contribute to environmental issues in the form of unprocessed pharmaceuticals, and excess nutrients in water systems.

AdkAction is delighted to announce that they have received a grant for their Compost for Good project from the Cloudsplitter Foundation to determine what will be required to build a research/demonstration facility to test the commercial viability of diverting large amounts of human urine from wastewater treatment plants and turning that urine into compost.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, September 2, 2021

Yellowjackets: Anarchy Is Bad for Picnics

yellowjackets

I’m not one to shed a tear when authoritarian rulers die, but once they’re gone, picnics become a lot more dangerous.

Toward the end of summer, just in time for Labor Day picnics and County Fairs, the original queen in every yellowjacket wasp colony dies. It’s not the stuff of Hamlet or some far-reaching conspiracy, it’s just that having a few thousand babies in the course of one season is enough to tire any Queen Mum to death. 

The colony anticipates this loss, however, and raises a few additional queens as the old one starts to forget the names of her offspring and where she left her reading glasses.  But when the feisty new regals emerge, the young queens are no good whatsoever to the nest which lovingly produced them. No, they run off with the nearest male wasps and after an orgy of mating, go hide in rotten logs or nearby attics for the winter. 

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Unfinished business

boat stewards

Sometimes in the environmental protection field there’s a celebration of achievements before they’re fully realized. Case in point: We recently reported that a state road salt task force that was celebrated as a potential win for Adirondack water quality was not actually a done deal, as the governor has yet to appoint its members.

When the governor announced his resignation, another such premature victory came to light: The state’s new boat inspection law to prevent movement of invasive species in the park’s waters still awaits a governor’s signature. We reported on that law’s passage months ago, but technically, it’s not reality yet.

Environmental groups are hopeful that incoming Gov. Kathy Hochul will finish the job. The Adirondack Council’s Willie Janeway said this about it in a news release: “Many of the state’s functions inside the Adirondack Park have ground to a halt as the executive branch of government succumbed to administrative paralysis while the current Governor attempted to defend his actions. As Kathy Hochul becomes governor, the entire state will have an opportunity to heal and make progress again.”

It’s important work, as is the road salt study, septic and sewage management and proposed new surveys of park lakes’ changing ecology. We’ll see how the new governor approaches these problems.

Editor’s note: This first appeared in the Explorer’s weekly “Water Line” newsletter. Click here to sign up.

Photo courtesy of Adirondack Watershed Institute


Monday, August 30, 2021

Green tips for back-to-school supplies

school suppliesChildren are enjoying the activities of summer riding their bikes, swinging on the playgrounds, swimming, and creating art and games with sidewalk chalk. Meanwhile, we are starting to see the store aisles filled with backpacks, lunch boxes, pens, notebooks, and other supplies. A lot of green is spent when it comes to back to school shopping. But instead of spending green – there are lots of ways to save green. When it comes to school supplies, an important concept to keep in mind is “precycling,” — that is thinking through future purchases to reduce, delay, or eliminate creating waste.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Upper Saranac Monitoring Platform reports daily from the lake

The Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute (AWI) has launched a new interactive website to display near real-time data on water quality and weather conditions on Upper Saranac Lake.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, August 23, 2021

Caring for Your Trees After a Caterpillar Outbreak 

gypsy mothsDo you have trees in your yard that were defoliated during the caterpillar outbreak this year? (Read more about it here)

Most healthy trees can withstand a couple years of leaf loss from caterpillar damage. Long-term damage depends on the type of tree as well as how much defoliation took place:

  • Hardwoods – A healthy leaf-bearing tree should have grown new leaves by now, though leaves may be smaller than usual. If your tree lost all its leaves and does not grow any new ones by summer’s end, watch it in the spring. If it still does not leaf out next spring, it has died.
  • Conifers – If your needle-bearing trees lost more than 50 percent of their needles, there’s a good chance they probably won’t recover. Keep an eye on them in the coming seasons, and if you have concerns or think the tree could endanger a house if it were to fall, contact an arborist.

» Continue Reading.