Sunday, August 6, 2023

Chris Maron and Champlain Area Trails Receive Adirondack Council Award

CATS Adirondack Council award

At its Forever Wild annual event on Saturday, July 15, the Adirondack Council presented its Special Recognition award to Chris Maron and Champlain Area Trails (CATS) for “all the work he and the organization have done to further conservation in the greater Champlain Valley and Adirondacks.”

In presenting the award, John Davis, who serves as the Rewilding Advocate for the Council, said, “CATS, under Chris’ inspired leadership, has had a tremendously positive impact on the Champlain Valley. People now have more local trails to explore. As for saving land, CATS has worked with other land trusts to conserve almost half of the 20,000 acres of the Split Rock Wildway wildlife corridor, which connects Split Rock Wild Forest and woodlands in the Adirondacks.”  As he invited Maron to the stage, the crowd of over 200 people burst into a spontaneous standing ovation and applause.

After Maron expressed his thanks, he explained how, just fifteen years ago, there were few trails in the Champlain Valley which limited people from connecting with nature and hurt the economies of Champlain Valley communities because people bypassed them on their way to trails deeper in the Park.

“Now, we’ve created 45 trails totaling 78 miles and promoted them by publishing the CATS Trail Maps yearly,” said Maron. “These actions, along with all our outdoor activities, have connected people with nature, and as I hear from many business owners, town officials, and people out and about, the CATS trails are a big boost for local economies and our quality of life.”

And then, to the audience’s cheers, he pulled the newest edition of the CATS Central Champlain Valley Trails Map out of his back pocket and announced that CATS had published and received the newest edition of the map just two days before.

As the audience quieted, Maron acknowledged that “looking back is great, yet it’s about looking to the future. And that’s exciting because we have so many more trails to build—trails to cool places you hike to with friends, family, and on your own. And especially town-to-town trails that connect our communities. Meanwhile, we must conserve the vibrant natural communities, farmland, clean water, and scenic vistas people see from the trails.”

He then thanked the Council again for the award. He said to the audience that “Along with it honoring me, Champlain Area Trails, our board, staff, trail hosts, and volunteers, it honors you and the vision you have of life and love here in the Champlain Valley, the Adirondack Park, and the entire world.”

About Champlain Area Trails: Champlain Area Trails, founded in 2009, is an accredited land trust with a mission to make trails, protect land, connect people with nature, and promote economic vitality in the Champlain Valley. CATS has made 78 miles of trails, protected 983 acres, and hosted hundreds of hikes, outdoor education outings, and volunteer events, attracting thousands of visitors to the Adirondack’s Champlain Valley. Learn more at

Photo Credit: From left to right, Adirondack Council’s Rewilding Advocate John Davis, Executive Director Rocci Aguirre, then Chris Maron, Adirondack Council Board Chair, Sarah Hatfield and Council Director of Conservation Jackie Bowen.

Saturday, August 5, 2023

Boaters Needed for Invasive Species Monitoring Weekend

If you have a motorboat, kayak, paddleboard, or canoe — and a couple of hours to enjoy Lake George — here’s a great opportunity to make a meaningful contribution by surveying for aquatic invasive species on the Lake.

For the second year, we are hosting a lake-wide Aquatic Invasive Species Monitoring Weekend, August 18-20, and we hope you will cover one of 115 locations, looking for the six invasive species we know are present in the Lake:

  • Eurasian watermilfoil;
  • Curly-leaf pondweed;
  • Zebra mussel;
  • Asian clam;
  • Chinese mystery snail;
  • Spiny water flea

We will also be on the lookout for highly destructive non-native species, such as Hydrilla, that we desperately want to keep out. We need your help.

No invasive species identification experience is necessary to participate. And swimming is not required (but you can if you want to). We do encourage families and small groups to team up for a fun and educational Lake Protector experience.

Learn more and sign up here using our interactive map that allows you to choose the specific area of the Lake you would like to monitor. These locations are available on a first-come, first-served basis, so pick your favorite area as soon as possible.

Last year, our volunteers found more than 100 locations of invasives in Lake George. If left unchecked, invasive species can degrade the Lake’s water quality, impede recreational activities, and outcompete native plants and animals, which impacts property values and the region’s Lake-based economy. Working together, we can ward off this threat to keep our Lake clear and clean.

Saturday, August 5, 2023

Herkimer County Fish Stocking Program offers fish for sale

Herkimer County Soil and Water Conservation Fish Stocking Program

LARGEMOUTH BASS will spawn in smaller farm ponds with a water depth of 4 feet or more. Remember, Bass usually reproduce as 2 year olds and occasionally not until the third year. For best results, try to avoid fishing the pond until the Bass have spawned. The pond should then provide many years of fishing fun with occasional stocking of feeder fish such as Fathead Minnows. The recommended stocking rate for 2-4” Bass is 100 – 125 per surface acre along with 500 – 600 minnows per surface acre.

TROUT can live in water between 33 and 75 degrees, but they make their most rapid growth in water of 50 to 65 degrees. Not only do trout make their fastest growth within this temperature range, but they are less susceptible to parasites and diseases. It is not likely that you will be able to keep the water temperature in your pond within this range all year, unless you have a constant source of cooler water from a spring or well. Brook Trout prefer a water temperature range of 65 degrees Fahrenheit or less, and most are acid tolerant. They grow well in ponds 10 feet deep or shallower ones that are spring fed and may reproduce in ponds fed by gravel bottomed streams and springs. They are easily caught, with a life span of 3 to 4 years. Rainbow Trout prefer a water temperature range of 70 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer and are good for ponds 8 feet deep or deeper, best in clear ponds. They are very acid sensitive, but grow quickly, with a life span of 5 years. The number of trout a pond will support depends on its surface area, water quality, and size of fish. The standard fall stocking rate for 4-6” fingerlings is 300 to 400 per surface acre.

» Continue Reading.

Friday, August 4, 2023

Fly Research Yields Possible Trauma Treatment

Though the phrase “garbage in, garbage out” is a decades-old caution for techies to be mindful when writing code or entering data, I thought my mom invented it. It was her stock retort when we kids asked why two hours of Saturday cartoons was plenty. “Garbage in, garbage out. Fill your heads with foolishness, and you’ll act that way.” I guess she was afraid we’d start chasing roadrunners across the
desert, which typically leads to sprinting off cliffs and being struck by falling anvils.

It turns out she had a point. Numerous studies confirm that exposure to graphic TV violence raises a child’s level of aggression and anxiety in the short term, and is a sound predicter of hostile behavior as an adult. Disturbing images, whether on-screen or in real life, can have a profound impact on us if viewed frequently enough. People who moderate online content, for example, evaluate and remove hundreds of appalling photos and videos daily. In 2021, Facebook paid $85 million to settle a US class-action lawsuit brought by 10,000 of its content arbiters who were suffering from work-related trauma.

» Continue Reading.

Monday, July 31, 2023

Searching for Answers on Beech Leaf Disease

beech leaf disease

KEENE VALLEY – The Nature Conservancy’s Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP) is seeking volunteers to identify and report any occurrences of beech leaf disease in the Adirondack Park. Monitoring for this newly emerging invasive forest pest will begin on Aug. 2 with a free online training from 10-11:30 a.m. called “Forest Pest Hunters: Surveying for Beech Leaf Disease” and continue through October 10. The first confirmed case of beech leaf disease (BLD) in the Adirondacks was in Herkimer County in 2022; it was first confirmed in the U.S. in 2012.

“With most invasive species, we understand how they spread and how to manage infestations of the plant or animal,” said APIPP Terrestrial Invasive Species Coordinator Becca Bernacki. “Beech leaf disease is different—we don’t know what causes it, how it spreads, or how to manage it, which is why it’s so important for scientists to have as much data as possible about where it is and what its impacts are.” One thing scientists do know is how devastating BLD is to forests. It can eventually kill affected trees, with current data from the Midwest showing that saplings die after a few years and mature trees die in six to 10 years. The disease also moves fast. It was first confirmed in New York’s Westchester and Rockland counties in 2019, and since then its symptoms—which include dark striping between the leaf veins, leaf curling, and a leathery leaf texture—have been found on beech trees throughout that region.

» Continue Reading.

Saturday, July 29, 2023

DEC Offers Tips to Prevent the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species

A boat is inspected and cleaned to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.

With boating season upon us, it’s important to remember to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) using the “clean, drain, dry” method for boats, as well as disinfecting fishing gear. Boat stewards are available at more than 200 launches across New York State to educate and assist boaters in practicing these techniques every time they come off the water and prior to launching.

» Continue Reading.

Monday, July 24, 2023

A Warming Climate


Tulare Lake Basin flood progression
Extreme Weather Events

I recall reading, earlier this year, about unprecedented flooding, in several areas of California that, until that time, had been stricken by years of climate-change-induced mega-drought so dire that, in August of 2021, a major hydroelectric power plant, Edward Hyatt Power Plant, was forced to shut down for the first time since it opened in 1967, due to extraordinarily low water levels. The plant’s reservoir, California’s second-largest, Lake Oroville, had fallen to just 24% of total capacity.

After this year’s January storms, however, the water level started to rise. It was 82% full on March 10th, when officials began letting water out of the reservoir for the first time in four years. Earlier this month, Lake Oroville had filled to 100% capacity.

In April, California’s Tulare Lake, a dry lake, was refilling, due to torrential rainfall. It’s currently five – to seven-feet deep. Fish now populate its waters. And birds have flocked to its shores. Tulare Lake was once the largest lake west of the Mississippi River. When full, it covered 800 square miles and fed several rivers. But it dried up completely nearly a century ago, as a result of dams, canals, and levees being built in and around California’s San Joaquin Valley; the largest agricultural region in the state of California. The last time a portion of the lake resurfaced was in 1983.

» Continue Reading.

Monday, July 24, 2023

DEC Seeks Public Comment on Draft Adirondack Foothills UMP

dec logoThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is encouraging public comment on the draft Adirondack Foothills Unit Management Plan (UMP). The draft UMP includes six State forests — HogsbackPopple PondWoodhullPunkeyvilleBlack Creek, and Hinckley — as well as 24 separate parcels of detached Forest Preserve in Oneida and Herkimer counties and will guide management of these properties over the next 10 years. DEC is accepting comments on the draft plan until Sept. 15, 2023.

» Continue Reading.

Monday, July 24, 2023

Adirondack Garden Club awarded grant to restore native plants

Essex Quarry nature preserve

The Adirondack Garden Club (AGC) has been awarded a $3,000 Partners for Plants (P4P) grant from the Garden Club of America’s Civic Improvement Committee for 2023, followed by the opportunity for an additional $3,000 in 2024 and 2025. P4P grants facilitate hands-on projects between local Garden Club of America clubs and land managers on federal, state, local, and other significant public lands, and involve collaboration with a horticultural expert.

The AGC P4P project will restore native habitat at the Essex Quarry Nature Preserve in Essex N.Y., the unique limestone woodland that has become overgrown by aggressive invasives, including bittersweet, honeysuckle and buckthorn. The preserve is owned by Champlain Area Trails, a trail building organization and land trust based in Westport. The grant proposal was shepherded for AGC by club member Nancy Budd.

The AGC, along with community volunteers and CATS stewards, will remove invasive plant species from Essex Quarry this fall, and will propagate onsite plants and monitor native plant species in the spring of 2024. AGC will also monitor the preserve throughout the year and information about removal and treatment progress will be entered into the iMap Invasives database where it can be shared with others ( During the growing season, garden club members, along with members of the community, will work at the preserve for a half-day every two weeks.

» Continue Reading.

Sunday, July 23, 2023

Maintain the Chain lakes clean up event set for August

The annual Maintain the Chain event kicks off Aug. 5th, as part of a FREE EcoArts festival at View Arts Center in #OldForgeNY. The festival will launch the weeklong MTC event dedicated to preserving the Fulton Chain of Lakes and the #adk park. Register today @ Don’t forget to submit photos to be in the running for the “best project” award and win gifts of appreciation. 40 teams are registered, over 115 people.  Join the movement, get involved, get a free T-shirt and have some fun.

Photo: A group photo of the Adirondack Council participating in a Maintain the Chain event. Photo provided by Carin Gonsalves of Maintain the Chain.

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Checking on loons after the recent rain storms

Loon Chicks First Lake Dog Island

We just got lucky with all the rains, and washouts to the east, north and south of us. I had four inches of rain in my gauge when I came home from the west trip, got an inch the next day and then two days later when most of the damage was done to the east of us, I had three and a half inches in the gauge. Where the flooding had occurred, they were getting six to eight inches that day, and with the ground already saturated it just ran off causing washed out roads and bridges. Places that had never had that kind of water problem were under water for a time until it ran off, taking parts of highways with it and flooding homes and businesses.

Long Lake took the brunt of the flooding, but parts of Blue Mountain also had some damage. The little brook that ran out of the big beaver meadow along Route 28N must have had the big beaver dam blow out.  All that water coming down hill into town washed out the road to into town and then the road by Hoss’s Store in town, flooding some homes along the way. Then all that water going into Jennings Pond behind the ball field and hotel was too much for the outlet into Long Lake, so it ran across the road by the seaplane base before the causeway burst on the pond into Long Lake.

» Continue Reading.

Saturday, July 22, 2023

Volunteers welcome to join the 8th Annual Invasive Species Mapping Challenge

8th Annual Invasive Species Mapping Challenge

Through the month of July, the NY Natural Heritage Program is hosting the 8th Annual Invasive Species Mapping Challenge. Volunteers and professionals are joining forces to gather data on invasive species, providing conservation managers with the information they need to protect our natural resources. This year, the target species are Beech Leaf Disease, tree-of-heaven, jumping worm, and three aquatic invasive plants – water chestnut, European frogbit, and watercress.

» Continue Reading.

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

DEC: Give Trout a Break This Summer

Rock dam

You know who isn’t a huge fan of summer? Trout! Summer heat waves impose serious stress and can even cause death. Trout and salmon that are already heat-stressed may not recover after being caught and released.

You can help these fish survive the summer by following a few simple tips (PDF).

» Continue Reading.

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

White Pines: Colossal in Many Ways

white pine

The eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) isn’t really a crop-bearing tree, but it has borne priceless “fruit” for American democracy. Physically as well as culturally massive, there are many accounts from the early 1800s of white pines over 200 feet tall being harvested. One credible report pegs a white pine at 247 feet, and unverified accounts have claimed that 300-foot-tall leviathans were cut back then. It’s a long-lived species, with 400 years considered a rough maximum. Working for a tree service in the Adirondacks in the early ‘90s, I once tallied 450 rings on a storm-thrown specimen.

The white pine is the official tree of Maine and Michigan, with the current U.S. champion standing at 180 feet, 10 inches in Cook Forest State Park in Pennsylvania. Sadly, one of New York State’s tallest white pines, which I visited several times, toppled in 2021. At 160 feet, 10 inches, it was in a stand of old-growth habitat near Paul Smith’s College. In today’s second- and third-growth forests, the average mature white pine is often between 100 and 130 feet tall, with diameters of 25-35 inches.

» Continue Reading.

Monday, July 10, 2023

DEC: Do Wildfires Affect Birds?


Recently, New York State experienced the harsh effects of raging wildfires in the Canadian Province of Ontario. For several days, air quality indexes spiked to concerning and unhealthy levels, as noticeable smoke covered most of the state in a haze. Here in New York, multiple smaller wildland fires have burned in locations across the state due to dry spring conditions. In addition to causing potential human health and safety concerns, wildfires also may affect local bird and wildlife populations.

» Continue Reading.

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