Sunday, September 6, 2020

When the water turns green

A handful of harmful algae blooms have struck the Adirondacks this summer, according to state environmental regulators.

Many blooms are inconvenient and ugly, but some are the product of toxic cyanobacteria that are often called and mistaken for algae. Without lab results, it’s impossible to know which is which, but officials tend to err on the side of caution now.

Inside the park’s boundaries, the state has identified five blooms it labels harmful, meaning not just icky but risky for people swimming in or drinking from the water. That figure, though, is sort of an undercount because it doesn’t include other blooms along Lake Champlain that are tracked by officials in Vermont.

separate bloom tracker for Lake Champlain shows a series of blooms along the edge of the Adirondacks and the lake, though the ones happening now have been labeled “generally safe.”

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, September 6, 2020

The skinny on food waste; new incentives for composting programs

Map of Food Scraps Drop Off Spots & Residential Collection ServicesResidential food scraps collection services and community food scraps drop-off spots are popping up across the state. Both are a great way to compost your food scraps locally if you can’t at home. Residential food scraps collection services collect food scraps at your curb while community food scraps drop-off spots allow you to drop your food scraps off at a designated location and time, such as your local farmers market or community garden. In return, the compost from these programs is used to build local healthy soils. Find a food scraps drop-off spot or residential food scraps collection service near you.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, September 5, 2020

New York’s Climate Act Sets Nation’s Most Comprehensive Greenhouse Gas Limits

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos released proposed regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emission statewide and implement the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). The proposed regulations mark a milestone in realizing New York’s nation-leading clean energy and climate agenda.

The announcement demonstrates New York’s leadership on climate by taking a new and ambitious approach to the accounting of harmful emissions from fossil fuels – within and outside of the state – and for potent, short-lived pollutants such as methane. Additionally, the proposed regulations enable New York State to apply a flexible, stakeholder-driven approach for the annual accounting of net emissions.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, September 3, 2020

Commentary: The healing power of the forest

Denuding the Adirondack Woods.

There is in the previous sentence a title of a book. There are many reasons why we go into the Wilderness. I go to be away from people and visit my church, if you will excuse the expression.

The natural wonder of nature and of being in a wild place calms my nerves and feeds my soul more than anything else I can do in my day to day life. The Adirondacks feel timeless, and throwback to an early period in American history. Trees, water, rocks, sand, wildlife, all of this profoundly changed during the many periods of ice advancement from Canada almost down to Virginia. Advance and retreat, then repeat and repeat again.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, August 29, 2020

Fish Barrier Dam Facelift in St. Regis Canoe Area

Fish barrier dams are an essential tool for the protection of native and restored fish communities from non-native species that could devastate the current native fish populations.

Little Fish Pond Barrier DamThe Little Fish Pond barrier dam is the lowermost fish barrier dam protecting the waters of the Saint Regis Canoe Area from invasion by non-native species. It was built prior to one of the biggest reclamation projects in NYS history. In 1952-1954,14 ponds and 21 miles of inlets, outlets, river and tributaries were treated to restore wild trout populations.

The main part of this dam was rehabilitated in 2015 and 2016 by Region 5 fisheries staff and the Student Conservation Association (SCA). In 2020, fisheries staff built a new splash deck to prevent scour in the river channel below the dam from forming a jump pool. From start to finish, DEC and SCA staff have spent nearly 1,100 labor-hours on this dam. The improvements should protect these valuable resources while providing a unique angling experience for many years to come- a true testament to the lasting value of such an endeavor.

DEC photo


Saturday, August 29, 2020

A salty subject

This past Tuesday, the Explorer hosted our first public event of the COVID era — a Zoom panel discussion with Dan Kelting, the head of the Adirondack Watershed Institute of Paul Smith’s College.

We focused on something Kelting has been studying for a decade and I’ve been reporting on all year: road salt and what it does to drinking water supplies in the Adirondacks.

Kelting dived into the issue years ago, first to roundup what was known about road salt pollution elsewhere and then to find out what it was doing to the Adirondacks. In sum, too much salt running off roads ends up in waterways. There, it harms humans by messing with heart and kidney function, destroys plumbing and upends ecosystems.

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, August 23, 2020

Forest invaders

emerald ash borer photo courtesy DECExplorer policy reporter Gwendolyn Craig has reported plenty of news on invasive species this month — most of it unfortunate.

First came word of the long-expected confirmation of the emerald ash borer in the Adirondacks. That tree killer had long spread throughout the Midwest and East, and in recent years was chewing a circle around the park. Ash isn’t the most abundant species in our high country, but it has cultural and economic significance as well as an ecological role. Gwen will explore all of that in a magazine piece later this year.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, August 22, 2020

Join a conversation about road salt, pollution

Join Explorer reporter Ry Rivard and Dan Kelting, head of the Adirondack Watershed Institute of Paul Smith’s College, to talk about one of the major sources of water pollution in our region: the road salt showing up in water supplies across the Adirondacks. Ry Rivard has been reporting on this issue for the Explorer. Dan Kelting has been studying road salt for years and tested hundreds of private wells. The event will take place online starting at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 25. The conversation between Ry and Dan will last about 30 minutes, followed by your questions. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Biological Control for Japanese Knotweed tested in New York

Japanese knotweeds (Reynoutria japonica, Reynoutria sachalinensis, and their hybrid Reynoutria X bohemica) are invasive plants that are infamously difficult to control and have negatively impacted ecosystems and economies in the US, Canada and Europe.

For several years, researchers have sought to find a biocontrol for knotweed. Biocontrols are species selected from an invasive species’ native range that are used to control the invasive species in its introduced range. This approach is more targeted than chemical methods, and when successful, it permanently suppresses the invasive species.

After extensive testing and review by federal agencies, in March of this year, an insect native to Japan called the knotweed psyllid (Aphalara itadori) was approved for release in the United States as the country’s first biocontrol agent for Japanese knotweed.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, August 17, 2020

Road salt and lawsuits

When Americans try to work something out but fail, we head to court.

But that option isn’t available for many long-suffering New Yorkers with water made undrinkable by road salt.

Road salt has been a known threat to the environment and human health for decades. Yet, the state of New York, which applies about as much per mile of roadway as any other state, depending on the year, has done little to prevent, clean up or truly quantify much of the problem.

That has stood out to me in several months of reporting on how road salt is fouling up water in and around the Adirondacks. The scale of the problem is so uncertain that hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers may have salty water without even knowing it.

But when they do find out, they have a heck of a time trying to make things right.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, August 17, 2020

DEC Cancels Open House at Perch River WMA

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) canceled an open house at Perch River Wildlife Management Area (WMA) out of an abundance of caution to protect public health due to the Department of Health’s (DOH) recent discovery of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in horses in the immediate vicinity.

EEE is carried by mosquitoes and transferable to animals and people. DOH plans to spray for mosquito control in that area of Jefferson County.

DEC’s Perch River WMA open house was scheduled to open Saturday, August 15, and run through Sunday, August 30. (Click here for all the WMAs having open houses.) For additional information, bird lists, and maps, contact DEC’s Regional Wildlife Office at 315-785-2263 or visit the DEC webpage .

Perch River WMA in Jefferson County/DEC photo


Monday, August 17, 2020

Get Thrifty: Today is National Thrift Store Day

If you’re in search of ways to live a more sustainable lifestyle, one effective way to reduce waste and conserve natural resources is through buying gently used items and supporting second hand shopping. Thrifting and second hand shopping has environmental, social, and economic benefits such as:

  • Job creation that supports materials reuse and the circular economy
  • Maintaining value of an item by keeping it in the supply chain instead of sending it to a landfill or incinerator where it has no value
  • Reducing consumption of natural resources like water, fibers, metals, and fossil fuels by getting more use of items

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 12, 2020

New Milestone for Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) Mitigation

The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) and Clarkson University will deploy new technologies to combat harmful algal blooms (HABs) in Lake Neatahwanta in Oswego County this summer. In 2019, Governor Cuomo challenged these research institutions to use their scientific expertise in water quality to develop new and innovative technologies to reduce the impact of HABs. SUNY ESF and Clarkson University will study the effectiveness of their experimental inventions this summer. Learn more about this project at DEC’s Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) Mitigation Studies webpage.

DEC will host a virtual public information session about the deployment of these experimental projects tonight, Wednesday, August 12, from 6 to 8 p.m. Register now for the information session.

photo courtesy of Upstate Freshwater Institute/Almanack archive

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid infestation found in Washington Co.

Hemlock with HWA egg masses_Connecticut Agricultural Experiment StationThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced the confirmation of an infestation of the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (Adelges tsugae) on Forest Preserve lands in the town of Dresden in Washington County.

The affected hemlock trees were located near a campsite within Glen Island Campground on the shore of Lake George. This is the second known infestation of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) in the Adirondacks.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 11, 2020

DEC Reminds Hikers to Follow Common Sense Rules of the Outdoors

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation would like to remind hikers, and all who enjoy outdoor recreation to follow the “common sense rules of the outdoors,” such as preparing for arduous conditions, avoiding sensitive ecology, picking up your trash, and respecting your fellow visitors and those working to protect our wilderness.

We are currently experiencing a boom in outdoor recreation, with areas of the Adirondack park and the Catskill Parks reaching record numbers of visitors. Issues of littering, trash, and unprepared hikers affecting natural resources have increased in proportion to these record numbers, and it is essential to reinforce these common sense rules in order to protect both the safety of the public and the integrity of the sensitive plants and wildlife.

» Continue Reading.



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