Monday, March 21, 2022

Paul Smith’s College students, Franklin County team up on eco-friendly bus shelters

New bus shelters with green, living roofs are coming to public transportation stops throughout the North Country thanks to a collaboration between Paul Smith’s College, the Franklin County Highway Department and The Heart Network.

The senior capstone project is led by students in Paul Smith’s College Environment and Society Professor Deb Naybor’s Social Research and Sustainability classes. Students produced 40 initial designs for the living roofs, and the senior capstone students honed them down to create a set of environmentally responsible concepts for review by the county’s Highway Department.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, March 18, 2022

Keeping up with invasives: The gypsy moth gets a new name

gypsy moths

March is filled with days that feel like spring, even if they don’t feel like spring. The angle of the light, the birds and buds, and the blue, silviculture IV’s running from maple to maple all suggest a mood that the temperatures do not.

As we hardy, resilient outdoor types watch the calendar shift from complaining-about-ice season to complaining-about-mud season, there are bound to be some cold, sopping wet days where we just look out the window and think — no.

But there were other things to do this week, thanks to the Adirondack Garden Club, which was hosting Becca Bernacki of the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program, who was speaking on a quinella of insects that have the potential to do great harm in the forest, and how we can do our part to stop them.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, March 14, 2022

Road salt task force meets; Pitcairn residents deal with salty well water

pitcairn road salt

Members of the state task force charged with reducing salt use in the Adirondack Park met for the first time Monday and showed that they won’t steer away from thorny topics.

From discussing tree cutting along roads (which in some places could require a constitutional amendment) to potential winter tire mandates or lower speed limits, members raised numerous complicated challenges that underscored the task ahead.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, March 12, 2022

Ferd’s Bog hike results in peaceful serenade from White-winged Crossbills

It’s Sunday evening (March 6) and we just came home from the movies in Old Forge in a howling wind with the temperature at 55 degrees which breaks the record of 43 degrees set in 2004. The power was off a couple times during the movie but came back on, so we didn’t lose much of the plot. As this weather (with changing temperatures) came across the country a few tornadoes touched down across Iowa and one near Des Moines killed 7 people including two children.

This string of unsettled weather is now going through the southern part of New York with quite a bit of red showing on the weather map. This warming trend and the rain overnight last night pretty well whipped many of the snowmobile trails and most of the paved roads they had been using which also bared up. There were some washouts in the Moose River area that the snows this week filled in nicely by the groomer. These were those frozen culverts that I mentioned last week which will have to be repaired before opening in May.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, March 12, 2022

Northern Forest Canoe Trail hosting virtual film fest screenings

The Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT) is hosting virtual screenings of the World Tour Paddling Film Festival. The annual festival showcases the very best paddling films of the year ­­and is now screening in living rooms everywhere. A portion of proceeds from ticket sales benefits NFCT stewardship and programming.

“We’re excited to once again offer the year’s best selection of paddling films to the NFCT community,” said Karrie Thomas, NFCT’s executive director. “Whether you’re in it for the exploration of secluded quiet waters, or the adrenaline rush of big wave whitewater, the film fest has something for everyone.”

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, March 10, 2022

Five Loons Rescued on Lake Champlain

By Eric Teed

Our crew has a lunch policy. “Not a rule mind you, just a policy” put forward years ago by John Rosenthal. Lunch may not be taken before noon, seating should be comfortable, in the sun, and out of the wind. Given we had been skating for hours on incredible black ice, we were euphoric and ravenous. The speck of dirt called Diamond Island in Lake Champlain’s Narrows would have to do. Then, I saw the loons. I almost missed lunch, and the next day would be one I will always remember.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, March 10, 2022

Farms invited to apply for Adirondack Council mini-grants

Full and By farmFor the first time, the Adirondack Council’s Essex Farm Institute’s Micro-Grants for Adirondack Farms and Value-Added Producers will offer grants of up to $8,000 for the implementation of environmentally-beneficial and sustainable projects led by Adirondack farms and value-added producers. Prior grants had not exceeded $5,000, with most awarded in the $1,500 range.  The grant application was updated for the 2022 cycle to provide more resources for larger operations or those projects led by a team of applicants.

The 2022 guidelines have also been updated to provide clarity with respect to eligibility criteria and gives preference for historically-underserved or socially-disadvantaged groups. As the Adirondack Park’s largest environmental advocacy organization, the Adirondack Council recognizes the huge role agriculture plays in meeting climate goals, sustaining the health of natural resources and fostering economically vibrant communities.  It adopted the Essex Farm Institute to ensure that local farmers would have assistance in reducing costs (fuel, fertilizer, electric power, waste removal) and increasing profitability/sustainability by adopting sustainable, environmentally friendly methods.

“Curbing climate change will require new investments in those parts of the economy that can help us conserve energy and reduce fuel use,” said Adirondack Council Executive Director William C. Janeway.  “That also reduces pollution, creates more local jobs and make the Adirondacks less dependent on easily-disrupted supply chains that reach halfway around the world.”

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Is APA review the equivalent of an Environmental Impact Statement? No.

Over the course of time, the Adirondack Park Agency’s permit practice has drifted too far away from what the 1973 Agency Act and the State Environmental Quality Review Act require.

The State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR) requires any State or local agency that undertakes, funds, or approves a project to evaluate the actual or potential environmental impacts of the project prior to taking final action. SEQRA clearly sets forth the state’s policy that adverse environmental impacts of proposed actions be fully considered and either minimized or avoided.

An agency must identify all areas of relevant environmental concern with respect to the project, take a hard look at them, and provide a reasoned elaboration for its determination as to whether the action may have a significant adverse impact on the environment. The agency must require preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) if the proposed action may have any significant environmental impacts.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Dirty 30 – Mylar Balloon Pollution Collected by Herkimer County Office

30 balloonsDEC Region 6 colleagues in the Herkimer County office have collected at least 30 mylar balloons in 2021. Nicknamed the dirty 30, coincidentally, the giant 3-0 balloon corresponds with the number of balloons in the pile. Herkimer County staff collected the mylar balloon trash while doing their daily jobs in both wilderness areas and local state forests.

“I’ll bet most of our regional field staff could collectively quadruple this number if they started saving balloons,” said Steve Heerkens, DEC Wildlife Biologist.  DEC staff often encounter littered balloons. Littered balloons can be found on the ground, stuck in trees, in water bodies, and other sensitive ecosystems.

If you celebrate with balloons, make sure they are tied down tightly and avoid balloon releases. Dispose of balloons properly in the trash. Balloons do not belong in the recycling bin. Consider alternatives to balloons such as bubbles, bells, paper or fabric garlands, or planting a tree for remembrance.


Monday, March 7, 2022

The next major lake survey

lake ice

A group of scientists and representatives of government agencies met this summer in Saratoga Springs with an enormous mission: outline plans for a survey of hundreds of Adirondack Lakes.

The emerging plan hopes to focus on the effects of climate change on Adirondack lakes and would build on the last major survey of Adirondack lakes in the 1980s, which focused on lake acidification and served as a scientific basis for the 1990 federal Clean Air Act amendments. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, March 2, 2022

The power of ice

ice jam

If fruit is nature’s candy, the breakup of an ice jam is nature’s performance art. Half flood, half avalanche, they move with both a wild fury and a deceptive grace as they storm down Adirondack valleys, just looking for trouble.

In the Ausable River Valley, the phenomenon is a matter of pop culture, having given a name to an Upper Jay lodge and restaurant known as the Ice Jam Inn, and inspiring residents to jockey for the best vantage points along Rt. 9N as a one-mile procession of frozen blocks thunder by —  the local version of the Running of the Bulls.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, February 28, 2022

Safe Aquatic Weed Control for Ponds

grass carp

If you have a weed problem in your pond, you may want to consider stocking it with Grass Carp.  These fish have a tremendous appetite for aquatic vegetation and can be used as a non-chemical agent to control weed growth in ponds.  The fish that are available for stocking are Triploid Grass Carp, which means they are sterile and cannot produce viable young.  This non-native species of fish does not compete with native fish species that you may already have swimming around in your pond.

            Because these fish are not native to New York and because they have huge appetites, a permit is required from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.  The Herkimer County SWCD starts the permitting process now with stocking to take place in June 2022.  The permitting process conducted by DEC is free of charge. If permitted you will be able to purchase these fish from the Herkimer County Soil & Water Conservation District, an approved Triploid Grass Carp supplier.

            If you would be interested in more information, including a permit application for stocking Grass Carp, please contact the Herkimer County Soil & Water Conservation District at 315-866-2520, Ext. 5 before April 30thInformation is also available on our website at http://www.herkimercountyswcd.com.

Photo by Ryan Hagerty/USFWS


Monday, February 28, 2022

AdkAction’s Compost for Good project kicks off USDA grant to support development of compost businesses

AdkAction’s Compost for Good project is seeking businesses and individuals interested in organics recycling opportunities. If you have considered starting a business related to composting, or have an existing business that you would like to expand upon, we want to hear from you! The Compost for Good (CFG) team is seeking farmers, haulers, composters, retailers, landscapers, grocery stores, manufacturers, restaurants, etc. in St. Lawrence, Franklin, Essex and Clinton Counties to discuss organics recycling goals and dreams.

AdkAction also welcomes input from municipalities or nonprofit organizations interested in supporting businesses in their area as well as business owners who are trying to navigate the Food Donation and Food Scrap Recycling Law.

“AdkAction supports projects that significantly improve the social, economic and cultural lives of local residents and enhance the long term natural resources of the Park. Through this grant, the CFG team will support the development of business opportunities and economic development that will simultaneously improve the natural systems of the North Country,” said Eric Holmlund, CFG Project Chair with AdkAction.

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, February 27, 2022

Indulging Reforestation

As a child in a devout Catholic household I was intrigued by “Indulgences,” a way for sinners to avoid penalties in the afterlife by paying a fee commensurate with their bad deeds. This was years before Heaven went digital, of course, and as a youngster I assumed these bookkeeping adjustments were made in such a way that God didn’t notice the erasure marks in the Eternal Ledger.

When I first heard the phrase “carbon offsets” it reminded me of the practice of Indulgences – if you pay enough cash you can fly your Learjet up to Nova Scotia to see the total eclipse of the sun, and through some kind of accounting magic, not emit a speck of CO2. Someone would instantly plant a forest, pump carbon into a deep ocean trench, or build a wind farm for you.

Apparently I’m too cynical at times, because carbon offsets are genuine. But there are limitations. In a July 2021 Denzeen article, Fredrika Klarén, who runs the Sustainability Division at the Chinese electric-car maker Polestar, says “It is impossible to get down to zero [CO2 emissions] with offsets alone.”

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, February 26, 2022

Bolton uses woodchips to keep nitrates out of the lake

cat mountain in boltonThe results are in — and the Town of Bolton’s first-of-its-kind demonstration project using Adirondack woodchips to protect Lake George from algae-causing nitrate has proven successful.

A 27-month monitoring study conducted by the Lake George Association (LGA), Lake George Waterkeeper, and the Town of Bolton, with a grant from Lake Champlain Sea Grant, found that the town’s woodchip bioreactor removed 38% of nitrate from the wastewater that flowed through it during the project compared to zero removal of nitrate from the rest of the plant’s effluent stream. This is believed to be the world’s first use of a woodchip bioreactor at a municipal wastewater treatment plant. The bioreactor was funded in 2018 by a $50,000 grant from The FUND for Lake George (now the LGA).

“Over the past two years, our study demonstrated conclusively that the woodchip bioreactor is an effective, affordable and environmentally compatible nitrate-reduction tool for smaller municipal treatment plants like Bolton’s that were constructed decades ago, prior to the advent of denitrification technology,” said Lake George Waterkeeper Chris Navitsky, who conducted the study along with water quality scientist and LGA Science Advisor Dr. Jim Sutherland.

Read more about this world-leading project.

Read the full research report.

Watch a presentation about the project as part of the Lake Champlain Sea Grant Research Seminar Series.

Photo from Cat Mountain/Almanack archive