Monday, January 3, 2022

Ausable River Association Announces Salt Survey for Lake Placid

mirror lake

WILMINGTON — The Ausable River Association (AsRA) will distribute a salt use survey this winter to residents, businesses, and independent contractors in Lake Placid. Developed with our partners at the Adirondack Watershed Institute, the survey is essential to determining the amount of salt entering Mirror Lake and the Chubb River. Funded by the Lake Champlain Basin Program through a multi-year technical grant, it’s another piece of our ongoing science-based effort to find a solution to road salt contamination in these waterways.

The salt survey is specific to residents and business in the Chubb River watershed. The watershed encompasses the area surrounding Lake Placid and includes the Village of Lake Placid. Completing the survey will take approximately 5-20 minutes, depending on the size of the area that you care for in your winter maintenance.

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Thursday, December 30, 2021

Where There’s Smoke …

Firewood

An upswing in woodstove use might sound yawn-worthy, but recent findings about the dire health effects of wood smoke might mean the long-term future of wood as a heating fuel is in question.

As someone who grew up with wood heat, I assumed  it was hands-down one of the most sustainable, eco-positive fuels for home heating. Like many other widely shared conventions, it turns out the veracity of that assumption depends on a lot of things.

How many people burn wood in a given locale is an obvious factor. The number of homes using wood heat rose sharply in the years following the 1998 ice storm which left residents without power for weeks on end. Also no surprise, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the use of wood heat.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Old trees on opposite coasts

fir treesWhile visiting family in Oregon recently, I spent some time reflecting on what makes the Adirondacks special, while also enjoying some of the incredible nature that makes the Pacific Northwest special.

(Please forgive this small departure from water issues – though forests, as any Adirondack history will remind you, are crucial to water quality.)

I visited Oregon’s largest state park, Silver Falls, about 50 miles south of Portland, which includes a loop trail that passes by as many as 10 impressive waterfalls. While on the coast, I hiked through extraordinary, old-growth forest and across cliffs that opened to admittedly-clouded ocean views.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Adirondack coalition launches campaign for clean water, jobs, wilderness

Aaron Mair

A new coalition launched this week, advocating saving the Adirondacks forever, through a campaign for clean water, people and wilderness.

The Forever Adirondacks Campaign Director Aaron Mair released a bold 15-point agenda for protecting clean water, creating new jobs and preserving wilderness in the Adirondack Park.  Elements of the platform have already gained crucial support from a broad array of Adirondack residents, activists, educators and elected officials.

            “The focus of this campaign is on three goals: cleaner water, better employment opportunities and wilderness preservation,” said Campaign Director Aaron Mair.  “I am thrilled to say we are building a strong and diverse coalition of support for these goals, starting here inside the park and moving outward as we go.  We want everyone to know that the coalition will welcome support from all those who love the Adirondacks — whether you are lucky enough to live nearby or come to us from far away.

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Monday, December 13, 2021

Adirondack Watershed Institute expands lake monitoring program

AWI lake monitoring

The Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute (AWI) recently announced that it has been awarded a grant from the Lake Champlain Basin Program to expand the Adirondack Lake Assessment Program (ALAP) and further safeguard waterbodies across the Adirondack region.

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Sunday, December 12, 2021

Church Community Addresses the Climate Crisis

keene valley congregational church

Connecting to our environment

“Our oldest unity is our relationship with the earth,” writes John Philip Newell, an internationally acclaimed spiritual teacher and author. He calls for us to reawaken to the sacredness of the earth and challenges us to take transformative action. Our environmental groups in the Adirondacks are taking action as are inter-faith communities.

Since May 2020 members of the Keene Valley Congregational Church (KVCC), under the auspices of the Creation Justice Church Task Force, have continued to address what we can do as a faith-based community. When commissioning this seven-member Task Force, Rev. John Sampson, pastor of KVCC, asked us to reflect upon and lead the congregation through a time of listening for how God may be calling us.

To encourage this listening, the Task Force sponsored spiritual-based explorations in the Adirondack woods and waters – a number of silent paddle trips and Forest Bathing gatherings. Using our senses, these events helped to deepen our personal connection with the natural environment.

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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Polystyrene Foam Ban Updates

 

fpolystyrene foam ban

A polystyrene burger box pollutes a the reeds by the side of the river.

Effective Jan. 1, 2022, no covered food service provider or store (retail or wholesale) will be allowed to sell, offer for sale, or distribute disposable food service containers that contain expanded polystyrene foam in New York state. In addition, no manufacturer or store will be allowed to sell, offer for sale, or distribute polystyrene loose fill packaging (commonly referred to as packing peanuts) in the state.

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Thursday, December 2, 2021

Funding provided to help farmers address water quality challenges

lake champlain bridge

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced nearly $14 million has been awarded to protect clean water across the state. This funding will support agricultural water quality conservation projects across the state, benefiting 91 farms, and is provided through the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control program, which supports projects that address water quality challenges in priority watersheds and protect the environment.

“New York continues to take decisive action to protect access to clean water across the state,” Governor Hochul said. “This money will go towards fulfilling both those goals by encouraging the implementation of cost-effective waterway protection and reducing our carbon footprint.”

The projects have been awarded to 25 County Soil and Water Conservation Districts, on behalf of the farms, who will support on-farm environmental planning and the implementation of best management practice (BMP) systems to keep nutrients and other potential pollutants from entering waterways. BMPs include a variety of measures, including vegetative buffers along streams, cover crops, nutrient management through manure storage, and other conservation measures.

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Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Invasives roundup

stiltgrassThe late fall and early winter is a time of winding down in the Adirondacks, and that’s the case for the many programs combating invasive species across the park.

Earlier this month a group of around 40 representatives from government, nonprofits and local associations and private individuals hopped on a Zoom meeting to rehash a season of anti-invasive programs. This gathering of the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program — a multi-agency/public-private partnership that coordinates parkwide efforts to combat invasive plant species — was a helpful briefing on the latest in Adirondacks invasives.

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Monday, November 29, 2021

Honeybees: Posing threats for native bees?

western honeybee

With their marvelous interpretive-dance routines, complex social life, and delicious honey, honeybees are widely respected, but they’re anything but sweet to wild pollinators. In fact, a surfeit of honeybees is a big threat to our native bees and butterflies. 

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Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Stuff the Turkey, Not the Trash


adirondack tukey

Regardless of how you’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving this year, you can still keep wasted food out of the picture by reaching for your favorite tips and tricks to avoid throwing out good ingredients and your holiday meal favorites! Check out some of our tips below.
Ways to waste less food this Thanksgiving:

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Monday, November 22, 2021

Still blooming

HABs map

The HABs keep on happening on Lake George. Shortly after we reported on an early-October harmful algal bloom on Lake George, the state Department of Environmental Conservation updated its useful map of HABs across the state. And state officials confirmed yet more HABs on Lake George on Nov. 8-11.

Harmful algal blooms – or HABs – are formations of cyanobacteria, which can rise to the water’s surface under the right conditions. While HABs have the potential to turn toxic, toxins have not been detected in the Lake George HABs. The HABs on Lake George continued in the Harris Bay area and in November the confirmed blooms included some around Cotton near Bolton Landing, according to the DEC map.

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Saturday, November 20, 2021

Remnants Of Life

remnants of life

The Adirondack Mountains is an amazing place to witness the natural lives of wild animals.  With 2,000 miles of hiking trails, there is ample opportunity to witness new life as well as the passing of life.  The mountains are full of the cycle of life as we witness baby animals of various species and come upon a pile of dry bones.  The cycle of life escapes no creature calling this Earth their home and there is evidence all around us of this fact.  Is it possible for death, the dry bones of an expired animal to once again be a part of the building blocks of life?  In the lives of some mountain animals this is most certainly possible and is an important factor in survival as a source of essential minerals.

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Monday, November 15, 2021

The Season of Northern Lights 

aurora

In late October and earlier this month, spectacular aurora activity was visible across much of the northern hemisphere. Sightings were reported from Maine to Washington State and as far south as Connecticut and California.

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Monday, November 8, 2021

Trail Blazers discover there is more to scat than just a plop of poop

When Hamilton County Community Services’ Prevention Educator Evangeline Wells invited me to give an outdoor presentation to Trail Blazers kids, I knew I wanted to mix fun and nature facts to keep things light and interesting for this summer event.  Students traveled to the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District office on July 21 and discovered that there is more to scat than just a plop of poop in the woods.  I packed the morning with activities and information about animal tracks and scat.

Photo at left: I ask the Trail Blazers to describe the story of track photos.

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