Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Microgrants boost farms’ sustainability efforts

North Country CreameryIn celebration of Earth Day 2021, the Adirondack Park’s largest environmental organization awarded 21 micro-grants totaling $29,601 to local farmers and value-added food producers, in an effort to build a climate-friendly local economy in the Adirondack Park.

It was the sixth consecutive year that the Adirondack Council has awarded micro-grants to farmers and small business owners who want to reduce their environmental impact and adapt to a changing climate.

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Monday, April 26, 2021

DEC announces initiatives to boost recycling, prevent food waste


  • compostDEC Announces Additional $500,000 for Statewide Effort to Improve Food Scrap Recycling and Prevent Food Waste
  • $2 Million Total to Bolster New Regulations to Reduce Landfilling of Food Scraps and Connect Hungry New Yorkers with Edible Food
  • DEC Accepting Public Comments on Proposed Food Waste Regulations until April 27
  • The New York State Center for Sustainable Materials Management Launches Recycling Website on Earth Day

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Monday, April 26, 2021

Go Fish: Stocking Saranac River Salmon

salmonRegional fishery folks are testing new ways of getting salmon ready for the Saranac River, a river salmon once thrived in but were blocked from 200 years ago by dams.

I explored the relationship among the river, the dams and the salmon in a series of stories last year. This spring, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation plans to stock salmon in the river, which it has done for years, but this time keep some in a pen for several weeks. In the pen, the fish, who were born in a hatchery, will be fed and cared for by Trout Unlimited. The idea is these fish will have a better chance to survive and learn the river before they leave it for Lake Champlain. That learning, called imprinting, might make it more likely for the salmon to return to the river to spawn in years to come.

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Saturday, April 24, 2021

Orgs Release “Toolkit” for New Yorkers Fighting Climate Change

solar panels stock photoFree, Easy-to-Use Guide Provides Resources to Build Support for Local Wind and Solar Projects to Reap Community Benefits

To help community members who want to build support for local clean energy projects, The Nature Conservancy in New York and New Yorkers for Clean Power have published a toolkit to support their efforts. Entitled Building Out a Clean Energy Future, the free, online toolkit provides background, strategies and resources for New Yorkers regardless of prior knowledge about clean energy.

Identifying common barriers and outlining actions to manage and overcome them, the toolkit shares steps that community members can take to support renewable energy projects in their city, town, or village and help bring about the many benefits of clean energy including cleaner air to breathe, a stronger economy with good-paying local jobs, and less carbon pollution, the driver of climate change.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Regulating road salt like acid rain

Several decades ago, acid rain in the Adirondacks helped direct the nation’s attention to new kinds of air pollution.

Despite the local environmental protections here, acids were being carried from coal-fired power plants elsewhere in the country by the atmosphere and falling into Adirondack lakes and streams, killing off fish. The regulatory boundary protecting the park’s forests and wetlands from development and logging weren’t going to stop that.

A national problem needed a national solution. So, in 1990, Congress updated the Clean Air Act to crack down on polluters.

A recent paper, authored by researchers at the University of Maryland, argues that salt pollution, including pollution from road salt, may be so ubiquitous that it now needs such a national solution. “Ultimately,” the paper says, “there may be a need for regulations similar to the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, which were enacted to address pollution from acid rain.”

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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

NYS Climate Impact Assessments: Call for Experts and Stakeholders

NYSERDA logoNYSERDA is launching an ambitious effort to assess how climate change will affect New York’s communities, ecosystems, and economy. The New York State Climate Impacts Assessment: Understanding and Preparing for Our Changing Climate, will include updated climate projections, in-depth climate change impacts on New York State, adaptation strategies, and case studies. It is anticipated that this assessment may inform climate choices at all levels of decision making in the state.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

DEC Extends Gate Closure Season at Mossy Point and Roger’s Rock Boat Launches

Lake George Boat Launch photo by Ed BurkePilot Program to Run April 15 to Dec. 15
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will begin closing the gates at the Mossy Point and Rogers Rock boat launches on Lake George on April 15, as part of an ongoing pilot program to increase protections from aquatic invasive species, DEC Regional Director Joseph Zalewski announced today. The overnight closure will continue through Dec. 15.

“Lake George is one of the most beautiful and heavily recreated lakes in the Northeast. We believe the Commission’s mandatory boat inspection program provides a great balance in protecting Lake George from invasive species without impacting boating activities on the lake,” said Dave Wick, Executive Director of the Lake George Park Commission. “The state and local partnership that created this invasive species prevention initiative has been tremendously successful over its seven years of existence, and it continues to have strong public support.”

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Monday, April 19, 2021

Pledge to Reduce Pollution this Earth Day


smogEvery year on April 22, New Yorkers everywhere celebrate Earth Day to raise awareness about the importance of environmental protection. Since its inception in 1970, there have been many positive actions taken as a result, including improved air quality.

The first Earth Day encouraged Congress to pass the landmark Clean Air Act the same year, which over decades has led to enormous reductions in all categories of air pollutants. Vehicles in the US today are almost 99 percent cleaner than those from the 1970s, with reduced carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and particulate emissions. Vehicle fuels are also much cleaner after the elimination of lead in gasoline and reductions of sulfur levels in fuel, resulting in clearer skies and healthier children.

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Thursday, April 15, 2021

Adirondack Report: Preview of this month’s APA meeting; state budget update

The state budget was late, but it finally passed both houses last week.

I had a quick overview on our website highlighting that the Adirondacks and Catskills are getting $1.55 million for visitor use management. Of that funding, up to $800,000 will go to Essex County to assist with its pilot shuttle system, front country stewards and infrastructure, like portable toilets. We also have a renewed $3 billion environmental bond act.

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Thursday, April 8, 2021

Keeping an eye on dirt

fall salmon river anglersThere are a lot of rivers, streams and lakes to visit. For casual observers, it’s sometimes hard to tell how natural they are. Last year, I spent some time digging into all the ways that dams along the Saranac River change the flow of water and the life of fish.

But dams change something else, too: dirt.

Dams hold back and can suddenly release dirt, or they change the way water flows and those changes, in turn, change how sand and gravel build up both before and after dams’ spot in the river. Whole books, including the classic textbook Fluvial Processes in Geomorphology, have been written on these changes to dirt accumulation, usually known by the more technical word “sediment.”

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Thursday, April 8, 2021

Winter Fish Kills 


winter fish killsNew Yorkers may be seeing more dead fish in the water this spring than in past years. The winter of 2020-2021 created optimal conditions for winterkills, which usually occur in shallow waterbodies with aquatic plant growth.

Winterkill occurs when snow that accumulates on the ice reduces the amount of light penetrating through the water, inhibiting the photosynthesis cycle in plants and reducing the amount of oxygen (a byproduct of the cycle) available to fish and other organisms. The problem is exacerbated when fish die, as the decomposition process also consumes any available oxygen in the pond.

To report a fish kill contact your Regional DEC Fisheries Office.


Monday, April 5, 2021

Reuse & Repair: Creating New Jobs and Enterprises through Zero Waste

This Wednesday on April 7th, from 2pm to 3:30 pm the Zero Waste Committee of Warren County, NY will be hosting a Zero Waste Webinar with a focus on local economic growth through reuse and repair enterprise programs. The program is entitled: “Creating new jobs and enterprises through Zero Waste”, with the committee being a project of the Clean Air Action Network (CAAN) of Glens Falls.

The webinar will feature four of the country’s most respected leaders in the field of reuse and repair:

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Saturday, April 3, 2021

$650,000 in grant funding available for dam repairs

Floating islands going over Higley Dam, c. 1943Funding Available to Local Government and Non-Profit Owners of ‘High Hazard’ Dams for Pre-Construction Activities
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced $650,000 in grant funding is now available to assist eligible dam owners with infrastructure repair costs. Funding is provided through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) High Hazard Potential Dam (HHPD) grant program. Of the dozens of states that applied to this federal program, New York was one of two states that received the maximum amount of funding. DEC is now accepting applications for grants to assist with technical, planning, design, and other pre-construction activities associated with the rehabilitation of eligible dams classified as High Hazard dams.

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Friday, April 2, 2021

Eating for the Climate is Easy

Vegetarian dinnerFantastic Foods & Simple Solutions, in 3 Parts  

The climate crisis, by its very nature, is tough to wrap your head around. We can feel some of its immediate effects, but most of the most severe changes happen on a scale that is beyond the ability of one person to see. Many of the actions we can take as a society to mitigate those effects have proven challenging to do. More and more of us agree that collective, systemic action is needed to combat climate change. In addition to systemic action, it is important that individuals still do our part. It can be really tough to figure out what to do!

When faced with the enormity of the climate crisis, we often find ourselves asking: what can we do to help?

I’d like to present a very simple answer to that question.

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Monday, March 29, 2021

HPAG Report: The Visitor Experience

This is the third article in a series examining the ideas in the final report of the High Peaks Strategic Planning Group (HPAG) that outlines a plan to build a new and improved management program for the High Peaks Wilderness Complex (HPWC). This article focuses on recommendations and ideas in the “Visitor Experience” section of the report.

HPAG’s recommendations will require a significant investment in state resources on an ongoing basis and additional staffing to improve the management of the HPWC by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). HPAG recommends a long-term, broad-based advisory group to help coordinate management reforms. Without greater funding, enhanced staffing, and a management committee to lead the process, many of the HPAG report ideas will rust.

The Visitor Experience section is a big part of the HPAG report. I count 35 separate recommendations, some that try to breathe new life into dormant actions from existing Unit Management Plans (UMPs), others that spotlight ideas that have been in the wind for a while, and others that try to introduce new and different management options.

» Continue Reading.



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