Tuesday, March 26, 2024

State Agencies Have Clear Authority To Act On WhistlePig Whiskey Fungus Pollution

In March, Protect the Adirondacks called upon the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to launch enforcement investigations into an invasive “whiskey fungus” in the Mineville area in the Town of Moriah, Essex County. The Adirondack Explorer reported that DEC has demanded that WhistlePig Whiskey submit plans for mitigating “the effects of its operations on neighboring properties” by April 20th. WhistlePig Whiskey owns and operates a warehouse facility in Mineville that is the apparent source of vapors that create what’s come to be known as the whiskey fungus that has coated homes in the area with a slimy black mold-like fungus.

» Continue Reading.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

CCE Essex Awarded Grants to Expand Local Food and Agriculture Educational Programs

Ausable Forks Elementary School students on a field trip

Now hiring for two new local food youth educator positions

Lewis, NY – Cornell Cooperative Extension of Essex County (CCE Essex) was recently awarded over $550,000 in grant funds to grow educational programs for its Adirondack HarvestFarm to School and 4-H programs.

In the fall of 2023, CCE Essex was awarded a three-year grant through the USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program for its Adirondack Harvest, Agriculture, and Farm to School programs. The funds will expand successful projects that enrich public understanding of local agriculture and food systems, build economic opportunities for small farms, increase local food access, attract new consumers to regional farmers’ markets, provide opportunities for youth to learn about local food and farming, and champion farms who utilize climate-resilient and wildlife-friendly practices.

» Continue Reading.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Tests: Whiskey fungus is more widespread

The WhistlePig Whiskey facility in Moriah

Whiskey fungus

Results from November fungus samples taken from homes near WhistlePig Whiskey in the town of Moriah were released last week. The state Department of Environmental Conservation said “the samples matched the morphology of the whiskey fungus from the WhistlePig facility.”

Read our update here.

» Continue Reading.

Monday, March 25, 2024

Signs of Spring

An American robin.

This week marks the first calendar-official days of spring. Some ground around the Adirondacks is covered in white while other parts are bare and evolving into the next season.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation in early March advised hikers to avoid elevations higher than 2,500 feet, an announcement made earlier than usual. The park saw the warmest winter on record, producing spring-like weather during the last weeks of the season.

But it’s still unknown how the conditions will impact the arrival of the traditional “signs of spring.”  We do know it’s been an early maple season. 

» Continue Reading.

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Lake Champlain clean up

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos announces the release of a new Lake Champlain watershed plan at Ausable Point Campground on Monday.

Plans for Lake Champlain

A new state plan outlines priority projects in the Lake Champlain watershed to help control phosphorus pollution into the nation’s 13th-largest lake.

After soliciting public feedback last year, the state Department of Environmental Conservation on Monday released the final version of its Lake Champlain Watershed Implementation Plan.

The plan offers the latest assessment of conditions and pollution sources on Lake Champlain and outlines projects that could help reduce phosphorus loading into the lake, a key pollutant that contributes to increasing harmful algae growth and declining water clarity. A 2002 federal pollution control plan set phosphorus targets for both New York and Vermont.

» Continue Reading.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Reminder: Statewide burn ban in effect through May 14

A pile of burning brush

On March 14, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos reminded New Yorkers of the start of the annual statewide ban prohibiting residential brush burning. Since 2009, DEC enforces the annual brush burning ban from March 16 through May 14 to prevent wildfires and protect communities during heightened conditions for wildfires.

“Last month, DEC encouraged everyone to be extra vigilant when burning brush because of the risk for wildfires caused by early dry conditions, but starting this Saturday, March 16, it will be illegal to burn brush for the next two months,” Commissioner Seggos said. “Due to the drier and warmer winter, New York State is at a greater risk for wildfires this spring. This ban is essential to protecting communities and natural resources, as well as the Rangers and other firefighters called to extinguish the wildfires.”

» Continue Reading.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024

DEC Celebrates Clean Water Investments, $1 Million for Town of Peru  

Students at the Lake Champlain Youth Water Summit learning how to study water quality. Photo by Zachary Matson

On March 18, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos joined representatives from the town of Peru and other local officials along the shores of Lake Champlain to announce the finalization of the Lake Champlain Watershed Implementation Plan. The plan creates a detailed path forward to build upon progress to reduce phosphorus that impairs Lake Champlain and contributes to harmful algal blooms (HABs). The Lake Champlain Watershed Implementation Plan will support and guide investments like the recent $1 million to the town of Peru, Clinton County, for wastewater improvements that will reduce pollutants and significantly improve water quality.

» Continue Reading.

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Protect the Adirondacks applauds one house budgets for funding critical ADK programs

Cars parked on Adirondack Loj Road

Protect the Adirondacks, Inc. (PROTECT) applauds funding proposed for the FY2025 Budgets released by the State Senate and State Assembly. The proposed budgets provide significant funding for Adirondack programs that were reduced or eliminated from the Governor Kathy Hochul’s proposed budget.

The Legislature has restored the Clean Water Fund to $500 million. The Assembly’s budget proposal specifies $10 million from the Clean Water Fund for proper management of road salt.

“Protect the Adirondacks supports the Assembly’s budget allocation of $10 million to implement the road salt reduction strategies in the 2023 Adirondack Road Salt Reduction Task Force report documenting the significant adverse groundwater and surface water pollution effects of the use of road salt in the Adirondack Park. We urge the State Senate to support this budget line item too,” said Peter Bauer, Executive Director of Protect the Adirondacks.

» Continue Reading.

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Adding Adirondacks back into budget

Students learn about history of Timbuctoo Institute


Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposed $233 billion budget included some program cuts relevant to the Adirondacks. The state Assembly and Senate released their one-house budgets last week, adding some of those funds back.

Here are some of the takeaways:

  • Reinstated Clean Water Infrastructure Act funding to $500 million for the fiscal year.
  • The Assembly proposed dedicating $10 million from the Clean Water Fund for road salt management.
  • Restored funding to the Timbuctoo Climate and Careers Institute at $2.1 million.
  • Restored funding to the Survey of Climate Change and Adirondack Lake Ecosystems at $2 million.

» Continue Reading.

Monday, March 18, 2024

Literacy and solutions

Paul Smiths College students on a boat on a lake

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Bay Watershed Education and Training program awarded a grant to Paul Smith’s College recently. The $160,000 award boosts the college’s funding for climate programs and focuses on climate literacy and solutions. Under the terms of the grant, a new Youth for Climate and Water Action project will unite school districts in the Adirondacks and the Finger Lakes around studying the Great Lakes watershed.

» Continue Reading.

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Un-defending Our Selves

this is Maria, photo provided by Adam WilsonGreetings Neighbors and Strangers,

This story began right out of college, when I moved to a farm and fell head over heels in love with the reckless generosity of soil, sunlight and rainfall, especially as made manifest in the sequence of cows to grass to humans.  Can you picture the way the shape and shadow of another human face or body can take up residence in your imagination, exerting a gravitational pull on your path through the world?  Now translate that sense of attraction to the landscape.  I couldn’t keep my eyes off the curvature of a fertile meadow, glimpsed from the road, in silhouette against woods and sky.  I fell for field after field, allowing my mind to fantasize about the way a small herd of Jersey cows would graze across each hill and hollow.  Every farm I saw looked more perfect than the last. » Continue Reading.

Sunday, March 17, 2024

NFCT expands stewardship staff, offers new volunteer opportunities 

A work crew builds docks


New staff will support projects in four states; nine volunteer work trips planned

The Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT) has announced its stewardship programming for the 2024 season, which will be supported by a growing professional staff and provide opportunities for as many as 50 volunteers to help steward the waterways along the trail.

The NFCT is a nonprofit organization that stewards a 740-mile water trail that weaves through New York, Vermont, Quebec, New Hampshire and Maine. Projects this year span from the Saranac Lakes in the Adirondacks to Maine’s Allagash Wilderness Waterway. With an ambitious slate of work scheduled, the NFCT has hired an assistant trail director and an Allagash crew leader to support its work.

» Continue Reading.

Thursday, March 14, 2024

DEC Issues Public Safety Information Ahead of Solar Eclipse

total solar eclipse

Rare Celestial Event on April 8 Expected to Attract Thousands of Visitors to New York State

On March 11, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos provided valuable tips to help the public prepare to recreate safely and responsibly as New Yorkers count down the days to the highly anticipated total solar eclipse, which occurs exactly four weeks from today. While DEC law enforcement and operations staff will be prepared for visitors, eclipse watchers are encouraged to find Adirondack destinations outside the backcountry or opt for visiting one of the many designated viewing locations across the state.

Monday, April 8, 2024, the roughly 100-mile-wide path of totality across Upstate New York will begin near Jamestown, Chautauqua County, at approximately 3:16 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time and exit near Plattsburgh, Clinton County, at approximately 3:29 p.m. Cities and towns within the path of totality also include Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Rochester, Syracuse, Watertown, Old Forge, and Lake Placid.

» Continue Reading.

Thursday, March 14, 2024

Brook trout plan

Trout Power volunteer holds a brook trout.

Planning for (lake-dwelling) brook trout

State fisheries managers are seeking input on a plan that will shape their approach to managing lake-dwelling brook trout for the next 15 years. They hosted their first public information session in Old Forge on Saturday and have another one scheduled this weekend in Warrensburg.

After adopting a new trout stream management plan and regulations in 2020, the Department of Environmental Conservation is now working on a similar plan for the unique brook trout that live out their lives in Adirondack ponds and lakes.

» Continue Reading.

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Damn That Global Warming! (It’s ruining the North Country)

Person kayaking on the lake in winter

Photo by the author of an activity that should be relegated to May, at least. Photo by Randy Fredlund.

JEREMY: Things just ain’t like they used to be.

JAKE: Yah, yer right. There just isn’t much snow anymore.

JEREMY: It’s that damn global warming.

JAKE: You can say that again.

JEREMY: It’s that damn global warming. We just don’t get the snow like we used to.

» Continue Reading.

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