Thursday, March 18, 2021

Demystifying Wildlands Monitoring

Whitney WildernessThe long promised public unveiling of the Wildlands Monitoring Guidance by the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), once again, did not occur. It was planned for the March APA Board meeting and was pulled from the agenda during that two-day meeting. What is so secret about it? Nothing, actually. So, why the repeated lack of transparency over multiple years?

It appears that APA and DEC administrators are not understanding that Wildlands Monitoring is a planning and management process and framework – it is NOT a final plan, so it will never be “finished for presentation.” A report would start a process. Or maybe the implied accountability of using monitoring is daunting to administrators? Let’s explore these issues.

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Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Native Plant Sale and Community Gardens to benefit Adirondack Pollinators

pollinator plant saleAdkAction’s Adirondack Pollinator Project, in partnership with Lake Placid Land Conservancy, The Wild Center, and Paul Smith’s College is delighted to announce the start of its fourth annual Pollinator-Friendly Native Plant Sale, and the opening of applications for this year’s Community Pollinator Garden Assistance Program.

Pollinators sustain our ecosystems and produce our natural resources by helping plants reproduce, but are facing many threats, including habitat loss, pesticides, climate change, and disease. The Adirondack Pollinator Project envisions a future where pollinators thrive, native habitat abounds, and residents and visitors are engaged pollinator advocates. Both the plant sale and garden assistance program work to increase native habitat that will help rebuild the monarch butterfly population, attract hummingbirds, and strengthen native bee and moth populations.

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Monday, March 8, 2021

Elk Lake: The First Adirondack Conservation Easement

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s website reveals that 777,206 acres of private land in the Adirondack Park are protected by a state-owned conservation easement.  During the Adirondack Park Centennial year of 1992 there were 93,000 acres of private lands under state-owned easement in the Park.

That number jumped to 250,000 acres early in this century as the former pulp and paper companies in the Park, such as International Paper, Champion International and Domtar, all negotiated easements under the state’s program. Lyme Timber acquired many of these eased holdings in the 21st century and is now the largest private forest landowner in the Park.

The Finch, Pruyn Company also sold just under 100,000 acres of private lands under conservation easement in 2007  (plus about 60,000-acres that has become Forest Preserve). The acreage under easement has steadily grown since then. And that doesn’t even count all of the private easements negotiated and acquired by groups such as the Adirondack Nature Conservancy, Adirondack Land Trust, Lake Placid Land Conservancy, Champlain Area Trails, and others.

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Monday, March 1, 2021

Farm micro-grants available up to $1,500

Soil Health on Market Farms workshopThe Adirondack Council’s Essex Farm Institute (EFI) will offer grants of up to $1,500 per applicant for projects that are both environmentally beneficial and sustainable. They will be seeking applicants starting today for their 2021 micro-grant cycle until the end of the month. 

To date, the micro-grant program has awarded over $129,000 in the support of over 85 projects since the programs conception in 2016, with 13 farms being awarded grants during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. 

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Monday, March 1, 2021

The Lake Placid Land Conservatory Gains National Recognition

In a recent press release, the Lake Placid Land Conservancy (LPLC) has revealed that it has been awarded accredited status by the Land Trust Accreditation Commission- a significant achievement in the field of land conservation. The Land Trust Accrediation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, granted the accreditation after an in-depth review of the LPCA’s programs, activities and policies. The seal of accreditation represents a commitment to meeting national standards of quality for the permanent protection of important natural places throughout the Adirondacks.

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Sunday, February 28, 2021

Snow Jobs: The white stuff makes for good growing

Where agriculture is concerned, dairy is king (or is dairy queen?) in northern NY State. Looking out the window now in late February, though, it looks like we should be growing snow peas or iceberg lettuce. Actually, for farmers, maple producers, foresters and gardeners, there is an up-side to having plenty of winter white stuff.

Snow has been called “the poor person’s fertilizer” because it’s a source of trace elements and more importantly, of plant-available forms of nitrogen, a nutrient often in short supply. When snowmelt releases a whole winter’s worth (i.e., almost six months) of nutrients in a short time, the nitrogen value can add up.

Since air is 78% nitrogen, you’d think plants would have all they needed. But atmospheric nitrogen, N2, is a very stable, inert molecule that plants are unable to use – you might say that for plants, nitrogen gas is broken. Fortunately, some soil bacteria can “fix” gaseous nitrogen, converting it to water-soluble forms that plants can slurp up. Lightning also turns nitrogen gas into plant “food.” But this only accounts for a small percentage of the nitrogen found in snow.

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Saturday, February 27, 2021

Money for Lake Champlain water quality projects

lake champlain bridgeRecently, I wrote about the Adirondack Council asking the state to fund a wide-ranging study of water quality across the Adirondacks. (Speaking of the Council, it just hired someone away from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office to be its new vice president for conservation.)

I’ve been thinking about how much the public conversation is influenced by money — not just advertising and p.r., but money or lack of money for research.

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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Now Hiring Boat Stewards for 2021 Season

boat stewardsNew York State’s Watercraft Inspection Steward Programs are now recruiting boat stewards for the 2021 season. If you like working outdoors, interacting with the public, and want to help protect New York’s waters from aquatic invasive species, please check out the SLELO PRISM (St. Lawrence Eastern Lake Ontario Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management) website for a list of positions across the state.

Photo: Boat stewards assist the public with checking their watercraft for aquatic invasive species. They also provide education and at some locations, free boat washes. (Photo by Adirondack Watershed Institute, Paul Smith’s College)


Thursday, February 25, 2021

Prevent the spread of invasives: upcoming webinars

Hemlock woolly adelgidUpcoming Learning Opportunities

Each of the following presentations will take place online.

Take Action Against Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (Part 2) (Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program) – Wednesday, March 3 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. – Participants will learn how to adopt a trailhead, carry out self-guided HWA field surveys, and collect environmental data using iMapInvasives, a free, easy-to-use, mobile mapping tool. Register in advance onlinePart 1 of this webinar will occur on 2/25 from 3-4:30 pm.

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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Private land owners to speak on importance of conservation

The Adirondack Park is known for its Forever Wild Forest Preserve, but a good majority of conservation efforts are done by private landowners themselves.

At 10 a.m. on Tuesday, March 2nd, three landowners who have put in the effort to conserve their land will talk about their motivations, the methods they used and the challenges that they face in doing so. They will also discuss some of the benefits of private conservation.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2021

AdkAction awarded funding for road salt reduction program

AdkAction was recently awarded $50,000 from the Lake Champlain Basin Program. The grant is for a newly formed “Clean Water, Safe Roads” partnership, which will work to reduce salt pollution along the 125-mile-long lake between New York and Vermont. Together with partners from Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute and Lake Champlain Sea Grant, the project partners intend to enact an in-depth and personalized outreach and education program to municipal highway departments in the Lake Champlain Basin Area.

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Thursday, February 18, 2021

‘Out of harmony with forest lands in their wild state’

Article 14 of NYS constitutionPreviously, the Almanack has asked “which side are you on” when it comes to a court case involving Article 14, the “forever wild” provision of our state constitution.

Recently, dueling press releases from plaintiff Protect the Adirondacks and the Adirondack Mountain Club, Open Space Institute, Adirondack Council, Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter and Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve, the group I work for – indeed suggest that all of us are retreating to our separate corners.

In truth we are longstanding and natural allies and proponents of the “forever wild” provision and much else. Politicization has not completely engulfed the world of wild nature – yet.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Warren County hosts annual plant sale

The Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District is now accepting orders for its annual tree and shrub seedling sale, which means spring is well on its way. Each year, the District offers a diverse selection of low cost bare root seedlings including fruit trees, flowering shrubs, seed mixes and much more. Incorporating native woody vegetation into your landscape can be a great option for establishing pollinator and wildlife habitat, a buffer, edible fruit or strictly for the beauty.

Some highlights for this year’s sale are the new Homestead Pack which includes Elderberry, Witch Hazel, Sugar Maple, American Hazelnut and Blueberry. This pack has great farm value offering species that produce nuts, berries, homemade maple syrup, and supports beneficial insects. The sale has even more to offer this year such as wildflower seeds, bird houses, wood duck boxes, apple and pear trees, and much more!

The order deadline is March 10. The order pick up will be held on April 23 from 8:30am to 6pm at the District Office 394 Schroon River Road in Warrensburg. The order form can be found at warrenswcd.org.

For more information, contact Maren Alexander at [email protected] or (518)623-3119


Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Lake George is ‘iced-in’ as of Feb.11

skate sailors on lake georgeFrom the Lake George Association (LGA):

 The LGA, in consultation with our members — and our friends at the Darrin Fresh Water Institute — have determined that “Ice-In” for Lake George was Thursday morning, Feb. 11, 2021.

We expect there were a few areas without ice on Feb. 11, as occurs every year, but the conditions met the definition of “ice-in” we have always used: when someone could walk from one end of the Lake to the other solely on the ice – though it is NOT SAFE TO WALK ON YET in some areas!

Much of the Lake had already frozen by that time, but the stubborn area in Hague had open water across the Lake through Tuesday, Feb. 9. The wind stopped after the snow on Tuesday night and the rest froze.

The Lake did not fully freeze last year, so it is the first time it is fully covered in ice since 2019. (Ice-out in 2019 was April 13, Ice-in in 2019 was January 22.)

In fact, according to LGA records that date back to 1908, the Lake has stayed “open” (not fully frozen over) seven of the last 21 years.

Skate sailors on Lake George/Almanack file photo


Monday, February 15, 2021

Progress made in Hamilton County following 2019 Halloween Storm

Since the Halloween Storm raged through Hamilton County on October 31, 2019, excellent progress has been made to mitigate damage.  In the wake of the storm, departments worked unceasingly to make roads passable.  Then, they spent the spring, summer, and fall repairing infrastructure and stabilizing streams.  Work continues, with more projects on tap for 2021.

Greg Boyer, Hamilton County Department of Public Works Road Supervisor II, reported that when the storm first hit, crew members spent countless hours making the roads passable.

“Crews were fabulous as far as getting together to get the work done, and making roads accessible for people to get in and out of their houses,” Boyer said.  “Everyone worked together really well.”

The Hamilton County DPW completed the following flood mitigation projects:

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