Wednesday, December 24, 2008

In AuSable Forks The Economic Crises Hits Home

I’ve been following the struggles of local business in the Essex County village of AuSable Forks. I asked Trudy Rosenblum who edits the Jay Community News to tell us about what’s been happening in her community. Here is what she sent:

AuSable Forks in the Township of Jay New York is feeling the first pangs of real hardship as the economic crisis arrives locally. Without warning Aubochon Hardware, conveniently located in the middle of the main street in Au Sable Forks, suddenly closed its doors. Now there are persistent rumors that the Grand Union in Au Sable Forks will also close along with several of the small businesses on the main street. People are very upset. They wonder what will become of this little town.

Au Sable Forks was once thriving with large sawmills, a foundry and an Iron Works company. There were plenty of jobs and numerous stores, hotels, restaurants and entertainment for the local population. Like any town, Au Sable Forks has seen its hard times, but the little town always managed to pull through, somehow adapting and changing, although it has never managed to recreate the beauty and attractiveness it had in the early 20th century.

Now the town is smaller and much poorer. There is a large population of elderly. Jobs are few and usually a long commute away. There is no industry, and no large employer. Visually it is no longer the charming quaint little village of the past that could attract tourists. Busloads of sightseers will not be stopping in the Forks even though we have the natural beauty that tourists want to see.

So Au Sable Forks has been of late a town hanging on. Up till the latest crisis at least its population could obtain locally the necessities for living, but with the closing of the big stores even that will be taken from the residents. It is especially difficult for a rural village in a cold climate to carry on in a poor economy. People already financially strapped must find a way to pay higher prices for everything because everything must be imported from cities farther away.

Home heating costs have gone through the roof. If you don’t have a car, there isn’t public transportation (although just this month a shuttle bus has been announced that will go to Lake Placid daily) so one has to rely on the good will of friends or they have to do without. Take away their ability to walk to the local store for food and other supplies and you have a recipe for disaster. The closest large grocery store is in Keeseville, Lake Placid or Plattsburgh, all a significant drive away, if you have transportation.

The impacts that the store closings may have could be pretty awful. As times get tougher and resources dwindle and become more expensive to obtain both in time and money, one would expect to see a rise in depression and a lowering of one’s frustration tolerance. Along with the lowering of frustration tolerance and the negative effects from the use of escape substances one could expect a rise in abusive behavior. At risk will be children, animals, women and the elderly. There is an old saying that like attracts like. Negativity will attract negativity causing a downward spiral.

There are many people in the Township of Jay working hard to prevent this downward spiral. The churches are very active providing food banks, inexpensive clothing, short-term shelter and even money. The politicians are hard at work trying to prevent the stores from closing and offering new programs to revitalize the appearance of the town. The residents are trying very hard to patronize local businesses and hire local workers. And to lighten the mood Au Sable Forks now has a renovated movie theater and in Jay there is a new performing arts theater in full operation presenting plays, concerts, story telling, dance classes, movement instruction and painting and sculpture classes.

It is hoped that with all these people working so hard the dire predictions of gloom and doom can be aborted and the positive cooperative spirit can attract more of the same. What is really needed, however, is a long-term fix. People need local good jobs. There needs to be some sort of industry; relying on tourism just isn’t cutting it.

We need our political processes, on the local, county and state levels to succeed in attracting an industry to the area; something that will create new jobs and revitalize the local economy. In the current economic climate, however, this may be only a dream. The alternative is bleak. One only has to drive down through New Russia, for example, and see the foundations of the buildings that once housed a thriving little population. The forest has closed over and reclaimed that area. Is this to be the fate of Au Sable Forks?



Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Local Skier Wins Fourth Career World Cup Event


Billy Demong of Vermontville (Franklin County, NY) is a Whiteface / Lake Placid athlete won his career fourth World Cup last week in Ramsau, Austria (nordic combined). You can read the full story here.


Monday, December 22, 2008

SUNY Plattsburgh to Host NY History Conference

The State University of New York at Plattsburgh will host the 2009 Conference on New York State History, an annual meeting of academic and public historians, librarians and archivists, educators, publishers and other interested individuals who come together to discuss topics and issues related to the people of New York State in historical perspective and to share information and ideas regarding historical research, programming, and the networking of resources and services. The conference will be held June 4-6, 2009

More than fifty individuals present formal programs in concurrent presentation sessions, workshops, and the keynote address. Special consideration is accorded first-time presenters, graduate students, and local government historians. The conference is self-sustaining and is organized by a committee of historians from a variety of institutions across the state.

The conference is organized by the New York State Historical Association in collaboration with New York State Archives Partnership Trust and is co-sponsored by
New York Council for the Humanities. Conference organizers are inviting individual paper abstracts, panel proposals, workshop plans, and other program presentations that consider any aspect of the New York State history over the past 400 years. Diverse theoretical perspectives and innovative methodological approaches are welcomed.

Those interested in participating are encouraged to discuss proposals and any conference-related ideas with Field Horne, conference chair, via e-mail at conference-AT-nyhistory-DOT-net. All proposals must be received by December 31, 2008 at 5:00 PM. If at all possible, submit an MS Word document by e-mail to the above e-mail address. A proposal should be a one-page description of each presentation-not the full manuscript-and must include the following information at the top of the page: paper and/or session titles, names, postal addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses of all participants, and all equipment needs and scheduling requests. It should also briefly discuss sources, methodology, and argument. All program participants are required to register for the conference.

Commentators sought: Qualified commentators for sessions are needed. Please indicate your willingness, with your areas of expertise, in an e-mail to the conference chair.


Friday, December 19, 2008

This Week’s Top Adirondack News Stories


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bodine Bobsled Challenge Announces Drivers

NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Champion Johnny Benson and NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Champion Jeg Coughlin, Jr. have signed on to compete in the 4th Annual Whelen Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge, slated for January 2-4, 2009 at the Olympic Sports Complex.

Benson, who competed in his first Bodine Bobsled Challenge last year, won his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Championship this year. Last year, the driver finished third in the final standings, and was runner-up to fellow Bodine bobsled competitor Todd Bodine in 2006. Benson is making his second appearance in the Challenge and is hoping to improve his bobsledding results.

Coughlin is a four-time NHRA POWERade Pro Stock Champion, and is currently the two-time defending champion (2000, 2002, 2007, and 2008). Coughlin won the bronze medal as a bobsledding rookie in his first race and is looking to dethrone fellow NHRA competitor Morgan Lucas as the top bobsled driver on the dragster circuit.

The Bodine Bobsled Challenge features NASCAR and NHRA drivers piloting specially-made bobsleds down Lake Placid’s infamous track in fun races geared to raise money for the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project. In Race 1, all the drivers will be competing against the clock as they take two runs down the track. Race 2 features head-to-head racing between the NASCAR and NHRA drivers, with the winner from each division squaring off in the final heat for bragging rights.

The NASCAR field will be lead by five-time Bodine Bobsled Champion Boris Said. Said has dominated the bobsledding field, losing only the first-ever Bodine Bobsled race to Kevin Lepage. Said has commented in the past that maybe “bobsledding is in my genes” as his father Bob Said was an Olympic bobsled competitor.

Joining Said is NASCAR Sprint Cup rookie driving sensation Joey Logano as well as the 2008 NASCAR Whelen racing series champions Philip Morris, Brian Loftin and Ted Christopher. “Sliced Bread” Logano competed last year in the Bodine Bobsled Challenge, finishing eighth. Morris, a 2007 Bodine Bobsled Challenge participant, is returning again this year after winning the 2008 NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Championship. Loftin clinched the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour by a mere 30 points for his first career NASCAR championship while Christopher won the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Championship to claim his place in the bobsledding field.

Rounding out the drivers is Todd Bodine, the 2006 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Champion and brother of the Bodine Challenge founder Geoff Bodine, Daytona Rolex pole winner Eric Curran and19-year-old sprint car driver Tom Tolbert out of Ohio. Bodine has participated in every Bodine Bobsled Challenge and has started a similar support program for the U.S. Skeleton Federation. Curran, a road course racing ace, has competed in the NASCAR Camping World Series, American Le Mans, Grand Am Rolex, Koni Challenge and World Challenge GT series. He and Tolbert will be part of this year’s bobsled rookie class.

Coughlin will be joined by NHRA Top Fuel drivers Morgan Lucas, JR Todd, and Bob Vandergriff. This will be the third event for Lucas and Todd, with Lucas giving Said a run for his money in last year’s NASCAR versus NHRA showdown before losing to Said in the final round. Lucas has bought his own sled for this competition and has Said in his sights. Lucas has also won two silvers medals during this event. Todd is looking to improve upon his Top 10 finishes. Vandergriff placed ninth in his first race last year, and then lost to Lucas in the NHRA final round.

The Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, Inc., was started in 1992 by NASCAR driver Geoff Bodine, and has built American-made bobsleds for United States athletes competing in the World Cup, World Championships and Olympic Winter Games. Monies raised from the Bodine Bobsled Challenge go directly to this project.

SPEED channel will again televise four hours of the Whelen Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge, on Jan. 18 at noon and Jan. 25 at 2 pm. MRN Radio has signed on to provide live coverage of the Bodine Bobsled Challenge all three days.

The Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project concept paid dividends with gold, silver and bronze medals in the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Game, the first time that the USA Bobsled Team won Olympic medals since 1956, and scored again with silver in Torino. New sled designs are being created by Bodine and sled builder Bob Cuneo of Chassis Dynamics in Connecticut. It will be tested during national and international competitions leading up to the next Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver in 2010.

Other sponsors of the Whelen Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge include Columbia Sportswear Company, MAC Tools, Racing Electronics, PPG, Lucas Oil, JEGS Automotive, Summitt Building Solutions, EXA and the National Guard.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

ORDA, DOT Announce Mountain Valley Shuttle

The Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA), Essex County, and New York State Department of Transportation (NYS DOT), in conjunction with the towns of Jay, North Elba and Wilmington, have announced the Mountain Valley Shuttle system will begin service tomorrow (December 18th) with extended public transportation between Lake Placid and Ausable Forks. This free expanded shuttle system will tie into the year around Village of Lake Placid Xpress service. The operator of the Mountain Valley Shuttle is Ground Force 1, a Plattsburgh and Lake Placid-based transportation company.

The Mountain Valley Shuttle will include four shuttles daily from the town of Ausable Forks and the village of Jay to Whiteface. The shuttle stops are at the Ausable Forks Grand Union and the Village of Jay Park. The Town of Wilmington will have four shuttle stops a day Monday through Friday bringing passengers from the Wilmington Visitors Bureau to Whiteface, with weekend and holiday service increasing to 12 stops a day, plus additional stops at the Whiteface Chalet.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Adk Council: Budget Will ‘Savage Environmental Fund’

Governor Paterson released his budget proposals today and it doesn’t look good for the Environmental Protection Fund. Here is a note, just received from the Adirondack Council’s John Sheehan:

There is a great cause for worry about Gov. David Paterson’s first Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) spending plan, which was released today.

The governor proposes deep cuts in the programs supported by the EPF and proposes a fundamental change in the main source of revenue for the fund – from a stable, adequate source, to a speculative, untried funding scheme that has been blocked by the Senate for 20 years – threatening the EPF’s very survival. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

DEC Seeks Comments on Firewood Measures

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced it has proposed making permanent a regulation to restrict the import, sale and transport of untreated firewood to aid in the fight against the spread of tree-killing pests and diseases. A public-comment period on DEC’s proposal runs through Feb. 9, 2009. DEC encourages interested parties to weigh in on the proposal – which can be viewed on the DEC website — at two public hearings or through written comments. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Books: The Adirondacks (Postcard History Series)

Arcadia Publishing has been making a name for itself as a publisher of small local history books since the company was founded in 1993; they have now more then 5,000 books in print. Most folks are familiar with their Images of America, that uses the photo collections of local historical societies, collectors, and others to good effect. More recently they’ve expanded to a Postcard History Series.

This year, Arcadia published Scherelene Schatz’s The Adirondacks, a Postcard History Series look at the whole park. About 127 pages of postcard images are organized in chapters on the Eastern, Central, and Western Adirondacks, the High Peaks, Lake Placid and Ray Brook, and Saranac Lake. Schatz drew on local library and her own large collection of vintage postcards to present a fairly varied collection. There are plenty of scenes of local hotels, roadways, and natural places; the book is more limited when it comes to people, town and streetscapes, and wildlife. Unfortunately the lack of color hurts some of the cards, notably the first card in the book, originally a colorfully modern “Greetings from Lake George” that falls flat in black and white.

Still, the book has a number of interesting views and those interested in local history will find The Adirondacks worthwhile.


Friday, December 12, 2008

This Week’s Top Adirondack News Stories

  • » Americade to Host Fall Fest
  • » APA Clarifies Shorefront Regs
  • » Lewis Co Looks to Consolidate, Privatize
  • » 6 Counties Now Suing APA
  • » Webb, Inlet Snowmobile Trails Open
  • » Update: APA Shoreline Restrictions
  • » Ticonderoga Running Out of Money
  • » Warrensburg Seeks To Cut Teachers Pay
  • » Gillibrand, Treadwell Spent Nearly $11M
  • » DEC Issues Back Country Warning

Friday, December 12, 2008

Local Farmer Receives Prestigious Glynwood Award

Rivermede Farm owner-manager Robert “Rob” Hastings of Keene Valley, NY, was selected from more than 60 nominees from more than 20 states for the sixth annual Glynwood Harvest Farmer Award. The awards recognize leaders in the farm community who practice sustainable production and have developed cutting edge approaches to production, processing or marketing.

The Glynwood Center of Cold Spring, NY, is a not-for-profit organization that helps communities sustain local agriculture and preserve farmland through economically-productive and environmentally-sensitive practices. The Glynwood Harvest Awards Selection Committee includes representatives of farming, conservation, culinary and community food security interests from across the U.S. The awards were presented at Beacon Restaurant in New York City.

Hastings is recognized as an exceptional innovator and community leader for New York’s Adirondack Mountain region. He has pioneered advances in season extension and pesticide-free production of vegetables, fruits, maple, cut flowers and holiday greens.

Hastings uses a photovoltaic system to meet the farm’s electrical needs and plans to install a geothermal or solar heating system to heat his greenhouses. He says that he hopes to be ninety percent free of oil dependency in the next three years.

Hastings is a founding member of Adirondack Harvest, the community-based farms and foods program. He serves on Northern New York Agricultural Development Program (NNYADP) Horticulture Sub-Committee, helping to guide the regional research, education and outreach program that funds projects to enhance the productivity and profitability of farms in New York’s six northernmost counties.

Adirondack Harvest Chairman Thomas F. Both helped make the nomination of Hastings for the Glynwood Award.

Hastings participates in NNYADP on-farm research and regularly hosts workshops for other growers interested in learning more about his use of high tunnels for extending the growing season for horticultural crop production. He shares his experiences with the pros and cons of the various types of tunnels, construction, glazing, and cropping patterns. He says his goal is to develop production practices that will allow me to grow multiple crops 12 months a year in the challenging Adirondack climate.

Rivermede Farm Market at 1925 NYS Route 73, Keene Valley, NY, is open May through December daily 9am to 6 pm. That’s Rob Hastings of Rivermede Farm in the center of the photo receiving the 2008 Glynwood Harvest Farmer Award from Glynwood Center President Judith LaBelle and Chairman of the Board Chip Allemann.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

APA To Discuss Revised Shoreline Requirements

The Park Agency Board will discuss guidance today for implementation of new regulations which were passed at its November Agency meeting. The Agency adopted new regulations in November after a four year public process that revised five issues with the APA Act. The shoreline expansion regulation has generated the most concern and confusion.

This revision to a 1979 regulation requires that any expansion of structures built prior to the enactment of the APA Act in 1973 and located within defined APA shoreline setback areas will need a variance. These structures are referred to as “non-conforming” structures. The revision does not change the rights of landowners to repair or replace non-conforming structures; it only addresses expansions of these structures.

The regulation was developed based in part on technical data that proves the placement of structures close to shorelines can significantly accelerate erosion and sedimentation into water bodies. This results in negative impacts on water quality. When combined with inadequate on-site wastewater treatment systems, structure expansions increase the potential for public health risks and further degrade water quality.

This new regulation requires evaluation of the on-site wastewater treatment system before an expansion of a non-conforming structure is allowed. A wastewater treatment system with the capacity to accommodate increased use will be a factor in determining variance approval. The variance process will ensure that shoreline lots are responsibly developed with adequate infrastructure in place.

On Thursday, December 11 the Agency will discuss exemptions for “minor” expansions of non conforming structures from the variance requirement. This will allow some expansion to non conforming structures without first obtaining a variance. Specific criteria of minor expansion will be clearly explained.

The Agency will also consider a transitional period in which variances will not be required from the Agency pursuant to the new rules. To qualify, a landowner must obtain all required local permits and variances for the proposed structure expansion prior to December 31, 2008, and the foundation or framing for the expansion must be complete by May 31, 2009.

The proposed guidance would also honor Agency permits and non-jurisdictional determinations issued before this regulation was adopted, even if construction has not commenced. It will also honor local permits issued and subdivision plats filed before the effective date of the regulations, December 31, 2008. For shoreline structures which already have all necessary permits for expansion in place on December 30, 2008, the landowner will have until May 31, 2009 to complete the foundation or framing of the addition.

The Adirondack Park Agency was created to protect the unique and valuable resources of the Adirondack Park while balancing the economic needs of local municipalities. Increased shoreline development over the last 30 years has resulted in obvious decline in water quality attributable in part to inadequate sanitary waste treatment, increased impervious surfaces too close to water bodies and removal of vegetation that stabilizes shorelines. In addition, the scenic appeal of Adirondack shorelines is diminishing as a result of over built structures located too close to the water.

The previous regulations allowing expansions to non-conforming structures built prior to 1973 did not comply with the terms of the APA Act, which specifically requires that expansions not increase any non-compliance with the minimum setback requirements. This revised rule and included exemptions will protect water quality throughout the Adirondacks so that future generations will continue to benefit from clean water.

The proposed guidance documents are online at https://apa.ny.gov/


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Whiteface Events; Special Ticket Prices

Whiteface is kicking of its winter events this weekend, December 13-14, with an open rail jam and telemark skiing equipment demonstration day.

The first of seven Whiteface Park n Pipe events is Saturday’s Rail Jam, sponsored by Cunningham’s Ski Barn. This event is open to all skiers and riders looking to show off their latest moves on the rails. Participants may sign up at the Guest Services desk anytime before 10 AM on December 13. The Rail Jam begins at 11 AM and lasts for one hour. During that hour, competitors may hit the rails as many times as they can with the best trick winning. Prizes are provided by Cunningham’s Ski Barn and will be awarded immediately following the competition. Cost is $10 and helmets are required. For more information on Cunningham’s Ski Barn, visit www.cunninghamsskibarn.com.

High Peaks Cyclery is presenting a telemark and alpine touring demo day on Sunday from 9 AM to 4 PM at the mountain’s base lodge area. New 2008-09 gear from Atomic, K2, G-3, Black Diamond, Crispi, Dynafit, Alpina, Karhu, Garmont, Silveretta, Voile and Scarpa will be available to try. There will also be free one hour ski clinics for novice (9:30 AM), intermediate (11:30 AM) and advanced (1 PM) skiers. Pre-registration is required for the clinics so call High Peaks Cyclery at (518) 523-3764 to signup. For more information on High Peaks Cyclery, visit www.highpeakscyclery.com.

Lift tickets are currently $55 for adults (20-64 years old), $45 for teens (13-19) and seniors (64-69), and $32 for juniors (7-12). As always, children six and under and seniors 70 and over ski and ride for free any day of the season. These prices will be in effect until mid-December. Operating hours are from 8:30 AM – 4 PM.

Also: Present any empty Coca-Cola product and get a one-day adult lift ticket for only $38 at Whiteface and Gore Mountains. Offer valid Wednesdays only, through Closing Day, Spring 2009 except Wednesday except 12/31/08 and 2/18/09. Not valid with any other offers, programs, promotions, discounts, or frequent skier products. Limit one ticket per can.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Adirondack Hotel Wins DEC Environment Award

An Adirondack hotel that has gone all out to go green and educate guests, a Capital Region college that has taken big steps to reduce its ecological footprint, and a Hudson Valley school district effort to protect the water supply, reduce waste and run an organic garden are among the winners of the 2008 Environmental Excellence Awards announced today by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Pete Grannis.

The fifth annual New York State Environmental Excellence Awards ceremony took place in Albany today to acknowledge the winners and their projects. There were more than 40 applicants, with submissions coming from industry, local governments, advocacy groups, educational institutions, and the hospitality sector. A committee of 20 representatives from the public and private sectors selected the winning submissions.

“The projects selected are outstanding examples of how we can solve environmental challenges by using innovative and environmentally sustainable practices or creative partnerships.” Grannis said. “By recognizing New York’s environmental and conservation leaders, we hope to inspire stewardship so that others can make significant positive impacts and protect New York’s natural resources.”

Summaries of this year’s winners are below:

Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort, Lake Placid, Essex County

Energy efficiency. Water conservation. Recycling. Green grounds. Environmental education. The Golden Arrow Resort has instituted green programs on a variety of fronts to reduce the environmental impact not only of the hotel, but also of the traveler. It features a “green roof” – a rooftop expanse of native plants that provides wildlife habitat, reduces water runoff and helps keep the inn warm in the winter and cool in the summer. A limestone beach reduces the impacts of acid rain. In-room recycling, insulated windows, energy-efficient lighting and low-flow plumbing fixtures are also part of the mix. The hotel offers incentives for guests that travel by foot, ski, bike or hybrid car. The Golden Arrow also assists others in the hospitality industry find ways to reduce their carbon footprint.

Brewster School District, Putnam County

Through its multi-faceted “Environmental Education/Sustainable Practices Project,” the Brewster Central School District has demonstrated leadership in protecting the environment and in promoting environmental education. This project includes significant capital improvements and managerial processes to save energy and to protect the region’s water supply by preventing excessive plant growth, loss of oxygen and fish kills in the receiving waters. The project also includes educational activities that have developed students’ awareness of environmental issues and have empowered them with opportunities to participate in meaningful, innovative, hands-on activities that have measurable environmental impacts. Accomplishments have already included a 50 percent district-wide reduction in solid waste production, a student-run organic garden, and a technologically advanced wastewater treatment facility built in 2007. Improvements have resulted in more than 17 percent in annual energy savings, 1,724,388 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions prevented, and 250,000 cubic feet each of paper and plastic waste diverted from landfills.

Union College, Schenectady County

Union College has instituted the U-Sustain initiative – an innovative, campus-wide program that involves faculty, staff, students and administrators with the goals of reducing the ecological footprint of the college, increasing environmental awareness on campus and in the community, and making the college more sustainable. Accomplishments thus far include the renovation of student apartments to be an eco-friendly house, energy reduction strategies, dining options that include student volunteers working with dining services to provide fresh, local and organic meals, initiatives to offset energy consumption, and increased recycling/waste reduction opportunities.

Chemung County Soil and Water Conservation District and Southern Tier Central Regional Planning and Development Board, Chemung County

These public agencies worked together to develop an innovative guide, “Stream Processes: A Guide to Living in Harmony with Streams,” that describes how streams work and why functioning floodplains are integral parts of the stream system. The guide contains dramatic photographs that help promote the need for sound management practices. The lessons learned can be applied to stream channels, floodplains, stream corridors, and watershed activities that do not trigger regulatory actions. The guide has already begun having a positive effect on decisions made by Chemung County landowners and local highway departments and its reach is expanding as a result of more than 30,000 guides being distributed to a variety of audiences throughout New York State.

Aslan Environmental and City of Kingston Wastewater Treatment Plant, Ulster County

The City of Kingston partnered the Aslan Group to develop a new and innovative system – the first of its kind in the world – for managing wastewater treatment plant residuals in an economical and environmentally sound manner. Waste “biogas” is captured from the plant’s digesters and utilized as the only required fuel to turn 10 wet-tons-per-day of municipal wastewater sludge into one ton-per-day of an EPA-recognized pelletized usable “biosolid.” The biosolid is distributed free of charge for use as a lawn fertilizer or furnace fuel, which costs less than the previous practice of landfill disposal. Also, methane gas is efficiently utilized within the process as a fuel and since very little methane is flared, oxides of nitrogen and other pollutant emissions have been reduced.

New York State Soil and Water Conservation Committee, Albany County

The committee’s Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) – Farming New York Cleaner and Greener program serves as a national model of how a voluntary, incentive-based approach to agricultural management can successfully protect and enhance soil and water resources, while preserving the economic viability of a diverse agricultural community. AEM assists farmers in making practical, cost-effective decisions that result in the sustainable use of New York’s natural resources. Recently the program has expanded efforts to assist vineyards. Currently 52 growers have completed a new self-assessment workbook, which has resulted in the development of 16 action plans that implemented an average of nine improved farming practices at each location. While AEM supports voluntary environmental stewardship, it is also a vehicle by which changes in environmental regulations have been effectively implemented at over 600 Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). Plans have been successfully developed for all 147 large CAFOs and 92 percent of the state’s 472 medium sized CAFOs. More than 10,000 New York farm families participate and receive information, education and technical assistance so that farmers are able to operate cleaner and greener while competing in today’s global market.


Friday, December 5, 2008

This Week’s Top Adirondack News Stories