Stream restoration work has begun at the popular Keene Town Beach on the Ausable River, across from Marcy Field. With storm recovery funds provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) the old wood and concrete weir, damaged by Tropical Storm Irene, is being removed and replaced.
In its place a natural rock weir and vane is expected to restore the stream’s hydrologic function, provide habitat for native fish, and improve the quality and safety of recreational opportunities. The new weir will maintain the long popular swimming hole. » Continue Reading.
Moving to the Adirondacks in 1998 offered new opportunities to explore the lakes and rivers in my solo canoe near Keene. I first tried Upper Cascade Lake and Chapel Pond, the lakes visible from Route 73 near Keene Valley on the way to Lake Placid. I had admired those lakes for decades while vacationing in the High Peaks.
Launching my Hornbeck at the Upper Cascade Lake was easy as it only weighted 15 pounds. Hugging the south shore, admiring the small streams cascading over the moss-covered rocks at close range was magical. But the noise from the traffic on Route 73, amplified across the lake, caused such an annoyance I soon paddled back to shore in disappointment. » Continue Reading.
The Ausable River Association is concerned that an enormous pile of ice below the Wilmington Dam could exacerbate spring flooding and may have hurt the trout population.
The ice pile on the West Branch of the AuSable River was created in recent weeks by construction crews working to replace the Wilmington Bridge, built in 1934 and located just upstream. The crews broke up ice and moved it below the dam in order to create open water so they could work off river barges. » Continue Reading.
The Route 86 bridge over the West Branch of the Ausable River in Wilmington, Essex County, will be closed starting on Monday, March 2 for a bridge replacement project. The NYS Department of Transportation is expected to post signs alerting residents and visitors that businesses near the bridge are open. The bridge will also be closed to pedestrians during the closure period. » Continue Reading.
The Ausable River Association (AsRA) in the final days of an Adirondack Gives campaign to acquire survey equipment essential to restoring the Ausable watershed’s streams and culverts. The Gives website, hosted by the Adirondack Foundation, provides crowdfunding opportunites for Adirondack non-profits. AsRA’s staff hopes to provide pre-design measurements of four priority culverts in the Ausable watershed this October to meet a 2015 construction schedule. » Continue Reading.
The Ausable River Association (AsRA) will hold its third annual Ride for the River bike ride and invites residents and visitors to join in on Sunday, August 3rd.
The Ride for the River was launched in 2012 to encourage visitors to return to the Ausable Valley after Tropical Storm Irene. The goal of the Ride was to support local communities and businesses impacted by the flooding during Irene and support the work the Ausable River Association was doing to build resilience in both the natural and human communities in the Ausable Valley. The Ride proved a success and continues to be a way to celebrate the cultural and natural resources within the Ausable Valley. » Continue Reading.
Most people don’t think about culverts, the large pipes that carry streams and runoff underneath our roads. Even with their essential role in our transportation infrastructure, culverts tend to be in the spotlight only when they fail. In dramatic ways, Hurricane Irene and other recent storms have put culverts (and bridges) to the test. Unfortunately, the high water from these storms overwhelmed many culverts, washing out roads, causing millions of dollars in damages across the Adirondacks, and disrupting life in many communities. For example, the town of Jay sustained about $400,000 in damage to its culverts and adjacent roads as a result of Irene. Across the Northeast, the story is much the same.
Following Tropical Storm Irene, I was part of a team of conservation professionals to assess the performance of road-stream crossings (i.e., culverts and bridges) in Vermont’s Green Mountain National Forest. The peer-reviewed study, published in the current issue of Fisheries, found that damage was largely avoided at crossings with a stream simulation design, an ecologically-based approach that creates a dynamic channel through the structure that is similar in dimensions and characteristics to the adjacent, natural channel. On the other hand, damages were extensive, costly, and inconvenient at sites with stream crossings following more traditional designs. » Continue Reading.
Executive Director Corrie Miller, who led the Ausable River Association (AsRA) through the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene and has overseen the organization’s operations over the past two years, has announced her departure. Miller has accepted the position of Executive Director of Friends of the Mad River in central Vermont.
Replacing Miller as executive director is Kelley Tucker, long-time member of the AsRA board and co-author of the draft Ausable River Watershed Management Plan that is being prepared for public comment this year. “We took stock as a board and carefully reviewed our organizational needs, those of the community, and the watershed, and we decided we have the right person within our own ranks,” AsRA Board Chair Larry Master state in a statement to the press. » Continue Reading.
Despite all his accomplishments, Charles Shaw’s career is largely defined by a decade-long battle he fought on behalf of the cable interests for rail control of New York City’s streets. Cable’s two main rivals: horse-powered rail and underground lines. Both had many powerful backers.
Initially, Charles was hired to perform one task: lobby the state legislature for specific modifications of a bill under consideration in Albany. After earning the modern equivalent of more than a quarter million dollars for his efforts, Shaw was retained by the cable men, who wanted San Francisco-type cars operating on 70 miles of New York City roads.
Charles became the leading voice for cable, and was often vilified for his intense lobbying efforts. He refused to give up, at one point leading a four-man legal team against a cadre of 38 lawyers. The New York Times and other newspapers saw Shaw’s plan as nothing more than a city land-grab. But still he fought on, winning some victories and eventually spending over a million dollars in the effort. How high were the stakes? It was estimated that lobbyists representing cable had coughed up close to $5 million … and had still come up empty so far. » Continue Reading.
As you drive around the Adirondacks—enjoying the jaw-dropping scenery—you can be forgiven if you don’t notice road culverts.
From a car, it might look as if you’re passing over a small bridge. Underneath, though, is often a metal tube channeling water—a tube that may create a barrier for native fish. While these culverts may escape your attention, for fish they are a matter of life and death.
That’s why the Nature Conservancy is working with the New York State Department of Transportation and local highway departments to provide better fish access through culverts – a step that may help tangibly address some of our most pressing conservation challenges. » Continue Reading.
Work has began this week on a stream and habitat restoration project at Johns Brook in Keene Valley. This first phase of restoration, addressing the lower third of the impacted reach, should be complete by the end of this month and is intended to speed the stream’s return to pre-Irene character and function, reduce bank erosion and improve wildlife habitat.
In the wake of Tropical Storm Irene in August of 2011, nearly half a mile of Johns Brook was dramatically altered by local officials from its natural state – from the Route 73 bridge upstream. The work was done in the spirit of public safety to remove stream blockages and protect property. Unfortunately, flattening (removing cascades and filling in pools) and straightening the stream channel reduced its ability to dissipate the water’s energy and the faster moving water causes additional flooding and erosion problems. Furthermore, the stream’s trout habitat was drastically diminished. » Continue Reading.
I tried to document life in a Great Blue Heron nest last year and it ended abruptly when all three babies vanished in early July, most likely as dinner for a bald eagle or great horned owl family. I had somewhat better luck this year.
April 29, 2013 – I checked the heron nest I’d been watching in 2012 – the pond, still with some ice, appeared empty, no herons around. There was snow in sheltered places along the trail. According to the Cornell Ornithology Lab web site “Heron FAQ’s” page, their herons laid eggs between March 28 and April 6 in 2012. I tend to think that the northern Adirondacks are about 3 weeks ahead of the Ithaca area for fall colors – so perhaps three weeks or more behind for laying eggs – probably dependent upon weather conditions as well.
May 8 – Sneaking in to view the nest from my hiding spot, there was a single adult heron standing on it. Was this the male hoping to attract a female?
May 13 – This time there was a heron down on the nest – all I could see was the head and beak. This is a pretty good sign that there are eggs. » Continue Reading.
The Ausable River Association’s second annual Ride for the River is happening this weekend on Sunday, July 21. Three new Ride routes designed by Keene Valley bike shop LeepOff Cycles, music by Darryl Stout and Eric Klotzko, and a Hornbeck Boats canoe raffle are planned. This year’s Ride is in memory of Carol Rupprecht, a dedicated steward of the Ausable River.
The Ride for the River celebrates the scenic and recreational resources of the Ausable River as well as the communities and businesses that make the Ausable Valley a great place to live, work and play. Cyclists of all ages and skill levels can register for one of three scenic routes alongside the Ausable River and across its hills and valleys. » Continue Reading.
The Ausable River Association (AsRA) will hold its second Ride for the River bike ride and invites residents and visitors to join in on Sunday, July 21. The Ride for the River celebrates the scenic and recreational resources of the Ausable River as well as the communities and businesses of the Ausable Valley. Cyclists of all ages and skill level can register for one of three scenic routes alongside the Ausable River and across its hills and valleys.
Following the Ride, enjoy a picnic and live music with fellow riders as well as friends and family at Jay Covered Bridge in Jay, NY. All proceeds of the Ride benefit the Ausable River Association’s work to protect and restore the valued resources of the Ausable River for their benefit to the ecosystem and human communities. This year’s ride is in memory of Carol Rupprecht, a dedicated steward of the Ausable River. » Continue Reading.
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