As the Adirondacks celebrates the 50th anniversary of the nation’s Clean Water Act (1972-2022), I thought to thumb through a set of old reports to find out what the nonprofit advocate Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks was doing or thinking about at the origins of the Clean Water Act during 1972.
So much of a groundbreaking environmental nature was happening in 1972 that shared the spotlight with the national Clean Water Act. Here is a small sampling from the Association’s 1972 report, authored by its president at the time Arthur Crocker, and by its vice president Paul Schaefer:
(Paul Smiths, NY, August 1, 2022) – Adirondack Water Week kicks off on Friday, August 5 and runs through Sunday, August 14 this year. The 3rd annual event celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, historic legislation that protected our nation’s water resources. Adirondack Water Week is a collaboration involving several organizations and businesses and features more than two dozen programs across the Adirondack region.
The program is coordinated by the Paul Smith’s College Adirondack Watershed Institute and is funded in part by the Lake Champlain Basin Program. One of this year’s highlights is the Adirondack Watershed Challenge, a family event encouraging people to get outside and celebrate time spent on Adirondack waters.
“The challenge lets families work through a list of fun activities that they can do in their own town,” said Tom Collins, AWI’s education and outreach program specialist and the Water Week coordinator. “Visit a local lake or pond, take a picture of wildlife, pick up litter from the shoreline, and eat local ice cream.”
The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum is marking the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Clean Water Act of 1972 this summer with a new exhibit and public activities. In tandem with partners around the Champlain Valley, the exhibit and activities give the public the chance to celebrate the importance of clean water through history, action, and educational events.
The new exhibit, “The Clean Water Act,” explores the history that led to the passage of the Clean Water Act, key parts to know about this federal legislation, how it relates to Lake Champlain, and people of the Champlain Valley who continue the fight for clean water. Featured locals include Tom Jorling, one of the architects of the Clean Water Act in 1972, former DEC commissioner for New York state, and professor and attorney; Kelley Tucker, executive director of the Ausable River Association; and Iris Hsiang, youth member of the Vermont Climate Council and founder of the Youth Organizing Coalition.
The exhibit was made possible with generous support from the Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership. The Clean Water Act exhibit is open for all to visit for free in-person at the museum in Vergennes, VT or online at www.lcmm.org/Clean-Water-Act.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), in coordination with Black River watershed stakeholders, recently approved the “Black River 9 Element Watershed Management Plan: Reducing Phosphorus, Nitrogen and Sediment loading in priority Sub Watersheds”.
Stakeholders and municipalities implementing projects within a 9 element (9E) plan are expected to be more successful in leveraging state and federal funding because 9E plans are consistent with the Environmental Protection Agency’s guidance to develop watershed management plans. For example, applications submitted to DEC’s Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) statewide grant program that identify projects from a 9E watershed plan receive higher points.
I feel a connection with the late Justice Antonin Scalia, albeit indirect. He had strengths, but an environmental and land ethic, because they were not enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, seemed irrelevant to the Justice. Just before he died, he joined the majority in putting a stay on the the Environmental Protection Agency’s clean power regulation and thus called into question American climate commitments made in Paris. But my story is local, not global.
Some years ago, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) was involved in determining whether small, one-eighth acre, biologically active wetlands near our home that dry up in the summer, known as vernal pools, were worth protecting under the federal Clean Water Act’s Section 404 program. A developer wanted to build 18 homes – outside of the Adirondack Park – abutting ours that would directly impact the red maple swamp forest in which the pools lay. » Continue Reading.
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