Legislation passed in June that bans the transport of aquatic invasive species (AIS) across New York has been sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign into law. Similar laws are on the books in a number of other states. This legislation will significantly improve New York’s focus and ability to control AIS.
Governor Cuomo has until September 6th to sign this legislation. He should sign it. » Continue Reading.
Lamberton Street, among the shorter (and newer) streets in Old Forge which connects Park Avenue to Fulton Street at the Fire Station, is named for one of Old Forge’s earliest historical figures, Alexander Byron Lamberton.
Unknown to most Fulton Chain residents, Lamberton is usually mentioned only as the family who sold the Forge House and Tract to Dr. Alexander Crosby and Samuel Garmon in 1888. But if you go to the popular Lamberton Conservatory at Highland Park in Rochester, you will see his image memorialized in a large bronze medallion above its entrance. The crest to the right of the medallion contains a cross, deer head, crest and scroll.
Lamberton’s single entry in the Adirondack Mountain Club’s Adirondack Bibliography is for an 1876 article about his adventures bringing salmon fry to the John Brown Tract. His role in Fulton Chain and Adirondack history is largely unheralded, but more important than many realize. » Continue Reading.
Spiny waterflea, a tiny invasive species that can have a significant impact on the aquatic food chain of waterways, is spreading in the Adirondack Park.
First discovered in the region in Great Sacandaga Lake in 2008, spiny waterflea is also in Stewarts Bridge Reservoir, Peck Lake, Sacandaga Lake, Lake George, and the Glens Falls Feeder Canal. Recent surveys detected populations in Hamilton County in Lake Pleasant, which adjoins Sacandaga Lake, and nearby Piseco Lake. » Continue Reading.
Following the July 4th weekend, there typically occur stretches of pleasant, sunny weather with highs in the 80’s. This elevates the temperature of the water in the many aquatic settings throughout the Adirondacks to their highest levels of the year and creates conditions ideal for swimming and for our warm water fishes.
Among the residents of lakes and rivers that thrive when the water becomes suitable for wading, lounging, and frolicking are the sunfish, and along the rocky shores of our glacially formed lakes and boulder laden waterways is the rock bass, a ubiquitous and always hungry fish that has frequent encounters with any novice angler that fishes these sites. » Continue Reading.
I’m always entranced watching the hunting behavior of long-legged wading birds like great blue herons and snowy egrets. They stand motionless for long minutes at the edge of a pond or swamp, waiting for prey to swim within striking distance. It’s a technique sometimes described as stalking, and it convinces me that those birds have far more patience than I do. I would go hungry if I were restricted to that strategy, since I get antsy after just a few seconds of standing motionless. I’m much more like the reddish egret of the Florida coastline, running around in knee-deep water with wings outstretched, chasing my meal rather than waiting for it to come to me.
Green herons have a hunting technique that involves neither pure stalking, nor the kinetic approach of the reddish egret. They are one of only a handful of North American bird species that are known to use tools to capture food. » Continue Reading.
Spiny water flea, an invasive species that is believed will be impossible to eradicate once established, is poised to enter Lake Champlain.
The Lake Champlain Research Institute (LCRI) has confirmed massive numbers of spiny water fleas in the Glens Falls Feeder Canal, at the junction basin where the feeder canal branches off the Hudson River at Glens Falls. The feeder canal flows toward the Champlain Canal which serves as a route for boats into Lake Champlain.
Dr. Tim Mihuc, Director of the LCRI, reports that recent sampling indicates that the numbers of spiny water flea this year have increased dramatically. “They are on their way into the lake, if not already there,” Dr. Mihuc said. Lake Champlain is considered a source for the spread of invasive species to other water-bodies in the Adirondacks, including nearby Lake George. » Continue Reading.
The late spring that the Adirondacks has experienced this year delayed the “ice-out” time on our lakes and ponds by several weeks. This pushed back some of the events in the lives of the numerous aquatic animals that reside in these bodies of water. Among the largest creatures to occur in many of our sizeable lakes, noted for spawning shortly after the ice breaks up, is a meaty fish sought after by anglers for its flavorful taste.
The walleye is a cold-tolerant creature common to various lakes across the Park, and a fish that attracts those sportsmen that enjoy the challenge of fishing at a time when the water is only a few degrees above freezing, the wind can be bone chilling, and heavy overcast skies can completely obscure the scenery and create a mood of gloom and foreboding to the surroundings. » 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.
As part of a collaborative effort to mitigate the impact of acid rain and restore brook trout to the Adirondacks, state helicopters delivered 34 tons of lime to an acidified pond in the Five Ponds Wilderness Area in the town of Webb, Herkimer County, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Regional Director Judy Drabicki has announced.
According to the announcement, on March 6 and 7, approximately 40 DEC staff and New York State Police helicopter crews conducted the liming operation, which included 46 helicopter flights to transport 1,500 pounds of lime from a staging area near the boat launch at Stillwater Reservoir to Hawk Pond. The lime was deposited on the ice at the pond and later spread across the frozen surface. The liming of acidic lakes or ponds is a management tool used to neutralize the water’s acidity and create water quality that is more favorable for fish and aquatic life. When the pond thaws this spring, the lime will enter the water and reduce its acidity level. » Continue Reading.
According to Frank Graham, Jr., the first conservation agency established by New York was the Fisheries Commission. It was established in 1868 to examine Adirondack water sources used by downstate cities and to study the impact of forest destruction by timber cutting neighboring these waters and on the fish they contained.
By the 1880s, the agency established hatcheries in various areas of the state to bolster fish populations in those water bodies and their tributaries suffering from nearby industrial operations such as mills on the Black River. Since fishing pools in the Adirondacks were being rapidly depleted by the growing popularity of the region, the agency determined to establish fisheries in that region. » Continue Reading.
Ever wonder what pristine runs of migratory fish in Atlantic rivers looked like to early colonists? Some saw so many salmon, shad, alewives and other species that they said the waters “ran silver” with fish as they swam upstream to spawn.
John Waldman’s Running Silver: Restoring Atlantic Rivers and their Great Fish Migrations (Lyons Press, 2013) covers the biology, history, and conservation of shad, salmon, striped bass, sturgeon, eels and the others that complete grand migrations between fresh and salt waters.
This includes the evolution of these unique life cycles, the ingenious ways that native people and colonists fished for these species, ‘fish wars’ between mill dam operators and fishermen, the ravages of damming, pollution, and overfishing, and more recent concerns such as climate change, power plant water withdrawals, and the introduction of non-native species. » Continue Reading.
Black Crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus), part of the sunfish family, has the same general shape as other sunfish. It is an introduced, non-native species to Lake George, but is an important prey species for largemouth bass and yellow perch. Crappie taste excellent and their aggressiveness allows for a fast and furious fight for anglers. They are an indicator species meaning they are intolerant of water quality degradation including silt and turbidity, and can only be found in clean waters. Besides Lake George, they can be found in The Great Lakes, the Hudson River and are generally distributed throughout New York State; but are not very common in the Adirondacks.
Crappies are pale silvery white on the belly and sides, and dark green on top. A dark vertical bar can be seen through the eye region. They have a high compressed, diamond shape body, like other species in the sunfish family. Crappies have more than three anal spines, a short dorsal fin with 6-8 spines and a long base of the dorsal fin. They have been known to hybridize with white crappie in bodies of water where their populations overlap. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is proposing new regulations to prevent the introduction and spread of aquatic invasive species at DEC boat launches and fishing access sites. The proposed regulatory changes require boaters to remove all visible plants and animals from boats, trailers and associated equipment and to drain boats before launching at or leaving a DEC boat launch and waterway access.
Boats, trailers and the equipment can spread aquatic invasive species from waterbody to waterbody and significantly harm recreational and commercial use of a waterbody while having a detrimental effect on native fish, wildlife and plants. » Continue Reading.
The Jefferson Project at Lake George, a multi-million dollar collaboration between Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, IBM, and The FUND for Lake George, is expected to better our understanding of, and help provide solutions to, the threats to Lake George water quality.
Priority concerns include road salt, storm water runoff, and invasive species. This three year study, already underway, will build a model for balancing economic growth and environmental protection. » Continue Reading.
The pond offers the perfect opportunity to research lake trout at the southern end of their range, to determine how these large and ecologically important fish could best be managed and protected given rising temperatures and other environmental changes. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Almanack's contributors include veteran local writers, historians, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts from around the Adirondack region. The Almanack is the online news journal of Adirondack Explorer. Both are nonprofits supported by contributors, readers, and advertisers, and devoted to exploring, protecting, and unifying the Adirondack Park.
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