The Adirondack Park may become the first region in New York State to have its own, integrated program to halt the spread of aquatic invasive species.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has asked the state legislature to appropriate $1 million to develop the Adirondack-wide strategy.
According to Morris Peters, a spokesman for the Division of the Budget, the money for the new initiative will come from an increase in appropriations to the Environmental Protection Fund. » Continue Reading.
One of the invasive species that deserves attention by forest owners is the emerald ash borer (EAB). Having eaten its way through the Great Lakes states and portions of the upper Midwest, the EAB is on a fast track to Northern New York.
Since its discovery in 2002, the emerald ash borer has stripped cities and villages of all ash trees. Dorothy wouldn’t recognize one of these “emerald cities.” Treeless neighborhoods in places like Fort Wayne, IN, or Dayton, OH are a far cry from the emerald city of Oz. » Continue Reading.
Don’t look now, but the sky is falling. Again. This time it’s poised ominously over our hemlock trees, whose verdant canopies shade many a North Country stream and glen. Although hemlocks make lush hedges for home landscapes, they’re best known as stately forest giants that form cathedral-like stands in the Adirondacks and elsewhere. It’s hard to believe these titans are being killed by a tiny insect less than a sixteenth of an inch long. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondacks would benefit from some of the priorities expressed by Governor Andrew Cuomo in his 2015 State of the State address on Wednesday. The proposals are expected to help protect water quality, combat invasive species, bolster APA and DEC staffing, increase the Environmental Protection Fund, expand broadband locally, and cut the risk of explosive oil trains moving through the region. The Adirondack Park is the largest park in the contiguous United States and contains most of the motor-free wilderness remaining in the Northeast. » Continue Reading.
By disposition, if not by design, Dave Wick is the local official least likely to become the center of a controversy. He directed Warren County’s Soil and Water Conservation program for almost twenty years and in 2012, he was recruited to succeed Mike White as the executive director of the Lake George Park Commission. Wick’s talent, a rare one, lies is combining practice with politics; engineering storm water controls, demonstrating the finer points of boat decontamination, while, at the same time, attracting and retaining the good will of elected officials and influential environmentalists. If he suffers from existential anxiety or self-doubt, cynicism or an ironic sense of humor, it’s not evident. The earnest, self-confident demeanor that he wears at public meetings, in conferences with officials and in interviews with the local press, never falters.
So it must have come as a surprise to Wick when, on November 14, he was summoned to the State Capitol and told that he was to submit his resignation, immediately. His inquisitor, Basil Seggos, must have been equally surprised when Wick replied, in so many words, that he’d rather not. » Continue Reading.
Since the retreat of the glaciers, lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) have been the top native predator in Adirondack waters. These northern fish require true cold (less than 55°F) and move downward when surface waters warm in late spring and summer. Consequently, they are isolated to the largest and deepest Adirondack lakes – most of them deeper than 30 feet – where they stay in the dark chilly depths all summer and early fall. The species name namaycush is believed to be an Algonquin term for “dweller of the deep.”
This need for very cold, clean, high-oxygen water can bring to light otherwise invisible changes beneath the surface. Water quality in the Adirondack interior, where we don’t have much industry or farming, can be abstract. You usually can’t see it, touch it or even taste it. But lake trout make the health of our coldest lakes real and tangible. » Continue Reading.
It looks like Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) did not want a mandatory invasive species boat inspection and control program on Lake George. Governor Cuomo and the DEC tried to fire Dave Wick, the executive director of the Lake George Park Commission (LGPC), and on both accounts, Cuomo and the DEC seem to have lost.
On Tuesday evening, November 25th, news broke that the Cuomo Administration had backed down and agreed to suspend Wick without pay for two weeks and then let him return to his job. It apparently had nothing to do with a gas spill – the original pretense for Wick’s firing. » Continue Reading.
Local governments, lake and landowners associations, sportsmen and environmental protection organizations want to see Lake George’s program of mandatory inspections of trailered boats adopted throughout the Adirondack Park.
According to Fred Monroe, a Warren County Supervisor, and Eric Siy, the executive director of The Fund for Lake George, who convened a meeting of Adirondack Park stakeholders in Chestertown earlier this month, prevention is the only way to protect Adirondack lakes from invasive species and preserve an economy based on recreation.
“What were once the mainstays of the Adirondack economy, such as forestry and mining, are either gone or disappearing,” said Monroe. “What’s left is tourism, which is so clearly tied to the health of the waters. If we lose the waters, we have nothing.” » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has released its Draft Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) strategy to prevent the introduction and spread of AIS in New York State for public comment. Comments will be accepted through December 15.
Aquatic Invasive Species threaten the ecology of New York waters and can harm water-based recreational opportunities and economies critical to the Adirondack region. New York is particularly vulnerable to AIS due to its vast marine and fresh water resources, major commercial ports and the easy access that ocean-going vessels have to the Great Lakes via the State’s canal system. Managing an infestation is extremely costly, so prevention is the most cost-effective strategy. » Continue Reading.
Hilary Smith, former Director of the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program, has been awarded the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District’s 2014 Partnership Appreciation Award. Soil and Water Conservation District Manager Elizabeth Mangle and Educator Caitlin Stewart presented Smith with a framed certificate during a surprise going-away party on September 15th. “Her partnership with the District has protected Hamilton County’s lands and waters from invasive species that can harm the environment, public health, and economy,” Stewart told the Adirondack Almanack.
“For 13 years, Hilary assisted our staff members with invasive species initiatives including spread prevention, early detection and rapid response, and educational outreach,” Stewart said. “She hosted many APIPP volunteer survey workshops for aquatic invasive plants in Hamilton County. Fifth and sixth grade students learned about invasive species from her presentations at Conservation Field Day events.” » Continue Reading.
A new report—The Actual and Potential Economic Impact of Invasive Species on the Adirondack Park: A Preliminary Assessment—explores the economic impacts of invasive species on specific sectors of the Adirondack Park’s economy. This first-of-its-kind assessment for the Adirondacks analyzes actual and potential impacts of eight invasive species, summarizes expenditures across sectors, species and strategies, and recommends strategic investments in prevention and control.
The potential direct economic impact from eight species evaluated in the study is estimated to be $468 to $893 million, with the greatest projected impacts on property value, recreation, and tourism. The species highlighted include five that are known to be present in the Park (Eurasian watermilfoil, Asian clam, spiny waterflea, Japanese knotweed, spotted drosophila) and three that are in close proximity (hydrilla, emerald ash borer and Asian longhorned beetle). » Continue Reading.
In a statement issued to the press, the Lake Champlain Basin Aquatic Invasive Species Rapid Response Task Force has said that “eradication of spiny water flea in Lake Champlain is not technically feasible” and urged instead that “spread prevention measures should be implemented as soon as possible” to keep the invasive from spreading to nearby water bodies.
Sampling has confirmed its presence at multiple lake stations in Champlain’s Main Lake region. In 2012, spiny water flea was discovered in both the Champlain Canal and Lake George. Spiny water fleas have been detected in the southern Adirondacks in Great Sacandaga Lake (2008), Peck Lake (2009), and Stewarts Bridge Reservoir and Sacandaga Lake (2010). This summer they were detected in Lakes Piseco and Pleasant (2014).
The Task Force’s Spread Prevention Recommendations were also issued, as follows: » Continue Reading.
Since 2003, I have been battling purple loosestrife, an invasive plant that may be gorgeous but overruns wetlands, and outcompetes native plants that wildlife and waterfowl depend on for food, shelter, and nesting grounds. After 11 years of manual management, populations along the Route 8 and Route 30 corridors in Hamilton County have decreased. This is good news for native plants that fill in areas where invasive purple loosestrife used to grow.
This August I focused on rights-of-way along Routes 8 and 30 in the Town of Lake Pleasant and the Village of Speculator. I snipped each flower with garden clippers before plants went to seed for reproduction. All plant material was bagged and allowed to liquefy in the sun before being delivered to a transfer station.
It is exciting to fight invasive plants for over a decade and see promising results like this. Manual management is tedious, but persistent efforts have helped stop the spread of purple loosestrife and remove these invaders from the environment. » Continue Reading.
The spiny water flea is the first aquatic invasive zooplankton to be confirmed in Lake Champlain, bringing the known number of nonnative and aquatic invasive species in Lake Champlain to 50.
Specimens were collected this August in the Main Lake segment of Lake Champlain as part of the Lake Champlain Long-term Biological Monitoring Program supported by the Lake Champlain Basin Program.
Sample analysis by the Lake Champlain Research Institute at SUNY Plattsburgh confirms multiple specimens from two different monitoring stations. Additional samples are being examined. » Continue Reading.
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