Posts Tagged ‘Road Salt’

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

How many lake trout in Follensby Pond?

Follensby Pond

A new Adirondack laboratory

Over a decade ago, The Nature Conservancy paid a team of lake ecologists to assess the fish population at Follensby Pond, especially its prized lake trout fishery.

TNC had acquired the 970-acre lake and the surrounding 14,600 acres and were in the slow process of working out the details of its future with the state

The scientists, led by Chris Solomon, now of the Cary Institute, estimated the lake trout population in the low thousands (with just over 100 trophy-sized individuals topping 30 inches) and found that Follensby lake trout appeared to grow more slowly than typical of the slow-growing species. They simulated how the lake trout would respond to a variety of different angling pressures.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, February 22, 2024

Adirondack towns score state water $$$

The Lake George Land Trust received over $4 million in state grants this month to protect land in the Lake George watershed. Photo by Zachary Matson

Grant money to preserve land, upgrade treatment plants, extend trout habitat

From removing culverts and reducing roadside erosion to covering salt piles and improving wastewater treatment plants, the latest round of state water quality grants will fund projects across the Adirondack Park.

State officials last week announced over $166 million statewide to fund 187 projects, including more than $6.3 million in Adirondack communities.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, February 15, 2024

Protecting land protects water

Aerial view of intact forests along the North Branch of the Boquet River on the Ben Wever Farm property

Land protecting water

Healthy and protected forests create healthy water resources. And now the Open Space Institute has data to back it up.

OSI, one of the Northeast’s leading conservation organizations, last week published a report outlining how land conservation can serve as a strategy to protect and clean water.

The report set out to “bridge the gap between the broad ecosystem benefits often measured by land trusts and the pollutant load measures that serve as the primary ‘currency’ of clean water programs.”

» Continue Reading.


Friday, February 2, 2024

Adirondack Council’s testimony regarding transportation portion of Executive Budget

Kevin Chald at a state budget hearing

Greetings Chair Krueger, Chair Weinstein, Chair Kennedy, Chair Magnarelli and honored legislators. My name is Kevin Chlad, and I am the Director of Government Relations for the Adirondack Council. Thank you for the opportunity to testify at the public hearing today [Jan. 24] on an issue of critical public and environmental health facing the Adirondack Park and North Country.

The Adirondack Council is a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the ecological integrity and wild character of the Adirondack Park. We do not accept any state grants. We envision an Adirondack Park with clean air and water, large ‘forever wild’ wilderness areas, working forests and farms, and vibrant, safe, inclusive communities.

We offer the following testimony in response to the transportation portion of the Governor’s Executive Budget proposal for the 2024-2025 fiscal year.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, January 29, 2024

Discussion time: Road salt

road salt event graphic

 

Discussion time: What’s the future of road salt use in the Adirondacks?

The Adirondack Road Salt Reduction Task Force in September released a detailed report outlining a path to lower salt use in the Adirondack Park and statewide.

The report called for strengthening water standards, spreading best practices, tracking salt use, improving responses to contamination and expanding public understanding of awareness. But the report did not include an implementation plan or accountability system to ensure state officials act on recommendations.

So what comes next? With a panel of task force members and other experts, the Adirondack Explorer will examine what’s in the report, how to carry out its recommendations and the latest in the long-running movement to combat road salt pollution in the park. Join us for the event (more info and RSVP here).

What would you want to ask the panel? What should the state be considering going forward? Leave a comment here or email zach@adirondackexplorer.org


Tuesday, September 19, 2023

How much salt?

road salt truck

An interesting nugget gleaned from the state’s recently released Adirondack Road Salt Reduction Task Force report is the role that rock salt plays in the state economy.

“New York State ranks third in rock salt production, providing approximately 16% (~7.7 million tons) of the total national output,” the report states. “Today, rock salt is New York State’s third leading valued mineral product, behind crushed stone and cement respectively, contributing approximately $560 million to the state’s economy annually.”

Which is to say that for every green lobbyist in Albany on the salt issue, there is likely to be someone on the other side of the ball.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Where’s the road salt report?

AdirondackMuseum-CabinFeverSundays_RoadSalt_Jan10

Keeping roads cleared and water clean is no easy feat in the Adirondacks. What will a new report say about how to solve the issue? Almanack file photo

The Adirondack Road Salt Reduction Task Force held its first meeting a year ago this month — about two years after state lawmakers first adopted legislation mandating its creation.

We are still waiting on the panel’s first report outlining the salt pollution problem in the Adirondack Park and proposing solutions to minimize it. But the tea leaves are finally suggesting a report could be coming soon.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, October 21, 2022

Clean Water Act turns 50

Lake Champlain continues to be impacted by non-regulated runoff. Explorer file photo.

Fifty years ago this week, federal lawmakers overrode a presidential veto to enact the Clean Water Act, a landmark law for the nation’s water quality.

The iconic image of the Cuyahoga River on fire in Ohio spurred congressional action and ushered in a half century of major river restorations across the nation. The goals outlined in the act included restoring the country’s water to a “fishable and swimmable” state.

The law imposed new permitting requirements on polluting industries and sewage treatment plants, but it failed to address diffuse pollution from storm and agricultural runoff, the largest source of pollution in many parts of the country. The standards adopted under the law in many places are now decades old or unable to address emerging problems.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, August 11, 2022

Preview of Salt Panel Recommendations

lower st. regis lake

The Adirondack Road Salt Reduction Task Force is nearing completion of its first round of work and a report on its findings and recommendations could be available in the coming month.

During the first Adirondack Lakes Alliance symposium in recent years, Adirondack Watershed Institute Executive Director Dan Kelting previewed the panel’s recommendations. Here’s a look at some of what he said was included in recent drafts:

» Continue Reading.


Monday, March 14, 2022

Road salt task force meets; Pitcairn residents deal with salty well water

pitcairn road salt

Members of the state task force charged with reducing salt use in the Adirondack Park met for the first time Monday and showed that they won’t steer away from thorny topics.

From discussing tree cutting along roads (which in some places could require a constitutional amendment) to potential winter tire mandates or lower speed limits, members raised numerous complicated challenges that underscored the task ahead.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 18, 2022

A salty solution

hague

The salt pollution challenge can be daunting: years and years of salt use have already penetrated surface and groundwater and will stick around for years to come. And salt is still the No. 1 way of keeping winter roads safe.

But the small highway crew in Hague, on the western shores of Lake George has started to show that if you use less salt on the roads, less salt will show up in the water. After the Hague crew reduced its salt use by nearly 70% over the last five years, researchers with RPI’s Darrin Fresh Water Institute have found an average 4% annual reduction in chloride concentrations in Hague Brook. More study is needed but it’s a positive sign that Hague is reducing salt on the roads and in the waters.

Read more about what Hague has been up to and my recent visit to their garage. I also spoke with North Country Public Radio Adirondacks reporter Emily Russell this week about the latest on the state’s road salt reduction task force.

The road salt issue has also started to draw more national coverage in recent weeks after a scientific research review published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment highlighted the dire public health and environmental downsides of rampant salt use – which has tripled in the last 45 years.

Photo: Hague plow operator Tim Fiallo mixing a brine solution at the Hague garage. Photo by Zachary Matson

Editor’s note: This first appeared in Zach’s weekly “Water Line” newsletter. Click here to sign up.


Monday, January 3, 2022

Ausable River Association Announces Salt Survey for Lake Placid

mirror lake

WILMINGTON — The Ausable River Association (AsRA) will distribute a salt use survey this winter to residents, businesses, and independent contractors in Lake Placid. Developed with our partners at the Adirondack Watershed Institute, the survey is essential to determining the amount of salt entering Mirror Lake and the Chubb River. Funded by the Lake Champlain Basin Program through a multi-year technical grant, it’s another piece of our ongoing science-based effort to find a solution to road salt contamination in these waterways.

The salt survey is specific to residents and business in the Chubb River watershed. The watershed encompasses the area surrounding Lake Placid and includes the Village of Lake Placid. Completing the survey will take approximately 5-20 minutes, depending on the size of the area that you care for in your winter maintenance.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, December 16, 2021

Hochul names road salt task force members

road salt truck

Overdue panel charged with preventing further pollution

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Thursday named the members of a promised state task force charged with studying road salt use in the Adirondacks.

The 10 overdue appointees announced by the governor will join representatives from the state Department of Transportation, Department of Environmental Conservation, Department of Health and Adirondack Park Agency as they set out to review current salt use practices and make recommendations to minimize future use.

The governor’s direct nominees include former DEC Commissioner Joe Martens; Adirondack Watershed Institute Executive Director Dan Kelting; Megan Phillips, vice president of conservation at the Adirondack Council; and Kristine Stepeneck, a professor at the University of Vermont.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, December 16, 2021

A blown deadline

Billy Jones salt bill

By the Times Union editorial board

Nonexistent task forces have a 100 percent track record of not issuing reports by deadline. So in that sense, the state’s road salt panel is doing exactly what New Yorkers expected of it.

Under the 2020 legislation establishing it, the task force was supposed to study the impact of road salt in the Adirondacks and come up with a pilot plan for reducing it, reporting to the Legislature by Dec. 1, 2021 – as in, weeks ago.

What’s at stake here? Oh, only public health, the environment, and the Adirondack economy. Excess road salt poisons the wells that North Country residents drink from. It degrades farmland, fouls lakes, desiccates trees.

Yes, things have been a bit … chaotic in the Executive Chamber this year. But in the administration of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, long appointment delays and other forms of foot-dragging were a feature, not a bug. Skeptics might speculate that for Mr. Cuomo, the announcement of a plan of action was more important than its implementation.

All of the panel’s members have now been recommended, state officials say, and appointments are in the process of being finalized. We know Gov. Kathy Hochul is catching up on a backlog on empty positions. Prioritizing this process will be a significant way her administration can differentiate itself from its predecessor. State government needs to get moving on this important issue, collecting data transparently and thoroughly, and – at the most basic level – doing what it said it was going to do.

Editor’s note: This originally ran Dec. 13 in the (Albany) Times Union. Used by permission.

Photo: NYS Assemblyman Billy Jones speaks Dec. 4, 2020, at a commemoration of the signing of the Randy Preston Road Salt Reduction Act. More than 10 months later, the task force created by the bill is still without members. Mike Lynch photo

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Salt solutions?

Billy Jones salt bill

Lake George has been a leader in road salt reduction and now some of those lessons will be coming north.

Wilmington Supervisor Roy Holzer, who attended the sixth annual Lake George road salt reduction summit last week, said his town has applied for a grant that would pay for cameras on the Whiteface Highway, a steep climb out of the hamlet to elevations where it can snow before it does down below. But not always. With cameras, plow drivers can open an app and assess conditions before driving up and salting a road that may not need it. Salt pollution has been recognized as a threat both to the environment and public health.

Essex County Department of Public Works Director Jim Dugan said some methods used further south, such as brining the highway, aren’t as effective in the mountains where it’s colder. But that doesn’t mean local governments are powerless.

Dugan said the county, with a $750,000 state grant and a $250,000 match, is building a shed to keep its stores of sand under roof. Before it’s stockpiled, salt has to be mixed into the sand to keep it from freezing into unspreadable chunks. Dougan said the shelter will keep the sand dry, and greatly reduce the ratio of salt to sand.

Dugan said he would also like to be allowed to cut trees in the highway right of way to let in the ice-melting sun, but even though environmentalists agree this is an important strategy, in the Forest Preserve that’s not allowed.

Holzer follows the late Wilmington Supervisor Randy Preston, for which road salt reduction law is named.

“I certainly feel an obligation to carry through with his mission, and I feel like Wilmington is leading change in the North Country,” Holzer said. Smart salt law can strike a balance between safety and the environment, while saving taxpayer money by reducing the need to purchase salt, he said.

NYS Assemblyman Billy Jones speaks Dec. 4, 2020, at a commemoration of the signing of the Randy Preston Road Salt Reduction Act. More than 10 months later, the task force created by the bill is still without members. Mike Lynch photo 

Editor’s note: This first appeared in Adirondack Explorer’s weekly “Water Line” newsletter. Click here to sign up.



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