Posts Tagged ‘science’

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Pete Nelson: ‘Balanced’ Boreas Plan Has The Wrong Balance

adirondack wilderness advocates logoThe decision by the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) is in: by a vote of 8 to 1 the APA Board voted to recommend a classification for the Boreas Ponds Tract that will split the tract between Wilderness and Wild Forest, leaving Gulf Brook open into the heart to the parcel.   In their comments many of the Commissioners lauded the “balance” and “compromise” they felt this recommendation represented.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, February 3, 2018

Pound, Kilo, and Kelvin: Measuring Science

Sign of the former Weights and Measures office, Seven Sisters Road, London, EnglandThe good news is that Imperial Forces are losing the battle for planetary dominance. The bad news is that we still play for their team.

The British Imperial System of measurement, born in 1824 to help streamline a host of odd units inherited from various cultures, was at the time an improvement. In 1965, the UK adopted the decimal-based metric system, despite the fact it was invented by the French. Today, metric is universal in science and medicine, and of the 195 nations on the planet, only 2 have yet to abandon the former British system for general commerce. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, January 18, 2018

Environmental DNA: Frontiers of Adirondack Science

Filtering Stream WaterConserving our native fish is a major goal of the Ausable River Association (AsRA). We know the Ausable River watershed, particularly the high elevation tributaries to the East Branch, is one of the most likely places to retain Brook Trout under future climate warming scenarios across their native range. We also know that much of that habitat is fragmented by undersized culverts that serve as barriers to fish passage. Finally, we know that introduced non-native species, such as Brown Trout and Rainbow Trout, threaten our native fish populations. These facts are well documented in the scientific literature and summarized in reports produced by the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture.

When developing conservation strategies to protect our native fish, one of the first things we need to understand is where fish are. Surprisingly, we know very little about where Brook Trout and other native fish are found in the Ausable River watershed. We have a broad sense of their distribution, but when we walk up to a particular reach of a small tributary we are often making “best guesses.” Before doing stream or habitat restoration work, we take the time, with our partners at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to survey the fish population. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, October 1, 2017

Adirondack Research Will Study Protected Area Visitation

paddlers and loonsThe Wildlife Conservation Society  (WCS) has announced that it is a recipient of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) 2017 Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems program award. WCS will receive about $500,000 in funding for its project, “Experimental Investigation of the Dynamic Human-Environmental Interactions Resulting from Protected Area Visitation.”

Work on the 4-year project will be managed by the WCS Adirondack Program office in Saranac Lake with research expected to begin in 2018.

The project is expected to test the common assumption that expanding access to protected lands will inspire a broader conservation ethic among park visitors. It’s hoped the study results will ultimately inform state and federal policies to increase participation in outdoor recreation and manage public access. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, September 24, 2017

Opinion: Hold APA Board Accountable for Boreas Ponds

Photo by Phil Brown 2016. View of Gothics from Boreas Ponds.What happened to the Adirondack Park Agency’s classification of the Boreas Ponds Tract?  Months have passed with no sign of it on the APA’s monthly agenda.  Information does seep out here and there, and it’s not encouraging.  By now it’s no secret that plans are afoot for the Boreas classification that have nothing to do with the intended, legal process: namely development of the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS), public hearings and public written comments and analysis, all leading to a recommended alternative.

Instead, the State is scrambling to find a way to accommodate the wishes of Governor Cuomo, who fancies a “hut-to-hut” system in the Adirondacks that includes facilities at Boreas, a development not contemplated in any of the four currently proposed alternatives.  This is not how it is supposed to work and it raises questions of who is accountable for a classification process gone wrong.

» Continue Reading.


Saturday, September 16, 2017

Cornell’s History of Protecting Adirondack Fisheries

2016 Cornell Adirondack Fisheries Research Program Boat CrewI recently wrote about the impacts of acid rain, which results from burning fossil fuels, on Adirondack lakes and streams. But, did you know that Cornell University has been a leader in efforts to safeguard natural fisheries within the Adirondacks and to protect them from the damaging effects of acid rain, invasive species, and climate change for well-over half-a-century?

In fact, Cornell’s cold-water fishery research has historically focused on the Adirondack region. And just last year, the New York State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University (CALS) established a new faculty fellowship in fisheries and aquatic sciences, named for the late (and extremely-well-respected) Professor of Fishery Biology, Dr. Dwight A. Webster; the educator who laid the groundwork for what is now the Adirondack Fishery Research Program (AFRP). » Continue Reading.


Monday, June 19, 2017

Whiteface Field Station Science Lectures Planned

asrc logoThe 2017 Atmospheric Sciences Research Center’S (ASRC) Falconer Science/Natural History Lecture Series will be held Tuesday evenings at 7 pm at the ASRC Whiteface Field Station, 110 Marble Lane, Wilmington.

These lectures are free and open to the public. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Non-Native Jellyfish Found In Newcomb ‘Heritage Lake’

View of Wolf Lake during summer 2016A SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry undergraduate received the Hudson River Foundation’s Polgar Fellowship this summer to conduct water sampling in Wolf Lake on SUNY-ESF’s Huntington Wildlife Forest (HWF) under my guidance.

Sampling will be conducted to determine if water quality changes observed over the past few summers in Wolf Lake might be due to a relatively unknown but widespread organism, the freshwater jellyfish Craspedacusta sowerbii. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, April 8, 2017

Update On Lake Placid Maple Sap Tubing Research

Maple sap tubing trial at Uihlein Research ForestThe Northern New York Agricultural Development Program has posted the latest research results from NNY Maple Specialist Michael Farrell, director of the Cornell Uihlein Research Forest in Lake Placid, NY.

Farrell evaluated the production efficiencies of two sizes of maple sap tubing in gravity-based collection systems. The Evaluating 3/16-inch Maple Sap Tubing Systems Under Natural Flow and Artificial Vacuum Systems in NNY report can be viewed here.

Newly-developed 3/16-inch interior diameter tubing has been suggested as a way to achieve greater and easier natural vacuum pressure to draw sap from the taphole in a maple tree. Each additional inch of vacuum results in an average increase of five to seven percent more sap. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Pete Nelson: Facts Show Boreas Ponds Tract Should Be Wilderness

Boreas Ponds ClassificationAs the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) prepares for their March meeting, a decision on classification of the Boreas Ponds Tract is not on the agenda.  That’s a good thing, indicating that more research and deliberations are ongoing and providing some comfort that the decision is not just pro forma.

Adirondack Wilderness Advocates believes that it is therefore an excellent time to review the status of the deliberation process.  In doing so, we can justly say “hats off” to the Adirondack Park Agency staff.  Their thorough analysis of the Boreas Ponds Tract, conducted as part of  developing a Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS), and presented to the State Land Committee at the February Agency Meeting, was a breath of fresh, evidence-based, rational air in a process that to this point has been in dire need of reason and facts.  » Continue Reading.


Thursday, March 9, 2017

Research On Native Adirondack Fish Species Continues

Two years ago a research team from Paul Smith’s College published a paper about the possibility that yellow perch could be native to the Adirondacks, after finding its DNA in sediment from Lower St. Regis Lake that dates back more than 2,000 years ago.

Now similar sediment core sampling is being done on Mirror Lake in Lake Placid. In late February Paul Smith’s College students under the tutelage of Paul Smith’s College Professor Curt Stager – who led the original study – teamed up with Ausable River Association Science and Stewardship Director Brendan Wiltse to take sediment samples that will be analyzed for the presence of three fish species: yellow perch, rainbow trout, and lake trout. The group also plans to extract additional samples in the future. The DNA testing will be done by the Adirondack Watershed Institute at Paul Smith’s College. » Continue Reading.


Friday, January 6, 2017

Adirondack Journal of Environmental Studies Call for Submissions

The Adirondack Journal of Environmental Studies (AJES) is now accepting submissions for Volume 22, which will be published in the summer of 2017.

Articles of a broad disciplinary scope will be accepted for review, including topics in natural and social sciences related to the region.

Special consideration will be given to articles to be published in the featured section dedicated to women, leadership, and the Adirondacks. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, December 31, 2016

Climate Change: Avoiding the ‘Natural Variations’ Pitfall

“Everybody complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.”

For over a century, this comment has served as the standard retort when a friend or colleague laments hot and humid weather or complains about a massive snow storm. But when University at Albany Interim President James R. Stellar uses it to talk about work at UAlbany’s Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Studies (DAES), he’s not grumbling. He uses it as a setup line before he talks about what he, his colleagues, and many others in academia are actually doing about the weather as the world wrestles with persistent climate change caused by humans. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

New Study On DNA Based Detection of Brook Trout Streams

brook-troutResearch conducted by Paul Smith’s College biology professor Dr. Lee Ann Sporn and fisheries and wildlife science graduate Jacob Ball was part of a study published in the journal Transactions of the American Fisheries Society this December.

The study, “Efficacy of Environmental DNA to Detect and Quantify Brook Trout Populations in Headwater Streams of the Adirondack Mountains, New York,” focused on using environmental DNA, or eDNA, to determine if a fish species – in this case, brook trout – are present in a stream by using a single water sample. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

A Collaborative Art And Science Exhibit At Paul Smith’s

Paul Smith's College LogoThe Paul Smith’s College VIC’s Heron Marsh Gallery will host an opening reception at 10 am Saturday, December 10th, for the art and poetry exhibit, “A Deeper Sense.” The public is welcome, and light refreshments will be served.

During the fall semester, area artists and poets shadowed Paul Smith’s College students during their ecological field studies and produced works of art based on those student projects. » Continue Reading.



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