Posts Tagged ‘water line’

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Keeping an eye on dirt

fall salmon river anglersThere are a lot of rivers, streams and lakes to visit. For casual observers, it’s sometimes hard to tell how natural they are. Last year, I spent some time digging into all the ways that dams along the Saranac River change the flow of water and the life of fish.

But dams change something else, too: dirt.

Dams hold back and can suddenly release dirt, or they change the way water flows and those changes, in turn, change how sand and gravel build up both before and after dams’ spot in the river. Whole books, including the classic textbook Fluvial Processes in Geomorphology, have been written on these changes to dirt accumulation, usually known by the more technical word “sediment.”

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Saturday, February 27, 2021

Money for Lake Champlain water quality projects

lake champlain bridgeRecently, I wrote about the Adirondack Council asking the state to fund a wide-ranging study of water quality across the Adirondacks. (Speaking of the Council, it just hired someone away from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office to be its new vice president for conservation.)

I’ve been thinking about how much the public conversation is influenced by money — not just advertising and p.r., but money or lack of money for research.

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Thursday, February 11, 2021

There’s something about the weather….

There’s something about the weather, particularly when it comes to hydrology, that creates an almost eye-rolling cycle of stories. If it’s not too dry, it’s too wet. With a changing climate, the normal also changes — for instance, while reporting a story on pollution running into Lake Champlain, I heard from officials on both sides of the lake that they’re seeing more rain and storms so intense they’re called “rain bombs,” a recipe for uncontrolled flashes of water that sweep pollution into the lake from fields and streets.

Some people notice all this. Others do not.

Two years ago, while I was reporter in the Southwest and had spent a few years covering a major drought, we had what seemed like an awfully rainy and cold winter for that part of the world. A few people I talked to regularly said, Oh yeah, this is strange weather for here. So, I called the National Weather Service and asked, Ain’t it awfully rainy and cold? Not really, the local meteorologist replied, it was only the 55th coldest stretch on record.

Such is the nature of human perception: We forget what happened or remember things that didn’t.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Let’s talk about bats, EPA and more

coffee and conversation eventThis Friday, the Explorer is hosting an online discussion with me and other Explorer reporters. Join us, if you can. Click here to sign up, and feel free to share with a friend.

There’s plenty we can talk about. For now, I wanted to share two recent stories, one on the Trump administration and the other on bats:

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Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Diving into 2021’s water reporting

It’s 2021, and there’s lots to do.

I’ll keep investigating waters of the Adirondacks. Stories about what’s still wild, about what has been changed, and about what is at risk of ruin.

Water? That seems niche, one might say. But water is everywhere — and where it isn’t is also a story.

All of our greatest stories involve water. The baffling story about the punishment of Moses for bringing it out of a rock. The story about the reflective trap of Narcissus. Native American stories that focus on the turtle, straddler of water and land.

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Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Lessons learned from water

From water we can learn that:

One can never step in the same river twice. (Attributed to Heraclitus.)

Ripple in still water…when there is no pebble tossed nor wind to blow. (Grateful Dead)

What goes up must come down. (Everyone.)

As the year’s closing, I’ve been thinking about the lessons taught by the concept of retention time. That’s the average time water stays in a lake or pond. Think of it as the effect before has on after.

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Saturday, April 4, 2020

Your help needed in obtaining water quality reports

Collecting water quality data from Fawn Lake(Calling all citizen scientists! The following is from Water Line, a weekly newsletter by Adirondack Explorer water reporter Ry Rivard.)

Late last year, I began requesting documents from the state of New York to help me understand who around the Adirondacks may be drinking potentially unsafe water.

While larger communities in the state of New York post their annual drinking water quality reports online, not all smaller communities do this.

New York is notoriously slow in responding to requests for public records. To give state officials the benefit of the doubt, it’s a big state and a lot of people want to know things about it. The other explanation is that government officials like to control information, particularly information that might scare people or make themselves look bad.

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