Great strides have been made in recent decades to protect the Adirondack Park’s environment from acid rain, but more work still needs to be done. That’s according to scientists, environmentalists and natural resource managers who attended a conference about acid rain in the Adirondacks Thursday at the Hilton Hotel in Saratoga Springs.
The event was organized by the Adirondack Council and the Environmental Defense Fund. » Continue Reading.
Zebra Mussels and Asian clams receive so much attention that little is left for Lake George’s native mussels, which are as beneficial to the lake as the invasives are destructive.
Increasing awareness of the natives’ value and the potential threats to their survival is a mission of Dr. Dan Marelli, a Florida biologist whose expertise has made him a valued collaborator of the Darrin Fresh Water Institute whenever mollusks enter the picture.
In August 2010, for example, the first Asian clams discovered in the lake were immediately sent to him. He confirmed their identity, and the multi-million dollar effort to eradicate the invasive, or at least to contain its spread, began. When Zebra mussels were discovered in 1999, Marelli was among those who participated in a successful hand-harvesting eradication effort. » Continue Reading.
The Lake George Land Conservancy (LGLC) has issued a report to the press outlining its work in 2014 and looking forward to its plans for 2015. In tallying their efforts, LGLC has found that over the last nine months they have protected 462 acres of Lake George watershed lands through partnerships, purchases, donations and conservation easements and are currently working on plans to protect over 750 acres in the near future.
Land conservation projects have been completed in five towns around Lake George, including Bolton, Hague, Putnam, Fort Ann, and the Town of Lake George. The projects protect forests, wetlands, rocky slopes and ridges, and streams, as well as wildlife habitat.
LGLC also achieved land trust accreditation in August from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance. The organization is also preparing for a change in leadership. Executive Director Nancy Williams is expected to retire this fall, and LGLC’s Board of Directors hope to have a new executive director in place by January of 2015. » 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.
A conference at Paul Smith’s College this week led to the formation of a working group that will look at alternatives to applying road-salt on local roads.
The all-volunteer group, which is still being finalized, will study the costs of alternative de-icers and their impact on roads, bridges, and water quality. It will also examine roads in the Adirondacks to see where sunlight could be used to assist with snow and ice removal. It will identify funding sources for further studies of groundwater contamination, salt toxicity, public education, and training of state and municipal employees.
The group is expected to include members of local and state highway departments, environmental groups, local elected officials, and scientists. » Continue Reading.
Biodiversity Research Institute’s (BRI’s) Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation and the Wildlife Conservation Society’s (WCS’s) Adirondack Program have announced that three new articles summarizing research on Adirondack loons have been published in a special issue of the journal Waterbirds that is dedicated to loon research and conservation in North America. Research was conducted on the Common Loon (Gavia immer), which breeds on Adirondack lakes, by BRI and WCS in collaboration with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, SUNY ESF’s Adirondack Ecological Center, Paul Smiths Watershed Stewardship Program, and other partners.
“We are pleased to have our loon research in the Adirondack Park included in this unique publication,” Dr. Nina Schoch, Coordinator of BRI’s Adirondack Center for Loon Conservation, said in a statement to the press. “The special issue includes fifteen scientific papers highlighting loon behavior, life history and population ecology, movements and migration, habitat and landscape requirements, and the risk contaminants pose to loon populations. The publication will be a valuable resource to help guide the conservation of loon populations throughout North America.” » Continue Reading.
The Town of Bolton has agreed to purchase two forested lots wrapped in a conservation easement near Edgecomb Pond, adding another layer of protection to the source of its drinking water.
“This is a $200,000 piece of property that we’re getting for a fraction of that price. Nothing is more important than our water supply, and we’re protecting it through a wonderful partnership between the town, the Lake George Land Conservancy and a local resident,” said Bolton Supervisor Ron Conover.
The Lake George Land Conservancy’s easement on the property, which protects it from any development, reduced the price to the town by more than $100,000, said Nancy Williams, the Conservancy’s executive director. » Continue Reading.
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.
Four environmental organizations are sponsoring a forum in Plattsburgh this week on the dangers of transporting Bakken crude oil on trains through the Champlain Valley, but trains may someday be moving another hazardous fuel through the region: oil from the Canadian tar sands.
Global Companies receives Bakken crude at the Port of Albany, much of which is transported on a rail line that runs along the shore of Lake Champlain. Bakken crude is a volatile fuel that caused massive explosions when a train derailed in Quebec last year, killing forty-seven people.
Salt contamination of our streams, watersheds and aquifers from aggressive use of salt in winter road maintenance has become a major threat to the ecology of the Adirondacks, local advocates warn.
Finding ways to minimize or avoid that threat while keeping roads safe is the goal of the third annual Adirondack Winter Road Maintenance Conference, which will explore alternatives to current road salting and clearing policies at Paul Smith’s College on September 16, from 9 am to 4:30 pm.» Continue Reading.
In 1896, New York City resident Prestonia Mann purchased an Adirondack estate in Keene and set about to create a summer community based on the 1840s Massachusetts Transcendentalist utopian experiment, Brook Farm. She sent an invitation to her circle of acquaintances – mostly progressive social reformers and educators – describing the place she named Summer Brook in homage to the earlier colony:
It includes a large common hall, a cottage, and about twenty acres of land traversed by a fine trout brook. The region—at the northern end of Keene Valley—is in the noblest part of the great wilderness. The land lies 2,000 feet above the sea, upon a small plateau jutting out from among the foot-hills of Mount Hurricane, in the midst of wild and rugged scenery, commanding a splendid mountain range from Whiteface on the north to Tahawus on the south.
Unfortunately, a hotel upstream, The Willey House, was dumping all of their raw sewage into the same “fine trout brook”, known as Gulf Brook. » Continue Reading.
Since the 1970s, scientists and officials have been aware that the Lake George Waste Water Treatment plant has been discharging unacceptably high levels of nitrates through ground water, into West Brook and ultimately, into Lake George.
“Nitrates are probably the single, biggest influence on the water quality in the West Brook watershed, and the treatment plant is the single largest source of nitrates,” says Lake George Waterkeeper Chris Navitsky.
According to Navitsky, excessive levels of nitrate stimulate the growth of weeds and algae and can endanger fish life, the quality of drinking water, recreation and even human health. “Fortunately, we haven’t reached that level yet,” he said, adding that after Lake George Village completes the second phase of improvements to its waste water treatment plant, which it has committed itself to undertaking after being cited by the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation, we won’t. » 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.
Legislation passed at the bitter end of the 2014 NYS Legislative Session included a historic bill that will help transition New York to a greater focus on the prevention and interdiction of aquatic invasive species (AIS). This bill was carried by Assembly member Barbara Lifton from Ithaca and Senator Thomas O’Mara from Chemung County. Both have communities engaged in trying to stop the spread of hydrilla (hydrilla verticillata) on Cayuga Lake and elsewhere. Adirondack legislators all supported this bill and Dan Stec was one of the Assembly co-sponsors.
This bill is important for the Adirondacks because we still have many lakes and ponds that are not yet infested with AIS. While the list of infested waters grows and the number of AIS increases, we now have an important new tool to try and stop the spread. The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) finalized rules this month that prohibits the launching of boats with any visible plant or animal matter or standing water at DEC boat launches and fishing access sites. This is important but limited. This new legislation will allow the DEC to develop similar regulations for all public, private and commercial boat launches across the state. » Continue Reading.
Construction of a new laboratory at RPI’s Darrin Fresh Water Institute will begin this summer and will be completed before autumn, said RPI president Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson.
According to Jackson, RPI will finance the construction of the new lab as part of its contribution to the Jefferson Project, the program created by IBM, The Fund for Lake George and RPI to bring high technology to the study and preservation of Lake George’s water quality. » Continue Reading.
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