“Squish, squash.” I was walking gingerly on a soft, spongy carpet of sphagnum moss in a northern Vermont bog. Magenta blossoms decorated the sheep laurel shrubs that lined the edge of the open wetland – beyond them the pointed spires of balsam fir and black spruce reached towards the sky. Ahead of me, the white tufts at the ends of cotton grass waved in the breeze. I took another step. There was a sucking sound, and a cold, wet feeling as my right foot suddenly sank a couple of feet into the bog. It was challenging to get it out without falling in entirely, but I finally extricated my muddy boot and vowed to buy some high rubber boots for future wetland exploration. » Continue Reading.
Posts Tagged ‘Wetlands’
Robert McCloskey’s Make way for Ducklings is one of my favorite childhood books. I loved the way Mr. and Mrs. Mallard interacted, their seemingly endless search for the perfect nesting place, the description of classic Boston neighborhoods, and the whimsical names of their eight ducklings.
Not until I started reading the story to my own children, several years ago now, did I notice Mr. Mallard ditches Mrs. Mallard after the ducklings hatch, leaving her to tend to eight kids on her own, amid the dangers of snapping turtles and Boston traffic.
It turns out Mr. Mallard, with his handsome green head, dapper blue wing patches, and charmingly curled tail can be a bit of a scamp; male mallards will mate with just about any feathered thing that floats on water. And they’re not always nice about it. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced that several restricted Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) will be opened to the public in Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties from Saturday, August 12, through Sunday, August 27, 2017.
Portions of these WMAs are marked as “Refuge” or “Wetlands Restricted Area” to allow waterfowl and other listed species to breed and raise young without interference from people. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) has requested public comment on proposed general permit 2017-G1 entitled “Access to and Replacement of Utility Poles in Wetlands.” The draft general permit renews General Permit P2014G-2. The general permit would expedite APA approval for qualifying activities.
The APA will accept public comments until June 23, 2017. The General Permit 2017-G1 application and APA Board Resolution and Order are available for download from the Agency’s website.
The Adirondack Park Agency is proposing General Permit 2017G-1 to renew General Permit 2014-2, which authorizes regional and municipal utility companies to access and replace utility poles in wetlands and/or to establish temporary structures in wetlands to access utility poles in the Adirondack Park. The general permit will only apply where: » Continue Reading.
The College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) in Syracuse, New York partnered with the New York State Adirondack Park Agency (APA), NYNHP and Paul Smiths College to complete a two-phase EPA Wetland Protection Program Development grant. The grant was used to establish a network of long-term wetland monitoring sites to enable analysis of wetland responses to climate change.
The project fills in gaps of knowledge in Adirondack Peatlands by creating a snapshot of what these peatlands look like today and monitoring key environmental, and ecological indicators of change such as plants and animals. The project produced a network of volunteers trained to conduct long-term monitoring of wetlands, a wetland condition database, preliminary data analysis, and allowed for data distribution. » Continue Reading.
The word ‘migration’ conjures images of vast wildebeest or pronghorn herds crossing plains in unison, or hummingbirds traversing the Gulf of Mexico. When charismatic birds leave our Northeastern forests, migration is typically the explanation. But how can a group of plants disappear, without discarding leaves, stems, or other evidence of their presence?
Duckweeds are in the subfamily Lemnoideae and are the world’s smallest flowering plant. Their small oval leaves float on ponds and quiet backwaters. Root-like fibers dangle in the water. Although I’d noticed them on St. Michael’s College experimental ponds, as an entomologist, I’d never paid them close attention. Until they disappeared. » Continue Reading.
Gutter pipes full of soggy peat show up on the bench by my office each March. This means one thing: my colleague Peter Hope’s Saint Michael’s College students are about to experience time travel. You might reasonably ask how pipes filled with peat could possibly relate to time travel. What? No DeLorean, flux capacitor, or 1.21 gigawatts of electricity? To answer, we need to consider where peat comes from, and how it forms.
Peat accumulates in bogs over millennia. Decomposing plant material consumes oxygen, and sphagnum moss turns water acidic by pulling minerals from the water and releasing acid. When dead plants and moss pile up in acidic water with little oxygen, they remain more or less preserved. The resulting accumulation is called ‘peat.’ » Continue Reading.
Long before antimalarial drugs, draining the swamp was a literal human life saver. Sometime after Earth Day 1970, when over 90 percent of the country’s swamps had already been drained, people began to appreciate by their very rarity what swamps looked like, what lived there and how they functioned and benefited society. By 2017, “draining the swamp” has been trivialized into a meaningless electoral slogan. The usage of this phrase infuriates me, but someone inside my head is reminding me to “get over it.”
The actual swamps in New York are highly diverse and on a landscape or local scale contribute vitally to natural infrastructure benefiting our human communities and the more than human world we should aspire to live with. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) and the Department of Environmental Conservation are holding a joint public comment period to solicit comments regarding proposed Minimum Requirements Approach Guidance.
The guidance pertains to the construction of trail bridges on State Land classified as Wild Forest Areas in the Adirondack Park.
The APA and DEC will accept comments on the Minimum Requirements Approach Guidance until April 14, 2017. » Continue Reading.
The lack of a deep covering of snow can be a benefit to some forms of wildlife, and a detriment to others. Yet for the beaver (Castor canadensis), a limited amount of snow on the ground has little impact on this rodent’s winter routine.
Throughout the autumn, when the water around its primary lodge remains open, the beaver scours the shore near and far in search of those select woody plants on which it relies for food. These items are severed at their base and floated to the area just outside the main entrance to the family’s winter shelter and then pushed underwater as deep as possible. » Continue Reading.
Lake Placid Land Conservancy recently acquired a 135-acre habitat and open space conservation easement in the Town of Jay, that was donated by local resident Gregory Claude Fetters. The property includes approximately 44 acres of northern Appalachian-Acadian, conifer- hardwood, acidic wetlands and over 90 acres of Laurentian-Acadian pine forest.
Conservation of the property permanently protects a variety of terrestrial and aquatic habitats, and allows the property to remain available for sustainable timber harvesting and eligible for enrollment in New York’s 480-A forest tax law. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Park Agency held public hearings on Boreas Ponds at eight different locations around the state in November and December. Hundreds of people spoke, offering a potpourri of opinions. But one constant was a sea of green T-shirts bearing the slogan “I Want Wilderness.”
BeWildNY, a coalition of eight environmental groups, created the T-shirts to push the idea that Boreas Ponds should be classified as motor-free Wilderness. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will host a public information session to answer questions and provide information on a recently finalized habitat management plan for Upper and Lower Lakes Wildlife Management Area (WMA) located in DEC Region 6, Town of Canton, St. Lawrence County.
The area is located on an important waterfowl migration route between eastern Canada and the Atlantic Coast. The upland portion of the WMA consists of woodland, small blocks of conifers, shrub land, grassland, and agricultural land.
The session will take place on Thursday, December 8, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at SUNY Potsdam, in the eighth (8th) floor meeting room, Raymond Hall. The meeting will begin with an open session with DEC staff; the presentation is at 7 pm. The public will have the opportunity to ask questions during the open session and after the presentation. » Continue Reading.
We like to think that everything in nature has its own particular time and place. But nature is fond of throwing us curves. As a naturalist, a common question I’m asked during foliage season is, “why are spring peepers calling in my woods at this time of year?”
Even ardent students of nature can be stumped by the plaintive, autumnal notes of peepers; sounds that we easily recognize in the spring can seem alien when they appear out of context. Jim Andrews, Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Rubenstein School at the University of Vermont, and Vermont’s go-to expert on all things herpetological, described how autumn peepers have fooled birders. “They were trying to locate the birds that made these noises in the fall, of course, with no success.” » Continue Reading.
The Lake George Land Conservancy (LGLC) has acquired 65 acres in the Town of Putnam from Thomas and Christine Bain. The land contains wetlands and includes a significant part of the Sucker Brook marsh, which drains directly into Lake George at Glenburnie.
The acquisition is also expected to protect a large area of rare northern white cedar swamp. This habitat type is threatened statewide by development, habitat alteration, and recreational overuse, as well as invasive species, such as purple loosestrife and reedgrass. » Continue Reading.