Friday, August 27, 2010

LCBP releases $840,000 in Local Implementation Grants Opportunities

Implementation Grant programs covered in this announcement include: Pollution Prevention Grants (up to $25,000 per grant for technical projects), Aquatic Invasive Species Spread Prevention Grants (up to

$25,000 per grant for technical projects),Organizational Support Grants (up to $3,000 per grant for organization building), andEducation and Outreach Grants (up to $7,500 per grant for educational

projects). The LCBP anticipates awarding more than 45 grants, summing to more than $840,000 in 2010 to support local community involvement toward the implementation of the comprehensive management

plan Opportunities for Action: An Evolving Plan for the Future of the Lake Champlain Basin. Grant funds are anticipated through agreements with the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and Environmental

Protection Agency with appropriations supported by U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy.

 

Grant Guidelines are available in the grants section of the LCBP website atwww.lcbp.org/grants.htm with more information about how the grant program works and to help you prepare a competitive

application. Application Forms are provided in both PDF and Microsoft Word formats, for your convenience. Please review all of the materials provided within the Grant Guidelines carefully before

beginning your application. Organizations with existing LCBP-funded projects are eligible to apply for new funding only if all project deliverables and obligations under the existing and past awards are fully

up-to-date and the projects are in good standing.

 

You are encouraged to contact us at the LCBP office for assistance as you begin to develop your project. Because they do not make award decisions, our staff can help you interpret the application instructions

and guidelines.

 

Please note that completed applications must be received at the LCBP office in Grand Isle by close of business on the date noted above. We hope to have award decisions by early December 2011.

 

If you would like to receive a printed or email version of this grant, or if you would prefer not to receive these notices from the LCBP, please contact us at 802-372-3213 or grants@lcbp.org.

I look forward to seeing the 2010 applications!

 

 

Kathy Jarvis

Lake Champlain Basin Program

54 West Shore Rd

Grand Isle, VT 05458

(802) 372-3213

Fax: (802) 372-3233

kjarvis@lcbp.org

 Lllll

Spiny Waterflea

The SUNY Plattsburgh / Lake Champlain Research Institute (LCRI) field crew caught spiny waterflea in Stewart's Bridge Reservoir on Tuesday 8/17.  This is the last ponded water downstream of Great Sacandaga Lake before the Sacandaga River's final run to the Hudson.  While this find is not surprising given the presence of SWF in Great Sacandaga, we believe it to be the first documented SWF in this waterbody.  (Perhaps others know of earlier documentation?)  Note the great photo of this specimen taken at the LCRI.

 

Sampling efforts thus far this summer have NOT detected spiny waterflea in the Glens Falls Feeder Canal or the Champlain Canal, so this is good news.

 

SUNY Plattsburgh / LCRI under the direction of Tim Mihuc, PhD is conducting field sampling activities associated with the Lake Champlain Long Term Water Quality and Biological Monitoring Project under an MOU with NYDEC using funding from the Lake Champlain Basin Program.  Sampling is being conducted at the outlet dam of Stewarts Bridge Reservoir, one site on the Feeder Canal, 2 sites on the Champlain Canal, and at the 15 long term stations on Lake Champlain.

 

Fred Dunlap

NY Lake Champlain Basin Program Coordinator
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Division of Water, Region 5
1115 Rte 86   PO Box 296
Ray Brook, NY  12977
ph: 518-897-1241     fax: 518-897-1245
email: fddunlap@gw.dec.state.ny.us

 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Asian Clam Positively Identified in Lake George

Lake George, N.Y. - The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Darrin Fresh Water Institute (DFWI) has discovered a new invasive fresh water clam species in Lake George. This species, found last week by DFWI student Jeremy Farrell, was located in the Village of Lake George and poses a serious threat to native mussels and the Lake George ecosystem, according to Sandra Nierzwicki-Bauer, director of DFWI.

Nierzwicki-Bauer said the species - Corbicula fluminea - is an invasive clam from Asia, capable of self fertilization, achieving densities of thousands per square meter, and crowding native species from their typical habitats. Commonly known as the Asian clam, it is a light brown triangular clam that can survive in fresh and brackish waters. If the invasion is a localized one, it may be possible to eradicate, she added. The dominant native mussel in Lake George is Elliptio complanata. 

"It is imperative that we move quickly to determine the extent of this infestation to assess the best treatment options that can be undertaken immediately," said Nierzwicki-Bauer, who is also a professor of biology at Rensselaer. "We have reached out to the regulatory agencies to assess all our options."

The Lake George environmental organizations have contracted to bring in an expert in invertebrate biology and scientific SCUBA: Dan Marelli, from Florida. He has worked with DFWI scientists for over 15 years to help coordinate SCUBA surveys, and he will direct new surveys that will be carried out by FUND for Lake George, DFWI, Bateaux Below Inc., and volunteer divers. Immediate plans include a survey of the shallow and embayment areas to establish the extent of infestation. Possible eradication or management strategies include use of a benthic barrier, essentially a plastic mat that could "smother" the clams, suction harvesting, or a combination of these methods. Currently, benthic mats are being used on a one-acre area in Lake Tahoe, Calif., to help manage the infestation there. Preliminary field work by DFWI staff indicates that a minimum of 2.5 acres in Lake George is infested. 

The environmental groups will be coordinating with the Adirondack Park Agency and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation. 

An initial plan of action has been organized to complete a SCUBA survey during the next two weeks to determine the geographical range of the infestation. This will involve surveys by divers of the lake bottom sediment. Other nearby areas with suitable habitat will be surveyed soon. Initial surveys will be supervised by Marelli. Once the extent of the infestation has been quantified, either a management or eradication strategy will be determined. The initial survey work will utilize the eight-diver crew of Aquatic Invasives Management (AIM) of Lake Placid, which is currently working in Lake George on management of Eurasian watermilfoil, under a contract with the FUND for Lake George.

Peter Bauer, executive director of the FUND for Lake George, said, "This is the newest invader to be found in Lake George. We've long had Eurasian watermilfoil and curlyleaf pond weed, as well as zebra mussels. We've seen a few plants of Brittle Naiad, too. We don't know the current extent of the Asian clam infestation, but if we're lucky maybe this is an isolated infestation in Lake George that we caught early."

Once field investigations are completed, further information on the extent of the infestation will be provided.

"It is now most important that we pull together with other organizations and the public to mount a rapid and effective response to this disturbing discovery," said Bruce E. Young, chairman of the Lake George Park Commission. "The community should be reassured that steps are under way to assess the extent of the Asian clam colony and if possible, eradicate it."

"While the discovery of an established Asian clam population in the lake was not good news to hear, the good news is that all the groups involved are taking swift action and rallying the troops.  We are all divvying up the tasks, and LGA is heading up public outreach. It is very important to spread the word to area boaters and business owners, as we do not want the clam to spread further within our own lake or to other nearby bodies of water as well. We will be providing educational materials about the Asian clam and its spread to boaters, businesses, and residents all around the lake in the next few days," said Walt Lender, executive director, Lake George Association.

"It will take a concerted partnership effort to address Asian clam in Lake George. Key partners have already begun the rapid response process to survey, evaluate, and determine feasible control and spread prevention options. The Lake Champlain Basin Program will assist management efforts in any way possible as this species affects not only Lake George but the entire Lake Champlain Basin watershed and beyond," said Meg Modley, Aquatic Invasive Species management coordinator, Lake Champlain Basin Program.

Background on Corbicula fluminea

Asian clams (Corbicula fluminea) are native to South East Asia and were first documented on the west coast of the United States in 1938. Since then they have spread to over 40 states. Asian clams are small, averaging less than 25mm (1.5 inches) with an oval triangular shape, deep at the hinge. Its outer shell is yellow brown, light brown to black with distinctive elevated, evenly spaced concentric ridges on the surface. 

The Asian clam is a very hardy and persistent freshwater mollusk, capable of rapid growth and spread. The Asian clam prefers to colonize on sandy substrates in quiet, warmer, sunlit waters, and can be found with one-third of its shell protruding above the substrate (although it has been found at water depths to 250 feet and within the sediment buried up to 7 inches in Lake Tahoe).  Asian clams can form dense clusters, with up to 5,000 animals per square meter. Asian clams are able to withstand freezing conditions, but their ability to reproduce decreases with exposure to lower temperatures (below 10oC/50oF).  For a long time, New England was considered environmentally inhospitable to the Asian clam.

The Asian clam is hermaphroditic and therefore capable of self-fertilization. A single clam can release over 400 offspring per day, depending on the conditions. The microscopic pediveligers (the final veliger or larval stage) travel along the substrate to a new location, attaching with byssus fibers to any available suitable substrate. The young that are hatched in the spring usually attain maturity by the fall (at 6-10 mm) and live an average of two to four years, with a maximum life span of seven years.  

Geoffrey Schladow, director of the Tahoe Environmental Research Center of the University of California, Davis, said the Asian clams promote so much algae growth that they can turn some waters from blue to green. As they filter the water and consume plankton, they deposit high concentrations of nutrients in their excretions. Another significant impact of the Asian clams infestations is the "biofouling" or the impairment or degradation of intake pipes for power plants and drinking water treatment systems.

Contacts:

Mark Marchand
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
518-276-6098
marchm3@rpi.edu

Peter Bauer, executive director
Fund for Lake George
518.668.9700 x 304
Cell: 518.796.0112
pbauer@fundforlakegeorge.org 

Mike White, executive director
Lake George Park Commission
518.668.9347 x13
mike@lgpc.state.ny.us 

C. Walter Lender, executive director
Lake George Association
518.668.3558
wlender@lakegeorgeassociation.org

Asian Clam Positively Identified in Lake George

Lake George, N.Y. - The Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Darrin Fresh Water Institute (DFWI) has discovered a new invasive fresh water clam species in Lake George. This species, found last week by DFWI student Jeremy Farrell, was located in the Village of Lake George and poses a serious threat to native mussels and the Lake George ecosystem, according to Sandra Nierzwicki-Bauer, director of DFWI.

Nierzwicki-Bauer said the species - Corbicula fluminea - is an invasive clam from Asia, capable of self fertilization, achieving densities of thousands per square meter, and crowding native species from their typical habitats. Commonly known as the Asian clam, it is a light brown triangular clam that can survive in fresh and brackish waters. If the invasion is a localized one, it may be possible to eradicate, she added. The dominant native mussel in Lake George is Elliptio complanata. 

"It is imperative that we move quickly to determine the extent of this infestation to assess the best treatment options that can be undertaken immediately," said Nierzwicki-Bauer, who is also a professor of biology at Rensselaer. "We have reached out to the regulatory agencies to assess all our options."

The Lake George environmental organizations have contracted to bring in an expert in invertebrate biology and scientific SCUBA: Dan Marelli, from Florida. He has worked with DFWI scientists for over 15 years to help coordinate SCUBA surveys, and he will direct new surveys that will be carried out by FUND for Lake George, DFWI, Bateaux Below Inc., and volunteer divers. Immediate plans include a survey of the shallow and embayment areas to establish the extent of infestation. Possible eradication or management strategies include use of a benthic barrier, essentially a plastic mat that could "smother" the clams, suction harvesting, or a combination of these methods. Currently, benthic mats are being used on a one-acre area in Lake Tahoe, Calif., to help manage the infestation there. Preliminary field work by DFWI staff indicates that a minimum of 2.5 acres in Lake George is infested. 

The environmental groups will be coordinating with the Adirondack Park Agency and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation. 

An initial plan of action has been organized to complete a SCUBA survey during the next two weeks to determine the geographical range of the infestation. This will involve surveys by divers of the lake bottom sediment. Other nearby areas with suitable habitat will be surveyed soon. Initial surveys will be supervised by Marelli. Once the extent of the infestation has been quantified, either a management or eradication strategy will be determined. The initial survey work will utilize the eight-diver crew of Aquatic Invasives Management (AIM) of Lake Placid, which is currently working in Lake George on management of Eurasian watermilfoil, under a contract with the FUND for Lake George.

Peter Bauer, executive director of the FUND for Lake George, said, "This is the newest invader to be found in Lake George. We've long had Eurasian watermilfoil and curlyleaf pond weed, as well as zebra mussels. We've seen a few plants of Brittle Naiad, too. We don't know the current extent of the Asian clam infestation, but if we're lucky maybe this is an isolated infestation in Lake George that we caught early."

Once field investigations are completed, further information on the extent of the infestation will be provided.

"It is now most important that we pull together with other organizations and the public to mount a rapid and effective response to this disturbing discovery," said Bruce E. Young, chairman of the Lake George Park Commission. "The community should be reassured that steps are under way to assess the extent of the Asian clam colony and if possible, eradicate it."

"While the discovery of an established Asian clam population in the lake was not good news to hear, the good news is that all the groups involved are taking swift action and rallying the troops.  We are all divvying up the tasks, and LGA is heading up public outreach. It is very important to spread the word to area boaters and business owners, as we do not want the clam to spread further within our own lake or to other nearby bodies of water as well. We will be providing educational materials about the Asian clam and its spread to boaters, businesses, and residents all around the lake in the next few days," said Walt Lender, executive director, Lake George Association.

"It will take a concerted partnership effort to address Asian clam in Lake George. Key partners have already begun the rapid response process to survey, evaluate, and determine feasible control and spread prevention options. The Lake Champlain Basin Program will assist management efforts in any way possible as this species affects not only Lake George but the entire Lake Champlain Basin watershed and beyond," said Meg Modley, Aquatic Invasive Species management coordinator, Lake Champlain Basin Program.

Background on Corbicula fluminea

Asian clams (Corbicula fluminea) are native to South East Asia and were first documented on the west coast of the United States in 1938. Since then they have spread to over 40 states. Asian clams are small, averaging less than 25mm (1.5 inches) with an oval triangular shape, deep at the hinge. Its outer shell is yellow brown, light brown to black with distinctive elevated, evenly spaced concentric ridges on the surface. 

The Asian clam is a very hardy and persistent freshwater mollusk, capable of rapid growth and spread. The Asian clam prefers to colonize on sandy substrates in quiet, warmer, sunlit waters, and can be found with one-third of its shell protruding above the substrate (although it has been found at water depths to 250 feet and within the sediment buried up to 7 inches in Lake Tahoe).  Asian clams can form dense clusters, with up to 5,000 animals per square meter. Asian clams are able to withstand freezing conditions, but their ability to reproduce decreases with exposure to lower temperatures (below 10oC/50oF).  For a long time, New England was considered environmentally inhospitable to the Asian clam.

The Asian clam is hermaphroditic and therefore capable of self-fertilization. A single clam can release over 400 offspring per day, depending on the conditions. The microscopic pediveligers (the final veliger or larval stage) travel along the substrate to a new location, attaching with byssus fibers to any available suitable substrate. The young that are hatched in the spring usually attain maturity by the fall (at 6-10 mm) and live an average of two to four years, with a maximum life span of seven years.  

Geoffrey Schladow, director of the Tahoe Environmental Research Center of the University of California, Davis, said the Asian clams promote so much algae growth that they can turn some waters from blue to green. As they filter the water and consume plankton, they deposit high concentrations of nutrients in their excretions. Another significant impact of the Asian clams infestations is the "biofouling" or the impairment or degradation of intake pipes for power plants and drinking water treatment systems.

Contacts:

Mark Marchand
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
518-276-6098
marchm3@rpi.edu

Peter Bauer, executive director
Fund for Lake George
518.668.9700 x 304
Cell: 518.796.0112
pbauer@fundforlakegeorge.org 

Mike White, executive director
Lake George Park Commission
518.668.9347 x13
mike@lgpc.state.ny.us 

C. Walter Lender, executive director
Lake George Association
518.668.3558
wlender@lakegeorgeassociation.org

France to Drain Glacial Lake That Threatens Thousands - Discovery News

http://news.discovery.com/earth/france-to-drain-glacial-lake-that-threatens-thousands.html

2075873984_b4bbd9c28a

French engineers are prepping to drain a dangerous lake hidden underneath a glacier on Mont Blanc before the lake breaches its icy confines and floods the Saint Gervais valley, home to 3,000 people.

Valley residents are well acquainted with the raw power of glacial outbursts from Mont Blanc. In 1892, a lake broke through its frozen container, surged into the valley and killed 175 people.

To prevent a repeat of this catastrophe, French authorities are responding quickly to the threat. Scientists first noted a cavity of water below the mountain-top glacier in March, but the magnitude of the lake was only discovered in July. 

Researchers believe the lake contains 2,275,000 cubic feet of water -- comparable to the amount of water released during the 1892 flood. If it bursts, it could inundate the valley in less than half an hour.

Melting of the overlying Tete-Rousse glacier, probably due to rising temperatures in the region, created this secret lethal lake. In other parts of the world, such as Iceland, glacial lakes often form due to volcanic activity.

In each case, the surrounding glacier acts as a temporary dam on the water. But it can easily crumble or, with enough water pressure, float up off the bedrock and release a torrent on the valley below. Icelanders are so used to these violent events that they've given them a name: "jokulhlaup."

As glaciers recede in many parts of the world, various monitoring programs have been set up to watch for potential jokulhlaups, including one in the Alps which spotted the Mount Blanc lake.

This is the first attempt to defuse a jokulhlaup, and pumping the water out of the massive lake is a complicated, risky project. "They have to drill between 40-50 meters (131-164 feet) of ice before reaching the water cavity. We are about 3,200 meters (roughly 10,500 feet) high; there's no road, only helicopter access and it's also an area prone to avalanches," Nicolas Karr, a member of France's National Forests Office told the BBC in an interview.

It is unclear how much of the lake engineers plan to drain. Even pumping out a small fraction of it will significantly reduce the stress on the overlying glacial cap, and the chance of a flood. Authorities are still not sure where the drained water will go. 

Image: girolame, Flickr


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Tour Operators, Israel Reject Claims That Jordan River Is Unsafe for Baptisms

Operators of tours to the Holy Land are defending their services, yet proceeding with caution, in response to reports that one of the holiest sites in Christendom may pose serious health concerns.

Israeli officials are reassuring Christian pilgrims that the Jordan River, where many Christians go to be baptized, poses no health risk, despite reports from environmentalists that the waters are dangerously polluted.

The environmentalist group Friends of the Earth contends that high levels of coliform bacteria from sewage in the river have made it unsafe for bathing. But water tests released this week prove otherwise, Eli Dror of Israel's Nature and Parks Authority told Reuters.

"There's absolutely no problem with the quality of the water. People can come and baptize here as much as they want, I guarantee it," Dror said.

Israeli officials strongly denied any problem and pointed out that they had received no health complaints.

Tour operators, meanwhile, said they were not alarmed by the report.

"This destination has increased in popularity in the last few years, and [the baptisms] are such a small component of our tour that people focus on a lot of other things," Lael Kassis of Go Ahead Tours said. 

"Israel has a religious history dating back thousands of years, so people will go for the incredible history and culture. And parts of the river are cleaner than others, so I don't hear any comments."

The Lower Jordan is a murky stream cut off from its source in the Sea of Galilee by the needs of towns and agribusiness and topped with waste water and runoff. But Israeli officials and tour providers say they work hard to provide a safe experience for people coming to be baptized in the river, and they say Friends of the Earth's claims should not scare visitors away.

"This site is one of the most important, most holy sites of the Christian people and they come from all over the world, so we're investing a lot of money to prepare it," Raphael Ben-Hur, an official with the Senior Ministry of Tourism, told Reuters. "It would be crazy to allow pilgrims to immerse themselves in pollution."

Jocelyn Pimm, managing director of Worldwide Christian Travel, agrees.

"People go just to be baptized in the River Jordan so the site is well-managed, specially designated for baptism with proper facilities, and I've never had complaints about pollution," Pimm said. "We have more people traveling to Israel now than we have ever had."

She said people will continue to go to the river regardless of the pollution reports, because there are so many historical and religious aspects to the pilgrimage.

"People will go just go to see the site without being baptized," Pimm said. "One person in about every 10 groups asks to be baptized. It's a very small number."

But Friends of the Earth insists the Jordan River is no place for a baptism.

"We've known for a long time that these waters are not healthy," Friends of the Earth's Gidon Bromberg told Reuters. "For most of the year they are four times more polluted than Israeli standards would permit.

"People who baptize in these waters presently, if they have a cut in their skin, could quickly develop a rash. If they swallow any of the water they could develop a stomach upset and start vomiting," he said.

Friends of the Earth alleged that competition for tourism may have persuaded Israeli authorities to bend health norms in the interest of keeping the industry booming there. But Dror said the group's health risk allegation was a scare campaign designed to promote its wider agenda -- to get Israel and Jordan to restore a third of the river's inflow from Galilee and return the river to better health.

"Of course it could be much better," Dror told Reuters. "But we need the water. We don't have any other choice."

Dror, referring to water quality assessment statistics, explained that the Lower Jordan contains large quantities of saline water from the upper Galilee, farm runoff, water from fish farms and partially treated sewage from a buried pipe -- but not "raw sewage" as charged by environmentalists.

Source: FoxNews.com