Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Using Gypsum to Contain Phosphorus on Farm Fields

Curbing fertilizer runoff a challenge

By JD Malone & Laura Arenschield

While many farmers employ what are thought to be best practices to keep fertilizers from running off their fields and feeding huge algae blooms in lakes, including Erie, scientists are working on novel ways to curb the problem.

New ideas include spreading gypsum to better hold phosphorus in fields and creating farm-area flood plains with plants that gobble up the fertilizers before they reach waterways.

The issue came to the forefront in August when Toledo was forced to shut off its water system for two days when it became tainted with toxic algae from Lake Erie.

“Hopefully, this is a wake-up call,” said Eugene Braig, program director for aquatic ecosystems at Ohio State University. “These are big problems that are difficult to manage.”

The Ohio legislature passed a bill in November that made an age-old practice of spreading manure on frozen fields illegal. The bill also forced farmers to become certified before spreading fertilizer, but that regulation doesn’t go into full effect until 2017.

Read the rest of the story, including a discussion of the science, in The Columbus Dispatch

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Nutrient Sensor Challenge Launched

A group of federal agencies and private partners have announced the Nutrient Sensor Challenge. The goal is to support efforts to create affordable, accurate and reliable sensors. The challenge will provide the organizations that participate with laboratory and field verification and help them showcase their innovation.The challenge will help accelerate the development of sensors that can be deployed in the environment to measure nutrients in our country's waterways. Its goal is to have new, affordable sensors up and running by 2017.


The challenge is for a sensor or sensors that:
  • Measures dissolved nitrate and/or phosphate
  • Provides real-time data
  • Easy to Use
  • Less than $5,000 purchase price
  • Unattended deployment for up to 3 months
  • Highly accurate and precise
  Read more about the Nutrient Challenge at EPA Connect and read the announcement/challenge at the Alliance for Coastal Technologies
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Sources: Water Headlines, EPA Connect and Alliance for Coastal Technologies

Cyanobacteria May Be Linked to ALS

Medical researchers are now uncovering clues that appear to link some cases of ALS to people’s proximity to lakes and coastal waters.


For 28 years, Bill Gilmore lived in a New Hampshire beach town, where he surfed and kayaked. “I’ve been in water my whole life,” he said. “Before the ocean, it was lakes. I’ve been a water rat since I was four.”

Now Gilmore can no longer swim, fish or surf, let alone button a shirt or lift a fork to his mouth. Earlier this year, he was diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

In New England, medical researchers are now uncovering clues that appear to link some cases of the lethal neurological disease to people’s proximity to lakes and coastal waters.

About five years ago, doctors at a New Hampshire hospital noticed a pattern in their ALS patients—many of them, like Gilmore, lived near water. Since then, researchers at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center have identified several ALS hot spots in lake and coastal communities in New England, and they suspect that toxic blooms of blue-green algae—which are becoming more common worldwide—may play a role.

Now scientists are investigating whether breathing a neurotoxin produced by the algae may raise the risk of the disease. They have a long way to go, however: While the toxin does seem to kill nerve cells, no research, even in animals, has confirmed the link to ALS.

. . .

Read the entire story at Scientific American
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Source: Lindsey Konkel and Environmental Health News

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Safe Drinking Water Act Turns 40 - EPA to Celebrate with a Twitter Chat

December 16 Twitterchat: 40th Anniversary of the Safe Drinking Water Act

On Tuesday, December 16 at 1 p.m. EST, the Office of Water will hold a Twitter chat featuring Peter Grevatt, the director of the Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water. The chat will explore the accomplishments of the past 40 years under the Safe Drinking Water Act and the challenges that lie ahead.

To participate, tweet @EPAwater and use the hashtag #safetodrink.

For more information about the Safe Drinking Water Act and 40th Anniversary, please visit: http://www2.epa.gov/safedrinkingwater40.

A Plastic Problem in the Chesapeake

"Maybe you’ve heard of “micro plastics.” They’re created when plastic products eventually break down into tiny particles that drift in our ocean waters and can be eaten by fish and other wildlife. They’re a big problem globally, as is trash from plastic products in general. As much as 80 percent of trash in the ocean comes from sources on land, and up to 60 percent of this trash is plastic.
I got an offer from two conservation groups to tag along as they trawled the upper Chesapeake Bay waters to assess the extent of plastics pollution. As an oceanographer, I always cherish the days that I get to take my off my tie and get back out on the bay, so I was eager to join them.

I predicted that we wouldn’t find much. My theory was that the Chesapeake Bay is too dynamic, with its constant tides, winds and currents, as opposed to the somewhat quiet open ocean circulation patterns that can concentrate plastics pollution.
I was wrong."

Read Jeff Corbin's article about micro-plastics in the Chesapeake.
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source: Jeff Corbin, US EPA
EPA CONNECT

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

EPA is Accepting Proposals for the 2014 Environmental Education Grants Program


Proposals for the initial stage of the 2014 Environmental Education (EE) Grants Program are now being accepted. This year, EPA intends to issue two Requests for Proposals (RFP) under the EE Grants Program; the EE Model Grants RFP is now available for viewing. Proposals under the 2014 EE Model Grants RFP are now being accepted through February 2, 2015. Three grants, for approximately $192,200 each, will be awarded under this RFP.

Under the EE Model Grants RFP, EPA seeks grant proposals to support EE projects that promote environmental awareness and stewardship. Projects under this RFP will help provide people with the skills to take responsible actions to protect the environment. Proposals must include projects that design, demonstrate, and/or disseminate model EE practices, methods, or techniques. Each funded proposal must demonstrate replicability by locating and conducting the project in more than one state or U.S. territory during the project period.

EPA anticipates releasing an additional RFP under the 2014 EE Grants Program in early winter, for local grants that will be awarded by EPA regional offices. Visit the 2014 EE Grants Program webpage for details on how to apply.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Comments sought on NYS DEC's Draft Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) strategy

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has released its Draft Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) strategy to prevent the introduction and spread of AIS in New York State for public comment. Comments will be accepted through December 15.

Aquatic Invasive Species threaten the ecology of New York waters and can harm water-based recreational opportunities and economies critical to the Adirondack region. New York is particularly vulnerable to AIS due to its vast marine and fresh water resources, major commercial ports and the easy access that ocean-going vessels have to the Great Lakes via the State’s canal system. Managing an infestation is extremely costly, so prevention is the most cost-effective strategy.


This Strategic Plan updates DEC’s “Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Management Plan,” which was written in 1993. The draft plan includes more than 50 actions designed to address prevention, detection, and response to AIS. Proposed actions identified in the strategy include:
  • Expand the boat launch steward program statewide;
  • Develop an AIS response framework to guide decision making when AIS are detected, and communicate the reasoning for the response selected;
  • Implement an AIS public awareness campaign and evaluate its effectiveness in reaching target audiences;
  • Expand the use of AIS disposal stations at waterway access sites;
  • Establish regional “first responder” AIS teams to incorporate local expertise in planning and implementing appropriate AIS responses; and
  • Identify and evaluate risks associated with pathways for AIS introduction and movement within New York.
Aquatic invasive species arrive by many pathways including direct introduction, live animal trade, the nursery and landscape trade, fishing and recreational boating and cargo transportation.

The Draft Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan can be viewed on DEC’s website. Public comments will be accepted through December 15th. You can send comments to the address below or email them – enter “AIS Management Plan” in the subject line.

Philip Hulbert
NYSDEC Division of Fish, Wildlife, and Marine Resources
625 Broadway, 5th Floor
Albany, New York 12233-4753
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Source: Adirondack Almanac

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Help us reach 100 Likes on Facebook

Please help us reach 100 likes - Share this page with friends and colleagues. https://www.facebook.com/lakestewardship

Watershed Academy Webcast on Climate Resilience

Join the US Environmental Protection Agency for a webcast on Oct. 29 from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm EDT on "Climate Resilience: What to Expect. How to Prepare, and What You Can Learn from Others."  This webcast will share findings from the most recent National Climate Assessment report concerning climate change and water resources. It will also discuss a new workbook called Being Prepared for Climate Change: A Workbook for Developing Risk-Based Adaptation Plans which EPA developed to help communities prepare for climate change impacts. It will also highlight how the workbook has been used in a pilot project with the San Juan Bay Estuary program. Take home messages from the webcast include: climate impacts on U.S. water resources, risk-based adaptation planning and decision-making tools and lessons learned from the pilot project.  Register for the webcast to learn more about climate resilience.
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Source: Water Headlines

Friday, October 17, 2014

NY SeaGrant releases Watercraft Inspection Steward Program Handbook for preventing spread of aquatic invasive species

PRESS RELEASE: October 16, 2014
Contacts:
. Author Mary Penney, New York Sea Grant, 315-312-3042
. Cornell University Cooperative Extension Invasive Species Programs Coordinator Chuck O’Neill, 585-831-6165
. For Photos/Assistance: Publicist Kara Lynn Dunn, 315-465-7578, karalynn@gisco.net
. Additional contacts listed at end of release

Direct link to handbook: www.nyseagrant.org/articles/r/2515

New York State Watercraft Inspection Steward Program Handbook Now Available to Start New Programs, Standardize Training

Ithaca/Oswego, NY. October 15, 2014.   New York Sea Grant Extension and the Cornell University Cooperative Extension Invasive Species Program have published a New York State Watercraft Inspection Steward Program Handbook. The 81-page, illustrated guide is the standardized model for starting new watercraft inspection programs and includes a Watercraft Inspection Steward Training and Field Guide section.
‘This new steward program development handbook is an important tool for use in fighting the running battle with aquatic invasive species,’ says Chuck O’Neill, New York State Invasive Species Clearinghouse Director and Cornell University Extension Invasive Species Program Coordinator.
O’Neill defines aquatic invasive species, also called AIS, as non-native fish, plants, and microorganisms that are likely to cause harm to the economy, environment or human health in the area where they are introduced.

The goal of watercraft inspection is to prevent and slow the spread of AIS.
‘Recreational boating is a known vector by which AIS hitchhike into new waters,’ O’Neill says.
Invasive Species Coordination Unit Coordinator David J. Adams of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, says, ‘Aquatic invasive species are a form of non-native, invasive biological pollution that are severely damaging New York’s natural resources. Movement of AIS between waters harms our environment and economy. This new resource, the New York State Watercraft Inspection Steward Program Handbook, will encourage and support local stewardship of the waters of the State and help mitigate the impact of invasive species.’

Watercraft inspection stewards, also known as boat, lake, and watershed stewards, play a critical role in AIS management.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

NEIPMC Releases Partnership Grant RFA for 2015

The Northeastern IPM Center has released its RFA for the 2015 Partnership Grants Program! Up to $400,000 is available, with a maximum of $50,000 per award. Projects should foster the development and adoption of integrated pest management (IPM) methods under three types of grants: IPM Working Groups, IPM Issues, and Regional IPM Communications. Areas of focus for this year include: Wicked Biological Problems, Synergizing IPM and Organic, Rural and Urban IPM, Climate Change and Pests, and Advanced Production Systems. Please see http://www.northeastipm.org/rfa/partnership for details and a link to the complete RFA.

Applications must be submitted online by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, November 20, 2014. Please note this is an earlier date than originally noted in our Fall IPM Insights.

Public and private institutions, organizations, businesses, commodity groups, and individuals may apply. Projects must involve multiple states and should be of benefit to the region at large or a significant portion of it. Project Directors must reside in the Northeast or provide sufficient justification for seeking funds from outside their own region. Co-PDs may be from outside the region.

We look forward to your submission!

Linda Madeo
Partnerships Coordinator
(607) 254-1535

Green Snot taking over the world’s rivers

A strange green organism has spread around the globe, clogging up the world's rivers


Presented by Larry O'Hanlon
Has Didymo always been in the rivers of British Columbia?

It began with a few small strange patches of slime, clinging to the rocks of the Heber River in Canada. Within a year, the patches had become thick, blooming mats. Within a few years the mats had grown into a giant green snot. And within a few decades this snot had spread around the world, clogging up rivers as far away as South America, Europe and Australasia.

This snot, which is still flourishing today, is caused by a microscopic alga, a diatom that goes by its scientific name Didymosphenia geminata. It has become so notorious it has its own moniker, Didymo. People have been blamed for the sudden, global explosion of this tiny organism, unwittingly carrying the algae from river to river on fishing gear, boats and kayaks. The huge snots it forms have wreaked havoc in waterways, forcing governments and environmental organisations to initiate huge and costly clean-up operations.

But underlying the snots’ strange appearance is an even stranger story. About Didymo itself, about what it is, and how it behaves.

Scientists are now discovering that the sudden appearance of Didymo may not have been so sudden after all.

River users are told to help stop Didymo.

 Its blooms aren’t really blooms – instead they are more of an elixir-induced metamorphosis. And Didymo seems to ignore the usual rules followed by invasive species. It even appears likely that this little diatom may not even be a significant problem itself; instead the green snot it forms may be a symptom of greater changes underway in freshwater systems around the world.

Friday, August 08, 2014

How Invasive Species Changed the Great Lakes Forever

"June 1, 1988, the day everything changed for the Great Lakes, was sunny, hot and mostly calm — perfect weather for the young researchers from the University of Windsor who were hunting for critters crawling across the bottom of Lake St. Clair."

So begins the article by Dan Egan of the Journal Sentinel about the "Watershed Moment" that changed the Great Lakes forever. This extensive article discusses how aquatic invasive species entered the Great Lakes System and changed the ecosystem, and what can begun to protect against future invaders.

This article is the first of four parts. Read all of the parts using these links:
  1. How invasive species changed the Great Lakes forever June 1, 1988 is the day everything changed for the Great Lakes — the day it began to dawn on researchers that the lakes were in for a massive invasion.
  2. Formidable invasive species won’t be easy to keep out of Great Lakes How do you protect the Great Lakes from being invaded by exotic organisms hitchhiking in the bowels of overseas freighters? With great difficulty.
  3. Park chief put foot down on invasive species. Can others follow suit? A national park superintendent issued a tough edict to the park’s Lake Superior ferry captain: Shape up the ship, or don’t sail. Can the government do the same?
  4. Leaping out of the lakes: Invasive mussels spread across America How quagga mussels put a serious bite on a Wisconsin man moving a boat across the West.

New Invasive Aquatic Plant Management Guide available

A new resource is available for lake stewards and managers: Maine Citizens' Guide to Invasive Aquatic Plant Management. It covers readiness assessment, determining the best manual control strategy, hiring staff, developing an action plan, and much more. Plus, provides a number of case studies.
"Once an infestation has been confirmed, rapid response is crucial. The prospects for effective management or even eradication, is greatly increased by swift, well-planned, and properly executed controls. The purpose of the Citizens’ Guide to Invasive Aquatic Plant Management is to provide the information necessary to effectively manage invasive aquatic plant (IAP) populations; to prepare for such an eventuality; and to address all associated activities. Methods described in this Guide are based upon tested best management practices for controlling aquatic plants effectively and in a manner that protects wildlife and habitat." (Maine VLMP)

Visit Maine's Volunteer Lake Assessment Program's Citizen's Guide web page for more information and to download the PDF version of the Guide.
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Source: Jacolyn Bailey, Project Director at Maine Milfoil Initiative / Saint Joseph's College

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Invasive Spiny Water Flea Headed To Lake Champlain

by Editorial Staff, Adirondack Almanac

A mass of spiny water fleas foul up line on a fishing rod
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.

Spiny water fleas are a nuisance as they attach to fish lines and leaders. Clumping on lines, they foul the eyes on fishing poles. Also, when the spiny water flea population explodes, it consumes large amounts of native plankton on which walleye, perch and many other species of fish rely on each year during early stages of their development. The spiny water flea is itself protected by its long spiny tail from being eaten by fish smaller than about two inches in length. This spiny tail may also puncture the stomachs of juvenile fish who feed on them.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Lake Stewardship on Instagram

Follow us on Instagram @lake_stewardship to see beautiful photos of lakes and photos of lake stewardship in action


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Microbeads in Soap are Bad for Water Quality

Those tiny exfoliating beads found in face scrubs and other concoctions are made of plastic. Like all plastic, they don't break down in the environment and now we've found that they are bad for the lake environment. Illinois has banned microbeads in soaps because they are getting into the food chain of the Great Lakes.

Learn more by reading:

EPA and FDA Update on Fish Consumption

EPA and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have issued updated draft advice on fish consumption. The two agencies have concluded pregnant and breastfeeding women, those who might become pregnant, and young children should eat more fish that is lower in mercury in order to gain important developmental and health benefits. The updated draft advice is consistent with recommendations in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Previously, the FDA and the EPA recommended maximum amounts of fish that these population groups should consume, but did not promote a minimum amount. Over the past decade, however, emerging science has underscored the importance of appropriate amounts of fish in the diets of pregnant and breastfeeding women, and young children.

Read more at EPA's Fish Consumption Advisory Page
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Source Water Headlines

Sunday, June 08, 2014

WaterSense Announces Notice of Intent to Develop Landscape Irrigation Sprinkler Specification

To help increase outdoor water efficiency, EPA is announcing its intent to develop a WaterSense specification for landscape irrigation sprinklers. With this announcement, EPA is releasing a notice of intent that describes the performance criteria WaterSense is considering including in a draft specification, as well as the technical issues that still need to be more fully defined and resolved.

 
Source: brazos.com
If you have comments or suggestions on the process for developing a WaterSense specification for landscape irrigation sprinklers, please send them to watersense-products@erg.com by July 28, 2014.
 
Please contact the WaterSense Helpline at watersense@epa.gov or (866) WTR-SENS (987-7367) if you plan to submit any data that need to be handled as confidential business information (CBI). Please note that all CBI should be submitted in hard copy and not electronically. All comments, except data claimed as CBI, become a part of the public record.
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Source: Water Headlines
 
 

Saturday, June 07, 2014

New NY Law for Aquatic Invasives: Boaters Using DEC Lands to Launch Watercraft Now Required to Clean

NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has adopted new regulations requiring removal of all animal and plant matter and draining boats, holding wells, and equipment before launch and after launch. The law took effect Wed. June 4 and applies to all DEC boat launches, fishing access sites, and any other DEC lands where watercraft such as boats, kayaks, and canoes can be launched.

Here is the link to the regulations: http://www.dec.ny.gov/regulations/propregulations.html

And here is a link to DEC's online spread prevention information: http:/www.dec.ny.gov/animals/48221.html

Friday, June 06, 2014

Despite good snowpack in Rockies, Lake Mead level still expected to drop

Is Lake Mead half empty or half full? Either way the 14 year drought has raised concerns as discussed in this article from the Las Vegas Sun. (Editor)
 
 
Lake Mead is drying up. At the rate we use water in the valley, the reservoir — the largest in the country — could be drained and arid by 2050.
White mineral deposits encircle Lake Mead - www.nbcnews.com
Thirty years ago, a seemingly endless supply of water rushed down the Colorado River, into Lake Mead and out of our faucets.
Today, 14 years into a drought that has left the valley parched, our reservoirs are less than half full.
 
Why? Climate change and use. The effects of global warming have been devastating. Snowfall in the Rocky Mountains, which feeds the Colorado River, is only slightly above average this year. And Las Vegans have become accustomed to green lawns, lush golf courses, decadent fountains and leisurely showers.
 
The feds are expected to declare a water shortage for the West some time in the next two years. Las Vegas has conserved enough to be spared from that edict, but for how long? If the drought persists, the seven states that share the Colorado River will have to find new sources of water and new ways to survive.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Freshwater May Contribute More Methane Gas To Environment Than Previously Measured

Bubbles coming from freshwater sources, new research suggests, may be a key and currently unaccounted for source of methane, the second-largest greenhouse gas contributor to human-driven global climate change.

In a May 16 paper published in the journal Global Change Biology, University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate student John Crawford and his colleagues, including his advisor Emily Stanley, a UW-Madison professor in the Department of Zoology and the Center for Limnology, show freshwater may be contributing more methane gas to the environment than has previously been measured.

The work has the potential to change how climate scientists and others determine the greenhouse gas budget. It also has implications for agricultural regions, where nitrogen and sulfur-based runoff may impact local methane production.
"There have been recent suggestions that freshwater streams, rivers and lakes are important sources of methane to the atmosphere," says Crawford, who also works for the U.S. Geological Survey in Boulder, Colo.
In freshwater environments, methane gas comes from the metabolic byproducts of bacteria living in the organic-compound-rich, oxygen-poor sediments. Where oxygen, nitrogen or sulfur are high, methane is low because of the chemistry involved in its formation.

Wetlands are known sources of methane but the streams and rivers that drain them may also contribute to the overall methane budget. Just how much is little understood.

Climate Change Accelerates Hybridization between Native, Invasive Trout

Scientists have discovered that the rapid spread of hybridization between a native species and an invasive species of trout in the wild is strongly linked to changes in climate.

In the study, stream temperature warming over the past several decades and decreases in spring flow over the same time period contributed to the spread of hybridization between native westslope cutthroat trout and introduced rainbow trout – the world’s most widely introduced invasive fish species –across the Flathead River system in Montana and British Columbia, Canada.

Experts have long predicted that climate change could decrease worldwide biodiversity through cross-breeding between invasive and native species, but this study is the first to directly and scientifically support this assumption. The study, published today in Nature Climate Change, was based on 30 years of research by scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey, University of Montana, and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.

Hybridization has contributed to the decline and extinction of many native fishes worldwide, including all subspecies of cutthroat trout in western North America, which have enormous ecological and socioeconomic value. The researchers used long-term genetic monitoring data coupled with high-resolution climate and stream temperature predictions to assess whether climate warming enhances interactions between native and nonnative species through hybridization.
"Climatic changes are threatening highly prized native trout as introduced rainbow trout continue to expand their range and hybridize with native populations through climate-induced ‘windows of opportunity,’ putting many populations and species at greater risk than previously thought," said project leader and USGS scientist Clint Muhlfeld. "The study illustrates that protecting genetic integrity and diversity of native species will be incredibly challenging when species are threatened with climate-induced invasive hybridization."
Read more at http://scienceblog.com/72611/climate-change-accelerates-hybridization-native-invasive-trout/#REcpG0ykv3OxibIu.99

Friday, May 23, 2014

Updates to Lake Stewardship Site Now Complete


We have updated the content of the Lake Stewardship Website. Please take some time to browse our pages and links to issues and resources. These pages are described below. You can select a page using the tabs at the top of this page or by clicking on one of the links below.

Our New, Updated Pages

  1. Stewardship Issues - Links related to lake/environmental stewardship issue
  2. Stewardship Resources - Lake and environmental stewardship resources on the Internet selected for their potential to be of interest to a wide range of environmental professionals and the interested lay public
  3. Equipment and Vendors - Links to equipment suppliers and service vendors related to environmental stewardship and lake management.

Quick Guide for Developing Effective Watershed Plans Released

The Quick Guide is intended for a wide audience—from the novice to experienced practitioners working on watershed-related issues at the federal, state, tribal, and local levels. It is also intended for managers involved in other integrated resource planning efforts, such as water and wastewater utilities, transportation departments, and local zoning offices.
 
In late 2013 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)released a new document called A Quick Guide to Developing Watershed Plans to Restore and Protect Our Waters (Quick Guide). This document is designed as a helpful introduction and guide to the information presented in EPA’s 2008 Handbook for Developing Watershed Plans to Restore and Protect Our Waters (Handbook). The Quick Guide also describes recently released data and social media resources.

Why the Quick Guide?

EPA published the 2008 Handbook to serve as a comprehensive resource to help watershed practitioners develop more effective watershed plans as a means to improve and protect the nation’s waters. The Handbook also provides guidance on how to incorporate the nine minimum elements from the Clean Water Act Section 319 Nonpoint Source Program’s funding guidelines into the watershed plan development process. The Quick Guide provides supplemental information describing new resources that have become available as EPA and other entities have stepped up watershed plan implementation, introduced new initiatives, developed new tools, and provided additional funding sources.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Updates to Lake Stewardship Blog

We are continuing our update of the Lake Stewardship Blog. We have added separate pages of links related to:
  1. Stewardship Issues - Links related to lake/environmental stewardship issue
  2. Stewardship Resources - Lake and environmental stewardship resources on the Internet selected for their potential to be of interest to a wide range of environmental professionals and the interested lay public
  3. Equipment and Vendors - Links to equipment suppliers and service vendors related to environmental stewardship and lake management.
These pages have been moved over from the original website hosted at cedareden.com and are now accessible using the tabs at the top of the Lake Stewardship Blog. As of today, the links have been checked an updated on the Stewardship Issues and Equipment and Vendors pages. We are in the process of checking and updating links on the Stewardship Resources page.

UPDATES TO THE WEB PAGES ARE NOW COMPLETE - May 23, 2014

Protect Water Quality: Help Search for Aquatic Invasive Species

Protect Water Quality: Help Search for Aquatic Invasive Species
Aquatic Invasive Plant Identification Training Announced: Volunteers Needed
 
APIPP logo
 
KEENE VALLEY, NY - The Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP) will host its annual volunteer training sessions in aquatic invasive plant identification and survey techniques on June 24th at the Darrin Fresh Water Institute in Bolton Landing and June 26th at Paul Smith’s College. Sessions are from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. and are free and open to the public, but space is limited. A RSVP is requested by June 13th to Hilary Smith at 518-576-2082 x 131 or hsmith@tnc.org. Boaters and paddlers, anglers, outdoor guides and shore-owners are encouraged to attend.
 
In a region as expansive as the Adirondacks, volunteers are essential to help protect waterways by surveying lakes and ponds to search for non-native invasive plants. Detecting infestations early can lead to removal when the chance of successful eradication is highest. Hundreds of citizens are needed to be on the look-out for aquatic invasive species infestations. To-date, nearly 700 citizens volunteered over 7,000 hours to survey 311 waterbodies. Their participation each year in APIPP’s early detection program, now in its thirteenth year, has established a baseline to better understand the distribution of infested and invasive-free waterways.
 
An opportunity exists in the Adirondacks to prevent the region-wide spread of aquatic invasive species. The number of invasive-free lakes that have been surveyed by volunteers is more than two times that of infested lakes. Organizations and communities take prescriptive prevention and management actions, such as having stewards at boat launches to inspect watercraft for attached plant fragments or starting control programs to remove invading plants.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Highlighting Lake Stewardship Programs in North America

Coming soon on Lake Stewardship blog - A series of posts highlighting Lake Stewardship Programs across North America

Friday, May 16, 2014

Ogden Nature Center Pull-a-thon hopes to educate about invasive plant species

OGDEN, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) -

It's that time of year again when people start focusing on our gardens. You don't need a green thumb to know, weeds can be a pesky problem.

The Ogden Nature Center Pull-a-thon this weekend could teach you and your family how to get the weeds out of the garden and appreciate being outside.

Emily Martin with the Ogden Nature Center explains more about the event.

See the broadcast segment here

Learn more about the Ogden Nature Center

"Clean Boats, Clean Tournaments" training DVD helps Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers

A new video produced by Wisconsin Sea Grant offers complementary views of exciting fishing tournament action along with the invitation to keep them aquatic-invasive-species-free. The 10- minute video provides step-by-step instructions for setting up a boat-washing station and works to educate fishing event organizers and anglers with the Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers! - Clean Drain Dry message.

Clean Boats, Clean Tournaments (YouTube) acknowledges that fishing tournaments can run the risk of spreading Eurasian milfoil, zebra/quagga mussels and spiny water fleas. These invaders can alter the habitat and wreak havoc on the food chain so vital for highly sought after sport fish.

"The goal of a wash or decontamination station is to quickly and effectively Clean, Drain and Dry as many boats as possible. A station also demonstrates a good-faith prevention effort to regulatory and permitting agencies showing that event organizers are doing their part. These practices can go a long way to protect fishing tournaments and help protect our waters," said Phil Moy, Assistant Director for research and outreach with Wisconsin Sea Grant.

"This video shows just how easy it is to do the right thing. Preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species is up to everyone from anglers to business owners. The Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers! campaign works to positively influence the actions of all anglers and fishing event organizers," said Pat Conzemius, Conservation Director of Wildlife Forever.

Clean Boats, Clean Tournaments invites scout groups, 4-H chapters, high school sports teams, local fishing clubs and other service organizations to set up boat-washing stations at fishing events and tournaments. Using on-screen lists of equipment needed, video demonstrating specific actions and animations depicting possible traffic flow patterns for vehicles, boats and trailers, any organization can easily learn how to host a boat-washing station that both protects waters and potentially raises funds for the group.

Project partners include: The Bass Federation, Cabelas Masters Walleye Circuit, Great Lakes Sea Grant Network, National Bass Anglers Association, National Professional Anglers Association, The Walleye Federation and Wildlife Forever.

To request the wash station training DVD, contact Wildlife Forever: info@wildlifeforever.org

DEC ANNOUNCES FOURTH ANNUAL EMERALD ASH BORER AWARENESS WEEK

DEC ANNOUNCES FOURTH ANNUAL EMERALD ASH BORER AWARENESS WEEK
Residents Urged to Become Aware of Emerald Ash Borer and ReportInfestations to DEC

The emerald ash borer is smaller than
a penny. Photo: Howard Russell,
MI State U., www.forestryimages.org
The fourth annual Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Awareness Week will be heldfrom May 18 - May 24, 2014, the New York State Department ofEnvironmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. In observance of EABAwareness Week, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo issued a proclamation urgingall New Yorkers to exercise environmental stewardship to protect treesfrom infestation that can be devastating to landscapes, habitats andforest product industries. State residents and visitors are encouragedto learn as much as possible about the emerald ash borer and thedestruction it causes to trees.

"DEC's Forest Health program protects publicly and privately heldforests from forest pests, and the public is an important partner in theconstant battle to keep New York's trees healthy," said CommissionerJoe Martens. "EAB Awareness Week is an opportunity to highlight andencourage New Yorkers to look for and report signs of infestations in aneffort to mitigate the negative impacts of this destructive beetle."
"The beginning of the camping season is quickly approaching and it isimportant to remind travelers in New York State to use only localfirewood. The spread of these insects, and other forest pests, havebeen dramatically increased through human transport. By keeping firewoodlocal and discovering infestations early, we have a greater chance inkeeping these agents from changing the face of our forests, CommissionerMartens added."
State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "Communities ofall sizes are encouraged to participate in EAB Awareness Week activitiessince the borer negatively affects both rural and urban forests. Thereare 900 million ash trees in NYS and unless we continue to take actionagainst this invasive pest, we will see a devastating impact bothecologically and economically."
As part of EAB Awareness Week, DEC, the Department of Agriculture andMarkets, Cornell Cooperative Extension, the Office of Parks, Recreationand Historic Preservation and volunteers will post signs and tie ribbonson more than 6,000 ash trees along select streets and in parks aroundthe state that are populated with ash trees. DEC will attach the signsto several ash trees in Albany*s riverfront park, the CorningPreserve, on May 19th. These signs will be among the hundreds that willbe placed around Albany to inform citizens that those ash trees, and allof New York State's 900 million ash trees, could be killed by theemerald ash borer.

Didymo, aka 'Rock snot,' spreading fast as climate warms

BY Yereth Rosen, Anchorage Daily News
Rock snot, a slimy-looking algae that vexes salmon and salmon fishermen, is not an alien invader but a homegrown threat gaining strength in changing water conditions, according to a new study by scientists from Dartmouth and Environment Canada.
Officially known as Didymosphenia geminata, which scientists shorten to didymo, it has existed in portions of Alaska for some eight centuries, said the study published online last week in the journal BioScience.
Only recently, though, has the nuisance algae been noticed, even in sites considered pristine, thanks to aggressive growth that spreads rock snot stalks in lakes, rivers and streams.
"It's in Patagonia. It's in Tierra del Fuego. It's in Alaska," said study co-author Brad Taylor of Dartmouth College. It is also in British Columbia, New York and various northeastern U.S. states. Sweden, Poland and Colorado see it, too.
Alaska officials have waged a crusade against rock snot. Alaska is among several states that ban felt soles in fishermen's waders; the state Department of Fish and Game cites felt's ability to absorb and transport a plethora of unwanted organisms to new places. The Alaska House this year passed a bill that allows state officials to mount a rapid response to eradicate invasive aquatic species and establishes a fund to pay for it; the bill died, however, without Senate action.

Explosion linked to phosphorus

But when it comes to combating rock snot in Alaska, anti-invader strategies may do little, according to Taylor's study. Core samples at Naknek Lake show that rock snot has been there since the year 1200, the study notes. As long as the didymo did not bloom, Taylor said, it went mostly unnoticed.
"Unless you scrubbed a rock and looked in a microscope, you would never know it's there," he said. "Absence of evidence was used as evidence of absence."

Friday, May 09, 2014

The Water Chestnut As A Teaching Tool

by Hilary Mosher, FL- Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (FLPRISM) at the Finger Lakes Institute

When Michael Boller, Assistant Professor of Biology at St. John Fisher College (SJFC), told his Plant Biology Laboratory that their final project would be on the water chestnut, many undoubtedly imagined a number of tasty dishes: spinach dip, stuffing or bacon wrapped water chestnuts, if you are into that sort of thing. Unfortunately, students discovered that the store-bought Chinese water chestnut (Eleocharis dulcis) is different from the invasive water chestnut (Trapa natans) that is overrunning our waters.

Students in the Plant Biology Laboratory (BIO 213L) at SJFC participated in the service-learning project in partnership with the Finger Lakes Institute (FLI) and the Lavery Library at SJFC. Students learned that while the fruit of the invasive water chestnut is used medicinally in Asia for its antidiabetic, anticancer, and antidiarrheal properties, the aggressiveness of the plant and its effects on property value, recreation, and the biology of a region, are of concern. Michelle Price, Outreach and Special Collections Librarian for Lavery Library said that students found the project meaningful because their results, annotated bibliographies, were to be reported to Finger Lakes Institute (FLI) and the new Finger Lakes Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (FLPRISM) program. Price said the project had deeper relevance because their research topic was an invasive species currently of concern to our region. This was the first semester for the collaboration between SJFC and FLI. Boller is hopeful that the alliance will continue in the collective fight against invasive species through information sharing and research initiatives. 

 ... rest of article ...
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About Finger Lakes Institute

The Finger Lakes Institute is dedicated to the promotion of environmental research and education about the Finger Lakes and surrounding environments. In collaboration with regional environmental partners and state and local government offices, the Institute fosters environmentally-sound development practices throughout the region, and disseminates the accumulated knowledge to the general public.

Lake George Seeks Smelt Survey Volunteers

The Fund for Lake George reports that the annual rainbow smelt migration has begun! And they are seeking volunteers for their annual smelt survey.

The FUND for Lake George and Lake George Waterkeeper are asking for assistance in monitoring the annual Rainbow Smelt spawning migration in the streams of Lake George. Participating volunteers are asked to visit their designated stream during the two-week spawning migration as often as possible and document observations.

Source: wikipedia
Rainbow Smelt (Osmerus mordax) are a slender fish, with an average length of 7-8 inches. Smelt a non-native fish species to Lake George, were first introduced as a forage species for larger game species such as lake trout and landlocked salmon. Smelt will spawn in streams tributary to Lake George just following ice-out, when water temperatures reach approximately 42 degrees. The Lake George Waterkeeper conducted surveys on the annual spawning migration since 2009, focusing on 16 streams on the West side of Lake George. This annual survey is in its fifth year and is vital for understanding smelt population trends.

Monitoring and studying the factors that influence and alter smelt spawning migration, as well as the influence that smelt have on the aquatic ecosystem, will lead to a better picture of the Lake George fishery as a whole.

If you are interested in participating, please contact Corrina Parnapy , Water Quality Outreach Coordinator, The FUND for Lake George at: (518) 668-9700 x303 or cparnapy@fundforlakegeorge.org

Please provide the name/ location of the stream you would like to monitor, and your contact information that the appropriate material can be sent to you and you can be notified when the smelt run begins. We look forward to hearing from you.

Please remember that the collection or possession of rainbow smelt in the Lake George watershed is prohibited by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
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Source: Fund for Lake George
http://fundforlakegeorge.org/news/call-for-smelt-survey-volunteers

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Explore what the National Climate Assessment has to say about the Northeast



The US Global Change Research Program has just released the 2014 National Climate Assessment. You can download the entire document or explore the information online.

To see what they have to say about the Northeastern US, check out these links:


Observed Climate Change

  Between 1895 and 2011, temperatures in the Northeast increased by almost 2˚F (0.16˚F per decade), and precipitation increased by approximately five inches, or more than 10% (0.4 inches per decade). Coastal flooding has increased due to a rise in sea level of approximately 1 foot since 1900. This rate of sea level rise exceeds the global average of approximately 8 inches (see Ch. 2: Our Changing Climate, Key Message 10; Ch. 25: Coasts), due primarily to land subsidence, although recent research suggests that changes in ocean circulation in the North Atlantic – specifically, a weakening of the Gulf Stream – may also play a role.

The Northeast has experienced a greater recent increase in extreme precipitation than any other region in the United States; between 1958 and 2010, the Northeast saw more than a 70% increase in the amount of precipitation falling in very heavy events (defined as the heaviest 1% of all daily events) (see Ch. 2: Our Changing Climate, Figure 2.18).

Projected increase in the number of days per year with a maximum temperature greater than 90°F averaged between 2041 and 2070, compared to 1971-2000, assuming continued increases in global emissions (A2) and substantial reductions in future emissions (B1). (Figure source: NOAA NCDC / CICS-NC).

May is American Wetlands Month: Learn! Explore! Take Action!


GreenLogoMay will mark the 24th anniversary of American Wetlands Month, a time when EPA and its partners in federal, state, tribal, local, non-profit, and private sector organizations celebrate the vital importance of wetlands to the Nation's ecological, economic, and social health. It is also a great opportunity to discover and teach others about the important role that wetlands play in our environment and the significant benefits they provide — improved water quality, increased water storage and supply, reduced flood and storm surge risk, and critical habitat for plants, fish, and wildlife. 


See http://water.epa.gov/type/wetlands/outreach/ for more information on activities, information and more.

EPA to host "Twitter Chat" on Proposed Waters of the US Rule

Join experts from EPA for a Twitter chat on the proposed rule to clarify Clean Water Act protection for certain types of streams and wetlands. The chat will take place on Tuesday, May 13, 2014 from 1 to 2 p.m. Eastern Time through EPA's water Twitter account @EPAwater or https://twitter.com/EPAwater.

To participate in the chat or ask a question go https://twitter.com/EPAwater or follow the hashtag #USwaters on Twitter.

See also: http://lakestewardship.org/2014/04/public-comment-period-opens-for.html
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Source: Water Headlines

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Spotted salamander is solar-powered - vertebrate/algae symbiote

The spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) is found throughout the eastern USA and parts of southern Canada. While a number of animals, including corals, sponges, sea slugs and one species of hornet have algae living in them that use sunlight to make sugar, no backboned animal has been found that can harness the sun – until now. It has long been suspected, and now there is hard evidence: the spotted salamander is solar-powered.

Plants make food using photosynthesis, absorbing light to power a chemical reaction that converts carbon dioxide and water into glucose and releases oxygen. Corals profit from this reaction by housing photosynthetic algae inside their shells.
Spotted salamanders, too, are in a long-term relationship with photosynthetic algae. In 1888, biologist Henry Orr reported that their eggs often contain single-celled green algae called Oophila amblystomatis. The salamanders lay the eggs in pools of water, and the algae colonise them within hours.

By the 1940s, biologists strongly suspected it was a symbiotic relationship, beneficial to both the salamander embryos and the algae. The embryos release waste material, which the algae feed on. In turn the algae photosynthesise and release oxygen, which the embryos take in. Embryos that have more algae are more likely to survive and develop faster than embryos with few or none.
Then in 2011 the story gained an additional twist. A close examination of the eggs revealed that some of the algae were living within the embryos themselves, and in some cases were actually inside embryonic cells. That suggested the embryos weren't just taking oxygen from the algae: they might be taking glucose too. In other words, the algae were acting as internal power stations, generating fuel for the salamanders.

To find out if that was happening, Erin Graham of Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and colleagues incubated salamander eggs in water containing radioactive carbon-14. Algae take up the isotope in the form of carbon dioxide, producing radioactive glucose. Graham found that the embryos became mildly radioactive – unless kept in the dark. That showed that the embryos could only take in the carbon-14 via photosynthesis in the algae.
The algae do not seem to be essential to the embryos, but they are very helpful: embryos deprived of algae struggle.
"Their survival rate is much lower and their growth is slowed," says Graham.
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Source: NewScientist

Friday, May 02, 2014

Still frozen Great Lakes could mean a colder summer for the US

Last time we checked in with the Great Lakes, it was in the bone-chilling depths of the Polar Vortex, and a record-breaking 88 percent of the lakes were frozen. Now, here we are, at the end of April, and the lakes are still 30 percent frozen, which could mean a colder summer for the country.
The icy lakes have already created all sorts of economical and environmental headaches for the region. Most obviously, shipping has been affected, with boats still needing to use ice breakers to access some ports. Certain birds and fish are still not able to get to the food or spawning grounds they've usually reached by this time in the season. Now here's a new development that will almost certainly not be welcome by the Midwesterners shivering in their sandals: The Washington Post analyzed historical data from NOAA and noticed that the years with greater ice coverage on the lakes also saw lower summer temperatures.
Read article …
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Source: Gizmodo via feedly

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Public Comment Period Opens for Proposed Waters of the U.S. Rule

On March 25, EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers jointly released a proposed rule to clarify protection under the Clean Water Act for streams and wetlands that form the foundation of the nation's water resources. On April 21, a 91 day public comment period opened on the proposed rule. People can submit comments on the proposed rule online, through email, regular mail or by courier until July 21, 2014.

Read the Federal Register for instructions on how to submit a comment.

Source:
EPA Water Headlines