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 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.


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 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:


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.,
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 ...
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

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.
Source: Fund for Lake George

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 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

To participate in the chat or ask a question go or follow the hashtag #USwaters on Twitter.

See also:
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.
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 …
Source: Gizmodo via feedly