Wednesday, January 28, 2015

VT Governor Shumlin on Water Quality

Governor Peter Shumlin addressed Vermont water quality issues in his January 8, 2015 Inagrual Address.

"Innovative energy projects can also help us with another pressing problem: water quality. In St. Albans Bay, locals are deploying several new manure digesters designed to take waste from up to 10 farms in the region. They generate energy for the farm and sell the by- products, saving money while diverting many tons of farm waste that could otherwise end up polluting Lake Champlain.

"Projects like these are so important because we are rapidly losing the battle for clean water. We love our rivers and lakes, from Lake Memphremagog to the Battenkill, from the Lamoille River to Lake Bomoseen, from Otter Creek to the river I grew up on, the Connecticut. And we all revere our crown jewel, Lake Champlain, which supports hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity every year. Protecting Lake Champlain means protecting our economy.

"Anyone who spent time on Lake Champlain this past season experienced first-hand the heartbreaking reality that it is suffering now more than ever. To see and smell the massive blue-green algae bloom on St. Albans Bay, or at nearby Lake Carmi, and to hear the pain and frustration in the voices of the homeowners and businesses who have patiently waited for cleaner and clearer water is simply devastating.

$1M in Grants to Protect and Support Wetlands

Photo © Michael R. Martin
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is awarding $1 million in grants to strengthen the capacity of states and tribes to protect and restore wetlands. The National Wetland Program Development Grants provide interstate agencies, intertribal consortia, and non-profit organizations with funding to develop and refine comprehensive state, tribal, and local wetland programs.
Boreal bog, Adirondack Park, NY. © Michael R. Martin

"Wetlands are part of the foundation of our nation's water resources and are vital to the health of waterways and communities that are downstream," said Ken Kopocis, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Water at EPA. "Wetlands feed downstream waters, trap floodwaters, recharge groundwater supplies, remove pollution, and provide fish and wildlife habitat. Wetlands are also economic drivers because of their key role in fishing, hunting, agriculture and recreation."
Read more at EPA's Office of Water Wetlands website.
Source: EPA Water Headlines

Friday, January 16, 2015

Climate change makes conditions ripe for algal blooms across the globe

Blue-green bloom, Mohegan Lake
Photo © Michael R Martin

Although western Lake Erie has become an international poster child for noxious algae, a new study suggests that many of the world’s much smaller, cleaner, and calmer bodies of water are likewise in trouble if greater efforts are not undertaken to keep farm fertilizers and other nutrients out of them.

The study’s lead author, Dartmouth College biology professor Kathryn Cottingham, said that’s more evidence of how climate change, population growth, and poor land-use practices are putting the Earth’s dwindling freshwater resources at risk.

. . . 

The authors concluded that once cyanobacteria — the fancy word for harmful blue-green algae — creeps into those still bodies of water, it is harder to get it out than previously thought.

Nitrogen and phosphorus in the algae itself gets recycled and combines with fresh runoff to form more algae, resulting in a near-perpetual cycle of goopy green stuff that is difficult to break in certain bodies of water.
“In relatively clear-water systems, some of the nutrients are recycled,” Ms. Cottingham said. “It starts a runaway train. These are warnings that things are going south and we need to be more definitive about land-use management.”

Read the entire article at The Blade

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Research from 16 Michigan lakes assesses the importance of vegetation and natural shorelines for fish populations

Dulichium on the shoreline of an
Adirondack lake. © Michael R. Martin
A series of articles from Michigan State University look at the value of vegetation and natural shorelines for fisheries habitat and discuss the restoration of shorelines to a more natural condition.
  1. "Restoring the shore and fish habitat in Michigan inland lakes: Part 1 - A visit to Paw Paw’s natural shoreline demonstration project reveals the creation of microhabitats, or safe places, for juvenile fishes. Studies show that bluegill, largemouth bass and other fish use these “edge” habitats to increase their feeding rates."
  2. "Restoring the shore and fish habitat in Michigan inland lakes: Part 2 - Research from 16 Michigan lakes assesses the importance of vegetation and natural shorelines for increased largemouth bass populations."

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Invasive Species Management - Staying ahead of the Invasion Curve

The Finger Lakes Institute recently published an article on staying ahead of invasive species introduction through the use of Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR). The article, entitled "Fighting the Curve" was written by Andrea Locke,Western New York Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management Coordinator; and Hilary R. Mosher, Finger Lakes-Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management Coordinator.

Prevention is the best and first line of defense when it comes to managing invasive species, but even the best prevention efforts will be unable to stop all invasive species from becoming established in a given area. Early detection and rapid response (EDRR) increases the likelihood that invasions will be controlled while populations are still localized and at low levels that can more easily be contained and eradicated. Once an invasive species becomes well established, it is significantly more difficult and expensive to control (Figure 1). In many cases, once a species reaches that point, all that may be possible is a lessening of their negative impacts.

Read the rest of the story on the FLPRISM website.

VT Aquatic Nuisance Species Grants Available, Due February 11, 2015

The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation has announced the availability of project year 2015 Application for Aquatic Nuisance Control Grant-in-Aid Grants. This grant program supports both native and non-native species management projects and is available to Vermont municipalities. Past supported projects include control of invasive plants like Eurasian watermilfoil and nuisance native aquatic plants, and aquatic invasive species spread prevention programs like public access "greeter" programs. Supported control methods have included the use of mechanical controls, benthic barriers, herbicides, and physical removal by hand.

Funding for Grant-in-Aid Grants comes from a portion of annual revenues from state motorboat registration fees and often federal funds.

For a project to be considered for funds in 2015, a completed application package should be submitted in electronic format (Portable Document Format preferred) and emailed to David Pasco ( by 4:30 PM on Wednesday, February 11, 2015.