Monday, February 23, 2015

NALMS past-presidents fault lake management organizations' watershed focus over in-lake issues

Kezar Lake, NH, USA. Copyright Michael R. Martin
North American Lake Management Society's past-presidents Dick Osgood and Ken Wagner, writing in the February issue of NALMS Notes, emphasize the water quality impact of our nations lake management institutions "watersheds only" management approach in support of a change to these policies.

"We support the recently adopted NALMS Position, "Changes in US EPA Policy Implementing the Clean Water Act Are Required to Restore Water Quality in the Nation’s Lakes and Reservoirs." This position is apt and timely and speaks to a larger concern regarding the institutionalization of the watershed-approach to managing lakes.

"The institutions involved with managing lakes, including the US EPA, have evolved to the nearly exclusive application of the watershed management paradigm with the result that more and more lakes are becoming impaired and few are actually being fixed.

"The watershed approach is an important and critical element of any lake management approach but one that ought not to be used exclusively. The NALMS position argues for a shift to a more balanced approach."

Read the article in this month's NALMS Notes.
Editor's note: As a NALMS Past-president, I support NALMS' position and concur with my colleagues' article on the subject. - Michael R. Martin -

Researchers putting Water Hyacinth into Florida waters to improve water quality

Researchers in Florida are looking at adding rather than removing the aggressively invasive Water Hyacinth at Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge in Kings Bay to improve water quality.
Source: Weed's News Digest

Volunteers were taking part in a bold pilot project that is the latest chapter in a half-century-long ecological story that reads like a fable. It started with a well-intentioned campaign to rid Kings Bay of the water hyacinth, an aggressive nonnative species, followed by decades of additional control measures and a tragic downward spiral that transformed these crystal-clear waters into an unpleasant soup of slimy green algae. Then the story takes an unexpected turn, back to its original antagonist. Only this time, Bob Knight, the wetlands restoration ecologist leading this pioneering project, has recast water hyacinth as the unlikely hero. He believes this South American native, if controlled, could help solve the algae problem and return the bay’s ecosystem to a more desirable state.

Read the complete story.


Source: The Weed's News Digest


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Report by NYS Comptroller outlines DEC's Economic Problems

A report by the New York State Comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli, outlines the state of Environmental Funding in New York State and highlights the impact of low budgets and decreased staffing at the State's Department of Environmental Conservation.
"Created in 1970, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is responsible for most of the State’s programs to protect wildlife, natural resources and environmental quality. DEC programs range widely from managing fish and game populations and overseeing the extraction of natural resources to monitoring the discharge of pollutants and hazardous materials and cleaning up contaminated sites. These services are integral to New Yorkers’ public health and general well-being, and to the State’s economy."
Over the past decade, the scope of DEC's mandates have increased while staff has declined by over 300 (10.4%) and overall environmental funding remains flat and is expected to decline over the next three years, all while New York raids the dedicated environmental funds to provide budget relief elsewhere.
"The combination of increased responsibilities, reduced staffing, and ongoing fiscal pressure raises questions regarding the DEC’s capacity to carry out its critical functions."
The report is intended to assist State policy makers and the public in assessing these critical issues.

Study links acidic lakes to higher mercury concentrations in bats

Source: Environmental Monitor
A new study of mercury levels in bats links higher concentrations in some colonies to the acidity of nearby lakes and rivers, further illuminating the paths this global atmospheric contaminant follows though aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.

Previous research has shown that fish and other organisms in lakes with higher acidity tend to have higher mercury concentrations. This study from Nova Scotia shows the effect appears to extend to little brown bats, which feed on adult insects that live in aquatic habitats as juveniles.
"What we found was that the average water acidity in surrounding freshwater systems may be an important factor in increasing bioavailability of mercury in aquatic food chains leading to little brown bats," wrote Linda Campbell, study co-author and a senior research fellow in environmental science at Saint Mary’s University, in an email.
The study, published online by the journal Environmental Science and Technology, came about after a bird ecotoxicologist, a bat biologist and a limnologist got together.
"While we didn’t all walk into a bar, our interests and expertise overlapped nicely," said Campbell, the limnologist of the group.
Read the entire article here.
Source: Environmental Monitor

Wetland birds flee farther from walkers than canoes

Western Grebe, Antelope Island, Utah, US. Copyright Michael R. Martin
A new study of Australian wetland birds suggests people gliding up in canoes aren’t as threatening as folks on foot. The researchers approached birds on river in Northwest Queensland in canoes and while walking. Birds flushed by walkers flew around 50 feet farther than those spooked by canoes.

For this study, published in the journal Wetlands Ecology and Management, the researchers approached a variety of duck, grebe, egret, ibis and other bird species in wetlands along the the Darr and Thompson rivers until the birds fled. Using a laser rangefinder, they recorded how far away they were from the birds when they took off, known as the starting distance, and how far the birds flew.
Journal Abstract: Disturbance of birds by human activities is increasing and is of conservation concern. Little is known of the flight initiation distances (FID) of birds to recreational canoeing, although this activity is common and can occur in wetland areas inaccessible to vehicle or pedestrian traffic. We compared the FID evoked by a walker with that evoked by a canoe for 13 birds in wetlands in north–western Queensland. Canoes evoked shorter FIDs compared with walkers (means ± 95 % confidence intervals; 32.9 ± 7.6 m and 47.5 ± 7.4 m, respectively). These data could be used to establish buffers or codes of conduct for canoeists in wetlands in arid northern Australia, especially when water levels are low.
Read the complete article here.
Source: Environmental Monitor

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Blog Post addresses Drought with Advice for Drought-Impacted Water Utilities

"All Dried Up – Advice for Drought-Impacted Water Utilities" is a posting on EPA's "It's Our Environment" Blog that looks at efforts to assists drought-plagued water utilities. Visit the posting at


The National Invasive Species Awareness Week (NISAW) is February 23-28, 2015 in Washington DC and satellite events are nationwide. Other events include the NISAW Awards Ceremony, Invasive Species Fair, Teaming With Wildlife Congressional Reception, and Kids Day at the Smithsonian.

You are encouraged to attend and learn about the current issues, share your work, and encourage others to join the fight against invasive species. This year anyone can participate because there are many webinars you can watch from anywhere. You must register for each one individually so please visit the website.

There are a number of great talks that you may register for remotely that are sponsored by the National Association of Invasive Plant Control

AND the Southern Integrated Pest Management Center:

Follow the links to register for talks of interest.