Thursday, April 30, 2015

APA Seeking Public Comment on General Permits to fight Invasive Species

Ray Brook - The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) is seeking public comment on two general permits
Copyright Michael R. Martin
to advance New York States goal to combat invasive species in the Adirondack Park. The general permits will streamline and expedite the Park Agency's review process. This will ensure qualified invasive species management organizations have the ability to quickly respond to invasive species infestations.
APA Chairwoman Lani Ulrich, said, "As we celebrate Earth Week we remain vigilant to the threats of invasive species. Under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, the Adirondack Park Agency and our partners continue to take proactive measures to effectively combat and prevent the spread of invasive species in the Adirondack Park. Invasive species if left unchecked result in devastating impacts to biodiversity as well as diminishing the Park's recreational opportunities. I encourage all citizens to review these general permits and submit comments."

Aquatic General Permit

General Permit 2015G-1 is a new general permit proposed to ensure rapid response and containment of aquatic invasive species. This general permit authorizes the use of benthic barriers and hand-harvesting to eliminate or manage up to a half acre of specified aquatic invasive species within an individual waterbody. General Permit 2015G-1 would serve as a new rapid permitting tool to help contain or eradicate newly-discovered infestations of aquatic invasive species.

Terrestrial General Permit

General Permit 2014G-1A is the reissuance of a general permit for the management of terrestrial invasive plant species in or within 100 feet of wetlands in the Adirondack Park. The general permit authorizes qualified users to undertake invasive control activities in terrestrial wetlands using best management practices. Such activities may include the use of herbicides. In addition, the permit includes a provision to expand the list of designated authorized organizations or individuals eligible to use this permit.

The proposed general permits authorize activities in wetlands pursuant to the APA Act (Executive Law §§ 809 and 810) and Freshwater Wetlands Act (ECL Article 24). Both general permits apply to wetlands throughout the Adirondack Park and will remain in effect unless modified or revoked by the APA.

APA, as lead agency for State Environmental Quality Review purposes, has determined that the proposed general permits will not have a significant adverse impact on the environment. The permits contain findings of fact, conclusions of law and conditions to ensure compliance with applicable statutory criteria.

The proposed general permits and related documents are available on the Agency's website at www.apa.ny.gov.

The Adirondack Park Agency will accept public comment on this matter until May 29, 2015.

Please direct comments to: Richard Weber, Deputy Director Regulatory Programs, NYS Adirondack Park Agency, P.O. Box 99, Ray Brook, NY 12977

Email: PublicComment@apa.ny.gov
After the public comment period expires, it is anticipated that the proposed general permits will be presented to the Agency for a decision at its June 11-12, 2015 meeting.

The mission of the Adirondack Park Agency is to protect the public and private resources of the Adirondack Park through the exercise of the powers and duties of the Agency as provided by law. For more information, call the APA at (518) 891-4050 or visit www.apa.ny.gov.
___________________________________________
Source:
APA Press Release: April 23, 2015
Contact: Keith P. McKeever | keith.mckeever@apa.ny.gov
Public Information Officer | Adirondack Park Agency | Press Office | (518) 891-4050

Friday, April 10, 2015

NYS Releases Smartphone App for Hunting, Fishing and Wildlife Enjoyment

Attention New York anglers, hunters and outdoor enthusiasts: there's a new FREE smartphone app just for you!

Download the New York Fishing, Hunting & Wildlife App on the Apple App Store or Google Play store, or by going to the Pocket Ranger website.

DEC, in partnership with ParksByNature Network®, is proud to announce the launch of the New York Fishing, Hunting & Wildlife App for iPhone and Android.

This FREE, cutting-edge mobile app gives both novice and seasoned outdoorsmen and women essential information in the palm of their hands. Powered by Pocket Ranger® technology, this official app for DEC will provide up-to-date information on fishing, hunting and wildlife watching and serve as an interactive outdoor app using today's leading mobile devices. Using the app's advanced GPS features, users will be able identify and locate New York's many hunting, fishing and wildlife watching sites. They will also gain immediate access to species profiles, rules and regulations, and important permits and licensing details.

The app provides plenty of additional features to maximize any outdoor adventure:
  • Real-time calendar of events
  • News, advisories, and weather alerts
  • Social networking and photo sharing
  • Potentially life-saving alert features
  • Cacheable map tiles for offline use
  • Advanced GPS mapping features including built in compass

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

An innocent fish, wrongly accused?

(PAUL SMITHS, NY (04/06/2015)-- The yellow perch has had a bad rap as an invasive species in the Adirondacks since the 19th century. But now, researchers at Paul Smith's College are using DNA evidence to show that these fish might have been wrongly accused.

Profs. Curt Stager, Lee Ann Sporn, Melanie Johnson and recent graduate Sean Regalado believe the perch might have arrived in Lower St. Regis Lake more than 2,000 years ago, plenty of time to be considered a native species. They published their findings in the scientific journal PLOS ONE last month.

When the researchers first made their discovery, many, including members of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, were skeptical. But the new peer-reviewed journal article adds weight to the researchers' claim and raises new questions about the way we manage the species.

Fishery experts and DEC officials have long considered yellow perch to be nuisance aliens that starve out brook trout and compete with them for spawning sites. So they've been on a mission to eradicate the fish using controversial poisoning methods.

Copyright Michael R. Martin
The process, known as reclamation, involves poisoning a lake with rotenone, which kills fish but is considered of little threat to other species, including people. Reclamations are usually conducted in the fall, which allows the rotenone to break down before the lake is restocked with more desirable fish – usually trout – the following spring. The mass killing of fish makes reclamation a controversial practice, but even its opponents have agreed that yellow perch are not native to the Adirondack uplands, a conclusion based on early surveys dating back to the 19th century. That's why the new DNA evidence is so surprising: It means perch and trout coexisted in Adirondack waters long before the brook trout's numbers began to dwindle.

To conduct the study, the Paul Smith's researchers took sediment core samples from the lake floor by drilling through the ice during winter. They used those samples to extract DNA from the sediment and looked for genetic sequences that are unique to yellow perch. They expected the perch DNA to show up in only the upper layers of the cores. When it showed up much deeper, even in sediments more than 2,000 years old, they knew they had made an important discovery.

"We now know that yellow perch are as native to the Adirondack uplands as brook trout," Stager said. "What we want to know next is why they've become so much more numerous than before."

Stager believes that these same methods could be used to verify the native or invasive status of other species such as lampreys or Atlantic salmon in North Country lakes. "You could also use ancient DNA to study the evolution of native fish strains or to see if fish once lived in lakes that were recently sterilized by acid rain," Stager said. "The sky's the limit."

ABOUT PAUL SMITH'S COLLEGE

At Paul Smith's College, it's about the experience. Paul Smith's, which was founded in 1946, is the only bachelor's degree-granting institution of higher education in the Adirondacks. Our programs – in fields including hospitality, culinary arts, forestry, natural resources, entrepreneurship and the sciences – draw on industries and resources available in our own backyard while preparing students for successful careers anywhere. For more information: www.paulsmiths.edu.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Late Ice May Contribute to Fish Kills in Western NY Ponds

The extended period of ice, blanketed by deep snow, is likely to result in fish die-offs in numerous
Copyright Michael R. Martin
area ponds, according to New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Region 9 fisheries biologists.
"As winter ice has started to melt away, we are receiving calls from concerned pond owners reporting large numbers of dead fish in their ponds," said DEC Regional Fisheries Manager Michael Clancy. "In most cases, fish kills that become evident when the ice melts can be attributed to a natural phenomenon known as winterkill."

Winter die-off of fish, or "winterkill," is caused by oxygen depletion in the water through the winter. Ice that accumulates on ponds or lakes prevents wind action from adding oxygen to the water. If there is significant winter snow accumulation on top of the ice, sunlight is prevented from reaching plant life in the pond. Without adequate sunlight, the oxygen-creating process of photosynthesis cannot occur.

Shallower ponds are particularly susceptible to winterkill, due to their low storage capacity for oxygen. With the exception of extreme situations, it is rare that all fish in a pond will die as a result of winterkill. Typically, larger fish are more susceptible than smaller fish.

"Sensitivity to low oxygen levels varies by fish species," Clancy said. "For instance, catfish and carp are more tolerant of low oxygen levels than species such as sunfish, bass or trout."

If desirable fish species are completely eliminated from the pond due to winterkill, replenishment by stocking may be necessary. Please remember to obtain applicable stocking permits from DEC.

A long-term approach to avoiding winterkills is to deepen the pond. Pond depths exceeding 12 feet are recommended since ponds will gradually fill in over time. Removing some of the organic substrate (decaying plant material) that accumulates within the pond can also help combat oxygen depletion. As a pond ages, organic materials are deposited on the pond bottom; these decaying materials have a high metabolic demand for oxygen.

Source: NYS DEC

Friday, April 03, 2015

NYSFOLA to Celebrate Citizen Science

The New York State Federation of Lake Associations, Inc. (NYSFOLA) is getting ready for their 32nd Annual Conference entitled "Celebrating Citizen Science." The conference will be held May 1-3 at White Eagle Conference Center in Hamilton. Concurrent sessions on Friday and Saturday will include a Watercraft Inspection Steward Program Workshop and topics related to volunteer monitoring, harmful algal blooms, aquatic invasive species, Lake Law for lake associations, lake management plans, climate change, dam safety, and more! This year, we are excited to have the FLI’s "own" Dr. John Halfman joining us to give a presentation entitled, "Historical Chloride Concentrations in the Finger Lakes: Salt Mines and Road De-Icing Salts." This is the largest gathering of lake association members and lake enthusiasts from across the state each year. Won’t you join us? Registration information is on the web at www.nysfola.org.

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Green river slime converting mercury into more toxic form at NH Superfund site

The green, slimy algae commonly found coating streambeds may threaten more than unsteady waders. New research from Dartmouth College and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reveals that communities of algae and bacteria known as periphyton are transforming the inorganic metal into its more toxic, organic form.


The Berlin, NH Chor-Alkali Facility was responsible for manufacturing chlorine used in paper production. In 2005, the U.S. EPA added the vacant property to its Superfund list, marking it for cleanup due to the mercury, lead and arsenic concentrations found in local groundwater in spite of the slurry wall and other installations meant to contain that contamination. It wasn’t until 2009, however, that the EPA began a full investigation of the site on the banks of the Androscoggin River.


As part of that investigation, a Dartmouth College team led by research professor Celia Chen worked closely with the U.S. Geological Survey to examine mercury uptake by riverine organisms. They hypothesized that periphyton was converting mercury into methylmercury, an organic form of the metal that bioaccumulates with greater potency than its inorganic form. Mercury normally methylates in anaerobic sediment — an absent factor in the fast-moving waters near the Superfund site — but the presence of periphyton makes the process possible in a greater range of environments.


Read the article at Environmental Monitor
 

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Drought Effects On Water Quality Of Freshwater Systems

Copyright Michael R. Martin
Researchers in Australia examined the effect of prolonged draught on water quality in freshwater systems.
 

Effects of drought varied depending on the characteristics of a water body and its catchment. Water flow and volume decreases during drought tended to lead to increased salinity due to reduced dilution. And when air temperatures increased in some systems, water temperatures rose along with stratification.


"This also enhanced algal production, promoted toxic cyanobacterial blooms and lowered dissolved oxygen concentrations," said Luke Mosley, senior research fellow at U. Adelaide and author of a drought-impact study published in Earth-Science Reviews. "Nutrient, turbidity and algal levels also often increased in lake systems due to reduced flushing and enhanced productivity."

In contrast, Mosley found that nutrients and turbidity levels often went down during droughts in rivers that didn’t have significant loads coming in from point and non-point sources of agricultural runoff. This, he says, was due to drought’s disruption on catchment inputs and its influence on processes like biological uptake, denitrification and settling. Drought also caused a buildup of materials in these systems that resulted in large post-drought flood loadings of pH, major ions, nutrients and carbon.


 
Read the article in LakeScientist
 

Illinois Researchers Tracking Threatened ‘Mudpuppies’ in Lakes

Alicia Beattie, a graduate student zoology at Southern
Illinois University Carbondale, holds a mudpuppy
caught in a frozen lake in northern Illinois recently.
"Mudpuppies" -- large, fully water-dwelling salamanders -- are found in streams and lakes throughout the eastern half the country. They were once common, but now a threatened species in Illinois, which is a major reason why the state’s premier public aquarium, the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, reached out to SIU. Researchers are finding out how Necturus maculosus lives in lakes and also what might be ailing them.
"One of the angles of this project is to find out more about how they live in lakes," said Matt Whiles, professor of zoology and interim director of the Cooperative Wildlife Research Laboratory, and director of the Center for Ecology at SIU. "There’s been a fair amount of research on populations that live in streams and rivers. We’re looking at populations that live in lakes in the Great Lakes area. Much less is known about those. The species does appear to be declining, but at one time it was fairly abundant throughout their range. Nobody really knows why."
Mudpuppies are amphibians and therefore, cold-blooded creatures whose body temperatures are heavily influenced by the temperature of their environment. But the coldest months, perhaps counterintuitively, are the most active for mudpuppies and have led to the most captures.
Philip Willink, senior research biologist at Shedd Aquarium, said mudpuppies are next-door neighbors to the facility, which sits on Lake Michigan’s shore.
"But we knew almost nothing about their status, population trends, ecology, seasonality and such," Willink said. "Basically they are something that people would come across by accident. They are a charismatic species that are often incorporated into habitat restoration projects. But we were surprisingly lacking in scientific information. This is a problem that needed to be rectified. So there was always a desire to study mudpuppies, but we were lacking the suitable opportunity."
After partnering with SIU on the project, the Shedd Aquarium will use the results of the ongoing study in a new, temporary exhibit devoted to amphibians later this year, Willink said.
Read the complete article in SIU News