ADK Review Board News

April 30th, 2015
  • JESSUP RIVER UMP COMMENTS DUE BY MAY 8 – Hamilton County Express ( Speculator, NY) Website

     The Adirondack Park Agency is accepting public comments until May 8 on proposed amendments to the Jessup River and Pepperbox unit management plans.

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     RAY BROOK — The Adirondack Park Agency is accepting public comments until May 8 on proposed amendments to the Jessup River and Pepperbox unit management plans.

    New recreational facilities are proposed to improve public access. Public comments should address if the proposed activities conform to the guidelines and criteria of the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan.

    The UMPs are available for viewing or download from the Adirondack Park Agency website at www.apa.ny.gov. Address all written comments pertaining to Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan conformance to: Kathy Regan, Deputy Director for Planning, NYS Adirondack Park Agency, P.O. Box 99, Ray Brook NY 12977; fax to 518-891-3938 or email to SLMP_Comments@apa.ny.gov.

    Comments must be submitted to the APA by May 8 to be considered.

    JESSUP RIVER

    The Jessup River Wild Forest is in the towns of Arietta, Wells, Indian Lake and Lake Pleasant in Hamilton County. It is approximately 47,350 acres.

    The JRWF UMP was completed in 2006. A subsequent amendment to address snowmobile use within this unit was approved in 2010.

    The current amendment proposes to improve access to the area’s snowmobile trail network by allowing public motor vehicle access along 900 feet of existing road across the JRWF. The existing road leads to a proposed parking area on the Perkins Clearing ConservationEasement.

    The proposed amendment does not change the snowmobile trail configuration within the unit.

    PEPPERBOX

    The Pepperbox Wilderness Area is approximately 22,560 acres in the Town of Watson in Lewis County and the Town of Webb in Herkimer County. The UMP for this unit was completed in 1985.

    The construction of a lean-to near Gregg Lake and the designation of a foot trail for lean-to access is now proposed. Gregg Lake is a favorite destination of anglers.

    This amendment is meant to specifically address recreation in the Gregg Lake area, consistent with the character of the northern portion of the Pepperbox Wilderness Area and the Wilderness guidelines outlined in the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan.

     

     



April 29th, 2015

April 28th, 2015
  • ESSEX COUNTY CONSIDERS REFORESTATION – Press Republican ( Plattsburgh, NY) Website

    Press Rebulican writer Lohn McKinstry reports that Essex County is seeking funding to plant 4,800 trees on forestlands the county owns in Keene following a timber sale there.

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     ELIZABETHTOWN — Essex County is seeking funding to plant 4,800 trees on forestlands the county owns in Keene following a timber sale there.

    Essex County Soil and Water Conservation District Forestry Technician Laura Benedict said she’s putting together a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant application.

    “(We’d) do a tree planting at the Keene harvest site, now that it is opened up,” she told the County Board of Supervisors at a recent meeting.

    “We’d like to try and get some hardwood species in there to make it a little bit more valuable in the future, so I’m applying for $4,800 to plant 4,800 trees. All are going to be hardwoods: red oak, sugar maple and black cherry.”

    She received unanimous approval from the County Public Works Committee to accept a grant and for the county to do the seedling plantings.

    “I personally think it’s a good idea, because when you do a forest cut and a timber sale you should replant,” said Supervisor Gerald Morrow (D-Chesterfield), who chairs the Public Works Committee. “This is a win-win situation for the county.”

    STEWARDSHIP

    Benedict said she also plans a community workshop at the Keene reforestation site.

    “I’d like to talk about forest management, what we did there, why we cut this tree but left this tree, and try to get them to understand a little bit where we are coming from, not just for the forest, (but) the watershed, the community itself, because now there’s more trails in there, and then they can also help plant.

    “It would kind of get a little bit of stewardship there. This wouldn’t happen until next spring, 2016.”

    County Soil and Water Conservation District Director David Reckahn was also authorized by the committee to partner with the Greater Adirondack Resource Conservation Development Council as the contract agent to apply for $12,000 from U.S.D.A. Natural Resources Conservation Service funding for a forest management plan for the timberlands the county owns.

    He said they’re installing property markers now on county-owned forests.

    “Once we get done with the boundary marking on the county forestlands, we would go ahead and try to update the forest management plan,” Reckahn said. “They (the council) have agreed on it that it is a high priority to assist Essex County in the management of these timber resources, and they’ve agreed to support this proposal.”

    Both proposals were unanimously approved Monday at the County Ways and Means meeting and will get a final vote Monday, May 4, at the board’s regular meeting.

     



April 27th, 2015
  • NY BUYS 6,200 ACRES SOUTH OF ADIRONDACK HIGH PEAKS – Post-Star ( Glens Falls, NY) Website

    AP writer Mary Esch reports on the state’s purchase of 6,200 acres at the southern edge of the Adirondack High Peaks Wilderness Area.

  • APA STREAMLINES PERMITS TO FIGHT INVASIVES – Adirondack Daily Enterprise ( Saranac Lake, NY) Website

     Reporter Chris Knight states that the Adirondack Park Agency wants to expedite its review process for projects that involve the eradication of invasive species.

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     RAY BROOK – The state Adirondack Park Agency wants to expedite its review process for projects that involve the eradication of invasive species.

    The agency is accepting public comment on a pair of general permits that deal with invasives, including one that would help lake organizations more quickly respond to infestations of aquatic invasives like Eurasian watermilfoil, water chestnut and Asian clams.

    "Invasive species, if left unchecked, result in devastating impacts to biodiversity as well as diminishing the Park’s recreational opportunities," APA Chairwoman Lani Ulrich said in a press release. "I encourage all citizens to review these general permits and submit comments."

    Leigh Walrath, a freshwater resources analyst with the APA, outlined the proposed permits at last week’s agency board meeting. Under the current general permit, he said lake associations and other groups have to perform a lakewide plant survey during the height of the growing season, and get approvals from other agencies, before the APA can approve their eradication plan.

    "It’s a 15-day permit," Walrath said, "but the application requirements set out a timeframe that can be much longer than 15 days to gather. It can take several months, in reality."

    Walrath said the issue came to a head recently when the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program developed a regional rapid-response team to deal with aquatic invasives. It’s set to begin work in June.

    "We needed a permit that would allow the teams to go out to bodies of water, find the aquatic invasive species, rapidly assess the site and undertake eradication or containment within a very short period of time," he said.

    The new general permit applies to two different situations. The first is for a regional or Park-wide response and containment program, which will now only need one permit for multiple projects instead of multiple permits. It also applies to infestations that are specific to an isolated area in a single body of water.

    "Say you have a milfoil that’s come into one part of a lake, and the lake association knows it’s in just that one area, and they want to address it before it becomes distributed throughout the lake," Walrath said. "This permit would be a tool to help them do that."

    Only hand harvesting or benthic barriers could be used to remove invasives under the new permit, and it only applies to areas no greater than half an acre in size in a single body of water, unless approved by the agency’s Regulatory Programs director.

    Lakewide plant surveys won’t be necessary, but a survey of the specific treatment area will be required. If any rare, threatened or endangered species are found, only hand harvesting of invasives would be allowed.

    The agency is also proposing to reissue a second general permit for the management of terrestrial invasive plant species in or within 100 feet of wetlands in the Park. It allows qualified users to perform invasive control activities, including the use of herbicides, in terrestrial wetlands using best management practices. The new permit expands the list of authorized organizations or individuals who can use it.

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

    The agency is accepting public comment until May 29. Comments can be mailed to Richard Weber, Deputy Director, Regulatory Programs, NYS Adirondack Park Agency, P.O. Box 99, Ray Brook, NY 12977. Comments can also be sent via email to publiccomment@apa.ny.gov.

    The agency expects the proposed general permits will be brought to the APA board for a decision at its June meeting.

     

     



April 24th, 2015
  • CITIZENS CHECK STREAMS FOR DEC – Hamilton County Express ( Speculator, NY) Website

     The state Department of Environmental Conservation is recruiting people to conduct water quality sampling in streams and rivers during the summer.

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     New Yorkers have a unique opportunity to help monitor and protect water quality in the state by participating in the Water Assessments by Volunteer Evaluators (WAVE) Project.

    The state Department of Environmental Conservation is recruiting people to conduct water quality sampling in streams and rivers during the summer. Training sessions will be held in May and June.

    WAVE data augments the work of the DEC Stream Biomonitoring Unit, which samples streams and rivers across the state to create an inventory of stream water quality. Citizen monitors provide valuable information to assist in identifying healthy stream sites and flagging sites that potentially have water quality concerns.

    This data may be included in federal and state water quality reports and will help target professional assessments and local restoration or conservation efforts in areas where they are most needed.

    “People who enjoy recreation on local streams or the beauty and serenity of streams have a chance to help monitor and protect these waterways,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said. “I encourage individuals to volunteer as a WAVE monitor, where they can play an active, hands-on role in protecting our environment.”

    ONCE A YEAR

    Citizen monitors visit stream sites once a year, between July and September, to collect macroinvertebrates — insects and other small organisms — from the rocks and rubble on the stream bottom.

    If six or more of the "Most Wanted" organisms are found, a stream segment is assessed as fully supporting aquatic life. If sampling primarily finds "Least Wanted" organisms, the stream segment will be flagged for a potential investigation by DEC professionalmonitoring staff.

    Citizen monitors can participate in the WAVE project in one of three ways. They can:

    · serve as local coordinators who coach and coordinate their own team of WAVE participants. Local coordinator training sessions are one full day and include presentations and hands-on, in-stream demonstrations;

    · sample independently. This requires half-day training sessions that are completed entirely in the stream; or

    · join a local team led by a WAVE local coordinator. Training for this option is conducted by the local coordinator or group.

    THE SCHEDULE

    The WAVE training sessions are rotated throughout the state’s 17 major drainage basins on a five-year schedule, targeting basins that will be sampled by DEC’s Stream Biomonitoring Unit the following year (the professional monitoring schedule can be found at http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/29576.html).

    This year WAVE training sessions are being offered in the Seneca / Oneida / Oswego, Allegheny, and Upper Hudson River basins. Local coordinator and basic WAVE training sessions are scheduled for May and June at locations in Warrensburg, Warren County (May 8); Newcomb, Essex County (May 15); Ithaca, Tompkins County (May 22); Jamestown, Chautauqua County (May 28); Syracuse, Onondaga County (June 5); Salamanca, Cattaraugus County (June 11); Waterloo, Seneca County (June 19); and Ballston Spa, Saratoga County (June 26).

    For more information or to register for a training session contact WAVE Coordinator Alene Onion by email at wave@dec.ny.gov.

     

     

  • CLEARING THE WATER ON PERCH – Adirondack Daily Enterprise ( Saranac Lake, NY)

     

    Curt Stager, Lee Ann Sporn, Sean Regalado, Melanie Johnson of Paul Smith’s write to correct some of the information in a recent article in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise about a study on perch DNA.

     

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    To the editor:

    As the authors of the recent peer-reviewed study on perch DNA, we would like to correct some of the information in Leo Demong’s letter about our research and the related article in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.

    It is not correct that our study was based on only one core sample. Two separate cores were obtained at two different times, and multiple samples were analyzed from each core. Each sample was then tested multiple times. The research paper clearly states this.

    It is also not clear from the historic record that yellow perch were completely absent from the original upland fauna. Although a report to the Commissioners of Fisheries by Fred Mather described a lack of evidence of perch in the uplands in 1882, Mather also stated in the survey report that "I can only regret that it is not more complete, as it is possible that the waters may contain other species not observed by me during the limited time in which the collection was made." His concern was justified because, as our paper states, the acclaimed naturalist John Burroughs reported catching yellow perch in the uplands in 1863 ("Nate’s Pond" and "Lake Sandford"), well before Mather’s survey, which is used to support alien status for yellow perch. An absence of references to perch angling in Adirondack Murray’s promotional writings for tourists is not of equivalent scientific value.

    Our paper makes it clear that we are not trying to attack reclamation or trout restoration, practices which the Enterprise article also said that we can "get behind." We are simply investigating the local history of yellow perch. We do, however, disagree with Mr. Demong’s dismissal of the question of



April 23rd, 2015
  • EDITORIAL: RECOGNIZE, ACT ON LOCAL POTENTIAL – Press Republican ( Plattsburgh, NY) We

     A Press Republican editorial reveals Plattsburgh’s potential economic advantages.

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    Plattsburgh is sitting in the perfect spot, both literally and figuratively.

    Its geographic location — near Canada, bordering a beautiful lake and majestic mountains, close to Vermont and with easy access to a major highway — leads to economic advantages that many small cities don’t have.

    And that translates to one immensely important trait: potential.

    Some recent accolades accorded the Plattsburgh area should remind people of what we have within our grasp.

    First came word, in March, that the greater Plattsburgh area (city and town combined) had moved into the Top 10 — tied for eighth place — for corporate-facility investment in Site Selection magazine’s annual ranking of micropolitan areas.

    The rankings were based on new corporate facilities or expansions with significant impact that meet at least one of three criteria: involve a capital investment of at least $1 million, create at least 20 new jobs and add at least 20,000 square feet of new floor area.

    The fact that Plattsburgh did well in this ranking shows that companies believe in the growth potential of this area.

    North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas, the authority on all things business for the region, noted that local economic-development strategies "are on the right track and need to be carried forward, especially the continued deepening and broadening of our special economic connections with Quebec."

    That got us thinking about another development in March. U.S. and Canadian officials signed a pre-clearance agreement that will make it easier to approve entry for certain people and goods before they reach the border.

    It still has to be passed by the U.S. and Canadian governments, but Douglas called the pact "nothing short of historic."

    The agreement could lead to two noteworthy developments:

    • Pre-clearance of Amtrak passengers by U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel in Montreal, eliminating the lengthy delays at Rouses Point.

    • Co-staffing of small, rural border-crossing stations, instead of having one for the United States and another for Canada, which would save money.

    Those enhancements would have an impact in Plattsburgh and beyond, further encouraging companies to consider setting up shop in this region.

    Then, just last week, fDi magazine, published by the London Times, came out with its biennial rankings of Micro American City of the Future — and, blimey, there was Plattsburgh, listed in second place.

    In the study of U.S. municipalities with populations under 100,000, only Greenville, S.C., made out better.

    Plattsburgh was in the Top 10 in five categories: second for economic potential, first for human capital and lifestyle, third for business friendliness, ninth for connectivity and first for foreign-direct-investment strategy.

    Sometimes, as they say, you can’t see what is right under your nose. Potential is something that Plattsburgh has always had but seldom recognized.

    Our location, bolstered by the effort and enthusiasm of community leaders, gives us an advantage that eludes many municipalities.

    It is up to the people of this area to capitalize on that potential.

     



April 21st, 2015
  • APA APPROVES PIERCEFIELD TIMBER HARVEST – Adirondack Daily Enterprise ( Saranac Lake, NY) Website

    Chris Knight reports from Ray Brook that the state Adirondack Park Agency has approved a timber company’s plan to cut trees on a swath of forestland it owns in the town of Piercefield.

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    **Please note that a paid subscription is required to view the article online. A version of the article appears below.

    The state Adirondack Park Agency has approved a timber company’s plan to cut trees on a swath of forestland it owns in the town of Piercefield.

     The harvest proposed by Lyme Adirondack Timberlands will take place on 549 acres of a 16,159-acre tract the company owns north of state Route 3, about 9 miles west of Tupper Lake.

    This is the fourth in a series of Lyme Timber tree harvest projects the APA has reviewed since December 2013, agency planner Aaron Ziemann told the APA’s Regulatory Programs Committee on Friday. The company owns 240,000 acres in the Park, spread across 25 tracts.

    "It’s part of their effort to increase age and species diversity on their lands," he said. "They want to remove the declining growing stock and create conditions for healthy, vigorous stands."

    The APA has jurisdiction because the project includes a clearcut of a single unit of land that’s more than 25 acres. The company will perform seven different types of timber harvests in the 549 acres, including a 65-acre clearcut. The largest harvest will be a-266 acre shelterwood removal with reserves, in which larger black cherry, red maple, beech and red spruce will be cut and smaller trees of the same varieties will be left behind to serve as a seed source for new trees.

    Ziemann said 100-foot buffers will be maintained to all neighboring property owners. There are no wetlands, lakes or streams in the harvest area, which has an existing road network.

    The tree cutting may be visible from Mount Matumbla, a popular hiking destination near Tupper Lake, and there will be a "very brief glimpse" of it from the highway, Ziemann said.

    "By and large the site will not be visible from New York state Route 3," he said.

    Ziemann said the agency received one comment letter on the project, from the environmental group Adirondack Wild. He said it included overall suggestions for improving the agency’s review of timber harvests and, specific to this project, concerns about rare and endangered species and wetland protections.

    "Agency staff feel we’ve addressed these concerns through our review process," Ziemann said.

    APA commissioners asked several questions but raised no concerns with the project. It was approved unanimously.

    The harvest is expected to take place in late summer. The work will be done for Lyme Timber by Bangor, Maine-based Prentiss & Carlisle, which has an office in Tupper Lake.

     

  • BOAT WASH TEAM TOURS VILLAGE – Hamilton County Express ( Speculator, NY) Website

    Editor Christine Meixner reports thirteen people toured several possible boat wash sites in Speculator Tuesday, April 14, trying to find one that is just right.

     **Please note that a paid subscription is required to view the article online. A version of the article appears below.

     Thirteen people toured several possible boat wash sites in Speculator Tuesday, April 14, trying to find one that is just right.

     They checked out Sparkle Laundry Mat & Car Wash owned by Jonathan Swift, the Day Treatment Center / Speculator Storage property owned by Brant Bros., Tanner’s Outdoor Sports’ boat yard, and the two rest area pull-offs just below the village.

    Brendan Quirion, program coordinator of the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program, led the excursion.

    The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation wants to get nine boat wash stations up and running by Memorial Day Weekend. DEC is paying for this year’s pilot program with money from the state’s Environmental ProtectionFund.

    These nine sites, identified by the APIPP and the Adirondack Watershed Institute, are considered “critical control points” for removing invasive aquatic species fromboats before they are launched.

    Each portable boat wash will have two inspectors trained by the AWI at Paul Smith’s College to operate the high-pressure, hot water decontamination units.

    And because the $5,000 units will not filter and recycle the wash water, catch basins will be needed where the used water will be allowed to evaporate. Quirion said they would be lined, so the liner and any debris can be rolled up and disposed of at the end of the season.

    Piseco Lake Association President Barry Baker, AWI Assistant Director Kathleen Wiley, Hamilton County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Farber, Lake Pleasant Superintendent of Highways Randy La Varnway, Village of Speculator Trustee Edward Brooks, and Adirondack Park Agency Commissioner Dan Wilt also toured.

    There is not enough room for a boat wash next to the laundromat, but boats being washed on the Tanner property could possibly get back to Route 30 through either the laundromat property or the Brant Bros. Property.

    If located at one of the rest areas arrangements would have to be made to have water delivered, perhaps by the firemen.

     



April 20th, 2015
  • DEC LOOKS TO TIGHTEN FOREST-LAND TAX BREAKS – Watertown Daily Times ( Watertown, NY) Website

    The Associated Press reports thousands of landowners could lose tax breaks as New York regulators consider changes to a program that rewards property owners for good forestry practices.

     

  • APA'S TURN ON LAKESIDE HOTEL – Adirondack Daily Enterprise ( Saranac Lake, NY) Website

    Reporter Chris Knight says that the review of a proposed shoreline hotel on Lake Flower is starting to ramp up again.

    **Please note that a paid subscription is required to view the article online. A version of the article appears below.

    The review of a proposed shoreline hotel on Lake Flower is starting to ramp up again.

    State Adirondack Park Agency officials were briefed Friday on Lake Flower Lodging LLC’s plan for a 93-room, four-story, upscale hotel, spa and conference center on the site of three Lake Flower Avenue motels.

    Meanwhile, the village Planning Board has scheduled a work session on the project next week.

    Park Agency

    On March 16, the village Board of Trustees approved a controversial zoning change for the hotel, designating the project site as a Planned Unit Development District where the normal village land-use regulations don’t apply. The next steps in the review process include a site plan review by the Planning Board and a review by the APA.

    Normally, the APA doesn’t need to review projects within developed community areas, as this hotel would be. But the APA has jurisdiction over this project because a portion of it, as it’s currently proposed, would be located within 50 feet of the mean high water mark of Lake Flower, so it would require a variance. It would also require APA permits because the hotel’s height, at 47 feet for most of the building plus a 63-foot-tall turret, would be greater than the agency’s 40-foot threshold, and because of potential wetland impacts.

    "They have received their determination from the village trustees," APA Regulatory Programs Director Rick Weber told the agency board Friday at its monthly meeting in Ray Brook. "It is now moving to the Planning Board, and we’ve been having meetings with the Planning Board to coordinate review. We’re expecting submission of materials within the week."

    Commissioner Arthur Lussi said the agency board would be interested in a visit to the site at some point.

    "I think it would be important to have staff aware we’d like to do that," he said.

    "I would concur," said Commissioner Sherman Craig, chairman of the board’s Regulatory Programs Committee.

    Planning Board

    The Planning Board work session is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday in the village board room on the second floor of the Harrietstown Town Hall, 39 Main St.

    As part of the site plan review process, village Community Development Director Jeremy Evans told the Enterprise last month he expects Chris LaBarge of Lake Flower Lodging to submit "a whole new site plan review application with much of what’s already been seen but changes and tweaks that the village board and Planning Board and the applicant has talked about.

    "Things that received cursory review during the PUDD process now have to be looked at in detail, plus all the typical components of site plan review, and all the specific components and requirements of the PUDD law now have to be packaged up and submitted as part of the site plan application," Evans said. "It’s all the details."

     

    LaBarge said last month he planned to make some changes to the project’s design in this phase of the review process, based on public feedback. He said he would try to pull back a detached restaurant that would otherwise be located in the 50-foot shoreline setback and possibly reduce the overall square footage of the hotel.

     



April 16th, 2015

April 15th, 2015
  • LAKE FLOWER BOAT WASHING PLANNED – Adirondack Daily Enterprise ( Saranac Lake, NY) Website

    Senior Staff Writer Chris Knight writes that the states boat launch on Lake Flower could become the first in the Tri-Lakes area to have a boat washing station designed to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.

    **Please note that a paid subscription is required to view the article online. A version of the article appears below.

    The state’s boat launch on Lake Flower could become the first in the Tri-Lakes region to have a boat washing station designed to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.

    Lake Flower has been selected as one of nine “critical control points” across the Adirondack Park where boat decontamination stations would be located this summer under a one-year, state-funded pilot project.

    Eric Holmlund, a village resident who directs the Adirondack Watershed Institute at Paul Smith’s College, outlined the program at Monday night’s village board meeting. He said the pilot project will be funded by a $1 million appropriation in last year’s state Environmental Protection Fund.

    For the past 15 years, the Watershed Institute has put stewards, often Paul Smith’s students, at boat launches across the Park to check boats for invasive plants.

    “What’s happening in the last few years is that invasive plants aren’t the only thing we’re concerned about,” Holmlund said. “It’s invasive small-bodied organisms like spiny water flea and Asian clam, and these things cannot be detected and removed just by looking at a watercraft. You need something bigger, better and stronger, and that is a high-pressure, hot water decontamination approach.”

    Holmlund said Lake Flower was selected for such a boat washing station because it attracts many visitors from across the state “and also exports boats and trailers to other lakes within the Adirondacks and elsewhere.

    “If we can keep boats clean coming in and out of Lake Flower, it’s going to provide protection not only for Lake Flower but for other lakes in the area,” he said.

    Lake Flower was also picked because it’s centrally located in the Saranac Lake chain and in the Tri-Lakes, Holmlund explained. If stewards at other lakes, like Lake Placid, inspect a boat and find invasives, that boat would be referred to Lake Flower for decontamination, he said.

    The state wants to put the Lake Flower decontamination station on village property next to the boat launch, where the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Ice Palace is built each winter. Holmlund said there would be no cost to the village. The station’s equipment would be purchased by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, and it would be run by employees of Paul Smith’s College.

    Unlike Lake George, which launched a mandatory boat inspection and decontamination program last year, the state’s pilot program this year will be voluntary, Holmlund said.

    “Our employees can’t do enforcement,” he told the Enterprise. “However, there is a state transport law that prohibits the transport of invasive species, and our employees can certainly tell (boaters) about that.”

    Mayor Clyde Rabideau said that the village is “open minded” about the program. He asked what would happen to the runoff as a boat is washed next to Lake Flower.

    Holmlund said the site is sloped toward the lake, so a water catchment system may have to be installed to prevent invasive-contaminated water from going back into Lake Flower.

    Rabideau noted there are several businesses across the street. He and other board members wondered whether the Ice Palace site would be the best spot for the decontamination station.

    Trustee Allie Pelletieri asked why the station wouldn’t be located upstream at the state’s Second Pond Boat Launch. The state just spend a lot of money rebuilding that boat launch but didn’t put a boat decontamination station there, he noted.

    Pelletieri suggested the decontamination could be done at another nearby site, and a sticker put on the boat saying it’s been washed, like Lake George does. Rabideau said the parking lot behind the village police station could be a possibility.

    “If there’s another location that the board feels is a better alternative, let’s talk about it,” Holmlund said.

    Rabideau asked Holmlund to present a detailed site plan for the decontamination station to village Manager John Sweeney.
     

  • YELLOW PERCH: PROFESSOR ARGUES FOR STAY OF EXECUTION – Adirondack Daily Enterprise ( Saranac Lake, NY) Website

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    Outdoors writer Shaun Kittle reports that a newly published study by scientists at Paul Smith’s College casts doubt on the species’ non-native status.

     

    **Please note that a paid subscription is required to view the article online. A version of the article appears below.

     

    Conventional wisdom has held that yellow perch are a non-native species that’s a threat to native brook trout populations. But now, some scientists here think that’s only partially true.  While yellow perch do seem to have a competitive edge over brook trout, a newly published study by scientists at Paul Smith’s College casts doubt on the species’ non-native status.

     

    Native DNA

     

    The researchers discovered yellow perch DNA in sediment cores pulled from Lower St. Regis Lake that date back 2,200 years, and they say that’s more than enough to justify calling the species native.

     

    Sediment coring has been used for decades to glimpse the past, but this is the first time the technique has been used to determine if a species is native or invasive.

     

    The idea for the study came from students in ecology professor Curt Stager’s paleoecology class. They soon discovered there were new studies showing that mining for DNA in sediment cores is possible.

     

    "This revolutionizes our field because now you don’t have to look for bones and scales," Stager said. "You



April 14th, 2015

April 10th, 2015

April 8th, 2015

April 6th, 2015

April 3rd, 2015
  • APA SHOULD REQUIRE CONSERVATION DESIGN PRACTICES FOR SUBDIVISIONS – Adirondack Daily Enterprise ( Saranac Lake, NY) Website

    Tom Woodman, publisher at Adirondack Explorer, discusses how a key to successful protection of the Adirondack Park is wise oversight of privately-owned lands within the Blue Line.

    **Please note that a paid subscription is required to view the article online. A version of the article appears below.

    A key to successful protection of the Adirondack Park is wise oversight of privately-owned lands within the Blue Line. Such properties make up roughly half the acreage in the Park and include wild lands that are important both for ecological integrity and the natural, park-like character of the Adirondacks.

    Unfortunately, the state agency responsible for regulating this development, the Adirondack Park Agency, has failed to consistently apply the principles that would most effectively protect sensitive lands and at the same time promote smart economic growth. This discouraging reality was once again apparent when the agency in January approved the Woodworth Lake subdivision of former Boy Scout property in northern Fulton County.

    The APA required modifications of the proposal by developer New York Land and Lakes aimed at reducing its impact. But the agency failed to apply the principles of "conservation design," especially those calling for a thorough – and early – ecological assessment of the land and the clustering of buildings in a plan that provides maximum protection for wildlife, environmental quality and the natural character of the area.

    These principles need not be obstacles to developers or burdens for property owners. Studies have shown that well-designed subdivisions cut developers’ costs by reducing the amount of infrastructure like roads and utilities. And the property values of the homes in such developments can be higher than in developments that don’t incorporate conservation design.

    It’s baffling, then, that the APA does not make conservation design its default requirement for applications for subdivisions on sensitive lands. The presumption should be that any sizeable subdivision on land classified as Resource Management will take this approach. If a developer does not want to follow those precepts the burden should be on them to demonstrate why conservation design would not be viable. Only then would the APA approve a different plan.

    Resource Management is the most restrictive classification within the park, and it is applied to the most environmentally important areas. The impact of design errors is especially damaging in Resource Management areas, which by their nature are likely to have woodlands, wetlands and waterways. The state’s Private Land Use and Development Plan recommends that Resource Management lands be used for conservation, commercial forestry and farming, not residential housing developments.

    A key sentence in the law governing APA private land decisions allows residential development on resource Management lands "on substantial acreages or in small clusters on carefully selected and well-designed sites." A state court recently held that the APA should consider this language a guideline rather than a bind rule.

    The Woodworth Lake plans call for 24 building lots over 1,119 acres, in the towns of Bleecker and Johnstown, most of which is on Resource Management land. The property is adjacent to the state-owned Shaker Mountain Wild Forest. It’s a prime example of the kind of high-value natural area that the Resource Management classification is designed to protect.

    With twenty-four building lots on more than 1,100 acres, it might seem that the plan preserves open space. But the lots extend across the property, creating sprawl, fragmenting wildlife habitat and creating risks to the health of forests and the two lakes, extensive wetlands and streams on the property.

    A rigorous use of conservation design techniques would likely have resulted in buildings placed closer together but screened from one another. The location for the cluster would be chosen based on terrain and ecological characteristics in order to minimize impact.

    The first planning step would have been an extensive independent survey of the property to identify ecologically important and environmentally sensitive features. The survey would have included a thorough ecological study of the land and would have been undertaken in different seasons to identify seasonal features like vernal pools, and wildlife that relies on the land for portions of the year. While the developers did conduct a limited survey, it took place over just three months and provided in the words of one environmental group "only the most basic ecological information."

    The extended layout of the building lots requires more roadways than a cluster would. The developers and the APA staff noted that development roads would use the routes of existing roadways where possible. This may mitigate impact for the time being. But if fewer roads were needed, old roadways would grow in and the property over time would have more uninterrupted woodland for wildlife habitat and human enjoyment.

    When the agency approved the plan, a commissioner said that the agency considered fifty factors and that to automatically require clustering would be to improperly elevate that one concern over all the others. A lawyer for the agency also reminded people of the court ruling that the language calling for clustering was a guideline and not a requirement.

    But conservation design is not one factor among fifty. It is a fundamental way of judging an overall project, within which other factors are considered. And looking for legal rationales for avoiding this approach reveals a lack of will to apply best practices for land use regulation.

     In granting a permit to New York Land and Lakes under these conditions the APA has shown the need for an update in state law that would, among others things, make conservation design the default requirement for Resource Management subdivisions. Park advocates across the Adirondacks have called for such strengthening of the APA. It’s time for Albany to act.

     

  • FUNDING STREAM FOR ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION FUND RAISES CONCERNS – WAMC Northeast Public Radio ( ) Website

    Pat Bradley, North County Bureau Chief, writes that environmental activists in New York say there are some good items in the just passed budget package,



April 2nd, 2015

April 1st, 2015