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  • 13 Nov 2017 10:43 AM | AdkAction.org (Administrator)

    Dan Kelting of the Adirondack Watershed Institute at Paul Smith's College presents data on the regional salinization of Adirondack waters by road salt at the Mirror Lake Water Quality Workshop.

  • 19 Oct 2017 4:43 PM | AdkAction.org (Administrator)



    U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., wants to stop the Federal Communications Commission from downgrading its broadband standards for rural areas.

    Earlier this year, FCC said it is considering a downgrade of its current minimum home high-speed broadband standard of 25 megabits per second download speed and 3 megabits per second upload speed. That standard was set in 2015, but now FCC wants to allow internet service providers to promote slower internet speeds to customers by setting the new high-speed standard at 10 mbps download speeds with only 1 mbps upload speeds.

    This comes at a time when FCC is taking a closer look at whether mobile technology is enough to suit broadband needs in an average household.

    However, Sen. Schumer argued that this would be a disservice to rural businesses and communities in upstate New York, who need high-speed connectivity to be profitable and contribute to the economy. Even mobile internet speeds, which can be spotty in more remote areas of the state, would not be enough to make up for lower broadband standards, he added.

    “Too many rural areas in upstate New York do not have reliable access to high-speed broadband,” the Senate minority leader said during a conference call Wednesday. “It’s a real, real detriment to upstate New York.” 

    Sen. Schumer sent a letter to FCC commissioners Wednesday urging them to reverse their decision.  He also noted that this could affect federal efforts to get every household in the country connected to high-speed broadband. Of the federal government’s $1 trillion infrastructure funding package, $20 billion would be dedicated to this goal. 

    “The payback would be enormous because we would have so much productivity,” Sen. Schumer said. 

    Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo launched a similar program for New York state a few years ago. The $500 million program, split into three phases, awards grant funding to internet infrastructure projects across the state. The third and final round of funding is slated to be announced later this year. Earlier this year, Sen. Schumer joined other lawmakers from New York state in successfully persuading FCC to allocate rural broadband grants to local internet providers, such as Westelcom. After the U.S. Census Bureau designated Watertown and Fort Drum as an “urbanized area” a few years ago, FCC said it could no longer provide the area with the funding it provides to providers in rural areas.

    Westelcom is one of the north country’s largest internet providers through fiber-based broadband, and its services are used particularly for healthcare facilities and telemedicine networks. Without the rural designation, Westelcom would have lost nearly 96 percent of its anticipated revenue.

  • 13 Jul 2017 2:24 PM | AdkAction.org (Administrator)

    "The Global Pollinator Crisis" with Dr. Christina Grozinger

    For Immediate Release

    July 12, 2017


    AdkAction is bringing Dr. Christina Grozinger, associate professor of entomology at Penn State University and the director of the Penn State Center for Pollinator Research to The Wild Center on Wednesday, July 19th for a lecture titled, "The Global Pollinator Crisis."  There will be a reception hosted by AdkAction.org at 6:00 PM, and the lecture will begin at 7:00 PM. The lecture is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

    Grozinger will explain the importance of pollinators such as bees to agricultural production. She will also discuss the various reasons for the global declines in pollinator populations that have been documented in recent years, including pesticides, parasites, viruses, reduced genetic diversity, poor management practices of managed pollinator populations, and habitat destruction. She will highlight ongoing research at Penn State University, where scientists are seeking to better understand the impacts of these factors on pollinator health, and to find solutions that could be implemented locally, nationally, and globally.

    Grozinger has received national and international recognition for her research. She has presented over 35 invited seminar or symposia lectures in the last five years, including plenary and keynote lectures at the 2010 Congress of the International Society for the Study of Social Insects in Denmark and the 2011 International Society for the Study of Chemical Ecology conference in Vancouver, Canada. She was awarded the National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award and the Penn State Harbaugh Faculty Scholars Program Award for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, among other honors.

    This event is part of the Adirondack Pollinator Project is a project of AdkAction in partnership with The Wild Center, Lake Placid Land Conservancy, and Common Ground Garden in Saranac Lake. Our mission is to empower people to take individual and collective action to help pollinators thrive.  The Project promotes the health of pollinators, critical to food and ecosystems, through conservation, education, and research.

    Sponsorship for the Adirondack Pollinator Project is provided in part by The Adirondack Garden Club, Under the Sun Landscaping, Northern New York Audubon Society, and media sponsors: North Country Public Radio.

    Registration Link: 16114a.blackbaudhosting.com/16114a/LATE-The-Global-Pollinator-Crisis-with-Dr-Christine-Grozinger

    More information about AdkAction’s Pollinator Project and project partners can be found at AdkAction.org/pollinators

  • 14 Jun 2017 8:19 PM | AdkAction.org (Administrator)

    Jun 14, 2017 — An Adirondack community action group is doing its part to promote better awareness of pollinators - like bees and butterflies - in the region. AdkAction executive director Brittany Christenson says the Adirondack Pollinator Project's mission is to inspire individual and collective action to help pollinators thrive.

    This summer there will be a series of lectures, workshops and garden demonstrations, including how weeding the garden by hand and buying local produce can benefit bee habitat.

    Christenson says the Adirondack Pollinator Project grew out of a successful Monarch project that AdkAction began in 2014.

    Listen now: 


  • 31 May 2017 10:03 PM | AdkAction.org (Administrator)

    AdkAction Board Chair and tireless "broadband-for-all" advocate, Dave Wolff, provides leadership in the Adirondacks by hosting a monthly community forum to connect local leaders, internet service providers, and the New NY Broadband Office.  Find answers to your burning questions about broadband in the Adirondacks here!

    Q.    Hi Dave, can you help us understand the major goals of the New NY Broadband Office?
    A.    I'd be glad to.  The primary goal of the New NY Broadband Office is to get universal access to broadband to every New Yorker by 2018.  Broadband speeds are defined to be at least 100 megabits per second (Mbps) (download) in most places, and 25 Mbps (download) in the most remote, unserved parts of the State.  (Note that 25 Mbps is the federal minimum standard for high-speed.)

    Q.  Is it likely that the state's goals will be achieved for universal access on time and within budget?
    A.    It is a wonderful goal and  the state is midway thru allocation of $500 million in state funding (to be matched by private investments) to support the expansion of high-speed broadband access in the state.  Providers will have the ability to ask for a one year extension to complete projects approved by the state, so the real end date is year-end 2019.
         In addition, the new company (Spectrum) formed from the merger of Time Warner and Charter has committed to upgrading all its over 2 million customers in NYS to speeds of 100 Mbps by the end of 2018 and to 300 Mbps by the end of 2019.  At this point in the rollout (roughly half way) of the New NY Broadband Program, the state says that 98% of the households in the state will have access to high-speed broadband.  However, the last 2% of coverage will be the most expensive and hardest to accomplish.  The state will probably need additional funding to achieve its goal of 100% access to high-speed broadband.
        Note:  In May, 2016, Strategic Networks Group, a world leader in broadband econometrics, ranked New York State number one in the nation for broadband activity and investment.
    Q.    What would you tell someone in the Park who doesn't have broadband access now and has been waiting for years to get connected?  Can AdkAction.org help them?
    A.  I'd recommend that anyone in that situation reaches out to their town and county officials.  Applications for the third, and probably the last round, of grants via the New NYS Broadband Program ends on August 15.  We are working with these officials across Northern NY to make sure they actively engage with providers to ensure that the providers submit grant requests to cover as many un-served and under-served people as possible in their towns and counties.  Worst case, contact us at info@adkaction.org with your situation, and we will see what we can do to help!

    Q.    Will broadband transform our quality of life in the Adirondacks? How?
    A.    Access to broadband and the Internet can help improve quality of life in a variety of ways.   Older Adults overcome the problems of physical isolation, inadequate transportation, and harsh winters encountered in the Adirondacks.  From the AARP, access to the Internet can support the needs and ambitions of older adults in five broad, interrelated impact areas:
    1.    Personal fulfillment
    2.    Health preservation
    3.    Social connectedness
    4.    Functional capability and activity
    5.    Caregiver support
    Broadband improvements will also help businesses overcome the challenges faced in the Adirondacks:  small customer bases, high advertising costs, and sometimes a failing local economy.  In today’s world, many customers are online and with an online presence through a company website or social media efforts, rural businesses can grow their brand awareness and increase leads.  Internet marketing can be significantly cheaper than print, television or radio advertising. It is also proven to reach more people faster. And with broadband access, local businesses have the opportunity to compete in regional, national and even world-wide markets.

    Young Adults find good economic opportunity — that is, good paying jobs based on the new digital economy.  For example, there are web programming jobs available that allow one to live and work in the Adirondacks.  Students access learning tools equal to those provided in urban settings. Students can have access to higher level curriculum, to a larger selection of foreign languages and connect with students around the world.

    Finally, seasonal residents stay longer or even to move to the Park and tele-commute.  Enabling people to "work where they play".  

    If you would like to participate in one of our monthly broadband conference calls, or if you have any other questions, please reach out to us at info@adkaction.org.

  • 31 May 2017 3:17 PM | AdkAction.org (Administrator)

    We are organizing the first Keeseville Plein Air Festival from Thursday, July 13th to Sunday the 16th. The arts festival will showcase Keeseville’s mix of natural beauty and historic architecture and hopefully attract a wide range of artists, which in turn will assist the community’s revitalization.  

    Over 3 days of outdoor painting, artists will have the opportunity to put to canvass the scenic variety of the area.  On the first day titled “Paint the River”, artists will be given a tour of AuSable Chasm and directed to various locations and historic bridges along the AuSable River and its falls.  Day two called “Paint the Town” will begin with a tour of Keeseville’s architecture by the Adirondack Architectural Heritage Society after which the artists will set up their painting stations throughout the village.  “Paint the Farms” is the theme of day three when artists will find scenes of crops growing, animals grazing, and farmhands working fields in the budding farm community surrounding Keeseville.  On Thursday evening music, dinner from artisan food trucks, and craft brews are available at the AuSable Brewing Company.  Friday night there is a weekly concert and BBQ in the middle of downtown Keeseville.   

    On Saturday and Sunday, the public is invited to see the artists’ work.  Besides an art show and sale on Sunday, July 16th from 10am to 3pm, there will also be a special wine and cheese preview party on Saturday, the 15th at 6pm.   If you love art and want to support the Keeseville community’s revitalization initiative, please visit the village that weekend.  The headquarters for the event will be the 1719 Block Gallery on Keeseville’s Front Street.  

    Artists and local sponsors are signing up but we are in pursuit of more of both.  If you or someone you know is interested in an artist slot, registration is available at adkaction.org/art.  If you would like to support this project with a donation, you can do so here, donations of $125 or more will qualify you as a project sponsor! 

    Later in the summer, there is another opportunity to paint the beautiful Adirondacks.  With AdkAction as a partner, Saranac Lake is once again hosting the Adirondack Plein Air Festival from August 14th to 19th.  Now in its ninth season, the festival organizers have already selected fifty artists out of the ninety who applied and to encourage more Plein air painting, there are workshops before and after the weeklong event.  For more information we invite you to go to http://saranaclakeartworks.com/pleinair/pleinair2.htm.    

  • 30 May 2017 11:00 PM | AdkAction.org (Administrator)


    MAY 30, 2017

    The New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP21) has announced awardees of its 2017-18 Community Grants Program as part of the organization’s ongoing efforts to continue improving the health and environmental quality of New York state.  NYSP2I is sponsored by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation through the Environmental Protection Fund and led by the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Golisano Institute for Sustainability

    AdkAction’s proposal “Road Salt Pollution Prevention in the Adirondacks” was one of only 10 projects in the state chosen to receive funding after the completion of a competitive review process.  The Community Grants Program provides nonprofit organizations and local governments both financial and technical assistance for projects that promote and implement pollution-prevention practices at the community level.

    Each year, over 190,000 tons of road salt are applied to roadways in the Adirondacks. This poses a threat to aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, water quality, and the safety of drinking water.

    AdkAction Executive Director Brittany Christenson noted, “We know that there is no practical way to remove chloride from our lakes, rivers, and streams, and yet we are still adding tens of thousands of tons of road salt to the Adirondack environment each year. Preventing further pollution is the only way forward, and that’s why we are thrilled to receive this pollution prevention funding from NYSPP2I.”  She added, “We look forward to delivering the most practical and feasible-to-implement solutions available to help municipal and county highway departments reduce dependence on road salt.” 

    AdkAction will use the funds to create and distribute the “Road Map to Reduce Road Salt,” a guide to the environmental, economic, and human health impacts of road salt with recommendations for pollution prevention.  The non-profit will ask municipalities in the Adirondacks to sign a “Best Practices for Sustainable Salt Use” memorandum of understanding (MOU), and hold an Adirondack-wide Salt Summit in partnership with The FUND for Lake George. The 2017 Salt Summit will provide a forum for all stakeholders to hear from watershed researchers, watch industry professionals perform equipment demonstrations, and learn from case studies of areas that have significantly reduced their dependence on road salt, as well as to recognize those municipalities who sign the MOU in an awards ceremony at the Summit.

    AdkAction has been addressing road salt pollution since 2011.  Efforts have included hosting Road Salt Conferences in 2011, 2012, and 2014, working with NYDOT to establish 4 road salt testing areas, and achieving a 30% reduction in road salt application per pass in the test areas. AdkAction also administers a road salt working group designed to engage stakeholders in identifying gaps in knowledge of road salt impacts and evaluate safe and effective alternatives that will lead to a reduction in the use of road salt.


    Brittany Christenson

    Executive Director, AdkAction.org

    (518) 593-8753



  • 24 Apr 2017 9:32 AM | AdkAction.org (Administrator)

    See original article at:  http://modernfarmer.com/2017/04/meet-north-americas-native-pollinator-blue-orchard-bee/ 

    You may not know that the honey bee, the beleaguered but preferred pollinating insect, is not actually native to North America. We have our own bees here, and while they don't operate quite like honey bees, that doesn't make them less amazing—or less capable pollinators.

    All species of honey bees are Old World insects. They originated in Africa or Asia—we’re not totally sure—before being domesticated and spread to every continent besides Antarctica. The Europeans brought their preferred species of honey bee, the western (or European) honey bee, to the New World in 1622. This all begs the question: what the heck was pollinating the New World’s plants before then?

    Well, North America is home to a whole bunch of very different bee species beyond the honey bee, including those sometimes referred to as mason bees or leafcutter bees. Perhaps the best known and most useful of these is the blue orchard bee, which is adorably referred to by the USDA and others as BOB. Haha. Hello, BOB!

    Blue orchard bees are very, very different from honey bees. For one thing, they are, as their name suggests, a sort of blue-black in color, unlike the classic striped honey bee. But that’s just the beginning. Unlike honey bees, which form huge, complex hives, blue orchard bees are solitary creatures, though not particularly hostile to each other. Each spring, a female blue orchard bee finds a mate, and then goes on the hunt for a suitable nesting place. They like little holes, tubes or other small spots. Then the mother builds little partitions within the hole out of mud and fills them with pollen and nectar before laying one egg in each partition. Each mother will lay about five eggs.

    What makes blue orchard bees enticing to farmers, aside from the fact that they’re inherently cool and native to this country, is that they’re actually much more efficient pollinators than honey bees. This is partly as a result of their solitary nature and partly a result of the fact that they they collect pollen with their abdomens, rather than their their legs, which is what honey bees do; BOBs perform this goofy sort of swimming motion within the flower to get pollen to stick to them. This swimming motion is really great for spreading pollen from one plant to another, if not quite as great for actually collecting pollen to give to their broods.

    So, you might be asking, why aren’t we going all-in on blue orchard bees as pollinators for fruit and almond trees? The primary reason is that it’s really hard to get them to actually stay in one place and do what farmers want. Blue orchard bees, unlike honey bees, won’t make a hive their home for generations on end; if you release a whole bunch of blue orchard bees near a nice custom-made nest, a good percentage of them will just…fly away. And then you’ll have to do the whole thing again next year. Blue orchard bees might be efficient pollinators, but they’re terrible employees.

    A new study from the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service experimented with new ways to entice blue orchard bees to stick around and make our farms and orchards their home. At the moment, usual attempts to attract blue orchard bees consist of a big hive—which you can buy or make pretty easily—and a few smaller satellite hives placed nearby. The new study tried something different: a whole bunch of smaller hives scattered evenly throughout the area to be pollinated. The idea is to stop treating these bees like honey bees, and start working with their quirks and love of autonomy.

    And the study seems to have worked! Researchers collected data on things like hive occupancy rates, number of larvae per hive, and number of larvae per individual mother bee, and each category saw an improvement.

    Given that this was a single year study, it’s unclear whether this strategy will result in more second-generation blue orchard bees choosing to stay where they were born. But the researchers will be measuring again this summer, and with any luck, we might figure out a way to work with our local friend, BOB.

    For more on local pollinators, check out our Adirondack Pollinator Project: 




  • 11 Apr 2017 11:29 AM | AdkAction.org (Administrator)

    A new study concludes that thousands of lakes are at risk of rising chloride levels due to the use of salt on nearby roads and parking lots.

    The study from the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies is the first large-scale analysis of chloride trends in North America.

    Researchers looked at water quality data from 371 lakes in Canada and the United States, including Minnesota. They also assessed road density and land cover within 1,500 meters of each lake.

    Our main finding from the study was that any lake that was surrounded by some type of impervious surface — that's usually roadways or parking lots — was more at risk of having long term salination," said Hilary Dugan, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the study's lead author.

    Salt has been used to help melt ice on roads and highways since the 1940s. Scientists have known about the environmental problems the chloride in salt poses for decades.

    Chloride is a permanent pollutant, affecting the diversity of aquatic life and making lakes and streams more susceptible to invasive species. About 40 lakes and streams in the Twin Cities metro area are considered impaired due to chloride levels that exceed water quality standards.

    "Minnesota's a great example where there's a lot of small lakes right in the Twin Cities area," Dugan said. "And what we saw was that almost all of these lakes were increasing in chloride through time."

    Researchers found that as little as 1 percent of impervious surface within 500 meters of shoreline significantly increased a lake's risk of long-term salination.

    That's because those paved surfaces are typically where road salt is applied, Dugan said. Also, water can't drain into the soil, so it tends to run off, she said.

    "Once that road salt is put out in to the environment, it's eventually going to get washed into your surface waters," Dugan said. "So that's going to be streams and rivers and lakes, and it eventually will end up in ground water as well."

    Based on the findings, researchers believe more than 7,700 lakes in a 10-state region may be at risk of rising salt levels.

    Lakes tend to be a good indicator of the overall ecological health of a watershed because they hold onto their water for a longer period of time, Dugan said. If a lake has a high level of chloride, it's likely that area rivers and streams also do, she said.

    Many cities and counties already have reduced the amount of salt they apply to roads, Dugan said. But she noted that a lot of chloride use comes from private businesses and homeowners.

    The study will be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

  • 12 Mar 2017 11:44 AM | AdkAction.org (Administrator)

    World Wildlife Fund Mexico in collaboration with SEMARNAT and CONANP and the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve (MBBR) announced the total forest area occupied by overwintering monarch colonies. Thirteen (13) colonies were located this winter season with a total area of 2.91 hectares:

    For more information, visit: http://monarchwatch.org/blog/

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