Environment

In this archived broadcast from August 9, 1990, John Weeks talks about how birds and sunflowers interconnect. He also talks about the dynamics of sunflowers and what they provide to our lives. He talks about different type of sunflowers and what makes them unique.

In this archived broadcast from July, 20, 1990, John Weeks talks about the development of butterflies and their purpose in wild life. He talks about a trip he took to Georgia and went to the butterfly house at Callaway Gardens. He also talks about the birth of butterflies and goes into details about the things he saw at the butterfly house. Weeks says that when looking at butterflies you will experience unexpected rewards.

Ithaca gun factory site in decontamination mode

Apr 9, 2015
SAMUEL WHITEHEAD / WSKG

From 1885 to 1986, the Ithaca Gun Company produced shotguns in a hillside factory northeast of downtown Ithaca. The factory’s smokestack still overlooks the city and Ithaca Falls. 

In the years since, the site has been the focus of extensive environmental remediation. Now, stakeholders are approaching the beginning of the end of the cleanup.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Onondaga County residents can now compost food scraps through the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency, or OCRRA. The first residential food waste was dropped off at the Jamesville compost site earlier this week.

Fifteen percent of all residential trash collected in Onondaga County is made up of food scraps, according to OCRRA.  The agency is hoping to reduce that number with a new residential food scrap drop-off program. 

Matt Richmond / WSKG News

New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation has been working with IBM to clean up a chemical spill in the Southern Tier town of Endicott for years now. At a public meeting recently, officials from the DEC gave an update on one of the contaminated areas identified for cleanup.

According to New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation, the cleanup of the so-called toxic plume in Endicott is proving successful.

Rivers on drugs

Mar 4, 2015
Brian Caird / WRVO file photo

They're beautiful on the surface, but, our rivers are on drugs.

The scientists at the Cary Institute of Ecological Studies say their findings show human drug use is having an increasing impact on the amphibious environment.

PPCP’s are leaking into our waterways and changing the ecology.

PPCP'S stands for pharmaceuticals and personal care products. Associate scientist at the Cary Institute Emma Rosi-Marshall says people don’t fully metabolize most of the drugs they take and they’re coming out in our waste products which then seep into waterways.

If kids spend a lot of time in front of display screens, is it bad for the environment?  Having a visceral connection to the outdoors is key to good environmental stewardship, argues this week’s guest on the Campbell Conversations.  Grant Reeher talks about habitat, species, and politics with Collin O’Mara, the current President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. O’Mara is a former Delaware state cabinet official, a native of Camillus, New York, and the inventor of the City of Syracuse’s Syrastat system. 

theweathernetwork.com

Friday morning update: The windy conditions over the past 24 hours has broken the ice up quite a bit. George Leshkevich is a physical scientist with the Great Lakes Environmental Laboratory now says the ice coverage is at about 56%, a 24% drop over the last day or so.

Our original post

Satellite images are showing that more than 82 percent of Lake Ontario is now frozen over. By comparison, 61 percent of the lake's surface was frozen in the first week of March last year.

One hundred-fifty Syracuse homeowners are being spared by the federal government from having to buy flood insurance.

City officials and Sen. Charles Schumer encouraged the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, to re-examine measurements of Onondaga Creek. Wednesday, Schumer and Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner announced the maps will be revised and include fewer homes.

Kate O'Connell / WXXI

Crude oil from the Midwest is moving by pipeline and rail across the U.S., including parts of the North Country.  Some companies are interested in shipping oil to East Coast refineries by way of the St. Lawrence River.

At a conference organized last weekend by the Thousand Islands-based group, Save the River, environmentalists and state officials voiced concern over the potential of a catastrophic oil spill.

New York's mesonet: economic implications

Jan 9, 2015
Howard Owen

Scientists at the University at Albany are developing a state-wide weather detection system called the mesonet. The network of 125 weather stations will record weather variables like temperature, wind speed, and precipitation. A study by the American Meteorological Society shows New York’s economy suffers the most from inclement weather and environmental variability. Concluding this series, we speak with a farmer whose livelihood depends on the weather.

New York's mesonet: data and apps

Jan 8, 2015
University of Oklahoma

Scientists at University at Albany are building a $24 million weather monitoring network that will collect information across the state. In a continuing series, we explore how that information will be made available to the general public.

New York's mesonet: profiling stations

Jan 7, 2015
Texas Tech University

Scientists from the University at Albany are designing the state's weather detection system to be the most sophisticated in the country. In the second part of a series, we take a look at the system’s technological advancements.

The New York State Mesonet won’t the first of its kind. UAlbany is modeling much of the network after Oklahoma’s.
 

What is the mesonet?

Jan 6, 2015
Raymond D. Woods Jr. / Flickr

After snow buried Buffalo in November, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the development of a state-wide weather detection system will lead to better forecasting. In the first of a four-part series, we examine what the system will and won’t deliver for New York residents.
 
The statewide network of weather monitoring stations is called the mesonet.
 

Typically, each station’s a 33-foot high tower in the middle of a clearing, equipped with all kinds of weather instrumentations like temperature gauges and wind vanes.

Madison County

You won’t be able to throw out old computers, televisions or video game consoles in the trash anymore in New York state once a new e-waste law is goes into effect Jan. 1.

This is the final phase of the state’s electronic waste recycling law that’s meant to divert electronics that can harbor dangerous metals from getting into the landfill.  

Andrew Radin, with the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Center, says this is meant to keep dangerous metals out of landfills. But he also notes there is a jobs component to all of this.

Julia Botero / WRVO

There is a deer in the village of Pulaski, N.Y., that will not run away if you come close. Residents have named the deer Bella. She naps on front porches, eats from people's hands and stands still while children pet her. Bella even has a Facebook page. WRVO's Julia Botero tried to friend Bella, but the deer had too many friends on the site, over 5,000. So, on a warm day last week Julia drove to Pulaski hoping to meet Bella face to snout. 

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Ellen Abbott / WRVO

This was a milestone year in the ongoing cleanup of Onondaga Lake. The Honeywell Corporation finished up the dredging portion of the cleanup this fall, removing 2.2 million cubic yards of toxic sludge from the bottom of the lake a year ahead of schedule.

The dredging has probably  been the most visible part of the company’s $451 million lake clean up plan.

Syracuse University engineering professor Charlie Driscoll says the community is close to the end of a massive cleanup effort of a waterway that, for years, was a dumping ground for industry.

David Chanatry/New York State Reporting Project

A thiamine deficiency might be to blame for a recent die-off of steelhead trout in the Salmon River.

The Department of Environmental Conservation says it began receiving reports about steelhead trout swimming erratically and dying in the Salmon River and other rivers off Lake Ontario last month. Three fish were sent to Cornell's Aquatic Animal Health Lab, where research scientist Rod Getchell examined the fish for diseases.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Environmentalists are celebrating after Gov. Andrew Cuomo said there will be no hydrofracking in New York for now, citing inconclusive scientific evidence on the health effects of the gas drilling process.

Karen Dewitt / WRVO

A reform group studied votes taken by local governments across the state on whether to allow hydrofracking, and found numerous potential conflicts of interest that they say could have tainted the outcome of the votes.

The New York Public Interest Research Group studied 59 municipalities that voted to permit hydrofracking in the past few years, if New York state eventually approves the process. They found numerous questionable activities, including locally elected officials holding gas leases and town attorneys who also represented oil and gas companies.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

If you’ve been to a Syracuse University basketball game this year, you may have noticed a different tint to the toilet bowl water in the restrooms. Here's why:

The Carrier Dome is now collecting rain and snow that falls on about half of its six acre puffy white roof. That water filters down the building into 50,000 gallon underground tanks. It’s then treated and stored, ready for a game break bathroom rush.

Coalition promoting water level plan for Lake Ontario

Dec 10, 2014
Gino Geruntino / WRVO

A coalition of land owners, elected officials, environmental groups and others are launching a campaign calling on the governments of the U.S.  and Canada to move ahead with the latest plan, called Plan 2014, to regular water levels on Lake Ontario.

Proponents say Plan 2014 would restore Lake Ontario to more natural levels by controlling dams along the St. Lawrence River.

Photo Dean / via Flickr

With leaves on the ground and snow falling, trees in upstate New York are becoming dormant for the winter, but urban tree cover is still important.

As many urban areas become more populated or new buildings are constructed, urban trees are often chopped down. Most cities in the country are losing tree cover. And it has consequences.

"Trees are not just decorative. They’re infrastructure. And hence, they’re important for that reason," said Emanuel Carter, a professor at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

'Cans for Pets' boosts recycling, helps shelters in several states

Nov 22, 2014
Kara Holsopple / Allegheny Front

Recycling saves energy -- recycling one aluminum can save enough energy to run a television for three hours. But some segments of the population apparently haven't heard that message -- like pet owners. Aluminum pet food cans are one of the least recycled household items. Now there's a program to reverse that trend with an incentive to recycle, that also helps shelter animals.

Margaret Corrado is an exception to the rule. At a pet store south of Pittsburgh, she dumps about 40 little empty cat food cans from a plastic grocery bag into a blue recycling bin.

David Chanatry / New York Reporting Project at Utica College

In a Schulyer County courthouse Wednesday night, 16 people were arraigned on trespassing charges for blocking the entrance to a natural gas storage facility. Three refused to pay a $250 fine and were sentenced to 15 days in jail, starting immediately.

The three protesters sentenced to jail include a retired Air Force master sergeant, a prominent scientist, and 86-year-old Roland Micklem, who leaned on his cane and told the judge that "a person’s got to do what a person’s got to do."

Leah Landry / WRVO

Boosters of a controversial plan to ease the regulation of Lake Ontario water levels are continuing their push to get the federal government to agree to the proposal. The outdoor sports community is lining up behind Plan 2014.

Plan 2014 eliminates a 50-year-old policy of regulating water levels of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River. Proponents want lake levels to go up and down naturally, which they say would bring back some of the wildlife damaged by the practice.

SUNY ESF

The State University of New York School of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse has figured out a way to grow an American chestnut tree that won’t die from a blight that’s virtually decimated the species over the last hundred years. It all comes down to genes.

American chestnut trees are an iconic species in American culture. Wildlife has relied on them, streets were named after them, and you can’t avoid mention of them in music during the holiday season.

Julia Botero / WRVO

Local politicians, environmentalists and business owners gathered in Clayton Wednesday to urge Washington, D.C. to adopt a new plan to manage water levels on the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario.

The current plan is 55 years old. This new one promises to restore wetlands and wildlife to the waterways while also extending the boating season. But the issue has been debated for over a decade.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO

They are in products people use every day to help get grime off their hands, keep their faces acne free and even make their teeth pearly white. But environmentalists and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) say plastic microbeads are polluting the country's lakes and streams.

While standing in front of Lake Ontario, Gillibrand announced her push to get companies to remove microbeads from personal care products like hand soap, facial scrubs and toothpaste, citing the harmful effects they have on the environment.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

An old television sitting on a curb in Syracuse has been there so long weeds are starting to grow through it. Trash scrappers already came and smashed it in two to remove the valuable items inside, like copper wiring. All that’s left is the plastic frame and glass screen. 

"TVs are not supposed to be out on the curb anymore," said Syracuse Public Works Commissioner Pete O'Connor. "However, the dilemma we have in the city of Syracuse is, we all know they’re out there."

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