Environment

Julia Botero / WRVO News

Something is wrong in Orleans, a small town in the Thousand Islands. Tap water there is contaminated with high levels of salt. The water is not only unfit to drink, it eats bathroom fixtures and destroys washing machines. The problem has gone on for at least a decade. Homeowners suspect road salt from a nearby salt barn is to blame, and they want help from the state.

U.S. Department of Agricuture / Flickr, Creative Commons

Lewis County is now looking to solar to help save on energy costs. County officials expect the new solar project to generate enough power to supply half the energy needed to run the municipal hospital and county offices.

Lewis County plans to fill a nine- acre parcel of land behind the Public Safety Building in Lowville with enough solar panels to produce two-megawatts of energy. Chairman Mike Tabolt, head of the Lewis County Board of Legislators, is negotiating with Greenskies Renewable Energy to develop the solar array.

lindenbaum / Flickr

Maple sugar operators, scientists and forest managers have known for years that the sugar maple is very sensitive to acid rain. So when the federal acid rain levels dropped levels dramatically after federal regulation, it could only mean good news for one iconic tree that found living with acid rain difficult -- right? A recent study published by the SUNY School of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF) in Syracuse shows that hypothesis doesn’t hold water.

SUNY ESF

SUNY ESF has its fingerprints on the discovery of a new giant tortoise on the Galapagos Islands; a SUNY scientist is part of the research team that made the discovery.

James Gibbs, a SUNY ESF conservation biologist, has handled over 8,000 giant tortoises over the 20 years he’s been trekking back and forth between Syracuse and the Galapagos Islands. So he can easily see the difference between the new Eastern Santa Cruz Tortoise, and the others that live on the island of Santa Cruz in the center of the Galapagos Archipelago.

Julia Botero / WRVO news

Trees in the North Country are clinging to the last of their leaves. In Alexandria Bay, you can take a walk to admire what remains of fall foliage at Otter Creek Preserve. The trail is now open to the public for the first time. It snakes through more than a hundred acres of woods, wetlands, shrub and grasses.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Residents on both sides of the issue spoke out at another public hearing on managing deer and ticks in central New York on Tuesday night. Funding will soon be available for neighborhoods to address the problem.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

The Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency has agreed to purchase a site along Onondaga Lake that has been contaminated by industrial pollution for years. County officials are hoping the site can be cleaned and used for development.

The Canadian-based company, American Iron and Metal, which owns Roth Steel, a former scrap yard along Onondaga Lake, came to a settlement so the county could purchase the property. American Iron and Metal wanted to reopen the "pick and pull" junk yard but the county said they had the option to use eminent domain to take over the property.  

Adam W. / Flickr

 

Canada’s federal government has ordered the city of Montreal to halt its plan to dump about 2 billion gallons of raw sewage into the St. Lawrence River. Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq said the effect on the river would be “likely significant."

The city of Montreal was all ready to begin releasing the untreated waste water into the St. Lawrence on Sunday, despite widespread protests, including a petition from city residents with 90,000 signatures, and pleas to rethink the plan from New York Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-Willsboro).

Adam W. / Flickr

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) is speaking out against Montreal’s plan to dump 2 billion gallons of sewage into the St. Lawrence River next weekend.  Schumer is asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to sit down with the Canadian government.

jetsandzeppelins / Flickr

New federal rules aim to protect farm workers from the risks associated with exposure to pesticides, and advocates in New York are applauding the changes.

Now, children under 18 will not be allowed to handle pesticides. Adult farm workers will have to be trained each year on how to protect themselves from the chemicals used around them. They used to be trained every 5 years.

It’s been 23 years since the Environmental Protection Agency updated its standards.

A Syracuse company has won $100,000 in federal funding to help it reduce electronic waste.  

Sitting in a garage on Shonnard Street in Syracuse is the prototype for something called a “depopulator,” which could revolutionize the way old electronics are recycled. It’s the brainchild of engineers at the Advanced Recovery and Recycling Company. President Byron Tietjen says it essentially shakes the circuit boards while they’re being heated to about 370 degrees Fahrenheit, and the electronic parts from the printed circuit board just fall off.

Doug Kerr / Flickr, Creative Commons

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre spoke to the Canadian media Monday explaining that over the weekend, he and city officials had re-examined their plan to release wastewater in the river. He told reporters that despite strong opposition, the plan has to continue.

“Is there a way to take some option in between? Can we use some temporary ways instead of sending that to the River? The answer is no,” Coderre said.

EPA Regional Director Judith Enck is calling central New York to take action when it comes to climate change.

Enck admits that taking on climate change is a big issue. But she says individuals shouldn't shy away from it.

“Sometimes climate change can be an overwhelming issue. You get paralyzed, you don’t know what’s the first thing you can do to address. But I actionably think there are no shortage of steps to take to reduce carbon pollution,” said Enck, in a recent interview with WRVO News.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

According to the latest federal figures, there are more than 1,200 endangered species in the United States. Scientists across the country are trying to figure out ways to keep many of these species from dropping off the face of the Earth. 

Walking down the steep trail towards the bottom of Chittenango Falls in central New York, Cody Gilbertson carries a big white styrofoam cooler. But there aren’t any picnic treats for humans inside. Gilbertson’s cooler is filled with several plastic containers, stuffed with leaves that endangered Chittenango Ovate Amber Snails are munching on.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency wants your old thermometers or thermostats. It’s an attempt to get mercury out of the waste stream.

If you look at an old thermometer or thermostat hanging around the house and see a ball of silver mercury in it, don’t throw it in the trash. Exposure to even small amounts of mercury can cause health damage to humans and wildlife.

Kathleen Carroll of Covanta, which runs Onondaga County’s trash burner, says they do have pollution controls that minimize the danger of the items containing mercury in the waste stream.

Adam W. / Flickr

Canadian media outlets report that the city of Montreal is suspending its plan to dump over two billion gallons of raw sewage into the St. Lawrence River. This comes after city officials received a stream of phone calls when the city’s plans to dump the wastewater became public.

Ellie George, Paradox Lake, NY

If you’re been anywhere near a lake or a river this summer, you may have seen a big white bird diving into the water to catch fish. Ospreys have made a big comeback. But for many years, the bird was threatened. On Wellesley Island, for example,  Ospreys  are everywhere.

New York Invasive Species Information

bout half of the National Forest Service’s budget has been spent on fighting wildfires in the West and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) said it is taking funding away from other critical programs.

Ithaca's Falls Creek Gorge to get lead cleanup

Sep 14, 2015
Samuel Whitehead / WSKG News File Photo

The Falls Creek Gorge in Ithaca will get attention from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency due to lead at the base of the gorge. The agency announced the cleanup last week.

Overlooking the gorge is the former site of the Ithaca Gun Factory. The company made guns there for about 100 years, ending in 1986. The EPA cleaned up parts of that site in the early 2000s.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

Some Ithaca residents are starting a grass roots effort to get products that contain microbeads banned in Tompkins County.  

A group called Plastic Tides has been trying to raise awareness about plastic pollution for three years. The effort has involved some statewide research last year that showed 70 percent of water samples including Cayuga Lake, Oneida Lake, the Erie Canal and Mohawk River, contained microbeads.  

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News File Photo

Onondaga County's Lakeview Amphitheater comes to life tonight for the first time, when country star Miranda Lambert takes the stage. Many in the community hail the entertainment venue, along the shores of Onondaga Lake, as an economic engine for years to come. But there are still environmental concerns from one front, about the choice to build a stage on top of 80 feet of industrial waste beds. 

"We’re very concerned that we have lost a chance to clean up next to the lake,” said Joe Heath, who has been the attorney for the Onondaga Nation for more than three decades.

The Goldfinch

Aug 30, 2015

In this archived broadcast from August 31, 1990, John Weeks talks about the hatching season of birds. He goes into detail on the Goldfinch and how they play a role in the environment. He also talks about the uniqueness of this bird and how and why it is different from others.

Liz Truskowski

Eight thousand acres of pristine wetlands just north of Watertown in Jefferson County are open to visitors until Sunday. For most of the year, the Perch River Wildlife Management Area is off-limits to the public. The area is a breeding and nesting ground for threatened and endangered birds like bald eagles and black terns.

borisvolodnikov / Flickr

Onondaga County has the funds set aside that would create plans for a swimmable beach on Onondaga Lake.

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney believes recent studies that have deemed parts of the lake is clean enough to swim in brings the reality of a beach closer.

Cornell Cooperative Extension

Officials continue to track the movement of the Emerald Ash Borer in Central New York.

Jessi Lyons of the Onondaga County Emerald Ash Borer Task Force says the parts of the Syracuse areas that are seeing the most activity right now are in transportation corridors.

Highways Of Silk

Jul 28, 2015

In this archived broadcast from May 18, 1990, John Weeks talks about the highways of silk. He goes into detail about the Tent Caterpillars in Baltimore Woods. He talks about what they eat and how they attack trees but don't kill them. These are brought about by moths. Hes goes into detail about the birth of these Caterpillars and their lifespan.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Swimming in Onondaga Lake has been banned since 1940 but the commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Joe Martens, was among a group of local and state officials who jumped into the lake on Wednesday. The event was organized by the nonprofit Believe in Syracuse,  which highlights positive aspects of the city, to show that it is now safe enough to swim in the lake. The state DEC said low bacteria counts and high water clarity meet the standards for swimming. 

 

In this archived broadcast from July 3, 1987, John Weeks talks about wetlands and how important they are to the environment. He goes into detail about what a wetland is and how wild life react in wetlands. He also talks about the fish populations within wetlands.

Julia Botero

Eating locally grown vegetables and driving a hybrid car – these are ways to limit your  carbon footprint. A family in Lorraine, a small town near Adams in Jefferson County, has gone a lot further. They’re building a house made out of old tires and recycled wine bottles.  It’s called an Earthship and there are houses just like it all over the world.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

The village of Minoa is combining education with wastewater cleaning tactics at its wastewater treatment plant at it “Cleanwater Education and Research Facility.”

One of the wastewater issues facing communities today is the amount pharmaceuticals that end up in water that comes out of sewage treatment systems. There are concerns about possible effects on humans as well as fish and wildlife.

One way to get rid of the remnants of pharmaceuticals is through a biological wetland that acts as kind of filter, according to former Neil Murphy, former president of SUNY ESF. 

Pages