Public Presentation on Wildlife Habitats in the Town of Clinton
February 04, 2013
Tuesday, 12 February 2013, 7:00 pm
Clinton Town Hall (1215 Centre Rd., Rhinebeck)
The Town of Clinton harbors an array of fascinating, unusual, and even rare wildlife habitats, and Hudsonia would like to share them with you. Hudsonia biologists have been hard at work identifying and mapping ecologically significant habitats throughout the town and will present their findings to the public at the upcoming Town Board meeting on Tuesday, February 12th. Habitats are the biological and physical surroundings that organisms call home, and an understanding of the types, extent, and quality of habitats in a region can offer important insights into the status of biodiversity there.
The Clinton habitat map that Hudsonia has created shows large, unbroken expanses of forest, rugged ledgy areas, and unusual wetlands such as acidic bogs and kettle shrub pools.
Air Pollution is Responsible for 3 Million Premature Deaths a Year
Submitted by Eve Propp
December 20, 2012
The poor air quality that many Americans know as smog and soot is caused by six ubiquitous pollutants labeled criteria air pollutants by government regulators. Over 170 million people currently live in counties where federal air quality standards are not met, facing increased risks of heart and lung disease and premature mortality. Most of the 20 million people suffering from asthma also live in areas with poor air quality. Dutchess County’s air quality is surprisingly no better than that of NY City.
Cary's GASLAND screening warns of Marcellus shale drilling
Millbrook Independent - Carola Lott
June 10, 2010
When a natural gas company offered Josh Fox's family $100,000 to lease their land for natural gas exploration, Fox reacted in an unusual way: he picked up a camera and began asking questions. The result was an award-winning documentary on the dangers of natural gas fracking, a growing grassroots campaign to put a lengthy if not permanent moratorium on the practice, and a movie watching tour that took him last Tuesday to a packed house at the Cary Arboretum.
Ecofocus: Hardy mosquitoes defy humans, shape course of history
Shannon L. LaDeau
June 06, 2010
The joy in seeing the first flowers of spring is always countered by dismay over the reappearance of mosquitoes. Few things are more irritating than the buzzing drone of these tiny flying needles in search of blood. They seem to arrive in droves – as if awakened from a long, hungry winter of rest.
Manage pathways to block invasive species
Dr. David Strayer
January 31, 2010
Poughkeepsie JournalWillie Nelson once sang that he only missed his ex-lover on three days: yesterday, today and tomorrow. This simple division of time works as well for invasive species as it does for heartbreak.
Yesterday's invaders include hundreds of species and pathogens that are now well established throughout our region.
Trees cut at Dutchess County Airport
January 28, 2010
Tree cutting at the Dutchess County Airport started last week and, for what? Is this the kind of project we want our tax dollars to support?
The Poughkeepsie Journal article below, published last month, reports on costs vs. use:
Dutchess County Airport saw its last scheduled commuter flight on August 12, 2001, when a CommutAir 19-seat turbo-prop plane took off for Burlington, Vt., and did not return.
Thinking about climate change during the winter
Dr. Peter M. Groffman
January 17, 2010
Poughkeepsie JournalWhen people think about climate change, the first thing that usually comes to mind is blazing hot summer days, severe droughts, or super-size hurricanes. But climate change is actually more significant in winter than in summer.
In the northeastern United States, over the last century, winter temperatures have warmed more than summer temperatures.
Breathing lessons: Living without oxygen
Dr. Jonathan Cole and Dr. David Strayer
January 03, 2010
Poughkeepsie JournalMost of us learned in school that plants produce oxygen and consume carbon dioxide, while animals (like us) consume organic matter (such as carrots and burritos) and oxygen and produce carbon dioxide (see the accompanying diagram). These relationships keep our planet in a nice balance for both plants and animals. They are easy to remember, but leave out some interesting parts of the story.
Global warming is real - despite e-mail hoax
Dr. William H. Schlesinger
December 20, 2009
Poughkeepsie JournalThe recent hacking of e-mails at the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia Center – one of the world's foremost institutions for the study of climate change – offers a disconcerting view of how modern science is done. If the truth is manipulated by scientists, then who are we to believe?
Fish out of their own water
Dr. David Strayer
December 06, 2009
Poughkeepsie JournalLast month's news that the invasive silver carp had crossed the electric barrier in a canal in Chicago ? and were only a short day's swim from invading Lake Michigan ? caused outcries from the outdoor community and tourist industry across the Great Lakes region.
Carbon dioxide: Where does it go?
November 22, 2009
Poughkeepsie JournalFew of us think about the state of the atmosphere until it fails to provide us with a hospitable environment. More often than not, human activities are behind atmospheric ills. Climate change and high concentrations of particulate matter are only two examples.
Mountaintop coal digging has dire consequences
Dr. William H. Schlesinger
August 16, 2009
If you were to pick up the Appalachian Trail in New York State, and hike 600 miles south, after passing through some of the nation's most scenic vistas, you'd reach some very disturbing topography. Treeless hills rising to a flat top–much like the arid mesas of the desert Southwest–are separated by valleys filled with broken rock and barren streams. Welcome to mountaintop removal coal mining.
Managing watersheds is complex, but critical
Dr. Peter M. Groffman
August 02, 2009
In July, Dutchess County celebrated Watershed Awareness Month. Throughout the region, educational activities highlighted the role that watersheds play in protecting the health of freshwater resources. When watersheds are compromised–typically through alterations to the landscape, such as sprawling development, intensive agriculture, or improper waste disposal–adjacent water bodies suffer.
Study finds diverse Adirondack lakes all connected by watershed
Dr. Charles D. Canham
July 19, 2009
Poughkeepsie JournalFor more than 100 years, New York has been home to one of the world's best-kept conservation secrets. At 6 million acres, the Adirondack Park is the largest protected area in the contiguous United States. It is roughly the size of Vermont, yet is unknown to most Americans.
You can help protect watersheds
July 05, 2009
Poughkeepsie JournalJune was rainy! According to the Cary Institute's Environmental Monitoring Program, it rained 19 out of 30 days. The first few days of July have also been marked by intermittent rains and flash flooding.
N.Y. home to natural gas source, but extraction could do damage
Dr. Peter M. Groffman
June 21, 2009
Poughkeepsie JournalNew York is not typically thought of as a state with abundant energy resources. We don't have a lot of coal and oil, and other than Niagara Falls, we don't generate much hydropower. But as it turns out, there is a vast reserve of natural gas in New York State, buried thousands of feet below the surface in a geologic formation called the Marcellus Shale.
Carbon tax more efficient than cap-and-trade
Dr. William H. Schlesinger
May 24, 2009
Poughkeepsie JournalCapitol Hill is abuzz with excitement over the Waxman-Markey bill, a 932-page document that includes cap-and-trade proposals to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and combat global warming. No doubt, a cap-and-trade scheme will raise the price of energy derived from fossil fuels, lowering demand. But there are many reasons to be skeptical about how effectively cap-and trade schemes will operate.
Multistakeholder Effort Reveals Climate Change Impacts And Adaptation Strategies For Hudson River Communities
May 19, 2009
The Nature Conservancy On behalf of a broad Hudson Valley partnership, The Nature Conservancy today released the Rising Waters report that outlines a series of recommendations for climate change adaptation in the Hudson Valley. Over the coming decades, adaptation will be critical as Hudson Valley communities face significant challenges posed by the impacts of climate change, such as extreme weather patterns and rising sea-level.
Scientist: Oceans' peril is ours, too
April 19, 2009
Many of us are planning our summer sojourns to sandy beaches, where we will marvel at the enormity of the ocean. While staring out into the vast blue waters and being lulled by the crashing waves, it's easy to forget our individual actions shape this great ecosystem. After all, more than 70 percent of the Earth's surface is covered in salt water.
Human progress leads to 'lost worlds'
March 29, 2009
Few themes in literature are more alluring than the lost world. Places such as Atlantis, Shangri-La, Conan Doyle's "Lost World", and now the bestselling "The Lost City of Z" conjure up images of strange landscapes, exotic civilizations and hidden treasures. Their mysteries fascinate readers and movie-goers.
What's the Town of Washington CAC Been Doing?
March 16, 2009
This March 4th, the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Dutchess County held its annual CAC & EMC Roundtable.
Does this apply to the Town of Washington? Yes it does. We have a CAC.
Warmer world means spring birds return sooner
March 15, 2009
Poughkeepsie Journal Ecologists study phenology, which is the orderly progression of seasonal events in nature, such as the springtime arrival of migrating birds, the first chorus of spring peepers in vernal pools, and the development of tree colors each autumn. Many of these events coincide with predictable seasonal changes, such as the last winter frost or the expected appearance of springtime insects. Indeed, the timing of some events is so regular and predictable that it is likely because of long-term natural selection against the survival of individuals that emerge too early or arrive too late.
Recession may worsen spread of exotic diseases
March 10, 2009
msnbc.com To most Americans, diseases with names like dengue fever, chikungunya, malaria, Chagas and leishmaniasis might sound like something out of a Victorian explorer’s tales of hacking through African jungles. Yet ongoing epidemics of these diseases are killing millions of people around the world. Now, disease experts are increasingly concerned these and other infections may become as familiar in the United States as West Nile or Lyme disease.
EcoFocus: Groundwater is essential
March 01, 2009
Poughkeepsie Journal Few ecosystems on our planet are as mysterious and misunderstood as groundwater. Despite the fact 60 percent of us in Dutchess County drink groundwater every day, and all of us eat food irrigated by ground water, very few people know where it comes from, where it goes, or that groundwater is full of life. Because we are so misinformed about groundwater, we don't always manage this valuable resource wisely.
You can aid study of local vernal pools
February 08, 2009
Poughkeepsie Journal Interested in learning more about salamanders, frogs, turtles and other wetland wildlife?
Consider taking part in an inventory of vernal pools in the Town of Washington. Led by Michael W Klemens, a research conservationist at the Cary Institute and the director of the Metropolitan Conservation Alliance, the project will help identify vernal pools of conservation concern.
Cary Institute workshops for teachers set
Q&A with instructor Lia Harris
February 08, 2009
Poughkeepsie Journal What is your background as an environmental educator? I began as a science teacher in Baltimore as part of the Teach for America program. I was struck by the lack of outdoor experience my students had, and yet how much they loved going outside.
EcoFocus: Rising human demand for fresh water on course to put other species at risk
January 18, 2009
If you ever saw "Star Wars," you'll remember the trash compactor scene: Trying to escape from the Imperials, Luke and his friends duck into what turns out to be a trash compactor, where things go from bad to worse. First, some alien creature tries to eat Luke, and then the walls start closing in, threatening to smash them flat. Only R2-D2's quick thinking saves the day.
EcoFocus: Endangered Species Act changes must be reversed
William H. Schlesinger
January 04, 2009
Poughkeepsie JournalLike many people, my wife and I experienced some interesting conversation over holiday dinner with relatives - politics, economy and environment. While lingering over our meal, my sister announced in no uncertain terms the seashore belongs to people.
A frequenter of Cape Cod beaches, she is tired of encountering fenced-off areas set aside for the endangered piping plover.
Proposed shipping rules target invasive species
December 07, 2008
Poughkeepsie JournalNew York state is taking an essential step to deal with invasive species, one of the most damaging and difficult environmental problems of our time, by proposing to limit the importation of ballast water into the state. This action represents real progress towards solving a problem that has been allowed to continue for too long. It deserves our support.
Economic downturn could hurt your health
Richard S. Ostfeld
November 23, 2008
Poughkeepsie JournalDengue (pronounced DEN-ghee) fever is caused by a virus spread by mosquitoes. It was formerly called "break-bone fever" because it causes excruciating pain to the muscles and joints of its human victims. Between 50 million and 100 million people worldwide get sick with Dengue fever each year, and about 5 percent of them die.
Keeping Balance in the Environment
Dr. Peter M. Groffman
November 09, 2008
We tend to think of nature as having reliable patterns; the leaves turn color each autumn, seasonal birds come and go. But there are also examples of sudden, unexpected changes in the environment around us. These rapid shifts occur when an ecological threshold has been crossed, either from a series of small changes or one abrupt change.
EcoFocus: Consensus links warming, human actions
William H. Schlesinger, Peter M. Groffman and Catherine O'Reilly
October 12, 2008
Poughkeepsie Journal Last year, we received certificates that featured attractive artwork, Alfred Nobel's name, and the King of Norway's signature. No, we didn't win the Nobel Peace Prize. But in 2007, our scientific contributions did help Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change win theirs.
Lecture at Cary emphasizes the importance of bees
October 02, 2008
Millbrook Round Table"The honeybee is basically the thermometer of the environment," David Hackenberg astutely pointed out during his lecture on Michael Shacker's 2008 book, "A Spring Without Bees: How Colony Collapse Disorder Has Endangered Our Food Supply." The Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies and the Merritt Bookstore co-hosted the discussion on Friday, September 26.
EcoFocus: Microbes, tiny organisms critical to life processes
September 14, 2008
Poughkeepsie JournalWhat do cheese production, sewage treatment, and insect-resistant corn have in common? Without microbes, none of these things would be possible. Microbes are an important part of our daily lives, yet few of us consider what they do for us on a day-to-day basis.
Steward T.A. Pickett
August 31, 2008
Poughkeepsie JournalIn late summer, after a couple of rainy afternoons, I happened to see several huge mushrooms under a pine tree at the Cary Institute. Mushrooms can be a little deceptive because they appear so suddenly, often seemingly overnight. They are also deceptive because they are only a small part of a much larger organism, most of which remains hidden from view.
Taking a Watershed Approach to Regional Planning
August 20, 2008
The small historic hamlet of Wassaic in the Town of Amenia in Eastern Dutchess County was discovered by Captain Richard Sackett in 1711, when there were no white settlers for 15 miles in any direction. The native peoples who lived here, who were mostly Lenape and Algonquin, named the area "Washiak" because it is at the bottom of a steep gorge where two small rivers converge. The word means "Water that is difficult to get to, place of difficult access." It is natural that the native peoples of that time conceptualized areas where they lived in terms of access to water because access to water was essential to their survival.
Hudson Valley Community Preservation Act
August 07, 2008
Dutchess Land Conservancy expresses support of the Hudson Valley Community Preservation Act.
Alternative energy options outlined at CIES colloquium
Millbrook Round Table
July 31, 2008
The Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, along with Allan and Julie Shope, hosted a colloquium on alternative energy at Listening Rock Farm in Wassaic on July 27.
Sixty-eight attendees from as far away as New Mexico congregated at Listening Rock Farm to discuss the important role that renewable energy sources have to play in today's economic and political landscape.
Cary Institute in Millbrook Working on Cause of Global Warming
William H. Schlesinger
July 01, 2008
Country Courier MagazineOur climate is getting warmer. Records from weather stations, ice-break up on lakes and rivers, and the arrival of birds indicate that the Hudson River Valley and much of eastern North America is experiencing warmer winters and earlier arrival of springtime.
Let lawn go - and reap the benefits
William H. Schlesinger
June 22, 2008
Poughkeepsie JournalIt's time for Americans to forsake their lawns. Unless you are an avid fan of croquet, lawn tennis, or summer garden parties, let your lawn go natural. Today's obsession with perfect, park-like lawns is not only a waste of time and money; it's bad for the environment
Trouble's Warming Up
Julie A. Varughese
June 16, 2008
Times UnionAs New York state's average temperature rises, New Yorkers are seeing a migration of plants, animals -- and pests -- more familiar to tropical climates. Outbreaks of the West Nile virus and other diseases could also become more commonplace.
In little more than 60 years from now, New York's climate is predicted to be hot and hazy -- much like Georgia's -- and the number of days with temperatures above 100 degrees could total as many as 30, according to the Northeast Climate Impacts Assessment published by the Union of Concerned Scientists, a Boston-based nonprofit science advocacy group.
Six things you might not know about Lyme disease
Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
June 13, 2008
While many New York residents are becoming aware of ways to avoid tick bites, there is less public discussion about the environmental conditions that magnify disease risk. For almost two decades, the Cary Institute has been investigating connections among infected ticks, mammal and bird populations, and habitat fragmentation.
Puffins' Habits Change Habitat
Clive G. Jones
June 08, 2008
Poughkeepsie JournalIn 1890, there were about 250,000 pairs of Atlantic puffins breeding on Grassholm, a 22-acre island a few miles off the southwest coast of Wales in the United Kingdom. By 1940, there were only 25 breeding pairs. Today, few if any puffins breed on this rocky island.
The Mussel in the Rainforest
June 02, 2008
This past summer, we unexpectedly found a very rare freshwater mussel in one of the small tributaries of the Housatonic River basin — a species that hadn’t been seen in the region since 1843. When a reporter asked me how I felt when we found the mussel, I was of course completely unprepared for the question, and stammered out some sort of weak response. But now that I’ve had the time to consider the question, I guess I’d say that it felt like we had unexpectedly come across a little piece of the rainforest still standing amid the farm fields and suburbs of southeastern New York.
When Europeans first came to the streams and rivers of eastern North America, they would have seen dozens of kinds of catfish, some as small as your finger and some as large as your uncle, an armored needlefish that grew up to 10 feet long, which they would call the alligator gar, shoals of silvery shads, and dozens of kinds of darters and minnows — tiny fish so colorful that they would look at home on a coral reef.
Is Spring Coming Sooner?
Peter M. Groffman
May 25, 2008
Poughkeepsie JournalThis year, our maples and oaks put out new leaves, and our fruit trees started blooming about two weeks earlier than usual. Is this a symptom of climate change? Is this a good thing?
Wake Up, America. We're Driving Toward Disaster.
James Howard Kunstler (Saratoga Springs)
May 25, 2008
The Washington PostEverywhere I go these days, talking about the global energy predicament on the college lecture circuit or at environmental conferences, I hear an increasingly shrill cry for "solutions." This is just another symptom of the delusional thinking that now grips the nation, especially among the educated and well-intentioned.
I say this because I detect in this strident plea the desperate wish to keep our "Happy Motoring" utopia running by means other than oil and its byproducts.
Fire Factor Fading
May 11, 2008
Poughkeepsie JournalThe fire in Minnewaska State Park last month, which burned more than 3,000 acres, is a reminder of how difficult it can be to control wildfires. But for more than a century, we have been extraordinarily successful at doing just that. The Hudson Valley is not unique in this regard - fire suppression has been a guiding principle of land management across the country.
Thorny Shrub is a Backyard Bully
Gary M. Lovett
April 27, 2008
Poughkeepsie JournalMy backyard is being devoured by a silent but aggressive invader, multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora). This thorny perennial shrub is an Asian import with arching green stems called canes that can reach 10-15 feet long. It advances across open ground at an alarming rate.
Living a greener life in the Hudson Valley
The Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
April 24, 2008
Millbrook Round TableLocally grown vegetables have a host of advantages. They don't need to be transported across continents and oceans, a process that expends an enormous amount of fossil fuel energy. On average, vegetables purchased at conventional grocery stores travel 1,500 miles to reach your plate.
Forests, Small Animals Face Greatest Threat
April 21, 2008
Times UnionBecause the Capital Region is wedged between two distinct ecosystems - the Adirondack Mountains and the Hudson River Valley - the impact of a warming climate on both areas will affect us.
Some of the most noticeable changes include:
The maples, birch and beech trees that provide vibrant fall foliage could be replaced within a century by Southern climate trees, such as oaks and pines.
Subtle Cues Spur Awakening: Warming threatens to skew life cycles
Steward T.A. Pickett
April 13, 2008
Poughkeepsie JournalAs spring settles in around us, there is a lot of evidence of how organisms and the ecosystems they are part of respond to the shifts in the seasons. Each day, in both city and country, there is almost daily evidence of increasing biological activity.
More bird song greets us each morning, and it's hard to miss that music even in town.
Chinese Mitten Crabs: Invasive Species Found in Hudson
March 30, 2008
Poughkeepsie JournalLook for a new animal in the Hudson this summer. The Chinese mitten crab is at our doorstep. Although only a handful of crabs have been caught in the Hudson and nearby rivers since 2004, it seems likely they are now established and spreading through the Northeast.
Trees Along Streams
March 26, 2008
As suburban sprawl spreads across the Hudson Valley, more and more natural streamside vegetation is cut down and replaced with lawns. This is very unfortunate because trees, shrubs and other natural vegetation along streams provide many important benefits including the creation of aquatic and terrestrial habitats, the reduction of floods, the decrease of certain water pollutants and the reduction of erosion.
A common way of reconciling human land uses and the health of a watershed is to create streamside buffer zones of native trees and shrubs. These buffer zones not only separate the harmful effects of human activities from nearby streams but also neutralize many of the harmful effects.
Streams Cleanse Water As They Move It
March 16, 2008
Poughkeepsie Journal On their journey toward the ocean, small streams carry materials from adjacent terrestrial ecosystems. For decades this capacity to transport salts, soils and organisms was viewed as the primary ecological function of streams. Simply put, streams were seen as conduits with little capability to alter carbon, nutrients, or other elements during transport.
Biofuels No Easy Answer
March 02, 2008
Poughkeepsie JournalWe have passed a tipping point in the search for "carbon-neutral" energy sources, leading to an explosion of interest in the use of plant-derived ethanol and biodiesel as a replacement for fossil fuels. Almost overnight, ethanol went from an additive to make engines run better to a potential solution for global warming.
Acid Rain Problem Lingers
William H. Schlesinger and Gary Lovett
February 17, 2008
Poughkeepsie JournalCary Institute scientists have provided leadership in acid rain research, but acid rain is not limited to our area - it occurs widely across the eastern United States, Europe, China and other industrialized areas around the world. How does rain become acidic and why do we care?
Plodding Process Lets Invasive Species Take Hold
February 03, 2008
Poughkeepsie JournalA new invader is about to carve out a home in the Hudson River. Chinese mitten crabs, native to Eastern Asia, have been spotted in the Hudson and along our East Coast several times since last June. This burrowing crab is of concern because it breeds prolifically and migrates far inland.
Forest Change Offers Insight
Daniel Katz and Gary M. Lovett
January 20, 2008
Poughkeepsie JournalWhile walking through the woods in the Hudson Valley, it is common to stumble upon the remnants of stone walls. Now mossy and overgrown, they date back to a time when agriculture dominated the landscape. In those days, the Hudson Valley was a patchwork of farms and only the steepest of slopes and the rockiest of areas remained forested.
Warmer Winters Not Only Effect of Climate Change
William H. Schlesinger
January 06, 2008
Poughkeepsie JournalWith the cold temperatures of the past few days, one might think it would take sheer gall for me to write a column about global warming. It is easy to believe that warmer winters might simply translate into a reduction in flu-related illness and fewer injuries from ice-covered roads and sidewalks. But climate change will affect more than the daily temperature, and we'd better prepare for its full range of impacts.
Salt Nixes Ice - At a Price
December 23, 2007
Poughkeepsie JournalWinter has descended upon us with its snow and ice. With it has come the familiar sight of snow plows and de-icing trucks. Across the Northeastern US, each year over 10 million tons of sodium chloride is applied to roadways.