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The Nature of Things

A blog about nature and the environment

Archive for July, 2007

On NYC waters, places to go.


Boaters heading to New York City waters can easily find a place to empty their head’s waste tanks with a free map from Going Coastal, Inc., a Brooklyn-based organization that puts out information on these things.

“The New York State side of the Hudson River is a ‘No-Discharge’ designation; boats with toilets are required to use a holding tank or to secure the toilet to prevent discharge when operating in any of the state’s coastal waters,” the group says. “The waste in the tank may be emptied at any of the more than 30 pumpout stations – shoreside facilities as well as pumpout boats – that are available throughout the state.”

The “handy, postcard-size maps” is available on the group’s Web site here.

If your boat is docked on Long Island Sound, you can always have someone from Soundkeeper come around and pump out your tank, even when you’re not around. No catch. Visit the site, www.soundkeeper.org, here and click on the box that says “Pumpout Program Here.”

Posted by Ken Valenti on Monday, July 23rd, 2007 at 2:28 pm |
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Summer reading


The Lorax. Walden. A Sand County Almanac. Silent Spring. The Environmental Defense Fund is asking folks to cast their vote for the most influential environmental book. There’s a total of 13 on the list. The ones above are the ones I’ve either read over the years or picked my way through various parts (Walden). So if you’re headed to the beach or the pool, pick a book . . .

Posted by Mike Risinit on Saturday, July 21st, 2007 at 5:21 pm |
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Hogweed burns


Second-degree burns on 40 percent of his body. That’s what Eric Semenetz said he suffered after coming into contact with the sap from a giant hogweed plant about 10 years ago. The Mahopac resident said he was pulling it out of his yard in the sweltering sun that day. Hogweed sap plus sunlight is a dangerous combination, as I highlighted in a story earlier this week. This post will point you back to the story, which includes other links to identifying the plant and dealing with it.

“I used to go around spraying it with weed killer but the stuff is so resilient, it just laughed at me,” Semenetz said in an e-mail earlier this week.

He added that he was “in bad shape for several months. Still have the scars from it.”

Posted by Mike Risinit on Friday, July 20th, 2007 at 5:07 pm |
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More money for the environment


$300 million. That’s how much money will be in the state’s Environmental Protection Fund by 2009, thanks to legislation Gov. Eliot Spitzer signed this afternoon. Read my colleague Greg Clary’s update.

Here’s more on the EPF and Spitzer’s press release.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Thursday, July 19th, 2007 at 5:47 pm |
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Great Blue Heron


GBH. Sounds like steroids or some type of club drug. But, at least in this case, it’s birding shorthand for Great Blue Heron. I found this guy poking around Lake Carmel in Kent this morning. dscn0255-1.jpg

Here’s some information on these birds in New York.

And, in the never-know-what-you’ll-find-in-Google category, there’s a music festival named after the bird. Have to wait until next year, though, to catch that.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Thursday, July 19th, 2007 at 4:56 pm |
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Butterflies among us


Want to know your Hoary Edge from your Black Swallowtail? No telling if these two will be part of the instruction but Westchester County is sponsoring Butterflies at Muscoot Farm on Sunday, Aug 5. The identification program starts at 1 p.m. The farm is on Route 100 in Somers. For more information, call (914) 864-7282. More information on county parks can be found here.

For a quick video of a Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly, check out this post from earlier in the week.

And. more information on local butterflies can be found here.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Wednesday, July 18th, 2007 at 4:41 pm |
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Pollution news on your cell


Want to know what the pollution levels are before you step outside on a hot, sultry summer’s day? You can get that information delivered to your cell phone or e-mail, the state Department of Environmental Conservation pointed out today, by logging onto and subscribing to EnviroFlash. Click on the EnviroFlash logo/subscription button.

The service is free and can be customized to your region of the state or delivered only when certain pollutant thresholds are broached.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Wednesday, July 18th, 2007 at 3:45 pm |
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Hogwarts is scary? Hog wash. How about Hogweed?


If you missed Mike’s story about this invasive plant, you might be blind-sided – literally. It’s amazing that people bring in flowers and plants from far-off places near Turkey and Russia just to beautify their gardens, only to find out that oops, they imported a weed that will grow like crazy and is potent enough to make you go blind if you touch its sap to your eye. If you’re lucky enough to come in contact with it and only touch skin, you’ll likely end up at the E.R. with burns. Nice.

Mike’s story should scare all of us – as the state’s expert on invasive plants said – “Don’t touch it. Really. Don’t touch it.”

I realize Mike already prompted everyone with his blog entry, but this thing deserves a chorus. Thanks for doing us a service Mr. Risinit.

Posted by Greg Clary on Wednesday, July 18th, 2007 at 11:48 am |
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Be afraid. . .


Giant hogweed. The name alone sounds ominous. You can read more about this invasive, very toxic plant in today’s paper. hogweed2-1.jpgAnd, if you want to see Genesis singing about it (read the story and you’ll understand), click here.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Wednesday, July 18th, 2007 at 10:59 am |




Want a nest-eye’s view of an osprey family? There was a good story in The Providence Journal earlier this week talking about the birds’ recovery. The story includes a link to an osprey-nest cam. Here’s some info about the birds in New York. I’ve seen the birds over Long Island Sound. Can’t recall ever seeing one on the Hudson River, though.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Tuesday, July 17th, 2007 at 4:57 pm |
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