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The Nature of Things

A blog about nature and the environment

Archive for April, 2010

Indian Point appealing DEC water-use decision


BUCHANAN — Indian Point officials are taking their water-use case to the next level after being told earlier this month by state regulators that the way they use Hudson River water to cool their nuclear plant operations doesn’t comply with the portions of the Clean Water Act.

“Today’s request for intervention to the administrative law judges reflects our strong belief that the DEC staff, in this instance, is mistaken in its conclusions,” said Fred Dacimo, vice president for license renewal for Entergy Nuclear, which owns and operates Indian Point. “Entergy…is proposing technology…that will significantly advance our longstanding efforts to protect Hudson River fish eggs and larvae while not adversely affecting human health or the Hudson’s scenic shoreline.”

The appeal to the Department of Environmental Conservation’s judges comes after an April 2 decision from the agency’s staff that says the two working plants in Buchanan have harmed shortnose and Atlantic sturgeon by trapping them against screens or killing them as they are drawn in with the 2.5 billion gallons of river water Indian Point uses to cool its daily operations.

The 23-page letter outlining the decision said Indian Point must change the way it uses the Hudson River to meet New York’s water quality standards.

o Entergy fights ruling on water permits
o Entergy puts end to spin-off plan
o DEC: Indian Point must protect fish
o Security deadline extended for Indian Point
o State regulators reject Entergy plan to spin off Indian Point reactors

Without the DEC’s water-quality permits, the nuclear plant’s 20-year license renewal to operate through 2035 would also be jeopardized.

DEC officials declined comment today on Entergy’s appeal.

Read more about this in Saturday’s Journal News and on LoHud.com.

Posted by Greg Clary on Friday, April 30th, 2010 at 4:06 pm |
| | 1 Comment »

Sailing and sampling


Not only will the Clearwater sloop be plying the waters of the Hudson River when it launches for the season tomorrow but it will also be collecting water quality data from the river.

When the boat launches for the year on Saturday, May 1, it will be equipped with monitoring equipment to broadcast river data round-the-clock, focusing on water temperature, salinity, turbidity and other measurements.

The boat will become the latest part of the Hudson River Environmental Conditions Observing System (HRECOS).

(Photo by Vincent DiSalvio/The Journal News).

Posted by Mike Risinit on Friday, April 30th, 2010 at 11:16 am |
| | 1 Comment »

‘Living Green in Rockland’


The Rockland County Solid Waste Management Authority will sponsor “Environmental Day 2010: Living Green in Rockland” from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the authority’s facility on Torne Valley Road in Hillburn.

You might want to arrive early because there’s a ton of stuff on the menu, including tours of the recycling center and presentations and demonstrations:

• Ed Goodell, executive director of the NY-NJ Trail Conference will speak about hiking and the trail conference’s work, including local trails and special features along the routes, as well as a discussion on recent Torne Valley land acquisitions.

• Geoff Welch, the Ramapo River Watershed Keeper and expert on Jasper Francis Cropsey, will offer a talk about painting in the Torne Valley and the Hudson River School of Painters.

• Paul Nagin, who lives in a “green” home in Pomona, will discuss what it’s like to build and live in such a home.

• Don Steinmetz, director of the Highlands Environmental Research Institute, will talk about the Torne Valley and the New York state Highlands, including its water resources, forests, research efforts, biodiversity and the Ramapo Green Print GIS System.

• Bill Day of the Threefold Foundation/Pfeiffer Center and a horticulturalist for the solid waste authority’s Native Plants Garden, will discuss the benefits of gardening with native plants and backyard composting. Visitors can tour the authority’s Native Plants Demonstration Garden and Greenhouse.

• Janet Fenton will explain how you can turn your food scraps into compost by starting a worm composting bin. You’ll be able to learn how to make such a worm bin.

• Chuck Stead, an environmental sciences professor and local historian and storyteller and hunter/trapper, will offer a presentation on efforts to save the historic Ramapo salt box house, which is being restored on property across from the Joseph P. St. Lawrence Recreation Center.

There will be chances to win mulching mowers, rain barrels and compost bins. There will also be food, entertainment and children’s activities.

Another special feature will be the “Recycling drive-thru,” which will accept documents for secure shredding, old eyeglasses for donation to the Lions’ Club, sneakers for the Nike Reuse-A-Shoe program, and old crayons for recycling.

Get more information by visiting www.rocklandrecycles.com or calling 845-753-2200.

Above, a Journal News file photo of the recycling center at the Rockland County Solid Waste Management Authority’s Hillburn campus.

Posted by Laura Incalcaterra on Wednesday, April 28th, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
| | 1 Comment »


What’s the bottom line impact of “smart technology?”


The African American Men of Westchester is hosting an “environmental business luncheon” Friday at the Renaissance Westchester Hotel.
Entitled “Green ‘Smart’ Technology, what is the real payback?” – the lunch will feature Tony Savino of the NY Power Authority, Larry Gottlieb of the Westchester County Economic Development office and Norris McDonald of the African American Environmentalist Association.
The lunch, from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m., will be held at 80 West Red Oak Lane, West Harrison. Seating is limited. Registration opens at 11:30 a.m.
RSVP: (914) 403-9142 or log on to www.aamw.com

Posted by Greg Clary on Wednesday, April 28th, 2010 at 5:50 pm |

Green homes on tour


The Blue Rock School will sponsor “Shades of Green: An Eco-Friendly House Tour” from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at renovated homes in Nyack and Upper Nyack.

Each home features “green” elements, such as solar paneling, a salt-water pool system, organic gardens, green houses and radiant heat. The Hook Mountain Growers will also be selling organic seedlings during the event.

Tickets cost $35 in advance; $40 on Saturday, and include admission to a reception at the Hopper House. Ticket pickup and check-in is at 219 N. Broadway or 66 Franklin Avenue.

This is a self-guided tour, so you can arrive at any time, but the homes will close promptly at 4 p.m.  All proceeds will benefit the Blue Rock School Scholarship Fund. Call 845-267-8268 for information or tickets.

Posted by Laura Incalcaterra on Wednesday, April 28th, 2010 at 5:44 pm |

Don’t forget your saltwater fishing license


Saltwater anglers this year need to remember they need a marine fishing license, a requirement that went into effect last fall. With striped-bass season getting underway, the state Department of Environmental Conservation sent out a reminder about the new licenses. Basically, if you’re fishing in the Sound or the ocean (within three nautical miles of shore), you need a marine license. Where it gets tricky is the Hudson River.

From the announcement:

Depending on the specific location of the Hudson River fishing activities, and/or the specific species fished for, an angler may need to have a recreational marine fishing license, a freshwater fishing license or both licenses:

If you are fishing downstream from the Tappan Zee Bridge, you are considered fishing in the marine and coastal district and will need to have a recreational marine fishing license – regardless of species of fish you are fishing for.

If you are fishing upstream from the Tappan Zee Bridge and are fishing for non-migratory fish (such as largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, catfish, carp, walleye, and perch) only, you need to have a freshwater fishing license.

If you are fishing upstream from the Tappan Zee Bridge and are fishing for “migratory fish from the sea” (such as striped bass, hickory shad, blueback herring, or alewife) only, you need to have a recreational marine fishing license.

If you are fishing upstream from the Tappan Zee Bridge and are fishing for migratory fish from the sea and non-migratory fish, you need both a recreational marine fishing license and a freshwater fishing license.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Tuesday, April 27th, 2010 at 11:58 am |


Entergy running security exercises at Indian Point


Neighbors of Indian Point may hear what sounds like gunfire and other weaponry today as the nuclear plant conducts security training drills.
The gunfire is simulated and there may be other loud noises, so residents should be aware that it is only an exercise. Participants carry out simulated attacks intended to be as realistic as possible.
“We are informing the public now about these events so there is no undue alarm caused by what they
may hear around the site,” said Joe Pollock, site vice president at Indian Point. Local law enforcement
agencies have been informed of the events.
These drills, called force-on-force exercises, involve attempts to gain access to plants in a simulated
terrorist attack, and the response of defending security forces.
Entergy will be using a technical innovation for the exercise known as “MILES” gear, or Multiple
Integrated Laser Engagement Systems. They use laser “bullets” and vests with laser-detection equipment, and
duplicate the effects, including the sound, of live ammunition. MILES gear is used for military and counter-
terrorism training across the country to be as realistic as possible without using real bullets.

Posted by Greg Clary on Monday, April 26th, 2010 at 1:48 pm |
| | 1 Comment »

Smarter than the average bear


The black bear seen Wednesday roaming around Putnam Valley has headed to Mahopac. It was spotted wandering around the Route 6N-Lake Secor area and also paid a visit to some of the Mahopac schools.

Superintendent Thomas Manko said the creature walked around the high school campus and also checked out the dugout on the softball field near the Mahopac Falls Elementary School about 10:30 this morning. He said the Falls, middle and high school were placed in “lock-out” mode until about 11, meaning no students were allowed outside. He said the bear was last seen meandering in the direction of Myrtle Drive and West Lake Boulevard.

Authorities expect it’s the same bear seen in Putnam Valley because it too is sporting a tag in its ear. The tag is visible in the photos taken by Dan Fabiano. For tips on dealing with bears, go here.

Posted by Mike Risinit on Friday, April 23rd, 2010 at 3:29 pm |

Rockland water study to be discussed


Paul Heisig, a U.S. Geological Survey hydrologist, will discuss the results of his five-year study of Rockland’s water resources at 3 p.m. Sunday at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, 61 Route 9W in Palisades.

A panel of LDEO scientists will discuss their work on local water issues at 4 p.m.

Reservations are strongly suggested. The cost is $5 per person.

Visit www.ldeo.columbia.edu/news-events/events/public-lectures for more information.

Posted by Laura Incalcaterra on Wednesday, April 21st, 2010 at 5:46 pm |
| | 1 Comment »


Help clean up Rockland’s litter


The Great American Cleanup is under way in Rockland and volunteers are welcome to join one of the many “walk-in” events taking place. More than 3,500 volunteers are fanning out across the county to help collect the litter lining roadsides.

Visit the Keep Rockland Beautiful web site at www.keeprocklandbeautiful.org or call the organization’s executive director, Andy Stewart, at 845-623-1534 for more information or to volunteer.

Posted by Laura Incalcaterra on Wednesday, April 21st, 2010 at 5:43 pm |
| | 1 Comment »

About this blog
The Nature of Things provides a chance to talk about the wild denizens that share the Lower Hudson Valley with us and the natural settings that make this place home for everyone. From Long Island Sound to the Hudson River to the Great Swamp and beyond, almost anything related to the environment is fair game in this blog.


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About the authors
SBenischekJournal News staff writer Greg Clary writes Earth Watch, reporting on environmental issues in the lower Hudson region. Clary has been a reporter, editor and columnist at the Journal News since 1988 and has covered police and courts, transportation, municipal government, development and the environment in the Lower Hudson Valley, among other topics.
Laura IncalcaterraLaura Incalcaterra covers the environment, open space and zoning and planning issues for The Journal News. A Boston College graduate, Laura grew up in Rockland, attended East Ramapo schools and has worked for The Journal News since 1993. Laura has written features and covered North Rockland, crime, government and a host of other issues.
SBenischekMike Risinit covers Patterson and Kent in Putnam County, as well as environmental topics touching on the Hudson River and the Great Swamp. Risinit has been a reporter at The Journal News since 1998.
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