Upstate NY Pipeline Proposal Crossing Wetlands

Written by charlie   
Wednesday, 25 February 2015 12:30
The Constitution Pipeline Company proposes a 124-mile interstate natural gas transmission pipeline through NY Counties Broome, Chenango, Delaware, and Schoharie Counties from Pennsylvania.

Send your comment by this Friday, February 27, to Stephen Tomasik, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or (518) 402-9167 (Division of Environmental Permits).

The proposed pipeline would cross multiple public drinking water supply sources, three watersheds, 92 acres of wetlands, 277 bodies of water including high quality streams, trout streams, and 99 protected streams. Land—it would impact 1,862 acres of land, leaving 748 acres permanently altered. Only 9% will be constructed along existing rights-of-way, resulting in clear-cutting of hundreds of thousands of trees in the 1,025 acres of forest land that will be disturbed by the Project. The permanent conversion of forest to open land will result in increased stormwater runoff and decrease resilience to flooding.

Proposed mitigation strategies submitted by Constitution Pipeline Company do not provide an adequate assessment of probable impacts associated with a natural gas pipeline right-of-way. Without substantial changes to construction and management plans, widespread disruption of forest ecosystems and local watershed resources will occur. Restoration of these systems will be a monumental cost incurred by taxpayers and adjacent private property owners.

For further information,
The Catskill Mountainkeeper has much more information, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 February 2015 12:55

Cranberries and Wetlands - Part II

Written by charlie   
Sunday, 22 February 2015 19:31
Due to the cranberries new found popularity as either a dried fruit (craisin) or a juice, the demand for cranberries exploded during the 1980's and 1990's. Prices and production increased steadily, peaking around $65 per barrel (a barrel equals 100 pounds or 45.4 kg.) in 1996, dropping sharply to $18 per barrel in 2001 due to an oversupply of berries. More recently, the average price per barrel has swung between $48 in 2012 to $32 in 2014. As a benchmark, the break even point is in the $30/barrel range according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Wisconsin, the largest cranberry producing state, has approximately 18,000 acres under cultivation tended by 250 growers. Massachusetts with 14,000 acres is second, followed by New Jersey with 3,000 acres as a distant third. The parallel trends of the cranberry’s surging popularity requiring more cranberry beds and the tightening of regulations governing wetlands, frequently put cranberry growers and the EPA at loggerheads, due to the crackdown on the conversion of wetlands to cranberry bogs.

Farming has enjoyed many exceptions to regulatory requirements under both the Federal Clean Water Act and many state laws. In past decades, a farmer would covert an existing wetland into a cranberry bog and alter the hydrology to better suit the needs of the cranberry fields with little trouble, but this began to change in the 1980's.

One of the longest running EPA enforcement actions in history, dragging on for over 22 years, revolves around a farmer, Charles Johnson, who converted over 50 acres of wetlands into cranberry bogs and was sued by the EPA. In 2011, he conceded and signed a consent decree requiring him to restore 26 acres of wetlands and pay a $75,000 in fines. The appeal here hits on many the salient wetland law topics including the definition of navigable waters, United States v. Riverside Bayview, SWANCC) etc.

Today, regulatory restrictions governing the development of new cranberry bogs in wetlands has changed considerably. The renovation of existing wetland cranberry bogs is permitted, but the creation of new acreage is largely constrained to upland sites only, which must be engineered to mimic the natural hydrology and soil characteristics necessary to grow cranberries.

It is important to not overlook the majority of cranberry growers understand the importance of bogs and wetlands, they work in them daily. Their farms serve as a hedge against urban sprawl, and in Massachusetts, they maintain around 60,000 acres of open space for watershed recharge since cranberry farming is so water intensive, requiring upto an inch a week of fresh water per week. In part Three, I'll review restoration and some additional current issues next week.

Everglades Coin

Written by charlie   
Monday, 23 February 2015 04:00
The US Mint recently released an amazing, 3 inch wide, 5 ounce 99.5% silver version of the Florida quarter in the America the Beautiful Quarters Program.

Everglades National Park is the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States, and is home to many rare and endangered species like the manatee, American crocodile and the Florida panther. On the reverse of the coin are two birds found throughout the Everglades, an Anhinga with outstretched wings and a Roseate spoonbill.

The coin retails for $155 , and is a perfect gift for the Everglades lover, coin collector or both!

Last Updated on Monday, 23 February 2015 04:04

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