RENewsletter | February 28, 2010


The Free environmental newsletter from

“Our Environment is changing: Keep up with the Change.”

[2/21/2010 – 2/27/2010]


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Opening Salvo | NewsLinks | Daily Updates | Events | Environmental Site of the Month | Take Action |



*** The February 2010  Environmental Site of the Month Award goes to Cayuga-Seneca Canal Trail Association  Go to Award.


[Hyperlinks work by CTRL + click to follow a link]




Opening Salvo:  “The Asian Carp is coming!”


That’s the big environmental story around the Great Lakes region this week.  Even the local press has caught the news appeal of a bizarre foreign species that might radically change the Great Lakes’ ecology.  Because of its size and reproductive capacity, it may scarf up all those little plants and animals that live at the bottom of the five Great Lakes, which, the present ecology depends on.  More intriguing to the media are those riveting photos of speeding boaters smacking into these large creatures, which freak every time they hear motorboat noise and leap into the air.    


I say ‘might’ because no one can prove that if the Asian Carp makes it way up the Mississippi and into the Great Lakes, they will proliferate and eat everything in site.  Though, given their past rap sheet, it’s a good bet they will. 


This invasive species is in the news because in their attempt to solve this looming crisis the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is attempting to please all who have solutions to this problem—and in their travails pleasing no one.  Stopping the carps’ attempt to enter the Great Lakes via electric fences and closing off all water conduits will be very disruptive to boaters and the shipping industry. Not stopping them might wreak havoc on a scale unimaginable to everything we hold dear about the Great Lakes


Years ago, the Zebra Mussel problem caught the media’s attention and there was a half-hearted effort to stop what is now our reality—a very annoying invasive and pervasive species that has changed our region’s water ecology and clogged our water intakes.  I say, ‘half-hearted’ only in that regulation and enforcement was minimal.  However, it may have only slowed the invasion down anyway. 


Usually, these wars with foreign species that make it to our continent occur so slowly (over decades) that even if we do notice them, and try all sorts of things to stop them, we soon become bored or run out of money.  It seems hopeless. The public accepts the inevitable and we deal with it—with fond memories of what our cottages on the lakes used to be like without these pests that cut up our feet and ruin all the fishing.


When you think about it, the whole issue of invasive species presents so many issues that it can make your head swim. How can we possibly halt the creep of foreign biological invaders here unless we stop all shipping, boating, air travel, hiking, and the sale of exotic pets?  Indeed, how could the biology on this continent half a millennium ago have stopped us from coming over from Europe?  It boggles the mind. 


But, here’s an interesting thought about how we might think about that notorious fish as it steadily inches towards our lakes. Would the Asian Carp threat be so threatening if the Great Lakes ecology was healthy?  If the entire ecological structure of the Great Lakes that existed before mankind began overfishing large predatory fish were in place, would the Asian Carp be little more than a side dish?  Maybe, if we took better care of our environment it could handle these upstarts.  (Click on my email for feedback)




NewsLinksEnvironmental NewsLinks – [Highlights of major environmental stories concerning our area from the past week]





UpdatesDaily Updates – [Connecting the dots on Rochester’s environment. Find out what’s going on environmentally in our area—and why you should care? Clicking on -DISCUSSION – will take you to my blog “Environmental Thoughts, NY, where you can add your comments.]





EventsRochester Environmental Events Calendar – [The most complete listing of all environmental events around the Rochester, New York area.]  If you don’t see your event, or know of a local environmental event, please send me the info: with (EV event) in the subject line.





April 2010





ActionTake Action - Often, I receive request to pass on alerts, petitions, Public Comments on local developments, and environmental items needing action by the Rochester Community and around the world. I’ll keep Actions posted until their due date. 


o        Action Due Date: Today

o        Donate to a worthy cause: Christine Sevilla Project (Christine Sevilla Project) "Welcome to A Living Project to Preserve a Place in Christine's Honor  For All to Enjoy in Perpetuity Christine's family and friends envision a natural area, including wetlands, preserved in her memory.  This vision includes an educational component, like an interpretive trail to help others recognize what Christine saw - an interconnected natural community of flora and fauna, soil and water. Perhaps even an  Arts and Music Festival to celebrate what Christine so treasured. "


o        Action Due Date: March 22

o        EPA Strengthens Smog Standard/Proposed standards, strictest to date, will protect the health of all Americans, especially children The United States Environmental Protection Agency today proposed the strictest health standards to date for smog. Smog, also known as ground-level ozone, is linked to a number of serious health problems, ranging from aggravation of asthma to increased risk of premature death in people with heart or lung disease. Ozone can even harm healthy people who work and play outdoors. The agency is proposing to replace the standards set by the previous administration, which many believe were not protective enough of human health.  EPA will take public comment until March 22. The agency will hold three public hearings on the proposal: Feb. 2, 2010 in Arlington, Va. and in Houston; and Feb. 4, 2010 in Sacramento. More information: Ground-level Ozone | US EPA  (January 7, 2010)  [more on Air Quality in our area]




AwardEnvironmental Site of the Month Award – [On the last Sunday of each month, we present an environmental award for the Rochester-area environmental web site or blog that best promotes the need to protect and offers solutions for our area's environmental issues.]


The February 2010 Environmental Site of the Month award goes to the “Cayuga-Seneca Canal Trail Association.”  It is with community groups like the Cayuga-Seneca Canal Trail Association who work with various levels of government and other interested parities and take responsibility for a specific area of our environment that makes these areas sustainable.   Government alone or individuals working in an ad hoc way to get what they want don’t usually make for a stable and healthy environment.  Cooperation and a local knowledge of the area’s environment work best.  


Cayuga-Seneca Canal Trail Association “The Cayuga-Seneca Canal Trail Association is an affiliate of the Canalway Trails Association of New York, a voluntary organization working with citizens, state agencies and local municipalities to help manage the Canalway Trail across New York State. The Canalway Trails Association promotes the completion and proper maintenance of the Canalway Trail and coordinates the Adopt-a-Trail program. The Cayuga-Seneca Canal Trail Association is comprised of citizen volunteers and representatives of various non-profit and government organizations who are working to promote the development of the trail in Seneca County.”