Our Environment.
Our Home.
OUR CHALLENGE.

  • 1

ECO-BULLETIN FROM OTSEGO COUNTY CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION

July 7, 2014: Vol. 7, No. 12

Eco-bulletin headlines this issue:

STODDARD HOLLOW, JULIA ROBINSON TO PLAY LAKES FEST

OCCA SPRING NEWSLETTER AVAILABLE ONLINE

WIPE OUT WATER CHESTNUT WITH OCCA

BFS PROVIDES OTSEGO LAKE WATER QUALITY DATA

STODDARD HOLLOW, JULIA ROBINSON TO PLAY LAKES FEST: The Otsego Lakes Festival returns to Lakefront Park on Saturday, July 12 from noon to 5 p.m. with a focus on family fun, in celebration of Otsego County’s lakes.

Educational exhibits, hands-on workshops, presentations, and lake tours will all highlight the importance of protecting our waterways and ensuring good water quality throughout the region, while great food, music, and art will round out this family-friendly event. Admission is free.

Live musical entertainment is planned throughout the day. Julia Robinson will open the festival from noon to 1 p.m., and then the Stoddard Hollow String Band takes over for the rest of the afternoon. Julia Robinson is a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist originally from the Cooperstown area, currently studying in Nashville, TN. With influences ranging… from Peggy Lee to Norah Jones to Regina Spektor, Robinson plays a variety of indie pop and jazz songs showcasing her unique vocal style. The Stoddard Hollow String Band is based in the upper Catskills and is known for its mix of Appalachian old-time tunes, traditional and original music, and some tunes you wouldn’t expect from an old-time band. The band consists of Marvin Zachow on fiddles and vocals, Ed McGee on clawhammer banjos, Frank Frazzitta on guitar and vocals, and Joel Murray on bass.

In celebration of New York State’s first Invasive Species Awareness Week, July 6-12, Paul Lord will talk about aquatic invasive species prevention measures at the Otsego Lakes Festival beginning at 1 p.m.Lord, watershed steward program coordinator for the Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership, will begin by characterizing some of the most immediate exotic species threats to Otsego County lakes. Then he’ll outline the recommended “clean, drained and dry” procedure for preventing the spread of AIS and talk about “solutions” that stop invasive species using salt, salt substitute, bleach and/or vinegar. Lord will also describe the training program provided free to watershed stewards in the greater Catskill region through CRISP funding.

New this year is a kids’ lake art station with “juried” art contest. The art station will provide an opportunity for kids to sculpt, paint, draw or build a lake scene from various media. Their creations will then be displayed for festival attendees to view and cast a vote on behalf of their favorites. Contest winners will be announced at the end of the day, when the votes are tallied.

Local Trout Unlimited members will give free fly-tying demonstrations and lessons, the League of Women Voters will lead a recycling game for all ages, and Ronny Raindrop® will stroll among festival goers, promoting natural resources, soil conservation, and erosion control along the way.

Kids (and adults) will be able to create original works of art on cloth, paper, and T-shirts using paints and real or rubber fish at the Cooperstown Art Association fish printing tent. The SUNY-Oneonta Biological Field Station will offer demonstrations of lake-related phenomena, microscope stations to see and investigate algae, zooplankton, aquatic plants, and mosses, as well as tanks of Otsego Lake fishes, plants, and aquatic insects.

This year’s Lakes Festival features the public unveiling of the results of Otsego County Conservation Association’s countywide groundwater testing program, “What’s In Our Water?” OCCA will also conduct an informal “blind” taste test of water from the municipalities its Board members represent, to determine who has the best-tasting water.

Organized under the umbrella of Otsego County’s Water Quality Coordinating Committee, the Otsego Lakes Festival offers all the components of a festive occasion – music, art, children’s activities, good food and camaraderie – while providing valuable educational opportunities about lake protection and regional water quality programs from those who work to protect these resources. Personnel from WQCC member organizations will be on hand both to distribute literature and to discuss water quality issues one-on-one with interested parties.

The festival will also feature lake-related activities and entertainment, including:

• Water quality/ecology barge tours of the lake by SUNY Oneonta BFS staff
• Aquatic life touch tanks and “show and tell”
• Educational exhibits by lake-focused organizations
• Commemorative Otsego Lake poster sales
• Festival foods by the Leatherstocking Envirothon Committee and Origins Café

Confirmed exhibitors and vendors at the Otsego Lakes Festival thus far are: Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership, Catskill Headwaters Research Institute, Cooperstown Art Association, Dave Brandt Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Friends of Glimmerglass State Park Inc., Great Brook Solar NRG LLC, League of Women Voters of the Cooperstown Area, Leatherstocking Envirothon, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Origins Café, Otsego County Conservation Association, Otsego County Soil and Water Conservation District, Otsego Lake Association, Otsego Land Trust, Project Buena Vista Inc., Recycling Agricultural Plastics Project, and the SUNY Oneonta Biological Field Station.

OLF sponsors are Five Star Subaru, Otsego County Conservation Association and the SUNY Oneonta Biological Field Station. To date, OLF donors include: Henry S. F. Cooper Jr., Cooperstown Distillery, Cooperstown Natural Foods, Geo. Powers Construction Inc., Master Gardener Program Cornell Cooperative Extension Schoharie and Otsego Counties, Richard McCaffery, New York Susquehanna and Western Railway, Otsego County Planning and Solid Waste Department, William Rigby, Robert Smith, Smith Ford, and Alfred Tinger.

The Otsego County Water Quality Coordinating Committee was established in 1992 as a sub-committee of the Otsego County Soil and Water Conservation District. It is comprised of a diverse group of people representing state and local government agencies, non-profit organizations, academic institutions, and lake associations. These members have technical expertise and knowledge and are committed to working to improve and maintain the quality of water in Otsego County through the reduction of nonpoint source pollution within  its boundaries. The Otsego Lakes Festival is a biennial event designed to educate the public on the importance of water resource protection.

For more about the Otsego Lakes Festival, or for further details on sponsorship and volunteer opportunities, contact Darla M. Youngs, OCWQCC facilitator, at (607) 547-4488. To view the full OLF lineup, see: http://occainfo.org/documents/LakesFestivalLineup2014_000.pdf.

OCCA SPRING NEWSLETTER AVAILABLE ONLINE: The Spring 2014 edition of OCCA’s newsletter, “The Lookout,” is available on the OCCA website at http://occainfo.org/documents/LookoutSpring2014.pdf. Articles include an update on OCCA’s groundwater testing program, “What’s In Our Water?”, information about the proposed Edic to Fraser AC transmission line, and updates on Earth Festival 2014 and the annual “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” Garage Sale.

WIPE OUT WATER CHESTNUT WITH OCCA: Join Otsego County Conservation Association and the Goodyear Lake Association onWednesday, July 9 from 9 a.m. to noon as they continue the effort to remove an invasive plant, water chestnut , from Goodyear Lake, as part of Invasive Species Awareness Week.

“Water chestnut is a highly invasive plant that can take over large areas of a water body in a short period of time,” said Jeff O’Handley, OCCA’s program director and coordinator of the event. “This is our eighth year of working with the Goodyear Lake Association, and we’ve made a significant dent in the water chestnut population.”

In the first days of the program, volunteers removed 10 tons of water chestnut from a part of the lake known as the stump lot. Eliminating the plant there is important to keeping it out of the rest of the lake – or the Susquehanna River, says O’Handley.

“Water chestnut prefers shallow, slow-moving or still water, so the stump lot is ideal. It’s easy for parts of the plant to break away and float downstream, where it can get established. We’re out there trying to make sure that doesn’t happen, and to prevent the plant from taking over the stump lot again.”

Volunteers take to the water in canoes or kayaks and patrol the upper reaches of Goodyear Lake. When water chestnuts are found, they are carefully removed by hand, dropped in the canoe, and eventually disposed of on land.

The objective is to eliminate the infestation with minimal impact on the environment, O’Handley says. “It’s labor intensive, but less disruptive to the environment and non-target species compared to herbicides or mechanical harvesting.”

People interested in joining the efforts should call OCCA ahead of time at 547-4488, or e-mail programdirector@occainfo.org to guarantee space in a canoe. The meeting location is at the New York State fishing access site located on State Route 28 in Portlandville, just south of County Road 35A.

July 6-12 is the first Invasive Species Awareness Week in New York State. The mission of Invasive Species Awareness Week is to promote knowledge and understanding of invasive species to help stop their spread. OCCA is a member of the Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership.

BFS PROVIDES OTSEGO LAKE WATER QUALITY DATA: SUNY Oneonta Biological Field Station staff monitor Otsego Lake bi-weekly throughout the year (monthly when it’s frozen) for a variety of physical and biological parameters. Past updates of results of this routine monitoring are available here: http://www.oneonta.edu/academics/biofld/waterquality.asp.

OTHER UPCOMING EVENTS:

  • Water chestnut eradiation on Goodyear Lake: July 2, 9, 16, 25; August 5, 6, 22, 23.
  • Basswood Pond State Forest trail maintenance, July 15
  • “Western Exposure, Fetterley Forest Hike, July 18 (co-sponsored with OLT), 5 p.m.
  • Adopt-a-Highway clean-up, July 19, 9 a.m.
  • “Climb Noah’s What?” hike, July 22, 10 a.m.

ECO-BULLETIN FROM OTSEGO COUNTY CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION

June 29, 2014: Vol. 7, No. 11

Eco-bulletin headlines this issue:

FESTIVAL FOCUSES ON WATER QUALITY, FAMILY FUN

OCCA TAPS LAPIN FOR PLANNER POSITION

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS ON HUMAN HEALTH

OTHER UPCOMING EVENTS

FESTIVAL FOCUSES ON WATER QUALITY, FAMILY FUN: The Otsego Lakes Festival returns to Lakefront Park on Saturday, July 12 from noon to 5 p.m. with a focus on family fun, in celebration of Otsego County’s lakes.

Educational exhibits, hands-on workshops, presentations, and lake tours will all highlight the importance of protecting our waterways and ensuring good water quality throughout the region, while great food, music, and art will round out this family-friendly event. Admission is free.

New this year is a kids’ lake art station with “juried” art contest. The art station will provide an opportunity for kids to sculpt, paint, draw or build a lake scene from various media. Their creations will then be displayed for festival attendees to view and cast a vote on behalf of their favourites. Contest winners will be announced at the end of the day, when the votes are tallied.

Local Trout Unlimited members will give free fly-tying demonstrations and lessons, the League of Women Voters will lead a recycling game for all ages, and Ronny Raindrop® will stroll among festival goers, promoting natural resources, soil conservation, and erosion control along the way.

Kids (and adults) will be able to create original works of art on cloth, paper, and T-shirts using paints and real or rubber fish at the Cooperstown Art Association fish printing tent. The SUNY-Oneonta Biological Field Station will offer demonstrations of lake-related phenomena, microscope stations to see and investigate algae, zooplankton, aquatic plants, and mosses, as well as tanks of Otsego Lake fishes, plants, and aquatic insects.

This year’s Lakes Festival features the public unveiling of the results of Otsego County Conservation Association’s countywide groundwater testing program, “What’s In Our Water?” OCCA will also conduct an informal “blind” taste test of water from the municipalities its Board members represent, to determine who has the best-tasting water.

Organized under the umbrella of Otsego County’s Water Quality Coordinating Committee, the Otsego Lakes Festival offers all the components of a festive occasion – music, art, children’s activities, good food and camaraderie – while providing valuable educational opportunities about lake protection and regional water quality programs from those who work to protect these resources. Personnel from WQCC member organizations will be on hand both to distribute literature and to discuss water quality issues one-on-one with interested parties.

The festival will also feature lake-related activities and entertainment, including:

  • Water quality/ecology barge tours of the lake by SUNY Oneonta BFS staff
  • Presentation by Paul Lord, “AIS Spread Prevention Measures”
  • Aquatic life touch tanks and “show and tell”
  • Educational exhibits by lake-focused organizations
  • Commemorative Otsego Lake poster sales
  • Festival foods by the Leatherstocking Envirothon Committee and Origins Café

Confirmed exhibitors and vendors at the Otsego Lakes Festival thus far are: Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership, Catskill Headwaters Research Institute, Cooperstown Art Association, Dave Brandt Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Friends of Glimmerglass State Park Inc., Great Brook Solar NRG LLC, League of Women Voters of the Cooperstown Area, Leatherstocking Envirothon, Paul Lord, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Origins Café, Otsego County Conservation Association Inc., Otsego County Soil and Water Conservation District, Otsego Lake Association, Otsego Land Trust, Otsego Regional Cycling Advocates, Project Buena Vista Inc., Recycling Agricultural Plastics Project, and the SUNY Oneonta Biological Field Station.

OLF sponsors are Five Star Subaru, Otsego County Conservation Association and the SUNY Oneonta Biological Field Station. To date, OLF donors include: Henry S. F. Cooper Jr., Cooperstown Distillery, Cooperstown Natural Foods, Geo. Powers Construction Inc., Jane Johngren, Master Gardener Program Cornell Cooperative Extension Schoharie and Otsego Counties, Richard McCaffery, New York Susquehanna and Western Railway, Otsego County Planning and Solid Waste Department, William Rigby, Robert Smith, Smith Ford, and Alfred Tinger.

The Otsego County Water Quality Coordinating Committee was established in 1992 as a sub-committee of the Otsego County Soil and Water Conservation District. It is comprised of a diverse group of people representing state and local government agencies, non-profit organizations, academic institutions, and lake associations. These members have technical expertise and knowledge and are committed to working to improve and maintain the quality of water in Otsego County through the reduction of nonpoint source pollution within  its boundaries. The Otsego Lakes Festival is a biennial event designed to educate the public on the importance of water resource protection.

For more about the Otsego Lakes Festival, seehttp://occainfo.org/documents/LakesFestivalLineup2014.pdf or for further details on sponsorship and volunteer opportunities, contact Darla M. Youngs, OCWQCC facilitator, at (607) 547-4488.

OCCA TAPS LAPIN FOR PLANNER POSITION: Danny Lapin has been hired by the Otsego County Conservation Association to fill the organization’s environmental planner position.  Lapin earned his bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences from the University of California, Riverside in 2010 and his master’s degree in environmental policy this spring from the Bard College Center for Environmental Policy. His research experience focused on strengthening the connection between land-use planning and water management in rural communities in Eastern California. Lapin’s career has included environmental planning positions in the Sierra Nevada region of California and a groundwater management post in Southern California. Lapin’s planning background is both multifaceted and extensive, as he has experience in the academic sector through his research on regional water management at Bard College, at the state level through his work with the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board, at the regional level working for the Sierra Nevada Alliance, and at the community level through his experience with the League to Save Lake Tahoe.

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS ON RURAL HEALTH: Deanna Oliveri, recent SUNY Oneonta graduate and OCCA spring semester planning intern, explores the ways in which human impacts on the environment can affect rural health. To read Oliveri’s full report, seehttp://occainfo.org/documents/EnvironmentalImpactsonRuralHealthOliveriFINAL.pdf

OTHER UPCOMING EVENTS:

  • Water chestnut eradiation on Goodyear Lake: July 2, 9, 16, 25; August 5, 6, 22, 23.
  • Otsego Lakes Festival, Lakefront Park, Cooperstown, July 12.
  • Basswood Pond State Forest trail maintenance, July 15
  • “Western Exposure, Fetterley Forest Hike, July 18 (co-sponsored with OLT), 5 p.m.
  • Adopt-a-Highway clean-up, July 19, 9 a.m.
  • “Climb Noah’s What?” hike, July 22, 10 a.m.

COOPERSTOWN – The Otsego County Water Quality Coordinating Committee has awarded a total of $2,500.00 to four local organizations in support of water quality projects. These awards come as the result of a competitive application process for mini-grant funding which was open to OCWQCC member organizations, local schools and non-profit organizations.

Proposals were ranked according to how they would satisfy the OCWQCC goals: 1) improve and maintain the quality of water in Otsego County; 2) promote best management practices to ensure water quality and develop educational and other resources to better protect water resources within their localities.

Recipients of 2014 WQCC mini-grant funds and corresponding projects are: Friends of Glimmerglass State Park, stormwater runoff education including interpretive panels, educational brochures, and an interactive demonstration display model; Arnold Lake Association, completion of a tri-fold brochure which addresses concerns about aquatic invasive species relative to the protection of Arnold Lake; Otsego County Conservation Association, countywide aquatic invasive species education and prevention; and Canadarago Lake Improvement Association, creation of a Lake Steward program.

The OCWQCC was established in 1992 as a sub-committee of the Otsego County Soil and Water Conservation District. It is comprised of a diverse group of people representing state and local government agencies, non-profit organizations, academic institutions, and lake associations. These members have technical expertise and knowledge and are committed to working to improve and maintain the quality of water in Otsego County through the reduction of nonpoint source pollution within its boundaries.

For more information on the WQCC, visit www.otsegosoilandwater.com/waterqualitycc.html.

Otsego County Conservation Association is launching a new program for youths countywide with a canoe trip on July 26 to hunt for aquatic invasive species in the Susquehanna River.

OCCA’s EcoTeam aims to provide a combination of positive environmental experiences specifically for youth, said Jeff O’Handley, OCCA’s program director.

“It’s educational, action-based, and a lot of fun,” O’Handley explained. “We’re looking to get kids outside and involved with our environment.”

The EcoTeam Invasive Species Paddle, open to kids ages 10-16, is a 3-mile trip down the Susquehanna River from Milford to Portlandville funded in part by Stewart’s Holiday Match. Along the way, participants will learn about the river’s natural history and will search for aquatic invasive species such as water chestnut and curly-leaf pondweed.

“We’ve been working hard with the Goodyear Lake Association to remove water chestnut from portions of the lake,” O’Handley said. “For this program we’ll be expanding our search and removal efforts upstream. If we find any of the target species we’ll attempt to remove them for disposal, provided it’s safe to do so.”

In addition to the Invasive Species Paddle, OCCA is planning a series of events and activities for EcoTeam members throughout the year. In September, OCCA will run a two-part Wilderness Survival program in Oneonta. Participants will learn rudimentary survival skills including how to make cordage, build a fire and emergency shelter, and how to identify common helpful and harmful plants. Other activities are being planned for winter and spring.

Members of EcoTeam also enjoy full OCCA membership, which includes regular newsletters and e-mailed Eco-Bulletins, as well as membership in Kids for Saving Earth, a nationwide, youth-based environmental organization. In addition, when students register for EcoTeam, a portion of the membership fee can be donated to their school’s PTO or PTA.

“Education is part of everything we do,” said Darla M. Youngs, OCCA executive director. “We believe it’s important to give people access to as much information and as many resources as possible. Our bulletins highlight activities and programs on a wide variety of environmental topics, and it’s our goal to create informed and invested youngsters through this new EcoTeam program.”

The cost of the Invasive Species Paddle is $20, which includes canoe fees, a box lunch, and a year-long membership in OCCA’s EcoTeam. Space is limited and registrations must be received by July 22. For more information, contact OCCA at 547-4488, or e-mail O’Handley,programdirector@occainfo.org.

COOPERSTOWN – The Otsego Lakes Festival returns to Lakefront Park on Saturday, July 12 from noon to 5 p.m. with a focus on family fun, in celebration of Otsego County’s lakes.

Educational exhibits, hands-on workshops, presentations, and lake tours will all highlight the importance of protecting our waterways and ensuring good water quality throughout the region, while great food, music, and art will round out this family-friendly event. Admission is free.

New this year is a kids’ lake art station with “juried” art contest. The art station will provide an opportunity for kids to sculpt, paint, draw or build a lake scene from various media. Their creations will then be displayed for festival attendees to view and cast a vote on behalf of their favourites. Contest winners will be announced at the end of the day, when the votes are tallied.

Local Trout Unlimited members will give free fly-tying demonstrations and lessons, the League of Women Voters will lead a recycling game for all ages, and Ronny Raindrop® will stroll among festival goers, promoting natural resources, soil conservation, and erosion control along the way.

Kids (and adults) will be able to create original works of art on cloth, paper, and T-shirts using paints and real or rubber fish at the Cooperstown Art Association fish printing tent. The SUNY-Oneonta Biological Field Station will offer demonstrations of lake-related phenomena, microscope stations to see and investigate algae, zooplankton, aquatic plants, and mosses, as well as tanks of Otsego Lake fishes, plants, and aquatic insects.

This year’s Lakes Festival features the public unveiling of the results of Otsego County Conservation Association’s countywide groundwater testing program, “What’s In Our Water?” OCCA will also conduct an informal “blind” taste test of water from the municipalities its Board members represent, to determine who has the best-tasting water.

Organized under the umbrella of Otsego County’s Water Quality Coordinating Committee, the Otsego Lakes Festival offers all the components of a festive occasion – music, art, children’s activities, good food and camaraderie – while providing valuable educational opportunities about lake protection and regional water quality programs from those who work to protect these resources. Personnel from WQCC member organizations will be on hand both to distribute literature and to discuss water quality issues one-on-one with interested parties.

The festival will also feature lake-related activities and entertainment, including:

  • Water quality/ecology barge tours of the lake by SUNY Oneonta BFS staff
  • Aquatic life touch tanks and “show and tell”
  • Educational exhibits by lake-focused organizations
  • Commemorative Otsego Lake poster sales
  • Festival foods by the Leatherstocking Envirothon Committee and Origins Café

Confirmed exhibitors and vendors at the Otsego Lakes Festival thus far are: Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership, Catskill Headwaters Research Institute, Cooperstown Art Association, Dave Brandt Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Friends of Glimmerglass State Park Inc., Great Brook Solar NRG LLC, League of Women Voters of the Cooperstown Area, Leatherstocking Envirothon, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Origins Café, Otsego County Conservation Association, Otsego County Soil and Water Conservation District, Otsego Lake Association, Otsego Land Trust, Project Buena Vista Inc., Recycling Agricultural Plastics Project, and the SUNY Oneonta Biological Field Station.

OLF sponsors are Five Star Subaru, Otsego County Conservation Association and the SUNY Oneonta Biological Field Station. To date, OLF donors include: Henry S. F. Cooper Jr., Cooperstown Distillery, Cooperstown Natural Foods, Geo. Powers Construction Inc., Master Gardener Program Cornell Cooperative Extension Schoharie and Otsego Counties, Richard McCaffery, New York Susquehanna and Western Railway, Otsego County Planning and Solid Waste Department, William Rigby, Robert Smith, Smith Ford, and Alfred Tinger.

The Otsego County Water Quality Coordinating Committee was established in 1992 as a sub-committee of the Otsego County Soil and Water Conservation District. It is comprised of a diverse group of people representing state and local government agencies, non-profit organizations, academic institutions, and lake associations. These members have technical expertise and knowledge and are committed to working to improve and maintain the quality of water in Otsego County through the reduction of nonpoint source pollution within  its boundaries. The Otsego Lakes Festival is a biennial event designed to educate the public on the importance of water resource protection.

For more about the Otsego Lakes Festival, or for further details on sponsorship and volunteer opportunities, contact Darla M. Youngs, OCWQCC facilitator, at (607) 547-4488.

image006Photo caption: The Otsego Lakes Festival on Saturday, July 12 at Lakefront Park will focus on water quality while offering interesting activities and exhibits and fun for the whole family.

Join Otsego County Conservation Association and Patricia Riddell Kent and Steve Kent for a “Walk on the Flat Side,” a 1.5-mile hike through the northern portion of Robert V. Riddell State Park, on June 21 at 4 p.m. The Kents, who donated the land for the state park, will lead the walk through the 200-acre portion of the park that features scenic vistas, fields, streams and several old homesteads. This will be a fairly easy walk over mostly flat terrain.

“We’re very pleased to continue offering hikes at Robert V. Riddell State Park with Trish and Steve,” said Jeff O’Handley, OCCA’s program director.  “They have a wealth of knowledge about the park and its history.”

The Kents donated the land to New York State in memory of Patricia’s father, Robert V. Riddell, and her grandfather, Alton B. Riddell. The park opened officially in 2005.

The walk on June 21 is the first of three OCCA-sponsored offerings at Robert V. Riddell State Park this season. On October 25 the Kents will lead a 4.5-mile hike to Mud Lake, followed by a rigorous, 5-mile snowshoe hike, also to Mud Lake, on January 17, 2015.

“Programs at Robert V. Riddell State Park are among our most popular,” O’Handley said. “It’s a privilege to have the Kents share their expertise.”

Participants should meet at Robert V. Riddell Road, located off State Highway 28 – to the right just after taking I-88 Exit 17 or, if heading south on State Highway 28, the park entrance is on the left of State Route 28 just past the DOT gravel lot and tourist area at Lifgren Road, located on the right.

For more information, or to pre-register, contact O’Handley at OCCA, (607) 547-4488, or programdirector@occainfo.org.

ECO-BULLETIN FROM OTSEGO COUNTY CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION

June 20, 2014: Vol. 7, No. 10

Eco-bulletin headlines this issue:

HIKE AT ROBERT V. RIDDELL STATE PARK THIS SATURDAY

HORTICULTURAL PLASTICS TO BE COLLECTED AGAIN THIS WEEKEND

OTHER UPCOMING EVENTS

HIKE AT ROBERT V. RIDDELL STATE PARK THIS SATURDAY: Join Otsego County Conservation Association and Patricia Riddell Kent and Steve Kent for a “Walk on the Flat Side,” a 1.5-mile hike through the northern portion of Robert V. Riddell State Park, on June 21 at 4 p.m. The Kents, who donated the land for the state park, will lead the walk through the 200-acre portion of the park that features scenic vistas, fields, streams and several old homesteads. This will be a fairly easy walk over mostly flat terrain. “We’re very pleased to continue offering hikes at Robert V. Riddell State Park with Trish and Steve,” said Jeff O’Handley, OCCA’s program director.  “They have a wealth of knowledge about the park and its history.” The Kents donated the land to New York State in memory of Patricia’s father, Robert V. Riddell, and her grandfather, Alton B. Riddell. The park opened officially in 2005. The walk on June 21 is the first of three OCCA-sponsored offerings at Robert V. Riddell State Park this season. On October 25 the Kents will lead a 4.5-mile hike to Mud Lake, followed by a rigorous, 5-mile snowshoe hike, also to Mud Lake, on January 17, 2015. “Programs at Robert V. Riddell State Park are among our most popular,” O’Handley said. “It’s a privilege to have the Kents share their expertise.” Participants should meet at Robert V. Riddell Road, located off State Highway 28 – to the right just after taking I-88 Exit 17 or, if heading south on State Highway 28, the park entrance is on the left of State Route 28 just past the DOT gravel lot and tourist area at Lifgren Road, located on the right. For more information, or to pre-register, contact O’Handley at OCCA,(607) 547-4488, or programdirector@occainfo.org.

HORTICULTURAL PLASTICS TO BE COLLECTED AGAIN THIS WEEKEND: The Otsego County Conservation Association will conduct the last of two horticultural plastic container recycling collections this weekend at the Cooperstown Farmers’ Market. Used plastic growing containers can be dropped off on June 21 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the farmers’ market, 101 Main Street (in Pioneer Alley next to KeyBank), where they will be collected and sorted. The materials will later be shipped and processed into clean regrind which is then manufactured into new horticultural containers. All containers must be rinsed clean – excess soil, rocks, paper, metal hangers and other foreign materials must be removed; adhesive labels are fine. Mixed color and printed containers are acceptable. Most containers being collected – plastic garden pots, cell packs and trays – have the appropriate recycling symbol molded into the bottom (#2, #5, #6). This program is made possible locally by New York State Flower Industries, Inc. For more information, contact OCCA at (607) 547-4488 or admin@occainfo.org.

OTHER UPCOMING EVENTS:

  • Water chestnut eradiation on Goodyear Lake: July 2, 9, 16, 25; August 5, 6, 22, 23.
  • Otsego Lakes Festival, Lakefront Park, Cooperstown, July 12.
  • Basswood Pond State Forest trail maintenance, July 15
  • “Western Exposure, Fetterley Forest Hike, July 18 (co-sponsored with OLT), 5 p.m.
  • Adopt-a-Highway clean-up, July 19, 9 a.m.
  • “Climb Noah’s What?” hike, July 22, 10 a.m.

For more information on OCCA-organized volunteer opportunities and hikes, visit http://www.occainfo.org/EnviroEventsCal.htm or e-mail admin@occainfo.org.

OCCA RELIES ON YOUR SUPPORT. Got a minute? Visit our website and look at everything OCCA is doing – and please consider an online donation whenever you can. Click on www.occainfo.org and look for the Network for Good logo at the top left of the home page to make a donation today.

OTSEGO COUNTY, NY – The results of the Otsego County Conservation Association’s “What’s In Our Water?” program are in and, following a detailed analysis, two things are clear. First, the overall quality of Otsego County’s drinking water is very good. Second, and perhaps more significant, Otsego County now has a strong, legally defensible baseline of its water chemistry by which contamination can be detected.

“We look at this as an insurance policy of sorts,” said OCCA President Vicky M. Lentz. “We knew we had an abundant supply of good, clean water here. The data now backs this up and the collection and testing protocols are legally certifiable.”

In August of 2013, Community Science Institute – contracted by OCCA following a competitive bidding process – began sampling and testing private and municipal water wells in Otsego County. The series of 84 tests was completed in mid-November. The results of these individual tests have already been shared with participating property owners and municipalities, and now a cumulative analytical report has been compiled and will soon be released.

The report, prepared by Dr. Les Hasbargen of SUNY Oneonta’s Catskill Headwaters Research Institute, includes statistical summaries of the test data and a comparison of chemical parameters in WIOW-sampled wells with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s maximum contaminant levels for those parameters.

According to Hasbargen, OCCA “has established a strong baseline of chemical constituents in local groundwater that can be used to assess possible contamination by shale gas extraction and/or other industrial activities.”

Made possible by private donations, OCCA’s groundwater testing program provided certified baseline testing of drinking water wells in all 24 of Otsego County’s townships. The goal of OCCA’s WIOW program was to collect information on drinking water across Otsego County to provide a defensible chemical baseline against which changes to water chemistry from contamination can be determined. Wells were tested for a total of 21 parameters – including signature chemicals typically associated with hydraulic fracturing for natural gas or other heavy industrial activity – which may or may not already be present in groundwater.

“Overall, groundwater across the county is relatively fresh (dilute) with low concentrations of dissolved inorganic elements and organic compounds,” Hasbargen reported. “The absence of chemical compounds often used in hydraulic fracturing provides a strong comparative baseline if such activities do take place in the future in Otsego County.

However, Hasbargen pointed out that methane was detected in more than half of the wells tested, so its presence is of limited use for detecting contamination from natural gas extraction activities.

Above and beyond a legally defensible baseline, the results of the WIOW program have additional value. The information collected via this project contributes to growing countywide and regional water quality databases which will, over time, lead to a better understanding of groundwater flow systems and mapping of aquifers.

“Relatively little is known about our groundwater,” said OCCA Executive Director Darla M. Youngs. “Most private well owners only test their water when it tastes bad or smells funny. This series of tests – which, for many, would have been cost prohibitive – helps identify common chemical components and any concentrations of concern.”

For example, while data supports that the overall quality of the county’s drinking water is good, 14 percent of wells tested in the WIOW program showed levels of turbidity (cloudiness) which exceed the maximum contaminant levels established by USEPA.

“Higher turbidity levels are often associated with higher levels of disease-causing microorganisms such as viruses, parasites and some bacteria. Clearly, it is a good idea to filter water from private wells,” Hasbargen advised.

“Virtually none of the samples contained detectable quantities of organic molecules associated with gas drilling activities,” Hasbargen noted, “implying that the natural background is very low, and so future detection of such molecules is likely to be a result of human-caused contamination.

“An ensemble of chemical parameters including total dissolved solids, alkalinity, specific conductance, pH, and chemical oxygen demand greatly strengthen the perception that Otsego County has an abundance of high quality drinking water,” he wrote.

The full “Report on Drinking Water Chemical Analyses for OCCA’s‘What’s In Our Water?’ Campaign” will be unveiled and made available to the public at the Otsego Lakes Festival on Saturday, July 12 at Lakefront Park in Cooperstown. For more information, e-mailadmin@occainfo.org.

OCCA is a private, non-profit environmental membership organization dedicated to promoting the appreciation and sustainable use of Otsego County’s natural resources through education, advocacy, resource management, research, and planning. For more information on OCCA, or to support programming, call (607) 547-4488 or visit www.occainfo.org.

lapin headshotCOOPERSTOWN – Danny Lapin has been hired by the Otsego County Conservation Association to fill the organization’s environmental planner position.

Lapin earned his bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences from the University of California, Riverside in 2010 and his master’s degree in environmental policy this spring from the Bard College Center for Environmental Policy. His research experience focused on strengthening the connection between land-use planning and water management in rural communities in Eastern California. Lapin’s career has included environmental planning positions in the Sierra Nevada region of California and a groundwater management post in Southern California.

“My dream has been to integrate strong environmental protections with sustainable economic development in an area as beautiful as Otsego County. Doing my part to ensure that social, economic and environmental principles are incorporated into land-use planning is a top priority,” Lapin said.

Now living in Springfield, Lapin seeks to apply his knowledge and experience to assist communities in Otsego County with their land-use planning needs. He will focus his initial efforts with OCCA on review of the proposed Edic-to-Fraser AC transmission line, facilitating OCCA’s Circuit Rider Planner Program, and on assisting communities with environmentally mindful planning initiatives.

Lapin’s planning background is both multifaceted and extensive, as he has experience in the academic sector through his research on regional water management at Bard College, at the state level through his work with the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board, at the regional level working for the Sierra Nevada Alliance, and at the community level through his experience with the League to Save Lake Tahoe. Lapin has worked on a broad range of issues including the preservation of agricultural lands, the review of transmission line projects, SEQR review, and on California’s Integrated Regional Water Management Program.

“Danny’s education and his overall body of work make him such a good fit for the organization,” said OCCA Executive Director Darla M. Youngs. “He’s a great addition to our team, and we can’t wait for him to get started.”

The position of environmental planner was created by OCCA to help bring environmental concerns to the forefront of community planning decisions, and to work with Otsego County communities on issues relative to them, ranging from comprehensive planning and regulations to environmental reviews.

Lapin’s responsibilities will also entail public outreach on planning issues, research on various environmental issues, grant writing, and fundraising.

“I am honored to be working with OCCA, its partners, and area communities and will work hard to be a strong asset to communities throughout Otsego County,” Lapin said.

In addition to his new role at OCCA, Lapin will continue to serve as a researcher at Bard College and plans on joining the American Planning Association Upstate New York Chapter.

ECO-BULLETIN FROM OTSEGO COUNTY CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION

June 12, 2014: Vol. 7, No. 9

Eco-bulletin headlines this issue:

HORTICULTURAL PLASTICS COLLECTION BEGINS JUNE 14

EXHIBITORS, VENDORS, SPONSORS SOUGHT FOR OTSEGO LAKES FESTIVAL

OLA BOAT PARADE SET FOR JULY 4TH

‘FARM STORIES’ DOCUMENT RICH AGRICULTURAL HISTORY

OTHER UPCOMING EVENTS

HORTICULTURAL PLASTICS COLLECTION BEGINS JUNE 14:  The Otsego County Conservation Association will conduct a horticultural plastic container recycling initiative on two Saturdays in June at the Cooperstown Farmers’ Market. Used plastic growing containers can be dropped off on June 14 and June 21 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the farmers’ market, 101 Main Street (in Pioneer Alley next to KeyBank), where they will be collected and sorted. The materials will later be shipped and processed into clean regrind which is then manufactured into new horticultural containers. All containers must be rinsed clean – excess soil, rocks, paper, metal hangers and other foreign materials must be removed; adhesive labels are fine. Mixed color and printed containers are acceptable. Most containers being collected – plastic garden pots, cell packs and trays – have the appropriate recycling symbol molded into the bottom (#2, #5, #6). This program is made possible locally by New York State Flower Industries, Inc. For more information, contact OCCA at (607) 547-4488 or admin@occainfo.org.

EXHIBITORS, VENDORS, SPONSORS SOUGHT FOR OTSEGO LAKES FESTIVAL: The 7th Otsego Lakes Festival will be held on Saturday, July 12 from noon to 5 p.m. at Lakefront Park in Cooperstown.Organized under the aegis of the Otsego County Water Quality Coordinating Committee, the Lakes Festival offers residents and visitors alike a day full of fun and festivities celebrating Otsego County’s lakes – educational exhibits, children’s activities, hands-on workshops, and lake tours will all focus on the importance of protecting this county’s waterways and ensuring water quality throughout the region. Good food, music and art will also help celebrate the importance of Otsego County’s lakes. Activities for kids will include the Cooperstown Art Association’s fish painting station, interactive science displays with SUNY Oneonta’s Biological Field Station, and a lake art station and “juried” art contest. Food and drink will be for sale on site, served up by Leatherstocking Envirothon organizers and the Origins Café mobile food truck, among others. The Cherry Valley Community Jazz Ensemble will perform live. To learn more about being a sponsor of the Otsego Lakes Festival, seehttp://occainfo.org/documents/2014LakesFestivalSupportLetter.pdf.Click here for the exhibitor/vendor form:http://occainfo.org/documents/2014VendorInformationForm.pdf.

The Otsego Lakes Festival is made possible thanks to the OCWQCC, established in 1992 as a sub-committee of the Otsego County Soil and Water Conservation District. It is comprised of a diverse group of people representing state and local government agencies, non-profit organizations, academic institutions, and lake associations. These members have technical expertise and knowledge and are committed to working to improve and maintain the quality of water in Otsego County through the reduction of nonpoint source pollution within its boundaries.

OLA BOAT PARADE SET FOR JULY 4TH: The Otsego Lake Association will sponsor its first annual “We Love Our Lake” decorated, judged boat parade on Friday, July 4 beginning at 6 p.m.The parade will be held rain or shine. Participating decorated boats will gather off-shore at Three Mile Point (three miles north of the Village of Cooperstown on State Highway 80), the start and finish of the parade route. The research vessel “Anondontoides”(made possible by the generosity of the SUNY Oneonta Biological Field Station) will serve as a committee barge of judges and parade officials and will be moored off Three Mile Point. Boats of all sizes and shapes – powered by engine, electric, wind, oar and paddle – are welcome. There are no fees, rules or regulations (except travel slowly, stay in line and be courteous). Participating boats should meet in the waters off Three Mile Point in ample time to be lined up and ready for the start of the parade. Clearly marked lead boats will escort participating vessels past the judges, then line up for a slow speed, in-line promenade from Three Mile Point, heading south along the west shore of Lake Otsego to Lakefront Park; the parade will then reverse course, and reconvene off-shore at Three Mile Point for the awarding of prizes in a variety of categories. Prize winners will then be eligible for the “Float Your Boat” Best of Parade Grand prize. For more information, click on the “Events” tab at http://www.otsegolakeassociation.org/

‘FARM STORIES’ DOCUMENT RICH AGRICULTURAL HISTORY:Interviewees featured in the “New York Farm Stories” audio recordings discuss dairy farming; milk, cheese, and butter production; hops growing; transportation; farm technology; the distribution of goods; family; and community. Many of the recordings include reflections on the transformations in farming within the last 75 years.In particular, many interviewees discuss the transition from small farming to large-scale production. The materials in this collection paint a vivid portrait of farm life and provide a reminder that agriculture has played a key role in New York State history. Most of the materials come from the collections of the New York State Historical Association Research Library and the Cooperstown Graduate Program, a SUNY Oneonta master’s degree program in museum studies. They were collected by students in the graduate program starting in the mid-1960s and continuing to the present.  To hear the full oral histories, visit www.cgpcommunitystories.org.  For more information, contact Will Walker, william.walker@oneonta.edu.

OTHER UPCOMING OCCA EVENTS:

  • “Walk on the Flat Side” hike, Robert V. Riddell State Park, June 21, 4 p.m.
  • Water chestnut eradiation on Goodyear Lake: July 2, 9, 16, 25; August 5, 6, 22, 23.
  • Basswood Pond State Forest trail maintenance, July 15.
  • “Western Exposure, Fetterley Forest Hike, July 18 (co-sponsored with Otsego Land Trust), 5 p.m.
  • Adopt-a-Highway clean-up, July 19, 9 a.m.
  • “Climb Noah’s What?” hike, July 22 (co-sponsored with Susquehanna Chapter, Adirondack Mountain Club), 10 a.m.

For more information on OCCA-organized volunteer opportunities and hikes, visit http://www.occainfo.org/EnviroEventsCal.htm or e-mail admin@occainfo.org.

OCCA RELIES ON YOUR SUPPORT. Got a minute? Visit our website and look at everything OCCA is doing – and please consider an online donation whenever you can. Click on www.occainfo.org and look for the Network for Good logo at the top left of the home page to make a donation today.