In an effort to eradicate agressive Mile-a-Minute vines, the NYC Department of Parks introduces a weevil to eat it. See the link
Friday, August 23, 2013
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Obviously , man's doing....
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
From: Andrew Baksh Sent: Tuesday, August 13, 2013 10:44 AM Subject:Summer is the perfect time to add heat on 3 agencies to Save the Putnam Trail !! Please pass this on to as many environmental conscious people/groups that you can. I would put this on the NY list serve but I don't want to start a flame war by those who are uninformed and too lazy to get informed. Sent from somewhere in the field using my mobile device! Andrew Baksh www.birdingdude.blogspot.com Begin forwarded message: From: Save PutnamTrail <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: August 13, 2013, 10:35:39 AM EDT To: email@example.com Subject: Summer is the perfect time to add heat on 3 agencies to Save the Putnam Trail !! It's never the summer doldrums on the Putnam Nature Trail It's teeming with wildlife, birdsong, butterflies, trees, and grasses ...and the issue of whether to pave it with 2 acres of asphalt. Last year bore fruit. We were told for months that paving "was a done deal." Yet now the city is reconsidering. Let's keep up the pressure - on the DEC, PDC, and with Parks Commissioner Veronica White. That's where the matter rests. Write them and let them know that we don't support using our tax dollars for paving over nature!! Listed below are some themes below that can be utilized in letters. Letters can be emailed, printed, or handwritten. There's also a sample letter template. The three agencies to focus on: 1. Harold J Dickey NYSDEC Region 2 Headquarters 47-40 21st St Long Island City, NY 11101 Application ID: 2-6001-00014/00008 paving/widening the Putnam Trail in Van Cortlandt Park firstname.lastname@example.org 2. Jacqueline Snyder, Executive Director Public Design Commission of the City of New York City Hall, Third Floor New York, NY 10007 http://www.nyc.gov/html/mail/html/mailartcom.html 3. Veronica M. White Commissioner, New York City Department of Parks & Recreation 830 Fifth Ave New York, NY, 10065 http://www.nyc.gov/html/mail/html/maildpr.html Utilize the technical items below and pick a few as your theme. 1. A narrow belt of wetland forest still survives along the Putnam Trail around the open water, where pin oak and red maple trees grow above Solomon’s seal, Virginia creeper, marsh fern, and sensitive fern. Predators like barred owls and red–tailed hawks sometimes hunt in Van Cortlandt’s wetlands. (taken from www.vcpark.org website, this makes it credible and official). 2. No EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) was ever done for this project. Paving 1.5 acres of asphalt on the Putnam Nature Trail would significantly affect the quality of the human environment and the wildlife that lives there and is supposed to be protected by the city and state. The Putnam Nature Trail runs through environmentally sensitive areas, including Forever Wild Preserves. An EIS must be performed. 3. The trail crosses and runs along two of four Forever Wildlife Preserves in the park: the lake/brook and Northwest Forest. 4. Snapping turtles inhabit the lake and every year cross the Putnam Trail on a search to find nesting places. Their migratory pattern will be severely altered during construction and permanently altered with the new widened and heavily trafficked trail. Heat from asphalt affects egg-hatching and sex determination which will impact the turtle population. The snapping turtle is the State Reptile. 5. The water quality of the lake/brook where these and other creatures live will be permanently altered because of runoff. The parks dept. says the soil has contaminants in it because the rail lines for 100 years used coal ash and other substances to fortify the rails. Digging this up in all kinds of weather is bound to affect the quality of the lake/brook waters and wetlands. Asphalt can help also accelerate degradation of water quality in the lake, brook. Both are Forever Wild preserves which the city is supposed to protect, and the wetlands (marshes) are supposed to be protected by the state. 6. Widening is an environmental no-no creating “fragmentation of green space” where seeds/pollen of unwanted species get pulled into an area because of lack of tree cover. Over time these drive out desirable native species. 7. The wetlands along the trail are already stagnant, with marked amounts of algae and fungi in them. Many believe this was caused by construction blocking free-flowing water during parade ground construction. City rangers have placed logs in certain places near the trail which has staunched the free-flow of brook water which feeds the marsh and lake. The city/state should focus on how to make precious green areas healthier. 8. There are countless birds that nest along the trail. June is breeding season and if construction begins, it will disrupt breeding and nesting patterns. Once new breeding, nesting patterns are established elsewhere, the birds generally don't come back. Birds on the Putnam Trail include Baltimore orioles, ruby-throated hummingbird. Migratory birds that frequent the trail: Rusty Blackbird, Pine Warbler, American Goldfinch, blue-gray gnatcatcher, warbling vireo, palm warbler. 9. Native plants thrive along the trail: Bellwort, Bloodroot, False Solomon's Seal. Wildflowers grow in the rail beds. Around the open water is pin oak and red maple trees and Solomon's seal. Virginia creeper, marsh fern, and sensitive fern. Construction will harm all of these. 10. Predators like barred owls and red-tailed hawks hunt in Van Cortlandt's wetlands. 11. This project will impact historical sites and archeological structures. There are historical artifacts that should be deemed cultural assets for the city and region. Among them: a switching tower, mile markers, warning poles and lines, and ties embedded in the ground. 12. The Parks Dept. has repeatedly stated that the Putnam Nature Trail is too environmentally sensitive to host any type of running events on it. If this is the case how can we pave 1.5 acres of asphalt and remove countless trees? This seems a many times more harmful than allowing large groups of runners on the current trail. 13. Statistics reveal that 1 in 5 newly-planted trees survive. The city is claiming it is replacing cut down trees with 400 whips or small trees. It will take years for these trees to grow. How many will even survive? 14. City Park's claim that they are only cutting down 7 "mature" trees has been changed to they are cutting down 7 "live" trees. Why this change? Why are they playing with language? 15. Besides this, any one looking at photos of the Trail knows there are hundreds of trees that will be affected by the clearcutting planned by City Parks. A City Parks supervisor was heard to say that at least 44 trees were being removed. Why did this supervisor tell the public "only" 7 trees, and then turn around and tell insiders more than 40 were being cut down? 16. The wholesale removal of grasses, plants, flowers, trees along the trail prevents rain water from getting absorbed. Combined with asphalt, this will result in dramatic shifts in water levels of the marshes, disturbing the wildlife and plant life that lives there. The loss of vegetation will lead to erosion because there is nothing to absorb rain water. The wetlands are already under pressure due to construction projects in the park. The state/city are supposed to protect the wetlands, not allow them to become drained. Wetlands filter air to improve air quality and fend against air pollution. Wetlands offer wonderful educational opportunities for adults/children. As John Liu said: once you lose a natural area you never get it back. 17. Parks are supposed to be accessible but in a state-protected preserve and wetlands accommodating park users should go hand in hand with sustainability, not at the cost of it. 18. It is not an abandoned railroad line – the trail is birded, hiked, run on, cycled on, used by school teachers as an important educational tool for kids. The rail bed allows for proper drainage because of the way it is constructed (trains had to run in all seasons, including wet ones) and it allows access to unique natural areas of the city we should be protecting. Here is a letter template: Dear Official, I am writing to express my opposition to the NYC Parks Department plan to pave a 10 ft wide asphalt path along the 1.5 mile Putnam Trail in Van Cortlandt Park. I am offering my support for keeping the trail at its current 8ft width and to be improved with a stone dust surface instead of asphalt. A stone dust surface would continue to effectively serve all user groups of the Putnam Trail including cyclists, walkers, runners, baby strollers, wheelchairs and more. The same type of federal funding has been used to construct similar stone dust trails elsewhere in NY State such as the Erie Canal Trail and a portion of the Bronx River Trail. Keeping the trail at its current width of 8 ft will dramatically reduce future maintenance costs and lower construction costs. I understand the average asphalt path costs twice as much as the average stone-dust path to construct. Please note that the Putnam Trail runs through wildlife preserves and wetlands that the state and city are charged with protecting for current and future generations. etc. Respectfully yours, __ Save taxpayer money, Save the environment, Save the Putnam Trail! Save the Putnam Trail Campaign www.savetheputnamtrail.com www.facebook.com/saveputnamtrailnow "The Putnam Trail is a jewel. It's a mindless, destructive and wasteful act to pave the Putnam Trail. To spend 100s of thousands of dollars or more to pave over this treasured parkland seems to be the antithesis of what a Parks Dept. should be doing." --Eric Seiff, Chairman of the Board-Friends of Van Cortlandt Park, www.vancortlandt.org Point friends to the petition at Save the Putnam Nature Trail, http://www.savetheputnamtrail.com/petition/
Sent: Mon, Aug 12, 2013 1:09 pm
Subject: Alert: Sign on letter to Preserve Wildlife Conservation Programs
Sent: Mon, Aug 12, 2013 1:09 pm
Subject: Alert: Sign on letter to Preserve Wildlife Conservation Programs
ACTION ALERT…..ACTION ALERT…..ACTION ALERT…..
Hello Valued Conservation Partner:
Last month the House Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Subcommittee
eliminated funding for the following popular and highly successful grant programs
for next fiscal year:
· State & Tribal Wildlife Grants Program
· North American Wetland Conservation Fund
· Neotropical Migratory Bird Fund
· Forest Legacy Program
· Land and Water Conservation Fund
These programs have conserved some of our nation’s rarest and most cherished
fish and wildlife, restored vital wetlands and protected priority forests, grasslands,
coasts and other important habitats. Complete elimination of funding for these
popular programs is unprecedented!
We need your help to convince appropriators in the US House and US Senate
how important these programs are to fish and wildlife and request that funding be
restored for the next fiscal year which is set to begin on October 1st.
Below and attached is a national sign-on letter supporting these vital programs.
Please consider adding your organization’s name to this letter so we can
demonstrate that these programs have broad support amongst birders, hikers,
hunters, anglers, paddlers, conservation educators and others who use and
enjoy the outdoors.
To sign on to this letter, send an email with your organization’s name and state
to email@example.com by Friday August 30th. Zeroing out these programs
would have serious consequences for fish and wildlife conservation. Help be a
voice for fish and wildlife and the natural areas that they need to exist.
[Date inserted Here]
Dear Senators Reed and Murkowski & Congressmen Simpson & Moran:
On behalf of the millions of outdoor recreationists our organizations represent, we wish to
express our support for the State & Tribal Wildlife Grants Program, North
American Wetland Conservation Fund, Neotropical Migratory Bird Fund,
Forest Legacy Program and Land and Water Conservation Fund. We are
concerned that the House Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations
Subcommittee proposed to eliminate funding for these successful and important fish
and wildlife conservation programs next fiscal year. Elimination of funding will have
significant impacts to collaborative on-the-ground conservation in communities nationwide
resulting in more federal endangered species listings, fewer restored wetlands, further
imperiled migratory birds, less protection for forests and other key habitats and diminished
outdoor recreation opportunities.
We appreciate the need to reduce the size of the federal deficit and the difficult choices
that you face. However, these programs are priorities and we believe they have done their
fair share to help balance the budget after being cut by more than 25% in the last several
years. Continued disproportionate cuts in the current budget under consideration will
further rollback conservation work that serves the national interests of fish and wildlife
conservation, creation of non-exportable jobs and delivery of essential services such as
clean water and air and storm protection to current and future generations
Investments in natural resources conservation and outdoor recreation total less than 1%
of all discretionary spending, a percentage that has been declining for decades. Grant
programs represent an even smaller percentage of this total but are unique in that they
leverage hundreds of millions in state, local and private dollars. According to the US
Census Bureau, 90 million US residents participate in fish and wildlife recreation,
spending over $150 billion annually. Federal grant programs help ensure these consumers
have sustainable fish and wildlife populations to view, hunt and fish.
We strongly encourage you to work in a bipartisan manner to find solutions to the budget
problem that do not further harm successful and publicly supported conservation grant
programs that help fuel the outdoor recreation economic engine. Thank you for your time
[Your Organization’s Name Here]
Mark Humpert, Wildlife Diversity Director
Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies
Anne Law, Deputy Director of Conservation Advocacy
American Bird Conservancy
Senior Policy Advisor
American Bird Conservancy &
Director, Bird Conservation Alliance
202-234-7181 ext. 216
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Thursday, August 8, 2013
An immobile swan was found on a Sheepshead Bay sidewalk a few months ago. It had lead poisoning. Originally, they thought it had ingested sinkers, but this was not the case. So the most likely explanation was that it had encountered the lead from contaminated sediments in its habitat.
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
On the property that was supposed to be a racetrack for US Speedway,a conclusive end .The property was bought from the Speedway and will become commercial property and wetland. see more on the link