Fishing on the Pepacton Reservoir: Has that umbrella been steam-cleaned? Photo taken July 17, 2013; from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection's Flickr page.
In the past few years, there's been a shift of attitude at the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), where officials are increasingly rolling out a welcome mat for hikers, boaters, anglers and hunters who want to use city property. On lands near the city's west-of-Hudson reservoirs, where once hiking groups had trouble even getting permission to cross DEP property, the agency is now actively working with hiking groups to build trails. Read more
Above: A trailcam captures a nighttime view of a wild boar in Delaware County. Photo taken in August of 2013; courtesy of Justin Gansowski of the USDA.
This week, federal wildlife agents armed with cameras and sniper rifles are patrolling New York State skies by helicopter, hoping for a glimpse of wild pigs. It's the latest mission in an ongoing battle to rid the state of feral swine, before most New Yorkers even realize the state has a pig problem.
New York City's newly-inaugurated mayor, Bill de Blasio, made it clear he's opposed to hydraulic fracturing in New York State in a speech to fellow mayors in Washington D.C. on Thursday.
De Blasio told the U.S. Conference of Mayors that "the one thing I am firm about is that I don't see any place for fracking," Capital New York reports. The mayor spoke in favor of a statewide moratorium:
“The science simply isn’t reliable enough," de Blasio said on Thursday. "The technology isn’t reliable enough. And there’s too much danger to our water supply, to our environment in general. So my view is that there should be a moratorium on fracking in New York State until the day comes that we can actually prove it’s safe, and I don’t think that day is coming any time soon.” Read more
The system will provide real-time warnings of local extreme weather and flood conditions, and identify threats to communities, roads, bridges and the electric system. Data will be available for use in predictive modeling and early warnings to prevent loss of life and property. The number of weather stations will be increased from the current 27 to over 100, creating a highly sophisticated real-time weather reporting network that will accelerate and improve information sharing, thereby assisting emergency responders in responding to extreme weather events.
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection, which oversees the city's upstate reservoirs, has also been investing heavily in weather technology lately. The DEP needs accurate weather data -- especially streamflow data -- to manage more than a billion gallons a day flowing through the city's water system.
Above: New York State Agricultural Society President Diane Held congratulates Schoharie County farmer Richard Ball, recently appointed as New York State's new Commissioner of Agriculture, at the group's 2014 forum on New York agriculture. Photo from the New York State Agricultural Society's Facebook page.
Above: Inge Grafe-Kieklak, plaintiff in a recent lawsuit challenging a Sidney town moratorium on gas drilling, demonstrates at a pro-drilling rally in Albany on Oct. 15, 2012. Grafe-Kieklak's sign, written in her native German, translates: "Gov. Cuomo, you have no right to take our mineral rights!" Photo taken by pro-drilling blogger Andy Leahy of NY Shale Gas Now; reproduced by permission.
A state judge struck down the town of Sidney's recently-passed moratorium on gas drilling last week, ruling that the town failed to follow proper procedure in enacting the law.
The decision has been hailed by pro-drilling advocates as a victory. But because of its narrow focus, the Sidney case is unlikely to have much impact on the larger legal question of whether towns have authority to regulate gas drilling within their borders -- an issue that is still yet to be heard by the New York State Court of Appeals, the state's highest court. Read more
The Northeast is thawing out this weekend, after several days of intense subzero cold. In the Catskills and across a wide area of upstate New York, a combination of rain in the forecast and melting snow and ice from rapidly-warming temperatures has the region under floodwatch from Saturday afternoon to Sunday evening. Read more