Sunday, September 30, 2007

Rock Snot On the Move...

Unfortunately, a new and significant invasive alien species has invaded the Delaware River Basin in NY. Click on the hypertext below for a pic. Mind you, this will in no way be as insidious as the prime invasive alien species threat. That would be Bush. Nasty shrub.

Didymo found in trout streams

Saturday, September 29, 2007
By David Figura, Outdoors editor
Syracuse Post-Standard

The presence of didymo, an invasive plant species commonly called "rock snot" by anglers, has been confirmed this week in two well-known trout streams in the Catskills.

Steve Lorence, fisheries manager of the DEC office in Delaware County, said sampling by aquatic biologists has confirmed the presence of the slimy brown-colored plant on at least five sections of the West Branch of the Delaware River, including the confluence with the Beaverkill. In addition, it's been found near the Route 191 bridge in Deposit on the West Branch of the Delaware River.

Unlike many aquatic nuisance plants, didymo or Didymosphenia geminata, grows on the bottom of flowing and still waters. It can develop thick mats even in fast-flowing trout streams. In its presence, fishing becomes difficult, the abundance of bottom-dwelling organisms declines, and trout and other fish that feed on those organisms also decline. It resembles rotting cardboard when it dries and rots.

Its presence in the Catskills, often touted as one of the premier trout-fishing areas of the state, could mean trouble for an area where millions of dollars in tourism related to fishing is spent each year. The microscopic algae cling unseen to waders, boots, boats, lures, hooks, sinkers, fishing line and other fishing gear, and remain viable for several weeks under even slightly moist conditions, according to the DEC.

Absorbent items - for example, the felt-soled waders and wading boots commonly used by stream anglers - can easily spread it. Canoeists and kayakers can also unknowingly contribute to its spread.

Lorence said the Beaverkill, a legendary trout stream, has not been tested yet as workers taking samples in the East Branch of the Delaware did not want to risk spreading the organism into that stream after wading in the other stream.

"Anyone who walks in the East Branch, and then the Beaverkill, could spread it," Lorence said.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

It Can Get REAL Low...

Delaware River @ low flow looking upstream from Lambertville-New Hope Wing Dam.

The Delaware River is about as low as it can go in this era of controlled flow. Before the giant drinking water reservoirs were built and began releasing water during peiods of drought, it would have been possible to walk across many shallow sections of the river. An antique postcard depicting the Lambertville-New Hope Wing Dam shows many more exposed rocks than one would find today. For that matter, the Upper Delaware didnt support trout before the reservoirs were built, when the river was exclusively a warm water fishery.

The Delaware River at Belvidere shows the flow to be about 300 cfs below daily average for this time of year.

The following report deserves attention. What would the powers-to-be (the oil oligarchy) do if most of us were dependent on small, localized, renewable sources of energy? What lies would they then have to concoct to keep the military industrial complex beast alive? On the other hand, can we run bombers and ships with renewable energy sources? Solar powered ICBMs?

Study: Best Energy Strategies To Meet Demand For Electricity Are Green, Small And Local

The wisest energy strategy for the United States, and indeed other countries facing similar challenges, is to move away from their reliance on large-scale centralized coal and nuclear plants, and instead, invest in renewable energy systems and small scale decentralized generation technologies.

According to Benjamin Sovacool from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, these alternative technologies are simultaneously feasible, affordable, environmentally friendly, reliable and secure. His analysis (1) and recommendations are published in Springer’s journal Policy Sciences.

The electricity sector as it currently operates is at the mercy of natural disasters, price fluctuations, terrorist attacks and blackouts. Coupled with other, more long-standing problems such as increasing levels of pollution, growing vulnerability and inefficiency of transmission and distribution networks, and rising electricity prices related to disruptions and interruptions in fuel supply, these challenges add to the need for an evaluation of alternative energy technologies.

Sovacool studies in detail the current technological composition of, and challenges faced by, the American electric utility industry. He then evaluates the broad portfolio of energy technologies available to American electricity policy makers, against five criteria: technical feasibility, cost, negative externalities (or impact on human health and the environment), reliability and security.

Sovacool’s detailed analysis shows that three other sets of technologies – energy efficiency practices (like more efficient appliances), renewable energy systems (such as generators that create electricity from sunlight, wind, and falling water), and small-scale distributed generation technologies (such as generators that produce decentralized and modular power close to its point of consumption) – appear to offer many advantages over large and centralized nuclear and fossil fueled generators.

Sovacool’s paper shows how these alternative approaches can offer policy makers solutions to curb electricity demand, minimize the risk of fuel interruptions and shortages, help improve the fragile transmission network, and reduce environmental harm. He concludes that “it is these miniature generators – not mammoth and capital-intensive nuclear and fossil fuel plants – that offer the best strategy for diversifying electrical generation in a competitive energy environment.”

1. Sovacool BK (2007). Coal and nuclear technologies: creating a false dichotomy for American energy policy. Policy Sciences; 40:101-122 (DOI 10.1007/s11077-007-9038-7).
SOURCE: Springer Policy Science Journal

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

How Low Can It Go?

Sinepuxent Bay sunset as seen from Assateague Island National Seashore. I hope to be there communing with the ponies this October.

Every stream in the Delaware River Basin, including the Delaware River is currently running below the median daily flow. Glaring example is the Musconetcong at Bloomsbury, where the gage reads 98 cfs. I don't recall seeing it that low since I've been reading this gage, and that's been about 14 years (oh mein godt!).

With no precipitation predicted any time soon, will the drought watch be revived?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Trickle down...

Chris and Sue Meyers shoot the last rapid before Lackawaxen, PA.

Sip sip sip...that's the sound of a parched landscape thirsting for for a real rain, which as of this morning has been but a mere drizzle. We could use a half inch of slow soaking rainfall, but it will more likely be a brief deluge.

Enjoyed a trip to the Upper Delaware last Saturday. Stayed at the Lackawaxen Inn where the Pike County Republicans were dining. Place was crawling with Banana Republicans -- stiff hair and all! (WHY ME LAWD?) And I had just received a new shipment of the bumper stickers and didn't have them with me. "Buck Fush" "Lobotomies for Republicans: It's the Law!" "Blood for Oil" Oh well.

We paddled two tandem canoes (I borrowed Wally's Dagger, a sweet canoe) from Narrowsburg to Lackawaxen. It is such a beautiful 12-mile stretch of the river. Looking forward to an autumn trip to the Upper Delaware.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Watching Gabrielle...

Harvesting grapes at Amwell Valley Vineyard. Gabrielle does not appear in the photo. That would be Rosalita. However, Gabrielle may appear as a tropical storm or... worse.

The lovely dry weather continues but that may be interrupted by tropical storm Gabrielle brewing east of Florida, one that foreCATsters suspect might ride up the coast. We could stand a soaking as long as it's brief. Trouble may be brewing though and the weather man says beware...this could become an East Coast Hurricane.

Says AccuWeather: As the high moves over the Atlantic it will bring the low pressure closer to the East Coast....Meteorologists are concerned the system will reach hurricane strength before reaching the East Coast, likely impacting coastal areas from South Carolina to southern New England.

Helped out with the harvest of Gewurztraminer, Ravat 51 and Marechal Foch yesterday. We crushed about 6 tons of grapes. It looks like 2007 will be a good vintage, what with all the California like weather we're enjoying.

Looking forward to an overnighter in Lackawaxen and canoe trip on the upper Delaware this weekend. Balm for the soul.