Tag Archive: NYSDEC


New York Daily News, August 19th, 2019

FULL TEXT:

ALBANY — New York’s clear air program is strapped for cash.

A Department of Conservation program that collects fees and issues permits to the state’s major air polluters is seeing its revenue decline quicker than its expenses, leading to annual deficits that topped $70 million in 2017, according to an audit conducted by Controller Thomas DiNapoli.

The probe found that the program, meant to be self-sustaining based on fees collected, wound up borrowing from the state’s short-term investment pool and reallocating almost $50.4 million in expenses primarily from its general fund appropriations.

“New Yorkers rely on the Department of Environmental Conservation to control pollution and keep our air clean,” DiNapoli said. “My auditors found that this important program regulating industrial pollution is running a deficit, forcing the agency to spend money that should be going to other priorities.”

Revenues fell 38.8% during the audit period, from 2009 to 2017, while expenses only fell 10.8% during the same time, DiNapoli found.

The good news is that New York’s air quality may be better off despite the program’s shortfalls. The deficit is in part due to a drop in the number of regulated facilities, from 468 to 380, and overall emissions fell 54.4%.

Businesses that emit pollutants from manufacturing chemicals or plastics and energy facilities that burn oil, gas or coal need permits from the state to comply with the federal Clean Air Act. The “Title V Operating Permit Program” requires states to monitor pollutant output, collect permit fees and take action against violators that exceed established limits.

In its response to the audit, the DEC noted that several other states are in the same situation and that “program costs do not decrease as pollution decreases because additional regulatory complexity requires more oversight.”

Auditors looked at 32 invoices totaling $8,328,281, consisting of four invoices from each of the eight years and found inconsistencies and inaccuracies that led to overcharging and underbilling. A total of 15 of the 32 invoices were not accurately documented and seven mistakes led to a total of $352,418 being billed incorrectly.

The audit also found the program uses an overly complex system to record, track and assess fees and the DEC failed to hand over annual reports to the controller’s office in a timely manner.

The DEC said the agency is already taking steps to improve monitoring systems to ensure expenses are appropriately charged and stood by its system.

“As noted in our response to the Comptroller’s report, despite the 90 percent reduction in emissions under the Title V program over the last 20 plus years, resulting in improved air quality for New York communities, program costs have not declined at the same rate, and it is unrealistic and impractical to expect otherwise,” a spokeswoman said. “This challenge is not unique to New York State, which has some of the most rigorous air quality standards in the nation.”

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Governor Cuomo Issues Earth Day Proclamation Declaring April 22, 2019, as Earth Day in New York State

Weeklong Celebration of Earth Day with DEC Regional Family-Friendly Events

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is commemorating the 49th anniversary of Earth Day with DEC-sponsored and partner events around the state from April 20 through 28. These family-friendly activities include opportunities for New Yorkers to connect with nature by hiking, observing wildlife, planting trees, and learning about the importance of protecting the environment.

“Earth Day is a perfect reminder to get outside and appreciate New York’s natural resources and to ensure that we’re all doing our part to protect and preserve our environment,” said Commissioner Basil Seggos. “I encourage all New Yorkers to participate in some of the state’s week-long activities and learn more about the programs DEC’s environmental education centers have to offer across the state.”

           Governor Cuomo’s 2019 Earth Day Proclamation celebrating New York’s environmental leadership is attached. Earth Day was founded by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin in 1970, after he toured the devastation of the massive 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. On April 22, 1970, demonstrations by an estimated 20 million Americans advocated for a healthy, sustainable environment. Later that same year, DEC and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency were established and the Clean Air Act was enacted, providing the authority for federal and state governments to limit emissions. In 1972, sweeping amendments were made to the federal Water Pollution Control Act, predecessor to the Clean Water Act. The Endangered Species Act became law in 1973.

For more information about Earth Day, including a full, detailed listing of this year’s regional family-friendly events and “50 At Home Earth Day Tips,” visit the DEC website.  Additional announcements will be made during New York’s weeklong celebration of Earth Day.

Highlighted DEC Community Earth Week 2019 Events include:

Long Island, Region 1

Monday, April 22, 6 – 9 p.m.: DEC Partner Event: Long Beach Latino Civic Association Earth Week Kickoff Event
Long Beach Library, 111 West Park Avenue, Long Beach
Event/launch party for the civic association’s DEC-funded coastal improvement project. The auditorium will show the film “Bag It” with Spanish subtitles, plus food vendors and other local conservation groups and family friendly environmental giveaways.

Saturday, April 27, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.: Eco-Carnival at Suffolk County Environmental Center
Seatuck Environmental Association, 550 South Bay Ave., Islip
For more information call 631-581-6908 or visit Seatuck Environmental Association’s website.

Join DEC environmental educators and other environmental groups for the 10th Annual Eco-Carnival at the Suffolk County Environmental Center. The event features a series of hands-on nature stations, nature-inspired arts and crafts, games and booths, music, food, and ice cream. It’s eco-friendly, nature-based fun for whole family. The event is sponsored by the Seatuck Environmental Association in cooperation with Suffolk County and the town of Islip.

New York City, Region 2

Saturday, April 20, 1 – 3 p.m.
Earth Day Festival at Gantry Plaza State Park, Rainbow Park Playground:
4-09 47th Road, Long Island City
DEC educators will lead a water conservation activity with youth and families at this event organized by New York State Parks.

Thursday, April 25, 11:30 a.m.
Earth Day Celebration, 47-40 21st Street, Long Island City (in courtyard):
DEC in partnership with the State Department of Transportation will host an Earth Day celebration in the courtyard of the regional office. There will be a tree seedling giveaway, a composting demonstration, and hands-on activities facilitated by DEC educators.

Hudson Valley, Region 3

Stony Kill Farm Environmental Education Center, 79 Farmstead Lane, Wappingers Falls
For more information, call 845-831-3800, email foundation@stonykill.org, or visit DEC’s Stony Kill Farm webpage.

April 20 and 21, 27 and 29, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.: Open Barn
Stony Kill Farm maintains a working farm housing chickens, cows, pigs, and sheep. Visit with the farm animals and find out about their care from the volunteer Livestock Caretakers.

April 20, 21, 27, and 29, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.: Open Greenhouse
Learn about the life cycle of a plant during your visit to the greenhouse. Visitors can touch and, in some instances, taste what is being grown in the greenhouse.

Saturday, April 27, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
DEC Partner Event: Drop- In at the Drive-In National Parks Service Earth Day Celebration:
Recycling and earth day activities for all ages at the Hyde Park Drive-In Theater.

Capital District, Region 4

Five Rivers Environmental Education Center, 56 Game Farm Road, Delmar
For more information call 518-475-0291, e-mail 5Rivers@dec.ny.gov, or visit DEC’s Five Rivers Environmental Education Center webpage.

Visitor center hours: Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Five Rivers Scavenger Hunt
Stop in at the visitor center and pick up a scavenger hunt before heading out to walk the trails at Five Rivers. Visitors are encouraged to bring their imagination and observation skills, because this scavenger hunt is not about collecting things. Instead, it’s all about completing a list of activities, from gazing at clouds, to touching the earth, to taking a closer look at insects.

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday April 22, 24, and 26, from 2 – 4 p.m. each day
EarthQuest!
DEC’s Office of Climate Change to play EarthQuest, a role-play game focused on climate change and sustainability. Appropriate for middle and high school students, the game will challenge players to think creatively about solutions for environmental problems. This version of the game will be set in New York State’s Capital District and the Upper Hudson River Estuary. Space is limited. Call Five Rivers at 518-475-0291 to register, and organize friends and bring a group.

Monday, April 22, 1 – 3 p.m.
DEC partner event: Troy Earth Day Cleanup, 594 River St, Troy
A multi-location event to help clean-up the North Central and Hill Side neighborhoods of Troy. Visit City of Troy’s Earth Day website for more information.

Tuesday, April 23, 9:30 a.m.: DEC Fish Stocking at Six Mile Water Works
Six Mile Waterworks located off Fuller Road between Washington and Central Avenues
Join DEC’s Bureau of Fisheries and Bureau of Environmental Education staff as they stock Rensselaer Lake in Albany’s Pine Bush with approximately 2,000 rainbow trout.

Friday, April 26th (Arbor Day) 11 a.m. -12:30 p.m.
Partnership with Albany Goes Green (AGG),10th Anniversary of Arbor Day tree plantings: Tree Planting at Stephen and Harriet Myers House: 194 Livingston Avenue, Albany
DEC environmental educators and foresters will join St. Rose college students and the new City of Albany forester, Jay LaVigne, to help community members plant trees and take part in family-friendly activities.

Friday, April 26 – Sunday, April 28, various locations
DEC partner event: Canal Clean Sweep
Each Earth Day, the New York State Canal Corporation and Parks & Trails New York host Canal Clean Sweep, a day of spring cleaning in public areas throughout the Canal corridor. Visit the Canal Clean Sweep website for more information.

Saturday, April 27, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
DEC partner event: Earth Day in the Pine Bush: Albany Pine Bush Discovery Center, 195 New Karner Road, Albany
A variety of activities suitable for all ages will be taking place. All equipment will be provided. Meet at the Discovery Center. Pre-registration is required. For more information, visit Albany Pine Bush’s website.

Central New York, Region 7


Rogers Environmental Education Center, 2721 State Route 80, Sherburne
For more information call 607-674-4733, email info@FriendsOfRogers.org, or visit Friends of Rogers website.

Family Fun Program: April Showers: Saturday, April 20, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Water is essential for life on earth and is all around us in many forms. Join the Rogers Environmental Education Center to go on a journey to explore water all over the globe and its various properties.

Community Read and Discussion: Monday, April 22, 6 – 8 p.m.
Discuss Barbara Kingsolver’s novel Prodigal Summer with a focus on its environmental themes. Light refreshments will be served, books can be checked out at the Sherburne and Earlville libraries.

Storytime and Hike: Wednesday, April 24 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Join Friends of Rogers educators for songs and a story, followed by a short hike along the trails. Bring a snack or a picnic lunch to enjoy with friends.

Central New York, Region 8

Family Nature Fest: Seneca Park, 2222 St. Paul Street, Rochester: Saturday, April 27, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Participate in nature walks, make observations about nature for a WXXI’s Nature Challenge and the Seneca Park Zoo’s City Nature Challenge, do natural arts & crafts, and meet PBS KIDS Nature Cat!  Participants will also learn what citizen science is, how it helps inform local issues, and showing how families can participate in simple citizen science projects. Some of the activities will be outside, some will be inside, but there will be limited space indoors.  Families can go on guided nature walks with experts.  Please wear appropriate footwear like sneakers, hiking boots, or winter boots.

For more information, contact DEC’s Central Region Environmental Educator, NYSDEC Regional Headquarters, 615 Erie Blvd. West, Syracuse, NY 13204, phone: 315-426-7532

Buffalo Area, Region 9

Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve & Environmental Education Center, 93 Honorine Dr., Depew
For more information call 716-683-5959, e-mail reinsteinwoods@dec.ny.gov, or visit DEC’s Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve webpage.

Earth Day Home Energy Action Workshop: Monday, April 22, 6:30 p.m.
Celebrate Earth Day by discovering solar power programs and incentives available for your home. Explore home energy efficiency programs and learn practical tips for saving money by conserving energy. Door prizes and light refreshments provided. Registration is required, please call 716-683-5959.

Nature Tech Adventure: Nature Apps: Tuesday, April 23, 1:30 p.m.
Explore how to use your smartphone to enhance your nature experience. For children ages 8 and older. Registration required; call 716-683-5959.

Nature Tech Adventure: Geo-Caching Egg Hunt: Wednesday, April 24, 1:30 p.m. Participants will learn how to use a Global Positioning System (GPS) unit and use the handheld GPS units to find hidden eggs in the preserve. For children ages 8 and older. Registration required; call 716-683-5959.

Nature Tech Adventure: Solar Solutions: Thursday, April 25, 1:30 p.m.
Discover the fun side of science as we harness the power of the sun to bake, create art, and more!  For children ages 8 and up. Registration required; call 716-683-5959.

Citizen Science: Project Squirrel: Friday, April 26, 10:30 a.m.
Come join us on the trail as we learn how to be citizen scientists and record squirrel sightings in the preserve. Once you’ve learned, you can do at home too. For children ages 8 and older. Registration required; call 716-683-5959.

Nature Tech Adventure: Birding: Friday, April 26, 1:30 p.m.
Celebrate John James Audubon’s birthday by birding in the woods! Incorporate technology with birding and learn about eBird and the Merlin bird ID app. For children ages 8 and older. Registration required; call 716-683-5959.

 

Hazardous Waste

Twenty-one municipalities will receive assistance with preventing the serious safety and environmental problems that can occur when household hazardous waste products are improperly disposed of. NYS DEC

DEC Coordinates Dolphin Rescue off Long Island
Because of our mild weather this winter, schools of migrating fish like mackerel and herring have uncharacteristically lingered in the North Atlantic. As a result, dolphins and whales off the tip of Long Island have been enjoying an extended fish smorgasbord. And residents of East Hampton on Long Island’s north shore were treated to a rare natural spectacle, a large pod of dolphins close to shore.

Exciting News
Crowds of people watched with delight as dozens of the gregarious sea mammals cavorted within a stone’s throw of the beach. News of them spread quickly, and local media reported on the phenomenon. The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation recorded the dolphins’ sounds with an underwater microphone, known as a hydrophone. Local grade school children on an impromptu field trip were enthralled listening to the clicks and squeals of the dolphins.

Change in Mood
After a couple of days had passed, it became apparent that several of the dolphins were trapped by the tide in Northwest Creek, a shallow inlet. The mood quickly changed from one of celebration to one of alarm. DEC’s Region 1 Natural Resources Supervisor, Chuck Hamilton, was charged with organizing a rescue effort to free the dolphins before they stranded themselves in desperation. He subsequently contacted various federal, state and local government personnel, as well as volunteers and staff from the Riverhead Foundation.

Rescue Effort
Equipped with devices ranging from electronic pingers to steel pipes and hammers, boat crews created noise under water to drive the trapped animals out of the creek and into open water. According to Chuck, it was like “shoveling smoke.” All the commotion intended to free the dolphins also caused them distress, and rescuers had to be careful not to overdo it. Different dolphin species respond differently to the herding technique. These were common dolphins, which have smaller and more distinct markings than the bottlenose dolphins made famous on TV and at theme parks. Darkness and rough waters made it necessary to cease rescue attempts temporarily, providing an opportunity for the animals to calm down.

Mixed Results
Rescuers were able to free eight dolphins, but when operations were permanently suspended due to cold temperatures and high winds, three dolphins remained trapped and eventually died. Eight other dolphins had been confirmed dead, but necropsies (animal autopsies) failed to establish an exact cause of death.

Though disappointed by the deaths of some of the dolphins, Riverhead Foundation’s President, Chuck Bowman, said, “When dolphins become entrapped, rescue efforts hardly ever work. But we’ve at least been able to save eight of them, and I feel great about that.”

Editor’s Note: This story was compiled from DEC field reports and stories in Newsday and the East Hampton Star.

Go Eagles!

DEC Announces Results of 2006 Bald Eagle Breeding Season

The 2006 bald eagle population in has increased statewide from previous years and currently is at record numbers. Each year, DEC wildlife staff and volunteer “nest-watchers” monitor the nesting eagle population. Known nesting territories are monitored early in the spring to confirm returning adults, nest location, egg-laying date and the hatching of young. In addition, considerable time is spent trying to locate new nesting pairs in areas where adult eagles may have been seen regularly.

After active nests are identified, each site is visited to confirm the number of young produced; place a predator guard—an aluminum flashing to prevent raccoons from climbing nest trees and killing eggs or young—around each tree; band the young; inspect the nest for security and contents, and fix the location with a GPS device. The GPS information is instrumental because all locations are placed into the state’s Master Habitat Database, which is scanned thousands of times a year when development or other projects are being considered around the state.

Landowner Support
Because all nests are not on public lands, personal contact with the landowner is established to garner their support, as well as to discuss bald eagle biology and needs. Almost without exception, landowners are pleased and proud that they have eagles nesting on their land, and they are eager to help in any way they can. Landowners are the first, and best, line of defense in protecting the reestablished eagle population, which is why their support is so essential.

Record Numbers in 2006
During the first week of May 2006, nest visits began, and almost all nests had hatched. In the following two months, it was apparent that significantly more nests with three eaglets were encountered than ever before. By the time the final tally was completed in August 2006, a remarkable 172 young were counted as fledged from 110 nesting pairs in New York State during the 2006 breeding season.

These results mark a 20 percent increase in nesting pairs and a 54 percent increase in fledged young since 2005. Overall, 76 percent of all eagle pairs that nested in the state were successful in fledging young, with 30 percent of them producing three eaglets. The long-term average of nests with three eaglets is typically between 5-10 percent of all productive pairs. Biologists attribute the significant number of eaglets to very favorable mild and dry weather during the late winter and early spring when eagles were laying and hatching eggs, as well as to state and federal initiatives in place to protect these species. NYS DEC