Category Archives: CONSERVATION

PCB cleanup exceeding expectations


For years, General Electric argued that dredging its toxic PCB pollution from the Hudson River would only stir up pollution and send it downriver. This month, the Environmental Protection Agency signaled that GE’s old scare tactic was far from the truth when it upped its goal for removing PCB-contaminated sediment by 25%. The cleanup is ahead of schedule, and we’re that much closer to our longstanding goal of restoring the Hudson’s fisheries – and reclaiming our river.

· Get Informed: Read about the history of PCB contamination in the Hudson River.

· Do Your Part! Donate to Riverkeeper’s Hudson River Program.


The Shocking Republican Attack on the Environment and Our Drinking Water

Environment News Service / BySharon Guynup



Ensuring that Americans have clean water has been an effort with strong bipartisan support for four decades. But not anymore.

December 11, 2011 |


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WASHINGTON, DC (ENS) — This year, residents of Midland, Texas sued Dow Chemical for dangerous levels of hexavalent chromium in their drinking water. Chromium-6 is a cancer-causing chemical made infamous by Julia Roberts’ film, "Erin Brockovich." There are currently no drinking water standards for chromium-6, and the chemical industry is delaying a new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency assessment labeling it a potent carcinogen.


EPA: Fracking May Be Cause of Water Pollution



For the first time, the EPA this week officially linked fracking to groundwater pollution.    The announcement is the first step in the process of the EPA opening up their findings to public review.

The announcement, which concerns the small community of Pavillion, Wyoming, could have nation-wide implications for fracking, the process of pumping a mixture of water and chemicals, at a very high rate of pressure, into the ground to release imbedded oil and gas.  However, according to the EPA, the fracking methods being used in Pavillion are different than those used in the other states where fracking remains a contentious topic.

Furthermore, the presence of chemicals associated with fracking, could have come from other sources, says Doug Hock, a spokesman for Encana, the company that runs the Pavillion gas field.  “Those could just have likely been brought about by contamination in their sampling process or construction of their well. … There are still a lot of questions that need to be answered.  This is a probability and is one we believe is incorrect.”

Hock is not the only critic of the EPA’s findings.  The study was “not based on sound science but rather on political science,” according to Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla.

While contamination is the primary obstacle for fracking, it is not the only one.  Russell Gold and Ana Campoy of the Wall Street Journal bring light to another issue:  the massive amounts of water being used.

Trout Unlimited’s New Stocking Policy


A controversy with no simple answer

First published in The daily Gazette, Schenectady, N.Y., 11/3/11

Trout Unlimited really got people talking last month when it announced that its members may not take part in stocking “non-native, hatchery trout” in streams that already hold native trout.

The directive isn’t expected to curtail stocking, which is mostly conducted by state conservation departments. But it has stirred up a lively philosophical discussion about the merits and perils of adding catchable trout to our streams.

Many — maybe most — New York streams that have been stocked for generations also hold at least a few native trout, meaning trout that were not only born in the stream, but are in fact descendants of the trout that were here before people were here. If the presence of any native trout at all made an entire stream off-limits to stocking, an awful lot of New York trout fishing would simply disappear.

“Does one stop stocking brown trout in Willowemoc Creek, for example?” asked Phil Hulbert, chief of the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Bureau of Fisheries, referring to the storied Catskills stream that holds wild and holdover browns and brookies, no doubt including some natives.

“I’m confident there would be people that have opinions both ways. The way we try to deal with this is in a technical sense, not phil­osophical. When we decide whether a stream should be stocked, we take into account the abundance of wild trout and we make adjustments for the presence of wild trout, in terms of whether there’s unused carrying capacity for hatchery trout.”

If there are enough wild fish, the DEC doesn’t bother stocking at all, Hulbert noted.

Mike Walchko, president of the Clearwater Chapter of TU in Albany, said the chapter doesn’t take part in any stocking activity, preferring to focus on maintaining and improving trout habitat. He agreed with Hulbert that the issue of where to stock and where not to is complex.

“Since streams are continuous bodies, most brook trout populations are found in the upper, colder, cleaner headwater reaches, while the lower stretches are the sections stocked with hatchery fish,” he said. “Many streams are dependent upon these stockings to support a fishable population in these lower stretches.”

Larry Harris, head of TU’s national leadership council, wrote this week to chapter presidents that he was taken aback by the controversy arising from the new policy. After all, TU has been on record for years that stocking should be avoided if it was likely to harm native trout populations.

“I began receiving calls the very next morning after the resolution was sent to council chairs and chapter presidents,” Harris said. “What I am learning is that some chapters in several states currently stock hatchery trout in streams containing native trout.”

And so Harris and a number of TU leaders from around the country are forming a committee to help state councils and local chapters comply with the policy in a way that makes sense on their local waters.

I’ve complained in this space, and others have complained in other spaces, that some New York waters are stocked with way too many cookie-cutter trout with barely any survival instincts. But I also fish some streams where all the trout are wild, others where most are wild, and still others where there’s a pleasing mix of wild trout and holdover stockies. One of my regular spots even has a few genuine, certified, heritage-strain brookies, their DNA untainted by interlopers from California or Germany. None of these are secret or remote. Even after a century of heavy stocking, New York still offers plenty of “natural” trout fishing.

But TU’s heart is in the right place.

Native trout can never be replaced, and anything that will protect the ones we have is a good idea.

Morgan Lyle’s commentary appears regularly in The Daily Gazette. Reach him

The Twin Tiers FFF (Fly Fishing Federation) will be hosting Katy Dunlap, Eastern Project Director of Trout Unlimited for a presentation entitled “Protecting Sportsmen’s Interests from the Impacts of Marcellus Shale Development”.

The Twin Tiers FFF (Fly Fishing Federation) will be hosting Katy Dunlap, Eastern Project Director of Trout Unlimited for a presentation entitled “Protecting Sportsmen’s Interests from the Impacts of Marcellus Shale Development”.  The presentation is being co-sponsored by the Leon Chandler TU chapter and will be held on December 5, from 7 to 9 pm at the Big Flats Community Center.
Continue reading on Southern tier fly fishing: Dec. 5 – 11 – Binghamton fly fishing |

Video: Why Striped Bass Should Have "Game Fish Status"


Posted: 30 Nov 2011 12:57 PM PST

Striped Bass Gamefish from Taylor Vavra on Vimeo.

If you’ve found it difficult to make sense of all the arguments for giving the Atlantic striped bass “game fish status”——this film from Stripers Forever lays it all out for you. Some of the luminaries of saltwater fishing, from Lou Tabory to Rip Cunningham, weigh in on why this is an important fight for anglers. After you’ve watched the video, visit Stripers Forever online for more information and for tips on how you can help.

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If you believe that the Catskills and New York State will be at serious risk if gas drilling using hydrofracking is approved in our state, or if you have serious questions about the conditions under which fracking will commence, this is your opportunity to speak up, hear what other citizens like you think and show Governor Cuomo and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) your opposition and/or concern.  The DEC is holding just 2 more public hearings (see list below) to hear public and expert testimony about their dSGEIS (draft Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement) – the permitting conditions under which fracking will take place in New York.

According to yesterday’s New York Times Expose “Millions Spent in Albany Fight to Drill for Gas” the pro frackers have spent MILLIONS OF DOLLARS on lobbyists in New York State in the last year and have given Governor Cuomo over $100,000 in campaign contributions and UNTOLD AMOUNTS ON SLICK ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.   According the Wall Street Journal we have outnumbered the pro gassers at the last two hearings by 4 to 1.  We know that they are going to spend as much money as they need to to get pro gassers at this next hearing.  That is why we need you more then ever before.  Our home grown grass roots can beat the paid gassers but you need to TAKE THE DAY OFF FROM WORK OR SCHOOL and join us.   Be a part of Democracy in Action.

Mountainkeeper and many other partner organizations are mobilizing our constituencies to attend the press conference and rally at the hearing in Sullivan County on November 29th at the Sullivan County Community College, Seelig Theatre, 112 College Rd, Loch Sheldrake, NY 12759

The last hearing is in New York City on November 30.

Click here for the Official DEC dates and times of the dSGEIS hearings

IMPORTANT: If you plan to attend and/or testify click here for a summary of the major flaws in the dSGEIS to help you prepare.

Forward this message to your friends, family and neighbors and ask them to forward it on. Get educated, especially about the health issues and threats.

The Catskill Mountainkeeper website is here as a resource for you, please use it.

Upcoming Seasons


The recreational season reminders listed below include season dates that extend over the next two weeks. For all season dates and to view more information about hunting and fishing in New York, visit DEC’s Outdoor Activities( webpage.

Freshwater Fishing(

(IMPORTANT: Some waterbodies have different regulations than the general statewide regulations listed below; therefore, please review the special regulations by county( to determine if there are any differences near you.)

November 30. Final day to fish for the following:

· Largemouth and smallmouth bass (catch and release opens on December 1);

· Muskellunge; and,

· Hudson River striped bass and hickory shad in waters north of the Tappan Zee Bridge.

December 1. Opening day of catch and release fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass.
Please review the special regulations by county as noted in the important information above to ensure this is permissible in your specific waterbody.

TGF Bulletin



WEST TRENTON, N.J. (Nov. 18) – The Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) today announced that the special meeting scheduled for Nov. 21 to consider draft natural gas development regulations has been postponed to allow additional time for review by the five commission members.

No additional information is available at this time.

The DRBC is a federal/interstate government agency responsible for managing the water resources within the 13,539 square-mile Delaware River Basin. The five commission members are the governors of the basin states (Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania) and the commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ North Atlantic Division, who represents the federal government.

Please visit the commission’s web site at for updates as they become available.



We are on the road to victory! Delaware River Basin Commission Cancels Fracking Vote!


Thanks to all of your great efforts, the state of Delaware announced yesterday that it will vote “no” to DRBC’s proposed gas drilling regulations, which would allow fracking to go forward in the Delaware River Basin. As a result of Delaware’s commitment, DRBC has postponed the vote and set no new vote date!