Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Vermont Environmental News, May 19, 2010

Lake Champlain faces threat of nuisance species |
The spiny water flea is a half-inch-long crustacean that reproduces at such a high rate that it can wreck fishing lines and displace native species.

The creature has been found in New York's Great Sacandaga Lake, which is connected to Lake Champlain by two rivers and two canals. Officials had worried that the flea would float 60 miles into Lake Champlain but a study by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Vermont has found that it's more probable it will reach Lake Champlain on boats that are not being cleaned.
UPDATE: Burlington backs controversial halfway house | WCAX.COM
A controversial halfway house will open in downtown Burlington thanks to new support from the City Council. The Council drafted a memorandum of understanding with Phoenix House that will allow the project to continue.
Nature Conservancy report details possible effects of climate change on Lake Champlain | The Burlington Free Press | Burlington, Vermont
The Lake Champlain region is warmer and rainier than it was 30 years ago, and still warmer average temperatures are on the way, a new scientific report concludes. That means the lake, and the humans who live around it, will face bigger natural threats in the future.
Vermont Center for Ecostudies | Invasive kudzu is major factor in surface ozone pollution, study shows
Kudzu, an invasive vine that is spreading across the southeastern United States and northward, is a major contributor to large-scale increases of the pollutant surface ozone, according to a study published the week of May 17 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Kudzu, a leafy vine native to Japan and southeastern China, produces the chemicals isoprene and nitric oxide, which, when combined with nitrogen in the air, form ozone, an air pollutant that causes significant health problems for humans. Ozone also hinders the growth of many kinds of plants, including crop vegetation.
Nuclear plant reports mishap during outage test |
The Vermont Yankee nuclear plant is reporting a mishap during testing as it prepared to end a refueling outage.

Plant and Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials say the incident occurred Sunday, when the water level was allowed to rise too high in the reactor during preparations for a test. That allowed water to flow through emergency valves that normally are about 8 feet above the water level, and into pipes that normally carry steam to the turbine.