Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Vermont Environmental News, June 29, 2010

Peregrine Falcons on the comeback | WCAX.COM
Vermont's Peregrine Falcon population is making comeback. Numbers are at an historic high just three decades after the bird completely disappeared from New England.

The birds vanished from New England in the 1970's. The pesticide DDT caused the birds to lay eggs with very thin shells that would crack prematurely. "And so over a period of time there was absolutely no young produced and this happened nationwide," said Margaret Fowle, a biologist with Audubon Vermont.

Vermont now has 41 nesting pairs of Peregrine Falcons and the population continues to grow.
St. Albans Spends Millions On Road Work | WPTZ Plattsburgh
St. Albans selectboard passed the town's Capital Improvement Plan Monday night. A big part of the plan will repave dozens of the town's worst roads. Each year the town will spend $400,000 just on its roads.
Vermont Community Foundation helps nonprofits “UNPLUG” to save money | Vtdigger.org
On July 1, 2010 the Vermont Community Foundation will kick off a second round of Middlebury Unplugged, a unique program that provides participants with energy monitors to help them manage and reduce their utility bills. The monitors update every second, and information is fed to a computer where staff members can view their energy use from that day, the past week, or even the past few months.

In addition to receiving the monitors, participants will work with volunteers from the Middlebury Energy Committee, who will perform comprehensive walkthroughs at each of the organizations. The volunteers, trained by Efficiency Vermont, will provide sample materials such as light bulbs and power strips, as well as do-it-yourself recommendations and information on rebates and incentives from Efficiency Vermont.

National News

Asian Carp Found Near Great Lakes | NYTimes.com
After months of worrying over hints and signs and DNA traces suggesting that Asian carp, a voracious, nonnative fish, might be moving perilously close to the Great Lakes, the authorities here have uncovered the proof they did not want. They caught a fish.

One bighead carp — a 19.6-pound, 34.6-inch male — became entangled Tuesday in a fishing net about six miles from Lake Michigan, in part of a waterway that connects the Mississippi River system to the Great Lakes.

The authorities have searched for nearly a half-year with nets, chemicals and electrofishing equipment, but the fish was the first actual Asian carp to be found beyond an elaborate electric fence system officials spent years devising to avoid this very outcome.

The question state and federal authorities here are now racing to answer is whether the fish was somehow traveling alone — a prospect some environmental advocates consider absurd.

“Asian carp are like cockroaches; when you see one, you know it’s accompanied by many more you don’t see,” said Henry Henderson, of the Natural Resources Defense Council.