Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Vermont Environmental News, July 13, 2010

Photo: www.charlottevt.org/
Photo by Peter Coleman
Climate Change in the Champlain Basin | WCAX.COM
A new report by the Vermont Nature Conservancy shows that climate across the Champlain basin is changing, and scientists say these changes will affect ecosystems and species in the area significantly.

Rose Paul with the Vermont Nature Conservancy said, "We have had a two degree increase in average annual temperature in the Champlain Valley, since about the 1970s."

The temperature increase could mean that invasive species thrive in our area and animals native to Vermont that live in the lake could be threatened. The report also shows that the Champlain Basin could receive up to four to six inches more precipitation per year, as rain instead of snow.
Plans moving forward to reduce Lake Champlain bird | Boston.com
Plans are moving forward to reduce the population of double-crested cormorants on Lake Champlain, birds thought to eat too many sport fish and destroy the wooded islands where they nest.

Federal and state wildlife officials from Vermont and New York met recently and agreed to set a target population for the nonnative sea birds on the lake that would not diminish the fish population.

Vermont Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Wayne Laroche tells the Burlington Free Press he would like to reduce the number of cormorants from the present figure of 14,000 to 16,000 to about 3,300.
Vermont Senators Propose Tax Credits for Energy Efficient Lawn Equipment | People Powered Machines
Senator Patrick Leahy, Senator Bernie Sanders, and Representative Peter Welch have come together in drafting a bill that will give homeowners a 25% tax credit when they purchase alternative energy powered lawn, garden, and forestry equipment. The legislators call it the “Greener Gardens Act” and say that it would reduce air pollution more than the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) because it would provide an immediate incentive for people to purchase clean and alternative machines that operate on little to no fossil fuel.

Similar to Cash for Clunkers, the government would give a credit of up to $1,000 to anyone buying the equipment that meets certain green requirements. The qualifying power sources would most likely include electricity, propane, natural gas, biodeisel, ethanol, methanol, compressed natural gas, and even gas-electic hybrids.
Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund awards $334,765 in grants for biofuels projects | Vermont Business Magazine
The Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund has awarded $334,765 in grant funds to develop local biofuels and foster the development of a viable biomass-to-biofuels industry in Vermont that uses local resources to replace petroleum with renewable alternatives.

Ellen Kahler, VSJF Executive Director, stated that the “catastrophe of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is yet another reminder of the consequences of our dependence on non-renewable fossil fuels for energy. As the devastating ecological, cultural, and economic consequences of the spill unfold in the Gulf of Mexico, Vermont is continuing to explore opportunities for entrepreneurs, farmers, educators and others to develop renewable, sustainable energy alternatives. “
State to discuss removal of Dufresne Pond Dam in Manchester at Thursday meeting | Rutland Herald
State officials will discuss plans to remove the Dufresne Pond Dam, which is more than a century old and the only dam in the state in the main stem of the Batten Kill, at a meeting at the town offices on Thursday.

Brian Fitzgerald, the stream flow protection coordinator with the water quality division of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, said the state is planning to remove the dam next year.