Thursday, July 8, 2010

Vermont Environmental News, July 8, 2010

Heat triggers Lake Champlain algae growth | The Burlington Free Press
Just when Vermonters want to escape the heat with a plunge in Lake Champlain, the water in some places may not be safe for swimming.

This week’s hot, sunny and almost windless days created perfect growing conditions for potentially toxic blue-green algae. Widespread blooms were reported Wednesday from Burlington Bay south to Ferrisburgh and Port Henry, N.Y.

Blooms also were reported at Shelburne Pond and could appear in any inland pond, said Angela Shambaugh, an aquatic biologist at the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources.
Vermont Law School | VLS Supports First Landscape Auction in the United States
Vermont Law School is supporting the White River Partnership's landscape auction on Aug. 14, the first such conservation effort in the United States designed to revitalize watersheds, wildlife and people's connection to nature.

Landscape auctions originated in The Netherlands in 2007 as a financing tool to attract private capital for nature conservation and landscape protection. The money helps private landowners to protect landscape elements that have scenic, cultural or natural resource values, such as songbird habitat, walking trails and covered bridges. The funds go for management costs of protecting a landscape element, such as fencing cattle out of streams. Winning bidders "adopt" the landscape element but do not become the legal owner.
College of St. Joseph dorms going green | Rutland Herald Online
At first glance, the terra cotta and gray stucco being applied to the College of St. Joseph’s two residence halls this summer might appear to be just another paint job.

The new finish, however, is actually the outermost layer of 4 inches of new exterior foam insulation that will help reduce energy costs and eliminate moisture problems in the buildings. The material is called Sto Exterior insulation and because the college chose such an energy-efficient option, they were able to secure more than $122,000 in grant money from the Vermont Clean Energy Development Fund to pay for the project.
Rules Proposed To Cut Pollution At Power Plants | NYTimes.com
Acting under federal court order, the Obama administration proposed new air-quality rules on Tuesday for coal-burning power plants that officials said would bring major reductions in soot and smog from Texas to the Eastern Seaboard.

The pollutants being singled out in the new rule making — sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides — react in the atmosphere to form fine particles (soot) and ground-level ozone (smog). They are easily carried by the wind and affect states and cities far downwind from the plants where they are produced. The proposed regulation, called a transport rule, would apply to power plants in 31 states east of the Rockies, with the exception of the Dakotas, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.
Stream Team to track Chittenden County water | The Burlington Free Press
The source of Chittenden County's rainwater is obvious; a downpour's passage to Lake Champlain, less so. That mystery might persist into late adulthood among those of us who work indoors.

Amy Sheldon, who coordinates the newly formed, countywide Stream Team, is looking for residents who walk and wade through watersheds -- with or without having plumbed the variables of soil, roof pitch, rain garden or pavement.
Circ Highway clears environmental hurdle | WCAX.COM
The next phase of the Circumferential Highway has crossed a key permitting hurdle.

The next section of the road would extend into Williston. It's a new design for a boulevard-style highway; four lanes separated by a median, but with all crossroads at grade-level intersections.