Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Vermont Environmental News, September 21, 2010

Farming on the lakeshore poses a pollution dilemma | The Burlington Free Press
Doe-colored Brown Swiss cows munch grass on the rolling hillsides of Shelburne Farms, the 1,400-acre Gilded Age estate turned nonprofit environmental education center and dairy farm on the shores of Lake Champlain.

“This may be the least problematic 1,400 acres in agriculture,” Shelburne Farms President Alec Webb said last week.

If true, that still is not good enough, says Crea Lintilhac, a philanthropist and student of water quality whose private home is one of 14 on or near the farm’s lakeshore.

During summer rainstorms, runoff pouring from the farm’s barnyard, hayfields and woods onto the lakeshore contains e. coli bacteria, a sign of fecal contamination, greatly in excess of safe swimming standards.
Scientists closer to understanding bat syndrome | WCAX.COM
Scientists are slowly learning more about a mysterious disease that's decimating Vermont's bat population, and they may be close to finding a way to treat white nose syndrome.

From upwards of 7-hundred thousand bats just 4 years ago, to less than a hundred thousand today. White nose syndrome has decimated Vermont's little brown bat population.
Lawsuit seeks protection for herring, shad in East | Boston.com
Populations of river herring and shad are being decimated by commercial fishing along the Eastern seaboard, an environmental group claims in a lawsuit filed Monday against fisheries regulators.

Earthjustice demands in the suit filed in U.S. District Court in Washington that the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission develop a plan to protect those species.

Stocks of river herring and shad on the East Coast have dropped more than 90 percent over the last two decades, and there is no scientific evidence that either species is recovering, the lawsuit said.
Vermont Law School launches smart grid project | Vtdigger.org
Vermont Law School’s Institute for Energy and the Environment has hired two energy policy experts to conduct smart grid research aimed at laying the legal and regulatory groundwork for updating the U.S. power grid.

Kevin Jones, who will be the project’s leader, and smart grid fellow Christopher Cooper will look for ways to improve the reliability, cost and environmental impacts of the nation’s energy policy. The project is funded by a $450,000 federal Department of Energy grant that U.S. Rep. Peter Welch announced in April.