May 30, 2016
Brook Trout and Lake Trout, coldwater species are found in many lakes, ponds, and streams within the Adirondacks. They require cold, well oxygenated waters that are clean, to survive. With the increasing in overall temperatures, and local areas reaching high's that are setting records, I felt it was time to explore the impact that these rising temperatures would have on our fish populations.
May 30, 2016
Starry Stonewort, an invasive macro algal species has bloomed in Lake Memphremagog Vermont causing the closure of the area. Review article here. Starry Stonewort is a macro alga that can be confused with aquatic plants and its native relatives chara and nitella. The main distinction is the white star shaped oocytes that are one form of its reproductive strategies
Algal blooms are not just caused by excessive nutrient addition to a body of water; there are many complex relationships at play. As discussed in earlier posts, climate change, addition of road salt, nutrients and poor storm-water management can lead to a Harmful Algal Bloom. Another contributing factor is invasive species; they can foster excessive algal growth. Invasive macrophyte species will push out native populations that produce allelochemicals that can inhibit phytoplankton blooms from forming. The invasive species that causes the most concern are mussels.
With recent heavy rains in the Northeast causing wastewater treatment plants to reach and exceed capacity, there have been overflows and sewage spills directly into lakes and rivers. This has included both raw sewage and graywater. Outdated and inadequate infrastructure are lending to the potential increase in toxic algal blooms and pathogens within the waters we drink from and recreate in.
Acid Rain deposits nitrates that can increase nitrogen loading within forests surrounding bodies of freshwater. This can lead to nitrogen saturation and the removal of calcium and magnesium from soils, thereby impacting the aquatic ecosystem. The excessive nitrogen within the forests will make its way into streams and lakes feeding excessive algal growth. Acid Rain will decrease the available carbon within an aquatic ecosystem and make the body of water more acidic. This shifts the species composition of algae to only acidophilic forms (acid tolerant).
Heavy metal pollution poses a series threat to freshwater resources. Metals find their way into the aquatic via weathering of rocks and soils, volcanic eruptions and from human activity. The most common means of entry is from mining activities. These metals which can include: mercury, lead, nickel, copper, chromium, and arsenic occur naturally in small amounts; their accumulation can impact both aquatic organisms and forms of algae.
Living in the Northeast we depend on clear roads during winter to maintain of way of life. Organizations, agencies and municipalities throughout the Northeast understand that there is an impact to the environment from road salt application practices. We must find the balance that protects the environment and still allows for safe roads.
As the summer season is on us and temperatures are rising, a freshwater Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) could form in nearby lakes, ponds and reservoirs. HABs are any excessive amount of algae that causes negative or harmful impacts on other organisms, water quality, recreation or the economy. HABs are an indicator of nutrient enrichment, primarily phosphorus within that given body of water.
What is causing Littoral Eutrophication? Many factors are contributing to the deterioration of water quality within Northeastern lakes and streams. Excessive nutrients are feeding aquatic vegetation and algae, allowing them to proliferate. These nutrients are entering the water via; unfiltered storm water runoff, over fertilizing of lawns, faulty septic systems, lack of adequate riparian/ shoreline vegetation, and deforestation of high gradient areas (slopes on hills).
Bio-monitoring of lakes and streams is an important part of any monitoring effort. A majority of agencies and states focus only on fish and macroinvertebrates. This is likely due in part to the cultural significance of fish and what they feed on. Bio-monitoring of algal communities possess a distinct advantage over other biota monitoring.
Common Algae of The Northeast (series)
Photo's, original artwork and exerts from Final Thesis: Common Algae of the Lake George Watershed. Identification guide to algae.
by Corrina Parnapy © 2015 The Adirondacker
Wild Orchids (Cypripedium) of The Adirondacks will start blooming in mid-May. Lady’s Slippers (Cypripedium) are represented by seven species within The Adirondacks. They are the Pink Lady's Slipper (Cypripedium acaule), Ram’s Head Lady's Slipper (Cypripedium arietinum), Queen’s Lady Slipper (Cypripedium reginae) and three varieties of the Yellow Lady’s Slipper (Cypripedium parviflorum), var parviflorum parviflorum and var makasin.
April 18, 2015
After a long slumber buried deep in the protective mud beneath Adirondack lakes, the painted turtle is awake. Chrysemys picta, the eastern painted turtle, is common to many of our ponds, lakes and wetlands, preferring areas with abundant aquatic plants, ample spots for sunbathing, and sunny places with sand for nests. Painted turtles are named for their intricate shell pattern and very distinct yellow stripes on their heads. Reaching an average length of 5 to 6 inches, they can live for more than 40 years. Being omnivorous, they feed on insects, crustaceans, fish, plants and any other food (plant or animal) they can find. Like snapping turtles, painted turtles can live in a wide range of habitats.
April 11, 2015
The friendly harbinger of spring has arrived. Our banded friend the Eastern Chipmunk has been making visits to our bird feeder in Schroon Lake. Chipmunks can be very social creatures; even those found deep within the woods can still surprise you. Years ago, my husband and I were taking a much needed vacation by camping out at Clear Pond in the Pharoah Lake Wilderness Area. We had the lean to all to ourselves, or so we thought.
April 9, 2015
Although, we had some snow last night, the temperature is rising in the Adirondacks, the snow is melting, and the sap has been flowing. The natural world around us is starting to wake up; spring is finally on its way. In Schroon Lake, we have witnessed the increased activity of the wildlife and the beginning of ripening buds on trees. We have been visited by energetic red squirrels, a vole, shrew, and many birds, flocking to our backyard feeder. Although squirrels, voles and shrews don’t hibernate, their increased activity is a sign that breeding will take place soon.
April 6, 2015
Ice and snow have given way to Sun, warmth and lush green leaves. The Adirondacks have reawakened. Mountains previously dressed in crystal and lace, befitting a ballroom, are soon to be bedecked in colors and patterns, each unique and beautiful to behold. With the change of seasons it will once again be time for outdoor exploration and enjoying the renewed life found within The Adirondacks. From a simple walk on a trail to a deep woods trek, beauty, splendor and wonder can be found all around. My personal favorite is a day hike into a body of water or wetland. As a naturalist, I greatly enjoy taking groups out into Nature and opening their minds to the world around them. Wetlands contain some of the most diverse and easy to access wildlife for viewing.
March 28, 2015
Winter World of Bats
One cold winter day, after a few mile snowshoe, deep into the woods, we arrived at what should have been the entrance to the mine. Unbeknownst to us a collapse had sealed off the entrance, which sent the group searching for a new way underground. After sliding on my stomach through a hole, and dropping down a rock slide, I made it into the underworld. Why on earth did I venture deep into the unknown? Bats of course.
March 23, 2015
Of The Vole And Shrew
The surprise of the winter has been an adorable, fuzzy vole and a highly veracious shrew. Our new friend the vole would dart out from the snow bank, grab a mouth full of seeds and dart back in, like he was playing a game of peek-a-boo. The shrew would pounce on the sunflower seeds like a cat on a mouse. It is amazing how much energy they have.
March 16, 2015
Vermiculated Wonder of the Adirondacks
Temperatures are warming, it is time to remove the ice shanty from the lake. Sportsmen are now counting down the days till April 1st when that vermiculated wonder of the Adirondacks can be sought out. Wild Adirondack Native or feisty stocked, the Adirondack Brook Trout is a wonder to behold and to fish for.
March 8, 2015
Tipping of the Black Cap
As winter is waning, I think back on the companionship of all the North Country birds that have visited our backyard feeders. Even on the the coldest and snowiest days, flocks of birds would descend to feast on the high fat sunflower seeds. One happy little acrobat, the chickadee holds a special place in my heart.
February 28, 2015
Energetic Neighbor, "Red"
We first met Red not long after installing a bird feeder in our backyard. Her daily visits are greatly looked forward to. This winter, Red provided much amusement as she would pop in and out of what we affectionately dubbed the "squirrel hole". This hole was an entry way through the snow to our deck and the bird feeder, Red was not the only visitor to use the squirrel hole, mice and a vole would also come a calling and grab a bite to eat.
While taking on one of my bad habits my husband had to reach over and touch the turtle. He was jokingly dangling his finger in front of one, while I was giggling and saying... your going to get bit. He didn't believe me, be it chipmunks or turtles in a tank, my husband gets bit.
My sense of wonder with the natural world began at an early age. My father, who I must admit has the mind of an inventor, would take my younger brother and myself out to streams in Vermont to go prospecting for gold.
Mini Terrariums are a wonderful way to bring parts of the natural world indoors.
Items from Nature used in Interior Decorating
Nature in Poetry
Nature in Art
Other articles written by C. Parnapy (The Adirondacker)