News from Beyond Vermont
The latest in ecological research and monitoring information doesn't stop at Vermont's borders. When possible, ecoNEWS VT brings you interesting tidbits from other places in our region.
Posted 2018-02-13 Here Are the Places That Struggle to Meet the Rules on Safe Drinking Water
- In a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found that, since 1982, between 3 and 10 percent of the country’s water systems have been in violation of federal Safe Drinking Water Act health standards each year. In 2015 alone, as many as 21 million Americans may have been exposed to unsafe drinking water.
Posted 2018-01-23 The nation’s rivers and streams are getting dangerously saltier
- Nearly everywhere you turn during this frigid stretch of winter, much of the world seems covered in a layer of salt aimed at keeping our roads drivable and sidewalks free of ice. All that salt is one reason, although not the only one, that many of the nation’s rivers and streams are becoming saltier, according to new research published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Posted 2018-01-12 Surprising Study Shows Fungicides May Be a Major Threat to Bees
- It's a well-known fact that bee populations are declining at an alarming rate, and researchers are racing to figure out why. A new study yields surprising results: These critical pollinators could be getting killed off by fungicides.
Posted 2017-12-06 The Fight Against Blight: Restoring the American Chestnut
- Researchers have developed a blight-resistant species that’s nearly identical to the American chestnut tree.
Posted 2017-12-04 All That Glitter? It’s Not Good, Critics Say
- An alarming news item began to make the rounds in November, just in time to ruin the holidays: Glitter is not good for the environment, and some people are trying to ban it.
Posted 2017-12-04 Vermont, Minnesota warming faster in winter than any other area in U.S.: report
- If you feel like winters "aren't what they used to be around here," you're right, CBS Minnesota reports...The U.S. city that experienced the most warming was Burlington, Vermont, where average winter temperatures have risen 7°F in the last 47 years.
Posted 2017-10-26 As Ice Retreats, Frozen Mosses Emerge to Tell Climate Change Tale
- Some mosses in the eastern Canadian Arctic, long entombed in ice, are now emerging into the sunlight. And the radiocarbon ages of those plants suggest that summertime temperatures in the region are the warmest they’ve been in tens of thousands of years.
Posted 2017-10-20 New Study Finds Nature is Vital to Beating Climate Change
- Better stewardship of the land could have a bigger role in fighting climate change than previously thought, according to the most comprehensive assessment to date of how greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced and stored in forests, farmland, grasslands and wetlands using natural climate solutions.
Posted 2017-08-16 Pesticides Prevalent in Midwestern Streams
- More than 180 pesticides and their byproducts were detected in small streams throughout 11 Midwestern states, some at concentrations likely to harm aquatic insects, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.
Posted 2017-05-18 Trees in Eastern U.S. Head West as Climate Changes
- Breaking from the general poleward movement of many species, flowering trees take an unexpected turn
Posted 2017-04-05 Fine-Tuning Soil Classification
- A long-term soil monitoring study reveals that the rigorous U.S. system of soil taxonomy, as well as the biases of individual researchers, can affect how soils are classified. Consistency of results is particularly important in a long-term study, and may require a new approach to classification.
Posted 2017-04-01 Estimating Occupancy Probability of Moose Using Hunter Survey Data
- In northern New York, data from hunter surveys can provide a powerful new means of understanding how moose use the landscape.
Posted 2017-03-21 Snowpack Loss Promotes Soil Freezing and Concrete Frost Formation in a Northeastern Temperate Softwoods Stand
- A snow-removal experiment in Old Town, Maine suggests that loss of snowpack increases soil frost and soil moisture, with consequences for biotic function within coniferous forests.
Posted 2017-02-24 In New York, Working to Stop the Spread of Oak Wilt
- NYSDEC Forest Health has adopted a rapid response to prevent the establishment of oak wilt. This rapid response seeks to prevent the need to spend millions of dollars a year to control oak wilt and to prevent the loss of millions of dollars in oak wood sales in the state.
Posted 2017-02-23 Does the Proportion of Arthropods versus Fruit in the Diet Influence Overwintering Condition of an Omnivorous Songbird?
- With their higher protein content and ease of digestibility, arthropods may be a better diet choice for migratory songbirds. Researchers analyzed body condition of Wood Thrushes with different diet compositions at a non-breeding site in Belize.
Posted 2017-02-15 ‘Tis the Season: Road Salt Applications Catch the Attention of Vermont District
- Road salt is making its way into American riparian, aquatic, and terrestrial ecosystems.
Posted 2017-02-07 Soil Acidity Mitigation Study Takes Surprise Turn
- “The discovery that CaSiO3 (calcium silicate) enrichment can convert a watershed from a sink to a source of N (nitrogen) suggests that numerous potential mechanisms drive watershed N dynamics and provides new insights into the influence of acid deposition mitigation strategies for both carbon cycling and watershed N export,” study authors write in an article discussing the investigation.
Posted 2017-02-07 Lake Clarity Up After Zebra Mussel Invasion
- Otsego Lake in New York is getting clearer these days, but that may not be as such good news as it sounds. That’s because the lake is beset with zebra mussels, an invasive species known for its filter-feeding ways that, though they may make waters clearer, strip out much of the nutrients that algae and other aquatic plants use to grow.
Posted 2017-01-17 Estimating Timberland Parcel Value in the Northeast United States
- A study evaluating the market value of timberland in Vermont*, New York, Maine and New Hampshire has developed an equation to calculate the relationship between the sale price, commercial timber value, and acreage to help estimate future land transactions and establish baselines.
Posted 2016-12-19 Hemlock Woolly Adelgid in Western North Carolina
- Forest Inventory and Analysis data can be useful for examining effects of an introduced, invasive pest on tree growth and mortality over a relatively small area. Hemlock trees in this study had a ∼50% chance of survival after 12 years of confirmed HWA infestation in the county where they occur, and growth of surviving trees was reduced by ∼50% over the same time period.
Posted 2016-12-19 Influence of Repeated Prescribed Fire on Tree Growth and Mortality in Pinus resinosa Forests, Northern Minnesota
- Using dendrochronological data in red pine-dominated forests in northern Minnesota, researchers examined growth responses before and after understory prescribed fires between 1960 and 1970 to assess whether repeated burning influences growth responses of overstory trees and vulnerability of overstory tree growth to drought.
Posted 2016-12-07 Canada's Iconic Migrants at Grave Risk
- From Coho salmon to caribou to the much cherished monarch butterfly, migration is a key component of Canadian biodiversity. Migratory species, migration and movement all figured prominently at the semi-annual Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) deliberations on species at risk, held November 27 – December 2nd.
Posted 2016-11-28 Loon Recovery Against All Odds
- Banning lead in fishing tackle has helped loon populations recover in the lower 48, and particularly in New England. New Hampshire, for instance, has gone from fewer than 100 loon pairs in 1976 to 296; Vermont from 17 pairs in 1984 to 117; Massachusetts from no loons in 1975 to 43 pairs.
Posted 2016-11-28 Figuring Out How Microplastics Move from Mussels to FIsh
- Microscopic beads and fabrics float in our waterways, get ingested by fish and other creatures, and impact the environment in lots of negative ways. In a pilot study, researchers at the University of Notre Dame are studying the dynamics of just how microscopic plastics are first transferred from filter feeders to fish.
Posted 2016-11-14 United States Drought Monitor
- This handy tool lets users track the spread and intensity of droughts across the country.
Posted 2016-11-11 Loss of Bicknell's Thrush Habitat in Haiti and the Dominican Republic
- Bicknell’s Thrush, one of eastern North America's highest conservation priority migratory songbirds, depends on forests in the Caribbean for its winter habitat. New satellite data on forest cover change show that between 2000 and 2014, approximately 190 square miles of potential Bicknell’s Thrush habitat was cleared in the Dominican Republic, as well as about 48 square miles in Haiti.
Posted 2016-11-07 Are Higher Levels of Turbidity Impacting Lake Erie Walleye?
- Researchers at Ohio State University are using a number of behavioral experiments to test how well two species of fish can see under different levels of turbidity. Both of the fish species are expected to have diminished visual abilities at higher turbidity levels, whether they’re from increased algae or sediments.
Posted 2016-11-07 How Urban Trees Can Save Lives
- Trees cool the air by casting shade and releasing water vapor, and their leaves can filter out fine particulate matter (PM)—one of the most dangerous forms of air pollution, generated from burning biomass and fossil fuels. The Nature Conservancy has studied the effects of trees on air quality in 245 of the world’s largest cities and documented the findings in the Planting Healthy Air report.
Posted 2016-10-02 Dual N-P Reductions Needed to Prevent Harmful Algal Blooms
- Harmful algal blooms may result from enrichment by both phosphorus and nitrogen in combination. Management efforts that focus on reducing phosphorus alone may not be successful, a new study warns.
Posted 2016-09-22 Lake Champlain Basin Program seeks local grant proposals
- The LCBP anticipates awarding more than 50 grants totaling more than $750,000 dollars.
Posted 2016-09-16 Tiny plastic pollution may be more widespread in Great Lakes
- Microplastics, previously only known to be in lakes and oceans, are also being found in river tributaries.
Posted 2016-09-12 Can predatory beetles save dying hemlocks?
- In a North Carolina experimental forest, researchers are raising predatory beetles in a 1-acre "insectary." Large populations of the beetles may work as a biological control against the hemlock woolly adelgid.
Posted 2016-09-08 TNC Vermont finds rare plants in the Adirondack high country
- USFS Geologist Scott Bailey and TNC Vermont's Gus Goodwin went in search of rare plants on Adirondack cliffs that hadn’t received a formal inventory since 1927. Scott and Gus found extant populations of fragrant cliff fern, smooth woodsia, white mountain saxifrage, and slender rockbrake, as well as several other species that had never been reported for the area.
Posted 2016-09-06 Pathfinder Graduate Student Fellowship program accepting applications
- CUAHSI's Pathfinder program provides travel funds to graduate students in water science to make extended trip to conduct and enhance research. Applications are due October 14th.
Posted 2016-09-06 Let's Talk About Water grant program accepting applications
- CUAHSI's Let's Talk About Water program supports universities to host events for water science education. Applications due November 4th.
Posted 2016-07-21 Soil Acidity Mitigation Study Takes Surprise Turn
- Calcium addition to acidic soils in Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest has resulted in nitrogen losses ten years after application.
Posted 2016-07-20 Phosphorus In Lake Erie Sediments Small Algal Bloom Factor
- Research to measure how much sedimentary phosphorus contributes to algal blooms in Lake Erie
Posted 2016-07-19 Controlling Japanese Barberry Helps Stop Spread of Tick-Borne Diseases
- The invasive Japanese barberry also attracts ticks that carry Lyme disease.
Posted 2016-07-15 New Study Shows High Potential for Groundwater to be Corrosive in Half of U.S. States
- An analysis of more than 20,000 wells nationwide shows 25 states have groundwater that has either high or very high potential to be corrosive.
Posted 2016-07-15 Flood Preparedness
- An innovative Twitter feed and map provide real-time water, weather and flood forecasting for Texas.
Posted 2016-06-09 New study on cyanotoxins in lakes and reservoirs provides insights into assessing health risks
- Cyanotoxins pose human health risks ranging from skin rash and nausea to liver failure and respiratory distress. The study provides information about various cyanotoxins and their potential health risks.
Posted 2016-05-10 Invasive insects are ravaging U.S. forests, and it’s costing us billions
- Invasive pests are wreaking havoc on trees across the country - in urban and forest settings
Posted 2016-05-02 Urban infrastructure and water management—Science capabilities of the U.S. Geological Survey
- Understanding the urban-water cycle is critical to effectively manage water resources and to protect people, infrastructure, and urban-stream ecosystems.
Posted 2016-04-28 Vermont Monitoring Cooperative 2015 Annual Meeting Proceedings
- Summaries of long-term monitoring programs and a retrospective of 25 years of VMC
Posted 2016-04-25 Coal-tar-based pavement sealcoat—Potential concerns for human health and aquatic life
- A fact sheet about potential human and aquatic health hazards of coal tar, developed by USGS
Posted 2016-04-08 Tiny flea reveals the devastating costs of invasive species
- Spiny water flea arrived in Lake Champlain in 2014 - research from Wisconsin informs us of some of the havoc it may wreak on local waters.
Posted 2016-04-05 New Minnesota State Buffer Law Mandates Perennial Vegetation Along Waterways
- A new law passed by Governor Dayton will set in motion new buffer rules over the next two years. Certain public lakes and streams will require buffers of continuous vegetation.
Posted 2016-04-01 Interdisciplinary Initiative to Address Water Quality Issues: Field to Faucet
- The Field to Faucet initiative seeks to bridge the gaps between research, best management practices and farmers.
Posted 2015-12-27 In The Maine Woods, A Towering Giant Could Help Save Chestnuts
- The discovery of a 115 ft tall American chestnut tree - the largest in North America - provides hope for the restoration of this iconic species.
Posted 2015-12-01 U.S. Forest Service Releases Updated Version Of i-Tree Software
- iTree is a free tool developed by the U.S. Forest Service and partners for anyone to analyze individual trees, parcels, neighborhoods, or entire states. Updates allow users to simulate future tree populations, canopy cover, and diversity.
Posted 2015-11-05 Acid Rain Effects on Forest Soils begin to Reverse
- Soils in the Northeast U.S. are beginning to recover from acid rain following changes in air pollution regulations.
Posted 2015-10-06 Study shows new forests cannot take in as much carbon as predicted
- Forest growth, and carbon fixation, is limited by the amount of nitrogen available, which may be less than previously predicted in secondary growth forests.
Posted 2015-09-28 Declines and Slow Recovery in Little Brown Bat Populations Predicted
- Little brown bat populations may not recover from White Nose Syndrome
Posted 2015-09-16 Predicting Pesticides in Streams and Rivers: Where is Water Quality at Risk?
- A mapping tool has been developed to estimate pesticide concentrations in unmonitored streams
Posted 2015-08-17 Impacts of climate change on bumblebees
- Bumblebee range is shrinking as a result of climate change
Posted 2015-08-11 Drone Assisted Mapping of Vermont Flooding
- UVM researchers are researching flood events in Vermont using drones
Posted 2015-08-05 USGS Topo maps will now include trails
- Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont USGS topo maps will display sections of the Appalchian Trail and other selected public trails
Posted 2015-08-03 Considering more than carbon sequestration for climate change mitigation in forest management
- The ability of forests to store carbon as part of climate change mitigation has been increasing in recent years. However, other considerations in regards to climate change are necessary when managing forests, including albedo of tree species selected.
Posted 2015-06-29 USGS Network Tracks Climate Effects on New England Hydrology
- Data from USGS sensors are being used strategically to track climate change effects in New England rivers.
Posted 2015-06-23 Artificial sweeteners present in surface waters
- Recent studies have found artificial sweeteners present in surface waters (lakes and rivers), including the Great Lakes. The sweeteners were also measured in tap water, though not tasted.
Posted 2015-04-09 The Forest Service is funding opportunities to develop new wood energy and wood products
- Research and project development funds are being awarded to programs in 23 states, including Vermont. The Vermont Energy Investment Corporation will be investigating a project titled Development of a National Woodchip Heating Fuel Standard.
Posted 2015-04-07 Early warning system to track the threat of algal blooms is being developed
- USGS, NASA, NOAA, and EPA will be working together to develop methods to use satellite technologies to monitor and forecast harmful algal blooms and provide the information to communities and decision makers.
Posted 2015-04-02 Increased cyanobacteria blooms are a result of human activity
- Researchers analyzed sediment data and found that cyanobacterial blooms have increased since the beginning of the 19th century, with phosphorus and nitrogen concentrations begin the main predictor in presence.
Posted 2015-03-24 Endocrine-disrupting chemicals can affect future generations of fish
- Fish were exposed to endocrine disrupting chemicals. Future generations were not exposed to the chemicals, but nevertheless did have decreased fertilization rates.
Posted 2015-02-05 Exciting new award for wildlife regulation in California
- The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) has selected Wildlife Officer Dan Lehman as the California Department of Fish and Wildlifes (CDFW) Wildlife Officer of the Year for 2014.