Environment

Karen Dewitt / WBFO Albany Correspondent

We walk up the trail to the summit of Hadley Mountain in the southern Adirondacks, fallen leaves crunching underfoot. The wind picks up a bit as we climb up the fire tower for the panoramic view.

There are so many plans and programs in place to clean up the Great Lakes, it’s hard to keep track. In mid-October, environmentalists from across the region will meet to discuss their biggest challenges. 

Restoring wetlands, fish success stories, and the relationship between wildlife and microplastics will all be discussed at the conference hosted by the National Wildlife Federation’s Healing our Waters Coalition. 

Part 2 of a series

You don’t have to look very far for events redefining the environmental movement – in terms of who works for advocacy groups and who they work for. Just go back to 2014.


Part 1 of a series

The environmental movement started more than a century ago.  Theodore Roosevelt was known as the conservation president, and there’s a famous 1903 photo of him with the Sierra Club’s founder.

“That photo represented the environmental movement of Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir and this is the two of them in Yosemite National Park,” says Aaron Mair, past president of the Sierra Club – and its first black president

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

The City of Buffalo and United States Army Corps of Engineers are partnering to restore a wetland habitat on Unity Island, using sediment removed from the Buffalo River to help build it. Project leaders see it as a means to bring environmental improvement to both sites.


It is now an international incident - and soon to be a possible criminal investigation. Canada and the Niagara County Legislature are calling for further investigation into the sewage dumped into the Niagara River over the weekend.

The Paris Climate Accord is designed to have a worldwide reach -- all the way to Paris Township, Mich., near the shore of Lake Huron.

And now that President Trump has pulled the United States out of the Paris agreement, we offer a summary of some climate-related issues in the Great Lakes region.

President Trump signed a sweeping executive order Tuesday that takes aim at a number of his predecessor's climate policies.

The wide-ranging order seeks to undo the centerpiece of former President Obama's environmental legacy and national efforts to address climate change.

It could also jeopardize America's current role in international efforts to confront climate change.

In a symbolic gesture, Trump signed the document at the headquarters of Environmental Protection Agency.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Dan Egan has covered Great Lakes issues for 15 years.  This month, he released his first bookThe Death and Life of the Great Lakes, an in-depth biography of the lakes – from the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway to the current issues with harmful algae blooms and invasive species.


The Trump Administration’s proposed budget is out – and it eliminates the $300 million in annual funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), which finances environmental projects all over the region.

The budget also zeroes out the $250 million allotted to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) grants, including 33 Sea Grant programs nationwide. Based at universities, Sea Grant programs focus on educating the public, outreach and research. 

Groups representing mayors, governors, and Great Lakes states are descending on Washington this week to push back against reported budget cuts for environmental programs. 

Tuesday begins three days of speakers and presentations at the Great Lakes Commission’s semi-annual meeting. It also means three days of meetings with Congress and the Trump administration to promote the region’s priorities, including money for infrastructure and an initiative to restore the health of the lakes.

Allegany State Park

As concerns about changes in federal environmental policies continue to garner headlines, advocates sponsored an “Earth Rally” Saturday at Allegany State Park.

A budget proposal to slash federal funds for the Great Lakes cleanup is being skewered in the opinion pages of the region's newspapers.

In Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota and other Great Lakes states, editorials have called the draft proposal "foolish," "unacceptable" and a "job-killer."

President Donald Trump took aim Tuesday at a rule that outlines the reach of the Clean Water Act, saying the rule was a "massive power grab" by federal regulators. But six attorneys general vowed to fight the rollback -- with lawsuits if necessary.

Residents in the Great Lakes region will get a chance to voice their concerns about the waters' health in a series of March meetings. The International Joint Commission, which helps regulate use of the Great Lakes, has announced dates and other details of meetings scheduled in Buffalo and five other cities.


Just minutes after President Donald J. Trump took the oath of office Friday morning, changes began to take place -- starting with the government's website. The page dedicated to climate change was one of many revisions on whitehouse.gov.

Great Lakes pollutant lurks in your laundry pile

Jan 3, 2017

The United States and Canada are moving to ban microbeads -- the tiny plastic bits in toothpaste and facewash that are big water polluters. Now scientists are focusing on a similar problem -- and it’s lurking in your laundry pile.

  

Congress' approval of a spending bill will renew funding for a program that aids Great Lakes waters and surrounding lands.

Officials in the United States and Canada have approved a plan to allow the level of Lake Ontario to fluctuate more -- a change that has been opposed by some residents. 


Donald Trump's election victory came with plenty of support from the Great Lakes region -- unofficial returns show him winning five of the eight states.

But in the aftermath of the election, environmental advocates were trying to determine how his presidency will affect the region, especially in light of his pledge to defund the Environmental Protection Agency.

Can we sell cattails -- and save wetlands?

Oct 31, 2016

Standing in the middle of Michigan's Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, it’s hard to comprehend the size. It’s about two-thirds the size of Manhattan – some 10,000 acres of marshes and bogs, forest and farm land.

Everywhere you look; there’s a hawk or a heron. Bushes rustle with rodents; and the air is filled with mosquitos.

Here, researchers are tackling invasive cattails -- a common problem in wetlands across the Great Lakes.  

Erosion threatens homes on Lake Michigan

Oct 24, 2016

Randy Vassh maneuvers an excavator in tandem with his co-worker at a lakefront home in the village of Caledonia, Wisc. 


Plastic debris is pervasive in the waters that feed the Great Lakes, according to a new study published by the United States Geological Survey.

 

 

Dan Telvock

The state has known for almost four decades that more than 60 properties are contaminated with radioactive waste in Niagara County and Grand Island.


Matt Neidhart/WBFO News

Another attraction has made its home at Canalside and it’s an exhibit with an environmental message. ‘Cool Globes,’ a set of a dozen large globes lined up near the waterfront, is designed to get people thinking about climate change.

Mike Desmond/wbfo news

After years of talk, the Peace Bridge Authority is opening its renovated and expanded Customs warehouse on the U.S. plaza.

Omar Fetouh/WBFO News

Your trips to the supermarket could be impacting the water you drink. That’s one reason why Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz is proposing a ban on plastic bags at all stores in the county.

Joseph O'Rourke/WGRZ

State environmental officials insisted for decades that residents living on the North Tonawanda-Wheatfield border had nothing to fear from the Love Canal waste buried in a neighboring landfill. Then, last year, they declared the landfill a Superfund site, even after 80 truckloads of contaminated soil originally removed from Love Canal were hauled away. Residents, many of whom report serious illnesses, are understandably upset. Dan Telvock, with our partner Investigative Post, dug through documents and filed this report.


Dan Telvock

Dust, diesel fumes, noise and potholes. The residents of Peabody Street in Buffalo’s Seneca-Babcock neighborhood blame those problems on Battaglia Demolition, a nearby construction debris recycling facility. But state and local authorities have failed to uphold promises to clean up Battaglia’s operations, leaving residents frustrated. 


SUNY Fredonia

There has been growing concern about the harmful effects of microplastics in waterways, and a local tourist attraction is inviting people to learn more about how they are affecting the Great Lakes.

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