Environment

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Staff Sgt. Wilma Orozco Fanfan, 113th MPAD/Puerto Rico Army National Guard, Flickr CC BY 2.0

Before Hurricane Maria devastated the island, Puerto Rico relied on an outdated, centralized power grid that burned imported fossil fuels. Now, some experts say the disaster offers Puerto Rico the chance to rebuild its power system with more resilience and less carbon.

Niagara Falls.ca

The Niagara Falls, ON Council meets Tuesday night and is expected to demand the Niagara Falls, NY Water Board do something to stop overflows of sewage into the Niagara River that borders the United States and Canada.

Wide-spread droughts and heat waves are making farming increasingly unpredictable, and some farmers are having to adjust on the fly to changing conditions from year to year.

After 22 years, Pennsylvania farmer Matt Herbruck says it’s undeniable: The climate is changing and it’s getting more extreme. “It’s not unusual at all in this area to go from in the 40s one night to 90 [degrees] 36 hours later. It happens. And that’s not normal. I think the weather is crazy.”

The first wave of rail tanker cars began arriving in the Adirondack Park last week. The mothballed industrial cars are being stored on track in the heart of the Park.

Iowa Pacific and its Saratoga North Creek Railroad subsidiary say they eventually hope to store thousands of mothballed oil and chemical tanker cars near the High Peaks Wilderness.

The company says it will drop the controversial plan only if it is paid hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Following a four-month review of more than two dozen national monuments, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke submitted confidential recommendations to the Trump administration in August. A leaked report reveals that Zinke proposes to shrink a number of monuments and open some of them to extractive industries like mining, grazing and fishing.

High-tech, remote imaging developed for the military has become a powerful tool in the hands of scientists studying the health of natural ecosystems.

The technology allows scientists to assess forests and coral reefs from satellites and from specially equipped aircraft that can get an even closer look — down to individual branches of trees.

On board these custom-built aircraft is a system of instruments called ATOMS, which stands for Airborne Taxonomic Mapping System.

The growth of data publicly available on the internet has been a boon for biological science and conservation. But it is also being used by poachers and dishonest collectors to locate rare plants and animals and sell them illegally for a hefty price.

This situation presents researchers and the public with a quandary: How to find a middle ground that preserves the spirit of scientific discovery while protecting at-risk species.

Ontario Specialty Contracting

Buffalo's Green Code and federal law collided before the city Planning Board Tuesday in a dispute over planned commercial space on an old chemical plant site in South Buffalo.

Yet another discharge of cloudy black water was seen in the Niagara River Monday morning, just below Niagara Falls.

DEC seeks input on Southern Tier gas pipeline

Oct 9, 2017

The Department of Environmental Conservation is looking for input from Allegany County residents as National Fuel looks to install a 1.5-mile gas pipeline along Stone Dam Road.

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Spc. Hamiel Irizarry/The National Guard, Flickr CC BY 2.0 (image cropped)

While President Donald Trump has dismissed climate change as a hoax, the Department of Defense is focused on understanding and preparing for continued climate disruption and the security threats it poses in a warming world.

When Hurricane Irma hit Florida, it blasted an estimated 3 to 10 feet of storm surge into the Everglades. Combined with the drenching rain, the storm may change the vegetation patterns of the enormous wetland and perhaps prod the people of South Florida to rethink how it lives with its water.

The hurricanes that recently smashed islands in the Caribbean set records for size, strength and endurance — records that experts predict will be broken sooner rather than later, as global warming continues to heat the oceans and intensify precipitation cycles.

Dessima Williams, former Grenada UN ambassador, says the Caribbean people remain resilient and self-reliant, but they have limited financial capacity to recover and rebuild.

At Climate Week 2017, a mix of optimism and urgency

Oct 7, 2017

When the world’s leaders gathered in New York for the annual fall meeting of the UN General Assembly, another series of meetings took place, called Climate Week NYC, where government, business and NGO leaders discussed global climate solutions. 

The mood at Climate Week this year was “a strange confluence of optimism and urgency,” says Alden Meyer, a climate diplomacy expert with the Union of Concerned Scientists, who came to New York City for the meetings.

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Richard Carson/Reuters 

In the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the US needs to rethink its flood insurance programs, experts say.

For some, it would seem that a scholar in Romance Languages or a PhD in Literature would have little to add to the climate change conversation. The organizers of the 2017 Buffalo Humanities Festival were quick to disabuse that notion. Their assertion that the Humanities may be best-equipped to tackle the subject is at the heart of this weekend's festival.


SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WXXI News & AP) Gov. Andrew Cuomo is launching an effort to improve the New York State Canal System by holding a competition that will award up to $2.5 million to entrants who come up with the best ideas.

The Democrat made the announcement Monday as the World Canals Conference got underway in Syracuse. 

Elizabeth Licata

Country drives may be a little duller this fall. The recent return of summer-like weather may put a damper on colorful autumn foliage across the region.

A catastrophic failure of a large aquaculture pen near Cypress Island recently freed thousands of nonnative Atlantic salmon into Puget Sound, near Seattle.

In the aftermath of this outbreak, the Wild Fish Conservancy has launched a lawsuit against Cooke Aquaculture, the international corporation responsible for the accident.

Erie County

Como Lake Park is a jewel of Erie County, with thousands of Cheektowaga and Lancaster residents living close by and walking, biking or driving to its facilities. Erie County is starting to resolve a large slug of mud in the middle of the park's lake.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

A two-year project to improve the ecological quality of a lake in the heart of Niagara Falls, New York, is at its completion, participants said Wednesday.


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.


Of global warming, plastic waste and velociraptors

Aug 26, 2017

What do these three things have in common: the Earth’s temperature, waste from plastic products and velociraptors?

Answer: not much. Except they were all recently in the news and all are really interesting, or disturbing, depending on your point of view.

First: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, declared the first six months of 2017 the second warmest on record, just behind 2016’s all-time record. Why is this news? Because climate scientists had expected temperatures to cool down, and they haven’t much.

WBFO File Photo

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos Friday announced that the Niagara Falls Water Board violated water quality standards as a result of an August 15 combined sewer overflow discharge that caused a substantial visible contrast to the natural conditions in the Niagara River. The state issued a Notice of Violation to the water board.

NF Water Board stops discharging sediment

Aug 24, 2017
Maid of the Mist

The Niagara Falls Water Board said it is making changes per the investigation by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation says it is investigating another potential discharge from the Niagara Falls Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Rising temperatures, partly driven by global warming and longer drought seasons, have turned western forests into easy kindling for raging megafires that could threaten millions of people in the US.

This new, alarming situation has several causes, and a new book lays them out. It’s called "Land On Fire: The New Reality of Wildfire in the West," by nature writer Gary Ferguson.

As investigations continue into whether ExxonMobil misled investors by failing to report its own scientists’ predictions about global warming, the company and other fossil fuel titans are being challenged on another legal front.

Google Maps

Cattaraugus Creek flows through much of the Seneca Nation's Cattaraugus Territory, along the southern border of Erie County. It carries radiation from West Valley and the President of the Seneca Nation wants it removed.

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Mark Dixon/Flickr 

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