Environment

Payne Horning / WRVO News File Photo

It is being called REDI: the Resiliency and Economic Development Initiative. The multi-agency task force was introduced during a conference call with Gov. Andrew Cuomo Wednesday to help communities along the Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River shorelines deal with high water levels.

Jacqueline Evans, a marine conservationist from the Cook Islands, has received a Goldman Environmental Prize for helping to lead a campaign to protect her island country’s waters.

The Cook Islands is a tiny island country in the South Pacific with a total land area of just 93 square miles. The ocean territory of the islands is far larger — 760,000 square miles — and is home to coral reefs and many threatened marine species. Until recently, the richly biodiverse area was at risk of overfishing.

Veronic Volk / WXXI News

Water levels in Lake Ontario keep rising.

The International Lake Ontario – St. Lawrence River Board said on Monday that water levels have reached 248.85 feet and will likely reach or exceed the 2017 record high of 248.95 feet within the next few days.

Forecasts show that Lake Ontario levels are expected to crest within the next one to three weeks, mostly within an inch or so of the record high, but officials say that potentially higher levels are possible should wet weather continue.

Julián Castro, a former mayor of San Antonio and secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Barack Obama, is looking to become the first Hispanic president of the United States. Part of his strategy for winning is to make climate change a major theme of his campaign.

When the Tesoro-Savage oil terminal project threatened to bring polluted air and the risk of devastating oil spills to her hometown of Vancouver, Washington, community organizer Linda Garcia got right to work, and along with her neighbors, vanquished the project.

Now, Garcia’s efforts to protect her community and stand up to fossil fuel interests have been recognized with one of the prestigious 2019 Goldman Environmental Prizes.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

It is looking like a great fishing year on Lake Erie and a large group of anglers turned out Wednesday evening at the Woodlawn Beach State Park Lodge to hear how it is going.

On a recent campaign stop in Exeter, New Hampshire, Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard greeted nearly everyone with a handshake and a warm "Aloha."

At age 38, Congresswoman Gabbard has represented Hawaii’s second district since 2013, but she got her start in politics in the state legislature. She was just 21 years old at the time, which made her one of the youngest female state representatives in US history. She left the state government to join the Hawaii Army National Guard and served two tours of duty in Iraq and Kuwait.

The outlook for biodiversity on Earth is grim, according to a new United Nations report.

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

There were high clouds, some blue sky and just a touch of warmth in the air along Lake Ontario Sunday in the beach resorts of Olcott and Wilson, but you did not have to look far out on the lake to realize how high the lake is...and rising.

Every spring and fall, a journey of thousands of miles begins, as migrating birds find their way between breeding and overwintering grounds.

It’s an amazing phenomenon that naturalist Kenn Kaufman brings to life in his new book, "A Season on the Wind: Inside the World of Spring Migration." Kaufman is also the author of the "Kaufman Field Guide" series and is a contributing field editor with the Audubon Society.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

State Senator Chris Jacobs held his latest Great Lakes Roundtable Thursday morning at Woodlawn Beach State Park, where he was joined by elected leaders and environmental advocates to discuss issues threatening the health and quality of the region's waterways and shoreline.

In Uganda, a refugee camp becomes a city

May 14, 2019

In Uganda’s Bidi Bidi refugee camp, progressive policies allow local residents and refugees to live, farm and work freely together, fostering the growth of small businesses and infrastructure. The goal: to build a future city that can endure long beyond the refugees’ eventual return home.

Bidi Bidi currently houses roughly a quarter million South Sudanese who fled civil war in their country. Until recently, it was the largest refugee camp in the world.

News stories about plastic pollution tend to focus on the large patches of plastics in the world’s oceans, yet scientists are finding microscopic bits of plastic just about everywhere they look, including in remote, pristine environments and in the human body.

Emily Russell

People along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River continue to be anxious as water laps up on docks and decks across the region. The weekend’s rain didn’t help the situation.

The threat of high water along the Lake Ontario shoreline is often felt first in low-lying places like Sodus Point.

Village Mayor Dave McDowell says that right now, Sodus Point is about as prepared as it can be.

“We have 40,000 sandbags, give or take, deployed around the low spots of the village, they’re holding; we’ve got National Guard back shoring up a couple of spots on the south side with this heavy south wind, but our streets are all dry, the businesses are all open and thriving,” McDowell said.

Nick Lippa / WBFO

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and public officials around the state continue to blame the International Joint Committee for the high water levels in Lake Ontario. While IJC critics point to Plan 2014 being the root of the problem, other Great Lakes experts say Mother Nature is playing a bigger role. So what happens next? WBFO’s Nick Lippa visited Olcott to speak with residents and officials about the issue.

Chris Caya/WBFO News

Officials in Niagara and Orleans Counties are closely monitoring the rising level of Lake Ontario. If there is flooding the counties may declare states of emergency.

Town of Cheektowaga

Scajaquada Creek runs right across Buffalo, even if much of it is underground, and for many they can smell the creek at the Cheektowaga line and when it comes out of Forest Lawn Cemetery and into Hoyt Lake. Cheektowaga is spending millions to resolve the odor.

Governor's Office

Gov. Andrew Cuomo continues to hammer the organization that controls water levels on Lake Ontario as water levels continue to rise.

Around Sodus Point you can already see the effects of high water levels. Take Arney’s Marina on the bay -- their service dock is underwater, and a pump runs constantly to keep water out of the building.

Mayor Dave McDowell says they filled hundreds of sandbags Wednesday and are going to start setting them up around the village next week. He's also declaring a state of emergency this week in order to set up equipment like pumps and hoses throughout town.

James Morgan

Major flooding in Canada is still slowing efforts to relieve high water in Lake Ontario through the St. Lawrence River.

ExxonMobil has another climate-related lawsuit on its hands.

In 2018, the State of New York sued the company, alleging it misled investors and the public about the impacts of burning fossil fuels on the climate and the threat climate change posed to Exxon’s business. Now, a federal judge in Massachusetts is allowing a suit to go forward over climate risks related to ExxonMobil’s storage tanks near Boston Harbor.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Hoping to avoid a repeat of the flooding which caused extensive property damage and forced an economically important beach to close two years ago, Governor Andrew Cuomo joined state and local officials in Niagara County Wednesday morning to discuss the strategy for holding back the rising waters of Lake Ontario.

Earth Day has come and gone, but the work continues

Apr 30, 2019

Every April 22 since 1970, we celebrate Earth Day. And since that first Earth Day, the water in the US is cleaner and local air less polluted, but carbon pollution of the planet's entire atmosphere has gotten worse and is changing our climate.

The leadership the US government once showed on the climate crisis has almost vanished, as President Donald Trump vows to pull the country out of the landmark Paris Climate Agreement of 2015.

Mike Groll, Office of Gov. Cuomo

Water levels in Lake Ontario remain more than a foot above average for this time of year. With rain in the forecast, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has directed state agencies to begin deploying resources to protect communities along the lake and the St. Lawrence River - from Buffalo to Massena.

Jim Kennard / Great Lakes Today

Three western New York-based shipwreck hunters, who have discovered some of the most significant historic wrecks in the Great Lakes, have written a book about their explorations.

State officials say they are on alert and ready for potential Lake Ontario flooding in the coming weeks.

In Sodus Point Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a series of steps the state is taking to prevent flooding in the event of a rain storm later this week.

"We have the National Guard on call, we are starting to deploy a structure called an Aquadam, which is basically a temporary dam that can be put in place along properties," Cuomo said.

Niagara County Legislator David Godfrey

As Lake Ontario waters rise, so does concern along the lake edge about flooding. The lessons of 2017 are being applied as sandbags are moved into place and blow-up Aquadams are put into place.

Veronica Volk File Photo / WXXI News

Two years ago, there was serious flood damage along the Lake Ontario shore, especially in tourist places like Wilson. The water was well above normal and the winds kept coming from the north, pushing the high water even higher onto the shore and into the boating harbors. This year, the water is high and creeping upward, putting Wilson officials on alert again.

james Morgan / NCPR News

With concerns about rising levels on Lake Ontario, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Sunday that he has directed state agencies to begin deploying resources to protect communities along the lakeshore.

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