Spring is here and trout season opens in April in both New York and New Jersey. It's time to head inland and journey upstream in the watershed to enjoy freshwater woodlands and catch a fish. Now is the perfect time to get a start date and start planning an upcoming fishing trip.
New Jersey – April 8
New York State – April 1
Before you go, make sure you obtain a Freshwater Fishing license to fish, and remember to never exceed the limit of the number of fish allowed to be caught in one day.
Do you want to fish but are stuck in the city? No worries. You can try your luck freshwater fishing in Central Park. Enjoy!
Spring is here and that means the emergence of our local groundhog or woodchuck population around New York Harbor. It’s time for them to get up and get out.
Groundhogs are the only true hibernating mammal around the harbor. They will enter into a deep sleep sometime in October. Their body temperature drops from 99° F to 40° F, and their heartbeat slows from 80 beats per minute to 5. These modest size marmots will survive all winter on fat reserves they accumulated from summer and fall foraging activities. During that time they need to eat approximately 1/3 of their weight in vegetation each day if they are going to survive hibernation. An important reason why you always see these furry critters eating so much food!
Usually late March or early April, the groundhogs will wake up and start to get lively. They have the look of love and the need to breed. Males will start the breeding season first by establishing territories from other nearby males. Then he is off in search of a female.
Mating will occur in March or April. Usually older male groundhogs will mate with multiple females. No monogamy or marriage for groundhogs. Females and males will have no further interaction after mating.
A typical female groundhog will have a gestation period of 30 to 33 days. She will give birth to between one and nine baby groundhogs, with four or five being the most common litter size. Groundhog pups are born pink, naked, deaf, blind and helpless.
A young 2-month old groundhog emerging from it's mother's den.
Young groundhogs will stay with their mothers until they are able to take care of themselves, approximately 44 days after they're born. Then the mother will begin to show aggression toward her young, prompting them to leave the den and become independent at approximately 2 months of age, or sometime around June or July.
All the excitement begins now. Sleepy woodchucks are waking up and getting ready for another breeding season.
Clean Ocean Action and the Monmouth University Urban Coast Institute will be hosting the NJ premiere of the Award Winning Documentary, A PLASTIC OCEAN.
Thursday, March 30th, 2017
at Monmouth University’s Pozycki Hall.
There is no cost to attend but registration is suggested.
Limited seating is available and over 65% are already reserved!
The evening also includes:
Keynote speaker, Gary Sondermeyer, Bayshore Recycling Corp, Vice President of Operations will share his knowledge of waste management systems and will provide an important and interesting perspective to controlling plastic waste and marine debris. A Question & Answer session will follow.
Environmental organizations will be on-hand before and after the program to provide further insight on how citizens, businesses and communities can get involved and be part of the solution.
Parking is available in Lot 18.
More information is available here.
Register For A Plastic Ocean
If you can't attend this screening, there will four more in coastal New Jersey counties and in New York City. To support COA's programs that benefit our oceans by reducing marine debris and plastics please consider making a donation or participate in our Beach Sweeps.
As daylight lengthens and tidal waters around New York Harbor begin to warm, an incredible aquatic voyage is underway, one that is unlike any other in the animal kingdom. Can you feel the excitement?
Thousands if not millions of juvenile American eels are about to enter the bay after swimming more than a thousand miles for about a year from the Sargasso Sea, two million square miles of warm water in the North Atlantic between the West Indies and the Azores, to reach the East Coast to water bodies like New York Harbor. The juvenile eels leave Sargasso Sea as transparent larvae, less than two inches long. By the time they reach the coast, the little eels have grown to about 2 to 3 inches long and are known as glass eels.
This is part of an amazing life history. In the fall, adult eels (those that have generally lived more than 20 to 40 years and are about four feet long) migrate vast distances from the east and western Atlantic Ocean to spawn in the Sargasso Sea. This mysterious large area of warm, clear, clam water in the North Atlantic is the only sea with no shore and no fixed boundaries. Historically, ship captains tried to keep away from the Sargasso. They referred to the place as the “Horse Latitudes,” because the general calm conditions would often maroon ships for some time making the captain and crew run out of fresh water and causing people to jettison livestock over the side to lighten the ship to get sailing again.
Yet, it’s the only place in the world where the American eel reproduces. In Europe and North Africa, the same eel is known as the European eel.
It must be an amazing sight to see, even more amazing because no one has ever witnessed eels spawning in the Sargasso Sea. It’s one of the great natural mysterious of all time.
Science of The Living City Presents: City of Trees: A Film Screening
Thursday, March 30, 2017
5:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m.
Join the New York City Parks at Pace University to watch City of Trees and participate in a dynamic conversation on themes including community engagement, environmental justice, employment barriers, racial justice and personal narratives. Other related themes of urban forestry, economic recovery and reinvestment, and education offer the opportunity to engage a diverse audience with broad perspectives.
The City of Trees film is an award-winning documentary telling a deeply personal story about environmental justice, green jobs, and the ‘messy truths’ behind the fight for social change. This story centers on the efforts undertaken by the nonprofit Washington Parks & People (WPP) to improve a neighborhood park in Washington D.C, while operating a green jobs training program to provide employment opportunities for local residents.
Previous screening of this remarkable film held in other cities like Los Angeles, California have been accompanied by reflective conversations on economic disparities and income inequality. For the New York City film screening we will focus on the green jobs landscape and discuss comminalties as well as contrasts drawn between New York City and the Washington D.C. story being told.
Panel Moderator: Erika Svendsen, US Forest Service
What I find interesting are the many people in the survey who feel global warming will not affect them personally. That’s crazy! Global warming has already affected them from more intense and extreme weather and storm events as well as increased sea level rise along the coastal zone. This will only intensify over time if something is not done to cut carbon, methane and other green House gases.
How Americans Think About Climate Change, in Six Maps
By NADJA POPOVICH, JOHN SCHWARTZ and TATIANA SCHLOSSBERG
MARCH 21, 2017
The New York Times
Americans overwhelmingly believe that global warming is happening, and that carbon emissions should be scaled back. But fewer are sure that the changes will harm them personally. New data released by Yale researchers gives the most detailed view yet of public opinion on global warming.
Read the survey results here: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/03/21/climate/how-americans-think-about-climate-change-in-six-maps.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=photo-spot-region®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news
Most landscapers use leaf blowers with two-stroke engines, which are light enough to carry but produce significant exhaust and noise. The gas and oil mix together, and about a third of it does not combust. As a result, pollutants that have been linked to cancers, heart disease, asthma and other serious ailments escape into the air.
New Yorkers who leave the city for the suburbs often do so for three reasons: schools, space and silence. The silence, it turns out, can be a problem.
Most suburban streets are certainly free of blaring horns, wailing sirens and, sometimes, even people. But come springtime, they vibrate with the hum of lawn mowers, edgers, trimmers and leaf blowers; the accompanying noise continues until the last leaves fall from the trees in early December.
In Maplewood, N.J., the desire to keep all that space manicured is on a collision course with a longing for quiet.
Disgruntled residents say that noise from lawn equipment rattles windows and eardrums, while the fumes pollute the air. Landscapers and other homeowners, meanwhile, insist that the equipment is necessary to maintain a town that looks as if it’s from a Norman Rockwell painting, with Tudor- and Queen Anne-style mansions framed by green lawns and leafy trees.
New York Harbor is always full of surprises, especially when it comes to viewing wildlife. Between the bustle and buzz on roadways and in waterways can be found some excellent examples of wild animals using our urban environment for their advantage.
Last week, a good number of marine diving ducks, known as scaup or bluebills, were taking advantage of tranquil tidal waters in the Navesink River, near the southern shore of New York Harbor, to rest and feed on sea lettuce. A quick count had well over 1,000 birds, a huge raft that stretched out into two long columns creating nearly a ‘t” shape in the open water.
Authors Chris C. Fisher and Andy Bezener in their book, Birds of New York City, describe males as looking like an “Oreo cookie,” a bird with largely black feathers on the ends and white feathers in the mid-section. Females have mostly chestnut brown feathers. Both male and female birds are diving ducks with unique looking bluish bills.
Two scaup species can be found swimming in New York Harbor: the Greater Scaup and the Lesser Scaup. Both species look similar. The Greater Scaup has a more rounded head and the Lesser Scaup has a narrower bill. The Lesser Scaup is also one of the most abundant and widespread of the diving ducks in North America.
On Tuesday morning, while driving to work on a bright sunny day, I saw a marvelous natural event. My first sight this year of a migrating osprey, also known as a fish hawk.
It was perched on a tree limb out in the middle of large wetland, not far from the mouth of Comptons Creek, located on the southern shore of New York Harbor. I’m wasn't sure at the time if the osprey was briefly visiting the area to rest before moving on or if it was a summer resident. Time will tell, but I have not seen the osprey in the last few days, which suggests the bird was a migrant.
Either way, it’s very exciting news. Many ospreys are now in the middle of their marathon migration from South America or the Caribbean to North America, including New York Harbor. With their return in March and April begins another breeding season and the growth of new life.
The osprey is an iconic bird of New York Harbor. More ospreys generally means a healthier bay. In order to thrive, the hawk requires a clean environment and abundant food sources of fish. It arrives often exhausted after a strenuous winged migration. It seeks quick nourishment from eating winter flounder or menhaden, two fish which are also iconic species of the bay. Everything is connected.
Despite the storms and snow of last week, migrants are on the move again. Marking the beginning of another spring season to the estuary.
For more information about migrating ospreys, check out this fabulous website about ospreys in Jamaica Bay, NYC - http://www.jamaicabayosprey.org/faq-about-ospreys
A Search for Clues to What Causes Whale Strandings
The New York Times - Science/Trilobites
By JOANNA KLEIN
MARCH 16, 2017
Although she has yet to prove it and admits that the contributions to mass strandings are still poorly understood, Dr. Williams speculates that oceanic noise may contribute to the strandings of some beaked whales through some combination of changes in swimming style, increased energy demands and lack of oxygen to their brains.
Take half a dozen retired Navy dolphins and put them in a huge tank with a trainer and some oversized hula hoops for six months and what do you get? Potential clues to unraveling the mysteries behind why some marine mammals are susceptible to mass strandings, scientists hope.
In a study published Wednesday in The Journal of Experimental Biology, scientists showed that dolphins and whales used more energy to swim fast than to cruise at normal speeds. This may seem obvious, but marine mammals aren’t supposed to get tired swimming. We have assumed that these master divers have adapted physiological workarounds that help them conserve oxygen and energy. And most of the time, they have. But this study suggests that vigorous swimming to avoid threats — posed by people as well as predators — could come at a cost to mammals that live in the seas.
Terrie M. Williams, who studies ecophysiology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and her team worked with trainers to encourage the dolphins, as well as one retired theme park killer whale, to perform a variety of behaviors in large saltwater tanks. Some animals would rest at the surface or submerged, move in a straight line across a pool, cruise the perimeter or dive down to swim through hoops placed in different arrangements at the pool’s bottom. To the sound of a whistle, they surfaced beneath a special hood and inhaled air while Dr. Williams measured their breathing and oxygen intake. Across a variety of settings, she also measured heart rate, the frequency and amplitude of swimming strokes and swim gait.
Her team found that there was not a big difference between the energy the animals used at rest and while swimming at average speeds that range somewhere from 5 to 8 feet per second, according to the study. But drag in the water that increases with speed makes the cetaceans exert more energy as they move faster; the dolphins nearly doubled their normal energy use when swimming their hardest.
A young harbor seal is being treated at the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine, NJ after it was found with injuries last Friday. It was first discovered by property owners on the edge of an ocean beach in Sea Bright, NJ. The sickly seal was lethargic and had several cuts or wounds to its body, including a noticeable gash on its chest.
While the sight of an injured marine mammal is never pleasant, the scene was made even worse by the ignorance and misconduct of some people. There were reports by locals of at least one person trying to push the poor seal back into the water with a stick and another report of local police being unaware of whom to call for care and essentially being unhelpful in the situation. I personally witnessed one person trying to approach the seal in a manner that would startle it back into the water before he was told to stay back.
Ignorance and apathy is never a good combination. The injured harbor seal was put under even more stress by a dangerous and uncooperative situation. The seal wasn't happy and it was very sick. Perhaps it could have even died if proper assistance was not given at the right time.
If you believe a seal, dolphin or whale is in distress or injured, what should you do?
In New Jersey always call the Marine Mammal Stranding Center at 609-266-0538. In New York, call the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation at 631-369-9829. These two non-profit organizations have the authority to help stranded or sick marine mammals and sea turtles. Wildlife experts with the help of trained volunteers will determine if an animal is in need of medical attention, needs to be moved from a populated area, or just needs time to rest.
Never poke or touch a seal. Everyone needs to give space to wild animals, stay back at least 100 yards if possible, and keep your dogs on a leash and away from marine mammals. Do not harass, scare, or try to feed the animal. Boats should also not come closer than 100 yards of marine mammals.
No one should be touching or trying to get near any marine mammal. It's against federal law.
All marine mammals (including seals, whales and dolphins) are protected by law under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. Federal marine mammal regulations prohibit harassing or touching seals and it is considered harassment. What is harassment? It’s when a person or a group of people disturb, injure, or interfere with a marine mammal’s ability to hunt, feed, communicate, socialize, rest, breed, or care for its young.
All marine mammals are federally protected. These species are managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries division. If you feed, touch, harass, pour water on or pick up a seal you may be investigated by NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement for violating the marine mammal regulations.
If you see a marine mammal being harassed by a person, call the NOAA Enforcement Hotline, 1-800-853-1964. The hotline is available 24 hours a day to report possible violations or provide information to help solve a case.
Of course not every marine mammal we encounter will be sick. A seal may appear on a beach and often this is not an emergency -- harbor seals naturally use the beach to rest and digest their food.
It’s always a good idea, though, to be respectful and keep plenty of space between you and a wild animal. If your presence causes increased vocalizations, shaking or body tremors; or if a resting animal begins to lift its head with eyes on you, then you are too close. Loud noises and quick movements are likely to scare or agitate wild animals.
Always respect wild animals and view wildlife from afar.
Now you know what to do if you see a sick seal on the beach. Leave it alone, let it rest, and call for help.
March is the month when the spring season officially begins. Spring arrives at 6:28 a.m. EDT Monday, March 20, 2017.
It’s a time when the sun is directly over the equator, heralding the spring or vernal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere. Today is only one of two days when night and day are almost equal lengths. The second day being the autumn equinox. Get outside and enjoy!
In the Southern Hemisphere, it will be the first day of autumn. The four seasons are determined by shifting sunlight, which is determined by how planet Earth orbits the Sun and the tilt of Earth’s axis.
Day by day the sun in moving higher up into the sky in the Northern Hemisphere. The duration of daylight increases about eighty-seven minutes from March 1 to March 31. All living things respond to increased daylight, which means hibernation and the cold dormancy of winter is over. Life begins to stir and get active.
Spring means different things to different people. For me, it signals warmer weather on the way and even greater opportunities to be in touch with nature. To spend even more time outside to witness nature and all the seasonal delights around New York Harbor. Welcome spring!
There might be several inches of snow and ice still on the ground around New York Harbor, but that doesn’t stop some creatures to start thinking about the need to breed. Longer days and warmer temperatures are causing chemical changes in the minds of many animals to experience intense spring fever – the look of love.
For the American Crow, this means the start of another breeding season. American Crows are one of the earliest nesting bird species around the harbor. With a body length of 15 to 20 inches, the birds are big. They begin nesting early sometime around late March to May, with peak breeding around mid-April, in order to have time to raise young that will also be big birds.
Crows are highly adaptable birds and can be found all over New York City and New Jersey, especially in places with a reliable source of food. Although we most often see crows eat garbage and carrion on the side of the road, the birds also dine on seeds, grains, nuts, berries, and small animals such as worms, mice, fish, clams, and even young songbirds.
During the winter, some crows will migrate south to milder regions where more food is easier to find. Other crows will remain around the harbor to defend nests and nesting territories throughout the year. Crows appear to be monogamous and pairs or pair bonds likely remain strong even within large migratory flocks.
When another breeding season begins, these jet-black birds will come together with other family members to raise a new generation. American crows are intelligent and highly social birds. A breeding pair and their young from the past two years will frequently stay together to forage for food and help raise young. The breeding season is an important time and the whole family cooperates to ensure the success of the nest.
Crows do best in places were there are open fields to find prey and trees nearby where they can nest and roost. Nests are often built 18 to 60 feet above ground in oaks and pines. A nest is typically made of twigs and sticks, and lined with shredded bark, feathers, grass, and string. Both sexes help build the nest and it normally takes about two weeks to build one.
Starting now, look for crows to be carrying nesting material, preening each other, or being involved in brief conflicts with other crows or birds over territory. Listen for the familiar call of “caw, caw,” which might indicate that several crows are struggling over nest sites or attacking hawks or other birds that might fly too close to a nest site.
After eggs are laid, the birds becomes quieter and more secretive, so as to not give away a nest location to potential predators, such as large hawks. The average clutch is 4 to 6 eggs that hatch in about 18 days. Young fledge in about 30 days. The female incubates the eggs and is fed during incubation by the male and other family members.
The American crow is an all-black relative of the blue jay, magpie, and raven. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, “the oldest recorded wild American Crow was at least 16 years 4 months old when it was recaptured and rereleased during a banding operation in New York. A captive crow in New York lived to be 59 years old.” Most wild crows, however, live between 4 to 6 years.
A really good article - Humans Made the Banana Perfect—But Soon, It’ll Be Gone by Rob Dunn. Read it for yourself to discover the history, ecology and how scientists are trying to save the diversity of life in order to save the unique looking banana, a plant that is both a fruit and herb.
At one time, New York Harbor was an important importer of bananas from South America. In an October 19, 1987 article in the New York Times entitled, "Death of a Ritual: Working the Last Of Pier 42's Cargo" author Sam Roberts reported that major banana companies shipped their goods into New York Harbor. He writes:
"Pier 42 on the East River was built in 1963 as a newsprint terminal. Now it is making headlines. It is the last operating cargo pier in Manhattan, handling an average of 935 million bananas a year, most of them, like those arriving on the freighter Tropical Morn, grown in Ecuador and destined for distribution by the Dole Fresh Fruit Company."
Author Rob Dunn points out, it was the Fresh Fruit Company that invested in its ability to transport bananas to New York City, but "little was invested in understanding the biology of bananas themselves."
A decade later, David W. Chin reported in the New York Times that New York was still trying to save its fragile banana import business in 1997. The article states:
"To prevent the area's last banana importer from leaving, the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey each promised yesterday to contribute $2 million to help build a new warehouse on Staten Island for the company that distributes Bonita bananas. That $4 million, coupled with an earlier $1 million pledge from Staten Island Borough President Guy V. Molinari's office, will allow the importer, Ecuadorian Line, to move from its outmoded warehouse in Port Newark to a new building with temperature and humidity controls in Howland Hook -- and not to Gloucester, N.J., near Camden, as it had threatened to do a few months ago. The company had said that moving would be cheaper than renovating its existing warehouse."
Today, the United States is the number one banana importer. It takes in nearly 19 percent of the global market with bananas mostly coming from Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Honduras, and Panama. But Wilmington, Delaware is the largest banana import port in North America, not New York Harbor.
Currently, New York Harbor's top ten imports are:
7. Oils and perfumes
9. Optical and photographic
10. Pearls and precious gems and metals
Even with several inches of fresh snow on the ground, Eastern chipmunks are starting to think about love. Mid-March around New York Harbor begins the first breeding period of the year for this small striped rodent; the second will be around mid-summer.
As snow starts to melt away and air temperatures rise, look for chipmunks to get active. Soon they will be leaving their warm underground burrows, where individual chipmunks have been spending the winter, sleeping and eating. Chipmunks are generally solitary animals except during breeding seasons.
Come early spring, male chipmunks have one thing on their mind – finding a female. Interactions between males and females and other males will lead to high intensity chases as groups of males compete for access to a single female in heat.
A female will frequently make a chipping sound to signal interest in mating. This mating call is the reason chipmunks are called “chip-munks.”
Eastern chipmunks are polygamous. Females will mate with several different males during a short mating period of just six to seven hours. Females will often remain within their home range while sexually active males travel over 500 feet from their burrow to mate. Quite a long journey for a little woodland creature.
Nearly all females will produce two litters per year; one in late April to mid-May and the other in late July to mid-August. Young chipmunks will be raised on a high protein diet of insects, earthworms, snails, slugs, and salamanders, along with some seeds, mushrooms, and berries. Chipmunks are omnivorous.
The gestation period lasts around 31 to 35 days. At the end of the gestation period, females give birth to between one and eight young. Typically, four or five babies are born in a single litter. Baby chipmunks are born blind, toothless, and hairless in underground nests. Pups will only stay with their mother for around two months, and then they are on their own.
It’s not easy being a chipmunk. Few adults live longer than 2 to 3 years. Most die due to predation from owls, foxes, coyotes, and raccoons. Habitat loss is another key threat. The destruction of deciduous and mixed forest habitat, especially the loss of mature maple and beech hardwoods is an important reason why chipmunk populations may be low or nonexistent in areas around New York Harbor. Quite a few chipmunks, though, can be found in Prospect Park in Brooklyn and some are even starting to return to Central Park in Manhattan. Long live the chipmunk around New York Harbor!
Humpback Whale Feeding
Eavesdropping on Whales
Acoustic buoy could one day help ships avoid collisions
By Kate Madin :: WHOI
Cargo ships vastly outweigh whales, and ship strikes pose a serious threat to whales. North Atlantic right whales are most at risk. They exist on a razor’s edge with a small population that reproduces at a low rate. Individuals are particularly vulnerable to ships because they swim slowly and are often at the surface. Scientists have said that preventing even two deaths a year could help the species survive.
Data from DMON buoys and gliders are available at Baumgartner’s Robots4Whales website.
New Yorkers have been surprised to learn that a wide variety of whales are swimming in their watery backyard, cruising New York Harbor sometimes within sight of the Statue of Liberty.
Sounds from humpback, fin, sei, and endangered North Atlantic right whales have been detected in New York waters by an ocean mooring developed at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The instrument relays the signals via satellite in near-real time to scientists and citizens. Signals have come in almost every day since the buoy was deployed in 2016.
WHOI biologist Mark Baumgartner teamed up with New York’s Wildlife Conservation Society to deploy a digital acoustic monitoring instrument, or DMON, about 22 miles off Fire Island near busy shipping lanes entering and leaving New York Harbor.
Flooding in Ocean City, New Jersey
Flooding is not a natural disaster. It's a natural event that becomes a disaster for people who live in flood zones or in floodplains. As sea levels rise, flooding is becoming worse even during non-major storm events. properties are at greater risk of flood damage, as well as roads, bridges, public buildings and utilities.
In Sea Bright, New Jersey, the storm had sent up 17 inches of ocean water flooding onto Church Street.
See the video here: http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/new-york-flooding-sea-bright-red-hook-storm-snow-coastal-flooding-416142853.html
The hype didn’t really live up to reality, at least around New York Harbor. For several days, local meteorologists were warning people of a nasty nor’easter with heavy snow and strong winds combining to bring big bad blizzard conditions to the Hudson-Raritan Estuary. In a worst-case scenario, some models were indicating that land around the estuary would receive well over a foot of snow and experience whiteout conditions.
Instead, the storm travelled closer to the coast and tapped into warm ocean water to produce a bit of snow, but a whole lot of sleet, slush, freezing rain, and just plain rain along the Jersey Shore, the southern shore of Long Island and up into New York Harbor. So much rain that some roads became flooded due to excessive runoff and poor drainage; and some local tidal flooding during the morning high tide due to strong east winds.
Snow totals for many communities around the harbor were below 12 inches. Central Park received 7.6 inches, JFK Airport received 5.1 inches, Newark Airport received 6.7 inches, and Islip Airport on Long Island received 2.9 inches. Around Sandy Hook Bay, there were 2 to 3 inches of slushy, heavy wet snow to shovel. Too wet unfortunately to make snowballs or snowmen.
Up north in the watershed was where all the real snow piled up. Stony Point received 19.8 inches of fresh snow, Dobbs Ferry received 15 inches, and 13.3 inches of snow was dumped upon Ramsey. Farther up the Hudson River, Albany received around 18 inches with many towns getting more than 2 feet of snow.
Wednesday morning was no picnic either. Many folks around the harbor woke up to icy roads, ice to scape off vehicles, and gusty cold winds.
The winds of March came bearing a message - another week of winter. The remainder of this week promises to be cold, but with less snow. Could this be Old Man Winter's final big blast?
We mark the spring equinox on Monday, March 20, 2017, at exactly 6:29 A.M. EDT. Less than a week away.
How The Environment Got Political?
On the Media - WNYC
Listen to the radio show here: http://www.wnyc.org/story/how-environment-got-political
The Trump administration has proposed slashing the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency by 25%, eliminating some 3,000 jobs, and cutting funding to states. GOP lawmakers deem the agency a job killer that does nothing but burden businesses with regulations. In the eyes of the American public, the environment ranks low on the list of priorities the government should address.
But flash back to the late 1960s, and it's a very different story. The environment was a bipartisan issue, and a Republican president created the EPA in 1970 in response to public pressure. So how did we get here? How did the environment go from universal concern to political battleground — with the EPA caught in the crossfire?
With the help of Richard Andrews, professor emeritus of environmental policy at UNC Chapel Hill, and William Ruckelshaus, EPA administrator under presidents Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, Brooke considers the tumultuous history of the EPA, its evolving relationship with the public, and its uncertain future.
Even though the threat of snowfall continues around New York Harbor during early March, the biological urge to make babies is strong among Eastern screech owls. Come March, the birds begin courting and nesting.
The birds are bringing back romance to the woods. Screech owls respond to increasing daylight with the urge to create new screech owls. During late winter and early spring, both male and female owls will renew bonds.
Screech owls tend to be monogamous and remain together for life, though the Cornell Lab of Ornithology suggests some males will mate with two different females. “The second female may evict the first female, lay her own eggs in the nest, and incubate both clutches.” Even for owls, relationships can be complex.
Listen closely at night, you might hear a male begin to sing near a nest site to attract an interested female. Although their name suggests their voice sounds like a screech, the owls don’t screech at all. Their voice sounds more like a whinny of a tiny horse. A long, low, trembling whistled trill sound. A weird and mysterious love song to hear late at night.
But it’s this spooky song that helps people to tell screech owls reside in a neighborhood. The birds are small, in fact smaller than a city pigeon, nocturnal and hard to see. Their grey or reddish plumage blends in perfectly with the wooded shady suburbs and city parks where they spend their days silently roosting in tree holes. Their shrill calls are the only noticeable hint screech owls might a neighbor.
A scientist has filmed the moment plastic microfibre is ingested by plankton, illustrating how the material is affecting life beneath the waves.
The footage shows one way that plastic waste could be entering the marine and global food chain…
See the video here: www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-39217985
An estimated 150 million tonnes of plastic "disappears" from the world's waste stream each year.
A female Cardinal at a bird feeder
We all know weather can be quite changeable and unpredictable, but this is ridiculous.
The last two weeks of February and the first few days of March were largely unseasonably warm and on some days even balmy with temperatures in the 70s. The days surely had a fall feeling sprinkled in with a taste of spring and early summer. It made many people, including me, looking forward to an early spring.
Yet, March is notoriously fickle, anything can happen. The month might have arrived as a lamb, but Old Man Winter is leaving like a lion.
New York Harbor yesterday morning received a few inches of slushy fresh snow. Where I live around Sandy Hook Bay, approximately 5 inches of snow came down from the sky. Other places around the harbor received less. According to NOAA, Central Park received 2.1 inches, JFK airport received 2.2 inches and Staten Island received 1.4 inches. It’s back to winter.
Temperatures have also dropped like a rock. Daytime temperatures over the weekend will struggle to reach freezing. Moreover, the harbor might be in for more snowy weather in the next few days. There is chance for more snow from a coastal storm Monday evening through Tuesday. Hang in there!
No doubt, March is unpredictable. Yet, on the bright side, we all have one more chance to make the perfect snowman, go sledding, or have a good 'ol fashioned snowball fight.
Spring Came Early. Scientists Say Climate Change Is a Culprit.
By JEREMY WHITE and HENRY FOUNTAIN
MARCH 8, 2017
The New York Times
The new research shows a strong link between global warming and the very warm February that helped to drive the extremely early spring this year. For the entire continental United States, February 2017 was the second warmest on record, and mean temperatures were especially high east of the Rockies: as much as 11 degrees Fahrenheit above normal.
After a mild winter across much of the United States, February brought abnormally high temperatures, especially east of the Rockies. Spring weather arrived more than three weeks earlier than usual in some places, and new research released Wednesday shows a strong link to climate change.
By the 2017 calendar, the first day of spring is March 20. But spring leaves arrived in mid-January in some parts of the South, and spread northward like a wave. The map above plots the date of “first leaf,” a temperature-based calculation of when vegetation that has been dormant starts to show signs of life. This year, with the exception of a few small areas, the wave has arrived much earlier than the 30-year average.
An early spring means more than just earlier blooms of fruit trees and decorative shrubs like azaleas. It can wreak havoc on schedules that farmers follow for planting and that tourism officials follow for events that are tied to a natural activity like trees blooming. Some plant species that bud early may be susceptible to a snap frost later, and early growth of grasses and other vegetation can disrupt some animals’ usual cycles of spring feeding and growth.
First leaf can vary greatly from year to year and location to location, but the general long-term trend is toward earlier springs.
White House Wants to Slash Budgets of Top Climate Science Agencies
By Jeanna Bryner, Live Science Managing Editor
March 6, 2017 03:09pm ET
Scientists involved with NOAA reacted to the proposed cuts. "Cutting NOAA's satellite budget will compromise NOAA's mission of keeping Americans safe from extreme weather and providing forecasts that allow businesses and citizens to make smart plans," said Jane Lubchenco, NOAA administrator under President Barack Obama, as reported by the Post. Lubchenco added that NOAA satellites provide 90 percent of the information needed for weather forecasts.
The Trump administration's budget proposal includes a drastic 17-percent cut to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), one of the government's top weather and climate-science agencies, according to a report by The Washington Post.
The cuts would impact both research funding and satellite programs, according to the news report.
NOAA, which is part of the Department of Commerce, is responsible for a wide range of planetary science research and monitoring "from daily weather forecasts, severe storm warnings and climate monitoring to fisheries management, coastal restoration and supporting marine commerce, according to the NOAA website.
An adult Beach Hopper found at Sea Bright, NJ last summer 2016
Miniature organisms in the sand play big role in our ocean
Date: February 28, 2017
Source: Florida State University
By Jeroen Ingels is a researcher at the FSU Coastal and Marine Laboratory.
Small organisms called meiofauna that live in the sediment provide essential services to human life such as food production and nutrient cycling, a researcher explains in a new report.
The small organisms that slip unnoticed through sand play an important role in keeping our oceans healthy and productive, according to a Florida State University researcher.
In the Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, Jeroen Ingels, a researcher at the FSU Coastal and Marine Laboratory, explains that small organisms called meiofauna that live in the sediment provide essential services to human life such as food production and nutrient cycling.
"They contribute to sediment stability and waste breakdown," Ingels said. "Their feeding process contributes to making low quality organic material available to higher trophic levels that then are fed to fish and seabirds. And then, potentially humans."
That's why researchers should be paying more attention to them as they try to understand more about the marine environment, our overall food chain and the processes that contribute to healthy marine ecosystems, Ingels said.
STOP THE WILLIAMS FRACKED GAS PIPELINE THROUGH NY HARBOR!
MY TOP 5 FAVORITE BOOKS ABOUT NY HARBOR
1. Field Guide to the Neighborhood Birds of New York City by Leslie Day
2.Heartbeats in the Muck by John Waldman
3. The Fisheries of Raritan Bay by Clyde L. MacKenzie Jr.
4. Waterfront: A Walk Around Manhattan by Phillip Lopate
5. The Bottom of the Harbor by Joseph Mitchell