SchuyLines Content

Government

Using fire to improve wildlife habitat

0919burnAreaThe following was provided by Finger Lakes National Forest offiicals.

HECTOR, Sept.18, 2013 — Finger Lakes National Forest (FLNF) officials have announced that they, in partnership with local fire departments, are planning to use prescribed fire to treat approximately 400 to 600 acres of the more than 16,000-acre national forest.

The Forest Service says that it will use prescribed fire as a management tool to reduce hazardous fuel accumulations, to promote perennial and annual grass production, and to mitigate non-native invasive plant species; in order to restore critical wildlife habitat, improve grazing allotments, regenerate early successional growth, and improve overall watershed conditions in the forest.

In the coming weeks, FLNF fire personnel will use prescribed fire in certain areas of the Forest. The map at right shows those areas, designated by outlines containing orange diagonal lines.

The prescribed fires are not likely to seriously impact local residents, although smoke will be visible from the surrounding area and nearby residents may smell it. The timing of the prescribed burns depends on weather and vegetation conditions that meet very specifically defined limits – called the “prescription” — so the ignition dates are subject to some adjustment, although the “burn window” is not likely to exceed more than two weeks. The Forest Service will announce additional details on burn locations closer to the date of planned ignition. If a burn cannot be completed during the designated burn window, it will likely be postponed until the fall or spring of 2014.

Prior to each prescribed fire, crews will have already prepared the burn area by constructing control lines on the ground. On the first day of ignition, crews will further secure the burn perimeter by “blacklining” (a method of applying fire to a swath of vegetation immediately inside the control lines) to create a wide barrier that contains the fire within the designated area. On the second day, firefighters will use drip torches to light vegetation in the interior of the burn area.

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Helping our natural resources

0902elaineStandThe following was provided by the Schuyler County Soil and Water Conservation District

MONTOUR FALLS, Sept. 2 –Rock Cabin Road, located on the east side of the Queen Catharine Marsh, is known for rare species of plants and butterflies, but it also has been used for illegal dumping.

The Town of Montour maintains this road, which has cascading waterfalls along its edge that flow directly into the marsh. The town has posted illegal dumping signage along the road, but its workers are often cleaning up after thoughtless and careless people. Community and school groups have assisted the town in past cleanup efforts, and recently the Camp Monterey Shock Incarceration Correctional Facility responded to a request for some additional help.

The Soil and Water Conservation District and the Schuyler County Water Quality Coordinating Committee (WQCC) were made aware of garbage along the road in fairly inaccessible locations. The inmates from Camp Monterey were able to get into one tough spot and remove a large truckload of tires. The truck was provided by the Town of Montour Highway Department.

The Town Highway Superintendent, Dana Bailey, also knew of garbage that had been thrown over the bank along Dug Road, a beautiful, wooded stretch of road in the town. The inmates proceeded to pick up three one-ton truckloads of garbage off the steep banks that drain toward Catharine Creek, the town again providing the truck, driven by Don Hughey, and the disposal.

Large garbage bags were provided by the Soil and Water District. This is just one example of many shared service projects that the Conservation District and the Town of Montour and the other towns and the villages do together to help conserve our natural resources.

0902inmatesGarbage dumping along rural roads with drainage ways that flow to nearby water bodies is a serious water quality concern, and the assistance provided by the Monterey Correctional Facility and the Town of Montour to clean up two roads that adjoin important natural resource areas in the County — the Queen Catharine Marsh and Catharine Creek — is deeply appreciated.

“It is disgusting that littering of this magnitude occurs along our roads, but we are fortunate to have access to some strong, young men who need to do community work and the professional officers who oversee them located at nearby Camp Monterey,” said Elaine Dalrymple, chair of the WQCC and District Field Manager of the Conservation District.  “Sergeant Sweeney, who arranged the cleanup, and the Corrections Officers who managed the two crews, Steve Lederman and Robert Bartholomew, are experienced and know the importance of outdoor, physical, community work for the improvement of these inmates.  It was great to work with both Camp Monterey and the Town of Montour on this community project.”

Photos in text:

Top: The viewing platform along Rock Cabin Road that overlooks the Queen Catharine Marsh.

Bottom: Camp Monterey inmates cleaning up garbage thrown along Dug Road in the Town of Montour.

The Governor and the Grapes

tourWave–By Charlie Haeffner–

It is a dictum of politics — or at least of journalists covering politics — that the politician being covered will never be on time. Always figure on an extra 15 to 30 minutes.

But in the case of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on his tour of a trio of Finger Lakes wineries on Tuesday, August 13, 2013 — a visit that culminated in an awards dinner at the Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel at which Cuomo presented the annual Governor’s Cup to Keuka Spring Vineyards for producing the outstanding wine of the year — that dictum was thrown askew.

The governor was, in a way, running  ahead of schedule that day, and was ultimately right on time. Let me explain.

For an event that on its face carried such import — the Governor would be stopping at the Anthony Road Wine Company, Glenora Wine Cellars and Lakewood Vineyards in a push to help expand the Finger Lakes wine market and, by extension, to help expand tourism in our region — there was a striking lack of advance publicity. I heard nothing about the visit until that morning. And even that information was sketchy: no times of arrival, no real meat.

I got wind of it through an email from an acquaintance who had heard it on the radio, and a subsequent call to a government official in Watkins Glen confirmed it — but still without much detail. The only thing the official knew for sure was that Governor Cuomo was supposed to arrive at the hotel at about 5 p.m. in advance of the 6 p.m. dinner. A call to another source brought me word that yes, Cuomo was set to visit the three wineries, though the times seemed iffy; there appeared to be a concern that such information, if publicized, could encourage protesters who might mar the visit.

*****

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Watkins Glen now

0522watkinsGlenThe following was provided by the Watkins Glen Village Board.

If you’ve been following the news lately, you may have noticed that Watkins Glen has been consistently nominated in the top 10 for coolest small town in America. We are proud of our area’s natural beauty, quaint feel, friendly folk, and burgeoning local tourist industry, all of which seem  to be attracting more and more visitors by the year. Our local economy is on the upswing and we’ve seen new businesses cropping up all over the region as well as many dynamic changes to our long time establishments.

The former Village Water Works Building condominium project is steadily progressing, we have seen several new restaurants open up in town, many of our Franklin Street buildings are being improved with new faces, and other revitalization projects are in the works. Our area has been highlighted in several national TV spots as a “must see” and we owe much of this to you, our business owners and residents, for moving us in that direction.

This is an exciting time for our community, and the Village Board is extremely proud to be part of what makes our area so special. Our dedicated and professional staff has come up with new ways to restructure and retool budgets, operations, and services. With their support and cooperation, we are proud to announce that we have been able to eliminate tax increases for the third year in a row. The tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value will be $8.03 for both towns. (That’s a slight (.36%) decrease from last year’s tax rate.)

Please take this opportunity to review just some of the things that we’ve been working on over this past year to help make our Village even better.

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