NYS DEC to Host Webinars on New Environmental Assesment Forms (EAF)

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will be hosting a series of web seminars online in April and May to instruct government agencies and the public on how to use the streamlined and revised Environmental Assessment Forms (EAF).

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Good-bye to Chemical Hazards

Chemical Collection Safely Completed

Cayuga County held its 14th household hazardous chemical collection event on Saturday October 26th.

Starting at 8 AM, a staff of nearly 30 from two contractors and two County agencies accepted a wide assortment of chemicals from about 274 vehicles. The chemicals were all sorted, drummed, loaded, manifested and safely removed from the site by 2:30 in the afternoon. After the hours of what looks like chaos at times, it is always good to see the empty tent in the middle of the vacant parking lot at the end of the day.

HHW13 end of day

Two hours after the event… 8 drums of water holding down the tent, and everything else is packed and gone

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Wildlife survey at Owasco Flats

Spotted salamander oct 5 2013

Spotted Salamander oct 5 2013

Water snake oct 5 2013

Northern Water Snake oct 5 2013

On Saturday, October 5th, the Herpetology class from the College of Environmental Science and Forestry spent five hours searching for salamanders, frogs, snakes and other reptiles on some of the public lands at the NW corner of the Owasco Flats in Venice and Moravia.

The day included exploring the County-owned woodlands west of the Flats. This area was suspected to be good salamander habitat, which was confirmed that day.

That afternoon, around 6 acres of the woodlands was explored by ESF Professor Jim Arrigoni, 6 students and three local volunteers for 2 hours. Here are the species found in the afternoon and the numbers of each:

Red Back salamanders            33
Northern Dusky salamanders    12    
Alleghany Dusky salamanders   ?     2 or 3, see below
Dusky salamanders                 19    (mostly northerns)
Spotted salamanders               11
N. Two-lined salamanders          2
N. Spring Peepers                    13
Gray Treefrogs                        2

Totals… 77 salamanders and 15 frogs in 2 hours.

At the same time, a smaller group was exploring the flatter parts of the Flats via the Loop Trail… They saw mainly frogs, mostly Greens and Leopards.

Live snakes and turtles completely evaded the group for 5 hours, only to be seen by a photographer that happened by the site just before we finished. The photo at the right was taken that day.

It was a beautiful October day, but a lot of reptiles and amphibians are hard to observe in the fall. Plans are being made to repeat the fieldwork in the spring and summer, so let me know if you’d like to join us next time!

I don’t have the field report from the other afternoon group yet, but the preliminary species list for the day includes…

Red Back salamanders
Northern Dusky salamanders
Allegheny Dusky salamanders
Spotted salamanders
N. Two-lined salamanders
N. Slimy salamander ##
N. Spring Peepers
Gray Treefrogs
Green frogs (Flats)
N. Leopard frogs (Flats)
Pickerel frog (Route 38, deceased) ##
N. Water Snakes (photographer’s find plus 2 on Route 38, deceased)

Two of these are new confirmed sightings within the Moravia USGS quadrangle (##), which is how species are normally tracked and mapped. The original 10 years of mostly volunteer observations that went into the 1999 NYS Herp Atlas only found 22 species in the entire Moravia quad (which is larger than the Flats and includes south to the Locke/Groton line)… With species added and confirmed in the last 13-14 years, including 2 Saturday, that is now up to 27-28…

Finding 12 species of herps in 5 hours of fieldwork in October is not bad, especially when 2 are new species!

Why is this important? Well, only one USGS quadrangle North or West of the Catskills had 30 or more species in the original NYS Herp Atlas (1 in about 800). With a little more field work, the Flats area will be confirmed as being one of the best habitats for amphibians and reptiles in all of western, central and northern New York!

Bruce Natale

Cayuga County Planning

PS on 11/6… I have been to the Flats several times since 10/5, and keep finding the snakes that eluded us during the “salamander hunt.”  Today I saw a garter snake and a red-bellied snake, plus a spring peeper, in November! That’s two more species, bringing the total to 14 species in 4.5 weeks (without any turtles or toads…)…

Cayuga County Household Hazardous Waste Collection, October 26

This fall Cayuga County’s Household Hazardous Waste Day provides all City of Auburn and Cayuga County residents the opportunity to dispose of household hazardous waste in a safe manner. Proper disposal protects human health, our community and the environment.

Saturday, October 26, 2013.

This event is FREE! But everyone Must Register with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Cayuga County. Please call 315-255-1183 or visit https://reg.cce.cornell.edu/HHW13_205 to register. You will get a time and location when you register.
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Recycle your household electronics for free, September 21.

Household electronics recycling event

Cayuga County’s fall household electronics recycling event is this Saturday September 21st.

The event is at the Natural Resources Center on County House Road, near the County Jail & Nursing Home. The event will run from 9 AM to 1 PM.

We are accepting all household electronic items… computers, monitors, CRT’s, VCR’s, DVD players, stereos, microwave ovens, telephones and TV’s.

We are also accepting propane tanks from Bar-B-Q grills.

We are also accepting fluorescent bulbs including compact fluorescents.

Plus, we will be accepting SMALL FREON appliances… air conditioners, dehumidifiers, dorm-room sized refrigerators and water-coolers.

Every is Free. Yes, that’s right, FREE.

We are expecting a large turnout. To avoid a long wait plan to arrive after 10:45 AM.

More info:

Cayuga Recycles

More Training on Updates to SEQR in Lyons, September 18

The Seneca County and Wayne County Planning Boards are sponsoring a one-night training series on updates to the State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) procedures. The evening will feature two training sessions, with a $5 dinner available during the break between the sessions. This is a great opportunity to refresh your SEQR knowledge and get guidance and new forms from land use training specialists from the NYS Department of State. Continue reading

Balance on a Steep Slope – Training in Auburn, September 25

The Cayuga County Planning Board 2013 Land Use Training Series continues in September with…

Balance on a Steep Slope: How to Protect Sensitive Natural Features without Stifling Development
Wednesday, September 25, 2013 | 7PM
Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES Conference Room
Click here to register

The best areas for development are flat or contain slopes between 0% and 8%. But what are the risks of developing on steeper slopes? The consequences of poor development decisions on steep slopes, defined for this training as 15% or greater, can have profound and permanent impacts on the environment and the public’s health, safety, and general welfare. This training will cover the potential negative impacts of building on steep slopes and what local towns and villages can do to mitigate these impacts without stifling development. A model steep slope ordinance will be presented for review and discussion along with examples of “good” and “bad” steep slope development. The expense for property owners and municipalities will also be addressed.

Cost: FREE.
Presenter: Cayuga County Planning.
Download the flyer here.

A complete list of trainings and County Planning Board meetings can be found on our website.

NY State Environmental Quality Review procedures are changing. Training on Updates to SEQR in Auburn, July 17

The Cayuga County Planning Board 2013 Land Use Training Series continues in July with…

Updates to SEQR
Wednesday, July 17, 2013 | 7PM
Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES Conference Room
Click here to register

The State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) process is a critical and mandatory part of nearly all decisions that towns, villages, and their boards make. The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has proposed revisions to SEQR regulations, including updates to the Environmental Assessment Forms (EAF) and a new workbook, likely to be implemented this year. Come for a refresher on SEQR procedures and an opportunity to preview the new forms and see how the workbook can make your job easier.

Cost: FREE.
Presenter: Cayuga County Planning.

A complete list of trainings and County Planning Board meetings can be found on our website.

Your Urban Trees from the Soil Up – Workshop in Oswego May 31

A Workshop for Professionals, Municipal Officials, Town Board Members, Planning and Zoning Boards and Community Tree Enthusiasts.

8 am – 3 pm, Friday, May 31, 2013
McCorbie Civic Center, 41 Lake Street in Owsego

Topics will include:
  • When to remove hazard trees
  • How to assess the soil of your new planting site
  • How to get the healthiest trees
  • Tree Ordinances
  • What to say when advocating for trees
  • How to engage other groups to accomplish shared goals

Sponsored by the NYS DEC Urban and Community Forestry Program.
This workshop qualifies for Planning and Zoning Board training.