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Sky wars are being waged on the Niagara River. On the dark side of Buffalo Niagara’s ecological resurgence is the double-crested cormorant. The once rare black bird is now ubiquitous here. The cormorant is blamed for overfishing waters in the Niagara River and Lake Erie, taking over the nesting grounds of common terns on Buffalo’s Outer Harbor, spooking herons an…

Environment

Growing beaver populations affecting ecosystems in the Southern Tier have prompted the state Department of Environmental Conservation to call on fur trappers to harvest the animals in a half-dozen spots across Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties. Officials at the DEC's regional wildlife bureau request trappers hone in on these wildlife management or multiple u…

Environment

They're praying for snow. And, if those prayers are answered, at least a pair of area ski resorts say they'll open by the first week of December. The first place to grab a chance at the slopes could be in Ellicottville. Holiday Valley already made mounds of snow last week and is gearing up for more snow-making through next week, according to Jane Eshbaugh, Holiday…

Columns

David Brooks wasn't thinking about vindication. He walked down a new stone stairway near the Whirlpool Rapids Bridge in Niagara Falls, heading toward water surging in Niagara River green, toward the drama of the rapids hidden in the gorge. Brooks was transfixed. It was the beauty, not the blunders, that had always been the point. He introduced me to the gorge more than …

Environment

Chautauqua Lake has a long way to go before it's free of toxic algae, but steps toward that are underway. Those steps taken by the Chautauqua County Department of Planning and Economic Development's Stewardship of Aquatic Resources earned it an Environmental Excellence award from the state Department of Environmental Conservation, the DEC has announced. https://twitt…

Environment

Two Niagara County men, whose father died of prostate cancer decades after working around radioactive materials in a Niagara Falls factory, filed suit Thursday to reverse the federal government's denial of a $150,000 compensation claim. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Washington by Buffalo attorney R. Hugh Stephens on behalf of Shannon and Kevin Young, the…

Environment

The cleanup is finished on two tracts of land covering nearly 28 acres at the former Bethlehem Steel site, the state Department of Environmental Conservation announced. That will allow the once-contaminated parcels to be developed. Tecumseh Redevelopment, under DEC oversight, excavated and removed fill laced with arsenic, petroleum and other contaminants from the pai…

Environment

A $2.1 million plan to restore as much of the Niagara River Gorge's original plant habitat as possible will be unveiled at a public meeting Monday night in Niagara Falls. The aim is to root out non-native plants that have grown over the years and replace them with original plants, many of them endangered. Norway maple trees and the common buckthorn shrub are among …

Environment

An estimated 800 million gallons of untreated sewage and stormwater have flowed into the Niagara River from the American and Canadian sides so far this year, eight times more than last year. It's enough to pour over the Horseshoe Falls for 20 minutes. The American side accounts for about three-quarters of the sewage and overflow, according to discharge data The Buffa…

Environment

The state Department of Environmental Conservation Police cited four New York city area men for fishing after legal hours last month on Eighteen Mile Creek in Newfane, the DEC reported Thursday. The department also filed other charges in connection with the incident. The DEC said Environmental Conservation Officer Mike Phelps used night vision equipment to first spot th…

Environment

The release this week of revised flood-plain maps from FEMA spells good news for 550 homeowners in Lackawanna who have been forced for decades to pay for costly flood insurance. Their houses have been removed from the flood plain, an official from the Federal Emergency Management Agency said. Not all homeowners received good news. Ten properties on or near Sh…

Education

Sherri "Sam" Mason, the SUNY Fredonia professor whose research has focused on "microplastics," taught teachers last week about the environmental hazards of plastics. Mason's lecture was part of a professional development day for about 60 area K-12 teachers. It was hosted by the Buffalo Zoo and the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning. https://twitter.c…

Environment

Man-made alterations to Dutch Hollow Creek in Ellery over the years included straightening and widening the creek. Those changes left it prone to erosion and a conduit for phosphorus into an already nutrient-rich Chautauqua Lake. This week, the state Department of Environmental Conservation tentatively approved a pair of restoration projects on Dutch Hollow Cree…

Environment

The Buffalo Zoo will tackle pollution prevention in an effort to help students learn about the challenge of plastic bags in the environment through the use of art. More than 80 teachers of classrooms K-12 were introduced to the program during a recent development day at the Zoo that stressed the sheer quantity of disposable plastics used and discarded each day. "Sc…

Business

Louis Delmonte, the town supervisor in Sheridan, faces charges for violating state environmental law after he tried demolishing and burying his old garage on site, the state Department of Environmental Conservation reported. The DEC cited Delmonte, who's also the former owner of an automotive repair shop in Sheridan, for illegal disposal of solid waste. A recentl…