Monday, June 28, 2010

Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr. In His Own Words

Frederick Law Olmsted Papers "this is an age in which we grow more and more artificial day by day, and see less and less worthiness in those pleasures which bring with them no marked excitement...a parallel movement was an increased appreciation of nature in the broad combining way of scenery as evidenced by the amount of time and money expended on tourism to areas of strikingly beautiful natural scenery.

I've skimmed all 614 pages of my book, "The Papers of Frederick Law Olmsted Supplementary Series Vol. 1 Writings on Public Parks, Parkways and Park Systems." He never advocates for or mentions dog parks.

Olmsted Papers page 155: "I want you to see that when people ask for a park, it may be perfectly possible to please them very much with something which is not a park, or which is a very poor and much adulterated kind of park and that it would nevertheless be dishonest, quackish, to do so. A park is a work of art, designed to produce certain effects upon the mind of men.

Olmsted Papers page 190: " Nor can I think that in the park proper (italic), what is called gardenesque beauty is to be courted. These may have places, but they do not belong within a park."

Olmsted Papers page 190-191: "The question now comes up: How can a community best take this work in hand? It is a work in which private and local and special interests will be found so antagonistic one to another, heated prejudices are established, and those who would be disappointed in their personal greeds by whatever good scheme may be studied out, are so likely to combine and concentrate force to kill it..."

Olmsted Papers page 538: Take for instance the operations of roads and walk making, the dressing of ground surfaces with herbage, the building of objects. To those who do not see the very different way in which they are intended on the [Niagara] reservation will always be thought that the introduction of decorative detail would be an improvement..."

Olmsted Papers pg. 538 continued: " Once the reason for excluding decorative detail is lost sight of, there is nothing to hinder the introduction of any amount to it, thus bringing the about the gradual transformation of the [Niagara] Reservation into a flower-garden order, than which nothing would be more deplorable."

Olmsted Papers on Niagara Reservation page 539: [what] for many years have passed under the name of improvement, and especially of "landscape" or of "park" improvements has been presenting objects for admiration calculated to draw off and dissipate regard for natural scenery."

Olmsted on Niagara Reservation page 540: What was the organic purpose of these improvements? To draw visitors by any means to a particular piece of ground where money could be made out of them, and to so occupy them when there that they should not wish to go elsewhere. Some of them left without having looked for a single moment at anything beyond the filed of its artificial improvements."
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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Hummingbird Video

Lou Gold Discusses Wendell Berry

For readers unfamiliar with his works, here are a set of precepts that convey the perspective and purpose of Mr Berry's work:

1. Beware the justice of Nature.

2. Understand that there can be no successful human economy apart from Nature or in defiance of Nature.

3. Understand that no amount of education can overcome the innate limits of human intelligence and responsibility. We are not smart enough or conscious enough or alert enough to work responsibly on a gigantic scale.

4. In making things always bigger and more centralized, we make them both more vulnerable in themselves and more dangerous to everything else. Learn, therefore, to prefer small-scale elegance and generosity to large-scale greed, crudity, and glamour.

5. Make a home. Help to make a community. Be loyal to what you have made.

6. Put the interest of the community first.

7. Love your neighbors--not the neighbors you pick out, but the ones you have.

8. Love this miraculous world that we did not make, that is a gift to us.

9. As far as you are able make your lives dependent upon your local place, neighborhood, and household--which thrive by care and generosity--and independent of the industrial economy, which thrives by damage.

10. Find work, if you can, that does no damage. Enjoy your work. Work well.

There's an excellent summary of the canon of Wendell Berry at:

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Wendell Berry Stands Behind His Writing - Takes Back Papers

Arts Beat Blog reports Wendell Berry Takes Back Papers. Article HERE.

For decades the Kentucky poet, critic, and farmer Wendell Berry has advocated personal activism on behalf of the environment. There should not be a “split between what we think and what we do,” he has written. “Once our personal connection to what is wrong becomes clear, then we have to choose: we can go on as before, recognizing our dishonesty and living with it the best we can, or we can begin the effort to change the way we think and live.”

Mr. Berry is living up to his own standards. The Lexington Herald-Leader reported on Wednesday that Mr. Berry decided in December to withdraw personal papers he had donated to the University of Kentucky, where he spent time as both a student and teacher. According to a letter obtained by the Lexington paper, Mr. Berry objected to a decision to name a basketball-players’ dormitory the Wildcat Coal Lodge.

“The University’s president and board have solemnized an alliance with the coal industry, in return for a large monetary ‘gift,’ granting to the benefactors, in effect, a co-sponsorship of the University’s basketball team,” he wrote. “That — added to the ‘Top 20’ project and the president’s exclusive ‘focus’ on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics — puts an end to my willingness to be associated in any way officially with the University.”

The university’s Board of Trustees approved the new $7 million Wildcat Coal Lodge in October. Joe Craft, head of Alliance Coal, proposed the name and helped to raise the money for it, according to the Herald-Leader.

Mr. Berry intends to transfer his papers to the Kentucky Historical Society in Frankfort. A statement released by a university spokesman expressed disappointment with his decision.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Nine Quiet Leaders' Commandments And Nine Ways To Distinguish Yourself

Nine Quiet Leader Commandments
1. Always learning, always improving, always practicing.
2. Stay balanced.
3. Be resourceful, be a problem solver.
4. Show vision.
5. Be nice, be decent, be fair.
6. Serve.
7. Show gratitude.
8. Communicate well.
9. Listen always.

Nine Ways to Distinguish Yourself
1. Learn
2. Laugh
3. Look
4. Leave a Lasting Impression
5. Love
6. Leverage
7. Likability
8. Listen
9. Lead
Source: Lead Quietly

Hallelujah - Free Hugs Video

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Gaming View of BP Oil Spill

Paving Roads Can Increase Weed Invasions

This article was found HERE While it is well-known that roads can spread invasive weeds, new research shows that some roads are worse than others. In Utah, areas along paved roads were far more likely to be invaded than those along 4-wheel-drive tracks. This suggests that limiting road improvements would help keep out invasive weeds.

"Each step of road improvement would appear to convert an increasing area of natural habitat to roadside habitat," say Jonathan Gelbard, who did this work while at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and is now at the University of California at Davis, and Jayne Belnap of the U.S. Geological Survey in Moab, Utah, in the April issue of Conservation Biology.

Cheatgrass, knapweeds and other non-native plants have invaded nearly 125 million acres of the American West. Roads are a big part of the problem: for instance, vehicles can transport non-native seeds into uninfested areas, and clearing land during road construction gives weed seeds a place to become established. Intuitively, it makes sense that improved roads would spread weeds more than primitive roads because the former have more traffic, more exposed soil and more maintenance such as mowing and herbicide treatments, all of which can favor invasive species.

To see if non-native weeds really are more likely to invade along improved roads, Gelbard and Belnap surveyed the plants along 42 roads with varying degrees of improvement (paved, improved surface such as gravel, graded and 4-wheel-drive track) in and around southern Utah's Canyonlands National Park. The researchers determined the cover and number of species of non-native and native plants in two areas: roadside verges (strips along the road), and "interior sites" near but not right next to roads (165 feet from the verge).

Gelbard and Belnap found that road improvement greatly increased the cover of non-native plants in roadside verges. Notably, cheatgrass cover was three times greater in verges along paved roads than along 4-wheel-drive tracks (27 vs. 9%).

In addition, verges along improved roads were also wider, ranging from about three feet on each side of 4-wheel-drive tracks to 23 feet on each side of paved roads. This means that improving roads can convert natural habitat to non-native weed-infested roadside habitat. "For example, our results suggest that improving 10 km [about 6 miles] of 4-wheel-drive tracks to paved roads converts an average of 12.4 ha [about 30 acres] of interior habitat to roadside [habitat]," say Gelbard and Belnap.

The researchers also found that improved roads had more non-native plant cover in interior sites. Again, cheatgrass cover was more than three times greater in interior sites adjacent to paved roads than in those adjacent to 4-wheel-drive tracks (26 vs. 8%). Overall, the cover of non-native plants was more than 50% greater in interior sites adjacent to paved roads than in those adjacent to 4-wheel-drive tracks.

In addition, road improvement changed the number of both exotic and of native species in the interior community study plots: the number of exotic species was more than 50% greater and the number of native species was 30% lower.

"Our findings suggest that major opportunities remain to prevent exotic [non-native] plant invasions in this semiarid landscape by minimizing the construction of new roads and the improvement of existing roads," say Gelbard and Belnap.
Jonathan Gelbard (
Jayne Belnap (
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Friday, June 18, 2010

Birds That Eat Bugs in Your Garden

Bugs in your garden? Here's an article from eNature on birds that eat insects.
Garden Patrol: Ten Birds That Help Control Garden Pests

By Sarah Boyle

Read this article and more in the NWF National Wildlife Magazine.

AS A GARDENER, it can be your worst nightmare: watching helplessly as hordes of destructive insects attack your plants. With a little planning and simple landscaping, however, you can help moderate garden pests naturally in your yard. Your weapon: bug-eating birds. "During the late spring and summer months, insects make up the great majority of many avian species' diets," says NWF Chief Naturalist Craig Tufts. The trick to enticing these birds to your property, he notes, is to first learn which of them range in your area, and then to plant appropriate types of native cover that provide insect- and bird-attracting natural foods--leaves, fruit, pollen and nectar--to sustain both adults and their insect-dependent nestlings. Tina Phillips, project leader of Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Bird House Network, adds, "The most important thing to do to attract birds to your yard is to provide an enticing habitat, not just a nest box. Birds choose a nest site based on its surrounding habitat."

Along with native vegetation, offer birds a water source and a few different nesting sites: brush piles, ledges, nest boxes, shrubs and various types of trees--including dead tree limbs and trunks. "As long as they don't create a safety hazard for people, dead trees provide nesting areas and are a great food source for insectivores," says Tufts.

Needless to say, birds will not completely rid your yard of insects, and even if they could, you wouldn't want them to do so. Some insects are imperative for a healthy garden, and birds do not discriminate between destructive and beneficial bugs. But they can help keep insect populations in your neighborhood at a stable, balanced level, benefiting both you and your neighbors. Subsequently, you'll have a nicer garden to show for it throughout the summer.

Which bug-eating birds are the best ones to attract to your yard? There's no simple answer. Scientists cannot say for sure how many insects a certain bird will eat in a summer day. But depending on where you live, the following ten species can be valuable allies in your efforts to sustain a vibrant garden:

Purple Martin
Purple Martin: Aerial feeders that forage over land and water, purple martins eat a variety of winged insects. These swallows range across the eastern half of the United States and parts of the Pacific Coast and Southwest. West of the Rockies, purple martins often nest in tree cavities and building crevices, while in the East they typically nest with as many as 30 pairs in hotel-like boxes or hanging, hollow gourds. The migrants often use the same nesting site each year. In addition to providing nest boxes in the East, attract the birds with ponds and wetland areas.

Others: tree (summers in northern half of the United States), cliff (most of the country, except for the Southeast), barn (most of the United States, except for portions of the Southeast and Southwest) and violet-green (West) swallows

Red-Eyed Vireo
Red-Eyed Vireo: Until recent population declines, red-eyed vireos were one of the most common woodland birds in North America. These migrants forage in trees, feeding mainly on crawling insects--especially caterpillars--but also on other invertebrates and berries. They range from the upper Northwest to the East Coast, nesting in deciduous shade trees. Plant Virginia creeper, spicebush, elderberry, blackberry and dogwood to supplement insect diet.

Others: white-eyed (eastern half of the country) and warbling (most of the United States, except for parts of the Southwest, Texas and Southeast) vireos

Chipping Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow: Well-adapted to various landscapes, chipping sparrows are common throughout backyards in most of North America, except for areas of Texas and Oklahoma. They eat insects and seeds from the ground, shrubs and trees. These common birds tend to nest in evergreens, making nests out of grasses, weeds, roots and hair. Attract them with pines, spruce, arborvitae and yew.

Others: lark (from central through western United States), vesper and savannah (both throughout the northern half of the country during the summer) sparrows

Downy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker: Smaller than all other North American woodpeckers, downy woodpeckers readily visit backyards throughout the United States, excluding some areas in the Southwest. Their diet consists mainly of insects, though they also feed on sap, berries and seeds. The birds excavate nesting sites in dead trees and stumps, which are later used by other birds. They prefer deciduous trees such as aspen and willow, and may eat the berries of dogwood, mountain ash, serviceberry, Virginia creeper and poison ivy.

Others: hairy (throughout most of the country, except parts of Texas and the West) and ladder-backed (arid areas of Southwest and Texas) woodpeckers, as well as flickers (throughout the United States)

Yellow Warbler
Yellow Warbler: Known for their sweet songs, yellow warblers eat a diet that is about 60 percent caterpillars. They also eat moths, mosquitoes, beetles and some berries. Widely distributed throughout North America, yellow warblers range from Alaska to the majority of the lower 48 states, except for areas of Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and Florida. They nest in small trees and shrubs and often prefer willow. Plant berry-producing plants native to your area.

Others: American redstarts (eastern half of the country and upper Midwest), common yellowthroats (throughout the United States) and yellow-rumped warblers (throughout most of the country except in areas of the Midwest)

Eastern Bluebird
Eastern Bluebird: With their numbers increasing due to nest-box projects along "bluebird trails," eastern bluebirds occupy semi-open areas east of the Rockies. They eat a variety of insects, other invertebrates and berries. Eastern bluebirds nest in tree cavities, old woodpecker holes and nest boxes. Plant elderberry, hackberry, dogwood, holly and redcedar to supplement their diet.

Others: western and mountain bluebirds (both in the West)

Common Nighthawk
Common Nighthawk: In reality not hawks but members of the nightjar family, common nighthawks cover most of the continent, eating a variety of flying insects. Partial to open space, they nest on level surfaces, such as the ground or flat rooftops in suburban and city areas. Attract common nighthawks to industrial and corporate rooftops.

Others: lesser nighthawks (Southwest), Chuck-will's-widow (Southeast) and common poorwill (West)

Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Phoebe: Easily recognizable by their fee-bee song, eastern phoebes--members of the flycatcher family--oftentimes take up residence on buildings and bridges. Found throughout the eastern half of the United States (frequently near water), they eat many insect species, as well as other invertebrates and berries. Provide a nesting platform and plant native hackberry, serviceberry, poison ivy and sumac to supplement their diet.

Others: black (Southwest) and Say's (western half of the United States) phoebes

Baltimore Oriole
Baltimore Oriole: Colorful migrants that readily visit backyards, Baltimore orioles eat insects, fruit and nectar. The songbirds range from the central Midwest to the Northeast and nest in hanging pouches in deciduous trees. Plant blackberry, serviceberry and cherry for food, as well as elm, sycamore, tupelo and other shade trees as nesting spots.

Others: hooded (Southwest), Bullock's (mostly western half of the country) and orchard (eastern half) orioles

House Wren
House Wren: Regular backyard visitors, house wrens have diets that consist almost exclusively of insects and spiders. Not very fussy about sites, these birds may nest in nest boxes, mailboxes, building crevices--even in pockets of hanging laundry. House wrens range throughout most of the lower 48 states during parts of the year. Include low-lying shrubs (such as American beautyberry) or brush piles in your yard--sources for cover, nesting materials and food.

Other insect-eating wrens that regularly visit backyards include: Carolina (East), Bewick's (southern half of the United States and Pacific Coast) and cactus (Southwest) wrens.

These ten birds, of course, are not alone in consuming backyard pests. Many other species--such as the northern cardinal and black-capped chickadee--eat insects or feed them to their young during the summer. Yet as summer winds down, your efforts to attract birds shouldn't come to a halt. "The natural foods you provide in your yard throughout the year will encourage these songsters to visit again," says Tufts. As a result, the birds may return and combat a new generation of insects the next year.

New tour of falls is quite the walk : Niagara County : The Buffalo News

NIAGARA FALLS—He’s known as “Niagara Falls John,” and he leads a new “Thundering Water Walking Tour” of our continent’s biggest waterfall.

Guide John Dojka, 46, has worked for a couple of other area tour companies for several years and says he was inspired by the Free Niagara Association, spearheaded by Frederick Law Olmsted, when he started his own company, Niagara Falls Green Tours.

Olmsted, designer of New York City’s Central Park and Buffalo’s park system, felt that the falls exemplified a spectacular natural landscape to be set aside in large reservations from major metropolitan areas. Dojka quotes Olmsted that “Goat Island should be a place for walking, since only by exploring it on foot could visitors experience its special charm."

“That’s it exactly,” says Dojka, who now has the ability to transmit his love of this area, his knowledge of the falls and the region’s history into a memorable, guided journey.

Mayor Paul A. Dyster was among those who attended the ribbon-cutting of Niagara Falls Green Tours recently at Old Falls Street and Rainbow Boulevard, near the “spray pool” area of Old Falls Street.

Dojka promises an “up close and personal experience, with the sights and sounds of nature surrounding the legendary waterfall and the Reservation State Park.” He calls his tours “ecofriendly.” They include stops at Hennepin Rock—where explorer-priest Louis Hennepin was said to have viewed the falls—the Rainbow Bridge, the Honeymoon Bridge wreckage, Great Lakes Gardens and more. Participants also visit Cave of the Winds, Prospect Point, Terrapin Point, Luna Island and Three Sisters Islands in about two hours (wheelchair users can join in, too).

“Thundering Water”— that’s the Native American name for Niagara Falls?

Yes, the name of our tour actually came from a local Native American who gave me the idea. There are many Indian legends of the spirits who live under the falls and in the roaring waters.

Why walk when you can ride?

Green tours bring you closer to nature and the natural sights of the falls and the park.

Nothing can compare to walking and feeling the breeze and the mist of the falls, hearing birds, the wind blowing in the trees and the water rushing over the falls. We bring you closer to nature— while still enjoying the conveniences of the park on a beautiful scenic trolley ride as we go from Goat Island to the mainland.

How have local businesses reacted to your green tours?

The concept of a green walking tour of Niagara Falls State Park has been met with tremendous support from the area’s hoteliers, bed-and-breakfasts and hostels. They now have the opportunity to offer their guests a tour choice that’s both informative and affordable. We have networked with local merchants to offer special buys and discounts to our guests through our exclusive Wooden Nickel program that gives discounts and special buys at local businesses throughout the City of Niagara Falls.

Tell us something about your personal history.

I was born and raised in Niagara Falls. I’m the youngest of six children. My father, Stephan, a World War II veteran, and mother, Julie, came from families of first-generation Polish immigrants. Their history is steeped in Niagara Falls’ east side Polish community. I’m the great-grandson of one of the founders (Jacob Pasek) of Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church, built on East Falls Street in Niagara Falls in 1906. The church and its buildings are now on the national list of historic buildings.

What kind of work did you do before you became a tour guide?

During the Grenada invasion and before the Panama takeover between 1982 to 1985, I served in the Army and was stationed at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, with the 101st Airborne.

Through the Army, which I joined at 18,I was able to travel to places from Panama to Alaska. Then I worked as a machinist, laborer and driver for many years. My love of Niagara’s history drew me to the Niagara Falls tour business as a guide, where I fell in love with the business and its visitors.

Why did you start Niagara Falls Green Tours?

To offer an alternative to the traditional tour.

You give an “up close and personal” falls experience. You don’t want to get too “up close and personal” with the cataracts, yes?

Correct—you need to stay on the paths and within the walking areas of the park.

Tell us about some famous visitors?<

The first recorded newlyweds were American aristocrats Joseph Alston and Thedosia Burr—daughter of Aaron Burr, vice president of the U. S.—who visited Niagara Falls in 1802. It was rumored Jerome Bonaparte, younger brother of Napoleon, and his bride, Elizabeth Patterson of Baltimore, also honeymooned at Niagara Falls the following year. It was customary for newlyweds to throw pennies into Bridal Veil Falls to bless their union.

One reason why you’d never want to go over the American Falls—those rocks out front?

The rocks in front of the American Falls are known as the “rock of ages.
New tour of falls is quite the walk : Niagara County : The Buffalo News

Sunday, June 13, 2010

International body will organise global response to protect ecosystems 'that underpin all life - including economic life

UN's 'IPCC for nature' to fight back against destruction of natural world

International body will organise global response to protect ecosystems that underpin all life - including economic life'

Juliette Jowit Friday 11 June 2010 17.11 BST

World governments voted last night to set up a major new international body to spearhead the battle against the destruction of the natural world.

With growing concern about the human impacts of destruction of habitats and species from around the world, from riots over food shortages and high prices, to worsening floods, and global climate change, more than 80 governments voted to take action in the final hours of a week-long conference in Busan, South Korea.

The Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), also dubbed "the IPCC for nature", will be modelled on the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change, which has been credited with driving global warming and climate change from a fringe scientific issue to mainstream public and political concern.

Achim Steiner, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme, said: "The dream of many scientists in both developed and developing countries has been made reality. Indeed, IPBES represents a major breakthrough in terms of organising a global response to the loss of living organisms and forests, freshwaters, coral reefs and other ecosystems that generate multi-trillion dollar services that underpin all life - including economic life - on Earth."

Caroline Spelman, the UK environment secretary, said: "Alongside climate change, biodiversity loss is the greatest threat we face. Our very way of life is linked to the natural world; the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink; as well as providing the habitats for the Earth's millions of species of plants and animals. IPBES will provide governments and policy makers across the world with independent and trusted scientific advice so that we can take action to protect the world's natural environment."

The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, will produce regular assessments of the state of biodiversity at international, regional and "sub regional" levels, mirroring the IPCC's five-yearly global assessments of global warming and its impacts. It will also develop research and conservation in developing countries, stimulate research in areas not covered, and advise policy-makers, said Professor Bob Watson, vice chair of IPBES and chief scientist at the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs.

It will focus on "poverty alleviation, human well-being and sustainable development", he said. A recommendation to set it up will now be voted on by the UN at its meeting in September.

"It's just possible that in Busko, Korea, a significant step forward has been made towards a renewed global approach to tackle the loss of biodiversity and its consequences for the natural world and the people," said Robert Bloomfield, coordinator of the International Year of Biodiversity in the UK. "Crucially it would bring more closely together the analysis of the scientific evidence of biodiversity loss and its impact alongside the development of policy responses - this has been lacking. Then, as with the IPPC, such an overarching body would also help put biodiversity in the media spotlight - where it needs to be.

"It will be up to all the parties, including science, international governance and the media, to make sure that such a development is open to scrutiny and effective in delivering the action needed to mainstream the response required to tackle the underlying causes of a problem which has disastrous consequences if not urgently addressed.

New UN science body to monitor biosphere
     'IPCC for biodiversity' approved after long negotiation

Emma Marris

All creatures great and small: A newly approved global science organization to oversee life on earth will have its work cut out for it.Cesar Paes Barreto

Representatives from close to 90 countries gathering in Busan, Korea, this week, have approved the formation of a new organization to monitor the ecological state of the planet and its natural resources. Dubbed the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the new entity will likely meet for the first time in 2011 and operate much like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

In essence, that means the IPBES will specialize in "peer review of peer review", says Nick Nuttall, a spokesman for the United Nations Environment Programme, which has so far hosted the IPBES birth process. Its organizers hope that its reports and statements will be accepted as authoritative and unbiased summaries of the state of the science. Like the IPCC, it will not recommend particular courses of action. "We will not and must not be policy prescriptive", emphasized Robert Watson, chief scientific advisor to the UK's Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and a vice-chair of the Busan meeting. "That is critical, or it will kill the process."

According to the document approved June 11, IPBES will conduct periodic assessments of the diversity of life on earth and its 'ecosystem services'-those outputs of ecosystems, such as clean fresh water, fish, game, timber and a stable climate, that benefit humankind. These assessments will answer questions about how much biodiversity is declining and what the implications of extinctions and ecosystem change are for humanity. Assessments will take place on global, regional and sub-regional scales.

IPBES will also take a hand in training environmental scientists in the developing world, both with a to-be-determined budget of its own and by alerting funders about gaps in global expertise. The organization will also identify research that needs to be done and useful tools-such as models-for policymakers looking to apply a scientific approach to such decisions as land management.

In Busan, negotiations stretched late into the night as delegates debated the scope of the proposed IPBES, including the specifics of how it will be funded. "There was concern among the developed countries that this not become a huge bureaucracy," says Nuttall. "Governments wanted to be reassured that it would be lean and mean and streamlined."

Another bone of contention was to what extent IPBES would tackle emerging issues or areas of contested science. In the end, it was agreed that the body will draw attention to "new topics" in biodiversity and ecosystem science. "If there had been something like this before, then new results on issues such as ocean acidification, dead zones in the ocean and the biodiversity impacts of biofuels would have been rushed to the inboxes of policymakers, instead of coming to their attention by osmosis," says Nuttall.

Among the governments who assented to the IPBES's creation were the European Union, the United States, and Brazil. The plan will come before the general assembly of the United Nations, slated to meet in September, for official approval. Those involved with the process say that that the UN creation of the new body is a virtual certainty.

Structural integrity

Anne Larigauderie, executive director of the Paris-based biodiversity science clearing house Diversitas, was jubilant at the outcome but said that the final agreement included a few disappointments. She hoped that IPBES would be set up to take requests for information or reports not only from governments and biodiversity-related conventions, such as the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, but also from environmental organizations, academic societies and economic interests such as agricultural and trade organizations. Instead, all requests to IPBES will go through its voting members-all of them government representatives.

Larigauderie suggests that this organizational structure represents an effort by governments to control potentially embarrassing information. "We were struck with the fear in governments," she says. "To them, scientific information represents a potential threat."

Hugh Possingham, a mathematical ecologist at the University of Queensland, Australia, specializes in decision-making tools for use by governments and conservation organizations. He says IPBES will have to make predictions to be useful. "Until we can make forward projections of meaningful biodiversity metrics under different policy scenarios, biodiversity is not even at the policy table," he says.

Watson says that IPBES will indeed make predictions, as its charge is to conduct "comprehensive" assessments.

Larigauderie say that IPBES has the potential to turn the "fragmented" field of biodiversity research into a more coordinated "common enterprise" that will lead to better predictive models of future biodiversity changes.

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed, without profit, for research and educational purposes only.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Debate stirs over Canadian falls hotel plan

Niagara Falls Horseshoe aerial viewImage via Wikipedia
“This will ruin the view from the American side,”
Debate stirs over Canadian falls hotel plan

NIAGARA FALLS — A plan is in the works to build a 57-story hotel and two more high-rise buildings on a prime piece of real estate overlooking the Horseshoe Falls in Canada.

The developer maintains that the project being proposed for the property which has been home to the Loretto Christian Life Centre for 148 years will provide patrons with a glorious view and jobs for perhaps as many as 1,000 people.

Opponents fear construction of high-rise building so near the Falls will have profound implications for the natural environment of the surrounding area and could detract from the experience of Americans and American visitors looking across the river to Canada.

“This will ruin the view from the American side,” said Catherine Buchanon, author “The Day the Falls Stood Still,” a novel that chronicles the early days of hydroelectric development on the Niagara River. “There’s seven acres of greenspace around the Loretto Academy that could conceivably become concrete and glass.”

The Loretto academy sits on a 7-acre parcel atop the Falls on the Canadian side. It is currently owned by Romzap, Ltd which purchased it in 2006 from the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Romzap believes the parcel is ideally suited for a 57-story hotel as well as two other high-rises that could be opened as either hotels or condominiums. If completed, the proposed 57-story structure would be taller than the Hilton hotel on Fallsview Boulevard, which at 53 stories is currently the city’s tallest building.

The developer was successful in its bid to have the property added to the city’s Tourist Area Development Strategy, a set of guidelines that establish acceptable locations and standards for high-rise development in Niagara Falls, Ontario. The company is now in the process of putting together a series of studies on the project’s potential impact in anticipation of making a formal request to the Falls city council for a change in zoning that would allow the development to proceed.

Romzap, owner and prominent Falls hotelier Tony Zappitelli said the project represents a potential investment in the city of about $250 million and would bring with it a wealth of new jobs and visitors to the area.

“It’s a fantastic site,” he said.  

As part of its hotel proposal, Romzap has agreed to preserve 1.6 acres of greenspace at the front of the academy building as well as the building itself.

“This development is not wall-to-wall with concrete on the property,” Zappitelli said.

Buchanan and other members of a group called Friends of Niagara Falls aren’t so sure. The grassroots organization has developed a Web site and created an online petition in an effort to put a stop to the project’s construction.

The Friends say the project will contribute to an existing concern above the Falls on the Canadian side. They cite reports from the Niagara Parks Commission, which owns and maintains the tract of Canadian parkland running along the river, that suggest misty days have more than doubled since the advent of high-rise buildings on the Canadian side. They point to a report from engineering consultant Rowan Williams Davies & Irwin which suggests the high-rises are causing airflow alterations that are drawing vapor toward the land and causing an increase in rain and mist conditions. At certain points during the year, they also maintain that such a tall building would cast a shadow over parts of Queen Victoria Park and would span the river as the sun sets, causing Terrapin Point on Goat Island on the American side to experienced darkened conditions as much as 90 minutes earlier per day.

“There are absolutely going to be people who think that the development is beneficial, but Niagara Falls is a natural wonder of the world,” Buchanan said. “I think a large part of the attraction is seeing it in its natural glory.”

Zappitelli said shadow diagrams already completed at the direction of his company show the impact of the building on the parks would be nowhere near as profound as some have suggested. He noted that his company is in the process of performing a variety of studies in anticipation of an upcoming city council vote on the request for re-zoning of the parcel. He said the ongoing analysis includes heritage, archeological, wind, tree, shadow and other studies as required by the council itself. In the end, he said, the study findings will be used by council members to determine if the re-zoning request should be granted. Zappitelli said there’s no firm timeframe for completion of the studies, but his company would like to have them completed as soon as possible.

“All of these studies that we are doing are part of the re-zoning process,” Zappitelli said. “We are working on these reports. If there are any concerns, we would outline that.” 
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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Year-long study will focus on restoration of gorge from Falls to Lewiston

Year-long study will focus on restoration of gorge from Falls to Lewiston

That's the June 9, 2010 Niagara Gazette article link. Our residents and readers deserve to know "the rest of the story." The actual press release that was emailed to the newspaper is below. Please note the differences:

[1] The city of Niagara Falls, NY endorsed the project, not just the Mayor. New York State Parks and The Town of Lewiston also endorsed the project. The endorsement letters are on the Wild Ones Niagara website and in the Greenway Proposal.

[2] The emphasis in the Wild Ones Niagara press release was about information, cooperation, the economic benefits open space preservation, and working outside of the local political constraints.

[3] Wild Ones Niagara does advocate for the removal of the Robert Moses Parkway, HOWEVER, this study is not about removing it. It's an ecological and economic evaluation by environmental research experts of what the Niagara Gorge Rim and what the Niagara River Greenway could be if the the area were ecologically restored.

Are there potential economic benefits for the region? Preliminary research conducted by Wild Ones Niagara revealed that it's absolutely feasible. In the billions, if done correctly. Again, the documents are on the Wild Ones Niagara website, under Advocacy. Why was that information omitted?

[4] The Wild Ones study will only offer suggestions for area municipalities, not enforce them. This was clearly stated in the phone conversation with the newspaper.

[5] The end result of the study is an interactive, "fly-over" media presentation so people could see the possibilities and realize what a jewel the Niagara River Greenway could become. That was left out of the  newspaper.

[6] The Wild Ones Niagara press release also states that history was made several times. That information was omitted in the article.

[7] It's also interesting how the newspaper left out the fact that Eastern Hospitality Advisors builds major chain hotels and has global associations in the hospitality industry.

[8] The article focused on the road, the Robert Moses Parkway. The Wild Ones Niagara project and press release focuses on the Niagara River Greenway Principals, Goals and Criteria as outlined in the Niagara River Greenway Plan.

The Niagara Falls and River Region Chapter of Wild Ones Native Plants, Natural Landscapes (Wild Ones Niagara) has contracted Environmental Research and Design, PC (EDR),an environmental consulting and design firm with offices in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, to prepare an ecological restoration plan for the Niagara Gorge Rim area.

The restoration plan will identify the current imbalances within the ecological and man-made (built) environments and will recommend restoration projects to reinvigorate both the ecological and built communities in this area. The Restoration Plan recognizes that the natural and man-made environments are required components to a sustainable and vibrant community, which must be measured, managed, and put in balance with each other. To this end, the Restoration Plan will provide a natural resource-based approach to guide environmental and community restoration in this area.

The Restoration Plan area will cross multiple jurisdictional boundaries. The purpose of the Restoration Plan is to provide a unifying tool for bringing the multiple jurisdictions together through projects that work to achieve the following:

• To protect and restore the Gorge and Gorge Rim’s botanical uniqueness, significant wildlife habitat, and the watershed for future generations,

• To create riverfront access by breaking down physical boundaries between the adjacent neighborhoods and the Gorge Rim area,

• To improve the long-term economic outlook of the region through adjacent neighborhood revitalization, increased ecotourism, and Creative Tourism, and,

• To develop the means for telling the many compelling stories of our region: natural history,  geology, ecological and cultural history, hydroelectricity, civil engineering, industry, and

• To reestablish Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr.’s vision for the waterfalls of Niagara and the gorge.

The Restoration Plan will identify specific projects that can be pursued by different entities within the area, such as: New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the New York Department of Transportation, Niagara County, the City of Niagara Falls, the Village and Town of Lewiston, the New York Power Authority, Niagara University, and local neighborhood groups.

The fully-funded Wild Ones Niagara project created history within the Niagara River Greenway. Wild Ones Niagara bridged political constraints, opened municipal boundaries of co-operation, and obtained a major private investor with global associations in the Hospitality Industry, Eastern Hospitality Advisors (EHA), a construction management firm that builds hotels. EHA has a keen interest in the Niagara River Greenway and in preserving the natural landscapes of the Niagara Gorge Rim. The plan obtained the majority of its funding from the Niagara River Greenway Ecological Standing Committee.

The City of Niagara Falls is the sponsor for this Niagara River Greenway project. The restoration plan received the mandated consistency determination from the Niagara River Greenway Commission in September 2009 and written endorsement from the Town of Lewiston Supervisor, Steve Reiter, and Mark Thomas, Western Director of New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.<

Wild Ones Niagara is a member driven, educational advocacy organization committed to enhancing regional community efforts to establish or maintain natural areas. Chapters of Wild Ones Native Plants, Natural Landscapes work with local schools, scout groups, and other organizations to create butterfly gardens, rainwater gardens, and other native plant projects. Wild Ones Niagara advocates establishing personal relationships with the natural world that invite native plants and wildlife back into our immediate lives.

EDR’s services include Landscape Architecture, Planning, Environmental Services, Engineering and Surveying. EDR is dedicated to having a profound, relevant effect on the environment while fulfilling end-user needs. Their methods incorporate all available historical, cultural, financial, and environmental resources into their designs while maintaining a hands-on respect for the land. EDR offers a variety of integrated disciplines to turn land use challenges into opportunities for lasting improvement to our living environment.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Preserve Natural Wonder of Niagara Falls - "It isn't Just The View Being Spoiled"

The Horseshoe Falls of Niagara Falls seen from...Image via Wikipedia
Buzz up!
With rampant development and a new hydroelectric tunnel to siphon water away from the river, Niagara Falls is threatened in ways that are eerily familiar. Way back, the falls were cordoned off, reserved by hucksters for the paying few, and gristmills overwhelmed the natural beauty of the place. But then in the 1880s, a groundswell of preservation sentiment led to the establishment of public parks on both the American and Canadian sides of the river. Here’s to hoping the old adage about history repeating itself is true, because today we are again failing miserably at preserving the natural wonder of the world entrusted to our care.

An unsightly wall of hotels extends downriver from the Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side of the river, and that wall is slated to infiltrate the seven acres of green space that today frame the Horseshoe Falls in nature when viewed from the American side of the river. In 2006, a Canadian hotelier bought Loretto Academy, the stately, 148-year-old convent school that stands atop the bluff at the Horseshoe Falls, and now the city of Niagara Falls, Ontario, has amended its official plan, permitting the hotelier to replace the treed grounds of the academy with three high-rises, one a monstrous 57 stories in height.

And it isn’t just the view that’s being spoiled. According to the Niagara Parks Commission, the government agency that owns and maintains the tract of Canadian parkland running the length of the river, the misty days have more than doubled since the high-rises went up, and engineering consultants Rowan Williams Davies & Irwin, who modeled the area, say the high-rises are altering the airflow near the falls, drawing vapor toward the land and creating more days with rain-like conditions. Awnings and umbrellas have gone up and raincoats are now donned at plenty of spots where it was once possible to remain dry while taking in the staggering beauty of the falls.

The shadows of the new high-rises will cast parts of Queen Victoria Park beside the falls in gloom as the sun moves from the southern sky to the west and will span the river as the sun sets, bringing darkness to Goat Island’s Terrapin Point, the favored American vantage point for viewing the falls, 90 minutes early at certain times of the year. Worse yet, for a six-week period each spring and each fall, the shadows will interfere with the spectacle of the setting sun’s light on the Horseshoe Falls. Needless to say, when the sunshine is blocked, Niagara’s trademark rainbow will not appear.

Adding insult to injury, the magnificence of the falls themselves are set to take a plunge. In 2006 the world’s largest rock-boring machine began cutting yet another diversion tunnel under the city of Niagara Falls, Ontario. When that tunnel — it’s six stories in height — is completed in 2013, Ontario’s capacity to divert water away from the river and falls for the production of hydroelectricity will increase by 30 percent.

The water available for diversion is legislated by the 1950 Niagara Diversion Treaty, which set the minimum flow over the falls at about 50 percent of the natural flow during the daylight hours of tourist season and 25 percent at all other times, and in the words of Ontario Power Generation, “Excess water above and beyond what is required for tourism is now ‘spilling’ over the falls some of the time.” Offensive as the statement is, it is true that during the “non-tourist flow” times, Canada is currently unable to siphon off all it is allowed. Worrisome, though, is that with the new tunnel, total diversion capacity, including both the Canadian and the American power installations, will reach a whopping 186,000 cubic feet per second, enough to divert 93 percent of the river’s average natural flow. Our history of relentlessly chiseling away at the volume of water flowing over the brink through a succession of progressively more lenient diversion treaties underscores the vulnerability.

When the New York State Reservation at Niagara Falls opened in 1885, it was with a declaration that Niagara Falls was “not property, but a shrine — a temple erected by the hand of the Almighty for all the children of men.” Yet we find ourselves on a path of turning Niagara Falls into a trifling, measly thing, framed not by nature but by looming, glass and concrete edifices erected for the financial gain of a few.

Cathy Marie Buchanan is the author of the novel “The Day the Falls Stood Still,” which opens at Loretto in 1915 and chronicles the early days of hydroelectric development on the Niagara River. She is a founding member of the conservation organization
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Monday, June 7, 2010

Researchers Urge Citizens to Record All Bird Sitings

ScienceDaily (June 2, 2010) — People could help to prevent species of birds from becoming extinct by recording sightings of all kinds of birds online, including common species, according to a new study published in PLoS Biology.

The researchers behind the study, from Imperial College London, are urging the public to become 'citizen scientists' to help prevent today's common bird species from becoming threatened tomorrow.
To establish whether a certain species of bird is at risk of becoming endangered, so that they can act to protect it, scientists need to be able to compare present-day data on the species with a 'biodiversity baseline', describing when and where birds were found in the past...
Read the rest HERE.
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People out and about make cities secure

People out and about make cities secure

Spending Time in Nature Makes People Feel More Alive, Study Shows

ScienceDaily (June 4, 2010) — Feeling sluggish? The solution may require getting outside the box -- that big brick-and-mortar box called a building.

Being outside in nature makes people feel more alive, finds a series of studies published in the June 2010 issue of the Journal of Environmental Psychology. And that sense of increased vitality exists above and beyond the energizing effects of physical activity and social interaction that are often associated with our forays into the natural world, the studies show.

"Nature is fuel for the soul, " says Richard Ryan, lead author and a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester. "Often when we feel depleted we reach for a cup of coffee, but research suggests a better way to get energized is to connect with nature," he says.

The findings, adds Ryan, are important for both mental and physical health. "Research has shown that people with a greater sense of vitality don't just have more energy for things they want to do, they are also more resilient to physical illnesses. One of the pathways to health may be to spend more time in natural settings," says Ryan.

In recent years, numerous experimental psychology studies have linked exposure to nature with increased energy and heightened sense of well-being. For example, research has shown that people on wilderness excursions report feeling more alive and that just recalling outdoor experiences increases feelings of happiness and health. Other studies suggest that the very presence of nature helps to ward off feelings of exhaustion and that 90 percent of people report increased energy when placed in outdoor activities.

What is novel about this research, write the authors, is that it carefully tests whether this increased vitality associated with the outdoors is simply the feel-good spillover from physical activity and people-mixing often present in these situations. To tease out the effects of nature alone, the authors conducted five separate experiments, involving 537 college students in actual and imagined contexts. In one experiment, participants were led on a 15-minute walk through indoor hallways or along a tree-lined river path. In another, the undergraduates viewed photographic scenes of buildings or landscapes. A third experiment required students to imagine themselves in a variety of situations both active and sedentary, inside and out, and with and without others. Two final experiments tracked participants' moods and energy levels throughout the day using diary entries. Over either four days or two weeks, students recorded their exercise, social interactions, time spent outside, and exposure to natural environments, including plants and windows.

Across all methodologies, individuals consistently felt more energetic when they spent time in natural settings or imagined themselves in such situations. The findings were particularly robust, notes Ryan; being outside in nature for just 20 minutes in a day was enough to significantly boost vitality levels. Interestingly, in the last study, the presence of nature had an independent energizing effect above that of being outdoors. In other words, conclude the authors, being outdoors was vitalizing in large part because of the presence of nature.

The paper builds on earlier research by Ryan, Netta Weinstein, a psychologist at the University of Hamburg, Germany, and others showing that people are more caring and generous when exposed to nature. "We have a natural connection with living things," says Ryan. "Nature is something within which we flourish, so having it be more a part of our lives is critical, especially when we live and work in built environments." These studies, concludes Ryan, underscore the importance of having access to parks and natural surroundings and of incorporating natural elements into our buildings through windows and indoor plants.

The paper was coauthored by Weinstein; Jessey Bernstein, McGill University; Kirk Warren Brown, Virginia Commonwealth University; Louis Mastella, University of Rochester; and Marylène Gagné, Concordia University.

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Don Glynn's Sunday May 30, 2010 Column Generates Response From Niagara Heritage Partnership

Don Glynn's recent column [in the Sunday edition of the Niagara Gazette, 30 May 2010] about unmowed grass along the gorge parkway was interesting, sometimes revealing, but then detoured into fiction as he attempted to insinuate his way into an argument that removing the parkway is a bad idea.

He reveals his notion that the gorge rim should resemble "grass like that around your home."  That's an idea, not a good one, but something with which a person could agree or disagree. The Niagara Heritage Partnership (NHP) believes natural landscapes should be preferred in this location, so we disagree. We do agree with Glynn when he says much of the so-called regeneration area looks neglected, unkempt, in a word, terrible. That's because it has been neglected. It is, indeed, full of unchecked growth, undesirable weeds, and alien or invasive plants, as well. Some of the aliens seem to have been established on purpose by the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (OPRHP)

There may be several reasons for this ragged appearance: perhaps the experimental plots initiated by the prior parks administration have not been enthusiastically accepted by the current one; perhaps OPRHP lacks the funds to properly monitor the areas; perhaps they don't have the time or expertise in-house; perhaps it's a combination. But common sense suggests that after nearly 10 years, there may be valuable native trees and other plants establishing themselves in these areas and identifying them, if they actually exist, might be a better idea than wholesale mowing or bush-hogging.

While the current appearance is less than desirable, the overall vision is further confused by the tulip beds and other ornamental plantings at Whirlpool and Devil's Hole State Parks, a pathetic gesture that mimics the English flower garden design that the Canadian parks have refined. Glynn may like this because it's closer to what might be found "around your home or business." But we either understand Olmsted or we don't. If we do, we should start showing it. If we don't, then OPRHP and others who promote treatments and activities in parks should stop using his name as if it's a magic charm to hold "tree huggers" at bay. Tulips and daffodils in Niagara parks would make Olmsted vomit.

"Tree huggers" is a term Glynn uses to disparage parkway removal advocates, as well as, inexplicably, the "Sierra Club of Northern California."  "Tree huggers" is a tired,  behind-the-times attempt at insult. Most of us wish a few thousand tree huggers had been carrying signs in Washington ten years ago, insisting on triple safeguards for deep-water oil drilling procedures. Why he zeroed in on the distant Northern California Sierra Club chapter is puzzling. We sincerely hope that it wasn't a snide reference to that chapter because its membership is comprised of gay and lesbian Sierrans. That would reflect very poorly on our region. Why does he single them out? The NHP has welcomed their support for parkway removal as we have all the other chapters. Glynn should recognize we have the support of the Sierra Club, Niagara Chapter, and the Sierra Club, National. If he thinks it's "fair to ask" why they all support removal, he should read the Sierra Club, Niagara Chapter resolution posted under "Resolutions"at The question has been answered for 10 years.

Support for parkway removal continues to grow, both locally and internationally: the Chilton Avenue Block Club, Niagara Falls,NY, has signed on. In Canada,three new groups favor removal--the Niagara River Restoration Council; Friends of Niagara Falls; and Preserve Our Parks. The online petition where individuals can offer support continues to collect names.

Glynn's description of the "pudgy woman" wearing "orange sneakers" and carrying a "Close the Parkway!" sign seems to be a fictional character based on the real-life Betsy Potter, who told me she has never in her life worn orange sneakers--or indulged in chanting, for that matter, as Glynn implied she had. We don't believe there is anything wrong with orange sneakers and chanting, but Glynn seems to be using these details in an attempt to create a picture of a passionate parkway removal advocate as an object of ridicule. Neither is she "pudgy," unless any young woman over 102 pounds falls into that category for Glynn. And the sign read "Total Removal," not "Close the Parkway!" Potter walked the parkway edge, with the sign, once weekly for 6 months through the winter of 2001-2002, and kept a journal of her experience. Her picture, with the sign, and some of her journal entries can be found on the NHP website under Recent Postings, as "Button Girl Photo" and "Betsy Potter Gorge Walk Journal."

Potter remains a tree hugger, which should be a term of praise. During the last week of May 2010, she identified two nesting pairs of grasshopper sparrows in the Wildlife Refuge on the Lewiston Plateau, as well as meadowlarks. The grasshopper sparrow is a "species of concern" in NY State, 98% of them having disappeared. (NHP notes that restored grasslands along the gorge rim would be potential habitat for such birds.) Potter is also an artist with a special interest in the natural world and her work will be on display in the Lewiston Library, along with that of others, 2-29 June, with an opening reception on June 5th at 11:00 am.

Given the history and present condition of the gorge rim, we should all welcome the Wild Ones, Niagara (WON) study, entitled, "Regional Economic Growth Through Ecological Restoration of the Niagara Gorge Rim." (scroll to see Doument Library) This study is supported by The Niagara River Greenway Commission and will be conducted by the accomplished firm of Environmental Design and Research.

This will be a comprehensive study extending along the river from Niagara Falls to Lewiston, NY, which has never before been done. Work has already started. We look forward to the scientific foundational evidence this study will provide to shape our decision-making in the years ahead.
Bob Baxter
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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Letter to Town of Lewiston, NY

26 May 2010
Dear Supervisor Reiter,

During your recent service as Highway Supervisor, I was told that you supported the Niagara Heritage Partnership’s proposal of reclamation and open space preservation along the Niagara Gorge Rim.

When the media stated you were the new Town of Lewiston Supervisor, I experienced a tremendous surge of optimism for the Niagara River Greenway and our region. I believed someone was finally elected in Lewiston that was progressive, an independent thinker, and a man of positive action. You were approachable, quick to return my phone calls, and gracious when I asked for your letter of support for the Wild Ones Niagara Greenway project, Regional Economic Growth Through Ecological Restoration of the Niagara Gorge Rim.

You and I created history in the Niagara River Greenway. We accomplished something that the entire Greenway process was unable to do. We breached political constraints and we opened municipal boundaries of cooperation.

Wild Ones Niagara accomplished another first in the Greenway. We obtained a major private investor with global associations in the Hospitality Industry. They have a keen interest in the Niagara River Greenway and in preserving the natural landscapes of the Niagara Gorge Rim. 

I can understand why you felt “blindsided” by my reading of EDR’s 18 May 2010 letter at the Niagara River Greenway meeting. Can you understand that I felt blindsided when I read in the Niagara Gazette that the Town of Lewiston was not only planning a dog park, but also intending to create an access road from the Robert Moses Parkway to the upper parking level at Artpark?

I asked EDR to write the letter, not to hurt Lewiston, but to protect what I viewed as yet another attempt to stop the Wild Ones Niagara study. It’s a study, Steve, based on an open space preservation vision. At its core is a positive economic benefit assessment for all of Lewiston, Niagara Falls, and the Niagara River Greenway.

There is a provision on page 35 of the Niagara River Greenway Plan that states under "Criteria for Project Submission:
Chapter 4 Action Plan:
9. Consideration of other planning efforts There has been a great deal of effort and thought put into various plans for each of the municipalities along the Niagara River Greenway corridor, as well
as many planning efforts that cross municipal boundaries...Topic specific studies, including those dealing with stormwater management, remedial action plans, brownfield studies, heritage tourism, and other plans should also be taken into consideration. Proposals for projects should be built upon the work that has been completed, and be consistent with local goals, values and visions, while meeting best practices and models set forth…”

We believe our project deserves that consideration. While I feel you dismissed my fully funded project, I do believe that I owe you an apology. I should have immediately contacted you and (NY) State Parks to ask if you would please table the Dog Park at the Plateau or evaluate an alternative location--Joseph Davis State Park. Joe Davis has all of the amenities a dog park needs: ample space, water and electricity, fencing in the defunct pool area, and parking. They already conduct dog races there.

I also should have provided you and State Parks with articles about the value of grasslands. Did you know that grasslands “provide valuable ecosystem services, including carbon sequestration, stormwater control, water filtration, absorption of air pollutants, oxygen production, and habitat? Native grasslands provide opportunities for wild life, especially migratory land birds. Grassland habitats also provide social benefits like enhanced recreational opportunities and education.”(Link here: Wildflower Magazine, Summer 2010 Vol.26, No. 4 pg. 24-27)

"At the end of the day, [it’s not that our project is reclamation and restoration; it’s also about education.] Education in these financially challenging times is what is going to save us." (Wildflower Magazine)

Will you please extend your continued support for our project by tabling the dog park at the Plateau until we complete our end-product, an interactive media presentation and economic assessment?  The completed study will document how tremendous the economic benefits of a fully restored gorge rim are to you, the Town of Lewiston, Niagara Falls, the Niagara River Greenway, and the region. 

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