Saving Our Hemlock Forests

In episode 70 of Walk in the Park, we look at the attack by an invasive insect on our eastern hemlock trees in our forests and gorges and we find out what is being done in response. The schedule for cablecasts is below, along with the show online. And see the appeal for volunteers below!

This eastern hemlock tree at Robert H. Treman State Park in Ithaca, NY is infested with the hemlock woolly adelgid and has been marked for possible treatment. The needles on the branches in the canopy of the tree are already heavily thinned.  If all the needles and twigs die, the tree will die. Hemlock trees are an important ecological and aesthetic component in our forests, particularly in our gorges.

This eastern hemlock tree at Robert H. Treman State Park in Ithaca, NY is infested with the hemlock woolly adelgid and has been marked for possible treatment. The needles on the branches in the canopy of the tree are already heavily thinned. If all the needles and twigs die, the tree will die. Hemlock trees are an important ecological and aesthetic component in our forests, particularly in our gorges.

We join Cornell forest entomologist Mark Whitmore in the Six Mile Creek Natural Area in the City of Ithaca, NY, in the watershed for the water supply for the city. Mark explains and illustrates how the hemlock woolly adelgid, an aphid-like invasive insect, is killing the hemlock, a “keystone species” in our forests, and what larger impacts this has in our forest and stream ecosystems. But it’s not hopeless. Mark explains the biological controls that are being implemented to save at least some of our trees and set the stage for our forests’ recovery from this disaster over the long term. See how YOU CAN HELP below.

We wrap up the show with two short, beautiful videos of Taughannock Falls this winter and last.

This episode of the show will be cablecast beginning tonight (Thursday, February 26, 2015) at 9:00 on PEGASYS public access television channels 13 and 97.3 in the Ithaca area; and it will repeat on Saturday and Sunday (3/22-23) at 10:00 a.m. and the last scheduled cablecast will be next Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. Or, you can watch it anytime ONLINE right here!

Note from 2/26/15 from Cayuga Lake Watershed Network: “Learn more about Hemlock Wooly Adelgid at a workshop/hike this Sunday March 1, from 12-2 at the Cayuga Nature Center (small entrance fee), or attend our Wells College campus workshop (free) on March 12 from 1-4 pm (rescheduled). Contact steward@cayugalake.org for more information.” https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cayuga-Lake-Watershed-Network/101436081850?fref=ts

For more information about hemlock woolly adelgid, emerald ash borer, and other invasive species threats to our lands, forests, and waters, please go to the New York Invasive Species Clearinghouse.

Six Mile Creek, Trees and Water

Walk in the Park, episode 62, is now playing on Ithaca’s public access cable TV channel 13 (or 97.3)! Watch it Thursday night, 11/21/13, at 9:00, Saturday or Sunday at 10:30 a.m., or finally Tuesday, 11/26, at 8:00 p.m. Or here online!

Six Mile Creek has been the City of Ithaca’s water supply for more than 100 years. Two reservoir dams were built upstream in the watershed, but only the upper reservoir (“Third Dam” or “60-foot Dam”) now supplies municipal water. Join us as Roxy Johnston, the City’s Watershed Coordinator, takes us on a walk and talk tour in the Six Mile Creek Natural Area, telling us of the history of the watershed and the major rebuilding and renovation that is taking place now.

Construction of reservoir dam in Six Mile Creek watershed, Ithaca, NY Finger Lakes

In 1903, workers build one of the two dams in Six Mile Creek that have supplied the City of Ithaca's water supply. Photo courtesy of Roxy Johnston, City of Ithaca

We also join Mark Whitmore, forest entomologist from Cornell, as he explains the immense threats to our forests and our watershed from two invasive insects that attack major trees in our woodlands and gorges, including the eastern hemlock and all species of ash. Last episode, Whitmore explained the huge challenge forced upon us by the hemlock woolly adelgid, which we found in the Six Mile Creek Natural Area. This time, he addresses the emerald ash borer which is advancing toward us and will wipe out nearly all of our ash trees in our countryside and in town. Find out what we can do to respond to these inevitable assaults on our environment. [PLEASE NOTE: Late in the program, I mention, mistakenly, that there had been a report of the occurrence of emerald ash borer in Watkins Glen State Park. In fact, there is no record of any such report. My bad. Please ignore!]

Watch the show online here!

And, by the way, our popular book, ITHACA–THE CITY, GORGES, AND COLLEGES, is now out as an ebook. Check out the sample pages!