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Now viewing articles posted in March 2018.

  • Top 6 Invasive Aquatic Plants in New England

    March 28th, 2018 by Bob Hartzel


    New England’s lakes and ponds host a great variety of native plants that are an important part of a healthy aquatic ecosystem.  Non-native species can disrupt these ecosystems by spreading aggressively and displacing beneficial native species.  These plants can also impair swimming, boating, and fishing, and can contribute to water quality problems as large amounts of organic matter decay at the end of each growing season. 

    The guide below summarizes the key identifying features of the six non-native plants most commonly found in New England lakes and ponds.

     

    Variable milfoil (Myriophyllum heterophyllum)

    Variable watermilfoil is a submerged aquatic plant that grows in depths of up to 15 feet.  This plant has reddish stems with whorls of 4-6 feather-like leaves that are about 2 inches long and 1 inch wide.  As shown in the photo, the plant also produces a prominent spike-like flower (3-6 inches long) that emerges above the water surface by late June or July.

     

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  • 5 Municipal Regulatory Tools to Protect Water Quality

    March 21st, 2018 by Bob Hartzel


     

    Regulatory tools are “non-structural” practices that can be an effective component of your long-term plan to control watershed pollution sources. The general categories of local controls that can be used to protect water resources are summarized below, followed by a table with links to example municipal ordinances.

               

    1. Zoning: Zoning ordinances are used to regulate the land use activities and development density allowed in each section of a town. Zoning regulations typically applies only to future site development and redevelopment.

    2. Subdivision Regulations establish requirements and review procedures for developments of two or more units. Like zoning ordinances, they typically apply only to new development and redevelopment. These regulations often include requirements for site plan review, to ensure that the project plans comply with all regulations. 

    3. Board of Health Regulations may be enacted where existing state laws are determined to be insufficient for the protection of public health. For example, Boards of Health can regulate septic systems more stringently than required under state law, and can further regulate the use, storage and handling of fuel and other hazardous materials in specified areas. 

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  • Top 5 Uses For Drones in Engineering and Ecology

    March 1st, 2018 by Eileen Pannetier


     

    Over the past few years, drones have evolved from something under every Christmas tree to a valuable tool and investment for civil engineers and environmental scientists.  The use of drones in engineering is expanding rapidly as the accuracy of these tools increases and as costs go down.  There are still barriers to using drones, including the time necessary for pilot training, the technical challenges and software expertise required for post-processing drone imagery, and a lack of uniform standards for products.  EagleEye AeroboticsTM, a subsidiary of Comprehensive Environmental Inc. (CEI), has met these challenges to provide industry-leading drone services, including the top five uses described below.

    1. Investigations of Large or Inaccessible Sites

    Large and/or inaccessible locations such as deep woods, expansive wetlands, densely vegetated stream corridors, and salt marshes are ideal for drone investigations. In just a few hours, drones can provide high-resolution imagery for areas that would take days or weeks to assess on foot.  For example, locating beaver dams throughout an extensive stream system can be done quickly and easily with a drone. A sediment plume degrading a river can be rapidly tracked back to its source, such as an unstabilized soil stockpile, helping to speed up mitigation efforts and minimize habitat damage. Big storms may cause an unknown amount of erosion and damage, but drones can be used to quickly assess large areas and prioritize response actions.  As with any technology, there are limitations, but investigations suddenly become quick, effective, and geolocated for easy and precise repetition. 

     

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