Greening the Apple

Traveling Bed Bug Free During Vacation

by Marcia Anderson

A close friend, Sandra, recently contacted me for advice on a bed bug incident she had in a shore bungalow she had rented for a family vacation.

It was not until the family noticed strange bites on the second and third mornings in the bungalow that they thought to look for bugs. They found bed bugs on the mattresses, box springs and on bed frames, and that was just for starters. They also found some behind the night stand and tucked into floor moldings. She sent me photos to confirm the diagnosis. Yes, they were bed bugs, and lots of them. You can see an example of them mounded along the seams of the mattress in the photo below.

Bed bugs in mattress seam

Nothing like a bed bug scare to bring the entire family together! Sandra admitted that neither she nor her husband inspected the dwelling before they moved in all of their luggage. In addition, they promptly plopped their suitcases on the beds when they arrived.

Based on the number and life stages of bed bugs that I saw in her photographs, those insects had set up house long ago and have been happily biting and breeding for many months.

Sandra confronted the owner, but she swore that the property never had bed bugs and the family must have brought them in and infested her property. They argued, but to no avail. It was a painful and time consuming lesson.

Many people have a fear of bringing bed bugs home due to the social stigma associated with them.  Once established, bed bugs can be very difficult to eliminate. One reason is that bed bugs have developed resistance to many commonly used pesticides. Another is that they hide in very tiny places and only come out to feed every fourth or fifth day.

The best advice that I can give vacationers to avoid a repeat of Sandra’s story is to go to the EPA bed bug website and download the Travelers Beware of Bed Bugs card. Keep it in your wallet and follow the directions carefully when you are about to stay anywhere outside of your home. The University of Minnesota also has an informative flier on inspecting your hotel room for bed bugs.

It is recommended that you:

  • Leave your luggage in the car a few extra minutes or place it in the rental property’s bathtub.
  • NEVER lay luggage on the bed.
  • Use a small flashlight (LEDs are best) and magnifying glass to look for signs of bed bugs. If you have children, you can all play Sherlock Holmes while you inspect the mattress seams, box springs, headboards, upholstered furniture, luggage rack, and other places around the room for bed bugs. Anyone who finds one gets a prize.
  • Say something immediately if you find any bed bugs. You stand a better chance of bargaining for bed bug-free lodging.

Tips for travelers to prevent bed bugs

If you are concerned about bringing bed bugs home with you, download EPA’s bed bug prevention, detection and control flier and follow the directions carefully.

Bed bugs should be managed using an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) approach.  IPM is a long-term, sustainable, approach to successful pest management. IPM programs address not only the safety concerns of using pesticides, but also focus on solution-based practices that identify, solve, and prevent future pest issues. Bed bug IPM is not a one-size-fits-all method or silver bullet, but rather a combination of biological, cultural, physical and chemical tools that minimize health and environmental risks.

It is better to be safe than sorry and to take precautions when it comes to bed bugs.  Because once bed bugs become established, they can be very costly and hard to control.

Sandra and her family followed all of the IPM steps they were given to insure they were bed bug free when they returned home. They placed all of their clothing in tightly sealed plastic bags inside their luggage until it could be washed and heat dried. They also placed the luggage in large plastic bags so, just in case a bed bug did decided to hitchhike home with them, it would not be welcomed inside. They placed their books in clear plastic zip-top bags and small electronics into separate zip-top bags until they could be carefully inspected and cleaned. Finally, they purchased a few sets of bed bug interceptors to place under the legs of their beds and couch to trap any wandering bed bugs…just in case.

Have a safe and bed bug free vacation!

 

About the Author: Marcia is with EPA’s Center of Expertise for School IPM in Dallas, Texas. She holds a PhD in Environmental Management from Montclair State University along with degrees in Biology, Environmental Design, Landscape Architecture, and Instruction and Curriculum. Marcia was formerly with the EPA Region 2 Pesticides Program and has been a professor of Earth and Environmental Studies, Geology, and Oceanography at several universities.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed herein are those of the author alone. EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog, nor does EPA endorse the opinions or positions expressed. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content. If you do make changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Recognizing Our Sustainable Materials Management Award Winners

By Rachel Chaput

EPA’s Sustainable Materials Management (SMM) Program represents a systemic approach to using and reusing materials more productively over their entire life cycles. It represents a change in how our society thinks about the use of natural resources and environmental protection. By looking at a product’s entire lifecycle, we can find new opportunities to reduce environmental impacts, conserve resources and reduce costs.

The group of winners all helping to divert solid waste from landfills. Keep up the great work!

The group of winners all helping to divert solid waste from landfills. Keep up the great work!

Each year, EPA issues SMM awards at the national and regional levels, to recognize our best performers within the program. On January 11, an awards ceremony was held at our Region 2 office in New York City, to distribute the awards.  Links to the award announcements can be found below.  Region 2 would like to announce our regional award and certificate winners for three SMM challenges, and thank them for their great efforts and contributions toward improving our environment and our lives.

The Food Recovery Challenge (FRC) Partners pledge to improve their sustainable food management practices and report their results. FRC Endorsers educate others about the value of the FRC program. Organizations are encouraged to follow the Food Recovery Hierarchy to prioritize their actions to prevent and divert wasted food. In 2015, Region 2 FRC partners diverted 30,077 tons of food from the landfill through their collective activities.

The EPA WasteWise program encourages organizations to achieve sustainability in their practices and to reduce select industrial wastes. Participants demonstrate how they reduce waste, practice environmental stewardship and incorporate sustainable materials management into their waste-handling processes. Region 2 WasteWise partners diverted 925,352 tons of municipal solid waste from landfills during 2015. Regional WasteWise winners:  Kearfott Corp., Curbell Inc., and Brown’s Superstores: Shoprite at Brooklawn.

The Federal Green Challenge (FGC) challenges EPA and other federal agencies throughout the country to lead by example in reducing the federal government’s environmental impact. In 2015, Region 2 FGC partners diverted 7,678 tons of municipal solid waste from the landfill, and saved 59,536,360 gallons of potable water and 18,371,639 kWh of energy through their conservation activities.

Click here for a list of the Food Recovery Challenge regional award winners (scroll down for Region 2): https://www.epa.gov/sustainable-management-food/food-recovery-challenge-results-and-award-winners#2016Regional

Region 2 has one national FRC winner, the Town and Village of New Paltz.  Follow the link and click on ‘Town of New Paltz’ for more information about New Paltz’s good work: https://www.epa.gov/sustainable-management-food/about-2016-food-recovery-challenge-award-winners.

Click here for both national and regional Federal Green Challenge Award winners: https://www.epa.gov/fgc/2016-federal-green-challenge-awards.

For information on WasteWise and national Award winners, visit: https://www.epa.gov/smm/wastewise#awards

About the Author: Rachel Chaput has worked with the Region 2 office of the US Environmental Protection Agency for 24 years.  Before working in Sustainable Materials Management, she worked in Indoor Air programs and managed the Asthma grants program for ten years. 

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed herein are those of the author alone. EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog, nor does EPA endorse the opinions or positions expressed. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content. If you do make changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

ARE YOU – OR IS SOMEONE YOU KNOW – AN ENVIRONMENTAL CHAMPION?

It’s that time of year again, when EPA Region 2 seeks applications for its annual Environmental Champions Awards (ECA). Each year we honor environmental trailblazers – individuals, businesses and organizations that have contributed significantly to improving the environment and protecting human health.

EPA is now seeking nominations of environmental stewards from New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands and eight federally recognized Indian Nations who have gone above and beyond for environmental progress in their communities. Winners will be honored at a ceremony in the Spring at EPA’s regional office in Manhattan. The Agency is accepting Nominations through February 3, 2017.

Last year, one of our ECA winners was Dr. Joseph A. Gardella, Jr., a distinguished professor at the University of Buffalo who served as co-chair of the Community Action Council at the Niagara Falls Storage Superfund site in Lewiston, NY. Dr. Gardella was instrumental in helping facilitate a dialogue between the community and the government which resulted in the excavation of 200,000 cubic yards of radioactive waste stored at the site, remnants of the Manhattan Project that produced the country’s first nuclear weapons.

To nominate an individual or organization, please visit EPA’s Environmental Champion Award webpage at http://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/environmental-champion-awards

The webpage includes details about award criteria, prior winners and application instructions.

Murray Fisher (left), Founder of the New York Harbor School, ECA winner Dr. Joseph A. Gardella, Jr., and EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck

Murray Fisher (left), Founder of the New York Harbor School, ECA winner Dr. Joseph A. Gardella, Jr., and EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed herein are those of the author alone. EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog, nor does EPA endorse the opinions or positions expressed. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content. If you do make changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Reflecting on a Year of Environmental Achievements

By Sophia Rini

Gowanus Canal

Removing debris from the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, NY.

It’s the season when people often think back over the year’s events and take stock. Here at EPA Region 2, we had a very busy 2016 – from responding to environmental emergencies to successful green jobs training. Below are some highlights of our favorite moments protecting human health and the environment around our region this past year:

  • Major milestones in the cleanup of the Passaic River in New Jersey: We issued a final plan to remove 3.5 million cubic yards of toxic sediment from the lower 8.3 miles of the Passaic River and secured $165 million to perform the engineering and design work needed to begin the cleanup.
  • Updates to the Worker Protection Standard: We visited farms in both New York and New Jersey and held a meeting with agricultural workers in Utuado, Puerto Rico to highlight the important updates to the standard. Working in farm fields day after day should not be a health risk for farmers, farmworkers, or their families. With these updates, the nation’s two million farmworkers are better protected against toxic pesticide exposure.
  • Great progress in Trash Free Waters: This year, as part of our Trash Free Waters program, we awarded a $365,000 grant to the New England Water Pollution Control Commission and awarded grants in New York and New Jersey. We also held a Microplastics/Citizen Science workshop on October 11 in Syracuse and a Caribbean Recycling Summit on December 1 & 2 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. We’re getting the word out and expanding the conversation about plastic pollution.
    Fortune Society

    Graduates of the Fortune Society’s green jobs training.

  • Green Jobs Training: We provided funding for successful green jobs training programs. Forty students graduated from The Fortune Society’s training in Long Island City and we awarded $120,000 to PUSH Buffalo for green jobs training and environmental education.
  • South Jersey Ice emergency response: We safely removed 9,700 pounds of toxic ammonia gas from a storage and refrigeration facility located in a residential neighborhood and protected the public from potential harm.
  • Protecting Clean Water: In 2016, we gave millions of dollars to New York, New Jersey, and the U.S. Virgin Islands for water infrastructure projects. We also provided more than $1.5 million in funding for projects to help support the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
  • Cutting Diesel Pollution at the Port of San Juan, Puerto Rico: We gave more than $1.6 million to the University of Puerto Rico for projects to reduce air pollution around the Port of San Juan.
  • Progress in the Gowanus Canal Cleanup: We began debris removal in the first step of a multi-year cleanup process.
  • Millions to Preserve and Protect Long Island Sound: We announced $1.3 million in grants to local governments and community groups to improve the health and ecosystem of Long Island Sound. The projects will restore 27 acres of habitat, improve water quality and reduce pollution in the Long Island Sound watershed, one of our nation’s national treasures.
  • Environmental Champion Awards: We recognize the environmental achievements of committed people in our region every year. In 2016, we awarded six people or groups from New Jersey; 28 individuals or groups from New York; seven individuals and organizations from Puerto Rico; and two organizations from the U.S. Virgin Islands. The dedication and accomplishments of these environmental trailblazers is impressive. We will continue to recognize the hard work of people in our region for their commitment to protect public health and the environment. To nominate somebody for the 2017 Environmental Champion Award, visit our website: https://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/epa-region-2-environmental-champion-awards.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed herein are those of the author alone. EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog, nor does EPA endorse the opinions or positions expressed. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content. If you do make changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Flying for the Holidays? Follow our Tips to Manage Your Carbon-Footprint Guilt

By Sophia Rini

I usually avoid travelling for the entire time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. But occasionally it’s unavoidable. Despite taking public transportation to work every day, just one holiday season and it seems like I’ve undone all my good climate karma. The fact is that for those of us who aren’t lucky enough to have family nearby, sometimes flying is the only option. To help my fellow airborne travelers with their jumbo-jet sized guilt, I did some research on how to minimize our environmental impacts, even while travelling in the most un-ecofriendly of ways.

Although some of the suggestions below might seem small, since almost one-quarter of all travel occurs during the holiday season, if everyone followed them, the impacts would certainly add up.

Tips for decreasing the environmental impact of flying:

  • Use electronic tickets whenever possible and save the unnecessary paper.
  • Bring your own water, snacks etc. and pack them in reusable containers. Now that airlines charge for everything, this is both economically and environmentally smart. The last time I was at LaGuardia Airport, I was impressed by a water bottle refill station in one of the terminals. I hope these become more common in public places around the country.
  • Travel light. Don’t bring disposable items or things that will become waste, ask your hosts where you’re going if you need to bring shampoo and other toiletries or if they will be able to share. Alternatively, divvy up the items with your travel companions – your partner can bring the toothpaste, no need for two tubes. Packing lighter means less fuel is used and less shoulder strain too. In addition, consider giving experiences or gift cards rather than lugging a pile of presents across the country.
  • Go before you fly. Use the airport bathroom instead of the one on the plane. I read this tip on the Go Green Blog and though it sounds funny, according to them, the fuel for every mile-high flush could run a car for six miles.
  • Decrease your emissions getting to and from the airport. Take public transportation or carpool.
  • If you can, opt for non-stop flights and avoid flying on older, fuel-guzzling jets like first-generation 737s and MD-80s.
  • Take direct flights. If you do have to stop over, try and have the layover be at an airport that supports recycling or other green initiatives. Chicago O’Hare recently installed an urban garden that is not only visually appealing, but also supplies vegetables to airport restaurants (just in case you didn’t follow tip #2 and forgot to bring your own snacks).
  • Review which airlines are the greenest before purchasing your tickets.
  • Consider participating in a carbon offsetting program. Find out your personal carbon footprint to determine how big an impact your regular lifestyle has on climate change. You can also calculate the extra amount your flight will add to your emissions and choose to offset the carbon dioxide. Carbon offsetting neutralizes the carbon emitted when you travel from point A to point B. Offsetting is performed by organizations that channel funds to carbon-reducing projects such as tree planting or solar panel installation. Remember to investigate the plan before you purchase: check how the donations are used, if the results are guaranteed, and if there is a seal of approval.
O'Hare Garden

The urban garden at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport provides vegetables to the airport restaurants.

Do you have any suggestions for decreasing the environmental impact of airline travel? Add your tips to the comments section.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed herein are those of the author alone. EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog, nor does EPA endorse the opinions or positions expressed. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content. If you do make changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

An Eco-Friendly Holiday Season

By Marilyn Jerome

Travel, shopping, dining and gift-giving are activities that are generally more pronounced during the holidays. Unfortunately, these activities may inadvertently prove challenging to the environment. On a redeeming note, there is an opportunity to partake in seasonal festivities and tradition while also practicing environmentally friendly behavior for the holidays and beyond. Holiday activities such as gift giving and dinner parties needn’t be environmentally harmful if we take deliberate steps toward conscientious behavior. Here are a few tips that one might adopt to create a holiday season that simultaneously supports tradition and environmental stewardship.

Holiday DecorationChoosing to hand-craft gifts rather than purchasing them may hold more meaningful value for some people while providing a more environmentally friendly outcome. Homemade edibles are thoughtful and offer an opportunity to utilize locally grown foods and recyclable materials. For those who enjoy arts and crafts, such as knitting, painting and jewelry making, special customized gifts are always great ideas that reduce the need for intense shopping. Skipping gift wrap for simple bows or useful baskets is also another environmentally conscious choice. A talent may even be given as a gift, through private informal performances among friends and families. There are countless ways in which we can give without creating traffic congestion and overconsumption. These are only a few examples which may further spark your own imagination.

Holiday parties can incorporate environmentally friendly elements through the use of eco-friendly trappings such as, re-usable dinnerware, edible decorations such as popcorn strings and recyclable aluminum foil rather than plastic wrap. If steps like these are collectively adopted huge impacts may be realized in the context of resource management, sustainability and environmental protection, especially so during seasons of historically high economic activity. More conscientious holiday celebrators in the New York Metropolitan area, for instance, may translate into decreased consumption, increased recycling activity and less traffic.

 

About the Author: Marilyn Jerome is a volunteer intern with EPA’s Region 2 Public Affairs Division. She is currently an environmental studies major at Queens College in Flushing, NY.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed herein are those of the author alone. EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog, nor does EPA endorse the opinions or positions expressed. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content. If you do make changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

EPA’s Successful Emergency Response in Vineland, NJ

By Barbara Pualani

Front of South Jersey Ice facility

Front of South Jersey Ice facility

The end of the year is typically a time for reflection – when we think back on the events of the past year and shape our plan for the year to come. When I think back on EPA accomplishments of 2016, one of the first accomplishments that comes to mind is South Jersey Ice & Cold Storage – a successful emergency response in Vineland, New Jersey. It was my first experience working in response to an emergency. Moreover, it is an excellent example of how EPA works hard every day to protect human health and the environment in our local communities.

Emergencies tend to happen at the most inconvenient of times, and this emergency was no different. On July 4, I was celebrating the Independence Day holiday when I got a call from my supervisor asking if I could go to New Jersey to help with Spanish translation in response to an emergency. As a speechwriter, I generally write about emergencies and hardly go out into the field to address them, but I was happy to help out. As public servants, it’s our duty to serve in a myriad of ways.

Ice and frost buildup on refrigeration system

Ice and frost buildup on refrigeration system

I arrived in Vineland, New Jersey the next morning with a colleague. We first met with EPA on-scene coordinator, Dwayne Harrington, who gave us the rundown. South Jersey Ice & Storage, a storage and refrigeration facility, was in a state of disrepair. Excessive ice and frost had accumulated on the cooling coils of the refrigeration system, revealing the risk of a potential release of anhydrous ammonia – a toxic substance that can have serious health effects ranging from itchy eyes to burns and blisters and even death, depending on the level and length of exposure.The concern was that the anhydrous ammonia used in the facility’s refrigeration systems could be released at any moment, exposing residents to the toxic gas. EPA’s duty was to inform residents of the risk and figure out how to safely and securely remove the ammonia from the facility before a toxic release could take place.

Meeting with local officials at the firehouse, we sat down to establish an action plan. My role in this effort lasted one day, but my EPA colleagues would work continually on this emergency response for the next couple of months. In the end, EPA safely relocated 35 residents to nearby hotels, coordinated several daytime evacuations, and safely and securely removed over 9,700 pounds of anhydrous ammonia from the facility. Door-to-door visits and regular updates kept the community informed, and the threat was completely eliminated by the end of August.

U.S. EPA Command Post

U.S. EPA Command Post

Emergency situations are unpredictable, and desired outcomes can often be hard to achieve. Looking back on 2016, I say proudly that EPA’s response in Vineland was impeccable. In the end, I was most impressed by my EPA colleagues, who remained calm, poised, and methodical and kept public health at the top of their list of priorities. This situation is the perfect example of how local, state, and federal officials can effectively work together to safeguard the environment and public health. At EPA, people are at the core of the work that we do – and that’s something to be celebrate.

 

About the author: Barbara Pualani is a speechwriter for EPA Region 2. Prior to joining EPA, she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Dominican Republic. She is a graduate of the University of Northern Colorado and Columbia University.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed herein are those of the author alone. EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog, nor does EPA endorse the opinions or positions expressed. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content. If you do make changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Historic Shipwreck Removed from Gowanus Canal Superfund Site

By Natalie Loney

At the bottom of the murky polluted waters of Gowanus Canal rests the remains of a World War II vessel. How did a WW II boat end up in a canal in Brooklyn, NY?

Recent photograph of the shipwreck.

Recent photograph of the shipwreck. (AHRS, 2016)

This shipwreck is all that’s left of a Miami 63-foot Aircraft Rescue Boat. The “Miami’ boats, designed by the Miami Shipbuilding Corporation, were used at sea in WWII to rescue downed pilots and air crew. The boat in the Gowanus was built in 1943 and was used by the U.S. military until about 1963.

Subsequent to its military service as a “crash boat”, the now Gowanus wreck was refurbished and converted into a ferry. Renamed the Point O’Woods V, the boat was used as a ferry service to Fire Island from 1963 until 1985. In around 1989, the boat became the Kokkomokko and was used as a houseboat in the Bronx until around 2003.

After suffering ice damage, the boat was salvaged and towed to the Gowanus Canal where it became a floating arts and community services space called the Empty Vessel Project. In 2006 the boat, now renamed the Green Anchor Yacht (or more commonly the SS GAY), was used as an arts area, houseboat, and a “queer and trans-friendly space.” It’s believed that the SS GAY sank sometime in 2009.

63’ Aircraft Rescue Boat operating at high speed. (Buhler, 2008)

63’ Aircraft Rescue Boat operating at high speed. (Buhler, 2008)

On October 24, 2016, as part of EPA’s overall plan to clean up the Gowanus Canal, contractors began removing debris from the Gowanus Canal 4th Street turning basin. Unfortunately, the SS GAY was too far gone to be salvaged. Bits and pieces of the vessel where among the first items removed from the canal. The material recovered from the canal was sorted into recyclable and general landfill categories. Hopefully the metal parts of the SS GAY will be recycled into another use and the WW II crash boat will live on.

For more about the Gowanus Canal shipwreck, see “IDENTIFICATION AND HISTORICAL ASSESSMENT OF “TARGET 31a” 4th STREET BASIN, GOWANUS CANAL SUPERFUND SITE, BROOKLYN, NEW YORK”, William Jason Flatt, PE and Michael Audin, RPA, Archaeology & Historic Resource Services, LLC.

 

About the Author: Natalie Loney is a community involvement coordinator in New York City. She has been in Public Affairs since 1995.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed herein are those of the author alone. EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog, nor does EPA endorse the opinions or positions expressed. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content. If you do make changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Unintended Consequences of Transporting Firewood

by Marcia Anderson

Over the past 15 years, exotic insects like the Asian longhorned beetle, emerald ash borer (EAB), and hemlock woolly adelgid have killed millions of trees in cities and forests across the United States. Once established in new areas, these pests can quickly kill trees in our favorite forests, parks, communities, and campgrounds. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that over 30 million ash trees have already been killed by the emerald ash borer in Michigan alone, with millions dead or dying in other states (see related blog).

Split firewood in a backyard Photo: ©L. Greenwood; The Nature Conservancy

Split firewood in a backyard
Photo: ©L. Greenwood; The Nature Conservancy

Firewood has been shown to be an especially troublesome means by which pests are spread. According to the USDA, the best preventative measure to protect our uninfested urban and rural forests from these pests is to limit the movement of infested materials, including firewood.

Firewood is frequently moved long distances by campers and retailers. Not surprisingly, pest infestations are showing up around campgrounds and highway rest areas. In many states, all trees used as firewood are now regulated since they have the potential to harbor invasive insects and diseases.

Firewood has historically been moved with little consideration of the pests it could be harboring. However, the issue is getting increasing attention. This year, USDA and several states put out urgent pleas to avoid transporting firewood.

Emerald ash borer and its damage to an ash tree Image: National Park Service

Emerald ash borer and its damage to an ash tree
Image: National Park Service

To protect forests and trees that are threatened by a host of invasive insects and diseases, regulation has become necessary. While regulations vary by state, they generally include restrictions on importing firewood, the movement of firewood within the state, and the transportation of firewood into state, local and federal parks.

Thirty states have imposed various levels of quarantine as a result of the emerald ash borer. In the Northeast alone, most states have restrictions on the movement of wood products. Other states, including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, and Maryland, have also imposed regulations on the movement and importation of firewood. Some regulations do not allow the transport of wood beyond a 50-mile radius of an EAB-restricted zone. A restricted zone is the quarantine of an infested area that prohibits the movement of logs and firewood outside of the zone. Check USDA’s quarantine map before you move firewood, even to another town. Because EAB does not travel far on its own, limiting human transportation of infested material will slow its spread.

Camping firewood on the move.  Photo: © L. Greenwood; The Nature Conservancy

Camping firewood on the move.
Photo: © L. Greenwood; The Nature Conservancy

It is recommended to use locally-sourced firewood, or firewood that has been confirmed as pest free. Firewood producers and dealers must provide documentation on the source of their firewood. Note that seasoned wood alone is not an adequate treatment method because some insects can survive in untreated firewood for many months. Only firewood that is heat treated, kiln-dried (160° F for at least 75 minutes), is allowed to be brought into parks with source documentation.

Be warned that RVs and other vehicles that have been parked for long periods of time can also harbor tree pests and their eggs. If not removed prior to a road trip, these vehicles can introduce pests into a previously uninfested area. So, take the time to check your vehicle, especially the wheel wells, and remove any insects you find. You can also wash down your camper between trips to help remove any hitchhiking pests.

What is at risk from transporting these pests? The trees in your backyard, along your streets, and in your neighborhood, along with the wildlife that depend on them. In addition, jobs in the timber and forestry industries and manufacturing sector (flooring, cabinets, pallets, and even baseball bats) are impacted. A direct consequence to taxpayers are the costs borne by cities and towns to remove the hazardous trees killed by these pests.

Preventing the spread of pests is one component of an Integrated Pest Management program. Doing your part will help sustain the health of our great forest resources and neighborhood trees.

 

About the Author: Marcia is with EPA’s Center of Expertise for School IPM in Dallas, Texas. She holds a PhD in Environmental Management from Montclair State University along with degrees in Biology, Environmental Design, Landscape Architecture, and Instruction and Curriculum. Marcia was formerly with the EPA Region 2 Pesticides Program and has been a professor of Earth and Environmental Studies, Geology, and Oceanography at several universities.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed herein are those of the author alone. EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog, nor does EPA endorse the opinions or positions expressed. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content. If you do make changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Are You a Foodie?

By Linda Mauel

Do you love food? New York has some of the best in the world. I’m a foodie! I admit it! I love the look, taste, smell and textures of it all. And we are entering the time of year that this foodie both loves and hates, looks forward to and dreads – all at the same time. You see, I am, to put it kindly, overweight. So, instead of waiting until the new year and my New Year’s resolution, which has been long ago titled “here we go again,”, I decided to get ahead of it all this year. I joined a weight reduction program the beginning of November. (Yes, I had to get Halloween out of the way first.)

ThanksgivingFoodSo, I am sitting at the hair dresser’s after joining the program and am trying to figure out how to make it work this time. Don’t get me wrong, I have been very successful many other times…until I wasn’t. Looking in the mirror, I decided that I am just too old to stay on this roller coaster and it is time to, borrowing a popular phrase, just do it. Having time on my hands while in the chair, I decided it was high time to figure out what contributed to my past successes and then what changed, resulting in long term failure.

Let’s see. Each time I began by setting some goals (lose weight, get fit, learn to like the new life style), objectives (follow the program, lose X pounds, do Y minutes of activity) and criteria (measure change in pounds per week, change in inches per month, changes in bloodwork per six months), then I learned how to proceed (attend meetings, read material, plan meals and set activities), how and what to measure (what I ate, how it counted towards my daily allotment, minutes activity conducted) and how to keep track of it all (record what I measured).

QA2With all my years in Quality Assurance, I should have known. I had prepared and followed a Quality Assurance Project Plan (aka a QAPP)! And I was doing really good! Then I became cocky and slowly stopped planning, measuring, learning, and tracking. I “remembered” or guesstimated, decided I did not need to go to the meetings or follow the criteria I originally set. Or in other words, I stopped following the QAPP! That’s when it fell apart!

Quality Assurance (QA) and its tools, such as the QAPP, is to many people what this time of year is for this foodie – it is loved and hated, looked forward to and dreaded. Preparing and using a QAPP takes a little extra time but, as shown above, sticking with it will help you to succeed by encouraging you to do what you say you’ll do.  And as discussed above, if it moves (like me) – train it, if it doesn’t move (like my food scale) – calibrate it, and no matter what (like my food and activity choices) – document it. And I can vouch firsthand that if you (and I) stick with the QAPP, your next project, like my weight loss adventure, will be a success!

Have a successful World Quality Month, Happy Holiday Season, and Healthy New Year!

 

About the Author: Linda Mauel serves as the region’s Science Integrity & Quality Assurance Manager. She works in the Division of Environmental Science and Assessment out of EPA’s Edison Environmental Center. Linda holds a BS in Chemical Engineering and a BA in Chemistry from Rutgers University. She worked in the private sector for 11 years then began her 25+ year career with EPA, 23+ in the quality assurance program.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed herein are those of the author alone. EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog, nor does EPA endorse the opinions or positions expressed. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content. If you do make changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.