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Zachary Matson
Water reporter
East Branch of the Ausable River. Explorer file photo.

The massive federal spending law passed by Congress last month contained a handful of earmarks directing money to North Country projects, including Ausable River restoration efforts.

The Ausable River Association garnered $2 million to continue restoration projects in Jay and to carry out a comprehensive study of the East Branch in Keene, a project the town has twice failed to get funded in state programs. The funding ball got rolling after Jay Supervisor Matt Stanley sought solutions in the wake of ice jam flooding in Ausable Forks last year. 

While Rep. Elise Stefanik railed against the spending bill, calling it “reckless,” she helped guarantee about $28 million in earmarks to environmental and infrastructure projects in her district. Funding will go to broadband access in Franklin and Washington counties, water infrastructure in Ticonderoga and a police station in Moriah. 

In other Washington news, a slow-moving project to create an invasive species barrier in the Champlain Canal is moving into a new phase this year as planning starts a more detailed engineering and environmental review.


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New research raises concerns about exposure to "forever chemicals" in freshwater fish. Explorer file photo

Is the fish safe to eat?

Environmental Working Group, a Washington-based environmental nonprofit, today published a study and map of “forever chemicals” known as PFAS in freshwater fish samples across the country. Researchers found that fresh-caught fish contained significantly higher levels of PFAS than in commercial seafood (278x). Eating one freshwater fish would be the equivalent of drinking water with elevated PFAS levels for an entire month, the researchers concluded.  

The organization published an interactive map in tandem with a scientific paper evaluating hundreds of fish samples across the U.S. The nonprofit noted that the consequences of PFAS in freshwater fish would be disproportionately carried by communities that relied on freshwater fish for sustenance or traditional practice. 

The data in the map does not appear to include samples directly from the Adirondack Park, but it does include samples from the Hudson River just south of the Blue Line and from the Winooski River in Burlington, which flows to Lake Champlain.

Those samples, taken in either 2008 or 2014, showed total PFAS in freshwater fish filet samples ranging from 3,500 parts per trillion to 14,000 ppt. Samples from the Great Lakes were even higher, registering total PFAS levels at 30,000 ppt or higher. Levels were higher in samples further down the Hudson River.

Let me know if you know of any good sources on PFAS exposure in the Adirondacks. 


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