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Preserving nature’s gifts

Spotlight begins four-part series on Environmental Council’s 40th anniversary

— Over the years, the areas SCEAC focus on has changed and retuned to previous concerns. Since volunteers run the council, Werner said the direction of the council can be affected by the members.

There are term limits, though, so she said “new blood and new ideas” can enter into the council’s priorities and provide different insights. General committee members can serve two three-year terms and officers, such as Werner, can only serve two two-year terms.

The current report focuses on air and energy, water, environmental restoration, toxins in the environment, solid waste management and recycling, open space and land use. Also, for the first time SCEAC looks at invasive species in the county.

Invasive species include plants, insects and aquatic life. Some of the invasive species found in the county include common carp, goldfish, curly pondweed, morrow honeysuckle, Japanese stiltgrass, garlic mustard and even the divine-sounding tree of heaven.

County Legislature Majority Leader Gary Hughes during the Monday, Aug. 1, meeting applauded the work done by SCEAC over the past 40 years and the information in the current report.

“It is an impressive report and an impressive body of work over 40 years. As you look around the county, it is very clear that SCEAC plays an important role in terms of setting environmental priorities for this body,” said Hughes.

In the coming weeks, The Spotlight will be reporting on a few areas of the report to highlight how the county has dealt with environmental management.

In next week’s paper the focus will be on impaired water bodies in the county. Impaired water bodies is a Department of Environmental Conservation classification for bodies of water that frequently don’t support appropriate functions. Also focused on will be stressed water bodies, which do support appropriate uses but other water quality impacts are apparent. There are a total of eight water bodies in the county with falling into stressed or impaired classifications.

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