Smokies foresters waging war on hemlock adelgid pests
By Morgan Simmons
TOWNSEND, Tenn. — Christmas came early to the hemlocks in Cades Cove this
week in the form of a horticultural spray that rids the trees of an exotic
insect that has spread throughout the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
On Thursday the National Park Service wrapped up its second day of
hemlock woolly adelgid treatment in Cades Cove. Since 2002 when it was
discovered near Fontana Lake in North Carolina, the tiny Asian insect has
decimated the park’s hemlocks, prompting retaliatory measures that includes
treating roadside trees with a spray that coats the adelgids with soap and
oil and causes them to suffocate.
In addition to Cades Cove, the park’s frontcountry efforts to save the
hemlocks includes picnic areas, cemeteries, and campground. A select number
of trees are treated in the park’s backcountry, too, but with a systemic
insecticide that must be applied by hand.....
Explosives brought in to topple dead hemlocks
RALEIGH, N.C. — A years-long battle to save hemlocks in the Appalachian
Mountains from a tree-killing pest has some new weapons: duct tape, a
helicopter, explosives and a fresh arsenal of chemicals.
U.S. Forest Service personnel are working this week in the Joyce Kilmer
Memorial Forest to eliminate some of the casualties of the struggle with an
invasive insect called the woolly adelgid. About 150 dead hemlocks — some of
them centuries old — threaten to tumble onto a popular trail frequented by
about 35,000 visitors each year.
Steve Lohr, the district ranger who oversees hundreds of thousands of
acres of national forest in the region, said duct-taping explosives to the
trees appears to be the safest way to knock them over. It’s an uncommon
technique but carries the added benefit of leaving a jagged stump for a more
“Since it’s in wilderness, we want it to look as natural as possible,”
Meanwhile, officials are redoubling their efforts to save what’s left of
the decimated hemlock population. For years, massive numbers of hemlocks
have been killed off by the speck-sized adelgid, a bug thought to have come
from Asia a century ago that seeks nutrients inside the trees.
The aphid-like insects are thought to have arrived on ornamental plants
imported from Japan in the 1920s. They showed up in urban landscaping in
Virginia in the 1950s and spread through the wild in ensuing years to parts
of the Northeast, the Carolinas and Tennessee.
For more click here:
Scientists call on regulators to stop permitting mountaintop removal
mines in Appalachia
A group of scientists called on the federal government Thursday to stop
mountaintop removal mining, arguing dozens of existing studies on the
practice prove its ecological impacts are "pervasive and irreversible."
Coal mining permits are in the preliminary stage for
issuing for WaldensRidge's Rock Creek and McGill Creek
To find out more click here
We now have Bear on the Southern Side of the Sequatchie
Valley Runs : )
To find out more click here
More bad news for the Eastern Hemlock
Monday, Dec. 7, 2009
Daunting threat to
save timber: From News-Free Press
The hemlock woolly adelgid has spread into Southeast
Tennessee and North Georgia and foresters fear the
worst: the possible loss of some of the Cumberland
Plateau region's most graceful evergreen trees,
eastern and Canadian hemlocks.
Walden on Signal
Mountain already has a large and growing
infestation. The parasite also has been found on
It's hard to feel sorry for them....
Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009
Property auction ‘disappoints’ seller-From News-Free Press
From News-Free Press
By Dave Flessner
DUNLAP, Tenn. — The owners of a 1,250-acre wilderness site along the
Cumberland Plateau sold only about one fourth of their property here today
after a land auction for 341 acres of lakefront sites netted the sellers
less than $1 million.
During an absolute auction here today,
Here is more about their failed attempt to develop Walden's Ridge
State, company reach tentative deal on Cumberland Trail mining dispute
Friday, November 27, 2009 9:51 AM
(Source: Chattanooga Times/Free Press)By
Andy Sher, Chattanooga Times Free Press, Tenn.
Nov. 27--NASHVILLE -- Tennessee officials tentatively have agreed to pay
a Florida-based company $500,000 for partial mineral rights to about 4,200
acres along Walden's Ridge near Soddy-Daisy.
If accepted by the state and the company, Lahiere-Hill LLC of Florida,
the agreement would end a nearly three-year court battle over the company's
"harvesting," or commercial digging, of what's known as "mountain stone" in
and around Cumberland Trail State Park. Such stone has become very popular
for use in home patios, fireplaces and facades
Cultured Stone vs. Mountain Stone
Why should you use a Cultured Stone type
product instead of Mountain Stone? It’s an
easy call. Cultured Stone only comes from
The rocks are taken off casts of real rocks,
and then they are cast. Cultured Stone rocks
are easier to work with, lighter, with less
chance of smashing your fingers and it’s
quicker to install, and is very hard to tell
real rock from man-made rock. If it’s
quicker, then it saves you money by saving
costly installation labor.
The article below is the same
plight we are in with the
Hemlock Woolly Adelgid
Forests fall to beetle
MEDICINE BOW NATIONAL
FOREST, Wyoming (Reuters) -
From the vantage point of an
80-foot (25 meter) tower
rising above the trees, the
Wyoming vista seems idyllic:
snow-capped peaks in the
distance give way to
shimmering green spruce.
But this is a forest
under siege. Among the green
foliage of the healthy
spruce are the orange-red
needles of the sick and the
dead, victims of a beetle
infestation closely related
to one that has already laid
waste to millions of acres
(hectares) of pine forest in
Coal miners boycotting Tennessee tourist
Associated Press (AP)
- Frankfort Bureau Frankfort, KY Alford, Roger
THIS ARTICLE APPEARED IN
MEDIA OUTLETS IN THE VALLEY.
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITERS
BRIAN FARKAS AND TIM HUBER IN CHARLESTON, W.
WV. AND DUNCAN MANSFIELD
IN KNOXVILLE, TENN., CONTRIBUTED TO THIS REPORT.
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) —
Angry Appalachian coal miners are refusing to
vacation in Tennessee because they say one of
that state's political leaders wants to
eliminate needed jobs by banning mountaintop
Republican U.S. Sen.
Lamar Alexander is sponsoring legislation that
would bar coal companies from the controversial
mining practice that involves blasting away
mountaintops to unearth coal and dumping dirt,
rock and trees into the valleys beneath. Such a
ban would effectively halt the destructive form
Miners in Kentucky,
Ohio, West Virginia and Virginia are taking part
in the protest, said Roger Horton, director of
Citizens for Coal, the pro-coal advocacy group
that organized the boycott.
Horton, a miner on a
mountaintop-removal operation in West Virginia,
said some 5,000 coal miners already have joined
the week-old boycott, which he hopes will spread
to involve all of the nation's 81,000 coal
The boycott will
continue, Horton said, until Alexander relents.
"He needs to mind his
own business," Horton said. "Why fool with us?
We have good congressmen and senators here who
know what's best for West Virginia. We don't
need his interference."
But Alexander said
Appalachia's mountaintops should be preserved,
"I understand their
feelings," Alexander told The Associated Press
on Friday. "But I have feelings, too. And my
feelings are that millions of people come to
Tennessee to see the beauty of the mountaintops
and not to see mountains whose tops have been
blown off with the waste dumped in our streams —
which is all I am trying to stop."
Coal isn't the huge
employer in Tennessee that it is in other
Appalachian states. Tennessee has just over 500
miners. West Virginia has more than 20,000. And
Kentucky has about 17,000.
Horton said he believes
if enough people forgo trips to the Great Smoky
Mountains and to popular tourist destinations
around Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, including
Dollywood, that Alexander would feel pressure to
abandon the legislation.
Association President Bill Caylor said he
expects the boycott to grow.
"We're hoping that
people will stop giving business to a state that
wants to eliminate the coal industry," Caylor
said. "That's just common sense. If somebody
wants to end your livelihood, then why should
you give them business?"
Democratic state Rep.
Fitz Steele, a former miner in the eastern
Kentucky coalfields, said the boycott is gaining
steam beyond the miners themselves. Store
clerks, waitresses, even politicians whose
livelihoods are affected by mining are taking
"I won't be going to
Tennessee," Steele said. "Mining has benefited
our area. It's given our people jobs."
In Logan County, W.Va.,
county administrator Rocky Adkins has canceled a
planned visit to Pigeon Forge later this month.
Adkins serves one of the nation's largest
"Because of the stance
of the senator has taken to abolish my job, I
could not in good conscience spend my money in
the great state of Tennessee," he said.
Mining communities along
the Kentucky-Tennessee border, where interstate
trade is the norm, don't appear as eager to join
TECO Coal, with
headquarters near the Tennessee border,
initially announced that it had joined the
boycott, saying the legislation hurts miners and
businesses in the region. Days later, however,
the company relented, and spokesman Jim J.
Shackleford issued a statement of apology.
"We regret our previous action, which was an
emotional response that doesn't benefit our
1,200 employees, the eastern Kentucky
communities we support, the environment we work
to protect or our neighbors in Tennes
Bill on streams falls one vote short
- Nashville Bureau, The Nashville, TN Humphrey,
OPPONENT SAYS IT WAS
INTENDED TO HELP COAL COMPANY
NASHVILLE - A bill
legalizing the release of more selenium into
Tennessee streams fell one vote short of passage
Wednesday amid claims that approval would mean
poisoning the waters to help a coal company win
a lawsuit. The 49-41 vote, just shy of the 50
needed for approval, came after more than two
hours of debate.
Sponsor Rep. Joe McCord,
R-Maryville, said afterward that he is uncertain
whether to bring the bill back to the floor for
The sharpest attack on
the bill came in an impassioned speech by Rep.
He said the measure is
intended to help Knoxville-based National Coal
Co., accused in a lawsuit of selenium releases
violating the current lower standards on 13
The state's current
standard is 5 parts per million. The bill calls
for the state Water Quality Control Board to set
the standard at 7.9 parts per million, the level
designated in a 2004 Environmental Protection
Agency draft proposal that was never adopted.
scientists' research indicates that the 7.9
level is "13 times greater than recommended for
protection aquatic life" and projects that 85
percent of fish in a stream with that level of
the naturally occurring mineral would die.
legislatively mandate an increase in toxic
selenium levels, something we have never done
before with any toxic substance, ever," he said.
confusion in the lawsuit, the bill would also
allow National Coal to continue "discharging at
dangerous levels" under three current coal
mining permits, McDonald said.
"The more they can
delay, the more they can poison the water," he
But McCord said the
bill would have no effect on the lawsuit and
that it was "insulting" - both to himself and
the Tennessee Department of Environment and
Conservation - to suggest that the bill would
kill 85 percent of fish in a stream and damage
"That is just
absolutely ludicrous," he said. "(TDEC) would
not allow for something that crazy." TDEC has
been neutral on the bill after McCord and coal
industry supporters of the bill made some
changes from the original. There were several
attempts to amend the bill that were defeated
after McCord spoke against them. One amendment,
proposed by Rep. Joe Towns, D-Memphis, would
have doubled the penalty for violating selenium
pollution standards to $20,000 per day. At one
point, Rep. Dennis Ferguson, D-Harriman,
proposed an amendment to require testing for
selenium in fish and wildlife every two miles
along the Tennessee River downstream from the
recent coal ash spill at TVA's Kingston Fossil
Plant. Ferguson won a preliminary vote on his
amendment, but wound up withdrawing it after a
long discussion - including McCord expressing
Environmental bill could
kill wildlife, scientist says
Many largemouth bass,
bluegill and other sensitive fish species would
be dead before a coal-related pollutant even
reached the level that state lawmakers are
poised to allow in the environment, a scientist
told a legislative committee. The Senate sponsor
of the bill received campaign financing from the
head of the National Coal Co., which has a
lawsuit pending about the potentially toxic
substance at a mining site. That sponsor, Sen.
Ken Yager, R-Harriman, has declined for three
weeks to return telephone calls from The
Tennessean. At least six messages have been left
with his staff.
At issue is an element
called selenium, a substance in nature that is
beneficial in trace amounts but can be toxic
when unlocked from coal and released in large
amounts at mining and coal ash sites. “The
bottom line is – their number's too high,” said
Dennis Lemly, a biologist with the U.S. Forest
Service and Wake Forest. He had testified
earlier in the day to the House Conservation &
Environment Committee, which was considering and
then voted against re-hearing the bill that it
passed earlier this session. The next step is to
go to the full House, where the bill is
scheduled to be heard at 9 a.m. today.
The proposal (House
Bill 1204 and Senate Bill 1331, which already
passed the full Senate) would change the state's
way of measuring legal limits of selenium from
the amount found in water to the amount found in
fish tissue. Up to 7.5 parts per million would
be allowed in the fish. The numbers come from a
draft EPA rule that the federal agency neither
recommends states follow nor has proposed to
make final at this point. It was based on
studies that Lemly did. He says, however, that
his research was misinterpreted, and that the
agency has yet to properly replicate his work
using its own research.
Another biologist, Steve
Canton, with GEI Consultants in Colorado, who
testified earlier this session, had another
take. “I don't think the EPA criteria is fatally
flawed,” he said in a telephone interview
Tuesday. Another more recent study showed that
the levels could safely be as high as 9 or 10
parts per million in fish tissue, he said. The
numbers that EPA might adopt are still being
considered, but testing fish tissue rather than
water is a generally accepted advance in
determining potential levels of harm, he said.
Also, the bill calls
for Tennessee adjusting its rule whenever the
EPA changes the federal criteria. “The state
would always use the most up-to-date science,”
he said. Lemly said that the later research
referred to was conducted under conditions in
which fish had fewer natural stressors, such as
decreased daylight in wintertime. Also, wildlife
was never considered in the EPA draft, he said.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service research shows
that 85% of sensitive species, including mallard
ducks, could die at the levels Tennessee
lawmakers want applied.
Lemly's own research
with bluegill and largemouth bass indicates that
40% of these would die with levels at 5.8 parts
per million in their bodies.The Tennessee
Department of Environment and Conservation has,
to the annoyance of both those opposed and
against the proposal, neither endorsed nor
opposed the bill. The Sierra Club, Save Our
Cumberland Mountains and Tennessee Clean Water
Network filed a lawsuit last fall against
National Coal for releasing selenium-tainted
water into creeks around its Zeb Mountain
These East Tennessee
creeks flow into tributaries of the Cumberland
River that passes through Nashville. Rep. Mike
McDonald, D-Portland, said the selenium proposal
is all about the lawsuit. “It causes confusion
and delays in court and allows mining companies
to continue releasing dangerous levels of
selenium,” he said.
National Coal Co.
officials did not return telephone calls or an
email on Tuesday, but a spokeswoman said last
month that it was not behind the proposed
legislation. “We couldn't be,” said Christine
Pietryla, for National Coal. “Only senators and
legislators are behind legislation. “Whether
we're in favor of it is a different story.
Without reading the bill, I don't know.”
YAGER TAKES NATIONAL
COAL CHIEF'S MONEY
Yager received the
maximum $1,000 from Daniel A. Roling, president
and CEO of National Coal, in January 2009. He
also received $1,000 campaign contribution in
September 2008, from Jon Nix, a former president
and former board member of National Coal. The
House sponsor of the bill, Rep. Joe McCord,
R-Maryville, received no money from either,
according to state information. Chuck Laine,
executive director for the Tennessee Mining
Association, said the bill is a result of the
state starting to check selenium levels at
mining operations. He said old EPA criteria from
the 1980s are being used and that the draft
criteria are the best science available.
“We don't mind
standards,” he said. “We want to follow the
rules, but the standards are flawed.” He said
the EPA will have to approve anything the state
Brian Paddock, a
volunteer representative of the Sierra Club,
called it “worrisome” that lawmakers would
consider the bill, particularly after TVA's
Kingston coal ash spill, where 5.4 million cubic
yards of the waste tumbled into the Emory River
and onto nearby land.
Selenium is one of the
pollutants that have been found in the water
Senate bill targets mountaintop mining
Chattanooga Times Free Press
Sens. Lamar Alexander, RTenn., and Benjamin L. Cardin, D-Md.,
have introduced legislation that could halt
The Appalachia Restoration Act would amend
the Clean Water Act to prohibit the dumping
of mining waste and “fill” into headwater
streams and rivers.
“Coal is an essential part of our energy
future, but it is not necessary to destroy
our mountaintops in order to have enough
coal,” Sen. Alexander said in a prepared
He said the bill does not ban other methods
of coal mining, but instead would prevent
this particular type.
Carol Raulston, spokeswoman for the National
Mining Association, disagreed and said the
bill, even if limited only to mountaintop
mining, would idle 14,000 miners in
“As we read his bill, it would make it
impossible to get a surface mining permit
for any kind of mining,” she said. “The
prohibition to dump fill would make it
impossible to mine, so we obviously would
oppose the bill.”
Sen. Alexander is a member of the Water and
Wildlife Subcommittee of the Committee on
Environment and Public Works, which has
jurisdiction over the issue.
Introduced just days after the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency said it
plans to take a closer look at pending
permit requests for mountaintop mining
operations, the bill brought praise from
Dr. Matthew Wasson, director of programs at
the environmental nonprofit group
Appalachian Voices, said protecting streams
from what he calls an extreme form of mining
will restore the economy, not hurt it.
“This is not an either/or choice.” he said.
“Mountaintop removal does the same thing to
our economy that it does to our mountains.
Ending mountaintop removal will allow
sustainable, long-term economic growth to
flourish in Appalachia.”
Sen. Alexander's statement said mountaintop
mining produces less than 5 percent of the
coal mined in the United States.
“Millions of tourists spend tens of millions
of dollars in Tennessee every year to enjoy
the natural beauty of our mountains — a
beauty that, for me, and I believe for most
Tennesseans, makes us proud to live here,”
the senator said.
Bredesen proposes coal mining limits
Roger Alford/Associated Press
State measure would bar such work
Tom Humphrey (Contact)
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
NASHVILLE - Gov. Phil Bredesen's
administration on Tuesday proposed
legislation that would ban coal
mining within 100 feet of streams
and in areas where acid drainage
could enter a watershed.
proposal came in the form of an
amendment attached to HB2300 in the
House Environment Subcommittee,
which then approved the measure
"This is a reasonable and
balanced approach," said House
Environment and Conservation
Committee Chairman Joe McCord of
Maryville, a Republican handling the
bill for the Democratic governor.
McCord said the administration
had worked with both coal mining
industry representatives and
environmentalists in crafting what
he sees as a compromise.
Representatives for the two sides
New chestnut trees may reclaim forests
Crossbreed resistant to blight that wreaked
havoc in early 1900s
After decades of selective breeding and
countless hours of field work, researchers
believe they have developed an American chestnut
tree that is ready to reclaim the Appalachian
The first batch of these blight-resistant
Tennessee: State wants damages for rock
From the Chattanooga Times Free Press
By: Pam Sohn
Tennessee officials want to amend a legal
complaint over rock mining to seek
additional damages now that mining has
continued in the Cumberland Trail State Park
for more than 18 months.
The request to amend the state’s initial
complaint says Hamilton County Chancellor
Frank Brown’s ruling
Rock-versus-mineral dispute may go to
CHATTANOOGA - A judge in a long-running legal
fight over mineral rights and the mining of
mountain stone in Sequatchie County said he is
waiting to see if the attorneys want a trial.
Chattanooga Chancery Judge Howell N. Peoples
said the next move in the three-year dispute is
in the hands of the attorneys.
Peoples has ruled that a recent Tennessee
Appeals Court case involving rock mining in the
Cumberland Trail State Park likely will
influence the outcome of the dispute between
George Avery Land and the Tracy McDaniel family.
Tennessee lawmakers this year delayed a
measure to regulate harvesting the mountain
stone that has become popular in landscaping and
Land's attorney said no decision has been
made about a trial.
McDaniel told the Chattanooga Times Free
Press that the question to be answered is
whether owning property means any more than
owning "the air above the property."
Adelgid battle can't save every
The trees in Albright Grove are among the
oldest Two miles up a gently sloping trail,
it's one of the most accessible old-growth
forests in the park, a place where even in
summer, the air feels moist and cool.
Photo By Bob Fowler
Mountain Top Removal:
Click on the picture to watch a
grassroots YouTube video. It is
about the Whitwell seam, that
affects acid run-off on the
mountain. The area discussed in the
video is the same area,where a pump
storage power plant was proposed 10 years
ago by Armstrong Power (non-defunct
). For the last 20 years various
industries have tried to get at this
vast coal seam even TVA before
Raccoon Mountain was built. It would ruin the
Rock Creek watershed forever. McGill
Creek has already been ruined from
the Whitwell Shale.
Want to know more about Mountain
Top Removal in the area?
fish found in Soddy, Piney and Sale
populations occur in the Sale Creek
system (Horn Branch of Rock Creek,
Cupp Creek), one in the Soddy Creek
system, and three in the Piney River
system (Bumbee, Mocassin and Young's
of a Laurel
It may go on
says it will
hear it will
New candidate for
endangered species act?
Not all the BoWater land was
Driving up and hiking at the Stinging Fork
trailhead I saw these signs, 6.67 Acre tracts
for sale, they were auctioned off this summer.
Someone will have the State Park for a neighbor
and be on top of each other. So they can live in
country to get away from each other. Bizarro
logic for sure. Meanwhile the Ridge gets more
I removed the phone numbers I'm not going to
help them advertise.