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Champlain Canal

A pleasure boat motors south on the Champlain Canal between the Route 149 bridge and Lock 9 in Kingsbury in September 2012. The state plans to dredge and deepen nearly 23 miles of the Champlain Canal between Whitehall and Fort Edward in Washington County, but permits are still with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Navigational dredging of the Champlain Canal is still in limbo, the public learned at a meeting in Schuylerville on Thursday.

James Candiloro, director of environmental health and safety for the New York Power Authority, which now oversees the state Canal Corp., said permits to dredge from Whitehall to Waterford are in the hands of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Candiloro told members of the community advisory group for the Hudson River PCBs Superfund site, that it’s been about two years since he’s provided the group with an update. There are two permits, one for dredging from Fort Edward to Waterford, and one for dredging from Fort Edward to Whitehall.

Both, he said, were out for public comment and the power authority has answered questions the Army Corps of Engineers had.

Rob Goldman, principal of the New York State Marine Highway Transportation Company, asked Candiloro what the holdup was.

“Why are they dragging their feet?” he continued, referring to the Army Corps.

“I don’t know,” Candiloro said.

Julie Stokes, with the Schuylerville Area Chamber of Commerce, asked what could be done to move the project along. She said the dredging was important to local municipalities for opening up the canal and river.

The canal has filled with sediment, making the water as shallow as 4 feet in some areas, though its approved depth is a minimum of 12 feet, according to previous reports.

Some members of the community advisory group planned to send a letter to the Army Corps asking for an update on the permits. Once the permits are approved, Candiloro said the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s Division of Water would also have to review them.

Remembering Robert Flacke

Local leaders are still mourning the loss of Robert Flacke, the former DEC commissioner and chairman of the Adirondack Park Agency, who died Saturday at his home in Lake George.

Current DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos called him “an undisputed environmental champion,” and praised his life’s work promoting the natural beauty of the Adirondacks and the rest of the state.

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Robert F. Flacke

Flacke

“Bob Flacke recognized what the rest of the world now celebrates — the inarguable uniqueness of the Adirondack Park and its central role in New York’s history and our future,” Seggos said in a statement. “As DEC commissioner, he helped establish DEC as the state’s regulator by properly recognizing environmental crimes as actual crimes, holding polluters accountable and working to protect New Yorkers after the discovery of contamination at Love Canal. On behalf of a grateful department, I extend our condolences to the Flacke family.”

Calling hours for Flacke are scheduled from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at Sacred Heart Church, Lake George, according to his obituary. A Mass of Christian Burial is set for 10 a.m. Saturday, also at the church.

Trail markers vandalized

The Lake George Land Conservancy warned hikers on its Twitter page Tuesday that trail markers on Cat Mountain’s Red Trail have been vandalized.

The marks had been painted over with black paint from the Edgecomb Pond lot to the Bolton/DEC property boundary. The conservancy said the trail is still open, but cautioned hikers to be sure to have a trail map and understanding of the route.

Markers will be replaced as soon as possible, the conservancy added.

Environmental Excellence Awards

The 14th New York State Environmental Excellence Awards will be held at 1 p.m. Wednesday at Skidmore College.

The DEC said it will recognize a Warren County ski area, a SUNY medical center, a wastewater control district, a community college and a government partnership.

Nature Conservancy news

David Conlan has been hired as the new director of communications and community engagement for the Nature Conservancy’s Adirondack Chapter, according to a news release.

Conlan works out of the Keene Valley office and reports to the chapter’s executive director, Peg Olsen.

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David Conlan

David Conlan is the new director of communications and community engagement for the Nature Conservancy's Adirondack Chapter.

“I look forward to working with colleagues at the conservancy and our partners in the community to achieve our collective conservation goals,” he said in the release. “The Adirondack Park is an incredible destination and ecosystem for both nature and people and I am honored to be a part of an organization that cares about both.”

Conlan was most recently the director of client services at Adworkshop, a digital marketing agency in Lake Placid. He is a former international high-altitude mountaineering guide, whitewater kayak instructor and professional ski patrolman. He is a current National Outdoor Leadership School wilderness medicine instructor.

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Reporter Gwendolyn Craig can be reached at (518) 742-3238 or gcraig@poststar.com. Follow her on Twitter @gwendolynnn1.

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