Monthly Archives: July 2016

Massachusetts Drought Entering 4th Week

News Update Icon for BlogSTATE HOUSE, BOSTON, JULY 21, 2016…..Long, hot, rainless days mean plenty of time for people to enjoy the outdoors, but the mostly pleasant summer weather is disguising an underlying problem.

“I hope everybody has a chance to enjoy the rest of this beautiful summer,” Gov. Charlie Baker said Thursday, before catching himself. “I get the fact that it’s creating drought issues okay, which we worry about a lot. I mean, there’s the downer,” the governor added.

Jennifer Pederson, executive director of the 1,100-member Massachusetts Water Works Association, which includes public works officials and consulting engineers, told the News Service this week that it’s the first time in her 10 years on the job that the state has advanced beyond a drought advisory into a drought watch.

“I think people are taking it pretty seriously,” said Pederson, noting the prevalence of voluntary and mandatory water restrictions and the ramping up of such restrictions as the drought drags on.

Citing “four continuous months of unusually dry weather,” Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton on July 8 issued a drought watch for the central and northeast regions and a drought advisory for the Connecticut River and southeast regions. The drought is retroactive to July 1.

A warning, the third of five drought conditions, is issued in connection with “extremely low groundwater and streamflow levels resulting from a precipitation deficit of nearly ten inches over the past 12 months, including a lack of snowfall.”

Beaton warned that drought “can contribute to lasting agricultural, environmental, and economic impacts, and also raise serious public safety concerns.” Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) Director Kurt Schwartz earlier this month urged “extreme caution with outdoor burning,” saying the threat of wildfires had increased.

Worcester’s reservoir system was at 69.7 percent capacity on Wednesday. The average July 1 capacity is 95.7 percent and the average on Aug. 1 is 88.3 percent. Before the dawn of an extremely dry July, Worcester had received 17.1 inches of rain over the first half of 2016, down from the 24-year average of 24.6 inches.

“The reservoir capacity is now below the Stage 2 Drought Warning trigger level established in the Drought Contingency Plan and weather trends show little indications of relief,” Worcester officials wrote on the city’s website. “In order to assure the long term availability of water to meet critical health, safety and economic needs of the City it is necessary to implement further restrictions on non-critical outdoor water use and water wasting activities.”

According to the city’s mandatory outdoor irrigation schedule, properties with odd-numbered addresses may water no more than once on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays either before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. Properties with even-numbered addresses may water no more than once on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays either before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. And no watering may occur between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on allowed watering days. Also, no residents are permitted to water on Mondays.

The city hopes to achieve a 10-15 percent reduction in water use.

Across Massachusetts, restrictions vary by water system and are influenced by Water Management Act permits, Pederson said, with more stringent conditions in place in systems with capacity and demand issues. Non-public water supply permit holders such as golf courses, industrial, commercial, or agricultural users have been advised to review their permits for water use restriction requirements.

In some communities, officials are having trouble because some water users are not abiding by restrictions, Pederson said. Fines have been issued in Billerica, she said.

More than 33 million people in the Northeast are living in drought areas, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. The National Weather Service tweeted Thursday that “Rainfall deficits and drought continue to expand across the Northeast and southern Appalachians into the Southeast.”

The Massachusetts Drought Management Task Force is scheduled to meet next in Boston on Aug. 11.

GOLF Registration is Open!

Golfer Icon for BlogThis year we will host our 11th Annual Golf Outing on Thursday, August 18th at award winning Shining Rock Golf Club in Northbridge, MA.  We will play an 18-hole Shotgun format followed by refreshments, lunch, awards and lots of great prizes.  Join us for a well deserved break from the busy season.  It is a fun and relaxing day.  Besides where else can you hang out with over 100 other people who actually understand what you do and why you do it?!

Online Registration, Sponsorship and Payment Now Available
R E G I S T E R  A  F O U R S O M E   AND   S A V E  $50!
D E A D L I N E   I S   A U G U S T  17th
Register NOW!  Register HERE!

MA Drought Status Update

News Update Icon for BlogJuly 8, 2016 – Massachusetts Environmental and Energy Affairs (EEA) Secretary Matt Beaton issued a drought declaration today for four regions of the state per the recommendation of the MA Drought Management Task Force.  Water suppliers with Water Management Act permits may have permit conditions requiring further restrictions on non-essential water use.  For the full text of the MA Drought Management Plan visit:  http://www.mass.gov/eea/docs/eea/wrc/droughtplan.pdf

The complete drought declaration can be viewed at: http://www.mass.gov/eea/pr-2016/drought-watch-drought-advisory-issued.html

 

MA Drought Status

July 7, 2016 – There was a MA Drought Management Task Force meeting today to assess conditions throughout the region and to determine if an official drought declaration needed to be made.  Drought declarations are made by looking at a number of indices including water supply conditions, precipitation, streamflow, groundwater, fire danger and crop moisture.

According to Jennifer Pederson, Executive Director of MWWA, the Task Force will recommend to the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) that a Drought Watch be declared in the Central and Northeast Regions and a Drought Advisory should be declared in the Connecticut River Valley and the Southeast Regions.  These declarations would require more coordination amongst state agencies and the Task Force would meet monthly to assess conditions.  The Secretary ultimately makes the declaration and he is suspected to take the Task Force’s recommendation into strong consideration.  Should the Secretary make the drought declarations, water suppliers with Water Management Act permits may be required to further restrict non-essential water use.  If you are interested in reviewing the Commonwealth’s Drought Management Plan, please click here.

An update with the EEA Secretary’s decision will be posted when it becomes available.

Live and Online: It’s Irrigation Technical Training!

Certified Irrigation Technical Training is now available online through C.Pine Associates!  This course will help you prepare for the CIT exam and also provide the skills an irrigation technician needs.

Don’t miss an opportunity to advance in your career and get certified!  Take advantage of convenience and flexibility offered with this online training, balancing study time, work and family commitments.

Certified Irrigation Technicians prove they have the skills to install, repair and maintain irrigation systems:

  • Cut and join pipe, know the limitations of different piping systems, and understand basic hydraulics.
  • Layout and install piping and water delivery components; backflow prevention components; mechanical, hydraulic and electrical irrigation controls; and other irrigation system components.
  • Troubleshoot and repair irrigation components and systems.

Becoming a Certified Irrigation Technician allows you to:

  • Add instant credibility with customers.
  • Increase job opportunities.
  • Demonstrate your commitment to efficient water management.

Required Course Literature:  Landscape Irrigation System Installation & Maintenance, 2nd Edition available for purchase here.

UMass Extension: Green School Begins October 24th

Every two years, UMass Extension offers it’s popular Green School, a comprehensive 12-day certificate short course for Green Industry professionals taught by UMass Extension Specialists and University of Massachusetts faculty.  This year’s course will be offered from October to December and will not be offered again until 2018.

Designed for landscapers, lawn care specialists, nursery operators, sports field managers, public and private grounds managers, arborists and others in the green industry, our comprehensive course is for horticultural professionals who want to gain an understanding of economically feasible and environmentally responsible plant and land care practices and the relation of those practices to protecting the environment. Both experienced professionals as well as those entering the green industries will benefit from this course.

Green School offers three “specialty tracks” and student must select one when registering. Click the corresponding track name for complete information.
* Landscape Management
* Turf Management
* Arboriculture – specifically geared toward professional arborists

To find the full course schedule, course requirements and other key information, go to ag.umass.edu/landscape/education/umass-extensions-green-school

Course Description:
Students learn about sensible and sustainable methods of plant and land care as well as responsible nutrient and pest management.  They learn scientifically sound information that enables them to make better purchasing and management decisions, and to be better stewards of the environment.  The curriculum, which emphasizes a systems-based approach to plant care, is based on current research and focuses on environmental stewardship, Best Management Practices (BMPs) and integrated pest management (IPM).  Students develop an understanding of how proper management practices can enhance conservation of precious natural resources such as soil and water.
Instruction is done via classroom style lecture and interactive activities, and is supplemented through online resources via an online learning management system.
Dates:   From October 24 through December 12
The full course schedule is available at ag.umass.edu/landscape/education/umass-extensions-green-school
Times:   9:00 am – 03:15 pm
Location:   Doubletree Hotel, 11 Beaver St, Milford, MA
Cost:  
Early bird rate ($825) ends 9/23/16 ($925 after 9/23/16).
Registration:   PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED, AS SPACE IS LIMITED!
The deadline for application is October 7, 2016.  To print out a registration form, click here.  For more information or to have a registration form mailed, contact Ellen Weeks with the UMass Extension at 413-545-0895 or EWeeks@UMext.UMass.edu.

In addition, Green School is helpful for people preparing to take the following professional certification exams:
* Massachusetts Certified Arborist (MCA) offered by the Massachusetts Arborist Association
* Massachusetts Certified Horticulturist (MCH) offered by the Massachusetts Nursery and Landscape Association
* Massachusetts Certified Landscape Professional (MCLP) offered by the Massachusetts Association of Landscape Professionals