Friday, December 12, 2008

Cavendish Update 12/12/08

This issue of the Cavendish Update is made possible by the Cavendish Community and Conservation Association (CCCA), a non-profit membership organization that is dedicated to the conservation of land and natural resources and to the preservation of historic sites within the context of sustainable economic growth. FMI: PO Box 605, Cavendish VT 05142 or 802-226-7736

The Cavendish Update Contains
1. Cavendish Flood Photograph for Sale
2. Cavendish Library News
3. Eco Friendly Ways to Keep Walkways and Driveways Clear

1. Cavendish Flood Photograph for Sale
The Cavendish Historical Society is pleased to announce that copies of the panoramic photograph of the 1927 flood are now available for sale, thanks to the help of Stantec and Stephen Plunkard. The photograph is from 1927 and was taken by H.A. Boss. Measuring approximately 37 1/2 “ X 6”, the cost is $30 plus $5 shipping and handling. If you prefer, you can make arrangements to pick up the photograph in Cavendish. This is a limited edition, so it is suggested that you order now. To order a photograph, send a check payable to CHS and mail to CHS, PO Box 472, Cavendish, VT 05142. FMI: or

2. Cavendish Library News
The Cavendish Fletcher Community Library has exceeded its goal of $2000 for the fall Scholastic Book Fair. This means that Cavendish Town Elementary School principal George Thomson will be dressing up as “George of The Jungle” sometime in January.

The Library is seeking donations of DVDs, CDs and VHS tapes to expand their collection. FMI: 226-7503

3. Eco Friendly Ways to Keep Walkways and Driveways Clear
There are numerous problems with the use of salt as a means of keeping walkways clear. If you have a dog, you probably already know how it can hurt their paws. In fact, pets are routinely poisoned or injured from deicers. Be sure to use a damp towel to wipe your pet's paws and underside after being outside. Children can also be injured by salts, so it is important to supervise them while they are outside and check them carefully when they come in.

The heavy use of road salts can lead to damage to vegetation, to organisms in soil, to birds, and to other wildlife. Almost all chloride ions from road salts eventually find their way into waterways, whether by direct run-off into surface water or by moving through the soil and groundwater. In surface water, road salts can harm freshwater plants, fish, and other organisms that are not adapted to living in saline waters.

The following tips from Envirocast can help you choose the best deicing product for your home and the environment:

1. Buy Early ~ Make sure to buy your deicing product well before the big storm hits; otherwise, you could be looking at empty shelves and have few, if any, environmental choices to make at the store.

2. Check the Label ~. Check the package label closely to see what you are buying. Experts recommend using calcium chloride over sodium chloride (rock salt).

3. Avoid Kitty Litter and Ashes ~ Although these products are environmentally friendly, they aren't very effective. While they provide some traction, they do not melt snow and ice. Also, they tend to get real gooey and messy when it warms up, which often tracks in onto the floors of your home. If traction is what you want, then stick with sand, which is much cheaper and easier to sweep up.

4. Shovel Early and Often ~ When it comes to snow removal, there is no substitute for muscle and elbow grease. Deicers work best when there is only a thin layer of snow or ice that must be melted. Get out the snow shovel and move as much snow as you can during the storm. A flat hoe can also help to scrape ice off the surface before any deicers are applied. Be careful when chopping the ice build-up that you don't damage your sidewalk. Also, be careful when shoveling snow. Snow is heavy and overexertion can lead to heart attacks.

5. Know Your Salt Risk Zone ~ You wouldn't want to kill your favorite tree, shrub or grass, so check out the plants that grow within five or ten feet of your driveway and sidewalk (and the road, for that matter). The table below summarizes some of the salt sensitive plants that might be at risk. If you have salt-sensitive trees, shrubs or grasses in this zone, you should avoid any deicing product that contains chlorides (rock salt and calcium-, potassium-, or magnesium- chloride), or use very small doses. You may want to use CMA as a safer alternative, or stick with sand for traction.

6. Avoid Products that Contain Urea ~ Some folks recommend the use of urea as a safer alternative to more common deicing products, arguing that it does not contain chlorides and, as a form of nitrogen, will help fertilize your yard when it washes off. In reality, urea-based deicing products are a poor choice. To begin with, urea is fairly expensive and performs poorly when temperatures drop below -6°C. More importantly, the application rate for urea during a single deicing is ten times greater than that needed to fertilize the same area of your yard. Of course, very little of the urea will actually get to your lawn, but will end up washing into the street and storm drain. Given that nitrogen is a major problem in our waterways, it doesn't make sense to use nitrogen-based products, such as those containing urea, for deicing.

7. If You Must Use Salt: Apply it Early, but Sparingly ~ Remember what your Mom may have told you at the dinner table: "A little salt goes a long way." The recommended application rate for rock salt is about a handful per square meter treated (after you have scraped as much ice and snow as possible). Using more salt than this won't speed up the melting process. Even less salt is needed if you are using calcium chloride (about a handful for every three square meters treated - or about the area of a single bed). If you have a choice, pick calcium chloride over sodium chloride. Calcium chloride works at much lower temperatures and is applied at a much lower rate.

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