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February 2008 Skimmer Newsletter Southeast Volusia Audubon Society

February 2008 Skimmer Newsletter Southeast Volusia Audubon Society

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Southeast Volusia Audubon Society, Inc. Issue Vol.III - No. 2 February, 2008
The Southeast Volusia Audubon Society promotes the protection of birds, other wildlife and their habitat through education and activism.
MeetingsMeetingsMeetingsMeetings
Meetings are held the 1st Wednesdays
Oct. thru March at 7 P.M.
 
Edgewater Library 103 Indian River Blvd. 7: P.M.Smoke-free environment. Refreshments are served.Plenty of parking. Public welcome.
Next meeting is Feb. 6, 2008Meeting Place Change:
Utilities Commission200 E. Canal St., NSB (see
February Speaker p.4
)Speaker:
Karen
Stauderman
"Wise use of water in the Florida home landscape."
FieldFieldFieldField TripsTripsTripsTrips
Field trips begin at 8:00 A.M. unless otherwise noted.Meet in the Market Square parking lot Edgewater, RidgewoodAve. & 442, between Dunkin Donuts & Chik-Fil-A.Bring lunch & drinks. Don't forget bug-spray!
Feb. 9
-
Vierra Wetlands
See details p. xQuestions? Contact Gail Domroski 428-0447
Audubon members and guests are all welcome.Programs & Field trips subject to change.
PrezPrezPrezPrez SezSezSezSez
Identity Crisis –Or, Were we even there? 
Well, that’s three in a row in just a couple of weeks. Twoarticles on the Christmas Bird Count (one in the Daytona News-Journal and one in the Observer) and the article in the OrlandoSentinel on our honoring the Bidgood’s with a tree plantingceremony.You would think that would be good publicity for our or-ganization. Except for one critical part. The Southeast VolusiaAudubon Society, which organized and conducted the events,was not even mentioned by name in the articles.I guess the implication is clear. The reporters don’t knowwho we are. So if you have an opportunity to interact withreporters, please ask them to include the name of our organiza-tion in their article or report.On a positive note, we made $331.90 at the Oak Hill fleamarket on Saturday the 12
th
. Thanks to all who donated itemsand helped at the flea market, and who bought items. Our thanks also to the Oak Hill Flea Market management for their hospitality.We are still trying to hold the city of Edgewater’s feet tothe fire in the management of the Scrub Jay habitat behind theYMCA. They have een passively allowing the plot to deterio-rate by not conducting the necessary trimming and controlled burns. They have also been actively destroying it by over-mowing. As a result, the Scrub Jays that formerly lived thereare now apparently gone.It is imperative that the city performs the controlled burnand other maintenance actions to restore the habitat. There isno guarantee that the Scrub Jays would return, but they may.Even so, there is also an ethical issue at risk. The city enteredinto a contractual obligation to preserve and protect the habitatin return for being able to destroy some other habitat andwetlands to construct the YMCA. Soon, the city will allow thedestruction of large tracts of wetlands with the promise of mitigation in the developments West of I-95. If the city will nothonor its own mitigation agreement, how can we trust the cityto enforce the much more extensive mitigation requirements onthese developers?We have attracted the attention of the press as well as theUS Fish and Wildlife Service and the Florida Game and FishCommission. Wish us luck. Better yet, send Jack Corder, chief of Leisure Services an email telling him how you feel. Hisaddress isJCorder@cityofedgewater.org .We have recently been approached by a member of the NSB city staff with a request to help them build an environ-mentally friendly habitat at a park near the downtown area.Ken Gunn is lead on the project. We will keep you informed onhow the project ensues. Maybe you can help????Until next time, happy birding. —Don Picard
Editor's Note:Due to circumstances beyond our control, there will beno printed edition of the Skimmer in February.TheeSkimmer (this one) will be our only issue.—G.M.
 
The Skimmer February, 2008
ConservationConservationConservationConservation NotesNotesNotesNotes
Our previous conservation chairperson, LeeBidgood, was influential in encouraging the State of Florida to offer financial incentives for individualsand businesses to use solar energy. My husbandand I have been considering whether we could affordto switch to solar, so we had a solar company represen-tative come to our home to give us an estimate. Our home is amodest stucco/shingle home with 2500 sq feet under roof. Wediscovered that there are actually four systems to chose from: 1)a photovoltaic or “PV” solar system that generates electricitythat is sent to FPL who credits our bill for what we take fromthem (~$29,000 after deducting FPL and government rebates);2) a pool system that only heats the pool water (~$4,000 after deducting rebates); 3) a solar system that only heats water in thewater heater (~$4,000 after deducting rebates); and 4) a solar attic fan that only runs the fan (~$1,000 after deducting rebates).It would take a huge PV system (lots of roof space and lots of  panels) to generate enough electricity to heat the pool and water heater and provide all the other electricity we need. We do nothave enough roof to put all the PV panels it would take. But a pool solar system and a water heater solar system reduces theamount of electricity needed, meaning fewer PV panels. To getthe most solar benefit per dollar, the representative recom-mended installing a pool system plus a water heating system,then adding PV panels to generate electricity for uses other thanthe pool and water heater. All the solar panels needed for thisconfiguration would cover the entire south and east sides of our roof. The electricity generated by this PV system still would notoffset all the electricity we use. To completely offset our elec-tricity use would take more money and roof than available.The pool system has both a water thermostat and an atmo-sphere thermostat. To prevent the solar system from cooling thewater instead of heating it when ambient air temperature iscooler than the water temperature desired for the pool, thesystem shuts off. From April to October, the pool could beheated to 90 by solar only and the electric heat pump would not be needed.The PV system is attached to the trusses of the roof to prevent them lifting off during a hurricane. All the systemsrequire holes in the roof, with all the risks that could entail.Warranties cover manufacturing defects (and maybe improper installation), but not wind damage. The cost vs savings break even point of the pool system would be ~ 3 yrs. The other 3systems could take the rest of our lives to recoup the purchase price.Because of this, the potential customer should ask them-selves if they plan to live in the house long enough to recouptheir costs. If not, would the sale price of the house recoup theinvestment? Because alternative energy, including solar energy,is a relatively new focus, there is likely to be technological in-novation and improvement in the future, with increased avail-ability and a corresponding reduction in cost of the systems. Soa reasonable question is, might there be a benefit of waiting afew more years?There has been a lot of talk, but no actual results yet inregards to two local conservation issues SEVAS is involvedwith: dogs harassing migratory birds nesting @ Smyrna DunesPark and the neglected scrub jay habitat at the Edgewater YMCA. Those SEVAS members who are prepared to assistwith educational programs at the scrub jay habitat, I ask for your continued patience as we await final word from theschool system and the results of a meeting from the Cityand the USFW.Richard Domroski and I finished reviewing the latest re-sponses from developer, Canin Associates, regarding “Restora-tion”, a huge potential development West of I-95. The follow-ing is Richard’s summary of his review:He found it interesting that the development is now named“Hammock Creek Green”. The Regional Planning Council staff are doing an outstanding job of reviewing all responses and notaccepting anything that is not crystal clear or does not meet setcriteria. The staff have covered all of the items of interest toSEVAS e.g.: water, wildlife & natural communities. Also, staff have noted that many responses are insufficient for this projectto proceed and, question the need for such a project at all anduse the term "premature". As noted in several staff comments,neither New Smyrna Beach nor Edgewater are prepared for asuch a massive project in terms of supplying water, sewage andother services with Edgewater being the furthest behind infuture planning. As of this review, Richard states he does notsee anything that SEVAS needs to comment on but this projecthas a long way to go and there will be changes.Thank you, Richard, for keeping us updated about thismatter that potentially greatly impacts the quality of life of current residents of Edgewater and NSB. If any of you wouldlike to review this document yourself, call Kathy @ 409-3091. —Kathy Booth
 Around Around Around Around TownTownTownTown
NSB Myrtle Park 
On Tuesday, 22 Jan 08, a meeting between members of the NSB Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), Lind-ley’s nursery and SEVAS was conducted at the park at theintersection of Myrtle Avenue and Canal Street. Attendingwere: Noeleen Foster and Kevin Fall of the CRA, DebbiePell of Lindley’s Nursery, and Don Picard, Ken Gunn, GailDomroski, and Bill and Marsha Cox of SEVAS. The purpose of the meeting was to brainstorm ideas for develop-ing some type of ecological area at the park. The city isrebuilding Canal Street on the West side of U.S. 1 to theintersection of Myrtle Avenue. The CRA members wantedto include the park in the rebuilding scheme.The park is divided into two parts, about three fourthsincludes a playground unit and one-fourth on the other sideof a canal spanned by a stone bridge. We decided that theecological area should be on the smaller side. We discusseda butterfly-type garden with native plants, trails through thegarden and benches or possibly even picnic tables. TheSEVAS would sponsor bulletin
See
Park
p.4
2
 
The Skimmer February, 2008
NativeNativeNativeNative &&&& NiceNiceNiceNice
Eastern Redbud 
Although theymaybe deciduousright now, EasternRedbuds (
Ceris ca-nadensis
) are aboutto decorate the out-doors for Valen-tine’s Day. Withtheir profusion of small, sweet pea-shaped, pink flow-ers, this native treewill charm its wayinto your heart. Following the show, the native will leaf out inhandsome, broad heart-shaped leaves. Fast growing, reaching25-35 feet, the eastern native can make an effective specimentree in full sun or a colorful understory tree because they canalso tolerate light shade. When placed on the edge of wood-lands, redbuds are hard to miss with their attractive silhouette of rounded but still horizontally tiered branches.When planted in full sun, redbuds would like a moist soil, but not too soggy. It helps to plant them in a lightly shaded areato reduce their watering needs. Yet, established trees can bequite drought tolerant. They tolerate a range of soils fromalkaline to acidic. However, to help with blooming they wouldappreciate a light, acidic fertilizer two to three times a year  between March through September. This can also be accom- plished by using coffee grounds. Coffee grounds help to buildthe moisture content and acidity of the soil. A couple of neatfacts about this eastern native is that it is as a member of the peaor legume family and the redbud has the ability to fix nitrogenfrom the air to use as a nutrient.If you really want to impress your loved ones this Valen-tine holiday, try the new variety, ‘Forest Pansy’. This particular redbud still has the profusion of rosy pink flowers in earlyspring but continues the show with a colorful flush of purpleheart-shaped leaves that fade to burgundy-tone leaves in sum-mer. This variety appreciates some afternoon shade in thesummer months. It makes a great ornamental accent in aFlorida garden.While many express their love with flowers, adding anEastern Redbud to your garden will give love for many years tocome with their flowers being one of the first signs of spring. —Lauren Pell
Editor's Note: Lauren is the youngest member of the family ownedbusiness, Lindley's Nursery on W. Canal St. New Smyrna Beach .withmother Debbie and sister Jenny,One of these three women will be writing in this space each month.
January Field Trip Report 
For all of you who didn’t join uson our Merritt Island trip this month,you missed a good day of birding. Wesaw 84 species (side-bar) on a refresh-ingly cool & drizzly day. Had goodlooks at the small tern-likeBonaparte’s Gull feeding near shore atthe causeway in Titusville.Behind pumphouse road, we sawBlack Skimmers, Royal & CaspianTerns, Yellowleggs, Black-neckedStilt & many other birds. The ditch beside pumphouse road was filled withall the beautiful wading birds. OnBlack Point Wildlife Drive we saw allthe usual ducks and had a great close-upview of Spoonbills.For those (who) that stayed after lunch, we saw a Bald Eagle take aCoot for his lunch. On Biolab road, wehad good looks at a Swamp Sparrow, alife bird for some, Northern Flicker and a passing glance at a CommonSnipe.Please come & join us for our nexttrip on February 9
th
to Viera Wetlands.
February Trip
Our February 9
th
trip will be toViera Wetlands. The wetlands are aseries of connected ponds created totreat wastewater from the centralBrevard area. This site, just North of Melbourne, has raised dikes that offer good birding from a vehicle. There areobservation towers that look out over the ponds and during fall & winter many species use these wetlands andnearby Prairies and Hammocks. Wehope to see Bald Eagle, Crested Cara-cara, Northern Harriers, several spe-cies of duck, wading birds, and justmaybe a Purple Gallinule.Bring a lunch, snacks, water etc.and don’t forget bug spray.Call Gail @ 428-0447 if you haveany questions. —Gail Domroski
Photo - Gil Miller 
Common Loon
Pied-billed Grebe American WhitePelicanBrown PelicanDouble-crestedCormorant AnhingaGreat Blue HeronGreen-backed HeronLittle Blue HeronCattle EgretReddish EgretGreat EgretSnowy EgretTri-colored HeronWood StorkGlossy IbisWhite IbisRoseate SpoonbillMottled DuckNorthern PintailGreen-winged TealBlue-winged Teal American WigeonNorthern Shoveler Lesser ScaupHooded Merganser Red-breastedMerganser Turkey VultureBlack VultureRed-shouldered HawkBald EagleNorthern Harrier Osprey American KestrelClapper RailSoraCommon Moorhen American CootKilldeer Black-bellied Plover Ruddy TurnstoneCommon SnipeWilletGreater YellowlegsLesser YellowlegsDunlinShort-billed Dowitcher Sanderling American AvocetBlack-necked StiltGreat Black-backedGullHerring GullRing-billed GullLaughing GullBonaparte’s GullForester’s TernRoyal TernCaspian TernBlack Skimmer Rock Dove
We could have saved the Earth but we were too damned cheap.
~Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
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