You are on page 1of 8

Atlantic CoastWatch FEBRUARY-MARCH 1999

Barging Trash: The Virginia Backlash

News For Coastal Advocates
“How we’re defined as humans,” said University of Arizona archaeologist
William Rathje on National Public Radio’s Diane Rehm show, “Is, we throw z
away stuff.” A longtime student of what and how we trash, Rathje thinks that even
though “all landfills do or eventually will leak,” they represent “a way of balancing Barging Trash: 1
out economics and consumption” and has little apprehension about what modern The Virginia Backlash
and well-regulated ones contain. But to many who might agree with such senti-
ments, including an indignant current crop of Virginians, getting the trash to the
dump by road or by water involves environmental hazards and headaches. Mega-Yachters to 1
Monitor Seawater
In a spirited reaction to Mayor Rudolph Guiliani’s proposal that ship-
ments from New York City to their landfills should triple, thus causing the Old Sayings 2
Dominion to surpass Pennsylvania as the nation’s leading state in garbage imports,
Virginia’s legislators recently passed a series of bills to preserve the status quo.
Measures backed by an enthusiastic Republican Governor James S. Gilmore III Court Nixes 2
to cap imports, tighten up on garbage truck traffic, and ban the use of garbage Homestead Jetport
barges on the James, Rappahannock, and York Rivers all sailed through both state
houses during the recently completed winter session. Year of the Menhaden 3
Some opposing the barge ban were struck by the fact that one macro-
bargeload of garbage can take 300 trucks off already congested highways. Not so Curbing Harmful Exotics 4
attorney Sterling E. Rives III, who one day last summer was swimming off a boat
on the James. He raised his head and saw “what looked like a giant wall moving up Publications 6
the river.” The sighting was consistent with industry plans calling for “barges the
size of an office building—300 feet long by 100 feet wide, containing 300 containers
six or seven to the stack”—to haul New York’s trash to landfills on the James and Maine Lobster Reprieve 6
perhaps elsewhere along eastern Virginia’s extensive system of waterways.
(Continued, p. 5) Batik Art and the 7
Barrier Islands

Mega-Yachters to Monitor Seawater Recurring:

In search of a way to engage yacht owners in activities that would benefit
the marine environment, southern California boater and real estate developer People; Species & Habitats;
Albert Gersten came upon an intriguing idea. It was to design a sophisticated but Grants; Report Cards;
compact monitoring unit that could self-sufficiently gather a wide range of informa-
tion about sea water, and install these in the engine rooms of large itinerant Products; Job Openings;
pleasure yachts. The data collected would be transmitted by Inmarsat satellite to Upcoming Events
shore stations, augmenting what scientists now receive from the existing but
limited global network of fixed and drifting buoys. The boaters would cover large
increments of the new program’s cost. Atlantic CoastWatch is a bimonthly
nonprofit newsletter presented by
Thus was born the International SeaKeepers Society, a nonprofit the Sustainable Development
organization launched last summer at a cocktail party in Monaco aboard Microsoft Institute, free of charge, to those
billionaire Paul Allen’s yacht Meduse. With Gersten as chairman and attorney interested in bringing about the
Tom Houston as president, the Santa Monica-based society has already attracted environmentally sound develop-
30 founding members contributing $50,000 or more apiece. Plans call for the ment of the coastline from the Gulf
membership to grow to 200 by mid-2000 and eventually to reach into the thou- of Maine to the Eastern Caribbean.
sands. Owners of yachts 80 feet or more in length are especially welcome. The newsletter is available on paper
(Continued, p. 5) and at
Atlantic CoastWatch
Vol. 3, No. 1
In the January 20 address marking the inauguration of his second term as
A project of the Sustainable Devel- Maryland’s Governor, Parris N. Glendening included these remarks:
opment Institute, which seeks to
heighten the environmental quality of “We have been the keepers of the Chesapeake Bay, the defenders of the
economic development efforts, in the rivers and streams against toxic Pfiesteria, the opponents of sprawl brought about
Atlantic coastal zone and in tropical by overdevelopment and the protectors of open spaces and clean air. And I say to
forest regions, by communicating you now: We have only just begun.
information about better policies and
practices. SDI is classified as exempt “We reject the excuse that we have to abuse the environment in order to
from federal income tax under section grow the economy. Lasting prosperity does not come from pollution. Rather, our
501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code prosperity depends on the natural wonders that have been and will be our greatest
as an organization described in section resource. Let every special interest know that this common interest of ours is not
501(c)(3). for sale! We are not owners but the stewards of the world that God made, and we
are determined to pass it on better than we found it.
Board of Directors
Robert J. Geniesse, Chairman “Just as we must carefully plan for and invest in our capital infrastruc-
Roger D. Stone, President ture—our roads, our bridges and water lines—we must also invest in our environ-
Hart Fessenden, Treasurer ment, our green infrastructure—our forests, our wetlands, our streams and our
Hassanali Mehran, Secretary rivers. And just as we carefully plan for and invest in the human infrastructure—
Edith A. Cecil education, health services, care for the elderly and disabled—we must also invest
Freeborn G. Jewett, Jr. in our green infrastructure. At the dawn of the 21st century, let us act with foresight
Gay P. Lord and without favoritism, so that our grandchildren’s grandchildren can breathe clean
air, sail and fish the wonderfully alive Chesapeake Bay and see the best of this land
Advisers preserved from the mountains to the shore. Let this be the beginning of Maryland’s
William H. Draper III century of the environment.”
Joan Martin-Brown
Scientific Advisory Council
Gary Hartshorn We extend warm thanks to these people who responded, too late to be
Stephen P. Leatherman including in the listing we published in our December issue, to the request for
Jerry R. Schubel donations that we circulated last fall:
Christopher Uhl Douglas Banker Nicholas Millhouse
Bill and Celia Crawford William Newlin
Staff Flossie and Frank Fowlkes Herbert S. Okun and Enid Curtis Bok Okun
Roger D. Stone, Director & President David Hunt Eric Ostergaard
Shaw Thacher, Project Manager Ellen Harvey Kelly Hector and Erica Prud’homme
Robert C. Nicholas III, Contributing Joan Koven Donald B. Straus
Laura W. Roper, Correspondent
Court Nixes Homestead Jetport
1999 Donors
Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust
The former Homestead Air Base area was battered by Hurricane Andrew
Fair Play Foundation
in 1992. In the aftermath of the disaster, as reported in last August’s Atlantic
The Henry Luce Foundation
CoastWatch, Miami-Dade County and Florida state officials pushed hard to enable
Curtis and Edith Munson Foundation
Homestead Air Base Developers, Inc. to build a major commercial airport on the
site allowing for 236,000 flights a year or sixfold the previous military traffic.
1999 Environmental Film Festival
in the Nation’s Capital -- The
Local communities expressed serious concerns. Environmental groups
seventh annual Environmental Film
opposed the proposal, citing the proximity of Everglades National Park (8.5 miles)
Festival will take place in numerous
and Biscayne Bay National Park (2 miles), and the absence of a completed feder-
Washington venues from March 18-28.
ally-required Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS).
Documentary, animated, feature,
experimental, archival films are all
Showing little interest in such arguments, the county last year won ap-
included; almost all are FREE. The
proval for the proposal from the state’s Governor and Cabinet. But the Tropical
Festival is presented under the
Audubon Society and the Sierra Club Miami Group, supported by other
auspices of the Sustainable Develop-
organizations, appealed this ruling. Last December Florida’s Third District Court of
ment Institute. Tel. (202) 342-2564.
Appeals overturned it and awarded opponents a big win.
The entire program is also available at
(Continued, p. 3)

After 31 years of service to the

Homestead, Continued from p. 2 eastern Caribbean environment,
Edward G. Towle recently handed
In its decision, written by Judge Robert Shevin, the court delivered a the presidency of the Island Re-
sharp rebuke to Florida authorities. It found that the state and the county had erred sources Foundation along to his
in proceeding without the information to be provided by the SEIS. The judge added deputy, Bruce Potter. With offices in
that habitat, stormwater, and noise management plans, needed to show that the St.Thomas, Antigua , and Washington,
project would be appropriate for the region, had not been prepared. He cited DC, IRF is well positioned to continue
Florida law specifying that any expedited action must be “consistent with the state’s helping small islands develop eco-
responsibility to protect the environment, manage growth, and fulfill its proprietary nomically while also protecting their
responsibilities.” environment. This was the
organization’s purpose whenTowle
While Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas was quoted as calling the court’s and his wife Judith founded it 27 years
ruling no more than a “procedural delay,” Barbara Lange of the Sierra Club Miami ago. Potter, a former official of the
Group reckons it unlikely that the county will attempt another major move on Peace Corps and of Mobil Oil,
Homestead until after the SEIS and the other studies have been completed. That intends to carry forward this broad
process could last until the end of the year. agenda, and add new areas of
emphasis as well. Towle becomes
chairman of IRF’s Board.
Reviewing 1998 - Year of the Menhaden Laura Johnson, previously Northeast
Division Vice President for The Nature
In 1998 the plight of the pint-sized, filter-feeding Atlantic menhaden, whose Conservancy, has become president
condition says much about the broader health of the mid-Atlantic’s coastal ecosys- of the Massachusetts Audubon
tem, took center stage. Initially at issue was recruitment—an 8 year trend of too Society. The fast-growing organiza-
few menhaden surviving their first year—as well as allocating the rights to catch a tion has programs in habitat and
disproportionately mature population. Early on, there was finger pointing. Recre- species protection, environmental
ational fishermen, for whom menhaden are important food-chain links, blamed education for adults and children, and
commercial fishermen for over-harvesting. Commercial fishermen attributed the advocacy. A century ago, two women
shortfall to a record sized striped bass population moving through the ecosystem founded Mass. Audubon to protest the
and preying upon menhaden. Both arguments are probably correct: the geographic killing of birds for women’s fashions.
concentration of menhaden fishing is in the Chesapeake Bay, where blue crab Johnson is its first woman president.
populations and other alternate forage for striped bass are dwindling. But the
recruitment mystery stands unsolved and more significant than the longstanding Carol Ash, previously director of The
debate over who or which species gets to kill how many fish. Nature Conservancy of NewYork
State, is the new executive director of
At several scientific meetings there was general agreement that environ- the Palisades Interstate Park
mental factors in the Chesapeake and North Carolina estuaries and associated Commission. Ash succeeds Robert
rivers, the heart of the menhaden recruitment zone, are key to recruitment attrition. O. Binneweis, a former National
Salinity conditions in the Chesapeake, resulting more from rainfall and runoff Park Service ranger, who in a
patterns than from the general decline of the bay’s marine ecology, have favored decade-long tour of duty did much to
the comb jellyfish (sea-nettle). The comb preys on small animals called advance the cause of the Commission
mesozooplankton, which juvenile menhaden also require before they metamor- and its 95,000 acres of parkland in
phose and begin feeding on algae as adults. Mesozooplankton populations have New York and New Jersey.
declined up to 90% at the mouth of the Bay. The production and distribution of
algae, which are limited by the lack of light as well as by the availability of nutrients, The Chesapeake Bay has lost two of
may also play a part. Several years of heavy rainfall, resulting in murkier waters, its most admired scholars. The
may have altered algae production, affecting zooplankton populations. biologist L. Eugene Cronin, profes-
sor and director of many marine-
In North Carolina an EPA study found widespread toxic sediments related institutions in Maryland and a
throughout estuaries that are vital for menhaden recruitment. Much of the spawn- keen scholar of the blue crab, died in
ing population gathers each fall off North Carolina’s outer banks. During the winter December at age 81 while still at work
larvae are transported by the tides into estuaries where as juveniles they spend on a comprehensive crab book.
much of their first year. The EPA study found geographical connections between Geologist Randall Kerhin of the
long-lasting toxics that do not break down in the environment, and the absence of Maryland Geological Survey and
benthic invertebrates which form the base of food chains. Toxics were particularly many other Bay-related institutions,
concentrated in primary nursery areas for many fish species (see October 1998 died in January after spending many
Atlantic CoastWatch). Scientists are beginning to study the degree to which toxics years mapping coastal erosion, beach
may be affecting fish immune systems and recruitment. loss, and other coastal processes. He
was 52.
(Continued, p. 7)
People, Continued

David B. Struhs, Commissioner of

the Department of Environmental
Curbing Harmful Exotics
Protection in Massachusetts since
1995 and previously a White House Along the Atlantic coastline as elsewhere, native species and ecosystems
official, has been named Secretary of face serious threats from what have become known as marine bioinvasions.
Florida’s Department of Environ- Examples include exotic zooplankton in Prince William Sound, zebra mussels, green
mental Protection. Environmental- crabs in Pacific coastal waters, and newly discovered veined rapa whelks (Rapana
ists hailed the appointment as a major venosa) which prey on shellfish in the lower Chesapeake Bay. Several recent
step forward from Virginia developments suggest that this problem may finally be getting the attention it
Wetherell, the previous secretary, needs.
who according to the Sanibel-
Captiva Conservation Foundation President Clinton has signed an executive order to coordinate federal
was “repeatedly criticized for failing to strategy. Federal agencies are directed to review their existing authorities. The
enforce the state’s environmental order also creates an Invasive Species Council, to develop a comprehensive plan to
laws.” Florida’s Governor Jeb Bush minimize the economic, ecological, and human health impacts of invasive species
also appointed another environmental and determine further steps to prevent their introduction and spread. The FY2000
leader, J. Allison DeFoor II, as budget proposes an increase of more than $28.8 million to combat these species.
Everglades Policy Coordinator to
represent the state as regards the $7.8 At the First National Conference on Marine Bioinvasions at the Massachu-
billion Central and South Florida setts Institute of Technology Sea Grant College in January, Secretary of the
Restoration Project. Interior Bruce Babbitt pointed out that marine bioinvasions have large conse-
quences for the nation’s health, food supply, economy, and fishing industry. He
Species & Habitats warned of their threat of degradation and homogenization of coastal waters
With money from the Red Lobster Many exotic species arrive in U.S. waters from elsewhere in the world.
restaurant chain and the settlement of But the Spartina choking the state of Washington’s Willapa Bay, as well as Atlantic
the 1989 World Prodigy oil spill in shad and other fish threatening native species in San Francisco Bay, come from the
Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island U.S. East Coast. We also export harmful species. Leidy’s comb jelly, carried in
scientists are seeding 6 carefully sited ballast water from the U.S. to the Black Sea and lacking any predator, created one
artificial reefs in the bay with tagged of the most intense marine invasions ever recorded. Babbitt said that the discharge
juvenile lobsters. The goal of this of ballast water is “nothing less than point pollution and must be treated as such.”
possibly replicable project, which As ships become larger and faster the opportunities for alien species to gain
Kathleen Castro of the Rhode transport and survive the trip are multiplied, up to a hundredfold on some routes.
Island Sea Grant Marine Exten- He characterized our response to date as “pitiful,” relying on “voluntary guidelines,
sion calls the most thorough of its a scattered approach and limited, unreinforced codes,” and said, “No longer.”
kind ever attempted, is to see how the
new cobble and quarry stone reefs At the MIT conference, which had several co-sponsors, scientists, manag-
affects lobster populations. Tel. (401) ers and industry representatives illuminated the complexities of trying to prevent
874-5063. or control marine bioinvaders. Marine species find many ways to travel to a new
environment. Among them: ballast water, bottom fouling, aquaculture, the
Rhode Island’s Woonasquatucket, aquarium trade, and fisherman’s bait. Secretary Babbitt did point out the large
recently declared an American economic benefits that control can sometimes provide, such the program to curb
Heritage River, has been the object of lampreys in the Great Lakes. But he and others held that prevention was a top
two recent EPA citations of excessive priority and usually a more effective and economic tactic than control or eradica-
pollution. In January the agency tion.
reported that preliminary tests
showed dioxin levels in North Provi- Other speakers noted that introduced species have an evolutionary as well
dence sediments high enough to as an ecological impact and that the smallest organisms, such as viruses, bacteria
cause the agency to warn people not and phytoplankton can do as much harm as larger ones. Particularly dangerous are
even to walk near the riverbank, let marine pathogens, invasive algae, and organisms genetically altering native
alone row or kayak on the river or eat species. In addition to initiatives to prevent invasions from the many serious
its fish. That month the EPA also cited transfer vectors, speakers emphasized the importance of flexible funding to provide
Microfin, a metal-finishing company early response to budding new problems before they are out of control. While
on the river’s banks, for “wholesale scientists at the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences and North Carolina Sea
violations of hazardous waste and Grant are already studying the veined rapa whelk, for example, new funds are
clean-air regulations” that further required to enhance research and to control this predator.
jeopardize the river. The company,
said the Providence Journal, faced a In May the U.S. Coast Guard expects to publish an interim rule to
$1.15 million fine. implement the National Invasive Species Act of 1996 with voluntary guidelines
(Continued, p. 5)
Species & Habitats, Continued
According to the MonctonTimes and
Exotics, Continued from p. 4 Transcript, New Brunswick fisheries
scientist Wayne Fairchild has
asking vessels to conduct complete ballast change at sea outside of the Exclusive produced convincing evidence of links
Economic Zone. Water sampling and the submission of reports are required for between the region’s declining Atlantic
nearly all vessels with ballast tanks entering U.S. waters. In accordance with the salmon population and sprays
Act, if the rate of compliance of self policing is found to be inadequate or if vessel containing the chemical compound
operators fail to submit mandatory ballast water reports, the voluntary guidelines nonylphenol that were used exten-
will become mandatory and carry civil and criminal penalties. sively between 1975 and 1985 to
counter the spruce budworm. The
Contact for information on the conference. URL for more nonylphenols, Fairchild told the paper,
on the veined rapa whelk: disrupt the reproductive development
of the fish. He is based at the Depart-
ment of Fisheries and Oceans’ Gulf
Fisheries Centre in Moncton.
Virginia Trash, Continued from p. 1
Both the river otter and he were
Odor is one strike against uncovered barges, whose cargo has sometimes “surprised and uncertain,” reported
been aboard for as long as two weeks before they reach the James, Rives says, William Schuster, manager of the
and rainfall can cause leachate to drain directly into the water. Industry representa- 4000-acre Black Rock Forest in
tives say that new tightly sealed containers will eliminate both these problems. But Cornwall, NY, when they recently
Rives has other gripes. A serious accident in a confined waterway involving a barge encountered each other on this ground
containing 6000 tons of garbage would, he continues, “be an environmental only 50 miles from New York City. The
catastrophe that could never be cleaned up.” He is skeptical of industry claims that current otter population in the forest -
tugs can maintain full control of the giant barges while operating in crowded two breeding pairs and one single - is
waters. And he fears that a continuation of what has been sporadic garbage barge the largest in many years. For
traffic in Virginia waters could lead in increments to barging in all New York City’s Schuster it was a signal that the once
annual output of 12 million tons. “That’s a lot,” he says. heavily logged, now protected forest
is becoming a “fuller, more complete
The state’s new determination to control trash imports, he concludes, is a ecosystem.” Tel. (914) 534-4517.
refreshing change from prior policies that “discouraged recycling and source
reduction by making it so cheap and easy to ship garbage to Virginia.” Now at last, For 23 years commercial netting of
he concludes, “we are starting to take pride in our natural resources, and taking striped bass and other fish in the
steps to protect them.” Hudson River has been banned
because of chemical contamination
stemming from then-legal discharges
SeaKeepers, Continued from p. 1 of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
from General Electric plants near
Troy. Now, reports the New York
The University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Times, state officials have found PCB
Science, meanwhile, is spearheading the effort to design and test the research levels in stripers caught in the lower,
modules that the members’ vessels will carry. These suitcase-sized units, the saltwater reaches of the river to be
Rosenstiel School’s Rod Zika told the Miami Herald, will eventually do work that only 1.6 parts per million or only about
required an entire ship and crew when he starting doing marine research 30 years half the federal maximum. Eventual
ago. Zika is currently testing five prototype systems of varying complexity. Once restoration of the commercial fishery,
the bugs are out, the units will operate autonomously with their sensors monitoring for striped bass at least, is in prospect.
ten or more kinds of information about water quality and content. The first modules Fishermen rejoiced.
will be loaded aboard members’ vessels this spring.
A record 66 manatees were killed by
Currently, only two of the Society’s members are Atlantic Coast-based. But boats in Florida in 1998. In one
even the data these vessels transmit will greatly enrich the information now being respect, though conditions have
gathered from the region. Drifting buoys are not permitted close to the biologically improved for the endangered sea
important coastline, where the yachts will often be operating. While fixed buoys are cows. Since manatee-sensitive safety
not easy to moor and cannot sustain themselves for long because of their hunger devices were installed on steel
for power, the yacht-based modules are mobile and will not strain shipboard floodgates on the Miami River and in
generating capacity. Most buoys monitor no more than sea-water temperature and several other nearby locations, they
salinity. But since the Seakeeper modules will be able to test for the presence of are no longer crushing the trapped
toxins and nutrients as well, they will form a far more precise early warning system animals to death. The sensors reverse
for harmful algal blooms and other forms of water pollution than is now available. the gates’ vertical movement when
The overall economic benefits to be derived from the SeaKeeper program, says the manatees touch them. Fatalities
Houston, are “huge.” Tel. (310) 399-0850. URL: from the gates have dropped to zero.

The National Center for Environmental

Research and Quality Assurance,
Office of Research and Development,
EPA is providing grants under the Ecotourism and Sustainable Development (Island Press 1999) covers
Environmental Monitoring for Public far more ground than anyone with a specific interest in Atlantic coastal issues will
Access and communityTracking want to traverse. But in her comprehensive coverage of a broad and much misun-
Grants Program, with a closing date of derstood topic, author Martha Honey includes many nuggets of useful information
April 8, 1999. URL: to Caribbean-bound ecotourists including caveats on what and what not to expect
ncerqa/rfa/empact99.html. EPA, with from cruise-ship operators, travel agents and guidebooks. The book also includes a
the National Science Foundation chapter-length case study on Cuba, an increasingly popular destination for the
and the US Department of Agricul- adventuresome U.S. traveler despite U.S. government restrictions.
ture as partners, also requests Water
and Watershed research proposals for The Connecticut River Watershed Council announces the publication of
grants in the $100,000 to $300,000 per Connecticut River Environment—A Directory of Public Agencies and
year range. Some $7 million will be Citizen Groups Serving the Watershed. To get a copy of this listing of 800
awarded. URLs: names in 4 states, call (413) 529-9500 or e-mail
crssprgm/start.htm or
ncerqa Sailors in remote sections of the Bahamas and eastern Caribbean waters
have long relied on eyeball navigation as a supplement to government charts based
In Fiscal Years 1999 and 2000 the on old information and cruising guides lacking in detail. Now, reports Cruising
National Sea Grant College World magazine, author Stephen J. Pavlidis has taken much of the stomach-
Program expects to make available tightening guesswork out of cruising the region. The liveaboard writer used his own
about $2,300,000 per year to support computer-based hydrographic system to produce a series of four well-illustrated
projects to prevent and/or control non- cruising guides for Seaworthy Publications that make it far harder to miss the
indigenous species invasions in US channels. First was a guide to the lightly-populated Exumas. Then came On and
waters, as well as about $940,000 for Off the Beaten Path—the Central and Southern Bahamas Guide (1997),
demonstration projects on ballast which includes information on such seldom-visited places as San Salvador and
water treatment in the Chesapeake Inagua islands. Soon forthcoming are the first-ever guide to cruising the Turks &
Bay and Great Lakes. The deadline for Caicos islands, and a new guide to the Abacos in the northern Bahamas. Tel: (800)
preliminary proposals for FY 1999 was 777-3966. URL:
February 1. To get a start on FY 2000,
addresses for Sea Grant College At a time when the major media are devoting ever more attention to the
Program Directors visit URL: problems of coral reef bleaching, death, and disappearance, it is useful to have a solid book on the subject that is both acceptable to professionals and accessible to
the general public. Such a work is The Enchanted Braid: Coming to Terms With
Report Cards Nature on the Coral Reef (John Wiley & Sons, 1998) by Osha Gray Davidson.
Not a scientist but a writer and diver, the author travels far and wide from his
Florida base to chronicle both the beauty and the plight of the world’s remaining
Missing the Boat is a report by the
Marine Fish Conservation Net-
work and the Center for Marine
Conservation. It reviews how the
National Marine Fisheries Service Maine Lobster Reprieve
and the 8 management councils
responsible for fisheries in the U.S. In Maine’s Portland Harbor, reported the Portland Press-Herald, enlight-
responded to requirements of the ened action by the Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company will win a reprieve
Sustainable Fisheries Act of 1996. for some 32,000 threatened lobsters.
They reportedly do not measure up
well, and too often have settled for Last year, as reported in the June 1998 issue of Atlantic CoastWatch, local
incremental improvements where lobstermen removed juvenile lobsters from their burrows in the harbor before a
substantial changes were required. major dredging project began, and relocated them outside the harbor.
They did the minimum they could get
away with or made little or no effort to The idea was that the dredging would be completed before the lobsters
meet requirements. URL: www.cmc- would begin their spring migration back toward the shore. But with one third of the job still undone, the Army Corps of Engineers diverted the company’s dredge to
another task in Virginia.
The EPA reports that Delaware is the
first mid-Atlantic state to adopt a Now, however, Great Lakes has been persuaded to change its schedule
comprehensive watershed approach again so that the Portland dredging would be complete before lobsters start
to protecting groundwater. EPA’s crawling back into the harbor. Lobstermen and Maine officials applauded.
Regional Administrator W. Michael
Report Cards, Continued

McCabe applauded Governor

Batik Art and Barrier Islands Thomas Carper for Delaware’s high
level of commitment. Delaware is
North Carolina-born artist Mary Edna Fraser has often flown the south- leading the way by organizing its
east U.S. coast aboard her grandfather’s antique single-engined Ercoupe airplane, activity around individual watersheds.
now piloted by her father and brother. At college she “fell in love” with batik, a
resist-dye process for printing on woven cloth for which some parts of Java island The Baltimore Sun reports that
are famous. During the 1990s Fraser became familiar with the work of the coastal Michael Naylor, a biologist with the
geologist Orrin Pilkey Jr., of Duke University, and came to share his distaste for Maryland Department of Natural
jetties, groins, sea walls and other structures that interfere with the natural move- Resources, poring over old aerial
ment of sand along the shore. photographs, has found that the
Chesapeake Bay’s aquatic grasses
In recent years Fraser has tied these disparate strands together to create a have declined extensively in the past
highly original art form. From the plane she photographs the coast’s natural beauty, 50 years. Grasses surrounding one
often searching long and hard for frames that conceal its disfigurement. Sometimes small island in Tangier Sound have
supplementing these images with watercolor sketches made on the ground, she fallen from 6,000 acres in 1952 to 83
then transforms them into batiks, using both classical and modern methods. acres in 1997. Similar aerial photos
are available elsewhere from state
In 1994-95 Fraser first teamed with Pilkey to produce an exhibition of her and local archives.
work that appeared at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
Currently on exhibit at the Duke University Museum of Art is another set of
Fraser batiks, along with Pilkey’s wall text panels and writings about barrier islands
and damaged shorelines by South Carolina poet Marjory Wentworth. A Celebra-
tion of Barrier Islands: Restless Ribbons of Sand will remain on view at Duke The National Weather Service
until March 21. On March 21 the exhibition reopens at the National Science recently inaugurated a Dial-A-Buoy
Foundation in Arlington, Virginia, and will remain there through mid-June. service whereby anyone can get
current wind direction and velocity, air
“I’d like for my work to speak on behalf of the land,” says Fraser. “If it and water temperature, and wave
increases ecological awareness, that’s fine by me.” measurements from a network of
stations in U.S. coastal waters. To use
the system phone (228) 688-1948 and
punch in the “station identifier”
Menhaden, Continued from p. 3 number if you happen to know this. If
you do not, select menu option 2 and
1998 also highlighted menhaden’s unique capacity to remove excess follow instructions to dial in the
nutrients from the water column. Much has been done, with federal funds available approximate latitude and longitude
for stream buffering and other such efforts, to prevent nutrient rich runoff. But it is (degrees, then minutes) of the area
far more difficult to rebuild the ability of marine ecosystems to absorb nutrients. you’d like information from. You will
Menhaden serve as roving filters, converting algae into energy and thus reducing then be automatically contacted to the
nutrient loads. Able to process up to four gallons of water per minute, they gather information and forecast from the
where nutrients in the form of algae are concentrated. Marine biologist Sara station nearest the waypoint you
Gottlieb, while completing her M.S. degree at the University of Maryland, chose. The Dial-A-BuoyURL:
estimated that for Chesapeake Bay, this ecological function is worth up to $90, has maps and
million per annum counting only nitrogen and not the other nutrient, phosphorous, other details in addition to the above.
that the algae also contain. The commercial value of the fishery ranges between
$20-128 million. For fishermen and others who want to
run their portable electronic devices
In 1998 the stock assessment and policy processes governing the menha- while separated from a reliable power
den fishery also came under review. An external review panel mandated by the source, SunWize Technologies
Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission recommended sweeping changes offers a useful remedy: its 2-pound
including dismantling the Atlantic Menhaden Advisory Committee and increasing Portable Energy System. The solar
participation through smaller more specific scientific committees, including one on system’s voltage controller can double
ecological functions. Other recommendations included linking yields to recruitment, or triple the life of a portable
and requiring the fishery to take into account the menhaden’s life cycle and distribu- computer’s battery while the machine
tion. Should the concern and findings of 1998 become policy in 1999, it may well be is running, or charge the battery when
that this largely under-recognized and heavily utilized little fish, Brevoortia tyrranus, the unit is switched off. The system
will begin its recovery. can also operate or recharge cell
phones and other small devices. Real
Gottlieb’s paper at URL:, or visit Goods, a mail order house, distrib-, or utes the product. Tel. (800) 919-2400.
Atlantic CoastWatch Non Profit Org.
Sustainable Development Institute US Postage Paid
3121 South St., NW Washington, DC
Washington, D.C. 20007 Permit 1291
Tel: (202) 338-1017


Job Openings

The Caribbean Conservation Upcoming Events

Corporation has 8 research positions,
June 12-November 29 for marine March 18-28. Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital, see page 2.
turtle work in Costa Rica. E-mail: URL: April 4-10. II Caribbean Workshop on Energy and Environment, Cienfuegos, Cuba. Contact Milagroa Perez Fax: (53) (432) 22762. E-mail

The Potomac Conservancy seeks a April 5-7. Coastal GeoTools ‘99 Exploring Spatial Technologies for the Coastal
Land Protection Director. Contact Resource Management Community, Charleston, South Carolina. Tel: (843) 740-
Matthew Logan, Tel: (202) 338-4700. E- 1334. E-mail:
April 10. The 9th Annual Long Island Sound Watershed Alliance Citizen’s Summit -
The Marine Conservation Biology Open Space, Smart Growth and Water Quality - will be held at University of
Institute (MCBI) announces a Connecticut’s Stamford campus. Contact Lisa Carey Tel:(203) 327-9786. E-mail
Program and Legislative Associate
position in Washington, DC. April 16-17. The History, Status and Future of the New England Offshore Fishery,
Evans Hall, Cummings Art Center, Connecticut College, New London, Connecti-
The Center for Marine Conserva- cut. URL:
tion (CMC) seeks a Marine Wildlife
Lawyer. Tel: (202) 857-5551. E-mail: April 22-24. 3rd Bay of Fundy Science Workshop, Mount Allison University, Sackville, New Brunswick, Canada. Contact Dr. Jeff Ollerhead, Tel: (506) 364-2428.
The University of Connecticut
seeks a Program Coordinator for its April 26-30. 9th International Zebra Mussel and Aquatic Nuisance species (ANS)
Nonpoint Education for Municipal Conference, Duluth, Minnesota. Tel: (218) 726-8715, URL:
Officials Project. Contact Chester
Arnold. Tel: (860) 345-4511. E-mail: July 24-30. Coastal Zone 99, biennial international symposium on coastal zone management, San Diego. URL: