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Atlantic CoastWatch JULY-AUGUST 2002

Homeland Offenses News For Coastal Advocates

In the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedies, national priorities have necessarily
shifted. However, many spinoffs of Homeland Defense policies and a new economic
outlook bode poorly for the coastal environment. In part this may be a continuation z
or magnification of pre-existing trends. Items:

z In response to the Coast Guard’s inability to patrol closed fishing grounds, Homeland Offenses 1
the New England Fisheries Management Council passed a motion to apply the
maximum penalty, including losing one’s commercial fishing license, to those Brayton Fixes Ordered 1
tempted by unprotected seas. Compared to 2000, end of year 2001 boardings of
fishing vessels decreased by more than half to 625. Fishermen fretted that re-
sponses to sea emergencies would be impaired. While Soundings reports an $11 Sayings 2
billion contract for maintenance and acquisition of new Coast Guard vessels,
helicopters and planes, one suggestion is for fishing boats to have vessel monitoring Drought Hurts, Helps 3
systems. Fishermen keen to protect trade secrets have long resisted these.
Jet Ski Phobia on Cape 3
(Continued, p. 7)
Publications 4

New Brayton Fixes Ordered Courts & the Seashore 4

For years fishermen, environmentalists, and citizens have been complain- Maine Scallop Seeding 5
ing that water flowing into and out of the aging Pacific Gas & Electric power plant
at Brayton Point in Somerset, MA has been a disaster for Narragansett Bay. Mil- Pfiesteria Wars 6
lions of gallons of 95 degree water flushing from the plant, it has been argued, killed
winter flounder larvae. Fish eggs and larvae also suffer massively when they along Cell from Heaven 6
with water are drawn into the plant. Overall, it has been widely claimed, the plant
has virtually wiped out the winter flounder fishery in Mount Hope Bay at
Narragansett’s northeast corner. The flow of hot water, moreover, was said to have
had a destructive warming effect on all of the narrow, shallow Narragansett Bay. z

This summer, after five years of research, federal and Massachusetts state
authorities lowered the boom on Brayton. In one of the largest cleanup actions in its
32-year history, the New England office of the EPA ordered PG&E to lower its heat
discharge into the bay by 96% and reduce water intake into the plant from almost 1
billion to 56 million gallons a day. People; Awards; Species &
Habitats; Restorations; Report
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection joined Cards; Products; Funding
EPA in issuing the order in the form of a draft permit, which is subject to a public
comment period before becoming final. It was made under the federal Clean Water Atlantic CoastWatch is a bimonthly
Act, which requires companies to get permits to discharge wastewater. A previous nonprofit newsletter for those interested
federal order had compelled the plant, which supplies electric power for 6 percent of in the environmentally sound develop-
New England’s citizens, to spend $150 million to reduce air emissions by 50%. ment of the coastline from the Gulf of
Maine to the Eastern Caribbean.
The company may have to spend as much as $250 million to achieve
compliance, principally to build huge cooling towers. It claims scientific “uncer- Coastal News Nuggets, our weekly news
tainty.” Rhode Island’s Save the Bay wants Brayton to reduce water intake and headline service, is available through the
outflow as ordered, and to take immediate measures “to repair the damage through Atlantic CoastWatch web site:
a comprehensive restoration plan.” Others in the community, calling Brayton as is a
cornerstone for the local economy, urge EPA to back off. URL:
Atlantic CoastWatch
Vol. 6, No. 4 Sayings
A project of the Sustainable Since the outset of Atlantic CoastWatch, this space has been devoted to the
Development Institute, which seeks writings and observations of people other than ourselves. But your editor was so
to heighten the environmental quality struck by a recent experience that I cannot help but tell you something of it. The
of economic development efforts, in experience was a visit to Bermuda’s tiny, rocky Castle Harbour islands, the sole
coastal and in forest regions, by breeding habitat of the Bermuda petrel (Pterodroma cahow). Our host was the
communicating information about remarkable man who just about single-handedly saved the bird from extinction:
better policies and practices. SDI is Bermuda’s recently retired Conservation Officer, David B. Wingate.
classified as a 501(c)(3) organization,
exempt from federal income tax. An aerodynamic marvel superior even to the albatross in its flying skills,
the nocturnal cahow was abundant throughout Bermuda when European explorers
Board of Directors arrived. It was easy to catch during its breeding season, and so popular a food, that
the bird was thought to have gone extinct by as early as 1621. The famed ornitholo-
Freeborn G. Jewett, Jr., Chairman gist Robert Cushman Murphy found breeding pairs in 1951, usually stated as the
Robert Geniesse, Chairman Emeritus date of the bird’s rediscovery. In 1961, armed with a freshly minted Cornell Univer-
Roger D. Stone, President sity degree, Wingate set about to manage the bird’s recovery. In order to do so he
Hart Fessenden, Treasurer moved onto the 6-hectare Nonsuch, largest of the windswept Castle Harbour island
Hassanali Mehran, Secretary group, and has lived there at least part time ever since.
Edith A. Cecil
David P. Hunt Wingate ridded the islands of the rat, a principal predator of the cahow. He
Gay P. Lord devised a way to protect the cahows’ nesting burrows by walling off their entrances
Lee Petty with barriers just too tight to allow slightly larger white-tailed tropicbirds to invade
Simon Sidamon-Eristoff them. He built artificial burrows exactly matching the birds’ requirements. He
restored the soils of the badly degraded group of islets to provide better natural
Advisers habitat for the birds, and nursed frail chicks back to health before releasing them for
the pelagic wanderings that occupy them for most of the year.
William H. Draper III
Joan Martin-Brown All this has resulted in what Wingate has called “one of the most successful
endangered species recovery programs on the planet at present.” From a nadir of
Scientific Advisory Council 18 breeding pairs at the time of rediscovery, the cahow population has risen
steadily over the past half-century despite periodic setbacks from hurricanes whose
Gary Hartshorn waves flood their burrows. The latest count was 59 breeding pairs which this year
Stephen P. Leatherman produced 36 fledgling chicks—”ample to sustain the species,” says Wingate.
Jerry R. Schubel
Christopher Uhl The cahow recovery is just the beginning of what Wingate and his succes-
sor, Jeremy Medeiros, seek to accomplish on their 30-acre “living museum.”
Staff Using what Wingate calls a “holistic approach,” they aim to restore the entire little
archipelago to as close as possible a replica of what it once was, guarding the needs
Roger D. Stone, Director & President of preferred species. They have banished or cornered many destructive invasive
Shaw Thacher, Project Manager plants and animals, including the Jamaican anole, a non-native lizard that competes
Robert C. Nicholas III, Contr. Editor for food with the endemic Bermuda rock lizard or skink; the great kiskadee, a bird
Megan Ender, Program Associate that eats skinks as well as anoles; and the prolific cane toad, which swam across
Sarah Verhoff, Program Associate from mainland Bermuda and also competes for food with the skinks. Nonsuch,
Anita G. Herrick, Correspondent almost denuded of forest cover when Wingate arrived, is now lush, green, and clad
Laura W. Roper, Correspondent largely in native cedars and other trees and plants that get favored treatment. This
year is one of heavy plantings for a grass called the Bermuda sedge (“our botanical
Major Donors cahow,” Wingate calls it) that had also almost gone extinct.

Avenir Foundation Showing off his treasures, the sturdy, white-bearded Wingate strides
The Fair Play Foundation around his own habitat with the easy gait of a teenager. At one point on our tour, he
The Curtis and Edith Munson casually stepped off the edge of a 150-foot cliff onto a narrow ledge to look for a
Foundation tropicbird burrow, then climbed no-hands back onto terra firma. Hearing his clear
and detailed explanations of what is happening on his islands, one comes to a quick
Sponsored Projects understanding of why, for example, the Island Resources Foundation would
flatly state that “the world is forever in his debt for his singular and continuing
Trees for DC achievements.” All the more remarkable: the transformation of these islands has
been accomplished with virtually no support from the government. “Our budget is
Environmental Film Festival in the less than what the dogcatcher gets,” Wingate notes wryly. “But that’s not really the
Nation’s Capital, March 13-23, 2003 point. It’s not so much money that it takes to do this, as it is dedication and resolve.”
-- Roger D. Stone

Dought Hurts A Lot, Helps a Little Francine Cousteau, widow of the

famous aquatic explorer, recently
showed up in Narragansett, RI to sign
“Jellyfish Jam Delaware Beaches,” headlined a feature story in the
a memorandum of understanding
Delaware State News. Reporter Hilary Corrigan quoted a marine education
between the Cousteau Society and
specialist as saying that the July combination of hot and dry weather brought more
the University of Rhode Island.
jellyfish than normal to Delaware’s coast. Faster than usual growth rates made
Few details have yet been decided
many of the region’s half-dozen species of jellyfish highly visible to swimmers. One
about how the partnership will work.
result was local runs on baking soda, meat tenderizer, and other means of taking
For starters, plans call for the society’s
the sting out of jellyfish encounters.
105-foot research vessel Alcyone to
use the university’s shorefront Bay
Higher than usual salinity levels have caused sea nettles and other jellyfish
Campus as a base for future expedi-
species to move en masse much farther into the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries
than in a normal year of freshwater rainfall into the Bay. Swimming along with
tentacles streaming far behind them, the nettles affect the abundance of fish in the
Zoologist Warren Wisby, a specialist
Bay by competing with them for food.
on how marine animals see, hear, and
smell, died of heart failure in Home-
The invasive combjelly, a nonstinging jellyfish, and the filter-feeding, 3-inch
stead, FL. He was 79. Wisby was
sea squirt are harassing native species in many places along the New England
director of the National Fisheries
coast, reports the Boston Globe. Both species have expanded their previous
Center and Aquarium in Washing-
ranges thanks to rising water temperatures in recent years, marine scientists
ton, DC before retiring to Florida and
theorize. The rise allows both species to begin breeding earlier, competing with
becoming a faculty member at the
native organisms for living space and feeding on some of them. The combjelly is
University of Miami’s Rosensteil
especially fond of winter flounder larvae.
School of Marine and Atmo-
spheric Science.
Salinity changes along the Georgia seacoast, reported Online Mariner, had
many crabs congregating in small areas where competition among crabbers grew
Nearing the end of his two terms as
ugly with guns drawn and crab pots cut away. Worsening the problem, many crabs
Maryland’s Governor, Parris N.
migrated west of Highway I-95 with salinity intrusions upriver, where commercial
Glendening has been speaking out
crabbing is forbidden. Reports from the Jersey shore related drought conditions to
with ever greater frequency on
brown tides, which this year started earlier, were more widespread and denser, and
environmental subjects. He promises
have lasted longer than usual, affecting clams and other shellfish.
to continue his involvement with
environmental issues after he leaves
In the Chesapeake Bay region, naturalists and others expressed enthusi-
office. “We need a sense of outrage
asm about the lack of nitrogen runoff and other forms of pollution as well as a sharp
about what’s happening,” he said in an
falloff in erosion from development. The result has been a downturn in algal blooms
interview with Baltimore Sun colum-
as well as the other forces that usually cloud Chesapeake water, and a sharp
nist Tom Horton. “We need a Rachel
increase in the clarity of the water. Commentators were even using the expression
Carson II. We need the federal
“gin-clear” to describe the Bay this summer. Increased sunlight reaching the
government leading, not dragging.”
bottom of the bay has in turn has stimulated the growth of subaquatic vegetation,
which while still only 10% of historic highs has increased substantially from recent
low levels. It will not last, of course. But “This is a gift,” naturalist John Page Awards
Williams told the Washington Post. “It’s showing us what we could have if we
really restore this bay.” Winner of the 2002 International
Stockholm Junior Water Prize from the
With significant rains the sudden flush of nutrients and toxics into the Water Environment Federation is
Chesapeake watershed will worsen matters. Still, as Baltimore experienced its Katherine Holt of Williamsburg, VA.
driest year since 1871, parched trees shrivelled, fire hazard grew, and water levels A high school student, Holt’s winning
continued to drop, Marylanders were praying for a tropical storm. project was an analysis of the effects
of introducing exotic Asian oysters
into the Chesapeake Bay. Holt
received a crystral sculpture and
Jet-Ski Phobia on Cape $5,000. URL:

In the wake of National Park Service limits on noisy personal watercraft Abigail Bradley nailed Delaware’s
in Cape Cod National Seashore, nearby towns have also imposed curbs. Chatham Young Environmentalist of the Year
followed the federal ban. Provincetown limits the jet-skis to one corridor. Truro, award for her research on nesting
reports the Boston Globe, “no longer allows people to so much as park their jet skis horseshoe crabs, volunteering for
in public lots.” Such moves are spreading despite industry measures to make the grass and tree planting in the state’s
machines safer, quieter and cleaner. But, the Globe continued, police detective parks, and successfully getting the
Geneva Cook guessed she was the only Truro resident who still owns one. She legislature to unanimously pass the
was considering planting flowers around it. horseshoe as the state marine animal.
Now a research assistant at Univer-
sity of Delaware College of
Marine Studies, Bradley is examin-
ing the impacts of dredge spoils on Publications
beach ecosystems. The award
includes $200 and a Delaware State z Two years ago, Isle au Haut, Maine fisherwoman Linda Greenlaw
Park Pass. produced the best-selling book The Hungry Ocean. This work gave the reader a
keen sense of what it’s like to fish New England’s offshore waters, especially if you
Species & Habitats are a single woman captain with an all-male crew. Now, in The Lobster
Chronicles (Hyperion 2002), Greenlaw has produced an equally vivid account of
This summer wildlife ecologist David real life on her home island (year round pop. 70) and fishing for lobster in nearby
Brinker, of the Maryland Depart- waters. Even without deadly storms to describe, Greenlaw spins a bracing good
ment of Natural Resources, tale in this surprise bestseller.
returned to the Chesapeake Bay’s
remote Spring Island to tag this year’s z In Shark Trouble (Random House 2002). Author Peter Benchley offers
pelican nestlings. They were growing chilling inside looks at what goes on whenTV producers get him and other celebri-
up on the island before heading south ties to perform underwater tricks close to large sharks and other marine predators.
for the winter. By putting bands on the After one narrow escape from a great white, a terrified and bloody Benchley makes
pelicans, Brinker can measure their it back to the surface gurgling expletives. “No no no,” says the director. “You can’t
population and also determine where use that language on network television. Go back down and surface again and tell
they end up after leaving the island. us what you saw.” Along the way, citing examples from three decades of experi-
Over 7,500 pelicans now visit the ence, the author also offers much valuable counsel about how to avoid trouble from
Chesapeake each year—up from marine creatures, of which only a few have any interest at all in eating people.
almost none back when DDT deci-
mated the bird’s population along the z This Fine Piece of Water: An Environmental History of Long Island
eastern seaboard. He wouldn’t trade Sound (Yale University Press 2002) traces the trajectory of this crowded estuary
his job for anything, Brinker said. from its original splendor to the disastrous fish-killing degradation of recent years.
Author Tom Andersen, a former journalist who now works at New York’s
The endangered shortnose sturgeon, Westchester Land Trust, supplies a wealth of detailed information about the
thought to have been extinct in the various factors bringing the Sound to “the brink of disaster” and almost beyond.
Potomac River, was rediscovered Many archival photographs enrich a solid text that brims with illuminating detail
there in the mid-1990s. Recently about a subject not before addressed so holistically.
federal lawmakers accused the US
Army Corps of Engineers, which z A new book by Barry Costa-Pierce, director of the Rhode Island Sea
has annually been dumping 200,000 Grant Program, argues that radical reforms including greatly enhanced environ-
tons of sludge into the river upstream mental protection is needed if the aquaculture industry is ever to hit full stride. The
of the shortnose’s habitat, of failing to volume, entitled Ecological Aquaculture: Evolution of the Blue Revolution, is
protect the species as required by law. available from Rhode Island Sea Grant for a cool 110 bucks plus shipping. URL:
There is no proof that the sludge,
consisting of sediment from a water
treatment facility, is harmful. But, said
Reuters, officials concede that areas Courts and the Seashore
where dumping occurred would be
prime breeding grounds for the Virginia has been struggling with its definition and regulation of isolated
sturgeon and that the sludge may be and non-tidal wetlands. Recently US District Judge Henry Coker Morgan Jr.
harmful to the sturgeon’s eggs. ruled for RG Moore, a developer building a golfing community, that the US Army
Corps of Engineers has no jurisdiction over isolated and non-adjacent wetlands.
Rhode Island’s Blackstone Valley The argument is that these seasonally wet lands are only connected by man-made
Tourism Council, reports the ditches and therefore not covered by the Clean Water Act despite the federal
Providence Journal, has been offering government’s desire to protect such areas. They filter pollutants, counter flooding
schoolchildren and parents a “Bugs of and provide sanctuary for wildlife. Virginia also announced a new state regulatory
the Blackstone” tour of the river so permitting system for nontidal wetlands to take effect this fall. Approved by the
that children may learn about the Army Corps, the system is similar to that in place in 13 other states.
ecology in the water system. Insects
such as the common stonefly or the The Commonwealth of Virginia has appealed a March decision by the
brushlegged mayfly are intolerant of same judge ruling that neither the state, nor the federal government may stop
pollution. Finding them is evidence of Newbunn Associates from developing 38 acres of wetlands on a 43 acre site.
health. Along the badly stressed Roy Hoagland, executive director of Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay Foundation
Blackstone, a birthplace of the indus- branch, applauded the state’s appeal. “Unless reversed,” he said, “this mistaken
trial revolution, they remain scarce ruling puts at risk more than 400,000 acres of isolated nontidal wetlands in Virginia,
because of persistent pollutants and threatening the health of the Chesapeake Bay and rivers and streams.”
water quality. (Continued, p. 5)

Courts and the Seashore, Continued from p. 4 Last April National Audubon
Society workers deployed tern
decoys on Outer Green Island in
In settling a Clean Water Act lawsuit that may help shape salmon aquacul-
Maine’s Casco Bay, broadcast tern
ture regulations being developed in Maine, US Public Interest Research Group
vocalizations and set off fireworks to
and Heritage Salmon Inc. defined terms for environmentally sound farming
scare away large gulls that have
practices. Included are: bans against European or genetically modified salmon;
driven terns off many Maine nesting
stringent practices against netpen escapes; requiring heritage site to lie fallow
grounds. This year the effort was
without use; and not using state regulated substances toxic to aquatic organisms,
rewarded when a common tern pair
prophylactic antibiotics, or experimental drugs. More intensive monitoring of sites
named Adam and Eve successfully
and public reporting will be required. Heritage will not expand operations in
raised the first chick known to have
Penobscot Bay, and will contribute $375,000 for wild Atlantic salmon restoration.
been born on Outer Green in 88 years.
Lawsuits are pending against Stolt Sea Farm and Atlantic Salmon of Maine.
Outer Green is one of ten Audubon
seabird restoration projects in the Gulf
In July a federal appeals court struck down an extension of the clean air
of Maine. The most famous of these is
compliance deadline for the DC area that has been granted by the EPA. The ruling
the long-running Atlantic puffin effort
came in response to a suit filed by the nonprofit environmental law firm
on Eastern Egg Rock in Muscongus
EarthJustice, which argued that the delay requested by governments in the region
Bay, which this year has produced a
threatened human health and was “simply unacceptable for the capital of our
record number of more than 40 chicks.
country.” Despite the new ruling, complained EarthJustice lawyer David Baron,
EPA was still giving regional officials until 2004 or even longer to comply.
Last December the federal govern-
ment issued a draft of the rules to
Scallop Seeding in Maine govern the massive $7.8 billion
Everglades restoration program.
Environmentalists complained loudly.
Sea scallop harvesting, traditionally a vital winter activity for Maine
The draft was perceived, as reporter
groundfishermen and lobstermen, hit the skids in the 1980s. Only the introduction
Michael Grunwald put it in the
of new technologies, larger boats and very heavy drags among them, kept the
Washington Post, “as evidence of a
fishery sputtering along through the 1990s. In 1999, a delegation of Maine fisher-
local water supply and flood control
men, scientists, public officials and NGO representatives traveled to Japan’s
boondoggle masquerading as a
Hokkaido island to observe seeding techniques that have been notably successful.
national rescue mission for alligators,
panthers, otters, and wading birds.” A
What’s involved is as simple as it has often been effective. After scallop
new draft issued in July calls for
eggs are fertilized, the larvae drift in open water, then sink to the ocean floor.
environmental goals to be set, and for
During this time they are highly vulnerable to predation, especially from starfish
the Interior Department to play
and crabs. In order to protect the young scallops during this period, fishermen set
more of a role in the effort than it had
out fine-mesh “spat bags” for the larvae to enter and attach themselves to an inner
previously been allocated—a key
material called netron. Then they grow too large to swim out through the mesh.
demand from green groups. Environ-
Later the scallops, coin size, are released into nursery areas.
mentalists remain far from satisfied
with the new draft, wrote Grunwald.
Returning to Maine the delegation formed what is known as the Wild
“But even the most skeptical among
Scallop Enhancement Project. Workshops have been held. Research has been
them called it an improvement.” A
conducted with the assistance of Maine’s Department of Marine Resources
public comment period is currently
(DMR), the private North Atlantic Marine Alliance (NAMA), and several univer-
under way. URL:
sities. Most importantly fishermen, often lobstermen who turn to scalloping during
the December-April season, have undertaken to set the spat bags.

This summer, the third for the program, local fishermen seeded some 2 Report Cards
million young scallops in the midcoast Penobscot Bay area, where collecting was
traditionally good. Similar efforts have been mounted in Saco Bay near Portland, No Atlantic or Gulf Coast state rakes in
where help has been provided even by lobstermen not interested in scalloping more dollars for beach replenishment
themselves, and in Cobscook Bay near the Canadian border. than New Jersey, reports the South
Jersey Courier-Post. The data it
Educators on Deer Isle have developed a scallop curriculum for high school reports comes from a Duke Univer-
students involving spat bags, monitoring results, and studying scallop physiology. sity study showing that since 1923,
“It’s been a wonderful way to encourage stewardship among prospective fisher- public spending for that purpose
men,” says Stonington fisherman and scientist Ted Ames. “A whole variety of good totaled about $3.6 billion adjusted to
stuff has come out of it.” As well as one crushing disappointment this summer when 2002 dollars on both coasts. Of that
vandals cut most of the Penobscot Bay area spat bags away from their moorings. sum the 125-mile Jersey Shore
(Continued, p. 7) bagged in $1.08 billion or, said the
paper, “more than $8.7 million spent
per mile of shoreline for replenish-
ment projects.” The Garden State,
cracked the Courier-Post, might be Pfiesteria Wars
renamed the Golden State. Runner up
with $6.6 million per mile of beach: In 1997, a late summer outbreak of Pfiesteria piscicida in Maryland’s
New York. URLs: Pocomoke River killed 30,000 fish and affected fishermen. This event had been; preceded by much larger fishkills in North Carolina of over a million fish in 1993 and an estimated billion fish in 1991. But when Pfiesteria moved closer to Washington,
DC, apprehensions about the “cell from hell” overcame skepticism on the part of
Improvements in land use practices, some scientists and officials, triggering a wave of policies and federal funds. Much
according to a new study based on 15 of the concern stemmed from pioneering studies by aquatic botanist JoAnn
years of satellite data, could save Burkholder at North Carolina State University (NCSU), whose own lab workers
550,000 acres in the greater Washing- suffered illnesses as a result of working with the organism.
ton, DC area from development over
the next 28 years. The report, entitled New policies called on the agricultural and livestock sectors to reduce the
“Future Growth in the Washington, DC flow of sediments that provoke Pfiesteria, a benign organism in 23 of its 24 life
Region,” was jointly issued by the stages, into the single one that is toxic to fish and humans. Most impacted was
Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the North Carolina’s swine industry, long accustomed to letting waste run into rivers.
University of Maryland, and the US The threat of Pfiesteria also supported arguments for building stream buffers. Now,
Geological Survey. URL: after four years without Pfiesteria events (Hurricane Floyd in 1999 cleansed North Carolina’s estuaries while regulations reduced runoff), new studies question if the
dinoflagellate is toxic to fish, or humans, and whether it has a 24 stage life cycle.
According to the Natural Resources
Defense Council, Washington, DC’s At the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences (VIMS), Wolfgang
Water and Sewer Authority is still Vogelbein examined a handful of Pfiesteria strains, studying in detail one called
“using a 19th century approach to Pfiesteria shumwayae. In Nature, Vogelbein asserts that shumwayae gnaws at the
stormwater” that results in “bacteria skin of fish, enabling other species of amoeba to set in and do the real damage.
laced rivers, dead fish, and sick Burkholder’s reply: Vogelbein studied a non-toxic strain and his work only confirms
swimmers.” The NRDC report, entitled existing studies. NCSU has identified over 400 strains and is studying 300 of them.
“Out of the Gutter: Reducing Polluted
Runoff in the District of Columbia,” Wayne Litaker, of the Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat
urges steps that will encourage rain to Research at NOAA, could not identify multiple amoeboid stages in Pfiesteria
seep into the ground rather than drain through the use of probes to identify specific genes. He claims that Pfiesteria is
off into such ailing rivers as the similar to other single celled algae. Again, Burkholder points out, Litaker used a
Anacostia. URL: non-toxic strain. In a 2001 study conducted by NCSU and Old Dominion Univer-
sity, scientists confirmed an unusual amoeba stage using the same genetic probe.
45% of the river sections it monitors
are polluted, says Virginia’s Depart- With research funds for Pfiesteria now dwindling, some laboratories claim
ment of Environmental Quality in Burkholder fails to share research and Pfiesteria cultures -- an allegation she
the first dirty-water report it has denies, since she has cooperated with 21 laboratories. In October Burkholder will
issued since 1998. 4,403 stream miles publish the NCSU lab’s first findings about the toxin and its effects on memory loss.
are listed as impaired because of
human activity—up from 1,568 miles In response to suggestions of Pfiesteria’s non-toxicity, Waterkeeper
in 1998 because the analysis has Alliance sued to examine contradictory and repetitive research, and find out why
broadened and standards are stricter. $12 of $16 million in research grants went to labs ill-equipped to handle Pfiesteria.
Among the rivers cited are not only Said Rick Dove, Waterkeeper’s southeast representative who himself suffers from
such well-known hotspots of pollution exposure to Pfiesteria: “There’s a lot at stake here—the environment, human health
as the James and Elizabeth Rivers and research dollars. When they do wrong, scientists and government agencies
near Norfolk, but also the Pamunkey must be held accountable, just like the corporate executives of Enron and
east of Richmond. On the list for the WorldCom.” URLs:;;
first time, according to the Richmond
Times-Dispatch, the Pamunkey is
“tainted by fecal bacteria from
unknown sources.” URL:
The Cell from Heaven
Twenty miles off Florida’s Fort Pierce Inlet, reported the Associated Press,
four fishermen ended up in the water after their boat capsized and sank. Attracted
Products by the chum they had been using as bait, sharks were soon surrounding them. They
had not had time to put on their life jackets. What saved them was modern technol-
Eastern hemlock forests are among ogy. One of the men had a cell phone in a plastic bag. While treading water, he
the region’s most biologically diverse. managed to get it going and dialed 911. A Coast Guard helicopter was soon over-
Since 1924, however, hemlocks from head and hoisted the foursome from the sharks to safety.
the Smokies to the mid-Hudson valley
have been seriously beset by a pest
called the woolly adelgid that sucks
Homeland Offenses, Continued from p. 1 sap from the trees’ leaves and
eventually kills them. Scientists have
z While the Coast Guard’s environmental protection duties have fallen 53%, discovered that the ladybird beetle, a
state environmental protection departments have been recruited to assist home- relative of the familiar ladybug,
land defense, given their familiarity with local waters. In South Carolina the Hilton “voraciously feeds on all stages of the
Head Island Packet reports that 5,200 hours of 9,000 spent on the water by the adelgid” and has been successfully
Natural Resources Department (SC DNR) were for Coast Guard requested field tested. The Reading, PA company
duties for vessel escort, bridge inspection and guarding exclusion zones, among Eco-Scientific Solutions has been
others. This operates against a 22% budget cut at SC DNR that reduced the number breeding and marketing the ladybirds.
of law enforcement officers by 52 to 236, leaving the Coastal Division with just 34 Problem is that rearing the beetles is a
officers. Said Captain Jon McClellan: “We’re about as thin as we can get.” laborious task, and the company has
yet to find a way to make them pay.
z The Environmental Council of States (ECOS) reports that nationwide URL:
there have been $500 million in state-level environmental budget cuts over the last
two years, leaving $13 billion. NOAA’s Ocean Service magazine warns that coastal Cooking low-grade wood in an oxygen
managers face an extended period of austerity. Given Florida’s $1.6 billion budget free environment, University of
deficit due to plummeting tourism, the Florida Keys Sea Grant office was closed. New Hampshire researchers report,
At the New Jersey Office of Coastal Planning, Larry Schmidt points out what breaks down the material into various
many coastal managers will face: “no new equipment, no travel, no hiring, and the components including a liquid that can
possibility of layoffs.” be condensed into “bio-oil” for home
heating. The raw material consists of
z The Pentagon is seeking environmental exemptions from the Clean Air Act, wood scrap from paper mills, and
Clean Water Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, Migratory Bird Threat Act and the brush and small trees that create a
Endangered Species Act. The 2003 defense authorization bill, said Dan Meyer of fire hazard in forests. The fuel that
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), “is the product of results is environmentally friendly.The
the Pentagon talking to itself and ignores the fact that most of these environmental New Hampshire Business Enter-
laws already contain carefully drawn exceptions for military activities. Our military prise Development Council is in
does not have to despoil our shores to defend them.” what board member Jerry Stewart
describes as “the very early fact
The problem is not just homeland security and the economy. As PEER also finding stages” of finding investors to
points out, federal prosecutions referred by the EPA to the Justice Department build and operate bio-oil production
dropped 20% prior to 9/11. Referrals dropped 80% for the Toxic Substance Control plants.
Act, 54% for the Clean Air Act, and 53% for the Clean Water Act. Said PEER analyst
Jessica Revere, who compiled the Department of Justice numbers with the Meantime, researchers at Penn State
University of Syracuse: “The spigot for environmental cases entering the have developed a new technology to
prosecution pipeline is being cranked way down during President Bush’s first year in toss “fuel nuggets” of mixed farm
office. We can expect even greater declines in 2002 with the removal of nearly half plastics into coal burners. The mixed
of the criminal investigators and the new agency leadership’s pledge to de-empha- plastics “burn just fine,” Penn State
size environmental enforcement.” agricultural engineer James Garthe
told EarthVision News.

Scallop Seeding in Maine, Continued from p. 5
Maryland’s Rural Legacy program
Some participants hope that the seeding will improve the wild catch. awarded $3 million in grants to
Others think it might lead to ranching ventures. Still others, says NAMA’s Carla Baltimore County so it may protect
Morin, whose boyfriend is a fisherman, participate simply “because they believe in land in the northwest and northeast
sustainability. There’s a real sense of community that’s forming around this project.” sections of the county.This initiative
enhances the efforts of private land
Participants hesitate to predict dramatic results despite a strong track trusts to create large blocks of
record in Japan and elsewhere. “Every place is different,” says Scott Feindel of protected land. There are five Rural
Maine’s DMR. “The Canadians have been doing this for 10-12 years, and I don’t Legacy areas covering 55,000 acres.
think they quite have it down yet.” Even if tests succeed, Morin worries, beneficia- Today over 6,800 acres are being
ries may be not local inshore fishermen, but larger vessels from other places. preserved or are in the process of
being preserved through the program.
But if it is too early to tell what will happen to Maine’s sea scallop fishery as Counties that fail to adopt good
a result of all this activity, it is not too early to label this an exciting innovation. It is a enough land protection programs of
bottom up effort, led by industry and not regulators or bureaucrats, run by what their own get frozen out of the Rural
Feindel calls “a few pockets of really dedicated people,” that constitutes a worthy Legacy kitty. URL:
model. URLs:;
Atlantic CoastWatch
Sustainable Development Institute
3121 South St., NW
Washington, D.C. 20007

Tel: (202) 338-1017

Fax: (202) 337-9639

Tax-deductible contributions for Atlantic CoastWatch are urgently needed.

The Open Space Institute in

New York gave $4.2 million in
With Appreciation
grants or loans to protect 245,500
acres of forestland from develop- We would especially like to recognize the major grant of $10,000 recently
ment in Maine, New Hampshire, received from the Curtis and Edith Munson Foundation, and express the
and New York. Much of the land deepest thanks to its board and staff for the support it has faithfully extended to
being protected falls within our Atlantic CoastWatch program.
watersheds whose health affects
the coastal zone. Maine received a We also extend very special thanks to two other recent major donors:
grant of $400,000 to buy the 4,242- Catherine Cahill and William Bernhard, and World Wildlife Fund. In addi-
acre Big Spencer Mountain and six tion, we would like to recognize the important assistance provided by these other
acres of shorefront on Moosehead donors whose contributions were received between June 24 and August 25,
Lake.The Nature Conservancy’s 2002:
New Hampshire chapter and the
Society for the Protection of William C. Baker Cecilia V. Nobel
New Hampshire Forests re- Lawrence Coolidge Hector Prud’homme
ceived $3 million to help them buy Leslie D. Cronin Hamilton Robinson Jr.
171,500 acres from International Elinor K. Farquhar William D. Rogers
Paper. URL: The Folger Fund Edith N. Schafer
Betsy and George Hess John Shober
Just now getting underway is the Elizabeth Hodder Anne and Constantine Sidamon-
initial step in the much ballyhooed Edward L. Hoyt Eristoff
Hudson River PCB cleanup: the Sally Barlow Ittmann Donald B. Straus
collection of some 30,000 samples Peter and Beverly Jost Ellen I. Sykes
of river sediment. Engineers will Joan F. Koven Kenneth B. Tate
use these samples to help them Bucky Mace Sandra I. van Heerden
decide where and how much to John D. Macomber Sarah T. Wardwell
dredge the river. General Elec- Martha E. McMillan Gertrude deG. Wilmers
tric will foot the $15 million bill for Leigh Miller Robert G. Wilmers
what is said to be the largest Gail S. Moloney Nancy Wilson
sediment sampling program ever James E. Moltz Worth Fund
undertaken in the US. Natural Resources Defense Council Alex Zagoreos

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