You are on page 1of 8

Atlantic CoastWatch January - February 2003

Bright Future for Jersey’s Meadowlands News For Coastal Advocates


In 1968 New Jersey chartered a new regional planning entity called the
Hackensack Meadowlands Development Commission. Last year this agency
was retitled the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission. With the new name z
came stronger resolve “to acquire and preserve 8,400 acres of wetlands in the
Meadowlands District” encompassing 14 north Jersey towns that face New York
City. Jersey Meadowlands 1
The revised nomenclature and mission underscore a substantial shift in Statehouse Shifts 1
thought about the meadowlands, home to 55 rare bird and 29 rare fish species. This
ecologically fragile, 21,000 acre area has long principally been a heavily polluted
dumping ground for trash and a focal point for developers to drain wetlands for Sayings 2
highways, sports facilities, shopping malls, housing complexes and industrial sites.
The new concept calls for economic growth to be concentrated on already devel- Courts & the Seashore 2
oped areas or on the reuse of brownfield properties, leaving major portions of the
region off limits to development of any sort. Bridge Loans 3

Some 7000 acres will become a nature preserve tenfold the size of New Publications 4
York City’s Central Park. On the development side, the Tampa, Florida firm EnCap
Inc. has embarked on a $1 billion scheme to transform six old landfills into a 72-hole
LI Sound Cable Issues 5
golf resort complex. The Mills Corporation of Arlington, Virginia has abandoned a
controversial proposal to install a huge shopping center on Meadowlands wetland
(Atlantic CoastWatch, March/April 2001). Instead, the company recently concluded a Asian Oysters in Bay? 5
deal to morph the Continental Arena, a sports center built on dry land in East
Rutherford, into a $1.3 billion “family entertainment and recreation complex.” Golf Course Runoff 6
(Continued, p. 8)
Environmental Film Festival 8

Statehouse Paradigm Shift?


z
At the federal level, all but a few Republicans tend to remain faithful to the
White House with regard to environmental issues. Within many Atlantic coastal Recurring
states, Republicans have become just about as likely as Democrats to champion
environmental causes.
People; Awards; Species &
Strongest environmental advocate among new Republican Atlantic coastal Habitats; Restorations;
governors is Mitt Romney of Massachusetts. His campaign included strong pleas Report Cards; Products;
for a clean environment. A key appointment to his team was that of Douglas Foy Funding;
as chief of commonwealth development in charge of housing, transportation,
environment, and energy. Formerly head of the private, nonprofit Conservation Atlantic CoastWatch is a bimonthly
Law Foundation, Foy is known for having sued the state to clean up Boston harbor. nonprofit newsletter for those inter-
In public office one of Foy’s early acts was to propose cutbacks in the state’s fleet of ested in the environmentally sound
“nonessential” SUVs. With assistance from Foy, Romney also announced a $15 development of the coastline
million Green Energy Fund to help state-based renewable energy businesses. from the Gulf of Maine
to the Eastern Caribbean.
Rhode Island’s new Republican governor, businessman and political novice
Don Carciere, gladdened environmentalists’ hearts by quashing a long-simmering Coastal News Nuggets, our weekly
proposal to transform the old Quonset Point Naval Air Station into an expensive and news headline service, is available
ecologically destructive port for container ships. All five candidates for the through the Atlantic CoastWatch web
(Continued, p. 7) site: www.atlanticcoastwatch.org.
2
Atlantic CoastWatch
Vol. 7, No. 1 Sayings
A project of the Sustainable From an article entitled “Conservation is Conservative,” by writer and
Development Institute, which seeks environmentalist Duane Pierson, recently published in Northern Sky News:
to heighten the environmental quality of
economic development efforts, in Republican leaders continue to misread and misunderstand the environ-
coastal and in forest regions, by mental movement. Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush both came into office with
communicating information about better
a top priority to stamp out Public Enemy Number one—the environmentalists. Both
policies and practices. SDI is classified
as a 501(c)(3) organization, exempt from presidents were soon shocked to find their perceptions not as commonly accepted
federal income tax. as they thought, particularly within the Republican rank and file.

Board of Directors How can these Republican leaders repeatedly be wrong? They suffer a
historical mistake common to political leaders. They develop a scapegoat, usually
Freeborn G. Jewett, Jr., Chairman by creating a negative stereotype. It becomes the opposition force; an evil that
Robert J. Geniesse, Chairman Emeritus embodies all that does not comfortably fit within friendly designs. Environmental-
Roger D. Stone, President
ists make an easy enemy. In reality environmentalism is an all-encompassing
Hart Fessenden, Treasurer
Hassanali Mehran, Secretary concept. Every element in our existence from biology to economics is a factor. It is
Edith A. Cecil no wonder there is so much misuse and confusion. Here are some considerations:
David P. Hunt
Gay P. Lord Environmentalism is the most conservative of movements. We have a
Lee Petty strange semantic situation in our society where those who demand radical change
Simon Sidamon-Eristoff and exploitation call themselves conservatives. There is nothing more conservative
than saving and preserving what is.
Staff

Roger D. Stone, Director & President Environmentalism is basically a scientific endeavor rather than a political
Shaw Thacher, Project Manager movement. Its bedrock is the rigorous science of ecology, the study of the relation-
Robert C. Nicholas III, Contr. Editor ships and interactions between living organisms and their natural or developed
Sarah Dixon, Program Associate environment. Extremists, left and right, make it a socio-political issue.
Anita G. Herrick, Correspondent
Laura W. Roper, Correspondent The need for scientific credulity. Those who do not understand science are
not aware that no matter how strong a scientific tenet, someone can always be
Major Donors
found to disagree. This factor plays into the hands of those who have reactionary
Avenir Foundation reasons to disagree.
The Fair Play Foundation
The Curtis and Edith Munson Technology will save us. There are those who can justify any course of
Foundation action by rationalizing that if we go wrong technology will rescue us. The infallibility
of technology is not necessarily true, nor always desirable.
With Appreciation
Quality of life vs. standard of living. We are always in conflict between
In 2002 Atlantic CoastWatch received a
those things—often very simple—that add quality to our lives and those things—
total of $50,100 in financial support from
110 different donors. We should like to usually material—that bring us material well-being.
reiterate our special thanks to our major
donors listed above. They collectively In summary, we need to accentuate the positive. Capitalism and conserva-
provided $20,000 of the total. Those tion are positive forces. There is no need for them to demonize each other. Capital-
who donated smaller but nonetheless ism brings us good things. Conservation preserves good things. Work it out.
greatly appreciated amounts in 2002, not
listed in previous issues of the newslet-
ter, were:
Courts & the Seashore
Richard W. Angle, Jr.
Douglas Banker
John S. Chatfield In May 1993, says the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, a
Thomas J. Devine dredge pipe being towed by a tug came loose and dragged along the bottom of
Freeborn G. Jewett Jr. Florida Bay. The result was a 13-mile scar and the destruction of 196,764 square
Ellen H. Kelly feet of seagrass and other sanctuary resources. Another tug, attempting to pass
Robert Leeson Jr. the one slowed by the dragging pipe, ran aground and did extensive further
Hunter Lewis damage to seagrass and coral. Lawsuits filed by NOAA against Great Lakes
Lee M. Petty Dredge and Dock Company and Coastal Marine Towing have resulted in
Frederick A.O. Schwarz Jr.
settlements totaling almost $1.6 million for damages and to recover restoration
J.T. Smith
Henry S. Ziegler costs. The latest award of almost $1 million is the largest ever made for damages
to seagrass in the sanctuary. URL: www.fknms.nos.noaa.gov
(Continued, p. 3)
3
People

Courts & the Seashore, Continued from p. 2 Ed Woodsum, Board Chairman of the
Maine Coast Heritage Trust, for 30
years, has retired. During his
After struggling for more than four years, the South Carolina Coastal
extended tenure over 110,000 acres
Conservation League (SCCCL) and 14 other plaintiffs have won a signal court
and 275 coastal islands were con-
victory for the state’s extensive public trust tidelands. The state’s Office of
served. Incoming chairman is Rich-
Coastal and Resource Management (OCRM) and LandTech Inc. had argued in
ard G. Rockefeller.
favor of a private bridge, to be constructed across public marsh, to facilitate
development of 29-acre Park Island along the Wando River near the town of Mt.
The founder of the Pelican Man’s
Pleasant. Overturning an earlier ruling, circuit court Judge Victor Rawl unearthed
Bird Sanctuary, Dale Shields, died
“no evidence in the record supporting a finding of public need” for such a bridge.
at age 75. Shields started helping
Even though the Rawl ruling is itself already being challenged, SCCCL feels that an
injured pelicans out of his home
important point has been made about the need to protect public marshes. Said the
twenty years ago. Since then his work
League’s water quality director Nancy Vinson: “Judge Rawl’s ruling has—at least
has grown to have 24 people on staff,
for the time being—curtailed the onslaught of proposals to build private bridges
300 volunteers, a mailing list of 25,000
across the public’s marshes to hundreds of remaining small islands.”
and an annual budget of $1 million.
Since 2000, the Water Keeper Alliance and local co-plaintiffs have been
Environmental crusader John Cole
mounting a strenuous legal campaign against North Carolina’s giant industrial hog
died at age 79. Cole was the co-
industry. The campaign, said the Alliance’s southeastern representative Rick Dove
founder of Maine Times, a weekly
in testimony to the US Senate Committee on Government Affairs, is designed
environmental newspaper, as well as
to “address pollution and health problems caused by the hog industry.” The goal,
an author and conservationist. He
Dove added, is to “civilize the factory pork industry through a series of lawsuits and
tried to protect every part of Maine,
administrative actions under federal environmental laws, state ‘nuisance’ and
speaking out on issues such as
health laws, and the federal racketeering law (RICO).” Recently the effort suffered a
deforestation and hunting. He was the
setback when the state Court of Appeals dismissed the coalition’s court claim that
author of many books including Life
hog industry leaders should pay the full cost of cleaning up waterways impacted by
List: Remembering the Birds of
hog waste, and also end their use of unhealthy liquefied manure lagoons and crop
MyYears (Atlantic CoastWatch,
sprayfields. The groups had no standing on which to sue the companies to achieve
August 1998).
cleaner rivers, the court argued. Wrote Judge Albert Thomas: “The state is the
sole party able to seek non-individualized, or public, remedies for alleged harm to
Dawn Gallagher has been named to
public waters.” URL: www.waterkeeper.org
head Maine’s Department of
Environmental Protection.
Gallagher has an MA in public admin-
Bridge Loans Clinch Land Deals istration, and a law degree from the
University of Maine. For the past
For years the Delaware & Raritan Greenway, central New Jersey’s five years Gallagher has been a legal
regional land conservancy, had been eager to secure protection for a key 58-acre adviser, legislative liaison and a
piece of property in the Sourland Mountains. As last year neared an end, negotia- deputy commissioner for the Maine
tions with the owners for the purchase of a conservation easement were well Conservation Department.
advanced. But while they required a closing on the deal in 2002, it was becoming
apparent that promised state funding would not arrive in time. Former Maryland Governor Parris N.
Glendening, now a private citizen, is
Enter a deus ex machina: the innovative New Jersey Conservation Loan maintaining his strong interest in
Program, which was able to move quickly and wire a $230,000 bridge loan into the managing growth and preserving
D&R bank account on December 20. The deal closed. Linda Mead, D&R’s execu- open space. Recently he was named
tive director, says that the state funding is “solid” and “fully approved,” and that the head of the Washington, DC-based
loan will be repaid in the near future. Everybody wins. The loan is the first for an Smart Growth Leadership Insti-
innovative program recently announced by the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation tute, part of a larger organization
in Morristown. The foundation has committed an initial $2.5 million in bridge loan called Smart Growth America. The
funds to help nonprofit groups protect open space in key areas of the state’s Institute trains state and local officials
highlands, its pine barrens, and the Delaware Bay shoreline. in sprawl-control techniques. In
Maryland, meanwhile, the Depart-
The aim of the fund is to supply bridge loans to smaller land trusts and ment of Natural Resources paid
other nonprofits that too often lack the ready cash to close open space preservation tribute to Glendening’s many open-
deals at the critical moment. Established as a Program Related Investment, the space accomplishments. The southern
fund is being administered by New York’s Open Space Institute. Its bridge loans portion of the 2180-acre Chapman’s
to New Jersey recipients will usually exceed $200,000 in magnitude. The duration Forest property that Glendening
of almost all loans to be made under the program will be less than one year, at a 3% helped save from development will be
interest rate. Loans are guaranteed by the balance sheet of the borrower. called the Parris N. Glendening
(Continued, p. 6) Natural Environment Area.
4
Awards

The US Fish and Wildlife Service


and the Georgia Soil and Water Publications
Commission granted a Private Lands
Stewardship Award to Bob and z Sustainable Planet (Beacon Press 2002) presents 16 “inspiring and
Susan Woodall. The Woodalls have practical essays on how we can spend less, consume less, and restore greater
set aside 533 acres of their 750 acre balance to our lives.” Co-editors are Juliet Schor, a writer and professor at
farm as wildlife habitat, while using Boston University, and Betsy Taylor, executive director of the Center for the
the remaining 162 acres for livestock New American Dream. Authors include green architect William McDonough,
production. Almost two miles of green economist Herman Daly, and Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez.
fencing keep livestock from entering Following on models built by the late Aldo Leopold and elaborated in such earlier
streams, and 55 acres of buffer have works as Natural Capitalism by McDonough and the businessman Paul Hawken,
been created to help filter pasture run- Sustainable Planet offers sound guidelines for how to transform green dreams into
off. workable, everybody-wins scenarios for life on the already-battered planet during
the new century.
President Bush selected Marshall
Jones, deputy director of the US Fish z The Dance of the Flying Gurnards by John Waldman (Lyons Press
and Wildlife Service as a recipient of 2002) explores not only these flying fish lookalikes, but a cornucopia of natural
a Presidential Rank Award, given occurrences along the coastline of North America. We learn of a guidebook help-
annually to career senior executives fully noting that the effects of a stingray’s lance “only seem fatal” (Captain John
to recognize long-term achievements. Smith had his grave dug before recovering to eat the ray). Aristotle, although a
Jones served as acting director for keen observer of nature, believed that eels arose spontaneously from the mud
over a year after the January 2001 (they breed in the Sargasso Sea). The fortunately infrequent tsunami can strike
presidential inauguration, helping the with a force of 50 tons per square yard while a more common 12 foot breaker can
service transition to the new leader- still pack 1,755 pounds a square foot to carve a coastline. Why sperm whales make
ship of Steve Williams. ambergris, what’s Saint Elmo’s fire, where birds and butterflies migrate and the
best places to spot them: it’s all in here, and written with a light touch.
Species & Habitats
z A recent EPA Office of Water release is Community Culture and the
A recent study of the Caribbean spiny Environment: A Guide to Understanding a Sense of Place. The volume
lobster has provided evidence that an provides detailed guidance on how community groups might work together to plan
invertebrate can possess true naviga- the assessment of a region and form a design for its management based on shared
tion skills. Until this study, scientists aspirations. Watershed planning is emphasized. Also included is useful practical
did not believe invertebrates could material about information already available and how to get it, and a set of com-
have such a complex system. Accord- munity case studies. URL: www.epa.gov/ecocommunity
ing to research by Larry Boles and
Kenneth Lohmann published in the z Generalists writing about coastal issues stand to benefit from the new
journal Nature, the Caribbean spiny edition of Coastal Science Experts, a comprehensive resource directory recently
lobster uses the earth’s magnetic field published by the media relations office of the National Sea Grant College
to find its way home. The mineral Program. Scholars willing to talk with writers are grouped by discipline and
magnetite has been detected in location. Complete contact information is provided. URL: www.seagrantnews.org
lobsters and may be how the lobsters
sense the earth’s magnetic fields. z Newly published by the nonprofit organization Environmental Guide-
lines is The Environmental Guidebook. This 312 page volume profiles 500
Maryland’s oyster harvest may reach organizations and information sources concerned with environmental issues. A
a new low. According to Eric C. companion CD-Rom provides 15,000 pages of material referenced in the guide-
Schwaab, director of the Depart- book, as well as 3,800 Internet hotlinks to additional information. URL:
ment of Natural Resources’ www.envirofront.org
Fisheries Service, only 28,000 bushels
had been harvested through Decem- z Local Knowledge and Local Stocks: An Atlas of Groundfish
ber. This may mean season totals of Spawning in the Bay of Fundy (Centre for Community Based Management
less than 80,000 bushels, the state’s 2002) provides detailed historic and current information and maps defining spawn-
record low to date. Drought condi- ing areas for the region’s principal groundfish species. Purpose of the document,
tions kept salinity in the bay high, and the research that preceded it, is to improve fishery management. Authors are
creating a thriving environment for Jennifer Graham and Maria Recchia of the Centre for Community Based
parasites such as MSX and Dermo. Management in Antigonish, N.S. Stephen Engle of the Quebec-Labrador
The result is higher wholesale prices Foundation/Atlantic Center for the Environment in Ipswich, MA produced
and more imported oysters. layout, design, and maps. URL: www.stfx.ca/institutes/ccbm

z The Mid Atlantic Gardeners Guide (Cool Springs Press, 2003) describes
Oil pollution is threatening seabirds off care and other requirements for 182 native plants for the region. Authors are well-
the Atlantic Coast of Canada. World known gardeners Andre and Mark Viette, and garden writer Jaqueline Heriteau.
5
Wildlife Fund Canada reports that
up to 300,000 auks and other seabirds
die annually from oil purposely
LI Sound Cable Issues released into the sea. This is almost
equivalent to the number killed by the
In May 2002, the Cross-Sound Cable Co. installed a 24 mile-long cable Exxon Valdez oil spill. The area
across Long Island Sound from New Haven, Connecticut to Shoreham, New York. Canada must patrol is large, and
Cross-Sound is a joint venture between Hydro-Quebec and United Illuminating polluters often get away with illegal
Co, aimed at bringing cheaper Canadian power to Long Island. dumping. The fines and penalties do
not deter violators. Government
Past troubles with the project include damage to New Haven harbor clams officials are hoping new satellite
associated with the cable laying. For a different reason, the company has yet to technology will increase the ability to
receive permission to turn on the $130 million 330-megawatt line. The required detect and catch illegal releases of oil.
depth of the cable is 48 feet below the mean low-water mark, and the cable has
failed to reach this level in eight places in New Haven Harbor. Seven of the loca- The Maine urchin fishery will remain
tions are soft bottom areas, while the eighth is a 600 foot section of bedrock. open this season, but officials may
shut it down next year. Only about
Despite not meeting regulations, Cross-Sound has put in numerous 10% of the stock remains along
requests to turn the switch on while attempting to fix the problem areas. The hope southern Maine’s coast after a decade
is to have the cable operational in time for summer 2003, when energy use will of intensive harvesting, according to
peak on the power-hungry island. Connecticut’s Department of Environmental peer-reviewed computer modeling
Protection (DEP) currently has a moratorium on new energy lines in Long Island data compiled by researcher Yong
Sound. This moratorium does not expire until June 2003. In addition to the morato- Chen at the University of Maine.
rium, there is a ban on harbor excavation during shellfish spawning season, which An emergency shutdown that the
extends from June until fall. state’s Department of Marine
Resources considered for this year
Early in 2003 the company went to the state’s Superior Court in its most did not happen for fear of a lawsuit.
recent effort to activate the cable. According to the New Haven Register, Cross- Even some fishermen are in support
Sound lawyer William H. Prout Jr. claims the DEP should rule on Cross-Sound’s of a closure. According to the Portland
request because “the moratorium doesn’t apply to requests for ‘minor modifica- Press Herald, state officials polled 359
tions’ of existing permits.” Richard Blumenthal, state attorney general, defended licensed fisherman about the move,
the DEP in its decision to follow the moratorium. Blumenthal challenged the claim of and received a response from 87. 38
“minor” changes to the permit, mentioning the 600 feet of bedrock as a larger fishermen, 44% of those who re-
problem. The company expects a ruling from Judge Lynda B. Munro by mid- sponded, supported a closure. URL:
March. Says company spokesperson Rita Bowlby: “We are very optimistic on www.state.me.us/dmr
this.” URL: www.crosssoundcable.com
Restorations

Asian Oysters in the Chesapeake? Maryland’s summer flounder fishery


may face fewer restrictions in 2003.
According to Phil Jones of the
With the Chesapeake Bay oyster harvest heading for an all-time low (see
Fisheries Service of the Maryland
Species & Habitats, p.4), interest mounted this winter in long-simmering proposals
Department of Natural Resources,
to introduce an Asian species in Bay waters. The question is whether Cassotrea
the flounder stock is improving and
ariakensis, a species of oyster found along the coast of China, can successfully
can almost be declared restored. The
resist the two diseases that have ravaged oysters native to the Bay and also pass
2002 regulations included a mid-
the consumer taste test.
season closure, 17-inch minimum size
limit and daily catch limit of 8 per
Even though the possibility of introducing the Asian oysters is attractive in
person. Options for 2003 include
many quarters, scientists continue to express concerns about the introduction of an
maintaining 2002 regulations, elimi-
exotic species. Last year Maryland and Virginia solicited the advice of the National
nating the mid-season closure or
Academy of Sciences whose report is expected later this year.
reducing the minimum size, or
eliminating the closure and reducing
Pre-empting those results, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission
the minimum size limit.
recently decided to proceed. The Virginia plan calls for 1 million Asian oysters to be
placed in 10 Bay locations this summer to see how they do. The oysters will be
Invasive species are again threatening
packaged for easy retrieval, and genetically altered to be sterile.
the Everglades. One concern is Old
World climbing fern, which presently
Virginia’s plan meets all but one of conditions set by Maryland officials also
covers about 110,000 acres of South
considering the question. Maryland , which supports the Virginian program in all
Florida. According to the South
other respects, wanted the Asian oysters back out of the water by June 2004;
Florida Sun Sentinel, Patrick
Virginia intends to leave them in the water until April 2005. While no one in
Gleason, board member for the
(Continued, p. 7)
South Florida Water Management
6
District, calls the fern “the single
biggest threat” to Everglades restora-
tion. Scientists are unsure how to
eradicate the fern, and funds are Bridge Loans, Continued from p. 3
scarce. A second concern is the giant
Burmese python, one of the world’s The Dodge Foundation’s hope is not only that the fund will replenish itself
largest snake species. It is believed through repayments; but that future infusions of new capital will cause it to grow to
that the snake may not just be perhaps $5 million or even $10 million. Though other foundations have in various
surviving, but breeding in the Ever- ways supported efforts to protect open space, Dodge program officer Robert
glades. There are no known natural Perry knows of no other program in the Atlantic coastal zone with a similar struc-
predators. The snake, which routinely ture and purpose. “We had to build it from scratch,” he says.
reaches 12 to 14 feet in length, would
be a threat to native plants and In some instances, funds already lodged within land trusts can help land
animals. the deal. The Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT) for example, recently an-
nounced its $4.1 million acquisition of 775 acres or 80% of the magnificent, almost
Reports totally undeveloped Marshall Island in Jericho Bay southwest of Mt. Desert Island.
The prior owners, conservation-minded Richard and Marcia Herrington, had
If present pollution trends continue purchased the land at auction in 1992 after developers proposing a 14-house
unabated, says a scientific panel subdivision lost it to bank foreclosures. The Herringtons had turned down many
convened by the Chesapeake Bay purchase offers before coming to terms with MCHT.
Program, gains scored over the past
15 years will be wiped out by 2030. While funds from the state as well as from private sources are ultimately
Meeting the goals established in the expected to finance the project, the most ambitious in MCHT’s 33 year history,
broad Chesapeake 2000 Agreement what made the closing possible was bridge financing from its own revolving loan
could by 2030 restore the Bay to fund. “This has been on our wish list for many years,” says MCHT development
1970s conditions, with more oxygen at director Janice Wingate. “We’re just thrilled that it’s really happening.”
bottom levels and greater clarity but
less underwater grass and fewer MCHT, Wingate adds, also finds opportunities to help smaller local land
shellfish. Applying more progressive trusts in the state. “Just a few thousand dollars can often make or break the deal.
programs than those now agreed And we’re pleased to be able to chip in when we can.”
upon, as well as new technologies,
concludes this Chesapeake Futures But the participation of foundations, along the lines of the Dodge model,
forecast, could result in a Bay as would give a big boost to MCHT and the many smaller land trusts that are prolifer-
productive in 2030 as it was in the ating all along the coast. URLs: www.grdodge.org; www.osiny.org; www.mcht.org
relatively bountiful 1950s. URL:
www.chesapeake.org/stac

Within the past two years, all 5 of the


Golf Runoff Above Par
major facilities in Beaufort, NC that
The Rancocas Creek watershed spreads across 230,000 acres of land in
hold federal environmental permits
southern New Jersey. Land uses within the watershed, which covers portions of
have undergone inspections. Two of
three counties, vary widely from closed forest land to farming, residential and
these had violations. One has been
industrial.
subject to an enforcement action by a
federal or state agency. This informa-
In 2001 elected officials in Burlington County, as part of a broader effort to
tion comes from a new online report-
develop a management plan for the watershed, commissioned a one year study to
ing service that EPA is currently
evaluate the sources of nonpoint pollution affecting the creek.
testing. Called ECHO (Enforcement
and Compliance History Online), the
From data collected by USGS and New Jersey’s Department of Envi-
user-friendly database provides full
ronmental Protection, Mark Robson of the state’s University of Medicine
information on compliance inspection,
and Dentistry prepared a report that he recently presented to the county and its
violation, and enforcement records,
Watershed Management Committee.
covering some 800,000 facilities
nationwide, by zip code or community
The surprise results were that of all nonpoint pollution sources, the highest
name and state. Using ECHO, the
concentration of pesticides came from the region’s golf courses and recreational
Boston Globe established that only 27
facilities. Second ranking went to residential lawns, and the lowest impact from
percent of major facilities in Massa-
farms, which had been considered the likeliest leading source.
chusetts had been inspected in the last
two years; the figure for major
The total pesticide runoff from all three sources was found to be “minimal,”
facilities in minority communities
says the report—well below maximum levels allowed under state and federal
drops to 15%. A public comment
regulations. County officials reacted positively. Others expressed concern about
period about the new reporting
the presence of some 30 pesticides, some considered potential carcinogens, at all
mechanism is underway. URL:
four test sites. URL: www.co.burlington.state.nj.us/rancocas
www.epa.gov/echo
7
Products

When impervious surfaces cover as


Statehouse Shifts, Continued from p. 1 little as 10% of a watershed’s land
area, reports the Center for Water-
governorship opposed the plan; Carcieri led the charge with a strongly voiced shed Protection, pollution from
opinion that the scheme would be economically as well as environmentally un- runoff can do serious damage to
sound. Current proposals for the use of the site center on public use for leisure and water quality and aquatic species.
recreation. General aviation will also continue there. Roads and parking lots rank high as
contributors to the problem. One
To be sure, Maryland’s new Republican Governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. partial solution available to develop-
has stirred few green hearts with either his statements or his appointments. ers is to switch to permeable pave-
Vowing repeatedly to “restore balance” between environmental and economic ments such as pea gravel or crushed
interests and correct his state’s “anti-business” image, Ehrlich ousted many career seashells. Among commercial
environmental officials as well as prior political appointees. products is UNI-Group USA’s Uni-
Eco Stone, a system of interlocking
As environmental secretary he appointed Lynn Y. Buhl, a longtime auto concrete blocks equipped with
industry lawyer; her deputy comes from Lockheed Martin. Dentist and hunting drainage openings to facilitate water
and fishing shopowner C. Ronald Franks is Ehrlich’s choice to head up the state’s infiltration. Another option, reports E
Department of Natural Resources. “Ah balance,” snorted Baltimore Sun Magazine, is to park on grass lots
columnist Tom Horton, cataloguing a long list of Maryland’s environmental frailties. fortified by “plastic grid systems that
“How can anyone dream this situation needs balancing with a weaker, more allow grass to grow through. The grids
business-oriented” Department of the Environment? (sometimes made of recycled materi-
als) prevent erosion and bear the
Ehrlich also proposed to carry on with measures to protect his state’s weight of vehicles so roots aren’t
beleaguered but beloved Chesapeake Bay, principally by upgrading wastewater crushed.” URL: www.uni-groupusa.org
treatment facilities, and to continue the Governor’s Office of Smart Growth estab-
lished by his ardently environmentalist Democrat predecessor, Parris N. Funding
Glendening. Many Maryland citizens will be watching closely to see more broadly
what Ehrlich means by “balance.” Said the on-line newspaper Bay Weekly: “What Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd’s
he’s accomplished by identifying the Bay as one of his priorities is constant scrutiny Ocean Fund awarded grants in the
of whether he lives up to his goals.” $12,000 to $75,000 range to 6 organi-
zations in Florida and the Caribbean:
In New Jersey, the nation’s most densely populated state, incoming the Bermuda Biological Station,
Democratic Governor James McGreevey made measures to control sprawl the Island Dolphin Care in Key Largo,
centerpiece of his first State of the State address in January. “It is time to draw the the University of the West Indies in
line and say ‘no more’ to mindless sprawl,” he said. “We must make our govern- Barbados, the Florida Aquarium, the
ment a force for change, rather than an instrument that is misused to enable more Perry Institute for Marine Science,
misplaced development.” and the Bermuda Underwater
Exploration Institute. Over the past
Specific measures that McGreevey proposed include new protections for 6 1/2 years, the Miami-based Fund has
farmland and open space, new limits on funding for highway construction, initia- allocated close to $7 million in grants
tives to give counties and regional planners new power over towns and local for marine conservation. URL:
jurisdictions, enabling towns to adopt a one-year construction moratorium while www.royalcaribbean.com
they plan for better managed development, and charging developers new impact
fees to cover rising local infrastructure costs. Among diverse reactions to these For $35 a head, those who attended a
ideas, it was widely noted that the state’s Republican former Governor Christie recent Ducks Unlimited fundraiser
Whitman had said much the same things in her second inaugural address in 1998. at the Thirsty Mallard bar in Ocean
County, NJ were offered a rich
assortment of attractions. Among
Asian Oysters?, Continued from p. 5 them: two cigars, all the Coors Lite
beer they could drink, the presence of
two Coors Lite girls, a lingerie show,
Maryland is yet ready to launch in-water work with the Asian oysters, proposals to and a chance to buy at auction the use
do so are being prepared. of a Hummer vehicle for a weekend.
Some complained. “I don’t know what
The Virginia plan requires a permit from the US Army Corps of Engi- all the fuss was about,” says event
neers before the oyster bags can hit the drink. A U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service organizer Joseph DiMartino. “It was
spokesman told the Baltimore Sun that his agency would try to block the Corps about as sinful as a Victoria’s Secret
permit on the grounds that it “could not support bringing another species in from commercial. It was a different kind of
afar to replace one we have managed to the brink of extinction.” The Sun also a thing that attracted new people. We
reported that the National Marine Fisheries Commission plans to act to have brought in close to $10,000. Net net.”
the Corps decision made not at the regional, but at the headquarters level.
Atlantic CoastWatch
Sustainable Development Institute
3121 South St., NW
Washington, D.C. 20007

Tel: (202) 338-1017


Fax: (202) 337-9639
E-mail: susdev@igc.org
URL: www.susdev.org
www.atlanticcoastwatch.org

Tax-deductible contributions for Atlantic CoastWatch are urgently needed.

Meadowlands, Continued from p. 1


Celebrating a
With environmentalists, the Chamber of Commerce, rainbow’s spectrum
and developers all cheering them on, state and Meadowlands of 130 outstanding
Commission officials are now fine-tuning a comprehensive films from 30
master plan for the region. It will undergo perhaps a year of countries, the 2003
public scrutiny and comment before going to the commission Environmental
for a final vote. Concurrently, the US Army Corps of Engi- Film Festival in
neers and the US Fish & Wildlife Service recently launched the Nation’s
a 3-year, $5 million study of the region to guide the details of Capital transports
its future restoration and development. The Commission itself, its audiences to
it says, “is empowered with regional planning and zoning places beyond their
authority to ensure the environmental protection and enhance- reach and provides
ment” of the district. a renewed under-
standing of life on
Too good to be true? Sure, something could still go wrong, earth.
admits one of the scheme’s principal architects, Hackensack By presenting the work of many talented filmmakers,
Riverkeeper Captain Bill Sheehan. “Our plan is to strike including 70 premieres, this Sustainable Development
while the iron is hot,” he says. “Once we have it all and know Institute sponsored project hopes to broaden and deepen
we can protect it from development, then we can breathe people’s appreciation of that perplexing word: environment.
easier.” But he adds that officials are “continuously proving
themselves on this” and that no one currently involved has a In collaboration with 65 partners – including museums,
hidden agenda impeding the current move to regard the libraries, embassies, environmental organizations, interna-
Meadowlands not as a target for random development and tional institutions and community centers – audiences at
continuing pollution, but “as an ecosystem.” In a newspaper events throughout the city can enjoy documentary, ani-
interview, he referred to the policy shift as “monumental.” mated, feature, archival and children’s films. Most screen-
URLs: www.hackensackriverkeeper.org; ings include discussions with filmmakers and experts, and
www.meadowlands.state.nj.us are free. URL: www.dcenvironmentalfilmfest.org