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Atlantic CoastWatch November - December 2003

Ghost Fleet Drifting News For Coastal Advocates

Early in October tugs pulled two 644-foot, 58 year old oil tankers, the
Ghost Fleet Drifting 1
Canisteo and the Caloosahatchee, out of Virginia’s James River and launched
them on a 21 day trip to the Able UK ‘s Teesside Environmental Reclamation and
Recycling Centre in Hartlepool, England. Two other ships departed later. Come Gaining Ground in Jersey 1
spring 9 other World War II “ghost fleet” ships, laden with toxics including
asbestos, lead paint, and PCBs, were also to be towed to Able for scrapping Sayings 2
under a $17.8 million deal set by the US Maritime Administration (MARAD).
Northeast Fisheries Fracas 3
Some expressed relief that the program, planned to alleviate the risk of
heavy pollution in the James, has finally gotten under way. Said US Represen- Hudson Indian Gift 3
tative Jo Ann Davis: “We just want ’em out of our back yard.” But the future of
the Able deal, facing opposition from US companies in the scrapping business,
environmentalists in the US and UK, and the European Union as well as court
Publications 4
action, remains unclear. So does the broader question of how to meet a Con-
gressionally mandated deadline to dispose of the more than 50 other leaky, Mouse Roars 4
hazardous old buckets remaining in the James.
Courts & the Seashore 5
The arrival at Hartlepool of the first two ships triggered what the New
York Times called “protests seldom seen in this job-hungry town.” Some of these New Parks for SC & VI 5
were stirred up by Friends of the Earth UK. That group also filed suit in
Britain, charging that the waste management license that Able had received from
Justice Invokes Olde Law 6
the British Environment Agency was invalid. The High Court in London agreed,
which compelled Able to apply for a new license and carry out a new environ-
mental assessment. The 4 ships are resting quietly in Hartlepool while Able NJ Scraps Big Map 6
pursues new permits.
Salmon Rules Snag Farms 7
In Washington, meanwhile, Congress approved an appropriation of
$16 million to scrap old ships remaining in the James. In 2003 domestic scrap- Coral Dr.’s Gene Pool 8
pers in Texas and in the Chesapeake took in a total of 10 ghost fleet ships. But at
an average cost of about $1 million per scrapping, and at the present rate of Cranberry Family Goes Green 8
funding and disposal, a good many will remain after the deadline.

Gaining Ground in Jersey People; Awards; Species &
New Jersey’s Barnegat Bay has long been a haven both for many wildlife
Habitats; Restorations;
species and for humans attracted by recreational and commercial opportunities. Report Cards; Products;
Development has also brought threats including growth in impervious cover Funding
which has resulted in soil compaction and losses in groundwater recharge and
protective vegetation. Recently, an innovative stormwater management initiative Atlantic CoastWatch is a bimonthly
gives promise of revitalizing a key ecosystem in a crowded state. newsletter for those interested in the
environmentally sound development
Traditionally, explains David Friedman of Ocean County’s Soil Conser- of the coastline from the Gulf of
vation District, the principal means of managing stormwater is via basins to Maine to the Eastern Caribbean.
collect water. Some 3,000 of these exist within the Barnegat Bay watershed and
are widely viewed as a primary way to improve water quality, replenish and help Coastal News Nuggets, a weekly
maintain wetlands. news headline summary, is available
through our web site:
(Continued, p. 7)
Atlantic CoastWatch
Vol. 7, No. 6 Sayings
A project of the Sustainable From Maine Heritage, the newsletter published by the Maine Coast
Development Institute, which Heritage Trust, this article “Eating the Scenery,” by its president, Jay Espy:
seeks to heighten the environ-
Advocates for land protection often encounter the quip “you can’t eat
mental quality of economic the scenery.” This skeptical response suggests that lands conserved for their
development efforts, in coastal scenic value fail to generate revenues or jobs. Yet in point of fact, Mainers
and in forest regions, by commu- increasingly do “eat” the scenery. Recent studies show that nature-based
nicating information about better tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors of the expanding tourist economy.
policies and practices. SDI is Tourism is already Maine’s largest employer and generates $2.5 billion in gross
classified as a 501(c)(3) organiza- state product, exceeding the combined contributions of agriculture and fisheries.
tion, exempt from federal income Tourist dollars drive the economy along Maine’s coast where three-fourths of the
tax. state’s 44 million annual visitors come.

As other regions of the country become increasingly congested, devel-

Board of Directors
oped and homogenous, Maine will stand out as a destination because of its
magnificent scenery: its wild islands; working farms, forests and waterfronts;
Freeborn G. Jewett, Jr., Chair
traditional villages; and nature preserves. Just as often as I hear that adage of
Robert J. Geniesse, Chair Emeritus
skeptics, I have people from out-of-state tell me “Oh you’re from Maine? I love
Roger D. Stone, President
Maine! It’s so beautiful!” The inimitable character of place that lures visitors and
Hart Fessenden, Treasurer
holds residents here provides untold benefits - some that appear in the “bottom
Hassanali Mehran, Secretary
line” and some that are less tangible but no less real.
David P. Hunt
Gay P. Lord
Tourism based on low-impact outdoor activities provides a sustainable
Simon Sidamon-Eristoff
revenue source that differs markedly from extractive natural resource industries,
observes Bowdoin College economist David Vail. Rather than”exporting” raw
Scientific Advisory Council
products, tourism seeks to generate revenues by temporarily “importing” people
who come seeking a wholesome and beautiful place. As long as we devise
Gary Hartshorn
strategies for sustainable tourism that do not harm ecosystems or detract from
Stephen P. Leatherman
the quality of life here, this “import” strategy can work.
Jerry R. Schubel
Christopher Uhl
Many businesses unrelated to tourism cite Maine’s scenic open spaces
and abundant outdoor opportunities as determining factors in their locating
here. In a competitive international marketplace, Maine’s natural landscape may
be one of its greatest economic assets. The links between conservation and a
Roger D. Stone, Director & President
thriving economy are gaining attention, thanks to the good efforts of the
Shaw Thacher, Project Manager
Governor’s Office, the Maine Tourism Commission’s Natural Resources
Robert C. Nicholas III, Contr. Editor
Committee, the Gulf of Maine Council, and many other groups. Before long,
Sarah Dixon, Program Associate
we may find the”scenery-eating” adage gone and a more widespread apprecia-
tion for how protected natural settings provide both food for our tables and food
Foundation Donors
for our souls.
Avenir Foundation
The Fair Play Foundation
The Madriver Foundation With Appreciation
The Moore Charitable Foundation
The Curtis and Edith Munson Very special thanks to the Fair Play Foundation, Freeborn G. Jewett
Foundation Jr., The Mosaic Fund, Lee M. Petty and Simon Sidamon-Eristoff for gener-
ous contributions received at year-end. Vital support was also received from
Sponsored Projects these other donors between October 18-December 31:

Environmental Film Festival in the Richard W. Angle, Jr. Leslie D. Cronin

Nation’s Capital March 18-28, 2004 Mr. and Mrs. Peter Benchley Thomas J. Devine
Barry R. Bryan Robert J. Geniesse
Featuring 88 Documentary, John S. Chatfield Mr. and Mrs. A. Wright Palmer
Feature, Archival, Children’s and Celia F. Crawford J.T. Smith
Animated Films. Almost all free.
For the year 2003 as a whole, 105 individuals and foundations provided
a total of $42,740.78 in support of the Atlantic CoastWatch program. To all these donors we extend our heartfelt thanks.

Northeast Fisheries Fracas Tudor Thomas Davies, a senior

EPA official whose actions did much
In December 2001 US District Judge Judy Kessler ruled that the to protect the Chesapeake Bay, died
National Marine Fisheries Services (NMFS) had failed to fulfill management at age 65. A scientist as well as an
obligations under the Sustainable Fisheries Act (SFA) that regulates New En- administrator who worked at the
gland groundfish stocks. The decision, stemming from a 1999 lawsuit filed by agency for three decades, the
Oceana, with the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), the National Re- gentlemanly Davies conducted many
source Defense Council, the National Audubon Society and the Center pioneering research projects that
for Marine Conservation, directed NMFS to draw up new multi-species resulted in improved water quality.
management rules.
As director of Rhode Island’s
The response taking shape centers on what is known as Amendment 13, Department of Environmental
a measure largely adapted from a proposal by the Northeast Seafood Coali- Management, the hot-tempered
tion. Instead of setting specific ceilings on the total annual catch of threatened Jan Reitsma was known and widely
species, such as cod which has declined 70% since the early 1990s, Amendment admired for his zealous efforts to
13 reduces days at sea by 35% for vessels fishing for regulated species. Another protect Narragansett Bay. In an e-
provision, Plan B, permits fishermen to switch from fishing for regulated stocks mail exchange with a fisheries
to targeting healthy species, such as haddock found on Georges Bank. council member having to do with
how to weigh summer flounder,
At a contentious November meeting in Peabody, MA the New England Reitsma lost it, using language we
Fisheries Management Council (NEFMC) passed Amendment 13 by a margin would not publish in this newsletter.
of 13-2, with two Mainers dissenting. With travel days counting as fishing days, After a meeting with Governor Don
Maine boats have already begun relocating their operations to Gloucester, MA, Carcieri that resulted in his resigna-
among other “nearer to healthy fish stock” ports, with losses for Maine’s tion, Reitsma said, “Maybe the apt
economy. As concerned as Maine’s fishing communities are the initial litigants. metaphor is, I took the bait.”
Said CLF’s Priscilla Brooks “It’s not acceptable. Quotas on the overall catch are
the norm in other fisheries, and we need them here. They haven’t done enough, Recently named chief executive
and this is not going to be the end of this story.” officer at the Open Space Institute
(OSI) in New York is Christopher J.
Usually, regional council plans are adopted without alteration by NMFS (“Kim”) Elliman. A widely experi-
following a review period, which ends in May, 2004. Delays could occur if enced environmentalist with service
qualified parties (NMFS and the conservation litigants) appeal the initial lawsuit, as a member and chair of numerous
or if Maine’s Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins manage to intro- prominent nonprofit boards, Elliman
duce riders delaying implementation of Amendment 13. was OSI’s president during the 1990s
when the organization helped shape
the important deal to add the prized
15,800 acre Sterling Forest property
Hudson Indian Gift to New York’s state park system.
Also joining OSI to direct its conser-
Clearwater and Hudson Riverkeeper celebrated only briefly when
vation loan program is Peter
New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation (NY DEC) released
Howell, previously an environmen-
its draft permit requiring Indian Point’s cooling system upgrade to fish-friendly
tal grantmaker for two foundations.
After 18 years as founding chairman
The killjoy: tucked within DEC’s draft for the nuclear power plant on the
of The Conservation Fund and a
Hudson are provisions granting Entergy, the company that operates it, more
remarkable record of open space
than a decade to consider whether to upgrade to closed cycle technology or shut
protection accomplishments, its
down. Meantime, the draft permit allows harmful discharges to continue to flow.
ubiquitously effective founder Pat
Noonan has stepped down to
Litigants including Clearwater and Riverkeeper had sued the state on
become chairman emeritus. His
behalf of billions of larval and planktonic fish, including an estimated 13,000,000
successor is Charles Jordan, who
fingerling shad and 158,000,000 striped bass, that they claim are annually killed
recently retired as director of Port-
by daily discharges of 2.5 billion gallons of heated water from the plant. They
land Parks and Recreation in
point out that Indian Point has repeatedly stalled and delayed upgrades since
1975, when EPA first issued a draft permit for a closed cooling system nearly
identical to the one now mandated. They also question Entergy’s estimate that
When he took responsibility for the
the upgrade would cost a prohibitive $1.6 billion.
15-year-old Everglades cleanup case
earlier this year, US District Judge
Hearings concerning the draft provision are scheduled to take place.
Federico Moreno pledged to keep
Unless the outcome is substantial alteration, the outlook is for years of dispute
his foot on the accelerator. True to
before resolution. On the upside, the draft permit requires Entergy to pay an
his word, Moreno has appointed
annual $24 million into a fund to help protect the Hudson’s aquatic habitats.
hard-working environmental litigator
John M. Barkett to be his top
lawyer on the case. Spokespeople
from all sides of the complex case Publications
applauded the move.
a While insisting that eating lots of fruits and vegetables is good for
Awards people, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has posted a Shopper’s
Guide advising consumers about how to cut back on eating pesticides. Those
The Atlantic Salmon Federation eating the most contaminated fruits and vegetable on its list, says EWG, will
gave its top award to Tom Grasso, consume an average of nearly 20 pesticides a day–”not without appreciable risk
director of marine conservation for some portion of the population.” The dirty dozen: apples, bell peppers,
policy at the World Wildlife Fund. celery, cherries, imported grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, potatoes, red
Grasso was especially commended raspberries, spinach, strawberries. Buy these organic, EWG advises. Trade
for WWF’s role as ASF’s partner in associations howl about scare tactics and flawed research.
the preparation and production of
two benchmark reports, one on the a Rather than warn readers away from eating fish from poorly managed
impacts of salmon aquaculture on stocks, Smithsonian Institution marine biologist Carole Baldwin chose a
wild populations, the other providing softer approach. She and co-author Julie H. Mounts recently published One
a river-by-river assessment of wild Fish, Two Fish, Crawfish, Bluefish (Smithsonian Institution Press 2003), a
Atlantic salmon’s status. cookbook offering recipes from illustrious chefs using seafood from stocks that
are not in danger. Doing the research moved Baldwin herself to “diversify” away
The Toxic Action Center in Massa- from the shrimp and salmon that had constituted her entire seafood cooking
chusetts, a nonprofit organization, repertoire.
announced its annual “Dirty Dozen”
awards selected by a jury of environ- a Veteran journalist and passionate Block Island, NY striped-bass
mentalists and public health and surfcaster Roy Rowan recently produced his first work of fiction: an allegorical
safety professionals. One “winner” work entitled Solomon Starbucks Striper (Book Nook Press 2003). The story,
was the state itself for its cuts in reports the Block Island Times, is about “a striped bass that dares to swim
budget and staff at its Department outside the mainstream in a soul-searching quest for self-actualization.” In an
of Environmental Protection. interview with the paper, Rowan said that in part he had been inspired by the
Another: the US Navy, for the 1970s book Jonathan Livingston Seagull, a “feel-good classic” that sold over
quality of its efforts to clear up toxic 7 million copies.
pollution at the now-closed South
Weymouth Naval Air Station. a The Office of Water Resources at EPA has published a booklet, “Asset
Management: A Handbook for Small Water Systems.” It contains much
The ocean advocacy group Oceana useful information about managing and maintaining a small drinking water
presented one of its top awards to facility.
Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.
She was singled out for having
become “one of the Senate’s most
passionate advocates for environ-
Mouse Roars
mental and public health protection.”
In particular, Oceana commended In mid-November the Research Vessel Maurice Ewing, managed by
the senator for being “a steadfast Columbia University’s Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, arrived in Ber-
supporter of restoring Long Island muda. Aboard were researchers preparing to undertake seismic studies of the
Sound, an important nursing area for earth’s crust below Bermuda’s seafloor. Noisy air guns, loud enough to affect
many ocean fish species.” the hearing and behavior of whales, dolphins, and porpoises, and possibly lead
to deaths, are used for this research.
Species & Habitats The Ewing, says a Lamont Doherty spokesperson, fully complies with
the Marine Mammal Protection Act and follows its own strict and detailed set of
Maryland’s blue crab harvest of procedures to avoid and protect marine mammals. Nonetheless, it needed
fewer than 18 million pounds is the permission from Bermuda’s environment ministry in order to conduct its tests
worst since 1978 and only half the within Bermudan waters, which form a designated marine sanctuary.
1997 catch. Bad weather and fewer
watermen are blamed for the After consulting with local marine mammal experts, the ministry
attrition of an industry that in 2002 decided not to issue the required permit. By the time this denial had been
represented 87% of the value of all issued, the ship had already left the dock to begin its research. Harbor radio
seafood caught in Maryland’s confirmed the denial. An appeal from the seismologists failed and the Ewing
Chesapeake fishery including went away, mission unfulfilled. Growled Lisa Kitson, reporting for the Environ-
oysters. As for oysters, one dismal mental News Service: “Whales and dolphins in Bermudan waters are now safe
report from Virginia set the Potomac from any harassment, injury or death caused by scientists who arrived under the
River catch at zero oysters for the assumption they could do as they pleased.”
season’s first month. Only 7
watermen had taken out licenses, vs.
about 70 last year. The total Virginia
oyster catch, millions of bushels in
Courts & The Seashore the 1960s, dipped to 30,000 bushels
last year. A further drop for 2003
After centuries of dispute, the US Supreme Court ruled by a 7-2 was expected.
margin that Virginia has “sovereign authority, free from regulation by Maryland”
to withdraw water from the Potomac. The decision ended what the Washington Last summer scientists spotted
Post called “a modern fight over the pace of suburban development. Maryland bright green mussels on a buoy
officials argued that they needed to regulate Virginia’s water use to ensure an some 20 miles off Florida’s coast.
environmentally sustainable level of growth on both sides of the river. Virginia Since then this invasive species,
officials argued that no other state should have a veto over its residents’ use of native to the Indo-Pacific region and
their land. Though the Clean Water Act enables the federal government to probably brought to the US in cargo
regulate both states’ use of the river for drinking water, the court decision is ships’ ballast water, has spread to
expected to result in accelerated Virginian withdrawals of Potomac water for several southeastern locations. No
other purposes. harm to humans or even oysters has
yet been detected as this species has
In Richmond, Virginia last October, after a 3-day trial, Alexander settled under docks, not on oyster
Lapteff of nearby Nokesville was found guilty of 7 violations of the Clean Water beds. But these rapidly multiplying
Act in connection with his management of a wastewater treatment facility in mollusks, without predators, are
Christchurch, VA. Charges included cooking the books, making false statements likely to clog pipes and adversely
to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and withholding affect native species. “We need to
monitoring records. In November US District Court Judge Henry Hudson watch it,” says Alan Powers at the
lowered the boom on Lapteff and a co-defendant, Kenneth Hinkley. Lapteff got University of Georgia Marine
36 months of imprisonment and a $5,000 fine, the “lesser culpable” Hinkley 11 Extension Service.
months and a $5,000 fine. The judge, reported EPA, whose investigation
triggered the case, admonished Lapteff “for abusing his advanced educational Since 2002 another invasive species,
background and being a rogue operator who breached his trust to protect the a microscopic, siphon feeding
environment.” tunicate or “sea squirt” called
Didemnum vexillum, that forms
Early in November, the EPA cited Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY dense mats and smothers other
for violations including poor management and improper disposal of hazardous organisms, has been discovered at
wastes and chemicals. The agency seeks $97,581 in fines. Vassar thus joins a many inshore locations from Maine
lengthening list of New York and New Jersey colleges and universities that have to Long Island, NY. This fall NOAA
been investigated and fined more than $2 million by EPA’s New York City-based scientists taking bottom samples on
Region 2 Office. Among other violators: Princeton and Columbia universities. the northern edge of Georges Bank,
The EPA says that its college program, launched in 1999, has resulted not only in 160 miles off Cape Cod, found a
enforcement actions but also a gratifying number of self-audits on the part of colony there. Little is known about
many institutions that were not aware of their responsibilities or had chosen to how much of a threat they pose, but
ignore them. their peanut butter-like carpets may
affect fisheries, docks, and aquacul-
ture structures.
New Parks for SC & VI In recent years beachcombers near
Cape Canaveral have collected
Thanks to hard work by Senator Fritz Hollings, South Carolina gained
hundreds of fossilized ghost crabs
status when the former Congaree Swamp National Monument became the
from 7,000 to 110,000 years old.
Congaree National Park. Located near the state’s capital city of Columbia,
Probably preserved because they
some 120 miles inland from Charleston, the 22,000 acre park features the only
died in their burrows where they
old-growth floodplain forest left in the United States just north of the Congaree
were protected from wind, sun, and
River. Within the park is a lively diversity of plant and animal life including 163
predators, reports Richard Turner of
species of water beetles and the state’s largest loblolly pine tree. Congaree is
the Florida Institute of Technol-
South Carolina’s first national park.
ogy, the fossils surfaced after dunes
that had housed them succumbed to
Culminating 40 years of efforts to protect the coral reefs surrounding St.
beach erosion.
Croix, authorities this year signed federal legislation creating the East End
Marine Park. It extends 3 miles out to sea and offers protection for the barrier
When Puerto Rico’s vanishing
reef there, which is second largest in the Caribbean. A principal feature of the
wetlands are “flagrantly destroyed,”
park, says the Coastal America Partnership, is that it won community support
said EPA Region 2 director Jane M.
by providing for “multiple uses within the park while minimizing conflicting
Kenny, “EPA and our federal part-
uses.” Environmentalists view it as a “paper park” for the moment, despite
ners will act.” Act they did this fall,
much hoopla at the signing, and say it will take a lot of work for it to fulfill their
against two developers and Pablo
Crespo Torres, mayor of Anasco.
For illegally filling wetlands in
violation of the Clean Water Act, EPA
is seeking cash penalties totaling
$192,500. Justice Invokes Olde Law
Using new research methods, In April 2002 Greenpeace boarded the freighter APL Jade to protest its
scientists studying PCB flows from cargo of illegal Amazonian mahogany. Two activists unfurled banners only to be
tributaries and wastewater plants arrested and charged with misdemeanors while the cargo was being unloaded in
into the Delaware River have found Miami. In July 2003 US Attorney General John Ashcroft decided that these
levels 100 to 1,000 times higher than misdemeanor charges lacked sufficient bite.
that considered safe for humans.
Though these pollutants were Invoking an 1872 law, crafted to keep whores laden with booze from
banned in 1977, reports the Delaware harbor-bound vessels and sailors, the US Department of Justice took the
News-Journal, new sampling unprecedented measure of leveling federal “sailor mongering” indictments
methods reveal that they are still against Greenpeace. The law had last been applied in courts 100 years ago.
around–and sometimes fresh from This new federal indictment jeopardizes Greenpeace’s tax exempt status. A
the factory or smokestack. Said conviction would compel the organization to turn over all past records and
Richard Greene of the state’s report in advance any planned protests and civil disobediences, thus curtailing
Department of Natural Resources its ability to carry out its customary activities.
and Environmental Control: “This
is a problem that quite frankly was Commented George Washington University law professor Jonathan
never solved, and now we’re on the Turley, in a Philadelphia Inquirer article: “The image of a major environmentalist
road to solving it.” organization placed on probation is clearly meant to send a chilling message
from the man who once accused his critics of aiding and abetting terrorists.
Restorations Unless deterred by Congress or the courts, Ashcroft will continue his campaign
to protect Americans from the ravages of free speech. If he succeeds, it will not
Eight years ago, the Category 4 be sailors but free speech that will be shanghaied in Miami.”
Hurricane Luis destroyed the wind-
ward reef off Maiden Island, Antigua. The outcome of the case could hinge on the fact that, when Greenpeace
Now the Reef Ball Foundation, representatives, clearly identified as such, boarded the APL Jade, the vessel was
fashioning what it describes as “the some 8 miles seaward of Miami harbor.
world’s largest fringing breakwater
reef system,” has come to the rescue.
Using rubbery artificial modules that
stimulate marine life (Atlantic
NJ Scraps Big Map
CoastWatch, April 1998), the founda-
tion has founded over 5,000 new Last January, with considerable fanfare, New Jersey’s Department of
coral colonies on the site and, after Environmental Protection (DEP) unveiled its Blueprint for Intelligent Growth
only two months of work, alleges (BIG) map as what it called “a key element in the governor’s Smart Growth
that “wondrous and abundant reef program.” The map, then considered a work in progress, sought “to clearly and
life” is now present there. Overall, accurately identify critical natural resource areas that must be preserved and
the nonprofit, all-volunteer organiza- protected,” and likewise “areas where development can still occur, but only
tion claims that its reef balls are “the when it meets stricter regulatory standards.” The map also designated “areas
most advanced reef modular system where the state wants to encourage development and will streamline regulatory
in the world. In a decade, 500,000 permitting and also dedicate funding for infrastructure and parks.”
reefballs have been deployed at
3,500 projects spanning 47 countries. During the spring, DEP announced with a touch of understatement that the map had “generated considerable interest.” In response, “to avoid confusion
and misinterpretations,” the map was yanked off the DEP website while revisions
Reports were being made. Late in 2003 Bradley Campbell, DEP commissioner,
dropped the other shoe by announcing that the map had been permanently
scrapped. In its place, reported Associated Press, planners and developers could
Scientists from the New Brunswick
consult maps included in the state’s decade-old Development and Redevelop-
Conservation Council and
ment Plan.
Dalhousie University report that all
10 New Brunswick estuaries studied
This is good for everybody, says Barbara Lawrence of New Jersey
are, says Canadian Press, “dying
Future, a private anti-sprawl organization. The Big Map was built purely on DEP
under slimy coats of algae fed by
data, and turned out to be a well-intentioned obstacle to holistic planning. Its
nutrient pollution.” Saltwater inlets
information, like that coming from other departments, is currently being inte-
once harboring abundant stocks of
grated into the State Plan map along with that submitted by other departments.
lobsters, scallops and oysters have
The result will be a one-stop shop where developers, conservationists, state
been hit hard by nutrient releases
agencies, and municipalities will all be able to do business with all starting from
encouraging worms, harmful algal
the same page.
blooms, and dead zones. Sources of
the excess nitrogen include fish
plants, farms, pulp mills, and human
sewage. The scientists urge sharp
Gaining Ground, Continued from p. 1 policy shifts.

Since many of these basins do not function as they should, the Among the hazards that stream and
Barnegat Bay Estuary Program in partnership with a cluster of federal and pond dwelling fish and frogs face is
state agencies has launched a creative effort to make them work more like living a new zinger: the toxicity of com-
ecosystems. The problem with many of the basins is that their soil, compacted monly used antidepressants such as
by heavy machinery and bared of vegetation, becomes no longer able to perco- Prozac and Zoloft (SSRIs) in surface
late rainwater down to the groundwater deep below the surface. water and wastewater. What aquatic
biologist Marsha Black at the
Water collected in the basins tends to stay there, to become breeding University of Georgia has de-
pools for mosquitoes. Reductions in groundwater recharge occur. The Barnegat tected, she reports, is delayed sexual
partners, however, have introduced a “dig and drop” process that restores the development in fish and delayed
basins. First, the usually highly acid soils are treated to encourage the growth of metamorphosis in frogs. She recom-
vegetation. Then compost from recycling centers is spread across the bottom of mends the use of technologies that
the basin. Finally, the basin is seeded with native tree and shrub species to form remove SSRIs from wastewater.
a rain garden. As roots take hold, they become conduits for the rainwater to
percolate as it should.
Environmental Defense (ED)
Results of the trial phase are convincing. One basin that before restora- reports serious health risks from
tion held water for all 29 years since it was built now becomes dry within a day mercury “hot spots” in 10 states
after a major rainstorm, thus eliminating mosquito breeding habitat and increas- including Maryland, Pennsylvania,
ing the rate of groundwater recharge. Restoration of another basin abruptly North Carolina, South Carolina, and
ended persistent flooding problems in a downstream apartment building. Florida. In such areas, says the ED
study, mercury mostly emanating
To date, only 3 of the estuary’s basins have been restored. But because from unregulated coal-fired power
these trial efforts have been so successful, the Barnegat Bay Estuary Program plants enters waterbodies and
says that similar measures elsewhere in the watershed have become a “top contaminates fish. People eating
priority” for the future. Moreover, says Friedman, “if we start constructing new mercury-laden fish, the report
basins properly, it will make a big difference in addressing a critical Atlantic continues, may encounter severe
coastal issue over the longer term.” neurological problems. EPA an-
nounced regulatory measures, but
ones not strict enough to satisfy ED,
which favors a 90% reduction. A
Salmon Rules Snag Farms spokesman for the Edison Electric
Institute, an industry advocate, told
Last spring US District Court Judge Gene Carter ordered two of The Washington Post that other
Maine’s largest fish farms to stock their pens only with North American rather studies “suggest that hot spots are
than European strains of Atlantic salmon. Worthy in principle, the ruling de- not a major health concern.”
signed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) failed in practice because
no batch of fish could pass such a rigid genetic test.
This year the Chesapeake Bay
It’s easy to tell a purely European fish from a purely North American Foundation awards the bay a score
one, said FWS supervisor Mike Bartlett in a Bangor News interview. But the of 28 relative to its “pristine” score
lines begin to blur when the genes become muddied after decades of hybridiza- of 100 at the time of Captain John
tion as fish farmers sought to produce the strongest and fastest growing speci- Smith’s 17th century explorations.
mens. And even though the companies hastened to buy fish said to be geneti- The Bay’s condition has remained
cally North American from Canadian hatcheries, their samples all flunked the generally stable since the early
rigid FWS test which classifies a lot as non-native if even one fish out of hun- 1980s. CBF’s goals are for it to
dreds fails. achieve a 40 rating by 2010 and 70 by
Last fall, after no sample passed the test, FWS lowered the bar, allowing
more fish with hybrid ancestry to be certified without exposing Maine’s virtually Many marine species use noise to
nonexistent stocks of wild salmon to any major threat. The change was an communicate, reports National
example of “adaptive management” at FWS according to one spokesman. Geographic. Included, according to
two new scientific studies, are
Said the FWS’s Jamie Geiger: “We are doing the most appropriate Atlantic and Pacific herring which
thing for wild fish, and to make sure that a responsible aquaculture industry can “create high-frequency sounds by
continue in Maine.” But the change came too late for at least one major salmon releasing air from their anuses.”
farming company, Atlantic Salmon of Maine, which shut down both its Maine Online, the Geographic helpfully
hatcheries because neither had been able to pass the FWS’ original genetic test. provides an “audio sample.”
Atlantic CoastWatch
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Coral Doctor Builds Gene Pool
Marine biologist Tom Wolcott, of North
Carolina State University, is attaching eraser- At the tropical research center of the Mote Marine Labora-
sized, microchip-equipped “backpacks”to tory in Summerland Key, Florida, biologist Dave Lackland is building
pregnant female crabs in the Chesapeake Bay. a genetic bank of corals collected from Florida reef tracts as far north
If a fisherman catches a “robo-crab,” reports as the Dry Tortugas. He collects fragmented corals, primarily from boat
Capital News Service, backpack instructions will groundings, then carefully nurtures them in shallow tanks.
help its return so Wolcott can record data on its
travels for mating and laying eggs. Of 200 robo- One purpose of the project is to discover the best and simplest
crabs released in October, Wolcott has gotten way to raise coral. Lackland’s methods range from using outdoor tanks
more than 25 chips back from crabs serving the depending fully on natural light, to an indoor system where corals live
cause of science. in manmade saltwater and are lit only by 400 watt halide lights. His
coral farm helps researchers by providing them with a convenient
At Rutgers University, engineers Thomas J. “library.” And when part of a reef in the Florida National Marine
Nosker and Richard W. Renfree began Sanctuary gets damaged, farm-raised corals from the collection are
fiddling around with two common kinds of available for reintroduction into the natural ecosystem.
plastic trash: high density polyethylene (HDPE)
used for milk containers and detergent bottles, “I get to save coral fragments, play coral doctor, and put my
and polystyrene, used for disposable forks and babies back out there,” he said in an interview published in the Miami
knives. The engineers found that a blend of the Herald. “If you really want to help the environment, I can’t think of a
two can make a pretty sturdy building material. better job.” Though commercial aquarium dealers and others raise
A bridge built of this composition has been some corals, Lackland knows of no one else who is doing so in order to
carrying vehicles across a river in New Jersey’s protect genetic diversity.
Pine Barrens. The cost: $75,000 vs. $350,000 for
a conventional wooden bridge.

Funding Cranberry Family Goes Green

Recently Roxanne Quimby, co-founder of the Closed just before year-end was the New Jersey Conserva-
green personal care products company Burt’s tion Foundation’s purchase of 9,400 prime Pine Barrens acres from
Bees Inc., sold 80% of it for $180 million. One the DeMarco family of well known cranberry growers. The price of $12
purpose was to buy 24,083 acres of wild land million represents a bargain sale with tax benefits for the DeMarcos,
on the east branch of the Penobscot River for who express no regrets about the deal despite having been viewed in
$12,041,500. This acquisition, made to preserve some quarters as anti-environmental.
the property as a “wildlife sanctuary,” boosts
her total Maine wildlands ownership to about NJCF quickly raised $5 million in private funds for the pur-
40,000 acres. Outdoors folk and timbermen chase, and seeks the balance of $7 million to pay off loans taken out to
fear they will lose access. complete the transaction.