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Atlantic CoastWatch July - August, 2004

Big Plans for “Forgotten” Anacostia News For Coastal Advocates


This summer Washington, DC authorities set forth the outlines of a bold,
Big Plans for Anacostia 1
$8 billion, 25 year initiative to revive the battered Anacostia River and both sides
of its neglected shorefront. According to the Washington Post, the new scheme
to bring back the 8-mile Anacostia Ais one of the most ambitious plans in this Learning from Charley 1
planned city=s 214-year history.@ Principal elements include:
Sayings 2
a Major new public parks and recreational facilities to supplement some
that are already there. Courts & the Seashore 3
a New residential, retail, and office building development to replace what Laurance Remembered 3
is now underused property, some in federal hands. As starters, chief DC planner
Andrew Altman foresees 4,637 new residences and 3.2 million square feet of
retail space just in the next 5 years.
Publications 4

a New bridges and boulevards to replace badly degraded ones, and a light NJ Development Squabbles 4
rail system to facilitate transportation in the area.
Ghost Fleet Dwindles 5
a A handsome Southwest Waterfront esplanade to replace less than
distinguished development installed as part of a 1960s urban renewal package. Sportfishers React 5
According to Post architecture critic Benjamin Forgey, eyesores to be eliminated
include an outdoor fish market in need of upgrading and buildings ranging from
Barracuda Attack 6
“early Pizza Hut” to “dull motel modern” in quality.
(Continued, p. 6)
Whale Watching Rules 7

Kennebec River Thrives 8


Learning from Charley
Invasives March On 8
Little is known about the effects of Hurricane Charley on the wildlife
inhabiting coastal areas in the storm=s track. In an Orlando Sentinel interview,
a
University of Florida wildlife ecologist Peter Frederick admitted a shortage of
research on how most birds behave during a hurricane. Surely large numbers of
loggerhead turtle eggs and hatchlings were lost, and fears were expressed about Recurring
the fate of shorebirds including snowy plovers, black skimmers, and endangered
least terns. But a colony of whooping cranes at Kissimee came through un-
scathed, and indications are that most animals got though it all right. As for the People; Species & Habitats;
human dimension, though it remains premature to make conclusive tallies, the Restorations; Report Cards;
media listed these preliminary plusses and minuses associated with the storm,
Products; Funding
whose cost to insurance companies has reached $7.4 billion.

a The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), perhaps Atlantic CoastWatch is a bimonthly
having learned lessons from 1992’s Hurricane Andrew, reacted far more newsletter for those interested in the
promptly. It began moving supplies into the affected area even before an emer- environmentally sound development
gency was declared, reported the New York Times. Registrations for assistance of the coastline from the Gulf of
passed 100,000 on day 8 vs. day 28 in 1992, and FEMA began approving checks Maine to the Eastern Caribbean.
on Day 1 vs. Day 6 after Andrew.
Coastal News Nuggets is a daily news
a State and local authorities, also heeding Andrew=s lessons, are also said clipping service, available at
to have performed rather well on balance. www.atlanticcoastwatch.org.
(Continued, p. 7)
2
Atlantic CoastWatch
Vol. 8, No. 4 Sayings
A project of the Sustainable Champlin=s Marina on Block Island=s Great Salt Pond, a beautiful anchor-
Development Institute, which age heavily used by recreational boaters, seeks a permit to provide slips for 140
seeks to heighten the environ- more vessels by expanding 240 feet farther out into the water. A spirited public
debate featuring stormy public hearings, has ensued. Some defend the marina, a
mental quality of economic
local fixture for many years. Others including the Providence Journal call for the
development efforts, in coastal project to be blocked. The matter remains in abeyance pending a decision by the
and in forest regions, by commu- state=s Coastal Resources Management Commission. What follows is by
nicating information about better Christopher D=Ovidio of the Conservation Law Foundation.
policies and practices. SDI is
classified as a 501(c)(3) non-for- AThe Great Salt Pond is one of the State=s greatest natural treasures and
profit organization, exempt from designated by the State as “Special Resource Protected Water.” The Pond=s
federal income tax. critical habitat supports wildlife, recreational use and the local shellfishing
industry. The additional pollution that would arise from the proposed expansion
Board of Directors would have devastating effects on this relatively unspoiled body of water. Even
Champlin=s own expert conceded that more boats mean more pollution. Later,
Freeborn G. Jewett, Jr., Chair the same expert admitted past water quality readings were so high in the waters
Robert J. Geniesse, Chair Emeritus off Champlin=s Marina that even he wouldn=t swim there.
Roger D. Stone, President
Hart Fessenden, Treasurer “The second issue is the Public Trust Doctrine. The Great Salt Pond and
Hassanali Mehran, Secretary its natural resources are held in public trust by the State. Essentially, the State of
David P. Hunt Rhode Island, specifically, the Coastal Resource Management Council
Gay P. Lord (CRMC), is responsible for assuring that the public=s interest BBin this case access
Simon Sidamon-Eristoff to the water and the resources below it BBis preserved. If CRMC grants the
expansion, they will be in breach of that duty, because our natural resources will
Scientific Advisory Council be privatized for the economic gain of one individual.

Gary Hartshorn “At first blush, the public should feel confident that their interests are
Stephen P. Leatherman protected since the marina expansion must be approved by CRMC, the Rhode
Jerry R. Schubel Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) and the US
Christopher Uhl Army Corps of Engineers. A closer look reveals a more troublesome and
discouraging conclusion.
Staff
“From the beginning, something seemed amiss with the CRMC review
Roger D. Stone, Director & President process. The CRMC staff report advised the CRMC Council to deny the
Shaw Thacher, Project Manager Champlin=s Marina expansion plan because it is Aexcessive and will result in
Robert C. Nicholas III, Contr. Editor negative impacts on existing public resources.@ The staff report states the
Sarah Dixon, Program Associate proposal is Ainconsistent with requisite marina expansion policies@ set forth in
the state CRMC Program. Despite the resounding rejection by the CRMC staff,
Foundation Donors the project was referred to a CRMC subcommittee that is now conducting an in-
depth public review process. After originally claiming that a subcommittee
Avenir Foundation review would create a lot of unnecessary bureaucracy and waste taxpayer
The Fair Play Foundation money, Michael Tikoian, CRMC Chairman, eventually capitulated by recogniz-
The Madriver Foundation ing the significant issues the marina expansion presented B water quality and
The Moore Charitable Foundation public trust issues B and advised the subcommittee to carefully evaluate them.
The Curtis and Edith Munson
Foundation “The Clean Water Act and State Water Quality regulations require a
Water Quality Certification (WQC) approval from RIDEM for any marina expan-
Sponsored Projects sion. CRMC regulations recognize this obligation, and thus require the WQC
approval from RIDEM before the CRMC subcommittee proceeds with its hear-
Environmental Film Festival in the ings, not during or after as is occurring today. If the WQC is approved, it will
provide indispensable facts to the CRMC as it performs its own independent
Nation’s Capital March 10-20, 2005
review of water quality impacts. Alternatively, if RIDEM denies the WQC, the
CRMC process would be moot.
Featuring screenings of documen-
tary, feature, archival, children’s “Given the checkered past of CRMC in this case, it is no wonder that the
and animated films. marina expansion is opposed by the New Shoreham Town Council, the Block
Island Land Trust, the Block Island Conservancy, the Committee for the
www.dcenvironmentalfilmfest.org Great Salt Pond, the Block Island Residents Association, the Block Island
Club, and the Conservation Law Foundation.@
3
People

Courts & the Seashore James A. Mackay, founding


chairman of the Georgia Conser-
The attorneys general of 8 states including New York, Connecticut, New vancy, died at 85. AWe are greatly
Jersey, and Rhode Island recently took unprecedented action to combat global indebted to Jim Mackay,@ said the
warming. In the US District Court for the Southern District of New York organization, Afor profoundly chang-
they jointly filed a lawsuit against 5 large public utilities alleging that their ing our state=s approach to protect-
emissions of carbon dioxide, and the contribution to climate change for which ing air, water, and land.@
they are therefore responsible, constitute a Apublic nuisance@ that does wide-
spread harm. Though states have previously sued EPA for not taking action on New executive director of the St.
global warming, they have not previously gone directly after the polluters. And Croix Environmental Association
never before have they trotted out the ancient public nuisance doctrine, a legacy (SEA) is Megan A. Schoenfelt, a
from British common law traditionally used in cases having to do with such local marketer and manager who also has
matters as smelly horse farms and others affecting the health of the nearby experience with wastewater and
commons, to combat as broad a matter as climate change. AThere=s not a chance solid waste management. While SEA
it will hold up in court,@ sniffed one lawyer who represents industry interests. will carry on the effort to achieve a
Environmentalists compare the new litigation to the tobacco lawsuits filed by a comprehensive land and water use
few state attorneys general in the 1990s. They led to major monetary settle- for the island, said Schoenfelt in her
ments in all 50 states. In a Grist magazine interview, Connecticut=s attorney initial communication to the mem-
general Richard Blumenthal called the suit Aa huge, historic first step toward bership, she realistically foresees
holding the companies accountable for their contributions to climate change.@ that much of her time and energy
will be taken up with spot issues
In 2001 Canada’s Ecology Action Centre initiated legal action de- such as zoning, trash, pollution, and
signed to force a court ruling on whether the Department of Fisheries and education.
Oceans (DFO) is violating the national Fisheries Act by having allowed dragging
to resume on Georges Bank. About 100 vessels and a $500 million catch were at Cooperation between several local
stake. Recently, federal Judge Elizabeth Henegan handed down a ruling that organizations in Georgia has resulted
the fisheries officer who had issued the order “was authorized to make the order in the formation of a Satilla
and that the order itself was authorized under the regulations.” She found no Riverkeeper program as a new
merit in environmentalists’ arguments that the act’s Section 35 prohibits “work Waterkeeper Alliance member.
or undertakings,” resulting in “the harmful alteration, disruption, and destruction Riverkeeper is biologist S. Gordon
of fish habitat. Fishing, said the judge, is not a “work or undertaking.” Rogers IV, who has a variety of
credentials including state govern-
ment service and time spent as a
boat captain and in waste manage-
Laurance Remembered ment. The 50% impaired, 50%
beautiful Satilla, described by the
Center for a Sustainable Coast as
He was the quietest of the five brothers, wrote biographer Robin Winks,
a Ablackwater river in the face of
Abarely present@ in most of the 200 books written about the Rockefeller family.
growing threats,@ flows through
Yet in those regions where his deep concern for conservation and for nature was
some of the state=s most rural
most clearly expressed, Laurance Rockefeller engendered respect and admira-
counties that lack regulatory punch.
tion of the highest order.
The colorful Robert David Lion
From places he treasured, such as the Hudson River Valley and Mt.
Gardiner, 16th lord of the manor of
Desert Island, Maine, the tributes rang out in the aftermath of his recent death at
the pristine 3,300 acre Gardiners
age 94. Nowhere did the bells toll louder than in the US and British Virgin
Island near Long Island, NY, died at
Islands, which long since would have become overdeveloped had it not been for
age 93. England’s King Charles I
his prudent foresight. He led the effort to found the Virgin Islands National Park
gave the island and the title to
as long ago as 1956, donating to it more than 5,000 acres of prime land he had
Gardiner’s ancestor Lion Gardner in
acquired on St. John. Starting in the early 1960s, he made numerous contribu-
1639. The magnificently wooded
tions to the British Virgin Islands= park system including key land on Tortola and
island, which also boasts handsome
Virgin Gorda. The tasteful designs for his Caneel Bay and Little Dix Bay resorts
meadows and marshes, has re-
remain models for enlightened ecotourism. Visitors to luxurious Caneel Bay on
mained under tight if sometimes
St. John, located on National Park Service land, happily forego telephones,
dissident family management ever
television, and door locks for the comforts of being there.
since. Fears of future development
were quelled when the publicity-shy
Concluded Winks in his biography, Laurance S. Rockefeller, Catalyst for
Goelet family, sole owners after the
Conservation: AThe preservation of the nation=s natural heritage...and the result-
lord’s death, stated their intention
ing creation of a conservation ethic that is endurable, bipartisan, and rooted in a
“to continue to use the island as a
consistent set of values is a quieter but far more significant achievement than
family home for generations to
much that is done in politics, education, or business.@
come.”
4
Species & Habitats

Saddened visitors to the New


England Aquarium are taking their Publications
last looksBat least for a whileBat 4
California sea lions that have long a In all the vast literature of the sea, says editor Susan Rosen, women
ranked among the top 3 attractions writers have been left pretty much shorebound. So, in collecting the anthology
there. The beloved animals will soon entitled Shorewords (University of Virginia Press 2003), she sought Awomen
be removed from a substandard authors who struggle to understand the littoral of female identity.@ Selections
barge in Boston harbor, installed 30 varying from poems to short stories to fragments of longer works come from
years ago, and taken to a better such famous writers as Rachel Carson, Emily Dickinson and Joan
home until the aquarium can afford DidionBand from many not so famous ones as well. The editor, a coastal zealot
to build its own improved habitat for from childhood, has chosen well.
them. In 1991, for similar reasons,
the Aquarium dropped its dolphin a A final work from the late author and photographer Bill Silliker Jr. Is
exhibit. ACurrent thinking,@ reported Saving MaineB An Album of Conservation Success Stories (Down East
the Boston Globe after an interview Books 2004). In 10 chapters of text accompanied by 95 photos, Silliker outlines
with Nina Young of the Ocean the accomplishments of local conservation efforts along the coast from Saco,
Conservancy, Adictates a more near the New Hampshire border, to the ABold Coast@ of Cutler near Canada.
natural setting.@
a Tackling Mercury, A Guide to Safe Fishing in New England, is the
As a result of an April 2000 oil spill title of a new National Wildlife Federation publication highlighting for recre-
into Maryland=s Patuxent River, some ational fishermen the dangers posed by mercury infested fish and other pollu-
553 overwintering ruddy ducks were tion-threatened seafood in New England waters. Citing instances of mercury
lost. Local restoration measures pollution, especially from coal-fired power plants upwind of Maine, the report
were recommended. But, reports urges limits on eating commonly caught species such as brook trout, bluefish,
naturalist Kathryn Reshelitoff in and striped bassBand zero consumption of the PCB and dioxin-laden green
Bay Journal, authorities have lobster liver or Atomalley@ that some diners relish.
concluded that the best way to
protect the ruddies, and 8 other duck
species that winter in the Patuxent
and elsewhere in the Chesapeake
NJ Development Squabbles
Bay area, lies faraway. Their remedy
is to restore their shrinking nesting In New Jersey, the positive effects of a stringent new law to protect
habitat in the Prairie Pothole region 400,000 acres of watershed lands in the state=s Highlands (Atlantic CoastWatch
of the US and Canadian midwest. May-June 2004) was offset by the concurrent passage of hastily concocted bill to
Small depressions created when Afast track@ the permitting process in parts of the Highlands and elsewhere.
glaciers receded became prime
wetland habitat for ruddies and Implementation of the Highlands law began no more than six hours
many other duck species, but much after Governor James E. McGreevey signed the bill, reported the Star-Ledger.
of this has been lost to big farming. Developers were ordered to stop work on some projects in the protection zone
Those guilty of spilling the oil are and reapply for permits under new guidelines placing stiffer controls on tree
working with federal agencies on a loss, construction on steep slopes, and harm to the water supply. A letter from
program to acquire conservation the state=s Department of Environmental Protection to mayors in the
easements on prairie pothole nesting Highlands protection zone invited their cooperation in identifying projects likely
habitat from midwestern farmers. not to meet the new law=s tougher standards.

At the Highlands bill=s signing, conducted with high-profile hoopla


Restorations despite McGreevey=s recent admission that he is a Agay American@ and conse-
quent resignation from the governorship, he and other leaders proclaimed the
A familiar summer sight in Chesa-
moment as a great victory. It could not have been achieved, said many of them,
peake waters is the cow-nosed ray, a
if the fast-track bone had not concurrently been tossed to pro-development state
powerful species that can achieve a
legislators. Nonetheless, environmental leaders lived up to their pledge not to
7-foot wingspread and is frequently
attend the ceremony on the grounds that the Highlands victory came at too great
sighted splashing vigorously around
a cost.
even quite far upstream. Little
studied by marine scientists, the
AKnuckleheads,@ state Senator Robert J. Martin called them. ANo good
cow-nosed ray became notable this
deed goes unpunished,@ responded Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey
summer when a school of them
chapter of the Sierra Club. He complained that the Highlands law is no more
attacked an artificial reef and in a
than Agreen cover@ for the fast-track bill that Awas introduced and steamrollered
single day devoured virtually all the
through the legislature in a record 3 days under both the public and media
1 million small seed oysters that the
radar.@ Tittel=s advice to Jersey citizens: AGo enjoy the Highlands, hike, swim,
US Army Corps of Engineers had
fish, and then call McGreevey and tell him to repeal the fast-track bill.@
recently placed there. It was yet
5
another stinging setback for efforts
to revive the dwindling native oyster
population in Bay. Some blamed the
Ghost Fleet Slowly Dwindles loss on the poor choice of a federal
agency to manage the project. AWe
This summer two shabby old cargo ships, the Santa Cruz and the didn=t really know anything about the
American Ranger, were towed out of Virginia=s James River for scrapping in cow-nosed ray,@ said Corps project
Texas. They became the latest of 24 obsolete and environmentally hazardous manager Doug Martin.
vessels numbered in the so-called James River Ghost Fleet (Atlantic CoastWatch,
November-December 2003) that the US Maritime Administration (MarAd) has Reports
removed from the river since 2001. But 55 of these hulks remain in place, and
the current rate of disposal does not suggest that MarAd will honor a congres-
In its annual survey of beach clos-
sional mandate to remove all of them by 2006.
ings and advisories, the Natural
Resources Defense Council
Part of the problem is insufficient federal money to get the job done
(NRDC) reported a 51% jump to the
within the US at a cost of about $1.5 million per ship. The work can be done
highest number in 14 years of
more cheaply elsewhere, and last year an initial group of 4 ships was towed to
monitoring: from 12,078 days in 2002
Able UK as part of a 13-ship deal. But this program is stalled on account of a
to 18,284 days in 2003. All but one
federal lawsuit filed by the Sierra Club and other environmental groups alleg-
of the states reporting the sharpest
ing that it is illegal to export hazardous waste. Meanwhile local authorities
increases are along the Atlantic
struggle manfully with the task of keeping the rusty, corroding and deteriorating
seaboard. The reason is a combina-
old buckets afloat, searching for and trying to plug leaks of toxic substances into
tion of better monitoring and Athe
local waters.
failure of most municipalities to
identify and control sources of
Florida recently bought one Ghost Fleet ship, the 56 year old Spiegel
beachwater pollution.@ Singled out
Grove, painstakingly made her safe enough to sink and then scuttled her to form
for having taken positive steps:
an artificial reef in the National Marine Sanctuary off the coast. Similar initia-
South Portland, ME, Ocean City, MD,
tives could hasten the rate of departures from the James. Attorney Morton
and Warren Town, RI. ABeach Bums,@
Clark, a Kingsmill, VA resident and longtime agitator to rid the James of its
communities that NRDC accuses of
albatross, does not say whether he has further scuttlings in mind. AMy group has
having failed to take action, include
a proposal to remove all the remaining ships in accordance with all environmen-
Bar Harbor and Kennebunkport, ME.
tal regulations,@ he says. AI hope that EPA and MarAd will agree.@
Mercury in Florida=s Everglades has
To back up his words, Clark and his colleagues have filed their own
dropped sharply thanks to tighter
lawsuit and hope that their case will be heard separately, not merged with the
controls on waste incineration and
Sierra Club litigation as the Department of Justice has proposed. AI want
battery manufacturers. But two
those ships out of the James River,@ says Clark. AThey constitute a substantial
studies point to continuing mercury
danger to health and the environment. I want some common sense in this
dangers in the region. Using 1999-
business.@
2001 EPA data, Florida Public
Interest Research Group reports
that 63 % of freshwater fish in 8 lakes
Sportfishers React contain higher mercury levels than
EPA considers safe for women of
So heavily plied by commercial fishermen are the waters of the mid- average weight who eat fish twice a
Atlantic and New England, reports Felicia Coleman of Florida State Univer- week. And though mercury levels in
sity, that sport fishing accounts for only 12% of the total catch. But in the South Florida wading birds peaked in
Southeast, recreational fishing accounts for a surprising 38% of landings of Afish the early 1990s, states a University
of concern@ such as red drum and high percentages of red snappers and other of Florida research team, it found
valued species. The findings of Coleman=s widely-reported study, underwritten conclusive evidence of links between
by the Pew Charitable Trusts and published in Science magazine, rely heavily mercury levels and emissions from
on National Marine Fisheries Service data. The most comprehensive ever medical and municipal waste
compiled, the numbers suggest tighter controls on sportfishing coast-wide. incinerators that could lead to
localized Ahotspots.@
AMalarkey,@ retorted Jim Donofrio, director of New Jersey=s Recre-
ational Fishing Alliance in a Washington Post interview. In a lengthy posting Products
on the Fishfolk list serv run by MIT Sea Grant, Tom Fote of the Jersey Coast
Anglers== Association accused Pew of having Adeliberately commissioned a Well-heeled coastal commuters
study to blame the recreational community for problems with fish stocks.@ Fote weary of highway traffic jams have a
cited redfish and summer flounder as examples of species decimated by com- new alternative: the 41’ Comet built
mercial rather than recreational anglers. He called for policies driven not by by Lyman Morse in South
emotion or the fad of the moment, but by better research better funded by state Thomaston, ME. This sleek and
and federal agencies. www.sciencemag.org comfortable oceangoing vessel
6
resembles those used on Long
Island=s North Shore during the
1920s. Underway, reports John
Snyder in Ocean Navigator maga- Rare Barracuda Attack
zine, Comet goes Arocketing along at
30-odd knots like a shrieking demon The following was recently circulated to friends and colleagues by Tom
from the smoking gates of Hades.@ It Goreau, president of the Global Coral Relief Alliance in Cambridge, MA:
took Snyder and a delivery crew
about 8 hours to run from the yard, “On August 6th 2004 while snorkeling in Cozumel, Mexico, I was
on Penobscot Bay, to Woods Hole, suddenly attacked by a large barracuda, which ate one finger and part of my
MA. Available for about $1 million, hand and left bite wounds on several other fingers. The barracuda attacked
says JB Turner of Lyman Morse, a without any provocation or cause, in clear water from around 25 feet depth, and
Comet-class vessel is Anot cheap but the entire attack was witnessed at close range by my 13 year old daughter,
pretty cool.@ Marina.

All the wonders of modern commu- “I was evacuated by the Diver’s Action Network (DAN) to Miami, where
nication have done little to diminish emergency operations were done to close the wound, graft severed nerves, and
the frequency of an all too familiar reconstruct my hand. I face long therapy to recover use of the hand and unfortu-
yachting sight: Mom at the helm nately will have be out of the water for a while. I was ‘lucky’ in that I was one
while anchoring, a steaming Pop on inch away from losing most fingers on the hand, two inches from losing the
the foredeck yelling commands that entire hand, and one foot away from being permanently silenced.
she cannot hear. To the rescue has
come a variety of new hands-free I have swum with barracudas without any fear since I was a small child
battery powered two way headsets 50 years ago, and I had never ever seen any aggressive behavior to people.
including a fancy one allowing both Although Cozumel is the number one dive destination in the world, such attacks
people to talk at the same time. are previously unknown there. Until this happened to me I had said that there
Cruising Solutions markets were virtually NO clear cases of barracuda attacks without an obvious triggering
inexpensive ones it calls Amarriage factor. But not any more. Barracuda attacks are extremely rare, and there appear
savers.@ to be only around 20 recorded cases in the last few centuries worldwide, most
flesh wounds rather than amputations, and many of them questionable.”
Funding

Thanks to Florida=s Protect Wild


Dolphins specialty license plate, Anacostia, Continued from p. 1
almost $430,000 in new support will
go to six dolphin research programs The plan also provides for the restoration to Afishable, swimmable@
in the state. The Harbor Branch condition of the heavily polluted river and its banks. New wetlands and beaches
Oceanographic Institution, which would be created. A major effort would be made to curb, by 40%, the 3 billion
itself engages in dolphin work, has gallons of raw sewage mixed with stormwater that flow into the river during an
administered all proceeds from the average year from overpowered sewer systems in the District and in Maryland.
sale of the dolphin plate, amounting Steps to curb the flow of polluted runoff from highways, parking lots and
to some $5 million since the program rooftops are also contemplated, with environmentalists such as Robert Boone
was founded in 1999. of the Anacostia Watershed Society arguing that the overall plan should
Abecome a model of environmentally responsible design.@
Early in July both houses of Con-
gress passed the Marine Turtle Federal and District officials have embraced the program with vigorous
Conservation Act (MTCA) and enthusiasm. Said District Mayor Anthony Williams: AThe days of the Anacostia
President Bush signed it into law being the Aforgotten river@ are over.@ Yet doubts remain about the public-private
soon thereafter. Authorized is an structures being put into place to implement the plan. Propelled by a recent
appropriation of $5 million for the surge of development in the direction of the Anacostia, private developers have
protection, restoration, and manage- been quick to identify new opportunities within the zone. But local political
ment of nesting habitats and other infighting has resulted from conflicts between two development corporations
efforts to arrest the decline in marine created to execute the plan, with yet a third possibly on the horizon, vs. the
turtle populations. The $5 million singly focused entity that some think would have been more effective. At the
won=t go far by itself, says Gary federal level, no powerful elected official has stepped forward to champion the
Appelson of the Caribbean Con- Anacostia with the kind of zeal that, over 25 years, the late Senator Daniel
servation Corporation, a leading Patrick Moynihan displayed for the redevelopment of the District=s Main
marine turtle protection organization. Street, Pennsylvania Avenue.
But, as has happened as a result of
older laws to protect various other Williams, however, expresses confidence that his newly created
megafauna, Appelson expects MTCA Anacostia Waterfront Development Corporation, recently and resoundingly
to trigger additional support from approved by the District=s City Council, will bring to the effort the Arecurring
private and international sources. initiative and urgency@ needed to get the job done.
7
Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines
gave $250,000 to The Nature
Connservancy. The grant was the
Charley, Continued from p. 1 final installment of a 3 year pledge of
support for coral reef protection
a Bolstered by a new state Acatastrophe fund@ allocating up to $15 billion initiatives in the Caribbean.
per storm to insurers, and by new buffers the companies built in after the 1992
storm, the insurance industry seems far more likely to weather Charley than it As the debate continues on the
had Andrew, when about a dozen companies went bankrupt, deserting some environmental effects of saltwater
930,000 policyholders. This time insured coastal dwellers are far more likely to sportfishing (p.5), a new $20 million
get their losses covered, though premiums and deductibles will surely continue program to study the overall impact
heading upward. of fishing on the marine environ-
ment has been inaugurated. The 6-
a Dramatic improvements in official hurricane forecasting, as well as the year effort, to be operated by the
exponential growth of websites and online storm tracking, reported the Christian Pew Charitable Trusts, is fully
Science Monitor, helped most people get better warning of the approaching underwritten by the Lenfest Foun-
storm. But, added the paper, the track=s sudden shift southward from Tampa dation in Conshohocken, PA.
came as Aa surprise that left plenty of residents angry and confused@ and Aan Founder H.F. “Gerry” Lenfest, a
example of the limits of forecasting.@ One Arcadia resident reported a spare 3 cable television magnate, was
hours of advance warning. persuaded to launch discussions
with Pew after noting the recent
a Post-Andrew stormwater drainage improvements seem on balance to oceans-in-crisis reports from the
have kept Florida flooding to a minimum. But, cautioned the Myrtle Beach, SC Pew Oceans Commission and the
Sun News in an important statement applicable to all big storms: AEngineering U.S. Commission on Ocean
can only go so far in overcoming a low-lying geography whose human occu- Policy. Created in 2000, the Lenfest
pants continue to create impermeable surfaces that generate runoff from land Foundation has given a total of $45
where absorption once took place. Our communities would be wise to continue million to environmental causes in
investing in drainage projectsBand look at more intelligent ways to preserve the last two years, said Gerry Lenfest
permeability.@ The paper urged greater use of intelligent measures such as in a Philadelphia Inquirer interview
wider use of retention ponds, better protection of wetlands, and more use of
permeable seashell or gravel parking lots. With Appreciation
While Charley clearly demonstrated the vulnerability of mobile homes We extend our warmest thanks to the
and other flimsy structures, commentators found little reason to doubt that Curtis and Edith Munson Foun-
Charley will trigger any big swing away from this form of coastal development. dation for its renewal of major and
But there is some change, reported the Monitor: “the hurricane will raise new invaluable support for our Atlantic
questions about the density of development in hurricane and flood-prone areas.” CoastWatch activities. No donor to
And today, the paper added, living in the “hurricanes’ playground” is seen as a the program has been more faithful
“calculated risk.” As current cleanup efforts from one devastating blow contin- or more generous, and it would be
ued, residents knew all too well that they would also have to start bracing for no exaggeration to say that we could
the next one, Frances. not have done it without them. We
also deeply thank these people who
between June 29 and August 30
have made, renewed, or increased
Tighter Rules for Whale Watchers? the level of their donations to our
Atlantic CoastWatch activities:
In the wake of NOAA figures showing that only US naval vessels strike
and wound or kill more whales than whale watching excursion vessels, Public
Casey Family Foundation
Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) has called on the
Louisa C. Duemling
government to stop proposing tighter limits on them and Astart acting.@
Alexander P. Farman-Farmaian
Elinor Farquhar
Among the steps under federal consideration for as long as 4 years:
Lee and Juliet Folger Fund
David P. Hunt
a Speed limits within 2 miles of a sighted whale
Hunter Lewis
Sally S. and Decatur H. Miller
a A minimum approach buffer
Gail S. Moloney
Herbert S. Okun and Enid C.B. Okun
a Special permits or certifications for whale watch vessels
Russell E. Train
Trustees of Daisy 2000
In addition, PEER called for the implementation of proposed rules that
World Wildlife Fund
would Aprevent harassment of whales by humans on personal watercraft, kayaks
George M. Woodwell
and jumping off vessels to swim with whales.@
Alexander Zagoreos
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 for continued free services

Kennebec River Thrives Invasives March On


Five years ago (Atlantic CoastWatch July-August As global trade and travel surge ahead, so does
1999), authorities breached the obsolete Edwards Dam on the spread of plant and animal species to unfamiliar lands
Maine=s Kennebec River, long used primarily to power mills and watersBand the accompanying dangers to established
that had all closed by the early 1980s. The river flowed ecosystems. Some so-called invasives, such as honey-
unblocked for the first time since 1837. Edwards was suckle and English ivy, have been around so long that we
hardly the first old dam torn down up to then, but it was intend to think of them as almost native. The familiar mute
the first to be destroyed for ecological benefits. swan is both beautiful and a major destroyer of sea
grasses. Newer arrivals have effects ranging from benign
In five years of freedom, the Kennebec has amply to puzzling to devastating to unknown. Recent examples:
lived up to environmentalists= forecasts of ecological
reinvigoration. Once the opening was accomplished, over a The northern snakehead, an ugly if tasty Asian fish
vigorous political opposition, wildlife was quick to respond. discovered in a Maryland pond in 2002, has made its way
Salmon, shad, herring and other anadromous fish species into the Potomac, Schuylkill and Delaware rivers and into a
entered the river to spawn. Even Atlantic sturgeon came park pond in Philadelphia. Able to pull itself across dry
back. Bird life newly thrived. So, wrote Jeff Clark in land and breathe air, the versatile AFrankenfish@ has no
Down East magazine, did populations of aquatic insects, predators and will continue to spread. Wildlife authorities
snails, and invertebrates that had grown scarce in the are not greatly alarmed: after a ban, Maryland environmen-
impoundment above the dam and are important indicators tal officials recently agreed to allow some tropical
of environmental health. Overall, said Laura Rose Day of snakehead species back into the household pet trade.
the Natural Resources Council of Maine, Athe Kennebec
rebounded so quickly it was almost breathtaking.@ a Zebra mussels that also originated in Asia entered
US waters via the Great Lakes. Now they have cropped up
Fly fishermen, canoers, kayakers and other sports- in many places including New York, Pennsylvania and
minded people have also been quick to join the parade. Virginia waters. Another mussel species, the rare “false
Results overall have greatly exceeded expectations and, dark mussel,” has moved out of its traditional habitats into
said Naomi Schalit of Maine Rivers, what has happened new territories, including two Maryland rivers where they
is only the beginning. What she wants is a Arestored clutter up dock pilings, eat microscopic algae, and help
Kennebec,@ one that is Aabsolutely teeming with life.@ improve water quality.

Also encouraging is how the nation has taken the a In Florida=s Palm Beach County several species of
Edwards example to heart. Since 1999, reports American an aquarium plant called Caulerpa have escaped out of fish
Rivers, more than 145 dams have come down as a result tanks and ships= ballast water and settled on coral reefs.
of Atwo converging developmentsBa growing appreciation These algae, native to the Pacific Ocean, thrive on low
of the ecological benefits of removing dams and the aging light, spread fast, and smother sponges, sea fans, and
of much of the nation=s dam infrastructure.@ Often inexpli- other reef inhabitants. High-nutrient farm runoff may
cable resistance continues. But, reported Clark, a Abasic speed the growth of the algae. Scientists wring their
shift@ in thinking has occurredBabout the Kennebec and far hands, reports the Palm Beach Post, but have yet to come
more broadly as well. up with a solution.