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Atlantic CoastWatch September - October, 2004

Nourishment on the Griddle


News For Coastal Advocates
In the aftermath of the current hurricane season, battered coastal com-
munities are scrambling for ways to get their beaches back and their beach-
dependent economies rolling again. But this is a tricky business, complicated by Nourishment on the Griddle 1
geology, politics, and the usual shortage of dollars. Undeveloped strips of beach
tend not to get lost as a result of hurricanes; they often just get moved. But,
Menhaden Daze 1
reports the New York Times, overwash becomes a Abig problem@ on developed
beaches with structures that cannot shift inland with the sand. Some communi-
ties try to harvest sand mixed with that debris and use it to build new dunes. But Sayings 2
such sand contains dangerous materials, geologists say, and artificial dunes are
weaker than natural ones. A North Carolina “Beachhuggers” group complains Courts & the Seashore 3
that nourishment efforts following last year’s hurricane Isabel, at sights including
Nags and Emerald Isle, are unsightly and a waste of taxpayers money. Poplar on the Rise 3
Meanwhile, a budget-driven policy shift at the US Army Corps of Publications 4
Engineers lessens the chances of federal help. At a news conference last Febru-
ary, John Paul Woodley Jr., assistant secretary of the army, explained the
change, to take effect in 2005, Afrom a policy in which we would continue, over Park Status for Chesapeake? 4
time, to renourish the projects with additional material, at a cost share that
included a federal cost share, which I believe is at the 65 percent level under Coast Development Visioned 5
current policy, to...align that policy with the same policy we use for flood control
projects inland, in which the project is completed, turned over to the local Hard Times for the Ditch 6
sponsor for operation and maintenance over time.@ In short, to the despair of
some, no Anew starts@ at a time when Aa nation at war@ requires Adifficult choices.@ FL Flood Damage Control 6
(Continued, p. 7)
NJ Nixes Wildlife Refuge 7

Menhaden Daze Correction 7

Long awaited was the multi-disciplinary Atlantic States Marine


Fisheries Commission Menhaden Workshop, organized to examine the ecologi- a
cal role of menhaden in Chesapeake Bay and whether localized depletion is
occurring. The outcome was to be “recommendations for revised or new direc-
tions to the Atlantic Menhaden Fishery Management Plan.” Instead what Recurring
emerged was a loosely phrased commitment for more research.

At issue are several trends. The coastwide menhaden stock remains near People; Species & Habitats;
the lowest levels ever while recruitment of fish surviving their first year is Restorations; Report Cards;
historically low. The striped bass population is at a record high level, dominated Products; Funding
by older rockfish that can consume spawning age menhaden. Alternative forage
such as bay anchovy and crabs are in short supply, while 70-75% of Chesapeake Atlantic CoastWatch is a bimonthly
striped bass are mycobacteriosis ridden in some areas, a disease not yet proven newsletter for those interested in the
to result from nutritional stress. Further indicators of localized forage stress is environmentally sound development
found in studies of other predatory fish species and birds. And, beyond of the coastline from the Gulf of
menhaden’s lowly role as forage, a healthy stock’s nutrient filtering value for Maine to the Eastern Caribbean.
Chesapeake Bay has been estimated to be worth at least 50 times that of the
reduction fishery, which is concentrated largely in the Virginia portion of the Bay. Coastal News Nuggets is a daily news
clipping service, available at
Current statistical models used to evaluate the Menhaden population are www.atlanticcoastwatch.org.
limited. They operate on a coastwide framework and cannot provide a Bay
(Continued, p. 5)
2
Atlantic CoastWatch
Vol. 8, No. 5 Sayings
A project of the Sustainable In response to an Atlantic CoastWatch query about geologic-based
Development Institute, which hazard mitigation, as promoted by the Nicholas School of the Environment
and Earth Sciences at Duke University, we received the following helpful
seeks to heighten the environ-
reply from Andrew Coburn, associate director of its Program for the Study of
mental quality of economic Developed Shorelines (Duke PSDS).
development efforts, in coastal
and in forest regions, by commu- Our ideas tend to receive much more attention from the media immedi-
nicating information about better ately after storms, but are rarely, if ever, embraced by decision makers at all
policies and practices. SDI is levels of government. I think it is because we’re pretty cutting edge when it
classified as a 501(c)(3) non-for- comes to coastal management/property damage mitigation alternatives, and we
profit organization, exempt from advocate strategies that go against the status quo-- and it is extremely difficult
for people to accept, let alone embrace, change.
federal income tax.
In the long run, however, we will simply not be able to sustain current
Board of Directors
coastal development/management practices and will have no choice but to do
something that is now considered radical, such as retreating from the shoreline.
Freeborn G. Jewett, Jr., Chair
For example, about 20-30 years ago, Duke PSDS brought up the concept that
Robert J. Geniesse, Chair Emeritus
seawalls destroy beaches, which was considered crazy by the engineering
Roger D. Stone, President
community. Today, however, everyone, including the US Army Corps of
Hart Fessenden, Treasurer
Engineers, agrees that seawalls are highly detrimental to beaches.
Hassanali Mehran, Secretary
David P. Hunt
The notion of geologic-based hazard mitigation is an example of some-
Gay P. Lord
thing that goes against current thinking, especially along the shoreline, because
Simon Sidamon-Eristoff
it involves a mentality that we must learn to live the shoreline, not just at the
shorelines, and that we must adapt to nature instead of trying to force nature to
Scientific Advisory Council
adapt to us. In the latter case, we will not be successful and will probably make
things worse by trying.
Gary Hartshorn
Stephen P. Leatherman
We do not advocate the removal of all coastal development, but instead
Jerry R. Schubel
would like to see development and redevelopment take place in a responsible
Christopher Uhl
manner that recognizes the long-term implications of natural coastal processes.
We’d also like to see natural geomorphologic features be incorporated into the
Staff
planning, because these features do have the ability to reduce property damage.
Roger D. Stone, Director & President
The best example is the preservation of natural dune fields which are
Shaw Thacher, Project Manager
often leveled to improve views. We see over and over again that buildings set
Robert C. Nicholas III, Contr. Editor
well back from established, natural dunes suffer less damage than those without
protective dunes. We can also manage our coasts with the understanding of
Foundation Donors
what beach nourishment does, and does not do, and what the long-term implica-
tions of mining inlet tidal deltas are.
Avenir Foundation
The Fair Play Foundation
The Madriver Foundation
The Moore Charitable Foundation With Appreciation
The Curtis and Edith Munson
Foundation We especially appreciate the arrival of major new support from the
Summit Fund of Washington Avenir Foundation, a faithful annual donor from the outset of Atlantic
CoastWatch in 1997. Likewise, we express gratitude for a most generous grant
Sponsored Projects recently awarded by The Summit Fund of Washington. And we deeply thank
these other donors for much needed gifts recently received:
Environmental Film Festival in the
Nation’s Capital March 10-20, 2005 E.U. Curtis Bohlen
Louisa C. Duemling
Featuring screenings of documen- Marion S. Guggenheim
tary, feature, archival, children’s A. Ann Stone
Ellen I. Sykes
and animated films.
Mr. and Mrs. William Blunt White
Elsa B. Williams
www.dcenvironmentalfilmfest.org George M. Woodwell
3
People

Courts & the Seashore In 1984, reports the Charleston Post


& Courier, environmentalist Dana
Environmentalists seeking court Astanding@ suffered a setback in Virginia Beach and his bride moved to South
when state Judge Randall G. Johnson did not clear the Chesapeake Bay Carolina. In 1989 he founded the
Foundation (CBF) and Citizens for Stumpy Lake to challenge a state permit South Carolina Coastal Conser-
allowing Virginia Beach developer Tri-City Properties LLC to drain 145 acres of vation League (SCCCL), which in its
wetlands. AThere are few people who do not have at least some aesthetic or exactly 15 years, says the paper, Ahas
recreational interest in the environment,@ the judge ruled. But under state law grown to be a major political player
the connection is not close enough to justify a lawsuit alleging an Ainjury in fact.@ in the state and the key environmen-
Ray Hoagland, CBF executive director in Virginia, said that his organization tal watchdog in the Lowcountry.@
would probably appeal. The organization now has a staff of
20 in 4 offices, a budget of $1.5
Ten years ago, Andrew Machata and other property owners sued the million, and 4,400 members. The key
Sebastian Inlet Tax District in Florida, alleging erosion damage to their to success, said Beach, is
beachfront caused by the inlet and the jetties bracketing it. This year a jury Amaintaining a strong vision and to
ordered the Tax District to pay Machata $776,258 in damages for the loss of land approach conservation by looking for
and sand, and for the cost of building a seawall. Machata=s lawyer said he did opportunities.@
not get enough money. Beth Glover, chair of the Tax District=s Board of Com-
missioners, said that for Machata only to get $776,000 after a 10-year struggle Robert J. Snyder Sr., longtime
was a Atrue win@ for the taxpayers. Machata was asking $1.7 million. proprietor of Dodson Boatyard in
Stonington, CT and CoastWatch
supporter, died aged 79. Dodson
was among the first to sign up in the
Poplar on the Rise state’s clean marina program.

In 1847 Poplar Island in the Chesapeake Bay was more than 1,000 acres Awards
in size. Then the forces of nature took over, splitting the island into three parts
and reducing its size to 134 acres in 1931, 80 acres in the 1960s, and less than 10 Coastal America honored the
acres in 1990. With sea-level rise kicking in, it would not be long before the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in
island, once frequented by US Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Lexington Park, MD, and local
Truman, would vanish entirely. partners, for restoring 1.5 acres of
tidal wetland and 3,500 feet of new
In 1994 a combination of federal and state agencies came up with an shoreline at the base=s Webster Field
expensive but creative scheme to use Poplar as a dumping site for nontoxic annex. Volunteers assembled under
materials from Chesapeake Bay navigation channels, and restore it to something the partnership=s umbrella stabilized
like its 1847 dimensions. This would be good for wildlife, which would benefit the shoreline, installed oyster reefs,
from new and protected habitat in an ever more crowded region, and essential and planted more than 30,500 units
for the well being of the Port of Baltimore, a key factor in the state=s economy. It of seagrasses.
would be the largest initiative of its kind ever attempted.

Construction began in 1998, when the first loads of an anticipated 40 Species & Habitats
million cubic yards of dredged material were added to Poplar, and the island
began to come back from the brink. Work is expected to continue on the site In 1984, recalls estuarine scientist
until 2020, when if all goes well it will consist of 570 acres of uplands and 570 Richard Lacouture of the Acad-
acres of wetlands. Already, though Poplar still looks more like a construction emy of Natural Sciences, one
site than like a comfortable home for wildlife, it has attracted nesting diamond- stretch of the Potomac River was so
back terrapins and over 100 bird species including not commonly seen white choked with algae that it had become
pelicans. Aa color I=d never seen beforeBalmost
a fluorescent green.@ When such
Recently Baltimore Sun columnist Tom Horton paddled out to Poplar in blooms die, the decomposition sucks
his kayak, and returned awed by the thought that Poplar could be a Atemplate@ up dissolved oxygen, harming fish
for the restoration of a number of other Chesapeake islandsBthe famed Smith and other organisms. Then came
and Tangier among them—that are close to being engulfed. Wrote Horton: AOne dramatic improvements in the
can envision a string of such projects, shaped to meet both wildlife=s needs and Potomac=s water quality. But this
human recreational demands.@ year, reports Lacouture in the
Potomac Basin Reporter, newsletter
From the outset of construction public tours of the island were offered, of the Interstate Commission on
and primarily through word of mouth they have grown in popularity. Available the Potomac River Basin, he
for parties of from 8-24 people, the 3-hour tours begin at Tilghman Island. AWe=re observed blooms Aat least near@ the
already booked well into December,@ reports tour manager Chrissie Albanese 1984 levels. The general cause:
of the Maryland Environmental Service. Tel. (410) 770-6500. excessive nutrient loads from
4
wastewater discharges and nonpoint
runoff, compounded by very warm
May weather that, through complex
and not fully understood algae Publications
interactions, resulted in extensive
patches of green surface scum and a The October 2004 issue of Audubon Naturalist, the newspaper published
white foam. Anglers, boaters and by the Audubon Naturalist Society of the Central Atlantic States, has a
swimmers can expect more of the useful article about hazards from windpower turbines to birds and bats. The
same, scientists warn, unless efforts article, entitled AHow Green Will the Wind Blow?@ makes its own levelheaded
to reduce nutrient inputs are intensi- assessment of the dangers and ways to reduce impacts, and guides readers to
fied. many other sources of pertinent information. www.audubonnaturalist.org

Another river in hot water is the a Only a small percentage of Maine=s thousands of coastline is publicly
Boston area=s Charles. There a owned, says Maine Sea Grant. Though the public has traditional rights to the
proposed new permit from EPA and land between low and high tides, it adds, Aunderstanding those rights can be
the Massachusetts Department of tricky.@ A helpful new publication, therefore, is APublic Shoreline Assess in
Environmental Protection would, Maine, A Citizen=s Guide to Ocean and Coastal Law,@ produced by Maine Sea
say the Charles River Watershed Grant and John Duff, professor at the University of Maine School of Law.
Association and the Conservation www.seagrant.umaine.edu
Law Foundation, allow thermal
discharges from the Mirant Kendall a Further evidence of growing general interest in the subject is Oceans
power station in Cambridge to Alive, a new website posted by Environmental Defense. It offers ample
exceed levels tolerable for resident information on policy news, seafood choices and eco-tips on boating, fishing,
yellow perch and several anadro- and beachgoing. www.oceansalive.org
mous herring species including shad.
To cool its turbines, the 234-mw
natural gas-fueled plant draws water
from a canal near the river, then Park Status for Chesapeake?
dumps heated water back in. If EPA
is to achieve its stated goal of In 2000 the National Park Service (NPS), keen to improve apprecia-
making the Charles Afishable and tion of the Chesapeake Bay and help get its story told more widely, founded the
swimmable@ by Earth Day 2005, said Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network (Atlantic CoastWatch September-
the Boston Globe, AIt should redraw October 2002). NPS has nurtured this affiliation of some 140 natural and cultural
its permit more in line with recom- sites around the Bay via promotional efforts and grants to individual members.
mendations from fishery and conser-
vation advocates.@ A decision is Enthusiasm about the project, initiated with strong support from Mary-
expected soon after the expiration of land Senator Paul Sarbanes and other legislators, is widespread. Much effort
the current extended public com- is currently being made, both by private consultants and by the Maryland and
ment period. Virginia tourism departments, to improve services and visibility. A handsome
series of Network posters, the first two featuring Bay lighthouses and
The dreaded sea nettle, a large workboats, has been launched. Workshops and conferences have explored new
jellyfish with stinging tentacles up to ideas and helped tighten links between Network members. The Gateways
4 or 5 feet long, has for many years website offers maps, trail guides, and an extensive events calendar.
inhibited recreation in the Chesa-
peake Bay, where summer water Now, after two years of conducting what it calls a Special Resource
temperature and salinity ranges Study, NPS has forwarded recommendations to Congress as to its future role in
favor them. Now these nettles are the Bay. Under consideration were options including the creation of a Chesa-
newly cropping up in portions of peake Bay Estuary National Park, the establishment of a reserve composed of
New Jersey=s Barnegat Bay and such private as well as public lands that would represent various aspects of the Bay=s
faraway places as the Aegean and heritage, and a more focused effort to preserve a single tributary ecosystem.
Black seas. The reason, hypothesize
scientists, may once again be related Ultimately, NPS bypassed all those options and instead proposed the
to higher nutrient loads which favor lowest common denominator: that the Gateways Network itself become part of
very small phytoplankton that end up the national park system and that two major visitor and interpretive centers be
feeding the nettles. Once out of the addedBone in the upper and the other in the lower part of the Bay.
ocean and in brackish waters,
moreover, the nettles have no While this recommendation was not a strong as some prefer, at least it
predators. Apprehensive about respects severe NPS budget constraints as well as the tone of more than 3,000
consequences for summer tourism, public comments received during the course of the study. 92% of respondents
reports Soundings, New Jersey expressed support for some form of permanent NPS presence on the Bay, which
Senator Frank Lautenberg has would expire in 2008 without further action. Said the Annapolis Capital: ALimited
ordered up a NOAA investigation. as it is, the plan is sensible.@ Congress is not expected to take up the matter until
next year. www.baygateways.net
5
From Maine, where the lobster catch
is way down after 14 boom years, to
Narragansett Bay, where the harvest
Coastal Development Visioned has been declining since the fishery’s
peak year in 1999, New England
More than half the U.S. population lives in areas connected by rivers or lobster fishermen and scientists have
streams to oceans or the Great Lakes, states professor Charles Colson of the been crying the blues of late. The
University of Southern Maine. The closer you get to the shore, the higher the Massachusetts fishery has soured as
population density getsBto more than 230 people per square mile, or more than well. In Long Island Sound, reported
triple the national average, in directly adjacent areas. Almost one-half of all US the New York Times, last year’s catch
construction takes place within the coastal zone. was less than one tenth of its peak in
1997. This fall more than 200 people
In view of such trends, NOAA=s Coastal Services Center (CSC) in gathered in an effort to understand
Charleston, SC thought it prudent to try to equip coastal communities with Atools the massive, sudden September
to help them analyze, visualize, and make decisions about growth and develop- 1999 die-off of Sound lobsters that
ment.@ As a model the group selected Camden County, Georgia, whose popula- essentially killed the industry there.
tion between 1990 and 2000 grew by 44.7%. The team selected a site along the Reasons, scientists reported, may
shore of St. Marys facing Cumberland Island. AWith input from site and land- include warmer than usual water,
scape design experts,@ reports the Georgia Conservancy, Athe project team low oxygen levels, toxic impacts, and
developed and evaluated three development alternatives using natural resource perhaps the abruptly heavy use of
and economic models.@ AConventional,= AConservation,@ and ANew Urbanist@ pesticides to control the West Nile
designs were evaluated using economic, environmental, and social analysis, virus at that time.
with maps and graphics on NOAA=s website. Notably, the Aconventional@ option
fared the worst in terms of estimated Apotential net revenue.@ Development and industrialization
have, according to the conventional
Currently the sponsors of the site, entitled AAlternatives for Coastal wisdom, been the principal reasons
Development: One SiteBThree Scenarios@ are making presentations of its for tidal wetlands losses along the
analysis around the state to local government officials, planners, developers and Connecticut shore over the past
citizens, and developing outreach products. AThe development community is of century, at least until tougher
course skeptical,@ reports Patty McIntosh of the Georgia Conservancy. ABut permitting requirements kicked in.
generally we=ve had a very positive reaction.@ Much of the information in the Now, reports Greenwich Time,
site=s methodology section is also useful to organizations to other states with scientists have found evidence that
different variables and rules, says Nancy Cofer-Shabica of CSC. Not only can Long Island Sound=s sea level rise
it be used for education purposes, she adds. AWe=ve also considered exploring may also account for some of the
ideas for making some of the indicators portable, so that others could input continuing shrinkage. With many
information specific to their projects.@ www.csc.noaa.gov/alternatives areas remaining wet even at low
tide, said marsh ecologist Shimon
Anisfeld, the waterlogged grasses=
Menhaden Daze, Continued from p. 1 ability to take up nutrients dimin-
ishes and eventually the vegetated
areas turn into mudflats.
specific estimate of menhaden abundance, despite the Atlantic fishery netting
60% of its harvest from the Chesapeake Bay. Also, the menhaden spawning
population is “virtual” - a model estimate based on the assumption of constant Restorations
natural mortality across all age classes. But when these and other model
shortcomings were identified, technical committee representatives stated that All but 4 of the 34 golf courses on
their models were “peer reviewed” and “coastwide, the stock remains healthy.” Long Island=s East End, including
such illustrious ones as the
Also undermining the meeting’s ability to generate recommendations Shinnecock Hills Golf Club and the
was that commercial, recreational and environmental stakeholders were as- National Golf Links of America in
signed to the panel, intermixed with scientists. This led to frequent interruptions tony Southampton, have accepted a
in the scientific discourse. Menhaden lobbyist Niels Moore labelled much of challenge from EPA to protect the
the process “quasi-science” and threatened a lawsuit if precautionary recom- Peconic Estuary from nutrient
mendations resulted. And with stakeholders using panelist’s seats, notable pollution via sharp reductions in
relevant scientists were absent, or attended and could not weigh-in. fertilizer use. The courses= contribu-
tion of nitrogen to runoff, for ex-
Consequently the debate focused less on menhaden’s broad ecological ample, would drop to less than half
role and overall value, than upon its bilateral relationship with striped bass as that from a typical residential
forage. This echoed the menhaden industry’s argument that what is needed is development. This innovative
less menhaden fishery management than reductions in striped bass. If the full program, developed by EPA=s Region
range of ecological indicators that together paint a grim picture of Bay forage II in partnership with state and local
conditions had been more thoroughly reviewed, some argued, precautionary agencies and the United States
recommendations might have emerged, despite inherent scientific uncertainties. Golf Association, has won wide-
spread acclaim. Cornell University
6
offers technical assistance to the
courses= superintendents.

Recently the US Navy celebrated a Hard Times for the Ditch


significant milestone at the heavily
polluted Portsmouth Naval Shipyard: In 1763, the Charleston Post and Courier reminds us, George Washing-
the capping of the Jamaica Island ton suggested that a north-south canal be built to connect the Chesapeake Bay
Landfill on 25 acres of the 275-acre with North Carolina=s Albemarle Sound. Digging for the so-called Dismal Swamp
site at the mouth of the fast-moving Canal began a decade later. Thus began what is now the popular Atlantic
Piscatauqua River and the creation of Intercoastal Waterway, running 1,200 miles between Norfolk and Miami and
new facilities for recreation, parking, frequented by all manner of commercial, government and pleasure craft whose
and boat storage. But with heavy skippers would rather run AThe Ditch@ than take their chances offshore. Marinas
doses of pollution remaining at what and other Southeast coastal businesses take in some $10 billion a year from the
the Portsmouth Herald calls Aone of passing traffic
the largest and most toxic waste
dumps in the region,@ the paper Trouble is, the Ditch itself is becoming ever more of a hazard. When
warns that there is still much cleanup Congress authorized the waterway as a federal jurisdiction in 1937, it mandated a
work to be done. Federal attempts to controlling depth of 12 feet. But the US Army Corps of Engineers has never
Arelieve the military of the require- dredged enough to maintain that standard, ship captains report. Over the past
ments to clean up pollution at its decade, a period of persistent budget shortfalls for maintenance, siltation has
bases, the paper adds, Awill place the made the Ditch shallower and shallower. The Dismal Swamp is down to about 8
cost of protecting the health and feet in depth, and some parts of a North Caroline inlet called Lockwood=s Folly
safety of Seacoast residents on local have been down to only 3 feet of water at low tide. Groundings along the
communities, few of which are waterway, which is narrow as well as shallow, have become as predictable as
financially capable of assuming that auto traffic delays near large cities.
burden.@
Dredging operations costing about $20 million would maintain the
Reports waterway at a minimum level. But this year=s federal appropriation was only
$6.7 million. And for next year, the Bush administration has zeroed out the
Sierra Legal Defence Fund and Corps= maintenance budget on the grounds that the volume of waterway traffic
other environmental groups grading does not meet current Ahigh use@ criteria, one reason being that barges must
Canada=s ports on sewage treatment remain lightly loaded to make it through the shallows. Reprogrammed 2004
practices flunked four cities in the funds will be sufficient to keep the Dismal Swamp Canal barely open through
Atlantic coastal zone: Saint John, NB, December and give Lockwood=s Folly a lick and a promise. But the outlook for
Halifax, Charlottetown, and St. 2005 remains uncertain. Says the Post and Courier AIf money for dredging is not
John=s, Nfld. All four Acontinue to provided soon, whole sections of the waterway could be virtually useless within
Adump enormous amounts of a year or two, sending an economic shockwave along the Southeast coast.@
sewage laden with toxic chemicals
into local waterways without any In response to the mounting crisis, the Atlantic Intracoastal Water-
treatment whatsoever.@ All of way Association (AIWA) has launched a spirited ASave the Waterway@ cam-
Canada=s provinces and territories, paign and won support from many individual boaters, Boat-US, Ditch-depen-
said an Ottawa official, have agreed dent businesses, and some politicians. Though efforts are underway to persuade
to work out national standards for southeast states to chip in, only Florida currently does so; elsewhere, says
wastewater treatment by 2006. AIWA>s executive director Rosemary Lynch, the crisis is viewed as Aa federal
problem@ and state budgets are already stretched tight. AWe=ve got to develop
New England failed to make some creative ways of funding,@ she says. AWe need new partnerships here.@
progress on mercury reduction, says
the Zero Mercury Campaign, and
gets an overall C+ for generally
halfhearted efforts toward an agreed-
Florida Flood Damage Control
upon goal of virtually eliminating
mercury pollution by 2010. Only AComplete flood prevention is not possible in South Florida, especially
Rhode Island got a higher rating this given the potential for excessive rainfall associated with a hurricane,@ warns the
year, moving from a B from a B-. South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), the agency that
manages water resources in the state=s soggy southern portion, from Disney
Connecticut=s Council on Environ- World to the Keys. SFWMD says that its extensive system of canals and struc-
mental Quality, in independent tures, which dates from 1947, is designed not to stop flooding, but to Ahelp
state agency, stated that Ain general reduce flooding levels and help shorten the duration of standing flood waters.@
the state=s environmental progress
has slowed to a crawl.@ Though A remarkable aspect of this season=s devastating series of hurricanes
slight gains could be reported in air and heavy rains is how remarkably well this system has worked. While flooding
quality and open space protection,@ caused heavy damage to communities not protected by the Central and South
said 31st annual report, the era of (Continued, p. 8)
7
rapid progress is over with most
indicators showing Aminimal change
or slight worsening.@ In part, said
Nourishment, Continued from p. 1 Karl Wagener, the council=s execu-
tive director, the slowdown is
Even before the hurricanes, some coastal communities had threatened attributable to past success in
to sue the Corps on the grounds that its new policy conflicts with a federal removing gross forms of pollution;
commitment stated in the 1996 Shore Protection Act. Now lobbyists are also now the victories are harder to come
searching for Aemergency supplemental@ funds to throw at the beaches. The by.
Corps, meanwhile, has been promoting the many non-nourishment ways it has
been helping battered communities recover: supplying ice, water, power and Shoreline protection from storms
temporary roof coverings and removing debris. provided by some 26,000 km of
Caribbean reefs saves countries
For all the hand wringing, coastal geologists at Duke University=s between $700 million and $2.2 billion
Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences were flogging a a year, says the World Resources
bright side to all this, at least insofar as barrier islands are concerned. They Institute (WRI). These findings
Aneed hurricanes for their survival,@ argues the often-cited professor Orrin H. appear in a new report entitled Reefs
Pilkey Jr., and during them get higher and wider. He and his colleagues at Risk in the Caribbean that WRI
recommend that communities not rush to rebuild as they were, but to heed the recently published in its capacity as a
principles of Ageologic-based hazard mitigation@ with attention to the coast=s component of the International
protective natural features and new rules barring damage-prone construction. Coral Reef Action Network. 64%
(See Sayings, p.2) of Caribbean reefs are rated as
threatened by human activity as well
as by hurricanes. Continuing
degradation could, said the report=s
Jersey Nixes Wildlife Refuge co-author Jon Maidens in a Ja-
maica Observer interview, lead to
losses in dive tourism revenue of up
There are sharp divisions of opinion about the future of historic Petty=s
to $300 million a year by 2015.
Island, 392 acres of wetlands, fallow oil tanks, and nesting bald eagles, in
Pennsauken on the New Jersey side of the Delaware river. On one side is
Recreational boat losses from
Cherokee Investment Partners, which (see Atlantic CoastWatch, May-June
Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan
2004) the town selected to turn the brownfield into a $1.2 billion residential,
and Jeanne total $680 million, says
shopping, and recreational community. On the other is the island=s owner,
Boat-U.S., with Frances alone
Citgo Petroleum Corporation, which has repeatedly offered to donate it to the
racking up $300 million. These
state as a nature preserve.
figures do not include damage to
commercial vessels or marinas.
Last summer, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer, New Jersey Depart-
They compare with the $500 million
ment of Environment Commissioner Bradley Campbell left the decision in
in damage caused by Hurricane
the hands of the New Jersey Natural Lands Trust, an 11 person conservation
Andrew in 1992.
board with 6 public members and 5 representatives of the state government.
When the trust recently debated and voted on the matter, the donation won 5
votes. But since all 4 of the state government representatives in attendance Products
voted against it, the donation was declared to have been turned down.
While many people have long
Citgo might appeal the decision, and the board may revisit it. Whatever enjoyed the flavor of seaweed-
further skirmishing takes place, local officials can simply claim the land by wrapped sushi, few have learned to
eminent domain, since it lies within a redevelopment zone, and thus clear the love sea vegetables as a more
way for the developers. Environmentalists claimed that the Natural Land Trust=s mainstream part of their diet. A
Adecision@ was yet another example of cahoots between politicians and develop- broader appeal is on the way, hope
ers. Cherokee insists that its plan is environmentally sound. the founders of Maine Coast Sea
Vegetables, which now harvests
and sells a variety of nutritious and
allegedly yummy ocean plants. The
Correction company now sells dulse, kelp, and
other sea products to Shaw==s and
On Page 8 of our July-August 2004 issue, thanks to an editing error, we Whole Foods supermarkets. For
incorrectly stated that zebra mussels had invaded Maryland=s Magothy and Anne the squeamish, reports the Boston
Arundel rivers. We should have stated that it is not the zebra, but a local species Herald, the company also markets
known as the Afalse dark mussel@ with an expanding range which had newly ground-up sea vegetables called Sea
been found in those rivers. Our thanks to Sherm Garrison, of Maryland=s Chips, Sea Pickles, and Sea Season-
Department of Natural Resources, for bringing this mistake to our attention. ings to be shaken on soup or salad
AWe=ve had enough problems this year with invasive species in Maryland,@ he e- and Agive you a taste.@
mailed. AWe=d like to keep another one out as long as we can.@ www.seaveg.com
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

Funding

Grants of up to $75,000 are available Florida Flood Damage, Continued from p. 6


to nonprofit or public groups
working to restore and protect the Florida Flood Control Project, reported the Washington Post in the aftermath
health and living resources of Long of Hurricane Frances, there were Aonly a few@ complaints of flood damage to
Island Sound. The Sound Futures homes within its boundaries. The same held true even after the subsequent
Fund, to be managed by the Na- and very wet Hurricane Jeanne, which dumped further heavy rain on already
tional Fish and Wildlife Founda- saturated areas.
tion and the Long Island Sound
Study with federal and local part- In the system=s Upper Kissimmee Basin, where August rainfall was
ners, has about $1 million available double the normal and September rainfall triples, says the agency’s Orlando-
for its first round of grantmaking. based Bill Graf, “I have been very impressed. Despite unprecedented rains,
at no time throughout did we experience what I would call serious flooding.
A year ago, Chesapeake Bay Water levels in the Upper Basin are still very high, and another big storm
Program officials pegged the total would put us back in a tough situation again. But as of now (mid-October),
cost of cleanup efforts at about $1 life is getting back to normal again.@ The same holds true for the southern
billion a year. Today, reports Bay portion of the region where, says Randy Smith, another SFWMD spokes-
Journal, the same authorities man, Athe system has performed extremely well.@
estimate an annual need for $4
billion to $5 billion throughout the Environmentalists have long complained about the South Florida
Bay if pollution reduction targets are style of stormwater management, which features huge pumps, 30-foot
to be met. No one underestimates levees, and other massive structures not suited to the needs of many
the difficulty of extracting funds of wildlife species. The Kissimmee River, once free, now flows arrow-straight
this magnitude from the 8 jurisdic- between its dikes. The system has Adevastated the Everglades,@ said the
tions in the Chesapeake Bay water- Post, replacing wildlands with a combination half consisting of residential
shed. But, said the paper, Athe communities and the remainder an Aabused and polluted mess, used as a
region is already paying a steep cost reservoir and a sewer for a burgeoning human population.@
for polluting the Bay in terms of
degraded water quality and reduced But, the paper added, Athe project has made South Florida safe for
harvests.@ Moreover, reported the more than 7 million residents, 40 million annual tourists and agribusinesses
Chesapeake Bay Foundation, that produce one-fourth of America=s sugar. It has kept the region wet
most voters in the Bay watershed enough to supply drinking and irrigation water and to prevent fires and
would be willing to pay a $50 a year saltwater intrusion while averting huge floods.@ The system=s response to
tax for Bay cleanup. A recent poll this year=s downpours has, ecologist Nick Aumen at the Everglades
shows a hefty 64% in favor, 33% National Park told the Post, dramatically demonstrated its Aincredible@
opposed. ability to carry out its basic mission.