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Atlantic CoastWatch March - April, 2005

Bombs Away at Bloodsworth?

News For Coastal Advocates
Concern recently mounted over a possible intensification of military
activities at the 5,361-acre Bloodsworth Island in the lower Chesapeake Bay.
Options were examined in a required draft environmental assessment issued in a
February by its new owner within the Navy: the Naval Air Systems Command at
the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in southern Maryland.
Bombs Away? 1
The draft assessment looked at a wide range of possible uses for the
island, which was a site for target practice with live ordinance between1942, when
New LI Sound Battle 1
the Navy acquired it, and 1996 when the bombing stopped and use became limited
to research and tactical training. After the draft assessment was released, options
reviewed became widely interpreted as a “plan.” News articles, nearby mainland Sayings 2
residents of growing population centers, and watermen pictured cluster bombs,
Hellfire missiles, the noisy A-10 aircraft, and amphibious assaults using live fire Courts & the Seashore 3
decimating the range, a severe curtailment of access to the area’s rich fishery, and
severe wildlife impacts. Vieques Aftermath 3
The assessment cited the A-10 Warthog (Air Force) as an example of a Publications 4
ground attack aircraft. But a Navy public affairs officer told Atlantic CoastWatch
that this plane is “certainly” not going to bomb Bloodsworth. The draft assess-
ment, says the Navy, does not specify what activities will actually take place there. Blue Visioning 4
It simply “describes the widest scope of past or future operational scenarios to
determine and evaluate any environmental impacts of such operations.” Eddying Inlets 5

Maryland Democratic Senator Paul S. Sarbanes had written Navy Secre- Protecting Horseshoes 6
tary Gordon England stressing the need for a complete Environmental Impact
Statement before resuming bombing practice on Bloodsworth. Rep. Wayne T. Kid Power 7
Gilchrest and local officials had also weighed in.
(Continued, p. 7)
Caribbean Tsunami Risk 7

New LI Sound Battle

Long Island Sound, frequently the site of proposals to increase the
flow of badly-needed energy via submerged pipelines and power cables, now
faces a similar and bigger challenge. It comes from Broadwater Energy, a part-
nership between TransCanada Corporation and Shell, which proposes to install a
1,200 foot liquid natural gas (LNG) terminal smack in the middle of Long Island
Sound about 9 miles north of Wading River, NY. At the terminal, super chilled LNG People; Awards; Species &
would be warmed to become a gas, then pumped westward for 25 miles to Habitats; Restorations; Report
connect with existing natural gas pipelines for distribution in Connecticut and New
Cards; Products; Funding
York. The estimated cost: $700 million.

The company’s application continues to undergo environmental review as Atlantic CoastWatch is a bimonthly
part of the permitting process at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission newsletter for those interested in the
(FERC). Empowered to decide whether the project is in the public interest, FERC is environmentally sound development
dominated by Republicans appointed by President Bush, whose administration has of the coastline from the Gulf of
encouraged LNG terminal development. Strong local opposition to the plan has Maine to the Eastern Caribbean.
surfaced both in Connecticut and on Long Island, where environmentalists vividly
recall their successful 1980s effort to prevent the fully licensed, $2.5 billion Coastal News Nuggets is a daily news
Shoreham nuclear power plant from ever going into operation. clipping service, available at
(Continued, p. 8)
Atlantic CoastWatch
Vol. 9, No. 2 Sayings
A project of the Sustainable The following article by Naomi Schalit, executive director of Maine Rivers,
Development Institute, which was originally published in the Maine Sunday Telegram, April 3, 2005.
seeks to heighten the environmental It’s official. Now that a New York Times columnist has declared it to be
quality of economic development true, environmentalism is definitively dead. Times columnist Nicholas Kristof
efforts, in coastal and in forest joined a growing lineup of obituary writers who have, over the last six months,
regions, by communicating informa- declared the end of the movement that saved the whales, brought back the bald
tion about better policies and prac- eagle, created the land preserve six blocks from my house, and stopped oil drilling
tices. SDI is classified as a 501(c)(3) off the coast of Northern California.
not-for-profit organization, exempt
from federal income tax. According to these doomsayers, environmentalism has been on life
support for the past few years, after starving on a diet of failed strategies, empty
Board of Directors promises and outdated ideas. November’s election, which cemented the anti-
environmental right wing’s hold on government, pulled the plug. Just look at last
Freeborn G. Jewett, Jr., Chair month’s vote in the Senate to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil
Robert J. Geniesse, Chair Emeritus drilling.
Roger D. Stone, President
Hassanali Mehran, Treasurer Well, for one of the movement’s corpses, I’ve been pretty active. In a
Gay P. Lord, Secretary recent week, I testified against one bill in the Maine Legislature that would have
Hart Fessenden set a five-year statute of limitations on environmental crimes, and prepared my
David P. Hunt remarks on another dangerous bill to stop river restoration. Those pesky anti-
Simon Sidamon-Eristoff environmentalists just keep luring folks like me from the grave.

Scientific Advisory Council In the rest of my 60-hour week, I helped organize a meeting in Lewiston
for which dozens of people braved the snow to learn what they could do to fight
Gary Hartshorn lead poisoning, river pollution and rampant sprawl. I staffed a five-hour board
Stephen P. Leatherman meeting for my organization, Maine Rivers. And then there was the letter-writing,
Jerry R. Schubel phone-answering, fund-raising and administrative trivia (administrivia?) I plowed
Christopher Uhl through.

Staff Rumors of the environmental movement’s demise are greatly exagger-

ated. The movement just doesn’t look like the Sierra Club anymore, that’s all. And
Roger D. Stone, Director & President our methods aren’t slavishly wedded to the model they and other similar large
Shaw Thacher, Project Manager groups pioneered. That method was to stir up the public about an environmental
Robert C. Nicholas III, Contr. Editor problem and then use that outcry to pressure politicians to vote for environmen-
Sarah Dixon, Program Associate tally protective laws.

Foundation Donors We still do all that, but there’s much more variety to our methods. The big
environmental guys may be feeling defeated, or out of ideas, over even dead —
Avenir Foundation but my friends and I sure the heck aren’t. As long as there are people out there
The Fair Play Foundation poisoning our water, fouling our air, chewing up our open space and threatening
The Madriver Foundation our children’s health, we’re planning on sticking around to fight, thank you.
The Moore Charitable Foundation
For example: I serve on the board of the New England Grassroots
The Curtis and Edith Munson
Environment Fund. The fund was started in large part because so many small,
grassroots groups had sprung up that established funders could no longer handle
Summit Fund of Washington
all the requests—or weren’t connected to the kind of untraditional folks who were
on the cutting edge of local environmental work. The groups who apply to us often
Sponsored Projects
start around someone’s kitchen table—and stay right there. They’re run by
mothers, fathers, students, immigrants, workers, clergy, farmers and fishermen.
Environmental Film Festival in the
Many don’t have phone numbers, offices or bank accounts of their own. But these
Nation’s Capital
people are a vital part of the very lively environmental movement in this country.
In a way, they look a lot like the old environmental movement, and represent a
March 16-26, 2006
return to what we once were—small, decentralized citizen-led affinity groups.
Featuring screenings of documentary,
One of the groups we funded, a bunch of angry mothers with sick kids,
feature, archival, children’s and
stopped the city of Bangor and the National Guard from dumping airport waste
animated films.
into the stream behind their homes. In Jamaica Plain, NY, neighborhood activists
are fighting the use of pesticides in their community.
(Continued, p. 3)

Courts & the Seashore The Hudson’s picturesque Clearwater

program, featuring environmental
a In 2003, 4 bedraggled old ships from the “ghost fleet” in Virginia’s James activism and a handsome replica of
River were towed across the Atlantic to Hartlepool, England, where they await an 18th century Dutch cargo vessel
scrapping at Able UK, Ltd, a recycling company. Nine other ships were scheduled cruising the river, has had its ups and
to follow, in a deal with the US Maritime Administration (MARAD), which argued downs since the organization was
that the US lacked capacity to dismantle all 100 vessels of the James armada. But founded by folksinger Pete Seeger
their passage was blocked by a lawsuit filed by environmental groups arguing that and others back in the 1960s. Current
the overseas scrapping deal violated US laws forbidding the export of hazardous executive director Andy Mele, who
materials such as the asbestos, lead, mercury and PCBs with which the old ships has brought better order to what the
were laden. In March US District Judge Rosemary Collyer dismissed the suit on Poughkeepsie Journal calls the
what are described as “largely technical” grounds. But the ships destined for organization’s “chronically rocky
Britain, where greens also oppose the scrapping, will not weigh anchor until Able finances,” is quitting after 6 years at
has achieved all necessary clearances to dismantle all 13 of the vessels. In all, the helm. He’s an “extraordinary
according to the Virginian-Pilot, 55 ships for scrapping remain in the James. guy,” Seeger told the Journal, adding
his belief that “fairly regular changes
a Slow-growth advocates in the hamlets of Sagaponack, Water Mill and of staff of some sort” are probably a
Bridgehampton at the eastern end of Long Island, NY, were dealt a second good thing for any organization.
setback in their efforts to create an independent village to be named
Dunehampton. Now both the State Supreme Court and its appellate division have Bill Street of Richmond is the new
upheld Southampton Town Supervisor Patrick Heaney’s ruling that the group’s executive director of the 2,600 James
petitions to create Dunehampton were not valid. Undeterred, reported Newsday, River Association. Armed with
Dunehampton supporters keen to get more control over zoning and other local degrees in environmental planning
issues are now pressing to create a different new village in Sagaponack. and management and tours of duty as
a consultant and staff member at the
Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Street
was selected from among 20 candi-
Vieques Aftermath: Hard Times dates to replace the association’s
founding director, Patti Jackson. Per
The shutdown of Roosevelt Roads Naval Station in Puerto Rico has, Atlantic CoastWatch, January-
according to a recent Associated Press article, had a devastating effect on the February 2005, she recently retired
surrounding areas. Particularly hard hit has been the community of Ceiba, PR, at after 22 years of campaigning for a
the base’s portals. healthier James.

The downturn stems from the Navy’s 2003 decision to close its bombing Last fall the US Fish & Wildlife
ranges on nearby Vieques Island. Protests fed by Puerto Rico’s pro-independence Service fired biologist Andrew Eller,
movement, and sparked by the accidental death of a Vieques security guard and an expert on the highly endangered
claims of damage to the environment and the health of local residents, had led to Florida panther. He had accused the
this decision. Thereafter the supporting Roosevelt Roads base had little remaining agency of using faulty science to
reason to exist. With its closure in 2004, about 2,000 troops and civilian officials justify construction projects within the
left. Overall, 6,000 jobs and an about $300 million annually were lost. almost extinct animal’s habitat.
(Continued, p. 5) Howls of protest from former co-
workers ensued, and the agency later
admitted that it had issued panther
Sayings, Continued from p. 2 reports based on faulty science. But
an agency spokesman shopped short
of saying that Eller had been vindi-
In Charlotte, VT, local homeowners are working to place limits on the cated; on June 28 a federal judge will
siting of huge farms whose operations could degrade local streams, groundwater hear arguments on the legality of his
and air quality. My favorite group was called “Committee To Keep Waterboro dismissal.
From Becoming the Pits” — which rabble-roused in that Maine community against
a ludicrous proposal to allow gravel pits to operate in conservation districts. Pioneer biologist and wildlife conser-
vationist Walt Schrader, 92, died at
The list of local, nimble, responsive, sometimes ragtag but always his home in Rock Hill, SC. Credited
passionate environmental groups stretches across this country. Sure, we’re with protecting more than 1 million
facing a Congress hostile to our values, and the tree-huggers in suits are finding acres of land in his state, he was a
that the strategies they used successfully inside the Beltway don’t work now that founder of the local Sierra Club
they don’t have any friends in Washington. But here’s a piece of advice to those chapter, an indefatigable eco-traveler
who have written their own obituaries: If you can’t stand that kind of heat, then who wore out three sets of knees
come into our kitchens. That’s where the rest of us are plotting to clean up the from frequent walking and climbing
world — one town, one river, one park and one dump at a time. and, wrote Charlotte Observer
columnist Dan Huntley, “the ultimate

Recently the ubiquitous Ed McMahon, Publications

a widely known expert on sustainable
development and land conservation, a Nature’s Keepers by freelance journalist Bill Britchard (Jossey-Bass
left the Conservation Fund after 2005) is subtitled “The Remarkable Story of how The Nature Conservancy
many years and joined the Urban Became the Largest Environmental Organization in the World.” It is a book less
Land Institute in Washington, DC as about conservation than about leadership and management, and it leaves the
a senior fellow. The new venue has reader wondering how they pulled it off. For the half century that has passed
not quenched McMahon’s thirst for since TNC’s birth, there was hardly a moment without contentious scrapping
preaching the gospel about prudent between the scientists protecting biodiversity, aggressive dealmakers, and crisp
land use. Recently he addressed an executives using Harvard Business School methods to try to bring the sprawling,
alarmed audience in Virginia’s fast-growing organization under tighter control. For all that, the author finds
unspoiled Northern Neck, warning inspiration in profiling 9 of these dedicated and determined people (8 of them
that it would be no more than five men) and the role of each in building the juggernaut (annual revenue: $800
years before Northern Virginia’s million) amid all the squabbling.
large-scale developers begin to storm
the still quiet peninsula. His “ram-
bling talk,” reported the
Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, Blue Visioning
“often had leaders shaking their
heads as he flashed up slides of Last summer a new group entitled the Blue Frontier Campaign convened
congested, sign-filled, rag-tag an inaugural national conference in Washington, DC. 250 people attended. This
development from Pigeon Forge, April, in support of one of the nonprofit organization’s goals “to unify and
Tenn., to the State Route 3 corridor in strengthen the ocean and coastal constituency along the middle Atlantic sea-
Spotsylvania.” board,” 50 people from New Jersey to North Carolina gathered under its auspices
at the National Aquarium in Baltimore to discuss strategies and cooperation.
Prominent British Virgin Islands
conservationist Joseph Reynold Discussion, reported David Helvarg, Blue Frontier president, “focused on
O’Neal died at age 93. Chairman of the fact that the Mid-Atlantic region may be particularly well positioned to influ-
the BVI National Parks Trust for 30 ence marine issues like energy or pollution because its congressional delegations
years, O’Neal was named in 1990 to include a number of moderate Republicans and are generally bipartisan on ocean
the United Nations Environment protection issues (provided they hear from their constituents).”
Programme’s Global 500 honor roll
and was much decorated by the BVI Will Baker, president of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, offered one
and United Kingdom governments. example of effective activism: a CBF march on the conservative Virginia legisla-
His legacy includes a book, Life ture that resulted in $50 million for clean water. “We don’t have any idea of the
Notes: Reflections of a British Virgin potential power we have,” he said. Todd Miller of the North Carolina Coastal
Islander, which is newly available at Federation stressed the use of oyster hatcheries and sanctuaries as a means of
online bookstores. broadening interest in coastal issues. And Cindy Zipf of Clean Ocean Action in
New Jersey, reported on progress made by a broad coalition of organizations to
Awards achieve a federal Clean Ocean Zone Act for New York and New Jersey.

Among 6 winners of this year’s At the end of the meeting, the mid-Atlantic activists agreed they should
$125,000 Goldman Environmental reconvene at least once a year and in the interim, under Blue Frontier’s auspices,
Prize, given each year to grassroots build a strong program of communications between them about common inter-
activists by the Richard and Rhoda ests.
Goldman Foundation of San Fran-
cisco, is Chavannes Jean-Baptiste of
Papay, Haiti. Founder of the Peasant With Appreciation
Movement of Papay, now numbering
60,000 people, Baptiste has spear-
Special thanks to the Madriver Foundation for renewing its most wel-
headed local efforts to combat his
come support, and our warm appreciation to these other contributors to Atlantic
island’s near-total disappearance of
CoastWatch from March 1 through April 25:
tree cover by planting 20 million
trees, initiating sustainable farming
James W.B. Benkard Roy Rowan
activities, and improving the safety of
David Callard Susan Bailey and Sidney Buford Scott
water supplies for his community’s
Anne Davidson Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff
desperately poor people. Said
Lucy and Peter Lowenthal
Baptiste, “it is our goal to change so
Peter and Maria Matthiessen
that people are masters of their own
Malcolm and Pamela Peabody
Species & Habitats

Eddying Inlets Researchers at the Woods Hole

Oceanographic Institute have begun
placing isotopic chemical tags in the
Count North Carolina’s treacherous Oregon Inlet, connecting Wanchese
ear bones of fish embryos. The tag
Island and the port of Manteo with the open Atlantic, as among those being left
remains with the fish as long as it
undredged by the U.S . Army Corps of Engineers.
lives. When a tagged fish is caught,
scientists can apply gee-whiz technol-
This past winter, frequent northeasterly storms caused progressive
ogy to identify it as the offspring of a
shoaling, with waves breaking across the bar even in moderate conditions. Avail-
tagged parent—and gain valuable
able money for further dredging this year has run out, leaving the inlet more
new information about the move-
hazardous than ever for trawlers and other larger vessels, and unsafe for smaller
ment of Nassau groupers and other
vessels less prone to grounding but more susceptible to being swamped.
much sought-after large fish during
their larval stage. This information,
All the corps can do now is monitor the inlet and conduct hydrographic
says researcher Simon Thorrold, will
surveys, providing waypoints and other navigational information on its website. A
help establish the extent to which fish
controlling depth of 8 feet was recently reported. But the way things are going,
hatched within a Marine Protected
said the Corps, the inlet could close up completely without further remedial
Area return to it or disperse to areas
attention this summer.
open to fishing.
Meantime, reported the Corps, enough extra money has been found to
keep four shallow North Carolina inlets open. New River, Bogue, Carolina Beach, “Wow,” said one lady. “Overwhelm-
and New Topsail Beach inlets will all be dredged twice between now and the end ing,” said Pittsburgh fishmonger Bob
of the federal fiscal year in October. The dredging will enable the Coast Guard to Wholey, referring to Bubba, a 22-
maintain the channel buoys in these inlets and keep them navigable, not pull them pound lobster perhaps 100 years old
out as had previously been threatened (Atlantic CoastWatch January-February that had been hauled in from Nan-
2005). tucket waters and sent to his
Wholey’s Market. He kept Bubba
And in South Carolina, nature lovers expressed joy at the reopening of there for a while, then transferred the
Sandpiper Inlet at Huntington Beach State Park. Once a thriving saltmarsh with giant to a quarantine area at the
abundant bird life, Sandpiper closed in soon after Hurricane Hugo in 1989 thanks Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium for
to the subsequent misplacement of artificial dunes and jetties. The marsh became eventual transfer to the aquarium at
an almost dry freshwater pond, choked by invasive phragmites plants, and the the Ripley’s Believe It or Not Mu-
birds went away. This spring, in a collaborative effort involving several local seum. But even the trip to the zoo
organizations, a channel has been cut through and the path to the ocean re- proved to be too much for Bubba,
opened. who expired about a day after being
moved there. Possible cause of
“Saltwater’s coming in on the highest tides of the month,” reports part death: stress.
naturalist Steve Roff. “The salinity levels have begun to go up. It’s still too early to
tell much about the consequences for bird life, but hopefully in a year or so we’ll Fifteen years ago, visitors to Cape
see real results. We’ve gotten a lot of cooperation and a lot of volunteer participa- Neddick, Maine, vacationing at Bob
tion. It’s been a nice project.” Hoyt’s cottages, faced clouds of
mosquitoes while enjoying the sunset
on the front porches. Hoyt had heard
about the voracious appetites of
Vieques, Continued from p. 3 dragonflies and damselflies, and
resolved to scatter their larvae
At her family restaurant, Gloria Reyes told AP, “I’ve lost three-quarters of around the property. “It seemed like
my business since the Navy and the Americans left.” The unemployment rate in a real smart way to go” as an
the town of 18,000 is 17 to 20 percent, double the average in Puerto Rico. Said alternative to chemical spray, he said,
Oscar Delgado, owner of a local hardware store: “Some business owners are and it worked: the mosquitoes are
barely able to pay their utility bills and debts.” Adaptation of the base facility for “not a factor now.” Emboldened,
other purposes including federal and local government and eventually private Hoyt started selling and giving away
uses must await the completion of an environmental study. larvae locally, for use at places such
as the Little League ballfield where
The potential for tourism growth on Vieques, meanwhile, recently mosquitoes used to be an “unbear-
received a boost when EPA placed the island on the National Prorities List for able” problem. Now, working
toxic cleanup. The island, which the Navy used for bombing and other training through the statewide network of
exercises for more than 50 years, boasts a long list of possible contaminants Masonic lodges, Hoyt is giving away
including napalm, TNT, and depleted uranium. The listing, reported the Orlando or selling some 30,000 larvae a year,
Sentinel, “culminates years of work by former Governor Sila Calderon, who and enjoys his opportunity to “leave
championed the cleanup” of Vieques and the adjacent island of Culebra. the world a little better place.” His
one comeuppance: a town where the
mosquito control official is also a
salesman for chemical spray.
Protecting Horseshoes
A decade ago, Philadelphia industrial designer Glenn Gauvry gave in to
A model effort to rescue a derelict his lifelong love of nature and founded the Ecological Research and Development
shoreline on Delaware Bay, one of Group (ERDG). Its special charge is the conservation of the world’s 4 remaining
the biggest land reclamation projects species of horseshoe crab.
in New Jersey’s history, is well under
way. Twenty-one acres of Lower This “living fossil” has been around the eastern US for some 350 million
Township shorefront, reports The years, but has been in sharp decline since the 1970s, in part as a result of harvest-
Press of Atlantic City, had become “a ing for biomedical research (a protein in its blue blood helps test drug product
wasteland of alkaline dust” from an safety) and as bait in the conch fishery.
old magnesium plant abandoned 20
years ago. Now, the state’s Depart- The largest concentration of these hard-shelled “crabs” is on the shores
ment of Environmental Protection of Delaware Bay, where in an annual springtime miracle they arrive to spawn,
has covered the dust to a depth of 4 leaving on the beaches masses of eggs to feed millions of migrating sanderlings,
feet with dredge spoils, and planted 8 red knots. ruddy turnstones, and other hungry migrating shorebirds arriving at
different types of natural vegetation just the same time.
that will attract small mammals and
birds. Said the paper: “An eyesore Actions that ERDG has taken on behalf of horseshoes:
will become attractive grassland;
raptors get new habitat; a solid waste a Coordinated monitoring and annual data gathering efforts with numerous
problem—the dredge spoils—has other public and private groups, finding sponsors for most of the 25 or so spawn-
been resolved; and the site on the ing beaches along the Delaware and New Jersey shorefronts.
Cape May Canal where the spoils had
been stored can now be used again a Persuaded numerous local communities and individual homeowners to
for spoils from new dredging sites. declare and protect horseshoe crab sanctuaries.
Now that’s recycling.”
a Developed a successful “Just Flip ‘Em” program counseling beachgoers
to get large numbers of helpless horseshoes back on their 10 feet after having
been stranded upside down while coming ashore to spawn.
Traditionally, say Woods Hole
a Picked up from a waterman, one among those using horseshoe crabs as
Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)
conch bait, the idea of inserting into the traps “bait bags” that protect the bait
scientists Matthew Charette and Ann
from predation by secondary species. The bags reduce the crabs’ use by about
Mulligan in an article in the December
50%. ERDG had handed out 12,000 of them to Atlantic conch fishermen.
2004 issue of Oceanus, coastal
groundwater studies have focused on
a Conducted myriad public awareness activities ranging from an informa-
the question of freshwater contami-
tive, prizewinning website to student art contests to the development of what it
nation from saltwater intrusion. But
calls “the world’s first museum grade model of a female horseshoe crab” for use
recently, researchers have begun
in science classes.
looking more carefully at the other
side of the coin: the discharge into the
a Exercised leadership, in partnership with government agencies, in
ocean of groundwater containing “a
planning contingency measures for coping with oil spills, which if occurring during
substantial amount of dissolved
the spring spawning and bird migration season could have devastating conse-
nutrients and pollutants.” The
authors, collaborating with a multi-
disciplinary team of other WHOI
a Begun planning and raising funds to create North America’s first horse-
scientists, now plan an innovative
shoe crab museum as an add-on to the existing Horseshoe Crab Research
comprehensive geochemical study of
Institute in Milton, Delaware.
a single submarine discharge system
in order to get a more accurate fix on
a Begun coordinating protection efforts with counterpart groups as far
how these dissolved elements may
away as Japan, China, and the Philippines.
be affecting the ocean.
How much has it all helped what ERDG calls a “remarkable mariner who
In a ranking widely noted throughout
plays a vital role in nature’s delicately balanced food web,” and whose “life-
the region, American Rivers declared
sustaining contributions to humanity have yet to be fully realized?” “We’re
the Susquehanna to be this year’s
beginning to see some level of stability,” says Gauvry. “It’s a big ship that turns
most endangered U.S. river. Principal
slowly, and I’m reluctant to claim more progress than I should. But there are some
defect: the “millions of gallons of raw
indications that the measures that have been taken are sufficient and will show
or poorly treated sewage”
discharged into the river and thence
into the Chesapeake Bay. While the
Northeastern Pennsylvania
Kid Power Timesleader called the designation
“welcome” if it brings money for
In Mamaroneck, NY, environmental coordinator Elizabeth Paul mobilized restoration, the Hanover Evening Sun
two groups of local fourth graders to mark storm drains in order to prevent quoted several local officials who
wastes from being thrown into them. Not only are the kids helping others under- argued that the situation is not all that
stand more about the process of nonpoint source pollution; they are also learning bad. One water and sewer authority
themselves about the links between street gutters, storm drains, and the health of called it “just a political scare tactic.”
rivers, wetlands, and the open water. Number 6 on the American Rivers
sick list is South Carolina’s Santee,
In Brentwood, NH, fifth grader Heather Seeley, 10, undertook a more most of whose flow has been choked
proactive environmental role. While studying the use of plastic foam lunch trays by a hydropower utility, Santee
at her Swasey Central School, reports, she became aware of Cooper.
health dangers linked to the styrene, a toxin released from polystyrene
(Styrofoam) trays when they break down. She carefully studied the costs of The Atlantic Conveyer current, which
Styrofoam vs. the safer plastic trays the school used prior to 2002, concluding that pulls warm tropical water northward
even though reverting to the old trays involves an extra cost, for environmental and warms Europe, may have
reasons this was the way to go. She then set a goal to persuade the school to switched on and off 20 to 25 times
make the switch. during the last ice age. If the current
were once again to be disrupted by
Heather presented her findings to other kids and won their backing, increased precipitation and sea
circulated a petition, recruited fellow students to help with fundraising to cover the surface warming, says Andreas
cost differential, opened a checking account, and won a round of applause after Schmittner of Oregon State Univer-
appearing before the school board to review the issue. The board has yet to rule sity in Nature magazine, the food-
on the matter, but Heather had already clearly shown how much a kid can get chain consequences could be severe
done. with North Atlantic phytoplankton
productivity decreasing by 50% in a
worst-case scenario.

Caribbean Tsunami Risk Products

Historical evidence suggests high potential for major tsunamis in the If you don’t approve of offshore
northern Caribbean, warn researchers Nancy Grindlay and Meghan Hearne of the windmills to generate electricity, be
University of North Carolina, Wilmington and Paul Mann of the University of of good cheer: the PowerBuoy may
Texas at Austin. come to the rescue as an alternate
form of seapower. By means of a
Writing in Eos, the newspaper of the American Geophysical Union, this system being developed by Ocean
team documents at least 10 “significant” tsunamis in the region since 1492, all Power Technologies in Pennington,
triggered by movement along the boundary between the North American and NJ, a piston-like structure inside a
Caribbean tectonic plates. This boundary lies along the north coasts of Haiti and submerged buoy bobbing up and
the Dominican Republic, extending some 2,000 miles from Central America to the down in ocean waves will drive a
eastern Caribbean. At least six of the 10 have resulted in losses of human life. generator on the ocean floor that will
send power ashore via a cable. No
Between 1692 and 1842, tsunamis ravaged various parts of Jamaica. A noise, says the company. No visual
major tsunami in 1946 killed some 1,800 people in the Dominican Republic. pollution except for a few 8-foot
Currently, the researchers estimate, some 35.5 million people would be at risk if a masts containing navigational aids. A
new tsunami strikes the northern Caribbean. Such a disaster could be set off not 10-megawatt system, covering 16
only by new movement along the plate boundary, but also by underwater land- ocean acres, could power 10,000
slides in the region and as far away as the Canary Islands. homes. With environmentalists
urging caution, the company plans
with state help to start testing the
Bloodsworth, Continued from p. 1 system off the Jersey shore in the
near future.
But for those aware of the power of the purse, the most critical interven- On display at the current World Expo
tion was that of Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD), a member of the Senate 2005 in Aichi, Japan: a working
Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, who at a March 13 hearing stressed the model of the E/S Orcelle, a concept
community’s concerns and drew strong statements from both Secretary England ship with close to zero-emissions
and Admiral Vern Clark, chief of naval operations. He thanked Mikulski for the capability and no ballast water
opportunity to clarify the Navy’s position and told the committee, “There are no onboard. Solar, wind, and wave
plans and there will be no changes in the operational status of Bloodsworth.” energy will all be used to power the
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ship. It is seen by its designer—the Scandi-

navian ocean transportation company LI Sound, Continued from p. 1
Wallenius Wilhelmsen—as a vision for what
an environmentally friendly car-carrying and As in the instance of the Cape Wind project to install giant wind-
RoRo (roll on/roll off) ocean transportation mills in Nantucket Sound, part of the opponents’ case is based on aesthet-
vessel might look like in 2025. ics. Wrote Connecticut Post columnist Charles Walsh: “The image of a
permanently anchored ship that, for the most part, looks like a New Jersey
Funding oil refinery, sends shivers down the spine. Few truly spectacular views
remain in the Northeast. Long Island Sound is one of them.” But those
In what it described as the largest single who may agree with Walsh that urgent energy needs make it time to “bite
grant it has ever given to a conservation the aesthetic bullet” have other and stronger arguments to fall back on.
group, Walmart is handing over $35 million
over 10 years to the National Fish and One is environmental. Lobster shell disease is a lethal affliction
Wildlife Foundation. The plan is for the that has brought about a massive lobster die-off in the Sound and reduced
money to be used to buy, or protect with the value of the catch by half as far east as in Rhode Island waters. No one
conservation easements, the same amount knows precisely the cause of the outbreak, but the Sound’s rising water
of land—138,000 acres—that the company temperature and the influx of various pollutants are often cited. Though
expects to occupy in 2015. About $6 million information on how the LNG terminal might worsen the problem is scarce,
of Walmart’s money will be used to create a many local people agree with columnist Walsh’s judgement that this latest
contiguous million-acre zone of protected environmental threat “is like adding weights to the back of a donkey
land in Maine and New Brunswick by adding whose legs are buckling.”
312,000 new acres to land that is already
protected. The money will come directly Then too, opponents argue that the terminal would be a sitting
from the company, not from its charitable duck for a terrorist attack or, Senator Charles Schumer told Newsday,
foundation. some other “catastrophic incident” in which leaking LNG could trigger a
fire on the water or become a flammable vapor cloud. Said Richard
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation Amper of the Long Island Pine Barrens Society: “This has the magnitude of
announced a $10 million program-related the threat that Shoreham had.”
loan to Sea Change Management, LLC. The
money will be used to invest in Canada or While local legislators and environmentalists scramble aboard
United States-based seafood companies with reasons to be dubious about the Broadwater scheme, the FERC
meeting strict sustainability and financial application process drones on. If successful there, Broadwater would still
criteria and, said the foundation’s James need to achieve New York State permits to proceed, and the possibility of
Leape, “poised to expand the market for court actions looms. “If this thing is going to fly,” said Republican political
sustainable seafood.” The San Francisco- consultant Michael Dawidziak in a Newsday interview, “You’re going to
based company plans to start making have to have a very big educational campaign to show why it’s safe, why
investments within the next three months. it’s necessary, why it’s cost-effective and how it’s not going to be aestheti- cally ugly.”