You are on page 1of 8

Atlantic CoastWatch July - August, 2005

Hurricane Season Prospects News For Coastal Advocates


Even before the powerful Katrina struck, NOAA had upgraded its forecast
for Atlantic hurricane activity during the season ending on November 30. In May
z
the agency’s meteorologists had predicted an above normal season, with up to 15
tropical storms and 9 hurricanes. Now, with a record setting 8 tropical storms Hurricane Season Prospects 1
including Hurricanes Dennis and the lethal Katrina having already occurred, NOAA
foresees a total 18 to 21 storms with 7 to 9 becoming hurricanes. Said Brigadier New Rules for Little Tyrant 1
General David F. Johnson, head of the agency’s National Weather Service: “This
may well be one of the most active Atlantic hurricane seasons on record, and will be Sayings 2
the 9th above-normal Atlantic hurricane season in the last 11 years.” Katrina is
described as the most destructive natural disaster in US history.
Courts & the Seashore 3
Though meteorologists tend to duck when asked to predict where and when
such events will strike, Joe Bastardi of AccuWeather told Reuters that he expects Publications 4
further 2005 storms to follow a more easterly course than those which have already
hit the Gulf Coast this year. “I’m targeting the Carolinas for the worst,” he said. River Summer Program 4
“Also, there will be landfalls in New England and the Florida coast.”
LNG Ports Debated 5
Many scientists link the increasing violence and frequency of such storms,
as well as major rises in sea temperatures noted from Florida to Newfoundland that FerryMon Goes National 5
may affect the weather, more to cyclical swings that can last for decades than to
global warming from greenhouse emissions. But some have begun to explore the
latter connection. A recent study by Kerry Emanuel, professor of atmospheric Chesapeake Tidings 6
science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, offers evidence that tropical
storms are twice as powerful today as they were 30 years ago, and that global Cruise Ship Discharges 6
warming may play a bigger role than previously believed. Said Time: “Since warm
oceans are such a critical ingredient in hurricane formation, anything that gets the Maine Islands 7
water warming more could get the storms growing worse.”
CT Beach Acess 8

New Rules for Little Tyrant z

Brevoortia Tyrannus, the lowly filter feeding fish also known as menhaden, Recurring
has begun to receive long-overdue “conservation movement” attention. What
started in the mid-1990’s as a series of observations by Chesapeake Bay watermen People; Awards; Species &
of diseased and starving fish, and a slew of dietary and bio-energetic studies of Habitats; Restorations;
predator and prey relationships, has nearly a decade later resulted in the Atlantic Report Cards; Products;
States Marine Fisheries Commission’s first-ever regulation of this harvest. Funding

Brought to the fore by this conservation effort are critical fisheries issues Atlantic CoastWatch is a bimonthly
on which important decisions are based. One such is the ecosystem impacts of nonprofit newsletter for those inter-
harvest based localized depletion. Another: multispecies management that requires ested in the environmentally sound
combining the interactions between multiple single species stock assessment development of the coastline
models. Both issues were prominent at a December 2004 technical workshop that from the Gulf of Maine
examined much of the scientific evidence documenting localized and forage deple- to the Eastern Caribbean.
tion issues. Among the workshop conclusions were new research pathways
including development of multispecies models; examination of predator/prey Coastal News Nuggets, our weekly
relationships, estimation of the Chesapeake Bay menhaden population and exami- news headline service, is available
nation of recruitment issues. through the Atlantic CoastWatch web
(Continued, p. 7) site: www.atlanticcoastwatch.org.
2
Atlantic CoastWatch
Vol. 9, No. 4 Sayings
A project of the Sustainable (What follows is excerpted from an op-ed article by David Kyler, executive
Development Institute, which director of the Center for a Sustainable Coast in Georgia, published in the Atlanta
Constitution Journal on July 5, 2005)
seeks to heighten the environmen-
tal quality of economic develop- It is disappointing that our US Senators Johnny Isakson and Saxby
ment efforts, in coastal and in Chambliss voted to expose Georgia’s cherished coastline to the unjustifiable
forest regions, by communicating hazards of offshore oil and gas exploration. In a recent Senate action on energy
information about better policies issues, the two legislators were conspicuously isolated from their colleagues
and practices. SDI is classified as representing other Southeastern coastal states when they voted to allow an
a 501(c)(3) organization, exempt “inventory” of offshore oil and gas reserves. Five fellow Republicans from Florida,
from federal income tax. South Carolina and North Carolina voted against offshore exploration, preferring to
defend their respective state’s coastal residents and tourism businesses that want
Board of Directors shorelines protected from eventual oil drilling.

Freeborn G. Jewett, Jr., Chair “Inventory” in this context is a glibly deceptive word for the aggressive
Robert J. Geniesse, Chair Emeritus activities used to find offshore energy reserves, including seismic explosions that
Roger D. Stone, President are known to harm marine mammals and other sea life. A federal moratorium on
Hassanali Mehran, Treasurer offshore drilling has been in place since the 1980s, but many believe this will be
Gay P. Lord, Secretary quickly lifted if profitable reserves are revealed by new exploration just green-
Hart Fessenden lighted by Senate action.
David P. Hunt
Simon Sidamon-Eristoff Not only were Chambliss and Isakson isolated by their vote, but several
other senators in neighboring states took the opportunity to chastise the Georgia
Scientific Advisory Council legislators for their failure to understand the implications of that decision for coastal
tourism. Senator Mel Martinez, a Florida Republican, insisted that the so-called
Gary Hartshorn inventory would inevitably lead to offshore drilling if any oil is found, despite claims
Stephen P. Leatherman that the approval was solely for exploration. And another Republican, Senator
Jerry R. Schubel Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina, warned that energy exploration was bad for both
Christopher Uhl tourism and her state.

Staff Any action to move ahead with offshore energy exploration and develop-
ment must be weighed against the enormous economic value of environmental
Roger D. Stone, Director & President resources that would be put in harm’s way by these fossil-fuel related activities. On
Shaw Thacher, Project Manager Georgia’s coast alone, at least $1 billion a year in tourism and nature-based
Robert C. Nicholas III, Contr. Editor business directly depends on a healthy shoreline and productive fish habitat.
Anita Herrick, Correspondant Recreational and commercial fishing along Georgia’s coast bring in an estimated
$600 million annually. World renowned tourist destinations at Jekyll, Saint Simons,
Foundation Donors Tybee and Sea Islands would be especially vulnerable to the economic conse-
quences of environmental hazards linked to energy activities offshore.
Avenir Foundation
The Fair Play Foundation Moreover, emerging energy technology will radically alter the definition of
The Madriver Foundation ‘energy independence’ within the next decade—by the time any new offshore
The Moore Charitable Foundation resources would be finally available for use. From this perspective, independence-
The Curtis and Edith Munson friendly and safe new energy technologies will be much more practical, both
Foundation environmentally and economically.
The Summit Fund of Washington
And in any case, jeopardizing marine and landside coastal resources to get
Sponsored Project more petroleum is clearly unjustified in the name of energy independence, because
at current growth rates US demand will greatly exceed even the most optimistic
Environmental Film Festival in the estimates of domestic oil reserves, no matter how much more drilling we do. 
Nation’s Capital
March 16-26, 2006 The only way to achieve true energy independence for our nation is to
move as quickly as possible to non-petroleum, safe energy technologies. Despite
Featuring screenings of documentary, lip-service to energy independence and promising new technologies, powerful
feature, archival, children’s and corporate profit-makers exploiting conventional fuels continue to dominate legisla-
animated films. tive support. Coastal Georgians should not let our Senators get away with being on
the side of big oil instead of protecting our coast.
www.dcenvironmentalfilmfest.org
3
People

Courts & the Seashore Life once bustled on Holland Island in


mid-Chesapeake Bay, but storms and
sea level rise have reduced the
On the heels of the controversial Kelo vs. New London, US Supreme Court
number of houses there from 60 to 1
decision, which endorsed the authority of municipalities to acquire land by eminent
and the population to one part-time
domain, comes a similar ruling with a different spin. The Kelo decision facilitates
resident. Recently NBC’s Today show
development of a rundown part of the community. In New Jersey, the nation’s
profiled this last survivor, Stephen
most densely populated state, a three judge appellate panel recently awarded the
White, 75. On air he stressed his
town of Mount Laurel the right to acquire by eminent domain a vacant 16-acre tract
determination to save what’s left of
on which a developer had planned to build 23 houses. Planning board approval had
the island, now at 80 acres less than
been won and site preparation begun. In its ruling, the NJ court emphasized the
half its size when he first visited, by
value of preserving open space for recreation and to prevent development leading
shoring up its shoreline. White
to pollution and stresses on schools and other municipal services. The town’s
expressed confidence: “With me, the
Mayor Gerry Nardello said he was “elated.” The developer’s attorney vowed to
island has a chance of surviving.
take the case to the state supreme court.
Without me, it doesn’t.”
Early this year, a coalition of environmental organizations filed suit in New
The position of environmental secre-
York City, alleging that a major US Army Corps of Engineers harbor dredging
tary in Massachusetts is a powerful
project violated the National Environmental Policy Act. The purpose of the dredg-
one, and many incumbents have
ing, within a Superfund site that is heavily contaminated by dioxin and other
become nationally well known. Not so
pollutants, is to open the harbor to large container ships. In accordance with the
Ellen Roy Herzfelder, who recently
plaintiffs’ argument that the digging threatened to spread the contamination
departed after two and a half years in
beyond the Superfund site, federal District Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled that the
office known, said the Boston Globe,
Corps could not ignore how the dredging might interfere with Superfund cleanup
“more for what was not accomplished
and containment efforts. After further review, the judge will decide what exactly
than what was.” Without environ-
the Corps is to do as a result of the ruling.
mental experience, she held office
during a period of sharp reductions in
In 2001 the US Supreme Court held that a Rhode Island landowner,
her budget and balking in the legisla-
Anthony Palazzolo, could sue for takings even if he was aware of environmental
ture. Herzfelder bravely told the
restrictions before acquiring a tract of coastal wetlands for development. But, the
Globe that she had kept the agency’s
court added, he deserved no compensation when the state of Rhode Island forbade
“core mission” in place and was
him from building houses on most of the site. He had been allowed to build one
leaving in order to spend more time
house and was therefore not deprived of all financial value. The high court also,
with her children.
said the New London Day, “asked lower courts to consider whether Palazzolo
deserved some compensation in the light of a 1978 decision that allows a court to
Andrew Eller, the US Fish & Wildlife
declare a taking if it deems regulations have unfairly hurt a landowner, even if
Service biologist fired last fall for
those regulations leave some financial value for the land in question. Now a local
blowing the whistle on his agency’s
judge, Edwin J. Gale, has supported the state on all counts, ruling that it owed
bad science favoring developers over
Palazzolo no money and that his proposed construction “would constitute a public
the habitat and population of the
nuisance under Rhode Island law.” Palazzolo, 85, remains undaunted and vowed to
endangered Florida panther, has been
fight on.
reinstated at his previous salary. The
reprieve, said Associated Press, came
after the agency’s acknowledgement
Appreciation that it had violated the law by making
faulty assumptions about the pan-
We offer very special thanks to the Curtis and Edith Munson and Avenir thers’ habitat ranges and nighttime
Foundations for the generous continuation, after many faithful years, of their major movements.
support for our efforts.
David Wingate, the former Bermuda
Our warmest thanks also go to the Catto Charitable Foundation, the Lee government conservation officer
and Juliet Folger Fund, The Moore Charitable Foundation, Alexander Farman- widely credited with having saved the
Farmaian, and Russell E. Train for also making especially important gifts. In cahow, an endemic species of sea
addition, we salute with much appreciation the following recent donors to the petrel, is off on a new crusade. Now,
Sustainable Development Institute for Atlantic Coastwatch: says the Royal Gazette, his goal is to
prevent the government from imple-
William C. Baker Hunter Lewis menting plans to accommodate mega
Blair Bower Janet and Wingate Lloyd cruise ships in severely confined local
Anne P. Cabot Gay P. Lord waters. He especially opposes the
Connecticut Conservation Association Bill and Betty McMillan idea of widening and deepening the
Elinor K. Farquhar Kenneth B. Tate cut into the old town of St. Georges on
David P. Hunt Henry S. Ziegler the grounds that it would become
4
even more vulnerable than it already
is to heavy flooding during hurricanes.
“The whole mega-ship thing is just so
outrageous,” Wingate fumed. Publications
Awards z Sea glass, the multi-hued, time-worn shards of old jars and bottles that
many people comb the beach to collect, has become a cottage industry for
Washington Post metro reporter Chestertown, MD writer Richard LaMotte and his wife Nancy. At last count his self-
David Nakamura and a team of his published book Pure Sea Glass (Chesapeake Sea Glass Publishing, 2004), a compre-
colleagues have won this year’s top hensive description of his subject based on decades of harvesting and extensive
award for investigative reporting from research, had sold 19,000 copies. Prints of sea glass photos by Annapolis photogra-
the Society of Environmental Journal- pher Celia Pearson, such as those that amply illustrate the text, are also selling
ists. A tip from a worried reader got “briskly,” says the Washington Post, at art galleries and elsewhere. Nancy makes
Nakamura started on what became a and sells sea glass jewelry. Says LaMotte: “There are a lot of people out there
widespread search for information embracing a hobby that helps clean up beaches as well.”
about high levels of lead in the District www.seaglasspublishing.com
of Columbia’s drinking water. The
team ultimately published more than z New from NOAA is the Encyclopedia of the Sanctuaries, a free online
200 stories on the subject, revealing service that offers text, photos and streaming video descriptions of 100 or more
that 4,000 out of 6,000 homes tested key plant and animal species in the nation’s national marine sanctuaries. Material
in 2003 had unsafe lead levels and on 8 sanctuaries is currently posted; the remaining 5 will be added at intervals over
resulting in the dismissal of the the next two years. This evolving project was developed by NOAA in partnership
District’s top public health official. with the private, nonprofit National Marine Sanctuary Foundation and The Ocean
Channel, Inc., a new media corporation that specializes in website development and
Species & Habitats film and video documentation of the ocean environment. www.marinelife.noaa.gov

For many years birders have flocked


to small islands along the Chesapeake River Summer Program Tested
Bay Bridge-Tunnel linking Norfolk to
the Delmarva Peninsula. Along this A decade ago, professors at New York state’s Rensselaer Polytechnic
17.6 mile highway unusual species Institute pioneered the idea of using the Hudson River, adjacent to the campus, as a
found nowhere else in the region, living classroom. Students enrolled in the seminar canoed, kayaked, and swam the
ranging from the subtropical frigate river as they also absorbed multi-disciplinary information about its history, culture,
bird to Arctic birds blown in by storms, ecology, and environmental problems.
have been spotted. Last March, citing
security considerations relating to This summer 16 volunteer faculty members, drawn from a consortium of
nearby naval installations, authorities 36 Hudson area institutions assembled by Pace University’s Pace Academy for the
abruptly shut down birders’ access to Environment, field-tested an enlarged version of the same idea. The team spent
the islands’ parking lots. After a three weeks on and near the river, aboard a research vessel and camped in the
spirited reaction, a compromise Adirondacks, and engaged in projects ranging from water sampling and GPS
involving advance notice, photo navigation to studies of the valley’s illustrious writers and painters of the nineteenth
identification, security escorts, and century.
fees was reached. Birders com-
plained anew, noting that no such Their goal was to put together an innovative curriculum with modules
restrictions have been imposed on designed to “help the next generation of students deal with the next generation of
boaters or other motorists, and that environmental issues.” Next summer and in subsequent years, the resulting 5-
the bridge-tunnel would be far easier week River Summer seminar will be offered to undergraduate students from the
to blow up from an oil tanker than by a participating institutions. Pace calls the project a “model,” consisting of “the first
terrorist posing as a birdwatcher. group of colleges and universities in the country to organize around a concerted
environmental agenda.”
Excessive nutrient pollution from
fertilizer and sewage are causing Recent research conducted separately by Pace confirms the need for such
rapid declines in coastal Georgia’s attention. Though the Hudson Valley has been the scene of many of the nation’s
water quality, says Savannah Busi- most stirring environmental struggles and victories, and remains in jeopardy from
ness Report. It cites findings of pollution and random development, 608 respondents from the region ranked the
increasing nutrient loads and declining environment as only a “middling” priority for the region and expressed a sense of
dissolved oxygen reports by scientist complacency on environmental issues.
Peter Verity at the Skidaway Institute
of Oceanography. Already, says Pace Academy director John Cronin, a veteran Hudson environmentalist
Verity, catches of commercially and the nation’s first Riverkeeper, called the results a “disturbing trend that if left
important fish and shellfish in the alone will prove catastrophic for the river’s future.” Perhaps the enterprising River
region are off by 50% and blue crabs Summer initiative will help.
by 90%. And the future is not
5
promising. “Parts of coastal Georgia
are headed in the direction of Chesa-
LNG Ports Provoke Debate peake Bay and Boston Harbor,” said
Verity. “It may take a few more years
to get there, but if it does, history
Demand for natural gas, which burns far more cleanly than coal or oil, has shows that it will take many genera-
increased dramatically over the past decade. Opposition to drilling for gas in tions to get it back.”
pristine western US areas has triggered rising interest in importing liquified natural
gas (LNG), which arrives at port facilities by tanker in a super-cold liquid state and Thought they not native to Puerto
then is vaporized for conventional pipeline distribution. The energy bill recently Rico, rhesus and other monkeys in
signed by Congress gives the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) the large numbers have been imported to
authority to override state and local objections to the construction of such port the island, mostly for use in medical
facilities. What has resulted is controversy about many LNG port proposals. research. In recent years thousands
of their healthy and aggressive
In June, for example, FERC approved the construction of a new LNG port in descendants have escaped from their
Fall River, MA at the head of busy Narragansett Bay. Opposition to the scheme pens. They swarm the island’s
broke out at many levels, with many state and local officials arguing that the project countryside, foraging dumps, devas-
represents a severe safety hazard. The US Navy stated that LNG tanker traffic up tating crops, scaring people, and
and down the busy bay would hamper operations from its large base at Newport constituting a public health threat. No
and constitute a threat to national security. Massachusetts lawmakers managed to effective solution to the problem has
throw a monkey wrench at the project by including in the recently-passed federal been found, says the Orlando Sentinel,
transportation bill a measure to prohibit the demolition of a old bridge, formerly while roving bands of the animals
scheduled to be replaced, that blocks LNG tankers’ passage to the proposed move ever closer to San Juan.
terminal. The Conservation Law Foundation is taking the matter to court.
About 25% of all fish native to
Increasing demand for natural gas prompted the 2003 reopening, after 23 Maryland’s streams may vanish due
years of dormancy, of an LNG terminal at Cove Point, Maryland. The facility is to pollution and development, reports
located near Constellation Energy’s Calvert Cliffs nuclear power plant and close to the Baltimore Sun. The findings,
the busy Patuxent River Naval Air Station. Now, in the light of an $850 million compiled by several biologists at the
proposal to expand the port and build a new gas pipeline across tranquil country- state’s Department of Natural
side, opinion about the project’s merits is split. While construction jobs and local tax Resources, were presented at a
revenues would bolster the county’s booming economy, apprehension is being recent symposium at Carroll Commu-
expressed about growing tanker traffic in waters already crowded with recre- nity College. Only 17% of Maryland’s
ational and commercial small boats, about the possibility of terrorist action, and stream and river miles were found to
about growing pressures related to sprawl. be in “good” or better condition. This
small example comes amid a spate of
Similar mixed views relate to proposals to construct a giant floating LNG reports of accelerating declines and
terminal in mid-Long Island Sound and to a plan to build a $400 million port on the prospective extinctions of marine
Passamaquoddy Indian reservation in Pleasant Point, Maine. What may rankle the species.
most is the exclusion of local voices from decision-making. “The energy bill has
many shortcomings,” rumbled Senator Edward M. Kennedy as quoted by the Restorations
Associated Press. “But the LNG provision that strips states from making decisions
based on the safety of its citizens is an outrage. This provision protects only the gas
For many years Boston’s fine old, 175
companies and not the citizens of the United States.”
acre Mt. Auburn Cemetery has been a
haven for birders as well as mourners.
Now its landscapers have become
NC’s FerryMon Goes National leaders in an effort to green up their
management of the once more
In the mid-1990s, marine scientists at the University of North Carolina meticulously groomed property and
(UNC) and Duke University began designing sophisticated water quality monitoring preserve its rural character. Innova-
equipment to be installed aboard passenger ferries, to work automatically, and on tions include less mowing to reduce
demand feed them data for processing in their labs. The initial instrumentation was fumes as well as costs, less fertilizer,
installed in 2001 aboard the Swan Quarter to Ocracoke and Cedar Island to and a natural and organic if unsightly
Ocracoke ferries (Atlantic CoastWatch March/April 2002) and has been working way to reduce algae in a pond with
flawlessly ever since. “It started spitting out data as soon as we turned it on,” said bags of barley straw. Wasps, not
UNC scientist Hans Paerl. “It provided the first continuing, comprehensive view of chemicals control some insects.
water quality in Pamlico Sound.” The beauty part, he added, is that the research Rainwater collection has reduced
platform, usually half the budget of marine survey work, comes at no charge and consumption from city supplies. While
the data collection can operate at a modest cost of about $300,000 a year. Recent green management of cemetery
increases in hurricane activity have also increased state agencies’ enthusiasm for properties is not yet widespread, said
the project. With FerryMon’s success, similar initiatives are under development or Mt. Auburn horticulturist Dave
in operation in Florida, Massachusetts, Maine, New York, California, and Washing- Barnett in the Boston Globe, “It’s the
ton state. right thing to do.”
6
In a multi-part series, the Providence
Journal recently celebrated the
renaissance of the 46-mile Blackstone
River that flows from Worcester, MA Chesapeake Tidings
to Pawtucket, RI. A century ago the
river’s many textile mills were closing The hot summer has brought a succession of dreary reports about the
down, leaving polluted silt after heavy state of the Bay’s ecosystem. New Chesapeake Bay studies reveal that in August
industrial use and trash-strewn banks. 10% of it contained almost no oxygen and an additional 31% of it has less than 5
The seeds of a remarkable revival milligrams per liter—barely enough for crabs and fish to breathe. Numbers of the
were sown when state and federal once abundant native oyster, also suffering from oxygen deprivation as well as
authorities as well as local public and from overharvesting and diseases, have dropped so alarmingly that it is up for
private agencies joined forces to bring listing as an endangered species. Such excessive levels of arsenic were found in 6
about a cleanup. Hikers, bicyclers, St. Mary’s County wells serving 33,500 people that the local water authority had to
and paddlers now frequent the river shut them down and turn to dwindling alternative supplies.
and its banks, and cultural events are
becoming more commonplace. After Amid the rubble of bad news, little positive tidbits also occasionally
two centuries of sloppy industrial use, surfaced. One such report came from Indian Head, Maryland, where years ago
said the paper, the waterway today is (Atlantic CoastWatch February 1998) a determined citizen group persuaded the
“in a sort of working retirement.” state to save from development an ecologically important 2,200 tract called
Chapman’s Forest that borders the Potomac across from Mt. Vernon. But once the
Reports property had been acquired, a long local battle broke out over whether the land
would remain protected or converted instead into sports fields. This summer
A consortium of environmental groups champagne corks popped when the Chapman Forest Foundation won firm agree-
including the Natural Resources ment that the forest would retain its natural condition and not become yet another
Council of Maine, after analyzing source of Bay pollution.
emissions from 188 power plants in
New England and neighboring states, Seven new sites were also added to the Chesapeake Bay Gateways
concludes that most global warming Network, a vigorous creation of the National Park Service (NPS) that links and
pollution from the region comes from supports 147 parks, wildlife refuges, and other sites of historic, cultural, or environ-
a handful of these plants. Number one mental importance. Among the new network partners that will enjoy the benefits of
villain overall is the infamous Brayton membership is Dogwood Harbor on the Eastern Shore’s Tilghman Island where
Point plant in Somerset, MA, an skipjacks and other traditional working watercraft are still to be found and their
offender of long standing that is uses explained to visitors.
currently the northeast’s top emitter
of carbon dioxide and smog-forming So scarce is the good news, though, that the Washington Post’s veteran
nitrogen oxides, and number four in rod, gun, and yachting columnist Angus Phillips was moved to reiterate his own
sulfur dioxide emissions. In its “More demand of 15 or 20 years ago that Maryland’s then governor “climb to the top of
Heat than Light” report, the consor- the Chesapeake Bay Bridge like the Hunchback of Notre Dame and forever protect
tium calls for a 25% reduction of the troubled waterway by declaring it a ‘sanctuary’.” Bay restoration remains
carbon dioxide emissions from possible, Phillips continued. “But as long as its far-flung managers and would-be
Northeast power plants by 2020 via protectors hang onto the outmoded notion that you can sustain a natural resource
greater energy efficiency, more and still cater to all the clamoring user groups that want to wreck it, the bay is
power from clean-energy sources, doomed.” Accordingly, though he accords success a “fat chance,” he called on the
and a regional program to set a tough state’s current governor, Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., to “make that risky climb up the Bay
emissions “cap” that would enable Bridge ramparts to hang his banner.”
companies to “trade” emissions
allowances. These announcements
preceded the more recent news of
coordinated action against top power Cruise Ship Discharge Blues
plant polluters on the part of 9
northeastern states. As cruise ships get bigger and more numerous—at last count some 230 of
them carrying as many as 5,000 passengers each were roving the seas—concern is
mounting about their wastewater disposal practices and about governance in the
The Massachusetts Smart Growth
field. The industry was loosely regulated until the late 1990s, when several major
Alliance developed a methodology it
fines for illegal discharges (not sewage) prompted some companies to begin
calls MGAS: Managing Growth and
cleaning up. Now, particular attention is being paid to sewage treatment and
Sprawl to rate the state’s perfor-
disposal practices aboard the behemoths.
mance under Governor Mitt Romney.
Poor scores were awarded in such
A large one, reported the Washington Post in a recent article entitled “Tide
categories as affordable housing (“ a
Surges Against Cruise Industry’s Wastewater Disposal,” can generate 210,000
deep sophomore slump,” said alliance
gallons a week of untreated “black” sewage and an additional million gallons of
board members Jim Gomes and
“gray” water from such sources as showers and laundries. Current US regulations
David Harris in a Boston Globe article)
(Continued, p. 7)
to planning and zoning and
7
transportation. Even in land protec-
tion, a sector in which the state has
traditionally been a leader, Romney
New Rules for Little Tyrant, Continued from p. 1 has dropped investments to half of
previous levels. “The one smart
From the workshop emerged a fast growing consensus that an interim cap growth subject that Romney has aced
or moratorium on the harvest of menhaden is also necessary. Spearheading this is rhetoric,” conclude the authors.
movement was a new organization, “Menhaden Matters,” a consortium including “His administration proclaims its
the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Coastal Conservation Association, Environ- desire for better development
mental Defense and the National Coalition for Marine Conservation. Early on, patterns. But when it comes to
Menhaden Matters agreed that a ”legally defensible” Chesapeake Bay specific cap committing new dollars to encourage
would be an average of the annual harvest of the last five years. Greenpeace smarter growth or using the state’s
entered the foray, calling for a coastwide moratorium, but their proposal was power to prevent ‘dumb’ growth, its
excluded from the agenda for public comment. performance falls short.”

The public comment period generated an unprecedented level of response There is no evidence that the com-
according to Board Chair Jack Travelstad. Over 26,000 e-mails and letters arrived, monly-used Roundup(r) weed and
with 16,000 from Greenpeace members and some 5,000 from Recreational Fishing grass killer has contributed to the
Alliance members. Both group’s members supported a coast-wide moratorium. worldwide amphibian dieoff, reports
After a contentious August meeting, the menhaden board voted 12-2 for a 105,800 ecologist Rick Relyea of the University
metric ton cap on Omega protein’s Chesapeake Bay harvest. This left many of Pittsburgh. Roundup(r) is not
recreational and conservation groups uneasily content. While historic, the cap still approved for use in water. But in lab
represents an increase over the 2004 Chesapeake Bay harvest by Omega Protein. experiments mimicing what the St.
Moreover the coastwide harvest remains completely unregulated. Adopted for the Louis Post-Dispatch called “a worst-
next 5 years, the rules can still be adjusted as new research surfaces. case accidental spraying of a small
wetland,” a single tablespoon of the
chemical designed to kill plants killed
98% of tadpoles within 3 weeks and
New Protection for Maine Islands 79% of all frogs and toads after a
single day. This, wrote Relyea, was
A new 15-year management plan for the newly-named Maine Coastal “the most striking result” of his
Islands National Wildlife Refuge, envisioned eventually to encompass 134 islands experiments. A spokesperson for
as well as key mainland properties along Maine’s coast, promises better protection Monsanto, manufacturer of the
for nesting seabirds and while also offering new recreational and educational popular product, questioned Relyea’s
opportunities. The plan was recently issued by the US Fish & Wildlife Service. methodology and argued that “this
needs to be studied in a natural setting
At present the refuge consists of 47 islands from Smuttynose on the New where other factors come into play.”
Hampshire border to Machias Seal at the state’s eastern end, as well as some
mainland properties. According to the plan, an additional 2,306 acres on 87 islands, Products
said to be “the best of the best” among all 4,600 of them along the Maine coast, will
be acquired from willing sellers. Special protection for scarce nesting birds such as Engineering professor Roger Messen-
Atlantic puffins and least terns, is planned for 13 of these islands, and seabird ger and graduate student Max Saelzer
restoration projects will take place on 6 of them. Some islands are also designated at Florida Atlantic University have,
for camping and other recreational use, though closures during the seabird nesting reports the Palm Beach Post, devel-
season will also occur. Beyond the refuge, says manager Charlie Blair, there also oped a solar powered golf cart with
exists a large network of protected island properties managed by such private features of special importance for
agencies as the Maine Coast Heritage Trust and The Nature Conservancy. He calls their region. Its automatically adjust-
them “very strong partners” in a spirited public/private effort to protect a treasured ing photovoltaic cells seek out the
portion of coastal America from random development and misuse. sun’s strongest rays and can capture 5
times as much energy as previous
models. And, when hurricanes knock
Cruise Blues, Continued from p. 6 out the household’s power, the cart
converts into an emergency genera-
tor. The designers have applied for a
allow the ships to dump gray water anywhere and raw sewage beyon the three patent for their versatile vehicle, and
nautical mile boundary. With EPA approval, states may declare no-discharge are confident that it will come through.
zones. Now environmental groups are pressing for passage of new federal
legislation, currently under consideration in both houses of Congress, to forbid raw
sewage dumping within 12 miles of the shore. They are also encouraging the
Funding
companies to upgrade the quality of their ships’ sometimes grossly inadequate
New York City is receiving $71 million
onboard treatment facilities. Some, notably Royal Caribbean which has agreed to
from the federal Congestion Mitigation
install advanced systems on all its 29 ships, have begun to respond. Others await
and Air Quality Program, a pet project
word on the fate of the new legislation, which some would like to feature a provi-
of the late Senator Daniel Patrick
sion strengthening federal control over state actions.
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.

Moynihan, in support of initiatives to promote clean air


by curbing traffic jams and pollution from exhaust Beach Access Thumbed Down
fumes. $26 million will support the use of alternative
fuels by private fleet vehicles. Pedestrian and bicyclist Centuries-old laws and customs give many New
needs will also be addressed, and traffic monitoring England citizens public access to seas and waterways. But
technology will be improved. In announcing the when planners in the shorefront town of Clinton, Connecticut
program, Mayor Michael Bloomberg made it clear that raised the possibility of opening for public use what has in
it would not speed up traffic with better roads. “The effect been a private beach along Shore Road, the reaction
better you make the roads the more people drive,” he turned hot and sharply negative.
told New York Newsday. “The real solution to our
congestion problems is our mass transit.” In question was a single paragraph in an 81-page
draft revision of the town’s coastal management plan
Though hundreds of public and private agencies work proposing a study of public use of 27 very small strips of
on behalf of the Hudson River’s environmental quality, vacant land, with a murky legal history, that have provided
these have never before been gathered under a single beach access for Shore Road residents. When word of the
umbrella with the shared mission of protecting the matter got around, an overflow crowd of people—not just
315-mile river and its watershed spread across 5 Shore Road residents—attended a public hearing to discuss
states. Starting in 2002, the Hudson River Sloop it.
Clearwater organization took steps to form what is
now known as the Hudson River Watershed Alliance. Steamed Clintonians registered fears about parking,
Now, with a new $50,000 grant from the private Park vandalism, littering and trespassing. Some homeowners
Foundation, the Clearwater staff is intensifying its argued that the strips were intended for Shore Road
efforts to strengthen the alliance via communications homeowners, not the general public, and that the right of way
and training programs and the development of a to the beach had been deeded to them.
governance structure.
Others held that this was a scheme cooked up by
It should come as no surprise, Rhode Island Senator bureaucrats in the faraway state capital of Hartford. The fact
Lincoln Chafee told the press, that transportation that Clinton already has an underused public beach was
money should in part support open space. If left mentioned, and so was the nearby presence of a shorefront
undeveloped, such areas would draw less traffic and state park.
save highway money. Accordingly, Chafee and others
have engineered a $10 million deal, underwritten by When the draft management plan came up for a
the federal Highway Trust Fund, to protect the 23,000 vote, only 2 members of the 8-person Planning and Zoning
mile watershed of the high-quality Queen River and Commission approved the offending paragraph and it was
other important parts of Rhode Island’s South County. dropped. But, warned commission chairman Michael Rossi,
The Nature Conservancy, a partner in the project, will the community had not heard the last of the matter. “The
help select the lands and seek to leverage the federal next time we do a plan like this,” he said, “It will show up
money with funds from other sources. again.”

Related Interests