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Atlantic CoastWatch January - February, 2006

Weird Weather
News For Coastal Advocates
On January 6 an offshore tropical depression named Zeta, packing winds of
up to 65 mph, finally dissipated and, said a relieved National Hurricane Center that z
afternoon, “no longer meets the definition of a tropical cyclone.” Zeta, the Hurri-
cane Center’s dispatch continued, had been the longest-duration tropical cyclone to
live through December into the following year. With Zeta the 2005 season sur- Weird Weather 1
passed the 1950 season as having the “largest accumulated cyclone energy” on
record. And with that, wrote a weary Forecaster Stewart, “This is the National Birds vs. Birdies 1
Hurricane Center signing off for 2005… finally.”
Sayings 2
Reflecting on the “amazing” 2005 season, The Weather Channel noted
that, for only the 13th time since 1851, it had begun with two named storms last PR’s Tropical Wilderness 3
June. All time records included number of named storms (27), hurricanes (15),
major hurricanes hitting the US (4), and tropical storms before August 1 (7), and
Cape Cod Beaches Ailing 3
costliest Atlantic season ($107 billion+). Several two year consecutive records were
also broken, with a total 24 hurricanes besting the 21 recorded in 1886-87, and 5
Florida major hurricane landfalls vs. the previous record of 3 in 1949-50. Rich Harvest off Saba 3

(Continued, p. 7) Publications 4

Birds vs. Birdies Courts & the Seashore 4

A classic shoreline land-use conflict is underway on South Carolina’s LNG Issues Bubble On 5
Kiawah Island, site of a top-ranking golf course with more seaside holes than any
other in North America. The beaches bordering its fairways are also critical habitat Park Service Plan Debated 6
for the rare piping plover. The famed Ocean Course, opened in 1991, has been the
site of many highend golf tournaments and is scheduled to host both the 2007 Caribbean Blue Revolution 7
Senior PGA Championship and the 2012 PGA Championship—the latter one of four
golf “majors.” Together, these events are expected to generate $100 million in In SC, Enemy Is Us 8
revenue for the region.

Fiddling around with the landscape is business as usual for the Ocean
Course managers, who constructed an entirely new seaside eighteenth hole for the
benefit of Robert Redford’s film The Legend of Bagger Vance. Now, thanks to Recurring
erosion, that hole is at risk of washing into the sea; erosion also threatens another People; Awards; Species &
hole as well as the facility’s driving range. Accordingly, the town of Kiawah Island
Habitats; Restorations;
seeks permission from the US Army Corps of Engineers to harvest sand from the
adjacent beach to rebuild the dunes that used to protect the course. Report Cards; Products;
Now enter the piping plover, listed by the federal government as an
endangered species in some states and as threatened in South Carolina. A recent Atlantic CoastWatch is a bimonthly
survey turned up 20 of them wintering on that beach, 15 of them on a large sand nonprofit newsletter for those inter-
spit the town proposes to dredge. In a Charleston Post and Courier interview, April ested in the environmentally sound
Stallings of Audubon South Carolina hotly contested the scheme: “That beach is the development of the coastline
most highly populated piping plover site on Kiawah island, at least the second most from the Gulf of Maine
important site for roosting and foraging in the state. They made the decision to to the Eastern Caribbean.
move that hole to the edge of the ocean. Now it’s falling in. We cannot see any
reason for the birds to pay the price.” The town pledges a number of measures to Coastal News Nuggets, our weekly
protect the bird’s habitat while also tearing up the shorefront. The US Fish and news headline service, is available
Wildlife Service, currently considering the town’s dredging proposal, is expecting to through the Atlantic CoastWatch web
receive a “biological opinion” on March 22, and render a verdict soon thereafter. site:
Atlantic CoastWatch
Vol. 10, No. 1 Sayings
A project of the Sustainable (What follows, concerning the menhaden harvest in Chesapeake Bay, was first
Development Institute, which published as an editorial in The Washington Post on February 5.)
seeks to heighten the environmen-
tal quality of economic develop- Virginia lawmakers love paying lip service to the vital importance of the
ment efforts, in coastal and in Chesapeake Bay’s ecology. But when the bay’s health collides with the commercial
forest regions, by communicating interests of a single fishery plant, guess what? The bay comes out the loser. That’s
what’s happening in the General Assembly, where legislators in thrall to the fishery
information about better policies
industry have rejected a modest step to safeguard the already imperiled waters of
and practices. SDI is classified as the Chesapeake.
a 501(c)(3) organization, exempt
from federal income tax. The issue involves menhaden, an oily, bony relative of herring found in the
coastal waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Unimposing in stature
Board of Directors and unlovely to eat, menhaden does have its uses: It is converted into fish oil and
fertilizer and also used for bait. In the bay, it also plays a vital environmental role,
Freeborn G. Jewett, Jr., Chair both by providing a source of food for striped bass, bluefish and gray trout and by
Robert J. Geniesse, Chair Emeritus consuming and filtering out nutrients. That’s why tentative signs of depletion in the
Roger D. Stone, President bay’s menhaden population have raised concerns.
Dale K. Lipnick, Treasurer
Gay P. Lord, Secretary In a measured response to those concerns, the Atlantic States Marine
Hart Fessenden Fisheries Commission, a 15-state coordinating body, has recommended imposing a
David P. Hunt five-year cap on the menhaden catch in the bay’s Virginia waters (Maryland forbids
Simon Sidamon-Eristoff menhaden fishing). The idea is to use the five years to study the extent and causes
of possible menhaden depletion in the bay. That has prompted howls from Omega
Scientific Advisory Council Protein Inc., the company that fishes menhaden from the Chesapeake and renders
it for oil and other products at a plant in Virginia’s Northern Neck, one of the nation’s
Gary Hartshorn largest fish processors.
Stephen P. Leatherman
Jerry R. Schubel The cap of 105,783 metric tons a year is not exactly drastic; that’s Omega’s
Christopher Uhl average catch of menhaden from the Chesapeake for the first five years of this
decade. Moreover, the menhaden catch has been steadily declining for years. The
Staff cap, which is actually greater than Omega’s catch in several recent years, would
impose little hardship.
Roger D. Stone, Director & President
Shaw Thacher, Project Manager That hasn’t stopped the pushback from Omega’s lobbyists. They acknowl-
Robert C. Nicholas III, Contr. Editor edge that the menhaden catch from the bay has dipped, but they insist on Omega’s
Anita Herrick, Correspondent right to try to keep fishing, while warning that that jobs at the Virginia plant are in
Foundation Donors
Omega contends that the commission’s recommendation is arbitrary and
Avenir Foundation scientifically unfounded; that it’s unfair since it does not apply to the (much smaller)
The Fair Play Foundation bait industry; and that it was formulated using improper procedures. Backed by a
The Madriver Foundation friendly opinion by Virginia Attorney General Robert F. McDonnell (R), Omega has
The Moore Charitable Foundation managed to kill legislation to impose the commission-recommended limit in
The Curtis and Edith Munson Virginia’s House of Delegates.
Foundation The commission has been in business for more than 60 years, and its
The Summit Fund of Washington decisions on limiting fishing have frequently annoyed member states that sense a
threat to their narrow interests. In this case, Omega’s grousing is to be expected; it
Sponsored Project dislikes the precedent that a cap would represent. But the fact remains that the cap
would impose little burden while ensuring that no further harm is done if indeed the
Environmental Film Festival in the bay’s menhaden population is declining.
Nation’s Capital
March 16-26, 2006 If Virginia’s legislature refuses to act, then Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D)
should impose the cap on his own authority. Failing that, Omega should be warned
Featuring screenings of documentary, that it courts disaster if it continues to resist: By law the Commerce Department
feature, archival, children’s and may step in and impose a moratorium on states that refuse to comply with the
animated films. commission’s recommendations. That would reduce Omega’s future menhaden
catch in the bay to zero. (c) 2006, The Washington Post. Reprinted with Permission

Puerto Rico’s Tropical Wilderness In its obituary noting the death of

author Peter Benchley, the New York
Times stressed the Atlantic coastal
In December the El Toro Wilderness in Puerto Rico, part of the Caribbean
origins of his famous novel Jaws.
National Forest, officially became the Western Hemisphere’s first tropical wilder-
Benchley “knew of sharks” from his
ness preserve. The 28,000 acre Caribbean National Forest is small relative to
early fishing experiences off Nan-
many others, located only 25 miles from the city of San Juan, and easily accessible
tucket, said the paper, and the idea for
to visitors. Yet the 10,000 acre portion called El Toro, named after the highest peak
the novel came from an article about a
in the forest (3,524 feet) contains a spectacular array of biological resources.
fisherman who battled a 4,500-
pounder off Long Island. An environ-
Dense vegetation covers the area, which features 240 species of native
mental leader, Benchley was a faithful
trees—more than any other national forest. It also boasts more than 150 species of
donor to Atlantic CoastWatch, and we
ferns and 50 varieties of orchids. Most notably, El Toro provides habitat for the
too are saddened by his passing.
native Puerto Rican parrot, which has been included on the federal endangered
species list since 1968 and is one of the world’s 10 most endangered birds. It was
After 30 years of writing about the
once abundant throughout the island. Now only about 21 wild birds remain, deep
deteriorating Chesapeake Bay and
within the forest.
publishing 600 columns in the Balti-
more Sun, the celebrated environ-
mental journalist Tom Horton bade
Cape Cod Beaches Ailing farewell to the paper at the end of
2005. In his final column, he stated
More than a million people visit pretty Nauset beach, near the town of that “I cannot see that we’ve funda-
Orleans on the eastern flank of Cape Cod, pouring $1.2 million into the local mentally broken out of the mold. Too
economy. But now, reports the Cape Cod Times, the cash-cow beach is eroding at little taste for enforcing, mandating,
an “accelerating rate” and in urgent need of remedial action. funding what we know we need to
do.” But if he had caused some
According to an environmental and coastal engineering consulting firm people to lose hope, he continued, he
called the Woods Hole Group, the parking area for the beach has been receding at apologizes: “The great tension of this
the average rate of 4.2 feet per year for the past 9 years. Overwash has covered column, of my personal life, was
some 1,100 feet of the trail for off-road vehicles, leaving it virtually inaccessible always between lamenting all we’re
during periods of heavy storms or spring tides. License fees for the off-road losing, while celebrating all that’s left
vehicles alone supply $500,000 a year in revenue for Orleans. and precious.” Horton pledged not to
disappear. While retiring from the
Neighboring towns such as Chatham, which gets an annual $100,000 in Sun, he said, he’d be “sticking
income from ORV licenses, are being affected as well. The solution, say the around—writing, speaking, paddling,
consultants, is the same old one: haul in as much as $80,000 worth of sand to cheerleading, and offending.”
restore dune areas, and incur additional costs for sand and gravel mixtures to fix up
the ORV trail. And, perhaps, watch when the next big storm wipes out these Much in the news these days is
“improvements.” Captain John Smith, both because of
The New World, the dreamy film by
Terrence Malick about his tryst with
the Indian princess Pocahontas, and
Rich Harvest Off Saba because of mounting activity related
to the 400th anniversary of the
Diving off Saba, the remote Dutch island in the Caribbean, scientists from navigator’s arrival in Jamestown, VA.
Conservation International and the National Museum of Natural History recently NOAA officials are demarcating a
gathered up a rich haul. Going deep to explore a coral-covered underwater Captain John Smith National Historic
mountain, they found a fish that they believe is a species new to science: an Water Trail on and near the Chesa-
orange-spotted goby. In two weeks of research, they also hauled up some 20 types peake Bay, featuring high-tech
of seaweeds that were also previously unknown. interactive buoys providing passing
boaters with historic and current
“We do work all over the Caribbean and we’ve found areas that were information. And volunteer wooden
hotspots of diversity,” the museum’s Mark Littler said in an Associated Press boatbuilders in Reedville, VA are
interview. “But this exceeds all of them. It’s an enormous system.” Agreeing that fashioning a replica of the 28-foot
this is a “very rich area,” veteran icthyologist C. Lavett Smith of the American “shallop” that the captain used to
Museum of Natural History in New York, added that these findings are “not explore the region for display at next
surprising at all,” and that new species of gobies are being discovered “all the year’s Jamestown celebration.
time.” Saba fishermen and the Dutch Antilles government, concerned about oil
supertankers that pass Saba on their way to a terminal at nearby St. Eustatius Though Preston Bryant is a Republi-
island, are using the new discoveries as a reason to apply to the International can and a builder, and hails from the
Maritime Organization for special protection for the region. mountains of western Virginia, says
the Roanoke Times, his choice as the
state’s new natural resources secre-
tary “did not generate immediate
cries of agony from environmental- Publications
ists.” As a Virginia legislator he had
become mindful of the connections z For those still willing to brave the shoaling waters of the neglected Intra-
between the health of his home and coastal Waterway, help is now at hand with the publication of the widely praised
the health of the Chesapeake Bay, and guide, Managing the Waterway: Hampton Roads, Virginia, to Biscayne Bay, Florida
had sponsored bills to protect wet- (Semi-Local Publications, 2005). Full of detailed navigation tips and details, the
lands and control nutrient pollution. In book by catamaran sailors Mark and Diana Doyle also includes 260 interpretive
2000 he was the Chesapeake Bay vignettes having to do with history, wildlife, and color. The book’s website comes
Foundation’s Legislator of the Year. replete with rave reviews from cruising users.

Awards z Few books are more appropriate for inclusion on these pages than Skip-
jack, by the former CIA agent J.T. Crawford, a rollicking self-published fictional tale
Winner of the top award from the about a Boston lawyer who buys a Chesapeake oyster boat. “With the help of an
Island Resources Foundation in 2005 alluring marine biologist,” reports the Annapolis Capital, “he becomes involved in
was Diana McCaulay of Jamaica. efforts to preserve the bay and the ever-declining oyster population.” One satisfied
Founder and long time manager of the reader reported that the book, 20 years in the making, has “interesting characters,
well respected Jamaica Environmen- maritime adventures and a little mystery thrown in.”
tal Trust, McCaulay has spearheaded
many restoration activities, led the z Not many winters ago, travel writer Ken McAlpine stuffed himself and a
way in environmental education and few possessions into his Windstar van and went on a five-month land cruise from
community outreach programs, and Key West to Lubec, Maine. In his book Off Season: Discovering America on
was, according to the award’s spon- Winter’s Shore (Three Rivers Press 2004), he enters the offbeat worlds of
sors, a “tireless” environmental watermen, winter surfers, workers in boatyards, and other distinctive characters.
advocate.” Before she shifted to full Reads a review in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors: “He looked for places where
time environmental work in 1998, she bigger and faster aren’t considered better, communities that have held back
had been an insurance executive. America’s spreading homogeneity or have slipped beneath its radar.”

Species & Habitats

Courts and the Seashore
In 1992, reports the Boston Globe,
Cape Cod schoolchildren spotted an z In White Plains, NY, District Judge Charles L. Brieant put New York City’s
odd inch-long crab on the beach. It Department of Environmental Protection on probation for three years. It was the
turned out to be a virtually omnivo- second time since 2001 that the agency had been placed under court supervision.
rous Asian shore crab, a newly During the new probation period, which could be extended, the agency and its
arrived exotic species that soon employees are obliged not to violate federal, state, or local laws. The ruling came
spread to Boston, then as far away as as a result of the failure of backup power systems at two sewage treatment plants
Maine’s Acadia National Park. The during the August 2003 blackout; at one station, the auxiliary diesel generator had
invasive species competes with local not worked for two years and remained inoperative despite repeated requests
crabs and even lobsters for food, from workers that it be repaired. The result of these failures, reported the New
jeopardizing native populations. In York Times, was dumping of untreated wastewater into waterways, causing unsafe
2002 there arrived along New England fecal coliform levels and the closing of beaches. Ironically, said the judge, the ruling
shores the sea squirt, a fast spreading came in spite of “the progress that has been made” in the agency’s performance.
gooey creature that threatens to
smother shellfish beds. Now, in an z In June of last year, the US Supreme Court handed down a now-famous
effort to control these and other 5-4 decision allowing the city of New London, CT to take private property on a
invasive species, the Massachusetts peninsula called Fort Trumbull. To the dismay of property-rights advocates, the
Institute of Technology’s Sea Grant ruling cleared the way for the downtrodden city’s redevelopment agency to replace
program is striking back with people a neighborhood of modest private homes with a complex including a hotel, office
power. Volunteers will this summer buildings, and condominiums. But, thanks to further complaints by some of the
be scanning the shoreline armed with plaintiffs in the Kelo vs. New London case, and the intervention of a state-appointed
laminated cards picturing a marine mediator after eviction notices had been circulated, no wrecking ball has yet begun
Most Wanted list. Exotic species swinging. Now, in what is hoped will at last resolve the matter and enable New
spotted will be entered on an MIT data London to get on with the redevelopment, the City Council has unanimously
base which, in turn, will help enable approved a measure enabling the remaining half-dozen property owners to remain
state authorities to strike back. on the site. Their houses, some of which would have to be moved, would be
clustered on a single block known as “Parcel 4A.” While Mayor Beth Sabilia
The Florida panther, harassed by expressed hopes that this compromise would end the impasse and trigger the
checkerboard development in its local redevelopment, all lead plaintiff Suzette Kelo would say was that the proposal
habitat and because of skewed data constituted “a step in the right direction.”
used by federal regulators, is making
its last stand in the state’s southwest
corner where 87 or so of them are
said to remain. Now, according to a
LNG Issues Bubble On Miami Herald report, US Fish and
Wildlife Service scientists have
As reported in the November-December 2005 issue of Atlantic despaired of the animal’s ability to
CoastWatch, the siting or expansion of liquid natural gas terminals can be conten- survive locally and say it must
tious, stretching as far as the proposed placement of as many as 3 terminals in “expand to other parts of historic
unspoiled Passamaqoddy Bay at the US-Canadian border. Overall, in various range” as specified in a new manage-
stages of planning or approval, there are 55 LNG import terminal proposals in ment plan. Translation: trap the
Canada, the Unites States and Mexico. Of these 17 have received final regulatory panthers and move them to parts of
approval, to join the five already operating in North America and another in Puerto Arkansas, Alabama, and the
Rico. Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge
where they are better insulated from
As cited in USA Today, Stacy Nieuwouldt of Pickering Energy Partners the bulldozer.
notes that “As we are able to bring more supply into this country, price will in fact
be lower.” Gas prices presently vary, with those in the US among the highest in the In 2005 the Florida manatee death toll
world. Nieuwouldt foresees a truly international natural gas market evolving but was 396 animals, second worst year
adds: “Local resistance to new terminals, steep capital requirements, and even a in fatalities since 1996, when 415
shortage of tanker crews” will mean it will take time. manatees perished. Though a red tide
bloom in southwest Florida killed 81
Much-debated plans for new LNG terminals involve a variety of ap- manatees and others succumbed to
proaches. Among them: cold weather, the largest known cause
of their mortality remains collisions
z Dominion Resources operates what is currently the largest of them at with boats, which also maim many
Cove Point, MD, with 800-foot, double hulled insulated tankers coming up that remain alive. Each week, re-
the Chesapeake to dock a quarter mile offshore several times each month. ported the Daytona Beach News-
Here, near doubling of capacity by 2008 involving a second pipeline is Journal, Judith Vallee of Save the
opposed by local landowners and others. Manatee “sees dozens” of them that
z In Fall River, MA Weaver’s Cove Energy has responded to legislation have been “severely injured by
recently obtained by Rep. James P. McGovern (MA) forbidding the destruc- watercraft propellers.”
tion of a narrow drawbridge by proposing to use more frequent trips by
smaller tankers to reach its planned terminal, raising a local outcry. The red knot, a migratory species of
z At the Long Island, NY city of Long Beach, officials of Atlantic Sea Island shorebird that attracts wide attention
held a news conference on the boardwalk without alerting local officials, to each spring when it arrives on
discuss their first-in-the-world plans to build a $1 billion man-made island in Delaware Bay beaches to feast on
60 feet of water 13.5 miles offshore. The locals complained. horseshoe crab eggs, is on its last
z Broadwater Energy is proposing a floating terminal at the widest point in legs. Its count at South American
Long Island Sound, stirring opposition from environmentalists and wintering grounds dropped from
politicians in both New York and Connecticut. 31,000 birds in 2004 to 17,000 in 2005.
z On the New Jersey shore of the Delaware River, British Petroleum has Without federal protection as an
officials and boating advocates concerned that plans for a terminal with a endangered species, claim conserva-
2000 foot pier and 1,500 foot safety zone at Crown Landing will restrict tion groups, the red knot could
access to the river for other craft. The News Journal reports that LNG approach extinction by 2010. But so
tankers supplying Crown Landing and a terminal at Fort Richmond planned far, the US Fish and Wildlife Service
by Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Gas Works would pass within 1.3 has resisted requests for Endangered
miles of 290,000 people. Species Act listing, preferring to leave
z At the former Sparrows Point Shipyard, in Baltimore, AES has a 99 year the matter to New Jersey and
lease and is discussing a terminal there. Opposition has cropped up. Delaware. Beach closings and
restrictions on the harvest of horse-
Demand for natural gas is growing faster than likely domestic supply. shoe crabs used as fishing bait are in
Used to heat homes in the US, it is much less damaging to the environment for the prospect, but scientists fear that such
production of electrical power than current coal plants. The LNG industry has a measures alone will not save the bird.
remarkable safety record. The Congressional Research Service reported in 2004
that since shipments started in 1959 there have been no serious accidents. But the Restorations
possibility of terrorist attacks has raised the specter of enormous fireballs. Sandia
Labs, necessarily relying heavily on simulation rather than experiment, estimated Away with low-profile, folksy student
that an attack rupturing a ship and igniting the contents would incinerate anything efforts to clean up watersheds,
within 1,200 feet, with second degree burns possible one mile away. A cloud of gas reckons Maryland’s Alice Ferguson
released could remain volatile as much as two miles away before dispersing to a Foundation—to get results, go to the
concentration that could not be ignited. Former White House counterterrorism czar top. Dedicated to cleaning up the
Richard Clarke, in looking at a proposed LNG facility on the Providence River, Potomac River and its tributaries, the
concluded that new LNG terminals should be based only in remote areas. foundation last year mobilized 5,875
volunteers in 4 states and the District
of Columbia for its 17th annual
Potomac River Watershed Cleanup.
They collected trash weighing more Park Service Plan Debated
than 41 school buses. This year the
foundation prefaced its April 8 annual From St. John, VI to Maine’s Mt. Desert Island, the public is responding
cleanup jamboree by getting numer- vigorously to a controversial draft plan revising National Park Service manage-
ous prominent politicians to sign the ment policies for its parks and other properties across the nation. The draft plan,
Potomac River Watershed Trash open for public comment until February 18, redefines “appropriate use” of parks
Treaty, whose goal is a “trash free and contains new language about such matters as cooperation with the Depart-
Potomac by 2013.” Partners in this ment of Homeland Security and other federal agencies charged with guarding the
year’s high profile initiative include US against attacks from abroad. The new plan would replace one published in 2001.
Exxon Mobil, the American Chemistry
Council, and the Washington, DC At the Virgin Islands National Park, Chief Ranger Steve Clark told the
based World Bank. Virgin Islands Daily News that the new policies “will not significantly change” the
management of his park but instead would encourage “consistency” between the
various elements of the far-flung system.
Elsewhere, however, there was apprehension that drastic changes in the
A double dose of good news comes
system’s historic mission, many involving the intrusion of motorized vehicles and
from New Jersey. A state commis-
emphasizing public “enjoyment” over other values, were implicit in the new plan’s
sion charged with reviving the 32-
wording. Such views were strongly expressed by people concerned about Maine’s
square mile Meadowlands, long
much-frequented Acadia National Park.
regarded as a fetid swamp across the
Hudson from New York City, reports
“Criticisms by former Park Service directors and an overwhelming number
solid gains since the adoption of a
of management retirees,” reported the Bangor Daily News in an editorial entitled
master plan two years ago. Among
Hands Off Acadia, “have focused on the omission of a key sentence that was
the gains, said Newsday, are moves
prominent in the 2001 manual: ‘When there is a conflict between conserving
“to rescue nearly 1,000 acres of
resources and values and providing for enjoyment of them, conservation is to be
wetlands from development and to
predominant.” This language, which originated in the 1916 Organic Act creating
clean polluted brownfields in 8 nearby
the National Park Service, is strangely included in a “summary of key improve-
towns.” Offshore, meanwhile, noted
ments” on the service’s website. But it remains absent from the full text of the
the state’s agriculture department,
draft plan.
fishermen landed a record 187 million
pounds of seafood in 2004—$146
Accordingly, wrote Ken Olson of the private, nonprofit Friends of Acadia,
million worth. Top catch was scallops
“We feel that some of the changes suggested for the 2006 version create the
(50 million pounds worth $67.4
impression that the National Park Service is moving away from a resource man-
million), with surf clams and quahogs
agement protection emphasis to one of broader use” implying lower standards and
the runners-up but far behind. “Scal-
contradicting the original Organic Act.
lops are king,” crowed one fisherman
in a Press of Atlantic City interview.
The park service promises to publish on its website a summary of com-
ments received, and to consider these in a “thoughtful and deliberate manner.” It
The Census of Marine Life and a
does not currently say when it will have completed all revisions and officially
Canadian partner, the Huntsman
promulgate the new management plan.
Marine Science Center in New
Brunswick, have completed and
reported on the first full count of
known marine species in the Gulf of With Appreciation
Maine. The total recorded is 3,317
species including 733 different kinds of We extend special thanks to Hart Fessenden, Freeborn G. Jewett Jr., Lee
algae, 652 fish, 184 bird, 32 mammal, M. Petty, and Roger Sant for generous increments of support recently received.
and 14 deepwater coral species. The And we also note with great appreciation the most welcome donations from these
tally, more than 50% larger than other loyal CoastWatchers:
previous estimates, also includes
unwelcome invaders such as the Gayle and Bill Bauer Louisa and William Newlin
aggressive green crab. E.U. Curtis Bohlen Eric Ostergaard
Nicholas Brown Susan Rappaport
Though emissions from power plants Barry R. Bryan Frederick A.O. Schwarz Jr.
take the most frequent hits, transpor- E. Paul Casey Clyde E. Shorey Jr.
tation accounts for almost 1/3 of Celia F. Crawford John T. Smith III
Maine’s entire contribution to global Robert J. Geniesse Timothy and Wren Wirth
warming. This figure is derived from a Nelse L. Greenway George and Katharine Woodwell
review of data from the US Census Rob and Peggy Leeson
Bureau recently conducted by
Environment Maine. Sprawl plays a
major role: 78% of all Maine’s com-
Weird Weather, Continued from p. 1 muters drive alone to and from work.
Commuters in such southeastern
As for the 2006 season, with bizarrely warm winter weather persisting Maine communities as Waterboro,
along the Atlantic shoreline until a blizzard finally hit the northeast in February, as Naples, and Limington travel 17 to 19
well as odd outbreaks elsewhere, it is tempting to express redoubled fears. But one miles to their jobs and produce more
of the nation’s ranking hurricane-forecasting gurus, William Gray at Colorado State than 7,000 pounds of carbon dioxide
University’s Department of Atmospheric Science, sees “another very active annually. This is almost triple the per
Atlantic basin cyclone season” in prospect. In his crystal ball for this year are about capita contribution from those living in
9 hurricanes (5 major ones) and 17 named storms. But although he expects that more densely populated sections of
this year’s number of “major landfalling storms” will be “55% above the long- the state: the average commuter in
period average,” he reckons that 2006 will not see as many major landfalls as took Portland or Bangor drives only 4 to 6
place in 2005 and 2004. miles to work and generates less than
2,500 pounds of CO2 a year.
How much all this has to do with global warming remains uncertain. In the
bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Roger Pielke of the University of Products
Colorado elegantly cast this cold water on the subject: “The changes of the past
decade in these metrics are not so large as to clearly indicate that anything is going In 2002 the famous 450-year-old Wye
on other than the multidecadal variability that has been well documented since at Oak, Maryland’s state tree and the
least 1900.” Climatologists tend to downplay this as the sole explanation. nation’s largest white oak with the
height of a 10-story building, suc-
cumbed to a thunderstorm. Sections
Blue Revolution Takes Shape of the tree went to the state for use as
a desk in the governor’s office, to
churches and to woodcarvers. One of
Aquaculture scientists at the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution in these was Dale German in Baltimore,
Fort Pierce, FL are testing a number of ways for Caribbean farmers to cultivate who with several partners began
familiar species sustainably and profitably. Megan Davis, director of the aquacul- using scraps from the tree to make
ture division at Harbor Branch, foresees a “Blue Revolution” for a region that, handles for traditional Chesapeake
though widely overfished in recent years and ever prone to storm damage, also oyster knives and sell them for $200
remains one of the world’s most diverse and productive marine ecosystems. or more to support Chesapeake
Examples of research in progress: restoration activities. The commemo-
rative packet including the knife is
z More than 20 years ago, Davis was one of the founders of a queen conch available via the nonprofit Oyster
farm in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Research continues with regard to Recovery Partnership.
commercial applications, both for local and for international markets.
z Once extensive, natural sponge use has been limited since the 1970s when
synthetics were introduced and overharvesting reduced availability. But A new feature at Publix supermarkets
sponges are making a comeback because of new public interest in natural in South Florida is BIOTA bottled
and organic products with health benefits, and also because of promising water whose clear plastic container is
biomedical applications. Sponge culture on long lines would hold interest made from corn and will, says the
in the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands, where sponge collection company, decompose in 80 days. The
is traditional. bottles are made out of Natureworks
z Tank-based experiments with various seaweed species have commercial PLA plastic, a material also used for
applications related to uses as fish feed and thickening agents, and for takeout containers and as packaging
ornamental purposes. One species, known commonly as “sea moss,” is for salad dressings, fruit, and other
considered an aphrodisiac by some Caribbean locals. products. Since more than 85% of
z Cobia, a game fish considered excellent for human consumption, is being water bottles end up in the garbage,
successfully raised in securely moored offshore cages off Puerto Rico. But says the Container Recycling Insti-
though the cages are placed 30 feet below the surface and are well tute, the BIOTA bottle’s biodegradabil-
protected from bad weather, regulatory issues now under review have ity is a significant feature. On to
hampered development. Harbor Branch consequently has just begun Walmart, says the company in a
experimenting with new methods to grow cobia indoors in recirculating, Miami Herald interview.
intensive systems.
z Though commercial success is probably 5 to 10 years ahead, Davis sees Funding
considerable potential in farming or restocking two popular, overharvested
seafoods: spiny lobster and grouper. Rapid growth is in prospect for the
Rivers and Estuaries Center at
These are but some of the ways in which, say its scientists, Harbor Branch is Denning’s Point on the Hudson River
trying to help Caribbean economies advance and at the same time reduce human in Beacon, NY. On top of more than
and natural threats to the region’s resources. $25 million already raised for
Atlantic CoastWatch
Sustainable Development Institute
3121 South St., NW
Washington, D.C. 20007

Tel: (202) 338-1017

Fax: (202) 337-9639

Tax-deductible contributions for Atlantic CoastWatch are urgently needed.

laboratory, educational and field

research facilities, New York’s
Governor George Pataki recently In SC, the Enemy is Us
pledged an additional $25 million from
the state’s capital budget. This According to Internal Revenue Service data compiled by the Charleston
investment, he said, “demonstrates Post & Courier, “half the people who moved into a new house in the three
our commitment to building a vibrant, countires around Charleston between 1995 and 200 came from within the three-
world-class institution that will attract county region.” Of the new residents, more came from elsewhere in the state than
leading scientists and help people from other parts of the country.
young and old learn about the river
and our role as environmental In short, “the newbies are not who you think they are,” said the paper.
stewards.” Including satellite facilities “They don’t come from where you think they do. “And when it comes to
planned for Renssalaer Polytechnic Lowcountry sprawl and traffic, they’re only half the problem. You’re the other
Institute in Troy and Columbia half.” What’s happening, local authorities suggest, is that local people are moving
University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth up, building or buying bigger houses, and moving farther out, thus increasing their
Observatory in Palisades, reported drive time.
the Journal News, a paper covering
the lower Hudson, the project’s entire A sample “usual suspect” identified by the paper is Brad Strickland, 33,
cost is $100 million. Its director, John said to be a “transplant from the Northeast” to the Sun Belt, just the kind of retiree
Cronin, is a former Hudson who is flooding into the Lowcountry driving up real estate prices and exacerbating
Riverkeeper well remembered for sprawl. On closer inspection, it turns out that Strickland’s family was originally
once catching an Exxon tanker from Charleston, that he has a full time job and that he moved back in part for
illegally flushing its tanks while in the family reasons. Though a few people he knows in his subdivision are from the
river. Northeast, more than half are from South Carolina.

While hands wring over Bush budget

cutbacks in support for Chesapeake
Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s
Bay watershed restoration and the
total estimated needs continue to
Capital, March 16 - 26
grow ($10 billion by 2010 just to clean
up the tributaries), one small agency The 2006 Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital, March 16
is proportionally increasing its through 26, will present 100 documentary, feature, animated, archival, experi-
outlays. Celebrating its 10th anniver- mental and children’s films selected to provide fresh perspectives on environmen-
sary, the Chesapeake Bay Trust tal issues facing our globe. The 14th annual Festival features cinematic work from
announced that its support for Bay 23 countries and 45 Washington, D.C., United States and world premieres. Forty-
restoration activities would jump by six filmmakers will be present at the Festival to discuss their work. Films are
40%. Over the next three years the screened at nearly 40 venues throughout the city, including museums, embassies,
Trust, supported in large part by libraries, universities and local theaters. Most screenings are free to the public
revenues from the Maryland “Trea- and include discussion with filmmakers or scientists. For a complete film sched-
sure the Chesapeake” license plates, ule, visit the Festival web site at or call 202-
will hand out $10 million in grants. 342-2564 for a film brochure.