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Atlantic CoastWatch September-October, 2007

Ocean Research Ramps Up


News For Coastal Advocates
For years ocean researchers have been dreaming of setting up underwater
outposts to collect and transmit continuous data. One initial step was taken in July, z
when the Appropriations Committees of the House and Senate approved the
National Science Foundation’s (NSF) budget which included a $13.5 million down
payment to launch the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI). The OOI will be a Ocean Research Ramps Up 1
global, coastal and regional network, linked together with computer technology. It is
foreseen that it will eventually cost $331.5 million. New Eyes on the Hudson 1

In August, the Joint Oceanographic Institutions (JOI) awarded a $97.7 Sayings 2


million contract to an academic partnership headed by the Woods Hole Oceano-
graphic Institute (WHOI) on Cape Cod to develop and build a global network of Courts & the Seashore 3
ocean observatories. As a part of this project, the largest grant in the institute’s
history, WHOI will be installing off the coast of southern Massachusetts a range of
Publications 4
different tracking systems. Some will float on the surface. Some will be anchored to
the sea floor. Some will move up and down in the water column. There will even be
an underwater docking station for roaming robotic submarines that will cruise and Bad News for Buzzards Bay 4
collect data over an area of 3600 square miles.
Polluters Unhooked 4
According to project manager Al Plueddemann, these systems will be
analyzing “everything we know how to measure, be it physical, biological or State Level Sea Sense 5
chemical.” The area chosen to deploy these instruments is on the edge of the
continental shelf, reflecting a particular interest in the exchange of properties
Reviving MD Smart Growth 5
between the shelf and the deep sea. The labs will collect data for years to come,
said Bob Weller, WHOI senior scientist, and data can be retrieved instantaneously,
without a requirement for prolonged ocean voyages. Added JOI President Steven Corn and the Chesapeake 6
Bohlen: “This initiative is a major investment that will transform our understanding
of the ocean. It will contribute to tremendous advances in our understanding of how NJ Flunks Water Test 6
Earth works.”
(Continued, p. 7) Lobsters & LI Sound 7

Snakes Stall Development 8


New Eyes on the Hudson
z
In August the Beacon Institute, of Beacon, NY, announced the launch of a
major collaboration with IBM to set up an extensive monitoring system on the Recurring
Hudson River. The Hudson is 315 miles long and its watershed covers 13,500
square miles, an area populated by 12 million people. The project, called the River
and Estuary Observatory Network (REON), will be the first of its kind on an inland People; Awards; Species &
waterway, and it is hoped that it will serve as a model for others. Habitats; Restorations;
Report Cards; Products;
The plan is to create and adapt remote sensing and telemetric technologies Funding
to track changes in the chemistry and temperature of the water, the flow of sedi-
ments and pollutants, and the movements of fish. Though there is no firm news of Atlantic CoastWatch is a bimonthly
when the network will be operational, sponsors hope that some pilot projects will be nonprofit newsletter for those con-
deployed in the next 18 months. cerned with environmentally sound
development between the Gulf of
The Beacon Institute, again with IBM as a partner, is also planning to build a Maine and the eastern Caribbean.
laboratory to be located on Denning Point, which will be known as the Center for
Advanced Technology (CAET). It will serve as the physical home for those working
on REON. Groundbreaking is scheduled for late 2009.
2
Atlantic CoastWatch
Vol. 11, No. 5 Sayings
A project of the Sustainable What follows is excerpted from an article by Rebecca Wodder, president of
Development Institute, which American Rivers that was posted on its web site as A New Era of Water Conserva-
tion, and is reprinted with permission)
seeks to heighten the environmen-
tal quality of economic develop- It used to be that only people in the dry western part of our country had to
ment efforts, in coastal regions, by worry about drought, and the rest of us could enjoy our lush lawns and long
communicating information about showers, believing that our water supply was endless. Well, guess again. The
better policies and practices. SDI extreme drought in the Southeast shows that no region of our country is immune to
is classified as a 501(c)(3) organi- severe water shortages. We’ve all seen the TV footage of the dry lake beds, and
zation, exempt from federal every day we hear about cities like Raleigh, NC that have less than 100 days of
income tax. water left in their dwindling supplies.

As our country’s population grows, so do the demands on our rivers and


Board of Directors
lakes – where most of our drinking water comes from. Paving over watersheds with
sprawl is paving our way to water shortages. Water runs off pavement rapidly,
Freeborn G. Jewett, Jr., Chair
instead of soaking into the ground to replenish groundwater supplies. And, global
Robert J. Geniesse, Chair Emeritus
warming is putting an added strain on communities’ water supplies.
Roger D. Stone, President
Dale K. Lipnick, Treasurer
Hoping for rain is not the solution. Building expensive new dams and
Gay P. Lord, Secretary
engineering massive transfers of water from one watershed to another won’t solve
Nelse L. Greenway
our problems either. We need a solution that will ensure sustainable water supplies
David P. Hunt
for our communities, and keep our rivers, lakes and streams – the source of our
Hassanali Mehran
drinking water – clean and healthy.
Simon Sidamon-Eristoff
So it is time to call for a new era of water conservation in our country. We
Advisers
need to start treating water like the most precious resource we have – wherever
we live. We need to realize that the more we waste water, the less water is avail-
William H. Draper, III
able for our neighbors as well as the fish and wildlife in our local streams. Ulti-
Gary Hartshorn
mately, wasting water hurts not only the environment but our local economies,
Stephen P. Leatherman
recreation opportunities and our quality of life.
Jerry R. Schubel
Christopher Uhl
The director of one North Carolina water system told the Herald-Sun
newspaper, “We should use water for essential uses only, because the water we
Staff
don’t use for discretionary purposes, like watering your lawn, may be needed to
drink or cook or shower next year.” Cities and states must step up and do their
Roger D. Stone, Director & President
part. They should encourage water conservation through measures like tiered
Shaw Thacher, Project Manager
water pricing and by developing comprehensive water plans. And yes, they need to
Ron Grandon, Contributing Editor
impose common sense restrictions. Austin, Texas is a good example – there, the
Anita Herrick, Contributing Editor
city bans outdoor watering during the hottest part of the day, between 10am and
Robert C. Nicholas III, Contr. Editor
7pm, when water just evaporates rather than soaking in.
Foundation Donors
We as individuals can really make a difference in our daily actions. Here
are five things you can do to save water, save money, and ensure that we have
Avenir Foundation
sustainable water supplies and healthy rivers in our future:
The Fair Play Foundation
The Madriver Foundation
z Hold your elected officials accountable
The Curtis and Edith Munson
Foundation z Be water-wise around the house
The Summit Fund of Washington
z Install water-saving plumbing fixtures
The Environmental Film Festival in z Make your brown lawn a source of pride
the Nation’s Capital, formerly operat- z Use attractive, drought-friendly landscaping
ing under the auspices of the Sustain-
able Development Institute is now With the combined realities of population growth, paved-over watersheds,
functioning independently with its own and global warming, we are facing, and will continue to face, unprecedented water
501(c)3 determination from the IRS. challenges. But the future doesn’t need to be bleak. I’m actually quite hopeful — I
believe we are going to see more and more communities across the country
www.dcenvironmentalfilmfest.org embracing a new era of water conservation, ensuring their citizens – and their
rivers – are healthy and thriving for years to come.
3
People

Courts & the Seashore The Woods Hole Oceanographic


Institute (WHOI) has announced that
z Upholding Connecticut objections and countering a Department of Com- Susan K. Avery will be assuming the
merce decision, US District Judge Stefan Underhill ruled that a 50-mile gas pipeline office of president and director in
could seriously damage the coastal environment. As reported by the Associated early 2008. She is an atmospheric
Press, commerce secretary Carlos Gutierrez had concluded that the national scientist and an engineer. Her re-
interest outweighed environmental effects. But Judge Underhill argued that the search has focused on atmospheric
conclusion “is not supported by evidence or data and is therefore arbitrary and circulation and precipitation, climate
capricious.” John Sheridan, spokesman for the Islander East Company said that variability, and the development of
sponsors of the project, including Spectra Energy and Keyspan Corp., had not new radar techniques and instruments
decided whether to appeal the decision or take other action. The project, he said, for remote sensing. She will be
was meant to supply natural gas to Connecticut, New York City and Long Island. coming from the University of
The decision was seen as a possible precedent for state objections to another Colorado at Boulder, where she has
energy project, a quest by Broadwater Energy to anchor a floating terminal for been a member of the faculty since
liquefied natural gas off the Connecticut coast. 1982, and where she was active in the
Cooperative Institute for Research in
z A 19-year citizen lawsuit against an oil company resulted in a decision Environmental Sciences (CIRES),
providing $2.5 million for environmental improvements. The decision castigated the serving as director from 1994-2004.
state of Delaware for “acceptance of incomplete, inaccurate and missing reports on Avery will be the 9th director of WHOI,
violations.” As reported by the Delaware News Journal, the suit was filed in 1988 and the first woman to serve in that
by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Delaware Audubon Society position.
after state regulators had failed to take action to enforce the National Water
Pollution Control Act. The new award was in addition to $2 million already paid by Awards
Texaco, original operators of the Delaware City Refinery. Since then three other oil
companies have been involved, the latest Valero, Inc. Among allocations cited in A bronze “Telly Award,” recognizing
the ruling by US District Court Judge Jane Roth are $1.1 million to Delaware’s national excellence in video, film and
state parks for reforestation planting, invasive species control and video display television production was given to the
terminals at the Pea Patch Island heronry. Connecticut Department of Environ-
mental Protection (DEP) for its DVD
z Settlement of a lawsuit brought by the Center for Biological Diversity sets “Organic Land Care”, done in coop-
2008 deadlines for the National Marine Fisheries Service to designate habitat eration with Middlesex Community
protections for a variety of ocean species, among them elkhorn and staghorn corals College. Over 800 copies have
and the smalltooth sawfish which occur in Florida, the Caribbean and Gulf of reportedly been shipped. DEP Com-
Mexico.The actions are thought to be the first mandated species protections missioner Gina McCarthy said, “It’s
involved in global warning concerns. terrific that the DEP has received the
Telly Award a second year in a row.
z Citizen rights-to-know under Maine’s Freedom of Information Act were This DVD has been a successful tool to
upheld in a ruling by the state’s Supreme Court. As reported by the Portland Press help municipalities get started with
Herald, the lawsuit in question involved a private company, Citizens Communica- organic land care and avoid the use of
tions, the city of Bangor and the state Department of Environmental Protection. pesticides and commercial fertilizers.”
The company had settled with the state and city in a prosecution for coal tar
dumping by a predecessor firm and the three entities were involved in negotiations Species & Habitats
they considered confidential. Two other companies sued under the FOIA but were
denied information access. The Supreme Court overturned the denial, stating also The alarming trend of deformities in
that attorney-client protections do not apply between adversaries in court proceed- frogs starts with farm runoff of
ings. nitrogen and phosphorus and involves
a role for parasitic worms, according
z Brayton Point Power Station on Mount Hope Bay, which feeds into the to a study published in the Proceed-
Narragansett Bay, was ordered to cut back its use of bay water from almost a ings of the National Academy of
billion gallons to 56 million gallons daily and to cut its discharge by 95%. The orders Sciences. The farm and ranch wastes
went into effect as the owners of the station lost an appeal to an EPA appeals court. stimulate the growth of algae, which in
The appeal was brought by the original owners, Dominion Energy, then carried turn increases the population of snails.
forward by the current owners, Dominion Resources, Inc. The station is the largest Microscopic worms called trematodes
fossil-fuel power plant in New England. The loss would bring to a close a case dating infect the snails, turning them into
from 2003, but the company may appeal again, this time to the Federal Appeals “zombies,” said Peter Johnson of the
Court for the First Circuit in Boston. A description of the case in the Providence University of Colorado, and allowing
Journal noted that it arose when EPA found that increased use of bay water to cool expulsion of thousands of worms. The
the power plant led to a decline in winter flounder and other fish. To meet the worms swarm over tadpoles and
court’s orders, Brayton Point would need to install closed-cycle cooling towers in its burrow at the spots where limbs are
four coal-and-oil-fired electricity generating units, at a cost of more than $100 developing. Johnson told Reuters:
million.
4
“You can get five or six extra limbs.
You can get no hind limbs. You can get
all kinds of really bizarre, sick and
twisted stuff.” Publications
Martinique and Guadeloupe have z Whaling in America began with the first colonists in the early 17th century.
been poisoned for a century to come, Over the next hundred years it evolved into a highly specialized industry centered
the French Parliament was warned by in New England. The increase in population and the subsequent increased demand
cancer specialist Dominique for whale oil eventually had whaling fleets scouring the oceans of the world for
Belpomme, who pointed out the their prey. The golden age of whaling was between the end of the War of 1812 and
indiscriminate use of pesticides on the Civil War, after which it declined as kerosene and hydrogen gas came to
banana plantations in the French replace whale oil as fuel for lamps, and petroleum was discovered. Eric Jay Dolin’s
Caribbean. Belpomme’s report said Leviathan: The History of Whaling in America ( W.W. Norton & Co., 2007) provides
tests have shown that every child a comprehensive and vivid history of this era.
born in Guadeloupe is contaminated
with chlordecone (known as kepone in
the US), which was banned in many
countries in 1979 but used legally in
Bad News for Buzzards Bay
France until 1990 and in the French
Caribbean until 1993. Illegal use In its State of the Bay report, which documents the health of the water-
continued in Martinique and shed, the Coalition for Buzzards Bay gave the bay an overall score of 45 out of 100,
Guadeloupe until 2002. John Lichfield down 3 points from the 2003 score. The tally indicates that in their estimation the
reported from Paris that island bay is functioning at half its ecological capacity. At a recent conference, the
politicians were torn between calling coalition’s executive director, Mark Rasmussen, spoke about this discouraging
Belpomme an alarmist and calling for news: Buzzards Bay historically has not been affected by industrial waste, unlike
a full inquiry. Christian Choupin, head other bays along the northeast coast, and was therefore comparatively healthy.
of the banana growers’ association on Until the recent evidence of deterioration, the Coalition’s focus had been on
the islands, insisted chlordecone was protection. Now they will need to more pro-active and work on restoration.
no longer used and said the
professor’s report had “no proper The chief culprit is nitrogen pollution, which comes from a myriad of small
scientific basis.” The islands produce sources, such as leaky septic systems, making it very hard to shut off. The nitrogen
about 260,000 tons of bananas a year causes the proliferation of algae, which makes the water murky, and which sucks
worth 150 million British pounds. up oxygen leading to a condition known as anoxia on the bottom. A key indicator is
the loss of eel grass, down 2,000 acres since 2003, leaving the bay with 1/4 of what
Once thought to be out of immediate it once had. Bay scallops are down to 10% of what they once were. They in turn are
danger, the loggerhead turtle is dependent on eel grass for their habitat; and being bottom dwellers they are further
continuing to decline according to a impacted by the lack of oxygen. Rod Taylor of Taylor Cultured Seafood, who farms
five-year study mandated by the bay scallops in Buzzards Bay, told the conference group that he grows his scallops
Endangered Species Act. The US Fish in nets suspended in the water: if they should sit on the bottom they would die.
and Wildlife Service and National
Marine Fisheries Service joint report
noted the loggerheads’ vulnerability to
beach use by humans and the fre-
Polluters Unhooked
quent hooking by ocean-going fishing
Last January’s easing by the Bush Administration of the EPA rules for so-
vessels, where restrictions against
called Toxics Release Inventory reporting hit home in Connecticut when the Journal
such accidental catches are unen-
Inquirer picked up testimony before a House energy subcommittee about the
forceable. The loggerhead’s decline
change and headlined: “EPA Rule Could Let Polluters Off Hook.” .
continues despite recovery plans and
special legal status.
Government Accountability Office (GAO) natural resources chief John
Stephenson testified that the rule change allows companies to use a a shorter
Alligators living in pesticide-tainted
reporting form if not producing more than 2,000 pounds of toxics, instead of the 500
marshes hatched about half as many
pounds criterion in force since 1995.
eggs as those in more pristine areas,
the journal Florida Today reported,
The change means that 73 facilities in Connecticut, about 21% of facilities
citing a University of Florida study. A
there, could use the shorter form. Data required on the longer form includes reports
co-author of the study, Tim Gross,
on the releases “on site,” either as leaks, smokestack emissions or deposits in
pointed out that many marshy areas
landfills and surface impoundments. Previously facilities also had to to provide their
were drained to grow food during the
basis for estimating and plans for remedial actions in the event of catastrophic
World War II era, during which
releases.
persistent pesticides such as DDT,
dieldrin, toxaphene and chlordane
The change in rules affects all states. GAO estimated that the shorter form
were used. When the marshes were
would allow each facility to save about $900, compared to EPA’s much higher
re-flooded to restore habitat, the
estimate, a total national saving, EPA said, of $5.9 million.
5
effects of the pesticides persisted.
Gross said: “It’s national. It’s not just
happening in Florida.”
State Level Sea Sense
After years of industrial pollution and
Growing awareness of the Atlantic Ocean’s deepening problems has overflows from municipal sewage
prompted keener attention at the state level, with New York and New Jersey in the systems, New Jersey’s Passaic River
lead. A new state panel in New York, recently convened, is composed of a dozen is considered one of the most polluted
state officials. It targeted for one of its first studies the Great South Bay of Long in the US. While EPA negotiates with
Island. George Stafford, chief of NY coastal management programs, cited as a spur 73 companies over payments to clean
to the new effort such issues as a rising number of beach closings, the decline in up its bottom sediments, at a cost of
numbers of fish caught, loss of habitat for plants and animals, and continued $2.3 billion, the Lower Passaic and
constuction in coastal zones. “New York was born on the waterfront and its future Saddle River Alliance and the National
depends on managing those resources” he said in a New York Times interview. The Park Service (NPS) have released a
panel will report to the state legislature in November 2008. plan to establish a kayak and canoe
trail to let the public see the problem
A similar New Jersey council would be set up by legislation proposed in firsthand and to raise consciousness.
mid-September by the NJ legislators’ Senate Environment Committee. The New The proposed trail would run 32 miles
Jersey Coastal and Ocean Protection Council would have six public members. to Kearney Point where it would
Prime sponsor of the measure, Sen. Ellen Karcher, told the Asbury Park Press that eventually join up with a similar 21-
“the main goal is to get more stakeholders to the table.” The legislation was mile route along the Hackensack
welcomed by Benson Chiles of Environmental Defense and the Coastal Ocean River. Tom Pietrykowsky, leader of
Coalition of 10 national, state and local groups. the Alliance, advocated the path as a
means to the goal of restoring the
The proposal was an outgrowth of reports from reports by the Pew Oceans entire Passaic watershed.
Committee and the US Commission on Ocean Policy, and has been promoted by,
among others, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Coastal Ocean Coalition The BioDiversity Research Institute
and the New Jersey Sierra Club and Audubon Society. has released the results of a three
year study of saltmarsh sharp-tailed
In New York, Leon Panetta, former Clinton Administration chief of staff, sparrows in New England, which
told the new panel of the failure by the US Congress to ratify the 1982 Law of the revealed that all the birds that were
SeasTreaty which was meant to spur cooperation on reducing pollution and tested had high levels of mercury, as
protecting fish stocks. He said that 90% of the big fish in the oceans – tuna, sword- much as 3.2 parts per million – a level
fish and sharks – are gone and “dead zones,” including one the size of Massachu- often found in common cormorants
setts near the mouth of the Mississippi River, are beginning to appear. and bald eagles. These latter eat fish,
which the sparrows do not, their diet
consisting of insects and nuts. Many
Reviving Smart Growth in MD fish absorb mercury (ACW July-
August 2007). The findings were
unexpected, especially as a third of
Maryland advocates of Smart Growth – the system of concentrating the sites where the birds were tested
growth to counter sprawl – are looking to Governor Martin O’Malley to revive the were in wildlife refuges where the
concept launched 10 years ago in the state but honored since then primarily in the environment is protected from local
breach. sources of industrial pollution.

A 10th anniversary conference on Maryland’s program was held in early Restorations


October, led off by the former governor who kickstarted it, Parris N. Glendening.
Now head of a national advocacy group, the National Center for Smart Growth and The University of Maine’s Center on
Education, Glendening said the concept has spread nationwide and other states Aging is attempting to launch a
have made improvements on the original law. He conceded a lack of oversall program in which unused prescription
success in Maryland but pointed to accomplishments in Hyattsville, Hagerstown, drugs can be mailed free in a pouch
Silver Spring and Easton, adding that the allied Rural Legacy program has helped addressed to the Drug Enforcement
preserve more than 400,000 acres. Administration instead of being
flushed down the drain, a practice
The concept received little support from O’Malley’s predecessor republican suspected of polluting water with toxic
Governor Bob Ehrlich. Other reasons for less than crowning success include: control substances. Fish with sexual abnor-
by the state of only 5% of the funding for the concept; resistance by local officials to malities have been found in streams in
interference in local zoning practices; and fear of over-development by residents of Virginia and Maine, with the effects
urban neighborhoods. In addition, funding for transportation initiatives has fallen possibly caused by estrogens or anti-
short. Advocates are pinning their hopes on the new governor, according to the bacterial soaps. The center is working
Washington Post, which noted that O’Malley has hired several members of with the Maine DEA, the Food and
Glendening’s former staff who worked on the legislation. Others contend that Drug Administration and the US
O’Malley remains less than fully committed to the program. Postal Service, with a $150,000 grant
6
from the EPA, in hopes of developing a
program that can be used throughout
the nation. The program was reported
by the Bangor Daily News. Corn and The Chesapeake Bay
Two organizations active in address- New research on biofuels as alternatives to fossil fuels fingers corn for
ing strandings of marine mammals threatening water supplies, adding new loads of fertilizer and nitrogen to the
have merged in order, they said, to environment, and creating economic tensions in the world marketplace while doing
increase the efficiency of their efforts. little or nothing to reduce greenhouse gases. The reality check was applied to the
The Cape Cod Stranding Network is Chesapeake Bay in a recent report from the Chesapeake Bay Commission titled
merging with the International Funds “Biofuels and the Bay: Getting It Right to Benefit Farms, Forests and the Chesa-
for Animal Welfare (IFAW). The small peake.”
non-profit Cape based network
expects to improve its programs and The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
gain access to IFAW’S international chimed in, warning of increasing economic problems. Even if burning biofuels may
scientific and animal rescue experi- produce lower levels of greenhouse gases, OECD continued, “the overall environ-
ence. mental impact of ethanol and biodiesel can very easily exceed those of petrol and
mineral diesel.” OECD was particularly critical of corn subsidies in the US, Canada
The Center for Biological Diversity and elsewhere.
linked ocean acid levels to human
production of carbon dioxide in The Associated Press reported on research by Jerald Schnoor at the
petitioning seven states to reduce University of Iowa, who noted heavy uses of fertilizer and water for corn produc-
CO2. Alaska, Washington, Oregon and tion. Nobel Prize winning chemist Paul Crutzen warned in a late-September report
Hawaii were charged to protect that thanks to industrial farming methods most crops grown for biofuels in the US
against acidification of the Pacific and and Europe could actually speed up global warming. Professor Keith Smith, co-
New York, New Jersey and Florida author of this report, told Reuters that the nitrous oxide alone used to fertilize corn
were urged to protect the Atlantic. A can cancel out the overall benefit of biofuels.
similar petition was lodged in Califor-
nia in February. The petitions cited The comprehensive report on the Chesapeake Bay predicted that farmers
the Clean Water Act. Calling acidifica- will be planting 300,000 new acres of corn over the next few years, bombarding the
tion “global warming’s evil twin,” bay with additional fertilizers. The report’s leader, Bill Matuszeski, warned: “We’ve
Miyoko Sakashita of the center stated got to deal with the short-term impact of all this corn.” He added: “Nevertheless,
that listing of the oceans as impaired the corn production issue is driven by national policies and largely outside the
would mandate limits on the discharge region’s hands. There is nothing we can do to stop the move to corn.” Ethanol
of pollutants. She noted that “a blenders are given a 51 cent per gallon tax credit in the US. The report held out the
comprehensive national policy to curb hope that using switchgrass instead of corn could solve many predicted problems,
greenhouse gas emissions would be but stated that the technology needed for switchgrass does not yet exist. If 300,000
preferable.” As reported by the acres of hay and pastureland were planted to switchgrass, the crop would divert
Associated Press, the petitions said more than 25 million pounds of nitrogen from the bay. By contrast, best manage-
that oceans absorb millions of tons of ment practices led to a reduction of only 10.4 million pounds over a 5-year period.
CO2 each day, creating danger for a
major marine food source, ocean A major strength of the Chesapeake report was its discussion of possible
plankton. Hawaii and Florida have alternative crops and methods for state or federal subsidies to encourage the
ocean reefs that ocean acidification crops, recognizing that farmers, foresters and others will need stabilized economic
will erode more quickly, the petitions support. Governors and state legislatures need to “get out in front on this move-
charged. ment,” the report urged. If their leadership fails, the report continued, “the bay will
suffer the consequences.”
Report Cards

A University of Illinois study of catch-


and-release angling finds that the
NJ Flunks Water Test
experience leaves fish weakened and
more vulnerable as prey. The subject The US Fish and Wildlife Service has given New Jersey’s proposed water
of the study was the bonefish, an avid standards a failing grade. Its recent letter to the state Department of Environment
fighter. Add to the time being reeled (DEP) cites danger to bald eagles, falcons and aquatic life from mercury, DDT and
in, the time the fish is out of the water PCBs. The letter states that“The EPA and the State continue to be in noncompliance
to be unhooked and measured, during with the Service’s (1996) Biological Opinion and may be vulnerable to legal chal-
which the fish receives no oxygen and lenges.” Said Bill Wolfe, New Jersey director of Public Employees for Environmen-
the result is a woozy fish that will need tal Responsibility (PEER) and a former DEP analyst: “New Jersey is again propos-
hours to recover. Anglers should ing new water quality standards that ignore impacts on wildlife – how lame is that?
strive to catch and release as expedi- In New Jersey, it’s really the petrochemical industry and polluters – not the DEP –
tiously as possible, preferably in less who set the agenda for water quality standards.” PEER has sent a letter to EPA
than 4 minutes. demanding action.
7
An estimate by the Metropolitan
Washington Council of Governments
of carbon dioxide production put the
Lobsters & LI Sound area at the bottom of the class, with
more CO2 emitted than in each of five
This fishing season has been especially discouraging to lobstermen in countries – Hungary, Finland, Sweden,
Long Island Sound. It had been hoped that the lobster population would have Denmark and Switzerland. As re-
started to come back, as it has been seven years since the major die-off that ported by the Washington Post, the
occurred in 1999. It takes seven years for a lobster to reach maturity, and the San Francisco Bay area produces
fishermen were looking for a turn-around this year. more CO2, but it also has 8.8 million
people, compared to the D.C. area’s 5
The decline in the fishery has been dramatic: the value of the annual catch million, ranking D.C. and suburbs as
in the late 1990s was $42 million whereas it was down to $8 million a year between the highest in per capita production.
2002 and 2005. Landings dropped from 13 million to 2 million pounds. Fishermen The Post report noted that transporta-
are leaving the business: New York State issued only 458 commercial licenses in tion pollution in the area is thought to
2005 as compared to a peak of 1,265 in 1994. be the second-worst in the country,
accounting for 22.6 million metric tons,
A major reason for the die-off in 1999 was attributed to the spraying of partly because cars sit in traffic jams,
pesticides to kill mosquitoes that might carry West Nile virus. Complicating the accounting for 34% of area emissions.
issue was the large runoff caused by Hurricane Floyd. The lobstermen brought suit
against Cheminova and other manufacturers of the chemicals (Fyfanon, in particu- Products
lar contains melathion) and won settlements out of court in 2006.
Calsaway Pool Services, Inc, located
However, the pesticides are not the only villain, that may explain why the in Tempe, AZ has developed a
population has not rebounded. Already in 1999, there were incidences of disease chemical and mechanical process to
that could be attributed to warmer water. Lobsters have a stress threshold of 68 remove heavy minerals, such as
degrees, and are more susceptible to disease beyond that. The warming trend has calcium and magnesium, and elimi-
continued, especially in the western sound which is further from the cooling Atlantic nate algae and bacteria in the water
waters. Last year the Millstone Power Station, near New London, Connecticut, without draining the pool. Typically, a
recorded the highest average water temperatures in more than a century. In their pool needs to have its water replaced
report on climate change published in July, the Northeast Climate Impacts Assess- every two years or so, depending on
ment group flatly states “by mid-century ocean warming is projected to eliminate the quality of the water. Calsaway’s
suitable lobster habitat in Long Island Sound.” method uses chemicals that bond with
the minerals and biological matter,
causing them to precipitate. The water
Ocean Research Ramps Up, cont’d from p. 1 is then passed through a filter in their
truck and poured back into the pool.
According to the company’s web-site,
The importance of underwater sound to marine life and for many other they have “conserved” 3,600,000
fields such as weather prediction is also being acknowledged via several other gallons in the past 6 months.
large-scale projects centered primarily off the Atlantic continental shelf.
As of 2005 there were 88 million
Under WHOI’s auspices, with principal funding from the US Office of Naval electric clothes dryers in the US, each
Research (ONR), an array of 50 scientists from 12 organizations completed in consuming an average 1078 kilowatt
September a large-scale, three-dimensional mapping of the sounds in a 24-by-31- hours of energy, costing about $100
square-mile stretch of ocean about 100 miles east of Atlantic City. The project per household per year. A simple and
involved mooring 62 bundles of scientific equipment weighing nearly 100 tons, all old-fashioned way to save energy and
linked to airplane and space satellite equipment. eliminate this expenditure is with a
clothesline. However, a majority of
In shallow water along the coastal shelf, WHOI said, the ocean interacts homeowners’ associations, of which
with the atmosphere as its surface is warmed or cooled, producing water masses there are over 300,000, will not allow
or layers with substantially different temperatures than deeper water. Tides create them, as flapping laundry is consid-
internal waves which have important impacts. And the sea surface is cluttered with ered unsightly. There is now an
ships and waves. All these forces serve to increase the difficulty of predicting how activist group, Project Laundry List
sound waves travel. (www.laundrylist.org), which helps
coordinate legislative efforts to
ONR program manager Ellen Livingston noted that the area off the coast of overturn these bans. Such legislation
New Jersey had been well studied but the project affords an opportunity to use the has been passed in Florida and Utah.
latest technology and research advancements. Said Jim Lynch of WHOI, a co-
director of the project: “Over the coming years, this cornucopia of new observa- High hopes were being held out by
tions should provide the grist for the acousticians, physical oceanographers, scientists for use of algae to create
geologists and engineers to make significant leaps in understanding the shallow biofuel, as reported by Kiplinger’s
water environment.” Biofuels Market Alert and
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.


Checks can be made payable to the Sustainable Development Institute.

Worldwatch Institute, but the latter


pointed out that while a much larger
payoff on much smaller areas is Snakes Stall Development
possible, creating an optimal environ-
ment for algae can be difficult and New Jersey rules to protect endangered species, specifically the corn
costly. Algae were said to provide the snake and the northern pine snake, have held back construction plans made by
most environmentally friendly crop for Wal-Mart and a home developer, and may also inhibit a project for widening the
producing biomass, but open ponds Garden State Parkway. As described in the Philadelphia Inquirer, developers are
are often host to a wide range of other seething, arguing that finding a few snakes common in other parts of the country
species and balancing temperature, and available at pet stores shouldn’t hold up projects worth millions of dollars.
light levels, fluid circulation and other
factors were seen as costly problems. But the snakes are relatively rare in New Jersey, and policies to protect
In experimental work, algae have been them are defended by Carleton Montgomery, director of the Pinelands Preserva-
used to produce hydrogen in addition tion Alliance. “These snakes are part of an ecosystem,” he said, “and they’re a
to oils. Anastasios Melis of the Univer- predator in the life of the Pine Barrens.You’d be removing one of the key pieces of
sity of California, Berkeley, said he has the puzzle in our ecosystem.” Manchester Mayor Michael Fressola said Wal-Mart
created a mutant alga that make had offered to buy property behind its site for a snake preserve, install two pine
better use of sunlight, which gives a snakes there, and monitor their movements electronically. The proposal was
better hope of producing adequate turned down by the state Department of Environmental Protection. Wal-Mart has
hydrogen. The process was said to be appealed to a state administrative law judge, who has yet to rule. A 110-home
at least five years from being used for development project by developer Bob Meyer was stopped when three corn
hydrogen production. Others involved snakes were discovered on the site. Said Meyer: “I think sometimes we create
in algae biofuels research include laws and follow the letter and the bigger picture is forgotten.”
Lawrence Berkeley National Labora-
tory and Live Fuels, Menlo Park, CA. The New Jersey Turnpike Authority said it would build a $9 million tunnel
beneath an expanded parkway to allow snakes and other wildlife to make it across
the highway. Jackson Township officials are considering whether to require more
Funding environmental studies before granting zoning and planning approval.

Saving the red drum is such a priority


for two young entrepreneurs, reports
the Myrtle Beach Sun News, that they With Appreciation
have founded a company on its behalf.
When Floridians Ross Appel and Rex Our warm thanks to these donors, whose much needed and warmly
Taylor learned of efforts at the welcomed contributions have been recently received:
Waddell Mariculture Center near
Bluffton, SC to restock the fish in local Arthur A. Birney Mr. and Mrs. A. Wright Palmer
waters, they launched a company to Robin Clarke John H. Schafer
sell golf shirts featuring embroidered Dorothy P. Miller A. Ann Stone
fish. 8% of the profit on each shirt will Gail S. Moloney Mary M. Thacher
go to Waddell or any other group Louisa and William Newlin Tilia Foundation
working on red drum conservation. Herbert and Enid C.B. Okun William Blunt White