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Atlantic CoastWatch

March-April 2008
Critical Area Beefed Up
The results of Maryland’s three-month General Assembly session, which News For Coastal Advocates
recently ended, disappointed many environmentalists. A strong bill to curb carbon
dioxide emissions lost resoundingly in response to pressures from labor unions and Critical Area Beefed Up 1
industry. The legislature also put off enforcement of a ban on dishwasher phos-
phates, nutrients which help load the Chesapeake Bay with excess algae and dead
zones. At least, though, the members of Maryland’s house and senate did agree to
LI Faces Green Issues 1
breathe some new life into the state’s innovative and potentially powerful Critical
Area law. Sayings 2

Originally enacted in 1984, this law imposes sharp limits on development Courts & the Seashore 3
within 1,000 feet of the bay, and created a 29-member Critical Area Commission
to oversee the law. Administration of the law has, however, been consistently weak
SmartBikes Fly into DC 3
with many violations going unreported for want of adequate funding for inspec-
tors, or settled locally by means of waivers or variances. But this year, when state
governor Martin O’Malley introduced a new bill to reform the old law, a coalition Greener Marinas 3
of some 40 environmental groups lined up behind it and helped secure its passage
by lopsidedly favorable votes in both houses. Publications 4
(Continued on p.8)
Windpower Gains Favor 4
LI Faces Green Issues
Threats from Plastics 5
New York’s Long Island and adjacent waters, long buffeted by the spread
of development and pollution, have recently faced new threats on several fronts.
Chesapeake Crab Emergency 5
Responses from citizens and some public officials have grown firmer. Examples:

Since 2004 Broadwater Energy, a partnership between Shell Oil and Sea Level Rise Hits Home 6
TransCanada Pipelines Ltd., has been seeking permission to moor a huge,
$700 million liquid natural gas terminal in the middle of Long Island Sound. The Tide Floods for Power 6
facility would help meet growing regional energy needs. Feelings ran strong on both
sides of the issue with many allegations about the threat of terrorism, safety and SE Drought Lingers 7
environmental concerns. For a long time there seemed no end to the protracted
battle. But recently, and to the surprise of many, New York’s new Governor David
Paterson cut off local debate about it by joining Connecticut’s governor, M. Jodi Fish as Straphangers 8
Rell, in turning down Shell’s bid.
Recurring
Said the New York Times: “Long Island Sound could probably survive the
addition of a permanent industrial barge the length of four football fields, and fish-
People; Awards; Species &
ing boats and pleasure boaters could probably learn to cope with gas tankers, and
everyone could probably live with the remote possibility of a big gas explosion on
Habitats; Restorations;
the Sound. But it’s not worth the accumulation of those insults to the Sound and its Report Cards; Products;
stressed ecosystem.” What Broadwater critics must do, the paper continued, is prac- Funding
tice greater energy conservation, rely more on wind and solar power, and improve
existing power plants in the region. Atlantic CoastWatch is a bi-
monthly nonprofit newsletter for
In the aftermath of Paterson’s announcement, the company announced it
would seek help from the US Secretary of Commerce in getting the decision re-
those concerned with environ-
versed, an appeal that could take a year or more and involve court fights. But many mentally sound coastal develop-
politicians and environmentalists expressed confidence that the battle is over. ment between the Gulf of Maine
(Continued on p.7) and the eastern Caribbean.
2
Atlantic CoastWatch
Sayings
Vol. 12, No. 2
In my work as a scientist, I find that few people really appreciate how far
A project of the Sustainable the oceans have been altered from their pre-exploitation state, even among profes-
Development Institute, which seeks sionals like fishery biologists or conservationists. A collective amnesia surrounds
to heighten the environmental qual- changes that happened more than a few decades ago, as hardly anyone reads old
books or reports. People also place most trust in what they have seen for them-
ity of economic development efforts
selves, which often leads them to dismiss as far-fetched tales of giant fish or seas
in coastal regions, by communicat-
bursting with life from the distant, or even the recent, past. The worst part of these
ing information about better policies
“shifting environmental baselines” is that we come to accept the degraded condition
and practices. SDI is classified as a of the sea as normal. Those charged with looking after the oceans set themselves
501(c)(3) organization, exempt from unambitious management targets that simply attempt to arrest declines, rather
federal income tax. than rebuild to the richer and more productive states that existed in the past.

Board of Directors If we are to break out of this spiral of diminishing returns and diminished
expectations of the sea, then it is vital that we gain a clearer picture of how things
Freeborn G. Jewett, Jr., Chair have changed and what has been lost. I am optimistic for the future. The creation of
Robert J. Geniesse, Chair Emeritus national and international networks of marine protected areas, together with some
Roger D. Stone, President simple reforms in the way we fish, could reverse this run of misfortune. It will take
Dale K. Lipnick, Treasurer concerted public pressure and political will to change attitudes that have become
Gay P. Lord, Secretary entrenched over hundreds of years. But if today’s generations do not grasp this op-
Nelse L. Greenway portunity, tomorrow’s may not get the chance because many of the species now in
David P. Hunt decline will have gone extinct.
Hassanali Mehran
Simon Sidamon-Eristoff We cannot return the oceans to some primordial condition absent of hu-
man influence. But it is in everyone’s interest to recover some of the lost abundance
Advisers of creatures in the sea. Fishers, seafood lovers, snorkelers, and scuba divers are ob-
viously high on the list of beneficiaries, but everybody has a stake in healthy oceans.
William H. Draper, III For generations, people have admired the denizens of the sea for their size, ferocity,
Gary Hartshorn strength, or beauty. But we are slowly realizing that marine animals and plants are
Stephen P. Leatherman not merely embellishments to be wondered at. They are essential to the health of
Jerry R. Schubel the oceans and the well-being of human society. Diverse and intact marine eco-
Christopher Uhl systems are more productive, healthier, and more resilient than degraded ones.
Overfishing is an important contributor to many of the adverse changes that have
Staff happened to oceans and coasts in recent times—dead zones, toxic algal blooms,
flesh-eating microbes, beaches covered with slime and jelly-fish explosions, to name
Roger D. Stone, Director & President a few. Today, we are paying the price for over a hundred years of negligence in
Shaw Thacher, Executive Director ocean conservation. We need to restore the abundance of sea life and give marine
Ron Grandon, Contributing Editor ecosystems a chance to repair themselves if the planet is to remain healthy.
Anita Herrick, Contributing Editor
Robert C. Nicholas III, Contr. Editor (Excerpted from The Unnatural History of the Sea by Callum M.
Roberts. Copyright © 2007 by the author. Reproduced by permission of Island
Press. To order, please call 1-800-621-2736 or visit www.islandpress.org.)
Foundation Donors

Avenir Foundation
The Fair Play Foundation With Appreciation
The Madriver Foundation
The Marpat Foundation We extend special and warm thanks to Roger and Vicki Sant, and to
The Curtis and Edith Munson Hart Fessenden, for making timely and generous donations to the improvements
Foundation we are making in our information services. We add our great appreciation for re-
newals from these other long-time donors:
The Environmental Film Festival
in the Nation’s Capital, which for- Wendy W. Benchley Mr. and Mrs. Wright Palmer
merly operated under the auspices of Helen Evarts Eric Ostergaard
the Sustainable Development Institute Nelse L. Greenway John Shober
is now functioning as an independent Sarah Barlow Ittmann Clyde E. Shorey Jr.
501(c)3 non-for-profit organization. Anthony Knerr Mr. and Mrs. Constantine Sidamon-Eristoff
Lucy and Peter Lowenthal Sally Wardwell
www.dcenvironmentalfilmfest.org George Muser Robert G. Wilmers
3
People
Courts & the Seashore
William W. Warner, author of
z In April 2007 the US Supreme Court held that greenhouse gases are the much-acclaimed book Beauti-
pollutants. The Court ordered the EPA to decided whether the gases were endan- ful Swimmers about the Chesa-
gering human health or the environment, and, if so, that it regulate car and truck peake Bay blue crab, died at age
emissions. This April, in the absence of a response from the agency, a coalition of 88. Previously a public servant with
18 states led by Massachusetts filed suit asking that a District of Columbia appeals the United States Information
court demand a response from the agency within 60 days. Massachusetts Attorney Agency, the Peace Corps, and the
General Martha Coakley said that the “incontestable dangers” resulting from the Smithsonian Institution, Warner
agency’s failure to respond had compelled the plaintiffs to take this “extraordinary embarked later in life on his writing
measure.” States joining Massachusetts in the new lawsuit include Maine, Rhode career, delighting many by winning
Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland. a Pulitzer Prize for this initial liter-
New York City, Baltimore, and Washington, DC also joined the suit, as did 11 envi- ary effort. His subsequent writings
ronmental groups. include the book Distant Water, an
important early warning signal about
z The US Supreme Court upheld Delaware’s control over the Delaware the hazards, hardships and ecological
River, maintaining that the smallest state can block a massive liquid petroleum dangers of uncontrolled commercial
pier planned by New Jersey, which said the annual delivery of 1.2 billion cubic feet deep-sea fishing. Warner tackled any
of natural gas would have been enough to supply every home in the 2 states and subject with boundless curiosity and
eastern Pennsylvania. The 2,000-foot pier would have allowed offloading of up to enthusiasm--especially if it involved
3 tankers a week, and the river would have had to be dredged. The Delaware rights encounters with the natural world.
date from a 1682 land grant from the Duke of York to William Penn. Warner was the quintessential Atlan-
tic Coast-watcher.

Fakhri Bazzaz, Harvard professor


SmartBikes Fly into DC in the biology department from 1984
until his retirement in 2004, died
Back in the 1960s, the city of Amsterdam deployed a fleet of white bicycles in February. A pioneer who recog-
for people to pick up and drop off, free of charge. To the dismay of the project’s orig- nized early on the dangers of climate
inators, many were stolen. More recently, reports the New York Times, higher-tech change, Bazzaz published an impor-
bike-sharing programs have cropped up elsewhere in Europe, with new successes tant paper on the effects of carbon di-
scored in Barcelona and in Paris. oxide in 1990. In 1992, he was invited
by Senator Al Gore to testify before
Now a promising automated system called SmartBike is being set up a Congressional Committee about the
in Washington, DC with the District government and Clear Channel Outdoor effects of carbon dioxide on climate
as partners. 120 three speed bikes are being placed, like Zipcars, at 10 locations change. Bazzaz was born in Baghdad
around town. Members ($40 a year) can go to a location, swipe a card, check out for and became an American citizen in
3 hours and return it to any location. Clear Channel, which will manage the pro- 1978. He continued to contribute to
gram, gets to bank revenues and wins exclusive use of the city’s bus shelters to place science in Iraq, helping to found its
advertising. The new bike option, say city transportation officials, will help relieve National Academy of Science.
congestion and pollution.
Conservationist David Challinor,
a longtime scientific administrator at
the Smithsonian Institution, died
Greener Marinas in March. In 1966, having newly re-
ceived his doctorate in biology at Yale,
The first initiative was the Federal Government’s with the Clean Vessel Act he was recruited by the secretary, Dil-
in 1992 which awarded funds to states to build pump out stations at marinas. Those lon Ripley, and soon rose to the posi-
which have received federal funds cannot charge more than $5 for the service, thus tion of assistant secretary of science
encouraging boaters to make use of them. In the late 1990s Florida and Maryland and research. For the Smithsonian’s
were the first states to encourage voluntary programs at marinas; and since then 20 scientific staff, he wrote numerous
more states have followed their lead. essays on a wide-range of topics, con-
tinuing to do so after his retirement
Responses from the boating and marina communities have been posi- in 1996. This engaging collection can
tive. Fuel spillage, sewage and toxic pollution have been curtailed. State govern-
ments, boating groups, and non-profits have made a concerted effort to provide Erratum: In the January/February
clear information to boaters and marinas. The Clean Marina guidebooks have been issue the number of local Waterkeeper
particularly helpful in setting guidelines to insure compliance with environmental Alliance programs was incorrectly
laws. According to BoatUS magazine, in 2006 the EPA did go after five marinas in tallied. There are 177. Our thanks go to
the Northeast, imposing sanctions and fines. So, even though the “green marina” Rachel Cook of the Waterkeeper Alli-
programs are voluntary, they are backed up by federal and state laws. ance for pointing out this error.
4
be found online in the Smithsonian’s
Digital Repository, under the title Let- Publications
ters from the Desk of David Challinor
Conservation. z Food writer and editor Rowan Jacobsen, managing editor of The Art of
Eating, ate his first oyster at age 12 and “left childhood behind.” His book A Geog-
John Baldacci, governor of Maine, raphy of Oysters (Bloomsbury 2007) is both a warm tribute to the bivalve, and a
issued a strong plea for energy conser- practical guide to finding, identifying, and eating it.
vation at a well attended conference
on the subject. Noting that of the $5 z Serious scholars have fun in the book Atlantic Coast Beaches: A Guide
billion a year that the state pays for to Ripples, Dunes, and Other Natural Features of the Seashore (Moun-
energy three quarters of those dollars tain Press Publishing Company, 2007). This knowledgeable guide to beach history
“flow straight out of Maine” to pay for explores the Atlantic seashore from Maine to Florida, pointing to ways to “read” a
imported fuels and power, he argued beach for clues as to the processes that formed and change it. Lead author is biol-
that his “selfish goal” for the state is ogy professor William J. Neal of Grand Valley State University in Michigan.
to “do everything we can to keep our Co-authors are geologist Orrin H. Pilkey of Duke University and earth scientist
energy dollars in our own pockets.” Joseph Kelley of the University of Maine.
His target, he said, is to “have the
most energy efficient economy in New z “My conclusion, after much searching and considerable reluctance,” writes
England.” James Gustave Speth in his new book The Bridge at the Edge of the World
(Yale University Press 2008), “is that most environmental deterioration is a result
Awards of systemic failures of the capitalism that we have today.” Dean of Yale’s School of
Forestry and Environmental Studies, a founder of the World Resources Insti-
Among the winners of high-prestige tute and the former head of the United Nations Development Program, Speth
2008 NOAA awards for “outstanding persuasively argues for a new form of capitalism and a broadened “environmental
efforts in coastal and ocean manage- revolution” that embraces human rights and environmental justice.
ment:” graduate students Catherine
McNally at the University of
Rhode Island, Anirudh Ullal at
North Carolina State University, Wind Power Gains Favor
and Heather Ward at East Caro-
lina University. Also honored were Residential wind turbines are becoming more prevalent in populated areas
Kathleen Leyden in the Maine as a result of improvements in the technology which make it possible to feed the
State Planning Office, J&B Aqua- electricity back to a power company, thus providing a financial incentive as well as
food of North Carolina in the “excel- by-passing the need for back-up battery systems. Where tax incentives are lacking
lence in business leadership” category, from the federal government states are taking the lead .
and Maine’s Island Institute as
“non-governmental organization of Voters at the annual town meeting of Harvard, MA rejected a petition to
the year.” allow residents to erect residential wind turbines. But two things pointed to a future
positive outcome. First, in order to pass, this particular measure required a 2/3
Species & Habitats majority, and the split was roughly 50/50 according to the Boston Globe. Second,
the town’s planning board is working on a similar proposal to be presented within
The Caribbean island of Barbados, the next year. The consensus there is that wind power is in their future.
once richly forested, became largely
denuded during colonial time to make In New Jersey, reported the Daily Record, a group of lawmakers and envi-
way for sugar plantations. Further de- ronmentalists celebrated Earth Day by setting a 2020 goal for the state to generate
forestation resulted from more recent 1,750 megawatts of energy from offshore wind farms—enough, said the paper, to
development at every level, from large power over 450,000 homes. The proposal goes well beyond the state’s draft energy
resorts to households with flower plan, which calls for at least 1,000 megawatts from renewable sources by 2020.
gardens. Now, reports The Nation,
the National Conservation Com- Polls conducted by two eminent national market research firms
mission is fighting back with a plan (McLaughlin & Associates, and Penn Schoen & Berland Associates) for
to plant 80,000 trees—one for every Florida Power and Light (FPL) revealed that 73% of respondents supported put-
person on the island under age 18. ting wind turbines on Hutchinson Island in St. Lucie County. That number jumped
to 81% when they were told that the towers would be erected on “Treasure Coast”
Squid beaks may improve the quality land that is owned by FPL.
of artificial limbs for people, reports
the Orlando Sentinel. The trick, re- Although Congress did not set standards for utilities in last year’s energy
ported researchers at the University bill, many states have jumped in with their own requirements. California has the
of California, Santa Barbara, is most demanding and has set a goal of 20% of the electricity produced to be from
that the beak is hard and razor-sharp renewable resources by 2010. More wind farms and solar power plants will be re-
at the tip, enabling giant squids to quired to achieve that goal.
“chomp away at fish for dinner,” but
5
softer and more flexible at the base.
Threats from Plastics Said researcher Frank Zok: “If we
could reproduce the property gra-
A paper at a February session of the American Association for the dients that we find in squid beak, it
Advancement of Science generated headlines of “devastation” to fish and “seri- would open new possibilities for join-
ous threat” from a class of man-made pollutants known as endocrine-disrupting ing materials.”
chemicals (EDCs) that mimic or antagonize naturally occurring hormones found in
humans and wildlife. The seven-year study of lake-bound minnows by University A recent genetic analysis suggests that
of New Brunswick scientists was described by lead researcher Karen Kidd as early in the 20th century the popula-
showing that “estrogenic chemicals can wipe out entire populations of small fish.” tion of Florida’s panthers dropped to
Because a variety of experiments demonstrated adverse impacts at levels now com- as few as six animals all descended
mon to fresh and saltwater environments, researchers recommend that EDCs be from one single female, reported
treated at wastewater facilities and removed from municipal water supplies, in addi- Arizona State University research-
tion to production phase-outs. ers Melanie Culver and Philip
Hedrick. This genetic bottleneck
In mammals estrogenic exposure to EDCs has been found to generate pros- threatened the species with extinc-
trate and breast cancer, cause diabetes II and lead to adverse immune, behavioral tion, reported the New Scientist, until
(hyperactivity) developmental and reproduction system impacts. In birds, for ex- 8 female pumas imported from Texas
ample, exposure to sex hormone altering EDCs results in changes to the melodies of in 1995 saved the day. Though badly
their songs. For fish, EDCs damage reproductive capacities, including feminizing harrassed by development, Florida’s
male fish, among many other documented woes within the archives of the National panthers have increased in number to
Institute of Environmental Health’s Environmental Health Perspectives. about 100.

Among EDCs receiving intense political scrutiny in North America is Bis- The roseate tern, a species that has
phenol A (BPA), ubiquitously found in household “hard” plastics known as polycar- suffered greatly from disease and from
bonates (identified by the recycling code of 7 or PC) used for food containers, soda gull predation at its nesting sites, is
and water bottles, and for the linings of cans that store food. Following a public “on the brink of extinction” according
outcry and a pre-emptive ban by Health Canada, the US House of Represen- to Jack Clarke at the Massachu-
tatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee has begun examining how the EPA and setts Audubon Society. Remain-
FDA maintained their approval of BPA, based on two industry studies. More than ing colonies, reports the Cape Cod
100 studies performed during the last decade demonstrated consistent and sig- Times, are restricted to a few remote
nificant damage to wildlife and humans, at concentrations commonly found in US islands in the US northeast, especially
citizens. ones in or near Buzzards Bay. At one
of these, shrinking Bird Island off
Most recently, Senators have introduced a bill to ban BPA from all products Sippican Harbor, a team composed
that children under the age of 7 might be exposed to. In advance of such legisla- of Massachusetts Audubon, the US
tion Toys-R-Us and Walmart have begun removing BPA containing products Army Corps of Engineers, and the
from their shelves. Nalgene, the maker of clear plastic water bottles, has stopped windpower developer Cape Wind
selling them. Said Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) “There have been enough is embarked on a cooperative effort
warning signs about the dangers of this chemical that we cannot sit idly by and con- to save both the island and critical
tinue to allow vulnerable children and infants to be exposed.” To date little political nesting grounds for some 750 nesting
concern has been expressed over the widespread impacts to ecosystems. pairs of roseate terns—more than 20%
of the entire North American popula-
tion. Their project, costing some $4
million, involves breakwater construc-
Chesapeake Crab Emergency tion and rebuilding portions of the
storm-battered 3-acre island with
Governors Martin O’Malley and Tim Kaine, of Maryland and Virginia dredging spoils.
respectively, announced that they would set restrictions on the harvest of female
crabs in the Chesapeake Bay. The females, called sooks, are the most sought after Wendy Benchley, the widow of
as they are the best for crab cakes and soup. According to their joint statement “the Peter Benchley, author of “Jaws”,
crab populations are down 70% from 1990 levels.” But last year watermen harvested spoke out against the annual shark
60% of the crabs in the bay, way beyond a sustainable level. fishing tournament at a recent
selectmen’s meeting in the town of
Overfishing is part of the problem, but not the principal cause of the deple- Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard in
tion of the crabs, contends the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Virginia director Massachusetts. She was speaking on
Virginia Jennings, who points at the environmental degradation of the bay due behalf of the Humane Society of
to warming waters and run-off from farms and suburban development. According the United States. The “Monster
to Ken Smith of the Virginia Watermen’s Association, quoted in the Times- Shark Tournament” has been a cause
Dispatch: “The problem is pollution... If anybody has been hurt because of pollu- of the Humane Society’s since 2005.
tion, it’s definitely the watermen” and others who depends on the crab harvest. Last year there were 1.250 contestants
according to the Cape Cod Times. Ms.
6
Benchley feels that it would be better
to call attention to the beauty and Sea Level Rise Hits Home
importance of sharks; and said that
her husband had taken an interest in The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been
their conservation, working on films conservative in its estimates of likely sea level rise during the current century, ac-
for the New England Aquarium, cording to a new study. The IPCC has forecast an average rise of between 28 and
before he died. 43 centimeters by 2100. But now, BBC News reports, an Anglo-Finnish computer
modeling team at Britain’s Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory predicts an
Paradise Island in the Bahamas hosts average rise of between .8 of a meter and an alarming 1.5 meters—enough to inun-
Atlantis, the lost continent of myth date all or most of whole countries such as Bangladesh. The difference, said Proud-
which sunk beneath the waves. In this man researcher Svetlana Jevrejeva, is that the IPCC was not able to factor in the
case it’s the world’s largest open- contribution of “accelerated” melting of polar ice sheets.
air marine habitat containing some
50.000 marine animals, housed in In low-lying Florida, even projections said to be conservative have begun
a series of lagoons,and featuring 11 to trigger serious apprehensions. To celebrate Earth Day, the unofficial Miami-
major exhibits. The Ruins represents a Dade County Climate Change Task Force issued a report noting that Greater
sunken boulevard with fish from local Miami, perhaps the world’s most vulnerable spot for flood losses, would be the first
islands in 2.3 million gallons of sea- place in the nation to experience high-tide incursions of seawater and the total loss
water. In another, the Dig, morays live of barrier islands. The area could not withstand even a less dramatic than now
happily in clay storage pots in one of forecast rise in sea level without major changes in policies and practices, notes the
the rooms “excavated.” And of course report. The group presented local officials with a package of 35 recommendations
there is a 7-million-gallon dolphin which, said the Miami Herald, “cover everything from transportation to zoning,
habitat. Michelle Lieu, vice presi- including phasing out gas-guzzler taxis for hybrids starting in 2008 and burning
dent of Marine Aquarium Operations, ‘bio-fuels’ such as used cooking oil in the county fleet.” The report also calls for ma-
told the Miami Herald of a helicop- jor changes in planning to avoid development in high-risk areas and protection for
ter transporting a nearly full-grown rural areas and wildlife.
manta ray back to the wild (tagged
of course). There are three mantas at While the report is hardly the first to warn south Floridians of dangers
Atlantis, one with 12-foot wingspread. ahead from sea level rise, says the paper, it is fresh in that it “shows impacts at the
local scale.” Citizens are taking notice. “We have nowhere to run,” said geologist
Restorations Harold Wanless at the University of Miami. For a look at how sealevel rise
might affect your stretch of the Atlantic coast, check out the Google-powered web-
The Cayman Islands have lost 50% of site www.globalwarming.com/sealevel.
their hard corals in the past 10 years,
reports London’s Daily Telegraph.
Said Carrie Manfrino of the Cen-
tral Carribean Marine Institute: Tide Floods for Power
“We are at a very critical time in the
history of coral reefs... We could po- Some 100 billion tons of seawater flow in and out of the Bay of Fundy
tentially see the end of hard coral reefs each day, says Nova Scotia’s energy department--more than the combined flow of
in our lifetime.” Underwater pho- all the world’s freshwater rivers. Prospectively, reports Cleantech.com, the energy
tographer Cathy Church said that that could be generated from these swift-flowing waters could be enough to supply
increasing temperatures from global power to some 100,000 homes, and put the province well on its way toward its goal
warming and coral diseases spurred of getting 20% of its energy from renewable sources by 2013.
by pollution are compounding the
reef problems. Amid further reports Late last year the Nova Scotia government chose three candidates to test
of damage to Cayman coral reefs the tidal power generators in the bay. After clearing regulatory hurdles, the companies
Reef Ball Foundation issued a sta- plan to begin generating power next year. Minas Basin Pulp and Power is build-
tus report showing some successes in ing a $12 million facility to connect power from the turbines to the provincial grid.
restoration effects. The reef ball proj- Another $5 million in government money, over and above the investments being
ect, named for the design of artificial made by the companies themselves, supports the initiative.
reef implantings, noted the restora-
tion of a beach at the Cayman Beach According to the Gulf of Maine Times, an experimental tidal generating
Marriott Resort, with participation station has been operating in Annapolis, Nova Scotia since 1984, producing 20
by Marriott, Red Sail Sports and the megawatts of energy, that powers about 3,000 homes. In Northern Ireland, what
Cayman Department of Environ- the online version of the London Times called “the world’s first deep-water device
ment as well as the Reef Ball Founda- to generate electricity from the tides on a commercial scale is due to start operating
tion. About 80% of the red mangrove within weeks.” The thousand-ton turbine has been lowered into place at Strang-
stands in the Cayman Islands were ford Slough in County Down, will supply energy for 1,000 homes. Beyond the Bay
lost due to Hurricane Ivan. A priority of Fundy with its especially high potential, other areas in the US and Canada that
government effort has been to rehabil- are being explored include the fast-moving Gulf Stream off of Florida (See Atlantic
itate these stands through creation of Coast Watch Jan.-Feb.2007).
7
a nursery, to be followed by planting
LI Faces Green Issues, Cont’d from p. 1 of the nursery stock.
Report Cards
“They can appeal all they want,” said Adrienne Esposito, executive director of
Long Island’s Citizens Campaign for the Environment in an interview with The Quebec-Labrador Founda-
Newsday. “We are very confident that they are going to lose.” tion, launched fifty years ago, provid-
ed volunteer and missionary services
Back in the 1960s, the Times also reported, 60 farmers on eastern Long to remote communities along the
Island raised more than 60% of the nation’s ducks. Now all but one are gone as a coasts of Newfoundland and Labra-
consequence of tightening wastewater management regulations, increasingly shrill dor. At the helm was Reverend Rob-
complaints from environmentalists, and rising land values making it more profit- ert A. Bryan, tirelessly plying that
able for the farmers to sell out than to keep on raising ducks. Opinions vary as to rugged coastline aboard a single-en-
how much of the severe nutrient pollution in local waters comes from the remain- gine seaplane. Now, says the organiza-
ing duck farm, and how much from leaky residential cesspools. Last year the sole tion’s 50th anniversary annual report,
surviving farmers, Tom and Paul Jurgielewicz, sold development rights to their it has evolved into “a broad-ranging
47-acre property to Suffolk County and the town of Brookhaven. They retain own- 3 million dollar-a-year NGO with
ership of their land—and the right to keep on raising ducks. roots in service and commitment, and
community and environment” with
In 1998 the US Navy gave the Long Island town of Riverhead a prized “a regional heart and global reach.”
755-acre tract of pine barrens land, long the site of the Calverton airfield. In order Wrote Bryan, now retired: “Both in
to create jobs and pay off debt, the town made a deal with developers to put to- scope and geography the organization
gether a $1.5 billion resort complex on the land. The principal feature planned is an has moved in ways I could never have
indoor ski area that would tower 35 stories in height. Impeding the project are state dreamed.”
public agencies and many activist environment groups, including the influential
Long Island Pine Barrens Society, and the presence on the site of four endan- Products
gered short-eared owls. While the standoff remains unresolved, said the New York
Times, there is “increased scrutiny and speculation about whether the endangered Recently, reports the Miami Her-
ecosystem can stall the project long enough or shrink it enough to drive away the ald, a group of “blue” scientists have
principal developers.” founded a business incubator called
Marine Biotechnology in North
Carolina (MARBIONC) that “dis-
covers, develops, and markets new
SE Drought Lingers products and technologies derived
from the sea.” Already launched by
Even though the normally moist southeast US has been blessed with rain- these “aquapreneurs” are fish farms
fall lately, the novelty of severe to extreme drought in the region lingers on. Rainfall in on-shore tanks and lab studies of
has still not been sufficient to recharge depleted aquifers or soil moisture, with only marine microorganisms. Out of this
70 to 80 percent of usual rainfall having occurred since last October. research has already come a patented
treatment for cystic fibosis based on a
In fast-growing central Florida, reports the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Florida red tide molecule. Noting that
public officials face a “desperate” situation and a need to think seriously about de- water covers 70% of the earth’s sur-
salination plants despite environmental issues. For instance, said the paper, “More face, MARBIONC’s Daniel Baden
research is needed on how much marine life gets caught in filtering systems that said that safeguarding coasts and
pull water from the ocean and how that could be reduced.” Also being examined oceans will “enhance scientists’ abili-
by Florida’s State Senate, which has come to regard wastewater as a resource, are ties to make important discoveries in
measures to eliminate wastewater dumping into the ocean. Six utilities in Palm health, energy, and food.”
Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties discharge 300 millions gallons each day,
damaging corals and fouling nearshore waters rather than being usefully applied on A golf course in Centerville, VA,
lawns, golf courses and parks. sculpted from fly ash, was pointed out
in the Virginian-Pilot as a potential
The situation has provoked a variety of thoughts from communities seldom health hazard because the substance
before concerned with water scarcity or conservation. Georgia’s governor, Sonny contains arsenic and heavy metals
Perdue, has ordered water restrictions, fought to keep water in federal reservoirs, subject to leaching into water sup-
and even convened a public vigil for rain, with storms in the forecast. plies. Fly ash is a waste resulting
from the burning of coal. Fly ash is to
Atlanta Constitution columnist Jay Bookman noted the continuance of be separated from water by at least
“extreme drought” conditions as “we’re headed into the hot, dry summer months… two feet, according to state regula-
trees and plants have sprung back to life, absorbing immense amount of water from tions governing hazardous waste. Its
soil still parched from last summer’s dry spell.” Georgians learned a thing or two use for the golf course, however, was
about water conservation when normal rainfall stopped last summer, Bookman exempted from the rules because it
continued, and “It would be a great mistake if Georgia’s drought-driven commit- was considered beneficial. The ash
ment to wise use of its water resources proved to be a temporary phenomenon.” for the Battlefield Golf Club came
Atlantic CoastWatch
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from the Dominion Virginia coal-


burning power plant in Deep Creek, Fish as Straphangers
near Centerville. The article said if
Dominion had sought to develop the New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority has discovered a
site as a hazardous waste disposal novel way to dispose of old subway cars. Between 1999 and 2002, hundreds were
facility, it would have been subject to given to Atlantic seaboard states to be sunk as artificial reefs. The bottom along
intensive and expensive permitting the coasts of New Jersey, Delaware and points south is fairly featureless, con-
requirements. Lisa Evans of Earth sisting mostly of sand. These sunken behemoths offer excellent habitat for fish,
Justice and others told the paper that shellfish and algae. They have the advantage of being so heavy that they will not be
stabilizing compounds said to have rolled around by the water currents. The reefs have become productive and are a
been added to fly ash to keep it from prime destination for fishermen, both recreational and commercial.
leaching into groundwater are ineffec-
tive over the long term. Delaware recently acquired a batch - these a newer and better version
because they are made of stainless steel - which it is sinking in 80 feet of water off
Funding the Indian River Inlet. The project is almost too successful, reports the New York
Times. So many sea animals are boarding the cars that overcrowding and traffic
New York City Mayor Michael problems are breaking out, generating conflicts between commercial and sport
Bloomberg’s congestion plan for fishers visiting the site.
Manhattan never even got to the floor
of the state legislature in Albany. The
basic idea was to charge a traffic fee
of $8 to anyone driving south of 60th
Critical Areas Beefed Up, Cont’d from p. 1
Street in Manhattan during peak
hours. The plan, on which Bloomberg “Big Victory,” trilled greens, noting that the revisions give the Commis-
worked for over a year, was a key piece sion more power to administer the law, strengthen penalties for violations, and
of his environmental agenda and was extend from 100 feet of the shore to 200 feet the buffer protecting waterways from
threatened by a lawsuit by Governor all development. Said the Bay Weekly in Annapolis: “We’re quite pleased that the
John Corzine of New Jersey. Its state’s Critical Area Law was given its first overhaul in 24 years, strengthening
demise means that the city will lose provisions to protect the buffer area along the Bay and its tributaries — and clos-
out on $354 million in federal funds ing the loopholes that clever experienced users have found in the old law.
which would have paid for setting up
the system and for new bus routes. Continued the paper: “Reducing the proposed 300-foot setback for con-
Furthermore, revenues from the tolls struction on rural shoreline to 200 feet was unwise given the destructive mischief
would have been used to expand the that can occur in that 100 feet. But significantly, the bill gave the Critical Area
subway system. Pressure resulting in Commission more authority over the sort of county decisions that have blighted
the defeat came from representatives many of our shorelines and polluted our waters with unwise development. The
of constituents of the outer boroughs goal is that this legislation will limit the many variances allowing building near
and the suburbs, who saw that Man- the waterfront and will deter violations by yanking the licenses of contractors who
hattanites as the chief beneficiaries. knowingly break the law along shorelines.”