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Atlantic CoastWatch

May - June 2008


Mass. Ocean Act Leads Nation
On May 28th, using the New England Aquarium as an appropriate News For Coastal Advocates
backdrop, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed into law a bill giving
state agencies clear direction and stronger authority for planning and development Mass. Ocean Act Leads Nation 1
of its offshore waters. The Massachusetts Ocean Act is the nation’s first such law.

The legislation had been threading its way through the state legislature
Sailors Under Green Pennant 1
since 2004. The original impetus for its creation was a report issued in 2003 by
the Pew Oceans Commission, which called for significant reforms in state and Sayings 2
federal policy on coastal waters and fishery management. The urgent need for a
re-evaluation became clear in Massachusetts, which has had mounting pressures Courts & the Seashore 3
for energy development in particular, with recent proposals for LNG terminals, and
the controversial off-shore wind farm, Cape Wind. A consortium of more than 50
Old Logbooks Offer Help 3
regional and national environmental and civic groups, MassOceanAction, helped
steer the legislation through.
Publications 4
Ian Bowles, state energy and environmental affairs secretary, has until
the end of 2009 to formulate the comprehensive management plan mandated under Boaters and Gas Prices 4
the new law. The plan will cover the water up to three miles off the coast, a total of
1.6 million acres. Bowles will be assisted by a 17 member commission, with repre-
Caribbean & Climate Change 5
sentatives from the different groups that will be affected by the plan. There will also
be a science advisory board to provide guidance.
Message from the Media 5
Under the law, the secretary will be responsible for the planning, oversight,
coordination and management of ocean activity in the state’s waters. The goal is to Shad Depletion Deplored 6
try and balance commercial and recreational activities while protecting underwa-
ter ecosystems. “The Massachusetts Ocean Act provides the most comprehensive 6
EnCap Falters in NJ
approach in the nation in dealing with ocean planning.” said Susan Farady, New
England regional director for the Ocean Conservancy. “We hope this will set a
precedent for the rest of the country in implementing meaningful changes in the Managing Stormwater Better 7
way we care for our oceans.”
Citizens Fret About LNG 8

Sailors Flock Under Green Pennant Recurring

“Sailors need the ocean and the ocean needs sailors,” reads the website People; Awards; Species &
of the new nonprofit Sailors for the Sea. “So there is a great incentive for us to Habitats; Restorations;
educate ourselves and promote ocean awareness in others. Surfers, divers, and
Report Cards; Products;
recreational fishermen are already active as ocean advocates, but the sailor’s voice is
missing. Sailors for the Sea proposes to be that voice.” Based in Boston, the group
Funding
has tackled a number of issues relating to coastal and ocean degradation.
Atlantic CoastWatch is a bi-
Its model program, Clean Regattas, promotes ocean awareness and green monthly nonprofit newsletter
racecourse practices at yacht clubs, marinas, and other sponsors of yacht racing for those concerned with envi-
events. A documentary film entitled A Sea Change, now in production, focuses ronmentally sound coastal de-
attention on the causes and consequences of ocean acidification. The website,
sailorsforthesea.org, features links to news of ocean issues and provides hints for
velopment between the Gulf of
cleaner boating. Dan Pingaro, most recently an EPA staffer in San Francisco and Maine and the eastern Caribbean
himself a keen sailor, recently came aboard as Sailors for the Sea’s executive direc- ACWNews.org provides a daily
tor and CEO. President and a Founding Member is David Rockefeller Jr. news listing for the region.
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Atlantic CoastWatch
Sayings
Vol. 12, No. 3
A Fond Farewell After Two Decades of Nature Writing, by Cairn North. First
A project of the Sustainable published June 1, 2008. Reprinted with permission from the Cape Cod Times
Development Institute, which seeks
to heighten the environmental qual- I wish for you the lyric of the commonplace, the poetry of ordinary things.
Today, I am concluding more than 20 years of column writing for the Cape Cod
ity of economic development efforts
Times. For the past two decades, I have enjoyed the privilege of occupying a small
in coastal regions, by communicat-
corner of the newspaper, once a week, to write about nature and the miracles of
ing information about better policies
everyday life. It has been the greatest joy of my professional life to be allowed to
and practices. SDI is classified as a do this work and especially to get to know so many readers on Cape Cod through a
501(c)(3) organization, exempt from shared love of the natural world.
federal income tax.
In a few wicker baskets at home I have saved letters that have come in
Board of Directors over the years from readers, people writing about the loons they have witnessed
on a Maine lake along which they built a summer cottage, remembering the golden
Freeborn G. Jewett, Jr., Chair retriever they had for 14 years, recounting an amazing and delightful encounter
Robert J. Geniesse, Chair Emeritus with a coyote that harmed no one, or telling how, while raking the spring garden
Roger D. Stone, President and preparing the soil for vegetables, they discovered a fur-lined nest of cottontails.
Dale K. Lipnick, Treasurer
Gay P. Lord, Secretary These readers ­­— many of whom I have never met — have become a part
Nelse L. Greenway of each day for me, and in my mind I am often speaking to them, planning how to
David P. Hunt describe a certain atmosphere of things at sunset or in the settling dark, how to
Hassanali Mehran capture the fascination of finding a cicada nymph or examining the oversized claw
Simon Sidamon-Eristoff of a fiddler crab. When I am out in nature, I frequently feel as though I have scores
of people with me, and that I am their surrogate senses. I believe that especially
Advisers if they are not actually there, it is my job to take notes and spread the word about
what the afternoon was like, how the water appeared during the storm, the way an
William H. Draper, III osprey extended its magnificent wings and enlarged the day, how the ribs of wet
Gary Hartshorn sand appeared to lift and sigh with the slow inhalation and exhalation of the tides.
Stephen P. Leatherman Seeing these things and saying them is a way of safeguarding it all.
Jerry R. Schubel
Christopher Uhl During the years I have written a nature column, the larger world has
become the arena of greater and greater extremes, many at war with one another —
Staff politically, economically and spiritually. People are more isolated from one another
than ever and more dissociated from the earth. All too often we find ourselves
Roger D. Stone, Director & President dispirited and discontent. But of all the remedies that might be found to ease our
Shaw Thacher, Executive Director distress, nothing is more immediate and potent than nature.
Ron Grandon, Contributing Editor
Anita Herrick, Contributing Editor If I could give back to my readers all the marvel I have won watching
Robert C. Nicholas III, Contr. Editor natural drama unfold each day, I would offer it in a thousand images that erupt
while mundane human life is grinding on: the ancient, slow flight of the great blue
heron over the marsh, the endurance of a tiny channeled whelk building on itself in
Foundation Donors
the harsh world between the tides, the spring in the leap of a fox stalking prey, the
whisper and rush of wind through white pines.
Avenir Foundation
The Fair Play Foundation
I have hoped that this column could serve as a sanctuary for readers, a
The Madriver Foundation
refuge from contemporary calamities and alarms, a reminder of our primal con-
The Marpat Foundation
nections to each other, in the vast cradle of nature. I wanted these words to create
The Curtis and Edith Munson
a space of silence or quiet, some place to rest if only for a few minutes each week.
Foundation
We need respite in the disorder, a reasonable calm. And we need each other, with-
out frenzy or fear.
The Environmental Film Festival
in the Nation’s Capital, which for- Not caretaking these connections seems a dangerous oversight in a world
merly operated under the auspices of struggling to hold on to its humanity. But I know that there are tens of thousands
the Sustainable Development Institute of people on Cape Cod who cherish these bonds and protect these relations through
is now functioning as an independent their love of this changeable shore. Today, as the waves break and the tide retreats,
501(c)3 non-for-profit organization. I, too, withdraw. I leave behind, like a line on the strand, a blessing for you, wher-
ever you find yourself, to be energized by walking with ordinary wonder and the
www.dcenvironmentalfilmfest.org deep peace that arises with gratitude for the miracle of everyday things.
3
People
Courts & the Seashore
Named president of the Maine Coast
z Maryland’s Department of the Environment has sued the Mirant Heritage Trust (MCHT) is Paul
power company for “allegedly allowing polluted water and heavy metals to escape Gallay, 48, a New Yorker with experi-
from a fly ash landfill in southern Maryland,” reports the Baltimore Sun. The action ence in state government agencies
came in the wake of complaints filed by the Environmental Integrity Project and an impressive record of accom-
and Potomac Riverkeeper that selenium and lead pouring out of the Faulkner plishment over eight years at the
Landfill and reaching ecologically important Zekiah Swamp, had violated water Westchester Land Trust. Gallay
quality standards 12,667 times in 2006 and 2007. Fly ash, explained the paper, is inherits the helm of a highly success-
“waste, often laced with mercury, arsenic, chromium, and other potential carcino- ful organization that over many years
gens, that is caught in the filters of coal-fired power plants.” under Jay Espy raised more than
$100 million for land conservation in
z In a splendid example of fox-and-chicken coop interaction also reported Maine.
by the Baltimore Sun, Baltimore District Judge Askew W. Gatewood Jr. was
recently found guilty of unlawfully filling wetlands by scattering construction debris After a thorough search, the Ameri-
from a home renovation project. The penalty: one year of unsupervised probation can Farmland Trust named Jon
and a $10,000 fine that local Sierra Club spokesman David Prosten classified as Scholl as its new president. A corn
“little more than a rap on the knuckles.” and soybean farmer in Illinois, Scholl
also served for 25 years at the Illinois
z Cape Wind Associates, the company seeking to install a windpower Farm Bureau and as counselor to
farm in Nantucket Sound, has edged a step closer to victory in its long-standing EPA’s administrator for farm policy.
battle to win all necessary approvals for the project. Last summer, in the town
of Barnstable on Cape Cod, opponents of the project including the Alliance to Awards
Protect Nantucket Sound sued the state and the company, alleging that the state
review of the project failed to address impacts, especially those relating to endan- In honor of the late Archie Carr,
gered species. Now, Barnstable’s Superior Court Judge Robert Kane has a legendary sea turtle researcher in
dismissed most of those charged, reports the Cape Cod Times. The ruling, which Florida and the Caribbean, the Carib-
also supported some of the opponents’ claims, was nevertheless said to have opened bean Conservation Corporation
the door to approvals by state agencies other than its Executive Office of Energy (CCC) some years ago established the
and Environmental Affairs, which ruled in favor last year. Other lawsuits linger Archie Carr Lifetime Achievement
on. Cape Wind has since 2001 been seeking approval for its project. Award. First recipient is Llew Eh-
rhart of the University of Central
z Latest development in a longstanding battle between Georgia and Florida Florida, said by CCC to be “the guid-
on water rights, reports the Miami Herald, is Florida’s announcement of its intent ing force behind a rigorous, 30 year
to sue the US Army Corps of Engineers. The state says that the Corps’ plan to long sea turtle research program along
reduce the water flow in the Apalachicola River, which would help fill Georgia’s the east coast of Florida and in the
reservoirs, would also have a negative impact on three species of mussels and on waters of the Indian River Lagoon.”
fisheries and power plants downstream. The new lawsuit, said the Herald, “could Ehrhart’s scientific work and passion,
further complicate already strained regional relations over shared water resources.” CCC continued, has been a major fac-
tor in the creation of the Archie Carr
National Wildlife Refuge and the
protection it offers for badly harassed
Old Logbooks Offer Help sea turtles along a key stretch of
Florida’s east coast.
The Gulf of Maine Cod Project, an ongoing multi-disciplinary research
initiative based at the University of New Hampshire, started up in 2001 with This year’s recipient of the highest
initial support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Since then, William B. award offered by River Network
Leavenworth has been collecting data from fishermen’s logbooks, specifically went to Jo Ann Burkholder, pro-
with regard to the cod fishery in the mid-nineteenth century. They give an accurate fessor of applied aquatic biology at
picture of what the fishery once was like: where the fishing grounds were, when they North Carolina State University.
were fished and for how long, the methods employed, and a precise tally of the fish Burkholder’s 1990s research on links
caught by each man. The records are accurate because the men’s pay was calculated between Pfiesteria neurotoxins and
on the basis of the number of fish caught. massive fish kills, nutrient pollution
and human illness was at first con-
The principal method then used was baited hand lines, with one or two troversial and resulted in personal
hooks, cast over the side of the sailing vessel. Still, the handliners managed to catch attacks and discreditation attempts.
more fish than today’s slender harvest. As reported in the Christian Science Moni- Now it has been unequivocally validat-
tor, 43 schooners out of Beverly, MA, fishing south of Nova Scotia in 1855, brought ed by NOAA. River Network execu-
in 7,800 metric tons of cod, almost three times what fishermen caught in that area tive director Don Elder, comparing
in 2006. This is one of many stories that illustrate the dramatic loss in this species’ Burkholder to Rachel Carson said
population during the last 150 years. he always believed that her “contribu-
4
tion to science, to our environment,
and to all of humanity would one day Publications
be recognized.”
z The historic red tide of summer 2005, says NOAA, “shut down shellfish
Joan Wulff is this year’s winner of beds from the Bay of Fundy to Martha’s Vineyard for several months and caused
the top award bestowed by the At- $18 million in losses to the Massachusetts shellfish industry alone.” Expecting
lantic Salmon Federation (ASF). similar conditions this summer, the agency has set up a special website providing
Wulff has worked tirelessly for de- red tide information and consequences. Tune in to the New England Red Tide
cades to conserve this valuable species Information Center at www.oceanservice.noaa.gov/redtide.
in many ways, but especially via live
release angling. A longtime ASF board z Recently launched was Yale Environment 360, an online magazine on
member, Wulff also runs a fly fish- the global environment. A publication of Yale University and its School of For-
ing school and is the author of many estry and Environmental Studies, the magazine offers commentary and reporting
books and articles on the subject. from top authors. “Yale is our home base,” said editor Roger Cohn, previously editor
of Mother Jones and Audubon magazines. “But Yale Environment 360 will be look-
Species & Habitats ing out at the world and examining the major environmental issues of the day.”
The last sighting of a Caribbean monk
seal dates back to 1952 on the Sera-
nilla Bank between Jamaica and the Boaters & Gas Prices
Yucatan Peninsula. The species had
been heavily exploited during Colonial Being widely noted, as gas prices rise above $4 a gallon, are changing pref-
times and thereafter, primarily for erences among shorebound consumers. Motor scooter and bicycle sales are up, so
blubber and meat. Listed as endan- is public transit ridership. Less prominently on display are the increasingly severe
gered in 1967, the animal has at last consequences for pleasure motor boaters, fishing charter and ferry operators, and
has been declared extinct by NOAA’s the marina industry. Already, in the summer of 2006 when gas prices rose to over
fisheries service after 5 years of $3 a gallon, cutbacks were being reported in many marine sectors. Last year power
research. It is, says NOAA, “the first boat sales dropped about 10%. As this year’s boating season sputtered to a start over
type of seal to go extinct from human Memorial Day weekend, with recreational boat sales off another 10% or so, com-
causes.” plaints and reports of changing consumer habits were reaching full throttle.

First, for the pollution-addled Chesa- In East Lyme, Connecticut, reported the Hartford Courant, Ken and
peake Bay, came hard times for the Wendy Pratt’s 33-foot cabin cruiser the Wenweken III remained securely tied
native oyster and watermen relying to its slip. “Outfitted to the max,” said Ken, the boat also guzzles 30 gallons of fuel
on harvesting it. Then came increas- an hour at a moderate cruising speed. The Pratts were looking ahead at a sum-
ing scarcity of what the Chesapeake mer of less time on the go, more time tied up. They were taking it gamely. Visiting
Bay Foundation calls the “iconic” grandchildren, they told the paper, “have just as much fun lounging by the marina
blue crab, said to be in “crisis” as a pool as going out to sea.” Marinas are trying to adjust to the changing scene, the
consequence of pollution and over- paper reported, by offering new resort services ashore.
harvesting and facing tightening catch
limits. Now, reports the Washington It was the same story in Fairhaven, MA, where the boating season has
Times, comes yet another blow for the gotten off to a slow start and fewer and less frequent excursions are the rule with
watermen: a shutdown for the power- dockside gasoline and diesel costing more than at the automobile service stations.
dredge hard clam fishery in the coastal Nothing seems to have changed for one large vessel that burns 150 gallons an hour
bays along the Chesapeake’s lower when flat out, Fairhaven shipyard dockmaster Fred Stenquist told the Standard
Eastern Shore. Pressures came not so Times. But “the rest of the boats are doing about 7 knots, trawler speed.”
much because of shortages as because
the dredging is severely harmful to sea In Bluffton, South Carolina, a fillup for his 28-footer costs charter fishing
grasses on which many marine species captain Dan Utley Sr. a daunting $1,000. Measures he is taking to soften the
depend. Clams burrow down, so to blow, as reported by the Beaufort Gazette, include shorter trips to inshore fishing
get at them more mud needs scraping. hotspots, using a smaller boat more often, and “buying bait ahead of time, instead
Maryland’s Department of Natu- of wasting fuel looking for it.” Another veteran captain, Waldo Phinney, has
ral Resources did not propose this raised prices and looks more carefully at his fish finder. But with costs “hitting us
unprecedented step, which followed pretty hard,” he concludes, if I have to sit at the dock, I will. Why in the hell should I
complaints to politicians from sport take someone fishing at a loss?”
fishermen. According to the Times, it
puts some longstanding clammers out Not yet daunted is custom home builder Patrick Devine, who keeps a
of business for good. 28-foot sport fisher in Niantic, CT. A diabetic, Devine told the Courant that board-
ing the boat after a stressful day makes his sugar count plummet downward. “I’ll
Torment by blood-sucking black flies gladly spend the extra $1,800 it’s going to cost me to fish this summer. That’s a lot
has always been a prominent late- cheaper than going to the doctors. I’m not cutting back. Why sit on your boat in a
spring and early summer fact of life slip? That’s a very expensive lawn chair.”
5
for Maine’s residents and visitors.
Caribbean & Climate Change Now, says the Boston Globe, the situ-
ation is worsening thanks to the suc-
The Caribbean’s 40 million people are responsible for only a tiny portion of cess of the environmental movement:
all carbon emitted into the atmosphere. Yet, according to a report recently issued “many species of the gnat-sized insects
by the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University, these are sticklers for cleanliness. When
small nations are “in the front line of vulnerability” resulting from three major Maine’s rivers were filled with con-
forecast effects of climate change: hotter temperatures, sea level rise, and greater taminants from paper mills and other
hurricane intensity. industries, only the hardiest black
flies laid eggs in them. Now, rivers
The study, entitled Caribbean and Climate Change: The Costs of Inaction, and streams are progressively cleaner,
measures the difference between economic losses for the islands under an “optimis- providing ideal breeding grounds for
tic” scenario in which the world works relatively hard to curb greenhouse emissions the annoying pests.” Maine officials
and those to be expected as a consequence of laissez-faire approaches. Overall, the express reluctance to re-pollute the
researchers estimate the cost of inaction at $22 billion by 2050 and $45 billion by rivers by using toxic sprays, a success-
2100 in terms of hurricane damage, tourism and infrastructure losses. ful method elsewhere, to fight them.

Expected losses would represent 22% of GDP for the region as a whole and This spring Atlantic salmon returned
would climb to 75% or more for especially threatened nations: Dominica, Grenada, to Maine’s Penobscot River “at a pace
Haiti, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Turks & Caicos. Less severely but significantly af- not seen in at least 30 years,” reports
fected regions include Colombia with its long coastline, Puerto Rico, and even south the Bangor Daily News. With more
Florida — the logical destination for environmental refugees from the islands and than a week remaining in the peak of
the departure point for most exports to them. the spawning season, some 1,100 fish
had already been counted at a station
The study, sponsored by the Environmental Defense Fund, resembles near Bangor—more than the entire
one on Florida that was commissioned by the Natural Resources Defense count for 8 of the past 10 years. A brief
Council in 2006. The Caribbean study was conducted by Ramon Bueno, Cor- Atlantic salmon fishing season was
nelia Herzfeld, Elizabeth A. Stanton, and Frank Ackerman. Interviewed by held in May, the first since the fishery
the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Ackerman forecasted rising costs and trade con- was closed statewide in 1999. Sixty
straints resulting from global warming. “Waiting is not an option,” he concluded. one fish were caught and released.

Yet another invasive species, the


island apple snail, has found its way
Message from the Media into ponds near Myrtle Beach, SC,
reports the Myrtle Beach Sun News.
Among five finalists for the $75,000 Grantham Prize, awarded each year Natïve to South America, the silver-
by the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment and dollar-sized creature might have been
the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting, was Di- dumped into local waters along with
nah Voyles Pulver, beat reporter at the Daytona Beach News-Journal. The work gravel from an aquarium, or carried in
for which she was nominated is a seven part series, running over a 12-month period, by predators. It threatens to deprive
entitled “National Treasures—Are We Losing Our Way?” native snails of the plants they eat. It
might also harm humans because of a
Pulver’s intention, as the foundation put it, was to help “readers appreciate parasite that it carries. Though local
the fundamental importance of the region’s imperiled ecosystems, understand what authorities would like to eradicate
was being lost and how they could make a difference.” A sixth generation Floridian, the invader before it makes it into
Pulver in the series focused on hard times for a variety of separate natural com- the Waccamaw River, where it would
munities in the state including the ocean, beaches, the Indian River Lagoon, and become more difficult to control, they
wetlands. shy away from using pesticides that
themselves would do environmental
The series, the latest chapter in a long history of the paper’s involvement damage.
with environmental issues, represents what the Grantham jury called “a significant
commitment for a daily newspaper of moderate size, especially in these difficult Restorations
times for print journalism.” But taking it on was well worth it and generated “lots
of reader response,” says managing editor Don Lindley, who founded the paper’s The voracious nutria, an orange
environmental beat back in the 1970s. toothed herbivore, escaped from a
Chesapeake area fur farm in the 1940s
Adds Pulver, a sixth-generation Floridian: “Over 70% of one focus group and took up residence at the Black-
read ¾ of the stories, and overall the reaction was highly favorable.” While Pulver water National Wildlife Refuge. Over
failed to win the grand Grantham prize, which went to the New York Times for its the years, reports Bay Journal, the
series on pollution in China. The jury did award Pulver an Award of Special Merit rodents chomped their way through
for her “richly detailed” series. marsh grasses and are held as princi-
pally responsible for the loss of 8,000
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acres of marshland in the 27,000 acre
refuge. But an aggressive extermina- Shad Depletion Deplored
tion program involving guns, traps,
and detection dogs, has succeeded in At his modest shad fishery on the Delaware River, Steve Meserve lament-
removing all but a few stragglers from ed in an interview with the Express-Times in New Jersey, the numbers were way
both the refuge and surrounding areas off. Through the end of May he had hauled in only 70 keepers from among those
on the Delmarva Peninsula. Grasses fish migrating upriver to spawning grounds. Five years ago he had netted 500. His
and native muskrats have returned. catch in the early 1990s was up in the thousands.
Remaining threats to the shrinking
refuge: sea level rise and subsidence. It was the same story at many rivers along the Atlantic shoreline. Shad, a
bony, oily herring-like fish prized for its tasty roe, was a staple of the colonial-era
The Back Street Nature Park in An- diet. But in many rivers, a worrisome decline seems to be accelerating. The count
napolis, reports the Baltimore Sun, at the Conowingo Dam’s fish lift on the Susquehanna is down 90% over the last 7
is in the final stages of being restored years. In the Hudson, where a modest commercial shad fishery hangs on at a level
“with living shorelines, which help greatly reduced from the grand old days, this year’s annual shad festival went shad-
prevent erosion; rain gardens, which free.
help rainwater soak into the ground;
and a ‘green roof’ of sedum plants Overfishing and the construction of river dams are in part responsible for
growing on a garage.” A notable the decline, say some experts. It is also suggested that many shad form part of the
feature of the refurbished park is the wasteful bycatch of assorted species caught by commercial fishermen on the high
$1 million Stormwater Education seas. Some pelagic fishermen may be targeting shad. Flourishing populations of
Experience featuring 19 learning sta- striped bass, carefully protected in recent years, are said to have gobbled up many
tions explaining the consequences of smaller young shad enroute downstream back to the ocean. But that’s not the
polluted runoff into the Chesapeake whole story since, Dale Weinrich, finfish manager at Maryland’s Department
Bay and showing citizens ways of cut- of Natural Resources, told the Baltimore Sun, shad and stripers co-existed for
ting it back. thousands of years prior to overfishing, pollution, and dams.

Decades of patient work, on the part In response to the sad shad decline, Maryland and Pennsylvania long ago
of a cluster of federal and New York banned all shad fishing other than catch-and-release. Fish lifts were installed.
state agencies, have been allocated to Other states have imposed sharp restrictions on commercial shad operations, and
restoring the decaying marsh islands observers speculate that the Atlantic Marine Fisheries Commission may set
of Jamaica Bay. This 25,000 acre even tighter limits for the 2009 season.
parcel, lying in the shadow of John F.
Kennedy International Airport, is also But few see even a modest shad rebound any time soon, let alone a return
part of the Gateway National Recre- to the glory days of a century ago when, reported Newsday, “annual takes in North
ation Area and a hotspot for migrating America could top 50 million pounds and fish mongers in coastal cities would signal
and resident bird species. Various of the season with shouts of ‘Shad!’”
the restoration projects have shown
considerable success, for example a
recently concluded US Army Corps
of Engineers effort to recreate 38 EnCap Falters in NJ
acres of vanished tidal wetlands that
the New York Daily News termed “a In its January-February 2003 issue, Atlantic CoastWatch foresaw a “bright
bold and backbreaking feat of environ- future” for New Jersey’s Meadowlands, long a heavily polluted dumping ground in
mental engineering.” Less successful, the shadow of New York City. Brownfields would be restored, cleaned up wetlands
though, is the ongoing battle to rid the would remain wild, and landfills would become mixed-use complexes.
region of abandoned, often submerged
small boats that pollute the bay and A major player in Meadlowlands restoration was the Tampa, Florida
represent navigation hazards. “As fast firm EnCap, which had embarked on an ambitious, $1 billion scheme to convert
as crews clean up the derelicts, more landfills into at least 2 golf courses and a 2,600-unit golfing village. But, though
replace them,” reports the Associ- other aspects of the region’s redevelopment carry on under the auspices of the New
ated Press. “It’s a nautical junkyard, Jersey Meadowlands Commission, the EnCap operation has for several years
and one more worry for ecologists in encountered an increasingly severe liquidity crisis culminating in its filing a Chapter
an area where delicate marshlands 11 bankruptcy petition in May of this year.
are already imperiled by rising water
levels.” Purchasing fill to cap the landfills had proven far more expensive than ex-
pected, EnCap stated in its legal documents. Environmental remediation was com-
Products plex. And political support eroded as the enterprise’s financial difficulties mounted.
Currently major legal maneuvering is under way as investors, lenders, taxpayers,
Low flush toilets, required by law municipalities, and contractors all scramble for slices of the remaining pie. Accord-
since the early 1990s, use 1.6 gallons ing to the Bergen Record, losses of more than $300 million are in prospect if “the
of water per flush. Older toilets use project can’t be resurrected or replaced by another revenue-generating plan.”
7
3 or more gallons. To help their own-
Managing Stormwater Better ers save water, octogenarian inven-
tor Ed Sheneman, of Wilmington,
The Clean Water Act of 1972 was a landmark in the country’s legislative NC, has come forward with the Float
history and has on the whole been successful in addressing the discharges of con- Booster. This simple device consists
taminated water by industry and municipal treatment plants. These “point sources” of a piece of foam, a clip, and a rubber
were easy to identify, but it became apparent in the 1990s that they were not the band. Installation, Sheneman told the
only cause of water pollution; run-off and other diffuse sources were major contrib- Star-News, is a “snap,” consisting
utors as well. Since then, cities and large construction projects have been required of “just stretching that rubber band.”
to manage the run-off they produce. Since 1999, smaller municipal and county gov- The contraption holds the toilet’s float
ernments have also had to address those problems, and the rules have been getting up higher, lowering the water level by
stricter. Dealing with storm-water in newly developed areas has become a major 1 to 2 inches and saving about a gallon
issue. of water a flush. Cost: about $1.55 a
unit if bought in bulk.
At the root of the problem is that suburban developments pave over the
land with parking lots, driveways, roads, and roofs, which are impervious to rain A federal law enacted in 2007 requires
water. Water which used to seep into the ground, and slowly get filtered, now that gasoline contain 10% ethanol. The
remains on the surface, where it picks up contaminants. The traditional method mix, known as E-10, works fine for au-
of dealing with this excess water has been to build detention ponds, which contain tos and trucks, but not necessarily so
the water for a time during which the heavier sediments will settle to the bottom, well for watercraft, small planes, and
before it is released into a waterway. However, nitrogen and bacteria do not settle power tools using gasoline-powered
out and remain in the water, where they can create more problems by spurring the engines. “Since ethanol is a solvent,”
growth of algae. Another difficulty with the ponds is that over the years they fill up says BoatU.S. magazine, “E-10 fuel
with toxic sediment requiring dredging. Making sure that the ponds are properly can dissolve gummy residues in boat
maintained has proved difficult. gasoline tanks. The disintegrating
material can then clog filters, carbure-
The spring issue of Coastal Heritage, published by the South Carolina tor jets and fuel injectors, which can
Sea Grant Consortium, lists innovative techniques to circumvent these prob- then cause the engine to stall. The
lems. South Carolina has witnessed intensive development in recent years particu- problem can be particularly acute in
larly along waterways, which attract those building vacation and retirement homes. vessels with fiberglass fuel tanks, since
One example is the town of Bluffton along the May River in Beaufort County, which ethanol activity actually can dissolve
has grown ten-fold since 2000, with many more people on the way. In 2007 the tank walls.” In reaction to these
town passed a storm water ordinance, one of the toughest in the Southeast, accord- problems. Oregon has passed legisla-
ing to Jeff McNesby of Bluffton’s Department of Environmental Protection. tion, effective this coming January 1,
It requires new developments not only to install multiple treatment systems, but that exempts gasoline sold for boats
also to reduce the amount of stormwater at its source by diverting downspouts from from the E-10 rule. A Florida bill pro-
roofs onto lawns or rain gardens, and by using porous paving materials for the hard vides similar relief. But no state has
surfaces. initiated the next steps: requiring sup-
pliers, who prefer to deliver the fewest
In North Charleston, the Noisette Co. is creating a 55 acre development possible kinds of fuel, to deliver E-10
called Oak Terrace Preserve, where engineers are designing an elaborate bio-man- free gasoline to marinas; or requiring
agement system, which takes advantage of natural filters, soil and vegetation, by marinas to stock it.
directing the water through a series of linked rain gardens, swales and pocket parks.
At each stop, the water is cleansed and absorbed, and any excess debouches into the “Everyone,” says the South Florida
detention pond. A further advantage of this type of system is that most of the water Sun-sentinel, says the paint they
soaks into the earth, thus replenishing the underground aquifer. In this region of make is “green.” But buyer beware
the country, which has suffered a severe drought, this is not a small consideration. when it comes to figuring out any
paint’s true count of “volcanic organic
compounds” that are hazardous to
health. Learn the lingo, read the label
With Appreciation carefully, don’t be “greenwashed,”
and be aware that paint stores often
Very special thanks to Lawrence S. Huntington and Hamilton Rob- add high-VOC colorant into low-VOC
inson Jr. for particularly generous donations recently received. We add our great paint at the store. Ask whether the
appreciation to these other recent donors: product has certification from Green-
guard or Greenseal, or check it out
Leslie D. Cronin at greendepot.com
Florence B. Fowlkes
Edward L. Hoyt Funding
Lucy and Peter Lowenthal
Michael and Pamela Peabody Habitually, North Carolina’s hordes
Christopher M. Weld of hog farmers have used unreliable
Atlantic CoastWatch
Sustainable Development Institute
3121 South St., NW
Washington, D.C. 20007

Tel: (202) 338-1017


Fax: (202) 337-9639
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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.

methods to curb odors and pollution Citizens Fret About LNG


from their farms, depending princi-
pally on open air waste ponds that In what the Baltimore Sun described as a “fiery” public hearing, residents
can and do overflow during storm and officials of Dundalk in eastern Maryland County raised multiple objections to
conditions and contaminate entire the idea of converting Bethlehem Steel’s old Sparrows Point shipyard into a lique-
watersheds. Available alternative fied natural gas terminal.
technologies, reports the News & Ob-
server, cost 2 to 5 times as much— According to the proposal offered by AES Corporation, the new port
way beyond reach for most of the would receive tankers containing imported fuel, and transfer it through a $250
state’s 2,300 hog farmers. Now, un- million, 88-mile pipeline to a distribution facility in Pennsylvania. At the Dundalk
der a new program, the farmers can meeting, some 400 people showed up to voice opposition, alleging environmen-
get state grants of up to $500,000 tal safety issues, concern about terrorism, and jeopardy for the local economy.
enabling them to install holding “Resident after resident, official after official” spoke out against the scheme, said
tanks for their wastewater, then con- the Sun. Many speakers urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
vert it into fertilizer and liquid that (FERC) to reverse the conditional approval it recommended earlier this year. The
can be cleanly used for irrigation. principal support for the project has come from labor unions.
Initial grants under the program
were recently awarded to Super About 120 people gathered at another public forum in Harford County,
Soil Systems USA, Tyndall Hog along which the 30-inch pipeline would run enroute to Pennsylvania. Objections
& Chicken Farm, and Pope & raised there include prospective damage to trees and wetlands, the threat of AES
Son, all in Sampson County. using eminent domain to secure the right of way, and possible threats to wells and
septic systems. FERC’s final decision is expected later this year.
After endless discussions, the EPA
has announced an $80 million In New Jersey, Clean Ocean Action expressed strong objections to a
plan to clean up the Passaic River $550 million plan, launched in May by Canadian Superior Energy and Globe
in downtown Newark, reports the LNG to build a facility to receive gas 15 miles off the New Jersey coast and pipe it
Star-Ledger. 200,000 cubic yards to northeast US destinations. Roger Whelan, CEO of the consortium, described
of dioxin-laden sediments will be the project as “clean, safe, and efficient.” Clean Ocean Action termed it “mon-
cleanly removed from the Superfund strous” and called on citizens to “rise up and express their outrage to this privati-
site, by pile-driving steel sheets into zation of the ocean.”
the sediments, rather than dredg-
ing it. In the 1950s and 1960s In Halifax, Nova Scotia, meanwhile, regulators approved the construction
Diamond Shamrock Chemical of a $700 million LNG terminal by a Dutch-Canadian-Russian consortium called
Company had manufactured DDT Maple LNG. All in the way of construction startup is shareholder approval. The
and Agent Orange, a defoliant used facility is to be built in the remote village of Goldboro, on Nova Scotia’s Eastern
during the Vietnam War, at the site. Shore. Population: 450.

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