You are on page 1of 8

Atlantic CoastWatch

July - August 2008


Narragansett Bay Warms
Data from nearly 50 years of weekly fish-trawl surveys in Narragansett Bay News For Coastal Advocates
and Rhode Island Sound show major long-term shifts in species composition and
size, reports the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanogra- z
phy. Scientists conducting the study attribute the changes primarily to global warm-
ing.
Narragansett Bay Warms 1
One principal change is a shift from vertebrate fish species to invertebrates
such as crabs, squid, and lobsters. Bottom-feeding fish such as winter flounder and Shore11.org Launches 1
hake have given way to bluefish (up about 100 times), butterfish, and other species
feeding higher in the water column. Lobsters and crabs are taking advantage of the
vacant habitat formerly occupied by the bottom feeding fish. Smaller warm water Sayings 2
adapted fish are increasing, while larger cool water species are declining. Cunner
has decreased almost 1,000 times. During the course of the survey, sea surface tem- Courts & the Seashore 3
perature in the vicinity of the trawls has risen by 3.6 degrees F. Scientists involved
point to “direct evidence” that global warming, and resulting changes in the food Publications 4
web, has led to the species composition shifts. “This is a pretty dramatic change,”
said principal investigator Jeremy Collie. “These patterns are likely being seen in
estuaries around the world, but nowhere else has similar data.” Cabs Green Big Apple 4

He and fellow researchers Anthony Wood and Perry Jeffries see a fu- Idling Away? 5
ture Narragansett Bay looking more and more like estuaries to the south such as the
Delaware and Chesapeake bays. “We’ll experience what they are experiencing now,” FL Sugar Deal Debated 6
said Collie. “It will continue to get warmer and attract more southern species, such
as blue crabs. Species that couldn’t complete their life cycle here before may be able
Nature Reshapes Vineyard 6
to do that now.”

Healthier Sound Faces LNG 7


Shore11.org Launches Down East Resort Opposed 7
Shore11.org, “All things green down the shore” is a brand-new website
that offers daily New Jersey environmental news, beach and surf conditions, and Saving CT from I-95 8
tools for building an online community around Shore issues. The site is fed, in
part, by News Nuggets collected and posted daily by Atlantic CoastWatch, that are z
specifically tailored for a New Jersey audience. This innovation is the first of many
news partnerships that we look forward to developing with organizations along the
Atlantic shoreline, using newly enhanced capabilities of our web services. Recurring

According to the New Jersey site’s creator, Benson Chiles, “The goal People; Awards; Species &
behind shore11.org is to empower Shore lovers to take action to protect our fragile Habitats; Restorations;
coastal and ocean environment. By providing real-time information and news and Report Cards; Products;
by giving the public access to a community of concerned people, we hope to create a
Funding
platform for ocean activists to magnify their impact.”

Shore11.org is sponsored by the Environmental Defense Fund and Atlantic CoastWatch is a bi-
the Coastal Ocean Coalition. It will address broad coastal issues like poor water monthly nonprofit newsletter
quality, coastal development, global warming and over-fishing as well as local for those concerned with en-
environmental issues. “Anyone concerned with oceans, waves, and beaches should vironmentally sound coastal
check out shore11.org to get the latest weather and surf conditions. At the same time development between the Gulf of
they can learn about the threats to our coast and take action,” said John Weber,
Northeast regional manager for the Surfrider Foundation.
Maine and the eastern Caribbean
2
Atlantic CoastWatch
Sayings
Vol. 12, No. 4
The following article by David D. Platt ran in the August 2008 issue of Working
A project of the Sustainable Waterfront, the newspaper published by Maine’s Island Institute, and is repro-
Development Institute, which seeks duced here with their permission. Mr. Platt is the paper’s former editor.
to heighten the environmental qual-
Readers of the New York Times will be aware of this summer’s non-news
ity of economic development efforts
event: the construction of a Whiffleball field in Greenwich, Connecticut, by a group
in coastal regions, by communicat-
of teenage boys who cleared brush, braved poison ivy, scrounged a few build-
ing information about better policies
ing materials and bought some paint so they could build their field of dreams on
and practices. SDI is classified as a some town-owned land. An idyllic kids’ project until - who knew? - the neighbors
501(c)(3) organization, exempt from decided they didn’t like it, complained, and the accusations (on both sides) began
federal income tax. to fly. Traffic. Noise. The real motives of the narrow-minded neighbors. The lack
of outdoor activities for kids these days. Why the kids hadn’t gotten a permit, etc.
Board of Directors etc. Nothing really significant here - hell, the country’s in a war nobody wanted, the
economy’s in the tank and the leadership of the Free World is at stake this year -
Freeborn G. Jewett, Jr., Chair while Greenwich and the New York Times are fussing over Whiffleball.
Robert J. Geniesse, Chair Emeritus
Roger D. Stone, President But wait - something is going on, and it goes on everywhere including
Dale K. Lipnick, Treasurer Maine. We call it NIMBY, standing for Not In My Back Yard, and it’s a universal
Gay P. Lord, Secretary phenomenon in parts of the world other than the former Soviet Union, North Korea
Nelse L. Greenway or Myanmar. NIMBY rears its head on islands, on waterfronts, in neighborhoods.
David P. Hunt We address it through zoning, permitting and other official means; being the sort
Hassanali Mehran of people we are in Maine, we encourage everyone to stand up and state his objec-
Simon Sidamon-Eristoff tions whenever someone proposes to do something. Nothing wrong with all this,
of course - if you don’t understand, you haven’t read Colin Woodard’s book The
Advisers Lobster Coast, which puts forth the theory that Maine’s has a do-your-own-thing
culture because it was settled by freethinkers, squatters and other malcontents who
William H. Draper, III didn’t like Great Proprietors, central governments and other big shots telling them
Gary Hartshorn what to do.
Stephen P. Leatherman
Jerry R. Schubel Want to consolidate the schools? Better check with the locals first. Want
Christopher Uhl to close the University of Maine at Fort Kent? Better check with John Martin.
Want to build a coal-fired power plant in Wiscasset? Better find out what the lobster
Staff fishermen in the Sheepscot River think. Want to build a fancy replacement for the
Maine State Pier in Portland? A wind power project near the Appalachian Trail?
Roger D. Stone, Director & President Condos on Camden’s waterfront? Catch lobsters in Monhegan’s territorial waters?
Shaw Thacher, Executive Director Put up a cell phone tower in the view shed of summer folks who don’t care to look
Ron Grandon, Contributing Editor at such things? Drill for oil offshore or worse, build an LNG facility somewhere? As
Anita Herrick, Contributing Editor I said, you’d better check with the locals or at least the local special interest first.
Robert C. Nicholas III, Contr. Editor And once you’ve done that and you remain interested in your project, you’d be well
advised to lay in stores for a long fight. Or at least a lot of careful convincing.
Foundation Donors
I’m not saying NIMBYism is bad - to the contrary, I’d argue that in a great
many cases, informed local opposition has brought down a lot of bad projects. We
Avenir Foundation
don’t have an oil refinery in Eastport because a lot of determined people there and
The Fair Play Foundation
elsewhere in Maine did the hard work necessary to stop it. Bringing loaded tankers
The Madriver Foundation
through Head Harbor Passage didn’t make sense 30 years ago and doesn’t make
The Marpat Foundation
sense today. Call it NIMBY and think negatively of the opposition if you must, but at
The Curtis and Edith Munson
least in the case of the Eastport refinery, good public policy has prevailed.
Foundation
Will it prevail in the related case of offshore drilling, where the Bush ad-
The Environmental Film Festival ministration and the oil industry are acting predictably and an alarming number of
in the Nation’s Capital, which for- politicians concerned about high gasoline prices are waffling this summer? Oh, we’ll
merly operated under the auspices of probably cut some dumb deal where we give Big Oil a few more leases somewhere
the Sustainable Development Institute in exchange for promises not to drill in a few special places, so a few ill-informed
is now functioning as an independent congressmen and candidates can tell voters they’re doing something about the price
501(c)3 non-for-profit organization. at the pump. We certainly won’t solve anyone’s energy problems. And if we drill on
Georges Bank or in the Gulf of Maine, all we will have done is threaten the already-
www.dcenvironmentalfilmfest.org
(cont’d, page 3)
3
People
Courts & the Seashore
Recent calls from Democratic sena-
z Boyce Allen Hudson, formerly an official in North Carolina’s Depart- tors for EPA administrator Stephen
ment of Environment and Natural Resources, was sentenced to three years Johnson to resign, for having sided
in the slammer for having agreed to take money from a company seeking permits to with polluters on global warming
build an ethanol plant. In May, reported the Fayetteville Observer, Hudson pleaded issues, have gone unheeded. In a tele-
guilty on extortion and money laundering charges involving a deal with Agri-Etha- conference with reporters, said Reu-
nol Products that would have brought him $196,000 in cash and consulting fees if ters, Johnson “quickly sidestepped”
he could land the required air quality permit within 90 days. the issue, referring them to the press
office. “But no, I’m not,” he added.
z This summer the matter of standing—who is entitled to issue a legal chal-
lenge—once again came front and center. The issue is whether David and Diana Leola “Lee” McCoy, for many years
Clickner of Glen Burnie, MD, have the right to build a house on property they own, a leading activist in Fort Lauderdale’s
7 acre Dobbins Island in the Chesapeake Bay. Challenged under Maryland’s Critical black community, died at home at age
Area law by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Magothy River As- 70. Of many environmental victories
sociation, the Clickners prevailed in two courts, with one judge affirming that the she tallied, reported the Miami Her-
organizations are not “uniquely affected” by the construction as a nearby neighbor ald, the most significant was success
would be and therefore lack standing to press charges. Legal wrangling continues, in a 13 year battle to achieve Super-
though, and the end is not in sight, The irony, reports the Annapolis Capital, is fund cleanup of the Wingate dump
that the Clickners might have fared better if they had simply built their house, then and incinerator, which had accepted
applied for a permit to do so. That’s what a neighboring island owner did: build a 480 tons of toxic waste a day, “gen-
“monstrosity” of a house with “zero permits.” Then achieve a court ruling that he erating industrial ash that invaded
could keep it. neighborhood homes, where residents
fell deathly ill with various cancers.”
z Five Florida environmental groups have sued EPA and the state govern-
ment, demanding that numeric limits be placed on nutrient pollution leading to Awards
harmful aglae blooms that foul waterways and beaches, threaten health, and pro-
voke economic woes. The suit has “national implications,” reports the Environmen- Winner of a top award from Com-
tal News Service, since “currently, Florida and most other states have only vague mon Cause Georgia was David
limits regulating nutrient pollution.” Kyler, executive director of the Cen-
ter for a Sustainable Coast. Kyler
z The US Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia issued a ruling was singled out because of his organi-
that may benefit highly endangered right whales, of which only some 300 survive. zation’s spirited efforts to strengthen
It overturned a lower court’s finding that the US Coast Guard did not have to protection for Georgia’s tidal marsh-
review the ways in which the danger to whales from cargo ships might be lessened. lands.
While the appeals court only remanded the matter back to a lower court, said the
Washington Post, it found environmentalists hopeful that “the result of the decision Military bases, not widely known
would be a Coast Guard review—and, after that, a series of measures intended to for environmental stewardship, won
protect whales from ships.” Bush Administration kudos. Fort
Bragg, GA copped a White House
Closing the Circle award for meeting
green standards in the design, con-
Sayings (continued from p. 2) struction, maintenance, and operation
of its infrastructure. In discussing
on-the-ropes fishing industry. In these cases, I’d argue that NIMBYism has its the reasons why the Cherry Point,
virtues. NC Marine Corps Air Station won
the Department of Defense’s top
On the other hand we shouldn’t be stopping everything. Wind power award for Environmental Restoration
projects are a great example: islands and Maine in general can clearly benefit from last year, base commander Colonel
them, as could places blessed with Trade Winds or other weather patterns that Frank Bottorff made the debatable
can be counted on to spin the turbines and make kilowatts for essentially noth- claim that “the military may actually
ing. Opposition to such projects will always be written off as NIMBYism by some be the best stewards of the environ-
- and should be where wind turbines are inappropriate - but in general, developing ment.” (In Maryland, where the state
renewable energy is almost as good an idea as insulating your attic, driving less, tak- attorney general announced plans to
ing the bus or trail, or walking to the store or to school. sue Fort Meade for dragging its feet
on EPA mandated cleanup of dumped
NIMBY can be a convenient label to stick onto people we disagree with. But toxic chemicals, army officials likewise
in fact, it’s an honored tradition in Maine, where questioning salesmen, would-be claimed progress. They stated that
developers, governments putting forth bad ideas or just about anyone who’s trying most of the work had been done and
to convince us of anything we’re suspicious of - is a civic duty. Fight fiercely, Green- that the rest has been budgeted.)
wich! Meanwhile, play ball!
4
Species & Habitats
Publications
Traditionally some 2,000 pairs of Arc-
tic terns have come to Machias Seal z Celebrating the late Roger Tory Peterson’s centennial year, Houghton
Island in the Bay of Fundy to lay eggs Mifflin has published Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America.
and rear their young. Not since 1944 Reviewers say that the volume, combining previous separate Peterson guides to the
had they been known to abandon eggs eastern and western birds, may be a bit hefty for field work. Handsomely equipped
and chicks and disappear from there. with new and enhanced art and maps, though, the book wins generally high marks.
But, reports the St. John, New Bruns- Amazon reviewer David P. Tietjen calls it “the ultimate Peterson,” adding that
wick Telegraph Journal, this is just “anyone and everyone who likes birds even a little needs to own this book.”
what the birds have done again, dur-
ing each of the last three summers. “At z Plenty magazine recently published a handy “guide to green hotspots”—a
this time of year,” ornithologist Tony state-by-state listing of “eco-friendly places to eat, shop, and play.” Atlantic coastal
Diamond told the paper, “There listings range from the Lake Whitney Water Purification Facility in New
should be hundreds and hundreds Haven, Cape Henlopen State Park on the Delaware shore, the Rag Trade
of adults and fledglings on the rocks. Happy Clothing Co. in Miami, and Onyx House, a “boutique hotel” in Boston.
There should be birds flying over the “Awesome!” posted Christine. Í’ll definitely be utilizing this when I make my road
bay, fishing and calling. This should be trip from New York to Seattle at the end of the summer.”
a noisy place. We should be deafened
by the din.” Struggling to understand z New from the prolific pen of Mark Kurlansky, author of Cod, The Big
the sudden silence and the mystery, Oyster, and numerous other works about the marine world, is The Last Fish
Diamond guessed that predation from Tale: The Fate of the Atlantic and Survival in Gloucester, America’s
increasingly aggressive gulls may be Oldest Fishing Port and Most Original Town (Ballantine Books 2008).
part of the answer. Likewise a short- It’s a chowder of a book, offering rich morsels of history, fishing and seafaring
age of juvenile herring and perhaps a yarns, glimpses of artists at work and summer people at play—even traditional reci-
shift in the salinity of local waters that pes from the kitchens of the town’s many immigrants from Sicily, the Azores, and
could change feeding patterns. elsewhere working in the sadly declined North Atlantic cod fishery.
As of late July lobsters were in plenti- z A Coast for All Seasons: A Naturalist’s Guide to the Coast of
ful supply along Maine’s coast. But, South Carolina (Pandion Books 2008) is the work of seasoned coastal geolo-
said the Portland Press-Herald, eaters gist and marine scientist Miles O. Hayes and his wife, geochemist Jacqueline
were less plentiful than in previous Michel. The book, “a delight” according to geologist Orrin Pilkey, serves as a
years because of high gas prices and travel guide and as a knowledgeable primer on the region’s coastal processes and
fewer tourists. Prices had fallen to provides what Hayes calls “a general understanding of how the system works.”
$5.99 a pound—a dollar less than in
2007 and about the same as deli pric-
es for sliced turkey or honey ham and
“closing in on hamburger,” according Cabs Green Big Apple
to one market analyst. Lobstermen
faced a stark choice: catch more lob- Since time immemorial, New York City’s taxi fleet has consisted principally
ster and risk driving the price down of clunky gas guzzlers that, despite their large size, rattled and were remarkably
ever more, or wait it out till market hard to get in and out of on busy streets. The old Checker made more sense, but
conditions get better. Ford Crown Vics and full-size Chevvies nonetheless prevailed. But now, with sup-
port from the City Council and somewhat grudging approval from the city’s Taxi
The Miami Herald reports that num- and Limousine Commission, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has catapulted his
bers of the Everglades snail kite, an town’s taxi fleet into the green era.
endangered hawk, are plummeting
again. The bird, a founding member By the end of next year, the city announced last May, new taxis will have
when the federal endangered spe- to achieve at least 25 mpg, and reach 30 mpg in 2010. Since high-mileage hybrids
cies list was launched in 1967, had are the only cars that meet these high standards; the rapid conversion will, said the
been reduced to “a few dozen adults New York Times, “transform New York’s taxi fleet from one of the most polluting
as its wetlands home disappeared in the nation to one of the cleanest, and do so in five years, making the city a leader
under development or was degraded as municipalities compete to cut carbon emissions.” While cabbies protested about
from flooding and draining caused by the higher cost of the hybrids, the commission pointed out that annual fuel savings
South Florida’s expanding network of would fall into the $10,000 range.
canals and dikes.” Protection brought
the count up to some 3,600 birds by In themselves, the greener cabs will reduce the city’s output of 58.3 million
1999. But now, biologists told the tons of carbon dioxide only by a scant 215,000 tons. Still, said the paper, the combi-
paper, the number may have dropped nation of cleaner taxis, school buses and other municipal vehicles, plus an array of
again, to fewer than 1,000, as a result other elements in the comprehensive Bloomberg strategy, suggests that his goal of
of droughts and water management “reducing the city’s greenhouse emissions by 30% by 2030 could well be attainable
protocols that favor another bird: the after all.”
5
equally endangered Cape Sable sea-
Idling Away? side sparrow.

It began, among other places, in Vermont with school buses picking up Snooty, thought to be the world’s old-
kids at the end of frosty days. In 2003 concerns over diesel exhaust that sometimes est manatee, has lived at the South
triggered allergy and asthma attacks had school boards erecting no-idling signs. The Florida Museum in Bradenton
Burlington Free Press reported that signage applied to parents sitting in cars. It since 1949. Born the year before at the
also started in New Jersey, according to the Press of Atlantic City, where neighbors Miami Seaquarium, the old fella
of the Hilton Casino bus terminal took their complaints to the Department of recently celebrated his 60th birthday.
Environmental Protection, which began enforcing a 3 minute idling law.
Restorations
While efforts in Vermont were stoked by a “No Idling Campaign,” co-
sponsored by the 10% Challenge (to reduce greenhouse gases 10% by 2010) and Until this summer the entire popu-
the American Lung Association, similar localized anti-idling efforts began lation of the endangered, brown,
spontaneously cropping up throughout the Atlantic region. Pro-idling myths, such black and white, 3 to 4 inch St. Croix
as keeping engines and interiors warm, fast evaporated. Though many states had 3 ground lizard consisted of about 1,000
or 5 minute “no idling” statutes on the books, regulations were riddled with excep- individuals on three very small islands
tions, or were too narrowly defined (just some buses or trucks) to satisfy a new- near St. Croix—Protestant Cay, Green
found eagerness by towns and citizens to crack down. Cay, and Ruth Cay. For 40 years
wildlife managers have worked to rid
Fortifying the rationale behind the “anti-idling” movement has been a nearby Buck Island of rats, mon-
fast expanding collection of medical studies. Among many such benchmarks was gooses, and other predators so that
the Harmful Effect of Vehicle Exhaust – A Case for Policy Change, a ground lizard population could be
co-authored in 2006 by Environmental and Human Health Inc. and Yale re-established there. Buck Island is
University’s John Wargo. This study outlined health impacts (10% of Connecti- larger than the other cays, and having
cut children are asthmatic, vehicular emissions contribute more pollution than any a lizard population there significantly
other source) and recommended policies such as mass transit parking lots, subsi- increases the animal’s chances of
dies for fuel efficient vehicles and enforcement of strengthened idling measures. survival, says US Fish and Wildlife
Wargo emphasized in the Record Journal that the “the illnesses exacerbated by Service biologist Claudia Lom-
air pollution are asthma, cancer, diabetes, heart disease and respiratory illnesses.” bard. This spring, to considerable
Unfortunately, that was a short list of ailments. fanfare, a multi-agency team captured
57 of the lizards on the cays and trans-
The health impacts of diesel exhaust, largley responsible for no idling ferred them to Buck Island. “They
efforts, were evaluated in 2005 by the Clean Air Task Force. Among its diesel seem to be doing just fine,” Lombard
emission health impact estimates were 21,000 premature deaths (of 60,000 na- reports.
tionwide from all air pollution) and 2,400,000 lost work days. Since then the health
effects from the cars has come under scrutiny for also generating ultrafine particles In the May/June 2008 issue of this
that measure less than 0.1 micrometer in diameter. Able to pass through lungs and publication, we noted EPA’s an-
enter the bloodstream, these most toxic of particulates have been found to generate nouncement of an $80 million effort
cellular damage throughout the body. to remove dioxin-laden sediments
from a section of New Jersey’s Pas-
A 2008 UCLA found that ultrafines generated high levels of atherosclerotic saic River near Newark that was an
plaque in exposed mice. Not only did this happen quickly, said US News & World industrial site for Diamond Sham-
Report, but the benefits of HDL (“good” cholesterol) were also severely diminished rock Co. But this is only a first step
in exposed lab animals. Following exposures, “troubling cardiovascular changes” in addressing a vastly larger problem,
also occurred to human volunteers. Other recent studies have linked ultrafine par- we are told. The longest river in the
ticulates to metabolic syndrome, high-blood pressure as well as to damage to veins, state “has been a dumping ground for
resulting in deep vein thrombosis. Said Scott Fruin, at the University of South- polluters since the Industrial Revolu-
ern California: “If you have otherwise healthy habits and don’t smoke, driving to tion,” says the Bergen Record, and the
work is probably the most unhealthy part of your day.” Ultrafine particulates are not EPA remediation will have no effect
regulated by the EPA. outside Newark Bay.” And there is
evidence of dioxin-laden sediments as
From small beginnings anti-idling measures have expanded exponentially. far north as Irvington on the Hudson,
At some truck stops, long-haulers now hook up to Idle-Aire electrical outlets, into which the Passaic drains, says
shut off their diesels and save money. Similar “plug-in” oriented fixes are also be- Edward Ames, chair of the Hudson
ing applied at train yards and shipping ports. This spring “Idle-Free NYC” posters River Foundation. Thus, he adds,
adorned the city’s transit system, pointing out that “Idling harms health, hurts air there is reason to view the EPA effort
quality, wastes fuel and is against the law.” Similar campaigns are catching on in at the Diamond Shamrock site as little
many metropolitan areas, assisted by energy cost induced shifts to mass transit and more than a “symbolic gesture.”
carpooling, along with the knowledge that traffic congestion most severely affects
those living nearby. In rural settings, the skyrocketing popularity of wood burning For some 40 years of dumping raw
stoves in northeastern states threatens to spread “idling’s” ills this winter. sewage into Halifax harbor, those
6
hardy souls wanting to swim in its
chilly waters on a hot summer day FL Sugar Deal Debated
were prevented from doing so be-
cause of excessive bacteria levels. But Late in June, Florida Governor Charlie Crist announced a huge deal
this summer, reports the Chronicle in which the state would pay $1.75 billion to acquire the assets of United States
Herald, the $330 million (Canadian) Sugar. This, said the New York Times and numerous other papers, would set the
Harbour Restorations Project enabled stage for a massive restoration of the natural flow of water through the battered
city authorities to open it up to swim- Everglades and eliminate the need for complex and vastly expensive plumbing ar-
mers. Citizen Paul Jocys took an rangements previously planned (Atlantic CoastWatch May-June 2002).
inaugural drip in drizzly weather and
said he had enjoyed it. “I can imagine no greater gift to the Everglades,” emoted Crist at the an-
nouncement ceremony, declaring the deal as “monumental” and equating it with
Report Cards the creation of Yellowstone National Park. Environmentalists trilled. “I’m going to
do cartwheels,” said Margaret McPherson of the Everglades Foundation.
Half of US coral reefs are in no better Added David G. Guest of the Earthjustice Defense Fund: “This is about put-
than “poor” or “fair” condition, re- ting it back to the way it was in the 1890s. What will happen is that if you come back
ported NOAA. The exhaustive survey here in 20 years, it will look undistinguishable from the way it looked before the
from which this conclusion was drawn white man arrived.”
involved 270 scientists and managers.
An indication of how bad the situation In the aftermath of the euphoria, though, there came a flood of hard ques-
has become, said the agency, is that tions. Would the United States Sugar property provide the “right footprint” to make
two species—elkhorn and staghorn the restoration happen, or would further land deals be required? Could an area in
corals—have become the first corals which heavily polluted water from farmland that had long been pumped into Lake
ever listed as threatened under the Okeechobee, and from there spilled into the Everglades during periods of heavy
Endangered Species Act. rainfall, ever be restored to pristine condition? With such a vast sum going to the
sugar company, what funds would remain available for other Everglades restoration
South Carolina and Georgia are efforts?
among states where motorists are
most vulnerable to rising gasoline As these and many other issues surfaced, so did skepticism in many quar-
prices, reports the Natural Re- ters. Dexter Lehtinen, lawyer for the Mikkosukkee Tribe of Indians, which
sources Defense Council. At the lives in the Everglades, wondered in a St. Petersburg Times interview whether the
other end of the spectrum are Atlantic whole thing “is nothing but a publicity stunt.” But Earthjustice attorney Guest,
seaboard states where citizens spend eyeing the many steps still to be taken before the deal becomes a reality—including
less of their total income on gaso- approval from the state legislature—added that “it’s too soon to start fighting over
line, and where “policies that provide what to do with land the state doesn’t own yet…we’re arguing about the omelet
alternatives to driving long distances recipe, and we haven’t even bought the eggs yet.”
in inefficient vehicles filled with con-
ventional gasoline” are in place. Top
rankings go to New York, Connecticut,
Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Rhode Mother Nature Reshapes Vineyard
Island, and Maryland.
For decades boaters used Katama Bay, an almost landlocked saltwater
Maryland’s League of Conserva- pond connected to Martha’s Vineyard’s busy Edgartown Harbor, as a tranquil
tion Voters awarded the highest uncrowded anchorage. But last spring, a storm punched an inlet through the dune
rating it has ever given a governor: A-. that had separated the bay from the open ocean and sent what one observer called
Governor Martin O’Malley was “roaring white surf, pouring into Edgartown Harbor.” The breach, which started
especially praised, said the Baltimore small and then widened, falls into a pattern that occurs every 30 to 50 years. This
Sun, for legislation aimed at “reduc- time, reports the Boston Globe, the damage has been especially severe.
ing emissions from cars and trucks
and for pushing through a package of Quickly the bay became “a wriggling, sometimes roiling, white-capped river
energy bills this year that sets conser- of seawater,” the paper continued. Currents of up to six knots “turn the mouth of
vation goals and increases reliance on the harbor into rippling rapids with boats screaming hither and yon.” Harbormaster
renewable energy.” Charlie Blair reported daily accidents ranging from big boats slamming into each
other, to flipped kayaks and rammed docks.
Bay Journal, the monthly newspaper
published by the Alliance for the Thus it will be until Mother Nature chooses to close the breach, a process
Chesapeake Bay, assessed the mer- that can take many years. And as if Vineyard vacationers did not face enough dan-
its of the ecological report cards issued ger from the swirling currents, they also fielded reports of unexploded World War
by many environmental groups. While II ordinance washing up on beaches. And, inevitably, there were the shark scares.
several sources noted that the assess- Despite it all, concluded the Globe, “Linda Krampitz, a Connecticut woman, sat
ments get media attention and gener- with her toes in the surf. It was high tide and, as far as she was concerned, this spot
ate public attention, others expressed was perfect. There was water—beautiful, green water—just about everywhere.”
7
concern about “the quality of informa-
Healthier Sound Faces LNG Hazard tion” the letter grades convey. Efforts
are underway to improve the ways in
In several important respects, the bi-state Long Island Sound Study which the groups collect and interpret
(LISS) reports that the Sound has become healthier. Oysters are making a come- their data, and to link the data they
back, says its comprehensive annual report, Sound Health 2008, and direct indus- publish with the action programs they
trial discharges have dropped by 90% from their peak during the industrial age. conduct.
Such successes are critical, reported the Hartford Courant, to the “concerted efforts
to improve the body of water that provides recreation for many and a living for Each of the past 18 summers the Nat-
many others.” ural Resources Defense Council
has done us all a big favor by deliver-
On the negative side, lobsters in the Sound have yet to recover from their ing a detailed annual report on the
late 1990s dieoff. Endocrine disrupting chemicals washed into the water via storm- number and location of beach closings
water runoff represent a new danger. Said Juliet Manalan of the Connecticut and advisory days for possible con-
Fund for the Environment: “It becomes clear that continued investment in tamination. For 2007 the organization
clean water funding is necessary to combat the tremendously damaging effects of reported 22,571 closing and advisory
stormwater runoff.” days—the second highest total since it
began recording the data—with storm-
In the context of these mixed results, the US Coast Guard issued a care- water runoff as the principal source
ful determination regarding the proposal by Broadwater Energy, a joint venture of pollution. The release of the new
of Shell Oil and TransCanada Pipelines, to install a floating 1,200 foot lique- data triggered yelps from officials in
fied natural gas terminal in mid-Sound, 9 miles offshore from the Long Island town South Carolina, whose beaches NRDC
of Wading River. The facility would deliver about 1 billion cubic feet of natural gas had tagged as the sixth most polluted
to the New York region and, say the developers, save Long Island customers about in the nation with excessive bacteria
$300 a year. But in view of opponents’ claims about the dangers to fishing, boating, levels 13% of the time. Turns out that
and the environment, rules Daniel Ronan, captain of the port for the Coast Guard, EPA’s STORET data base, from which
the Sound can be “made suitable” for Broadwater only if the company installs a NRDC had drawn the information,
variety of mitigation measures including principally a backup system should the had incorrectly recorded submissions
terminal be set adrift through a failure of its mooring system. Such a determination from SC health officials. The revised
forms part of a package of information that the US Secretary of Commerce, numbers show SC beaches with exces-
to which Broadwater has appealed after turndowns from state-level agencies, will sive bacteria levels only 6% of time,
consider before making a final judgement. which moves the state safely out of
the ten-worst category. NRDC admit-
Surely, environmentalists note, the Broadwater installation can do nothing ted the error and tourism promoters
to improve the Sound’s condition. But, said Adrienne Esposito of the Citizens sighed in relief.
Campaign for the Environment on Long Island, the good news is that no one
is likely to come up with the “large scale, expensive mitigations” that Ronan has- Products
recommended. “With a national deficit of $8 trillion,” said Esposito in the Suffolk
Times. “I don’t think there’s money in the budget to assist Shell Oil.”. Florida’s KB Industries is market-
ing Flexi-Pave, a permeable mate-
rial made from shredded old tires,
hazardous material which the state’s
Down East Resort Opposed motorists discard into landfills at the
rate of 19 million tons a year. Though
Conservation groups are on high alert in Hancock County, Maine, about a too expensive to replace asphalt or
proposal to develop 3,300 acres of land down east on the Schoodic Peninsula. The concrete, Flexi-Pave enables water to
Winter Harbor Holding Company envisions the creation of an “eco-commu- seep gradually into the ground in ar-
nity,” with clustered energy-efficient housing, which would allow the protection of eas with stormwater runoff or erosion
2/3 of the acreage with conservation easements. However, the initial site plan also problems, saving street trees by al-
showed a 250 room hotel, another 150 room hotel and a golf course. lowing rainwater to reach their roots.
Initially sold in Tampa, the product
National Park Service officials have been voicing their concern, pointing is becoming more widely available in
out that the impact of such a large development on an unspoiled watershed could Florida and internationally. Said the
affect the neighboring ecosystem. Acadia National Park is one of the most visited company’s founder, Kevin Bagnall,
parks in the nation. The major portion of it lies on Mount Desert Island, on the in an interview with the Tampa Bay
western side of Frenchman’s Bay, but there is also a portion of the Park on the tip of Business Journal: “Wherever there’s
the Schoodic peninsula and this would be adjacent to the proposed development. a dense population and waste, that’s
where we can be at.”
Ken Cline, chair of the Sierra Club‘s Maine Conservation Committee,
put the land-protection argument succinctly in their summer newsletter: “To have Funding
development of that size in this location just isn’t acceptable. It’s the wrong scale
and the wrong place.” From the Penobscot River
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.

Restoration Trust comes the news


of the early completion of a drive to
Saving CT From I-95
raise $25 million in public and private
A “dance of development” throttles Connecticut shoreline traffic and
funds to purchase the Veazie, Great
sensible planning along the dreaded I-95 interstate highway, especially from New
Works, and Howland dams on the
Haven to New London, says Harvard Graduate School of Design assistant
Maine river. For the benefit of migrat-
professor Brent D. Ryan in a New Haven Register column. The game falls into
ing Atlantic salmon and nine other
three sections. First comes the state DOT’s “never ending strategy of perpetual re-
sea-run fish species, the dams will be
construction and widening of I-95.” Stage two is “a flurry of new developments scat-
removed and fish bypasses built. The
tered along the exits of the interstate.” In Phase 3, towns “acquiesce to the highway
Trust says that the project will open
builders and developers by allowing the state to widen local access roads near the
up nearly 1,000 miles of river habi-
highway.” The results, Ryan continues, include only temporary relief from traffic
tat for the fish. PPL Corporation,
congestion, continuing frustration for commuters, and loss of local character and
the electric power company which is
charm along what in the 1970s was a “quiet coast” featuring towns with small shops,
selling the dams, has already boosted
farms and even dirt roads.
power generation at other locations
so that energy supply will continue to
If the shoreline is to be saved from future overdevelopment, Ryan argues,
meet demand. Laura Rose Day, the
local jurisdictions must start “refusing to permit the local road widening and land-
trust’s executive director, called the
use changes that rationalize the relentless growth of I-95.” New approaches, he says,
package an “extraordinary milestone”
will require greater local citizen involvement in town meetings and public hear-
and expressed confidence in “the
ings, and “letting their local officials know how they feel about overdevelopment.”
future health and prosperity of the
“Resistance to sprawl has its costs,” he argues. “But rush-hour congestion and
Penobscot region.”
slightly longer drives to shop are more than balanced out by the preservation of local
character, higher quality of life and enhanced housing values that result from saying
The Post and Courier in Charles-
no to highway expansion and big-box retail… if shoreline residents want to preserve
ton reports an especially significant
what is left of this very special region, it is time for the dance to end.”
conservation easement donation: of
almost 12,500 acres of pristine land in
South Carolina’s Brosnan Forest from
Norfolk Southern, a railroad, to the With Appreciation
Lowcountry Open Land Trust.
The company and its predecessors had We extend very special appreciation to the Marpat Foundation for its
owned this land for some 160 years major grant in support of improvements in our web-based Atlantic Coast informa-
and, said its corporate sustainability tion services, and to the Avenir Foundation for the renewal of its most important
officer, Blair Wimbush, “wanted commitment to this newsletter. Other recent donors of $1,000 or more are William
to ensure that we could preserve the L. Bernhard and Catherine Cahill, William H. Draper III and Phyllis C.
long-term health of this irreplaceable Draper, Alexander P. Farman-Farmaian, and Decatur and Sally Miller.
natural resource.” The land trust’s
Will Haynie called the donation We have also received most welcome and much needed donations from
“one of the finest acts of corporate these others: Janet and Wingate Lloyd, Caroline M. Macomber, Herschel
citizenship in the history of our state.” Post, Sandra I. van Heerden, and Elsa B. Williams.