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Atlantic CoastWatch

Stimulus Projects Strengthen Coast July-August 2009

Communities all along the Atlantic seaboard are benefiting from the Ameri- News For Coastal Advocates
can Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a.k.a. federal stimulus money, which in many
cases will be directed to improvements in the coastal infrastructure. Samples: Stimulus Projects 1
• In Maine, Acadia National Park, one of the country’s most visited, will be
receiving $8.3 million for repairs and improvements throughout the park.
• In Rhode Island $7.5 million is destined to pay for improvements to the Lobster Wars 1
hurricane barrier in Providence and to upgrade a dam and levees in Woon-
socket, which were built in the 1960s in the aftermath of Diane, a severe Sayings 2
1955 hurricane. In addition the US Army Corps of Engineers will be
taking over the ongoing operation and maintenance of these facilities, ac- Publications 3
cording to the Rhode Island News.
• Pennsylvania has received $93 million for repairs and improvements to
Greener Golf 3
water and sewer systems. This is the first installment of an expected $220
million this year. The full amount of the federal funds will be made avail
able after the state budget is passed and the legislature approves money for Vieques Feud 4
the projects.
• With $3.5 million from EPA, the port of Baltimore expects to cut diesel Green Marinas 4
emissions from trucks, tugboats, locomotives, and cargo handling gear by
fully 90%. Most of the gains will come from green technology installations.
Subway Car Reefs 4
• Federal money will be going to Virginia, under the Energy and Water
Development Appropriations Act, which will be used in part to bolster
waterway infrastructure and restoration projects along the coast and in the Oysters Rebound 5
Chesapeake Bay.
Dirty Beaches 6
Universities have also benefited from the federal largesse. The Univer-
sity of Miami received $15 million to be used towards construction of a research Big Polluter Needs Cash 6
facility for the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. The university aims to
expand its research into hurricanes, according to the Miami Herald. The Univer-
sity of North Carolina was also the recipient of $15 million to fund a new facility Fishing in Florida 6
for the Marine Biotechnology Department.
(Continued, Page 7) Corals: Threats and Promise 8

Lobster Wars Rage On Recurring
As reported in the January-February issue of this newsletter, Maine lob- People; Awards; Species &
stermen were having a difficult time in the latter part of 2008. Their difficulties
Habitats; Restorations; Report
continue: the price of lobster is still low, because of low demand. Fuel prices are
lower too, but the fishermen have had to face other higher costs.
Cards; Funding; Products

The federal government has mandated that the ground line connecting a Atlantic CoastWatch is a bimonthly
string of traps must be switched from floating line to sinking line. The intent of this newsletter for those concerned
requirement is to reduce the danger of entanglement of whales and other marine with environmentally sound coastal
mammals. But the new line is more expensive and, according to many fishermen, development.
it is more apt to get chafed and hung up on rocks, leading to lost gear. As a conse-
quence of all this many fishermen who borrowed money to finance their boats are
now having a hard time keeping up with their payments.
(Continued, Page 7)
Atlantic CoastWatch
Vol. 13, No. 4
(What follows was contributed by David Kyler, executive director of the Center
A project of the Sustainable for a Sustainable Coast in Georgia).
Development Institute, which
seeks to heighten the environmental In 1972, as a result of celebrated efforts by conservationists, Congress
quality of economic development passed a law designating Georgia’s Cumberland Island a National Seashore. With
efforts in coastal regions, by commu- added endeavor, 10 years later Congress made some 80 percent of the island a fed-
nicating information about better poli- eral wilderness area.
cies and practices. SDI is classified as
a 501(c)(3) organization, exempt from When President Ronald Reagan signed that 1982 bill, he directed the
federal income tax. Department of the Interior to “manage Cumberland Island in a manner similar
to wilderness, to the maximum extent practicable, consistent with the other uses for
Board of Directors the area set forth in the legislative history.”

Freeborn G. Jewett, Jr., Chair The great public benefit achieved by giving Cumberland Island the wilder-
Robert J. Geniesse, Chair Emeritus ness designation is even more profound today — providing the unique opportunity
Roger D. Stone, President for visitors to experience a barrier island in its relatively natural condition.
Dale K. Lipnick, Treasurer
Gay P. Lord, Secretary To witness windswept maritime forest and magnificent 40-foot sand dunes
Nelse L. Greenway while hearing only the cries of sea gulls, breaking waves, and rustling leaves is a
David P. Hunt breathtaking experience no longer attainable along most of the nation’s rampantly
Hassanali Mehran urbanizing coastline.
Simon Sidamon-Eristoff
Despite the unique and deeply valued wilderness experience afforded by
Advisers Cumberland Island, it is being compromised by a 2004 effort spearheaded by Rep.
Jack Kingston (R-Savannah) supposedly intended to improve access to historical
William H. Draper, III sites.
Gary Hartshorn
Stephen P. Leatherman In practice, it accommodates the daily motorized tours of private commer-
Jerry R. Schubel cial promoters through the wilderness.
Christopher Uhl
By creating a transportation scheme that carves out a road corridor down
Staff the center of the island that’s intended to bring scores of visitors daily in motorized
tours, the provision directly contradicts the island’s wilderness designation. Impos-
Roger D. Stone, Director & President ing the use of motorized vehicles in federally designated wilderness is unprecedent-
Catherine Cooper, Contributing Editor ed in the history of the wilderness program.
Anita Herrick, Contributing Editor
Robert C. Nicholas III, Contributing The legislation also mandated the National Park service to initiate up to
Editor eight, but no less than five, motorized vehicle tours daily through the wilderness,
each with as many as 30 people.

Foundation Donors Subsequently, a transportation management plan was developed. In

conjunction with that plan, and with no public input, a structure in the north end
Avenir Foundation settlement was renovated as a visitor center. This facility is already being used by a
The Fair Play Foundation commercial tour provider, apparently at no cost.
The Madriver Foundation
Although Kingston claims his proposal is compatible with the wilderness
status given to most of the island, the transportation plan conflicts fundamentally
with the Wilderness Act and establishes a reckless precedent.

Evidently, Kingston believes that vehicular access to the island’s north end
is more important than preserving and honoring the wilderness experience.

The pending disruption is more than incidental to the interests of private

parties who advocate nonwilderness use of the island for profit-making purposes.

(Continued, Page 7)
Pete Seeger, continuing to express
z Even during Maine’s chilly, foggy and rainy early summer, birding guides hope for the future, celebrated his
there reported being ”busier than ever,” said the Bangor Daily News. It was yet 90th birthday May 3 with a concert
another indication that birding has become big business, accounting for outlays by over 40 performing artists ben-
of $26 billion nationally with big-bucks spending for food and lodging, transporta- efiting his Hudson River sloop Clear-
tion, and equipment. And fully 39% of Maine’s residents call themselves birders. water. He started the Clearwater
It all adds to the logic of the new Maine Birding Trail Map recently published organization in the 1960s as a move
by the Maine Nature-based Tourism Initiative with help from several state to preserve and protect the river,
agencies and private organizations. A first printing of 20,000 copies was quickly Reuters noted. The musician, song-
snapped up and another batch was being printed as of early August. writer, and peace advocate is the
same age as women’s suffrage, the
z In Last Light over Carolina (Simon & Schuster 2009), bestselling nov- Green Bay Packers and the Grand
elist Mary Alice Monroe explores what the publisher calls “a vanishing feature Canyon National Park. And, as the
of the southern coastline, the mysterious yet time honored shrimping culture.” Lo- song notes, the river is dirty now but
cals expressed hope that this tale, of a shrimp boat captain, his socialite wife, and is getting cleaner every day.
an approaching storm would broaden interest in the South Carolina lowcountry
and its shrimp industry, sadly fading with the advent of condos, golf courses, and After 39 years of service, Forrest
recreational boaters. Bonney, western Maine’s “Mr.
Brook Trout,” has hung up his wad-
z A new website will increase government transparency and expand public ers and retired as head fisheries
participation in President Obama’s Executive Order on Chesapeake Bay Protec- biologist for the region. “Small and
tion and Restoration. The website will serve as the clearinghouse for all Executive pretty,” said the Kennebec Journal,
Order information, including news, documents and events from the various federal this red-spotted fish “represents
agencies working on new approaches to cleaning up the nation’s largest estuary. Maine’s clean ecosystems—and its
The public can also provide feedback on the website and use online tools to track ecotourism future.” Bonney has
Executive Order activities. The website address is http://executiveorder.chesa- worked indefatigably to protect and restore habitats for the wild brook
trout, preferred by many anglers
over the larger stocked variety. Some
150 waters in Maine have native
New Image for Golf Courses brook trout populations, said the pa-
per, “more than anywhere else in the
Long scorned by environmentalists alleging overuse of chemicals and eastern United States,” and Bonney
water, golf courses have won a greener image in recent years. Many of them have merits most of the credit for saving
worked with Audubon International to improve conditions for wildlife by this “iconic” fish.
cutting back on their use of pesticides and other chemicals. And more recently, as
drought has afflicted many areas, public officials have turned to golf course manag- Awards
ers for advice on a subject they know well: how to save money by using less water,
and using it well. The Federal Highway Admin-
istration, of all people, presented
In Georgia, reported the New York Times, “the shift in perspective came its Exemplary Ecosystem Award to
about largely because of a crippling drought that peaked in 2007. In that year, 97 a consortium of public and private
percent of the clubs that belonged to the Golf Course Superintendents As- agencies in Maryland for building
sociation had voluntarily adopted what are viewed as best-management practices an oyster reef in the Severn River.
for water use, reducing consumption by some 25% in just three years.” The Baltimore Sun reported that
demolished concrete used to create
Practices now commonly used include irrigating with gray water, simply the sanctuary, for 4 million juvenile
avoiding excess watering that harms turf, replacing flowering annual plants with oysters, came via improvements to
perennials requiring less water, and sending workers out to hand-water greens the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
rather than leaving the job to sprinkler systems. Warm-weather plant species are
replacing hardy varieties requiring watering and mowing through the winter. Species & Habitats

For sure, golf courses remain thirsty, using one half of one percent of all US Corey Surls, age 11, was wandering
freshwater consumption. Their reliance on chemicals has hardly ended. But more on the grounds of Florida’s Okeecho-
and more in Georgia and elsewhere, said the Times, golf course managers “have beee Veterinary Hospital when he
emerged as go-to gurus on water conservation for both industries and nonprofit looked down into a ditch and beheld
groups”—the latter advising homeowners on ways to reduce consumption. “If you an unusually large snake. He alerted
want to learn how to irrigate, those are the guys to ask,” said a Nevada water official. his uncle, a veterinarian, who killed
the snake with a rifle. Later he sum-
moned the hospital staff to pose for Vieques Feud Continues
an unusual group photo: it took a
lineup of 8 people to hold the beast, Citizens of Vieques, a small island off Puerto Rico’s eastern end, thought their
which turned out to be a 17-foot, 207 problems were over when in 2003 the US Navy bowed to community pressure and
pound Burmese python—an invasive stopped using most of it as a bombing range. But now, reports the New York Times,
species originally imported for the citizens “aghast” at the cleanup methods being used have once again “squared off against
pet trade. Some escaped from cages the American military.”
and the species, now well estab-
lished in the Everglades, is spreading In their attempts to remove hazardous unexploded munitions from sec-
across the state’s elaborate network tions of the island it still controls, the Navy uses detonations and burnings that resi-
of ditches, levees, waterways, and dents argue are bothersome and unhealthy. Respiratory problems are widespread.
even buildings. Without predators Military officials as well as the EPA, in charge of the cleanup program, counter that
except for large alligators, guilty the detonations “posed no threat to human health as long as limited amounts are
of recently having strangled a exploded each time, the wind is calm and air quality is monitored constantly.” For-
2-year-old girl in her own bedroom, est burning is required, they say, because it is too risky to send workers into con-
the snake is now a public enemy. taminated areas with machetes and chainsaws.
Legislation to ban imports has been
introduced. Fast-growing tourism featuring “gorgeous undeveloped beaches” has
triggered something of an economic boom on the island. Real estate values have
climbed. But the disputes over the detonation methods rage on at endless com-
The sea scallop fishery on Georges
munity gatherings, and no end is in sight. The cleanup of what is now labeled as a
Bank, offshore from Cape Cod and
Superfund site is expected to last ten years or more.
Nova Scotia, said the Cape Cod
Times, “often surpasses lobster as
the most valuable fishery in the
country.” Apprehensions linger
about the health of his fishery after Green Marina Program Grows
several years when surveys recorded
dwindling numbers of young scal- Efforts to contain pollution and run-off from boating facilities continue de-
lops called recruits.” But new data spite the added time and costs for marina owners. The programs vary from state to
compiled by NOAA in May and June state and are voluntary. The Maryland Clean Marina Initiative, under the auspices
show an upswing in juvenile sea of the state’s Department of Natural Resources, has produced an exhaustive
scallops on the bank, promising good guide to recommended practices which has served as a model for other initiatives,
harvests 5 or 6 years from now. such as the one along the Potomac and Anacostia rivers in Washington, DC.

In the Caribbean, concerns are In August, twelve more Maryland marinas were certified as clean, bringing
mounting about growing populations the total to 139, representing 23% of the total facilities in the State. One of the bet-
of voracious lionfish, an Indo-Pacific ter known and most visited is the Annapolis City Dock.
native. Probably, said St. Thomas
Source, these fish were imported
for Florida aquariums, “producing
eggs that floated on currents to other Subway Car Reefs: Mixed Results
parts of the Caribbean Sea.” These
long-lived fish are hearty eaters of Stainless steel subway cars dropped into the Atlantic to turn into artificial reefs
valuable marine resources includ- deteriorated in seven months instead of the predicted 25 years, New Jersey officials
found. The discovery prompted the state’s Department of Environmental Protec-
ing native fishes and crustaceans
tion to end the program once intended to have 600 New York City cars, each weighing
important to local economies, have
35,000 pounds, become reef habitat for marine life. Monitoring discovered the problem
no predators in the region, and have
after 100 cars had been placed on 2 offshore sites. DEP’s Darlene Yuhas said it was
become the most abundant fish
not clear why the cars deteriorated so rapidly, adding that they do not pose a threat and
on many reefs. What to do? In the do provide “some level of habitat,” stated New Jersey has
Virgin Islands, said fish and wildlife successfully used steel subway cars on reefs and plans to sink a surf clam boat, 500,000
officials, the best strategy is “early cubic yards of rocks and 500 prefabricated reef balls as reef additions.
detection and removal.”
In Delaware, a sustained program of New York subway car sinkings, inaugurat-
The seawater was so toasty in Maine, ed in 2001, continues unabated. In August 44 cars were sunk, raising the total number
reported the Associated Press in Delaware waters to 1,041. Officials reported a “marine life community up to 400 times
that Steve Kramer of Scarbor- richer than the natural, muddy bottom,” reported Dumpings also
ough stayed for fully an hour and a continued in Virginia and Georgia, where artificial reefs are needed, reported the Savan-
half in the 72-degree ocean. He’d nah Morning News, “because the ocean bottom is mostly composed of loose sand and
never done anything like that before. silt, which makes it difficult for natural reefs to form.”
Ocean City, MD water hit a steamy
Oysters Rebound 88 degrees. But this was not just
a local phenomenon, reported the
Just when you were ready to list as down for the count the beleaguered National Climatic Data Center:
oysters of the Chesapeake area and Long Island Sound, along comes evidence of highs were reported for the Gulf of
recovery. Mexico, the Arctic, and the Mediter-
ranean. Overall, said AP, July was
In the 1980s and early 1990s, said the Hartford Courant, commercial the hottest the oceans have been in
oystermen were doing all right as a result of careful management of stocks and almost 130 years of record-keeping
grounds. The value of Connecticut landings rose from $3.9 million in 1987 to $44.8 with an average water temperature
million in 1992. Then came a crash thanks to one unusually warm winter that en- worldwide of 62.6 degrees, topping
couraged the spread of the same MSX parasite that had helped reduce the Chesa- the previous July 1998 record set
peake fishery to barely 1% of what it had been at its 19th century peak. But now, during a powerful El Nino event.
thanks to careful breeding of disease-resistant stocks, and diligent tending of state-
owned beds, the Connecticut harvest is back up. East Norwalk oysterman Norm The eastward expansion of coyote
Bloom, said the paper, now operates seven boats and a refrigerated packing house; populations continues. Long a fix-
he and his son “expect to be cultivating oysters for at least another generation. ture in the western and plains states,
Wile E. now shows up in every large
And from Virginia’s Wicomico River, a Chesapeake tributary, comes more US metropolitan area including
broadly significant good news. There, reported the Washington Post, scientists have some Atlantic coastal habitats. Coy-
“created something that hasn’t been seen since the late 1800s—a vast, thriving reef otes killed 30 pheasants in one Dela-
of American oysters.” Scientists from the US Army Corps of Engineers and the ware backyard, a miniature dachs-
Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) explained that in 2004 they had hund in Illinois, and a 19-pound
placed thick beds of old oyster shells across a 86.5-acre sanctuary where harvesting house cat. They can feed on every-
is not allowed. Oysters grew from larvae released by nearby wild oysters. When they thing from watermelon to cattle,
returned in 2007, the scientists found that the number of live oysters on this reef according to wildlife officials cited
had reached 184.5 million, largest of any native population anywhere in the world. by USA Today, and are taking down
white-tailed deer “with regularity.”
The VIMS team attributed several reasons for this phenomenal feat. The Citizens are encouraged to heighten
reefs they had built rise 10-18 inches above the seafloor, as opposed to conventional measures to protect household pets,
reefs rising only 3-5 inches. Oysters on the taller reefs were bigger and faster grow- some of which get snatched right off
ing, numbering fourfold the population densities on shorter reefs, Stronger currents porches.
supplied them with more food, enabling them to grow faster and resist the parasitic
diseases that have decimated the Chesapeake populations. Faster moving water also Restorations
swept away the sediments that might otherwise have clogged their feeding filtration
mechanisms. “Efforts to end overfishing around
the world are beginning to pay divi-
The cost of achieving these results, said the Post, is estimated between dends” stated NOAA administrator
$80,000 and $100,000 an acre—far too high for the Wicomico methods to be easily Jane Lubchenco. Indeed there
replicable elsewhere. Doubts persist about whether the improved growth rates will has been some positive news in one
survive over the longer term. The diseases lurk. But, concluded the paper, “there of the East Coast’s major fisheries,
may be lessons, and glimmers of hope, in healthy oysters resisting the tides of his- the haddock, whose numbers have
tory.” shown a remarkable increase. As
reported in the July issue of The Sci-
entist the annual average of haddock
surviving for a year was 22 million
With Appreciation in the five year period from 1995 to
2000; in 2003 the number jumped
We extend particular thanks to the Avenir Foundation for continuing to 789 million. The reasons for this
its most generous support for this newsletter even during these difficult economic rebound are not clear, and may be
times. Our deep appreciation also goes to William H. Draper III and Phyllis the result of the lack of competition
Draper and to these other recent donors: from other bottom feeders. A report
in Science magazine, titled “Rebuild-
Jane Blair ing Global Fisheries,” the result of a
Anne Davidson two year study by twenty-one scien-
Sandra I. Van Heerden tists headed by Boris Worm and
Mr. and Mrs. William Blunt White Ray Hilborn, also presents a more
Terry and Elsa Williams hopeful picture. Previous articles by
Worm had been very pessimistic. In
this new study he teamed up with
one of his chief critics to re-examine
the issue. They found that manage- Dirty Beaches, Dirty Sand.
ment efforts in countries such as the
US, Iceland and New Zealand have Reports of beach closings because of high bacteria counts in the water are
succeeded in reversing declines due coming in from up and down the coast. The Northeast, which had a record breaking
to overfishing. But they also state amount of rain in June and July, has been especially badly affected. Beach pollu-
that the fishing quotas should be tion is largely the result of stormwater run-off, which carries animal feces, fertilizer,
even more conservative, that aiming and waste from developed areas. Other contributors are leaky septic systems and
for the “maximum sustainable yield” failing sewage treatment plants. Nationally more than 20,000 beach closing days
does not allow the stock to rebuild, have been reported for the fourth year in a row, according to a report by the Natu-
and that 63% of the world’s fish ral Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in Washington.
stocks need to be rebuilt.
Research by Christopher D. Heaney, published in the American Jour-
Report Cards nal of Epidemiology, shows that sand on the shoreline absorbs bacteria present in
the water, and they will continue to live even after the water has cleared up. Chil-
Make reduction of pesticide runoff dren digging in the sand are especially vulnerable. Heaney recommends that hands
into the Chesapeake Bay a need as be washed before tucking into that beach picnic.
urgent as the better known prob-
lem of nutrients from farms. Speed On the positive side for Atlantic Coast watchers, another NRDC report
and widen research on the threat of credits Delaware, Virginia and New Hampshire as the states with the nation’s top
pesticide contamination of the Bay. beach water quality, with only 1% of samples across 24 beaches exceeding bacteria
These were among 16 recommenda- limits. Among individual beaches winning NRDC’s five star (top) rating was Ocean
tions to scientists and water quality City, MD. Close behind were four Delaware beaches: Bethany Beach, Dewey Beach,
agencies made in a study, “Pesticides Fenwick Island, and Rehoboth Beach.
and the Maryland Chesapeake Bay
Watershed,”from the Pesticides
and the Chesapeake Bay Water-
shed Project. Biggest Chesapeake Polluter Needs Cash
Adding solid information to the end- The single biggest sewage polluter of the Chesapeake Bay --the Blue
less chatter about whether recycling Plains Wastewater Treatment Plant in Washington, D.C.-- needs at least $3
pays, the Natural Resources De- billion to curb untreated sewage overflows and nitrogen emissions. An investment
fense Council found that curbside of $2.2 billion would enable underground tunnels to hold otherwise overflowing
collection for recycling in New York rainwater and sewage, reducing the overflows by 96 percent, according to Home-
City costs 6% more than exporting This fix is scheduled to be done by 2025.
waste to out of state landfills and
incinerators. But the primary reason District residents need to pay the $2.2 billion for sewer overflows since it
is that recycling collection crews col- is old District pipes that are causing the problem, the paper said. It added that by
lect fewer tons per shift than refuse 2017, District residents could by paying sewer bills of as much as $120 a month vs.
the current average monthly bill amounting to $62.25.
collection crews, so if New Yorkers
recycled more the disparity would
Blue Plains sends 6 million to 7 million pounds of nitrogen to the bay each
fade. And recycling gives the city a
year. To reduce that to 4.7 million pounds will cost $950 million in improvements,
big boost in reducing greenhouse noted. The nitrogen reduction changes are to be ready
emissions. How to get New Yorkers by 2014. In the fiscal year 2010 Senate Interior and Environment appropriations
to recycle more? Check San Fran- bill, there is $1.2 million for the plant to install improved nutrient removal facilities,
cisco, says NRDC, which has “a great Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) said, adding that this fix would reduce that
recycling education program.” pollution by nearly 4 million pounds a year

Pollution’s effects on human health

in the Chesapeake Bay were docu-
mented by the Chesapeake Bay Fishing in Florida
Foundation. Its report, said the
Washington Post, stressed that “the Just stroll down to the pier somewhere on the Florida coast, deploy your
threat of infection from pollutants fishing gear, and catch supper out of the inlet. Uh uh, says Florida. Now if you are
that wash into the bay from onshore a resident saltwater angler who fishes “from a shore or a structure affixed to shore”
is great enough that health authori- you need a license. If you have a regular saltwater license that will do, and there
ties recommend no swimming until are exemptions for people over 65, on food stamps, or fishing in home waters with
48 hours after a significant rain.” a pole lacking a “retrieval device” (reel). But otherwise, fork over nine bucks to help
Water becoming warmer as a result the state’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission study and protect marine
resources—then amble out there and legally snag a snapper.
of climate change threatens to wors-
en the problem since it is increasing-
Stimulus Projects, Continued from p. 1 ly friendly to pathogens, especially
a “powerful strain of bacteria called
According to the St. Thomas Source, the St, Croix chapter of The Vibrio.”
Nature Conservancy will be receiving $1 million in stimulus funds to support
a three year coral restoration project in the Virgin Islands The plan is to create According to a new US Geological
nurseries for threatened elkhorn and staghorn corals (see p.8). When the corals Service survey, mercury was found
have grown, they will be replanted on damaged reefs. The Conservancy has a in every fish tested between 1998
similar project in Florida. and 2005 Of these, reported The in South Carolina, 27%
Another non-profit in St. Croix, the Virgin Islands Resources and were so polluted that they exceeded
Development Council, will receive $2.7 million to reduce or prevent run-off in federal health standards. Rivers
three watersheds – two on St. John and one on St. Croix. throughout the southeast US were
especially plagued by fish with high
mercury concentrations, thanks to
coal-fired power plants and other
Lobster Wars, Continued from p.1 industries.

The Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation has had the bright idea to
purchase the discarded line to have it woven into doormats. The colorful mats are Rebuilding populations of summer
made by the Maine Float-rope Company, and a percentage of the proceeds flounder, black sea bass, butterfish
goes toward programs that protect the Northern Right Whale and that support the and bluefish by 2007 would have
lobstermen. While this is a clever idea, it is not going to repay all the expenses the generated an additional $570 million
lobstermen have incurred. per year in direct economic benefits
in perpetuity. In five years, there
Economic woes have led to fierce competition and frayed tempers. In late would be a $2.85 billion economic
July, there were reports of cut trap lines. On Matinicus island, a lobsterman was benefit to the Mid-Atlantic economy.
shot by one of his colleagues, shocking that small community and leading to the These conclusions are in “Investing
closure of the local fishery for three days. Two weeks later, two lobster boats were in Our Future: The Economic Case
found scuttled, and one half sunk in Owl’s Head harbor, just south of Rockland. for Rebuilding Mid-Atlantic Fish
The Coast Guard and state marine patrols have increased their vigilance. Populations,” a study from The Pew
Charitable Trusts. If the resto-
The crises may lead to further refining and changes in the present regula- ration had been accomplished, the
tions. Swan’s Island and Monhegan are often pointed to as models. On those report continues, commercial land-
islands, the season and the number of traps are limited in return for exclusive ings would have increased by 48%
fishing rights in their territories. per year and recreational landings
by 24% per year. Failing to address
overfishing, on the other hand,
Sayings, Continued from p.2 means lost income and perhaps
costly regulations in the long-term.
An environmental assessment of the transportation proposal completed
last year by the National Park Service failed to even acknowledge, much less The District of Columbia’s City
evaluate, the likely impacts on the visitor experience. Instead, the assessment only Council has passed legislation re-
concluded there would be negligible impact on island wildlife. quiring shoppers starting in January
2010 to pay a 5 cent fee per paper
Whatever the plan’s impacts on native plants and animals, the serenity or plastic bag used while leaving
and natural isolation provided by the island wilderness will be degraded when grocery, drug, convenience, or liquor
Park Service vehicles shuttle tourists north and south. Imagine a tranquil outing stores. The law is expected to raise
to watch ospreys, blue herons or pileated woodpeckers abruptly spoiled by the about $3.5 million a year. Proceeds
roar of a van passing by. Because of such concerns, the only form of transport are earmarked to support cleanup
permitted under the Wilderness Act is by horseback. If visitors insist on traveling
activities along the badly polluted
to their destination using motorized vehicles, they should be seeking a more com-
Anacostia River and its tributaries.
mon, nonwilderness recreational experience elsewhere.
Private nonprofits seeking funding
Providing vehicular access to historical sites should not override the
protected value of wilderness, especially on a barrier island where unaltered land- from NOAA’s hydra-headed assort-
scape is so rarely accessible to the public. In a world now confronting the impacts ment of grant-making opportunities
of our technology reaching from one polar cap to the other, surely we can agree to now have a handy research tool. The
honor an obligation to protect this precious fragment of nature for the unmatched agency’s Community Based Restora-
beauty and tranquility that it offers. tion Program (CRP), which since
Atlantic CoastWatch
Sustainable Development Institute
3121 South St., NW
Washington, D.C. 20007

Tel: (202) 338-1017

Fax: (202) 337-9639

Tax-deductible contributions for Atlantic CoastWatch are especially needed.

Checks can be made payable to the Sustainable Development Institute.

1996 “has been providing financial

assistance to communies for the res- Corals: Threats and Promise
toration of fisheries habitat nation-
wide,” offers full web information In its July Coral Reef Watch Report, NOAA predicted that conditions were
about what’s available in the way such that there was likely to be severe bleaching and disease outbreaks in the reefs
of NOAA support for communities in the southern Caribbean. Reason: exceptionally warm water recorded in June,
seeking to “actively participate in the which is likely to continue through October.
conservation of marine resources.”
Log onto The warm water causes the corals to expel the algae that live on them
tat/restoration/funding_opportuni- symbiotically. These algae give the corals their color and are crucial to their sur-
ties/funding.html. Then “click on the vival. 2005, a year with comparable water temperatures, was historically the worst
map.” incidence of coral bleaching and die-off, with as much as 90 per cent of the coral in
the eastern Caribbean affected. Another grave threat to the corals is the excessive
Products amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The gas is absorbed by sea water but
in doing so the water becomes more acid, dissolving the calcium of which the corals
To encourage concentrations of are made.
marine life for sport and commercial
fishermen, it has long been custom- Sir David Attenborough, the naturalist, spoke out strongly at a meet-
ary for authorities to deploy special ing of the Royal Society in London in July, as reported in the Guardian: “A coral
devices such as buoys. They grow reef is the canary in the cage as far as the oceans are concerned. They are the places
algae, provide hiding places for small where the damage is most easily and quickly seen.” The level of carbon dioxide in
bait fish which then attract larger the atmosphere is now estimated at 387 parts per million, already well above the
fish. The local problem, reports the 350 ppm or less required, many scientists think, to forestall ocean acidification.
Virgin Islands Daily News, was that
the cost of deploying the large metal From the Florida Keys, there came reports of an encouraging revival of
structures that were commercially spectacular, branching staghorn and elkhorn corals long subject to what the Miami
available was very high, requir- Herald called “massive and mysterious die-offs over the last 30 years.” Two years
ing cranes and barges and sums of ago, said the paper, marine biologist Ken Nedimyer had planted these corals
$12.000 to $15,000 per buoy. So in underwater nurseries at two locations. But there was no hope of replanting the
Gerald Greaux, an environmen- entire Keys with these species, which have declined there by as much as 97%.
tal specialist at the VI Division of
Fish and Wildlife, took matters So scientists were thrilled to discover that the farm-raised corals were re-
into his own hand and designed pro- producing the old-fashioned way—via a “fascinating reproductive eruption known
totypes made of old tires and PVC as the annual coral spawn” when polyps living inside hard corals “cast small white
pipe that could be produced locally. sacs into the sea on the slim chance that sperm will drift into a genetically suitable
Three models are currently being egg, hook up, settle down, and someday grow into healthy little corals of their own.”
tested. This process, said Nedimyer, is “the future of reef restoration.”