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Atlantic CoastWatch

Flood Insurance Reform? September-October 2009

The impetus to develop a Flood Insurance Program grew in the mid 1960s, News For Coastal Advocates
prompted by increasing development in flood plain areas. Before the existence
of the program, most people in such areas simply went without insurance, and Flood Insurance 1
counted on federal disaster relief if there should be a flood. This was expensive and
inefficient. The thinking was that insurance would be a better way, but to keep the
risks down coverage would only be offered to property owners in communities that Bright Spots 1
had floodplain management laws.
Sayings 2
In 1967, the National Flood Insurance Program was instituted. Over the
ensuing years, changes have been made to address inherent problems. Too few Publications 3
people were buying flood insurance, so in 1972 Congress made it mandatory for
owners who had a mortgage with a federally regulated lender. But there continues
Coping with Coyotes 3
to be problem in getting people to sign up for flood insurance, particularly people in
less hazardous zones, which would dilute the risk. Some also contend that federal
flood insurance subsidizes development in flood-prone areas where the developer, Courts & The Seashore 4
not taxpayers, should bear the risk.
Wandering Seabird 4
As it stands now the insurance program operates as a public-private part-
nership, run by FEMA. The government bears all the risk; the insurance com-
Philly & Stormwater 4
panies sell the individual policies, handle the claims, and collect the premiums of
which they send the major portion back to the government. (It is estimated that the
program brings in $2.3 billion in premiums, of which $1 billion is kept by the insur- Hugo Redux? 5
ance companies.)
Cuban, US Scientists Meet 5
The program has been deeply in debt since Hurricane Katrina. With the
federal fiscal year coming to an end, re-authorization is due. According to the New
Lake Okeechobee Troubles 6
York Times, it will probably only receive month to month extensions until Congress
has a chance to re-examine the program and make improvements in its partnership
with the insurance companies. Acorn Headaches 6

NC Recycling Law 8
Bright Spots in New England Georgia: Action Needed 8
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) just awarded the deep-sea
red crab fishery its certification for being sustainable and well-managed. The MSC is Cruise Ships
an international non-profit organization that runs the only certification and eco-
labeling program for wild capture fisheries. Worldwide, more than 2500 seafood
Recurring
products bear the blue MSC ecolabel.

This is the first fishery on the East Coast to receive such a certification. People; Awards; Species &
They applied for it last year after 15 months of investigation. The deep sea red crab Habitats; Restorations; Report
(Chaceon quinquedens) is fished in a large zone along the continental shelf from Cards; Products;
Cape Hatteras to the Canadian border. Only the males are kept, and they are cap- Funding
tured year-round using crab pot traps in water 350 to 400 fathoms deep. In 2008,
3.1 million pounds were caught which translated into 1 million pounds of processed Atlantic CoastWatch is a bimonthly
crab. newsletter for those concerned
with environmentally sound coastal
(Continued, Page 7)
development.
2
Atlantic CoastWatch
Sayings
Vol. 13, No. 5 In September five federal agencies with strong White House backing is-
sued draft reports leading toward what EPA administrator Lisa Jackson has
A project of the Sustainable
called a “new era of federal leadership” in protecting and restoring the battered
Development Institute, which
Chesapeake Bay. Washington Post staff writer David A. Fahrenhold said that if
seeks to heighten the environmental
the new federal plan works, “a bay known for soft-touch oversight could become
quality of economic development
one of the most aggressively regulated bodies of water in the country.” Jackson
efforts in coastal regions, by commu-
expressed resolve: “We want to make this a laboratory to show that it can be
nicating information about better poli-
done.”
cies and practices. SDI is classified as
a 501(c)(3) organization, exempt from
Those with long memories recall that such promises have often been
federal income tax.
made before, but that many targets have remained unmet as excessive runoff has
polluted the bay’s waters, created “dead zones where little can live, depleted oyster
Board of Directors
and even blue crab populations, and left little for fast-falling numbers of water-
men to do. Because of federal inaction, said the Post, the result is “a waterway
Freeborn G. Jewett, Jr., Chair
literally gasping for air.”
Robert J. Geniesse, Chair Emeritus
Roger D. Stone, President
So what are the chances that the new federal push will make a real dif-
Dale K. Lipnick, Treasurer
ference? What follows, culled from intensive media coverage from around the
Gay P. Lord, Secretary
64,000 square mile watershed, are reactions to the idea of a federally-led war on
Nelse L. Greenway
Chesapeake pollution:
David P. Hunt
Hassanali Mehran
Tommy Landers of Environment Maryland: “That would be a game-
Simon Sidamon-Eristoff
changing play in this really complicated game. What we have been calling for is a
commitment to enforcement and accountability. And we’re seeing the signs of that
Advisers
from the EPA” (Washington Post)
William H. Draper, III
US Naval Academy political scientist Howard Ernst: The bay is “an
Gary Hartshorn
ecological zombie…not quite dead, certainly not alive, but some grotesque shadow
Stephen P. Leatherman
of what it used to be,” quoted in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “Powerful interests
Jerry R. Schubel
have worked to keep the rules from being enforced, and “those interests have not
Christopher Uhl
gone away.” (Washington Post).
Staff
William C. Baker, president, Chesapeake Bay Foundation:”What is
still missing are clearly identified bold, specific, and measurable pollution reduc-
Roger D. Stone, Director & President
tions EPA will pursue today. EPA has the opportunity to step forward now, to
Catherine Cooper, Contributing Editor
exercise federal leadership now, to start changing the status quo now.” (Chesapeake
Anita Herrick, Contributing Editor
Bay Foundation)
Robert C. Nicholas III, Contributing
Editor
Dennis H. Treacy, vice president for environmental and corporate af-
fairs, Smithfield Foods, Inc.: “My fear is that we are describing the problem as
insurmountable. I think we need to recognize our successes in the bay. I think that
Foundation Donors
what we really need is a focus on outcomes—maybe even a Chesapeake Bay czar
approach, somebody who brings everybody together and makes them accountable.
Avenir Foundation
There are so many programs that we don’t even know what they’re doing. We’ve got
The Fair Play Foundation
to rethink and see if we can’t get a little bit better coordination.” (Richmond Times-
The Madriver Foundation
Dispatch)
The Moore Charitable Foundation
John Tippett of Friends of the Rappahannock: “We are simply tired
of repeated promises. I think with this strategy the EPA is saying that with pollution
on this scale a voluntary effort will simply not get our citizens the clean water that
everyone has a right to. I’m optimistic.” (Fredericksburg, Va. Free Lance Star

Baltimore Sun: “The Chesapeake Bay’s health is too badly deteriorated to


be terribly sanguine about its future particularly as development in the region con-
tinues to expand. But is’s also safe to say that it won’t improve without the greater
federal involvement that now seems at least to have begun.
(Continued, p. 7)
3
People
Publications
Newly appointed as top enforcement
z Island Press, a non-profit publishing house, has lost some of the fund- official at EPA is Barrington, RI res-
ing it has depended on over the years and is having to cut staff. Since 1984, when ident Cynthia J. Giles. An attorney
it was reorganized, it has been an invaluable outlet for books and policy papers with ample experience at the Con-
on environmental issues. Their aim is to “publish the best new ideas about how servation Law Foundation, the
to protect the environment.” They produce 40 to 45 new titles a year, including Sierra Club, the Massachusetts
many on coastal issues, and they now have 800 titles in print – some of these have Department of Environmental
become landmarks in that field, others are important despite their obscurity. Protection, and the Roger Wil-
liams University Law School,
z Rescue Warriors: The U.S. Coast Guard, America’s Forgotten Giles did not flinch when asked by
Heroes by David Helvarg (St. Martin’s Press 2009) traces the history of this the Providence Journal if the term
admirable service agency from its founding in the 1700s when its chief duties were “bulldog” applied to her. “Abso-
to collect taxes from ships importing goods and to fight against pirates to its many lutely,” she said. “We are past the
faceted role in today’s world: rescue, maintenance of navigational aids, monitoring economy-versus-the-environment
of pollution, interception of drugs and smugglers, protection of ports and shipping paradigm that used to dominate this
from terrorism – it is a tall order. During the Katrina disaster, the Coast Guard conversation. People get the idea
was the one federal agency that was prepared and effective. that a good environment is good for
the economy. When we are enforc-
z Newly out is a useful guide to prudent shoreline development entitled ing the law, we are at the same time
Smart Growth for Coastal and Waterfront Communities. The 60 page strengthening the economy.”
document encompasses what the sponsors call “an overview of unique develop-
ment challenges and opportunities along the water.” It “provides specific ap- Acting commissioner of Connecti-
proaches to development that include a description of the issues, tools and tech- cut’s Department of Environ-
niques, and case studies.” The easily downloadable, succinct report was produced mental Protection since June,
by NOAA, EPA, the International City/County Management Association, Amey Marrella has been con-
and Rhode Island Sea Grant in consultation with the national Smart Growth firmed as its head. With prior experi-
Network. ence in state government and EPA,
said the Hartford Courant, Marrella
comes well equipped to take on the
challenges of the state’s top envi-
Coping with Coyotes ronmental job. She is well able to
“balance the various needs and top
In our July/August issue, we reported evidence of the coyote’s return to
priorities,” with protection for Long
parts of the country such as Delaware where the animals had not been spotted for
Island Sound an increasingly critical
many years, if ever. Now comes news of another remarkable influx: the no fewer
need. “A good choice for a tough
than 9 packs of them ranging Aquidneck and Conanicut islands and elsewhere
job,” the paper concluded.
along the shores of Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay.
Awards
We also learned of the Narragansett Bay Coyote Study (NBCS), an in-
novative effort by a consortium of private groups—the Conservation Agency,
The Chesapeake Bay Founda-
the Rhode Island Natural History Survey, and the Potter League for
tion’s annual Conservationist of
Animals—to study the habits of these critters and advise citizens on how best to
the Year award went to former
get along with them without resorting to the rifle.
Richmond Times Dispatch reporter
Lawrence Latane III. He covered
In a sprightly publication called the Coyote Coexistence Guide for New-
bay issues from 1996 to 2008 and
port County, the group offers sound advice. Atop this list is a clear warning: don’t
was, said a Chesapeake Bay Founda-
feed them. Coyotes regulate population size by varying the number of offspring
tion spokesman, “arguably the dean
each pack produces. More food equals more pups. And for each coyote killed (not
of bay journalists in Virginia.” Said
many, for they are “virtually invisible”) those still alive will sense an increase in
Latane: “I kind of turned it into a
available food and produce more pups.
beat that really hadn’t been there”
for the paper.
So, the pamphlet says, don’t feed them or be sloppy with garbage and keep
small pets indoors: “Coyotes eat everything: fruit, cereals, meats, small animals,
Deborah C. Rice received a
and garbage.” If one gets uncomfortably close to you, “act big, mean, and loud” to
$100,000 award from the Heinz
scare it away. Above all, don’t let them become habituated to humans which can
Family Foundation for her
make them more aggressive. “We can manage coyotes—get them to drop their own
research in the field of neurotoxi-
numbers—if we aggressively manage ourselves,” the group concludes. “If we as a
cology. She is best known for her
community decrease the food subsidies we are providing coyotes their populations
research on the toxic flame retardant
will stabilize at lower levels.”


4
decaBDE, which led to its ban by the
Maine Legislature in 2007. Other Courts & The Seashore
states have since followed suit. Rice
is now working with the Environ- z Enviros are crowing as a result of a landmark US Court of Appeals ruling en-
mental and Occupational Health abling states and private land trusts to sue power companies for emitting carbon dioxide
and thus contributing to rising temperatures and provoking other damaging impacts.
program in the Maine Center for
Said Matt Pawa, attorney for two of the plaintiffs, the Open Space Institute and
Disease Control and Preven-
the Audubon Society of New Hampshire: “The best way to fight global warming
tion.
is for the Senate to pass comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation. However,
the court’s decision guarantees that if the Congress fails to do its job, the biggest power
Species & Habitats companies will still be accountable in the federal courts.” A spokesman for American
Electric Power, one of the defendant companies, told the New York Times that “We
Loggerhead sea turtles, listed as don’t feel that litigation is a proper avenue to address climate change. In our view, it’s a
a threatened species, are at risk policy issue.”
of extinction primarily because of
increased commercial fishing, said z The Upper Ringwood community in northern New Jersey will receive $10 mil-
HamptonRoads.com in its coverage lion from the Ford Motor Co. The money will be split among 600 residents and their
of a new report commissioned by attorneys, and results from the settlement of a personal injury suit after 3 years of litiga-
the National Marine Fisheries tion. Ford operated an assembly plant in nearby Mahwah from the mid-1950s to the late
Service. The air-breathing turtles 1970s. According to a 2007 article in the New York Times, Ford closed the plant in 1980
get caught in fishing nets, cannot after dumping tons of paint sludge and other waste in Upper Ringwood. A few years
get to the surface to breathe and later EPA identified the site as a priority for its superfund program, and Ford spent
essentially drown, said Matthew five years assessing and removing the sludge from a 500 acre area. Satisfied with that
Godfrey of the North Carolina clean-up, EPA concluded that the “current risk posed by the site is within an acceptable
Wildlife Resources Commission range.” After continuing complaints from residents, the federal government reinstated
the Superfund designation, and Ford resumed its cleanup, removing 35,000 tons of toxic
and a member of the study group.
waste according to their estimate last year. Residents remain not satisfied: they do not
Changing the status of the turtles to
understand how Ford can still deny any liability in the case, as its attorney stated.
endangered and adding restrictions
to commercial fishing are the hoped-
for results of the report. It found
that the loggerhead population in Seabird Flies Off Course
danger of extinction is the one in the
Atlantic with concentrated nesting A white-faced storm-petrel (Pelagodroma marina) was spotted and
along the coasts of Florida, Georgia photographed August 28, 18 miles southwest of Smith Point at the west end of
and the Carolinas. Nantucket. This bird, rarely seen in the North Atlantic, appeared the day before
Tropical Storm Danny struck. Day-tripping birders spotted this rare find flying
Rare Atlantic sturgeon are spawning southward off the starboard bow of their vessel, heading offshore from Nantucket.
in the Delaware River, The Philadel- It kept pace with the boat by continually submerging its long legs into the water
phia Inquirer said, noting the catch and pushing off from the water’s surface, said observer E. Vernon Laux, resident
and release of a small green one, 7 naturalist at the Linda Loring Nature Foundation in Nantucket, in his Cape
inches long, weighing less than one Cod Times column. White-faced storm-petrels breed in isolated southern locations
such as islands off southern Australia and New Zealand, the Canary and Salvage
ounce. The fish was spawned this
islands, the Cape Verde islands and the Tristan da Cunha group.
spring, said Matt Fisher, Delaware

Division of Fish and Wildlife bi-
ologist, after catching it in a research
net near Wilmington. Before return-
ing the fish to the river, he took a Philadelphia Recycling Storm Water
small piece of the tail for genetic
testing. Fisher’s finding is the first Instead of continuing to put storm water combined with raw sewage direct-
confirmed evidence in 50 years that ly into the Delaware River and surrounding streams, Philadelphia has a proposal for
Atlantic sturgeon could be spawning using the storm water before it becomes overflows amounting to 14 billion gallons
in the Delaware estuary, Delmar- a year. If its $1.6 billion, 20 year plan is approved by EPA the city’s runoff would
vanow.com said. It noted that in eventually drop by 80% reported Philly.com. Key to the proposal is using rain gar-
the 1800s, the river’s fish and eggs dens, green roofs, tree plantings, rain harvesting barrels on household downspouts
were harvested and sold as caviar. and porous pavers to divert storm water from pipes containing sewage and rain.
After that, the sturgeon population
never recovered. The species needs Under the proposal, $8 a month would be added to the typical resident’s
a healthy environment, researcher sewer bill over the next 20 years, Philly.com added. There would still be an overflow
Hal Brundage told the Philadel- problem if the proposal were adopted. But, said Patrick Starr, senior vice presi-
phia Inquirer: “a waterway that has dent, Pennsylvania Environmental Council: “I believe it is the most significant
a thriving sturgeon population is investment in transforming the city that we’ll see in our lifetimes.”

.
5
probably doing pretty good.”
Hugo Redux?
A Manx shearwater (Puffinus puffi-
Hugo, a vicious Cape Verde hurricane, hit Charleston, SC, twenty years ago and nus) fledgling found on Matinicus
could do it again “easily,” hurricane forecaster Jeff Masters told The Post and Courier. Rock, an island off mid-coast Maine,
“South Carolina will see another Hugo. It is only a matter of time,” the paper stated. is the first in the United States,
Meterologist Dan Kotlowski differed. He commented that it’s “very, very rare” for according to a US Fish and Wild-
Category 4 storms to hit the same place within 50 years of each other. life Service (USFWS) note in the
Bangor Daily News. The chick was
Ken Burger, a columnist with the paper, recalled: “After Hugo, I gained a new discovered by USFWS and Nation-
and unnerving respect for wind and the devastation it can render when it combines with al Audubon Society researchers
its favorite playmate, water. Together, when stirred properly and brought to a boil over in a relatively shallow burrow, one
a warm southern ocean, they form a brew so awesome in scope the devil himself steps of 6 on the island, The Boston Globe
aside to let it pass.” said. “This is what we all work for,”
Stephen Kress, Audubon’s Seabird
The Cape Verde-type hurricanes develop from tropical waves which form in the
Restoration Program director, told
African savanna during the wet season and become tropical storms or hurricanes near
National Audubon Society News. It
the Cape Verde islands. The average hurricane season has about two of them. Predicting
that the season for Cape Verde hurricanes is over, Florida’s SunSentinel.com quoted its
stated, “these crow-sized albatross
weather expert, Ken Kaye’s finding that “every wave that has come off Africa since Hur- relatives have a wingspan of nearly
ricane Fred has been blasted apart by wind shear” from El Niño. three feet, and are named for their
habit of flying low over the water.”
A Cape Verde hurricane could still hit this coast this year, but the end of
September tends to stop the season for them, according to meteorologists. They added, Atlantic bluefin tuna preservation is
though, that October is the month when south Florida is generally more at risk of a hur- in the hands of the International
ricane than in September or August. Commission for the Conserva-
tion of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT)
since the European Union failed
to ban international trade until
Cuban, US Scientists Meet the populations can recover. The
number of bluefin tuna is now less

In a benchmark event, 4 Cuban marine scientists and a counterpart delega- than a quarter of what it was in the
tion of Americans gathered in September at the Mote Marine Laboratory in 1950s because of too many boats
Sarasota, FL. Mindful of the fact that many species in the region respect no borders chasing fewer and fewer fish, ac-
and that waters belonging to both nations share common problems of coral bleach- cording to the World Wildlife
ing, pollution, and invasive species, the group spent several days reviewing issues Fund. “Without urgent action the
and opportunities. only place bluefin tuna will be seen
is in historical documentaries about
Several similar meetings had been held in Mexico. But to hold such a gath- extinct species,” said Sebastian
ering on US soil broke new ground, as did the fact that the Cuban scientists were Losada, oceans policy advisor for
able to get visas in less than two months. “I would say it’s a precedent setting Greenpeace International. Mo-
trip,” said Dan Whittle of the Environmental Defense Fund, which helped naco proposed the ban on trade in
organize it. the species and was the first country
in the world to stop its sale.
Marine biologist David Guggenheim, who for ten years has been coordi-
nating research in the region, told the Miami Herald that “everybody smells some Restorations
change in the air.” But, the paper added, “Of course, as with many things related to
Cuba, change is slow.” Cleanup of over 1,600 stored leaking,
rusted drums containing hazardous
chemicals at Abrachem Chemical
With Appreciation facility was recently completed by
the EPA following an investigation
We extend very special thanks to the Moore Charitable Foundation started in 2008. The Clifton, NJ,
and the Madriver Foundation for continuing their most generous support for facility’s 1,600 drums were aban-
this newsletter. Our deep appreciation also goes to Catherine Cahill and Wil- doned, mislabeled, mishandled and
liam Bernhard, to Russell E. Train, and to these other recent and most wel- contained hazardous chemicals that
come donors: posed serious risks to the surround-
ing community and the environment,
Mr. and Mrs. Malcolm Peabody Jr. EPA said. Some of the unknown
Caroline M. Macomber substances had characteristics of
R. Brooke and Shirley Thomas explosive chemicals. The cleanup
6
took seven months, the agency said.
Abrachem denied EPA access three Lake Okeechobee’s Troubles Worsen
times, Environmental News Service
said. It noted that finally, a federal Water pollution in Lake Okeechobee is worsening, the Miami Herald declared,
magistrate issued an access war- adding that an average of 572 tons of phosphorus flow into the lake each year. That is an
rant allowing the agency to enter the amount four times the target Florida is scheduled to reach by 2015. The dirty lake has
property and remove the chemicals. phosphorus levels of about 200 parts per billion, an amount 20 times too polluted for
EPA credited help from the state and Everglades restoration, the paper said.
the Clifton Fire Department with
the successful cleanup. By 2015, the state intends to have phosphorus levels in the lake set at a maxi-
mum of 140 tons a year. But that is a nearly impossible goal, says Public Employees
Improved conditions for 23,000 for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). “There is a 300 square mile ‘muck zone’
square miles of deep sea coral, from on the bottom of Lake Okeechobee containing 100 tons of phosphorus for which there
is no cleanup plan,” according to Jerry Phillips, Florida PEER director. Blame for the
North Carolina to Florida, are in
lake’s pollution belongs to lax enforcement by the EPA and the Florida Department
prospect as a result of a new decision
of Environmental Protection, Phillips told the paper.
by the South Atlantic Fishery
Management Council to restrict The South Florida Water Management District has spent nearly $1.8
the footprint of highly destructive million constructing almost 40,000 acres of pollution cleanup marshes to scrub runoff
bottom trawls in the region. These from sugar farms south of the lake, the paper said. North of the Lake, the district is
corals, whose pinnacles reach 500 building a new facility to clean water before it goes into the lake. Prospects for overall
feet in height, provide habitat for recovery remain slim.
many commercially important
marine species. Oceana senior
campaign director Dave Allison
called the decision a “landmark” and
Acorns Hit Hard
a “win for the oceans and those in
Acorns, big and numerous, are covering the northeast coast, said the Boston
the southeast who rely on it for their Globe with an accompanying prediction that there will be more squirrels, skunks, chip-
livelihoods.” munks, and bears making it through the winter. A result will be more prey for hawks,
coyote, foxes and others. Don McCasland, program director, Blue Hill Observatory
Report Cards & Science Center, told the paper that the larger crop of acorns came about because of
increased moisture, a cooler summer, and a lack of ozone hanging over the area. “The
The New England Climate Coali- squirrels are going crazy, it’s a smorgasbord galore,” he said.
tion posted interesting findings
about the relationship between glob- Oak trees produce bumper crops of acorns every two to seven years and
al warming pollution and investment people from the Blue Hills to the Berkshires note that they have not previously seen a
in public transit. Total public transit larger crop, the paper said. “It’s good for the wildlife, but it’s enough to make you want
use in New England “reduced global to wear a hard hat,” said John O’Keefe, retired coordinator, Fisher Museum, Har-
warming pollution more than 1.7 vard Forest, Petersham, MA.
million metric tons in 2005, equiva-
lent to taking 310,000 cars off New Conversely, in one inland state, West Virginia, certain acorn numbers are
England’s roads,” says its report, down, leading to the conclusion that white-tailed deer hunting will be better this year
than last because the shortage will force deer into fields for food, according to the
entitled Cool Moves. “Massachu-
Charleston Gazette. It noted that white oak acorns are 48% below their long-term aver-
setts, which has the most extensive
age, chestnut oak acorns 64 % below, red oak acorns 42% and scarlet oak 32% below.
transit network in New England and
invests far more in transit than any
other New England state, accounted
for about three-quarters of the New Recycling Law in NC
emission reductions. New Hamp-
shire, whose sparse transit network In 2005 North Carolina’s legislature passed a law banning plastic bottles
reflects a lack of state investment, from disposal in state landfills, and this law came into effect on October 1 of this
and Vermont, the most rural state in year. State officials said that enforcement would occur at landfills and transfer sta-
the US, achieved no direct emission tions rather than at individual businesses or facilities, but forecast a big improve-
reductions from transit according to ment from the scant 20% of such containers that have been recycled in the state up
our analysis, although transit service to now.
does provide other important social
and economic benefits.” Even though the crackdown has long been in plain view, the arrival of this
year’s deadline triggered a flurry of OMG’s on the blogosphere even though, said the
“Water wise” communities selected Examiner, there are no ramifications for ignoring this law. “Clearly,” said the state’s
by American Rivers, a conserva- recycling director Scott Mouw, “this is more a law of spirit or intent. Everyone
tion organization, include Augusta, realizes the positive reasons to recycle.”
7
Maine, following removal of the
Bright Spots, Continued from p. 1 Edwards Dam from the Kennebec
River; Boston’s Charles River where
According to Jon Williams, CEO of the Atlantic Red Crab Co., the wetlands projects, managed by the
fishery existed but was very sporadic in the 1970s and only really got started in the US Army Corps of Engineers,
mid 1990s. With the growing success of this fishery, Williams formed his company save $40 million in flood damage
in January of this year. In addition to running five boats, the company recently every year; and Staten Island, N.Y.,
opened a processing plant in New Bedford. “Between the boats and the plant, where streams and wetlands are
we’re bringing about a hundred new jobs to the city” he said in SouthCoastToday. used to help transport stormwater
Nova Seafood in Portland is a major distributor of their product. runoff. The 8 communities selected
protect healthy landscapes, restore
Another New England success story is the cultivation of oysters along the degraded landscapes, and repair
coast of Maine. A recent article in Downeast describes twelve different indigenous natural water systems.
oysters from up and down the coast, and lists their variations in taste. Almost all
of them come from the same broodstock, the Damariscotta oyster, but they develop The Southeast US’s persistent
differently in reaction to their specific environment. The Damariscotta River is 2005-07 drought resulted more
where this recent renaissance of oysters began. It had been a prime area for centu- from population growth than as a
ries, but overfishing and pollution had taken its toll. byproduct of climate change, re-
ported Columbia University
In the 1970s, scientists from the Darling Center, a University of researchers in a recent Journal of
Maine marine biology lab on the shore of the river, determined that the water qual- Climate article. The root cause of
ity was just right to grow oysters. There are now twelve small oyster farms along the region’s water supply problem,
that river alone. said the New York Times, is that its
water storage capacity did not keep
Another type of oyster, the Belon, which is European and not indigenous, is up with its fast-rising population. “If
also growing along the State’s coast. The story behind that is curious. According to you have more people and the same
Chris Davis of the Pemaquid Oyster Company, in 1949 Maine’s Department amount of water storage,” drought
of Sea and Shore Fisheries received some seed from the Netherlands which was specialist Douglas LeComte told
planted in Boothbay Harbor and the hatch was distributed to people with experi- the paper, “You are going to increase
mental plots. the impact of droughts” occurring in
normal cycles.
It took about 10 years for the oysters to adapt, but in the meantime people
had given up on them. In the early 1980s a whole bed was discovered by an urchin Funding
diver in the Meadows River, near Harpswell. They have since grown wild and have
spread along the coast. They are not given to cultivation, and the harvesting and Connecticut’s “Preserve the Sound”
shipping processes are quite laborious, but there is a strong demand, especially specialty license plates have, over
from Europeans. Casco Bay is the most productive area for these oysters. the past 16 years, generated almost
$5 million in dedicated revenues for
This wonderful bounty is just one of the ingredients that is turning Port- 294 conservation projects. Similar
land, ME into a destination for food lovers. A recent article in the New York Times programs have benefited greenways
described the multiplication of small, high quality, chef-owned restaurants. One of and wildlife conservation. But the
the chefs, Krista Kern Desjarlais, is quoted as saying: “I’ve cooked all over, and I state’s legislature has terminated
kept coming back to Portland.” all such programs; as of October
1 money sent in for such plates is
going to the deficit-ridden General
Fund. Terry Backer, director of
Sayings, Continued from p. 2 the private Long Island Sound-
keeper Fund, told the Connecticut
Washington Post: “Maybe this time it will be different—if full backing from Post that he would advise people not
the White House is forthcoming,”
to buy the specialty plates anymore—
despite state officials’ protestations
L. Preston Bryant Jr., Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources: “Vir-
ginia not only must keep doing what we’ve done. We’ll need to step it up a bit if we want that conservation activities benefit-
to keep EPA out of our knickers.” ing Long Island Sound would con-
tinue even without tightly earmarked
Barrett Hardiman, vice president of regulatory affairs, Home Builders funding.
Association of Virginia: “We think that there’s been a target painted on our back,”
as quoted in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The 27,000 acre Blackwater
National Wildlife Refuge on
Ann Jennings, Virginia director, Chesapeake Bay Foundation: “We are Maryland’s Eastern Shore hosts
at the precipice.” some 300 species of wildlife, includ-
Atlantic CoastWatch
Sustainable Development Institute
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Washington, D.C. 20007

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Tax-deductible contributions for Atlantic CoastWatch are especially needed.


Checks can be made payable to the Sustainable Development Institute.
ing the largest nesting population
of bald eagles north of Florida on
the Atlantic coast and what Delmar- Georgia: Action Needed
vanow.com calls “the largest extant
population of Delmarva fox squir- Georgia’s coast conditions are about the same as in 2004, but, now, the
rels in the world.” Long in jeopardy consequences are worse “because prior problems remain either unrecognized, un-
because of nearby development and solved, or made worse by regressive actions and complacency of state officials and
the voracious nutria, a troublesome many local governments,” maintained State of Georgia’s Coast: 2009 Update by
invasive rodent, the refuge got a big the Center for a Sustainable Coast.
lift recently via a federal grant to add
823 acres of wetlands to the system. Climate change action was the report’s first recommendation, leading off
Funding comes via the North Ameri- with the need to press for public and investor interest in developing offshore wind
can Wetlands Preservation Act. energy along the coast.

Products Other recommendations covered the need for accountability and trans-
parency of government agencies, and requiring developers to conduct careful soil
Washington area bike commuters analysis before beginning to work in areas where acid soil conditions
are the first on the East Coast to ben- prevail and development should not occur.
efit from a recently opened new facil-
ity called the Bicycle Transit Cen-
ter. Placed strategically adjacent to
Union Station and bus and subway
stops, the banana-shaped glass and Cruise Lines Slammed Again
silver structure features well protect-
ed bicycle storage and parking racks, Cruise lines took a shot across the bow from a Friends of the Earth
repair stations, changing rooms and report finding failures in sewage treatment technology, air pollution reduction, and
personal lockers. The $3 million water quality compliance, the Miami Herald said. It noted that the report evalu-
project is a collaboration between ated 10 cruise lines operations in Alaska waters.
the District of Columbia and Bike-
station, a bicycle transit company The final grades noted by the St. Petersburg Times were: Holland Amer-
based in Long Beach, CA. The com- ica: B; Norwegian: B-; Princess:B-; Cunard: C-; Regent Seven Seas: C-;
pany has already completed several Celebrity: D+; Carnival: D-; Silversea: D-; Royal Caribbean: F; and
similar installations in West Coast Disney: F.
cities, following principles that long
ago became familiar in many Euro- The Cruise Lines International Association rejoined with the argu-
pean nations where bike commuters ment that the report’s grades “clearly ignore the fact that our cruise lines comply
have long gotten better treatment with and in most cases exceed all applicable environmental regulations set by the
than in the car-centric US. federal government and other regulatory bodies around the world.”