Archive for the ‘Pollution/Poisoning’ Category
SALEM COUNTY’S BUCOLIC HISTORY - ALLOWAY CREEK cfe
NJ WILD readers know my favorite places to travel are the wild ones of New Jersey, –especially central and southern–, particularly near water, salt and fresh.
Often in quest of birds, rare yet plentiful.
You also know that the places I choose are havens on many levels.
However, I may not have emphasized enough that one can visit NJ WILD sites, even on major ‘Holidays’, without crowds.
Hancock House Historic Outbuilding - Revolutionary Site — cfe
If you pull up NJ WILD, it has a search feature. Write in ‘Brigantine’ or ‘Pine Barrens’; ‘Sourlands’ or Sandy Hook; Bull’s Island, the Delaware River, Island Beach, etc. You’ll be given a string of posts on their wild beauty, and directions are often part of the saga. For deepest solitude, plan birders’ hours — first light and last light.
In general, Take The Pretty Way, the back roads.
Salem Preserves — cfe
Tomorrow, a friend and I will launch her new Prius into Salem and Cumberland Counties. We’ll be treated to golden stretches of marshland; to shimmering rivers with splendid Indian names, such as the Manumuskin. We’ll ride on and laugh at the sound of Buckshutem Road. We’ll wonder, as you always must down there, where on earth will we eat? Of course, there’ll be the freshest of Jersey Fresh produce on weathered stands in front of farmhouses of other centuries. Of course, we’ll slide coins into Trust Boxes, as we settle agricultural jewels into our sustainability bags to take home.
We’ll see rare birds, especially eagles. Salem County held our only productive eagle nest during the grim DDT years, which my county (Somerset) is about to reinstitute, as it ‘adulticizes’ mosquitoes in the week ahead. Now, I am not kidding, in Salem and Cumberland Counties, we could see more eagles than we can count.
American Bald Eagle Floating - Brenda Jones
Osprey Claiming Nest, Brenda Jones
Cabbage Whites Nectaring — Brenda Jones
Especially ditto purple martins, but they had all left the Brigantine the last time I was there, weeks ahead of schedule. Theory is that our drought hinders the insect population to such a degree that martin migration is over. I’ll know tomorrow. If not, there could be hundreds of thousands of them, bending the marsh grasses, then darkening skies, along the Maurice River.
Alloway Creek, site of British Massacre of Colonial Soldiers, Salem County — cfe
Look up these sites, and find them for yourselves. There won’t be anyone else on most of the roads to the unknown, actually usually forgotten, Delaware Bay.
Salem County, Tranquillity Base cfe
Upon reading “Her Idea of a Beautiful Day”, in My Story As Told By Water, my first thought was, ‘Well, what would be MY idea of a beautiful day?’ Its subjunctive question immediately appeared - ‘What is YOURs?‘ – readers of and cherished commentors upon NJ WILD–, what renders a day beautiful in your life, at this moment in time?
My Story as Told By Water is a riverine memoir by David James Duncan. This man is a modern bard, in prose and diatribe, of the endangered American West, –particularly its rivers, especially of its salmon. Over and over, Duncan teaches, “As salmon go, so go the rivers.” And the indigenous people whose lives since time immemorial have depended upon the rivers and their creatures. With salmon and salmon people go the state, the region, the nation and ultimately the globe. Especially here in the east, we do not GET it about the peril of and the implications of industrial murder of salmon.
Sunfish, Baldpate Mountain Pond, Brenda Jones
Edward Abbey taught us first the evil of dams. David James Duncan blows on Abbey coals. My Story As Told By Water is my favorite title of the genre, the way Dickens’ “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” is my favorite opening line of any novel. Young Duncan fell in love with water using a garden hose in his childhood driveway. His first love was abruptly relinquished for the real thing, when the boy fell INTO his first trout stream, discovering crawdads and fish. Duncan’s chapters tango between ever increasing passion for natural waterways, and fury at all who would destroy them. His rage and eloquence increase exponentially in our era of greed-enthronement.
The boy describes having been stunned by his grandmother’s rabid devotion to her job as a real estate agent: “Her idea of a beautiful day was one that increased the likelihood of her selling a house.” Nature, to Duncan’s grandmother, “had an unwashed, unsaved ring to it.”
Needless to say, “a beautiful day” to this author involves water, usually fresh, with the promise of fish. David James Duncan forces me to consider my own definition of a beautiful day. The instant answer is any day with friends, sharing nature with the perfect blend of passion, knowledge, and curiosity. Remarkable food is often involved, and frequently art. But if I had to choose but one factor for “my beautiful day”? NATURE.
I was frankly stunned to discover that “my beautiful day” need not be fair. “A beautiful day” to me is something that hardly ever happens any more — a time of long soft soaking rain. Gentle in quality and quantity, lowering a scrim over the harsh world. Rain that whispers, at most sizzles. This precipitation is neither so white and stiff as was my bridal veil, nor so dense and weighty as Jacqueline Kennedy’s widow’s veil — which cast a pall over my life, and was first worn in the impossible aftermath of this very day, November 22, in 1963. The most beautiful day to me now, in New Jersey, in the year 2008, is rain that tiptoes along the thirsty earth. It simply nourishes seeds, –without dislodging soil, let alone removing pebbles. A beautiful day’s rain never topples trees because of both quantity and intensity, without even factoring in damaging wind. What I require now is rain as it was before global warming.
Lately, as NJ WILD readers know, I’ve learned to be out in what the Brits call “a mizzle of rain.” There’s a blessing in it — tactile, even spiritual. I may prefer the days of rain and fog because they soften the impossible harshnesses of the 21st Century. You also know, nature is my church, and the Towpath and Canal in particular. David James Duncan says it better: “Church became a place where I waited for rain.”
“Pine Drops” hold the rain, by Lauren Curtis
Brenda and Cliff Jones spent 5 hours in the historic town of Roebling, absorbing and photographing restored and preserved industrial realities — She surprised me by taking and inserting these images, to give you the flavor of my sister’s and my River Days.
The Expansive Delaware, by Brenda Jones
The Delaware River came to our rescue on a day of high clouds and implacable sky. My Chicago sister, Marilyn, wanted an ocean adventure. But it was not in the cards. Always blessed in our sisterhood, Marilyn and I wring together days out of each year, despite miles, our intense professional lives, and increasing airport-discouragements. The last NJ WILD readers heard of our memorable time together was when Marilyn lured me west to take that splendid Twilight Steamboat upon the Mississippi, at the height of autumn floods.
Now, her main wish while here was a day at Island Beach, threading tall dunes studded with bayberry and beach plum, holly and heather, trekking west in white silk sand rimmed by a weathered split-rail fence to Barnegat Bay, then east and upwards to the electrifying Atlantic herself. But it was not to be.
A detail not known to Midwesterners such as we, until viciously experienced, is that you cannot visit Atlantic beaches when there’s a land breeze. Our I.B. Day was forecast as, and proved to be, just that. W/SW, 5 to 10 mph. Dawn showed more of the same, actually from Maine to who-knows-where. Land breeze, to inform landlubbers from elsewhere, means hordes of biting insects, starting with black flies and descending to voracious mosquitoes. Once, on my way to the Spizzle Creek bird blind at I.B., the legs of my (foolish, yes, we admit it) guest and I, who had neglected to wear long
pants, were covered with ravening mosquitoes as though we were wearing black tights. You’ve heard of “once bitten, twice shy.” Try 2000-bitten… We started trembling, in what we later learned may have been a form of anaphylactic shock from insect venom.
No WAY was I taking my sister to feed the insects of Island Beach.
What do you do in New Jersey, when its shore is inaccessible and unacceptable?
Seek that other noble body of water, our Delaware River. It’s possible to
take 295 South to the Roebling exit, and begin there to follow history and that exquisite tidal water from near to us, as we did, all the way to Riverton, above Camden.
Winking and splashing, ‘Del’ made her way to the sea, leading two Great-Lakes-blessed Michiganders, hungry for ‘big water.’
Delaware River as Playground, by Brenda Jones
Ours was a day of intriguing and evocative houses — from those of riverboat captains presiding above Delaware banks in Riverton to rows of enlightened workers’ housing created by the Roeblings for those who turned out their impeccable wire rope to sustain bridges from Brooklyn and Washington to Golden Gate.
The game was to stay as close to the Delaware River as possible, all the while moving south. Early on, I learned that Monday is not the best day for randoming about along the river. Every lunch op was closed with the exception of the handsome, reliable, vibrant Madison Pub in Riverside. It’s the oldest continuously operating pub in New Jersey, spiffed to the nth degree, and legendary for hamburgers of Angus as memorable as anything I’ve had with my sister in Chicago.
In most river towns, all of which used to be connected under canvas, when the Delaware was our only ‘highway’, one must enter at the top, then drive one-way south, to stay along the banks.
Facsimile Streetlights at Roebling River Line Train Station
by Brenda Jones
Burlington is redolent of centuries far before our revolution, including a replica of the office where those who managed West Jersey [when we were The Jerseys], regularly convened. Brick sidewalks vie with cobblestones to bring back the sights, sounds and footing of yesteryear. Tipped tombstones tantalize with names, dates and stories weathered by centuries.
My favorite is Riverton, with its row upon row of tidy homes, each with its own unique, family-tended garden. Its green Victorian yacht club is worth the journey, as are captain’s homes with widows’ walks which rise in consummate stateliness all along the river.
Roebling Inn, which rents apartments! Facing Delaware River, by Brenda Jones
Man has perpetrated vile depredations upon this shimmer of water. When I moved to New Hope, in the early 1980’s, shad were rare. Wise riverside dwellers and their honest politicians, such as Peter Kostmayer, managed to have as much as possible of the Delaware named Wild and Scenic. This ended much pollution and brought back the shad, in droves. I attended the first Shad Festival, honoring that miracle of restoration and preservation.
My sister and I walked on water this week, over the Delaware, from Bull’s Island to the luminously restored Black Bass Inn on the Pennsylvania side. That entire day, we experienced the the river as playground - kayakers, swimmers, bobbers and floaters/tubers, from morning through late afternoon.
Each of us has been forced into a measure of cynicism about the world in general and America in particular, in this century.
In New Jersey’s (South Jersey’s) river towns, –normally explored on the light rail River Line, this time by car–, cynicism was replaced by awe and honor. Venerable buildings remember when Ben Franklin printed currency near where we parked our car in Burlington; where Abraham Lincoln (Blue Anchor Tavern, Burlington) ran a campaign. Restored row houses in Roebling are still redolent of the enlightened corporation that made the world better on level upon level. During the Great Depression, workers were not charged rent! Now, people work in Philadelphia and commute to Roebling on the River Line.
The Spiffy Swiss River Line Train, which connects the River Towns, by Brenda Jones
Our drive south, echoing the time of clipper ships, frequently piqued by warning signals of the spiffy River Line Light Rail, restored not only hope but even joy, in our amazing country. Appropriate, hard on the heels of the Fourth of July.
Over and over, we had to scrap the day’s plans, quite literally choose another path.
Over and over, miracles came our way.
The past is alive and well and living in the River Towns.
New Jersey is a master at restoration and preservation.
Gate to the Roebling Works, without which we wouldn’t have
Brooklyn, George Washington, Golden Gate and Riegelsville Bridges
by Brenda Jones
The trouble is, everyone always thinks our state is just that industrial morass I had to traverse to pick up and return my sister to Newark Airport…
Cherish New Jersey.
Realize her many miracles of restoration and preservation.
Fog Along Delaware, Brenda Jones
This just in - good news and bad news, from Michael Redmond just now, Packet Lifestyle and Time Off Editor, who knows how I AM about NJ nature!
Rejoice in the wisdom of our state, NJ WILD readers. However, write Governor Christie to insist he sign this crucial legislation.
Do whatever you can on any and all fronts to preserve her wild spaces, including RIVERS!
See how our government protects these polluters of our sacred spaces!
bolds mine, as usual
“I’m just wild about natural destruction” cfe
American Bald Eagle Successful Dive for Fish, Brenda Jones
And No One Mentions Effects of Fracking Chemicals Upon Fish in Delaware, etc…
June 29, 2011
NEW JERSEY STATE LEGISLATURE FIRST IN U.S. TO PASS BILL BANNING DANGEROUS GAS DRILLING TECHNIQUE
Trenton, NJ - On Wednesday, in an unprecedented and pioneering move, New Jersey’s state legislature became the first to pass a bill to enforce a statewide ban on a controversial gas drilling technique known as fracking. The legislature was unanimously in favor of the bill, which passed the state Senate 32-1 and the Assembly 56-11.
“Today, New Jersey sent a strong message to surrounding states and to the nation that a ban on fracking is necessary to protect public health and preserve our natural resources,” said Senator Bob Gordon (D-Bergen).
“Any benefits of gas production simply do not justify the many potential dangers associated with fracking such as pollution of our lakes, streams and drinking water supplies and the release of airborne pollutants. We should not wait until our natural resources are threatened or destroyed to act. The time to ban fracking in New Jersey is now.”
Fracking involves injecting water, sand and toxic chemicals deep underground to break up dense rock formations and release natural gas. Opponents of fracking cite the high potential for water and air pollution as a leading reason to ban the practice. Over 1,000 cases of water contamination have been reported near fracking sites.
Baldpate Mountain View, Brenda Jones
(at least Baldpate itself is Preserved!)
Public opposition to fracking has escalated in recent months, with concerned residents and environmental and consumer advocacy groups campaigning against the practice in New Jersey and the surrounding states. Gas companies have been ramping up plans to drill in the Marcellus Shale, a rock formation which extends up the East Coast. Fracking operations in Pennsylvania alone are expected to create 19 million gallons of wastewater.
“Fracking is a man-made disruption to the environment, many times on large-scale proportions,” said Assemblywoman Connie Wagner (D-Bergen). “We’ve already seen a number of eco-casualties from this practice in surrounding states. It would be irresponsible to leave the door open for this practice to be pursued in New Jersey.”
“The New Jersey Legislature is taking the pro-active step of preventing contamination of our drinking water and environment, the only sure way to protect our residents from fracking pollution. This is a great day for the state’s present and future generations”, said Tracy Carluccio, Deputy Director of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network.
According to Food & Water, at least 61 localities across the U.S. have passed measures against fracking. On June 16, the Trenton City Council passed a resolution calling for a statewide ban, and earlier this year, Highland Park, NJ became the first town in the country to call for a state and national ban on fracking.
“New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s signature is all that is necessary now for this critical and timely statewide ban to go into effect,” said Jim Walsh, Eastern Region Director of the consumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch. “If he approves it, New Jersey will be the first state to stand up against the devastating environmental and public health impacts of fracking, which have wreaked havoc on other states across the U.S.”
In the Midwest, where fracking is increasingly common, residents have reported complications ranging from headaches and blackouts, noxious odors in the air and sudden blindness and hair loss among their livestock – concerns which led those living in Dish, Texas, a town located near 11 natural gas compression stations, to hire a private environmental consultant to sample the air. The consultant found that it contained high levels of neurotoxins and carcinogens, including benzene.
A 2011 Cornell University study found that the process of fracking also releases methane, which according to the EPA, is 21 times more damaging greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Similarly, a study released by researchers at Duke University in April found methane levels in shallow drinking water wells near active gas drilling sites at a level 17 times higher than those near inactive ones.
“This bill is a great victory for clean water in New Jersey and we believe it will be a national model,” said Jeff Tittel Director NJ Sierra Club. “We hope this bill sends a message to the governor to oppose fracking in the Delaware Basin and protect New Jersey waters.”
Earlier this year, the U.S. House and Energy Commerce Committee determined that 14 oil companies had injected 780 million gallons of fracking chemicals and other substances into U.S. wells between 2005 and 2009. This included 10.2 million gallons of fluids containing known or suspected carcinogens.
The companies, however, are not required to disclose the chemicals in fracking fluid, which they claim should be protected as a “trade secret”. They are also exempt from seven major federal environmental laws, including the Clean Water Act.
Scientists at the Endocrine Disruption Exchange who tested fracking fluids found that 25 percent can cause cancer; 37 percent can disrupt the endocrine system; and 40 to 50 percent can affect the nervous, immune and cardiovascular systems.
Earlier this month Food & Water Watch released a report entitled The Case for a Ban on Fracking. The report reveals that the natural gas industry’s use of water-intensive, toxic, unregulated practices for natural gas extraction are compromising public health and polluting water resources across the country.
The Case for a Ban on Fracking is available here: http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/reports/the-case-for-a-ban-on-gas-fracking
A map of municipalities that have taken action against fracking is available here:
“So the idea from afar that only a few hundred birds really got badly oiled turns out to have been a false sense of security.” Cornell Lab of Ornithology Director, John Fitzpatrick
Black Skimmer Skimming - in Clean Water — Smithsonian
NJ WILD readers know how I fret over the fate of every wild creature, from the slain beavers of Princeton’s Pettoranello Gardens/Mountain Lakes ‘Preserve’, to all the winged beings harmed, starved, oiled, killed by the oils of the ceaseless volcano from the so-called Deepwater Horizon last year.
So many waterbirds and shorebirds were breeding, nesting, and/or feeding young, as that foul spewing continued and expanded, well, exPLOded in the normally fecund and to me always sacred waters of our Gulf.
Great Blue Heron Flies over Clean Lake Carnegie - Brenda Jones
You also know that my deepest alarm is that no experts from elsewhere showed up to solve and resolve. Not only did BP not know (or care) what to do. Our American government was powerless, able only to urge tourists to come by and tromp the oiled beaches for the sake of motel and restaurant owners. No one anywhere knew or knows how to resolve an oil disaster.
Any more than anyone anywhere knows what to do about quaked and flooded Fukushima nuclear plant in shattered northern Japan.
Remember the lies? Remember 500 barrels a day in the Gulf? Remember that I told you, watch and see how those numbers tiptoe upwards in the days, weeks and months ahead?
Remember whatever the Japanese were admitting? At best, at the beginning, the reactors were called compromised. The term melt was not part of their vocabulary in the early days. Somewhere there must be a school officials attend, teaching how to lie calmly to all who have the right to know. Teaching how to show up days or weeks later with band-aids for ruptures of the highest magnitude to the fabric of our world.
Last night, on CNN, I heard that there have been “melt-downs or melt-throughs” in three of the four reactors of Fukushima.
And where is that radiation going? Into our skies… Into our ocean — for there is really only ONE ocean. Into our fish and water mammals such as dolphins and whales. Turtles. Plankton. As the Gulf’s oil spewing destroyed everything from the most microscopic to behemoths of the deep.
No one knows. No one tells.
Roseate Spoonbill near Clean Water - from Internet
Here is the Cornell Ornithology Lab on the Gulf disaster, one year later. Even THEY are heedless enough to call those millions of barrels or gallons - what difference to the migrating and breeding birds? — a ’spill’…
Nonetheless, I’m glad there’s a Cornell Lab of Ornithology to address these issues and go to the trouble to have articles written and published on the peril of creatures in our time, especially birds.
However, as a subscriber to their Living Bird Magazine, I have watched this disaster played down in those glossy pages. We have no way of knowing the death toll of birds, let alone plankton and other nearly invisible but essential sea organisms. The red knots who feed on horseshoe crabs in New Jersey are down 5000 this year, when I believe there were only about 15,000 known individuals tallied last year. Did red knots migrate over the Gulf at a critical time, perishing either directly or from consuming poisoned foods?
Gradually, in this article below, realization of the deep inner costs, the hidden, the invisible, the untallyable seems to be seeping in, at least in the world of ornithologists.
Not, however, in the world of oil and business - our new golden calf. The altar upon whose slab we are all Abraham, raising the sword over our sons, Isaac…
Viewpoint: The Oil Spill, One Year Later
One year after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Cornell Lab of Ornithology director John Fitzpatrick discusses what we learned, and what we can take away from it.
Q: What is your reaction when you look back at footage of birds videotaped along the Gulf Coast by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s team during the oil spill?
(put quotes around that noun “spill”, everyone… cfe)
NEWS RE WOLVES AS OF VALENTINE’S DAY, OF ALL THINGS:
|Senate Targets Wolves
The anti-wolf sentiment has moved from the U.S. House to the Senate as Utah’s Orrin Hatch introduced a bill to remove federal protections for all gray wolves in the U.S. — a move that would certainly doom the few remaining Mexican gray wolves struggling to survive in Arizona and New Mexico and set a dangerous precedent for removing Endangered Species Act protections for some of our most vulnerable wildlife.
U.S. activists without a senator can still email their representative. If you haven’t already, urge your U.S. representative to reject anti-wolf bills in the House.
ONE PERSON DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE - OUR WOLVES NEED YOU
Lakota Wolf, Jasmine Among the Roses, near upper Delaware River, in New Jersey
HERE WE GO AGAIN - OUR OWN GOVERNMENT IN THE BUSINESS OF SLAUGHTER OF OUR FELLOW SPECIES. A few posts ago, red-winged blackbirds and starlings (and most likely the extremely rare and endangered rusty blackbirds; now and always, wolves.
As I always write in these hot links, and encourage NJ WILD readers to do, ‘WE ARE HERE TO BE EARTH’S STEWARDS, NOT HER DESPOILERS!’
And, ‘ALL THAT IT TAKES FOR EVIL TO HAPPEN IS FOR GOOD PEOPLE TO DO NOTHING.”
USE THE HOT LINKS.
SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL LAND TRUST, such as D&R Greenway.
KEEP OUR GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABLE — a song says it for all of us, “This land is your land, this land is my land” — and this includes, especially, the wild creatures.
When a government can exterminate wild creatures, willy nilly, without having to answer to the people, everything that made us America is deleted, especially “government by/of/for the people! I see a very short step between wiping out birds and wolves and eradicating troublous people.
all this in the name of governance!
Save Our Wolves
42. That’s how many Mexican gray wolves are left in wild… in the entire world.
These wolves – found in the wild only in Arizona and New Mexico – face plenty of threats, including illegal killing by anti-wolf extremists. But now a Montana Congressman is taking aim at the life-saving protections these and other rare and beautiful animals need to survive.
Rehberg’s two bills would eliminate Endangered Species Act protections for every single wolf in the Southwest, Midwest and Greater Yellowstone and the Northern Rockies.
The result? A no-holds-barred approach to wolf killing that would end efforts to stop wolf killings in the Southwest and could see Idaho lawmakers make good on their promise to “remove wolves by whatever means necessary.”
If passed, this legislation would also be the first ever to exempt a single species from the Endangered Species Act – setting a dangerous precedent for removing protections for other imperiled wildlife.
Make no mistake: These bills are bad for wolves, bad for the Endangered Species Act, and bad for the future of all America’s wildlife.
We need to send a loud, clear message to Congress. Please take action now and help us send more than 50,000 messages to Congress by Friday.
For the Wild Ones,
P.S. We are anticipating many attacks on protections for wolves during this session of Congress, and we will be counting on you to help speak out for sound science and a lasting future for these magnificent creatures. Please stay tuned.
What would it take to justify using helicopters and gassing pups to kill half the wolves in a federal wilderness area?
That’s exactly what federal officials are now proposing for the wolves of Alaska’s Unimak Island… appeasing state officials hungry for more predator control at the expense of sound science.
As a former head of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, I know a little something about the importance of science in wildlife management.
Comments on the plan are due this Monday, so please send your message right now.
The assessment also shows that the island’s caribou herd is prone to fluctuations – meaning the current decline in caribou may be a natural and necessary occurrence.
And while officials say that the wolf killing is justified to ensure subsistence hunting, state officials are pushing for even more widescale hunting… which could ultimately lead to the death of even more wolves.
These are wolves on federal lands, and it’s our responsibility to protect them. Alaskan officials are eager to kill wolves on federal lands beyond Unimak, so we need to draw a line in the sand now.
Public comments are due January 31st, so please take action now.
Filed Under (Activism, Animals of the Wild, Brenda Jones, Delaware Bayshores, Delaware River, Destruction, Disaster, Environment, Garden State, Government, NJ WILD, Nature, New Jersey, Oceans, Politicians, Pollution/Poisoning, Preservation, Revolutionary War, South Jersey, native species, protection, rivers) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 04-11-2010
Historic D&R Canal Towpath, Haven of Beauty, Source of Water
A national organization just sent a bulletin of good news for our environment, all too scarce in MY book!
In fact, among all the ‘Talking Heads” to whose palaver I was subjected this week, I heard the word ‘environment’ but once, in a tragically dismissive tone.
Our Congressman, Rush Holt, is a friend of the environment without peer. As a naturalist and conservationist, I am profoundly relieved that he won this, his only narrow victory in all these terms.
While thankful to learn the news they conveyed, I felt compelled to write back to the national organization, alerting them to our Congressman Rush Holt’s ENVIRONMENTAL VIGILANCE in our state, in the Capitol. I share some of my response with NJ WILD readers.
As I bolded line after line in Rush’s web-page on environmental matters, –even I, loyal constituent so long as I have known this man–, learned ways in which our Rush Holt tends to Nature.
It is particularly significant that this former rocket scientist continues to instruct Washington to base environmental decisions upon sound science, not upon politics, not in reaction to special interest groups who continually despoil our land.
What I treasure about Rush is that he’s out there noticing what’s wrong, facing problems, solving problems, not merely reacting/vouchsafing sound bites, as do so many politicians…
Lavalette, New Jersey: Calm After Storm
You’ve read my anguished posts and my Packet article on the peril of birds in the wake of the BP disaster in the Gulf. (from his web-site) Rep. Holt has voted against allowing potentially disastrous oil drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). He also has cosponsored OCEANS-21, comprehensive legislation that would develop a national policy to ensure the health of our nation’s oceans for future generations.
He weaves the young into his work: Holt is a founding member and co-chair of the Children’s Environmental Health Caucus, which aims to raise awareness of environmental issues that affect health, particularly that of children.
(from his web-site) On May 14, 2009, the House of Representatives passed Holt’s Green Schools initiative as part of the School Modernization Bill. Natural Resources Committee
For this alone, I’d have voted for Rush: Rep. Holt is a strong supporter of the Endangered Species Act and has consistently opposed attempts to weaken this law.
And this: Rep Holt is committed to the preservation of America’s natural treasures, including its parks. Recently, he helped pass the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (H.R. 146), historic legislation that combines more than 160 individual measures. Among its many provisions, the bill includes new wilderness designations, wild and scenic rivers, National Park units, hiking trails, heritage areas, water projects, and historic preservation initiatives.
And this: Rep. Holt does all in his power to oppose the destruction of environmentally fragile wilderness areas.
When I think of Rush, I experience him as listener – need I remind how rare that quality is in politicians in our time?
Our Congressman is also known for his strong historic perspective, terrifically important in this, our most populated state, where not even the events without which we would not be/have a nation, do not effectively protect sites where these events transpired.
Rush remembers and dynamically teaches the remarkable truth: Ours is the state in which the highest percentage of successful Revolutionary War battles took place, –two in nearby Trenton and the significant one here in Princeton on January 3, 1777.
How many realize that that sacred battlefield could be developed even now by of all entities, the Institute for Advanced Studies?
Rush also knows that lands held open for historic purposes also protects and enhances life chances for native species.
History & Beauty - Historic Batsto Preserve
Pine Barrens of New Jersey - Former Iron Forge Town
His commitment to clean water is vital, as our Canal serves the water needs of millions. Rush is well aware that New Jersey is the ONLY state with THREE coastlines - Atlantic, Delaware Bay and Delaware River. He is determined to maintain these treasures at the highest level, not only because of tourism dollars, but due to their essentiality to humans and native species on all levels.
Rush remembers, reminds others, and acts. All that, and he writes personal thank you’s, even for my minuscule contributions.
From Congressman Rush Holt’s website page on Environment: http://holt.house.gov/ Issues - Environment:
John F. Kennedy said in March 1961, ‘It is our task in our time and in our generation to hand down undiminished to those who come after us, as was handed down to us by those who went before, the natural wealth and beauty which is ours.’” –
Rush Holt Rep. Rush Holt has stood up for our nation’s environmental crown jewels, and is committed to safeguarding our National Parks and Preserves. He supports efforts to clean up our air, land, and water, and to preserve open space.
A member of the House Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition, he is a leader in promoting environmentally sound alternative energy sources that do not harm our environment. For his work, Rep. Holt has earned a 100 percent lifetime rating from the League of Conservation Voters.
Throughout his career, Rep. Holt has been a strong advocate for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and its State Assistance program, which provides matching funds to states and communities to preserve open spaces. Early in his career, he was able to restore the state-side grant portion of the program, and he has since fought to retain and increase funding for it.
In the 110th Congress, Rep. Holt led a bipartisan coalition that helped secure $125 million for the LWCF and $25 million for the state-side grant portion. He is leading the effort to secure LWCF in the current Congress as well. The LWCF State Assistance program has aided local recreation projects in over 98% of all U.S. counties, including the preservation of over 73,000 acres of land in New Jersey alone. This is land that otherwise may have been developed for private use or otherwise rendered unusable. Due to the crucial work done by the LWCF, Rep. Holt has fought for full LWCF funding every year.
In July, Rep. Holt voted for and the House passed the Consolidated Land, Energy, and Aquatic Resources Act (CLEAR Act). In addition to fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund, this bill would raise operations standards on offshore drilling, making it safer for workers, as well as for our environment.
Northern Gannet at Cape May -
CMBO Picture –
One of most devastated birds during and after BP Oil Catastrophe in Gulf
In light of the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, the CLEAR Act adopts a provision written by Rep. Holt to hold oil companies accountable for the damage they inflict, should an accident occur. The bill is currently awaiting approval from the Senate.
Black Skimmer Glory by Brenda Jones
Bird deeply endangered by oil in water - as it skims waves to feed on resident fish
Rep. Holt supports states’ rights to lead the way on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles. He has supported legislation to allow states such New Jersey to create stronger regulations regarding vehicle emissions.
Rep. Holt strongly supports efforts to protect the Clean Water Act. He has cosponsored legislation that would reestablish the original intent of Congress in the 1972 Clean Water Act, ensuring that it applies to all water of the United States.
He also supports efforts to fully fund the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.
Holt also is a founding member and co-chair of the Children’s Environmental Health Caucus, which aims to raise awareness of environmental issues that affect health, particularly that of children.
On his web-site, you can read Rep. Holt’s work on clean energy, including his efforts to increase automobile fuel efficiency standards for the first time in nearly 30 years.
Rep. Holt supports the “polluter pays” principle that the financial burden to clean up toxic pollution at Superfund sites should not fall on the backs of taxpayers. Congress created the Superfund in 1980 to clean up the nation’s worst toxic waste sites. Congress placed the financial onus for cleanups on polluting corporations. [This system worked as it was intended until 1995 when the 105th Congress let the Superfund revenue authority expire.]
Superfund still had funding until the Fiscal Year 2003 budget. Yet, the Bush Administration failed to request renewal of the Superfund taxes in any subsequent budget, resulting in the Superfund running dry. This has stalled cleanup efforts in Superfund sites throughout the country, including in Marlboro, NJ, which had waited for the clean up of the Imperial Oil Company site for more than 25 years, until finally receiving approximately $25 million for cleanup from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009. Rep. Holt continues to work to reinstate the Superfund tax on corporate polluters.
Rep. Holt has led the effort in Congress to preserve historic lands, as he believes that preserving historic spaces is essential to educating the current generations and future generations and about our rich cultural heritage. This year, he reintroduced the Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Battlefield Protection Act, legislation that would help preserve open spaces by authorizing additional funding to protect historic sites dating from these two wars.
Pre-Revolutionary Blue Mill, Blue Mill Pond, Walnford Village NJ
Additionally, in 2007 Rep. Holt secured $150,000 in federal funding for the Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area, which he helped to create in 2006. The Crossroads of the American Revolution highlights the role of New Jersey during the American Revolution and brings protection to many historic landmarks, including battlefields, lighthouses, mills, wells and the other Revolutionary War area sites in New Jersey. Crossroads of the American Revolution is headed by D&R Greenway Trustee Cate Litvack, who has become a friend and member of my Willing Hands Committee at the Land Trust, regularly arriving early for events to greet our guests.
Representing a state that is highly dependent on the ocean for its economy, tourism, and recreation, Rep. Holt is committed to ensuring that our coasts and oceans are clean.
Rep. Holt has voted against allowing potentially disastrous oil drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). He also has cosponsored OCEANS-21, comprehensive legislation that would develop a national policy to ensure the health of our nation’s oceans for future generations.
Where History and Waters Meet
Calling to Migrant Birds…
Cape May Light and Ocean Beach in Winter
Cape May Bird Observatory Photo
In January 2009, Rep. Holt reintroduced the School Building Enhancement Act, legislation that would help schools implement energy saving measures to reduce their energy costs. Energy bills are the second-highest operating expenditure for schools after personnel costs, with the annual spending by schools on energy at $8 billion in 2007. Holt’s bill would authorize $6.4 billion over five years for school construction, including funding to help schools become more energy-efficient.
On May 14, 2009, the House of Representatives passed Holt’s Green Schools initiative as part of the School Modernization Bill. Natural Resources Committee.
WILD (literally! & SCENIC DELAWARE RIVER, Brenda Jones
As a member of the House Committee on Natural Resources, Rep. Holt has worked to preserve America’s natural treasures, including its parks. Recently, he helped pass the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (H.R. 146), historic legislation that combines more than 160 individual measures. Among its many provisions, the bill includes new wilderness designations, wild and scenic rivers, National Park units, hiking trails, heritage areas, water projects, and historic preservation initiatives. The bill preserves New Jersey’s heritage as one of the leaders of the Industrial Revolution by creating the Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park and the Edison National Historic Park.
Rep. Holt has led efforts to oppose the destruction of environmentally fragile wilderness areas, including: In 2007, Rep. Holt led an effort, with 86 of his colleagues, to urge the Secretary of the Interior to oppose increased snowmobile use – which can damage the air and land - in Yellowstone National Park.
In December 2007, Rep. Holt spearheaded a successful effort, with 57 other Members of Congress, asking the Obama administration to overturn a last-minute decision by the Bush administration to auction off pristine public land in Utah’s Wilderness to oil and gas companies.
In 2007, Rep. Holt successfully offered an amendment to the Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act that would ensure that national parks are protected from the hazardous byproducts of hardrock metal mining.
Rep. Holt opposes proposals to drill for oil within sensitive environments like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He does not believe that we should harm irreparably the nation’s remaining wilderness in order to produce oil that will not meet the demand for energy.
Rep. Holt believes it is important for the federal government to designate and protect critical habitats that are vital to the continued survival of endangered and threatened species.
He strongly supports allowing scientists - not politicians - to identify what is needed to enhance and de-list endangered species. Holt is working to strengthen the Endangered Species Act and has participated in a number of hearings on this issue as a senior member of the House Committee on Natural Resources.
Fox on Ice, Carnegie Lake, Brenda Jones
Rep Holt believes that the humane treatment of animals is a mark of civilized society.Because of his efforts on behalf of animal rights, Rep. Holt was awarded an A+ from the Humane Society Legislative Fund in 2008.
Rep. Holt has cosponsored legislation to prohibit the use of birds in animal fighting, to ban the riding of captive elephants in road shows, and to require wounded livestock to be humanely euthanized, rather than be left to suffer a slow and painful death.
Rep. Holt is a strong supporter of the Endangered Species Act and has consistently opposed attempts to weaken this law.
Rep. Holt has introduced the Fox-Penning Prohibition Act, legislation which would prohibit the transport of foxes and other animals for the purposes of “wildlife penning.” “Wildlife penning” is an inhumane treatment of animals by which they are put in fenced enclosures where wild animals are ripped apart by packs of dogs in competitive animal fights — they are torn apart by dogs in an escape-proof enclosure. “I have introduced legislation to stop this practice by outlawing the transport of animals for the purposes of fox penning.”
USA Today used an indelible headline recently, with regard to the Gulf: OIL AND LIFE DON’T MIX.
Out of sight, whales cruise the Gulf of Mexico depths — their hidden world threatened by huge clots of drifting oil from the ruptured Deepwater Horizon well.
At the same time, there are almost no data available to measure changes to the Gulf’s ecosystem — including whale populations — caused by the massive leak.
“Night after night, on TV and on webcams, we see oil spewing from the bottom of the ocean,” said Christopher Clark, head of the Bioacoustics Research Program at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. “You wonder ‘What can we do? What’s the impact of this?’ In the case of marine mammals, we don’t know because we don’t even know what’s there.”
But now, Clark and his team are collaborating with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in a multipronged effort to discover the numbers and locations of whales. They will assess the potential impact of oil clouds drifting below the surface — a by-product of the oil spill and the dispersants used to break up the oil slick.
The team will anchor 22 marine autonomous recording units (MARUs) to the sea floor in an arc stretching from Texas to western Florida, along the edge of the continental shelf. These units will record underwater sounds for three months before they receive a signal to let go of their tethers and pop to the surface for retrieval. After analyzing the data, the team will deliver a report to NOAA and other agencies involved in the oil leak response.
The MARUs will listen for endangered sperm whales and a small population of Bryde’s (BRU-des) whales. They will also pick up sounds of fish and ship traffic. Some devices will be placed in areas apparently unaffected by the oil, to collect “control” site information. Others will be close to the gushing well. The goal is to document the state of the sounds in the ecosystem over an extended period of time, compare them with known information of the oil spill.
“This will be the first large-scale, long-term, acoustic monitoring survey in the Gulf of Mexico,” Clark said. “We can provide one more layer of understanding about this ecosystem, using sound to measure animal occurrences, distributions and communication, as well as background noise levels from shipping and weather, and perhaps experience ways in which these features are being influenced by the oil.
The whales are oversized canaries in the coal mine — they reflect the health of the environment.”
Clark says sperm whales are ideal subjects to monitor. They are big, and hunt for squid at great depths (about 1,000 meters down) using echolocation. Once sperm whales detect prey, they emit a very rapid sequence of clicks. By measuring the number of clicks in a given time period, scientists learn about the whales’ hunting success and may estimate how many animals are nearby.
Clark is also seeking funding to use free-floating recording units to record the ocean’s electrical conductivity — a measurement directly related to how much oil is in the water. Such a device could also continuously record ocean sounds and help researchers confirm how many animals inhabit oiled parts of the gulf. Clark feels strongly that even after the current set of recording devices is removed in early October, others should be deployed to continue monitoring throughout the year.
Pat Leonard is a staff writer at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
CAPE MAY - WHAT WE STAND TO LOSE FIRST [cfe]
For several months now, books I’ve taken out of the Princeton Public Library have centered upon catastrophic climate change. This just out, via Science Magazine, echoes everything I’m reading, the pages of notes I’m inscribing.
We cannot remain ostriches. It’s not just the oil in the Gulf. The ocean — our amniotic fluid—is being destroyed. Never forget that the oceans spawn air currents, their temperatures launch hurricanes and cyclones, the Atlantic’s Gulf Stream moderates temperatures in the northernmost sections of Britain and Europe, and is thawing polar ice.
This isn’t ‘just’ about water.
At least NJ WILD readers will be informed.
We have turned the planet into the Titanic, and captain and crew are saying, “What iceberg?”
Instead of optimism, I MUST say, “Be worried. Be Very Worried.”
Previous NJ WILD posts cover what one can do.
Be that 1.
Buy planet-friendly appliances and bulbs
PROTEST increasing addiction to dirty coal
Science Daily, June 19 2010 reports on the effects
of climate change upon the world’s oceans:
now changing at a rate not seen for several
The growing atmospheric concentrations of man-
made ‘greenhouse gases’ are driving irreversible,
dramatic changes to the way the ocean functions,
with potentially dire impacts for hundreds of
millions of people across the planet.”
[how tragic that they only mention humans!]
two of the world’s leading marine scientists,
one from University of Queensland, Australia;
one from University of North Carolina, Chapel
Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, lead author of the
report and Director of The University of
Queensland’s Global Change Institute, says the
findings have enormous implications for mankind,
particularly if the trend continues.
He said that Earth’s ocean is equivalent to its
heart and lungs. “
Quite plainly, the Earth cannot do without its
This study reveals worrying signs of ill health.
“It’s as though the Earth has been smoking two
packs of cigarettes a day!”
[for a very long time, and it already has cancer,
metastasizing at our hands, at our indifference]
He went on to say, “We are entering a period in
which the very ocean services upon which
humanity depends are undergoing massive change
and in some cases beginning to fail,”
“Further degradation will continue to create
enormous challenges and costs for societies
He warned that we may soon see “sudden,
unexpected changes that have serious
ramifications for the overall well-being of
including the capacity of the planet to support
“This is further evidence that we are well on the
way to the next great extinction event.”
[the extinction you witness may be our own...]
The “fundamental and comprehensive” changes to
marine life identified in the report include rapidly
warming and acidifying oceans, changes in water
circulation and expansion of dead zones within
the ocean depths.
These are driving major changes in marine
ecosystems: less abundant coral reefs, sea grasses
and mangroves (important fish nurseries); fewer,
smaller fish; a breakdown in food chains; changes
in the distribution of marine life; and more
frequent diseases and pests among marine
Report co-author, Dr John F. Bruno, an Associate
Professor at The University of North Carolina, says
greenhouse gas emissions are modifying many
physical and geochemical aspects of the planet’s
oceans, in ways “unprecedented in nearly a million
“This is causing fundamental and comprehensive
changes to the way marine ecosystems function,”
Dr Bruno said.
“We are becoming increasingly certain that the
world’s marine ecosystems are approaching
These tipping points are where change accelerates
and causes unrelated impacts on other systems,
the results of which we really have no power or
model to foresee.”
The authors conclude: “These challenges
underscore the urgency with which world leaders
must act to limit further growth of greenhouse
gases and thereby reduce the risk of these events’
Ignoring the science is not an option.”
Filed Under (Adventure, Agriculture, Birds, Climate Change, Environment, Farm Markets, Farmers, Farmland, Farms, Fishing, Food, Global Climate Change, Government, Harvest, Indians, Jersey Fresh, Lenni Lenapes, Local Food, Migration, Migratory Flocks, NJ WILD, Native Americans, Nature, New Jersey, New Jersey Pine Barrens, Oceans, Politicians, Pollution/Poisoning) by Carolyn Foote Edelmann on 05-07-2010
Lake Oswego Heaven - Fourth of July Late Afternoon- NJ Pine Barrens South of Chatsworth
NJ WILD readers know that ‘the world is too much with me’, too often. The world of oiled birds and abandoned fishermen’s families waiting for checks so that they may buy toilet paper and dish detergent. The world of catastrophic weather as the new normal. The world of governments’ having changed without dire conditions changing for the better. ["Yes We Can". "Yes We Did". And so what?]
The world in which migrating shorebirds will soon be staging for their southward journeys, expecting to feed in marshes covered in oil the color of rusting tankers, before setting out to cross the interminable poisoned Gulf.
What Will be Happening Soon at Brigantine National Wildlife Refuge near Smithville
Next stop - oiled Gulf
Pine Barrens Byways photograph
So I take myself to New Jersey Wilderness to be restored. Sometimes it is enough simply to be there, especially among the Pines and the sands of our so-called Pine Barrens.
Lake Oswego Pines and Sedges cfe
Sometimes I do have to bring back photographs, at least.
Ripening Grapes, Historic Building, Tomasello Winery, Smithville, Pine Barrens cfe
Ideally, farm markets are open and I can return with treasures grown by real people in real soil in our own very real state. Not thousands of miles away, growing stale dead and flavorless as they cross interstates. Pine Barrens markets are rich in foods alive with the best energies of earth, blessed by those who planted, weeded, tilled, tended, harvested and sold them to this eager customer. Foods whose prices are so low, you think they have to be a mistake.
Home from the Markets, July 4 2010 cfe
Here are cameos from yesterday’s trip to the ‘Barrens’. The market for the pristine and slender Jersey asparagus and the first berries is Russo’s. Those berries come to them from nearby Indian Mills. They preside at a key corner in dear little Tabernacle, on Route 532 just slightly east of #206. The last Lenni Lenape, Indian Ann, is buried in the Tabernacle churchyard. I want to wake her up and get her to talk of her life there, teach us her language. Instead, I talk crops with the real farmers of Russo’s.
Freshly Hard-Boiled Organic Eggs from Market cfe
The dark and hearty pumpernickel bread under the smoked salmon is from The Bakery, a tiny place whose origins, in Smithville, are pre-Revolutionary. They used to age the hams and sausages upstairs. I tell my favorite waitresses, “I drive 80 miles for your sausage patties.” The eggs taste like eggs. I mean, you can close your eyes and know what is in your mouth, what is blessing your palate. The coffee is hot, steamy, non-sophisticated (no &*(&^ hazelnuts!), and constantly refilled by joshing waitresses who’ve been there forever. When I first went to the Bakery, its current owner was a baker there. He saved his money and now it’s his. On the walls are antique farm implements, signs for Provisions, “God Speed Ye Plow” and a wooden plow, Campbell’s soup tins of long ago, and saltine tins, and wire whisks and, well, go see for yourself.
The smoked Atlantic Salmon and the avocado are from Trader Joe’s, which store is local if not these food items — but it feels like a farm market in there. That is my highest praise, as NJ WILD readers know.
Pine Barrens Blueberries from Indian Mills via Russo’s cfe
What I don’t have on the table is the blueberry champagne, bought as gifts next-door at Tomasello’s Winery - wine of the Pines. Everyone expects it to be in some way a joke - it is sublime - outdistanced every bottle of Prosecco at a recent dinner party here.
All the way down and all the way back, except of course for 295 and 206, there was no one on most of the roads but us. On the Fourth of July. Try me - try Labor Day. But only if solitude is blessed to you.
Lake Oswego Solitude, Fourth of July cfe
Only if solitude, for you, pushes away that too-much world.
I go to the Pines to watch grapes ripen and peat waters ripple and rare birds feed…
Good news re Refuges about to be funded by U.S. Fish and Wildlife for our birds — my beloved ‘Brig’ - Edwin B. Forsythe Wildlife Refuge near Smithville - point of yesterday’s journey.
Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge, Ocean County, New Jersey – Protect 243 acres of wetlands and upland fringes, the last natural open space on the northern portion of Barnegat Bay. The area provides essential migratory habitat for waterfowl and passerine birds species, as well as several state-listed endangered and threatened bird species.