Chincoteague NWR Seeks Shoreline Stewards
Throughout the summer months, Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge (VA) welcomes a growing population of nesting shorebirds, including Atlantic piping plovers, least terns, and American oystercatchers. These birds choose nesting sites along the Refuge's beaches and spend the season raising and tending to their young. Allowing the birds sufficient space to live, eat, and grow, Refuge staff close the nesting areas to human disturbance, which may include beach driving, surffishing, walking, swimming, and other beach-related recreation.
In an effort to educate visitors on the importance of these nesting areas to the health of species populations, volunteers assist by sharing photos, maps, biological and population information, and an occasional view through binoculars or scopes. By offering this service to visitors, the Refuge hopes to allay frustrations, lack of understanding, and closure violations - all of which can be detrimental to the wildlife, habitat, and work of the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
Refuge staff (and the birds) need more volunteers for this endeavor! Each week, volunteers will have one or two shifts out at the beach (don't worry if you can't make it that often, we can work out a schedule that works for you), talking with and educating visitors. For orientation, we ask that volunteers join Biologist Kevin Holcomb on Thursday, May 24, for a 2-3 hour overview of the task, the issues, and the birds.
When: RSVP by Monday, May 21 to Kevin Holcomb, firstname.lastname@example.org or 757-336-6122 x319, for Thursday, May 24; noon - 3pm
Where: Bateman Education Center Classroom, Chincoteague NWR, VA
Tools needed: customer service skills; appreciation for shorebirds; walking shoes
For more information about the Atlantic Coast Piping Plovers click here:
Attention Auduboners: Below are several important opportunities to express your views and influence public policy. Act now!
Cut Carbon, Save Birds
At a March scientific conference, experts stressed that climate change may now be irreversible and urged every nation to act.
National Audubon is asking every Auduboner to let Congress and the Environmental Protection Agency know that Auduboners support EPA's action to reduce carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions. Mike Daulton with NAS said, "Audubon scientists have proven warming trends driven by carbon pollution have already disrupted bird migration patterns across the country. Nearly 60 percent of the 305 species found in winter across North America are shifting their ranges northward by an average of 35 miles." Go here for info.
Auduboners have a chance to present views at a May 24 hearing in Washington. Here are the details from EPA.
The EPA published in the Federal Register on April 13, 2012, the proposed rule, "Standards of Performance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions for New Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units." The EPA is making two announcements: first, two public hearings will be held for the proposed Standards of Performance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions for New Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units, and, second, the comment period for this rulemaking will be extended until June 25, 2012.
Public Hearings on May 24, 2012:
Ariel Rios East Building, Room 1153
1301 Constitution Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20460
The public hearing in Washington, DC will convene at 8:30 a.m. and will continue until 4:30 p.m. A lunch break is scheduled from 12:00 p.m. until 1:00 p.m. The EPA plans to conclude the hearing at 4:30 p.m. All Washington, DC times are Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). The public hearing in Chicago will convene at 8:30 a.m. and will continue until 4:30 p.m. A lunch break is scheduled from 12:00 p.m. until 1:00 p.m. The EPA plans to conclude the hearing at 4:30 p.m. All Chicago times are Central Daylight Time (CDT). The EPA's Web site for the rulemaking, which includes the proposal and information about the hearings can be found here.
Dyke Marsh Restoration Options to Be Presented
The National Park Service will hold a public meeting on options for restoring Dyke Marsh on Tuesday, May 8, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at Indigo Landing Restaurant at the Washington Sailing Marina just south of National Airport. The meeting will give attendees an opportunity to view and comment on draft design alternatives for Dyke Marsh restoration. Plan to attend and share your views.
You can also submit comments electronically. Electronically submitted comments is
the NPS' preferred method of receiving comments.
Written comments may also be mailed to: Superintendent, George Washington
Memorial Parkway, Turkey Run Park, McLean, VA 22101. Attn: Dyke Marsh
Wetland Restoration Management Plan/EIS.
Let NPS know you care about restoring Dyke Marsh. It only takes a few sentences.
A U.S. Geological Survey study has found that Dyke Marsh is "eroding rapidly," as much as six feet or 1.5 to 2 acres a year. Dyke Marsh could be gone in 30 to 40 years if action is not taken
The study ". . . revealed an accelerating rate of erosion and marsh loss at Dyke Marsh, which now appears to put at risk the short term survivability of this marsh. . . [italics ours]. The scientists wrote, "This freshwater tidal marsh has shifted from a semi-stable net depositional environment (1864-1937) into a strongly erosional one, during a time when it currently is in early-phase planning for comprehensive restoration." Authors attribute the "deconstruction" over the past 70 years to a combination of human and natural causes.
The study says that Dyke Marsh will continue to be "subjected to strong lateral shoreline erosion and stream piracy until (1) its former geological protections are restored by human intervention or (2) it is fully dismembered and eroded away by recurrent future storm activity (if left alone)."
The USGS study is posted at http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2010/1269/. The lead authors are Ronald J. Litwin, Joseph P. Smoot and Milan J. Pavich, with NPS and local academic coauthors.
President, U.S. Senate, House Races This Year
Along with a U.S. President,Virginia will elect a new U.S. Senator in November, to replace Senator Jim Webb who has announced he will not run again. We will also vote on members of the U.S. House of Representatives. These races present an opportunity for Auduboners to educate candidates about conservation issues and elect pro-conservation legislators. Few are talking about conservation issues at this time. It is up to us to inject our concerns into those races.
BLM Releases Environmental Assessment for Meadowood Barn
The Bureau of Land Management-Eastern States Office has released an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the barn at the Meadowood Special Recreation Management Area in Lorton, Virginia. The Meadowood Barn EA describes the environmental impacts of various alternatives for the structure as well as a proposed action.
The existing Barn structure, erected in 1976, is 104 feet wide and 248 feet in length. It includes 46 stalls, a 190-foot by 60-foot indoor arena, and a number of storage areas and mechanical rooms. Several elements in the building do not meet requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or structural, plumbing, and electrical codes.
The Environmental Assessment describes a proposed action to renovate the Meadowood Barn structure within its existing footprint and use, to the extent possible, existing framing and structural components. Alternative actions include immediate closure and demolition of the structure, or no action whatsoever.
"The Meadowood Barn EA was developed in consultation with a large number of federal, state, and local organizations," said John Lyon, Director of BLM Eastern States. "We think it is a significant step forward in bringing the facility into compliance with federal and state standards."
Copies of the Meadowood Barn EA are available on the BLM Eastern States website . The website also has a form for submitting public comments on the document. Comments will be accepted through May 25, 2012.