Thursday, September 28, 2006

Bama Environmental News - September 28th

1) Auburn Researcher Publishes Ivory-Bill Woodpecker Findings
2) Alabama Aquatic Biodiversity Center To Release Endangered Snails
3) Birmingham Metro Would Fail New Tougher Air Pollution Rules
4) 26 Alabama Mayors Pledge Support in Water War
5) Coastal Cleanup 2006 - The Numbers
6) BEN Notes: Village Creek Renew Our Rivers Cleanup, An Inconvenient Truth Viewing, Solar Home Tour, Weeks Bay 13th Annual Plant Sale, EcoFest 8, ARA River Revival, NEMO Training Workshops


1. Auburn Researcher Publishes Ivory-Bill Woodpecker Findings - Earlier this week, according to the Mobile Register, Auburn researchers have published evidence that the long thought to be extinct ivory-bill woodpecker has been discovered in the Florida Panhandle.

Researchers said they've had 13 sightings of the ivory bill and some 300 distinctive calls and sounds associated with the elusive woodpecker. The last clear photos of the bird and uncontested proof of the bird's existence date back to the 1930's in Louisiana. In 2005, an announcement was made that the woodpecker was rediscovered in Arkansas. The researchers at Auburn have acknowledged that the evidence is not conclusive, but they have assembled lines of evidence including audio recordings and evidence of some 20 roost cavities in the Choctawhatchee River basin.

Auburn's lead researcher is Geoff Hill, who is considered one of the world's preeminent authorities on bird evolution and coloration. Their research has been published in the online journal Avian Conservation & Ecology. You can find the article at

2. Alabama Aquatic Biodiversity Center To Release Endangered Snails - Alabama's new Aquatic Biodiversity Center, a program of the Alabama Department of Conservation plans to release approximately 10,000 juvenile Pilcate Rocksnails into the Locust Fork of the Black Water River in Blount County. The snails are offsprings produced from 160 adult snails collected from the Locust Fork in Jefferson County. This release, will be the first of it's kind of an endangered species, by the new center.

The snail, which requires clean flowing waters has been eliminated from 97 percent of its historic range (which was primarily throughout the Black Warrior River Basin) due to the construction of dams and water quality degradation. If successful, the release may eventually allow for the removal of the Pilate Rocksnail from the endangered species list.

For more information about this new and exciting program, contact Dr. Paul Johnson at 334-683-5000.

3. Birmingham Metro Would Fail New Tougher Air Pollution Rules - According to the Birmingham News, recently released air pollution rules by the Environmental Protection Agency pertaining to particle pollution would place the region in violation of air quality standards. Air quality officials have determined that three Jefferson County air monitors would fail under new tougher rules.

The new limits on particle air pollution is considered important by the EPA because the new tougher standard on particles will keep an estimated 15,000 people a year from dying premature deaths nationwide. EPA predicts the decision to strengthen the standard will cut by half the allowable particulate emissions from smokestacks and tailpipes.

4. 26 Alabama Mayors Pledge Support in Water War - This week, 26 mayors from the Alabama-Coosa-Tallapoosa river basin have pledged in a letter supporting Governor Bob Riley and state congressional efforts to prevent water from being "wrongfully redirected to Georgia" potentially harming the environment and industry.

The letter is in response to the long running water dispute between Georgia, Alabama and Florida.Mayors from the following Alabama cities signed the letter: Alexander City, Ashland, Camden, Centre, Childersburg, Coosada, Dadeville, Fort Payne, Gadsden, Grove Hill, Heflin, Lineville, Lowndesboro, Millbrook, Monroeville, Pratville, Rainbow City, Roanoke, Rockford, Sylacauga, Talladega, Thomasville, Wedowee, Wetumpka, White Hall.

5. Coastal Cleanup 2006 - The Numbers - The initial figures are in, and it looks like another "job well done" for this year's 19th Annual Alabama Coastal Cleanup, which was held earlier this month. The numbers are astonishing.

In Alabama, according to Amy King of the Alabama Department of Conservation, about 40 tons of trash and debris were picked up by 3,700 volunteers at 23 sites in Mobile, Baldwin, Covington, Escambia, Butler and Conecuh counties. Some of the most unusual items... pieces of a dog house and a deflated bounce house.

6. BEN Notes - Village Creek Renew Our Rivers Cleanup, An Inconvenient Truth Viewing, Solar Home Tour, Weeks Bay 13th Annual Plant Sale, EcoFest 8, ARA River Revival, NEMO Training Workshops

Village Creek Renew Our Rivers Cleanup - Come join the Village Creek Environmental Justice Society and Alabama Power's Renew Our Rivers river cleanup program on Saturday, September 30 between 8:00 am to 1:00 pm. There will be live entertainment, a formal program and lunch for all volunteers immediately after the cleanup. Directions to Village Creek: Take I 20/59 West to Exit #121 (Bush Blvd/Ensley) go right off the interstate to Avenue V, which becomes Avenue W. go approximately 1/2 mile north to creek. The tent is located at 11th Street Ensley and Avenue M at the footbridge. For additional info call Dr. Mabel Anderson 205-798-0087 or Alabama Power at 1-800-LAKES11

An Inconvenient Truth Viewing - Didn't get to see Al Gore's documentary about Global Warming in the theaters? Here is your chance to view a free screening of the movie! The movie will be shown on Sunday, October 1st at 7:00 pm. - St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Birmingham 1024 South 12th Street (across from the Alys Stephens Center on the UAB Campus). The screening will be in the Parish Hall and there will be a casual discussion after the film.

Solar Home Tour - The Alabama Solar Collective is sponsoring a local Solar Home Tour in rural Blount County on October 7th starting at 9:00 AM. To register and directions, contact Stephen at 205-429-4120 or email (be sure to write "Home Tour" in the subject line). For additional solar Home Tour sites check out

Weeks Bay 13th Annual Plant Sale - Join Weeks Bay Reserve's 13th Annual Native Plant Sale, October 6-8, 8:00AM to 4:00PM each day. For additional information and directions, call Weeks Bay at 251-928-9792.

EcoFest 8 - Please join the Southern Environmental Center for EcoFest 8 - Thursday, October 12th, 6-9 at WorkPlay (corner of 5th Avenue South & 23rd Street) in Birmingham. The live auction will be conducted by Alan Hunter (original MTV VJ fame) and Rick Journey from Fox 6. For ticket information go to

ARA River Revival - The Alabama Rivers Alliance will be holding "River Revival" October 22nd from 1:00PM to 6:00PM at King's Bend on the banks of the Locust Fork River. Tickets are $20 in advance, $60 for a car full - and they can be purchased at Deep South Fly Shop, Alabama Outdoors or at . For additional info call Jennifer Rupe at 205-322-6395 ext. 104.

NEMO Training Workshops - ADEM's Nonpoint Source Education for Municipal Officials (NEMO) program is one of the most innovative in the country. If you know a municipal official who would benefit from this program, NEMO is presently registering participants for their 2006 Training Session. The training is scheduled for October 26th at ADEM's Main Office, Room 1201 in Montgomery. For more information, contact Patti Hurley at 334-394-4350.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Back to the Future: Margaret Thatcher on Climate Change in 1989

Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher Speech to the United Nations General Assembly, New York, November 8, 1989** - from the book Speaking of Earth

"But the problem of global climate change is one that affects us all, and action will only be effective if it is taken at the international level. It is no good squabbling over who is responsible or who should pay. Whole areas of our planet could be subject to drought and starvation if the patterns of rains and monsoons were to change as a result of the destruction of forests and the accumulation of greenhouse gases.We have to look forward, not backward, and we shall only succeed in dealing with the problems through a vast international, cooperative effort."

For more info about Margaret Thatcher visit

**Note the date

Poor Laws Protecting Environment = Poor Governance

Wangari Maathai Passages from the Nobel Prize Lecture, Oslo, Norway, December 10, 2004

"As we progressively understood the causes of environmental degradation, we saw the need for good governance. Indeed, the state of any country's environment is a reflection of the kind of governance in place, and without good governance there can be no peace. Many countries which have poor governance systems are also likely to have conflicts and poor laws protecting the environment."


"As I conclude, I reflect on my childhood experience when I would visit a stream next to our home to fetch water for my mother. I would drink water straight from the stream. Playing among the arrowroot leaves, I tried in vain to pick up the strands of frogs' eggs, believing they were beads. But every time I put my little fingers under them, they would break. Later, I saw thousands of tadpoles: black, energetic, and wriggling through the clear water against the background of the brown earth. This is the world I inherited from my parents.Today, over fifty years later, the stream has dried up, women walk long distances for water--- which is not always clean--- and children will never know what they have lost. The challenge is to restore the home of the tadpoles and give back to our children a world of beauty and wonder."

For more info about Wangari Maathai visit

Friday, September 08, 2006

Bama Environmental News Notes

Mobile Bay NEP Seeking Science Communicator - The Mobile Bay National Estuary Program, which is administratively sponsored by the Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL) has an opening for a Science Communicator Position. A Sea Lab Employment Application may be downloaded from the DISL website or requested by phone, fax or email. Return application along with three references (two work related) to: David Yeager, Mobile Bay NEP, 4172 Commanders Drive, Mobile, Al. 36615 ph. 251-431-6409, fax 251-431-6450, email

Auburn University Seeking Outreach Associate - The School of Forestry and Wildlife Science of Auburn University is seeking candidates for the position of Outreach Associate/Senior Associate. Responsibilities include, but are not limited to, providing professional expertise to provide advanced professional services for outreach activities, projects and programs; identifies project needs/opportunities, develops and delivers proposals, preparing reports; supervises staff. Refer to requisition #21738 and apply on-line at , if you need assistance contact Human Resources at 334-844-4145. Review of applications begin after September 18th.

Birmingham Audubon Society Education Program Deadlines - The Birmingham Audubon Society (BAS) offers mini-grants to help fund field trips, classroom speakers, and projects such as school gardens, bird feeding stations and nature trails. Visit the BAS website at (and click on grants and scholarships) and you will find an application and contact information. The application deadline is September 30th. If you are a classroom teacher who would like to receive "Audubon Adventures" (for more info about the program go to ), contact Stan and Dana Hamilton at requesting that you be enrolled in the program. The deadline to notify the Hamiltons is September 15th."

Cahaba by Moonlight" - A special event benefiting the Cahaba River Society - "Cahaba by Moonlight" will held at the Carraway-Davie House Conference Center, September 28th, 6 PM. To learn more about this event which includes an auction and a gourmet menu, go to

Losing Open Spaces....

The U.S. Forest Service has recently released an impressive 50 page report titled "Cooperating Across Boundaries - Partnerships to Conserve Open Space in Rural America." Some of the finding in the report include:

* Rate of open space loss in the United States per day, in acres - 6,000

* Rate of open space loss per minute, in acres - 4

* Open space loss to development between 1992 to 1997 in square miles - 24,000 square miles, the size of West Virginia.

* Open space projected to be developed by 2020 in square miles - 100,000 square miles, the size of California.

* Amount of private forestland lost to development from 1982-1997, in acres: 10 million.

* Net amount of forest projected to be developed from 1997 to 2030, in acres: 26 million.

The report also includes case studies and potential policy initiative to help address this important conservation issue. To access the report, go to -

19th Annual Coastal Cleanup

With the Alabama Annual Coastal Cleanup only one week away, it is important to look back at what kind of effort is needed to pull off this enormous community effort. These figures came from the Ocean Conservancy:

In 2005, 654 volunteers came out to cleanup 131 miles of shorelines and waterways picking up 20,992 debris items that weighed 19,368 pounds.

Some of the top debris items included: Plastic beverage bottles (12.4%), Cigarettes (12.3%), Glass beverage bottles (10.8%), Caps and lids (10.2%), Beverage cans (9.9%), Building materials (9.1%),

69% of the debris comes from shoreline and recreation activities.

To access the Ocean Conservancy's entire report, and to compare Alabama to other states, go to

To find out how to participate in the 19th Annual Coastal Cleanup - September 16-19 - visit their website at

Thursday, September 07, 2006

6000 Acres a Day and Counting

The U.S. Forest Service has released a new urban sprawl and the loss of Rural Open Space study.

The most stunning figure:

In the U.S. we lose 6000 acres of open space a day


4 acres a minute.

Check out the report here.