1) Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge Expanded
2) New Mercury Reduction Rules Adopted
3) A New Alabama Sanctuary for Gopher Tortoises
4) BEN Notes: WWF Southeastern Rivers and Stream Support Fund, ACF Seeking Assistant Program Director, 3rd Annual Invasive Plant Symposium, Smith Lake Environmental Preservation Committee's "State of the Lake", Alabama Coastal BirdFest, Alabama Rivers Alliance "River Revival", Black Warrior Riverkeeper Party in Tuscaloosa, 13th Annual Wiese Lecture Series - Dr. Daniel Pauly, AUFA Annual Meeting, American Chestnut Foundation Annual Meeting
1. Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge Expanded - Last week, the U.S. Congress gave final approval to the Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge Expansion Act. Authored by Birmingham Congressman Spencer Bachus, the bill authorizes the expansion of the Refuge from 3500 acres to 7100 acres.
"Keeping the Refuge pristine for future generations has been one of my top priorities. The creation and expansion of the Refuge are important steps in what needs to be a comprehensive effort to preserve and restore the Cahaba River, " stated Bachus.
In the Senate, Senator Jeff Sessions championed the cause for expansion, securing Senate passage in the waning hours before the end of the Senate session.
2. New Mercury Reduction Rules Adopted - According to the Birmingham News, under new environmental regulations adopted by the Alabama Environmental Management Commission, Alabama's power plants will have to cut mercury emissions from their coal-fired power plants by 20% within the next four years and 70% by 2018.
Mercury is a toxic metal that is released when coal is burned. One in six American babies is at risk from mercury exposure because their mothers have unsafe levels in their bodies, the U.S. EPA found in 2004. Children exposed to mercury before birth can suffer from mental retardation, developmental delays and learning disorders.
U.S. utilities pour about 48 tons of mercury into the air each year. Alabama Power Co. is responsible for about 2.6 tons a year, according to company spokesman Michael Sznajderman. The company does expect to meet the new regulatory deadlines. In fact, one of the plants, the Miller power plant in western Jefferson County, hopes to reduce mercury by 80% by 2010.
3. A New Alabama Sanctuary for Gopher Tortoises - In an effort to stem the declining population of gopher tortoises in Alabama, the Department of Conservation has relocated 10 gopher tortoises to the Wehle Forever Wild Tract, located in Bullock County.
The innovative program helps private landowners relocate tortoises to protected habitat, where state biologists and wildlife experts can monitor and assist in the repopulating effort. The population of gophers continues to decrease in Alabama due to habitat destruction, illegal hunting, predators, disease, forest mismanagement, starvation, road mortality and poisoning.
The use of Forever Wild lands for gopher tortoise habitat and repopulation is another way the Forever Wild program benefits the state of Alabama. To learn more about gopher tortoises contact Eric Soehren at 334-834-4519 or visit http://www.gophertortoisecouncil.org/
4. BEN Notes: WWF Southeastern Rivers and Stream Support Fund, ACF Seeking Assistant Program Director, 3rd Annual Invasive Plant Symposium, Smith Lake Environmental Preservation Committee's "State of the Lake", Alabama Coastal BirdFest, Alabama Rivers Alliance "River Revival", Black Warrior Riverkeeper Party in Tuscaloosa, 13th Annual Wiese Lecture Series - Dr. Daniel Pauly, AUFA Annual Meeting, American Chestnut Foundation Annual Meeting
WWF Southeastern Rivers and Stream Support Fund - The World Wildlife Fund is now accepting applications for it's Southeastern Rivers and Streams Support Fund Grants. The grants range from $3,000 to $5,000. The deadline for submission is October 27, 5PM central time. To receive the full details about the grants, contact Judy Takats at 615-279-1814 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
ACF Seeking Assistant Program Director - The Alabama Coastal Foundation is seeking a Assistant Program Director. Details about this position can be found at http://www.joinacf.org or contact Cathy Barnette at email@example.com
3rd Annual Invasive Plant Symposium - The Land Trust of Huntsville and North Alabama and the Alabama Invasive Plant Council will be hosting their 3rd Annual Invasive Plant Symposium, Friday, October 13th 6:30 to 8 PM at Monte Sano State Park and October 14th, 9:00 to Noon at the Huntsville Botanical Gardens. Both events are free to the public, but please call 256-534-5263 for reservations.
Smith Lake Environmental Preservation Committee's "State of the Lake" - The Smith Lake Environmental Preservation Committee will be holding their Annual Meeting and State of the Lake on October 21st, 9:00 AM at the Bethany Baptist Church on Cullman County Road 201. For more info call Deb Berry at 205-915-8830.
Alabama Coastal BirdFest - Check out one of the nation's largest events celebrating our "friend in the air" - the Alabama Coastal BirdFest , October 19-21. For all the details visit, http://www.alabamacoastalbirdfest.com .
Alabama Rivers Alliance "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 http://www.alabamarivers.org . For additional info call Jennifer Rupe at 205-322-6395 ext. 104.
Black Warrior Riverkeeper Party in Tuscaloosa - The Black Warrior Riverkeeper will be holding a benefit on October 26th, 6-8 PM at the Matt Jones Gallery in Tuscaloosa (2320 University Blvd). Tickets are $10. For more info call Charles Scribner 205-458-0095.
13th Annual Wiese Lecture Series - Dr. Daniel Pauly - World-renowned fisheries scientist Dr. Daniel Pauly will be giving a lecture on "Global Trends in World Fisheries" on November 1st, 7:00 PM at the University of South Alabama Mitchell Center in Mobile. For more information call 251-460-7136 or visit http://www.disl.org
AUFA Annual Meeting - The Alabama Urban Forestry Association will be holding it's annual meeting in Montgomery, November 3rd. For more information visit their website at http://www.aufa.com .
American Chestnut Foundation Annual Meeting - The Alabama Chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation will be meeting November 4th, 9:00 to 3:00 PM in Huntsville at the Alabama A&M Agricultural Research Center Auditorium. For more info about the meeting call Wayne Boldin at 205-915-2863.