1) Bill to Ban Gill Net Fishing Introduced
2) Groups to Petition ADEM on Cancer Risk
3) Canal Cut Through Wheeler Wildlife Refuge Proposed
4) BEN Notes: Camp ASCCA Dir. of Environmental Education Position, World Wildlife Fund Southeast Rivers and Streams Grants Available, Mobile Bay National Estuary Program's New Updated Website, AWF's Governor Conservation Achievement Awards, Chevrolet Sponsors AWF Wild Game Cook-Offs, Audubon Mountain Workshop, Commute Smart in Birmingham
Jerome Ringo, Chair of the National Wildlife Federation's Board of Directors will be speaking at Birmingham Southern College on Thursday, March 15, 4:00 at the Norton Theater on Campus. His topic will be "A Changing Environment, A Sense of Urgency." The lecture is free to the public.
1. Bill to Ban Gill Net Fishing Introduced - According to the Mobile Register, state legislators Rep. Jamie Ison of Mobile and Sen. Pat Lindsey of Butler plan to introduce a bill that will ban commercial gill nets, a controversial form of fishing that is largely unrestricted in Alabama, but has been curtailed and or banned in other states.
As described by the Register, commercial gill nets in Alabama can be almost a half mile long, The clear monofilament nets hang like curtains in the water, trapping and killing most large fish that swim in them. On any given night, 54 miles of nets can be stretched out along Alabama's 55 mile long coastline by Alabama's 120 licensed gill netters. Since the mid 1990s commercial gill net harvests have dramatically increased, while the practice has been effectively ended in neighboring Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida.
The ban is supported by scientists with the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, who believe gill net fishery is to blame for a "localized depletion" of mullet, Spanish mackerel, pompano and other species of fish from Mobile Bay and the nearshore areas in the Gulf of Mexico. The Coastal Conservation Association Alabama Chapter has launched a website and statewide campaign supporting the ban. You can visit their website at http://www.bangillnets.com .
2. Groups to Petition ADEM on Cancer Risk - Last month, at the Alabama Environmental Management Commission meeting in Montgomery, the Alabama Rivers Alliance and a coalition of groups, announced their plans to petition the Commission to start rulemaking on three proposals to strengthen and improve Alabama's cancer risk and public health standards.
On the first petition, the groups are asking the Commission to upgrade and strengthen Alabama's cancer risk standard to that of every Southeastern state except for one. On the second and third proposals, the groups are asking the Commission to follow the Environmental Protection Agency's recommended standards and criteria for regulating pollutants.
The following are the rule changes being discussed and proposed by the Alabama Rivers Alliance:
# Revision of the cancer risk level in formulas used to calculate water quality criteria for 58 carcinogens. This revision would result in a 90% reduction in authorized pollution levels for these carcinogens. The majority of states in the country and all but one other state in the Southeast have already adopted the cancer risk level being proposed.
# Inclusion of a "Relative Source Contribution" factor in the formulas used to calculate water quality criteria and designation of "Relative Source Contribution" values for 14 non-carcinogens. Typically, this revision would result in an 80% reduction in authorized pollution levels for these non-carcinogens. The EPA recommends the use of the "Relative Source Contributions" factor and values being proposed.
# Revision of the Reference Dose values for Acrolein and Phenol. These revisions would result in a 97% reduction in the authorized levels of Acrolein and a 50% reduction in the authorized level of Phenol. EPA reevaluated and revised the reference dose values for these pollutants several years ago.
For more information about these rulemaking proposals, contact the Alabama Rivers Alliance at 205-322-6395.
3. Canal Cut Through Wheeler Wildlife Refuge Proposed - According to the Decatur Daily, the Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge has received a permit request to cut a waterway through a narrow portion of the refuge to serve barges hauling petroleum gas products from a proposed fuel port. Permission for the request is unlikely according to refuge manager Dwight Cooley because the canal is incompatible with the refuge's purpose as a wildlife sanctuary.
The request was made by the Huntsville-Madison County Mariana and Port Authority. The proposal calls for a 300 foot wide canal stretching 800 feet across the refuge to private property. It would be directly south of Huntsville International Airport. The fuel port facility would have two pipelines, one directly serving the airport and another pumping fuel to a gas tank farm near Interstate 65 and Interstate 565.
4. BEN Notes - Camp ASCCA Dir. of Environmental Education Position, World Wildlife Fund Southeast Rivers and Streams Grants Available, Mobile Bay National Estuary Program's New Updated Website, AWF's Governor Conservation Achievement Awards, Chevrolet Sponsors AWF Wild Game Cook-Offs, Audubon Mountain Workshop, Commute Smart in Birmingham
Camp ASCCA Dir. of Environmental Education Position - Easter Seals Camp ASCCA is seeking a Director of Environmental Education - Program Specialist. The director will be in charge of maintaining and developing the Dunn Environmental Education Center's programs. For additional information about this program and position call Camp ASCCA at 256-825-9226 or visit their website at http://www.campascca.org .
World Wildlife Fund Southeast Rivers and Streams Grants Available - The World Wildlife Fund is requesting proposals for it's Southeast Rivers and Streams Grant program. To learn about the program, contact Judy Takats via email at Judy.Takats@wwfus.org or 615-279-1814.
Mobile Bay National Estuary Program's New Updated Website - The Mobile Bay National Estuary Program has just re-launched a new and improved website. Check it out at http://www.mobilebaynep.com
AWF's Governor Conservation Achievement Awards - The Alabama Wildlife Federation (AWF) is seeking nominations for the 2007 AWF's Governor's Conservation Achievement Awards. Categories range from Conservation Organization of the Year to Educator of the Year. For additional details and information about the nomination process, contact AWF at 800-822-9453.
Chevrolet Sponsors AWF Wild Game Cook-Offs - Throughout the year, the Alabama Wildlife Federation will most likely schedule a "Wild game Cook-Off" in community near you. This year these events are sponsored by Chevrolet. Make sure to bookmark the following link - to learn about the latest event coming to your hometown - http://www.alabamawildlife.org/heritage/wildgame_cookoffs.asp
Audubon Mountain Workshop - The Birmingham Audubon Society will be holding their annual Audubon Mountain Workshop from May 10-13 in Mentone. Check out details on how to register at http://www.birminghamaudubon.org .
Commute Smart in Birmingham - This is timely. Want to combat rising gas prices by doing something that protects the environment and saves you money? CommuteSmart Birmingham maintains a regional database that matches up individuals that take similar routes to work. Currently, there are nearly 2000 commuters in the database that are seeking carpool partners. For more information, contact CommuteSmart at 1-87-RIDEMATCH or visit http://www.commutesmart.org