Tuesday, March 27, 2007

BEN - March 23, 2007 #281

1) Alabama Undisputed Crawfish King
2) Alabama's EPA Performance Track Members
3) Fort Morgan On Endangered List
4) Tennessee Valley Sets 117 Year Drought Record
5) BEN Notes: Position Open At 4H Center, Spring Burst Hike Series, Alabama Rivers Alliance Ongoing Online Auction, AEC Green Tie Affair, Earth Fest Run for the Crest, Discovery Day at Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Tallapoosa State of the Watershed, Earth Day at the Hays Nature Preserve


1. Alabama Undisputed Crawfish King - Here is a story that can be used to tout Alabama's abundant biodiversity.

Last month, according to the Mobile Register, nationally recognized crawfish scientists identified the state of Alabama as the "most biologically diverse" in the number of crawfish species in the country. Here are some of the findings:

* Alabama has 83 species of crawfish, six (6) more than Tennessee, the next most diverse state.

* Some creeks in Alabama have more than twice as many species of crawfish as are known in all of Europe.

* 2/3 of the world's species of crawfish are found in the U.S. and 95% of those are in the Southeast.

* Alabama has 46 more species of crawfish than mudbug farming Louisiana.

Interest in crawfish diversity, especially in Alabama, has grown since 2004 when Press Register reporters captured a thought to be extinct crawfish species called the "rusty gravedigger". Steve Rider, aquatic resources coordinator with the Department of Conservation has also been instrumental for securing funding to do a crawfish survey in the state. According to Rider, there may be an additional 10-12 species of crawfish that have never been identified.

2. Alabama's EPA Performance Track Members - Earlier this month, the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) National Environmental Performance Track Program had reached the 470 member mark. This innovative partnership program recognizes facilities that set three year goals for continuous improvements in environmental performance beyond their legal requirements, have internal systems in place to manage their environmental impacts, engage in local outreach about their performance and publicly report results.

The following Alabama companies and one governmental agency are members:

3M Decatur - Decatur, Alabama
3M Guin - Guin, Alabama
Aaron Oil Company - Saraland, Alabama
BF Goodrich Tire Manufacturing - Opelika, Alabama
BF Goodrich Tire Manufacturing - Tuscaloosa, Alabama
International Paper Courtland Mill - Courtland, Alabama
JJefferson County Commission General Services Department
Louisiana - Pacific, Hanceville OSB - Hanceville, Alabama
Michelin North America, Inc - US4 Dothan AL - Midland City, Alabama
Tate & Lyle Sucralose. Inc. - McIntosh, Alabama
Washington Group International - ANCDF - Anniston, Alabama

Since it's inception in 2000 Performance Track members nationally have collectively reduced their water use by 3.5 billion gallons, reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by 88,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent and conserved more than 14,000 acres of land. For more info about EPA's Performance Track Program visit, http://www.epa.gov/performancetrack

3. Fort Morgan On Endangered List - Last week, the Civil War Preservation Trust ranked Fort Morgan as one of the nation's top 10 most endangered battle sites for the second straight year.

The group cited neglect, storm damage, staff shortages, insufficient maintenance and concerns that the 173 year old installation has fallen into significant disrepair as it's reasons for the rankings. The owner of the facility, the Alabama Historical Commission is also facing potential budget cuts, but may see some relief with $3.3 million in one-time money for repairs and construction resulting from a potential state bond. Despite that one time shot in the arm, the master plan adopted two years ago by the Commission recommended some $21 million in work on Fort Morgan over the next decade.

For more information about top ten ranking go to http://www.civilwar.org

4. Tennessee Valley Sets 117 Year Drought Record - According to the Tennessee Valley Authority, the time span between December, January and February in the Tennessee Valley has been the driest in the 117 years of record keeping. Beyond the Tennessee Valley region, National Weather Service hydrologist Brian stated in the Birmingham News that northeast Alabama and the southern Cumberland Plateau counties in Tennessee are even drier and are in a severe drought.

Moving South, in the Birmingham region, January and February were the driest since 1986 and is 7 inches below normal rainfall, according to Scott Unger, a meteorologist for the Weather Service. The dry weather has resulted in a number of wildfires. Since the beginning of wildfire season on March 1, there have been 780 fires that have burned over 18,500 acres according to the Forestry Commission.

5. BEN Notes: Position Open At 4H Center, Spring Burst Hike Series, Alabama Rivers Alliance Ongoing Online Auction, AEC Green Tie Affair, Earth Fest Run for the Crest, Discovery Day at Dauphin Island Sea Lab, Tallapoosa State of the Watershed, Earth Day at the Hays Nature Preserve

Positions Open At 4H Center - There are a number of seasonal and full-time positions open at the Alabama 4-H Center. Visit for details - http://www.aces.edu/4hcenter/JobOpportunities.php

Spring Burst Hike Series - The Land Trust of Huntsville and North Alabama recently launched their annual "Spring Burst" Hike Series. Check out their scheduled hikes at

Alabama Rivers Alliance Ongoing Online Auction - The Alabama Rivers Alliance has been holding an innovative online auction this month to support their efforts. One of their auction items includes an Toyota Prius. Check it out at http://www.cmarket.com/catalog/landingPage.do?vhost=alabamarivers

AEC Green Tie Affair - The Alabama Environmental Council will be holding its 11th Annual Green Tie Affair Dinner and Party on April 13th, 6:00 at the B&A Warehouse in Birmingham. For details about this exciting event go to - http://www.aeconline.ws .

Earth Fest "Run for the Crest" - Alabama Earth Fest will be holding "Run for the Crest" and Music Festival on April 14th at Oak Mountain State Park. For information on how to register for the event go to: http://www.AlabamaEarthFest.org

Discovery Day at Dauphin Island Sea Lab - Come celebrate Discovery Day - Dauphin Island Sea Lab's Annual Open House - and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's 200th year of programs on April 14th, 9:00 AM at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, North Campus. For information about the day's activities visit, http://www.disl.org .

Tallapoosa State of the Watershed - The Tallapoosa Watershed Project will be holding their 3rd Annual State of Our Watershed Conference on April 20th at the Oscar C. Dunn Rotary Environmental Education Center, Camp ASCCA, Jackson Gap, Alabama. For complete conference information and registration go to http://www.twp.auburn.edu

Earth Day at the Hays Nature Preserve - Celebrate Earth Day at the Hays Nature Preserve on the Flint River in Huntsville, Alabama, 10:00 AM to 3: 00 PM on April 21st. This family friendly event will include eco-hikes, lectures and exhibitors. For more information, including maps and directions, call Soos Weber at 256-427-5116 or visit http://www.huntsvillepreserves.com


The Bama Environmental News is edited and published by Pat Byington. To receive back copies of BEN go to http://www.BamaNews.com . If you would like to be removed from this e-mail listserve contact BEN at pkbyington@aol.com .

No comments: