Thursday, July 26, 2007

BEN - July 25, 2007 #288

1) Nature Conservancy to Expand Lands in Jackson County
2) Alabama Lands National Landowner Incentive Grant for Endangered Species
3) Montgomery Establishes "No Net Loss" Tree Policy
4) Sierra Club Exposes "Toxic Katrina Trailers" in Alabama and the Gulf States
5) BEN Notes: NWF Position, Teddy Roosevelt Conservation Partnership Seeking Organizer, Save the Alabama Red-Bellied Turtle, West Blocton Elementary School Honored, Forestry Commission's New Publications, Holt Lake Cleanup, NWF's Climate Classroom, Alabama Power "Plant a Tree" Grants


Leaving a Legacy

She is leaving behind a beautiful legacy.

My good friend Jane Reed Ross, founder of Ross Land Design in Birmingham will be leaving Alabama in August to join her husband and family in Australia. A tireless environmental advocate, Jane's enthusiasm for her work and her innovative designs have touched and enriched many of our lives in the Birmingham area. Beautiful, gentle, graceful and livable open spaces and landscapes are the words that best describe her work. Some of her projects include - The Homewood Central Park, Homewood Shades Creek Greenway, Veteran's Memorial Park, the Birmingham Zoo, Regional Greenway Trail Designs and Master Tree Plans for municipalities.

More importantly, her firm, Ross Land Design will remain here in Birmingham through her business partner Lea Ann Macknally. What a wonderful gift to our community.

Thank you Jane for touching our lives.


The Changing South

Check out the Wilderness Society's "Housing Sprawl in the Southeast - Our Vanishing Wild Places".


Florida is Tackling Climate Change - Will Alabama?

Governor Charlie Crist, the Republican Governor of Florida, last week announced a series of policy initiatives and executive orders tackling head-on the issue of Global Climate Change. Some of Florida's initiatives include:

* Florida will immediately adopt rules to compel utilities to limit pollution causing emissions to 2000 levels by 2017, to 1990 levels by 2025.

* Most state agencies and departments will have to reduce greenhouse gas emissions faster than the rest of the state.

* Orders for the adoption of California's motor vehicle emission standards.

* The Public Service Commission will be asked to require electric companies to produce at least 20 % of their electriciy from renewable sources, with a strong focus on wind and solar energy.

To read the entire list, visit: or visit

In Alabama, the question that needs to be proposed to our state government - Will Alabama follow Florida's lead?


1. Nature Conservancy to Expand Lands in Jackson County - Last month, according to the Huntsville Times, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) of Alabama announced plans to more than double the size of its scenic Sharp-Bingham Mountains Preserve in Jackson County.

Lynne Berry, the Conservancy's local spokesperson said that the organization plans to use a $1.5 million grant from the Minnesota-based 3M Foundation to buy 1,120 acres next to the existing preserve. Located in the Paint Rock watershed, TNC scientists have long considered this area in Northeast Alabama as one of North America's most pristine and biologically diverse watersheds. The Sharp -Bingham Preserve may also have more caves per square mile than any other spot in America, according to Berry.

For additional information about this successful project, contact The Nature Conservancy at 205-251-1155.

2. Alabama Lands National Landowner Incentive Grant for Endangered Species - Earlier this month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced the recipients of $13 Million in the Landowner Incentive Program grants nationwide. The program supports cooperative efforts with private landowners interested in conserving natural habitat for species at risk, including federally listed endangered and threatened species.

Alabama's state fish and wildlife agency was one of 17 nationally to secure this competitive grant. The Alabama Department of Conservation will receive $849,510 to expand the landowner incentive program to address statewide issues. The program will focus on Longleaf Pine ecosystem restoration and stream restoration in the Cahaba, Choctawhatchee and Coosa river basins.

3. Montgomery Establishes "No Net Loss" Tree Policy - The city of Montgomery has established a new "No Net Loss Tree Policy" program to replace trees in the community.

Last year, with the help of volunteers, the city planted over 1000 native trees. Volunteers have maintained their efforts by watering weekly many of the new trees during the recent drought. Despite losing approximately 10% of the newly planted trees due to this summer's drought, the city has committed to replace them in the fall with a fresh planting effort.

4. Sierra Club Exposes "Toxic Katrina Trailers" in Alabama and the Gulf States - Here is an emerging issue from the Sierra Club. After hearing from a number of FEMA /Katrina trailer residents experiencing health problems consistent with high levels of formaldehyde exposure, the Sierra Club began testing trailers in the Spring of 2006.

The first formaldehyde exposure tests of trailers were for residents along the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. After a stunning 94% of the 31 tests came in higher than the OSHA recommended limit, Sierra Club did additional testing in Alabama and Louisiana in June and July of 2006. Out of a total of 52 tests, 83% of the trailers were above the OSHA specified limit of 0.10 parts per million. Of the remaining trailers, 4% were at the limit. Only 13% were below the limit of 0.10. The Sierra Club found formaldehyde concentrations as high as 0.34 parts per million in one trailer - a level nearly equal to what a professional embalmer using industry proscribed safety equipment would be exposed to on the job.

An estimated 150,000 FEMA trailers were distributed in Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Texas following the hurricanes of 2005. About 66,000 households affected by Katrina remain in trailers today. Earlier this month, Rep. Henry Waxman's House committee on oversight and government reform held a hearing on this important issue.

5. BEN Notes: NWF Position, Teddy Roosevelt Conservation Partnership Seeking Organizer, Save the Alabama Red-Bellied Turtle, West Blocton Elementary School Honored, Forestry Commission's New Publications, Holt Lake Cleanup, NWF's Climate Classroom, Alabama Power "Plant a Tree" Grants

NWF Position - The National Wildlife Federation is seeking a Regional Outreach Coordinator for their Southeast Office in Atlanta. To learn more about this position and how to apply, go to

Teddy Roosevelt Conservation Partnership Seeking Organizer - The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP), a coalition of organizations and individual grassroots partners, working together to preserve the traditions of hunting and fishing, is seeking a Lower Mississippi Regional Organizer. TRCP's policy initiatives fall into 3 categories: Expanding public access to hunting and fishing; conserving and enhancing fish and wildlife habitat; and increasing funding for fish and wildlife management. The organizer will mobilize efforts in Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Tennessee. This is a contract position. To apply, send a cover letter and resume to: Tom St. Hilaire, Vice President of Conservation Management, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership -

Save the Alabama Red-Bellied Turtle - According to Dr. David Nelson at the University of South Alabama, up to 444 Alabama red-bellied turtles were reported killed on Alabama highways between 2001-2006. Learn how you can help protect and save the Alabama red-bellied turtle, the "Official State Reptile of Alabama" by visiting the Save the Red Belly website at

West Blocton Elementary School Honored - Here is some good news - Students at the West Blocton (Bibb County) Elementary School landed top honors in a global contest that challenges students to create innovative websites. The group of 4th graders formed a team that developed the website around the importance of keeping the Cahaba River clean. Check out their award winning website at:

Forestry Commission's New Publications - The Alabama Forestry Commission has released two new publications on their website . The first publication is an updated version of the Commission's 31 page Best Management Practices guide. The other publication is a copy of the Forest Industries Directory.

Holt Lake Cleanup - The Black Warrior Clean Water Partnership will be hosting the 3rd Annual Renew Our Rivers Holt Lake Cleanup. The event is scheduled for August 18th, 8:00 AM at Rocky Branch Park in Peterson (just off Alabama Highway 216). For additional information about the project and how to volunteer, call Mark Meadors 205-553-9373 or Kellie Johnston 205-264-8461.

NWF's Climate Classroom - Please check out the National Wildlife Federation's new website that helps parents and teachers talk to children about global warming. It is a great new site.

Alabama Power "Plant a Tree" Grants - Alabama Power and the Alabama Urban Forestry Association is teaming up again to offer grants to needy communities seeking funds to support tree planting efforts. The deadline for this grant program is August 31st. To apply, visit

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