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Almanac Archive 1/18/2011

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Facts of the Week

More unusual and intense weather patterns define Global Climate Change. The year 2010 tied with 2005 as the warmest year of the global surface temperature record.
Click HERE for more

At the same time, unprecedented flooding is hitting the southern hemisphere, and 70.9 percent of the U.S. is currently covered by snow. The average coverage for this time of year is about 35 percent.
Click HERE for more


VCS Winter Walk

Sunday February 13
Oak Bluffs Shoreline

The effects of erosion on the OakBluffs Shoreline
Click HERE for full Winter Walk schedule


Sustainable Book Club
Sunday, January 23 at 3 p.m
Sustainable Book Club discusses Slow Food Nation by Carlo Petrini at the West Tisbury Public Library.

West Tisbury Library Public Forum
Sunday, January 23 at 5:30 p.m.
West Tisbury Library Public Forum, open to all interested in the plans for an expanded library, at the library.

Know Your New Conservation Officials…
(and the acronyms!)

Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary
Rick Sullivan

Acting Commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Recreation
Jack Murray

Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Ken Kimmell 

Commissioner of the Department of Energy Resources Mark Sylvia

Commissioner of Department of Food and Agriculture Scott Soares

In Season Recipes

Still have produce from your last Community Supported Agriculture pickup? Try these!

Braised Purple Cabbage with Goat Cheese
2 tbsp organic extra virgin olive oil
1 head red cabbage, shredded
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup water
2 1/2 tbsp raw sugar
1/4 cup high quality organic goat cheese

1. Heat a Dutch oven or a large pot to medium. Once it's warmed up a bit, add the oil and the cabbage. Cover the pot.
2. Add the vinegar, water, and sugar and combine.
3. Cover and braise in the oven at 325 degrees for 2 hours. Stir every half hour or so. If the liquid completely evaporates, just add a little extra water.
4. Remove from the oven. Uncover and using your hands, break off small chunks of goat cheese and evenly dot the cabbage with it.

photo: Sara Novak

Butternut Squash Orzo
1 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and deseeded, chopped into 1-inch cubes
1 cup orzo
3 cups water or vegetable broth
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

1. Add olive oil to a large skillet and saute garlic and shallot until fragrant.
2. Add in butternut squash and saute until cooked through.
3. At the same time, bring 3 cups of water or broth to boil in a large pot. Cook until al dente, about 8 minutes.
4. Drain orzo and add into the skillet with the butternut squash. Top with parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.
Serves 4

Local News
It's Winter, Time
to Walk!

 Near Wequobsque

The days are growing longer by imperceptible seconds, and the lure of the outdoors is strong. Snow cover on the leafless landscape makes visible the Vineyard’s rolling topography and subtle beauty, and the Vineyard Conservation Society’s winter walks program is in full swing.

Last Sunday afternoon the theme was the local impacts of global climate change, and featured a walk to the Wequobsque Cliffs area of Chilmark. There, the coast is taking an unprecedented battering, most visible to the walking public at Lucy Vincent Beach. The clay cliffs west of the LVB are also prone to undermining from saturation from the upland side, resulting in the sort of catastrophic slumping event that struck there last winter.

Coastal processes along the Oak Bluffs shoreline will be the focus of the February 13 walk,
click HERE for a full list of VCS winter walks.

New Edition of Walking Trails of Martha's Vineyard

Fifteen years ago, VCS, as part of its advocacy and education mission, teamed up with author and trails enthusiast Will Flender to publish the first edition of Walking Trails of Martha’s Vineyard. It became an instant hit. We are proud to announce that an updated and improved fourth edition is now available in book stores and from VCS. It is an indispensible resource for hikers, bikers, and other lovers of the outdoors on Martha’s Vineyard.

One goal in publishing Walking Trails IV is to raise awareness of and respect for the Island’s many publically-accessible, conserved properties. Another purpose is to foster an appreciation of the hard work of the Island’s conservation organizations, working to protect land all over the island.

The new edition contains
  • Full-color, updated maps
  • Pocket sized and weather resistant
  • Color-coded by town
  • Fold-out map showing all trails
  • Ancient ways and short walks
  • Space for notes and observations
Other VCS publications include Edible Wild Plants of Martha’s Vineyard by Linsey Lee, available at book stores and from VCS.

Get yours at: The Bunch of Grapes Book Store, Edgartown Books, Alley's General Store, Cronigs, Brahmhall and Dunn, The Secret Garden, Felix Neck at the Vineyard Conservation Society office and online at www.vineyardconservation.org

Check Your DRI
by Brendan O'Neill

A 21,000-square-foot West Chop compound sits
on only 2.68 acres

Thanks to all who weighed in on the MV Commission’s DRI checklist revision process. The next Land Use Planning Committee meeting on the subject is scheduled for February 7th.

VCS submitted testimony advocating for “big house” review based on the notion that such development should be presumed to have impacts that are of regional concern in one or more of the following areas:
  • Topographic alterations to the land
  • Habitat fragmentation
  • Nitrogen generation
  • Water use
  • Energy use
  • Visual intrusion
  • Light pollution
  • Waste production
  • Open space encroachment
  • Scale in context
We also commented on tight review of new commercial development, development within 100 feet of our scenic roads, and development that would exceed the nitrogen carrying capacity of our watersheds. For the full testimony, click HERE
Other News

The Dirt on Mountain Top Coal Mining
by Kaysea Hart

Appalachian Mountains after Mountain Top Mining

Mountain Top Coal Mining (MTM) began in the United States in the 1960’s. The petroleum crisis of the 1970’s sparked an interest in MTM because it was considered more economical than traditional underground mining. Since then it is estimated that over 1.4 million acres of mountain tops have been destroyed.

Most of the MTM in the US occurs in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia and Kentucky. Explosives are used to level up to 400 vertical feet of substrate above the coal. Although the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 mandates that the displaced material be replaced and the mountain top returned to its original state (clearly impossible because the coal is now gone) companies are often granted waivers to use a "topsoil substitute." The remaining fill is conveyed down the mountainside to the valleys below, frequently filling in sensitive habitat and even worse, streams, where permits can be obtained to deposit fill.  

In addition to poisoning fish and other wildlife, and destroying a healthy habitat on and around the mountain, MTM has serious health impacts on humans resulting from contact with the polluted water supply and airborne toxins from the earth moving and mining.

EPA Says NO to Mountaintop Removal

The Environmental Protection Agency has never vetoed any mining permit retroactively. Until this week.
Click HERE for more

Need a New Fridge?

Quickfinder for most energy efficient refrigerators click HERE