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Almanac Archive for August 27, 2020



The Conservation Almanac
     20/20 Clarity for Conservation
          DRI Checklist Revision
                Diving into Island Fisheries
    
20/20 Clarity for Conservation 

Members and friends of VCS, please join us on Wednesday, Sept. 9th at 5:30 pm (EST) for our Annual Meeting of the Membership and Board of Directors. This year’s meeting will feature a short presentation by Executive Director Brendan O’Neill, reflecting on some of the Island’s conservation milestones, and looking ahead to the challenges and opportunities of the future. While voting on the slate of Directors will be limited to the membership, the meeting is open to the public. We hope to see you all there!

Zoom meeting link. If you are not familiar with Zoom meetings, please watch this tutorial video and then contact us if you still have questions.

This too shall pass. 
Photo by Mya O'Neill, March 2019 

Setting Boundaries
Why the MV Commission's DRI Checklist Revision Process Matters

In addition to its role as our regional planning agency, the Martha’s Vineyard Commission was granted two unique regulatory powers by the Commonwealth upon its creation in 1977: the creation of Districts of Critical Planning Concern (DCPCs), and review of Developments of Regional Impact. In recent years, DRI review has been of vital importance in limiting the worst aspects of overly rapid development.

However, as open space dwindles and the Island approaches build-out, a peculiar threat to the process arises: an increasing number of proposals that would in plain language have “regional impacts” are unlikely to meet the technical criteria of a Development of Regional Impact. In other words, not updating the standards for DRI review would gradually lead to its disuse. That is one reason that the MVC is mandated to update the DRI checklist – the set of criteria, or “triggers,” that determine if a development qualifies for review – every two years.

VCS enthusiastically endorses the newest revision; please see our testimony is support, as well as the summary from the MVC. While we were disappointed that one addition for which we had advocated, a trigger based on overall square footage of single-family homes, was removed in this latest draft, overall the proposed revision is a successful effort to strengthen the Commission’s review process.

While it may seem dry and bureaucratic to many, the DRI Checklist is of utmost importance to the future of our Island. It sets the boundaries for the regulatory power of the Commission, and likewise the limits for any developer who wishes to escape it.

Reimagine and Reduce Your Waste
    
We have a winner! The "Reimagine and Reduce" award, a new addition for this year's virtual Agricultural Fair, goes to Heather Capece and her daughter Koko for the beautiful quilt they created while quarantined in April. The result of a partnership between VCS and Island Grown Initiative, the new fair category asked participants to share an example of a change made during the Covid-19 pandemic to help their family, business, or organization reduce waste and/or live more sustainability. Congrats!

Koko's old shirts and dresses beginning to take shape as the pattern of a future quilt
 

A Dive into Island Fisheries

For those who missed it, last week’s deep dive by Sam Moore for the MV Times into the state of our commercial fisheries is highly recommended. Weaving together historical research, recent papers, and an entertaining and informative interview with Jesse Ausubel of Rockefeller University, Sam presents a story that, in our opinion, gets the ratio of despair to hope just right. (Spoiler alert: it’s not good, but it could be worse.) The piece concludes with a wonderful visual metaphor, contrasting the ethos of the farmer and the conquistador:

"Recent ventures — a boom in Island grown oysters, or the promising return of Squibnocket herring fostered by the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head — point toward a Vineyard seafood landscape that is more husbandry than forage, a dynamic stock to be studied and stewarded, rather than a silvery hoard there for the taking. The challenge is convincing all the neighbors to cooperate on one large, backyard garden.
"
 


Solace & Insight
The Art of Conservation 2020
 


"The oyster gathering community has suffered in the midst of the pandemic as they have not been able to sell their fresh products to local markets or restaurants as many of them have closed or may not be opening for the summer season. Photographed is a man who is oyster fishing in a pond at the end of Pulpit Rock in Oak Bluffs. I was not expecting to find him when I arrived to take some photos, but it made me think of the oyster/fishing community and I realized that they too need some recognition. Speaking to this man opened my eyes to another aspect of our island community and made me appreciate all that Martha’s Vineyard has to offer."

Olivia Schroeder, describing "Making Ends Meet," her Special Distinction winning entry  for this year's Art of Conservation


View the entire Solace & Insight show
 


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