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Quote of the Week
"It's obvious that the key problem facing
humanity in the coming century is how to bring a better quality of life -
for 8 billion or more people - without wrecking the environment
entirely in the attempt."
-- E. O. Wilson
Menemsha Hills Brickyard Walk
Sunday, Jan 20, 1:00 pm, Chilmark.
A guided hike of the brickyard at the Menemsha Hills Reservation with
staff from The Trustees of Reservations. Free for TTOR members, $10 for
the public. For directions, see property webpage
Girls in the Woods
Thursday, Jan 24, 2:30 to 6:00 pm, Sassafras in Aquinnah.
Outdoor program for girls age 8-14 is from bus pick-up until 6 p.m. at Sassafras Earth Education. For more information, email
or call 508 645-2008; for directions, see website
Hearing to Discuss New Cell Phone Tower near Tisbury Great Pond
Thursday, Jan 24, 7:00 pm, at the MV Commission building, Oak Bluffs.
Verizon and a West Tisbury private landowner are pursuing plans to
construct an 80-ft tall cell tower on the Doane property located near
the Town Cove extension of the Tisbury Great Pond. The plans
submitted by Verizon include curious renderings of tower designs, including a camouflaged "monopine
that they apparently believe would fit right in with our native pitch
pine habitat. The M.V. Commission will discuss the proposed tower at
their meeting on the 24th. Documents relating to the proposal can be
found at the MVC calendar
The MVC’s Oak Bluffs offices are located at the Stone Building, 33 New York Avenue.
Panel Discussion on Stream Restoration and Dam Removal at Mill Brook Pond
Wednesday, Jan 30, 5:00 pm, at the Howes House, West Tisbury.
The tradeoffs between restoration of freshwater habitat and the
preservation of historic, if artificial, ponds is at the heart of the
discussion about stream restoration and dam removal. On Jan. 30, West
Tisbury selectmen host an information forum
featuring two stream restoration experts and the civil engineer who
prepared the cost estimates for removal of the Mill Pond dam. For more
information, contact Prudy Burt at 508 696-3836.
Land Bank Walk
Sunday, Feb 3, 1:00 pm, Ocean View Farm, Chilmark.
Land Bank staff lead a guided walk at the Ocean View Farm Reservation in
Chilmark. The walk will last about 1.5 - 2 hours. Rain or shine, dress
for the weather and wear sturdy shoes or boots. For directions and more
information, see website
(parking is at the Fulling Mill Brook Preserve) or call 508-627-7141.
Help Our Ponds
50 Gallons at a Time
Through the winter, the Lagoon Pond Association is offering a special
price of $75 for the "Ivy" rain barrel through their purchasing program.
Collecting rainwater from your rooftop helps protect our water supply
from runoff while supplying a convenient source for watering plants
around the house.
Pick up and installation demonstration will be on April 20, 2013 at the
VCS Beach Clean-Up after party (time and location TBA). For more
information and ordering, see the Lagoon Pond Assoc. website
A short note in closing: By the time of the next expected edition of the VCS Conservation Almanac,
we expect our Communications Coordinator Jeremy Houser will be enjoying
a few weeks of leave due to the arrival of his family's first baby. So,
while the Almanac will see a brief hiatus, don't forget to check our website and facebook page for answers to your conservation questions.
|Thursday, January 17, 2013
A Stroll Through the Katama Fog
Sandplain grassland lies
between the runways and taxiways of the airfield. Can you spot the VCS
Winter Walkers? (Photo by Brendan O'Neill, click for full-size)
Around 35 people joined VCS for a very educational walk through the
foggy Katama Airpark, home to both a historic airfield and a prime
example of the globally threatened sandplain grassland ecosystem. Thanks
to ecologist Matt Pelikan from The Nature Conservancy, who shared
insight into TNC's restoration work at the site and the important
relationships between the flora and fauna of this habitat. Click on over
to our website for the detailed history of the conservation of this property and, if you missed it, a slideshow of Sunday's walk.
Vineyard Economy in Eye of Coming Storm
The interactions between climate change and the economy are complex.
It's routinely argued by opponents of any action to reduce emissions
that such measures would "destroy" the economy, while mitigation
advocates point to the job-creating aspects of carbon-free energy. But
interactions with the economy go beyond what we do (or
fail to do): the effects of climate change will themselves directly
impact all aspects of any economy, pre-industrial or modern, global or
In the 14th installment of her series on local climate change impacts, Liz Durkee writes about the economy, from a distinctly local perspective:
"On the Island, during a long era of
climate stability, we built homes, businesses, roads and utilities on
shifting sands, on top of eroding banks, and in expanding floodplains.
Now more than ever our economy is shaped by nature’s whim.”
Wastewater Management Takes Center Stage on Cape Cod. Are We Next?
The Association to Preserve Cape Cod met this week with the editorial board of the Cape Cod Times to present a consensus statement – from three dozen organizations – outlining their joint strategy on wastewater management on the Cape. The groups argue that
"Nutrient loading of Cape Cod’s
groundwater, ponds, and coastal waters caused by human activity and
waste is the region’s number one environmental priority. Immediate
action . . . is necessary. . . . Delay will add to the environmental
damage, the cost of remediation and the cost of necessary
It seems that public awareness of the wastewater problem is greater on
the Cape than the Vineyard; for example, the topic was the subject of an
entire half-hour program
on the local NPR station this morning. However, this may be due to the
fact that, on the Cape, any solution is going to require a significant
degree of additional public sewering that will be tremendously
expensive. With sufficient effort it may not be too late for our Island
to avoid, at least for the foreseeable future, hitting this point of no
return/no alternative through a combination of smart, localized
improvements to wastewater infrastructure and measures that reduce other
nitrogen inputs to our ponds, such as lawn fertilizers.
The Worst Almanac Entry on Record
Good graphs like this one make
their point clearly and emphatically, but without exaggerating the
underlying numbers. They also are sometimes kind of dull to look at, at
least compared to their flashy, misleading brethren. (From the U.S.
Global Change Research Program)
Climate Central is one of the best sources on the web for up-to-date
information on climate science presented in an accessible way. True to
form, a recent piece laying out the details on 2012’s status as Warmest Year on Record is almost
uniformly excellent. Particularly fun is the interactive figure at the
top in which you can click any state to see a time series of annual
temperatures, and even zoom in on any part of the graph for more detail.
But, as pointed out by the Monkey Cage, the Climate Central piece does contain one completely unnecessary, and generally awful, graph.
It’s not even clear that any graphic at all is needed to convey the
simple fact that 2012 was the hottest year on record in the continental
U.S., and about 1oF warmer than the next hottest, 1998 and
2006. It’s not so bad that the years are out of order, and only somewhat
misleading (but common, and necessary to some degree to avoid huge
graphs with tiny print) that the scale on the y-axis is constricted such
that small differences look huge. But the thing that really brings it
all together is the silly 3-D effect that causes the horizontal lines to
fan out from left to right, such that by the right edge of the graph
(where 2012 conveniently lies), 1.5 degrees of warming over the 1921
average translates into a bar three times the size!
In a touch of (surely intentional) irony, the headline of the Monkey
Cage piece is similarly terrible, suggesting this might be the “Worst
Graph on Record.” It may be bad, but it’s not even in the same league as
what comes out of climate-denial organizations. (Though perhaps we should be encouraged that 120% of the public has an opinion about anything climate-related. How they came about those totals explained here.)