Conservation

chilmark

Vineyard, Nantucket Teach, Learn Conservation Lessons

After coming from Nantucket to the Vineyard on Wednesday, Cormac Collier first noticed the trees lining the roads that wind through Chilmark.

“We took a little tour on the western side of the Island, and the one thing I was most amazed about was . . . the forests that are here. We definitely have some similarities in terms of geological formations and vegetation, but the amount of mature forests that are here is pretty remarkable. It’s definitely nice to come here, because we don’t have forests like you,” he said.

forest

New State Forest Designation Protects Natural Habitat

From a failed heath hen reservation to a red pine plantation gone wrong, the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest has weathered its share of management experiments.

In 2012, the forest’s plants and trees can breathe easy, as the forest recently has been designated as a state reserve by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).

David Foster, Harvard University forest director and historian for the Correllus state forest, said the designation has guaranteed a better future of the forest.

driftwood at cedar tree neck

Island Conservation Leaders Look to Future

The place names are familiar and unchanging: Wasque, Cape Pogue and Long Point, Herring Creek Farm, Cedar Tree Neck and Fulling Mill Brook, Waskosim’s Rock and Pecoy Point, to name a few.

But the people who admire, use and could potentially contribute to the thousands of acres of land in conservation on the Vineyard have changed, and Island conservation leaders say this is what frames their biggest challenge today.

Brian

Fishing’s Impact on Oceans Comes Into Sharp Focus With Photographer

The world’s oceans need protection, a globe-traveling National Geographic underwater photographer told a large audience at the Tabernacle last Saturday.

After 35 years of photographing the oceans, Brian Skerry, 49, said he is troubled by growing evidence of degradation of habitat and the waste and loss of sea life. “I think the oceans are dying a death of a thousand cuts,” he said.

Taming Wildness Of Sheriff’s Meadow

Sheriff’s Meadow Sanctuary, the Edgartown property that gives its name to the Island’s largest private landowner and conservation group, is slated for restoration.

Adam Moore, executive director of the Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation, said at the foundation’s annual dinner this week that more than $300,000 of the $500,000 needed to refurbish and maintain the 20-acre property for public use has already been raised, and the foundation is actively seeking the balance from friends and neighbors.

Edo Potter

Conservationist Edo Potter Sees Forest for Trees

It’s not surprising that Edo Potter’s favorite piece of conservation land is the next one. For decades she has been instrumental in acquiring plot after plot on her beloved Chappaquiddick for public use and enjoyment by future generations. She’s confident about the future of conservation on Martha’s Vineyard because of the health of the Island’s numerous environmental groups and their remarkable track record, both of which owe in large part to her tireless efforts.

pond

Lawmakers Weigh Property Rights on Ponds

A bill which has been quietly making its way through the state house could dramatically affect the future ownership of some of the Vineyard’s pristine barrier beaches, moving them from private hands to public.

The bill, which consists of just a single paragraph, relates to the barrier beaches that separate the Island’s Great Ponds from the ocean. Many of these beaches are privately owned and also are retreating into the ponds as they are eroded on their seaward side.

otter

With Baitfish Scarce, Otters Move Inland Snacking on Goldfish, This Time at Peril

A valiant effort to save the life of two malnourished baby otters came to an end over the weekend.

One otter, found in a yard in Oak Bluffs on Thursday afternoon and sent Friday morning to the Trailside Museum in Milton, died over the weekend. A second baby otter, recovered on Friday not far from where the first otter had been found, also died.

The two otters, about eight weeks old, lost their mother when she was hit and killed on Barnes Road in Oak Bluffs on the morning of June 7.

BLUEFIN BOYCOTT

Bluefin Tuna Denied Endangered Status

Bluefin tuna — the center of a highly lucrative commercial fishery and heated controversy about overfishing — will not be listed as an endangered species, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced last week.

“NOAA is formally designating both the western Atlantic and eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean stocks of bluefin tuna as species of concern under the Endangered Species Act,” a press release that accompanied the decision said.

trees

Clearing Trees To See Forest’s Old Ecosystem

The red pine plantations of the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest have been described as recently as 1998 by this paper as a “pine cathedral,” with evenly spaced rows of the northern evergreen towering above a forest floor nearly barren except for a carpet of needles. Now that cathedral has been all but sacked by fungal barbarians known as diplodia pinea which infect the trees from the shoots and rot them to the core.

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