Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Islander East Confronation. Lobster Cutbacks. Bird Calls. The Discovery of the Sandwich

Pipeline Confrontation ... People in Branford and in the Connecticut state government detest the idea of putting a natural gas pipeline from Branford to eastern Long Island, which is what Duke Energy and Key Span, in a partnership called Islander East, want to do. Things are so bad that a few years ago, when Islander East started drilling on Branford’s oyster beds, town cops arrested the contractor (the charges were later thrown out).

Another confrontation wouldn’t be out of the question next week when Islander East drills test holes into the Sound floor through the oyster beds. The state says they need a permit; Islander East says they don’t. The larger issue of whether the pipeline should be allowed at all is in the federal courts. The company plans to start drilling next week in preparation for the decision. The Hartford Courant wrote about it today:

Islander East, a partnership between Duke Energy and Key Span, wants to bury a natural gas pipeline under Long Island Sound, tying Branford to eastern Long Island, to boost power supplies to New York residents. Connecticut has been battling the project for five years in state and federal courts. With a key decision now pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals, Islander East is rushing to finalize its design work so that work on the pipeline can begin this year, if the company wins.

Lobster troubles .. With lobster populations in trouble all over, Rhode Island is prepared to take drastic action. The state wants to limit the number of lobster traps in the water off Rhode Island to 800, limit the number of lobsterman to only those who can prove they fished there in 2001-2003, and allow new fishermen into the area only when the current fishermen drop out and sell their trap allotments to them.

The state lobsterman’s association supports the idea, but some fishermen complain that it amounts to the privatization of a public resource. Here’s the Providence Journal’s report, which as usual is excellent.

Bird Calls ... If you’re looking for something unusual to do on Saturday night, consider going to Greenwich Audubon. Scott Weidensaul, whose books about bird migration and endangered species are well worth reading, will be giving a talk and slide show there. Nothing unusual about that. But it will be followed by what the Audubon folks are calling a Nocturnal Migration Concert.

What would that be, you ask?

Here’s how Audubon’s Jeff Cordulack describes it:

Every year migrating songbirds fly under cover of darkness, issuing flight calls as they proceed. On Saturday night we will turn microphones to the nighttime skies and invite everyone to join us to listen to the sounds of these birds.

… RSVP for concert only. Concert fee $5.00. To sign up, leave message at (203) 869-5272 x239 or

Sunken Ships ... All that junk at the bottom of the Sound, the harbors and bays might not be junk at all. Researchers announced yesterday that they’ve found four Revolutionary War-era British ships in Newport Harbor. One of the ships is the Lord Sandwich, named after the famous inventor who, one historian says, sacrificed so much for his work that he scrimped on meals in order to save up to buy food to perfect his invention.


Blogger Sam said...

Hey Tom, on "Lobster Troubles" the proposed maximum is 800 traps per each valid Area 2 permit holder, not 800 total for all lobstermen. However, the maximum number of traps is based on official trap records for 2001-2003, not to exceed 800.

For example, if there would be 100 lobstermen each having 100 pots, not an unreasonable guess, that would be 10,000!

Note that Mass has already developed similar rules, and that Area 2 includes waters of several states as well as a large chunk of federal waters (extending 30 miles past Block island). The idea is to coordinate federal and state regulations.

11:39 AM  
Blogger John said...

The birders that really amaze me are the ones that can identify birds by their flight calls. There are some easy ones, like goldfinches, but most are just chip notes. I don't know how they do it.

2:59 PM  

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