Southeast Volusia Audubon Society, P.O. Box 46, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32170;

January 2017 Conservation Notes

Update to CWA Status for the Port Orange Rookery

It is anticipated that the Critical Wildlife Area (CWA) designation for the Port Orange Colony (V-7_ will yet become a reality.  The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)is reviewing the seasonal off-limits guidance for the nesting area, and will work with the Florida Inland Navigation District (FIND) board members and Audubon representatives to ensure that future dredging activities (if any) are carried out in a manner sensitive to the needs of this rookery island.  It is also possible that dredging could fill in the east side of the island, adding to the potential area for establishing the mangroves required by nesting Brown Pelicans and egrets. This is very good news for this long-established rookery for Brown Pelicans and other species.

A Consideration for the Local Biosphere

Since the economy has stabilized from the recession of 2008-2009, the pace of development in Florida has greatly increased.   Locally, several parcels of land bordering Highway 44, from a half-mile west of Mission Road to well-beyond I-95, have recently been cleared for moderate to large-scale business developments.   These bulldozed and raw-scraped lands are indicators that blocky, logoed buildings and parking lots have already, or will soon, displace the local fauna and flora that formerly thrived in these once-open fields, second and third-growth forests, and palmetto scrub.  Unlike wetlands, whose loss is somewhat alleviated by “mitigation banks” of wetlands protected in perpetuity, the many layers of life cleared or displaced are not being “mitigated”  in any sense, legal or ethical or by design.    The living systems, the natural cycles woven within the web of life are simply gone, vanished under the pavement  or replaced by a building that often looks like an “insecticide factory” (in the words of critic James H. Kunstler).

In the planning for these corporate franchises there appears to be little consideration for mitigation of the now-reduced living landscape through designs or programs which provide for and support living systems.  There are “rain gardens” in some areas but these are built, rather than conserved, areas.   Perhaps the corporate designers should be directed to  at least (like many housing developments) work with the natural systems to at least preserve areas where life may thrive and human beings may make note that yes, there are  countless  other forms of life who share this earth.  

Locally, there is an excellent example of this design-to-scale that supports living systems.  A local restaurant has built an overflow parking area in a neighboring lot.  The lot, which remains sandy and treed, has only wooden ties to mark the parking area. There is no pavement.  The parking area circles a small pond which was designed to look like the “rough” lines of natural ponds.  And the pond is filled with plants, aquatic animals and lined with local art works.  It is alive, in both the biotic and creative sense.  There is also an adjacent pocket park for strolling with your dog or sitting in this small treed area near a sometimes-busy thoroughfare.

Perhaps the designers and planners of corporatized spaces and buildings that are more and more in evidence in New Smyrna Beach would do well to imitate this parking area in their designs.  It would improve the nature of all for all.