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

December2014 Meeting Minutes

Southeast Volusia Audubon meeting Dec 11, 2014

Financial Report:

The December financial report has not been completed.  The November balance is $2649.88

The 50/50 raffle raised $40.00 due to the winner donating their half back to Audubon.

Our raffle supports the Audubon Adventures program for our schools. There are 20 classrooms interested and the cost is $16.00 per classroom

Conservation Chair Report by Lamont Ingles: (copied from our website)

There is presently a lawsuit brought by Derek La Montagne,, against a proposed 2.5-mile extension of Williamson Boulevard south of Port Orange.  Opposition to this extension is principally due to the effects of road construction on this pristine wetland and recharge area within the Spruce Creek drainage.  On November 18th there was an administrative hearing at the Foxman Justice Center in Daytona Beach at which public comments were solicited.  At the request of my counterpart at the Halifax chapter (David Hartgrove) I gave the following public commentary.  I was proud to note that three of the four persons who commented on the suit were from Audubon chapters, including West Volusia and Halifax.

Field Activities Report:   

The field trip was on Highway 3 towards Pine Flatwoods trail. Bird sitings included scrub jays, palm warblers and titmice. The peacock pocket road was rough and water levels were very high. There were ducks and moorhens. No shore birds due to the water level. Numbers are low for this time of year.

The next trip will be Saturday December 13th. We will meet at our usual place in Edgewater at 7am and head down to VIera wetlands and drive along the berms. We should see limpkins, grebes and flycatchers.

Other business:

Welcome back from Galapagos to Don and Maureen!  

Lamont has been under the weather. We wish him a speedy recovery!

The Sierra Club recently filed a lawsuit against the St Johns Water Management District. Seems that wetland mitigation rules were not followed and the SJWMD did away with 30 mitigation banks. One of them was the Farmton development area which reaches from Edgewater to Brevard County. The Sierra Club went to court siting a violation of the supremacy clause of the Clean Water Act. This is a federal violation. Stay tuned…

If you haven’t done so already, please sign up for the Christmas Bird count. See Dick or Gail regarding this.

The Space Coast Birding Festival will be held on January 21st through 26th 2015.

Tonight’s Speakers:

Dr. Cindy Bennington and Dr. Karen Cole.

Dr. Bennington teaches evolutionary biology and ecology at Stetson University. Dr. Cole is the director of Gillespie Museum and co-directs the Sand Hill Ecosystem Teaching Landscape with Dr. Bennington. This landscape has been painstakingly recreated to show a representation of the historic longleaf pine community that once dominated the sandy ridges of Deland.

They have engaged Stetson students and volunteers in planting and maintenance of these grounds. Insect and bird surveys have been recently completed which compare the diversity of native sandhills with other nearby areas. Students are now collecting data samples on this site.  

Drs. Bennington and Cole also spoke of the cultural and natural importance of the longleaf pine which grows in native sandhills. Historically these trees once covered over 90 million acres. Today they only cover 3 million acres. An ECO grant was obtained 6 years ago to create an acre outdoor classroom of this Florida native plant landscape. This provides a unique educational experience for students and the general public. This outdoor classroom has support from Community Partners, County of Volusia, Florida Wildflower Foundation and Florida Exotic Plant Pest Control.

Meeting adjourned and refreshments served. Happy Holidays to all!