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

March 2015 Meeting Minutes

Southeast Volusia Audubon Meeting March 12, 2015

Financial Report:

Balance Feb 1st:  $2,384.63

Expenses:      -80.00         Post Office Box rental fee

                   +349.00         Swallow-tail kite donations            

                     +20.00         Miscellaneous donation

Balance Feb 29th: $2,673.63

Tonight our    50/50 raffle    raised $36.00

Our raffle supports the Audubon Adventure program for our schools. Nineteen teachers are taking advantage of this program. The cost is $17.00 per classroom and this program is looking for sponsors.

The Swallow-tail kite study is placing transmitters on these birds. Each bird's flight pattern will be monitored which costs $100.00 a month. They are seeking contributions. For information you can contact Gina Holt at 386-299-5890.

Conservation Chair Report by Lamont Ingles:

Amendment 1 goes into effect July 1st, 2015. Unfortunately the municipal/county level of government is interested in using these funds for storm water and septic systems. Amendment one is for land acquisition. The water clean-up is done through local, state and federal government level. Septic tanks are not an Amendment 1 issue.

Please go to the web-site and make your comments/suggestions known.

The website address is:

Shiloh Spaceport Project: Space Florida is trying to take several thousand acres from the Merritt Island area for private industry to use. If they are successful it will damage the area wildlife. This is not a good use of public funds!

Tiger Bay State Forest: was litigated 3 years ago regarding the usage of OHVs (off-highway vehicles). The county council decided this was not the place for OHVs. Representative Taylor from Daytona Beach has introduced a bill in Tallahassee to make Tiger Bay State Forest available to OHVs. Don Picard sent a letter and David Hartgrove also spoke with Representative Dwayne Taylor about this issue.

Update: Representative Dwayne Taylor will now withdraw his bill for OHV’s on these sensitive lands in Tiger Bay State Forest if the Forest Service is against OHV usage.

There is a new issue regarding the widening of 13 miles of SR 40 near Ocala and the Hart Island Conservation Area. There will be 4 wildlife crossing underpasses built. We don't want hunters blasting away at the wildlife when they use these underpasses. David Hartgrove sent a letter to the Environmental Council of Volusia/Flagler County.

New Business:

There is a Climate Messenger Program whose goal is to get people involved and to get the word out to others to teach them the cause and effect on birds and wildlife as sea levels rise.

Sea level rise is already evident along our eroding coastlines but we cannot hold back the ocean indefinitely with hard structures like seawalls. One alternative is to preserve and protect undeveloped lands adjacent to coastal beaches and salt marsh habitat so that as sea level rises, habitat can reestablish naturally farther inland and the coastal birds that depend on these habitats for survival will have a place to live in our future.

We need your help taking these messages to the public and to the decision makers throughout Florida. Learn more about birds and wildlife living in coastal areas and how to protect their habitat in the face of sea level rise. Let's plan for climate change and make sure our response to sea level rise helps - rather than harms - Florida's coastal wildlife.

The website address is where you can view 3 short videos and a power point presentation. The website also has a link to contact your local elected officials.

March 19th Marine Discovery Center Public lecture series-will have bird experts speak. Learn what you can do when you find an injured or entangled bird. Starts at 6pm-8pm

April 9th is our Annual meeting for the election of new officers and pot luck dinner. It will be at our usual meeting place at the Marine Discovery Center, but at 5:30 p.m. There will be a presentation of a DVD by the ship videographer on the Nat Geo Endeavour of Don and Maureen’s expedition to the Galapagos Islands in Nov 2014. Pot Luck!

April 11th at 10am-1pm Marine Discovery Center will host an open house. If anyone would like to volunteer we could use your help for a SEVAS booth and some kids activities and bird walks.

Field Activities Report:

On March 14th there will be a trip planned to visit the Orlando Wetlands departing at 7am.

Everyone meets at the Edgewater Plaza south of the new Dunkin Donuts. Pack a lunch and remember that nonmembers are also invited to attend.

Tonight's Speaker:

 Heather Culp, Associate Director of the “Howard T. Odum Florida Springs Institute” gave a wonderful presentation about the Florida Springs and the sustainability of the Floridan Aquifer. The Florida Springs Institute is hoping to get a grant for Blue Springs. Their website is very informative. Please check it out and consider joining this organization.   

Our springs provide biological diversity and vital habitat to the unique wildlife of Florida. They also provide our drinking water.

The Floridan Aquifer is the lifeblood of our springs. Springs recharge with rainfall which seeps into the aquifer. Ground water is the sole supply for our springs. Florida’s springs give us recreational, ecological and economic benefits and bring in over 300 million in revenue per year. This equates to a 10 billion dollar endowment.

A healthy spring needs abundant clean water flow. Springs are very sensitive to nitrate levels which are increasing at an alarming rate. Bahia grass is a good alternative to St Augustine grass.

The Blue Springs flow has declined from 100 MGD (million gallons a day) to 80 MGD. We need to offset impacts by our water usage habits. Also the State is not following MFL's for repair.

A non-flowing spring and excessive pumping will cause sinkholes. High groundwater pumping equates to declining springs. Our flows have declined by 30% and there is weak carbolic acid hitting the limestone causing it to dissolve. The bottom line is higher insurance rates, lower property values, and the destruction of these unique and beautiful areas. We can’t afford to let that happen.

There being no further business, Don adjourned the meeting.