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


October 2012 Prez Sez


Welcome to a new season of the SEVAS.  We hope you had a great summer wherever you spent it.  Lots happened since we last met.  The NATIONAL AUDUBON SOCIETY put out a new strategic plan.  They also partnered with  ConservAmerica , a leading conservative pro-environment group, on a campaign based on common ground called “Because Conservation Doesn’t Have a Party.”  The hope is to deliver hundreds of thousands of signatures on the American Eagle Compact to the winners of November’s elections.


Closer to home, Volusia County decided to finally start restoring the scrub habitat to favor Scrub Jays at the Doris Leeper Spruce Creek Preserve and mountain bikers  using the preserve objected strenuousy and threatened to take the county to court.  Florida Audubon is partnering with other conservation organizations to place on the ballot in 2014 a constitutional amendment to require the State of Florida to fund a Florida Forever program.  The St John's River Water Management District started a process of identifying whether or not its land holdings included some not needed for the purposes for which they were acquired and could potentially be sold off.  And most recently, the State of Florida is again trying to close access to MINWR and CANA for a commercial spaceport.



AUDUBON'S NEW STRATEGIC PLAN

For more than a century, Audubon has been working to protect birds and their habitat using activism, education and science including citizen science.  Now more than ever, natural habitats and open spaces are disappearing at an unprecedented rate.


To meet today's tremendous environmental challenges and economic realities, Audubon revisited its strategy for conservation and took a targeted approach towards the four flyways ( Atlantic, Mississippi, Central and Pacific) and bird species with the greatest conservation need.  They then defined the most pervasive and shared threats to these priority birds and will focus on preserving these areas.


You can find more on this at http://www.audubon.org/sites/default/files/documents/audubon_no_metallic_small_size.pdf .


AMERICAN EAGLE COMPACT.

Birds do not have a political affiliation and don't have a vote.  But despite the divisiveness of the politicians in Washington, there are large numbers ofconservative American voters who believe in conservation and in the protection of clean air and water. 


National Audubon is partnering  with  ConservAmerica , a leading conservative pro-environment group, on a campaign based on common ground called “Because Conservation Doesn’t Have a Party.”  Our hope is to deliver hundreds of thousands of signatures on the American Eagle Compact to the winners of November’s elections.  To learn more and to sign the petition, go here.


DORIS LEEPER SPRUCE CREEK PRESERVE

This beautiful piece of natural land spans an area of 2400 acres from I-95 to the Halifax River and though is mostly in New Smyrna Beach, a small bit is in Port Orange. Volusia County has been under pressure for several years by the Florida DEP to restore the scrub habitat and started to do so in June.  Then the stuff hit the fan.  People using the preserve for bike trails objected to the removal of trees shading the trails and roads and caused a big stir.  David Hartgrove summarized the entire issue extremely well in his Conservation Notes in the Halifax River AS newsletter in September.  With his permissionI am reproducing his article below.


FLORIDA''S WATER AND LAND LEGACY

Florida Audubon is partnering with a lot of other conservation organizations to gather a million signatures to place the Florida Water and Land Conservation Amendment on the November 2014 ballot. 


Preservation 2000 and its follow-up Florida Forever provided hundreds of millions of dollars per year over the last decade or so to purchase and manage sensitive lands and protect them from unwise development.  Since 2009, these funds have been slashed by 97.5%. 


The partnership is proposing that 33% of the revenues generated from real estate documents, called doc stamps, be set aside for the acquisition of environmentally-sensitive lands.  They are asking us to sign petitions and volunteer to get others to sign petitions to put the proposal on  the 2014 ballot.  I will let you know when the petitions are available.


SJRWMD TO LOOK AT PROPERTIES AND VALIDATE THEIR NEED

The SJRWMD started a process of identifying whether or not its land holdings included some not needed for the purposes for which they were acquired and could potentially be sold off. Ed Garland's article below explains the project from their point of view.  Environmentalists and Volusia County were concerned about the transparency of the process and the district held a couple of meetings in the county. 


CLOSE ACCESS TO MINWR AND CANA FOR SPACEPORT

We litigated it in 2008, but it is back,  Now it is the State of Florida asking for it.  State officials envision a new launchpad for commercial-rocket companies and they've asked NASA to give about 150 acres of undeveloped KSC land around Shiloh to Space Florida, a public-private agency that wants to create the proposed facility. 


I wrote an email to Senator Bill Nelson who involved himself in the 2008 fray and asked for his help to deflect this attack on these areas that are special to environmentalists, hunters and fishermen alike.  It is amazing that the space shuttle program is officially over and the state cannot ask NASA for other lands within the complex for the spaceport facility. 


Even though SpaceX is the most likely candidate for the spaceport, the company is still negotiating with other states including Texas.


Watch this space for more.


Don