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

Minutes of SEVAS meeting Nov 17, 2010

The November 17, 2010 meeting was opened by President Don Picard.  He welcomed everyone and invited new poeple to stand and introduce themselves.

Don noted that the Minutes of the last meeting were posted on the website.  There were no changes suggested to them.

Bill gave the Treasurer’s report.  The only transaction for the month was a travel stipend for last month’s speaker of $25 leaving a balance of 3462.55 in the account.

There were two field trips since the last meeting.  One was to Princess Place Preserve and the other to Smyrna Dunes Park .  Although there were no standout bird species at the Preserve, it was a great day for the outing. Dunes Park was remarkable for the 15 Wilson’s Plovers and ten Piping Plovers.  Don also noted that the Piping Plovers are moving south of the park.  He and Maureen are routinely seeing them south of the Hacienda del Sol II where he has never seen them before.

The next field trip will be to Lake Woodruff NWR.

Gail talked about the Christmas Bird Count which will be held on the 2nd of January, 2011.  Anyone wishing to help should contact her.

Save our Seas, Beaches and Shores.

The Florida Wildlife Federation, et. al., are starting a petition drive to place the issue of near-shore oil drilling on the Florida ballot in Nov. 2012.  If approved, the constitutional ban would apply to Florida's state waters, 3 miles into the Atlantic Ocean and 10 miles into the Gulf.  Currently, drilling is banned by state law, which can be overturned at any time.  The state House of Representatives voted to allow drilling in state waters in 2009.  Luckily, the Senate did not act and the ban was not lifted.

It will require 700,000 signed petitions for the issue to be placed on the 2012 ballot.  To download and send a petition, see their website at

Don emailed Charles Lee  asking if there was an official position from Florida Audubon.  He did not get a reply.

Should we support and add our name?

The vote was nearly unanimous that we add our name to their list of supporting organizations on their website.  Don contacted the FWF and added our organization to their list of supporters.  He will bring some petitions to the next meeting.

We signed on to a letter from the National Audubon Society asking that Congress ensure that penalties that BP pays for the oil spill are directed to Gulf restoration.  Letter is attached.

Our November speaker was  Dr. Terence Farrell of Stetson University.  Catching ringneck snakes and redback salamanders in his backyard obviously planted the seeds for his subsequent career choice. The title of his talk was Herpetology for the Ornithologist.  He cautioned that birders should look down for snakes while they are looking up for birds.  We may avoid a nasty confrontation.  He explained some of the interactions between birds and snakes and entertained some of the snake stories from the audience.  He also made the case for looking for snakes as a way to get into different places and finding interesting birds.  It was a very educational and entertaining presentation.

There was no business from the floor, so the meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted.

Don Picard, President

Letter on BP oil spill follows:

The Honorable Harry Reid

Majority Leader

United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Mitch McConnell

Minority Leader

United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510

Dear Majority Leader Reid and Minority Leader McConnell:

On behalf of our millions of members and supporters, we are writing to respectfully ask that you take urgent action to support environmental restoration in the Gulf region during this calendar year. Penalties paid by BP under the Clean Water Act should be directed to fund Gulf Coast restoration, which will be critical to the recovery of the people, economies, and natural and cultural resources of the region. A key recommendation of Secretary Mabus' official report on the Gulf's long-term recovery plan; that "Congress pass legislation to dedicate a significant amount of any Clean Water Act penalties to the Gulf Coast's recovery" underscores the need for Congress to act.

The health and vitality of the Gulf is essential to our nation. Not only is it an irreplaceable part of our environmental and cultural heritage; it is also crucial to America's economy. It has been six months since the Deepwater Horizon sank, but the Senate has yet to respond in any meaningful way. A significant first step would be to dedicate funds for restoration. BP and other responsible parties are liable under the Clean Water Act for penalties for each barrel of oil spilled - fines that could ultimately reach $21 billion. Currently, the law requires that Clean Water Act penalties be deposited into the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund and made available for future oil spills.

Without investment in restoration, the Gulf's already vulnerable communities - as well as the vital fishing and tourism industries - remain susceptible to future disasters and slow decline. Restoration needs span the Gulf's deep waters and fragile coastal areas - including the Mississippi delta ecosystem, which was in a state of collapse prior to the oil disaster, cut off from the River's natural supplies of freshwater and sediment and gashed by pipelines and production canals. Its barrier islands and marshes have been disappearing at an alarming rate and the oil spill further impaired their natural buffering capacity.

In addition, many of the Gulf's fish and wildlife populations and habitats were already degraded from past activities and nutrient pollution. The BP disaster could not have happened at a worse time for many commercially and recreationally important fish species that were spawning or had just completed spawning, exposing vulnerable eggs and larvae to the toxic effects of oil and putting the survival of fragile species even further at risk.

There are many challenges and opportunities ahead in the long-term effort to bring back the Gulf's coastal and marine ecosystems and economic vitality. Clean Water Act penalty funds will be fundamental to the success of our collective recovery and restoration activities. We look forward to working with you toward a healthier and more vibrant future for the Gulf of Mexico and its residents.

Thank you for your consideration of this important request.