Fishing’s Impact on Oceans Comes Into Sharp Focus With Photographer

The world’s oceans need protection, a globe-traveling National Geographic underwater photographer told a large audience at the Tabernacle last Saturday.

After 35 years of photographing the oceans, Brian Skerry, 49, said he is troubled by growing evidence of degradation of habitat and the waste and loss of sea life. “I think the oceans are dying a death of a thousand cuts,” he said.

Lawmakers Weigh Property Rights on Ponds

A bill which has been quietly making its way through the state house could dramatically affect the future ownership of some of the Vineyard’s pristine barrier beaches, moving them from private hands to public.

The bill, which consists of just a single paragraph, relates to the barrier beaches that separate the Island’s Great Ponds from the ocean. Many of these beaches are privately owned and also are retreating into the ponds as they are eroded on their seaward side.

Taming Wildness Of Sheriff’s Meadow

Sheriff’s Meadow Sanctuary, the Edgartown property that gives its name to the Island’s largest private landowner and conservation group, is slated for restoration.

Adam Moore, executive director of the Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation, said at the foundation’s annual dinner this week that more than $300,000 of the $500,000 needed to refurbish and maintain the 20-acre property for public use has already been raised, and the foundation is actively seeking the balance from friends and neighbors.

Stiltgrass Be Walking All Over the Place

Japanese stiltgrass has recently been discovered in the Longview neighborhood of West Tisbury, and the Nature Conservancy needs Islanders’ help in keeping this invasive species under control.

The harmful grass, which was introduced to the U.S. from Asia as a natural packaging material at the beginning of the 19th century, can crowd out native wildflowers, grasses and tree seedlings.

Panama Canal as Nature’s Microcosm

In the Panama Canal the grand challenges facing the world are played out in miniature. Here freshwater management, deforestation, biodiversity and global warming have converged to pose economic challenges that the rest of the world may not face for decades. From his perch in the middle of the rainforest, Biff Birmingham, director of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), has made this convergence the focus of his research. He spoke at the Polly Hill Arboretum on Wednesday night.

News Update, Tuesday, Nov. 15 - Leatherback Turtle Washes Up on South Beach

The body of a leatherback turtle, a federally protected endangered species, washed ashore at South Beach on Monday. Volunteer members of the turtle stranding committee said the cause of death was not immediately apparent.

“There was no sign of an injury,” said Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary director Suzan Bellincampi. Ms. Bellincampi said the turtle was in a state of decomposition and had likely been floating for awhile before washing ashore.

Bluefin Tuna Denied Endangered Status

Bluefin tuna — the center of a highly lucrative commercial fishery and heated controversy about overfishing — will not be listed as an endangered species, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced last week.

“NOAA is formally designating both the western Atlantic and eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean stocks of bluefin tuna as species of concern under the Endangered Species Act,” a press release that accompanied the decision said.

With Baitfish Scarce, Otters Move Inland Snacking on Goldfish, This Time at Peril

A valiant effort to save the life of two malnourished baby otters came to an end over the weekend.

One otter, found in a yard in Oak Bluffs on Thursday afternoon and sent Friday morning to the Trailside Museum in Milton, died over the weekend. A second baby otter, recovered on Friday not far from where the first otter had been found, also died.

The two otters, about eight weeks old, lost their mother when she was hit and killed on Barnes Road in Oak Bluffs on the morning of June 7.

Mink Meadows Property Owner Cited for Filling Wetland, Dredging Pond

In what conservation commission leaders are calling the worst violation they have seen in decades, a West Chop homeowner has been cited for dredging a pond and filling a wetland without permission.

The property is owned by Mary Howell of Arlingon, Va., and Vineyard Haven.

Green Heat Contest Winner Receives Pellet Stove, Fuel

Lauren Thomas of Edgartown won a free green heat contest from Harman Stoves and WoodPellets.com.

The prize, valued at $5,500, includes a Harman Accentra pellet stove and a year’s worth of wood pellets. Nearly 7,000 people entered the online contest.

After woodpellets.com delivered the three tons of pellets to the Thomas’s home in January, Harman shipped the stove to Pyewackets in Vineyard Haven, who worked with Nelson Mechanical to have the stove installed.

Pages