Posts Tagged ‘birds’

I’m opposed to the Richton Salt Dome Project and I don’t mind saying that to anyone. Not because I don’t use oil and think we need more oil resources; I drive a car and we own two. Not because I don’t believe that a strategic oil reserve is a good thing; I do. Not because I’m elitist, or left-wing, or lack patriotism; I’m poor middle-class, vote my conscience and not a political party, and I’m about as patriotic as they come.

I oppose the project because of the river…the Pascagoula River.

The Pascagoula River is the last free-flowing river in the contiguous 48 states. Years ago, when a local land development company in our area wanted to damn the Bouie River (a branch of the Pascagoula system) to create a large lake, and therefore many acres of “riverfront” homes, our local Audubon group, along with many others, fought that movement, and we won. The system remains unfettered.

Now, with salt domes empty in Louisiana, with apparent oil shortages looming and driving up the cost of gasoline and heating fuel, we need to put oil in a salt dome outside of little Richton, MS. And, it’s not even that that bothers me. It’s that we’re going to pump out 50 Million gallons of river water per DAY — yep, per day! — to wash out the salt dome so we can store oil in it. And then what happens to the hyper-saline, you may ask? Well, says DOE, we’ll just build a many mile steel pipeline and pump it into the Gulf of Mexico, past the barrier islands off the Mississippi Sound.


Edward O. Wilson, internationally famous Harvard biologist, said that the Pascagoula River system should be preserved as an International Biosphere, a place that remains in perpetuity wild and untamed, the very last river system in the 48 states to remain so. He said this for many reasons, partly because our country deserves just ONE river that is still wild and free-flowing. He said this partyly because there are species endemic to the system that will be forever gone if we screw it up. He said this partly because he understands the value of fresh water river systems and the brackish marsh they produce as they pour into the Mississippi Sound.

Ok, so we have the following equations:

River minus 50 Million gallons of water/day = Disaster


50 Million gallons of hyper-salty water/day pumped into Gulf of Mexico (cause we don’t believe that changing the salinity levels of the sound will hurt fishing or tourism or livelihoods) = Disaster


50 million gallons of hyper-salty water/day transported over land, through forests, town, and farmland into the gulf through STEEL pipeline (remember, salt is corrosive) = Disaster


A place to put oil we don’t have. And at a cost of $4 BILLION dollars of tax-payer money. And despite popular opinion in the area.

If this makes sense to you, great. If, like me, you just don’t get how it all balances out, you can go to the site below and send your own legislators a letter. or better yet, call them and ask them what they think about this whole mess. Especially if you’re from Mississippi, but don’t fret if you’re not; send mail to the Mississippi legislators anyway so that they understand that they can’t do this behind the American public’s back. The river that’s about to be devastated belongs to all of us, every last man, woman, and child in the US…but, look quick. It’s about to be gone.

Pascagoula River


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April is hell month for us. It used to be a great month, a time spent gardening and getting our yard in shape for the long, hot summer ahead. A slow time, with cool breezes, warm showers, and time. At least that’s how I remember Aprils in my past.

Now, April is spring migration, a birder’s busiest and most frantic time: it’s the time when, if you want to see migrants passing through, you run hither, finding various bird magnets and staking out a space with binocs held to eyes. If they’re not in Dauphin Island, surely they’re in Gulfport. If the weather is bad at 10 p.m., we need to leave home at 3 to get to the shore woods by dawn….birds will surely be holding over there and more flying in from the south.


Well, The Writer is gone off doing just that…spinning around, looking for the migrants as they make their way north.

I? Well, I’m sitting still this week: going to work, attending a baby shower, taking care of house and pets, bills, and life detritis. Exciting as seeing Painted buntings, which generally send the least avid birder into paroxyms of delight? Hardly. But I like it. Still and slow are just fine by me.

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The Writer’s subscriptions on podiobooks exceeded my expectations.  Martha (a.k.a., former roomie and part of Dancing Cat Studios creative team) informed us at the end of January that between DCS, iTunes, and Podiobooks, Serve It Cold had more than 1100 subscriptions!  Wow!  Incredible for a first effort — a GREAT first effort.  My thanks to the creator/writer, the creative brainiacs (Martha & Paul), the creative genius actors, and the krewe at PodioBooks.

Spite is in its next-to-last edit/rewrite currently, so things are hopping around here.  Martha visited with us last weekend on her way to her mom’s 80th birthday celebration, and she brought her podcasting equipment with her, so there’s more interview coming.  Not sure where it will be posted, but she will let us know when and where and I will post here.  Ronnie got two articles out this week, so look on his site for those.  Gavin posted his Japanese Duck article to a listserv called “BirdChat” and he got lots of good feedback from those guys out there who read that list.  And, at our weekly supper with Ron’s mom, Faye, and our friend Beth, as we were walking across the restaurant to be seated, someone stopped Ron and said, “Hey, you’re Ronnie Blackwell, that guy that writes about birds!”  Wow.

This week, we go on Tuesday at noon to Main Street Methodist Church to talk to their senior lunch group.  So far, about 75 have registered for the lunch and learn session.  Wow. Busy.  It’s a great life!

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