Natural Resources Committee
Natural Resources Committee
Rachel Carson, author of "Silent Spring", statue in Woods Hole
The Natural Resources Committee works to support the LWVUS position on Natural Resources, which is to
Promote an environment beneficial to life through the protection and wise management of natural resources in the public interest by recognizing the interrelationship of air quality, energy, land use, waste management and water resources
Identifies need for action related to Natural Resource conservation based on local, state and national League environmental position priorities Works with others (the Town and local organizations including Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Association to Preserve Cape Cod, The 300 Committee, Falmouth Water Stewards) to protect Falmouth’s critical water resources.
The Committee has adopted a Sustainability Policy for the League's functions.
In 2018 the Natural Resources Committee focused on Solar Energy. A local business had recently erected solar parking canopies in their front yard setback and the Planning Board was proposing a change in the Zoning Code to bring such developments under their review, or a Moratorium on Solar Projects if they couldn’t get review authority . At the same time, they pushed to expand the Zoning Code provision for large ground mounted solar arrays, which were currently limited to only the existing array parcel at the capped landfill and a few much smaller Light Industrial C parcels. The committee prepared a public program on these issues, held November 1, 2018 at the Hermann Room of the Public Library. This was attended by about 40 people and was recorded and broadcast by FCTV. A You Tube video of the presentation was also posted on line. At the Fall Town Meeting, the town passed a Ground Mounted Solar Array Overlay District, greatly increasing the land area where such arrays were permissible and rejected the Planning Board ‘s proposed revisions to control the design and placement of solar parking canopies as well as the Moratorium. Several other solar Warrant items failed, but it was a positive outcome for the Committee and sustainability overall.
The Committee Chair attended:
- A Coastal Wetlands-Carbon Bank Symposium in June at the Waquoit Bay National Estuarine Reserve. The main point of this is that healthy coastal wetlands provide many positive environmental functions: dampening storm surge, filtering runoff, removal of excess nutrients, rich bio-habitat and carbon sequestration in organic matter accumulation. Man-made limitations on tidal flow and wetlands migration negatively impact all of these functions.
- Sen. Edward Markey’s Climate Crisis Action Summit in Waltham later in June. Discussed were the quickening pace of Climate Change and the background of the Paris Agreement to limit Carbon Emissions. One key point was that the wind and solar power industries represent the greatest blue collar job creation in two generations, as well as significant impacts in reducing carbon emissions.
- The Cape Coastal Conference in December in Hyannis. The focus was on nontraditional approaches to address water quality, primarily aquaculture of oysters and clams. Oysters accumulate Nitrogen in their shells and flesh and clarify the water as they consume algae, improving habitat for other aquatic species. Many Cape Towns have programs employing aquaculture for water quality improvement and the early results are positive. The market for shellfish is a critical part of this effort and the sales cost per animal has been flat for 20 years. Cape Cod has no processing plants any longer( only in the South) and labor supply is a limiting factor as profit margins are slim.
Richard Johnson, Chair