Minutes of Garden State Audubon Council

September 27, 2003

Plainsboro Preserve

In attendance: David Hall, President; Joe Pylka, WCAS; Barbara Ross, WCAS; Nancy Hall, Secretary; Valerie Josephson, BCAS; Janine Clifford, NAS; Bernadine Klein, HAS; Robert Klein, HAS; Troy Ettel, NJAS; Eric Stiles, JNAS; Jennifer Mattice, NJAS; Pat Sziber, WCAS; Dave Pardoe, NAS; Herb Lord, WCAS; Frank Bader, WCAS; Ed Bristow, AAS; Alan Martens, AAS.

NJAS Report:

The NJ Landscape Project will be available online later in the fall. The Red Knot is eligible for listing as an endangered species, but there is no federal funding to process the paperwork. Once it is designated as an endangered species, current data is sufficient to cause a complete cessation of horseshoe crab harvesting. Currently NJAS and NAS and Delaware Audubon have succeeded to get compromise legislation with fairly strong limits to permanently lower the crab harvest. We will need a letter writing campaign soon to support new state limits.

Green Acres bonding will be on the November ballot for $150 Million with $50 million for Highlands preservation and $50 million for urban habitats.

Eric Stiles distributed the NJAS Conservation Department Quarterly Report.

Jennifer Mattice discussed plans for the Important Bird Area program for New Jersey for which she is the new coordinator. One major difference is that the program is aimed to be an IBBA program, including recognition of Important Birding Areas as well as important habitats for bird species. Data will be peer reviewed by an experts committee, independent of the coordinator. Efforts will be made to integrate the results with the NJ Landscape Project. Design of the Program will take place over Sept-Dec. 2003, with nominations solicited from the public beginning in Jan-May 2004.

Troy Ettel was introduced to the group briefly. He is the new Director of Conservation for NJAS, beginning this fall.

Brian Vernachio (NJAS) gave an introduction to the new Plainsboro Preserve Center, and tours of the building were given during lunch.

NAS Report

Janine Clifford discussed the energy bill and drilling on ANWR. We are asking our senators to voted down this bill if the drilling program is included.

Clean Water Act Restoration Amendment people were asked to write to Sen. Corzine to encourage him to sign onto circulating "Dear Colleague" letter.

Nominations for new funding for the land and Water Acquisition Fund were due by Nov. 7. Nominations should be made by chapter conservation chair.

Dave Pardoe, Mid-Atlantic Regional Representative on the NAS Board of Directors, told about Donal O'Brien's upcoming retirement as Chairman of the NAS Board. Carol Browner will become the new Chairman. The NAS budget has been heavily impacted by lower donations from foundations and individuals due to the stock market decline.

Treasurer's Report

Balance as of 9/27/2003: $11,445.43

President's Report

"Take Back Audubon" Discussion. There was an extended discussion of the Take Back Audubon movement whereby a number of chapters of NAS throughout the country are attempting to mount a proxy campaign to elect a different slate of directors to the NAS board.
Dave Pardoe gave a detailed explanation of why NAS has chosen to cut back on chapter dues.
Dave Hall urged every chapter to enroll in Take Back Audubon and to solicit proxy signatures from their members.
He also reports that he is working to establish a GSAC website soon. Barbara Ross asked that someone else volunteer to take over the job of running the GSAC listserver. Due to the extended discussion of Take Back Audubon, there was little time devoted to chapter reports this meeting.
Monmouth County AS provided copies of their annual report to NAS.

New Business

The election of officers (president and treasurer) was deferred until the next meeting.

Next Meeting: January 24, 2004 at Cattus Island. [now changed to Plainsboro Preserve - DHH]

Summer meeting is planned for June 26, at Plainsboro Preserve

Respectfully submitted,

Nancy Hall
Secretary, GSAC