How Seismic Airgun Blasting and Drilling Ignore Mounting East Coast Opposition and Put the Atlantic Coast at Risk

Oceana is the world’s largest international ocean advocacy organization and seeks to restore the resilience, diversity and abundance of marine ecosystems to ensure that our oceans are a significant source of wild-caught fish that can help feed the world. In the United States, Oceana campaigns to protect important nursery and spawning habitats from destructive bottom trawling, win protections for marine mammals and sea turtles caught as bycatch, combat seafood fraud, and stop offshore drilling and seismic airgun blasting in the Atlantic.

Louis Bacon and The Orton Foundation, The Moore Charitable Foundation’s affiliate in North Carolina, are proud partners of Oceana. Read about their fight to protect the Atlantic from offshore drilling and seismic testing from a recent report.

In 2015, the Obama Administration proposed opening large swaths of the Atlantic Ocean to industrial offshore drilling. Its proposal for oil and gas leasing on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), covering the 2017-2022 period, would have allowed oil and gas lease sales in a large area off the coasts of Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. In March 2016, in the face of intense opposition from coastal communities, fishing interests, the Department of Defense, and NASA the Administration removed the Atlantic lease sale from the 2017-2022 plan.

Offshore drilling supporters in Congress continue to push legislation to require drilling in the Atlantic. In addition, the federal government continues to review applications for companies to use seismic airguns to search for oil and gas deposits deep below the ocean floor in an area twice the size of California, stretching from Delaware to Florida.

Seismic airgun blasting is the first step to offshore drilling. The technique involves firing loud blasts of compressed air that are some of the loudest man-made sounds in the oceans, repeated about every ten seconds for days to weeks on end. These blasts pose a major threat to marine life, as the high decibel levels can damage marine animals’ hearing and disrupt navigation and communication necessary for everyday survival. The noise from seismic airgun blasting is so loud that it can be heard up to 2,500 miles from the source—akin to the distance between Washington, D.C., and Las Vegas.


Proposed Area for Seismic Testing

Proposed Area for Seismic Testing. Map: BOEM

Millions of marine animals—including the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale and loggerhead sea turtles—will have their hearing, feeding, habitat, and migration patterns disturbed by the loud seismic blasts (see Appendix B). Some could even die due to impacts caused by large scale seismic blasting activities. Furthermore, airgun blasts have been seen to fatally damage fish eggs and larvae of certain species and scare away other fish from important habitat, leading to economic risk for fishing communities.

The proposals for seismic airgun blasting and drilling ignore mounting East Coast opposition, past disasters, and threats to economies and marine life — and put the entire Atlantic coast from Maine to Florida at risk, all for less than four percent of the nation’s total oil and natural gas reserves. Even if all of the economically recoverable resources off the East Coast were exploited, the oil would last for less than five months and the gas would last less than 10 months at current national consumption rates.

Offshore drilling could destroy the very fabric of coastal communities, state and local economies, and critical marine habitats for decades to come—and contribute to global climate change.

Please support Oceana’s seismic testing opposition here.




Fixing It: Edwina von Gal and the Perfect Earth Project

From August’s Hamptons Beach House magazine – a great article about The Moore Charitable Foundation partner Perfect Earth Project.

Our land and water has become polluted to the point of being hazardous. Edwina von Gal is changing that, and she needs all of us to get on board.

Edwina von Gal on her deck overlooking wetlands in Accabonac Harbor. Photo by David Harry Stewart/AGEIST.

Edwina von Gal on her deck overlooking wetlands in Accabonac Harbor. Photo by David Harry Stewart/AGEIST.

Owning land is at the heart of the American Dream – a little corner of the earth that you can call your own. But the concept that our land is somehow separate from our neighbor’s, separate from our waterways and farms and aquifers, is entirely manufactured by the human mind. No hedgerow or picket fence will stop the chemicals we put on our land from seeping into the environment because we are a part of the environment: we literally cohabitate with it.

That’s why, in 2013, Edwina von Gal, a fixture in the landscaping industry since she launched her business in 1984, created the Perfect Earth Project.

“My goal is that we will ultimately transform the landscape industry into a community of land stewards,” said von Gal. “It’s everyone’s job to be a conservationist on their own property. You can have your own piece of the environment. That’s what it is. It’s all part of one thing.”

The Madoo Conservancy, located in Sagaponak, celebrated its 50th year of toxin-free gardening this summer. Photo by Mick Hales.

The Madoo Conservancy, located in Sagaponak, celebrated its 50th year of toxin-free gardening this summer. Photo by Mick Hales.

Bob DeLuca, President of Group for the East End, has seen water quality deteriorate over the years. There are four categories of contaminants that make their way into our waters, explains DeLuca, and two of them are directly related to the landscaping industry. Phosphorous and nitrogen from fertilizers, categorized as nutrients, can affect surface water, which creates problems like algal blooms. This can increase toxicity to the point of hazard, as one Georgica Pond resident realized when her dog died after drinking from the pond in 2012. Georgica was closed to swimmers earlier this month because of the toxicity.

“We are seeing more harmful algal blooms in our surface waters, they’re lasting for longer periods of time and are existing in greater profusion,” said DeLuca. “Whether it’s Hook Pond, Georgica Pond, or Lake Agawam, problems that were once occasional are now catching up with us.”

When it comes to bigger, more global change, DeLuca is a firm believer in the power of local government.

“Years ago, Western Long Island Sound was given up for dead,” he said. “Over the course of two decades, investments were made, and in the last couple years nitrogen levels have gone down and oxygen levels have gone up. We’ve had beluga whales and dolphins back in the sound. It’s evidence that the investment works.”

Pesticides are a second problem.

“Presently, there are about 117 pesticides and pesticide bi-products found in Suffolk County drinking water,” he said.

To that point, von Gal recalls starting out in the landscaping industry, when Roundup was considered benign. Roundup, manufactured by Monsanto, is the brand name for Glyphosate, which is still one of the most widely used non-selective herbicides in the United States even after the World Health Organization designated it as a probable carcinogen last year. It kills everything herbaceous, i.e., not woody, without damaging monocots like grasses and corn.

“We used it on everything,” said von Gal. “We were told it wouldn’t leave any residuals. Just spray it on and in a few weeks it’s gone.”

Since then, von Gal says that Roundup has proven disastrous for reptiles and amphibians and has appeared in our drinking water. The impact on amphibians is like the canary in the coal mine: it tells us when something is wrong.

“Amphibians’ skin is so porous – they literally breathe through their skin,” said DeLuca. “They are an indicator species, and they’re being born with mutations.”

And it’s not just Roundup. Chemicals have become such a part of the landscaping industry that von Gal says there are 255 million pounds of pesticides put on American landscapes every year. A study done with golf course turf managers, who are exposed to large quantities of lawn chemicals over the course of their careers found they were twice as likely to be diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Parkinson’s disease. von Gal’s goal through the Perfect Earth Project is to eliminate those chemicals. Entirely.

This, from a landscape designer whose waterfront Springs home is a work of art, no matter where your gaze falls. She’s not saying stop having beautiful landscapes. She’s scraping away the myth that beautiful landscapes require chemicals. The first step, she says, is awareness.

Bridge Gardens is a public toxin-free garden in Bridgehampton, maintained by the Peconic Land Trust. Photo by Peconic Land Trust.

Bridge Gardens is a public toxin-free garden in Bridgehampton, maintained by the Peconic Land Trust. Photo by Peconic Land Trust.

“We need to retrain the landscape industry and land management decision makers,” she said. “This is a process. Not a product.”

She says many products are applied to lawns unnecessarily because there’s a one-size-fits-all approach that blasts landscapes with a cocktail of chemicals. If you were treating your lawn with chemicals to kill crab grass, she says, and you just stopped using those chemicals, of course the crab grass would grow.

“But if you take the chemicals out and put observation and intelligence in,” she said, “then you can deal with the problem. Mow higher to block out the sun for the crab grass, and fix your lawn in the unhealthy patches where crab grass is taking over.”

She points out that lawns get a lot of attention but trees, shrubs and gardens are all part of the landscape, and none of them require chemicals to thrive. But once a landscape has become dependent on chemicals, it’s much like a person dependent on drugs. There may be withdrawal symptoms.

“The more you use chemicals, the more your lawn needs them,” she said, “because you’ve destroyed its immune system. The process of going chemical free is simple, but it requires some attention.”

She compares it to the diet pill fad in the 80s, when people were so thrilled to find they didn’t need to eat well or exercise. They could just pop a pill and lose weight.

Bridge Gardens is a public toxin-free garden in Bridgehampton, maintained by the Peconic Land Trust. Photo by Peconic Land Trust.

Bridge Gardens is a public toxin-free garden in Bridgehampton, maintained by the Peconic Land Trust. Photo by Peconic Land Trust.

“Everyone was basically taking speed,” von Gal said with a laugh. “It was so simple! Take the pill and you have no appetite and, boy, was your house clean! But then we realized there were some serious downsides. This is the same. We are asking people to become conscious.”

On the practical, hyper-local level, that consciousness means looking at your lawn and your plants and noticing what they need. Perfect Earth offers tips to maintain a beautiful, chemical free lawn. Try mowing high, for example, to give each blade of grass maximum surface area for photosynthesis. Water infrequently-and deep-to draw the roots down instead of watering a little bit every day, making your lawn dependent on keeping the roots shallow to soak up the water.

When feeding, they recommend you think of feeding the soil, not the plants. Soil is the foundation, and that’s where a healthy root system starts. Raking compost, compost tea, or slow-release organic fertilizer into the soil surrounding trees and shrubs stimulates soil health and also reduces run-off, which helps protect our waterways. This should all be done in the fall, because spring fertilizing encourages weeds and disease.
Letting-go fits with Perfect Earth’s  overall approach. Allow clover to grow – it’s a natural fertilizer. “Clover is a nitrogen fixer,” said Jess Tonn, Director of Communications at Perfect Earth, “so it gives the lawn an extra boost of nitrogen when mowed. We also encourage people to leave their grass clippings because they’re an excellent source of nitrogen for the soil.”
While Perfect Earth emphasizes that a “perfect” lawn doesn’t need to be overrun with dandelions, it’s helpful to note that these “weeds” do help to aerate the soil and create diversity for pollinators like bees and butterflies. If you prefer to be dandelion-free, they recommend mowing high and then pulling out any remaining dandelions by hand.
They also encourage people to trust that trees and shrubs can take care of themselves most of the time, and don’t need intervention. Even organic sprays often kill beneficial insects alongside pests.

Perfect Earth - Lief - Toxin-free landscapesAt Perfect Earth, the primary objective is awareness. That’s where Lief, their little insignia that’s popping up from the Madoo Conservancy to Bridge Gardens, comes in. The little dancing leaf was conceived in the spirit of the Certified Organic symbol. It serves as a trustworthy notice that a certain landscape is toxin free. The town of East Hampton, Guild Hall, and the High Line in Manhattan are all in talks with Perfect Earth to get Lief on their property. The idea is they’re already perfect: this is just giving them the recognition they deserve.

“That’s what the name ‘Perfect Earth’ is all about,” said von Gal. “What is perfect? Nature is perfect. Look at your landscape: If it’s toxic, how perfect is that lawn?”

This coming November, voters will have a chance to advocate for this kind of change in our water quality. The Community Preservation Fund, which has preserved tens of thousands of acres of open space on the East End, could now allot 20% of its funds to water quality improvement. That’s an estimated $500-$600 million over the next twenty years.

“That ballot proposition could serve as the foundation to put Humpty Dumpty back together again,” said DeLuca.

Von Gal has watched the concept of consciousness in landscaping ebb and flow over her decades in the industry, but she feels it’s now gotten to a critical point.

“There’s so much pressure on the environment now that every single piece of land has to be counted,” she said. “You can’t put land into a category where we can destroy this because we’re saving that. If we can get the people of the United States and then the world to treat their land in a way that promotes it as a place that is biodiverse and toxin-free then we’ve made a small revolution.”

Perfect Earth will host the third annual Perfect Picnic Benefit at the Springs home of artist Cindy Sherman on September 3 from 3 to 7 pm. Isaac Mizrahi will be the MC, and Debbie Harry and Chris Stein of Blondie will headline an amazing musical lineup. Visit the Perfect Earth Project for tickets or more information.

How Three Generations of a Family Kept Their Agricultural Heritage Alive with the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust

Since 1995, The Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT) has partnered with landowners across Colorado to protect productive agricultural land. This work has helped agricultural families to achieve their estate planning goals, pay down debt, save for retirement, pay for long-term health care and college education, diversify and expand operations, and preserve their agricultural heritage. It has also helped to preserve the natural resources that make Colorado such a special place to live and visit.

On a recent trip to visit partners in Colorado, a topic of conversation was the importance of family land – families keeping their agricultural heritage and traditions alive through generations. The CCALT focuses exactly on this – and their work with the 19,000 acre Patterson Ranch near Kim, Colorado in Las Animas County is a success story in this remote and rugged portion of Southeastern Colorado. Here is that story, from the CCALT website.

For years, the family grappled with the challenge of estate planning and how they would transfer the family’s agriculture business from one generation to the next without facing crippling taxes and having to sell some or all of the ranch.

The 19,000 acre Patterson Ranch near Kim, Colorado represents three generations of a family keeping their agricultural heritage and traditions alive

The 19,000 acre Patterson Ranch near Kim, Colorado represents three generations of a family keeping their agricultural heritage and traditions alive. Photo (c) CCALT

The Patterson family worked with CCALT and several other conservation partners to convey a conservation easement that enabled the Patterson family to reduce their estate tax liability, generate income and preserve the entire ranch as a viable agricultural operation. The conservation project was completed in 2000 and achieved all of the goals established by the family.

After years of operating with a conservation easement, the Patterson family is still going strong, valuing the partnership with CCALT that has enabled them to continue the family’s strong agricultural heritage in Southeastern Colorado. The Pattersons occasionally reminisce on the struggles they faced when deciding whether or not conservation was the right option for their family.

“Looking back, the decision was really very simple,” said Bob and Bunny Patterson. “We wanted to remain in agriculture and we wanted to pass the ranch on to our kids and grandkids. The conservation easement allowed us to do just that, and over the past decade, not much has changed. We continue to run the ranch the same way we did before the easement and the only thing that really did change is that now we have a better peace of mind as to what the future will hold.”

CCALT is proud of the hundreds of thousands of acres that they have been able to conserve in partnership with landowners. Read more about these families, their love of the land, and their commitment to protecting Colorado’s heritage and way of life.

The Trinchera Blanca Foundation and Founder Louis Bacon are proud supporters of the CCALT.

Women in Fire: Announcing October’s WTREX

The Moore Charitable Foundation and founder Louis Bacon are focused on forest health nationally and the advancement of prescribed burning as a critical management strategy, in partnership with experts in the field such as The Nature Conservancy and Wilderness Workshop. Like all areas of conservation, the future of fire practice could benefit from a more diversified workforce – including women in the mix as well.

We are delighted to promote a great blog post published via Fire Adapted Communities by Lenya N. Quinn-Davidson, Director of the Northern California Prescribed Fire Council, about a prescribed fire training exchange (TREX) in northwestern California, hosted by the Northern California Prescribed Fire Council. This year’s theme: Women in Fire. Read on. 

Photo (c) Lenya Quinn-Davidson

I’ll be honest: this month’s fire science blog is not very scientific. It’s half training announcement, half social commentary. But it has an essence of science to it—not because of the literature that exists on the topic, but because of what isn’t there.

At the end of October, I’m hosting a prescribed fire training exchange (TREX) here in northwestern California. This will be the fourth annual TREX hosted by the Northern California Prescribed Fire Council, but this year will be special—the event will have a focus on women in fire, and it will work to recognize and reinforce the importance of female perspective and leadership in fire management.

In planning the training exchange, which we’re calling the “WTREX,” we assembled a high-powered team of leaders to craft a shared vision around this inherently complex and sensitive topic. Most of us are women, but we come from very different backgrounds. There are seasoned wildland fire professionals—like Jeanne Pinchatulley, one of only two female Type 1 incident commanders in the country, and Amanda Stamper, The Nature Conservancy in Oregon’s fire manager—but we also have municipal fire staff, fire ecologists, extension personnel, media and outreach specialists, and others. So to me, the most interesting thing in the planning process has hardly been the event itself—rather, it’s been the conversations that our group has been having as we’ve worked to articulate the mission and goals of the WTREX. It took many months of thought and rich discussion to get to yesterday’s public announcement of the event.


As I lay awake last week thinking about my Tuesday blog post and what science topic I should delve into this month, I naturally found myself thinking about women in fire. I wondered about the research that’s been done on this topic, and how it relates to what we’re trying to do here in late October. What are the challenges that women face in fire? Is it an issue of recruitment and numbers, or is it something more substantive—more cultural?

Perhaps tellingly, there hasn’t been much research on this topic. Sarah McCaffrey pointed me toward some work in Australia, where Christine Eriksen and others have looked at rural bushfire management in the context of gender. They’ve found key differences in the way men and women perceive, prepare for, and respond to bushfires—differences that often leave women ill-prepared for fire or reliant on men for protection. Though this is a different social and political setting than we’re immersed in here, there was one recurring theme in Eriksen’s work that resonated with the conversations I’ve been having: the notion that fire management is “men’s business,” even when women are involved. That same underlying attitude has recently been called out here in the U.S. An article in High Country News focused on the harassment and sexism that is still rampant in the world of wildland firefighting, and that story mostly highlighted the overt abuse that’s taking place—not the more subtle forms of misogyny that are even more widespread but harder to pinpoint and disrupt.

In approaching the WTREX, our team is interested in creating a space where women and men can discuss and understand these issues, and work together to build a more inclusive, supportive culture in fire. We feel that today’s fire problems are so complex that we need to elevate diversity in intellect, talent and perspective in order to solve them, and that approach will necessarily involve leadership from women.

The WTREX could not be more timely: just in the last few days, Shawna Legarza was appointed the new national director of fire and aviation management for the USDA Forest Service, and another woman, Patty Grantham, will take her place as the director of fire and aviation for the Pacific Southwest Region. On top of that, we’re in an election year with the first female presidential candidate of a major political party. The time is ripe to bring 40 fire practitioners together in northern California to restore fire to the landscape, build new networks and partnerships, and work toward a more equitable, inclusive, and effective fire management culture. (And I think we should probably incorporate some research, too—there’s clearly a need!)

To learn more about WTREX or to apply, visit Contact Lenya at if you have questions.


Eriksen, C., Gill, N. and Head, L., 2010. The gendered dimensions of bushfire in changing rural landscapes in Australia. Journal of Rural Studies, 26(4), pp.332-342.

Eriksen, C., 2014. Gendered risk engagement: challenging the embedded vulnerability, social norms and power relations in conventional Australian bushfire education. Geographical Research, 52(1), pp.23-33.

Langlois, K. May 30, 2016. Trial by Fire: women in the male-dominated world of wildland firefighting still face harassment, abuse and sexism. High Country News.

Fields Of Filth: Landmark Report Maps Feces-Laden Hog And Chicken Operations In North Carolina

Today, Waterkeeper Alliance, North Carolina Riverkeeper organizations and Environmental Working Group released an interactive map that reveals the locations of more than 6,500 CAFOs in NC. The joint WKA/EWG press release is below.

WASHINGTON – A first-of-its-kind interactive map revealing the locations of more than 6,500 concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, across the state of North Carolina was released today by Waterkeeper Alliance, North Carolina Riverkeeper organizations and Environmental Working Group.

In addition to swine and cattle CAFOs, the project documents the locations of over 3,900 poultry operations, which up until now have been shielded from the people of North Carolina.

The maps, which EWG and Waterkeeper Alliance researchers constructed over more than three years, provide a never-before-seen aerial view of the CAFOs blanketing the state. This includes the manure lagoons from swine operations, detailing how close they are to streams, rivers and other public water sources.

The maps feature satellite photos of each of the thousands of facilities.


Infographic: EWG / Waterkeeper Alliance

The unprecedented mapping project identifies approximate locations of all swine, poultry and cattle CAFO operations in the state, as well as the size of the operations. The online maps allow users to view total estimated waste outputs on a facility, watershed, county or statewide scale. All told, researchers from the groups estimate more than 10 billion pounds of wet animal waste and 2 million tons of dry animal waste is generated annually in North Carolina from CAFOs, leaving tens of thousands of rural residents susceptible to air and water quality contamination.

“For far too long, North Carolinians have been kept in the dark about the true impact these industrial factory farms are having on communities and waterways,” said Marc Yaggi, executive director of Waterkeeper Alliance. “Information is power and now that these sites are definitively identified, we will hold accountable the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for enforcing the Clean Water Act and fixing these massive pollution problems.”

“Animal agriculture operations are one of the leading sources of water and air pollution in the country and are making people sick,” said Ken Cook, president and co-founder of EWG. “These maps show for the first time, that thousands of CAFOs and the animal waste they produce are often adjacent to communities and vital water sources.”

Last year, the U.S. Geological Survey and North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources published a wide-ranging study showing elevated levels of both nitrates and ammonia in waterways near hog CAFOs in eastern North Carolina. Researchers behind the three year USGS/DENR study found that “animal feeding operations have measureable affects on stream water quality in many agricultural watersheds in the North Carolina Coastal Plain” with nearly 60 percent of the watersheds where CAFOs are located having “distinct differences in water quality reflecting swine and/or poultry manure effects.”

Nitrates at high levels in waterways can kill off fish, and when ingested through contaminated drinking water can cause the potentially fatal “blue baby syndrome” in infants, among other illnesses in humans.

Hog manure pits also contain a mix of dangerous pathogens, like Salmonella and pharmaceuticals, among many other agents that can leach into surface water sources.  As the maps show, there are more than 4,100 manure pits in North Carolina, with nearly 50 percent of them located Duplin and Sampson counties alone.

Beyond the threat to water, the air in the communities next to many of these CAFOs is often polluted, too. The odor from the hog manure stored in these pits, a mix between rotten eggs and ammonia, regularly drifts into adjacent neighborhoods and homes, forcing residents to cover their mouths and noses with masks when outside. Studies,including one from researchers with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Michigan, found the ammonia released into the air from swine CAFOs in North Carolina “is potentially hazardous for nearby human populations at community locations, particularly homes and schools.”

Additional research has shown the air pollution from CAFOs like those in North Carolina can elevate the risks forrespiratory problems, eye and nose irritation, and increased mental stress for those who live and work near these animal feeding operations.

The noxious fumes from CAFO operations in Halifax County have sometimes forced nearby residents, who could afford it, to stay in area motels until the plumes that hung over their homes passed.

Other serious health problems associated with these animal agriculture operations include the growing threat of superbugs that are resistant to antibiotics. According to the Pew Charitable Trust’s Antibiotic Resistance Project, roughly 70 percent of all antibiotics in the U.S. are used on hogs, chickens and cattle to make them grow faster. Estimates show farm animals in North Carolina receive more antibiotics than all Americans combined.

The map project also highlights key information, including statistics, that has never before been made available:

  • 10 billion gallons of wet animal waste are produced each year in North Carolina.
  • Across North Carolina, there is the equivalent of over 15,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools brimming with swine and cattle waste from CAFOs alone.
  • Annually, poultry operations in the state produce more than 2 million tons of dry animal waste.
  • 4,145 waste pits make up 6,848 acres of land (29,831,277 square feet).
  • 37 waste pits are within 2,500 feet of a school.
  • 288 waste pits are within 2,500 feet of a church.
  • 136 waste pits are within 2,500 feet of a public water well.
  • 170 waste pits are within the state’s 100-year floodplain.
  • Poultry housed in CAFO facilities outnumber residents by 20 to one.

Sam Perkins, the Catawba Riverkeeper, regularly flies over his basin in the Piedmont of North Carolina. “We have 1,000 poultry houses in the Catawba River basin in North Carolina,” he stated. “With the public record exemption afforded by state regulations, the industry has exploded throughout this beautiful region, and these maps finally show just how extensive that growth is. Many of these operations cannot even take the simple measure of covering their waste piles with a simple tarp to prevent runoff. Downstream of many of these sites, the Catawba River is dammed into lakes, which serve as major regional drinking water reservoirs and provide tens of billions of dollars of property tax base critical to local economies. The toxin microcystin produced by harmful algal blooms – like those seen in eastern North Carolina and in Toledo, Ohio – fueled by nutrient runoff from these sites, would be disastrous for the Charlotte region.”

Elsie Herring is a Duplin County resident affected by CAFO pollution. “For the first time, I can see a map of the entire state and look at where I live in the southeastern part and see the overwhelming concentration of these facilities in my community,” Herring said. “On a local level, we now have the tools and information we need to protect ourselves and our waterways from the very real impacts of these facilities on our health, homes and community. This will force this industry to finally have transparency, as its lasting impact is projected and amplified for all to see.”

The map project will be housed on Waterkeeper Alliance’s and Environmental Working Group’s websites, and will continue to be developed. Over the weeks and months ahead, locations of processing plants and feed mills will be added. The team behind this initiative will also produce similar maps for other states in the U.S. with significant CAFO operations to demonstrate the enormous impact the factory farm industry has on human health and the environment.

Waterkeeper Alliance Contact: Tina Posterli, Waterkeeper Alliance, 212.747.0622 or

Louis BaconThe Moore Charitable Foundation, and local affiliate The Orton Foundation are proud partners of WaterKeeper Alliance.