Many of the fishes that live in small , self-contained still water
habitats could be easily conserved in artificial refugia on both private
and public lands. If species like the Olympic Mudminnow or Devils Hole
Pupfish go extinct it will be because of bureaucratic intransigence.
I've seen the habitat of the pupfish - my pond is probably bigger- the
water level has receeded down so far that it is more or less a small
pool inside a cave where the people managing the habitat have hung grow
lights to sustain the algae which is the basis of the pool's ecosystem.
Rather than wring our hands and fearfully fret about the possibility of
loosing them, wouldn't it be better to farm some of the stock out to
artificially created pools in other places nearby where they would be
safer - plus to private hobbyists (gasp!) who could do an excellent job
at keeping the germ line going.
The environmentalists who are suing the feds could spend their money and
time more productively building and managing refugia for imperiled
species than throwing it way in costly court battles to force an already
overburdened Fish and Wildlife Service to take on even more tasks.
Increasing their budget is not the answer either. Government based
solutions to problems are always overtly complex and expensive. With
volunteer labor and private funding you might be able to build a new
pool to sustain a population of pupfish for under a thousand dollars. A
federally funded program might consume that much and more in the paper
A great analogy is the International Space Station proposed by Ronald
Reagan in the mid 1980s- to cost a billion and be ready by 1990. By that
time nothing had flown and they spent at least double the proposed
budget and still would not leave the drafting board for yet another
Kind of interesting why it was necessary for NASA to spend all that
money just to design something we had already done before - remember
skylab? But thats how government works.