<< 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. >>
Man, I hate to get into one of these....:)
Jeff, I'm hoping you're not suggesting that building refugia is acceptable
over protecting or restoring the habitat the fish (should) live in. My
organization (private citizens, mind you) maintains several refuge
populations of some very rare fishes. I'd much rather see those fish back in
the wild! On top of this, the number of endangered fish living in small,
self-contained, non-riverine waters is very small.
Our work is funded in a large part from Federal Endangered Species
monies.....and, I promise you, we ain't gettin rich! I sat down and figured
out our cost of maintaining and propagating Barrens topminnows (one of the
species we maintain a refuge population of) last year. We're spending about
four times what we're being funded for, for that fish!
Endangeres Species funding is being radically reduced, despite the needs of
the fish. Forget listing, forget Critical Habitat designations. Fish and
Wildlife Service does alot of on-the -ground work to help protect these fish.
Yes, they're a federal agency which automatically equals excess costs etc...
But, we're stuck with that, and honestly, some regions have done a pretty
good job, considering the level of funding they have to work with.
I have no doubt that there are plenty of hobbyists out there that could do a
great job working with these fish. I truely think that the reason Pat and I
have had so much success with CFI is because we were hobbyists before we
became aquatic biologists. But, farming out endangered species just isn't
going to happen, or at least I don't see it happening. I've even tried to
make this happen for some species. So far, it doesn't appear it's gonna work.
There's just too much at stake with many of these fish. But, that's another
<<Wouldn't an even better solution be to outsource as much of the work as
possible to private individuals - the "volunteer sector" rather than
throwing more taxpayers money at the problem?>>
This kinda goes right along with "Let's let private America police itself
regarding Endangered Species".
You do realize that the ones that REALLY, REALLY want to do away with the
E.S. Act altogether are the big oil, gas, timber etc... (hope I haven't
offended anyone by leaving them out!) companies. They'd like nothing better
than to not have to deal with those useless little creatures. If you think
otherwise, you're fooling yourself! Some actually do good things for the
environment. You can bet that they wouldn't if the E.S. Act weren't there to
"guide" them. And Ole George is right there to help his buddies!
I don't have anything against anyone voting or believing what they want to,
but don't fool yourself into thinking that the current administration is
environmentally friendly! (and, unfortunately, the last wasn't alot better).
All I can say is that I hope there's some good that comes out of all of this.
I hope there's a public backlash that swings the tide around the other way
next time around. If Ole George REALLY does something good for the
environment, I'll be first in line to vote for him!
Anyway, my two cents...I'm off my soapbox.
J. R. Shute
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