> Oh, pardon me. Let me think about this a bit more ...
> so they restored the streams to the _original_
> ecosystem and it's now just like the good ol' days
> when the fish swam free. That's miraculous. And now
> you're going to introduce pampered fish that have been
> held in captivity for many generations and have
> adapted to a life in artificial enclosures. Oh. OK. I
> get it. That is really clever.
Were these not Iowa Darters we're talking about?
These are still fairly common in many parts of their range and it could be
feasable to translocate from a population geographically close to the site
proposed for reintroduction. These would not be pampered fish that have been
inbred in aquaria for generations, but from a wild population which has been
studied and screened for disease and parasites - then spawned in a hatchery to
eliminate parasite loads that adult fish often carry. The favored habiatat of
Iowa Darters is clear water lakes and ponds with vegetation - which would make
them suitable for reintroduction to artificial refugia.
As a matter of fact there is such an experiment underway in Illinois involving
this and a few other companion species - Black-chin & Blacknose Shiners and our
common Banded Killifish - F diphanus were planted in a pond and have begun to
reproduce. The pond is part of a series of two ponds with a 5 foot high drop into
the outgoing stream which the architects of this project hope will keep carp and
other undesirables like green sunfish from invading the ponds. This is part of a
greater project involving restoration of native prairie plants and trees. I have
a pamplet about it saved from the convention in August. There is also a web site
about it that I saw several months before that.
Eco-engineering is not playing God. It is simply the application of existing
knowledge to mitigate the impact of human activity on the natural environment and
to improve the quality of life for humans by bringing more elements of the
natural world into our lives. The process of combining elements to rebuild
functioning ecosystems is not a precise science but a process of working with the
natural world and getting it to work for you. New elements are introduced, some
take, some don't and eventually the ones that do work out a balance that persists
over time. The same thing happens without human intervention in natural systems.
Over the long run you accept the harminious outcome and try to rely on the
self-regulating aspects of natural systems which minimal maintenance
it's a sustainable system for western civilization which allows human life to
coexist harmoniously with the natural world as opposed to the systematic creation
of a police state to move people off the land and shut them away from the natural
world. It's also a system for the creation of wealth and enrichment of the human
I am not saying that eco-engineering and species translocation is a panacea, but
it can help conserve biodiversity as well as enhance the beauty of the landscape.
Creation of new habitats that can be colonized by species from nearby natural
populations. Restored areas can also function as dispersal cooridors to allow
species to migrate naturally between remaining fragments of wild lands.
Just a few more thoughts.
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