It's interesting to hear that the USFWS is starting to cry uncle in
admission that it has taken on far more than it can handle. And it's
ironic to hear that environmental lawsuits which are intended to help
these creatures and their habitats are making it even harder for the
agency to do it's job.
Should it be a surprise that federal wildlife authorities are
overloaded? The Clinton years brought more funding and a zeal to boldly
regulate and antagonize private citizens. Now the political winds have
changed and the best laid plans of mice and men are coming unraveled.
That's the problem of looking to goverment for solutions.
Perhaps this is a wake up call.
Maybe it's time to give up the illusion that you can solve any problem
under the sun if you keep throwing money at it. How about considering
more private based solutions and cooperation between landowners and
local governments , private companies and non-governmental conservancy
groups. The success of such approaches has been demonstrated. If the
federal government and environmental groups would be less antagonistic
toward the idea of property rights it would be easier to solicit
cooperation from citizens. A prime example of this problem comes from a
fellow horticulturalist (a somewhat older fellow who hunted plants all
over the country back in the 60s & 70s) who said that botanists who
asked permission used to be welcome on private lands until federal
authorities started using the Endangered Species Act to take or restrict
the use of their property.
And maybe those environmentalists ought to give up counter-productive
lawsuits and consider a more constructive approach. Instead of giving
their sweat and treasure to line the pockets of lawyers and politicians
why don't they put their efforts into promoting alternative
technologies- start companies and non-profit organizations that help low
income people and struggling small farmers implement eco-friendly
technologies that could improve their lot economically as well as ease
their impact on the local ecosystem as well as mittigate the cumulative
impact further downstream. An approach like Habitat for Humanity funded
by private donation and employing volunteer labor. Could do everything
from building water troughs and planting stream buffers to creating
artificial wetlands that filter barnyard waste.
Better than the brute force of government fiat will never solve problems
in the long run. Administrations in Washington and State Houses will
come and go. But private land trusts and non-governmental organizations
like Habitat and the Nature Conservancy have proven themselves more
effective and enduring. And people like them alot more than a government
agency that is prone to overstep its constitutional authority and
overload itself with far more than it can feasably handle.
Maybe there is hope after all.
Jeff from PA
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