Re: NANFA-- Bush puts hold on "dead zone" plan

Christopher Scharpf (
Sun, 04 Feb 2001 08:02:56 -0400

>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.

That's an unfair statement, since the USFWS is required by law to enforce the
ESA. If the USFWS is guilty of anything, it's been its inability to
properly budget for the increasing level of endangerment in this country, and
the costs of endangered species recovery. Then again, the agency is under
intense political pressure from politicians and Interior appropriations
committee members to budget LESS money to endangered species listings and
recovery efforts. My Alabama sturgeon essay cited one Congressman who threatened
to cut USFWS funding if the agency listed the species.

>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.

Yes, it is ironic. But the environmental lawyers would argue that the USFWS
would be doing nothing (or very little) if it weren't for the lawsuits.
Personally, I don't know enough about this issue to have an informed opinion on
it. It's an interesting topic for investigation, however, and I will continue
looking into it.

>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.

The ESA has been law since the Nixon Administration. Many recovery plans date
back to the 80s. The truth of the matter is, we're losing more species and
habitat than any law, government agency, or presidential administration can keep
up with. The ESA is a law for which our country lacks the political clout and
money to fully and properly enforce. It's very possible that Bush and Norton
wlll dismantle the Act. Will that be better or worse for our country's

>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 USFWS considers these all the time! Many species are NOT listed because of
public/private conservation agreements. The USFWS would rather not formally list
a species. But when other regulatory measures or conservation mesaures prove to
be inadequate, the ESA is invoked. Even still, public and private interests need
to -- and do -- partner to protect species and, hopefully, bring about their

>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.

I'm for all of these measures. But we also need enforceable legislation to help
us protect the biodiversity we have left. It's not that I place unquestioned
trust or faith into the federal government. It's just that I believe that the
"brute force of government" (to use Jeff's term) is sometimes neccessary to
ensure the protection of imperiled flora and fauna.

Personally, I think it's wonderful that the United States is one of the few (if
not the only) country in the world that has a law protecting -- in theory, at
least -- the rights of species and the value of biodiversity. It makes me proud
to be an American.

Chris Scharpf

/"Unless stated otherwise, comments made on this list do not necessarily
/ reflect the beliefs or goals of the North American Native Fishes
/ Association"
/ This is the discussion list of the North American Native Fishes Association
/ To subscribe, unsubscribe, or get help, send the word
/ subscribe, unsubscribe, or help in the body (not subject) of an email to
/ For a digest version, send the command to
/ instead.
/ For more information about NANFA, visit our web page,