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Environmental concerns

Brett Johnson wrote:

>Few states interpret these laws so broadly, even if they are so poorly
>written so as to allow it. For one, there are too many pressures against
>this kind of legislation to allow it. 

That is _no_ excuse for citizens to allow poorly written legislation to be
passed if they can help it.   The last thing we need anywhere in this
country is more unenforcible laws.  We _need_ to protect our natural
resources, so lets do something _constructive_ about it, rather than
letting politicians write and pass legislation that "looks good" to the
public, but does little to address the real problems, and is at best

BTW, I know Sue personally, and I know that much of what she wrote is
tongue in cheek. 

>In many parts of the country, it is a
>wonder that these laws are even being passed. Agriculture, the Landscaping
>and Nursery Industries, even Ranching interests are all fighting over the
>legislation, in many cases both for and against various parts of it. 

I have written about this before.  I have found, at least here in MA that
the PTB have been very receptive to hearing from ALL reasonable parties.
They don't want to shut down the aquarium hobby, they want good ideas on
how best to protect our water ways. (although in many cases it's much too
little, much too late)

>In the
>meantime, plants like Kudzu, Eurasian Millfoil, Ivy and Cheatgrass are
>tearing up the natural ecology so that endangered animals from Bison to
>Salmon have trouble making it with the few natural resources left to them.
>By all means, get involved, but as a Washington Native Plant Steward, let me
>ask that you please be reasonable.

Absolutely get involved, and absoultely be reasonable.  Most important,
absolutely get educated on BOTH sides of this issue.  THEN ask your
legislators for SOUND, REASONABLE legislation.  Also work hard to make sure
that their program includes EDUCATION for the masses.  

I don't want to see more aquatic plants banned, but I also don't want to
see beautiful native aquatic plants become extinct due to introductions.
(EVERY threatened or endangered aquatic plant species in Massachusetts is
in that position because of one or more introduced species!)  They already
have signs at all public boat launches in MA warning about the introduction
of "noxious weeds" on boat propellors and asking boater to check their
boats carefully.  I'd LOVE to see it mandatory that every pet store post a
similar warning about the disposal of aquatic plant material.  I think THAT
would have a much greater impact than trying to ban the sale of certain
plants to hobbyists.  

>The situation is far too advanced for simple education to cure it. We have
>introduced far too many noxious weeds to simply pass on their control. If
>you value your states natural resources, land or aquatic, then please take a
>second look.

And what do you think stopping the sale of these same plants is going to
accomplish?  They are ALREADY in the wild, ALREADY being moved from water
system to water system by sports fisherman and boaters.  I'm _NOT_ saying
it's OK to do this, but do you _really_ think it makes much difference
whether a misguided Florida hobbyist buys a water hyacinth and tosses it in
the nearby pond?  The pond is _already_ lousy with the stuff.

Unfortunately, you are right.  Education isn't going to solve the problem.
Neither is banning these species.  They are already here, and I doubt we
will _ever_ be rid of them.  What education _can_ prevent is the
introduction of some NEW speicies that we aren't already afflicted with.

Your advice about ways to get involved are all good.  I'll add a couple
more.  TALK to your LFS, and make sure they are talking to their clients
about the proper disposal of plant material.  TALK to "newbies" with tanks,
and make sure they know that they _CANNOT_ release aquarium plants or fish
into the wild when they are tired of them.  TALK to your schools, and make
sure the KIDS understand that this shouldn't be done, and how it affects
our environment.   THE KIDS are the future of our hobby, and they also hold
to hope of our environment's future in their hands.