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Re: Hobbie industry vs. the environment

> Date: Thu, 07 Sep 2000 11:26:08 -0400
> From: Dwight <boukmn at mindspring_com>
> Subject: Re: Hobbie industry vs. the environment
> <<http://www.tkphotos.com/DSAC/index.htm
> In particular, read Jim Lawson's superb introduction. This is where the
> hobby/conservation interface works best for many of us.>>
> I enjoyed reading that introduction and learning of the efforts being set
> forth to preserve Native American Desert Killiefish by Wright Huntley's
> organization.  The work is indeed quite impressive!   I'm curious to know
> what types of conditions the fish are kept under in captivity and what
> efforts are being made to preserve the vigor of some of these species.

*My* organization? :-) I'm just a worker and sometimes back-up coordinator
for a given work party.

The keeping of such fish is outside the scope of DSAC, and it is a violation
of both law and DSAC custom to remove any endangered fish from their natural
habitat. It is unfortunate that US laws are designed specifically to
discourage the skilled conservationist from captive propagation, no matter
what the threat to the species. This is another fine example of the "Law of
Government Opposites." [When we ask for a law to be passed to accomplish a
particular objective, more often than not Congress can write it in such a
way as to create the exact opposite effect to what is desired.]

> What kind of DAMNbusia traps do you chaps use?  They seem to be very
> effective from the Ash Spring 1999 trip results.  I get lots of requests
> from folks who realize what a plage this fish is and want it safely removed
> from their ponds.

We usually use the standard 2-part cylinder traps, sometimes with plastic
window-screening hot-glued inside for finer mesh. A couple of small blocks
of styrofoam inside can keep them floating for catching surface feeders,
like mollies and damnbusia. Dog-food pellets is the usual bait. Overnight
trapping seems to work best.

A lot of those fish are caught by skillful dip netting and seining, too.

> Is your organization working toward (state) setting aside sensitive haditat
> areas for the desert killie species?  How do you chaps get funding?  Do you
> encourage sponsorship of your trips?

I think we just accepted a donation from BAKA to pay for the Friday BBQ for
the youngsters from Crystal Springs Upland School that will be coming to the
Oct. work party in Ash Meadows. It was more a gesture from the club to
indicate support than really needed. Otherwise, we pay for the trips out of
our own pockets. Camping out makes it cheap and fun.

The broad habitat-salvage situation involves rather large amounts of
financing that takes it out of the "personal" conservation-activist realm.
For that, we *have* raised substantial amounts of money from local killifolk
for Nature Conservancy (the prime saviour of Ash Meadows, BTW).

This is a *plant* list, so I'd like to divert this discussion in that

Except for removing non-native plants, DSAC has done little on that side of
the effort. You can see some of our efforts to restore free-flowing dace
habitat in one of the Moapa trips in the above link.

In http://albums.photopoint.com/j/AlbumIndex?u=972804&a=7152836 you can find
some pictures of a special project we have been doing in Preston NV. Notice
the difference in the Nicholas Spring shots (where we have been working) to
the relatively untouched Cold Spring and Warm (aka Preston or Big) Spring
plant-choked waters. [Nicholas had much fewer weeds when we started, so we
didn't really cause all that much difference.]

The picture called Warm Spring Outflow makes superb computer-screen
wallpaper, BTW, if you like the desert contrasts.

The barrel of dribbled copper sulfate solution is used to knock down algae
so it doesn't clog up the system of agricultural irrigation it flows into.
It may not be exactly friendly to native plants. Our group could use some
hands-on botanist help more than money, IMHO. There seems to be a tendency
for our Fish and Wildlife biologist mentors to be oriented toward fish and
animal wildlife for some reason, and plants do get less attention. Only the
dry desert plants get much focus, and only in Ash Meadows. The kinds of
algae and other water plants is interesting, but less is known about them
and their history, AFAIK. We just yank out cat-tails and let it go at that.

Dave Gomberg has tried to push me into writing something for PAM about the
plants of the desert springs, but I don't feel competent to do a good job on
that. If someone with professional training in botany would be interested in
joining our activities, please contact me so we can get you on the mail list
and informed of upcoming trips. *That's* the kind of personal conservation
action that could really contribute to our activities. Be prepared to do
some one-on-one teaching, tho, as we are an inquisitive group.


PS. I do have a healthy population of *Crenichthys baileyi moapae* in one of
my "natives" tanks, thanks to eggs I didn't realize were attached to some
lush Val I brought back from the Moapa River a few years ago. That place is
choked with Val, water lillies and all sorts of introduced aquatic species.

Wright Huntley, Fremont CA, USA, 510 494-8679  huntleyone at home dot com

               "Bipartisan" means some larger-than-usual
                 government deception is taking place.

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