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Conservation and Legislation
>As near as I can tell, the document just says "Non-native aquatic plants
>are causing problems that the Commonwealth of Massachusettes should work
>collectively to solve." It doesn't matter whether you look at it from an
>aquarist's point of view, an environmentalist's point of view, or the
>point of view of a duck hunter, fisherman or boater. Once you dig past
>the potentially questionable details, its a pretty simple statement. I
>guess if you live in the Commonwealth, then you can look around and see if
>you think that's true. I don't live there.
>To solve the problem, the legislation proposes building a list of
>banned plants, funding plant removal programs and funding studies of the
>problems. If one accepts the original statement of policy, then the next
>question would be "Is this an effective solution?"
>I think the legislation proposes a bandaid solution. It's measures are
>aimed largely at alleviating the sympton and probably leave the cause
Thank you, Roger, for at least making the effort to find the proposed
legislation and read it.
As Richard and several people (including Mike McAllister in his original
letter to Dave Gomberg) have mentioned pollution , of course is the main
problem. The bad news is that in a heavily populated _very_ small state,
solving the problems of pollution are difficult. The good news is that in
the 30-odd years that I have been old enough to be aware of the
environment, things have improved _dramatically_ here. That's not to say
that there's not still a tremendous amount of work to be done - it is an on
It is certain that this legislation alone will not stop the spread of
exotic species. Aquarists and pond keepers are certainly not the main
vector in this spread either. On the other hand, I wish I could say that
no aquarium plants were ever dumped into the wild. The fact of THAT matter
is it just ain't so. I've talked to people who have seen it done, and I've
talked to people who have done it themselves when they were less informed.
We ARE part of the problem, even if not the main one. Pointing fingers at
fisherman, duck hunters, boaters and people who find that they must live in
urbanized areas, while not being willing to do anything ourselves is not
reasonable or productive.
I would _love_ it if there were a simple solution to cleaning up our water
ways, particularly if it was one that put absolutely no constraints on my
hobby. Practically speaking, it's not going to happen folks. So instead,
I prefer to keep an open, reasonable dialog going with legislators to avoid
a fiasco like the legislation put through in NH. I think there is very
little hope that we can totally avoid a ban of some species. I do think we
can limit that to a pretty short list if we work WITH the committee.
We also have to do our part to try to come up with a better solution than a
ban. This is part of a letter I recently sent to Senator Fargo's office:
>I was speaking in terms of educating aquarists and pond keepers about the
dangers of exotic introductions. That is the help I had offered to Mr.
McAllister, and _BY FAR_ the most effective method of preventing aquarists
and pond keepers from making a bad situation worse. I suggest that rather
than banning certain aquatic plants, it would probably be more effective
and less costly to enforce to do the same thing at pet stores and garden
shops that you do at boat ramps. Post prominent signs ex planing the
dangers of non-native introductions and proper disposal techniques. If you
want to go one step farther, require a warning slip be given out with all
purchases of aquatic plants.
>I will continue to do my share by educating adults through the magazines,
and children through the schools.
I really _do_ think that education is the best answer for ALL people who
want to enjoy our natural resources, whether they are boaters duck hunters
or aquarists. Most people who cause damage to these resources are
uniformed, careless or both. The uninformed can be educated, the careless
might be more careful if their actions resulted in a fine of some sort.
There will always be a small minority who will engage in wanton destruction
and vandalism. There is little, unfortunately, that we can do to stop this
sad part of human behavior.