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Re: NFC: On the local level how do we proceeed

dave bruderly wrote:
> Mr. Rice:
> Does your group know anything that could be used to fight projects, such
> as
> construction and operation of limerock mines and cement kilns, that will
> significantly degrade the oligotrophic karst limestone spring fed rivers
> of
> North Florida with atmospheric deposition of mercury and nitrate-nitrogen
> from cement kilns.  Hydrologic modifactions, ie. mining, also threaten the
> flow of water through these subterranian systems?
> We have species, such as blind crayfish and certain fresh water snails,
> that
> live in very specialized habitats but which have never been nominated for
> endangered species status and have no protections from these projects.
> The
> Suwannee River and tributaries also hosts endangered gulf sturgeon and
> manatees.  We need a knowledgeable and energetic volunteer who can fight
> to
> protect these aquatic species from rapacious developers ......

One catches far more flies with honey than with vinegar. That last sentence,
above, often sets the stage for initiating another of what has been a long
string of disasters. The press, the industry, and the politicians just adore
such things, but the benefit to the natural habitat is rarely demonstrable.

Assume the other guy is a bad guy -- not misinformed or ignorant, but truly
mean-spirited and uncaring. Use political action to bring force against him.
The interests of the bureaucrat and the interests of the industry
mysteriously find themselves aligned and the exact *opposite* of the
intended outcome is assured. The poor conservationists who started the
process are dismayed at how much worse things have gotten and clamor for use
of even more force. If your objective is building a police state, it may be
a fairly good plan. If you are interested in species preservation, it is,
based on many results, one of the worst.

I would prefer to never see another "Kill the Pupfish" bumper sticker, that
was the direct result of uncaring and insensitive bureaucrats and
conservationists bent on ripping off the private property of someone who
bought and paid for it.

My suggested alternative approach is to become very sure of your facts about
the threatened habitat. Get to know the state wildlife biologists. Spend a
bit of time also learning about the industry involved and what their (both
management and shareholders) problems and motives really are. Then do a
friendly and reasoned job of teaching the folks in that company about the
impact they could have, and explore *with them* things that could provide
protection without thwarting the needs of their shareholders. 

Most CEOs would *love* to go to tha annual meeting and say how, for a cost
less than 1% of sales, they managed to protect this huge area from the
negative impact of the company's effluent. The shareholders really dig that
kind of action, if it is based on facts and reason, and if it makes their
company a better citizen of the community where they operate.

You can help them get into a posture that shields them from future
harrassment and law suits, while getting the blind crayfish and snails a
stout long-term protector in the person of a well-run and profitable company
that already owns their habitat or water source. You don't do it with a chip
on your shoulder. You do it with true caring and attempts to understand the
best way to achieve everyone's goals.

If that approach fails, the Nature Conservacy has been able to help such
situations in many areas of the world. Contact them and see what their
approach might be.

A tiny group of hobbyists starting from the Bay Area Killifish Assn. and
expanding from there has been instrumental in establishing a wonderful
relationship with many ranchers and others (like the power company for Las
Vegas) of central and southern Nevada. Go read about the Desert Springs
Action Committee at:

http://www.tkphotos.com/DSAC/index.htm .

One of the last resident ranchers in Ash Meadow Wildlife Preserve, site of
the original Devil's Hole Pupfish "fight," routinely has us over for, or
joins our barbeque on our work trips there each fall. He, BTW, was
instrumental in getting Nature Conservancy to buy out the more hostile

At the above web site, you can follow the links to see one of the Preston
ranchers giving us tales of the history of Preston NV and the old water
wars. He's an active supporter of our (and other) conservation efforts. We
all have fun, educating each other.

Contrast the relative peace around the springs (nearly all on ranch sites,
of course) of the lower Nevada desert with what is happening up around Elko
vis-a-vis a southerly habitat of the Bull Trout. That one was pursued with
the other method, and after many years is *still* a running disaster (almost
a war), with the (probably unimportant) fish still virtually unprotected.

I guess if anyone wants to fight, that's their right. Just don't try to
convince many of us, who have been there and done that, it is doing much
good for the habitat.

Active conservation is "where it's at," for me. 



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

                There are two rules for success in life:
             Rule 1: Don't tell people everything you know.

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