[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

NFC: where is the anger? (fw)

This message was on the other list today. I think Mr.
Scharpf did a very good job of pointing to a problem.
The problem is not new. But we still have it.

Boo Radley, Saraland, Alabama
The following is from Peter B. Moyle, author of INLAND
FISHES OF CALIFORNIA. it dates from 1995, I think.

Where is the anger? Why is there no storm of fury over
a Congress that wants to nullify the existence of
hundreds of species? Why hasn't a ripple of fear
passed through the nation over the actions of
politicians who would dump more poisons into rivers
and allow streams to run dry? Are we going to sit
around quietly, drinking bottled water from France,
watching the fish die?

I wish I understood this complacency. In my office I
have a map of the Sierra Nevada that illustrates the
near-disappearance of chinook salmon that once kept
people awake at night from the splashing of a million
tails. California's coho salmon fisheries are nearly
gone now. The fishermen know that a thousand frozen
salmon from Alaska cannot replace a single coho in
their catch. 

Yet in the Pacific Northwest, keeping a few loggers
employed for a few years (until the trees run out) or
keeping a few cows grazing along unfenced streams is
regarded as worth sacrificing entire fish populations
that can support future generations.

Of course, the fish (and humans) were not doing well
even before the present era of "Wise Use" and
congressional myopia. More than one third of all the
fish species in North America are in serious decline
even with the Endangered Species Act in place. Every
year, we pay more to filter the water we drink. Every
year, more streams lose the vegetation along their 
banks, their runs of salmon and their ability to
cleanse themselves.

My academic life has been partly spent documenting the
loss of California's native fishes. My first paper
documented the brief return of chinook salmon to the
Kings River in the San Joaquin Valley where it had not
been seen for 25 years and has not been seen since.
Subsequent papers documented dramatic declines in
fishes and frogs native to the Sierra Nevada
foothills. I continue my academic studies, but for
every ecological paper I publish, I publish two on
species declines. In 1975, one of my students caught
and released the last known bull trout in California.
Attempts to reestablish the species have failed.
Destruction of species and ecosystems is easy and
cheap, restoration hard and expensive.

This year it rained in California as it has not rained
for years. Fisheries are rebounding, because the water
has been purified, the spawning gravel cleansed and
riparian habitat flooded. This gives hope that salmon,

sturgeon and splittail can recover if we let them.
However, the drought California's fish have suffered
will be repeated if water diversions and environmental
degradation continue.

Pressured by the Endangered Species Act and other
environmental laws, there is an effort to negotiate
solutions to California's water problems. Yet Congress
seems bent on destroying this to favor the greedy few.
Where is the anger? 

Do You Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Sports - live college hoops coverage