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sabp at main_nc.us (annepien): Consauga Ecosystem Letter

--------- Begin forwarded message ----------
From: sabp at main_nc.us (annepien)
To: RobertRice at juno_com
Subject: Consauga Ecosystem Letter
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 1998 10:20:08 -0500
Message-ID: <v01540b00630b65150bb8@[]>

12 February 1998

Note to Robert Rice:  Bill McLarnery suggested I forward this letter and
information to you because of the strong scientific membership of your
organization.  If it would be possible to circulate this letter among
or all of the scientists in your organization,  we would be much
As noted in the leter, the deadline for sign-on is 27 Febrary.  Tha k you
for your help.

To:  Members of the NANFA Endangered Species Program
From:  Brownie Newman
       Southern Appalachian Biodiversity Project

Re:  Sign-on letter for the Conasauga River Ecosystem.

        I would like to ask you to take a moment from your busy schedule
help protect one of America's most important centers of biological
diversity.  The Conasauga Watershed in Georgia and Tennessee is
one of the most diverse river ecosystems in America.  Dr. David Etnier
written that the Conasauga River "is arguably the highest concentration
federally protected species in North America."  The Conasauga hosts more
than 90 species of fish and 42 species of mussels. Twelve species are
currently listed under the Endangered Species Act, and according to Dr.
Etnier, several other species warrant listing.

        About 25% of the upper reaches of the watershed are in public
(all national forest).  The rest of the watershed is private lands
undergoing rapid development which is degrading water quality.  For this
reason, the parts of the watershed in public ownership represent the best
chances for maintaining a high level of ecological integrity.

        Unfortunately, three commercial timber projects are being
in the headwaters of the Conasauga watershed on national forest lands. 
projects involve building many miles of new logging roads and hundreds of
acres of intensive logging. Cutting these new roads across the steep
mountainsides in the headwaters of the Conasauga would deposit
sediment loads into the river.  In fact, the Forest Service concedes that
"...roads are the main source of sediment associated with Forest Service
lands" in the Conasauga Watershed and that "Erosion from road surfaces is
the primary primary source of sediment delivery from upland sources to

        Scientists who are most familiar with the Conasauga ecosystem
taken a lead role in efforts to protect the ecosystem.  Last year Dr.
Etnier, author of The Fishes of Tennessee, wrote a letter (which is
enclosed) to the local congressman which has significantly influenced the
debate.   A sign-on letter is now being circulated in the scientific
community which will be sent to Dan Glickman, the Secretary of
discussing the national and global importance of this ecosystem.  Dr.
Etnier is a lead signatory scientist.  We would like to ask for you to
consider being a signatory scientist on this letter.

        If you would like to sign onto this letter, you may indicate by
e-mailing us at sabp at main_nc.us or by simply mailing back the letter to
Secretary Glickman with your signature on it (and printed exactly as you
wish to have it on the letter).  The signatures will then be transferred
onto a master copy of the letter and mailed in.

        Thank you very much for your attention to this and for your help
protecing one of America's most ecologically diverse rivers.


Brownie Newman,  Coordinator
Southern Appalachian Biodiversity Project

P.S. The deadline for response is 24 February.


Mr. Dan Glickman
Secretary of Agriculture
200 A Whitten Building
1400 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, D.C.  20250

Dear Secretary Glickman,

        It has come to our attention that the Forest Service is making
plans for the future management of its lands that occur in the Conasauga
Watershed on the Cherokee and Chattahoochee National Forests in Georgia
Tennessee.  Due to the global ecological significance of this watershed,
would like to contribute the following comments regarding its future.

        The upper Conasauga River is one of the nation's premier river
ecosystems in terms of biological diversity.  It hosts one of the
highest concentrations of federally protected species, including twelve
federally Threatened and Endangered fish and mollusk species.  Many of
rare species have populations on or just downstream from the national
forest lands.   The Conasauga is like the Smoky Mountains of our river
ecosystems and deserves the highest possible conservation status.

        There is consensus in the scientific community that sedimentation
is one of the primary factors adversely impacting aquatic communities in
the United States. The Forest Service has indicated that existing roads
the primary source of sediment in the headwaters of the Conasauga.
Preventing new sources of sediment and remedying existing problems should
be a paramount goal for public lands management in the Conasauga and
high biodiversity watersheds.

        Only about 25% of the Conasauga Watershed is in national forest
ownership. Unfortunately, developments on private lands are degrading
quality.  It is therefore critically important that the streams flowing
from the national forest lands in the headwaters of the river system
as high quality as possible.

        As one of the nation's most important centers of biodiversity, 
support permanent protection for the part of the Conasauga Watershed that
occurs on public lands.  The Forest Service should take administrative
actions to protect and restore the watershed for its globally important
biological values through the Forest Plan revision process and assure
no actions are taken that could contribute sediment to the river until
process is completed.

        Thank you very much for your attention to this letter.  We hope
that it may be of some help when considering the future of this
irreplaceable river ecosystem.


Scientists who have signed on thus far Total = 23

David A. Etnier
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
University of Tennessee

Bryon J. Freeman
Institute of Ecology
University of Georgia

George W. Benz, Ph.D.
Director, Southeast Aquatic Research Institute
Chief Research Scientist,  Tennessee Aquarium

Dan Simberloff
University of Tennesee

Michael L. McKinney
Professor of Ecology and Geography
University of Tennessee

Dr. H. Ronald Pulliam
Professor, Instute of Ecology
University of Georgia

David Ehrenfeld
Professor of Biology
Rutgers University

William O. McLarney, Ph.D.
Consulting Biologist

Timothy M. Casey, Professor II
Director, Rutgers University Biodiversity Center

James R. Karr
Professor of Fisheries and Zoology
University of Washington

Gordon Orians
Professor Emeritus of Zoology
University of Washington

Jay Sexton
Faculty Research Assistant
Oregon State University

Christopher A. Frissell
Research Assistant Professor
Flathead Lake Biological Station
The University of Montana

Walter Dodds
Associate Professor of Biology
Kansas State University

Dr. Mark Riegner
Professor of Environmental Studies
Prescott College

Joel C. Barnes
Environmental Studies faculty
Prescott College

David H. Benzing
Professor of Biology
Oberline College

Robin S. Treichel, Ph.D.
Dana Faculty Fellow and Associate Proessor of Biology
Oberlin College

Craig Stockwell
Assistant Professor of Zoology
North Dakota State University

Heidi H. Schmidt
Senior Assistant
Missouri Botanical Garden

Eugene A. Schubert
Research Asssistant
University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

Richard Clinebell II
Doctoral Candidate

Russell Lande
Professor, Department of Biology
University of Oregon

Southern Appalachian Biodiversity Project
PO Box 3141
Asheville, NC 28802
(704) 258-2667
sabp at main_nc.us

--------- End forwarded message ----------

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