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I have to agree with Jay here.  At least in part.  I think compromises can
be made between the needs of wildlife and the needs of man.  I thought the
video I sent out at least showed that a few people were at least willing
to do SOME compromise.  Unfortunately, we all need to eat.  I just think
that industry, agriculture and ourselves have gotten into ruts of thinking
and now we believe there is only one way of doing something.  I bet we
would be amazed at how fast alternative electrical generation methods like
solar and wind power would develop if a series of disasters, i.e.
earthquakes...no eco-terrorism please...:)  were to take out some of these
dams.  It comes down to the buck.  If we can convince people that there's
a pay off to keeping streams, rivers and other habitats clean...then we
have them by the purse strings for life.  I think though, that starts with
education...a point Jay makes well.  Perhaps all we have are little
shallow victories like the one achieved for the Topeka Shiner in the Mill
Creek watershed, but I'll take the little victories, however the
spin-doctors abuse it over not having any victories at all.  Educate and
win...that's the way to make real change.  

Thus ends my 'sermon of the month'.  Who's next on the reply schedule? :)


On Wed, 12 Aug 1998, Jay DeLong wrote:

> Luke McClurg sent me a video with a short piece on the Topeka shiner.
> It dealt with efforts between Kansas farmers and state regulators to
> protect the remaining shiner populations by limiting damming of their
> stream habitat.  It was troubling that the range of the fish in Kansas
> has been reduced so much (over 70%), and that now the state is basically
> prohibiting dams on streams with the fish (good news) and permitting
> dams on those that don't presently contain the fish.  The video touts
> the compromise as a real success story, but if that's their take home
> message, I sure missed it.  The state put their spin on the story, but I
> believe they made some decisions which are not in the best interests of
> the fish.  They should have looked at the shiner's original distribution
> and developed a plan to improve that habitat.  The whole reason they did
> what they did was to head off federal listing of that fish, and I doubt
> that their efforts will impress the feds all that much.  Agriculture is
> king in most of the midwest and I feel the state's decision was
> agriculture-friendly.
> Whether it's for farming in Kansas, or urbanization in California, or
> recreation in Tennessee, or for irrigation or power or whatever on the
> Snake River, the native stream fauna is adversely affected by changing
> habitat from flowing water to standing water.  The once massive Columbia
> River salmons runs are in dire straits now largely because of dams.  The
> same is true for the fishes in the Colorado River and elsewhere on our
> continent.
> This all said, it's naive to say that dams are not ecomically justified.
> We in the Pacific NW have cheap power because of the dams on the
> Columbia River (and so does California thanks to NW hydropower!).  Tens
> of millions of people who are electric users, water-drinkers,
> recreators, waterfront home-owners, farmers and grocery shoppers argue
> that these uses justify the construction of dams.
> I see the issues as being perception, priorities, and power.  Perception
> is the one area in which conservation and educational organizations have
> the greatest input.  We need to educate the public on the value and
> plight of our native fauna and ecosystems.  Priorities are a longer-term
> goal-- the public has to decide what's most important and be willing to
> adjust their lives and even make sacrifices.  Power-- whoever has the
> clout will enact their agenda, and it can be like a pendulum.  If you
> want power you have to influence perceptions and encourage the
> establishment of priorities.
> Jay DeLong (who's not as smart as he pretends to be)
> Olympia, WA
> "Education never ends, Watson.  It is a series of lessons, with the
> greatest for the last." --Arthur Conan Doyle