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Harold Rice
Olathe Kansas

Business has an old saying that if you fail to plan you have a plan to
fail.  These are my thoughts on developing a plan to increase the
membership of our organization from hundreds to thousands and maybe into
the millions and to work toward uniting all American conservation
organizations into a conservation alliance which would more effectively
operate in today's public, scientific and political arena.

"We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall hang separately".
Ben Franklin, July 4, 1776

When Benjamin Franklin made that statement at the signing of the
Declaration of Independence it was a warning to the participants
concerning the political risk they were taking and sound advice on how
they could best assure the successful launching of a new nation.
Today, for all wildlife conservation organizations, that quote is just as
relevant today as it was over two hundred years ago.  It is especially
important and apprepeau for the current ecopolitical arena of today.
By 1890, the end of the American frontier was proclaimed by the united
states government.  In that same year, modern business management was
born.  In 1900, the Lacey Act led to the birth of modern wildlife
management.  From the beginning, wildlife management faced a choice of
funding either propagation of the species programs or habitat
preservation programs.  Many agencies chose to fund species propagation
programs.  Today, agencies and conservation organizations are dealing
with endangered species and endangered habitat problems and often both at
the same time with the same species.  In today's political environment,
an old military strategy, divide and conquer, is used effectively in
putting wildlife in a continuos trend of diminishing habitat.  This
strategy is very effective in keeping issues out of the public eye,
minimizing the scope and depth of the problems, protecting the offenders
from bad publicity and in the more severe cases from prosecution.
Nationwide, new development is also a major factor in the loss of
habitat.  If on a nationwide basis, wildlife habitat is lost at the rate
of 12 square miles per day, that would amount to a habitat loss of 4,380
square miles a year.  That rate of habitat loss equates to losing an area
of habitat equal in size to the state of Arkansas about every twelve
years.  Some of the other issues and habitat problem areas across the
country that I am aware of are: stream pollution and fish kills from
commercial hog farms, also known as factory farms.  These farms are the
hog version of a commercial chicken farm.  Thousands of hogs are raised
inside several buildings.  The annual solid waste produced by a single
hog farm exceeds the annual solid wastes produced by a human population
of a city the size of Denver, Colorado.  This waste is stored in lagoons
near the hog farm buildings.  When the lagoon leaks large fish kills
occur for miles down stream.  In the summer of 1992, the Seattle,
Washington area was experiencing a drought and all streams were very low.
 The salmon spawning run was about to begin and was in danger of not
having enough water in the streams for the salmon to go upstream and
spawn at their birth site.  The city had an aggressive water conservation
program going and each day they released figures for the TV, radio and
newspapers to publish or broadcast to the local area about the previous
days water conservation.  The size of the run they were trying to save,
less than 3,000 salmon.  In the not too distant past, prior to all the
dams being built on the river system, the number of salmon in a spawning
run numbered in the millions.  Chesapeake Bay's shell fish industry is
all but gone because of pollution.  Communities in the Kansas City,
Missouri area are dealing with localized flood control problems.  And,
the 1993 Midwest floods were among the worst of the century.  Also in the
Midwest, we have been encountering deformed frogs.  Children are finding
five legged frogs, frogs with two heads, frog with legs growing out of
various parts of their bodies.  The area that I am familiar with extends
from Minnesota to Missouri.  No cause has yet been identified.  You can
probably add to this list from your own knowledge and awareness of issues
in your area.
At all levels of government, you don't get you issues addressed without
being a representative or a member of a group with a large membership.
Despite what you learned in Government 101, the system does not work that
way most of the time.  Try this.  You call up a local government office,
you tell the person who answers the telephone, I am John Doe and I
propose that we clean up the Beautiful River that flows through our city,
verses You call up your local government office, you tell the person who
answers the telephone, I am John Doe President of the Save the Beautiful
River Foundation.  I represent ninety percent of the citizens of this
city.  I propose that we clean up the Beautiful River that flows through
our city.  Put yourself in the politician's shoes and who would you bet
gets a call back.
If all stakeholders and conservation organizations would join together to
speak as one voice, how effective do you think that voice would be?  If
there was a single list of stakeholders and all environmental problems
were known, how effective do you think that voice would be?  If fish are
dying in a stream because of some unknown reason, does that mean that no
other aquatic or land species are affected?  If the fish kill is not
reported for weeks think about the impact of that on a once healthy
stream.  Half of the American population had an outdoor experience last
year.  In this country there are over 60 million anglers.  Those anglers
are mom's, dad's, grandpa's, grandma's, aunt's, uncles' and children of
all ages.  Often many anglers have developed a life long interest in fish
and fishing from those experiences with their adult relatives.  As most
adults know and especially the older generation, children see and hear
things that we adults often overlook many times.  I propose that we
initiate a program to increase our membership by asking the millions of
anglers to join our organization.  While they may not keep aquariums or
have a scientific background, they have a common interest in healthy
streams and a healthy fish population.  They would provide the eyes and
ears for early detection of habitat problems on a scale that would
virtually cover every creek, river, bayou, swamp, lake or pond in the
united states.  I also propose that we begin to formulate a plan which
establishes a conservation alliance to pool our issues, information,
resources and ideas with other alliance members so that we can increase
the value of our resources, increase our organization effectiveness,
speak with a more authoritative voice as a part of a larger body for
addressing conservation issues in the public, scientific and political
Remember that it takes a healthy habitat for you to obtain fish for your
aquarium and if you want to help with the restoration of the species
there can be no restoration without suitable habitat.
I can't do it alone, our organization president and board of trustees
can't do it alone, you can't do it alone and the anglers and other
conservation organizations can't do it alone, but all of us together can
do it.  Maybe someday, we may never have to worry about hearing that
child's all important question "Grandpa, Why does this frog have five


Robert Rice
All Men are equal until the point of exertion