|Dad Decorah near N2B|
Now the Endangered Species Act is under threat from some members of Congress, who see a chance to roll back its influence. “It has never been used for the rehabilitation of species. It’s been used for control of the land,” said House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop. “We’ve missed the entire purpose of the Endangered Species Act. It has been hijacked.”
Bald eagles, peregrine falcons, brown pelicans, California condors, whooping cranes, Puerto Rican parrots, and spotted owls beg to differ with Congressman Bishop's assessment, as do grizzly bears, several species of whales, southern resident orcas, sea otters, gray wolves, and manatees. Unfortunately, recently extinct Carolina parakeets, ivory-billed woodpeckers, passenger pigeons, eskimo curlews, and dusky seaside sparrows are gone forever and thus unavailable for comment.
|Peregrine falcon at Xcel Blackdog power plant|
Imagine life without them. I can't stand the thought.
Looking for proof of the Act's success? The Center for Biodiversity conducted an exhaustive analysis of bird recovery under the Endangered Species Act and found it has been extraordinarily successful in recovering imperiled birds. Eighty-five percent of bird populations in the continental United States increased or stabilized while protected by the Act, and the average population increase was 624 percent. It was believed that listed bird populations would need 63 years to recover, but several populations (including bald eagles and peregrine falcons) have recovered far more rapidly than expected. As mentioned earlier, peregrine falcons and bald eagles have both been removed from the list.
|Dan Berger's notes. All of the Peregrines east of the Mississippi in the|
surveys he made in the 1950s and early '60s. Not an exaggeration...this was it.
- The Endangered Species Act has recovered species.
- Landowners won't lose their homes because an endangered species is on their property.
- Conservation groups and biologists do not just want money from the federal government. Folks, I have to tell you - conservation is the wrong field if your goal is money!
- It does not kill jobs. Section 7 of the US Endangered Species Act (ESA) directs federal agencies to help conserve listed species. One way it does this is by requiring agencies to consult with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service to ensure that proposed federal actions won’t threaten a listed species’ survival. Between 2008 and 2015, 81,461 projects advanced without protections for wildlife, 6,382 advanced requiring only minor modifications for wildlife, 2 advanced requiring protections, and 0 were stopped. This seems to indicate that ESA could work even more effectively than it does now.
I believe in public/private collaborations such as ours and this shining example - how could I not, with what Bob called our 'unique marriage between industry and conservation'? I've seen the power that these relationships can have to secure habitat, change perceptions, and help species. But legislation and enforcement are also necessary, and the reforms being proposed right now are aimed at the destruction of the Act, not its betterment. For the sake of the birds we watch and love, please stand up and say "No" to any attempts to weaken or repeal the Endangered Species Act. We will be following and blogging on this issue and the issue of public land transfer.
Things you can do:
- Sign a petition that the American Bird Conservancy will take to Congress. We signed and it endorsed it organizationally, the first time we have done so: http://bit.ly/2k9o2YL
- Contact your representative. Follow this link for contact information: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/.
- Contact your senator. Follow this link for contact information: https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/
- Scientific American: The five biggest myths about the endangered species act
- Live Science: Ten animals back from the brink
- The Effectiveness of the Endangered Species Act: A Quantitative Analysis
- A wild success: A systematic review of bird recovery under the Endangered Species Act
- Study on federal projects and the ESA: http://www.pnas.org/content/112/52/15844.full.pdf
- Section Seven Explorer: https://defenders-esc.shinyapps.io/section7/
- WaPo article on the Endangered Species act and jobs
- Scientific American's Extinction Countdown Blog
- I didn't use it in this blog, but Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring is perhaps more relevant than ever with the decline of bees due to neonictinoid pesticides.
It has also been pointed out to me that bald eagles and peregrine falcons live pretty comfortably with humans. But not all species can live as comfortably with humans as bald eagles and peregrine falcons do. Do species that can't matter less than those that can?
And finally, the struggle to preserve wildlife and wildland is, in my opinion, an absolute necessity for our own survival. If they don't make it, we won't either. We aren't an exception to the requirements of clean air, clean water, and habitat, and humans and animals are in this glorious, lovely mess called life together.