By: Norma Bennett Woolf Date: 01/13/2012 Category: | Wildlife Journal |
NWI wants agency director out
The National Wilderness Institute, the Texas Wildlife Association, and the United Sportsmen of Pennsylvania. called for removal of Jamie Rappaport Clark, director of the US Fish and Wildlife Services, for diversion of conservation monies to a private slush fund and for agency dependence on politics, not science, to make decisions.
"Under Jamie Clark millions of dollars from conservation funds have been looted and spent on inflated administrative costs, global travel to places such as Japan, Italy and Brazil, and a slush fund for the director. This was money that was supposed to go to the states for wildlife management, biological studies and habitat improvement - real conservation," said NWI executive director Rob Gordon.
The funds come from taxes collected on hunting and fishing equipment and earmarked for disbursal to states for conservation projects. Gordon said that a report from the federal General Accounting Office accused the agency of playing a shell game with the money, in part by funding controversial projects outside the scope of the laws that established the taxes.
According to NWI, the agency tried to buy Palmyra Atoll, a Pacific Ocean island 1000 miles from Hawaii, with funds generated by sportsmen through the sale of duck stamps and imported guns and ammunition even though the island is home to few ducks and no hunting is allowed. The purchase was dropped when NWI exposed the plan.
The agency under Clark also punishes employees who blow the whistle on the agency's political agenda. NWI reported that two agency employees were recently harassed and demoted, a biologist for refusing to approve grants for an animal rights group in violation of agency regulations and a computer security specialist for cooperating with investigators who were looking into charges made by the first.
Clark was also responsible for a list of species to be down-listed from endangered to threatened as proof that the Endangered Species Act works. NWI released documents that indicated species on the list were extinct, had been placed on the list without sufficient proof that they were in trouble, or had recovered for reasons other than ESA recovery plans.
"The record of the Fish and Wildlife Service under Director Jamie Clark is one of financial mismanagement, abuse of career employees, and total politicization of what should be a scientific agency. The present leadership of the agency has betrayed the cause of sound conservation. They should be removed so the current scandals can be brought to an end," Gordon said.
Federal agency wants goose management program
Canada geese have become pests in many parts of the country, so the US Fish and Wildlife Service will host public meetings in February and March to gather information that will result in a plan to control burgeoning populations of the birds.
"Most Canada geese populations are migratory, wintering in the southern US and migrating north to summer breeding grounds in the Canadian Arctic. But increasing urban and suburban development in the US has resulted in the creation of ideal goose habitat conditions," an FWS press release said. "These habitat conditions have in turn enticed rapidly-growing numbers of locally-breeding geese to live year-round on golf courses, parks, airports, and other public and private property."
Large flocks of geese overgraze on vegetation, and their droppings can over-fertilize lawns, contribute to excessive growth of algae in ponds that can endanger fish, and potentially contaminate water supplies. The birds also pose a danger to planes during take-offs and landings and are implicated in increasing numbers of incidents.
The service has issued permits to control the geese in some areas, but the volume of permit requests has become overwhelming and animal rights activists have often blocked community attempts to dispatch the birds. The FWS will collect information for an environmental impact statement on various forms of goose control at the nine scheduled public hearings and through written comments submitted before March 30, 2000. Under consideration are such controls as habitat management; harassment, trapping and relocation; and direct population stabilization and reduction programs. The remaining meetings are as follows:
- Palatine, Illinois - February 15
at the Holiday Inn Express, 1550 E. Dundee Road, 7 p.m.
- Bellevue, Washington - February 17
at the DoubleTree Hotel, 300 - 112th Avenue S.E., 7 p.m.
- Bloomington, Minnesota - February 22
at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitors Center,
3815 East 80th Street, 7 p.m.
- Brookings, South Dakota - February 23
at South Dakota State University, Northern Plains Biostress Laboratory,
Room 103, Junction of North Campus Drive and Rotunda Lane, 7 p.m.
- Richmond, Virginia - February 28
at the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Headquarters,
Board Room, 4000 West Broad Street, 7 p.m.
- Denver, Colorado - March 1
at the Colorado Department of Wildlife, Northeast Region Service Center,
Hunter Education Building, 6060 Broadway, 7 p.m.
Written comments should be addressed to the Chief, Office of Migratory Bird Management, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior, ms 634 ARLSQ, 1849 C St., NW, Washington, DC 20240. Comments may also be sent electronically to the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org. All electronic comments should include a complete mailing address if a copy of the draft EIS is desired. For further information contact the Office of Migratory Bird Management, (703) 358-1714.
Birding businesses donate to habitat conservation
Birding enthusiasts received a 50th anniversary gift from optics manufacturer Swarovski Optic NA: a conservancy dedicated to conservation of bird habitat throughout the Western Hemisphere. The company was a driving force behind the creation of the Migratory Bird Conservancy, and also the founding corporate sponsor.
"Helping create MBC is a perfect way for Swarovski to celebrate our 50th anniversary in 1999 because this program is consistent with the goals and aspirations we have had since the company was founded," said Jim Morey, president. Swarovski has pledged a portion from the sale of every birding optic sold in the Western Hemisphere, which could amount to $50,000 per year. "Birding businesses have been looking for a conservation program to call our own, and this is it," said Ray David, President of Birdwatch America. "Business people helped design the MBC, and it reflects our needs and interests. It also provides us with a great opportunity to work with leading bird conservation groups across the continent. By combining our resources we will have a tremendous impact on bird conservation and the continued growth of the bird feeding and bird watching industry."
The MBC plans to raise at least $500,000 per year from business members and bird watchers. Funds will be matched by contributions from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, a federal foundation funded by Congress, corporations, and individuals. The money will be awarded as grants for projects to improve or conserve bird habitats. The national foundation will provide at least $100,000 per year, and those seeking grants will also be expected to chip in to the cost of the projects. MBC's steering committee will make funding recommendations to the national foundation.
Supporters of the MBC include the Wild Bird Feeding Institute, the industry's trade group; Wild Birds Unlimited; Audubon Park; Birdwatch America; Perky-Pet Products; and other manufacturers and retailers of birding supplies and equipment.
For more information, contact MBC by e-mail at www.conservebirds.org. To donate to MBC, please make your check or money order out to NFWF/MBC, reference project 98-227, and send to: National Fish and Wildlife Foundation; 1120 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 900; Washington, DC 20036. Be sure to reference project 98-227 so your donation goes to the Migratory Bird Conservancy.
Federal judges say wolves can stay in Yellowstone
A federal appeals court panel over-turned a 1997 lower court ruling that ordered transplanted wolves out of Yellowstone National Park. In deciding a lawsuit brought against the government's wolf reintroduction program by the American Farm Bureau and other organizations and individuals, the lower court judge said that the wolves were released in violation of the federal Endangered Species Act and should be removed. He then stayed the order until the appeals court could review the case.
On January 13, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals voted 3-0 in favor of the now-thriving population of wolves.
The AFB suit was based on the designation of the reintroduced wolves as an experimental population under the ESA. Since farmers were allowed to kill wolves found menacing or killing livestock, AFB claimed that any fully-protected indigenous wolves in the area would be in jeopardy. Although Yellowstone had no known indigenous wolves at the time of the 1995-96 reintroductions, lawsuit backers said that a small population of wolves in Glacier National Park near the Canadian border, about 400 miles from Yellowstone, could expand southward and repopulate Yellowstone naturally. Ranchers protecting livestock from lupine predators would not be able to tell the difference between the reintroduced wolves they are allowed to kill and naturally-occurring wolves they can be prosecuted for killing.
The appeals court found no conflict between the rules for experimental populations and full protection under the ESA, according to a press release from Defenders of Wildlife, a supporter of the wolf releases and an appellant in the case. A promoter of predator reintroduction in several areas, Defenders keeps a fund to reimburse ranchers for the market value of livestock lost to wolves. Sixty-six wolves were captured in Canada and released in Yellowstone in 1995-96. About 300 wolves live in the park today.
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All Authors Of This Article: | Norma Bennett Woolf |