NANFA-- Novumbra and "the Feds"

Dave Neely (
Fri, 26 Nov 1999 13:20:26 CST

BG and Luke,

>There is evidently a void between the eyes and ears of our so-called
> >federal government employee's who are "supposed" to protect and >preserve
>endangered native species. It takes years and years of >proposed
>legislation and activism between the Fed's and private, >educated
>individuals before any action is taken to protect any >endangered species,
>be it finned, furred or scaled.

Please explain how this differs from anything else that involves
politicians. The director of the now-defunct National Biological Survey has
written several books on his experiences trying to raise public awareness
about endangered taxa. He repeatedly mentioned how biology is considered a
dirty word in Washington. In my experience (I only know five of them), the
folks in USFWS in charge of determining listing priorities are honest, hard
working, and share many of <our> concerns and interests. The problem isn't
there- it's further up the line.

>It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know when a species is on >it's last
>footing, so to speak, that someone needs to act in the >species best
>interests, or just be resigned to the fact that's it's >doomed to

But it does require good science, which isn't available for the vast
majority of species. When the snail darter got listed, it was because the
Little Tennessee population was the only one known. Further survey work has
uncovered several other decent-sized populations in other parts of the
middle Tennessee River system. I'm surprised the USFWS hasn't downlisted
it... Anyway, don't bash the USFWS for Washington Dep't of Wildlife's desire
to protect Novumbra.

Many NANFs represent complexes of several taxa- without good science, (both
systematics AND ecology!) we risk making grievous errors in reintroduction
programs, captive breeding programs, and assigning conservation priorities.
Even politicians are starting to realize this...

>It is much to the species' benefit, if it's habitat could be >preserved,
>thereby preventing any human-intervention!

Amen, brother! IF wetland habitats in western Washington are maintained,
Novumbra doesn't need additional protective measures. Therein lies the
problem. If we're going to try to preserve Novumbra, who needs to be
included? Soil Conservation Service? the Corps of Engineers? the planning
and zoning boards of Clallam, Grays Harbor, and Thurston Counties?

Novumbra isn't like Cyprinodon diabolis, and requires a different approach
for conservation. There's a fairly large number of populations within its
limited range, some of which are good-sized. Even IF Mt Ranier were to blow,
it probably wouldn't take all of them with it.

Novumbra IS a cool fish, and would really look awesome in an aquarium. When
I first saw one, I wasn't prepared for the blue and orange on the males- I
was expecting a plain ol' drab umbra-type! How much demand would there be
for Novumbra if it was downright ugly? Minimal, I'd wager (yeah, there's a
few weird folks out there ;). What are your REAL goals- your HONEST reasons
for wanting Novumbra... They're doing a heck of a lot more good for the
population in a swamp along the Chehalis rather than in some aquarium in

>But in many cases, it's habitat is weighed on the scales of profit >or loss
>to the Homo sapiens individuals whose greed and profit >depend on this poor
>expendable animal(s) who just so happen to >inhabit the unfortunate piece
>of real-estate that the big-money >interests decide to clear and profit
>from. The usurpers of an >endangered -species habitats have no such
>scruples in
>mind, and as a NANFA position, I believe that we as an accomplished
>association for the preservation and appreciation of our North >American
>Native species should write our Congress and Senate >constituants to
>express our concerns!

I concur, but it's going to take something a lot more fundamental than a
couple of letters to change anything. We need a change in our land ethic- a
change in how we view the environment. It's happening (and hopefully in some
small way NANFA is partially responsible for that), but it's happening very
slowly. Our society has insularized itself from the outdoors- how many
people really know and appreciate what's in their backyards?

OK, this may have been a troll, but as I'm still trying to work off the
L-tryptophan buzz from yesterday, I couldn't help but bite...


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