Editorials and Opinion
Editorial: Spring marks the return of the osprey (Eagle-Tribune [MA], 04/21/15)
"One considered endangered, the osprey has made a solid, steady comeback locally. ...It wasn't until the United States outlawed DDT and similar pesticides that the bird began its comeback.
Today, the osprey is both a conservation success story and a barometer of the health of the local ecosystem -- an actual canary in the coal mine. They sit at the top of the coastal food chain, so any poisons ingested by fish and other smaller animals eventually end up being part of the osprey diet. A healthy osprey population, therefore, is an indication of a generally healthy coastal ecosystem, which is a boon to humans as well."
EDITORIAL: Restoring delta must be part of tunnels plan (Fresno Bee [CA] , 04/20/15)
"U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said the plan would harm water quality and aquatic life, and increase pollution.... a focused, coordinated approach to restore habitat to help endangered and threatened species recover should be part of the governor’s new plan."
EDITORIAL: Brown shouldn’t leave eco goals out of new Delta plan; Set metrics on restoration and start it now (Sacramento Bee [CA] , 04/19/15)
"The Bay Delta Conservation Plan was proposed with two equal goals: to reliably supply Southern Californians and Central Valley farmers with water, and to restore the Delta ecosystem to save endangered species, such as salmon and Delta smelt. ... a focused, coordinated approach to restore habitat to help endangered and threatened species recover should be part of the governor’s new plan.... the governor should specifically define the ecological goals, set measurable objectives for recovery of species, produce a coordinated action plan and strictly monitor its progress."
NWA Editorial: Cavefish help region develop the right way (Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette, 04/17/15)
"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service considers the fish a threatened species.... cavefish are living barometers of the condition of the Northwest Arkansas water supply and how well we're taking care of it.
In short, if the cave fish disappear, it means the region's water quality is on the decline. With all the development and population growth in Northwest Arkansas, the region's leaders must be continually concerned with protecting water supplies.... A recently released study suggests the Ozark cavefish and residential develop can co-exist .... the presence of the cavefish demonstrates the groundwater in the area is fairly high quality.... those pushing development cannot themselves be as blind as the cavefish when it comes to valuing protecting of the environment.
This critical discussion must happen before irreparable harm is done.... Approaching it any other way would suggest the Ozark cavefish isn't the only creature that's blind."
Editorial: The Vanishing Pangolin (New York Times, 04/09/15)
"[H]uge numbers of wild creatures that most of the world has never even heard of are threatened with extinction by illegal trade .... Today it is a battle against a rapidly expanding demand for wild animals — dead and alive — that is spawning a global criminal network and threatening innumerable species with annihilation."
Editorial: The alarming decline of plant life (MetroWest Daily News [MA], 04/07/15)
"This past week, the New England Wildflower Society released a report stating that 22 percent of the plants it examined are either rare, in decline, endangered, or perhaps already extinct.... the consequences of a continued drop off in plant life could have profound implications for us."
RJ Editorial: Of bats and fungus (Record Journal [CT], 03/30/15)
"[B]ats play an important role in the ecological system, by pollinating flowers and spreading fruit seeds. Bat waste is so nutrient-rich, farmers use it to fertilize crops. Then bats protect those crops by gobbling up damage-causing insects. ...
The fungal disease taking its toll on bats — known as white-nose syndrome — has prompted the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to recommend placing the “endangered” tag on five of Connecticut’s eight native bat species.
This should be done."
EDITORIAL: Manatees still warrant protections (Tampa Tribune [FL] , 03/23/15)
"The record number of manatees observed during the annual manatee count this year is no cause to diminish protections for the gentle seagoing mammal.... The counts are notoriously unreliable, with the weather determining how many manatees are spotted.... an unseasonably cold winter or a widespread red tide outbreak can quickly change the manatee’s prospects. ... So federal and state officials should be dubious about any attempt to slash manatee protections."
Editorial: The return of the Bald Eagle (Record Journal [CT], 03/23/15)
"Connecticut’s bald eagles are showing signs of adaptability ... If we take care of the Quinnipiac, perhaps their numbers will increase."
EDITORIAL: Struggling bees need allies beyond the almond industry (Fresno Bee [CA] , 03/21/15)
"Even amid crops that, unlike corn and soy, require bees for pollination, herbicides are wiping out the milkweed, mustard and other wild food that pollinators rely on. Meanwhile, systemic pesticides engineered into plants’ very seeds appear to be sickening bees and encouraging parasites and diseases.
Bees are far from the only casualty; the situation has brought Monarch butterflies close to endangered species status.... The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is reviewing the safety of neonicotinoid pesticides, which appear to be impairing bee health"
EDITORIAL: More manatees at our shores; Thumbs up (Florida Today, 03/20/15)
"Given that 140 manatees have died in the Indian River Lagoon since 2012, for undetermined reasons, this is encouraging news. These marvelous marine mammals are welcomed here, whatever the weather."
Marin IJ Editorial: Expansion of marine sanctuaries a victory for the environment (Marin Independent Journal [CA], 03/19/15)
"Oil and gas exploration will now be banned not just off the Marin coast, in an area encompassing the Farallon Islands, but now also north along Sonoma and Mendocino counties’ coastlines to just above Point Arena.
That protects a rich feeding area for 25 threatened and endangered species, including blue whales and humpback whales, northern fur seals and leatherback turtles. The area is home to a third of the world’s whales and dolphins, more than 163 species of birds and more than 300 species of fish."
EDITORIAL: Looking up: Math works for manatees (Northwest Florida Daily News, 03/19/15)
"State and Central Florida governments, including Volusia County, have responded to the Indian River Lagoon crisis by crafting new environmental policies designed to reduce the amount of chemicals flushed into area waterways and springs through stormwater runoff. A healthier lagoon and springs can only help the manatee population."
Editorial: Nature's best is in our own backyard (Victoria Advocate [TX], 03/18/15)
"In a USA Today reader's choice poll, the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge is among 20 contenders in the running to be named the Best National Wildlife Refuge in the country.... Today, visitors from throughout the world swoop into the Crossroads to see one of the refuge's focal points - the whooping crane.
People can also visit Matagorda Island, which is part of the wildlife refuge and showcases Kemp's Ridley Sea Turtles and other species - both endangered and not.... It's not often we can say we have one of the nation's best, so let's embrace that."
End wait for strong plan to protect water quality: Editorial (Orlando Sentinel [FL] , 03/18/15)
"Discharges of water polluted by fertilizer and urban runoff from Lake Okeechobee have spawned toxic algae blooms in other waterways, with disastrous consequences. In 2013, scores of manatees and dolphins and hundreds of pelicans died in the Indian River Lagoon.... The Legislature needs to pass a strong bill — this year — to improve water quality. Floridians have waited too long."
EDITORIAL: Follow scientific process on threatened wildlife (Wichita Eagle [KS] , 03/13/15)
"Under threat of legislative intervention, and against the recommendation of species and habitat experts, the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission voted last fall to remove the redbelly snake from the state’s threatened-species list.
That only opened the door to more legislative meddling in what should be science-based decision making.... lawmakers should not compound the error by delisting the spotted skunk themselves."
Share on email Share on twitter 4 Follow This Article Editorial: Seismic testing, drilling aren't worth the risk (St. Augustine Record [FL] , 03/10/15)
"Truth is, it all remains a big question mark. But the feared damage from seismic testing isn’t only on right whales, though they get a lot of the eco-press — think real big manatees. Recently the U.S. government concluded that there would be “minor to negligible” impact on most wildlife ... “with the exception of sea turtles and marine mammals.”
Exception duly noted.... It’s great that St. Augustine took center stage on an issue with so much potential to damage our oceans, economy and, in our city’s case, a lot of heritage as well. The economic upside of drilling, forgetting the environmental dangers, simply does not outweigh the downside. Together, they’re a one-two punch of threat."
Forum editorial: Survival of species is the goalinf (INFORUM [ND], 03/03/15)
"The Red River Zoo in Fargo continues to enhance its reputation as one of the nation’s protectors and rescuers of endangered species. ... The zoo has grown both in the number of exhibits – including the wildly popular wolf pack – and in its collaborative world-class species conservation research.... Great work is underway out there."
Editorial: For the love of the manatees (Ocala Star Banner [FL] , 03/03/15)
"That 200,000 people a year would venture to an off-the-beaten-path place like Crystal River to see a one-of-a-kind slice of nature like the manatees resting in Three Sisters is testament that it is something not only worth seeing, but worth protecting."
Editorial: And now to celebrate a small species victory (Corvallis Gazette-Times [OR], 03/02/15)
"Rep. Peter DeFazio ... paused while he was back home to celebrate a victory: In just over two decades, a 3-inch Oregon minnow has wriggled back from the brink of extinction, and a lot of people deserve some praise for that.
Federal wildlife managers formally announced a few weeks ago that the Oregon chub has been removed from the Endangered Species List — the first fish ever taken off the roster of imperiled species.... Credit goes to the ESA, but it also goes to private property owners and stakeholders who worked together to secure havens and habitats for the fish — and the other species who call those shallow waterways home.... We’d like to celebrate more such successes, not only locally, but globally. "
World-Herald editorial: Bald eagle’s return a great story (Omaha World-Herald [NE] , 03/01/15)
"Banning DDT, prohibiting the killing of eagles, improving water quality in many lakes and rivers, protecting nesting sites and restoring eagles to areas where they had been eliminated meant that by 2007, the bald eagle could be removed from the federal list of threatened and endangered species.... the rebound in Nebraska and Iowa is every bit as impressive.... The bald eagle’s return is a conservation story of the finest kind."
EDITORIAL: Californians must treat drought as a way of life (San Angelo Standard Times [TX] , 03/01/15)
"Californians must step up their water conservation efforts and ensure there is adequate water for the environment.... We should take a page from Australia’s survival guide and clearly establish now that the state will provide enough water to maintain a healthy environment, the underpinning of a healthy economy."
EDITORIAL: NC wildlife officials abandon their duties by abandoning the red wolf (News & Observer [NC], 02/28/15)
"The red wolf population is now estimated at about 100, down from 130 in 2003, a decline caused mostly by hunting.
To stop the toll on red wolves, the Southern Environmental Law Center on behalf of conservation groups sued the Wildlife Resources Commission seeking a ban on coyote hunts in the recovery area. Last May, U.S. District Judge Terrence Boyle ordered a stop to the hunts until the case could be heard. Meanwhile, the Wildlife Resources Commission and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed to work together to manage coyotes and protect the red wolves. The SELC later settled its lawsuit with an agreement that would ban night coyote hunting in the recovery area.
But rather than find a way to cull coyotes and save wolves, the Wildlife Resources Commission now wants to abandon the red wolf recovery effort.... The commission’s proposal contradicts its mission and the settlement agreement. The Southern Environmental Law Center representing groups supporting the red wolf recovery – Red Wolf Coalition, Defenders of Wildlife and Animal Welfare Institute – has sent the commission a letter calling on the commission to rescind its resolutions and abide by its agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to promote the recovery of the red wolf.
Bringing back the red wolf is challenging, and coyotes complicate the mission. But the answer isn’t to give up and start shooting."
Mercury News editorial: Delta's health should take priority over pumping (San Jose Mercury News [CA], 02/24/15)
"The Delta smelt count dropped to the lowest level in recorded history. The impact on salmon was equally horrendous. The state reported that 95 percent of the juvenile Chinook salmon that spawned in the upper Sacramento River died because of the poor water conditions. Rising water temperatures and lower river levels also resulted in the growth of invasive plants that damage water quality.
California can't let this degradation of the largest estuary west of the Mississippi continue. ... The Delta smelt is merely the canary in the coal mine when it comes to preserving the estuary's health. Further degradation to the Delta will ultimately threaten the quality of the drinking water for Northern California residents."
EDITORIAL: We know the drill (Philadelphia Inquirer [PA], 02/20/15)
"As a federal judge determines how many billions BP should pay for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the Obama administration is pushing a troubling plan to allow drilling in the Atlantic Ocean off the East Coast from Virginia to Georgia.... Although the carcasses of almost 1,000 dolphins and 500 sea turtles were recovered, scientists say there is no accounting for the number that weren't."
EDITORIAL: Taking flight; Monarch butterfly faces many challenges; one of them shouldn't be humans. (Houston Chronicle, 02/20/15)
"To save the monarch, the Fish and Wildlife Service needs to act to classify the monarch as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. Only then will the agency be able to develop the comprehensive plan needed to restore long-term, healthy populations of monarchs.
Butterflies are a critical pollinator of plants. Most plants need a pollinator to reproduce. If the monarch goes extinct, not only will we lose one of nature's most magical creatures, we will experience a drop in plant diversity."