Absolutely Fishing Related: Congrats Bush Voters

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by ray helaers, Dec 1, 2004.

  1. Kalm

    Kalm Member

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    Bright Rivers,

    Your argument, while compelling, fails to acknowledge the motivation behind this proposal. It's the same argument for unregulated capitalism, which fails to recognize the sole reason for existence of corporations - profit. Greed trumps altruism. That's why this discussion will inevitably turn political. It's a matter of philisophy.

    I just find it ironic that conservatives are defined as pro-progress, while progressives are pro-conservation.
     
  2. o mykiss

    o mykiss Active Member

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    [QUOTE: Bright Rivers
    Originally Posted by o mykiss
    Finally, you can brush this one off if you like (doesn't surprise me, for reasons which do not need to be articulated).


    Why? Because I'm a conservative? Because I voted for Bush?
     
  3. Bright Rivers

    Bright Rivers Member

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    I regret if I came across as indignant. If that’s how my point came out, then it’s my failure to properly communicate. I always welcome anyone to poke at me, as long as their pokes are well reasoned and above the belt. Also, I didn’t mean to poke at Ray in any way, other than to disagree with his conclusions. My compliments on his wit and writing ability are genuine. He didn't exactly smirk; breeding you know. But he fixed us with what I've come to call the winners smile, full of pity, indulgence, and mockery. Go ahead, it said; the game's over. . . . Twenty four years later I'm still working to wipe that supercilious grin off that pompous face.” If I’ve never agreed with Ray on anything, I’ll give him credit where it’s due. That writing is Gold, Jerry. Gold!

    By the way, speaking of giving credit where it is due, I forgot to congratulate you on bringing up the fact that the requirements accompanying a CHD only apply to federal agencies. That is not an insignificant point, and one which at best gets passing mention in the news reports. Reading these press reports, I get the odd feeling that these reporters actually want people to think this is a bigger deal than it is. But you explained it, o mykiss, and as a result, I am boosting your PCR by a point and a half. That would be your “Personal Credibility Rating”, a proprietary model I use to keep track of everyone on this site. Not to be confused with my PLI, or Personal Likeability Index, which employs a completely unrelated set of criteria. ;)
     
  4. Brian Simonseth

    Brian Simonseth Banned or Parked

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    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/opinion/2002106279_salmon02.html

    Administration's salmon approach has been tried — and failed
    By David R. Montgomery
    Special to The Times

    AS the Pacific Northwest debates the Bush administration's recent proposal to count hatchery fish alongside wild fish in applying the Endangered Species Act — and its new plan to cut back critical-areas protections — it is worth considering the historical track record of such strategies in bolstering salmon runs.

    If those laboring to restore wild salmon in the Northwest look to the past, they will find an important lesson — salmon-management efforts that put too much faith in hatcheries, and too little effort into habitat restoration, have failed time and time again.

    In the mid-1800s, an experimental salmon hatchery on the River Tay began trying to rebuild Scotland's salmon. William Brown argued that by rearing salmon in a hatchery and protecting young fish from natural predators, he would greatly increase the return of adult fish. For Brown, hatcheries provided an easy answer to the problem that overfishing reduced the number of fish to be caught: Just make more fish.

    Because the Bush administration's new approach to salmon management seems to adopt Brown's vision, it is worth asking how well that vision has worked in the past.

    During the wave of initial enthusiasm for salmon breeding, the British government established its first hatchery in 1868. Additional hatcheries soon spread across the British Isles, rearing salmon fry and then releasing them into streams and rivers. Although hopes were high that hatcheries would restock barren English rivers, the results were disappointing. British enthusiasm for reliance upon hatcheries soon faded as those hopes proved illusory for all but the few rivers where the natural habitat remained intact and productive.

    Across the Atlantic, the first American salmon hatchery produced an impressive 70,000 eggs in 1870 to begin restocking Maine's rivers. Four years later, at the peak of the stocking program, more than 3 million eggs were shipped all over New England.

    Initially, hatchery operations were seen as a key element in a broad program to rebuild the region's decimated salmon runs. But while the hatcheries were built, provisions for maintaining fish passage over dams, protecting habitat and preventing overfishing were implemented haphazardly, if at all. By the turn of the century, New England's once-thriving salmon runs were pretty much history.

    Failure of early hatchery programs raised some serious concerns for fishery officials. In his official report for 1895, the U.S. commissioner of fish and fisheries, Marshall McDonald, concluded that reliance on hatcheries to sustain salmon production was unwise unless coupled with habitat protection and limitations on fishing intensity.

    But this warning did little to dampen the enthusiasm for "salmon factories," which kept growing as salmon populations kept falling.

    In the Northwest, the hatchery at Bonneville Dam became the central facility of a network of hatcheries throughout the Columbia River Basin. Still, the millions of fry released into the Columbia every year added little to the total number of fish caught in the commercial fishery that the hatcheries were supposed to enhance. Evidence for a beneficial impact of hatcheries remained elusive.

    In the 1930s, John Cobb, dean of the College of Fisheries at the University of Washington, cautioned that overoptimism in the ability of hatcheries to maintain salmon runs in the face of ongoing habitat loss would eventually destroy the fishery.

    Now, as we stand at the beginning of the 21st century, the Bush administration's policy seems tailored to lead us backward. The controversial and counterintuitive policy — which has been criticized by the administration's own panel of preeminent scientists — could extend protections to hatchery fish while denying protections to runs of legitimately endangered wild salmon.

    By using large numbers of hatchery fish to mask the real problems of environmental degradation in the streams, the policy could open the door to continuing harmful practices. In other words, we seem poised to repeat the experience of England and New England.
    Put simply, history shows little, if any, evidence that hatchery-based fisheries can be sustained over the long run in the face of habitat degradation.

    Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of the historic reliance on hatchery production to sustain salmon populations is that the system has created the illusion that hatcheries can make up for the environmental degradation and overfishing that led to declining salmon runs in the first place.
    This illusion deceived the public and policymakers into believing that we can sustain production of a valuable, renewable and culturally important resource while simultaneously degrading the environment and the conditions upon which that production depends.

    David R. Montgomery is a professor in the Department of Earth and Space Sciences at the University of Washington and author of "King of Fish: The Thousand-Year Run of Salmon" (Westview Press, 2003).
    Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company
     
  5. Jason Baker

    Jason Baker Member

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    Unregulated capitalism? Apparently you've never run a business Kalm, because the one I run meets hundreds of regulations concerning safety, wages, importation quotas, customs inspections, and most importantly pays a large amount of taxes that supports the programs you and many others in this great country enjoy. But, I know, it's just greed! It's only about the money right? Let me pose a question. Do we get any credit for the people we employee, the health benefits they recieve, and the services that we provide to our customers? This "corporations are destroying us" thing is just to simplistic and too cliche! These very same corporations employee you, I, and 95% of America. ARE WE PART OF THE EVIL EMPIRE? By the way Kalm, do you have any idea of the challenge corporations are facing today trying to compete in the marketplace? Global competition, regulations, tort defense, and taxes all contribute to the challenge. Businesses don't need to apologize for their success. That's like asking a football team to apologize for practicing, executing, and winning. It takes CASH to keep the doors open and that's a businesses scorecard.

    For the issue concerned in this thread. It it fair to say that water quality and water retention have affected wild habitats immensely. Who's to blame? Well, tough one here. Was it a combination of lazy waste management by corporations and poor regulations? Sure. But it is also the fault of farmers for fertizaliztion and aniaml waste run-off. I know, it's not as much fun to blame a poor farmer. The cause: BOTH THE FARMER AND THE CORPORATION WANT TO MAKE MORE MONEY. FERTIZALIZTION = YIELD AS NO WASTE TREATMENT = COST SAVINGS TO THE CORPORATION. Is it the government's job to intervene? Yes. But it's the individuals responsibility that should intervene as well. WE ARE ALL PART OF THE PROBLEM! Water retention's main cause is irragation and power. The farmer wants high yield and we want cheap power. Is the farmer ready for dry fields? Are you ready for higher power rates? You see, it just not a simply as you'd like to make it. It's not just good vs. bad here Kalm. :)
     
  6. Kalm

    Kalm Member

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    Whoa take it easy. I can't figure out why someone would take what I said so personally unless my comment about greed hit somewhere close to home.

    For the record, I've owned my business, employed others, operated under the yoke of regulations and taxes blah, blah, blah. And I don't think corporations are evil. They are non-living entities. But their sole existence is for profit. And sometimes that profit is at the expense of other human beings or the environment etc. Profit in and of itself is not evil either. I wasn't trying to make a value judgement on the existence of corporations. I was making a value judgement on the existence of greed that persists within corporate america. To deny that is either extremely naive or extremely disengenuine.

    Again, look at who supports this proposal and ask yourself why is it happening? Perhaps the beginnings of an agenda to deregulate and de-federalize by this administration. They have given previous overtures to these concepts already. In any event, I say the more hurdles, regulations, and other difficulties that are in place to slow down the development of rural or wild settings the better. What's wrong with looking inward and making a buck off of urban revitalization. Property too expensive you say? How about tax incentives or other subsidies rather than subsidizing infrastructure.

    These are just some of my wacky opinions. Sorry if you find them so disconcerting
     
  7. ChrisW

    ChrisW AKA Beadhead

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    ESA Article

    Here is some interesting reading on the ESA. I think it would do us all some good to bone up on the mechanics and history of the law. Its a bit long, I personally have only had a chance to skim it, but you may want to print it out before reading.

    http://www.open-spaces.com/article-v5n3-davison.php

    Please feel free to share any other ESA related articles you find. The more informed we are, the better we can defend the resource.

    ChrisW
     
  8. Bright Rivers

    Bright Rivers Member

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    Once again, a great response and a great scenario, but your analysis is incorrect, in my opinion. I am confident that if Company A’s proposed dam will jeopardize the recovery of Steelhead in C River by removing potential spawning grounds that appreciably reduces the likelihood of run recovery, the project will be prohibited by virtue of the fact that those steelhead are listed as Endangered. And this will remain the result regardless of whether Creek B is Critical Habitat. Here’s why:

    Because C River steelhead are Endangered, NMFS will not allow Company A to build its dam unless the project “is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of a listed species.” Action that would “jeopardize the continued existence” is defined as any action reasonably expected “to reduce appreciably the likelihood of both the survival and recovery of a listed species." This protection applies everywhere, including lands that are not designated as Critical Habital. If Creek B is Critical Habitat, Company A must show that their project is “not likely to result in the destruction or adverse modification of [designated critical] habitat.” Sounds pretty good, except that the definition of "adverse modification” has a familiar ring to it, for it is defined as action that “appreciably diminishes the value of critical habitat for both the survival and recovery of the listed species.” Courts have looked at these two standards over and over and have always come to the same conclusion: that in application, they are at least identical (in which case the Critical Habitat designation is redundant), or worse, that the adverse modification standard is totally subsumed by the jeopardy standard (in which case Company A actually faces a stronger burden outside of a CHD area than inside – because inside a CHD you have to show that the habitat has been “adversely modified,” but outside of a CHD you don’t).

    That’s a lot of legalese, I know, but hopefully it illustrates just how poorly written are the ESA and its accompanying regulations. It is likely that the drafters’ intent was to add significant protection in areas designated as Critical. Instead, they wrote a convoluted and confusing law, the result of which is that I could probably keep a straight face while arguing that by reducing Critical Habitat area by 80%, the administration actually increased the protection of salmon. Which explains, by the way, why the Clinton administration never designated Critical Habitat unless forced to do so by court order.

    Be that as it may, I will be the first to help stop any of those dam people from that dam company from starting any dam work on their dam project. :)
    A great question. My guess is that to do otherwise would be illegal. The ESA requires that Critical Habitat be designated for each species listed as Endangered. As I’ve already attempted to prove, even if NMFS did remove all Critical Habitat, salmon would have no less protection than they currently enjoy with tens of thousands of miles of Critical Habitat. Nevertheless, NMFS would be in violation of the ESA if they lifted all CHDs. Keeping 20% probably just sounded like a good round number. :confused:

    And for the record, you can still be a good environmentalist and acknowledge that this Critical Habitat announcement doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. In fact, I’d suggest that any environmental group which exploits this news in order to raise fears (and thus money) is opportunistic and disingenuous. Or worse, uneducated. Substantive and authentic environmentalists will save their energy for the issues that matter, like fish counting standards or possibly dam removal (an issue I know little about).
     
  9. Tom Hawkins

    Tom Hawkins Newbie is fine w/me, I havent been FFing too long

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    I'm just so thankful the fishing regs are so brief and easy to understand.....otherwise I wouldnt have a clue..... :beathead:

    Bartender, proceed! :beer2:
     
  10. coonrad

    coonrad New Member

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    Much Ado About Nothing?

    If this new policy doesn't change anything, why do you think the Bush administration is proposing it? I doubt he's doing this as a goodwill gesture towards environmental groups to help increase their funding.

    The critical habitat provision was added to the ESA by congress under the recognition that just listing a species and not identifying "critical" habitat for the recovery of the species would make the ESA an ineffective piece of legislation. Without the critical habitat designation there is little chance for a species to recover.

    The bush administration's move to see critical habitat not include historic range (or habitat required for the recovery of the species) makes the critical habitat designation meaningless. Bush is saying "we're going to protect this species right up until it goes extinct."

    As habitat for wild salmon/steelhead shrinks, so does their protection. Using the old growth issue as an analogy it's like saying "hey, see that old growth forest over there? If we can find a way to cut it down, it won't be there anymore so we don't have to protect it."

    coonrad
     
  11. Bright Rivers

    Bright Rivers Member

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    Because while the reduction of Critical Habitat will not have any impact on salmon recovery, it will make life easier for developers and timber interests with projects that do not affect salmon recovery. The removal of CHD’s means one less roadblock that activists can throw in front of responsible development. And that is why Bush did it.

    No, the critical habitat designation was already meaningless long before Bush ever took office. Why do you think the Clinton administration almost never bothered to designate critical habitat for any of the hundreds of species listed as Endangered or Threatened during his term. It’s because it was legally pointless to do so. Ask an environmental attorney if what I say is true. I could send you a pile of case law if you’re interested.

    I should buy you a beer sometime. I own a lot of suburban land and it is ideology like yours that will drive the price of my already developed land through the roof and make me a rich man.

    You said it, friend, not me. ;)
     
  12. coonrad

    coonrad New Member

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    Much Ado About Nothing?

    Your challenge is irrelevant to the issue under discussion.

    The point that "any action which may place salmon recovery in jeopardy is already precluded by the Endangered listing" whether critical habitat or not, is correct.

    However, you've missed the main point, which is the total amount of habitat that a species is afforded protection under the ESA. Without the critical habitat designation any biologist will tell you that the chances for recovery are slim to none.
     
  13. o mykiss

    o mykiss Active Member

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    BR, I tip my hat to your dissection of the jeopardy and critical habitat consultation standards and how that might apply to my hypothetical (which unfortunately wasn't as good as the competitor within me now wishes it had been). But I still think there may be potentially bigger ramifications to the 80% reduction of critical habitat designations for listed salmon and steelhead stocks than you are acknowledging. I agree that there is a big overlap in the regulatory standards that apply to determinations of whether an activity jeopardizes a listed species and/or adversely modifies critical habitat. But I look at the definition of "critical habitat" in the ESA and see that it includes geographical areas that (while not necessarily currently occupied by the listed species) are considered by the government to be "essential to the conservation of the species". When NMFS cuts 80% of the critical habitat for listed salmon and steelhead in the Pacific Northwest, it is making a determination that those areas removed from the current designation are not essential to the recovery of the species. So, if NMFS - in its jeopardy consultation role - tries to stop a proposed activity that would modify non-critical habitat (or if some environmental group sues to do so because NMFS has declined), it will be more difficult to convince a court that the activity "appreciably reduces" the likelihood of recovery of a listed species unless the activity obviously bleeds through to habitat that is designated as critical. Why? Because NMFS in its infinite wisdom has already decided that the habitat in question is not essential to the conservation (i.e., recovery) of the species. Since the federal bench is becoming more and more conservative (with conservative presidents in charge of judicial appointments for most of the last quarter century), I think there will be many federal judges who are inclined to consider somewhat rhetorical the question of how a modification to non-critical habitat could possibly appreciably reduce the likelihood of recovery. Or, to put it another way, the fact that NMFS decided particular habitat was not essential to recovery may begin to operate as a presumption that modifications to that habitat do not appreciably reduce the likelihood of recovery. That becomes pretty scary if NMFS goes too far in cutting back critical habitat designations. I can admit to the possibility that the habitat that may be essential to the recovery of listed salmon and steelhead is something less than what was originally designated. But logic tells me that it isn't only 20% of what was originally designated.
     
  14. Kalm

    Kalm Member

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    The technical analysis of this situation is well though out by you guys. But redundancies in policy and other minutiae a side, you are right Bright Rivers, this still boils down to an ideological argument. The Bush administration is making this proposal because they define less regulation and greater development (including urban sprawl) and resource extraction as progress. Those opposed view protection of wild places and species as a more important value.

    And while your urban holdings are already developed, there is still other property that is not. But if my ideology makes you richer in the process, I won't mind. Just remember to flick me a bone, I could use a new rod or two.
     
  15. ray helaers

    ray helaers Active Member

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    Surprise! I have a couple of more things to say.

    Bright Rivers,

    I will give you due credit as well. You are obviously informed, smart, articulate, not a bad communicater yourself, and apparently personable, in other words, pretty damned dangerous, given your ideology. Please know that I mean that in the best possible way. I have an adversarial bent; it's my nature. But I imagine that even Lee must have respected and admired Grant (please note that I am only identifying with the losing side, not necassarily racist traitors).

    I want to get one thing out of the way before we go on to discussing your analysis. I'm afraid I have little patience for the claim made by you and other conservatives on this board that we hot head pinkos should cut you some slack because you "agree" with us on some environmental issues while you continue to support other aspects of the conservative agenda. That my friend, is an absolutely cost-free conscession, a subbterfuge, whether you recognize it or not. Those other aspects of the conservative agenda that you find so attractive, lowest possible and/or regressive taxation, little or no regulation of commerce, etc, lead inexorably to the very environmental policies you claim to find so shockingly abhorrant. When you filled in the little oval, did you imagine any other outcome? Put more directly, if the bag fits, carry it.

    For those of you who find that offensive, I'm at a loss for words. Your agenda rules the world and your complaint is what exactly, that I'm being mean to you? If you want me to stop calling you names, quit trying to ruin my country. (But you don't have to keep taking it so personally. After all, I don't even know any of you. I AM generalizing, to make a point and impress myself. For all I know, I might have some conservative friends who have learned to keep their mouths shut around me and/or tolerate all my hard blowing.)

    Now, back to Critical Habitat Designation. You're right and you're wrong. It is still illegal to harm a listed species with or without a CHD. Looked at in that way, it appears to make little difference. But looking at it in that way ignores some issues that are particularly significant in regards to salmon recovery.

    First, one has to keep in mind that it is not absolutely illegal to harm a listed salmon or its habitat. It is only illegal to do it without a permit. Almost everything we do harms salmon and/or their habitat, including lots and lots of things that we really really want to do or really really have to do, like build and repair roads and bridges, grow food, generate electricity, or guarantee maximum return for aluminum corporation shareholders. That's a lot of permitting. If the system worked like it should, the granting of those permits would require the jumping through of a certain number of hoops of various heights and diameters. In areas designated as critical habitat, those hoops would be set higher. Some might even be set alight, forcing us to reconsider how badly we really really needed the permit. That, I beleive, is how it should be. Salmon recovery is going to REQUIRE the reconsideration of any number of priorities.

    Second, a CHD protects habitats that are not currently occupied by listed species, but that may be necessary to the recovery of the species or that could be occupied in the future by a recovered population, unless we pave it over in the meantime. Under the ESA, you don't need any kind of a permit if you can show that listed species don't occupy the habitat, unless that habitat is included in a CHD. For instance, the Nisqually Tribe claims that wild, locally-adapted chinook have been extirpated from the Nisqually Basin. Under the new proposal, the Nisqually would be excluded from the CHD. Do any of us wonder whether the suitable habitat currently available in the Nisqually Basin might in the future be of some value to the recovery of Puget Sound chinook, and should in the meantime be protected? The Bush Administration apparently does not. But make no mistake; salmon and steelhead can not be recovered to anything approaching historical abundance in only the habitat currently occupied, which according to this proposal is only 20% of their historical range.

    Third, there is no way that NOAA can credibly say they can identify the habitats currently occupied by listed salmon and steelhead. In Washington State, the relevant agencies admit that their maps identifying fish-bearing streams suffer from an error rate as high as fifty percent. In other words, as many as half the streams identified as barren of listed fish are likely to have listed fish in them. This is a shell game. Under BR's analysis, the proof of harm to listed species after the fact would presumably result in proscriptions, but fines or even modification of practices won't bring back damaged habitats or lost populations.

    I will concede that a CHD of the entire historical range of salmon and steelhead was overbroad, driven more by bureaucratic expediency than science. But an 80% reduction is clearly too narrow, and relying on only those habitats currently occupied for recovery has absolutely no basis in widely accepted principles of conservation science. It has its basis in the bag carried by Mark Rutzick, a former timber-industry lawyer and current scientific revolutionary at NOAA.

    I will also grant that BR is right that of the trifecta of proposals I identified way back at the beginning of this rant, 70-odd posts ago, the CHD proposal may be the least significant. But the three cannot be divorced from each other, and taken together, they spell the end of any serious attempt to recover wild salmon and steelhead in the NW.

    By the way, the Secretary of Commerce designates critical habitat for salmon and steelhead, not the Secretary of Interior. And I share your respect for O Mykiss. I may hire him to translate for me for audiences that might otherwise be put off by my marginalizing tone.