Monday, January 7, 2008

Week of January 6, 2008

PA Game Commission to draft wild boar regulations

The Associated Press, HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Game Commission is developing regulations to allow the hunting of wild boars during certain seasons. Commission Executive Director Carl Roe says the regulations are in response to a recent state Supreme Court ruling that classified wild boars as protected animals. Before the ruling, the commission had no regulatory oversight for them. Roe says wild boars aren't native to the state and are classified as an invasive species by the Pennsylvania Invasive Species Council. Breeding populations are believed to exist in Bedford and Cambria counties, where pregnant females and young have been seen and killed. Before the ruling, hunters had been permitted to kill them. Now, they may not be killed until the commission develops regulations. Full Article


Editorial: New York State effort on invasive species is simple step in a complex issue

The Buffolo News - The First Law of Ecology, formulated by biologist Garrett Hardin, is, “We can never do merely one thing.”

In the web of life that surrounds and sustains us, it is not possible to change only one thing, to add or subtract one species, to raise or lower the levels of one chemical or nutrient, without a resulting cascade of events that will always be difficult, if not impossible, to predict.

Allow, however, two predictions about one human action that has been taken by the State of New York: The creation of an Office of Invasive Species within the Department of Environmental Conservation is a good idea. And it has been given a nearly impossible job.

As Gov. Eliot L. Spitzer noted in announcing the creation of the four-person office, varieties of flora and fauna that migrate into various corners of New York can have a devastating impact on the biospheres into which they move. Although species have wandered on their own throughout time, human activity has made the relocations more abrupt and damaging.

Transported in everything from raw lumber to oceangoing ballast tanks, insects, plants and mollusks can quickly upset the long-standing ecological balance of their new abodes, destroying forests, starving streams and spreading viruses.

Action by government is necessary. But it will always be difficult. Actions to remove a non-native species by poisoning it, introducing natural enemies or simply picking the things up and carting them off in bushel baskets can have unintended and unpleasant side-effects on the creatures and plants that belong there.

The DEC is already pressuring the federal government to adopt a rule that would require ocean-going ships to clean out their ballasts before entering U.S. waterways. And a state council of interested agencies, scholars, businesses and conservation groups has begun work on sharing information.

The public has two responsibilities in this effort. The first is to be patient, to understand that even when an invasive species is discovered and documented, it will be no simple task to remove it in a way that does not cause more damage than the interloper itself wrought.

The second is to report observations of possible invasive species to the DEC so that it can track their spread and target its actions accordingly.

These are not like human invasions that can be repeled, but more like diseases that must be treated and managed, with great care and patience. Link


A Guide to the Control and Management of Invasive Phragmites, by Michigan DNR


Opinion: Romney would make best choice for Great Lakes

By JOHN NEVIN, Detroit Free Press

Traveling up I-75 through northern Michigan toward the Mackinac Bridge, a sign for the DNR Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center always catches my eye.

In the 1960s, MacMullan was head of conservation and natural resources for Gov. George Romney. Called the "fiercest conservationist" ever to hold the post, MacMullan made the bold decision to stock salmon and launch the sport fishing industry in the Great Lakes, now a $4.5-billion enterprise that supports thousands of jobs. With MacMullan's help, Romney's successor, Gov. William Milliken, fought successfully for the Michigan Environmental Protection Act -- a model for national action.

With visionaries like Romney, MacMullan and Milliken, Michigan has always been a conservation leader.

Mitt Romney grew up in that tradition and has a firsthand appreciation of how important the Great Lakes are to Michigan's high quality of life. Romney knows that Michigan's ecology and economy depend on healthy Great Lakes and clean water that is safe for drinking, beaches that are safe for swimming, and fish that are safe for eating.

As Michigan's economy struggles today, Mitt Romney understands that cleaning up the Great Lakes can be the key to unleashing a new era of growth and job creation.

With Romney in the White House, we would see a strong commitment to making the health of the Great Lakes a national priority. He should work to consolidate the more than 140 different Great Lakes-related programs scattered across 10 federal departments under one agency whose chief reports directly to the president.

Other key priorities include:

• Preventing diversions: With lake levels approaching record lows, Michigan cannot afford to let the Great Lakes be diverted to thirsty states outside the basin. That's why Mitt Romney supports Great Lakes governors in their efforts to prohibit diversions, encourage conservation and enact sustainable water use standards. Romney believes that our governor must retain the right to veto diversions that threaten the Great Lakes.

• Stopping invasive species: More than 180 invaders from around the world now call the Great Lakes home, wreaking havoc on natural systems. Since most invaders arrive in ballast tanks of ocean-going vessels, Romney supports adoption of tough standards to keep alien species from getting in to hurt the lakes, while allowing vital commerce to continue on the lakes.

• Cleaning up toxic hotspots: From the Detroit River to Saginaw Bay to Torch Lake in the Upper Peninsula, there are 14 areas on the Great Lakes in Michigan where the legacy of pollution continues to threaten the health of people and wildlife. Romney believes the cleanup of these toxic hotspots has been far too slow, bogged down by bureaucracy, legal wrangling, endless planning and lack of resources. Romney will advocate a new approach that brings everyone to the table to develop new funding mechanisms, set clear lines of accountability, and agree to specific timelines for restoring the health of the Great Lakes.

In contrast to Romney's Great Lakes pedigree, does Michigan really want a president whose closest connection to the Great Lakes is flying over Sandusky on trips from New York City to Hollywood? Or a president whose water-starved home state in the Southwest covets Great Lakes water? Or a president who hails from a Southern state where the biggest lake is a puddle compared to our Great Lakes?

Mitt Romney is the only sure bet to restore, protect and sustain our Great Lakes. Article


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