Jump to content
Science Forums

Endangered Species Scandal


Recommended Posts

Well, some more fun news from the good ol USofA:

WASHINGTON— A report released today by the Inspector General of the Department of Interior found that Assistant Secretary of Fish, Wildlife and Parks Julie MacDonald, who has no biological training, rode roughshod over numerous decisions by agency scientists concerning protection of the nation’s endangered species. The report also found that MacDonald violated federal rules by sending internal documents to industry lobbyists with the right-wing Pacific Legal Foundation and others.

Center for Biological Diversity - Press Release


This has a lot of implications, but I will leave it open for discussion.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have my suspicious similar efforts are underway in MN due to political pressures. Things that have occured here under the Pawlenty admin regarding wildlife that are suspect in my mind:


Killing Cormorants in northern Minnesota (required special permission from FWS). Reported reason for request? The birds are eating all the fish. Less than a year later, news reports covering the efforts results had DNR persons stating it did not impact fishing and they would be looking into other avenues to improve fishing in the particular lake affected.


Visual conformation of Active Eagle nests shows around 870 active nests in the state. Minnesotans have been encouraged to report nests to the DNR for years. News organization often post this information when counts are occuring. When you look at data and graphs, this method indicates what would be considered a normal increase in the numbers of nesting birds. Young produced each year varies between 1-3. A 4-5 year maturity. A certain level of mortality each year. The charts shown on actual data seem to be reasonable increases in the number of birds since data was first gathered.




A sampling program that the state wants to begin using takes known habitats, known nesting sites and multiplys the numbers to come up with data for areas not confirmed, or lacking data. Using this method, it would place nesting bald eagles at around 1400 pairs. Steps towards removal of listing and lessening of protections without actually verifying populations?


Other incidents relate to black bears and the killing of these animals, not in city limits but in rural areas. Three of these were reported on the news. None of these animals were threatening people or livestock and were all shot out of trees. When my city-folk-just-moved-to-the-country neighbors reported a bear eating their bird seed, they were told not to bother the bear, it wont hurt you, its just hungry. That really surprised them. That was under a previous admin. Now it seems to be a kill'em all approach. None of these three bears were given a chance to dissapear under the cover of darkness, which is normally what they do, and what the DNR used to do.


Another example that raises my suspicions is the Trumpeter Swan Survey conducted in 2005. This was a tally of N. American Bird populations. Being an avid birder, I can attest to the increases in the actual numbers of swans in Minnesota. But when I saw the numbers posted for Minnesota, compared to what I know and what is occuring in surrounding states, I suspect that numbers reported are higher than actual populations.


Raw data numbers:

WI survey dates - 15-May-05 - 6-Oct-05 Adult swans -186 young- 245 total birds - 431

MI survey dates 15-Aug-05 -30-Nov-05 Adult Swans - 540 Young - 188 total birds - 728


Now heres the MN data submitted to the FWS


MN survey dates May - Mid-Winter Adult Swans - 1421 Young - 579 total birds - 2000


Things that stick out for me in these numbers is #1 Young vs Adult numbers. Young spend their winters with the parent birds. No other state shows such a disparity between young and adult numbers, especially when you consider the high success rate of swan pairs in keeping their broods alive. Swans will attack! (scream). The other thing is total numbers between MI, WI, and MN, knowing the reintro programs were so similar and number of years between begining and now are so close.


The N.A. swan population is divided into three groups, with MN falling under the Interior population which ranges pretty much MN, IA, etc. western borders south to texas to the atlantic coast. One half of the continent.


The pacific population reported an increase of 42%

The Rocky Mountain Pop increase = 43%

The interior pop increase = 91%


4,700 or so total birds reported in the interior, with almost 1/2 being in MN. Minnesota had zero known swans in 1980 and started cygnet raising in 1987. If you change the MN numbers to closer to the other populations, you get a closer to 50% increase, which seems much more reasonable than what the numbers reported in Minnesota do to the statistics. Additionally, the only place in North America with higher reported swan populations is Alaska (23,692).


Original FWS report here:

Division of Migratory Bird Management - Reports


Two of three recent attempts to contact DNR persons have failed. The request about using data/images from the DNR website was responded to within 24 hours. The other two requests regarded protected species in the state, with one regarding a current study and my wishes to report a population that may not be documented have gone unanswered.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm past being pissed off about this kind of thing, and now I'm just sad.


How did we get here? :eek:


Well, since you asked, I'll throw in my 2 cents:)


:) I think our government has become more and more influenced by big business. Money over the short term outweighs the benifit long term plans can bring.


Saving money on the New Orlean's levees was more important than saving 4 times that amount of money and thousands of lives over the long term.


Giving American corporations contracts to rebuild Iraq (thus giving them lots of money) and poor oversight (so much of the money disappeared) was more important than employing the Iraqi people to improve both the infrastructure and Iraqi economy.


Giving big oil billions in tax breaks and subsidies is more important than developing new technology which is cleaner and cheaper (once the technology is established and if you don't consider government tax breaks and subsidies).


There are many more examples of this. I am not sure how to fix it, or even if it can be fixed. I think it is part of human nature that is going to be our biggest limiting factor as a race:(

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm past being pissed off about this kind of thing, and now I'm just sad.


How did we get here? :lol:




by doing nothing, and letting them. sometimes you need to fight for your right. we seem to all fall into the "im just one person" mentality and we eventually loose all our freedoms and think "when did this happen?" well its been happening for over 30 years and it will get worse. punch back or go back to sleep. hippies may have been smelly and stoned, but at least they got some kind of message accross, sort of. perhaps the Haitian slave revolution is a better example of what determination can produce.


it is very sad that this happens, even more sad that the very few people who care are always called hippies or other school yard names and not taken seriously. This new one was even on the radio here in taiwan. so it is being heard.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

You have to wonder if they even look at these people's resumes. MacDonald was working for Fish and Wildlife Service yet had no Biological training. Sure, that would be fine if she was just making copies all day or something, but consulting with scientists, it would seem an important quality to have, no? :hihi:


And then there's Baroody, but that's another subject...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 months later...

Well, good 'ol Dick Cheney has stuck his paws into the ESA and will potentially be investigated.


House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rayhall (D- W.Va) is one of many who found Cheney’s disregard for the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and other environmental regulations immoral and alarming.


Cheney was responsible for the largest fish kill on the West coast in history. Tens of thousands of endangered fish washed up the Klamath River, for the sake of a few farmers’ fields. Cheney manipulated the scientific findings concerning endangered species to boost the economy, and improve his standing with this district. Unfortunately - not only was his misuse of power devastating for the wildlife, it also cost Americans over $60 million in compensation for damage done to the fishing industry. This was a total loss for the environment, and the economy — yet there has been little accountability. Until now…

Washington Post Article Stirs Up Potential Investigation « Global Climate Change

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

The one positive thing I recall W doing is to create the Hawaiian Marine Reserve in 2006.

The roughly 100-mile-wide area encompasses a string of uninhabited islands that support more than 7,000 marine species, at least a fourth of which are found nowhere else on Earth... Encompassing nearly 140,000 square miles, an area nearly the size of Montana and larger than all the national parks combined, the reserve will just surpass Australia's Great Barrier Reef Marine Park as the largest protected marine area in the world. It will also, however, be one of the least accessible...
Source: Hawaiian Marine Reserve To Be World's Largest


It's a positive step but...


1) It's almost inaccessible which, considering to desire to protect the area isn't bad.

2) The current administration has a history of making grand pronouncements, then underfunding then. So it looks good on paper, but will require no upkeep and may get no actual funds to enforce the new designation.

3) A search of the web shows no further mention of it.


I guess it's one place he could designate without ticking off any big business interests (no timber, no minerals, no oil or gas) - only 8 Hawai'ian fishermen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...