November 30, 2022

Endangered Species Act a Golden Parachute for Inept Wildlife Management

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Recently I read an editorial in an online media outlet originating in Wisconsin. The editorial was actually a rebuttal in which the author, accused the first author of taking tactics and using information that was contradictory and incorrect (if only in the mind of the author). Laughable was the fact that the person rebutting the original article did the same thing. But that is all that is ever expected anymore.

However, there was one comment made in the rebuttal that caused me to stop for a few moments and ponder.

I then challenge Mr. Moore’s comment that “as many wildlife officials will tell you, it’s way too early to list them as endangered because scientists don’t really know what’s causing the decline.” As a wildlife biologist, I will tell you that not knowing the cause of a species to decline year after year is a very appropriate reason to list (or review) an animal as threatened or endangered. The US Fish and Wildlife Service will review the data to determine if the listing is warranted. The process is necessary. Without the protection of the Endangered Species Act, in many cases, scientists simply wouldn’t have time to figure out why species are declining (or find the solution) before the species is lost completely.

I quoted the entire paragraph to make sure readers got the context in which the emboldened sentence was written. One not so obvious question might be, if data exists that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service can “review to determine” whether a species should be listed on the Endangered Species Act (ESA), then how can one claim “scientists simply wouldn’t have time” to understand that a species is in trouble?

The more obvious question should be to ask if the “scientists,” i.e. fish and wildlife biologists, don’t have or aren’t taking the time to understand wildlife, then how much blame can be placed in the lap of state and federal wildlife scientists for “endangered” species? We pay them money to do a job. They seldom have answers and more often devise problems and more problems that require money and more money. Where does this madness end and when will their be accountability for poor performance?

With far too much money being taken from license buyers and taxpayers to pay benefits and retirement pensions, little money is left to go toward wildlife management. The taxpayers are led to believe their money, and more money, is being used to “manage” species, but is it really? Retiring at age 50 with a pension might be what is adding to the lack of data and the seeming need to dump wildlife problems in the lap of the Federal Government, which is perhaps more corrupt and unable to do their jobs than what is found at the state level.

The rigged system seems to be crafted to allow for government employees to work at wages higher than the national average for the same job. When money runs short, the cry goes out for more – often with the qualifier that “there just isn’t enough money” to “have the time” to manage wildlife. License fees go up and nothing changes for the better…except for the pensions.

Once a species is neglected, the same rigged system creates another government department to deal with the prior’s ineptness. The Endangered Species Act becomes a parachute for state wildlife managers and a money-making machine for sue-happy environmentalists because they understand the system and they game it for their own profits.

I recall that in an earlier life I was working at constructing a thrill ride from the top of a mountain to the bottom. With blueprints in hand, I oversaw the erection of the equipment. One lesson I learned from this was that there were issues with the building of the track I knew would not make for a complete and operational product. Always asked, “what are we going to do about this?” often my answer was, “THEY will have to straighten it out later.” As you may guess THEY become I/we. I had no parachute nor the power or resources to create another entity to bail me out. Isn’t this what appears to be the case with the ESA? Does it act as a scapegoat for inept wildlife management that causes the mindset of “they” will have to fix it?