A Wild Success: Celebrating 40 years of America’s Endangered Species Act
1) Celebrates Endangered Species Act success: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2013/01/23/2843266/celebrates-endangered-species.html
2) Happy 40th Anniversary! http://www.tillamookheadlightherald.com/opinion/article_b723169c-64c5-11e2-8fac-001a4bcf887a.html
3) Feds commemorating Endangered Species Act http://www.thecourier.com/Opinion/columns/2013/Jan/JA/ar_JA_012613.asp?d=012613,2013,Jan,26&c=c_11
4) Fish recovery shows that the Endangered Species Act works http://www.aboutmyplanet.com/environment/fish-recovery-shows-that-the-endangered-species-act-works/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Aboutmyplanetcom+%28aboutMyPlanet.com%29
5) Endangered in Iowa: Progress being made, but many species in state still face extinction http://thegazette.com/2013/02/10/endangered-in-iowa/
6) 40th Anniversary of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) http://www.mytowncolorado.com/profiles/blogs/40th-anniversary-of-the-endangered-species-act-esa?xg_source=activity
7) PIEC celebrates 40th anniversary of Endangered Species Act:
8) The Success Stories: http://magblog.audubon.org/endangered-species-roundup
9) Bald eagle is success story for Endangered Species Act, now in its 40th year
10) Reflections on 40 Years of the Endangered Species Act: http://www.defendersblog.org/2013/02/reflections-on-40-years-of-the-endangered-species-act/
11) NJ Eagle Release Draws Attention to 40th Anniversary of State’s Endangered Species Protection http://www.ammoland.com/2013/03/nj-eagle-release-draws-attention-to-40th-anniversary-of-states-endangered-species-protection/#axzz2MhTCqJty
12) Bald eagle released in Jefferson; state marks endangered species law’s anniversary http://www.nj.com/morris/index.ssf/2013/03/bald_eagle_released_in_jeffers.html
13) Don’t Stop Protecting Endangered Species, Daily Gazette, Letters to the Editor, March 6, 2013
14) Act ensures safety for endangered species, http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_22749002/march-10-readers-letters-leon-panetta-endangered-species?source=autofeed
15) Celebrate 40-year-old Endangered Species Act, http://www.sacbee.com/2013/03/11/5248044/endangered-species-act-deserves.html
16) Endangered Species Act, http://www.vcstar.com/news/2013/mar/12/endangered-species-act/?opinion=1#ixzz2NNAshwT7
17) Viewpoints: Reflecting on benefits after 40 years of Endangered Species Act, http://www.sacbee.com/2013/03/23/5286232/reflecting-on-benefits-after-40.html
Celebrates Endangered Species Act success
Published: January 23, 2013
By LETTERS — COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALD
If you are looking for a reason to celebrate, here’s one — the Endangered Species Act turns 40 this year! No other law has done more to save America’s most vulnerable plants and animals from extinction. And no other law has done more to inspire the same course of action around the world. Here in the Washington state, we can thank the Endangered Species Act for putting a long list of species on the road toward recovery, including the Grizzly bear, the woodland caribou and, perhaps the most iconic species of any area in the world, the Chinook salmon.
Sure, it’s not all charismatic mega-fauna. The Endangered Species Act also protects such species as the Mardon skipper, a small orange butterfly. While there may be nothing fabulous about the Mardon skipper itself, it is our best indicator of health for a rapidly disappearing grassland habitat that is unique to the northwest.
Ultimately, it is the flora and fauna, the mountains and the waters, that make the northwest great. The Endangered Species Act is an American success story we can all be proud of.
Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2013/01/23/2843266/celebrates-endangered-species.html#storylink=cpy
Happy 40th Anniversary!
Posted: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 7:00 am
Fauna-June Fauth Cloverdale | 7 comments
The Endangered Species Act turns 40 this year and I’m thankful it’s around. No other law has done more to save America’s most vulnerable plants and animals from extinction. It has prevented the extinction of 99% of the species placed under its protection. What law has a better record than that?
Since Richard Nixon (a Republican, oh, my!) signed the Act into law, we, in the Northwest, have reaped the benefits. The plants and animals spared extinction have been put on the path to recovery, including the gray whale, the Columbian white-tailed deer, and a tiny little minnow called the Oregon chub. And don’t forget the bald eagle! It’s easy to forget that in the 1960’s, we, humans, nearly wiped them off the face of the earth! Due to federal protection and bans to harmful chemical compounds like DDT, they’ve rebounded so well you can probably spot them soaring over rivers in some urban areas. Recently, I spotted a bald eagle on East Beaver Creek and what an amazing sight it was!
But even if I never saw any of these species in person, they’re part of what keeps the Northwest wild and natural and it heartens me to know they’re out there. They are the main reason I moved to the Northwest.
The Endangered Species Act is an American success story and, because of it, we can all be proud.
Unfortunately, there are members of Congress who value profits over protections and they see things differently than most Americans. So it’s up to us, as citizens, to be vigilant and make sure the Act will still be successful for at least another 40 years.
Call your members of Congress and let them know you value the Northwest for its wildness and natural beauty and you want the Endangered Species Act to be strengthened and preserved.
Happy 40th Anniversary, Endangered Species Act!
In Ohio: http://www.thecourier.com/Opinion/columns/2013/Jan/JA/ar_JA_012613.asp?d=012613,2013,Jan,26&c=c_11
Saturday, January 26, 2013
Feds commemorating Endangered Species Act
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will honor the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act with a year-long commemoration of the law that has been so successful in stabilizing populations of species at risk, preventing the extinction of many others, and conserving the habitats upon which they depend.
The bald eagle, brown pelican, Lake Erie watersnake, American alligator, and Maguire daisy were all on the brink of extinction, but have successfully rebounded.
The wood stork, Kirtland’s warbler, Okaloosa darter, black-footed ferret, and Louisiana black bear are also listed species that are showing significant progress.
These species are just a few examples of those benefiting from the protections afforded by the act and the dedicated people who work to ensure their continued existence.
Learn more about the endangered species program, and what endangered species are near you, by visiting www.fws.gov/endangered.
Fish recovery shows that the Endangered Species Act works
January 18th, 2013 BY Eve Rickert | No Comments
The U.S. government is debating the renewal of the Endangered Species Act, and critics cite the low number of “recovered” species as proof that the Act doesn’t work. But researchers say that the recovery of the short-nosed sturgeon, which lives in rivers on the Atlantic Coast, demonstrates the effectiveness of the law. In New York’s Hudson River, numbers of the long-lived fish have quadrupled since the population was last studied in the 1970′s. Because of their listing under the Endangered Species Act, short-nosed sturgeon have been protected for 40 years from fishing and habitat loss, which the scientists say contributed to their recovery.
Source: M.B. Bain et al.(2007) Recovery of a US Endangered Fish. PLoS ONE 2(1):e168.
Gazette Staff Updated: 10 February 2013 | 5:45 pm in Statewide News
Endangered in Iowa
Progress being made, but many species in state still face extinction
Since its enactment 40 years ago, the Endangered Species Act has helped to reverse the decline of many plant and animal species.
Especially noticeable to Iowans have been the remarkable comebacks of the bald eagle and peregrine falcon, whose recoveries have been so complete that ESA protection is no longer necessary for their survival.
Nevertheless, the list of Iowa resident plants and animals classified under the act as endangered or threatened continues to grow with the addition in January 2012 of two mussel species, the sheepnose and spectaclecase.
With the exception of mussels, other Iowa resident animal and plant species listed as endangered or threatened under the act are generally holding their own, state biologists say.
40th Anniversary of the Endangered Species Act (ESA)
To celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, members of the William Smith Livingston Society gathered at Rocky Mountain National Park where Ms. Diane Harpold presented a very educational program. The purpose of the ESA is to protect and recover imperiled species and the ecosystems upon which they depend. It is administered by the Interior Department’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS, Secretary Ken Salazar of Colorado) and the Commerce Department’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). Under the ESA, species may be listed as either endangered or threatened. “Endangered” means a species is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range. “Threatened” means a species is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future. As of September 2012, there are approximately 1,990 total species listed under the ESA. The most interesting part of the program was learning about the specific species affected here in Colorado. For example, the Greenback Cutthroat Trout was presumed to be extinct in 1937. Numerous wild greenback cutthroat populations were discovered starting in the late 1950s. Only five naturally occurring pure populations are known to have survived to recent times. Population has increased in recent decades due to successful reintroduction efforts. 21 out of 55 populations were considered to be stable and more than half of these were within Rocky Mountain National Park. The greenback was named Colorado’s state fish in 1994. Other Colorado species listed under the ESA include the Canada Lynx which was reintroduced in 2000 and the Boreal Toad. For a complete list of Colorado’s species of concern, please visit:
Examples of two species that have made great comebacks are the Bald Eagle and Elk. Eagle populations continue to increase and the breeding population has doubled every 6-7 years since the late 1970s. Elk were hunted extensively in the Estes Valley and much of the meat was sent to market in Denver. By 1890 very few remained. In 1913 and 1914, 49 elk from Yellowstone were transplanted into the area what was to become Rocky Mountain Nation Park. Reducing predators such as the grizzly bear and gray wolf hastened the elk’s recovery. Recently, over-population has become a concern. The three last years, culling was necessary to thin the herd. 131 elk were removed. The goal is to maintain the population of 600 to 800 elk.
PIEC celebrates 40th anniversary of Endangered Species Act
Published: February 11th, 2013
By Matt Walker, Senior writer
When the Endangered Species Act was passed in 1973, it proved to be a great step forward in showing the United States’ and Congress’ commitment to preserving our nation’s natural heritage and protecting native plants and animals from extinction.
In honor of the 40th anniversary of the ESA, the 19th annual Public Interest Environmental Law Conference at the University of Florida Levin College of Law will focus on the evolution of endangered species protection over the past four decades. “The Endangered Species Act at 40: Polishing the Crown Jewel,” will be held Feb. 21-23 at UF Law.
The event is free-of-charge for students and faculty. Register under “student conference” (the banquet still calls for a $35 fee).
“I’m very excited about this year’s conference,” said Mary Jane Angelo, UF Law professor and director of the Environmental and Land Use Law program. “We are bringing in experts from around the U.S. to discuss the act’s many successes, such as the recovery of our national symbol, the bald eagle, as well as significant challenges we face in the future such as addressing impacts from habitat loss and climate change.”
The keynote speakers for this year’s conference include Carl Safina, founding president of the Blue Ocean Institute and award winning of author of Song for the Blue Ocean and Eye of the Albatross, and Zygmunt Plater and Patrick Parenteau, attorneys in the landmark decision of Tennessee Valley Authority v. Hill et al. – temporarily halting the completion of the Tellico Dam on the Little Tennessee River in order to protect the snail darter, an endangered species of fish.
The conference will also include multiple panel discussions, a workshop sponsored by The Florida Bar, and training opportunities for both attorneys and those outside the legal field.
UF Law 3L and PIEC co-chair Chelsea Sims said the PIEC is one of the largest student-run conferences in the nation.
“It’s a great opportunity for UF students to engage with cutting-edge issues surrounding endangered species such as the Florida panther, corals, sea turtles, manatees and more,” Sims said.
To view the agenda and register for the conference, visit http://www.law.ufl.edu/academics/concentration/elul/public-interest-environmental-conference.
“Any student that is interested in learning about the status of endangered species, the role of climate change, or the interface of science and policy regulating endangered species will enjoy this free event at the law school campus,” said Rachael Bruce (3L), PIEC co-chair. “Please come out and join us.”
The Success Stories
And here’s a smattering of good news from the endangered species front:
Next to nothing was known about the critically endangered hawksbill turtle’s capacity for reproduction, but now, researchers have found that the turtles are monogamous. The females keep a store of male sperm and use it to fertilize their eggs when the time is right, the team found. The discovery sheds light on how the species propagates itself—always useful knowledge for a population in distress. This comes in conjunction with the news that the numbers of hawksbill turtles are on the rise.
The island night lizard, found exclusively on the Channel Islands that lie just off southern California, has been doing well enough that the Fish and Wildlife Service want to take it off the endangered species list.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act. The Act is heralded as the great protector of America’s wildlife, with its case-by-case analysis, its provisions for citizen action and critical habitat protection—something the wolverine might soon benefit from, for instance.
Finally, check out Klondike, the charming pup born from a frozen embryo—a first for the Western Hemisphere. He doesn’t know it but he’s given hope to endangered canids, by trialing the frozen embryo technique that could help boost threatened populations one day
Bald eagle is success story for Endangered Species Act, now in its 40th year
By Carol Kugler
331-4359 | firstname.lastname@example.org
February 10, 2013
EDITOR’S NOTE: On Dec. 28, 1973, President Richard Nixon signed the Endangered Species Act, which is now celebrati …
Reflections on 40 Years of the Endangered Species Act:
Posted on 26 February 2013 |
Don Barry, Defenders of Wildlife Executive Vice President
Last week, I participated in one of the most enjoyable and illuminating environmental conferences that I have attended in the last 20 or 30 years. The students at the University of Florida law school organized and hosted a riveting two-day conference on the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and it resulted in a reunion of some of the legal and scientific pioneers who helped shaped the ESA into what it is today: the strongest federal environmental law in the country. I was asked to be one of the opening keynote speakers, having worked on the ESA for more than 39 years in a variety of positions in the Executive Branch, on Congressional staff and with the non-profit conservation community.
When I arrived at the Department of the Interior in 1974, right out of law school, and started working as a career lawyer for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the ESA was only a few months old, having been enacted with overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress in December of 1973. Once on board at Interior, I had the incredible good fortune of being assigned the task of helping FWS draft the core implementation regulations that to this day guide the Service’s methods for protecting wildlife with the prohibitions and inter-agency consultation sections of the ESA. Given that 2013 is the 40th anniversary of the ESA, my part at the law school conference was to look backwards and describe the early years under the ESA, and then take a look at where things stand today.
The snail darter brought the ESA to national attention with the Supreme Court Case Tennessee Valley Authority v. Hill
There were several things that made this conference extraordinary from my perspective. First was the chance to listen to such iconic early ESA litigators like Zyg Plater and Pat Parenteau, now both law professors at New England law schools. Zyg was the attorney that took the famous snail darter case against the Tellico dam all the way to the Supreme Court where he won a resounding victory. His case set the precedent that federal agencies MUST avoid putting endangered species in jeopardy of extinction. Pat was similarly involved in some of the earliest, most important court victories under the ESA that reaffirmed the obligations of federal agencies to avoid actions that would jeopardize such iconic species as endangered whooping cranes and Mississippi sandhill cranes. In addition to Zyg and Pat, there were other riveting keynote presentations made by some of the country’s most renowned conservation biologists like Dr. Carl Safina and Dr. Reed Noss.
But the most rewarding part of the conference was getting the chance to spend time, as brief as it was, with the law students who had spent so much of their time organizing and hosting the event on top of their already crushing workloads at school. When I asked a number of the conference organizers what had motivated them to take this heavy responsibility on, and what had attracted them to the ESA, the answers were always the same: that they had grown up loving nature and wanted to apply their developing legal skills to help preserve this country’s disappearing natural heritage. To a person, despite a discouraging job market and crushing levels of debt coming out of law school, they hoped that they would be able to embark on a career of environmental law.
I am now in the twilight of my long and rewarding professional career and I often wonder – and sometimes worry – about who will eventually step up and become the new advocacy voices for our voiceless imperiled species, once veterans of past ESA battles like Zyg and Pat and Carl and Reed and I are gone? My time spent among the law school students at the University of Florida has now given me my answer: A whole new generation of advocates is ready – they are eager, they are committed, they care. Whether as future citizen activists in their communities or as attorneys for the environmental community, the Florida law school students and other wildlife activists like them across the country are ready to take on the challenges of the next 40 years of the ESA, and to leave their mark for conservation. This issue is ultimately about this country’s values as we stand at a conservation crossroads: one road leads to extinction, the other leads to recovery, and the choice that needs to be made is so painfully clear. It is reassuring to me – and should be to all who care for the future of imperiled wildlife – that the values that enabled us 40 years ago to commit so fully to protecting wildlife, are still present in today’s young men and women, and they will ultimately find their way to help this country once again make the right choice.
NJ Eagle Release Draws Attention to 40th Anniversary of State’s Endangered Species Protection
Published on Tuesday, March 05, 2013
State Income Tax Check-off Supports Critical Work Protecting Species
NJ Eagle Release Draws Attention to 40th Anniversary of State’s Endangered Species Protection
New Jersey Fish and Game
Trenton, NJ –(Ammoland.com)- The Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Fish and Wildlife today released a rehabilitated bald eagle at a Morris County golf course to draw attention to the 40th anniversary of the state’s endangered species protection law. The annual state income tax check-off provides critical support to efforts such as this.
“The health of our wildlife populations is a good indicator of the overall health of the environment,” said Division of Fish and Wildlife Director David Chanda. “Since the enactment of the Endangered and Nongame Species Conservation Act of 1973, we have had many success stories in New Jersey, such as the return of the bald eagle from nearly being wiped out in New Jersey to more than 110 pairs successfully raising a record 165 offspring in 2012.”
To mark the anniversary and draw attention to the income tax check-off, the Division of Fish and Wildlife released a four-year-old male bald eagle that was rehabilitated by the nonprofit Raptor Trust. The eagle was found in January with a severely dislocated wing on a roadside along the Oak Ridge Reservoir in Morris County. The release took place at the Morris County Park System’s Berkshire Valley Golf Course.
The Endangered Wildlife Fund check-off is located on Line 59 of Form NJ-1040. Taxpayers are provided the option of contributing $10, $20, or an amount of his or her choosing, toward protection of threatened and endangered species.
The state’s Endangered and Nongame Species Conservation Act was signed into law on December 14, 1973, two weeks before President Nixon signed the federal Endangered Species Act.
As a result of the state law, the Division of Fish and Wildlife established the Endangered and Nongame Species Program to carry out the work necessary to restore and maintain these species.
New Jersey currently lists 37 species as endangered, including the bald eagle, red knot, piping plover, bog turtle and eastern tiger salamander. Thirty-two species are listed as threatened, including the yellow-crowned night heron, osprey, wood turtle, and northern pine snake.
Check-of funds go to support wildlife conservation programs and are used to match or leverage funds from the federal government’s State Wildlife Grants program. The sales of Conserve Wildlife license plates also help fund the program.
“Donating a small portion of your tax refund to the Endangered Wildlife Fund will go directly to help safeguard our state’s rich fish and wildlife heritage and habitat for future generations to enjoy by supporting research and monitoring, improving management on public and private lands, combating invasive species, addressing wildlife disease problems, and protecting native habitats” said Kelly Mooij, Vice President of Government Relations for the New Jersey Audubon Society.
In addition to the New Jersey Endangered Wildlife Fund, taxpayers may choose to designate contributions to other worthwhile programs. Details are included in the Form 1040 instructions. Contributions to any of these check-off funds will reduce your refund commensurately.
Additional information about the restoration of New Jersey’s bald eagles, ospreys and peregrine falcons, is available at http://www.njfishandwildlife.com/ensp/raptor_info.htm.
For more on the Endangered and Nongame Species Program, including facts on species that the program works to protect, visit: http://www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/ensphome.htm
For a webcam of an eagle nest at Duke Farms in Hillsborough, visit: www.ustream.tv/channel/eagle-cam. This nest has successfully produced young every year since observations began in 2005
Bald eagle released in Jefferson; state marks endangered species law’s anniversary
By Brendan Kuty/NJ.com
on March 04, 2013 at 2:38 PM, updated March 04, 2013 at 7:04 PM
JEFFERSON — The cage rocked. Surrounded by wildlife watchers, officials and media on the practice green at the Berkshire Valley Golf Course, the bald eagle finally had enough.
“I think it wants out,” someone said.
Minutes later, the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Fish and Wildlife released the rehabilitated endangered bird, celebrating the 40th anniversary of state’s endangered species law.
DEP releases rehabilitated bald eagle to bring attention to endangered wildlife The DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife released a rehabilitated bald eagle to draw attention to the state’s Income Tax Endangered Wildlife Fund check off. It’s the 40th anniversary of the New Jersey Endangered and Nongame Species Conservation Act. Taxpayers are given the option to contribute $10, $20 or other amount of his or her choosing toward the protection of threatened and endangered species. The four year old eagle was found on Jan. 17 along the side of the road in Emerson, Bergen County with a dislocated wrist and a broken metacarpal. It was rehabilitated by the Raptor Trust in Millington and released at Berkshire Valley Golf Course in Jefferson Township Morris County. (Video by Andre Malok/The Star-Ledger) Watch video
Officials also hoped to draw attention to the state Endangered Wildlife Fund check-off on income tax forms.
The 4-year-old bald eagle was found on the side of the road in Emerson with a dislocated wrist and a broken metacarpal on Jan. 17, according to Cathy Malok, senior rehabilitator at Raptor Trust. Two weeks later, it was ready to fly, she said.
It was released in Jefferson to avoid conflict: another bald eagle pair had nested in a reservoir near where it was found, said Mick Valent of the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Endangered and Nongame Species Program.
Though bald eagles are among New Jersey’s 37 endangered species, their numbers are increasing, said Dave Jenkins, bureau chief of the Endangered and Nongame Species Program. Thirty years ago, just one pair could be found in the state. Now there are about 119 active, or reproducing, pairs, Jenkins said.
Bald eagles could thank the state’s Endangered and Nongame Species Conservation Act, which was signed into law Dec. 14, 1973 — two weeks before President Richard Nixon signed the federal Endangered Species Act.
The Endangered and Nongame Species Program was established as a result of the state law, according to DEP spokesman Larry Ragonese.
Jenkins said the program relies heavily on fundraising and donations. He said the income tax check-off “helps tremendously.”
“Because we don’t really have a money source,” he said. “I bet people think that it’s their tax dollar that pays for the work. But it’s mostly volunteered contributions.”
The check-off is located on Line 59 of Form NJ-1040. Taxpayers are given the option to donate $10, $20 or an amount of their choosing.
March 6, 2013
Daily Gazette- Schenectady, NY
Don’t Stop Protecting Endangered Species
Forty years ago President Richard Nixon signed the Endangered Species act into law but both Democrats and Republicans are now allowing it to be weakened .
It is not just about beauty, it is also about keeping the ecosystem in balance.
For instance, the Gray wolf is about to be taken off the Endangered species list. You might say why do I care?
Well the next time you hit a deer and have to pay the repair bill know that a Gray Wolf might have kept this from coming to fruition. They keep not only deer but rats and mice and coyote populations in check and are stunning if you are ever so lucky to view one.
So let your congressional member know you wish them to keep the Endangered Species Act strong for all of us on this little slice of Mother Earth.
Beth Jacobs- Niskayuna, NY
March 10, 2013
Mercury News- San Jose, CA
Act ensures safety for endangered species
I’m not as old as the Endangered Species Act. In fact, it’s almost twice my age. I wonder how vastly different our wild places would be today if President Nixon never signed it into law. Doubtless, I would not think much about the extinction of the California condor, or our sea otters. But the fact that they are still around, thanks to the Endangered Species Act, makes me very happy.
Jamie Jang- Redwood City
Celebrate 40-year-old Endangered Species Act
Published: Monday, Mar. 11, 2013 – 6:03 am
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) turns 40 this year, so it’s a good time to celebrate its many successes. The ESA has been good for California and its wildlife.
The population of Southern sea otters had dropped to only 50 animals before it received ESA protection in 1977, but by 2005, the population had increased to more than 2,700. Similarly, the U.S. population of California Condors had dwindled to just 40 by the time it was listed as endangered in 1967. By 2011, the population had grown to 396 birds.
Other California species saved from extinction include Island night lizards and Peninsular bighorn sheep.
The ESA works.
There are some members of Congress who want to weaken the ESA. It is important that we remember how effective the ESA has been and make sure it stays in place to protect endangered species well into the future.
— Roberta L. Millstein, Davis
Ventura County Star
Endangered Species Act
Posted March 12, 2013 at 3:52 p.m.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Right here in Ventura County, we have reason to celebrate. Many of our native species have been prevented from becoming extinct. Species such as the southern sea otter, snowy plover, arroyo toad and the majestic California Condor to name a few.
This far-ranging environmental law signed by President Richard Nixon has given us the important tools we need to protect all wild species in North America.
To continue diverse life on earth as we know it, it is important to preserve all species and their ecosystems.
Jim Hines, Ventura
Viewpoints: Reflecting on benefits after 40 years of Endangered Species Act
By Dr. Mark Rocwell
At the discovery of our nation it was important to immigrants and native people to have an abundant fish and wildlife population upon which everyone depended for survival. Wild turkey, fish and many other types of wildlife allowed immigrants to get a foothold on the new continent. Lewis and Clark were dispatched by President Thomas Jefferson to explore the new Louisiana Territory and reported back the great diversity and abundance of wildlife in America’s heartland and West. Our history rests on the great diversity of fish, wildlife and birds this great land provided, and it continues to be a point of pride for most Americans.
As America became a more industrialized nation, our dependence on wildlife diminished, and we moved to farm and domesticated animals. As we grew in population and industry, our impact on wildlife became one of encroachment rather than dependence. Our actions began to drive many of America’s beloved and iconic wildlife toward extinction. Examples are the passenger pigeon, the American buffalo and bald eagle.
In 1973 two congressmen, Pete McCloskey, R-Calif., and John Dingell, D-Mich., introduced legislation that for the first time said we would do all we must to keep American wildlife from going extinct. Additionally, we must act to restore endangered animals to self-sustaining levels. A part of the law designates land needed for survival or critical habitat – a place such animals can call home. This was the first time that a conscious decision to protect wildlife would be backed by a federal law. After near-unanimous support in Congress, President Richard Nixon signed the Endangered Species Act into law.
2013 is the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act. Here in California we have the second-longest list of threatened and endangered species in the United States. Our state has many success stories since 1973 – the California gray whale, southern sea otter, bald eagle, California condor, least tern, peninsula desert bighorn sheep and many others. At times protecting our wildlife heritage can be costly and inconvenient, but the Endangered Species Act makes us think before we act. Will the impacts of our actions result in extinction? If the answer is yes, we have to find other ways of acting.
It is an American value to respect and protect our outdoor heritage and its inhabitants. Most citizens are willing to go the extra mile to make sure all of God’s creatures have a place to live. Beautiful art, lifesaving medicines, vibrant color schemes, new visions in architecture and hundreds of new creations are traceable to nature and its creatures. The vibrant color in the hummingbird, the colorful spots in the California tiger salamander, the majestic flight of the bald eagle: all are part of California and America.
As Nixon acknowledged when signing the Endangered Species Act into law, “Nothing is more priceless and more worthy of preservation than the rich array of animal life with which our country has been blessed. It is a many-faceted treasure, of value to scholars, scientists and nature lovers alike, and it forms a vital part of the heritage we all share as Americans. I congratulate the 93rd Congress for taking this important step toward protecting a heritage which we hold in trust to countless future generations of our fellow citizens. Their lives will be richer, and America will be more beautiful in the years ahead, thanks to the measure that I have the pleasure of signing into law today.”
It is time to reflect on how we all love our state with its vibrant and diverse wildlife and open spaces. We should be proud of the Endangered Species Act and the protections it provides so we can pass this wildlife heritage on to our children and grandchildren. Let’s celebrate our collective wisdom for having a law that protects all God’s creatures, and helps to preserve a living environment that sustains us all.
Dr. Mark Rockwell is a retired chiropractor, former California fly-fishing guide and outdoor enthusiast. He has worked for the Endangered Species Coalition since 2005 as the California organizer and coordinator.
This piece was originally published in the Sacramento Bee.