Conservation issues...

Discussion in 'Sportsman's Paradise' started by stevescookin, May 20, 2012.

  1. stevescookin

    stevescookin Certified Who Dat

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    Well, that thread about radical animal rights groups who want to abolish hunting died a lonely death. Probably because the first post was a Catholic theologian giving biblical justifications why the animal rights people and anti hunting groups are theologically wrong.

    Nevertheless, conservation issues are vitally important to hunters and fishermen, to citizens of Louisiana and to everyone else in the United States whether they know it or not.

    Not many of you know this, but I was a line cook and college, and returned to cooking after leaving my first career...as a fish biologist and project manager. I started up one of the first Redfish farms in Louisiana, and lived out in Barataria bay for about 10 years.

    I am a devout conservationist.

    In fact, I (and some others) won the first place award in the whole United States for Large scale environmental planning. Governor Edwards appointed fifty of us from industry, conservation and cultural groups to form the Management Conference of the fledgling Barataria/Terrebonne National Estuary Program. It was a federal/State task force who's mission was to write a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP). I was appointed to represent the aquaculture industry.

    That program was the thirteenth one in the United States of America (another example Of Louisiana being almost last in something)...yet it was the very first one to win that prestigious award from the American Planning association !!

    It was a plan and not law.

    It was a plan that was supposed to be used as a standard against which laws were supposed to be compared with to see if they were in accord or discord.


    It was anyhting but...


    It is mostly, a nice, thick bundle of bound paper That looks impressive on the bookshelf in the offices of mostly very important people...and the award is a nicely framed testimonial on those same office walls.

    Mine is somewhere in the attic of my house, along with the Governor's award from Louisiana and the commendatory proclamation from the Louisiana State Legislature that was given to us. I passed on the Waterford crystal statue that could have been mine for around $500 (if I recall correctly).

    I believe it was an almost totally ineffective project because We're still losing our wetlands at a sickening rate and with it we're losing our culture.


    I'm sick and upset that this is the case. You should be too. Nothing much, beside talk and studies, has been accomplished and I feel that I wasted my time and efforts because I define success by actual results not self serving prestige.



    I wanted to start the topic for a long time...well, times up !! It's time that at least a few of us become concerned, informed and better citizens.

    Please use this column for expressing opinions, posting links to articles about conservation and environmental issues, relating personal experiences, and learning how to vote more intelligently no matter how you vote or politically active you are.
     
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  2. stevescookin

    stevescookin Certified Who Dat

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    Here's a nice article from Bob Marshall of the Times Picayune about the subject.

    It's time to address a couple points about conservation



    Two points I need to address this morning based on some common responses to my columns on conservation issues:
    1. "Keep politics off the Outdoors Page."
    This one comes from a segment of readers who typically disagree with my opinions, but also don't like spending their Sunday morning with ugly news. They want more sweat and less fret, more fun and less glum.
    Well, the answer is easy. Outdoors sports -- from hunting and fishing to backpacking, camping and canoeing -- can't happen without public resources, specifically fish and wildlife and public lands and water. Those resources are protected by laws written by politicians and managed by agencies following policies that must be approved by politicians.
    So a reporter can't cover outdoors sports without covering the processes that make those sports possible. It would be like having our NFL and Saints beat reporters ignore what happens in the NFL commissioner's office, or the development of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between players and owners. Or player contract negotiations.
    Sure, fans just want to watch games, but they know all these other topics help make the games possible. Just imagine if The Times-Picayune wasn't on top of the Saints' bounty issue.
    Same thing on this beat. I'd much rather spend all my time and space covering the fun part of this job. But I know readers would soon find the quality and opportunities for their outdoors fun diminishing if they were ignorant of forces moving to limit their access, their places to play or the habitat necessary to produce fish and wildlife.
    And there's something else at work here, as well: tradition.
    Sportsmen were the nation's first environmentalists, and for decades provided both the financial and intellectual capital that made the United States the world leader on natural resources conservation. People like Teddy Roosevelt, Gifford Pinchot and Aldo Leopold developed lifelong commitments to environmental protection through their early experiences as hunters and anglers. They gave birth to the concepts of national parks, wildlife refuges, national forests and wilderness areas.
    Sportsmen pushed for regulations that not only limited their opportunities and take, but also convinced congress to impose license fees and excise taxes that they alone paid. It was these funding sources that largely footed the bills for fish and wildlife habitat restoration that benefited the entire nation.
    So conservation always has been a topic of concern among the outdoors set. And because conservation is controlled by the people we elect to public office, there is no way around seeing coverage of politics on the outdoors page.
    2. "What's a liberal doing as outdoors editor?"
    This one had come in a lot in recent years because much of the political action that could be injurious to the interests of the environment, and therefore bad for outdoors sports, has been instigated by Republicans.
    My criticisms of current GOP policy are not "partisan attacks" -- as some have characterized them -- but simply accurate reporting of the facts. For example, a quick check of the last three budgets passed by the GOP House leadership (and whole heartedly endorsed by Louisiana's GOP delegation) tells that tale.
    It was not always so. Republicans co-authored many of the landmark environmental protections measures that allowed America to boast fish and wildlife populations and a catalog of public lands that were the envy of the industrialized world. No more.
    Apparently, to now support environmental protections -- many of which have been in place during one of the greatest periods of economic growth in the nation's history -- is to be a "liberal."
    What an insult to the majority of conservatives who support environmental protection. What an insult to the majority of sportsmen, whom polls show consider themselves conservatives yet also overwhelmingly support strong environmental protections for fish, wildlife and public lands.
    And to those who think I'm some kind of imposter, some green radical pushing opinions out of the mainstream of hunting and fishing circles, I'd direct you to the web sites of the following organizations:
    Ducks Unlimited (ducksunlimited.org); Trout Unlimited (www.tu.org); Pheasants Forever (pheasantsaforever.org); Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (www.rmef.org); Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (www.backcountryhunters.org); Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (trcp.org); National Wildlife Federation (www.nwf.org); National Shooting Sports Foundation (www.nssf.org); Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation (www.sportsmenlink.org); Bass Anglers Sportsmen's Society (www.bassmasters.com) and the Outdoors Industry Association (www.outdoorindustry.org).
    Read their stands on issues from roadless and wilderness protections, oil and gas leasing on public lands, wetlands protections and the damages being done by global warming. If they sound familiar, it's because you've already read them here.
    By your definition, it would seem there are a lot of other "liberals" like me carrying rods, reels, and guns.
     
  3. stevescookin

    stevescookin Certified Who Dat

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    Here's a link to the website of the Barataria Terrebonne National Estuary Program.

    You should visit this website when you have spare time and familiarize yourself with the program. Maybe you'll participate in some capacity.

    http://www.btnep.org/BTNEP/home.aspx

    It's a great website that details the whole program...The issues facing the estuary, the plan, their projects, how you can get involved, etc.
     
  4. LSUTiga

    LSUTiga TF Pubic Relations

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    Ducks Unlimited sucks. That is all. :D



    Actually, this is very noteworthy. You SHOULD be proud. :thumbsup:
    Great thread.
     
  5. stevescookin

    stevescookin Certified Who Dat

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    A case of environmentalism gone wrong...TEDs Turtle excluder devices.

    Turtles go through a life cycle from eggs to baby turtles to juveniles to adults who mate and lay eggs. Well, probably about 90% of the mortalities occur in the egg and baby turtle stages. So why not concentrate conservation efforts in that phase of the life cycle where the mortalities occur? If all the effort and money that was put into crafting and enforcing the TED legislation were instead put into hatchery and ranching operations that culminated in the release of hundreds of thousands of juvenile turtles that are more predator resistant, we'd probably eventually have a commercial harvest of these things because they would be so plentiful.

    I'm serious....that's what happened with alligators and pelicans.

    Rep. Jeff Landry seeks to limit turtle-excluder devices on some shrimp trawls



    WASHINGTON -- A coalition of environmental groups is working to persuade senators to kill language in a House bill that would block a proposed federal rule requiring turtle excluder devices, known as TEDs, for all shrimp trawls.
    The devices, a trap door that allow turtles to escape from the shrimp nets, are already required on most vessels. But skimmer trawls and butterfly-type fishing nets, particularly off the Louisiana coast, have been allowed a non-TEDs option that calls for shrimpers to haul up their nets every hour or so to free the turtles, which can drown if they remain trapped.
    But environmental groups said this method hasn't been effective, as evidenced by thousands of dead turtles discovered in recent years, particularly in the Gulf off Louisiana.
    Under a May 8 settlement with environmental groups who sued to protect turtles, the Marine Fishers Service proposed a final rule to require TEDs on the trawls and butterfly nets. The agency is now seeking public comment on the rule.
    But Rep. Jeff Landry, R-New Iberia, successfully attached a rider to a House spending bill this month that would block any federal funds from being used to enforce the proposed rule.
    "Rep. Landry just decided to attach the rider without any input from anybody other than some members of the shrimping industry," said Carole Allen, Gulf director for the Sea Turtle Restoration Project.
    Allen said it's clear that thousands of turtles are dying in shrimp nets, most of them in Louisiana, and action is needed.
    Landry said the Fisheries Service is acting without scientific evidence to push a new TED requirement, and ignoring the benefits of the current partnership in which shrimpers in Louisiana raise their nets at regular intervals to let turtles escape.
    "The recent rule-making negates this partnership and places the whims of environmentalists ahead of the scientific data or economic well-being of the fishermen in the coastal communities," Landry said. "There is no scientific data that's proving that the lack of the use of TEDs by shrimpers is causing any additional deaths in the turtle population."
    Landry's amendment was approved by the GOP-led House in a 218-201 vote May 10.
    But environmentalists say that "partnership" mentioned by Landry isn't working.
    They sued and eventually reached an agreement in which the Fisheries Service agreed to implement a new rule requiring TEDs for the skimmers and trawls.
    "The number of dead turtles we saw in 2010 and 2011 was unprecedented, and (the legal) settlement will help make sure that type of catastrophe doesn't happen again," said Sierra Weaver, senior attorney at Defenders of Wildlife. "We look forward to the Fisheries Service fully complying with the Endangered Species Act and to Gulf waters becoming safer for these remarkable animals."
    Clint Guidry, president of the Louisiana Shrimp Association, said in a statement that the proposed rule isn't necessary and will place a big financial burden on shrimpers who will have to buy TEDs and then likely experience a reduced catch.
    Allen said she heard that argument when the federal government began requiring TEDs on most large shrimping vessels in 1987. But most shrimpers adapted to the new rules without any major problems, she said.
    Congress provided some protection by requiring foreign companies that export shrimp to the United States to use TEDs on their vessels.
    Roy Crabtree, southeast regional administrator for the U.S. Fisheries Service, said that the agency is trying to "strike a balance between conservation and commerce."
    "This (the new proposed rule) enables us to ensure a successful recovery of turtle populations while maintaining an economically viable shrimp industry," Crabtree said.
     
  6. stevescookin

    stevescookin Certified Who Dat

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    The ultra conservationists would rather do something TO the shrimpers than FOR the turtles.
     
  7. Tiger_fan

    Tiger_fan Veteran Member

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    http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2012/05/plaquemines_parish_to_rebuild.html

    $1.5 million is going to rebuild Cat Island ($1.2 million from the State, $260,000 from Plaquemines Parish, and they are going to ask BP to pay them back for it)

    Cat Island is a tiny island in Barataria Bay that pelicans love to hang out at

    the BP oil spill killed a bunch of Cat Island's mangrove trees, which hold the island's sediment in place, preventing waves from washing it away (as a result, Cat Island shrank from four acres to one acre after the BP oil spill). the mangrove trees also give the Pelicans a place to nest

    the plan to is replant the mangrove trees and to build a barrier island to protect Cat Island

    there is also a plan to rebuild Pelican Island, which is expected to cost $2.65 million



    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Pelicans on Cat Island, photographed in June 2010

    [​IMG]
    Oil booms ring Cat island to protect it from the Deepwater Horizon spill.

    [​IMG]
    Nesting pelicans fly on Cat Island, April 11, 2012
     
  8. Tiger_fan

    Tiger_fan Veteran Member

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    A $50 billion, 50-year proposal aimed at stopping coastal land loss in Louisiana has passed the state Legislature. The 2012 Louisiana Coastal Master Plan won the unanimous support from the Louisiana House of Representatives and the Louisiana Senate voted 94-0 Tuesday in favor of the plan.

    86% of the 801 Louisianians surveyed by Southern Media & Opinion Research said they wanted their legislator to vote in favor of the plan (and only 2% wanted them to vote against it). An even higher number of respondents -- 91% -- said the coast and wetlands are very important to Louisiana (only 1% said it was not important, 7% said it was somewhat important).

    a joint statement by Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, Environmental Defense Fund, Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, National Audubon Society and National Wildlife Federation said: "we applaud the state Legislature for its leadership and commitment to restoration, we must also now begin the difficult task of funding critical elements of the plan,” the groups continued. “The $50 billion necessary to achieve the state’s vision of restoration is far from guaranteed, but it is vital for securing our future. Now more than ever, Louisiana is truly unified in addressing the coastal issues moving forward"

    Environmental Defense Fund: Conservation Groups Commend Louisiana Legislature for Approving State’s 2012 Coastal Master Plan


    Louisiana's 2012 Coastal Master Plan
    http://www.coastalmasterplan.louisiana.gov/

    Office of the Louisiana Governor - Coastal Activities
    http://coastal.louisiana.gov/index.cfm?md=pagebuilder&tmp=home&nid=150&pnid=0&pid=205&catid=0&elid=0
     
  9. stevescookin

    stevescookin Certified Who Dat

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    One thing that really helped out, but people were fighting it tooth and nail (politically) was that berm they dredged up during the BP spill at the level of the barrier islands. It took too long to start the project because each side (pro and con) found scientists to cite that were for or against the project. I remember Nungesser and Jindal took the position of build it and do it immediately...but it got bogged down and was only partially built.

    I remember seeing an article that indicated that it helped barrier island formation, partially at least. I'll have to look that one up.

    Red probably can enlighten us on that project. I believe he was all up on he issue at the time.
     
  10. red55

    red55 curmudgeon Staff Member

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    There is one giant scientific fact about the Louisiana Coastal Land Loss issue. We can spend a Trillion dollars (and probably will) and we are never, ever going to save the present Louisiana coastline. It's just not going to happen. Not the way the politicians invision it, at least.

    Barrier islands and coastal marshes are ephemeral and mobile. It's the most dynamic environment around. Change is natural and the disruption of the river by the Corps of Engineers has depleted the delta of river sediment. But even if they allowed the river to shift its delta naturally, it would only build up one area at a time while the rest of the coast will retreat until the next shift. You can't Save Grand Isle. You can't save Golden Meadow. You can't save Marsh Island or Point-Au Fer or Barataria Bay.

    The only places that we can save are north of the arc running from Morgan City to Houma to Cut Off to Lafitte. That is the only place in the delta that is not subsiding so fast that efforts to save it are futile. That far inland, we can do things like build dykes and polders, as in Holland. Any money spent south of that line should be spent on relocating people and the oil and fishing industry properties rather than building seawalls and berms that will only sink into the marsh.
     
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