ESA news: once cold, now hot; and once wet, now dry.
Arctic and polar regions continue to be hotspots for Endangered Species Act news. CNSnews.com reports that theInternational Fund for Animal Welfareon Tuesday filed a petition with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to protect two North Pole caribou species under the Endangered Species Act. The species population has declined 84 percent since the 1960s. The UK Guardian also reports on the potential for the Pacific walrus to join the caribou as a listed species, and today, the Center for Biological Diversity reported that "Arctic sea ice has reached the third-lowest level ever recorded, and up to 200 walruses, which appear to be mostly new calves and yearlings, have been reported dead near Icy Cape on the north coast of Alaska." Meanwhile, despite its status as a threatened species pursuant to the ESA, Canada still allows trophy hunting of polar bears, a fact NRDC is trying to change using the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species. And the DailyGreen observes that while the polar bear, walrus and ribbon seal all struggle, the Pacific brant, a small dark goose, has stopped spending winters exclusively in Mexico and other temperate climates, and now is spending time in Alaska well past its traditional nesting season.
Despite their decline, and perhaps because of it, polar bears are a tourist attraction. Photo by Tommy Miles from the Wataway News Online.
In another story about transformations, the ongoing challenges of water management in the Sacramento Delta received much conservative attention last week. The American Spectator declares that due to the Endangered Species Act, "It is little exaggeration to say that the farmers of the most valuable farming region in the nation are facing extinction." Equally displeased with the man-made drought in the Sacramento Delta, the Wall Street Journal editorial wrote that "tens of billions of gallons of water from mountains east and north of Sacramento have been channelled away from farmers and into the ocean, leaving hundreds of thousands of acres of arable land fallow or scorched. For this, Californians can thank the usual environmental suspects, er, lawyers." And one engineer, in a thoughtful editorial in The Desert Sun, asks a simple question: how much water is really needed for the fish? "We can't be expected to absorb the cost of providing an unlimited amount of water to the delta without knowing the benefits. This is asking too much of the people and environment of California."