Monthly Archives: May 2013

Comments on the Wisconsin DNR Species Status Assessment

May 20th, 2013

The recently proposed changes to the Wisconsin DNR endangered species list are a troubling distortion of wildlife vigor.  The proposed removal of species such as Blanding’s Turtle, American fever-few and Prairie Indian-Plantain, among others, favors unsustainable development, and leaves even more of our native species increasingly vulnerable to extinction.

The Wisconsin DNR Species Status Assessment Worksheet (SAW) for Blanding’s Turtle acknowledges a long-term population decline of 30-50% over the past 200 years. The declines of American fever-few correlate with the expansion of human settlement: “American fever-few presumably suffered significant reductions in the state when the original prairies of southern Wisconsin were reduced by over 99% between 1850 and 1900”. The fate of Prairie Indian-Plantain shared similar reductions, as stated in the DNR-SAW: “Prairie Indian-plantain has likely suffered steep declines over the past 100 years due to conversion of habitat for agriculture, wetland draining and filling, and fire suppression”. Even a small examination of prairie or wetland ecosystems would prompt one to ask, why is Wisconsin willing to let these native species go unprotected by taking them off of the endangered species list?

The Wisconsin DNR Species Status Assessment Worksheet for Prairie Indian-Plantain acknowledges the likely motivation on Line 15 of Economic Impacts: “Probable costs from the proposed status change include removing legal protection would likely have small economic benefits by removing legal requirements to avoid or transplant individuals during pipeline or road construction projects, though transportation departments and utility corporations would still be strongly encouraged to do so.” Do these “small economic benefits by removing legal requirements” justify the permitted destruction of important native species? Incidentally, I am skeptical that most transportation departments or utility corporations will take the importance of these conservation recommendations seriously.

Why are we continuing to destroy precious plant and animal species for “small economic benefits”? I can only hope the citizens of Wisconsin and neighboring states will ask these questions. If you would like to review the species reports listed under the Wisconsin DNR “Recommended For Delisting” page visit http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/endangeredresources/etlist.html. Aldo Leopold said “We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect”. If you agree with ongoing and expanded protection for at-risk species let your opinions be heard. We are all members of the same community.

Daniel Barron
Freeport, IL

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Geology

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One foggy morning Calhoun started walking. He walked out the door, down the walk, and blindly followed the street by tapping the storm sewers with his cane. The walk became steep, the ground uneven and loose. He walked for about an hour and suddenly stopped.

 

Geology study 130416.01

The climbing place

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There used to be a climbing place, where the children from nearby houses would meet. They would make homes in the branches, or great picnics at the trunks base. Such branches were evenly spaced for hide-and-seek, when only the birds seemed to know where a person wasn’t seen. The shade of this place could cool the hottest afternoon, and provide dry shelter from the rainy morning. The girls would pin leaves to their hair, and boys would joust with fallen twigs. It has been said that when the children grew, some would find love below the bows of this space. Such memories can be counted in a few generations, one day will be forgotten. Until then, a photo will have to do.

Tree Study 130430.10

Anemone patens (Pasque Flower)

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On the first heated afternoon of a slow moving spring.

Guided by the knowledge of sensible mentoring.

A rocky hill climb to spot hundreds of rare sightings.

The scarcity of such sights is worrisome.

Nearly all of the prairies now wastelands.

Deserts of irreversible greed.

Neighboring land owners are senselessly blind to such impossible conditions.

They see money, subdivided mastery of natural law.

The post-world-war cruelty, nothing is sacred.

Now, here, in the strong gusts of wind I understand.

Only 5 acres remain in a 100 square miles, or more.

Just as endangered as the rainforest or coral reef.

More so, extinct.

Development plows on.

Nothing missed by a species of manipulators.

Until it is gone forever.

Botany Study 130430.10