12 Dec 2007, 6:19pm
Wildlife Policy
by admin

A New Solution To Non-Game Program Funding?

by George Dovel

Full text [here]

About George Dovel: Following several decades of close association with state and federal wildlife mangers as a helicopter and fixed-wing pilot, a qualified volunteer on assorted wildlife research projects and a member of several fish and game advisory committees, George Dovel offers a unique perspective on what has happened to wildlife resource management. With record low big game and upland bird populations existing throughout the U.S. in 1969-1973 he edited and published The Outdoorsman which is credited with helping to restore scientific game management. The new crisis in game management throughout the West resulted in resurrecting The Outdoorsman [here] in March 2004 to provide factual information for outdoorsmen and their elected officials.

Selected excerpts:

Although it was inevitable under the circumstances, the candid admission by Wright and Groen that IDFG has been using sportsmen’s license dollars to fund the bulk of its non-hunting and fishing activities was “a first”. Recently outgoing Director Steve Huffaker assured Commissioners that no license dollars were being used to fund nongame…

Despite assurances to the Commission by Idaho Conservation Data Center (CDC) Biodiversity Program Leader Rita Dixon that her group has secured adequate matching funding outside IDFG, thousands of dollars of hunter’s and fishermen’s license money is spent by several F&G Bureaus every day in support of this activity. Much of this money comes in the form of incidental logistical support that is never charged to CDC or any other non-game activity…

Several House Resource Committee members, who opposed the bill, raised concerns that the transfer would allow sportsmen license fees to be used to manage endangered plants. But IDFG Director Huffaker said the CDC was created 15 years earlier as an aftermath of the Endangered Species Act and claimed that during that time sportsmen money has never been used for anything that would not benefit sportsmen.

Huffaker’s statement reflects his willingness, and that of several previous IDFG Directors, to mislead the resource owners and their elected officials in order to promote the biodiversity agenda of IAFWA, The Nature Conservancy and the United Nations. Four years earlier, former F&G Director Steve Mealey documented $2.9 million of sportsmen license fees that was spent by IDFG that year for non-game/fish activities with no tangible benefit to sportsmen…

While actual Fisheries and Wildlife Bureau spending decreased by 7% and 10% respectively, Natural Resource Policy Bureau spending increased by 36% in FY 1997. Ignoring the priority established by the Governor and the new Commissioners, Conley and Barton continued to increase biodiversity, nongame and watchable wildlife funding using “leftover” license fees…

The failure of the U.S. Congress to ratify the Biodiversity Treaty as ~188 other nations and the European Union now have, slowed – but did not stop – implementation of the Wildlands Project. A visit to the Wildlands Project website lists the same goals it had in 1991 - restoring large meat-eating predators to a landscape where wilderness has also been “restored”…

It boasts that it is supported by hundreds of organizations both in the U.S. and internationally, working to achieve its goals and it describes projects by other organizations (like the Yellowstone to Yukon Initiative) that complement the Wildlands Project. Several of these groups, including The Nature Conservancy, receive millions of dollars annually in federal money, income from property transactions, and tax deductible donations from individuals and trusts.

Bit by bit they are implementing the UN plan to displace rural Americans and relocate them in “sustainable communities” while restoring their vision of North America as a “pre-Columbian wilderness untouched by humans.”…

The architects of the Wildlands Project freely admit that science cannot be used to justify their project as follows:

“The Wildlands Project requires not only a re-thinking of science, politics, land use, industrialization, and civilization, it also requires re-thinking humanity’s place in nature. It requires a new philosophical and spiritual foundation for western civilization. That foundation is the ecophilosophy of deep ecology. Deriving much of its ideology from Buddhism and Taoism, and the philosophy of Spinoza, deep ecology contends that science has little to tell us about living in harmony with the planet, and other non-human life forms.”…

In many cases taxpayers are already subsidizing TNC with federal and matching state grant money that it often uses to purchase those easements. And, to add insult to injury, federal money is sometimes used to buy these easements from TNC at a profit later on…

In the past four decades the number of these protected areas has increased more than a hundred fold, with more then 12% of the earth’s total land mass protected as wild lands by the end of 2005. Instead of benefiting the indigenous people of these lands as TNC and the other preservationist groups claimed it would, millions of native people have been driven from lands they occupied for centuries and forced to survive in crowded refugee camps.

Estimates of the number of rural people displaced by NGO efforts to preserve biodiversity in Africa alone range as high as 14.4 million! Yet the UN Study on Biodiversity reported that 90% of the current biodiversity in Africa is found outside of the protected areas – mostly in places occupied by humans…

Despite admitting the reality that human activity is also responsible for increased biodiversity in many rural areas, IUCN, TNC and other NGOs continue to provide the UN Commission on Biodiversity with material to support its claim that “the sky is falling.” In its 92-page “Global Biodiversity Outlook 2″ report issued in a March 2006 meeting in Curitiba, Brazil, the UN charged that humans are responsible for the sixth major extinction event in the history of earth - the greatest since the dinosaurs disappeared 65 million years ago.

The report estimates the current rate of extinctions is 1,000 times greater than historical rates, yet cites only the IUCN Red List of 844 animal and plant species that are believed to have gone extinct in the wild during the last 500 years. That figure includes every living organism that was ever reported on land or sea from 1500-2004, except protozoa, bacteria and viruses, and which has not been documented recently.

For example it includes “Bennet’s Seaweed” reported at two isolated locations near islands in Australia in the 1800s and not seen since. It is defined as having different characteristics than plants, animals, and fungi and is the sole example of a separate species that has never been seen by a human that is still alive.

The 844 includes 60 animal or plant species such as the Hawaiian Crow that have not been documented in the wild recently, but which exist in captive breeding programs. The last time said crow was reported seen in the wild was in 2002 and captive crows that were released have either disappeared or been recaptured…

Another of TNC’s “unique” acquisitions of private land in the U.S. began in March 2004 when it hired a university photographer/computer specialist to photograph an Ivory-billed Woodpecker reportedly seen in Arkansas’ so-called “Big Swamp.” On April 24, 2004 the photographer produced a 4-second videotape of what he claimed was a female Ivory-bill, a species that was last reported seen in Arkansas in 1910.

TNC kept the information and the existence of the videotape a secret from the general public for a full year while it arranged for ~$20 million in federal funding to expand the search and to acquire conservation easements from local farmers. When the Cornell University Ornithology staff released the information and blurred 4-second videotape on April 28, 2005, it was initially heralded as a great conservation achievement by scientists.

But once experts on Ivory-billed Woodpecker identification examined the video and audio tapes offered as proof, they concluded the bird was simply a common Pileated Woodpecker. Even when he was forced to admit that the object “confirmed” as an Ivory-bill in one frame was actually only a tree branch stub, the head of the Cornell Lab Team insisted the blurred videotape confirmed the woodpecker still exists in the wild.

Apparently unwilling to admit that it has already spent millions of dollars trying to locate a live bird and acquire land and conservation easements based on what may be a hoax, FWS recently prepared a 183-page “Draft Recovery Plan for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker” dated August 2007. The plan lists recovery costs (including money already spent) totaling $27,785,000 for the 5-year period from 2006-2010 - with delisting scheduled to be initiated in 2075 if recovery criteria are met…

Few Idahoans seem aware that TNC’s efforts to restore 15th Century flora and fauna are also destroying rural America’s customs, culture and economy. Fewer still are aware of HR 1975 the “Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act” introduced in Congress on April 20, 2007 and supported by 187 Congressmen (only 31 short of the majority needed to pass).

This bill complements the Wildland acquisitions by TNC in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming and would create 25 million acres of new wilderness in these three states, including 5 million acres in Wildlife Corridors connecting larger wilderness areas and 4 million acres of developed land that would be allowed to return to a “natural” state. This would nearly triple the amount of wilderness in the three states and would include the Greater Salmon-Selway and Hells Canyon Ecosytems in Idaho (plus some lands in Washington and Oregon).

The bill also adds 2,056 miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers and creeks in the three states and would halt timber harvest and road building on every piece of roadless USFS land in the five states totaling 1,000 acres or more for potential wilderness consideration by the founders of the Wildlands Project.

Finally, this bill, which creates the “National Wildland Restoration and Recovery System,” and a “Wildland Recovery Corps,” has been introduced in similar form in the past eight sessions. Thanks to well-funded lobbying, it gains new Congressional supporters every month.

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