Monday, April 11, 2011

Senator Tester Screws Wolves: Career-ending Miscalculation

Not sure who Senator Tester thought was going to re-elect him after his ESA-gutting budget rider, and not sure why the Dems let him go ahead with this strategy, but one thing is certain: If the Senate stands by and lets it happen, we will have failed as a country to have protected both an endangered species and the Endangered Species Act.
Tester, a Democrat who faces a tough reelection battle, raises money from conservationists in Seattle but has allied himself with home state livestock interests eager to reduce growing wolf populations in the Big Sky State.
Psstt... Senator Tester.... you might want to strike those "(206)" numbers from your Rolodex. Might be a little awkward to call them EVER AGAIN.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

It's the end of the world as we know it....

The feds declined to protect the meltwater stonefly yesterday, a move that should surprise no one. The US Fish and Wildlife Service has been handing out "Warranted But Precluded" determinations like candy lately, with nary a meaningful listing, nor critical habitat protection, in sight.

Here's what the stonefly is facing:
In the study, scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Montana, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service illustrate that alpine aquatic insects can be good early warning indicators of climate warming in mountain ecosystems. The glaciers in Glacier National Park are predicted to disappear by 2030 and, as its name infers, the meltwater stonefly (Lednia tumana) prefers to live in the coldest, most sensitive alpine stream habitats directly downstream of disappearing glaciers, permanent snowfields and springs in the park.(VIA)
Hey, and you know who else is dependent on glaciers?

We'll give you a minute.

That's right! Humans! (Ed.: Any member of Earth's biota plus a little Kevin Bacon gaming, we'd have given it to you.) We need glaciers to store freshwater and deliver it seasonally instead of torrentially flooding human communities. Similarly, we need polar ice caps to keep some of Earth's ocean water in solid form, lest it come and flood our coastlines. We also need them to reflect back insolation, keeping the Earth's temperature at a comfortable balance for life as we know it to continue.

But, ya know, higher priorities. Like figuring out how to screw wolves, issue more permits for off-shore drilling, permit the wholesale blading of the desert. Department of Interior has been busy!

Updated to add: There was also a great NY Times article yesterday about the suite of species affected by climate change. Check it out.