Friday, June 23, 2006

Some Groups Are Nuttier Than Squirrel Scat

One of the folks I like to read is Ted Williams. Not the baseball player (did he write anything?) but the conservation author, hunter, environmentalist and sometime angler who has a regular gig with Fly Rod & Reel magazine (as well as about a dozen other places).

Williams writes well, but he also melds common sense, conservation and a pretty good understanding of the political landscape.

His latest piece on his blog is commentary about a lunatic-fringe group called "Californians for Alternatives to Toxins" or "CATS". As Williams puts it:

Just because hackers, gougers, radical conservatives, and wise-use whackos claim to see “environmental extremists” behind every Coke machine, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. And CATS (not the kind that stink up my barn, but equally clueless about wildlife) provides a superb example. The herbicides that BLM uses are essential to protect wildlife habitat from invasive exotics such as yellow star thistle. Along the upper Snake River I inspected two million acres of former big-game habitat that had been forever ruined by environmental extremists who got an eight-year injunction on federal herbicide use. All the feds needed to do was spray 100 acres of roadsides to keep the weeds out. For eight years they could not, thanks to the injunction. Now it’s too late. The infestation is too big to treat.

Groups like CATS have zero understanding of and zero concern for native ecosystems. And the pesticides they rail against are short-lived and safe, posing virtually no threat to humans or non-target organisms. These pesticides may not be the perfect tools to protect and restore native fish and native plant communities; but, in most cases, they are the ONLY tools.

CATS was also behind the long delay and near scuttling of Paiute cutthroat recovery—the first-ever project to restore a federally listed species to its ENTIRE native range

Shame on the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and anyone else for listening to lunatic land de-spoilers like CATS. The people at CATS are not just idiots, they are positively dangerous, as their policy demands, if listened to, end up stealing and despoiling America's wild lands as sure as if they were doing it with a backhoe and paving crew.

The botton place is that there is a place for herbicides, not only in your yard, but in our National Forests, National Parks, Indian Reservations, Military Bases and on BLM land as well.

I am not sure if 80 percent of our corn and soy crop needs to be "Round Up Ready", but I'm damn sure strategic spraying to control non-native invasive and destructive species such as star thistle, purple loosestife, spurge, and brazillian pepper trees is the way to go. It is outrageous that America's public lands are being allowed to be degraded by the tryanny of a handful of California wackos that represent no one.

For those interested in reading a little more Ted Williams, his magazine articles are generally excellent and he has a few books as well. His piece on "Guns and Greens" can be read in the Essays section of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers

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