Leuco Bog Destruction

Carlstrom_Rick (Carlstrom_Rick%P-AME-HQ.CCBRIDGE.SEAA.mrouter@seaa.navsea.navy.mil)
24 Oct 95 17:07:00 EST

Boy this has turned into a knock down drag out fight. Add my 2
cents to the pot. The total should be almost a dollar by now.

There has been a lot of "soap box" discussion going on about the
destruction of CP bogs by private land owners. I am trying to deal
with my own two competing philosophies here: On one hand, I despise
much of the unnecessary and restrictive legislation imposed on the
population of this country by a far too powerful federal government.
On the other hand Sarr's and many other CP populations have plummeted,
mostly due to habitat destruction.

First, try and put yourself in the position of the paper company, or
anyone else. What if you bought two acres of land zoned residential
along the Potomac river, paying say about $3 million for it. When you
go to build your house someone protests that there is some S. purp on
you land so you can't build a house. You can't do anything with the
land! In that case you are out 3 million dollars. Your land,
originally zoned for a house, has now been made worthless. This is not
just a hypothetical situation. These kinds of federal "takings" have
happened and leave the land owner facing bankruptcy.

However, there needs to be some level of protection to these "not yet
listed" endangered and threatened species. In most cases that I have
read about Sarr. bogs are destroyed mostly out of the shear ignorance
of the land owner. Before condemning the paper company ask your local
officials if they surveyed the land before issuing the necessary
construction permit? If they surveyed the land, did they see the
Sarr. bog? Did anyone point out alternative areas for the paper
company's parking lot that could have avoided the destruction of the
bog with little or no impact on the landowner's needs?

Additionally, one of the biggest destroyers of wetlands is federal,
state, and local governments themselves. Recently I called EPA to
complain that the state of Virginia was plowing down wetlands at a
rate of about 2 acres a day. These wetlands were the classic
definition, ducks, geese, cattails, etc. The EPA's position was that
if it was the state doing it must be OK. Repeated attempts to at
least get someone from EPA to go to the site fell on deaf ears. In
three weeks the entire wetland was destroyed. The state of VA, who so
proudly displays S. flava on a brochure, also recently plowed under
the last remaining stand of native S. flava in the entire state. In
short, the gov't should clean up its own act first and abide by this
country's laws before imposing more legislation on everyone else.

Another point to be made is that bogs tend to come and go in cycles.
As larger more water hungry plants encroach on the bog it invariably
tends to dry up and be destroyed naturally. Why then do we still have
bogs? Simple, bogs are dynamic, an intense burn or shifting
underground water source may create a new bog or destroy an existing
one. It is here that the problem lies. Even if you protected every
bog in the country they would eventually become inhospitable to the
Sarr's living there now. Human development has all but ensured that
no new bogs will be naturally created. In order to protect the
existing stands of Sarr's you would have to purchase/protect/regulate
all land and water that could have a potential effect on the bog's
water supply. This is an almost impossible task.

Finally, if you don't like what you see GET IN YOUR CONGRESSMAN'S
FACE. At the state level a group of 20 people visiting state
representatives can get a lot accomplished. I have in the past. To
be effective you should show up in person at EVERY hearing which
effects your interests. Politicians tend to be pretty thick-headed.
You have to hit them in the head with a 2x4 a couple of times before
you get their attention. If a representative votes your way thank
him. If he votes against your interests make him pay at the ballot

PS. The letter to the editor can be the most powerful tool the
ordinary citizen has.