Skip to comments.Utah commissioner leading the charge to save reviled fish
Posted on 02/14/2005 4:58:02 AM PST by Excuse_My_Bellicosity
WASHINGTON - Of all the names that have been hurled at the Northern Snakehead - intruder, predator, Frankenfish - Alan Gardner would like to add one more to the list: victim.
Gardner, a Republican county commissioner from Utah, wants the snakehead off the most-wanted list and on the endangered species list. With local officials from 12 other Western states, he has petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to save the snakehead.
''There are not very many of them,'' he said. ''And they're trying to get rid of those they have.''
It's true that the snakehead, infamous for its voracious appetite and ability to scramble over land, has not been treated with kid gloves since it infiltrated Washington area ponds and rivers. When the Asian import surfaced in Crofton, Md., in 2002, the pond was poisoned. Potomac River fishermen have instructions to kill all snakeheads on sight. U.S. Interior Secretary Gale Norton once called the fish ''something from a bad horror movie.''
But why does Gardner, who lives in a sun-baked corner of southwest Utah, 2,300 miles from the Potomac, care about the snakehead? In an interview, he said initially he found the creature ''truly unique.''
''I thought, 'Man, that's something - a fish that can get out and move across dry land,' '' he said.
Then he mentioned the desert tortoise. It turns out that in Gardner's jurisdiction, Washington County, 60,000 acres of tortoise territory have been protected since 1996 inside the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve. The reserve, he said, devalued private property, kept out new subdivisions and golf courses and generally trampled the local economy. All because the tortoise is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
''There's a lot of people in the West that consider any species that gets listed as the enemy,'' Gardner said. ''Because the real threat is to the people.''
So Gardner hopes to hit Washington policy-makers where it hurts. All fresh water with any connection to the Potomac should be closed to boating, fishing or swimming to protect the snakehead, according to his petition. Traffic on existing bridges should be restricted to emergency vehicles only, and people mowing lawns within five miles of the water should be accompanied by a trained snakehead observer.
''It's a joke,'' said John Odenkirk, a fisheries biologist at the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. ''To suggest that an exotic, invasive species that has only been in this country a couple years is somehow afforded protection under the endangered species act is just ludicrous.''
But the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has to grin and bear it. The agency will perform the standard scientific review to see if certain factors, such as loss of habitat, predation or disease warrants protecting the snakehead, spokesman Mitch Snow said
The agency regularly receives petitions and litigation to protect all sorts of species. But the strangest petition, he said, was not the snakehead. Three months ago, Maxim magazine, fearing the demise of macho men in a ''metrosexual'' world, petitioned to put males on the endangered species list.
''Unfortunately,'' Snow said, ''I'm not making this up.''
I like this idea. While we are at it, let's reintroduce grey wolves and mountain lions to the east coast.
I was thinking the same thing - BUT, I think he is being crazy "like a fox". He's throwing the Endangered Species rules back in the face of environmentalists.
He's not a nujob. The ESA is devastating regions of the west in this coutnry and no-one inWashington seems to care. He is trying to get a species, an species, in the Washignton D.C. area lebeled as Endangered so the capital can experience the same draconian restrictions people out west have to put up with. He is really trying to show how nutty the ESA is and the damage it has done. He is a reformer.
YUP. You are correct. Now the B$%^&#ds who pass all those poo poo laws about endangered species can now take a suck on them right square in their back yard. I hope he shuts the whole friggan Northeast down on this issue.
This is not an indiginous species and it may well wipe out some species that are indiginous. To call the snakehead endangered is ridiculous. What's next are we to add rats and cockroaches to the endangered list?
The politician is not really suggesting that the snakehead be protected. Sometimes it just takes absurdity to illustrate absurdity.
The fact is, too many "environmentalists" like to establish their bonafides by dictating what is done in some other part of the country than where they live. I like to suggest to "environmentalists" who want Lake Powell returned to its natural state as a canyon to show us country bumpkins how it's done by returning the Los Angeles Basin back to its natural habitat or at least make it a self-sustaining economy rather than a voracious watersucker. The Kennedys prevailed on the government to set aside large sections of Idaho as a wilderness area, largely for their personal playground. I want them to return Martha's Vineyard to its natural habitat.
"Environmentalists" are too much "do what I say, not what I do." The Utah politician is savvy in pointing this out.
Putting it on the endangered species list is a sure way to make it disappear. Crazy like a fox.
This article made me laugh out loud.
If the enviralists get their way, you'll be arrested for killing houseflies.
Fine by me. Let a bunch of bastard eastern politicians and their cronies be barred from building on their own land that has been devalued to pennies on the dollar. They worked so hard to get the nutty laws passed, so let them see how it feels to get jammed by the law.