Date: 4/12/18 7:21 pm
From: 'Bill Rapai' via Birders <birders...>
Subject: Re: [birders] Feds propose dropping Kirtland's Warbler from endangered species list
Bob:

My problem isn’t the biology, it’s the politics. Kirtland’s warbler, due to its unusual biology, will always need substantial resources for conservation, protection, research, and so forth. As soon as it’s no longer a listed species, there are people who will do their level best to gut the funding, gut the protection, gut the research and gut the birds themselves if at all feasible. There is always money that wants to use land in ways that are destructive to sensitive species. That money will be saying, “Those birds are just fine now! They don’t need protection! They’ll be A-OK!” That line will be heard in “quiet conversations” in the offices of politicians the day delisting happens, and it will not be easy to fight, especially since many of those politicians will neither know nor care about the ongoing needs of the species. To win those battles, you need every tool you can get. De-listing or reduction in listing level means losing a very important too.
I appreciate your concern and you are asking all the right questions! But I can send you a copy of the Memorandum of Understanding that has been signed by the Michigan DNR, the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that commits those three agencies to continue to maintain Kirtland's Warbler habitat into the future.


Many, many really good, really smart, really committed people, inside and outside of government, have spent the past couple of years preparing for this moment. I can assure you that the agencies are on board and are dedicated to following through.


Nearly all of the Kirtland's Warbler population is found in Michigan state forests and the Huron-Manistee National Forest. Those forests will continue to be managed for Kirtland's Warbler populations--with some changes to experiment whether there are better, smarter, more efficient ways of doing the job. These forests grow in poor quality soil so there is no chance they will be converted to agriculture. Human population has been trending down in these counties over the past 50 years so there is little chance the forests will be sold and subdivided.


Finally, over the past three years, I personally have visited with legislators in Lansing to promote the Kirtland's Warbler and prepare legislators for the delisting announcement. I have been, for the most part, warmly welcomed. Legislators have been pleased with our efforts to prepare for delisting and future management without the use of additional taxpayer money. They also see the economic benefit of continued Kirtland's Warbler conservation; we have shown them how important birding dollars are to economies in towns like Grayling and Mio. Legislators understand that if they do something to negatively impact those birding dollars, they risk losing their jobs.


I know there are exceptions in the legislature, but I can say by and large the people who make Kirtland's Warbler policy understand what this little bird means to this state -- as an economic catalyst and and a symbol of Michigan's commitment to conservation.


Bill Rapai
Grosse Pointe


Author of Brewed in Michigan: The New Golden Age of Brewing in the Great Beer State, which has been named a Michigan Notable Book for 2018 by the Library of Michigan. http://www.wsupress.wayne.edu/books/detail/brewed-michigan









-----Original Message-----
From: Bob Bethune <bobbethune...>
To: Birders <birders...>
Sent: Thu, Apr 12, 2018 4:16 pm
Subject: Re: [birders] Feds propose dropping Kirtland's Warbler from endangered species list


My problem isn’t the biology, it’s the politics. Kirtland’s warbler, due to its unusual biology, will always need substantial resources for conservation, protection, research, and so forth. As soon as it’s no longer a listed species, there are people who will do their level best to gut the funding, gut the protection, gut the research and gut the birds themselves if at all feasible. There is always money that wants to use land in ways that are destructive to sensitive species. That money will be saying, “Those birds are just fine now! They don’t need protection! They’ll be A-OK!” That line will be heard in “quiet conversations” in the offices of politicians the day delisting happens, and it will not be easy to fight, especially since many of those politicians will neither know nor care about the ongoing needs of the species. To win those battles, you need every tool you can get. De-listing or reduction in listing level means losing a very important too.
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