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Good species -- bad species

Nature Magazine April 26, 2007 page xiii: A summary of an article in the magazine entitled –New species for old? – States, “Native species might be expected to outperform invasive species on their home turf. This way of thinking has become a component of many strategies for the control of invasive species and the restoration of native ecosystems…”

This is another way of saying we (environmental scientists) assumed this to be right but were mistaken.

The piece goes on to say that, “But a study of the fates of 19 phylogenetically related pairs of invasive/native plant species shows that the invaders tend to be more efficient than native species at using limited resources.”

What were they suspecting that evolution is driven by survival of the least fittest? Or by what humans think should survive? For over 4 billion years the course of evolution has shown that a species that cannot deal with a changing environment will be replaced by one that can.

The summary goes on to say that, “this work calls into question any management strategy that relies on lowering resources availability…” Actually it calls into question more than that. It calls into question the very basis for the environmental policy that nothing should go extinct. Stopping a species from going extinct is at least as disruptive to nature as causing an extinction.

Shades of the Spotted Owl. What and who determines that a species is invasive? For some time that decision has been made by environmentalist based on rather arbitrary information. The best possible science is no replacement for omnipotence. Yet that is what is being used to determine which species is to live and which is to die. Human intervention based on the notion that what appeals to humans should survive is the greatest of all human impacts on the environment.

Has anyone notice that dinosaurs are not around anymore? Did humans cause their extinction? Is it possible that some species should be allowed to go extinct? If so which ones? Should environmental scientists be allowed to play god? Environmentalists have arbitrarily decided to artificially increase the number of seals and sea lions, which are now decimating the salmon species. Are these policies more harmful than helpful?

By D. J. Dodds

Irresponsible Press

Oregroanian May 7, 2007 page A1: An article titled –A medicine cabinet runs through it—and hits fish. The article discusses a recent study by the USGS of the bottom material found in some portions of some of the Portland area rivers and streams. In this study, they found traces of a wide variety of compounds commonly used by humans. Note the word traces. Left out of this article was the amount of this material found. The word traces could mean as little as a couple of ounces in 500 tons of bottom material. Why did the author leave out that important piece of information?

He links this study to another study that shows some of the local salmon are showing traces of an egg yolk protein normally found in adult salmon. That study assumed it was something in the water. Assumptions are not facts. The author juxtapositions these two studies such that the reader is lead to believe that they are connected. The chance that they are connected is as great as the chance they are not connected. This at best is irresponsible press, at worst propaganda.

The first article was on the chemical make up of the sediments deposited, on the stream bottom, the second article had to do with the water not the bottom material. The trace elements in the bottom have been deposited there over 100 years. That means that the concentrations of these compounds have built up slowly over those years. The young salmon are exposed to the liquid water for less than 1 year. Thus, the fish are exposed to less than 100th of the trace minerals.

The major thrust of this article is the authors concern for the fish and the usual, “…simple answer with drugs and cosmetic compounds is that they come from people.” Would the Oregroanian and the environmentalist be happy if people didn’t exist? Many streams in this state supply drinking water to humans. Is the Oregroainan more concerned about the health of salmon than humans?

By E. Geese

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