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NYT: New Rule on Endangered Species in the Southwest [View All]

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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-24-05 12:03 AM
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NYT: New Rule on Endangered Species in the Southwest
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New Rule on Endangered Species in the Southwest
Published: May 24, 2005

Arizona Game and Fish Department
A new policy could allow Arizona more leeway in decisions affecting the Apache trout.

WASHINGTON, May 23 - The southwestern regional director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service has instructed members of his staff to limit their use of the latest scientific studies on the genetics of endangered plants and animals when deciding how best to preserve and recover them....


Dale Hall, the director of the southwestern region, in a memorandum dated Jan. 27, said that all decisions about how to return a species to robust viability must use only the genetic science in place at the time it was put on the endangered species list - in some cases the 1970's or earlier - even if there have been scientific advances in understanding the genetic makeup of a species and its subgroups in the ensuing years.

His instructions can spare states in his region the expense of extensive recovery efforts. Arizona officials responsible for the recovery of Apache trout, for example, argue that the money - $2 million to $3 million in the past five years - spent on ensuring the survival of each genetic subgroup of the trout was misdirected, since the species as a whole was on its way to recovery....


Mr. Hall's memorandum prompted dissent within the agency. Six weeks later, his counterpart at the mountain-prairie regional office, in Denver, sent a sharp rebuttal to Mr. Hall.

"Knowing if populations are genetically isolated or where gene flow is restricted can assist us in identifying recovery units that will ensure that a species will persist over time," the regional director, Ralph O. Morgenweck, wrote. "It can also ensure that unique adaptations that may be essential for future survival continue to be maintained in the species."...
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