County habitat plan softens gopher listing

OlympiaMay 3, 2014 

In his April 22 Earth Day letter, Dan Beedle derides the “do-gooders” who put the Mazama pocket gopher on the endanagered list.

The gopher is actually listed as “threatened,” which Beedle would have learned had he bothered to read the earlier explanatory piece written by Thurston County’s three county commissioners. They emphasized the importance of preserving our remnant prairie systems for the water, soils and diversity of life they support.

According to their article, the work of multiple conservation partners has secured more than 2,000 acres for protection, and the intent of the still-in-progress habitat plan is to avoid federal liability, retain local control and provide flexibility to landowners. Both farming and development would continue.

While Beedle sarcastically envisions little rodent parks where roast rodent is served up to conservationists, I envision a much more probable future overrun by humans, dogs, cats, crows, insects, ornamental plants and not much else. Human life is intricately tied to the rest of life on this finite planet, and we continue down the path toward mass extinction at our own peril. That shouldn’t be such a difficult concept to understand.

If, by ignorance or design, we fail to conserve, intact, some of the natural systems that support us, we’ll all someday be living in a world that much more resembles the slums of Mumbai.

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