Conservation Culture Wars

There’s a war going on. It’s a conservation culture war.  Traditionalists believe hunters and fishermen have been major supporters of wildlife and there is plenty of evidence to support that claim. Those who oppose consumptive uses would like to find a way to supplant that financial underpinning for wildlife habitat.

This is nothing new, but there are other wars going on within the conservation community as well. Within the Federal and State Wildlife agencies there are those who believe in “hands on”government  and those who believe in only government oversight of activities that can better be developed by private enterprize.

This battle is typically between those whose comfort lies with relying on the dominance of a big government run by bureaucrats vs those who work in the private sector and believe in the creativity and efficiency that financial rewards can produce.

One example is the ongoing battle between private sector interests (conservation and mitigation banks) versus Habitat Conservation Plans (HCP), which is a big government venture. These entities are so counter to each other that the USFWS has two competing departments within its organization and the two don’t seem to be able to coexist.

In another arena, it appears that the California Department of Fish and Game is about to extinguish the private sector from managing endowment accounts that private continuous funding for Conservation Banks. Eliminating the private sector and NGO from this industry is misguided. There would certainly be growing pains while private enterprize faces the steep learning curve required to set up these programs, there would also be a big payoff.

The use of private parties and NGOs to hold endowment funding for long-term conservation programs which assure the perpetual existance of many species, would minimize the cost to taxpayers and build a conservation network much larger than we can afford government to become.

Currently, big government seems to be winning the war and private enterprize seems to be waning (in both the large and small arenas), but you never know as politics are volatile . Personally I enjoy freedom derrived from being entrepreneurial and independent. Maybe I’m an endangered species.

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