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|Interesting points of view: Developing the wetlands|
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|Page 1 of 1||Total of 9 messages|
|Posted by:||Nov 8th 2005, 04:34:18 pm|
|Colin||That Exuma development sounds well planned but awfully big. I don't have empirical data at hand but I'd be very surprised if Briland's virtually non-existent sewage treatment system could handle the flush from anywhere near that many boats.
And there is the other question -- does Briland want to attract large numbers of very transient boaters. They have no sense of commitment to the place they visit for such a short time and are an awful lot like cruise ship visitors in their impact. In fact, they may have greater environmental impact due to their engines, fueling and need to offload their toilets.
|Posted by:||Nov 8th 2005, 10:06:51 am|
|Fig Tree News Team||November 08, 2005 – 08:00
Sea Fishing And The Bahamas - II
How should available resources be best used, and what kind of support is needed?
Means And Human Resources
Hardware measures consist of advanced and often costly and cumbersome techniques, such as radar, onboard systems and satellite. To monitor an economic zone of 200 square miles, it takes several rapid intervention boats, surveillance vessels, radar stations and even airplanes. And, of course, a computer system capable of crosschecking data, with permanent Internet access. For ACP countries, it is hard to reconcile such demands with budgetary constraints. These systems are essential, but they are also inadequate unless they are backed by human resources.
The software techniques refer to onboard observers or the participation of fishing communities. Officially, any such observers go onboard to collect scientific data. But since they are equipped with communication tools, their information is "by default" used for surveillance. They run the risk therefore, if this aspect of their work were to be known, of no longer being allowed on board.
The presence of onboard observers is crucial for providing independent information on fishing activities, both on a daily and a case-by-case basis, the CTA online debate concluded. But to be effective, such methods depend on the inspectors receiving adequate training and payment, as Ms Janet Uronu, joint president for fisheries at the Ministry for Natural Resources and Tourism in Tanzania pointed out, "The high levels of technology (and the principles on which it is based) to be found on modern fishing vessels were well beyond the comprehension of those fishery officers sent to inspect the vessels." The job of these inspectors also carries risks: vulnerability to corruption, especially if they are poorly paid, violence and the risk of being taken hostage, to prevent them from reporting what they have seen.
A number of experiments closely linking fishing communities with surveillance operations have been carried out in West Africa. After all, the fishermen know the fishing grounds better than anyone. However, while these initiatives have produced positive results, they also raise the question of motivation - the fishers are simultaneously acting as inspectors and stakeholders. This approach effectively establishes that small scale fishers are also responsible for the overexploitation of resources.
A culture of change
None of these methods will work unless at least two conditions are met. First, there must be clear rules about what is and is not allowed, accompanied by sanctions, which are properly enforced. Secondly, there needs to be regional cooperation between countries facing the same problem. That is true for the North: on March 14, 2005, the EU
Fisheries Council finally agreed to establish a Community Fisheries Control Agency, based in Vigo, Spain which should coordinate fishing control systems within community waters, but also - an important point for ACP countries - within the framework of bilateral fisheries agreements.
It is also true for the South, where one of the most successful initiatives in this respect has been the MCS Programme set up by the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC). Financed by the EU, it has, since 2003, allowed bilateral and trilateral surveillance operations to be carried out between the countries concerned, and strengthened the equipment, human resources and capacity to exchange information of member countries, which needed support in these areas. Tanzania, for example, now has more than 30 trained observers. According to Ms Uronu, the first change needed to achieve such results involves overcoming inertia and bureaucracy. A culture of change is essential.
The Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, which numbers seven mainland or island East African countries among its members, is another example of regional cooperation. According to Mark Pearson, at the Secretariat of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), this cooperation has already enabled the number of refrigerated fishing vessels practicing IUU fishing to be cut from 140 to 40. One method used is the exchange, between member countries and others, of lists of authorized vessels, together with their tonnage (known as the "positive list").
Other regional groupings in the fisheries sector may lead to similar initiatives. That has already happened in the case of the Programme pêche, commerce et environnement en Afrique de l'Ouest (PCEAO), a programme set up to promote sustainable fishing in six West African states, which met in Dakar in early June 2005. The question of surveillance was not specifically on the agenda, but the West African sub-regional commission on West African fisheries, la Commission sous-régionale des pêches d'Afrique de l'Ouest (CSRP), does have a project to address this issue, supported by the Luxembourg Development Agency among others. In the Caribbean, the Caribbean Regional Fisheries
Mechanism lists the development of a monitoring, control and surveillance system as a priority. Finally, the Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Unit of the Pacific Islands
Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), based in the Solomon Islands, has, since 1999, installed a satellite surveillance system to monitor fishing vessels on behalf of its member states. It has proved to be highly effective - the number of cases of illicit fishing recorded by the authorities is, and continues to be, very small.
Fisheries surveillance requires considerable means. How should available resources be best used, and what kind of support is needed? That is what future fisheries agreements being drawn up between ACP countries and the EU should try to clarify. Equally, they should encourage greater harmony between national fisheries legislation, as well as regional cooperation in various forms: data exchange, joint patrols, exchange of personnel and experiences between crews, and of surveillance systems in the EU and the ACP regions concerned. In the long run, it makes sense all round.
From: The Bahama Journal
|Posted by:||Nov 7th 2005, 02:25:11 pm|
|Fig Tree News Team||Here's how they're doing things in Exuma ... hope that the various marinas in Briland are listening:
November 07, 2005
Emerald Bay Marina Opens
Located only 10 miles from Georgetown International Airport, this deep-water mega yacht facility is a 24-hour port of entry with notification for customs and immigration.
Phase one of The Marina at Emerald Bay opened on Friday with 47 slips receiving vessels from 35' - 175' in length and up to 225' transient berth at the fuel dock with a controlling depth of 14 feet.
Positioned on Great Exuma, Bahamas, just minutes north of Georgetown, the marina dockage system comprises of fixed and Bellingham floating concrete docks with a high-speed fueling dock and single / three phase power options, the company said in a statement.
The statement also said that the temporary Harbourmaster's office is outfitted with an attentive staff, a crew lounge, billiards, restrooms, laundry facilities and shuttle service to the private beach club, pool and the Four Seasons Resort.
Wahoo's Waterfront Restaurant, open to the public, is located next to the marina services building in an airy screen enclosed structure while awaiting the permanent restaurant's completion in 2007.
Phase two of The Marina Village will include completion of the remaining 103 slips, Dry Storage Building, Private Yacht Clubhouse, Members Exclusive Beach Club, Cabana Spa and Fitness Center with an infinity pool and Greg Norman Golf Course which is currently ready to play.
The Club at Emerald Bay Yacht and Social Memberships incorporate a five-star, full service private yacht club with wet and dry slip memberships and member-only amenities that rival any exclusive club around the world, the company said.
While under construction, the private yacht and social club memberships are available at an introductory rate.
Located only 10 miles from Georgetown International Airport, this deep-water mega yacht facility is a 24-hour port of entry with notification for customs and immigration.
The Marina at Emerald Bay has a 150 ft. entrance, 14ft. depth MLW and 800 ft. breakwater approach.
In phase two, a dry storage area for boats up to 40 ft., high-end provisioning market and a crew area with internet will be available.
The company's release said the Marina at Emerald Bay provides the modern conveniences essential to the yachting community and will become a gathering place for yachtsman, sports fisherman and social members.
"We are anticipating that the channel markers will be in place in November to warrant the entrance for visiting Captains," said Doug Black, V.P. of Marina Operations. "The channel maintains 14 ft. at low tide, with off-lying reefs on either side of the channel." For assistance, The Marina monitors VHF radio CH 16 and working CH 11. "The pristine, translucent waters of theses islands provide the perfect cruising grounds for any vessel", states Black. "The new Exuma charter destination of a one week itinerary from Nassau to Great Exuma will allow charter companies to book The Marina at Emerald Bay for embarkation or disembarkation, call ahead for reservations and confirmation".
Great Exuma has been teeming with development since construction began at Emerald Bay evolving 470 acres of Bahamas Out Island into the ultimate yachtsman's delight.
Until the completion of Phase Two, visitors will have use of the infinity pool, pool-side Pallappa Restaurant and bar, fitness center and beach club at Grand Isle Villas.
The company said the Four Seasons Resort, Great Exuma Emerald Bay, is fully operational and has luxurious amenities accessible to marina guests including the Greg Norman Golf Course, The Four Seasons Spa, three Four Seasons restaurants, exquisite boutiques and the European-style casino opening spring 2006.
This world-class facility will become the treasure of the Bahamas Islands and a sanctuary for the yachting connoisseur, resort officials said in their statement.
"The Marina at Emerald Bay and The Club at Emerald Bay is being designed and constructed to the same high level of standards that we adhered to in the construction of the Four Seasons Resort at Emerald Bay," said CEO of EBR Holdings Ltd., Kevin Clemente. "The Master Plan at Emerald Bay has always been to create a five star enclave on Great Exuma having every imaginable amenity that visitors, members and residents alike would want at a location as ours."
The Club at Emerald Bay membership program is created with the vision of establishing a very active yet elegant lifestyle with outstanding member privileges and club facilities, the company said.
With social memberships starting at $5,000 refundable deposit and monthly dues of $50 per month, Social members will soak up all the amenities of The Club at Emerald Bay, the statement added.
The private yacht clubhouse plans to be the social center for member events, lobster fests, yacht festivals, regattas and special occasions. For a private escape, The Cabana Spa and Fitness Center provides a tropical oasis to rejuvenate the soul. The Beach Club at Emerald Bay has something for everyone whether lounging in the sun or exploring the underwater splendor just off the shoreline. Being a member of The Club at Emerald Bay will satisfy the most discerning traveler.
"The Members of The Club at Emerald Bay enjoy preferred access with the ability to have their very own designated dock to The Marina at Emerald Bay," said Todd Kitchell, Vice President of Club Operations.
"Our member and guest services will be exceptional throughout the Emerald Bay community with the Four Seasons setting, service, quality standards in a safe and comfortable haven for members and marina guests to explore the most scenic and uninhabited chain of islands within The Bahamas."
Source: The Bahama Journal
|Posted by:||Nov 4th 2005, 01:46:22 pm|
|Kimberly||November 04, 2005 – 10:06
Sea Fishing And The Bahamas
This industry is also a major employer as some 12,000 Bahamians find work as fishermen, fish vendors, boat owners or processing plant owners and workers.
In The Bahamas fishing is a major source of foreign exchange earnings as it is an economic activity approaching $100 million annually with exports to the United States and the European Union as the main markets. This industry is also a major employer as some 12,000 Bahamians find work as fishermen, fish vendors, boat owners or processing plant owners and workers. Its contribution to the country's GDP is about 2%.
A. Geographical Description
The Commonwealth of The Bahamas has a shallow water area of some 116,550 Km 2 and consists of approximately 3,000 small islands and cays with a land area of about 13,935 Km 2 .These islands and cays are spread over an area of some 230,000 Km 2 and are located on 16 plateaus separated from each other and from Florida, Cuba and Hispaniola by depths of 200 - 2,000 fathoms.
The Bahamian fishing industry is confined to these shallow plateaus (Banks) and is notable for its diversity of species and clarity of water, rather than for high productivity, although standing stock and potential yield estimates compare favorably with estimates for comparable fishing grounds through the Caribbean.
The Government of The Bahamas policy reserves the commercial fishing industry, as far, as is practical, for the exploitation by Bahamian Nationals. Commercial fishing vessels fishing within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) must be 100% Bahamian owned. Seafood processing facilities have been placed on the list of areas specifically targeted for overseas investors. Further, all investment projects with non-Bahamian interest must have the approval of the Government's National Economic Council (NEC).
Earlier this week the Kerzner Marine Foundation (KMF) was launched here in The Bahamas. Kerzner International intends to invest more than $5 Million over the next five years to support the work of the Foundation. KMF is a newly established private nonprofit foundation that fosters the preservation and enhancement of the global marine ecosystems through scientific research, education and community outreach. The Foundation has initiated a programme to provide funding to The Bahamas National Trust and The Bahamas Sport Fishing Conservation Association and the Nature Conservancy.
The following article from Spore Magazine on sea fishing outlines the developments in the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States of which The Bahamas is one.
June 11, 2005, saw a confrontation in Senegal between fishermen from Kayar and Guet Ndar. The toll: one dead and several wounded. The cause of the dispute: rivalry over access to an increasingly scarce resource - fish. Incidents of this kind are symptomatic of a serious problem. In August 2003, Spore sounded a cautionary note, urging the introduction of extensive political and economic changes if fish stocks were to be maintained. In March 2005, FAO confirmed that 75% of fishery resources had been fished to their maximum yield, over-exploited or exhausted.
Encouragingly, there is growing awareness of the need to move towards sustainable fisheries management, which combines long term viability with a strategy that satisfies the needs of fishers and ensures the economic development of resources. This has translated into a growing understanding, shared by all those involved, and in a range of measures, binding or otherwise, developed to regulate fishing. But there is still a long way to go before responsible and voluntary management of marine resources is adopted by all players in the fisheries sector. As long as stocks are over-exploited, and their profits diminished, fishers will continue to break the law. That was the clear message from several participants in an Internet debate organized by CTA in 2004.
Crucial for ACP states
The problem of fisheries surveillance is gradually being perceived as a major issue. Experts are coming up with acronyms such as IUU (illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing), MCS (monitoring, control and surveillance) and VMS (vessel monitoring system). In June 2005, a conference on the impact of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing on developing countries was held in London. These developing nations are particularly badly affected, the meeting heard, because of a lack of funds, technical capacity, manpower, cooperation between states and, occasionally, of political will.
The countries of the South are not alone. Published last May, the European Commission's annual report on serious breaches to the rules of the Common Fisheries Policy revealed that the number of infringements recorded rose from 6,756 in 2002 to 9,502 in 2003.
Five EU member states detected nearly 90% of all breaches. Unauthorized fishing accounted for 22% of the cases, while the figure for unlicensed fishing was 17%. A fine was imposed in 84% of cases. In 4,720 cases, fishing gear was seized.
The June 2005 bulletin of the Fisheries News Update section on CTA's Agritrade website concluded that the report offered interesting lessons for ACP countries, noting that greater transparency over infringements and sanctions will increase confidence in the fair and equitable enforcement of regulations.
Fisheries infringements come in many guises, they include: fishing with unlicensed boats; and failing to land catches in local ports, in spite of the obligations of fisheries agreements and falsely reporting tonnage caught.
Whatever the measures taken, whether they are aimed at getting fishing zones respected, at better regulating fishing gear, at limiting the size of catches, at guaranteeing a biological rest period or at developing the economic activity of ports by making it mandatory to land all or part of catches locally, the notion of self-regulation appears to be an illusory one, and control measures are certainly needed. Some of these are already in place, and fall into two groups - so-called hardware and software measures.
By: Godfrey Eneas, The Bahama Journal
|Posted by:||Nov 4th 2005, 09:50:13 am|
|John||Good thoughts and hopefully we can do something to preserve the reef, fish chonch. I would like to seesome of our area to become a preserve so that conch and breed whithout the threat of overharvesting. One only has to read the book Collapse by Jared Diamond to see how we have unknowingly distroyed our lands. Lets protect our natural resources before it is too late.|
|Posted by:||Nov 3rd 2005, 02:44:42 pm|
|Kimberly||As a matter of fact, I've asked Anne Iverson of the Atlantis team to consider allowing Briland to apply for similar protection ... I'll let you know what they decide.|
|Posted by:||Nov 2nd 2005, 12:04:53 pm|
|Colin||Has anyone on Briland or have any Brilanders contacted these folks about putting some of their resources into looking at the bay and reefs of North Eleuthera Briland?? It might be an extremely useful effort toward building a database of the water quality and threats to the environment.|
|Posted by:||Nov 2nd 2005, 11:30:35 am|
|Fig Tree News Team||November 02, 2005 – 07:54
Kerzner Launches Marine Foundation
Kerzner International, announced plans to invest more than $5 million over the next five years to support the preservation and enhancement of global marine ecosystems.
The global fight to preserve marine habitats and species got a financial boost yesterday when the country's leading international developer, Kerzner International, announced plans to invest more than $5 million over the next five years to support the Kerzner Marine Foundation (KMF).
KMF is a newly established private nonprofit foundation that fosters the preservation and enhancement of global marine ecosystems through scientific research, education and community outreach.
The Foundation's initial funding of some $356,000 will be funneled into supporting the Nature Conservancy, Bahamas National Trust and The Bahamas Sports Fishing Conservation Association's efforts to protect the ocean life and habitat of Andros.
The waters surrounding Andros support a rich variety of fish and other marine mammals.
In fact, according to scientists, the island contains some of the most outstanding examples of intact marine and terrestrial habitats left in The Bahamas, including the third largest barrier reef in the world, one of the largest bonefish populations in the world, the highest concentration of blue holes, unique water cave-like habitats in the Western Hemisphere and the largest reservoir freshwater in The Bahamas.
The government is hoping to protect 10 percent of the country's waters by 2012.
According to KMF'S Executive Director Debra Erikson the country is well on its way to achieving that goal.
"Of all the countries in the Caribbean, The Bahamas probably has the best preserved reefs already," she said. "Our responsibility is to make sure that legislation is passed to make sure that this is protected."
Officials said the launching of Kerzner's Marine Foundation came at a time when the world's oceans are facing a crisis "of epic proportions".
According to a recently published report by the Pew Ocean Commission, there is overwhelmingly scientific evidence that the world's oceans, ecosystems, coral reefs, mangroves, estuaries and wetlands are in a state of collapse.
"The statistics can be overwhelming," Ms. Erikson said.
"More than 60 percent of the world's coral reefs are jeopardized due to pollution and over fishing, 70 percent of the world-wide fish stocks are fully exploited or depleted and 14 billion pounds of garbage are dumped into our oceans every year. In addition, over 90 percent of Foundation work in the environment is today focused just on land projects. We saw a big hole and Kerzner Marine Foundation aims to fill that hole."
The Pew Ocean Commission report along with a report issued by the U.S. Commission on the Oceans also offered a blueprint for the responsible management of ocean ecosystems.
According to Ms. Erikson, four main conclusions were advanced, among them the fact that current (ocean) management systems are really inadequate, the oceans need to be managed on an ecosystem basis, there must be some understanding between lands and seas and that the oceans are a public trust.
"This is a big issue and so is poverty," Ms. Erikson stressed. "If people do not have food security, conservation is not something that you will participate in."
Bringing additional focus to KMF's significance, Dr. Paul Dayton, one of the world's foremost marine scientists, further explained that as it stands, habitats have already been destroyed all over the place and humans have created a lot of pollution mainly due to industrial and agricultural runoffs.
"I have to say that from what I have seen over the last 30 years of fighting these battles is that it is really hard to get traction," Dr. Dayton said.
"Academics can make a lot of noise, other people can spend money, but for all of this activity, very little is affected on the ground where it counts, and so the reason I am so excited about the Kerzner Marine Foundation is that they are very serious about having an effect. They intend to make their money work."
Sharing Dr. Dayon's enthusiasm was Eleanor Phillips of the Nature Conservancy, who called the launch of KMF a good and welcomed step to assist the local conservation movement.
"This is a very exciting day for The Bahamas," she said.
"The funding provided by KMF will go a long way in addressing the crucial issue of expanding marine protected areas to ensuring that our fish life and other marine animals have waters in which to thrive and grow, which in turn allows us to do the same. Corporate citizens like Kerzner working alongside the NGO community help us all to achieve lasting success by saving one of the last great places on earth."
Over the last 10 years, Kerzner International say it has contributed well over $30 million in philanthropic causes back to local communities, which has ranged from AIDS contributions to working with students and communities.
By: Macushla N. Pinder, The Bahama Journal
|Posted by:||Nov 1st 2005, 07:55:59 pm|
|Fig Tree News Team||CNN.com readers offer opinions on rebuilding wetlands
(CNN) -- Development and storms have eroded much of the coastal wetlands that provide "speed bumps" for approaching storms. CNN.com asked readers whether steps should be taken to rebuild them. Here is a sampling of those responses, some of which have been edited:
We should stop challenging and tweaking Mother Nature. Wetlands should be allowed to return to their normal state. I am not saying just go in and rip people out of their houses and businesses, but we should have a national law that prohibits rebuilding any structure that is damaged by a storm. Over time, this would allow things to return to normal. As far a New Orleans goes, ...this is a golden opportunity to build it higher and smaller, allowing space for floodwaters. Bottom line, taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for some people's foolhardiness.
Fidel Cardenas, Oakland, New Jersey
For years now, people have been intruding into wetlands to live, fish, farm and build. Everything we do near or in a wetland destroys some of the protection we are depending on. Restoration of wetlands, especially in areas like the Mississippi Delta and Atlantic coastal areas, should be a national priority. Stop all development immediately. Buy out developed areas and remove all structures. Give the swamps back to the alligators and fish. Stay out!
C.H. Specht, Las Cruces, Mexico
FEMA (and taxpayer dollars) should not be used to compensate losses for property built on known flood plains or burn zones. Private risk-based insurance would also become prohibitively expensive, thus making the entire proposition economically unfeasible, which is why these places were never built upon in the old days.
John Anderson, Isleton, California
This has been an issue for many years and it took a disaster like this to get this country's attention. We need money for diversion projects to get the sediments to the marshes. We need to clean up our wetlands, especially after this storm. The saltwater intrusion is destroying plant life and erosion is eating away the land. Americans have ignored our coastal problems for years -- but they sure enjoy the seafood and use the oil!
Sarah Acosta, Napoleonville, Louisiana
After reading several readers' comments it is clear that some people are missing the point. I think the main reason that these wetlands are being destroyed and eroded is human development. Without our help, nature will not have a chance to rebuild itself. If people think that nature should simply "take its course," would they also agree to let the Western wildfires burn uncontrolled? Most of these fires are naturally occurring and humans have intervened to stop them. Forests require regular, natural burns to stay healthy, so why not let them burn? In the case of coastal wetlands, it would not be wise to ignore the problem and continue coastal development without first assessing the long-term implications. We have obviously done so in the past, now let's try to be more aware in the future.
Drew Kleinhans, Atlanta, Georgia
While a hurricane is a natural cause of wetland loss, the wetland loss from the recent suite of hurricanes would not have been as severe had the wetlands not already been hurt by human activity. In coastal Louisiana, wetland loss is a result of a combination of manmade and natural factors, with the largest single factor being the diversion of the sediment-rich waters of the Mississippi River from its historic flood plain.
Melissa Carle, Durham, North Carolina
I think the restoration decision should be up to the people who live close to the wetlands and who are truly affected by their destruction. Everyone else, including me, who did not even see these wetlands before, should not have a say in whether wetlands should be restored because the answer does not affect us in the same way as the people of Louisiana. Even if it does costs a billion dollars, even $10 billion, between 200 million taxpayers, 50 bucks extra on thousands of tax dollars is not a lot to ask for, if it's needed.
Mark, New York, New York
A better environment doesn't have to cost any money at all. Remediation can be expensive if you accelerate it, but all you really have to do, absent persistent pollution, is to let the natural forces reassert themselves. It costs virtually nothing to short-circuit the river-straightening system that caused this problem, and you will save money by not having to maintain that system in the future.
Robert Platt, New York, New York
The idea of restoring the coastal wetlands of Louisiana is not a new concept. There are, and have been, numerous organizations working with the local, state, and federal governments, the residents, and the large corporations to find the best way to restore the wetlands while maintaining the economic viability of the region. However, wetlands are lost because of complicated interactions of manmade and natural processes. Scientists are working to understand and quantify how these different mechanisms interact and how much of a role they each play. If we don't understand the mechanisms driving wetland loss, our attempts to restore them has the potential to fail, or even make the problem worse.
Ellen Mallman, Stanford, California
Yes, the wetlands need to be rebuilt! It was the actions of human beings, either directly or indirectly, that caused the erosion of our once bountiful wetlands. When man tampers with the ecology that is so carefully balanced by nature, no good ever comes of it. Species of flora and fauna that were once plentiful diminish to the borderline of extinction. An equally terrible scenario occurs when we must undergo the ravages of a tropical storm, tornado, or hurricane and instead of it having to pass over these natural speed bumps, and weaken in so doing; now we are faced with storm surges with no barriers to slow them down. We should immediately write our legislators and insist that new funding be appropriated for the rebuilding of our wetlands.
Keith Daggett, Mohave Valley, Arizona
Wetlands should be rebuilt. Take a look at what man has destroyed in the name of commerce and progress. Wetlands, forest, species all gone in the name of progress and greed. When will it stop?
David L. Gomez, Santa Barbara, California
Wetlands should be rebuilt where possible, and future developers should be more wary of damaging them. There's nothing "unnatural" about rebuilding wetlands, any more than it is "unnatural" to plant trees to try to bring back a damaged forest, or restock polluted rivers with fish. If we don't take active steps to manage and preserve nature, we will only end up "managing" it anyway, in a negative sense, through unrestrained development of land and natural resources.
Jason Thompson, San Francisco, California
I am stunned by the ignorance of the people submitting opinions on this issue. Wetland loss in coastal Louisiana is not like in other areas of the country. It is not the same in cause, effect, scope, or scale. It is not caused by nameless "developers" building strip malls in marshes. Wetland loss has been caused by the Army Corps of Engineers channeling the Mississippi for flood control, with the result that all the sediment in the river is being lost over the continental shelf. It's also due to the Corps allowing oil companies to dredge shipping channels through the wetlands, thereby encouraging saltwater intrusion, which kills the marshes. The "developers" in this case are companies that supply oil to the whole country. What we're losing is not just hurricane protection and a few jobs for hunting and fishing guides, but also the breeding grounds that support half this nation's seafood industry. We're losing the buffer that used to filter the Mississippi's waters. The scale, scope and effects are all enormous.
Anonymous, Slidell, Louisiana
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