Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Tern to the money

Did you hear about the recent tern tragedy in Southern California? The bodies of young Caspian and Elegant Terns washed onto the shore of Long Beach Harbor, the apparent victims of high-pressure hoses that cleaned off the decks of privately owned barges on which terns had nested.

An editorial in today's Los Angeles Times by Kimball Garrett and Kathy Molina outlines the known facts and offers some commentary. The op-ed piece concludes with

In the short term, given the squeeze on real estate for colonial seabirds in our coastal region, these barges should either be seized from their owners and devoted in perpetuity to the terns of Long Beach Harbor, or fines should be exacted from those responsible and put toward the purchase, placement and monitoring of similar nesting barges in the harbor. If you build it, they will come.

To my mind, the viable solution is the latter: "...fines should be exacted from those responsible and put toward the purchase, placement and monitoring of similar nesting barges in the harbor."

We need to work with folks who don't share our nature-oriented sensibilities and who have to make a living--for instance, with those barges. We can't just seize the barges--which would seem to imply lack of remuneration for their personal property--and deprive them of their livelihood. Imposing the fines would seem to be sufficient punishment to the barge owners and notice to other owners about appropriate actions.

The purchase of barges specifically for nesting terns appears the best option. So who's going to lead that effort?

1 Comments:

Blogger Leigh said...

I agree that they need to be punished, and not just a slap on the wrist but a hefty fine, with those fines going to pay for the barge that would house future nesting terns. Those barge owners need to understand how important conserving those species is to the health of the environment in which they make their living. When will people get it through their heads that its necessary to start protecting species BEFORE they become endangered, not just reacting when they've already begun to decline. We need to become more pro-active instead of simply reacting. sheesh.

July 12, 2006 5:38 PM  

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