Monday, February 22, 2010

Military bases expand efforts for endangered birds

Endangered species, such as Red-cockaded Woodpecker, increasingly receive support at more military bases around the country. The Department of Defense spent $300 million to protect at-risk plants and animals between 2004 and 2008 -- "more than it spent in the previous ten years combined," according to a New York Times article today.

Today, herculean efforts to save threatened species are unfolding at dozens of military sites across the nation, from Eglin, Fla., where the Air Force has restored and reconnected streams for the Okaloosa darter, to San Clemente Island, Calif., where the Navy has helped bring the loggerhead shrike back from the brink of extinction. ...

Preserving those species can require frustrating adjustments. At certain times each year, for example, the Marines are able to use only a fraction of the beachfront at Camp Pendleton, Calif., to practice amphibious landings out of concern for nesting shorebirds like the coastal California gnatcatcher. ...

Still, for every clash there is an instance of intense efforts to keep an animal safe. At Twenty-Nine Palms, Calif., for example, the Marines built a desert tortoise research and rearing center in 2005 to help the soft-shelled babies avoid predation by ravens.
Take five minutes to watch the video, "Military Bases as Wildlife Havens." You'll get to see a biologist use a mist net to capture a Red-cockaded Woodpecker and hear the bird's vocal protests.

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Blogger Nate said...

The Red-cockaded Woodpecker account is misleading. Fort Benning may tout their bonafides now, but they're currently moving ahead with a huge plan to accommodate tanks from Fort Knox and have permission to "take", meaning kill, 88 groups of RCWs for the project.

Here's the Summary of the project, you can see on the last page where they spell out precisely what they mean to do:

Ft Benning is home to a significant population of RCWs and to kill such a large number sets conservation efforts back 50 years. It's nothing short of devastating for the species. The NYT article is a whitewash.

February 25, 2010 12:03 PM  

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