By Hal Herring
I’m not going to write today about the U.S. Senators responsible for the recent stalling of the Sportsmen’s Act of 2012. What is most important in the blocking of the Sportsmen’s Act is the unpardonable ignorance it reveals. Included in the Sportsmen’s Act is the path to the reauthorization of NAWCA (North American Wetlands and Conservation Act), a program that provides matching funds to groups working to preserve and restore wetlands across North America.
Yes, in 1989, when NAWCA was created by an act of Congress, it was intended primarily to boost populations of waterfowl and other wildlife. But since then, as the Federal Flood Insurance Program has sucked away and squandered billions of taxpayer dollars, and as Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy and the 2011 floods have proved, wetlands and floodplains are NOT about ducks and geese. Ruined wetlands and floodplains are about economics and deficits and man-made disasters. Wildlife and the hunting heritage, and wild, beautiful days on the marsh or in the blind with friends and family and abundant waterfowl above us are the interest on the principle of protected and restored wetlands. Destroying wetlands, channelizing creeks, draining swamps to plant more corn for ethanol, or to feed the earth’s insatiable billions of people, destroys the principle. Just as you can take an inheritance or a windfall stack of money and, instead of investing it, blow it on lottery tickets and cigarettes and groceries (new guns are excluded), you can destroy the economic principle of the planet.