October 14, 2011
Conservation Roundup: Wetlands Attrition, Invasive Enemies, Killer Felt
By Bob Marshall
Estuaries Stil Being Hammered
Wetlands in general are still being lost across America, and coastal estuaries are taking the brunt of that assault, according to the latest tally by the federal government. "Status and Trends of Wetlands in the Conterminous United States, 2004-2009," released last week by the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) is the most up-to-date state of the continent's wetlands. And while it shows key conservation programs aimed at interior wetlands have slowed the rate of loss in those habitats, coastal estuaries are still plummeting at record rates.
In the five years of the study, coastal wetlands experienced decline by 110,000 acres or 2.4%, about the size of 84,000 football fields. This rate of loss far surpasses that of all other wetland habitat types.
Coastal estuaries are arguably the most important wetlands habitat. They are responsible for almost all coastal and marine fisheries production, from shrimp to snapper, they provide buffers for hurricane storm surges, and they are critical to bird migrations from waterfowl to neo-tropicals.
Invasive Species a Threat to National Security!
Well, at least that's the supposition made recently in a doctoral dissertation that has begun to grab international headlines. The theory is that enemies of the state (ours, theirs, everyone else's) could have a profound impact on the economies of their adversaries by releasing non-native species, including bio-engineered critters, into those environments.
Sounds like a movie script, but the wildlife managers who have been waging and losing the war against invasives tearing up America's native fish and wildlife populations aren't laughing. This is a battle all anglers and hunters should take seriously.
Missouri Bans Felt Sole in Battle Against "Rock Snot"
"Rock Snot" is the descriptive handle given to Didymo, an algae that can literally clog and kill a trout stream. Worse, once it gets established, it's almost impossible to remove. That's why the Missouri Department of Conservation has decided to ban porous sole wading shoes - felt soles - from its waters. Anyone still holding onto those old felt soles can take a look here for further proof of the threat.