Note to George Bush: A Golf Course Pond is NOT Countable as a Wetland


Just when you thought it really, really couldn’t get any worse, news has hit the stands that the White House is counting artificially created golf ponds as wetlands.
Apparently, Interior Secretary Gale Norton has stated that America has stopped losing wetlands. In fact, she has argued, America’s wetlands are increasing if one counts artificially created golf ponds.
Field & Stream is now going after the administration. When was the last time someone saw enviro-politics in a hunting and fishing journal.
Field & Stream‘s Bob Marshall writes:

The Bush Administration announced last week that the nation is no longer losing wetlands–as long as you consider golf course water hazards to be wetlands.
Thursday (March 30), Interior Secretary Gale Norton called a press conference to claim our long nightmare of wetlands loss had finally come to an end due to unprecedented gains since 1997 (click hear to read the report she cites). However, she then admitted much of that gain has been in artificially created ponds, such as golf course water hazards and farm impoundments.
The sporting community — from Ducks Unlimited to the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership — reacted quickly, and not favorably. Researchers long ago established that natural wetlands such as marshes, swamps and prairie potholes are far more productive than even the best-designed artificial wetlands. And sharp-edged water bodies like water hazards, farm ponds, and even reservoirs offer very little for wildlife. Putting man-made ponds in the same class as natural wetlands is like ranking pen-raised quail with wild coveys.
The boldness of Norton’s claim was particularly galling given the Bush Administration’s record on wetlands. President Bush, like other presidents before him, promised a policy of “no net loss” of wetlands, but his administration has consistently supported rollbacks of the Clean Water Act to satisfy industry and development.

More later — but perhaps with fisherman and hunters abandoning the White House, things might change.
— Steve Clemons
Ed. Note: Thanks to Glenn Smith for sending my way.


11 comments on “Note to George Bush: A Golf Course Pond is NOT Countable as a Wetland

  1. RichF says:

    There’s no rational reason ‘urban liberals’ oughtn’t strenuously advocate a strict adherence to the 2nd Amendment.
    If Gore had done so, he would likely have picked up both West Virginia and Tennessee.
    There are huge numbers of rural Democrats (& Repubs, & Libertarians) that are ripe for the picking. It makes no sense to champion 9 or the 10 elements of the Bill of Rights. They’re there for a reason — and no deep or viscous a layer of sophistry can effectively discount or ‘interpret’ those words out of existence.
    Point is — liberals too, urban and rural, are adamantly FOR gun rights and hunting rights.
    It’s the mis-named middle / center / realist club that sheds those principles as they move away from the real center and towards the halls of power. Same with the 4th Amendment, etc., etc.
    Had they not done so, there would clearly be more obligation on the part of the Executive to follow in FDR’s footsteps to go to Congress for a formal Declaration of War. Instead, the degradation of the overriding legal structures of governance is overwhelming… irrational, ill-considered, and hardly consistent with the over-arching law of the land.
    Were they still in place, Bush would have had a much more difficult job in executing the breach of trust and clear betrayal of those nation-defining principles.


  2. Patience says:

    I can’t help pointing out as a former Dean ’04 supporter that one of the good governor’s accomplishments in Vermont was working with hunters (recall his “A” rating from the NRA) and environmentalists to protect large amounts of state wilderness.


  3. Pan Pan (anon) says:

    It’s not always the same on the state level, where issues of land use often create conflict between sportsman and hard-core conservationists. Hopefully someone on the federal level will come out with a sensible pro-gun, pro-environment stance that will unite these groups against extremists like Bush. Removing the NRA from the picture will be key.


  4. Owen says:

    Sorry about the snark above, but I really do wish that more urban liberals would realize that sportsmen are natural allies of the Sierra Club.


  5. GoozNews says:

    Hey Steve,
    Like the rest of the media, you’ve been so buried in war, Iraq, nukes, the UN, Bolton ad nauseum for so long that you forgot that most Americans actually care about things like health care, the environment, retirement security and their economic well-being. That story on the wetlands came out nearly three weeks ago! What’s next? Breaking news from National Geographic?


  6. Raymond B says:

    Forget the wetlands, This is like an illegal immigrant job fair. Imagine how many illegals it would take to manicure this golf course. Talk about Bush job creation.
    Raymond B


  7. glattonfolly says:

    The most powerful force for conservation would be the hook and bullet crowd and ranchers joining up with the sierra clubbers and other non-consumptive conservation groups. Ted Williams, Jim Posewitz, and others across the political spectrum within the conservation community have been saying this for years now.
    These two pieces of the conservation community were in the midst of joining forces before the election. The Bushies caught wind, and knowing the power this coalition would possess, sent the NRA in to break up the party, and they did this successfully, that time. But there’s always another day, and the VP shooting his buddy in the face, or Norton calling a storm water retetion pond next to a Walmart only helps.
    Norton is but a tool of those that would sell off every acre of public land and extract every drop of oil, gas, and mineral–for the financial benefit of the crony few.
    The Bushie line is that W is the greatest conservation president since TR. What hogwash.


  8. Owen says:

    Hunters and fisherman are responsible for huge tracts of conservation land and habitat. I wish more “meat should come from cages” liberals would recognize that.


  9. RichF says:

    You know you’ve made an ugly mis-step in the duckblind when the hook-and-bullet crowd is up in arms over environmental policy.
    You’re right, Steve, it’s a telling point.
    Related note:
    Best friend back home was listening to Wisconsin Public Radio just after Dick Cheney went after lawyer-quail. The call-in show was intended to be about ‘Late-night talk-show humorous treatment of Cheney’s hunting accident.’
    It was not to be.
    The very first call was from a self-identified Bush voter and avid hunter who was angry about the unsportsmanlike, non-hunterly actions of the Vice President. Caller after caller objected to the “hunting” as practiced, the handling of the situation — among other aspects. Almost all were hunters — and the majority Republican. This is from a conservative area of the state.
    Most were angry because they felt Cheney had made them (hunters) look bad. It was as though they take pride in the ethics of conservation, the rules of sportsmanship, and the responsibility for others’ safety — each of which is integral to hunting — and to their identity.


Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *