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 Ã¢â‚¬Å“no net lossÃ¢â‚¬Â 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.