$100M Wasted On Desert Tortoise Preservation Without Known Results
Posted by Taxed But Not Represented on January 17, 2003 at 11:20:35:
When I read that the U.S. Dept. of Interior and two of its subordinate agencies, including the BLM, were being sued in a rare joint effort by Enviornmentalist Groups and OHV User Groups, I decided to closely review the General Accounting Office's December, 2002 report on the Mojave Desert Tortoise preservation efforts since 1990 under the Endangered Species Act. I wasn't surprised to read the GAOs conclusion that nearly $100 million dollars have been spent by the various Federal agencies, State agencies and some private groups in efforts to preserve the declining populations of the great Mojave Desert Tortoise without known results. The GAOs report concluded: "The overall economic impact of the tortoise recovery program - including benefits as well as the costs incurred by local governments, landowners, and developers as a result of restrictions - is unknown." Other interesting facts disclosed include the admission that serious studies into the adverse effects of raven predation and Upper Respiiratory Tract Disease, which are known dangers to the tortoise population, have not been given due resources. The study also disclosed that, while over 7600 burros have been "removed" in the effort, only 55-60 ravens have been eradicated. Finally, while the NPS has made efforts to preserve the Mojave Desert Tortoise habitat at Joshua Tree NP, Mojave National Preserve and Lake Mead National Recreation Area, there is no reported plan or expenditures at DVNP. It may be too late to save the Mojave Desert Tortoise; however, I'm sure the government's real plan is right on course: "The sharp increase in tortoise expenditures in fiscal years 1997 and 1998 are associated with significant expenditures for land acquisition." The GAO went on to disclose that 56 percent of all expenditures on the tortoise in 1997, and 84 percent in 1998, was for land acquisition. Hmmmmmmm.....