conservation policy

conservation policy, Conserving Wildlife, Expeditions and Travels, Uncategorized

Inuit Wisdom on Conservation

In July of last year, our trip in search of red knots from my home in Greenwich, NJ to the small Arctic town of Coral Harbor in Southampton Island took us to some of the most remote wilderness in this hemisphere. But we also leaped from a modern socially connected world to one with third world communication and economic systems. You can’t use your cell phone in Coral Harbor, in fact neither can the mostly Inuit population. They use Facebook with enthusiasm but have virtually dial-up internet speeds. The cost of a case of coke is $45. An overnight stay…

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Conserving Wildlife, Delaware Bay

Alienate Rural Communities with Good Intentions

In the previous post I suggest rural communities suffer existential threats, property taxes high among them but great potential exist for renewal.  How do we respond to their need? Perched precariously on the banks of the Cohansey River and within sight of the Delaware Bay shipping channels, my hometown of Greenwich, New Jersey was established in the late 17th century by Dutch traders. Subsequently, the English overran the Dutch and by the mid 1700s, the town thrived as the main port of entry for all of the productive South Jersey farming communities. In 1775, insurgent patriots dumped tea into the…

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Conserving Wildlife

Unfulfilled Promise

In the previous post I suggest that wildlife and rural communities both suffer from ineffective conservation. From the viewpoint of a resident, one can look at the Delaware Bay as a graveyard of well intentioned but mostly unsuccessful attempts to manage natural resources. Most of these efforts come and go with only modestly positive effects. Many have huge potential, but this potential never quite crystallizes into tangible benefits. The accumulation of land devoted to public use sparkles the brightest in this meager constellation of semi-successes. Public land undeniably protects the habitat and wildlife that resides within its borders. It also…

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Conserving Wildlife, Delaware Bay

Inadequate Wildlife Conservation hurts People and Wildlife

In the last post I suggest that conservationists need to help wildlife that have no voice and the people whose communities share the land with wildlife. The economic fortune of rural communities can depend on good conservation. This is the sad story of Fortescue NJ. The most obvious sign of decline is the failed tackle shops, which starkly contrasts with the forthright declaration found at the town’s center: Fortescue, Weakfish Capital of the World. Robust weakfish populations have long deserted this and every other town on Delaware Bay, and agency biologists are perplexed as to why. The fishery collapse and…

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conservation policy, Conserving Wildlife, wildlife conservation

Draining Natural Wealth Free of Responsibility

In the previous post I suggest good conservation starts with all conservationist – sportsmen, birders, at home wildlife feeders and home providers, naturalists of all kinds- having the courage to defend wildlife whose voice is unheard.  The rural areas of Delaware Bay are nothing like the wilderness of the Arctic, but our situation is similar. Here as there, beautiful rural land and water has been set aside with muscular public land acquisitions and very restrictive regulations that in theory should protect it for the benefit of people and wildlife of the state and those of the area. Instead, the land…

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Conserving Wildlife

Effective Conservation Comes With Courageous Choices

In light of the Inuits’ courageous action, let’s consider our own record on Delaware Bay. In the last 20 years or so, the Atlantic Coast fishing industry has decimated emblematic species of the Delaware Bay such as horseshoe crabs, sturgeon and weakfish. Even now, they continue to resist population restoration with a relentless political campaign to repeal the state’s moratorium on the harvest of horseshoe crabs. Our farmers and nurserymen contributed to the decimation of the bobwhite quail, the quintessential voice of South Jersey farmland wildlife. Simple changes to their method would drastically improve conditions, but even a minor hit…

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Expeditions and Travels, Science, Uncategorized

Machi and Goshen’s last flight to Guadeloupe was not forgotten

  The attached video by Amanda Dey, starts with shots fired at shorebirds in a shooting swamp on the French island of Guadeloupe . It was at this site that two whimbrels were shot last year. The two birds, named Machi and Goshen, were outfitted with satellite transmitters by William and Mary Biologists Bryan Watts and Flecher Smith. The two whimbrels fought different storms, one a hurricane, the other a tropical storm, to reach safety on Guadeloupe, as do thousands of other shorebirds including red knots, ruddy turnstones, greater and lesser yellowlegs, golden plovers and more. Upon arrival they eventually…

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Conserving Wildlife, Delaware Bay, Science

A recovery as slow as a horseshoe crab on a cold day

We begin our Delaware Bay Shorebird Project on both sides of the bay this week and as always, it’s a time to look at our program and see where we are and ask the question where would we like to go?  What is happening to the birds, the horseshoe crabs, are things getting better. The most recent horseshoe crabs surveys suggest there has been no improvement in horseshoe crab numbers since the ASMFC began its regulations affecting the harvest of crabs in 1998.  Moreover the survival models developed for horseshoe crab and red knots developed by a team of scientists,…

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Australia, Expeditions and Travels, Travel

Australia Road Trip Katherine Gorge All to Ourselves 2007

Nourlangie, a outlier of the Arnhem Land escarpment of red sandstone, in Kakadu National Park, NT After a short ride from Kakadu National Park, we pulled into the town of Katherine and, after a quick re-supply, took the paved road to Katherine Gorge National Park. The Northern Territory (an Australian state) manages the park even though it is the province of the national government. In the US, it would be like the State of NJ running Gateway National Park, or Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. Although a consequence of the relatively recent confederation of Australian States into a national federation in…

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