New Wildlife Advisory Committee Moves Forward Under Business Model / Facebook post, Whatcom Hawk

wildlife advisory19 hrs  July 14, 2015  Wendy Harris

Last Tuesday, the county council approved a new wildlife advisory committee and is now seeking applications from qualified people to fill the technical advisory sub-committee that will be meeting first. There is supposed to be a website, but the link has not been working.

I have to be honest. This is not what I have been asking for, which was an on-going wildlife management committee that reviews, on an on-going basis, policies for how wildlife is handled to protect biodiversity and avoid human/wildlife conflicts based on the principles of conservation science. Instead, this committee has been limited to one year to work on comp. plan land use issues.

Rud Browne put some rather stringent obligations into the rules which I have not seen imposed on other committees.. certainly not the AG Advisory Board. What other committees are required to perform a cost/benefit analysis for their recommendations? And despite my last ditch effort plea, the council refused to put citizen science provisions back into the resolution.

As enacted, “each committee recommendation will consist of: i. Identified issue or constraint, ii. Discussion of ecological process, function or species addressed, iii. Range of solutions considered, iv. Preferred solution, v. Cost of implementation. A cost benefit analysis is required when an existing industry recognized method is available; at a minimum a discussion of project costs and positive or adverse impacts where community and ecological uses intersect, vi. Cited and reviewed references.”

Here is the problem. How do you place a financial value on biodiversity… at a time when the future of the human race on this planet is unknown and biodiversity is crucial to the outcome? Plus, what the heck is an “existing industry recognized method” in the context of conservation? And certain legal standards, such as no net loss, technically at least, do not have a cost/benefit component.

Anyway, none of this is intended to discourage qualified applicants from applying. Others are more optimistic about this project as drafted than I am, and I really hope they are right.

Read Wendy’s post on Facebook on Whatcom Hawk here.


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