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Mud-puddle preservation plan
By Terence P. Jeffrey
Published February 4, 2005

When I was a boy growing up in California we called them "mud puddles."
If they grew large enough, grown-ups called it "flooding."
But now the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), which enforces the
Endangered Species Act, has adopted the bogus poetry of the
environmentalist left, calling them "vernal pools."
The question for the immediate future is whether a federal government
controlled by Republicans will allow either bureaucrats or unelected
judges to use these "vernal pools" to shut down development on vast
stretches of private property and thus help push the American dream
beyond the grasp of some aspiring homeowners in our most populous state.
What we are talking about is the stagnant water that often collects in
small ditches or low patches of land in California after winter rains.
By summer, these puddles and flooded areas revert to clumps of yellowed
grass. In dry years, they might never materialize. The FWS' 593-page
November report said: "The duration of the ponding of vernal pools also
varies, and in some years certain pools may not fill at all."
So tiny are some of these evanescent water hazards a kindergartener
could vault one in a single bound. "Vernal pools," says the report,
"vary from 1 square meter (approximately 1 square yard) to 1 hectare (2½
acres) or more." But their impact on property rights could be huge.
About a decade ago, environmental groups began court actions aimed at
forcing FWS to list as endangered four species of shrimp that live in
California's mud puddles, and to set aside land as "critical habitat"
for them. Eventually, FWS listed the shrimp, as well as 11 species of
mud-puddle plants.
As of now, the conflict between environmentalists and FWS over the
"vernal pools" revolves around whether FWS will designate 1.67 million
acres as "critical habitat" (the environmentalists' goal) or about
700,000 (the FWS goal).
In October, a federal judge ordered FWS to reconsider its decision to
designate the smaller number and make a final determination no later
than July 31.
Either way, it will be a massive land grab. The smaller option for
mud-puddle "critical habitat" is larger than all of Rhode Island (which
has only 670,000 acres). Much of the land that would be targeted is
concentrated in California's fast-growing Sacramento and San Joaquin
Valleys, where unlike elsewhere in the state, most property is privately
According to the Bureau of Land Management, the government already owns
52 percent of the approximately 100 million acres in California. The
Forest Service owns 20 percent, BLM 15 percent, the National Park
Service 8 percent, the state and local governments 5 percent, and the
military 4 percent.
Designating hundreds of thousands of acres of private land as mud-puddle
"critical habitat" would effectively shut down development of that land.
In its Nov. 18 report, "Draft Recovery Plan for Vernal Pool Ecosystems
of California and Southern Oregon," FWS stressed it envisions
voluntarily involving landowners. But it said: "Protection in perpetuity
of these lands includes the amelioration or elimination of the threats
in perpetuity, and application of appropriate and adaptive management to
assure species survival and recovery."
What are the threats? In a section titled "Major Threats to Vernal Pool
Species," FWS cites even the negative effect of hiking and bicycling:
"Recreational use also may introduce, or facilitate spread of, seeds of
invasive plants that could be attached to vehicles, tires or shoes and
"Habitat protection can be achieved in a number of ways, including land
acquisition, purchase of conservation easements and conservation
agreements," all of which mean no growth.
The FWS estimates its plan's cost at more than $2 billion. But that does
not count the opportunity cost to American families. As the Modesto Bee
noted in a December editorial, the median-priced home in California now
costs $465,000.
In November, the Public Policy Institute of California asked 2,502
California adults if they were concerned their family's younger
generation would be unable to afford a home in their part of California.
Fifty-two percent were very concerned, and 25 percent were somewhat
concerned. Twenty-four percent said housing costs were forcing them to
consider moving out of their region or out California altogether. Using
"endangered" mud puddles to bar development on large tracts of private
lands will shut down some peoples' dream of owning a home.
Rather than let federal bureaucrats or federal judges do that, President
Bush and the Republican Congress should rewrite the Endangered Species
Act now.

Going John Galt
31,846 Posts

1,159 Posts
geezus,you HAVE to quote that huge post for the number 2 reply?
anyhow, enviros gone wild! endangered mud puddles! its only a matter of time before all of cali. is just a gated community for the rich.

Going John Galt
31,846 Posts
KRYPTO(dale) said:
geezus,you HAVE to quote that huge post for the number 2 reply?
anyhow, enviros gone wild! endangered mud puddles! its only a matter of time before all of cali. is just a gated community for the rich.
that better? ;)

1,159 Posts
just quick replys for you now!post whore!

137 Posts
Hell Mike, I've got a whole backyard full of "vernal pools" How much money is California gonna donate to preserve them? Otherwise I'm building moto-cross track where only 2-stroke bikes can ride!! :lmao:
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