This story on wetlands broadcast on NPR last week reminds me why I don't take much stock in the Global Warming hoopla. It probably is a real phenomena, but I don't believe in much of anything the environmentalists have say about it. They've been forecasting nothing but environmental disasters since the early 1970's. In their eyes, the sky is always falling.
Last week's press release from the US Department of the Interior:
"Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton today released a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service report that shows a net gain in America’s nonagricultural and agricultural wetlands for the first time since the Service began compiling data in 1954....... approximately 191,800 acres of wetlands were gained between 1998 and 2004, bringing the nation’s total wetlands acreage to 107.7 million acres, or 5 percent of the land area of the lower 48 states."
Can the environmentalists be pleased about this, the very first time wetlands acreage has increased since that was measured over a half a century ago? No, of course not! That's because the environmentalists are unhappy that there was still a loss of the swampy, marshy wetlands (good wetlands), and the gain in wetlands acreage was largely due to the construction of stormwater retention ponds (bad wetlands).
"Patrick Megonigal, a wetlands scientist at the Smithsonian's Environmental Research Center, said there is no question that the nation loses something when it trades a natural wetland for an artificial pond.... "Not all wetlands are created equal," Megonigal said. "There are many different types of wetlands, and we're losing in many cases highly functioning, high-quality wetlands and replacing them with low-quality wetlands."
This is true to a certain extent, and the DOI press release stated as much. But "low-quality" wetlands are still a lot better than no wetlands. And the DOI also credits wetlands restoration on conservation land as part of the net gain. How can it be that neither of the environmentalists quoted in the NPR story said "We're glad that the trend of destruction of wetlands has reversed"? To the tree-huggers, there is never good news, it's all bad, and anything done under the Bush adminstration is doubly bad. Environmentalists appear to be genetically incapable of acknowledging or being happy about the many significant improvements in environmental quality in the past 25 years. It's never enough for them.