[Tweeters] wildlife action alert

Dennis Paulson dennispaulson at comcast.net
Wed Apr 5 19:38:32 PDT 2006


Hello, Tweeters,

Anyone not concerned with wildlife-conservation issues can skip this
message.

The City of Seattle has recently posted on its web site an agreement
(http://www.seattle.gov/news/detail.asp?ID=6000&dept=40) with the
Muckleshoot tribe to settle some long-standing disagreements about
the Cedar River Watershed. The agreement mostly seems like a good
thing. The web site says that the plan "insures long term benefits
for fish and wildlife in the Cedar River." Out of curiosity, I read
the entire agreement, available at the web site as a pdf. It is quite
advantageous for fish, but I fail to see how it will prove
advantageous for wildlife.

Here is a quote from the web site:

In a letter transmitting the proposed agreement to the City Council,
Nickels said the plan consists of three basic parts: in-stream flows;
funding for fish and wildlife; and access for the tribe to the
watershed to exercise its treaty rights of hunting and gathering.
Highlights of the agreement include:

Guaranteed in-stream flows for fish in perpetuity.
Certainty for Cedar River water supply and system operations.
Protocols supporting the exercise of rights the tribe reserved under
treaties.
Cooperative plan for wildlife management.
Ten-year wildlife research program.
Protection of water quality for the region.
Continuing water conservation efforts.
Creation of a city-tribe framework to resolve future issues.

Everything sounds good here, but among the "exercise of rights the
tribe reserved under treaties" is a provision for the Muckleshoot
tribe to begin hunting in the watershed. I'm not against hunting
personally and have no problem with their hunting deer and elk there,
although there has been no hunting in the Seattle watershed for a
very long time, and many of us have thought of it as a wildlife
sanctuary. What I am especially concerned with is a statement in the
agreement: "Once this Settlement Agreement is approved by the Court,
the Tribe may authorize ceremonial, subsistence, and management
hunting by Tribal members . . . ."

As I understand it, "management hunting" means using hunting as a
wildlife management tool, and in this case it will almost certainly
involve killing as many of the predators of the deer and elk in the
watershed as possible; this form of "management" is being used in the
Green River Watershed. The predators are bears and cougars. I am very
concerned that such killing goes quite against the statement of
"benefits for . . . wildlife in the Cedar River." I think for
"wildlife" read deer and elk, the primary hunting objectives for the
tribe. The "ten-year wildlife research program" will be oriented
entirely, according the agreement, toward deer and elk. It is being
funded at the 2-1/2 million dollar level, which some may view as a
large sum to study how to enhance the populations of two species in
one area so there are more of them to hunt.

The part of this that bothers me the most is that I would never have
known anything about it if it weren't for a casual mention by an
acquaintance who happened to hear about it, and I first read about it
thinking it was quite a good thing and was surprised the city wasn't
making a bigger deal of it. Now I'm concerned that the city has not
been very communicative about this plan, and that there are some
distinctly anti-wildlife elements. I hope anyone besides me who is
concerned will contact City Council members about it - in particular
Richard Conlin, who is the chair of the Environment, Emergency
Management and Utilities Committee responsible the plan. It says on
the web site that the city will take action by mid May, so quick
action on the part of those who would like to have the plan opened to
public discussion is important.

Sorry for a nonbirding post, but I'm anxious to get this out to an
audience of those concerned with wildlife. I'm putting this on
tweeters because there doesn't seem to be time to get it out in any
environmental newsletter.
-----
Dennis Paulson
1724 NE 98 St.
Seattle, WA 98115
206-528-1382

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