Monday, May 13, 2019

American dipper in Black Hills joins a million other species at risk to Republicans

A green-dyed weed killer sprayed willy-nilly bespoils the landscape along a Forest Service road in Pennington County.

Here are cattle shitting in a sensitive watershed in Lawrence County.

Recall that during a field hearing in Rapid City back in 2016 South Dakota's Republican junior US Senator Mike Rounds said, "I agree with the goals of the Endangered Species Act but I am concerned with the low success rate" so he wants to end the ESA. Fact is: according to the Center for Biological Diversity the ESA has been resoundingly successful until the Trump Organization, the Republican Party, Kristi Noem and South Dakota Game, Fish and Plunder (GF&P) declared war on the Earth.

The collapse of select Black Hills ecosystems has been evident since at least 2002 but they're still home to the threatened black footed ferret, northern long-eared bat, the black-backed woodpecker that feeds on bark beetles, and a bird that actually walks underwater - the American dipper.
A survey of Black Hills streams was conducted in 2018 by Nancy Drilling, a biologist with the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies. She said she surveyed Bear Butte, Elk, Box Elder, French, and Rapid creeks. “There is a pair (of dippers) at Thunderhead Falls on Rapid Creek. That is the only birds we found outside of Whitewood and Spearfish creeks,” Drilling said. “That is basically what we found in the early 2000s. They haven’t moved or expanded, which is one thing I was looking at.” The loss of breeding birds on French Creek is likely due to pollution, sedimentation, and the construction of Stockade Lake Dam, according to the GF&P species status review report. [Black Hills Pioneer]
Yes, it's horrifying but the reasons are hardly mysterious; it's all about the money hunting and public lands grazing funnel into a region smothering under single-party rule.

GF&P may have been interested in science at some point in its past but like Douglas fir, lodgepole pine and as revenues collapse the eventual extirpation of mountain lions from the Black Hills looks like a given, too. Blend the slaughter of apex predators, the resulting rise of mesopredators, increasing numbers of domestic dogs and cats then stir in a melange of industrial chemicals with climate change and voila: red state collapse on parade!

Add the very high number of private inholdings within the Black Hills National Forest that make the wildland urban interface (WUI) very large to one of the highest road densities in the entire national forest system and Region 2 to lots of logging, hardrock mining and pesticides like Carbaryl then understand why over a hundred species in South Dakota alone and a million worldwide are at risk to the Republican Party.

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