California v. Gnatcatcher?

Not long after his firm bought more than 2,300 acres of prime southern-California real estate, John Barone learned that the property was full of gnatcatchers. A compactly built man with shaggy black hair, Barone has a confident, loquacious style that some people might describe in terms of the can-do optimism of the American West, which is where Barone has lived Read More ›

Puget Sound Chinook and the Endangered Species Act

On March 9, 1998, the National Marine Fisheries Service officially announced its intent to add the Chinook salmon of Puget Sound to the endangered species list. The Service has until next March to make a final decision, and all indications point to a listing of the Chinook. Should that happen, residents of the Puget Sound area will come face to Read More ›

Surprise, Surprise

On October 4, 1995, Hurricane Opal made landfall along the Gulf coast near Pensacola, Florida. With 125-mph winds and 20-foot storm surges, the hurricane smashed boats and buildings, cutting a swathe northward through Alabama. As it crossed the border into North Carolina, the storm finally dissipated. Twenty-seven people lost their lives, and the hurricane was responsible for nearly $2 billion Read More ›

Grown From Within

We shall never achieve harmony with land, any more than we shall achieve justice or liberty for people. In these higher aspirations the important thing is not to achieve, but to strive. The problem, then, is how to bring about a striving for harmony with land among a people many of whom have forgotten there is any such thing as Read More ›


SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA–For 2 months earlier this fall, University of Washington, Seattle, grad student Amanda Stanley sifted through reams of documents–from dense scientific articles to denser federal reports–bearing on the fate of northern spotted owls, marbled murrelets, and other imperiled icons of the Pacific Northwest. Her task was to assess the quality of the science underpinning the state of Washington’s Read More ›

Endangered Salmon

PORTLAND, OREGON–For years the Army Corps of Engineers has been chewing over the best way to bring back endangered populations of salmon and steelhead along the Snake River. The most controversial proposal –embraced by environmentalists and bitterly resisted by many local residents–is to breach four hydropower dams on the Snake River, a tributary of the Columbia River in Idaho and Read More ›

United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Drinking Water, Fisheries, and Wildlife

United States SenateCommittee on Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Drinking Water, Fisheries, and Wildlife Hearings on the Reauthorization of the Endangered Species Act July 13, 1995 Comments of Mark L. Plummer, Ph.D. Senior Fellow, Discovery Institute In 1973, when Congress passed the Endangered Species Act, its members believed the goal of banishing extinction was imperative and within quick reach. Read More ›

Endangered Species and the Profit Motive:

“My own gropings come to a dead end,” the conservationist Aldo Leopold wrote more than forty years ago, “when I try to appraise the profit motive. For a full generation the American conservation movement has been substituting the profit motive for the feat motive, yet it has failed to motivate. We can all see profit in conservation practice, but the Read More ›


For more than 90 years, the national forests and grasslands that cover more than 8% of the United States have effectively been all things to all people. Loggers regarded them as reserves of low-cost timber, easily reached on government-built roads. Vacationers treated them as giant playgrounds, studded with picnic areas and campsites. Environmentalists wanted them to be nature reserves, minimally Read More ›

The Wizard of NMFS

The story so far: It is a calm day in the Sound of Puget. Dorothy, our heroine, is washing her sports utility vehicle in the driveway of her 6000 square-foot farmhouse, fresh from applying herbicides to the north-forty acres of lawn. Her pet sea lion, Herschel, frolics in the suds that run down the driveway into the storm sewer. Suddenly, Read More ›