Spill out East means more South Dakota ducks - Maryland firm has to create habitat after oil accident
 
 
(Note from MV: How convenient ... now they are using fines imposed on East Coast companies to finance permanent easements in South Dakota.) (Note: Ah, yes, the "Think Global, Act Local" mantra comes to America on ... the wings of ducks... Red Flag words and phrases are in bold below, my emphasis added for your property rights. This is more incrementalizing/mosaicing/puzzle-piecing of The Wildlands Project, masquerading as 'restoring habitat'. Oh, it's restoring, all right: right back to before Columbus landed in 1492 -- the exact phrase used by the Department of Interior and its agencies is "pre-European settlement". Don't believe me? Search http://www.Google.com and put "pre-European settlement" ".gov" "fws" in the search box. You'll get at least 113 results!)
 
July 5, 2004
 
By Ben Shouse bshouse@argusleader.com or 605-331-2318
 
Argus Leader
 
200 S. Minnesota Ave. PO Box 5034
 
Sioux Falls, South Dakota 57117-5034
 
800-222-5207 or 605-331-2200
 
Fax: 605-331-2294
 
 
To submit a Letter to the Editor: editor@argusleader.com (200-word limit for letters; 400-word limit for Reader's Forum)
 
An oil spill in Maryland is letting federal officials preserve more grassland in northeastern South Dakota.

The 140,000-gallon spill in April 2000 killed more than 500 ruddy ducks, a species that happens to breed in the pothole wetlands of the upper Midwest.
 
So the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service gave the offender, Pepco, a way to 'make amends'.

"Instead of requiring the oil company to just pay a bunch of money, they are required to restore habitat," said Valerie Fellows of USFWS's Chesapeake Bay office in Annapolis, Maryland.

Back East, that means rebuilding an oyster bed and providing "habitat" for kayakers and canoeists, in the form of boat launches.

But the Patuxent River, where the spill happened, is a wintering area for the ruddy duck, so restoring habitat there might not help them recover from the spill.
 
But South Dakota wetlands could, especially those surrounded by grassland.

So Pepco will provide the money for permanent easements on 1,853 South Dakota acres.
 
Easements are legal agreements that keep the land in the hands of the original owner and, in this case, allow livestock grazing [and the 'lucky' owner -- and his heirs -- gets to keep on paying property tax on all the acreage that is now encumbered by a PERMANENT restriction] but prevent cropping [the raising of food crops] or development.

Donald Soderlund, with USFWS at Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge northeast of Aberdeen, said his office has acquired easements on three tracts in McPherson and Edmunds counties, for more than 300 acres.

USFWS will use the money to help owners seed grass, build fences and leave the land ungrazed so the grasses can establish. 

USFWS routinely uses federal money [taxpayer dollars] for the same purpose, but the Pepco money will add more acres.

"This enables us to have extra money to have more incentives for the landowners," Soderlund said. It's part of a cooperative approach he says has proven valuable.

"We've realized that (in terms of) cost effectiveness, it's much better to work with landowners than to, for example, buy all the land ourselves." [which would remove it from the tax rolls; better to milk the landowner by forcing him to continue paying property taxes on land that he can no longer freely use as he desires -- what a deal ... for USFWS and The Wildlands Project implementers!]

Now, USFWS is betting that doing so in South Dakota will also be cost-effective help for Chesapeake Bay.