(09/23/1999) - Conservationists say that Secretary of the Interior Bruce
Babbitt’s visit to the Manassas National Battlefield Park in Manassas, Virginia,
today highlights an historic opportunity to preserve not only Civil War sites
but also invaluable lands, wildlife, and coastal areas elsewhere in the region
and the nation.
"President Clinton, Interior Secretary Babbitt, and some
legislators in both parties are presenting the country with an historic
opportunity to protect the nation’s most valuable but unprotected natural and
Healthy habitats generate many benefits for humans as well as wildlife. Natural processes create healthy soil, clean and abundant water, fertile crops, and protection from flooding and climate extremes. These benefits we receive from nature are often called ecosystem services.
People also value nature - including the fish, wildlife and plants within it - for many reasons. In addition to providing food, water, clothing and building materials, nature offers cultural and spiritual benefits, recreational opportunities and an endless source of beauty.
Unfortunately, and although the Wyoming plan has its merits, key components of the strategy are not in accord with the best available science on sage-grouse and are unlikely to protect sage-grouse from ongoing threats, particularly oil and gas drilling. “In fact, federal agencies and other states should avoid adopting the Wyoming strategy if their goal is to conserve sage-grouse,” says Defenders’ sage-grouse expert, Mark Salvo.