Endangered Species: Bison Bears and Wolves-the Science and the Policy. Matthew A. Cronin, Ph.D. University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences 11February 2013. ESA impacts on resource use Timber, mining, oil, fishing, farming, livestock .
Matthew A. Cronin, Ph.D.
University of Alaska Fairbanks
School of Natural Resources and Agricultural Sciences
Northern Spotted Owl-Timber
Steller Sea Lion-Fishing
Coastal California gnatcatcher-Building
Sage Grouse-Oil, Livestock
Polar bears Goshawk
Beluga whales Wolf
Other Whales Murrelet
Steller sea lions Loons
Sea otters Seals
No: Polar bears are not currently
threatened and has healthy populations
Using Models of global warming and SUMMER sea ice disappearance led to models that polar bears will decline across their entire range to the point of near extinction
Polar bears are threatened by arctic sea ice loss, which is attributed to climate change, which is attributed to human greenhouse gas emissions, so greenhouse gas emissions are to be regulated.
This will affect many parts of the American and Alaskan economies
Number populations declining = 5
Number populations stable = 5
Number populations increasing = 2
Number population unknown = 7
Total number of worldwide populations =19.
20,000-25,000 in 2006,
21,500-25,000 in 2002,
21,000-28,000 in 1995,
25,000 in 1984-1989,
8,000-10,000 in 1965-1970
Decline in the size of the total population of more than 30% within the next 35 to 50 years.
30% decline is not a threat of extinction
Alaska Wood Bison with no summer Arctic Sea Ice
Does it matter? with no summer Arctic Sea IcePlains bison survive in Alaska and plains X wood bison herd survives in Canada
Wood bison subspecies on the ESA list is preventing (re) introduction of wood bison to interior Alaska
Plains bison are petitioned for ESA listing in lower 48 States
ESA Problems introduction of wood bison to interior Alaska
The entire system of review of science in the ESA process is closed. FWS or National Marine Fisheries Service-NMFS creates a petition or receives a petition from environmental groups to consider a species for ESA listing.
FWS reviews the petition, decides if it’s warranted, prepares a Status Review and a Proposed Rule and selects peer reviewers of them. FWS then reviews the peer reviews and produces a final Status Assessment and Proposed Rule.
FWS then selects peer reviewers of Proposed Rule and solicits public comment. FWS then reviews the peer reviews and public comments and produces a final rule. FWS can dismiss or ignore public comments and peer review comments without accountability.
FWS or NMFS has the role of author, editor, and reviewer for their own documents.
The potential for litigation challenges to FWS decisions in this process is slanted because courts give deference to agencies in assessing science and management information.
“Although plaintiffs have proposed many alternative conclusions that the agency could have drawn with respect to the status of the polar bear, the Court cannot substitute either the plaintiffs’ or its own judgment for that of the agency. Instead, this Court is bound to uphold the agency’s determination that the polar bear is a threatened species as long as it is reasonable, regardless of whether there may be other reasonable, or even more reasonable, views. : “Although plaintiffs have proposed many alternative conclusions that the agency could have drawn with respect to the status of the polar bear, the Court cannot substitute either the plaintiffs’ or its own judgment for that of the agency. Instead, this Court is bound to uphold the agency’s determination that the polar bear is a threatened species as long as it is reasonable, regardless of whether there may be other reasonable, or even more reasonable, views.
Current ESA Defines “Species” as a Species, Subspecies, or Distinct Population SegmentAgencies also invented the TermEvolutionarily Significant Unit(ESU)
Examples or Distinct Population SegmentPopulationsSalmon Stocks in Washington, Oregon, California (e.g. Klamath)Grizzly and Wolf in Lower 48 StatesSouthwestern Alaska Stock Sea OtterWestern Alaska Stock Steller Sea LionBeluga Whales in Cook Inlet
“We must indeed all hang together, or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”Benjamin Franklinremark to John Hancock at the signing of the Declaration of Independence 4 July 1776
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution,
nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” (10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution)