On Jan. 19, the Tribune once again gave SLO residents cause to give thanks for New Times. Our daily paper took up the cudgel for one of its favorite anti-environmental causes: Wiping out the Pacific population of the Western snowy plover, which continues to have the temerity to nest on local beaches.
The Trib meant to advocate for the removal of the plover from the protection of the Endangered Species Act (but misnamed it the â€œEnvironmental Protection Actâ€?), basing its advocacy on an unpublished paper by a college student (which it called an â€œOregon State University genetic studyâ€?). In contrast, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Serviceâ€™s listing of the Pacific Coast plover as a distinct population segment is based on more than 20 studies and surveys conducted over a span of 25 years and the overwhelming scientific consensus that the 1,600 Pacific plovers are an isolated, separate population, and instances of interbreeding between coastal and inland birds are statistically insignificant. Thatâ€™s why this bird requires the protection of the Endangered Species Act.
It was sloppy, ignorant, and wrong. The full text of the Sierra Clubâ€™s response to the petition for the delisting of the plover may be read at www.santalucia.sierraclub.org/oceano/oceano.html.