Ah, the perks of being a government scientist. The high pay. The adulation. The outpouring and love from an American public that doesn’t seem to believe in science any more, a public that seems quite content to ignore those pesky temperature increases on their thermometer, a public that would rather believe that great-great-grandpa Eddie used to ride around on a dinosaur than believe in evolution. It just keeps better and better. At least there’s the work, right? The thought of doing real, unbiased SCIENCE for the public good?
Well sure, there is the work itself. It’s just a wee bit disheartening however to DO the work the government asks you to do, but have that work ignored by said government. With that as background…
If you’re not aware of it, there have been active campaigns against the evil Double-crested Cormorant for decades now, with interest groups (primarily fishermen and other “sportsmen”) claiming that the birds are eating all their fish, and therefor they must be destroyed. It’s been in multiple locations, from the South, to the Great Lakes, and most recently, on the Columbia River basin where fisherman are bemoaning declining salmon populations. One COULD blame over-fishing. One COULD also blame a much warmer northern Pacific (global warming anyone?) that has been shown to be taking a toll on salmon. But no…of course it’s none of that according to these brilliant “sportsmen”. It’s the evil Double-crested Cormorant that is eating all of “their” salmon.
You might wonder how a species that’s co-existed with salmon for thousands of years suddenly is (supposedly) single-handedly wiping out Cormorant populations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was also wondering, and thus tasked their biologists to study the issue. The conclusion from the government scientists? Double-crested Cormorants weren’t having much of an impact, if any, on salmon populations in the Columbia. The next course of action by Fish & Wildlife? Giving their stamp of approval on a plan to KILL 10,000 Double-crested Cormorants in the region.
Yes, that’s correct. Your tax dollars pay for scientists to study EVIDENCE, to use the best available techniques and analyses to study issues such as this. In this case, government biologists found no connection between the birds and the salmon. That same government, however, decided to ignore their scientists and STILL start the slaughter of 10,000 birds. Why? I’m sure it has EVERYTHING to do with politics and keeping the “sportsman” (HAH!!) lobby happy. It sure as hell has nothing to do with the science.
If I’m a tax payer, I’m wondering what the hell the government is doing, playing politics instead of paying attention to the science.
As a fellow government scientist, I’m left wondering why the hell any of us are doing our jobs, if our work is going to be ignored.