The Endangered Art of Compromise

A Note About This Series...

Jun 4, 2012

To some, it’s considered the “Magna Carta of the environmental movement.”  To others it’s a financial drain and threat to private property. The Endangered Species Act has been on the books for almost four decades now, and all this week we’re considering its affect on the wildlife—and people—of New Mexico.

Rio Grande Silvery Minnow: The Art of Compromise

Jun 4, 2012

All this week we're considering the Endangered Species Act and its affect on the wildlife, and people, of New Mexico.

It’s a conversation that can really only start in one place: with a little fish so, well, basic, that even its most dedicated caretakers are a little short on thrilling descriptors.

Mexican Gray Wolf: A Story About People

Jun 4, 2012
Jöshua Barnett

All this week we're considering the Endangered Species Act and its affect on the wildlife, and people, of New Mexico.

The Mexican Gray Wolf is a species that, perhaps more than any other, has highlighted the political obstacles involved in recovery, or in this case, reintroduction.

Chiricahua Leopard Frog: Messing with Nature

Jun 4, 2012

All this week we're considering the Endangered Species Act in New Mexico.  Today, KUNM’s Sidsel Overgaard brings you: The Case of the Disappearing Frogs...

The plight of the Chiricahua Leopard frog begins long ago, in a medical lab when researchers devise a way to use frogs as pregnancy tests.  The African Clawed frogs used for this purpose were soon shipped all around the world, carrying with them a deadly fungus known as Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, or Bd for short (at least, that's the current favorite theory). 

Lesser Prairie Chicken: Conservation Agreements

Jun 4, 2012

So far in our series, we’ve looked at some of the difficulties in recovering a species. But one of the emerging strengths of the Endangered Species Act is in its ability to spark compromise before a species ever makes it onto the list. And in the case of the Lesser Prairie Chicken and Dunes Sagebrush lizard, just the threat of a listing has been enough to make for some unlikely allies in Southeastern New Mexico.

New Mexico Meadow Jumping Mouse: A Sign of What's to Come

Jun 4, 2012

As part of our series on endangered species in New Mexico, Carrie and Sidsel took a field trip with WildEarth Guardians Executive Director, John Horning, to look for the elusive New Mexico Meadow Jumping Mouse (you really should listen to this one...it's a radio geek's dream, but not so translate-able to print...).

The Endangered Habitat Act?

Jun 4, 2012

You don't have to dig very deep into the ESA's 47 pages before you stumble upon this somewhat surprising passage.  You might think that the first state purpose of the Endangered Species Act would be to preserve species.  Lo and behold, it's the ecoystem that gets top billing:

"A Different Way of Going About This"

Jun 4, 2012

Unless you are an environmental lawyer or glutton for punishment, I'm not sure I would recommend reading this paper entitled The Rio Grande silvery minnow: 11 Years of Litigation.  But skimming it will surely give you a sense of why I describe the Middle Rio Grande Collaborative Program as a "turbulent marriage."

Dueling Scientists

Jun 4, 2012
credit: skeptically.org

The Endangered Species Act is a document based on science.  Mostly. 

When it comes to whether or not a species gets listed, the law is very clear, thanks to a 1982 amendment adding one key word...

BASIS FOR DETERMINATIONS.—(1)(A) The Secretary shall make determinations required by subsection (a)(1) solely on the basis of the best scientific and commercial data available to him...


That's not the case, however, when it comes to designating critical habitat...

More from...Caren Cowan

Jun 4, 2012

No matter where you go in New Mexico, chances are there's a herd of cows nearby, grazing. And while good bit of that grazing is occurring on privately owned land, much of it is also taking place on federally or state owned land. Here Caren Cowan talks to the idea of why she thinks ranchers should not be shut out of public lands.

More from...Michael Robinson

Jun 4, 2012

When you talk to Michael Robinson, there's no doubt, he's passionate about wolf recovery. Because he had so much to tell us, we've decided to share two more clips of his interview with you. In the first one, Michael tells us the story of the Mule Pack and their struggle to survive after being released from the captive breeding program in March of 2000. In the second clip, Michael delves in to the subject of politics and how he thinks they've swayed the folks at the US Fish and Wildlife Service. 

"So T Bought a Hat..."

Jun 4, 2012

One of my favorite quotes in reporting on this series came from Lucinda Cole.  She and her husband, AT, are the owners of the ranch near Silver City where Randy Jennings took me looking for Chiracahua Leopard frogs

When the Coles retired to this ranch, it was with the intention of restoring native habitat that could support endangered species like the Leopard frog and Gila topminnow.  But they did not enter the scene naively:

More from...John Horning

Jun 4, 2012

Just like many of his fellow environmentalists, John Horning believes more Mexican Gray Wolves should be released from the captive breeding program, AND that they should be released directly into New Mexico. In this clip, Horning tells us why he thinks politics may be getting in the way of that agenda.

More from...Steve Pearce

Jun 4, 2012

It's not surprising that when we hear from Steve Pearce in the Conservation Agreement story, he's talking about jobs. In this clip, we dive a little deeper into that sentiment, as he discusses potential consequences of an endangered species listing in the Permian Basin. 

Playing God(dess)

Jun 3, 2012

Hanne Small is pretty relaxed for a woman messing around with the lives of Adam and Eve.  When I arrive at Ted Turner's Ladder Ranch to check out New Mexico's largest population of threatened Chiricahua Leopard frogs, Small takes me to a row of beautifully landscaped outdoor cubicles, each containing one or two specimens from the handful of drainages around New Mexico where these frogs can still be found in the wild.