Results 1 to 13 of 13

Thread: Another view on returning Habitat to ADFG

  1. #1
    Moderator David Johnson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 1997
    Location
    Redding California
    Posts
    57

    Post Another view on returning Habitat to ADFG

    Robert LeResche, former director of the Division of Habitat AND former Department of Natural Resources Commissioner wrote an interesting counterpoint to the concept of snapping the habitat protection function back to ADFG from where it now operates in DNR:

    "A few weeks ago, the Board of Fisheries decided to send a letter urging Gov. Sarah Palin to return the habitat protection function from the Department of Natural Resources to the Department of Fish and Game, reversing former Frank Gov. Murkowski's earlier move.
    Moving the division was a bad idea in 2003; moving the division back is a bad idea today.

    I hold the dubious distinction of being the only person to head both Habitat Protection (chief, 1974-75) and the Department of Natural Resources (commissioner, 1976-1981). I was a state bureaucrat long enough to learn several things. One is that we do not accomplish policy changes by reorganizing; policies change only when managers change." Read the entire Compass editorial in the Anchorage Daily News.)

    LeResche is a biologist by training. He was in the early 1970's a caribou biologist for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Fairbanks. The Habitat Protection and Natural Resources chief jobs came later on.

    LeResche again: "Location of the habitat protection function and the professionals who carry it out in DNR should not imply lax permitting, any more than their location in ADFG equates to irrationally tight permitting. It all depends on the people involved, and upon the administration in power.

    It's not where we put the chairs, but the butts we put into the chairs, that matters."

    I was one of those who spoke out against the habitat function move from ADFG to ADNR initially. Today, I find myself in the seemingly contradictory position of believing that Alaska would be hasty in jerking it back to ADFG without careful consideration. There are thoughtful voices speaking on both sides of this debate, and I hope Governor Palin will listen carefully before deciding.

    David
    David M Johnson
    Anchorage, Alaska
    http://awildolivebranch.blogspot.com

  2. #2
    Member bushrat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Now residing in Fairbanks from the bush
    Posts
    4,363

    Default David, a question and comment...

    David, thanks for posting this.

    Do you know if LeResche is the same man who is/was also a lobbyist for Teck-Cominco? I see his name listed on APOC listings, and Leresche & Co. also listed. If this is the same guy, then I am going to have to say there is a strong conflict of interest here.

    LeResche attempts to leave no room for debate on this by saying that the initial move of Habitat Division within ADFG to DNR was a mistake. Interestingly, this move was at the same time that Pebble project and other large projects were in the works.

    Granted, the butts in the chairs are the most important. But iirc, EO 107 also ended up laying off many habitat biologists, and that the staff we had before EO 107 was cut in numbers.

    Habitat Division was within ADFG since statehood. EO 107, via political machinations, removed it from ADFG and put it in DNR three years ago. I say move it back now, immediately, regardless of the disruption it will cause. If it was a bad idea to move it to DNR in the first place, arguing now that it's a bad idea to move it back so as not to cause further disruption, and that things are going just dandy now with OHMP in DNR, doesn't really fly. We're talking 45 years that Habitat was in ADFG, and no other governor ever sought to move it out of ADFG to fast-track permitting except Murkowski. It definitely was a bad idea. So bad, in fact, we should undo it. That's my opinion. Would help to know if LeResche was paid lobbyist for Cominco too.

    Sincerely,

  3. #3
    Moderator David Johnson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 1997
    Location
    Redding California
    Posts
    57

    Default Interesting

    Interesting, Mark. I would like to know that, too. That would cloud his remarks in my view.

    David
    Quote Originally Posted by bushrat View Post
    Do you know if LeResche is the same man who is/was also a lobbyist for Teck-Cominco? I see his name listed on APOC listings, and Leresche & Co. also listed. If this is the same guy, then I am going to have to say there is a strong conflict of interest here.
    David M Johnson
    Anchorage, Alaska
    http://awildolivebranch.blogspot.com

  4. #4
    Member bushrat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Now residing in Fairbanks from the bush
    Posts
    4,363

    Default Here's what I know

    David,

    Robert E. LeResche headed up DNR way back when, as he said in the compass piece.

    http://www.state.ak.us/local/akpages...f/98lobdir.pdf

    Page 18 of above link, second name down, Robert E. Leresche, professional lobbyist for Cominco. Actually, I had the current APOC list here, and thought to check ten years back; it is rather surprising how many former state employees end up working for various entities as lobbyists <grin>. In any case, I didn't want to jump to conclusions, but the same name shows up elsewhere too. Could be two different guys with same name and same middle initial, but I kinda doubt it.

    Just why other sportsman's orgs don't want Habitat moved back to ADFG, I don't know. The LeResche piece pretty much summed up the argument I expect to hear, though. "It was a bad move. But it turned out to work smoothly and we still have the same biologists doing the same function; the only difference is the state agency they work for. So even though we did it one way for 45 years, these last three years have shown us that, after all, this way just works better."

    Yeah, I'll bet it does! I read all the heated legislative testimony on EO 107, the gag order by the governor, the coercion used to shut people up. When I see that many bios stand up and speak out personally against something, it rings a bell. And when guys like Trasky and others speak out now against some of what's going on with Pebble, and the ties to EO 107, new regs on mixing zones...well they're blowing the whistle and I think we should be listening to them.

    If you find out if LeResche is the same guy, let me know. That might make an interesting compass rebuttal piece to come out with that info. "You mean the guy recommending we leave habitat with DNR used to lobby for the mining industry <grin>."

  5. #5
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    5,524

    Default good misdirection by LeResche

    I thought LeResche did a great job of misdirecting the discussion. He puts everything on the individual within DNR or ADF&G. What he does not address is the culture within the those organization. Agencies have a culture just like a section of a city or a group of people. That culture puts heavy pressure on individuals to comply with the cultural values - individuals who do not comply tend to move on and find an environment that is more closely related to their values. So while changing a Commissioner or a habitat biologist may make minor changes in the culture of the agency it takes years to change direction in a major way.

    So what the change from ADF&G to DNR did was make that major change in culture quickly and that is why a number of past and present government people objected to the change. If you are in government you see that culture everyday in your job.

    ADF&G has professionals with a passion for the resources. A single commissioner or habitat biologist without that passion soon learns that this is a basic value and tends to meet objections to his or her policies that go against that cultural value. In contrast, DNR has an entirely different culture. Habitat biologist with a passion for resources are in the minority within the DNR family and usually fail to survive. Those that remain probably do not have that passion--the job is just that - a job.

    Recently this difference in culture was demostrated very well with the DNR proposal to increase horsepower on the Kenai River. Within DNR the habitat biologists were not asked to comment on the ecological impacts of the proposed regulation change. Not one DNR habitat biologist commented in public on this change or internally on the change (I checked with Parks representatives on this). However, within ADF&G numerous biologists went against the director of Sport Fish Division who tended to favor the change for political reasons. One did not have to seek out these biologists - they found the public quickly. Different cultures - in one DNR moved forward without internal objection - in the other internal objection for the proposal was loud and clear in the halls - the sport fish director lost his staff.

    So I am in favor of moving habitat back to ADF&G - not because of some idea that a new great Commissioner will come out of the Governors office or that at times ADF&G will get a bad Commissioner. It is because I know the hundreds of biologists in ADF&G have a more favorable culture for protection of resources than DNR.

    LeResche just tried to make us play football when the game was really basketball.

  6. #6

    Default Nerka could not have said it better

    Agency culture is as important as the "butts in the chair" in getting things done within govenment resource management and regulatory agencies.

    Nerka is exactly right!!

    ClearCreek

  7. #7
    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Aberdeen WA
    Posts
    4,516

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Nerka View Post
    So I am in favor of moving habitat back to ADF&G - not because of some idea that a new great Commissioner will come out of the Governors office or that at times ADF&G will get a bad Commissioner. It is because I know the hundreds of biologists in ADF&G have a more favorable culture for protection of resources than DNR.
    Well said, Nerka, well said.
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
    http://www.piscatorialpursuits.com/uploads/UP12710.jpg
    The KeenEye MD

  8. #8
    Member bushrat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Now residing in Fairbanks from the bush
    Posts
    4,363

    Default The more I think on this...

    ...the more incensed I get. Everyone should read the testimony in the link below given about EO 107 to remove Habitat Division from ADFG and put it in DNR.
    http://www.legis.state.ak.us/pdf/23/M/HSTA2003-03-121830.PDF

    It's just a terrible spin for LeResche to say moving habitat was a bad idea, but moving it back is also a bad idea. Part of this is a testing of the waters too. As many know, the Alaska Outdoor Council opposes returning Habitat to ADFG, and they are advising Governor Palin on this. They say the issue needs further study. I am sensing some machinations here that I don't care for, and on this issue I am greatly troubled by anyone or any sportsmen's org that doesn't recognize the long-term effects putting habitat in DNR will have. After re-reading the testimony in the link above given by various biologists, I have to say that this issue is likely more important than we are realizing, and more of us need to be pushing for a return of Habitat to ADFG, via letters to our representatives, comments to the sportsmen's orgs we belong to, letters to the editor, opinion pieces to rebut LeResche etc.

    To dismantle something that has protected our fisheries and wildlife habitat for so long was unconscionable. To not work to overturn this executive order is just as unconscionable, in my humble opinion. We need the checks and balances provided since statehood that have served us so well for so long, and allowed sustainable fisheries and wildlife while still allowing for development.

  9. #9
    New member
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Soldotna
    Posts
    5,639

    Question A bit odd. . .


    It seems that Mr. LeResche (or someone?) really, really doesn't want to see habitat protection moved back to ADF&G. Today's Peninsula Clarion carries an op ed. in the same vein as his piece previously printed in the Anchorage Daily News (see the first post in this thread).

    Why would Mr. LeResche, now a rancher in Montana, care so much as to inundate Alaska's newspapers with editorials advocating keeping habitat where it is?

    It was former Governor Murkowski who moved habitat protection from ADF&G to DNR. That Mr. LeResche (or someone?) is putting forth so much effort to keep habitat protection in DNR seems odd to me.



  10. #10
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Sterling
    Posts
    1,450

    Default As the stomach churns

    the soap opera of Juneau unfolds like the layers of a rotton onion.
    It all comes down to giving the power to those that mirror the direction the money is coming from.
    Great post and homework from Mark , Nerka, David etc.
    A fast track thru DNR with the permits for the proposed mine.
    I will start my phone calls now to let juneau know ,, we know.
    Max
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

  11. #11

    Default

    Feet on the ground, I've seen a couple of examples of the results of the move applied to specific fisheries habitat problems.

    Move it back. Do it now.

  12. #12
    New member
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Soldotna
    Posts
    5,639

    Thumbs up Contacts???

    Alaskacanoe and bushrat:

    Post us some phone numbers, e-mails, addresses, names, etc. who to contact!


  13. #13
    Member bushrat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Now residing in Fairbanks from the bush
    Posts
    4,363

    Default Contacts

    Here is the link for the current legislator contact info:
    http://w3.legis.state.ak.us/infodocs/infodocs.htm

    On that page is also a link to send a POM (Public Opinion Message) to your senator or representative. If you do not know who your representative or senator is, this link shows the districts:
    http://w3.legis.state.ak.us/infodocs/DISTRICT07.pdf

    I encourage anyone who is a member of any sportsmen's or conservation org, and agrees with returning Habitat to ADFG, to contact your org and ask them to also support this however they can.

    Anyone can write a letter to the editor, or an Op-ed piece for the various newspapers. Visit the online websites of the newspapers for info on how to do that.

    Right now the new legislative session has just started, and legislators and their staff are swamped. If you feel strongly about this issue, it's best to contact your particular representatives that cover your district.

    If you care to write to Governor Palin, here is the link for that:
    http://www.gov.state.ak.us/govmailSP.php

    I doubt, though, that this gets much of a response, but you never know, depends on how many people write in on this.

    Others can probably offer more contact info. Good luck.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •