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.