By Gary Bogue
Friday, October 9th, 2009 at 6:58 am in Water.
One the biggest endangered species controversies of 2008 involved the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s efforts to keep enough water in the Chattahoochee and Apalachicola rivers to keep endangered species alive during an intense drought.
The purple bankclimber mussel, fat threeridge mussel, and Gulf sturgeon have all been pushed to the edge of extinction by dams and water diversions.
With water levels at a historic low in Lanier Reservoir, Georgia politicians went to the White House and Congress to exempt themselves from the Endangered Species Act in order to keep more water in the reservoir for urban use and very little in the river for endangered species.
Governor Sonny Perdue said that the federal government had created a “manmade drought” with its environmental policies.
Little did he know how “manmade” the drought really was.
A scientific paper published last week in the Journal of Climate determined that the Georgia drought was not at all unusual in historical terms and would certainly occur again. What is unprecedented is massive, unsustainable population growth. Georgia grew from 6.5 million people in 1990 to 9.5 million in 2007, overwhelming the water availability during normal drought cycles.
Here’s a copy of the above-mentioned scientific paper:
“The root of the water supply problem in the Southeast is a growing population,” the scientists wrote. And if the overpopulation problem continues to grow to 10.5 or 12.5 million people, the crisis caused by the next “manmade” drought will be even worse and endangered species will — as always — suffer the worst consequences.
Here’s a New York Times story that sums it all up:
Humm … I wonder if our idiot legislators in Sacramento, California, who are trying to come up with a functional water policy for the state have read this? Not that it would probably matter … sigh. /Gary