Sunday, October 15, 2006

Wetlands (Ballona) saved for invasive species; jail for invasive (van de Hoek) predator

Sometimes, it is easier to make my point with facts that seem stranger than fiction. In earlier posts, I tried to show how one branch of government works hard to eradicate or at least control invasive species while other agencies of the same government promote the very same species. Now comes an article from the L. A. Times about an environmental activist, Roy van de Hoek, who, not for the first time, apparently faces prosecution for removing invasives from a protected area. One wonders from what, exactly, the protected area is protected. And here is the stark presentation of the dilemma, of when different agenda collide, summed up eloquently in the article, "But did environmentalist Roy van de Hoek go too far when he took his pruning shears to a nonnative tree and plants in the Westside nature preserve? " Now we can all feel safe that the Ballona Wetlands are safe, as the activist is banned and the invasives safe.

My industry is sometimes spotlighted as the source of bad plants that threaten our natural areas. I think, rather, that the conflicting ideals and limited understanding of the issues is a greater challenge. I suspect that the removal was done without a permit, perhaps to make a point. No permit gave an opportunity to someone somewhere to engage the legal system in a process of control, not of a botanical invasive species, but rather the human species.

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