A primary role of policymakers is to serve as the voice of the community they represent. At the federal level, hearing elected officials speak on the House or Senate floor or at a town hall, is one channel citizens use to stay engaged in the issues of the day. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if lawmakers could more often use these forums to tout what the latest scientific and technological advancements are contributing to their community?
Historically, spearfishing involved a diver, a harpoon (or spear or trident) and access to an abundant source of fish. However, it has evolved over the centuries—especially within the last few decades—to include boats, masks, snorkeling gear, scuba tanks, wet suits and even spearguns. The modernization of equipment means divers are able to stay underwater for hours and fire mechanically propelled spears at faster rates than a person is able to throw. The result, in theory, is a more fruitful catch.
According to the Obama administration, for the first time since the creation of the Chesapeake Bay Program in 1983, the federal government is using its full force to prioritize restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. Speakers met on September 10 for a briefing in Washington, DC to discuss the government’s significantly expanded role in preserving the Bay and its watershed.
Scientists have a lot of data. And with so many high-profile environmental policy issues, ecologists are increasingly faced with turning these data into something that makes sense not only to other scientists but to policymakers and the public. But what we’re learning from these various policy debates is that making sense is only a first step. As we have seen in the climate debate and elsewhere, decision makers often get the science, but they place other topics—the economy, social justice, local culture—ahead of it. More critical, then, is scientists’ ability to make their findings matter, and matter enough.
In another attempt to locate the potential threat of Asian carp in the Great Lakes, officials began dumping approximately 2,000 gallons of the organic fish poison Rotenone yesterday into a two-mile stretch of the Calumet-Sag Channel, about seven miles west of Lake Michigan. The aim is to kill and count any invasive carp potentially lurking in the waterway as proof that these fish are spreading into Lake Michigan.
Here are some highlights from the latest ESA Policy News by ESA’s Science Policy Analyst, Piper Corp.