Bill in Congress would help save animals

A few years ago I wrote a column about funding for wildlife preservation. Taxpayer dollars being used to ensure proper habitat for wild critters, including clean water for fish. And then, about two days later, I got an email that would blister the paint on my office walls.

I was told by this individual that taxpayer money should have been spent on or returned to the people, not wild animals. And, the email said, spending that money to save animals was totally absurd.

I thought about answering him, trying to convince him that by saving animals, people benefit in the long run. But then I thought about that old skunk saying and went about my business.

What brought this “conversation” to mind several years later is a news item that caught my eye. There’s a bill that was recently introduced in Congress (H.R. 5650) that calls for the dedication of $1.3 billion to the Wildlife Conservation Restoration Program. It would fund the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, which allows states to manage populations of animals that are considered at risk for extinction.

I suppose there are people who don’t care whether some endangered species become extinct. “So what,” they might say. What they’re not looking at is the big picture. Each animal fits into nature’s scheme of things, perhaps feeding on some pest that will ruin farm crops — things like that.

The bill, which probably won’t clear Congress until next year, is being co-sponsored by a Republican (Dan Young of Alaska) and a Democrat (Debbie Dingell of Michigan). That bipartisan approach should give it a good chance of passing.

“As a strong supporter of conservation and sportsmen alike, I’m proud to take the lead on an important discussion regarding fish and wildlife conservation across the country,” said Young.

When you think about it, the main (or perhaps sole) reason species become extinct is the growth of our civilization, the urban sprawl, the smoke from our factories, etc. People have had to do what they had to do to survive and thrive. I think this bill is a way of beginning to leave this planet a little bit more like the way we found it.

Kayak fishing: If you've always wanted to try fishing from a kayak, here's your opportunity to learn. There will be a free workshop provided by the Ohio Division of Wildlife on Aug. 11 from 5:30-9 p.m. All equipment will be supplied. Pre-registration is required as space is limited. Registered attendees will be provided with the location (near Dayton) and directions. Sign up by calling Chris Mangen at (937) 347-0929, or email Christopher.Mangen@dnr.state.oh.us.

The course will take place outdoors, so plan to get wet. Items to bring include: valid Ohio fishing license for participants over 16 years of age, sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, gloves, soft-soled shoes or sandals with heel straps, towel, a dry change of clothes, drink and a snack.

Pure gas: Continuing the discussion of the merits of using ethanol-free gasoline for boats and small engines, I was pointed in the direction of a website that pinpoints the locations of gas stations and marinas that sell gasoline containing no ethanol. This website purports to list every such station in the country, but I doubt if that is true. In fact, I know of two marinas at Grand Lake St. Marys that sell it, but they're not listed. The map shows a Gulf station in Troy, but nothing else in the Dayton area. Here's the website: pure-gas.org/extensions/map.html. Happy hunting.