Voice: What really is the Valley's ‘natural environment?'

January 16, 2001

The Imperial Irrigation District is ready to spend $15 million to mitigate what?

U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials want to know what effect the water transfer will have on "our natural environment." What is our natural environment? When did it start? Did the environment of the Imperial Valley, as we know it today, begin 10 years ago? Seventy-five years ago? Or 500 years ago when we were a giant lake 30 feet above sea level?

Did you realize 500 years ago here in the Imperial Valley we had over 9,000 types of birds, and over 20,000 species of fish? Why aren't the environmentalists and USF&W trying to replace them? They were here once and need to be protected and should be returned. And we need to spend whatever it takes to bring them back. If it means we can't transfer water, so be it. We have fishes and weeds that are more important than the water needs throughout the rest of the western seven states.


In 1971 none of these problems of the transfer would have been there. It would have been smooth sailing with common sense.

About three years ago, through the local Ag Commissioner's Office, a meeting was held at Ryerson Hall with the ag and environmental groups. The reason for the meeting was for the ag side to learn how the environmental side was going to run the Valley. I asked the following question of the USF&W; 99 percent of what we currently have in the Imperial Valley is manmade, our canals and drain ditches were built for one reason only, to irrigate crops and to transport excess water to the Salton sink; so why do we need to spend millions of dollars to protect something you guys found in a drain ditch a few miles south of the sea?

Their answer was, and I quote, "They are on our list to protect."

It made no difference that our environment was never natural for those species. It made no difference that they never lived here before 1972. But some group told USF&W to protect them; even if it cost you, the taxpayers, 200 "billion-trillion" dollars.

The IID is in a "Catch-22" on the Salton Sea and other environmental concerns. Any director who was on the board and agreed to the $15 million needs to be recalled. Somewhere along the line, IID has to be like Nancy Reagan, and just say "no."

Animals do not have "rights." They should be treated with respect and kindness. If they wanted rights just as homo sapiens have, they would have set up their own country and government. But to take any animal or species and put it at the same level or above humans is wrong.


El Centro

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