"Keep the Trout Comin'": 24th Celebration of Endangered Species Act
Friday is "Endangered Species Day," a day to celebrate "wildly" successful recoveries like the bald eagle, which has gone from less than 500 pairs in the late 1960s to almost 10,000 today. The Endangered Species Act was first signed into law by President Nixon in 1973, and Kent Salazar with the New Mexico Wildlife Federation says the program has been very effective in the Land of Enchantment.
“Because of this act, the prairie chicken, sand hill lizard, and fish like the Gila trout have recently been downlisted in New Mexico, which is a wonderful thing.”
Wildlife advocates are currently pushing for an increase in funding for the program, which has been cut in recent years. Critics say the law can be harmful to local economies and impedes on property rights.
Corry Westbrook with the National Wildlife Federation notes that her organization found money matters. Endangered species that receive less funding and resources for their recovery have not survived as well.
“There are species which often tend to be plants and insects and some of the less charismatic species that don't do as well. For example, the autumn buttercup in the West is not doing as well.”
According to Westbrook, only $4,000 in the program budget is dedicated to rehabilitating the rare flower. Her group is pushing for a 15 percent increase in the overall budget for endangered species.