The Endangered Species Act turns 40 this year and I'm thankful it's around. No other law has done more to save America's most vulnerable plants and animals from extinction. It has prevented the extinction of 99% of the species placed under its protection. What law has a better record than that?
Since Richard Nixon (a Republican, oh, my!) signed the Act into law, we, in the Northwest, have reaped the benefits. The plants and animals spared extinction have been put on the path to recovery, including the gray whale, the Columbian white-tailed deer, and a tiny little minnow called the Oregon chub. And don't forget the bald eagle! It's easy to forget that in the 1960's, we, humans, nearly wiped them off the face of the earth! Due to federal protection and bans to harmful chemical compounds like DDT, they've rebounded so well you can probably spot them soaring over rivers in some urban areas. Recently, I spotted a bald eagle on East Beaver Creek and what an amazing sight it was!
But even if I never saw any of these species in person, they're part of what keeps the Northwest wild and natural and it heartens me to know they're out there. They are the main reason I moved to the Northwest.
The Endangered Species Act is an American success story and, because of it, we can all be proud.
Unfortunately, there are members of Congress who value profits over protections and they see things differently than most Americans. So it's up to us, as citizens, to be vigilant and make sure the Act will still be successful for at least another 40 years.
Call your members of Congress and let them know you value the Northwest for its wildness and natural beauty and you want the Endangered Species Act to be strengthened and preserved.
Happy 40th Anniversary, Endangered Species Act!