Dear Michael Dombeck

  The Forest Service isn't doing enough to protect fish, wildlife and plants. And this time it's not environmentalists who say so, but people inside the agency. Biologists and botanists - 170 from 30 different forests - collaborated recently on a letter to Chief Michael Dombeck, warning him that "many forests now find their fish, wildlife and botany programs in substantial trouble and facing serious challenges."


The April 8 letter says the agency's ability to accomplish its conservation goals is seriously compromised by budget cuts. All budgets have been slashed, they say, some as much as 75 percent in the past two to three years.


Urging Dombeck to rethink spending decisions, they say, "we find that our programs, the partnerships that have been developed and the personnel, are viewed as expendable luxury items." The letter continues, "It isn't right and it isn't reasonable and it can't be in the best interest of the agency."





"I think (the letter is) pretty significant," says Chris Woods, assistant to Michael Dombeck. "It's not every day that you get that many people from one profession together like that." Woods says Dombeck is preparing a response.





" Emily Miller


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