Selective quotes altered timber story

  Dear HCN,


I am quite upset about the selective quotes from me in the article about program cuts at the University of Washington by Kathie Durbin (HCN, 11/13/95). The manner in which my remarks were used makes it appear that the faculty and staff of the Center for Streamside Studies blame Weyerhaeuser Company for the loss of the Timber Fish Wildlife programs, and that the center is unwilling to work with the state or with Weyerhaeuser on regional issues.


Allow me to set the record straight. First, in my conversation with Ms. Durbin it was clear that she was trying to make a case against large forest product companies, especially Weyerhaeuser. I attempted to point out that many of these companies are trying to do the right thing in light of public attitudes about environmental issues but that they also need to be responsive to their shareholders. This is a difficult balance to evenly maintain for the long-term for any organization. There are, however, some individuals within these companies (as there are within the university and state agencies) with whom I personally find it difficult to agree. That does not mean they are wrong, just that we have a different way of looking at the world. The important point is that it is essential that divergent viewpoints be heard and that a balanced approach be implemented if watershed management is to work in the long term. This requires that all stakeholders and individuals involved with watershed issues have the opportunity to express themselves.


Second, I was expressing my personal viewpoints on working with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), not that of the Center. There are many faculty and students here who are actively involved with state agencies on applied regional problems, and they are doing a good job. I have come to realize, however, that these types of research problems are not my strength. Therefore, I have chosen to refocus my personal research program toward fundamental stream ecology. My experiences with particular people within DNR were not rewarding; yet there are many excellent people with our state agencies. I just happened to encounter a couple of individuals who appeared to have their own agendas and, unfortunately, had fiscal control over the research programs that were eliminated.


Finally, Timber Fish Wildlife has not been "taken over by the timber industry." Today members of the industry community are important players because of their long-term investment and interest in the program and because many of the original players have chosen to reduce their involvement (for a variety of reasons). This is a complicated issue that cannot be captured in one sentence as Ms. Durbin unwisely attempted to do.





Robert J. Naiman


Seattle, Washington





Kathie Durbin responds:





It is unfortunate that Dr. Naiman, a respected scientist whose program has made significant contributions to public understanding of Northwest stream ecology, now feels it necessary to backtrack and to attack my motives.


It is patently false for him to say that in our interview I was "trying to make a case against large forest product companies, especially Weyerhaeuser." I contacted Naiman to verify the story that Steve Ralph, a biologist he supervised, told me about Weyerhaeuser Co." s role in the abrupt termination of his research project. Naiman did so - and then elaborated on the incident. It's true that Naiman said it would be a mistake to characterize all timber companies by the actions of a few individuals, but he confirmed that the Center for Streamside Studies had been hurt by pressures from some elements in the industry. "Very much so," he said. Naiman then volunteered the view that "Timber Fish Wildlife (the state Department of Natural Resources program under which Ralph's research occurred) has been taken over by the timber industry." I do not manufacture quotes.


Regarding his comments on applied research in the Pacific Northwest, Naiman told me he was trying to rebuild the Center for Streamside Studies and attain financial stability by seeking money from the National Science Foundation to replace lost state dollars. He said he had decided to "forget the regional issues' because of the difficulty of dealing with the Department of Natural Resources.


High Country News Classifieds
  • CROWN OF THE CONTINENT COMMUNITY CONSERVATION SPECIALIST
    THE WILDERNESS SOCIETY is seeking a Community Conservation Specialist, for the Crown of the Continent DEPARTMENT: Conservation CLASSIFICATION: Grade 6 Specialist/Representative (Low of $54K) REPORTS...
  • ASSISTANT FARM DIRECTOR
    About The Organization Building community through fresh vegetables is at the heart of the Sisters-based non-profit, Seed to Table Oregon. Based on a four-acre diversified...
  • CARPENTER WANTED
    CARPENTER WANTED. Come to Ketchikan and check out the Rainforest on the coast, Hike the shorelines, hug the big trees, watch deer in the muskeg...
  • DYNAMIC EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    VARD is seeking an Executive Director to lead a small legal & planning staff dedicated to the health and sustainability of Teton Valley Idaho and...
  • WATER PROJECT MANAGER, UPPER SAN PEDRO (ARIZONA)
    Based in Tucson or Sierra Vista, AZ., the Upper San Pedro Project Manager develops, manages, and advances freshwater conservation programs, plans, and methods focusing on...
  • CAMPAIGNS DIRECTOR
    Southeast Alaska Conservation is hiring. Visit https://www.seacc.org/about/hiring for info. 907-586-6942 [email protected]
  • FINANCE & GRANTS MANAGER
    The Blackfoot Challenge, located in Ovando, MT, seeks a self-motivated, detail-oriented individual to conduct bookkeeping, financial analysis and reporting, and grant oversight and management. Competitive...
  • WADE LAKE CABINS, CAMERON MT
    A once in a lifetime opportunity to live and run a business on the shore of one of the most beautiful lakes in SW Montana....
  • CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, BOOKS, CULTURE AND COMMENTARY (PART-TIME, CONTRACT)
    High Country News is seeking a Contributing Editor for Books, Culture and Commentary to assign and edit inquisitive, inspiring, and thought-provoking content for HCN in...
  • STATEWIDE COMMUNITY ORGANIZER
    ABOUT US Better Wyoming is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization that educates, organizes, and mobilizes Wyoming residents on behalf of statewide change. Learn more at...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    TwispWorks is a 501(c)3 that promotes economic and cultural vitality in the mountainous Methow Valley, the eastern gateway to North Cascades National Park in Washington...
  • CLEAN ENERGY ADVOCATE OR DIRECTOR
    Location: Helena, Montana Type: Permanent, full time after 1-year probationary period. Reports to: Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs. Travel: Some overnight travel, both in-state...
  • PROFESSIONAL GIS SERVICES
    Custom Geospatial Solutions is available for all of your GIS needs. Affordable, flexible and accurate data visualization and analysis for any sized project.
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    Restore Hetch Hetchy, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, seeks experienced development professional to identify and engage individuals and institutions who are inspired to help underwrite...
  • PUBLIC LANDS COUNSEL
    The successful candidate will be the organization's lead counsel on public lands issues, including reviewing federal administrative actions and proposed policy and helping to shape...
  • HUMAN RESOURCES DIRECTOR
    Solar Energy International (SEI) is a 501(c)3 non-profit education organization with a mission to provide industry-leading technical training and expertise in renewable energy to empower...
  • TRAINING MANAGER
    This is a full-time position based out of our Paonia office. This position is responsible for organizing all of Solar Energy International's renewable energy trainings....
  • GUIDE TO WESTERN NATIONAL MONUMENTS
    NEW BOOK showcases 70 national monuments across the western United States. Use "Guide10" for 10% off at cmcpress.org
  • RARE CHIRICAHUA RIPARIAN LAND FOR SALE
    40 acres: 110 miles from Tucson: native trees, grasses: birder's heaven::dark sky/ borders state lease & National forest/5100 ft/13-16 per annum rain
  • ENVIRONMENTAL GEOPHYSICS
    "More Data, Less Digging" Find groundwater and reduce excavation costs!