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For a brief moment this spring, various news outlets focused on a beaver and his appetite for Cherry Blossoms around Washington DC.  He managed to chop down a few trees around some famous monuments and parks.  Less publicized was the environmental controversy stirred up when they removed the critter and his family from his natural habitat and home.

Below is a comment and an actual letter from Congresswoman Helen Chenoweth (R) written to the U.S.  Fish and Wildlife Service. She is requesting protection of the "Tidal Basin Beaver" and the "experimental" introduction of more beavers into the tidal basin. She justifies her request by referencing the same conservation laws and theories used to introduce Grizzly bears and wolves into areas where she represents and people live.

The sender of the letter below wishes to remain anonymous.





April 15, 1999

Jamie Rappaport Clark, Director
Fish & Wildlife Service
Department of Interior
Washington, DC 20240

Dear Director Clark,

     Pursuant to Section 4(b) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, 16 U.S.C. 1531 et. seq., I hereby petition the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to provide protection for the distinct population segment of beaver recently found living near the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., and that you immediately designate habitat critical to its well being and survival.  I ask for your findings within 90 days (ESA 4(b)(3)(A)).

     As you are aware, a family of Tidal Basin Beaver was recently removed by the National Park Service from its natural habitat at the Tidal Basin without proper consideration and public comment.  Further, as you testified on April 14, 1999, to the House Resources Committee, the National Park Service did not consult the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.  This is unfortunate because I would hope that you would have insisted
on the same treatment for the beaver as you have in Idaho for the Gray Wolf and Grizzly Bear.

     In Idaho and along the Selway Bitterroot Range, the Fish & Wildlife Service, over the objections of the Idaho Governor and Legislature, all affected counties and municipalities, and its Congressional delegation, has insisted on introducing experimental populations of Gray Wolves and Grizzly Bears.  Although the Gray Wolf is thriving so well in Minnesota that de-listing is likely and the Grizzly Bear is ubiquitous throughout
Montana, Canada and Alaska, the Fish & Wildlife Service claims that it is bound by law to introduce the wolf and grizzly into their natural habitat.  (Indeed, the Tidal Basin Beaver is proof that a species when left to its own devices will find its natural habitat through instinctive means, rather than through the artificial, 10(j) Experimental Population introduction.)  I ask you to evaluate the Tidal Basin Beaver under the same philosophy as you did the wolf and grizzly.

     The family of beaver found thriving on the Tidal Basin proves without question that the Tidal Basin is natural habitat for this distinct population segment.  Although the family may have damaged some Japanese Cherry Blossom Trees, this is no different than the economic disruption caused by Gray Wolf's property destruction (livestock predation) happening in Idaho. 

     Since it is possible that the National Park Service has removed all Tidal Basin Beaver from its natural habitat, I ask you to begin preparation for the introduction of an experimental population pursuant to ESA  10(j). Similar to your philosophy in the West, I'm sure that you'll agree that an experimental population will further the conservation of
the Tidal Basin Beaver.

     I ask for your prompt, thorough and fair assessment of the Tidal Basin Beaver and its habitat.



Helen Chenoweth
Member of Congress


Another comment on the subject:

"Out west, it's the policy of the Federal agencies to remove the people, rather than the animals, when there is a conflict between people and wildlife...If these rugged pioneering beaver can make it in the polluted and murky conditions of the Potomac and the Tidal Basin, then by goodness, they deserve to be free!," Helen Chenoweth


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