A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herping

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technoendo
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A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herping

Post by technoendo » June 1st, 2016, 3:34 pm

A few months back I came into the northwest chapter forum squawking and making noise about some proposed changes to the division 044 wildlife regulations by ODFW. Then a week or so after that I got a response from ODFW director that the proposed changes would not go into law in early March as proposed and I believed this effort to have been stopped. I got an email from my friend today and I'll just include his message here:
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but ODFW just posted the final draft of their proposed rules regarding herping in Oregon:

http://www.dfw.state.or.us/agency/commi ... /index.asp

(Click on Exhibit 3 to see the draft rules.) They are scheduled to be approved at the June 09 Commission meeting in Salem.

The bad news is: I compared the original version with the final that is now posted, and the two are the same. There is no difference in wording or content. This is disappointing, given the amount of time and effort that I spent preparing a review and comments. I even went to the Commission meeting and testified.

What does this mean for you? As of June 09, it will be illegal to field herp for most Oregon amphibian and reptile species under state law (635-044-0430 - page 3 of the final rules). This includes racers, rubber boas, and ringneck snakes. Regardless of what you may have heard, that is the law as it is written. How it will be interpreted or enforced is impossible to predict, but I have already encountered a number of individuals who favor the strict interpretation. Again, regardless of what you may have been told, this will be the new law, unless the Commission decides not to adopt it.

If you ever wanted to have an effect on field herping laws and regulations, now is the time to write the Commission and the Director (Curt Melcher <[email protected]>). I am writing a letter and providing comments, and will attend the meeting to testify, as well.
In particular I am curious of the data behind the decision to add yellow bellied racers to the protected list. I would argue that they are common and fairly easy to find in central/southern/eastern OR. Where is the data? I haven't found it yet.

This is a frantic and hasty post as I'm about to fly cross country and while I'll try and write something to the ODFW Director I'm on the road and occupied. I wanted to share this news with y'all and encourage herpers in Oregon to scrutinize these changes, provide feedback, and get involved. Lets keep this calm and civil (don't mean to be alarmist) but I ask your help to spread the word.

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technoendo
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from ODFW director

Post by technoendo » June 1st, 2016, 8:15 pm

2/23 I got this from Curt Melcher:
Thanks for the follow-up message. I have asked staff to get back to you to answer your questions. At this time, we are fielding a lot of questions about the Division 44 rules and will not be changing any rules in March. We plan to take some more time to consider public feedback and address the concerns we have been hearing. Thanks for your input.
I misunderstood this thinking the revision had been stopped (for now, which I assumed to be this year). It appears that it was just stopped from going into law in early March and is about to become law on June 9th. Sigh.

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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by Entomancer » June 1st, 2016, 10:42 pm

Damn!

Does this include the bit about tadpoles that you mentioned on the way back from the trip?

Regardless, this is only breeding resentment, and moving forward that's not going to do the herps, ourselves or even the ODFW any favors.

Has Rombough said anything about this? Out of any of the people involved with herping out here, Chris, Alan St. John, and Richard Hoyer probably have the best chance at challenging these changes, as they have more authority/experience than anyone else I can think of.

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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by chris_mcmartin » June 2nd, 2016, 6:22 am

I've seen this sort of thing happen before--sometimes the animal-rights groups work diligently "under the radar" to keep pushing things through just when the herpin' community thinks matters are settled...

:?

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Kelly Mc
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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by Kelly Mc » June 2nd, 2016, 7:04 am

Whats your evidence for that, telepathy?

It seems like an inflammatory statement.

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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by WSTREPS » June 2nd, 2016, 7:59 am

I've seen this sort of thing happen before--sometimes the animal-rights groups work diligently "under the radar" to keep pushing things through just when the herpin' community thinks matters are settled...:?
Absolutely, special interest groups, environment, animal rights, etc. Are the dirtiest scumbags you will ever encounter. These types of laws are not the result of fairly scrutinized data and sound decision making. They are the product of dirty backroom politics. Biologist are for the most part happy to play along, provide the "scientific evidence" to help out the cause. Its good for their career's and gives them more funding mojo. Its a case of one dirty hand washing the other. In Florida we are seeing a barrage of this type of hypocrisy. Across the country its going on and not just with the animal stuff its widespread.

Good luck pushing back but keep in mind that if you stem the tide this time. There's always next time. And with special interest groups there's always a next time. There is no such thing as analyzing data, devising a sound approach and bargaining in good faith. If they don't get their way 100% they will keep pushing until they do, no matter how they have to do it. These people are not looking for sound solutions where needed. They just want to "win". Its what keeps them in business.


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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by craigb » June 2nd, 2016, 8:51 am

A simple way to look at this is:
Humane groups get donations from the public to fund their causes. They hire attorneys and "knowledgeable" people of their choice to be political activists.
This has been a common practice for many decades. These activists working for their cause meet with public officials over meals, and offer political support in other areas where needed.

How many people does NAFHA employ to voice "our" side?
I need to mention Brian Hinds is a great resource and has accomplished a lot. But he is working on his own dime because he is extremely dedicated to the cause.

The Human activists show up on business days dressed like attorneys to present their case. Our people have other jobs and cannot take time of to arrange meetings with public officials to present our side. We show up at the least professional meetings when they are required to listen to the public.

Just my enlightened opinion...

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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by Kelly Mc » June 2nd, 2016, 9:24 am

Ok, so please enlighten me more. So who are they exactly? And how many of these groups even know what herping is?

Is herping so important to them that they have secret, under the radar meetings in suits to stop it? Where can I find some material about how these activists feel about herping? I see a lot of material on other matters, can you please direct me to the contention they have about herping?

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Kelly Mc
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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by Kelly Mc » June 2nd, 2016, 9:42 am

Please don't default to PETA as many orgs and individuals involved in 'animal activism' to not ally with PETA at all, and strongly oppose their actions and sophomoric views.

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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by craigb » June 2nd, 2016, 12:39 pm

I can only speak from my experience with HSUS Humane Society of the United States. They have a stated goal that animals other than cats and dogs should not be allowed to be kept as pets.
The SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) has a similar goal.

I was an Animal Control Officer, Sergeant, and Chief Operations Officer over a fifteen year period. Both of those organizations have "activists" and "lobbyists" to speak to politicians, city managers, county supervisors, and state bureaucrats. They promote their agendas behind the scenes and in public if required. They would much rather meet with officials behind closed doors rather than have to justify their positions.

If you doubt what I am saying dig into these organizations online. Ask them on the sites what they support, and what they are doing. If you play the game and tell them you hate reptiles and want them banned you will hear what they really believe in and maybe a little about what they are doing to help you.

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Kelly Mc
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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by Kelly Mc » June 2nd, 2016, 1:04 pm

My concern is ogre-ization of a targeted "enemy".

People who are concerned about animal welfare are as diverse as herpers are. They are not mutually exclusive and there are cross overs.

Nebulous high jacking plays the same game in many formats, and it keeps people from self examination.

It also keeps good minds and opinions silent in arenas that adopt such divisions, wishing to avoid stigma and the animals are the ones left twisting in the wind.

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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by craigb » June 2nd, 2016, 1:16 pm

Then truly.....

"The answer my friend is blowing in the wind. The answer is blowing in the wind"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ld6fAO4idaI 8-)

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Kelly Mc
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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by Kelly Mc » June 2nd, 2016, 1:22 pm

A trite and oddly adolescent response is unsurprising from you, Craig.

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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by craigb » June 2nd, 2016, 1:35 pm

It's hard for me to answer because you want specifics from me, yet don't have anything to hang your hat on.

Limiting self examination? What is that? Your answer was so broad I don't know what or who you are talking about.

"It also keeps good minds and opinions silent in arenas that adopt such divisions, wishing to avoid stigma and the animals are the ones left twisting in the wind."

Whose minds? Whose opinions?

It takes far more than "Nebulous high jacking" to keep my mind silent or to stifle my opinion.

I just don't get what you are trying to say.

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Kelly Mc
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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by Kelly Mc » June 2nd, 2016, 1:44 pm

Don't worry about it Craig. You aren't one of those people. But such people are here, too.

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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by cbernz » June 2nd, 2016, 3:00 pm

How big a change is this from the previous law? How many new species are on the hands-off list, or was there even a hands-off list before?

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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by Hadar » June 2nd, 2016, 3:16 pm

craigb wrote:I can only speak from my experience with HSUS Humane Society of the United States. They have a stated goal that animals other than cats and dogs should not be allowed to be kept as pets.
The SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) has a similar goal.

I was an Animal Control Officer, Sergeant, and Chief Operations Officer over a fifteen year period. Both of those organizations have "activists" and "lobbyists" to speak to politicians, city managers, county supervisors, and state bureaucrats. They promote their agendas behind the scenes and in public if required. They would much rather meet with officials behind closed doors rather than have to justify their positions.

If you doubt what I am saying dig into these organizations online. Ask them on the sites what they support, and what they are doing. If you play the game and tell them you hate reptiles and want them banned you will hear what they really believe in and maybe a little about what they are doing to help you.
The Humane Society of the United States does have some positions that I feel are very one sided and more fear based than out of concern of the animals themselves. See the following links. http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/tu ... ntent-3048
http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/ig ... id86192870
http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/sn ... id86192870
I know from working at exotic animal hospitals that there are the really amazing pet owners but there are also a lot of people out there that don't know what they are doing or don't care about the animals and in the end it is the animals that suffer. So when a group like the HSUS is generalizing to create a policy they are thinking of worse case scenarios which is unfortunate. I would like to see improved policies and positions from them but until the people in charge can be convinced then complaining about it isn't going to do anything. Write emails, make phone calls, or hand write letters to express your concerns and opinions, in a decent manner without vulgar language.

I also worked for the ASPCA for several years in animal poison control but also did disaster response. The "A" cares for and serves all animals including exotics but they have a policy on where exotics should come from and how they should be treated. Their official policy is below:

ASPCA Position
The ASPCA’s policy is that no animal taken from the wild, or wild by nature, should be kept as a pet. In cases where exotics are already being kept as companions, where their guardians are able to provide appropriate environments and care, and provided that the animals are not bred, the ASPCA would support their remaining in their homes. Where appropriate care is not or cannot be provided, the ASPCA advocates removing such animals to approved sanctuaries.

Personally, I feel that the ASPCA position is fair as a generalization and I wish the HSUS had a policy more like this one. The ASPCA position isn't saying that exotics cannot be kept as pets but that they need to be appropriately cared for. Yes they say not to take animals from the wild but from my experience that is as a stance against poaching.

To get this thread back on topic, we could use support from the herp community to contact Oregon officials, especially with evidence of why the laws about to go into action should be revised. This isn't because herpers want to go outside and take animals from the wild. In a era where we are continually more and more removed from nature it is important to nurture the desire to explore the natural world around us and the wildlife in it. What message are we passing on to our children if we don't allow them to see wildlife up close and in person? Please everyone, I know a lot of people are upset but keep a level head. If you come off as combative then your position will just be ignored by the policy makers.

Cheers, Heather

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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by Kelly Mc » June 2nd, 2016, 4:20 pm

Breaking it down to basic intrinsics, apart from politics or belief systems or goals of interested parties, some of these restrictions here and in other regions, is because of the ease that reptiles and amphibians can be captured and conceivably damaged, stored in minimal containment, taken. It is far easier to achieve contact/capture with herps than almost any other families, except insects.

Without a demonization of either side, this fact is easily determined and perhaps incites a concern of inherent vulnerability because of it.

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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by chris_mcmartin » June 2nd, 2016, 6:21 pm

Kelly Mc wrote:Whats your evidence for that, telepathy?

It seems like an inflammatory statement.
Wilson County, Texas, is the most recent example with which I'm familiar...one vet (large farm animal specialist) in this rural county attempted to push through a ban on several types of herp (some constrictors and venomous, I believe). He was supported by what I THINK was a state-level org (would have to dig deep into the archives to identify which one) which used many specious arguments to make their case (and several were similar to other such laws proposed in smaller cities nationwide--there must be a Word template posted somewhere)...I visited their web site a few times just to get a feel for how the other side of the debate operated/thought. They have a very methodical approach, presumably because as the proponents of such legislation they aren't in "reaction" mode. Finally, enough herp enthusiasts (I think mobilized through TXARK?) were able to travel there and testify with some basic facts and statistics.

Frankly, I don't know how herpers can keep up with all such legislative proposals; it seems more a chance of "getting lucky" and hearing about them from the right person involved in the process (through a friend on a city council, etc.). I don't know how many resources herp-enthusiast orgs such as USARK, NAFHA, etc. have to channel toward combing through every state, county, city, and municipality's dockets for this stuff...from what I've seen, the herp-enthusiast community aren't proactive on getting bills introduced (not sure why they would NEED to be), yet people who kill any snake on sight, and think nobody should keep a herp as a pet, have the time and/or money to methodically introduce bills restricting a private citizen's ability to maintain (and possible learn from) a domestic herp. A review and comparison of the annual financial statements of, say, CBD* and USARK illuminates the disparity.

Rather than simply go by "what I THINK happens," I'm attempting to take a more "tell the herp community's side of the story with actual data" approach, through instruments such as the biennial opinion surveys I've ran the last few years. I have right around 1,000 pages of responses from the 2015 iteration...still hoping to get down to analysis "soon."

But at the present, I'm scrambling to get the car loaded up for a trip tomorrow to western TX, where I'll be spending several days collecting data (and DOR herps for donation to UT, under permit--illegal to pick up a dead snake on the road in TX since 2007) and contributing equipment supporting our state's nongame (herps, specifically) research. To tie this, however tenuously, to the discussion at hand, I can relate to "surprises" from the legislature (such as the initial TX road ban in 2007 despite herper testimony, phone calls to the governor, and repeated assurances; as well as the 2011 revision which restored at least the "rights-of-way" but now charges us $10 on top of the previously-sufficient hunting license to do so). I just went into town this evening to purchase the $10 Reptile and Amphibian Stamp for my daughter. Though she is under 16 and therefore doesn't need a hunting license, the now-5-year-old law mandates the R&A Stamp--it's the ONLY hunting permit/stamp that someone under 16 would need to get (i.e. you can shoot a deer with no license, but you need a stamp to touch a snake on a road cut, and helping a turtle across a road is still verboten for anyone of any age). To make things worse, the system to purchase such permits at the point of sale I had to use couldn't process the transaction--because it doesn't acknowledge the need for permits for someone under 16... My daughter said, "Isn't there someone I could write to about how ridiculous this whole thing is?" Yes, there is, but I'm worried they won't really care. :? I still encouraged her to get involved, though.

- - - - -

*I'd have to check my saved documents--I may have identified the wrong group, but I'm thinking of whichever organization published the report proposing adding dozens of herps to T/E lists--a "throw it all against the wall and see what sticks" approach.

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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by Kelly Mc » June 2nd, 2016, 6:42 pm

Chris, I have been across the podium of ban attempts, on record (sf Pet Ban on retail sale of live animals, 2010) It would have meant the end of my livelihood, and since then i found my own views on the matter evolving in a more conservative direction, as far as that goes, I have no desire to use a thread as an excuse to promote my activities or past positions in the animal field as some do, but its been long, diverse, and deeply embedded.

Thank you for providing your detailed information - I had to ask, as it was stated a little media -ish, similiar to the very style you have often been critical of.

I find it interesting so far that no one has commented on the practicality + inherent vulnerability factor i mentioned, and of course there is always the repeated sentiment of how without being able to catch and hold herps we will suffer a disconnect from the natural world. Really?

I guess all the other animal groups that are impossible to touch are in trouble then?

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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by chris_mcmartin » June 3rd, 2016, 2:50 am

Kelly Mc wrote:of course there is always the repeated sentiment of how without being able to catch and hold herps we will suffer a disconnect from the natural world. Really?
Yes, really--in my and many others' opinion. What you lament as vulnerability does have a silver lining, that being accessibility. Here's a class of animals one can actually touch and interact with to varying degrees. Not quite as alien as invertebrates, or even fish; they have many of the same organs and limbs we have (except snakes!), and a "face" perpetually smiling in many cases.

Though it's difficult to impossible to quantify whether a kid who was exposed to herps at an early age (via being able to catch frogs in the local creek, or even just petting a tortoise at an educational booth at a zoo, herp show, or state fair) is going to be less inclined to bulldoze known habitat for a strip mall when they're older, my guess is that it would be harder for them to do so than for someone who never did touch a snake to learn they actually aren't slimy, loathsome creatures.

Also, many current scientists attribute their chosen career paths, at least to some extent, to their childhood interaction with herps. Pretty sure my most recent survey asked that question (it's been a while and I've done other surveys since then!); will have to see how pervasive that sentiment is but it'll be nice to put a number on it for legislative-discussion purposes.

Perhaps the most rational approach for a herp-friendly organization to take when fighting a proposed change to a rule/regulation/statute would be to acknowledge some of the potential pitfalls (yes, kids can mistreat a frog they catch) but demonstrate a greater good outcome in toto (increased knowledge through research contributions and greater involvement in habitat protection, etc.) It's a very utilitarian viewpoint, to be sure.

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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by WSTREPS » June 3rd, 2016, 5:49 am

Perhaps the most rational approach for a herp-friendly organization to take when fighting a proposed change to a rule/regulation/statute would be to acknowledge some of the potential pitfalls (yes, kids can mistreat a frog they catch) but demonstrate a greater good outcome in toto (increased knowledge through research contributions and greater involvement in habitat protection, etc.) It's a very utilitarian viewpoint, to be sure.

I would agree with this, because basically its about all the "herp community" can do. In this case there is a chance that might work (for a while). Proposed regulations such as the one that is the topic of discussion in this thread. Are not the result of concern on the part of a legitimate (if there is one ) wildlife agency. They come about because as it was aptly put,
Humane groups get donations from the public to fund their causes. They hire attorneys and "knowledgeable" people of their choice to be political activists.
This has been a common practice for many decades. These activists working for their cause meet with public officials over meals, and offer political support in other areas where needed.
That about sums up how this crap works. Its what honest people are up against. In this case I don't think this was directly prompted by the dirty work of one of the well known maniacal activist groups. This has more the feel of something done by a localized under the radar Covenant. Make no mistake things like this are more big picture and not meant to be localized, they are intended jumping off points for further more wide ranging action. It is about more then stopping a handful of people from enjoying what they do. Under the guise of some sort of environmental protection.

I've watched the transition of the USA go from We The People to We the Lobbyist.

Oregon is the birthplace of radical and violent environmentalism. Its always been along with Northern California a hot bed for extremist. The member's and supporters of these groups are people who are completely one-sided in their views. They do not and are not willing to educate themselves beyond the propaganda of their chosen group. The majority of the supporters are people who do not have any actual interaction with wildlife and spend little to no time in the environment they claim to be championing. For them its about latching on to an idealism. Selfishly trying to force that idealism down everyone's throat at any cost.

I don't know of any "Herper" who has blown up a building, attacked a ship , destroyed personal property, beat up / killed someone, destroyed a privately owned business etc. On and on. In the name of Herping !!! But we have certainly seen that from our save the Planet collation of Animal rights / Environmental groups. If their willing to do that, what else would they be willing to do ? In spite of all that these groups generate a lot of cash, get a lot of pubic support, and are loved by the overbearing liberal media. This in turn gives them influence. Influence that helps careers. At the end of the day most people will do what benefit's them the most. This includes scientist and policy makers. What's right can always be justified later if at all.

Ernie Eison

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Kelly Mc
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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by Kelly Mc » June 3rd, 2016, 7:32 am

I cant see regulatory entities having that limber of a perspective about the potential of creating scientists and more conscious human beings if able to capture herps.

Dont let my questions fool you - if I go to Oregon I would want to be able to look at guys up close. Im not a very good photographer and dont even have a good camera, but I want to look, study, marvel. And I think I told you in particular about how i felt the breath of a tortoise on my face as a small child, and it was like i was changed since that day.

I proposed that there was other factors that the legislative ppl were privy to that incited a damage control approach on their part.

I like being the one to offer a non utilitarian welfarist comment on the forum, i think its good for balance and puncturing a sheep spiral of silence mentality.

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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by Richard F. Hoyer » June 3rd, 2016, 8:18 am

I have not read through all posts on this thread but nevertheless, I offer the following:

First off, I cannot find any conservation value whatsoever in the proposed regulations. Thus, they do not have any overall benefit to the general public.
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ODFW established a panel of individuals for formulating the revision of the Div. 44 regulation. Besides ODFW personnel, included was someone from the exotic reptile trade, the state police (they enforce wildlife regs.), the Portland Audubon Society, and the SPCA. Noticeably absent were any individuals or groups that were true stakeholders.

In March, I wrote 6 separate comments to the Commission. Those comment pertained only to the 5 species of snakes that the revised regulations propose placing in a protected status. The snake involved are the Racer, Rubber Boa, Striped Racer, Ringneck Snake, and Night Snake. ODFW relied on / cite the rankings of species by Oregon Biodiversity Information Center (ORBIC) / NatureServe. (see Below) The ORBIC ranking for the Night Snake is G-3, G-3/G-4 for the Striped Racer, and G-4 for the Rubber Boa, Racer, and Ringneck Snake.

Tthe ORBIC rankings for those snakes have zero credibility as they lack support from any scientific evidence.

I did not attend the first Commission meeting (April 18th?). I have since sent the Commission 4 additional comments that pertain to the other aspects of the proposed regulations. I will attend the June 9th meeting in which the first item on the agenda at 1 PM are these Div. 44 regulations.

Currently, there are four species of snakes in ODFW’s lists in protected species, the Ground Snake, Sharp-tailed Snake, Calif. Mt. Kingsnake, and Common Kingsnake. Neither ODFW nor ORBIC possess any evidence that would support either the initial listing or continued listing of those 4 species.

The reason I know that to be the case is because I have done my homework. There are no published studies on any of the 9 species of snakes that contain evidence suggesting those species are at risk.

Richard F. Hoyer (Corvallis, Oregon
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

State Rank
The most widely used NatureServe rank in the United States are the State Ranks, which describe the rarity of a species within each state's boundary. These State Ranks begin with the letter "S". Global, National, and State ranks all use a 1-5 ranking system, summarized below:

1 = Critically imperiled because of extreme rarity or because it is somehow especially vulnerable to extinction or extirpation, typically with 5 or fewer occurrences.

2 = Imperiled because of rarity or because other factors demonstrably make it very vulnerable to extinction (extirpation), typically with 6-20 occurrences.

3 = Rare, uncommon or threatened, but not immediately imperiled, typically with 21-100 occurrences.

4 = Not rare and apparently secure, but with cause for long-term concern, usually with more than 100 occurrences.

5 = Demonstrably widespread, abundant, and secure.

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Kelly Mc
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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by Kelly Mc » June 3rd, 2016, 12:02 pm

chris_mcmartin wrote:
What you lament as vulnerability
Just one little note - I wasnt "lamenting" about "vulnerability" wrong floor there, the term was used as mechanical fact - applied in many formats, medical, security enforcement, even construction. Please dont impart drama in my post where none exists.

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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by Kelly Mc » June 3rd, 2016, 12:15 pm

In courteous regard I would like to place Richards more important post in quote on thread.
Richard F. Hoyer wrote:I have not read through all posts on this thread but nevertheless, I offer the following:

First off, I cannot find any conservation value whatsoever in the proposed regulations. Thus, they do not have any overall benefit to the general public.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

ODFW established a panel of individuals for formulating the revision of the Div. 44 regulation. Besides ODFW personnel, included was someone from the exotic reptile trade, the state police (they enforce wildlife regs.), the Portland Audubon Society, and the SPCA. Noticeably absent were any individuals or groups that were true stakeholders.

In March, I wrote 6 separate comments to the Commission. Those comment pertained only to the 5 species of snakes that the revised regulations propose placing in a protected status. The snake involved are the Racer, Rubber Boa, Striped Racer, Ringneck Snake, and Night Snake. ODFW relied on / cite the rankings of species by Oregon Biodiversity Information Center (ORBIC) / NatureServe. (see Below) The ORBIC ranking for the Night Snake is G-3, G-3/G-4 for the Striped Racer, and G-4 for the Rubber Boa, Racer, and Ringneck Snake.

Tthe ORBIC rankings for those snakes have zero credibility as they lack support from any scientific evidence.

I did not attend the first Commission meeting (April 18th?). I have since sent the Commission 4 additional comments that pertain to the other aspects of the proposed regulations. I will attend the June 9th meeting in which the first item on the agenda at 1 PM are these Div. 44 regulations.

Currently, there are four species of snakes in ODFW’s lists in protected species, the Ground Snake, Sharp-tailed Snake, Calif. Mt. Kingsnake, and Common Kingsnake. Neither ODFW nor ORBIC possess any evidence that would support either the initial listing or continued listing of those 4 species.

The reason I know that to be the case is because I have done my homework. There are no published studies on any of the 9 species of snakes that contain evidence suggesting those species are at risk.

Richard F. Hoyer (Corvallis, Oregon
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

State Rank
The most widely used NatureServe rank in the United States are the State Ranks, which describe the rarity of a species within each state's boundary. These State Ranks begin with the letter "S". Global, National, and State ranks all use a 1-5 ranking system, summarized below:

1 = Critically imperiled because of extreme rarity or because it is somehow especially vulnerable to extinction or extirpation, typically with 5 or fewer occurrences.

2 = Imperiled because of rarity or because other factors demonstrably make it very vulnerable to extinction (extirpation), typically with 6-20 occurrences.

3 = Rare, uncommon or threatened, but not immediately imperiled, typically with 21-100 occurrences.

4 = Not rare and apparently secure, but with cause for long-term concern, usually with more than 100 occurrences.

5 = Demonstrably widespread, abundant, and secure.

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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by stlouisdude » June 3rd, 2016, 5:02 pm

Wildlife agencies virtually never use data when it comes to managing harvesting of herps and generally ignore what data does exist since it is never supportive of the string pullers goals. By addressing non-threats (incidental capture, heck even targeted personal collection), how would make any species safer? Something has to be depleting populations for proctection from it to be of any use and there are no species of herps in the world being depleted by personal collection for pets.

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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by Hadar » June 4th, 2016, 7:00 am

Richard F. Hoyer wrote: I did not attend the first Commission meeting (April 18th?). I have since sent the Commission 4 additional comments that pertain to the other aspects of the proposed regulations. I will attend the June 9th meeting in which the first item on the agenda at 1 PM are these Div. 44 regulations.

Richard F. Hoyer (Corvallis, Oregon)
Thank you Richard! Will anyone else be in Oregon on June 9th and able to attend the meeting? I will still be in Panama so I cannot make it.

Cheers, Heather

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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by Jimi » June 6th, 2016, 9:49 am

I'm really sorry to see Oregon stakeholders treated like this. I recommend trying to engage, by going to the public meeting. I'm not happy to say I agree with Chris's, Craig's, and Ernie's first posts here, but the sad fact is, experience has led me to exactly that. I truly wish I could say otherwise. But I'd be a liar if I did so. As far as I have seen, they are dead right. The opposition is organized and ruthless. I can't advocate being ruthless, but seriously people, it helps to get organized.

Switching gears to "evidence" - I'm curious about the Heritage ranks. When I just looked up night snake (on NatureServe, not ORBIC), I got this:
NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Global Status: G5

Global Status Last Reviewed: 14Jul2008
Global Status Last Changed: 14Jul2008
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (14Jul2008)

United States Arizona (S5), California (SNR), Colorado (S3), Idaho (S5), Navajo Nation (S4), Nevada (S5), New Mexico (S5), Oregon (S3), Utah (S3), Washington (S3)

Range Extent: 200,000-2,500,000 square km (about 80,000-1,000,000 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Range extends from south-central British Columbia south through Washington, Oregon, southern Idaho, eastern California, Nevada, Utah, western Colorado, northern, western, and much of southernwestern Arizona, northeastern Baja California, and northwestern mainland Mexico (Mulcahy 2008).

Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300
Number of Occurrences Comments: This species is represented by a large number of occurrences or subpopulations.

Population Size: 100,000 to >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but undoubtedly exceeds 100,000. The species occupies a wide range and is locally fairly common.

Overall Threat Impact: Low
Overall Threat Impact Comments: No major threats have been identified. The habitat generally tends to be unsuitable for incompatible human uses.

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: Extent of occurrence, area of occupancy, number of subpopulations, and population size probably are relatively stable.
So, I'm not seeing where a G3 comes in, from ORBIC. I didn't readily see how to get their ranks. It looked like I'd need to make a data request.

cheers

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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by Kelly Mc » June 6th, 2016, 10:18 am

That they are not ruthless is certainly not what I would say, but perhaps population biology isnt their sole criteria.

Not knowing if they are even encorperative, probably not, but growth of research into the neural schematics of organisms may change considerations of individual life quality.

When this does become even more sophisticated than current tech ability, the findings will be science and cant be easily dismissed as activist agenda non data.

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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by craigb » June 6th, 2016, 10:51 am

It's me again !!!

Kelly you assume that the activists information will be proven factual by science.......

To the contrary I believe when the science catches up most of the information provided by the activists will be proven false.....

But who knows :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Only time will tell.....


And there is room for both opinions here. :thumb:

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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by Jimi » June 6th, 2016, 3:38 pm

but perhaps population biology isnt their sole criteria
If we're still talking about yellowbellied racer, rubber boa, striped racer, ringneck snake, & night snake, then I will assert that population biology isn't a criterion at all.
the repeated sentiment of how without being able to catch and hold herps we will suffer a disconnect from the natural world
I think with more hands-off-animals regulation the broader human population will continue to be increasingly influenced by crap like Animal Planet, pull stunts like the recent Yellowstone bison calf incident and the recent Argentine dolphin calf incident, and generally think of wild animals as something more foreign and exotic than something familiar and relatable. Which I think becomes problematic if they are perceived as threatening. Just by way of example, in the last month I have happened to field herp with some folks from Arkansas and Oklahoma on the one hand, and folks from Utah and Nevada on the other. For whatever reason the subject of mountain lions came up in both groups. The eastern folks are in general apprehensive at the very thought of entering occupied lion habitat. The western folks not so much. Why? Familiarity, I say. We've all seen lions, think they're impressive, demanding of respect etc. But frightening or threatening? Um, no. My hunting/survey party actually saw a big tom this past Saturday. The guy who almost stepped on the sleeping cat just about crapped himself as he watched it jump up and depart at a high rate of speed. But then everyone calmed down, crawled (literally...) back into the bushes and got back to our herping. No watching our backs, no problem whatsoever. Familiarity.

Another case for the same argument. Why is ophidiophobia declining at such a rate today? Seriously, if you're old enough, think about the reaction you'd get from a crowd of random strangers if you pulled a snake out of a bag in 1975 or 1985 or even 1995 versus today. I think part of it is that so many people have, or have had, or have known someone who had, a pet snake. Snakes are just so much more familiar now. They're not just reflexively foreign and frightening to a whole lot of people. Which means a lot less of them are getting bashed with rocks than they used to. That's a positive outcome for the conservation of wild snakes.

At a more principled than practical level - in law, wildlife (not talking captives here, I mean wild animals) are a public trust resource. State wildlife agencies have no legal business alienating the public from the wildlife that is held in trust for them. If there's a credible existential concern, no problem. So you can't collect Gila monsters from the wild in California. We can all understand that. But an Oregonian can't go out and catch a racer or boa? Says who? Someone who is seriously abusing and thereby risking their social license to operate.

Finally, on this matter of science providing the answer to the question "should we" - it's never gonna happen, it's an abuse or a misunderstanding of science to expect otherwise. Science only answers "can we? questions" Emotion answers "should we?" questions. Which is where tactics come in - and for evidence, just look at the tactics of the animal welfare extremists. They're playing to emotion, not fact. Facts matter less than we are comfortable accepting.

My $.02 anyway. Nothing more, nothing less.

cheers

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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by Kelly Mc » June 6th, 2016, 5:53 pm

My comment on population biology was a reflection on the traditional curriculum of what merits protection that has been held by many, (and may become outdated as a singular factor) and yes i do recognize the irony of oregons position - i know that irony and have seen it played out tragically by fish&game decisions and animal control in circumstances of seizure that ended in death during poor conditions of custody, of animals in a "gray area" of illegality - the animals were long established in households and cared for with exemplary standards. The agencies just didnt want them to have them.

So what Im hearing is that Oregon just doesnt want anyone herping there, if contact is a part of it.

As for your comment Craig - I wasnt referring to any data "provided by activists" but research into the neural life and perceptions of animals. It is burgeoning and findings are in fact leading into a direction of greater dimensions to behavior than previously packaged in the traditional all for reproductive fitness theme.

I'm genuinely interested in this topic, and admittedly it bleeds into many of my responses here, some see it as derailment of a thread, which I dont, but I dont ever really see topics derailed by earnest tangents - all the other stuff is still there , just scroll back. But not every one feels that way.

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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by stlouisdude » June 6th, 2016, 6:47 pm

Another possibility: What if the people in Oregon in charge of this initiative are really so ignorant that they think a random kid picking up a couple of snakes here and there will cause them all to disappear? How do we deal with that level of ignorance in people tasked with creating wildlife laws. It doesn't bode well for the future of wildlife management in general, I think.

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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by WSTREPS » June 6th, 2016, 7:44 pm

I wasnt referring to any data "provided by activists" but research into the neural life and perceptions of animals. It is burgeoning and findings are in fact leading into a direction of greater dimensions in behavior than previously packaged in the traditional all for reproductive fitness theme.
Data "provided by activists" / research into the neural life and perceptions of animals.

The two things are directly connected. Its another straw to grasp at. You need wings to stay above the BS that's coming out of the scientific world. Its that way because of where the money for these study's is coming from.


There is absolutely no legitimate evidence that handling reptiles has an adverse effect on them. Based on real life application. Special interest groups fund scientist to conduct study's and draw conclusions that are total speculation based on research that is completely inconclusive. This guess work in turn is used as scientific evidence to support their BS. / i.e. credibility. I know from experience what goes on and for me its easy to detect. The handling issue is not an authentic factor involved in this latest assault on "herpers". Its out of place in this discussion.

Certainly the degree of ignorance is a factor. Ignorance is the activist / dishonest scientist best friend. People who are ignorant turn to experts to help them find the right answer, activist strive hard to be and or provide these people with experts of their choosing.

This proposed Oregon law is preposterous on every level. There is zero credible evidence that "Herpers" are harming reptile population's , disrupting breeding, spreading disease, destroying vital habitat , endangering rare species, over-collecting or doing anything wrong to a tangible degree. If at all. The handful of participant's in this activity are completely innocuous. This type of legislation has only one value and that is to the special interest groups agenda. It presents an opportunity to set a precedent and maybe get some other states to follow suit. A springboard for further agenda based action. Its a way to get at reptile enthusiast thru the backdoor. Look at whos involved , you'd have to be blind to think this is on the up and up . It will be interesting to see how this turns out.

Ernie Eison

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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by Kelly Mc » June 6th, 2016, 8:21 pm

I disagree with your absolutist statements.

Absolutist statements made about neuroethology, and other interdisciplinary fields of neuro biology and animal behavior is myopic and naive, and glints to the transparency of a non interest and agenda on your part.

If activists use data to fortify their activities, thats one issue. But to trash all researchers and works present and future because you think it will affect the animal trade is your prerogative.

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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by Kelly Mc » June 6th, 2016, 9:45 pm

Handling reptiles for a brief time, in the manner of the calm, leal herper - seeking a voucher pic or identifying feature, replicates a brief encounter with any other larger animal/predator that ends with escape, when released. The cortisol levels and neural impacts are most likely correlative to that natural occurrence and inconsequential.

But variables of a capture event can be wildly disparate. Those whom we don't identify as Us - in other words - The Idiots - very well outnumber whom we identify as Herper, and their interactions with a snake are frequently stupid, arduous, buffoonish and physically harmful.

And there are scads of them.

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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by Richard F. Hoyer » June 6th, 2016, 10:47 pm

Jimi.
There are state, national, and global rankings. The ORBIC / NatureServe state rank for the Night Snake in Oregon is S-3. And as is typical now of state wildlife agencies, neither NatureServe nor the ODFW have any evidence in support of that S-3 ranking for the Night Snake in Oregon.

Below is what I copied from one of the ORBIC / NatureServe links way back on March 10th.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The most widely used NatureServe rank in the United States are the State Ranks, which describe the rarity of a species within each state's boundary. These State Ranks begin with the letter "S". Global, National, and State ranks all use a 1-5 ranking system, summarized below:

1 = Critically imperiled because of extreme rarity or because it is somehow especially vulnerable to extinction or extirpation, typically with 5 or fewer occurrences.

2 = Imperiled because of rarity or because other factors demonstrably make it very vulnerable to extinction (extirpation), typically with 6-20 occurrences.

3 = Rare, uncommon or threatened, but not immediately imperiled, typically with 21-100 occurrences.

4 = Not rare and apparently secure, but with cause for long-term concern, usually with more than 100 occurrences.

5 = Demonstrably widespread, abundant, and secure.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

And Jimi, I have now twice taken time to inform myself about NatureServe and their methods. To sum up my position, it amounts to junk science at it finest. Their primary method for assessing and ranking species is via ‘Element Occurrences’. So one needs to understand what constitutes an ‘Element Occurrence’. I urge everyone to access NatureServe on Google and spend a few hours trying to ascertain exactly what specifically constitutes and EO. About 8 – 10 years ago, I asked the head zoologist, Eleanor Gaines, of NatureServe in Oregon to give me a definition of ‘Element Occurrence’.

She admitted she was not able to do so. At that time, I told her that assessing and ranking species of herp on the basis of EOs (locality sightings) was a badly flawed practice and they should instead, use some measures of habitat as a means for assessing species. At that time, she said individuals in the organization were working on that line of thinking. And I see they have incorporated some mention of habitat but still rely on EOs as the main basis for assessing numerical abundance and rankings.

When I researched this issue about 15 – 16 years ago, again about 8 – 10 years ago, and this past March, I came away with the conclusion that EOs are based on locality sightings which may be clumped into groups the then call EOs. Well, depending on the species, there can be little correlation between the number of locality sightings and the numerical abundance of species. So the use of EOs to assess the status of species is a terribly flawed practice, especially as it pertains to secretive species such as many species of herps. The concept likely has more merit when applied to plants.

Here is what I recently copied from one of the ORBIC / NatureServe links I accessed on Google. “
“Element Occurrence Data Standard” “The element occurrence (EO) concept is the linchpin of the work of the NatureServe network.”
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
As the organization openly admits, EO is a “concept” and consequently not an accepted science-based process. It you delve into the NatureServe links, the inescapable conclusion is that their assessment and ranking process is largely reliant on personal opinions and perceptions and has very little resemblance to a scientific endeavor. But the organization passes off their process as if it were science-based.

Richard F. Hoyer (Corvallis, Oregon)

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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by WSTREPS » June 7th, 2016, 4:33 am

I disagree with your absolutist statements.

Absolutist statements made about neuroethology, and other interdisciplinary fields of neuro biology and animal behavior is myopic and naive, and glints to the transparency of a non interest and agenda on your part.

If activists use data to fortify their activities, thats one issue. But to trash all researchers and works present and future because you think it will affect the animal trade is your prerogative.
Really ? I've trashed all researchers and works present and future, according to you. And its me making absolutist statements. Get it right. I trash junk science, speculative results used to push an agenda and create press fodder, I do my homework inside and out on the matter. There's a big difference between glancing over a paper, maybe reading the abstract or catching a few headlines and thoroughly reading and understanding . Looking at whos conducting this research, knowing or looking into what ties they have.

Its blind bias to refuse or grasp the idea that the researcher's involved in gathering "data" in these types of issues are not getting bankrolled by special interest groups. That the result of any such study will be favorable for the groups interest. In many cases researcher's are already favorable in their views of these special interest groups and are happy to go to work for them.

Even if they can't find a shred of verifiable factual evidence to support the agenda these studies will make analogies', recommendations etc. That point in the "right direction". In the hope that they can be bankrolled for another project.

More exacting to the topical point . Making a hypothetical distinction between the effects of "responsible handling" engaged by some and reckless mistreatment of others who in an unfounded estimation could outnumber the responsible. Is a nonsensical argument as it applies to this situation.

The body of tangible evidence shows that handling even invasive handling, sedating animals, implanting radio transmitter's, stretching and measuring them etc. Has no ill effect short term or otherwise on any of the reptiles in question here. Laws such as this proposed Oregon nonsense need to be fought. The truth needs to be brought to light. It is a tough task. One statement that gets to the heart of the matter on why its such a tough fight is, Again I will quote craigb.

How many people does NAFHA employ to voice "our" side?
I need to mention Brian Hinds is a great resource and has accomplished a lot. But he is working on his own dime because he is extremely dedicated to the cause.

The Human activists show up on business days dressed like attorneys to present their case. Our people have other jobs and cannot take time of to arrange meetings with public officials to present our side. We show up at the least professional meetings when they are required to listen to the public.

Just my enlightened opinion...


If you do your home work and have a working understanding about this. Have an insider perspective its not hard to figure out what's up. Attempts to push the notion that my statements somehow are engrained in bias for the reptile trade are coming from place of ignorance.

My comments are in defense of what's right both morally and scientifically as the separation between the grows.

Ernie Eison

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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by Kelly Mc » June 7th, 2016, 6:15 am

You dont know enough about me to define how I process. Ive admitted I am by nature uninvolved in the red lines of human politics and everything I have ever posted is unrehearsed, no copy or cut or microsofted but as spontaneous as spoken conversation, the total of input comprises a sliver of my experiences and involvement with animals/ reptiles.

But I don't want to sound like you. I understand there is nothing left for you to know. Your knowledge is complete. I get it.

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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by Kelly Mc » June 7th, 2016, 6:31 am

"The body of tangible evidence"

Please explain.

Since studies are scant currently how do you mean "Tangible"

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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by Kelly Mc » June 7th, 2016, 6:57 am

I guess I will see you tagging on and off again figuring out your next move to a simple question.

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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by Jimi » June 7th, 2016, 6:23 pm

Richard -

I know a bit about global, national and state ranks and offer to share some of it here. First of all, it's important to understand that the ranks are outputs of something called the NatureServe Rank Calculator. It's just a macro-enabled spreadsheet that the user enters values into, and then pushes a button to get the rank.

The basic categories of stuff the calculator considers to derive its output are 1) rarity, 2) threats, and 3) trends (both long-term and short-term).

NatureServe produces global and national ranks. When applicable, they prefer to use data provided by member programs (typically called Natural Heritage Programs) - in the USA most of them are at the state level. There are also Navajo Nation and Tennessee Valley Authority programs. When I say "state level" I don't mean those programs are operated by state agencies - most are, but about 1/3 are not. That appears to be the case in Oregon - it seems to be a university thing there. Most non-agency state-level programs are operated by universities. Two states I have lived in, Colorado and Florida, have this situation. It is not infrequently the case that when a universirty runs a Heritage program, the state wildlife agency has little to do with the program.

So just to repeat - S ranks are not produced by NatureServe. They are produced by state-level programs, and reported to NatureServe by participating or member programs. Participating in the NatureServe network, that is.
...I came away with the conclusion that EOs are based on locality sightings which may be clumped into groups the then call EOs..
Yeah that's about right. It's a bit of an abstraction. There is some direction given for e.g. colonial animals - it would be silly to have 2 (or 200) observations of individual prairie dogs from the same town each get their own EO. The dog town is the EO. Same goes for, e.g., a pelican or tern nesting colony, a sea turtle nesting beach, etc. For solitary animals, conceptually, a spatial buffer is applied to the observation. More about that below, on "grid cells".
Well, depending on the species, there can be little correlation between the number of locality sightings and the numerical abundance of species. So the use of EOs to assess the status of species is a terribly flawed practice, especially as it pertains to secretive species such as many species of herps. The concept likely has more merit when applied to plants
If you look more closely at the rank calculator you will note that there are 2 basic ways to handle that "rarity" criterion. One is abundance, one is extent of distribution. Very few species are evaluated on the basis of abundance, for the simple reason that such data do not exist for most species.

So let's take extent of distribution. In the calculator, species occupying points or polygons are evaluated based on how many 4 sq km grid cells have an EO (all or part of them) in them. Species occupying lines (e.g. stream organisms) are evaluated based on how many 1 sq km grid cells they occupy. If a species in Oregon occurred statewide, in every conceivable habitat, it would occupy about 63,700 of the larger grid cells. A species occupying 3 springs in the same small valley might occupy 1 or 2 or 3 grid cells.

Restricted range is a widely-accepted predictor of imperilment. So is low abundance, but to a much smaller extent, particularly if distribution is large. Take large carnivores as an example. They are naturally "rare", but by no means may they be assumed to be imperiled.

In the calculator, rarity commands most of the weight driving the output - 85% in the current version if I am not mistake. Threats and trends take up the rest. I quibble with this, I think threats and trends ought to get more weight. But this is inviting a distraction...just remember that threats and trends are also included. How they are included can be utterly subjective, or it can be strongly data-driven. But just as an example, take the lower 48 grizzly population. The long term trend is terrible - they've been extirpated from >95% of their former range. However the short-term (last 20 years) trends are excellent - their distribution and abundance (the latter well-known in this freak case) have at least tripled. This is the case because most of the serious threats to grizzlies have been sufficiently managed to allow births and survival to greatly outpace deaths.

The important thing to keep in mind, is that the ranks are simply an index of the relative degree of imperilment a species faces. Forget trying to define exactly what a 3 is - the important thing is, it's better than a 2 and worse than a 4. You don't make a decision about a particular course of action just based on the number - you need to look at the specifics of rarity, threats, and trends.
And as is typical now of state wildlife agencies, neither NatureServe nor the ODFW have any evidence in support of that S-3 ranking for the Night Snake in Oregon.
Again, I would look to whose rank that is, and I would further request of them the rank calculator report showing what inputs they used. The easiest way to "uprank" that animal would be to add more legitimate dots to the map - ones not in already-recorded grid squares. This is an important contribution FHF members can make.
I have now twice taken time to inform myself about NatureServe and their methods. To sum up my position, it amounts to junk science at it finest.
I think this is a bit extreme and I hope I can convince you to take a broader view. Perhaps not in how ODFW is using the ranks to do whatever it is trying to do, but simply to recognize that the Rank Calculator outputs are actually a very helpful device to help overworked, understaffed managers look at the entirety of a flora and fauna (virtually all of which is data deficient), and quickly determine what they do not need to worry about for the moment, and what needs some attention. What kind of attention is a whole 'nother thing entirely.

In my case, when I see an S rank that implies imperilment, but I "know" from experience that it ain't so, the first thing I do is try to round up more "locality sightings" as you call them. I want to paint the entire presumed distribution of the animal in locality sightings, if possible one every few miles in all directions. I do not rush to call something imperiled when it's obviously a simple case of insufficient data. Others may behave differently...but it can be good to ask first, before assuming any motives.

In the case of an animal that is restricted in its distribution, I look to the threats. If there are obvious threats the first order of business is to go about trying to reduce them, preferably starting with the worst ones first. Typically, those manifest in habitat loss and degradation, or excessive mortality or insufficient recruitment. Note that these are drivers of distribution and abundance - exactly the things the rank calculator gives most weight to.

Finally, operators of the calculator can always do a manual override. If for example a species has a naturally small distribution, but there has been little or no discernible change in that distribution, and there are no credible existential threats that have not been managed, if the calculator spits out a "1" the operator can always manually assign a "2" or "3".

Anyway, I hope this is informative. I will close by suggesting that to demand virtual omniscience as a prerequisite to taking some sort of action, is a pretty specious argument. You're damned if you do and damned if you don't, so you might as well do something that seems about right - that's the position conscientious managers are in. The trick is in figuring out what "right" is, and not just grabbing at the first thing you see. Those who appear guilty of doing that need to be called out, starting with an approach that is more likely to have them engage constructively, rather than retreat to the bunker.

cheers,
Jimi

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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by Kelly Mc » June 7th, 2016, 6:54 pm

Jimi and Richard are the restrictions of agencies trying to curtail herping? What do they actually think of herping?

What has actually been said about herping by some of the people you know and Richard has talked to?

Do they confuse us with other types of people who have gotten their negative attention? I think those people do outnumber us greatly and although Ernie tried to denie it, its only because it is a kind of wild card.

The city ban I mentioned in my perambulation up there was designed behind closed doors as well, and the meeting would have been held without notification, so my nonpartisan experiences with that, need not be infused by subtext.

But I want to know what they have been heard to say, or if they have said anything specific on their view of herping.

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WSTREPS
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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by WSTREPS » June 7th, 2016, 8:22 pm

But variables of a capture event can be wildly disparate. Those whom we don't identify as Us - in other words - The Idiots - very well outnumber whom we identify as Herper, and their interactions with a snake are frequently stupid, arduous, buffoonish and physically harmful.

And there are scads of them. Kelly Mc

Do they confuse us with other types of people who have gotten their negative attention? I think those people do outnumber us greatly and although Ernie tried to denie it, its only because it is a kind of wild card. Kelly Mc

More exacting to the topical point . Making a hypothetical distinction between the effects of "responsible handling" engaged by some and reckless mistreatment of others who in an unfounded estimation could outnumber the responsible. Ernie Eison
Clearly there was no attempt to deny anything on my part. Again get it right. What I did was to put a speculative argument into proper context. There is nothing supportive one way or the other on the percentage of whos handling animals correctly and who isn't. Or even where the line between the two is drawn. To imply that in this situation an all hands off law has merit based on the idea that to many snakes are being mishandled by to many people is pretty ridiculous. Unsound.

As for the other points of confrontation. I believe I addressed them adequately and there are more appropriate threads for the discussion of should I or shouldn't I handle reptiles in the wild.

There has been some interesting discussion on ranking's , the rank calculator . Ways to handle "rarity" criterion etc. The bottom line. Reptiles are highly cryptic and difficult to find even when abundant. There is no way to accurately or even come close to determining their actual numbers. The only time you can readily find a snake species within a region larger then a postage stamp is when there are large numbers present. Rare reptiles cant be found, their rare. You cant protect something you cant find. There are no rare snakes in Oregon. This situation doesn't take formulas, calculator's, criterions. It takes common sense , nothing more. But naturally it will take more. How much more. A lot will be determined by how bad the "other side" wants it. Based on past performance in these situations some sort of compromise might come out of it. These compromises are Trojan horses of sorts. "Herpers " come away feeling ok about things and the other side goes right back to work.

Ernie Eison

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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by Kelly Mc » June 7th, 2016, 9:08 pm

Where did I say reptiles shouldnt be handled in the wild?

I know what i did say, and your response revealed a subtle deficit of understanding to me that would puncture your arrogance as an expert if you were secure enough to mull it over. I noticed it before, too.

I am a no one to you, so why so adamant?

If you want to discuss things further, pm me, or open another thread in the Board Line or somewhere and you can show every one your *** there.

But in the mean time I am trying to assimilate some of the stuff on this thread, much of it isnt my cup of tea and im trying to absorb it, its important. I also asked some very plain questions last post that perhaps others are curious about and i would like to receive an unemotional and informed response and i dont think you can help me with that.

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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by Hadar » June 8th, 2016, 6:43 am

Technoendo started this thread directing everyone to the proposed changes but looking through the comments it appears few people have taken the time to read the changes or my post with the original Oregon rules, http://www.fieldherpforum.com/forum/vie ... =8&t=22860. To simplify things and because we need people at the meeting tomorrow, below are the proposed changes:

The wording under the protected wildlife clause is being proposed to change from “...it is unlawful for any person to hunt, trap, pursue, kill, take, catch…or have in possession, either dead or alive, whole or in part, any wildlife listed in this section:” to “...it is unlawful for any person to take, capture, hold, release or have in possession, either dead or alive, whole or in part, any wildlife listed in this section:”. The amphibians listed under this section currently are

Salamanders
 Blotched Tiger Salamander Ambystoma mavortuim melanostictum
 Clouded Salamander Aneides ferreus
 Black Salamander Aneides flavipunctatus
 California Slender Salamander Batrachoseps attenuates
 Oregon Slender Salamander Batrachoseps wright
 Cope's Giant Salamander Dicamptodon copei
 Larch Mountain Salamander Plethodon larselli
 Del Norte Salamander Plethodon elongates
 Siskiyou Mountains Salamander Plethodon stormi
 Cascade Torrent Salamander Rhyacotriton cascadae
 Columbia Torrent Salamander Rhyacotriton kezeri
 Southern Torrent Salamander Rhyacotriton variegatus

Frogs and Toads
 Rocky Mountain (Inland) Tailed Frog Ascaphus montanus
 Coastal Tailed Frog Ascaphus truei
 Western Toad Bufo boreas
 Woodhouse’s Toad Bufo woodhousii
 Northern Leopard Frog Lithobates pipiens
 Northern Red-legged Frog Rana aurora
 Foothill Yellow-legged Frog Rana boylii
 Cascades Frog Rana cascadae
 Columbia Spotted Frog Rana luteiventris
 Oregon Spotted Frog Rana pretiosa

Turtles
 Western Painted Turtle Chrysemys picta
 Western Pond Turtles Clemmys marmorata

Lizards
 Great Basin Collard Lizard Crotaphytus bicinctores
 Long-nosed Leopard Lizard Gambelia wislizenii
 Pygmy Short-horned Lizard Phrynosoma douglasii
 Desert Horned Lizard Phrynosoma platyrhinos

Snakes
 Sharptail Snake Contia Tenuis
 Common Kingsnake Lampropeltis getula
 California Mountain Kingsnake Lampropeltis zonata
 Western Ground Snake Sonora semiannulata

The proposed additions are
 Dunn's salamander Plethodon dunni
 Crater lake newt Taricha granulosa mazamae
 Racer Coluber constrictor
 Rubber boa Charina bottae
 Night snake Hypsiglena chlorophaea
 Striped whip snake Coluber taeniatus
 Ring-necked snake Diadophis punctatus
 Pacific coast aquatic garter snake Thamnophis atratus


There are also proposed changes to keeping herpetofauna as pets. Rather than list all the differences here I am just going to highlight the proposed rule.
635-044-0480
Holding of Nongame Wildlife
1) Native nongame wildlife may not be sold or propagated except as provided in Division 200. Only nongame species from the following list are permitted to be held. A wildlife holding permit is required to hold more than two animals per species for each facility or household. The following list of species is determined to be demonstrably widespread, abundant, and secure through the Oregon Biodiversity Information Center (ORBIC) 2013 -- Rare, Threatened and Endangered Vertebrate Species of Oregon, Updated September 2013:
a) Amphibians
A) Northwestern salamander (Ambystoma gracile)
B) Long-toed salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum)
C) Coastal giant salamander (Dicamptodon tenebrosus)
D) Ensatina (Ensatina eschscholtzii)
E) Western red-backed salamander (Plethodon vehiculum)
F) Rough-skinned newt (Taricha granulosa)
G) Pacific treefrog or Pacific chorus frog (Pseudacris regilla)
H) Great basin spadefoot (Spea intermontana)
b) Reptiles
A) Great basin whiptail (Aspidoscelis tigris tigris)
B) Northern alligator lizard (Elgaria coerulea)
C) Souther alligator lizard (Elgaria multicarinata)
D) Western skink (Plestiodon skiltonianus)
E) Northern sagebrush lizard (Sceloporus graciosus graciosus)
F) Western fence lizard (Sceloporus occidentalis)
G) Common side-blotched lizard (Uta stansburiana)
H) Western rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus) excluding Willamette Valley populations
I) Pacific gopher snake (Pituophis catenifer)
J) Western terrestrial garter snake (Thamnophis elegans)
K) Northwester garter snake (Thamnophis ordinoides)
L) Common garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis)
2) Additional species may be petitioned for proposed inclusion to the list of species permitted and held under a Wildlife Holding Permit with a written request and justification submitted to the Director.
3) Wildlife listed in this section and captured from the wild and held for more than 48 hours in captivity or held on a Wildlife Holding Permit must remain in captivity for the life of the animal and may not be returned to the wild without prior approval by the Director. This rule does not apply to wildlife held under 635-062-0000 (Wildlife Rehabilitation).


If you have any of these animals and are an Oregon resident then you need to pay the annual $25 license fee for the Wildlife Holding Permit. For just $75 more you can also have pet wolves. Failure to renew a Wildlife Holding Permit by December 31 of the year issued may result in a penalty or confiscation of held species, fines, and denial of future permit.

If you would like to read the changes for yourself, I will again post the link http://www.dfw.state.or.us/agency/commi ... 0Rules.pdf

I would like to reiterate that this was not a surprise. December 2015 I posted about the Oregon herp laws and stated "All that being said, Susan mentioned that the Oregon laws are coming up for review soon so if other NAFHA members have documentation regarding the herping laws in other states, ODFW is interested in reviewing those. ODFW wasn't trying to be sneaky or work under the table. They were open in communicating with me and extremely friendly but no one from NAFHA ever gave them any documentation and now we have the proposed changes listed above that so many herpers are upset about. If you want to make a difference then collect evidence/scientific reports about current statuses of herpetofauna and/or regulations from other states that you feel have more appropriate herp regulations and bring those to the meeting tomorrow.

The meeting is Thursday, June 9, 2016 starting at 1 pm in the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission Room at 4034 Fairview Industrial Drive S.E. Salem, Oregon. You can print out the agenda from here http://www.dfw.state.or.us/agency/commi ... /index.asp. The Director's Office phone number is 503-947-6044. If you wish to give a testimony on any of the agenda items you need to sign up on the sheets provided the day of the meeting and will be called to testify by the Commission Chair. You need to provide written summaries of information to the Commission and limit your testimony to 3 minutes. If you deliver written material to the Director's Office they ask you provide 20 copies so that they be distributed to the Commission prior to the meet for them to review. The address for the Director's Office is the same as listed above for the meeting location

Please take this information I have provided and make a difference by being there. It is painful for me to be outside of the country right now and unable to attend.

Cheers, Heather

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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by craigb » June 8th, 2016, 8:41 am

Thank you Heather, for posting this.
To me, it basically it clarifies what "hands off" means.
Simply put, it is to treat the listed herps like Gila monsters and tortoises. Photograph from a distance without interfering with the animal.

The wildlife holding permit is interesting. If you keep just two of the listed species then you don't need the permit.
At $25 that is a bargain. I pay more than twice that for a fishing license in California.

Bottom line is "the sky is not falling" !

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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by WSTREPS » June 8th, 2016, 11:52 am

635-044-0480
Holding of Nongame Wildlife
1) Native nongame wildlife may not be sold or propagated except as provided in Division 200. Only nongame species from the following list are permitted to be held. A wildlife holding permit is required to hold more than two animals per species for each facility or household. The following list of species is determined to be demonstrably widespread, abundant, and secure through the Oregon Biodiversity Information Center (ORBIC) 2013 -- Rare, Threatened and Endangered Vertebrate Species of Oregon, Updated September 2013:
You cant pickup, collect , bother in any way, keep for a personal pet a common kingsnake or a rubber boa, a racer ? But you can (for now) snatch up a giant salamander or an alligator lizard, a garter snake (be careful which one) ? You need a permit if want more then two of each. But if you only have one or two you don't. After two and the permit then you can have as many as you want but you cant breed them. That is unless you qualify for division 200 in your hymn book. You might even be allowed to sell them if Division 200 allows for it. I think I'm going to move to Oregon and become a Giant salamander breeder. Ill sell them for bait. If and only Division 200 will low for it. I wanted to do Crater lake newts but it looks like that idea is shot.

If you decide you only want to observe the animal/s for a week or so, you need to get official approval from the Director before releasing it ? What if you don't get the approval? Throw them all in the freezer or keep them forever. Seriously how f'ked up is all of that. And how are these laws going to be positively enforced ?

The Oregon Biodiversity Information Center (ORBIC) / Natureserv (such a heart warming name) has decided which species are demonstrably widespread, abundant, and secure and which species are rare, threatened and endangered. They did this by methods that are unsound, not supported by science and cannot be used with any degree of accuracy . Compiling a list of species vulnerability that has no viable scientific merit. This list is not documentation its a haphazard compellation of fatally flawed estimates of the degrees of threat a species faces . But that's ok. Its recognized by ODFW as credible enough evidence to build restrictive legislation on ? On the other hand no one from NAFHA ever gave them any documentation. From what I've experienced with wildlife commissioner's in Florida public testimonies are usually met with a polite almost patronizing skepticism. I'm not saying they aren't willing to listen but they do not give credibility to someone off the street (regardless of background). Like they do to someone whos viewed as a professional in their opinion ( a scientist). If it comes from someone whos title is scientist then it must be real science. You may get three minutes to say your piece. but how much that counts for....there's always a shot to make a winning case or at least buy time. That being said you still have to show up and do what you can. Present something that looks professional, data, stats, it helps if you wear a sweater vest .........

First one list of restrictions , then add a little more to that ........... like I said compromise , the herpers walk away happy the other side goes back to work.


Ernie Eison

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Re: A few Oregon laws about to change that could impact herp

Post by Richard F. Hoyer » June 8th, 2016, 12:39 pm

JImi,
Thanks for taking time to respond. The NatureServe, Natural Heritage, ORBIC groups I believe are affiliated with Portland State University and possibly Oregon State University as well.

And right off the bat, let me mention that much of what you have mentioned reinforces my position that the NatureServe ranking process is very badly flawed and thus an example of junk science. Below, I possibly provide more perspective.

I agree that the NatureServe process is complex and resembles a legitimate scientific undertaking. But as I pointed out, their major reliance on using ‘Element Occurrences’ for assessing the factor of ‘rarity’ is flawed. EOs will work well for species that are easily observed, counted/recorded, and reported. But for species that are highly secretive, seldom observed, small, obscure, and whose distributions occur in remote regions, the use of EO’s has little to no merit (see my examples below).

As best I can tell, EO’s are established from locality sightings/records and therein lies one of the major problems with the use of the number of EO’s to assess relative abundance or ‘rarity’. The assumption used by those that devised the “concept” of using EOs is that there is a positive correlation between the number of EO’s and species' numerical abundance. That can occur for some species but not for others due to the variables mentioned above. On top of that is the nature of how EO’s are devised which can differ between individuals.

In reference to the use of EO’s, you mention, “It’s a bit of an abstraction.” That’s an understatement! For anyone wishing to inform themselves, Google NatureServe explorer Element Occurrences’ just to get your feet wet so to speak. Then, Google ‘Element occurrence data standard- NatureServe’.

You mention the reliance on distribution. The same limiting factors I mentioned for EO’s applies to the reported distributions of species. That is, such distributions are dependent of reported sighting. Two examples of why the use of information on distribution to assess species’ status is also flawed.

It wasn’t until the 1940’s that the Night Snake was documented to occur in Oregon. Had the NatureServe Rank Calculator process been at play at that time, the species would have been ranked S-1 “Critically imperiled because of extreme rarity ----.” Now 70 years later, it is ranked S-3 “ Rare, uncommon or threatened, but not immediately imperiled, typically with 21-100 occurrences.” The inescapable conclusion is that the first ranking would have had to be in error.

The Common Sharp-tailed Snake was first reported in Oregon by Fitch either in the late 1920’s or early 1930’s. As recently as about 35 years ago in the early 1980’s, it was only known from the three western Oregon Counties of Benton, Douglas, and Jackson. There were only about 40 odd Oregon vouchers of the species in all collections. I venture to say that at most, there would have been 6 – 12 EOs at that time.

So in the 1930s when first reported by Fitch in Jackson Co, the species would have ranked as S- 1, “Critically imperiled because of extreme rarity---.” Then in the early 1980's, it would have qualified for the S-2 category, “Imperiled because of rarity ----.”

Then after surveys for reptiles in western Oregon by Alan St. John, by the late 1980, he increased the number of locality sighting to about 67 (do not know how many EO’s that would represent) and the counties in which the species occurred from 3 to 7. Under the current criteria by NatureServe/ORBIC, the species likely would have been ranked as S-3 “Rare, uncommon or threatened, but not immediately imperiled, typically with 21-100 occurrences.”

The current NatureServe/ORBIC rank for the Sharptail in Oregon is S-4,. “Not rare and apparently secure, but with cause for long-term concern, usually with more than 100 occurrences.” The change in ranking likely occurred due to the fact they cite the 2010 paper my Dr. Chris Feldman and myself formally describing the new species of Contia that include data on C. tenuis as well.


However, the most recent NatureServe/ORBIC of 2010,overlooked my 2006 publication on the species that reported over 600 locality sighting and increased the number of counties in which the species occurs from 7 reported by St. John to 10. And the species has since been documented in an 11th county, Klamath County. So had they included my 2006 data, the species rank would likely now be S-5, “Demonstrably widespread, abundant, and secure.”

I would hope the above demonstrates just how badly flawed in the NatureServe ranking system. That is, for eons, the Common Sharp-tailed Snake has occupied its current identified distribution. So instead of the species being rare and having a very restricted 3 county distribution as early sighting information would indicated, it is the reporting of species that is the component of rarity and not the species themselves.

When I last looked at the NatureServe process, the values assigned to the factors of ‘threats’ and ‘trends’ were mostly derived on the basis of subjective evaluations. So even thought the NatureSever model resembles a science-based process, because the values inserted into that model can either be flawed, such as the use of EO’s, or derived subjectively, their results are highly questionable and in my view, unreliable. It reminds me of what herpetologist Chris Dodd once said about a piece of published research with sophisticated statistical treatments that clearly was at odds with reality. Dr. Dodd mentioned “Garbage in, garbage out,”

Additional proof that the NatureServe ranking system is flawed can be seen in the ranks they have assigned to the Gopher Snake and Rubber Boa in Oregon. They have the rank for the Gopher Snake at S-5 and the Rubber Boa at S-4. That is like claiming deer are more abundant than rabbits.

Another problem with NatureServe, as well meaning as those individuals may be, their livelihood is NOT based on how many species they demonstrate as being healthy and NOT at risk. That is, there is an inherent conflict of interest involved. The greater number of species they determine as being at some level of risk, the more secure is their employment.

To grasp the inherent bias that exists in the NatureServe ‘establishment’, you only have to view the NatureServe quote as follows:
“The most widely used NatureServe rank in the United States are the State Ranks, which describe the rarity of a species within each state's boundary.”
Note their emphasis on the word ‘rarity’. The NatureServe approach is not one of being impartial and objective but one with an inherent bias as they are purposely trying to establish some level or 'rarity' in species.

And last, if there is any doubt that the NatureServe/ORBIC process is not a legitimate science-based process, consider the following quote from “Wildlife Explorer” which is a product of the above groups.
“Information Warranty Disclaimer: All documents and related graphics provided by this server and any other documents which are referenced by or linked to this server are provided “as is” without warranty as to the currentness, completeness, or accuracy of any specific data.”

Richard FH

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