Ivory-Billed Woodpecker v. Irrigation While ornithologists continue…

Question Answered step-by-step Ivory-Billed Woodpecker v. Irrigation While ornithologists continue… Ivory-Billed Woodpecker v. IrrigationWhile ornithologists continue to debate whether the ivory-billed woodpecker still lingers in the bayous of Arkansas, the rare bird, once presumed extinct, is now being used by conservationists in their fight against a federally funded and potentially devastating irrigation project.A Little Rock federal court will hear a case against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Grand Prairie Area Demonstration Project. Plaintiffs ask that all work be halted on the project until appropriate environmental studies can be performed to evaluate its effect on the woodpecker.Lisa Swann of the National Wildlife Federation states that the Grand Prairie project would be “a recipe for disaster” for the near extinct bird, though the U.S. Army Corps maintains that the $319 million project, which would replenish exhausted groundwater aquifers in a 242,000-acre agricultural region, is completely safe.The corps biologist, Ed Lambert, argues that their “biological assessment” performed last spring has proven that the Grand Prairie project will bring no harm to the woodpecker.Plans for Grand Prairie have been underway since the 1980s, when studies found that the groundwater aquifers of east-central Arkansas were in danger of depletion by rice growers. The corps has been working with area farmers to build reservoirs that will eventually be filled with water pumped from the White River. According to the corps, Grand Prairie will not only aid farmers, but also create new wetland habitat for waterfowl and shorebirds. The water piped in from the White River could also replenish the slowly shrinking hardwood forests of Arkansas and reintroduce thousands of acres of native grassland.However, Swann’s group and other environmentalists see the project differently. They argue that the project will waste huge amounts of tax dollars and benefit only farmers.The National Wildlife Federation stated in one publication that the “mammoth sucking machine” will damage wetlands and pollute the water, threatening ducks, mussels, and a variety of other species in the region that rely on clean and safe water.The celebrity among these species is the ivory-billed woodpecker, long believed to be extinct. Sightings since the 1940s were given little credit by experts, as the smaller pileated woodpecker, which has similar coloring, is commonly mistaken for the ivory-bill.One expert, however, began to investigate these sightings. Tim Gallagher, of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and editor of Living Bird magazine, began to study the mysterious ivory-bill in the 1970s. Eventually, his research led him to Gene Sparling, who claimed to have seen a red-crested male while kayaking in the wetlands of eastern Arkansas.During the winter of 2004, Gallagher set out to catch a glimpse of the elusive bird himself, accompanied by Sparling and a fellow birder, and on February 27, Gallagher succeeded in spotting a male ivory-bill. Further expeditions ensued, and on April 28, 2005, an article in Science was published proclaiming that the ivory-bill was no longer extinct.‡Assume that the woodpecker does exist and that the water project would wipe it out. Should the project proceed or be cancelled? Why? How might a species egalitarian (biocentrist) answer this? A species nonegalitarian? An ecological holist? Biology Science Physiology ETHICS AND 2225 Share QuestionEmailCopy link Comments (0)

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