18 January 2012

Nebraska Agency Ignores Compromise on Bird Signage

A compromise regarding signage proposed for the Griswold Bird Sanctuary has been ignored by an administrative official at the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

In mid-November, a phone conversation was held with Jim Douglas, deputy director, regarding the placement of a simple sign to recognize the conservation efforts of Sandy Griswold. Placement of the sign would recognize the pioneering conservation efforts of this outdoors writer for four decades in Nebraska, and where such a sign could get placed. A phone call was made as a means of transportation was not available to get to their Lincoln offices.

The request for a compromise was to have the state agency agree to not have one groin fishing structure placed along the southeast side of Carter Lake. Not including this one structure — among the more than 20 to be constructed — would help to provide a view-scape somewhat reflecting the historic character of the lake.

A proposal to place the sign on the end of a groin was rejected, as it would not reflect the character of "Sandy's Creed" and his ongoing appeals for conserving habitats for birds.

This request was also supported by Melinda Pearson, director of the Omaha Parks and Recreation Department in a letter to members of the Carter Lake Technical Advisory group. Her letter of 21 September 2011, stated, in part:

..."remove groin structure "XXIII" at the southeast corner of the Lake from the project, along with the rip-rap between that structure and the drainage ditch from Kiwanis Park to the west." ... "There are many other things he'd like to see removed from the project; however, he is willing to compromise by just identifying this one location. It seems a reasonable request and I'm asking the Technical Advisory Team to consider approving this change."

The resulting emails indicated that the advisory group would need "NGPC concurrence" according to one respondent. Fisheries staff of the agency had already rejected the request. The fishing groins — basically a formed pile of rocks dumped into the water — were needed because people "do not like to fish from the bank."

This is another example of the staff indifference to an alternative view. They have not shown any interest in considering current details of bird use at the lake. They have hung up the phone when they decided not to further discuss the situation.

During the phone conversation with Mr. Douglas, he indicated he would look further into the matter and then provide a response.

An email response received November 29th — based upon an inquiry — was that no decision had been made yet.

It is now January 18th, and there has still not been any information received from the agency, showing an obvious indifference. A phone call made January 17th was not returned.

Deputy director Douglas — interested in becoming the new director of the agency — could not take the minute to provide a reply to a valid request.

Actions by employees of a public agency — who work for Nebraskans — regarding this matter indicate an unacceptable bias in favor of a publicly-subsidized project that can provide revenue to the agency through the purchase of fishing and boating licenses.