The red-cockaded woodpecker, a small bird native to the United States, used to cause a lot of trouble to the military. The bird’s habitat is living long leaf pine trees, and vast stretches of Louisiana’s Fort Polk military reservation, which is located next to Kisatchie National Forest in Leesville, are dominated by piney woods. As the great forests of North America were logged, the bird’s habitat became so diminished that the red-cockaded woodpecker was placed on the endangered species list in 1970.
For years, the ranking officers at Fort Polk resisted the efforts of U.S. Fish and Wildlife and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries to create a recovery population in the Vernon District of Kisatchie, fearing that military exercises would be curtailed by nesting pairs. All of that has changed. Today the army and wildlife officials are working together in partnership on the Louisiana Statewide Red-cockaded Woodpecker Safe Harbor Program, which bands and studies breeding pairs both on the military base and in the national forest. The military has become great stewards of the land, says Monica Sikes, a biologist for U.S. Fish and Wildlife. “In our experience Fort Polk has worked proactively to conserve the species while meeting their training needs.”
Today’s New York Times is featuring a video, "Military Bases as Wildlife Havens," detailing the relationship between wildlife conservation and the military, focused on Eglin Air Force Base, in Florida. The work to preserve the red-cockaded woodpecker could just as easily have been shot at Fort Polk. Scroll down to the midsection of the NYT website and click on the video image.
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OCT 21 Two St. John Parish employees were indicted in connection with the amoeba found in the parish water supply, WVUE reports in this post. They are accused of lying about testing the water for proper chlorine levels, the story says, claims that were contradicted by their government vehicles' GPS records.
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OCT 21 Gambit offers its endorsements for the upcoming election in this post, including an endorsement of U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu. The best way to protect Louisiana's clout is to re-elect the senior senator, the paper opines. Sending a Republican in her place won't accomplish anything, the paper adds.
OCT 21 The McClatchy DC blog posts this fascinating view of Louisiana's political landscape. It's a little heavy on the cliches, and also a little heavy on the quaint Cajun/Creole shtick, but it's still good reading -- if only for the outside view of our insides.
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OCT 21 The first Senate debate featuring all three candidates was a big ho-hum, columnist Jim Beam writes in this post. Nobody said anything new or interesting, and nobody emerged the clear winner, he says.
OCT 21 Bobby Jindal can't seem to leave Daniel Malloy alone, this post on NOLA Defender says. On a recent trip to stump for another GOP'er (Ever wonder: does any of his stumping really help these guys? Or is he just trying to get his name in other newspapers?) Jindal again ran afoul of Connecticut's Governor, who has no problem calling Bobby on his claims, the post tells us.
OCT 21 Jeremy Alford writes about David Vitter's playbook in this post, and frankly, there are some things we don't want to know. We've all heard about what's in that book, haven't we? That kind of stuff is not our idea of a good -- oh, wait. Jeremy's writing about Vitter's political playbook. Never mind.
OCT 20 Remember those great posts from blogger Jason Brad Berry that featured emails and letters related to the BP claims process? Well, apparently Patrick Juneau (who was featured, but not in a positive way, in those documents) ordered a background check on Berry because of it, this story in Louisiana Record says. Huh?
OCT 20 The Globe and Mail, a Canadian paper, has posted its story on Louisiana's coastal loss here. In it, author Omar El Akkad clarifies it neatly: it's "a battle between prosperity and the planet's well-being." Are jobs and money worth the trade we're making? As Jonathan Foret says in the story, Mother Nature may come and answer that question for us.
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