Your Views: Use science, not politics

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Your Views: Use science, not politics
Taylor Run (Photo/Missy Schrott)
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To the editor:

Alexandria is a small town that is controlled by an ancient natural watershed. Today’s city programs to address biodiversity loss and climate change are now critical and must be based on the most current science available.

These science choices will determine whether three small stream beds live productively or die. Taylor Run is now targeted for wholesale destruction by the City of Alexandria. The city’s plan to treat it as a construction site – by using a deep cleaning of original plants, animals, fungi and especially mature trees – is a biodiversity and climate nightmare.

Biological diversity is like a box of Christmas candy. Everyone, even politicians, walk by and without a pause, take one. On day two, someone opens the box and shouts: Who ate all the candy?! Well, every political program designed without science consumed it.

While the current stream “restoration” contract calls for adding large numbers of replacement plants, it is the irreplaceable habitats that matter. In thousands of scientific journal articles on ecological restoration, readily available on the internet, you can learn that once a site is bulldozed its unique web of life is annihilated.

As it stands, by relying on traditional advice and outdated science, this contract delivers more problems than it solves. Credible science findings for these unique stream beds have never been assessed, except by the Environmental Council of Alexandria.

Mature trees? They, too, are exceedingly well-documented in scientific literature. They are the massive engines of carbon capture and mitigation. Massive. No amount of baby trees, tons of shrubs or numerous slips of native plants can even compare with the 270 climate saviors slated for the ax.

Water flow? There are exceedingly better solutions than raising the water level that are cheaper and more effective. Again, just look at what we know about biology and economics – and governance.

I seriously hope staff and council follow leading biodiversity and climate science, instead of outdated information. The millions of irreplaceable lives of three small streambeds deserve it.

Alexandria will never escape its unique watershed. Let’s work with it, using science and not politics.

-Kathryn Papp, Alexandria

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