National Biological Survey Announcement

fws/S=ZirbesS/O=FWS at fws/S=ZirbesS/O=FWS at
Tue Apr 27 13:08:25 EST 1993

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Clinton administration is moving government into a 
more active role in defining natural resources by unveiling a $179.4 million 
program to identify species and locate their habitat before they become 
   The aim is to head off the development of conflicts over natural resources 
such as the one now plaguing the Northwest where defenders of the northern 
spotted owl and old-growth forests are pitted against loggers and the timber 
   The program, called the National Biological Survey, will determine what the 
species are, where they exist and the condition of their habitat. The 
information would be used in developing policy, especially regarding endangered 
   The new research group will be formed by consolidating eight bureaus of the 
Interior Department and joining 1,600 scientists and support staff from various 
existing programs. The White House said no additional funds are expected to be 
needed since the money will come from Interior Department programs that will be 
phased out.
   "The survey will fill a tremendous vacuum by providing a coordinated 
biological science capability that will serve all the bureaus within the 
department," said Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt.
   He said the idea is modeled after the U.S. Geological Survey, a partnership 
of the Interior Department, the National Academy of Sciences and the Smithsonian
   Thomas Lovejoy, assistant secretary for external affairs at the Smithsonian 
Institution and an authority on biological diversity, will head the project.
   By finding a way to preserve habitat of species before they near extinction, 
Babbitt said he hopes to avoid litigation resulting from disagreements among 
property owners, government agencies and environmentalists over the protection 
of natural resources.
   He described the plan, which will take effect Oct. 1, in testimony Monday 
before a House Appropriations subcommittee.
   The main agencies helping to form the new program are the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, and the Bureau of Land Management.
   Among the issues the survey will tackle are explaining ecological problems in
Everglades National Park; helping to preserve sensitive habitats in southern 
forested wetlands; and proposing ways of reversing the decline of salmon stocks 
in the Pacific Northwest.

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