The 21st Century will be a time of smaller dams, fewer animals and a need for more support from the public - hunters and non-hunters.
Those were the thoughts of Tom Kimball, former executive director of the National Wildlife Federation, Friday during the opening day of Utah's Fish and Wildlife II Symposium. This year's program was centered around water and wildlife.Kimball was keynote speaker in a two-day meeting that is bringing together people from public, state and federal agencies involved in wildlife. He spoke on what he projected will happen if current trends continue into the next century.
He told the group that he believed it would be difficult if not impossible to build major dams. Losses dams cause in other areas and the cost were two reasons.
"Also, taxpayers are no longer going to subsidize these dams. Users are going to have to pay the costs. There will also be a demand for cleaner energy sources, mainly water power. These demands will be met by the `run-of-the-river' dams.
"I feel, too, that a greater amount will be spent on water pollution. It won't be enough to improve things, but things won't get worse, either. In other words, things will stay pretty much as they are now," he said.
Flood control projects may also suffer. Here again, he felt that these projects would no longer be subsidized by taxpayers, but will have to be funded by those who benefit.
He predicted, also, the destruction of wildlife habitat at an accelerated rate into the next century because of continued growth . . . new homes, roads, factories and golf courses.
"The loss of wildlife, I feel, will be in direct proportion to the loss of habitat," he told the group.
But, many of the endangered animals will benefit from the increased interest in the environment. Interest in eliminating toxic chemicals in the food chain will ultimately help take the bald eagle off the threatened list, along with several other birds.
There will be a further fracturing of wildlife groups, with people spinning off from major groups to start new organizations targeting single species . . . "Species that they have an interest in.
"I think, too, that the animal rights group, the crazies who try to get public attention through terrorist actions, will shoot themselves in the foot. They have a right to their opinions, but they have no right to force others to act and feel as they do," he said.
Kimball also felt that there would be more studies on non-game animals that will lead to their protection.
"They will get the attention that huntable animals get now. I think it will be better. There is not a huntable animal on the endangered list because we have studied the animals, we know them, we manage them well and we work to provide habitat for these animals," he reported.
On the down side, he said he felt that the quality of hunting and fishing would decline for two reasons.
1. There will be less surplus of animals to hunt and fish for because of the loss of habitat.
2. There is an increasing number of hunters and fishermen who will have to share the resources.
"Those non-consumptive users who enjoy wildlife are also going to have to increase the amount they contribute . . . an amount proportional to the increased attention," he concluded.
Also on Friday's agenda was Tim Provan, director of the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources; Lee Kapaloski, a natural resources attorney who spoke on legal aspects of water changes; Rich Valdes a fisheries biologist from Bio-West, who talked on changes in fish in the Colorado River; Bob Morgan, a state water engineer, who talked on water laws; Bruce Waddell of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Doyle Stevens of the U.S. Geological Survey, who spoke on the harmful chemical impacts on wildlife; and Bob Nelson, chairman of the Utah Wildlife Leadership Coalition, who talked on water and wildlife.
Today's session will include talks and a panel discussion starting at 8 a.m.