In a recent post, I pointed out that the Endangered Species Act is under threat, and that responding to that threat requires our attention at the national, state, and local levels. As if on cue, in a recent op-ed in the Davis Enterprise Rich Rifkin dismisses potential effects on three species at the Field & Pond site: the tricolored blackbird, the valley elderberry longhorn beetle and the golden eagle.
Picture attribution: By Tsuru8 - Own work http://www.tsuru-bird.net/image.htm, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8708549
I don’t really have an opinion about whether there should be a B&B and regular parties on the Field & Pond site. It strikes me as a classic land use conflict, and I can see both sides of the argument. But regardless of the merits of either side, and regardless of the motivations of either side, the impacts on those three species need to be examined.
Rifkin states that all you need to do to assess impacts is ride a bicycle and look. When he went, he saw “a few structures, native trees, a large pond” as well as a doe and a fawn “chilling,” and he thinks that’s enough to determine that the blackbird, beetle, and eagle species won’t be affected. Well, sorry, but that’s not how you evaluate impacts on endangered species (or threatened species, or species of special concern).