Director’s Notes Acting with Precaution

Director’s Notes Acting with Precaution

Jill Ryan, Executive Director

In order to protect our environment from harm in the face of uncertainty about the consequences of a particular action, we should assume that the worst may result until we have proven that is not the case. This principle is called the precautionary principle and allows decision-makers to proceed with some information still unknown while providing protection from possible consequences.

Asian carp are in my opinion one of those problems that should be acted upon in light of the precautionary principle because they have the potential to do extreme harm to a public resource: our Great Lakes ecosystem and fishery. While actions are being taken to try to ensure that these fish do not establish in our Great Lakes, there remains disagreement in approaches to preventing the fish from reaching the lakes in the short and long term.

As citizens who care about and understand our stewardship responsibility to these wonderful water resources, now is the time to express our desires to decision makers that consensus must be reached on these management activities to protect our water resources and the economies that rely on them and that the precautionary approach must be employed.

Aldo Leopold, 1949:
“A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. it is wrong when it tends otherwise.”
~ From a Sand County Almanac

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Images courtesy of Steven Huyser-Honig,
West Grand Boulevard Collaborative, & Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.