Conservation works. In the past century or so, efforts to save American species like the peregrine falcon, the American bison, and the Pacific gray whale have succeeded. But last year, the federal government proposed taking 23 species of plants and animals off the endangered species list—not because they’ve recovered, but because they’re now extinct. We have to do better.
My friend Karl Wenner shows up to meet me wearing scrubs with a canvas jacket thrown on top. He’s a retired surgeon, but he still spends a few hours a month teaching. He also co-owns Lakeside Farms in the Klamath Basin, a dry part of southern Oregon that has lost nearly all its wetlands. Without marshes, water runs into Upper Klamath Lake unfiltered and carrying phosphorus-rich volcanic soil, causing algal blooms that harm two federally listed sucker species found nowhere else on Earth. Every summer for decades now, nearly all the juvenile fish have died, leaving an aging population.