Friends of the Jordan Biodiversity Position Paper

Hunting and fishing in Northern Michigan woods, streams and lakes are highly valued activities by area residents and visiting tourists alike. Membership in Friends of the Jordan River Watershed (FOJ) attracts a large number of people who enjoy out-of-door activities including hunting and fishing. FOJ acknowledges the appropriateness of these activities and supports their pursuit.

Hunting and fishing activities bring substantial revenues to state government through license fees and sales taxes. Local economies are greatly enhanced by people engaging in their favorite recreational activities.

At the state level, wildlife populations open to hunting and fishing receive substantial support from a variety of governmental agencies. At the local level, volunteer organizations such as FOJ work to protect and enhance natural habitat for both game and non-game species.

The wildlife community of Northern Michigan is a vast network of flora and fauna of which the regulated game species constitute a small fraction of the total. Unfortunately, only the game species receive comprehensive monitoring for population enhancement and support at both the state and local levels. Non-game species of animals and non-commercial plant species receive little organized protection.

The Friends of the Jordan strongly encourage efforts to sustain and support the biodiversity of plants and animals living in our region.

Protecting a region's biodiversity has more importance than just ensuring the total number of plant and animal species. From the ranks of these species come a host of benefits including medicines, the gene pool for our domestic food sources, building materials, raw materials of every kind, the laboratory for our future inventions and the potential cures for the diseases which ravage mankind. Biodiversity is vital to the health of the planet and especially to the continued viability of the human species. We at FOJ believe the destruction of plant and animal habitats to be at the root of species decline in our area. We particularly hold that woodland destruction in Northern Michigan through overly aggressive tree harvesting and land clearing is responsible for species decline both in population density and overall variety.

Our woodlands and other natural areas are the homes for many if not most of our area's indigenous species. Efforts to sustain and support the natural, unspoiled regions remaining must be redoubled from this point forward.

A new conservation ethic must be born and spread throughout the region and across this land which celebrates using less and less and eliminates the `more is better' attitude we presently accept.

We at the Friends of the Jordan believe biodiversity in our region can be significantly protected by reducing the strain on our forest tracts and other natural areas to a more sustainable level. We believe our woodlands must not be classified as 'renewable' and should not be used as an alternative fuel source for electricity production. Forest diversity and natural selection, which form the foundation of biodiversity, would be severely disrupted by clear cutting and subsequent monoculture replanting.

Habitat preservation through the reduction of overly aggressive forestry practices is fundamentally essential to the sustain ability of biodiversity in our area. We therefore request that the Jordan River Watershed be designated as a `Biological Stewardship Area' by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment and that biodiversity in the area become a primary goal for this region.

Steve Umlor
Dennis Choate
Terry Ryan
Tom Sothard
Peg Myers