August 2, 2015

Sticker shock? Get used to it!

Another example of what can happen if you let repairs go
unattended for too long (photo by L. Powell).
I'd put myself in the group of people who tend to wait on car repairs until their car is almost not drivable before taking it in to have everything fixed at once.  It saves time, right?!

But, the bill is always a big one.  If I had done small repairs on my vehicle along the way, the sticker shock would be much less and it would fit into our budget much better.

Turns out, that same idea applies to conservation and ecosystem restoration.  The Lincoln Journal Star published my Local View submission today, regarding the supposed high cost to restore our saline wetland watershed (immediately north of Lincoln).  Last week, the LJS editorial team wrote a commentary in which they suggested the $30 million price tag provided by the US Fish and Wildlife Service was way too high.  Yup--they had a bad case of sticker shock.

My argument is that we need to realize that little changes we make through time have cumulative effects.  If we'd make better decisions along the way--while still producing food and energy on our farms, and making a living with the business in north Lincoln that have paved over wetlands--we'd be in a better place today.  And, we wouldn't have sticker shock about that $30 million dollar price tag for Salt Creek tiger beetles--we would be able to stomach that bill for repair of our ecosystem.

I enjoy reading Alan Guebert's columns in the Sunday paper as well (here's a link to his column on Iowa's water quality from last week that my piece references), and had a chance to meet Alan this week in Lincoln.  I asked Alan what his goal was when he wrote a column.  The part of his answer that I remember was: "I always try to provide 2-3 facts that the readers are not going to have found anywhere else, and I always make sure I believe what I write."  Mostly paraphrased, but worthy of quotes.  Good points.  I hope my column fits that description as well.

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