An Overview of Destructive Forces in Fish and Wildlife Habitat

I appreciate the opportunity to meet with the Southeastern Association at this conference marking a quarter of a century of effective environmental efforts. Little did that small group who met 25 years ago foresee that this Association would grow into the strong viable organization it is today-respected as the vanguard association of its kind. Congratulations on your silver anniversary! You fish and game people are the front line troops in the conservation and environmental struggle. I can honestly say that in surveying the entire conservation picture, I don't know of any group that has fought for more causes, taken more abuse, or worked any harder than you have and you can well be proud of your record. The one thing you cannot do, however, is to rest on it. You must continue to carry the burden because, frankly, many of the agencies that should be doing the job are not. More than any other part of the country, the States of the southeast are known for the high degree of cooperation that the fish and game agencies enjoy and benefit from-while leading the front line charge of the environmental movement. I can think of no better example than you, the Southeast State Directors, who testified in Washington on stream channelization and who continue your efforts in your home States. I especially want to thank Earl Frye, Charles Kelly, Carl Noren, and others for their tell-it-like-it-is testimony. While out at the International meeting in Utah, I was asked whether I felt like a Fed. My reply there was, No, I am past the stage of States rights or Federal jurisdictions-I am for standing tall, proud of our joint accomplishments, and looking forward to the mutual efforts with you, my concerned friends and allies, to developing a sane, rational environmental ethic. I don't come here as a paternalistic bureaucrat-I come as a friend, an adviser, a willing colleague who wants to work with you in grappling with our challenges of the day. Environmentally, I consider myself an activist. I learned long ago to speak up early, and loud.

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