Trump's trying to attack fish & wildlife research
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News broke yesterday that the Trump administration's latest budget proposes to practically eliminate the Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research units. The Coop Units are extremely valuable partnerships between the state and federal governments and universities that facilitate training of new scientists, keep students and university researchers engaged with the needs of management agencies, and conduct a sizable proportion of the most management-relevant research in fisheries and wildlife science. I earned my Ph.D. in fisheries science as part of a Coop Unit, and so did many of my friends in the field. Our research and career prospects benefitted tremendously from these partnerships, which were supported by all institutions involved including the federal government.
Here's the American Fisheries Society's take on this plan. (They're the largest professional organization of fisheries scientists.)
"Eliminating the coop units" is not an idea that was ever previously on the table under any administration, Republican or Democrat, because they are a shining success story of cost-effective federal spending, matched by the states and universities, to serve the public good. They're a tiny drop in the bucket of federal spending, and they give taxpayers a positive return on our investment. Trying to eliminate them is the kind of mistake that only happens when you put a completely inept and untrained person in charge of some really complicated job. Asking Trump to fix the government was like asking a Kardashian to rebuild your transmission; it just isn't going to work, and they're going to leave a much bigger mess than when they started. A pampered reality TV host with no real-world skills just isn't cut out for work that takes a lot of training and expertise.
Fortunately, the mistake isn't final yet. Congress still has a say, and they're not all insane. Contact your Congressperson, share the AFS link, and make sure they stop this ridiculous idea.
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