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Ecosystem Management

November 12, 1994

The Times printed a series "Living Scared: Why Do the Media Make Life Seem So Risky?" (Sept. 11-13). Ironically, on Nov. 4, the paper provided its readers with an example of just the type of regrettably incomplete and misleading reporting cited in the series ("Water Wars Peril State's Recovery"). A description of the environmental challenges facing the state, the article omitted much, including the following:

* As recognized by President Bush, President Clinton, the Nature Conservancy and The Times' own editorial page (in its endorsement of the governor), Pete Wilson is responsible for the most important wildlife conservation strategy in the country--the Natural Communities Conservation Planning Program in the habitat of the California gnatcatcher.

* The governor's innovative approach to endangered species protection was once more validated in September, when Vice President Al Gore presented the Coles Levee Ecosystem Project, a unique habitat conservation partnership championed by Wilson, with a Harvard University/Ford Foundation award for innovation in state and local government.

* The Wilson wetlands policy provides not only for no-net-loss wetlands immediately, but also for a long-term increase in the quantity and quality of wetlands statewide. This commitment is evidenced by, among other things, the acquisition earlier this year of 16 square miles of prime wetlands on San Francisco Bay--the largest public purchase of prime wetlands in California history.

* In September alone, Wilson signed into law the state's first permanent ban on new oil and gas development off the California coast, penned two measures strengthening the state's farmland conservation program and lent essential support for the resolution of the long-vexing ecological problems of Mono Lake.

California is leading the nation in the essential transition to anticipatory, ecosystem-based management of our natural resources. To those who are willing to look forward, as well as backward, it is clear that this represents major environmental progress.

DOUGLAS P. WHEELER

Secretary for Resources

Sacramento

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