Your article "Habitats May Shrink by Leaps, Bounds" (Nov. 4) fails to make the distinction between conservation of habitat, which is vitally important to the recovery of threatened and endangered species, and the designation of critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act, which is not.
In fact, both the Clinton and Bush administrations and 415 members of the House concluded that the bureaucratic exercise of designating critical habitat wastes valuable conservation resources and does little to actually help species.
For all the millions of dollars the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has dedicated to critical habitat designations, not one acre of new habitat has been created. On the other hand, working in voluntary partnership with landowners, the service has restored millions of acres of habitat that critters can actually live in.
Assistant Secretary for Fish
and Wildlife and Parks
U.S. Interior Department