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The draft has been removed at the authors' request (see below):
Larry Walker 4 May 2004
RangeNet Director, WWP
Dear Mr. Walker:
I am writing to request that you remove the draft conservation assessment from the Rangenet website. I can appreciate your statement about desiring an improvement in "communication and providing a focal point where individuals may work more effectively on rangeland condition issues in support of their existing organizational affiliations." However, the draft you posted was not ready for widespread distribution as it contained numerous typographical errors, at least a couple incorrect figures, and a great deal of information that was in the process of being critically reviewed. By posting this on the web you have guaranteed that all of this information will be available forever, whether correct or not. This in contradiction to your statement for "improving communication". I can assure you that there is no desire by myself or the other authors, to withhold this information following review. If you would be willing to wait 3-4 weeks, the revised document will be available and the authors will be happy to see it posted.
Michael A. Schroeder
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
P.O. Box 1077
Bridgeport, WA 98813
509-686-2692 (office & home)
Response to Dr Schroeder, May 4, 2004
Dear Dr. Schroeder,
The assessment has been removed from the RangeNet.org web site and a copy of your letter placed at that location http://rangenet.org/projects/grouse/wafwa/index.html by way of a "retraction". The assessment was on the web for less than 24 hours, so it is doubtful that any of the search engines even indexed it, let alone flagged it for the Internet Archive http://www.archive.org/ .
While we recognize the need for the kinds of prepublication review that you pointed out, recent experiences have instilled in us a very strong desire to see what the scientists had to say before the politicians got involved. A couple of recent examples of this are the unprecedented post-publication agency disavowal of Dr. Welch's excellent sagebrush paper, and the last minute political rewrite of BLM's DEIS on their proposed grazing regulations that inverted the original EIS team's findings by 180 degrees.
While WAFWA is not a federal agency, your MOU and contract with FWS do place you somewhat in the same boat when it comes to political pressure vulnerabilities.
In any event, we are glad to hear that the assessment will be widely available in three to four weeks as we had heard rumors that there might be considerable slippage - perhaps even to the end of the year.