View Full Version : Trimming the edges

Fabs Forns
12-30-2007, 08:04 PM
Seeing the situations in Bosque del Apache this year, and in Venice Rookery during past seasons, with the weeds blocking the view to photographers and birders, where do we draw the line trying to preserve the wilderness and wildlife's habitat and catering to people interested in that wildlife. What is sensible and fair for both?

Alfred Forns
12-30-2007, 10:55 PM
Not an easy answer I'm sure different groups will come up with something different I hope common sense prevails !!!

It was refreshing having the grass cut at Venice At least half of the pond

Maxis Gamez
12-31-2007, 05:35 AM
Hi Fab,

Last year I saw a guy (snowbird) trowing a big tree at the weeds, clearing the angle he was shooting at. Soon after another guys did the same thing right next to it and he had a blast. With that said, If The city and Audubon cuts one side of the pond for us, I see no reason to leave the other side of the pond full of weeds, but I'm happy with what we got.

James Shadle
01-01-2008, 07:09 PM
My policy is-if the plant is an exotic I will completely remove it.
Otherwise if native I will try to bend, not break the plant.
The native foliage is often shelter for animals we can not easily see. So caution should be exercised.

Leo Miller
01-03-2008, 08:37 PM

This quote from Artie's 12-2-07 newsletter:
John explained that with the staff working hard to fulfill some of the requirements of a large federal wetlands program grant, much of the clearing of vegetation along the ditches had been neglected. Even though I was leaving the following day, I suggested that opening up lines of sight near the sorghum field (the triangular shaped field that is currently being inhabited by lots of cranes) and doing the same at the cornfield past the Audio 13 sign would be a wonderful sign of good faith and would improve photographic opportunities drastically. He said that he would do his best to do so."

I wonder if a work party could have been organized to allow us to help cut the vegitation at Bosque. I can understand they have priorities and a limited amount of man power and time, but would think they'd he happy to receive some help if that was the only reason the weeds weren't cut down.
I would have been happy to give some time while I was there. (I so wanted to do it on my own anyway. But opted instead to shoot standing on top of the van roof.)

Just my $ 0.02.

Christine Hudnall
01-04-2008, 07:40 PM
My opinion probably isn't a popular one, but I'll say it anyway... :p

I leave the stuff mostly alone, except, I will use a plamp (or my hand) to gently move a leaf, flower, weed (whatever it is) out of the way, IF, that is all that needs to be done. I don't bend the flower, leaf, whatever, because it might break. I don't mow down things, nor rip them out, just for sake of people viewing or taking an image.

If I get the image, fantastic and if I don't, oh well. ;)

Just my thoughts.

James Shadle
01-04-2008, 08:16 PM
My opinion probably isn't a popular one, but I'll say it anyway... :pJust my thoughts.
Thanks for the comment, if everyone had the same opinion there would be no need to post these threads.

I don't mow down things, nor rip them out, just for sake of people viewing or taking an image.
This is a very good point. You never know what might be living there.

For me there is 2 possible exceptions.

In Florida we have so many exotic, invasive species that they are destroying native plant and animal communities. I will when practical try to eliminate them. Working with local county environmentalist can be a big help.

The other example is well intended home and landowners in Cape Coral would not mow or weed eat near or around the Burrowing Owl Burrows.
This was in fact hurting the Owl population. They are very small birds and need to see over the grass or weeds to watch for predators. Feral cats and dogs were really taking there toll.
This again, talking to a local biologist will help you make those decision.

If I get the image, fantastic and if I don't, oh well. ;)
And a big 10-4 on the above statement


Arthur Morris
01-28-2008, 06:05 AM
#1: I am organizing a work party to visit Bosque in mid September 2008. Anyone who is interested may e-mail me at birdsasart@att.net

#2: While I do not make it a habit to destroy native vegetation in order to make the image that I want, the situation at the Venice Rookery is quite different:

a-the pond there is totally manmade.
b-it would seem that whomever is managing the rookery is doing so in a manner that will promote public viewing and appreciation of our wildlife, our natural areas, and the need to preserve each. If the policy there had been to allow all native vegetation to grow naturally, nobody would be seeing anything at the Venice Rookery.
c-In the same vein, cutting viewing windows has long been an accepted practice in wildlife management.
d-the herons at Venice are under zero pressure from the viewers (but are under great pressure from development).
e- The management (or somebody, not me), recently cut down all the weeds in the central and the left (as you look at the island) sections, but left most of the weeds in front of the right-hand section. I personally would love to see that vegetation, cattails, I believe, cut down to the ground... In the past my recommendations to do exaclty that were re-buffed by the Audubon folks despite my having donated nearly all of the images for their brochure.

later and love, artie

Kenn Christensen
01-29-2008, 11:26 AM
Ive been thinking about this since reading it yesterday. Ive never been in the thick of a situation where this was an issue. For me if my view is obstructed I find another place to view. From my years as a nature lover I just have an aversion to altering the environment from the way it was when I found it. I prefer for someone who follows me to a spot to never know that someone was there before them.
That being said there are many different situations as shown here. The ponds at the Venice rookery and the refuge at Bosque were (apparently) tradionally managed for access and viewing oppotunities. In these cases it makes sense to work with whatever management is in place and have the viewing situation improved.
Its unfortunate that someone travels to see a view and when they arrive they find that they cant. It places them in a bad situation of having to act in a fashion that they might not in normal circumstances. I refer specifically to someone throwing logs to knock down grass. While this may provide a good view for photography its probably not going to give other viewers a good impression. Perception is a powerful tool it can work for you or against. If we work as a team to provide a legitimate viewing oppourtunity for EVERYONE then that would be a very positive thing. Maybe we need to get out cameras out and photograph such events (like the one Arthur Morris has planned.. ) and work to get that published somehow.. papers, magazines.. whatever...
at this time I would like to thank everyone for their input on this which has given me much insight into what can be a very political situation.
Also.. Thanks to Arthur Morris for organizing an event that works with the management in place and will provide benefit for everyone.... Bravo!

Ron Spomer
01-29-2008, 01:41 PM
I respect your philosophy, but don't necessarily share it because of the gross manipulation of natural habitats in the lower 48 states. Our actions have so altered the landscape that breaking a few plants here and there could be more good than evil. Because human activities (garbage dumps, parking lots, pesticides, introduction of invasive species, etc.) favor some species and harm others, we must manage things to more closely "balance" nature. For example, biologists trap and kill cowbirds in core Kirtland Warbler habitat because manmade changes to the land permit an unnatural imbalance. The parasitic cowbirds lay eggs in the warbler nests, the hatchling cowbird shoves out the warbler eggs and young and Kirtland's slide toward extinction. Similar examples can fill several books. The point is, most wildlife refuges are made, restored or manipulated by humans. Most require even more manipulation to become more productive. Trimming a few invasive weeds from the roadside (manmade) to create a better view of a pond (manmade) or cropfield (manmade) that supports snow geese (overpopulated and destroying the tundra nesting grounds of many other bird species, thanks to the extra food they get from man-planted grain fields in New Mexico and the entire Gulf Coast) seems trivial. Now, if you were talking about whacking off native tall grass prairie flowers in Kansas in order to open a camera angle on a prairie chicken, I'm with you.

Arthur Morris
01-29-2008, 06:14 PM
Hi Ron, Great to see you here. Thanks for you comments. I agree with you and have said many of same things in various situations...

later and love, arrtie

ps: Ron Spomer's images, which were used extensively in Birder's World Magazine in the 1980s, were instrumental in inspiring me early on. Thanks Ron

Christine Hudnall
01-30-2008, 04:08 PM
Hi Ron,

Thank you for the reply (and you too James, meant to say that when you replied!). I still hold by what I said though, which from the sound of it is what you are saying. :)

The original question posed by Fabs, was,
where do we draw the line trying to preserve the wilderness and wildlife's habitat and catering to people interested in that wildlife. What is sensible and fair for both? That question is what I based my reply on.

Removing plants, etc., for photographing or human viewing is not the same as being a good steward by removing an exotic because it is harming natives. I have no problem with the removal of invasives and exotics, because the outcome is that natives will hopefully thrive. I do not believe in someone doing it just to get a photograph or so that they can see better.

As I stated though, if all you are doing is gently moving something out of the way, temporarily, not breaking it, not mashing it, then my philosophy is that is okay.

As I said, mine is not a popular opinion, and I can live with that. ;)