When Common Sense And Government Part Ways

I love flowers and shrubs. I don’t have a green thumb, but I keep planting, and the strong survive. I do try, however, to keep things in perspective. I think most of us do. But then, there is the government.

Yesterday CNS News posted a story about moving a bush as part of a highway renovation project. Doesn’t sound like much–all of us occasionally move plants around our yard, right? Well, when the government gets involved, strange things happen.

The article reports:

The bush—a Franciscan manzanita—was a specimen of a commercially cultivated species of shrub that can be purchased from nurseries for as little as $15.98 per plant. The particular plant in question, however, was discovered in the midst of the City of San Francisco, in the median strip of a highway, and was deemed to be the last example of the species in the “wild.”

Prior to the discovery of this “wild” Franciscan manzanita, the plant had been considered extinct for as long as 62 years–extinct, that is, outside of people’s yards and botanical gardens.

So I guess it doesn’t matter what the plant is–it matters where it grows. Since the plant was in the “wild,” various federal agencies needed to be consulted (not to mention scientists and other concerned organizations). Before this story was over, it involved comments by and information from the Department of Interior, Dr. Daniel Gluesenkamp, a botanist who was then the director of Habitat Protection and Restoration for Audubon Canyon Ranch, a  biologist from the Presidio Trust , the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the California Department of Fish and Game. A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was developed for saving this one bush from the highway project, for which ground had been broken in December 2009.

The article further reports:

While the MOA did not detail all the costs for moving the bush, it did state that in addition to funding removal and transportation of the Franciscan manzanita, Caltrans agreed to transfer $79,470 to the Presidio Trust “to fund the establishment, nurturing, and monitoring of the Mother Plant in its new location for a period not to exceed ten (10) years following relocation and two (2) years for salvaged rooted layers and cuttings according to the activities outlined in the Conservation Plan.”

Furthermore, Presidio Parkway Project spokesperson Molly Graham told CNSNews.com that the “hard removal”—n.b. actually digging up the plant, putting it on a truck, driving it somewhere else and replanting it–cost $100,000.

The MOA also stated that Caltrans agreed to “Transfer $25,605.00 to the Trust to fund the costs of reporting requirements of the initial 10-year period as outlined in the Conservation Plan.”

Please read the entire article to get the detailed picture of moving this plant. The article states that the cost of moving this plant was at least $205,075 in 2010. It was partially funded by the stimulus program. I’m glad to see that Vice-President Biden was keeping a close watch on how the stimulus money was spent.  


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