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Elizabeth McGreevy [00:00:00] Back in the 1990s, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service learned that the golden-cheeked warbler was definitely endangered, and so they wanted to do a formal endangered listing.

Elizabeth McGreevy [00:00:13] And, in their pamphlet that they were putting together, they said that the warbler occurs in 33 counties. That's what they were identifying.

Elizabeth McGreevy [00:00:23] And, they were saying that in those areas the mature mountain cedars will be protected on federal land. They were referring to when the heartwood matures.

Elizabeth McGreevy [00:00:36] But most people - landowners - they know that when their bushy cedars sexually mature and start producing fruit and pollen about ten years old, that that is also another part of their maturation.

Elizabeth McGreevy [00:00:50] And so that confusion with the word, "mature", is what led to this debacle where the San Antonio reporter, he didn't understand the federal government was referring to the heartwood being mature, which is what the federal government should have written in.

Elizabeth McGreevy [00:01:04] But, they may not have understood that this discrepancy existed. It was just their intent was to protect old-growth juniper forests, not the pioneering thickets.

Elizabeth McGreevy [00:01:15] But, the reporter said, "Oh, no, you can't touch any of your mountain cedars, nothing".

Elizabeth McGreevy [00:01:23] And, that made landowners furious. I understand why. I mean, I would've been furious, too, because it's like, "Wait, what?"

Elizabeth McGreevy [00:01:32] But the problem is, is that even though the reporter retracted the next day and made the correction, no one reads the retractions. Right? They just read the headline.

Elizabeth McGreevy [00:01:43] And landowners everywhere started running out and clear cutting. And because they're like, "Oh, we have warblers on our property, we got to go out and clear it out".

Elizabeth McGreevy [00:01:52] And that's actually is a really big problem. I see the golden-cheeked warbler as the canary in the coal mine, and that the more warblers you have, the more healthy your forest.

Elizabeth McGreevy [00:02:05] Well, you know what? Everyone loves a good forest. The landowners aren't trying to clear cut a forest. They're trying to clear cut any obligation to the Endangered Species Act.

Elizabeth McGreevy [00:02:16] But if instead, we could approach the problem differently and say, if you have warblers, that means you have healthy forests, and everyone values a good forest, that means your land is more valuable.

Elizabeth McGreevy [00:02:27] That's how we need to re-approach this issue.