The Advocate had a fascinating article on July 16 concerning a lawsuit that may end up in the U.S. Supreme Court. It seems that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated a 1,500-acre tract of wetlands in St. Tammany Parish as critical habitat for the dusky gopher frog. The owners of the property have, effectively, lost use of their land. Sounds good so far, until we read on to discover that none of the critters are living on the land at present. There are about 100 of the frogs left in the wild, residing elsewhere. A Tulane professor who is a proponent of the designation stated that this property is the only place for the frogs, and the survival of the species is hanging in the balance.

I really have to question as to whether this singular tract of wetlands in St. Tammany Parish is so unique that it is the only place in the country that can support the frogs. After all, the 100 remaining croakers are living somewhere and not on this particular acreage.

It is disquieting to think that on the whim of a federal bureaucrat the property belonging to any of us might be determined to be critical habitat for something that does not live there but could if it wanted to someday. Where does it stop? Hopefully at the Supreme Court.

Rick Ellis

retired military officer

New Orleans