It's no doubt overly optimistic to think President Trump will care that 18 reptile and amphibian species were found in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument during a "BioBlitz" day in portions of the monument on May 20. But it is important and does reinforce the value of the monument, not only for its ecological impact, but also for the educational opportunity it provides.
Led by members of a Southern Oregon University herpetology class, more than 75 people (including local high school and younger students) made their way through parts of the monument that day, in search of the shy and elusive critters. It's the third BioBlitz held in the monument; the first two catalogued butterflies and plant species identified during those searches.
This year's BioBlitz took in parts of the expansion areas added to the monument by former President Barrack Obama, who used his authority under the Antiquities Act to create five new monuments and add to others. But that addition for the Cascade-Siskiyou put it over 100,000 acres and on the review list for the Trump administration. Trump has said he will consider shrinking or eliminating monuments he deems too large or too intrusive on the local economy.
This act, whose legality is questionable, is just one of too many back-to-the-past efforts by Trump. We are confident his overreach in many areas — and climate change in particular — will ultimately be reversed by wiser leaders. Until then, monument supporters should redouble their efforts to protect this valuable resource.