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Restoration as the Solution to Disappearing Wetlands

The column "Wading in the Wetlands Morass," Dec. 6, detailing two outstanding examples of cooperative wetlands restoration, was inspiring and much needed in this age of combativeness between industrialists and environmentalists.We can only hope it was read around the White House. Here in Murfreesboro, near Nashville, a much less publicized but nonetheless locally important wetlands preservation movement is afoot as well. A citizens' group has formed to save wetlands located in a fast developing residential neighborhood. With cooperation, much can be accomplished on all levels. Glenn Himebaugh, Murfreesboro, Tenn.

Thanks for pointing out how to resolve wetlands controversies - the wetlands restoration in the Pacific Northwest. However, restorations, at best, are a mere token. How can "6,000 saplings" transplanted onto 42 acres of low ground in six months create wetlands that Mother Nature took eons to create? Or what percentage is 42 acres compared with the sum total acreage drained for farming? At least this project achieved more than costly and time-consuming lawsuits. To protect the remaining acres of wetlands, progress needs to be made on a tighter wetlands definition and on transportation of sediment. I question the author's statement that dumping sediment in the Pacific Ocean often produces harmful results. Of course, if the sediments are polluted, they are harmful to whatever ecological site they have been moved to. However, merely dumping sediment into the ocean should aid the function of the estuaries in furnishing beach nourishment, thus reducing beach erosion. Beach erosion is a major national coastal problem. We must have more catch basins upstream in the wetlands to trap sediments and then physically carry them to the ocean. Now that the author has "waded in," I'm sure he's found that the wetlands are just one indicator of the need for sounder environmental policy from our government. Robert H. Brewster, San Diego, Calif.

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Communism in South Africa The article "South Africa Communists Prospect Bold New Role," Dec. 10, makes me recall an observation made five years ago and attributed to Lord Chalfont, a minister in a former British Labour government: "If the ANC has its way, [South Africa] will be a one-party, communist-dominated state; and like most regimes which gain power by terror, it is likely to perpetuate itself by the same means." Since it appears that the ANC (African National Congress) will gain power in Africa sooner or later, and with South African Communist Party membership increasing dramatically, it seems that Lord Chalfont's forecast was remarkably farsighted. Earl E. Eigabroadt, Port Orchard, Wash.

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