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Reader's view: DNR’s errors are more dangerous than Rogers’ bears

The letter of July 11, “Ending Rogers’ bear research is a tragedy,” as well as a rebuttal letter on July 24, “Letter on bear research neglected important facts,” caused me to write this letter in support of bear biologist Lynn Rogers. I am not suggesting Rogers’ research is impeccable; rather, I’m saying the rebuttal letter seemed to put the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources on a pedestal — one that can be kicked out from underneath if you closely examine the DNR’s own scientific studies.

Since retiring from the DNR in 2008, I have examined two of its projects. After obtaining information under the Data Practices Act, I can confidently say “the lack of evidence was clearly evidence of lack” with regard to both projects: the 2008 Dark River restoration project in St. Louis County and the 2008 Deer Lake aquatic plant survey in Itasca County.

I am not suggesting there is a culture of falsifying DNR studies; but it has become clear to me the agency tries hard to cover up its own errors while maintaining a sanctimonious, we-do-science-right attitude with those outside the agency. This was evidenced by the DNR’s claims that Rogers was doing little actual science via his bear research.

In my view, the alleged potential harm to public safety from Rogers’ bears — when hundreds of other Minnesotans also are feeding bears — does not compare to the measurable direct harm to real people’s lives brought about by the DNR’s own lack of science.

David G. Holmbeck

Grand Rapids