Mr. Shad Goes To Washington

Just published this article in Science Progress. Hope you enjoy it. The purpose of the piece is to let you know that all 720 formal (easy-to-read) reports put out by the defunct Congressional Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) are now available online, courtesy of the Federation of American Scientists. They are there for you, free, whether you are a researcher, policy maker, educator or anyone with an interest in any one of the topics covered. But this article is framed by the story of the rise and fall of the shad. One of the OTA reports focuses on this mighty fish. Back in 1995 the Office was looking at ways to help Congress set policies to help the troubled fish make a comeback.

Can you believe Congress shut this office down 15 years ago? It was their only source of nonpartisan, science policy advice and they axed it. Between global warming, stem cell research, water shortages, health care issues and other big science challenges facing Congress today, I’d say they need the OTA now more than ever. More here and here

Found a gem among the reports dealing with my favorite fish, the Shad. The OTA had some good recommendations on how science policies could help the shad. The report is 13 years old but New Zealand cites it on their Auckland Country regional development site, even today.

(Here’s a fun audio shad_radio_pieceĀ I coproduced about Philadelphia’s Fish a couple of years ago.) Yes! The Shad and the OTA in one tidy article…and they said it couldn’t be done. Or, did they say it shouldn’t be done? You be the judge. Let me know what you think!