Wyoming State AFL-CIO asks BLM to pull gas leases from scenic, wildlife rich part of the Red Desert

Normally we expect to have organized labor in favor of developing big projects, but the “18,000-member union has sent a formal protest to the Bureau of Land Management concerning oil and gas leasing in Wyoming.”

Specifically, the AFL-CIO is protesting the leasing of 200,000 acre Adobe Town area in Sweetwater County near Rock Springs.

This is another indication how much oil and gas development of the West is out of control, spoiling the West on a massive scale.

If you love the West, please contact your newly elected members of Congress.

Read Labor’s Love of the Outdoors in the Casper Star Tribune. By Jeff Gearino.

I should add that it’s folks like this who can get the attention of Wyoming’s not-very-conservation-minded Governor, Democrat Dave Freudenthal.

Mexican wolf restoration update for October

Endangered Species Updates
November 13, 2006
MEXICAN WOLF REINTRODUCTION PROJECT NEWS. Monthly Status Report: October 1 – 31, 2006
The following is a summary of Mexican wolf reintroduction project activities in Arizona on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests (ASNF) and in New Mexico on the Gila National Forest (GNF), collectively known as the Blue Range Wolf Reintroduction Area (BRWRA). Additional information can be obtained by calling (928) 339-4329 or toll free at 1-888-459-9653, or by visiting the Arizona Game and Fish Department Web site at http://www.azgfd.gov/wolf or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Web site at http://mexicanwolf.fws.gov. Past updates may also be viewed on either Web site, or interested parties may sign up to receive this update electronically by visiting http://www.azgfd.gov/signup. This update is a public document and information in it can be used for any purpose. The reintroduction project is a multi-agency cooperative effort among the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD), New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDGF), USDA Forest Service (USFS), USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services (USDA-WS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT) located on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation (FAIR). Other entities cooperate through the Adaptive Management Work Group that meets quarterly in Arizona and/or New Mexico, including private individuals, organizations and tribes.To view the wolf distribution map, which contains the most recent three months of wolf aerial locations, please visit http://www.azgfd.gov/wolf. Under “Mexican Wolf Conservation and Management,” scroll down to the links under “Distribution.”Please report any wolf sightings or suspected livestock depredations to: (928) 339-4329 or toll free at 1-888-459-9653. To report incidents of take or harassment of wolves, please call the AGFD’s 24-hour dispatch (Operation Game Thief) at 1-800-352-0700.Numbering System: Mexican wolves are given an identification number recorded in an official studbook that tracks the history of all known Mexican wolves. Capital letters (M = Male, F = Female) preceding the number indicate adult animals 18 months or older. Lower case letters (m = male, f = female) indicate wolves younger than 18 months or pups. The capital letter “A” preceding the letter and number indicate alpha wolves.Definitions: For the purposes of the Monthly Update, a “wolf pack” is defined as two or more wolves that maintain an established home range. The Interagency Field Team (IFT) recognizes that wolves without radio telemetry collars sometimes form packs. If the IFT confirms that wolves are associating with each other and are reasonably resident within the same home range, they will be referenced as a pack.CURRENT POPULATION STATUSAs of the end of October, the collared population consisted of 28* wolves with functional radio collars dispersed among nine packs and four single wolves.* See the Bluestem, Hawks Nest and Rim packs, single M973 and M1044 on the FAIR, Arizona, below for more detailed information.SEASONAL NEWS

The IFT has confirmed wild born pups in the Bluestem, Rim and San Mateo packs in Arizona; in the Aspen, Luna and Saddle packs in New Mexico; and suspect pups with the Middle Fork pack in New Mexico.

IN ARIZONA:

Bluestem Pack (collared AF521, M990, m991, m1041 and f1042)
Throughout October, the IFT located the pack both within and outside their traditional home range on the FAIR and ASNF, with M990 and m991 continuing to exhibit dispersal behavior. On the October 2 aerial telemetry flight, the IFT located AF521 and m991 on the ASNF, and located M990 approximately five miles to the northeast, also on the ASNF. On the October 11 telemetry flight, the IFT located the pack northeast of their traditional home range in the north-central portion of the primary recovery area. On October 13, the IFT captured two pups associated with AF521 and assigned them studbook numbers m1041 and f1042. The pups were in excellent condition, and the IFT fitted them with radio collars and released them on site. On the October 16 telemetry flight, the IFT located AF521, m1041 and f1042 together in the central portion of their home range on the ASNF. The IFT located M990 and M991 separate from the rest of the pack and each other, with M990 being in the far northwest portion of the BRWRA and m991 north of the pack’s traditional home range on the ASNF. On the October 31 telemetry flight, the IFT located AM521, m991, m1041 and f1042 more than 20 miles northeast of their home range in New Mexico in what is considered San Mateo pack territory.

Hawks Nest Pack (collared AM619 and AF486 with a non-functional collar)
Alpha M619 continued to use its traditional home range east of the Big Lake area on the ASNF. The IFT could not determine the presence of nor obtain a visual confirmation of AF486 due to a failed radio collar.

Meridian Pack (collared AM806 and f1028)
On September 24, during the course of intensive monitoring, the IFT discovered AF838 dead approximately seven miles south of Alpine, Arizona, on the ASNF. The circumstances of the wolf’s death are currently under investigation. Final necropsy results are pending from the USFWS’s National Forensics Laboratory in Ashland, Oregon, which will determine the cause of death. Individuals with information that they believe may be helpful regarding the wolf’s death should contact USFWS special agents in Mesa, Arizona, at 480-967-7900 or call the Arizona Game and Fish Department Operation Game Thief hotline at 1-800-352-0700.

On the October 11 and 16 telemetry flights, the IFT located AM806 near the town of Luna, New Mexico, 17 miles northeast of its release site in Arizona. The IFT observed AM806 alone the following day and hazed it from the area. AM806 remained in the Luna area until October 17. On October 19, the IFT visually confirmed f1028 alone in the area of the Meridian pack release site in Arizona; however, on October 24, the IFT observed AM806 back in Arizona with f1028. On October 25, the IFT captured both AM806 and f1028, fitting f1028 with a radio collar and replacing the radio collar on AM806. On October 29, the IFT observed both AM806 and f1028 together in the vicinity of their release site near Middle Mountain.

Rim Pack (collared AF858, AM992 and m1043)
Throughout October, the IFT located the Rim pack within its traditional home range in the central portion of the ASNF. On October 1, the IFT observed three wolves with this pack. On October 22, the IFT captured a pup, assigned it studbook number m1043, fitted it with a radio collar and released it on site. On the October 30 telemetry flight, the IFT located the alpha pair on the San Carlos Apache Reservation (SCAR), approximately three miles west of the ASNF border, and they located m1043 13 miles to the northeast on the ASNF.

San Mateo Pack (collared AF903, m927 and AM796 with a non-functional collar)
During October, the San Mateo pack continued to use areas east of Escudilla Mountain near the Arizona/New Mexico border. On the October 2 telemetry flight, the IFT located the pack in the northwest portion of the GNF in New Mexico, but they had returned near the Arizona/New Mexico border by the October 11 telemetry flight. The IFT found the pack over 15 miles east of the New Mexico border on the October 16 telemetry flight; however, they had again returned to Arizona by the October 23 flight.

M973 (collared)
During early October, the IFT continued to document M973 in and around Greer, Arizona. On October 11, consistent with the nuisance behavior protocol in Standard Operating Procedure 13, the IFT captured M973 in the northwest portion of the BRWRA, and transported it to the Sevilleta Wolf Management Facility in New Mexico. Male 973 remains eligible for future translocation.

FAIR:

M1044 (collared)
On October 26, the IFT captured a male yearling on the FAIR and assigned it studbook number M1044. The IFT fitted the wolf with a radio collar and released it on site. During the October 31 telemetry flight, the IFT observed four uncollared wolves with M1044.

IN NEW MEXICO:

Aspen Pack (collared AF667, m1038, m1039, f1040 and uncollared AM512)
Throughout October, the IFT located the Aspen pack in the eastern portion of the Gila Wilderness.

Luna Pack (collared AM583, m925 and uncollared AF562)
Alpha M583 and yearling m925 remained within their traditional home range in the central portion of the GNF and northern portion of the Gila Wilderness.

Middle Fork Pack (collared AF861 and AM871)
Throughout October, the IFT located AF861 and AM871 together in the central portion of the Gila Wilderness. On the October 2 telemetry flight, the IFT located f923 with the Middle Fork pack.

Saddle Pack (collared AF797, AM732 and m1007)
During October, the Saddle pack continued to use its traditional home range in the southern portion of the GNF. On the October 2 telemetry flight, the IFT located m1007 north of the Saddle pack and within three miles of f924. On the October 11 telemetry flight, the IFT observed AM732, based on characteristic coloration.

M859 (collared)
On the October 11 and 16 aerial telemetry flights, the IFT located M859 with f924 in the GNF, but found the two separated by approximately 10 miles on the October 23 telemetry flight and by over 20 miles on the October 30 flight.

f923 (collared)
On the October 2 telemetry flight, the IFT located f923 with the Middle Fork pack in the central portion of the Gila Wilderness. On the October 11 telemetry flight, the IFT located f923 near Reserve, New Mexico. By the October 30 telemetry flight, f923 had traveled more than 30 miles to the northwest. On October 18, the IFT received a report that f923 had been caught in a non-project foothold trap. The IFT was unable to obtain a sighting of f923 or locate the trap; however, two days later, the IFT observed f923 without the trap.

f924 (collared)
On the October 2 telemetry flight, the IFT located f924 north of the Saddle pack and within three miles of m1007. On the October 11 and 16 telemetry flights, the IFT located f924 with M859 in the northern portion of the GNF, but found the two separated by approximately 10 miles on the October 23 telemetry flight and by over 20 miles on the October 30 flight.

INCIDENTS

On September 30, the IFT investigated a cow carcass in Catron County, New Mexico. The IFT investigation determined the kill to be a possible wolf depredation, but there were no wolves with radio collars in the area or any wolf sign discovered.

On October 11, the IFT investigated a dead horse in Apache County, Arizona. The IFT investigation determined that the horse died from a lightening strike.

CAPTIVE MANAGEMENT

On October 25, Sevilleta Wolf Management Facility personnel moved m1019 from the management facility at Sevilleta to the Rio Grande Zoo vet clinic for further veterinary care.

COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION

On October 6, Shawna Nelson, in cooperation with USFS personnel, provided four informal presentations to 84 first grade students from Coronado Elementary School in St. Johns as part of their annual field trip to Alpine, Arizona.

On October 6, Saleen Richter gave a presentation to 45 people at the “Natural History of the Gila: A Southwestern New Mexico Symposium” conference at Western New Mexico University in Silver City, New Mexico.

On October 14, Maggie Dwire gave a presentation to 50 people at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge open house in New Mexico.

On October 11, Shawna Nelson and Shawn Farry provided a presentation to 16 community members of Greer, Arizona.

On October 11, Dan Groebner provided a presentation on the history of wolves in Arizona to 250 third grade students from Show Low Elementary School at the Show Low Historical Museum.

On October 14, Shawn Farry and John Oakleaf provided a presentation and led a field trip for 20 ASU and UofA students near Alpine, Arizona.

On October 14 and 15, Shawna Nelson, Krista Beazley and Dan Groebner worked an information booth for the Woodland Wild Country Expo in Pinetop, Arizona. Approximately 400 people attended this inaugural wildlife event.

On October 20, the Adaptive Management Work Group (AMWG) held a meeting in Clifton, Arizona. Agenda topics included translocations and new releases of Mexican wolves in 2006, depredation and wolf management activities and the 5-Year Review of the reintroduction project: the Adaptive Management Oversight Committee’s approach to acting on the 37 recommendations from the 5-Year Review.

On October 21, Melissa Woolf gave an educational presentation at the Living Desert State Park in Carlsbad, New Mexico.

On October 21, Laura Kelly provided a telemetry demonstration to 120 people at the California Wolf Center as part of Wolf Awareness Week in Julian, California.

On October 27, Shawna Nelson provided a presentation for 14 participants of Wild by Nature, a wildlife watching field trip, and National Park Service personnel in the Gila Wilderness, New Mexico. The following day, she provided a telemetry demonstration and assisted participants in locating and identifying animal tracks.

PROJECT PERSONNEL

Nicole Heywood left the Mexican Wolf Blue Range Reintroduction Project October 20.

Brynn Nelson, a USFWS volunteer, left the Mexican Wolf Blue Range Reintroduction Project October 31.

REWARDS OFFERED

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is offering a reward of up to $10,000 and the Arizona Game and Fish Department Operation Game Thief is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the conviction of the individual(s) responsible for the shooting deaths of Mexican gray wolves. A variety of public interest groups are offering an additional $35,000, for a total reward amount of up to $46,000, depending on the information provided.

Individuals with information they believe may be helpful are urged to call one of the following agencies: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service special agents in Mesa, AZ, at (480) 967-7900, in Alpine, AZ, at (928) 339-4232, or in Albuquerque, NM, at (505) 346-7828; the White Mountain Apache Tribe at (928) 338-1023 or (928) 338-4385; Arizona Game and Fish Department Operation Game Thief at 1-800-352-0700; or New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Operation Game Thief at 1-800-432-4263. Killing a Mexican wolf is a violation of the Federal Endangered Species Act, and can result in criminal penalties of up to $50,000 and/or not more than one year in jail, and/or a civil penalty of up to $25,000.

Fight begins over oil and gas exploration on the scenic Bridger-Teton National Forest

springcr-head.jpgIn the southern part of the Salt River Range (Spring Creek). Bridger-Teton National Forest. Photo Copyright Ralph Maughan.

Ugly and environmentally disruptive natural gas wells will not necessarily stay out on the high desert near Pinedale, WY. The Bridger-Teton National Forest embraces the highlands around Pinedale and north to Jackson Hole, and over half the forest is now available for leasing.

This battle was fought once before in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Public opinion stopped most of the wells, although several were drilled, mostly in the Gros Ventre in Granite Creek, but several wells were drilled in the Mt. Leidy Highlands in full view of the Tetons. Intense opposition emerged to keep a well out of the headwaters of Cache Creek near Jackson, and that area was eventually included in the then new, Gros Ventre Wilderness.

No oil or gas was developed subsequent to any the drilling.

I still recall the utter arrogance of the industry at that time.

As drilling interest waned, the national forest put in place numerous lease stipulations to protect the land and the wildlife, limiting where wells could be drilled and even whether the surface could be occupied (Note that oil and gas leases expire after 10 years if a well is not drilled on the lease.).

Under the current Administration lease stipulations have turned out to mean little more than nice words on a piece of paper–the gas boys get the lease and the protective stipulations are waived when they want to drill, rendering them meaningless.

Now the Jackson Hole Alliance and other groups want the scenic, wildlife rich, national forest taken off the table.

Fight begins over BTNF energy exploration. By Nick Suarez. Jackson Hole Planet.

Posted in oil and gas, public lands, public lands management, Wildlife Habitat. Comments Off on Fight begins over oil and gas exploration on the scenic Bridger-Teton National Forest

Two arrested for poaching an elk in Yellowstone Park

They were just inside the Park’s northern boundary.

Story in the Bozeman Chronicle.