US Forest Service trying to get away with elk feedground reauthorization using minor documentation

A well established principle of law is that any federal agency must do an environmental impact statement for any major federal action significantly affecting the environment. This includes reauthorization of continuing activities.What does “major” mean mean? There is controversy over that and many lawsuits in the past to provide guidance, but “major” likely means a controversial activity which affects the health of wildlife and livestock even if they have done this for a while on an annual basis.

A categorical exemption, or CE, is a necessarily device to avoid the time and cost of environmental analysis of certain classes of activities that are obviously minor, such as rebuilding a non-controversial fence, or a small timber sale. Unfortunately, the Bridger-Teton NF is yearly trying to reauthorize these immensely controversial feedgrounds which are the breeding grounds of brucellosis, chronic wasting disease, and other diseases with just a CE.

I imagine a lawsuit will be on its way unless they decide to do environmental analysis, which also requires far more opportunity for public comment than a CE does.

Story today in the Casper Star Tribune by Whitney Royster.

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I have moved Robert Hoskins comments up into this article because of the added detail he provides. I see his comments have generated a lot of additional comments as did my original post. RM

Hoskins wrote:

“Thanks for bringing attention to this. Given that Wyoming’s elk feedgrounds are a disease time bomb waiting to explode in the Greater Yellowstone, with consequences to the ecosystem that are now incalculable, the determination of the livestock industry dominated federal and state agencies to ignore the truth about feedgrounds can only be dscribed as wilful negligence of the highest order. Read the rest of this entry »

Results of long awaited grizzly bear count are out

How many grizzlies live in the Northern Continental Divide ecoystem (that’s Glacier National Park and about 6-million adjaccent acres)?

A massive first-of-its-kind DNA study was undertaken several years ago using this new method which avoids the pitfalls of direct observation plus interpolation which has been the past method.

The Daily InterLake reports today the number is a minimum of 545 grizzlies.

Read the story by Jim Mann.

Posted in Bears. 2 Comments »

Drop in snowmobile use helped Yellowstone air quality

The Coalition of National Park Service Retirees reports that decreased use of Yellowstone Park by snowmobiles has been the greatest factor favoring air quality in the Park the last few years.

Read about it in the Jackson Hole News and Guide. By Cory Hatch.

Posted in Motor vehicles wildlife, public lands, public lands management. Comments Off on Drop in snowmobile use helped Yellowstone air quality