Simpson and Craig feud over wilderness bills; time runs out today

Idaho Senator Larry Craig and second district Idaho Representative Mike Simpson are feuding over CIEDRA and the Owyhee Initiative.

Craig came up with a last minute insistence on money to fund the buyouts in the measures, which he knew would kill them because Congress couldn’t even pass a budget this year.

I’ve been telling every conservationist who would listen for two years that Craig would do something to screw up the process, and it’s likely for the better because these proposals need to be much improved to pass a Democratic Congress. Many conservationists opposed both as they are currently written.

Story in the Idaho Statesman. By Rocky Barker.

Posted in politics, public lands, wilderness roadless. Comments Off on Simpson and Craig feud over wilderness bills; time runs out today

Pre-mining predictions of mines’ effects on water quality almost always too rosy

The results of this study probably won’t surprise anyone, but that doesn’t mean that the same thing won’t happen the next mine. The “rosy scenario” has many more lives than we do.

Story in Helena Independent Record. By Eve Byron. “Past predictions on mining impacts to water quality often were faulty, which led to increased pollution, risks to public health and costly taxpayer-funded cleanups, according to a report released Thursday.”

Posted in mining, Wildlife Habitat. Comments Off on Pre-mining predictions of mines’ effects on water quality almost always too rosy

Escaped Idaho elk tests positive for red deer genes

One of Rex Rammell’s escaped elk has tested positive for red deer genes for the second time, and so one of the major fears that prompted the emergency elk hunt was warranted.

Story in the Idaho Falls Post Register.

Posted in Elk. 1 Comment »

Wolf management takes addition and subtraction — ed from Missoulian

The Missoulian has an editorial lauding the current wolf management regime.

However, I fundamentally disagree that wolf management requires active management, killing wolves if there are too numerous and proping them up if the numbers fall too low.

The best way to manage wolves is to make sure there is good habitat for elk and deer and other prey. Eliminating knapweed and starthistle, stopping backcountry sub-divisions, and reforming and reducing the grazing of livestock on public lands is the kind of wolf management that is needed because that will benefit elk, deer, bighorn sheep, moose, pronghorn, etc.

Some folks who haven’t thought through basic ecological relationships believe that people who promote wolf recovery don’t like elk or deer, and that you have to choose, but that is a false choice. What’s good for the prey is good for the predator. My original support for wolf restoration, and much of it still is on behalf of the many positive ecological effects (side effects of the wolves). One of those is improving the condition of elk, making them less like livestock, making them wary.

Unfortuntely, there are some hunters who think the secret is to feed elk and eliminate anything that might eat them, and  keep them tame so they can waddle out to their ATV and hopefully get a shot from a backcountry road with no recognition that hunting should be a total experience.

Posted in Elk, Wolves. 7 Comments »

“Wild Bill” says “the America the Beautiful Pass sends a strong message”

. . . and the message is a negative one.

Read his column in New West.

He points out that the entire newly imposed structure of fees to fund recreation on our public lands has been established by “midnight” riders to appropriations bills, “temporary programs” that somehow became permanent, or provisions buried deep within complex legislation. There was never a straight up or down vote in Congress to see how members of Congress really stood on making this fundamental change, so contrary to past traditions.

I’ll say it’s an affront to democracy, and yet another reason why Congress needed the big housecleaning it got, and maybe need still more. Meanwhile, pony up to buy your “America the Beautiful Pass.”


Here is government information (web site) on the pass that goes on sale Jan. 1, 2007