Idaho Wolves, Myths and Facts [please link to this]

I would urge everyone with a conservation related web page to link to this website which just went up. Idaho Wolves Myths and Facts. I think it pretty much destroys all of the mythology being propagated.

Posted in Idaho wolves, Wolves, Wolves and Livestock, Wolves and prey. Comments Off on Idaho Wolves, Myths and Facts [please link to this]

Idaho’s new governor wants 5/6 of the Idaho wolves killed!

It am posting the story as it appeared in the Central Florida News (not an Idaho news source) because it illustrates a point that he may not understand — you can’t thumb your nose at the country like you could 20 years ago. The Internet has made it different.

Idaho Governor Calls for Gray Wolf Kill. Channel 13, Central Florida News.

Note that governor Butch Otter is new. He just took office. As a congressman from Idaho’s first district he proposed selling off 15% of the public lands of the United States to pay for Hurricane Katrina damage. Hunters really need to think hard about that.

It is also important to note the Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife-Idaho is just one interest group, and their views are those of an unknown number of Idaho hunters. That’s one reason why I posted the link from the extremist religious group in support of SFW anti-wolf rally today. It is an indication that their views attract a far out section of the population.

BLM Releases Draft Resource Management Plan for Southeast Idaho

Here the the news release from the BLM.

The public lands managed by the BLM in southeast Idaho are relatively scattered. The major problem is overgrazing by livestock (coupled with almost no enforcement of the grazing regulations). The BLM staff has been cowed into submission. A lot of them want to do a good job (I have had some in my classes and I know others), but ranchers are calling the shots. Added later. You can download the RMP (resource management plan) here. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in public lands, public lands management. Comments Off on BLM Releases Draft Resource Management Plan for Southeast Idaho

Officials review energy drilling in Caribou/Targhee National Forest — Idaho

Idaho is generally thought to be safe from the onslaught of the natural gas drillers, but in fact a portion of Eastern Idaho has the same geological structure as part of gas-rich Wyoming. The “Overthrust Belt” ranges of the Rocky Mountains run along the Idaho/Wyoming border. This intensely folded and even overturned area of thrust-faulting provides traps for hydrocarbons, mostly gas.

The Overthrust Belt is much more costly to drill than the Green River Basin to its east, which is seeing thousands of gas wells being drilled. The Overthrust Belt’s mountains ranges are also very scenic, have unstable soils and are tremendous wildlife habitat. Bad too is the fact that any gas found is likely to be “sour,” contaminated with rotten egg gas (hydrogen sulfide). Its use requires construction of huge sweetening facilities nearby to remove this poisonous gas before the natural gas can be used. In other words, development of the Overthrust Belt, is a nightmare; and it has proceeded slowly even in Wyoming.

Now smaller energy companies are applying for leases on the Caribou/Targhee National Forest in Idaho and that national forest is conducting an environmental analysis of the leasing proposal.

About 5 wells were drilled Idaho’s part of the Overthrust Belt back in the 1970s and early 80s. It is not known what they found. All were capped and abandoned. The drill pads were cleaned up, but some of the access roads remained open, including a road to the Black Mountain drill site on top of Black Mountain, just west of Alpine, Wyoming.

Geologists say that if there is gas in Idaho’s portion of the Overthrust, it is likely to be harder to find than in Wyoming, and even more poisonous because the natural gas would have been subjected to more intense pressure and heat in Idaho, these serving to alter its chemical composition.

Story from the Associated Press. Officials review energy drilling in Caribou National Forest.

Baldy Peak in the Snake River Range (Overthrust Belt). It’s just inside Idaho. The Snake River
Range was targeted by the gas industry in the 1970s and early 80s, although local conservationists
were able to keep them out of the most sensitive areas. Photo copyright Ralph Maughan

Posted in national parks, oil and gas, public lands management, Wildlife Habitat. Comments Off on Officials review energy drilling in Caribou/Targhee National Forest — Idaho

NOAA Reports 2006 Warmest Year On Record For U.S.

I am writing this at the coldest time of winter at Pocatello in SE Idaho, with a chance that temperatures will even dip below zero this weekend, something that has become a rarity, although 20 years ago it was common in the winter. One winter it got down to -38 degrees F.

The Eastern U.S. has essentially had no winter at all, and now a report is out that 2006 was the warmest in the U.S. since they have been keeping records.

Story from ScienceDaily.  

Posted in Climate change. Comments Off on NOAA Reports 2006 Warmest Year On Record For U.S.

A convert to snowcoaches. A Critical Outfitter Now Embraces Yellowstone’s New Winter Tourism

For years noisy and dirty snowmobiles dominated winter tourism in Yellowstone, but now they are beginning to be displaced by a new generation of clean, quieter, and warm snowcoaches. The coaches also feature numerous options for stopping, and dropping off skier and snowshoers, stripping away one of the arguments in favor of snowmobiles — the freedom enjoyed by their users.

Over the years, the gradual decrease in snow too, which many attitribute to global warming, has given an advantage to snowcoaches which are better able to travel long expanses of bare pavement.
When changes like this come, there are some people who are more critical in the process than others. Apparently Randy Robertson of West Yellowstone is such a person.

Story from New West. By Randy Robertson. Guest Writer.

Posted in Motor vehicles wildlife, national parks, public lands. Comments Off on A convert to snowcoaches. A Critical Outfitter Now Embraces Yellowstone’s New Winter Tourism

Baker, Montana coyote killing contest prompt howls from foes

The coyote is probably the most successful predatory animal in North America. Contests like this have little effect on the coyote population, which over the last hundred years spread from the western United States to all of North America because of the elimination of the wolf and human induced ecological changes that increase coyote habitat. The capacity of coyotes to increase their numbers in face of substantial killing also promotes natural selection in favor of a more adaptable and durable coyote population.

The question about contests like this is ethics, and I think the controversy is basically a conflict between rural values in an area of human population decline and those of the larger society.

Coyote killing contest prompt howls from foes. Town offers cash prizes in calling competition. By Matthew Brown. Billings Gazette. AP

New, posted on 1/12, article by Todd Wilkinson. Controversial Contest Brings Coyotes Again Under The Gun. New West.