Hiking adjacent to Pocatello today

One of the great things about living in a public state, especially a serious public land state like Idaho, is the backcountry quickly available. This is uplands today at 4:30 PM above Lead Draw, a 5-minute drive from my house and a one hour hike.

Since the Sierra Club, the Pocatello Trail Machine Assn., the Forest Service, and Bannock County worked to block Lead Draw off to full-sized vehicles and ATVs, the mule deer herd has come back to the drainage. I counted 48 deer today in a 2-hour hike. Five years ago I hardly ever saw any in Lead Draw. Photo Ralph Maughan 4:13PM on 3-31-07

Former wolf biologist gets elected to Montana House and learns about real ferocity

I changed the headline.

Here is Todd Wilkinson’s excellent “Freshman Montana Legislator Learns Ignorance Not Blissful.” New West. It’s about Mike Phillips’ first year in the Montana House of Representatives where the Republicans rule, but only with a one vote majority (based on a third party extremist).

Jones Has Two Weeks to Get Wildlife Off Blackfoot Ranch

The photo in this New West article is worth a thousand words about the problems posed by elk farming and elk shooting enclosures.

This is the n-teenth article about Jones’ shooter bull operation controversy.  Jones Has Two Weeks to Get Wildlife Off Blackfoot [elk] Ranch. By Nathaniel Hoffman. New West.

Environmental review may halt giant coal pit mine near Glacier NP for 3 years

There is good news on the front to prevent the Cline Mine from being developed.

There will be a lengthy environmental review of the proposed British Columbia mine done by Canada’s federal government rather than the Province.

Story in the Billings Gazette. AP

Because the mine’s polluted waters will drain into the North Fork of the Flathead River, Montana is fearful of the impacts on fish and wildlife in one of the richest such places in the state.

Posted in Coal, Wildlife Habitat. Comments Off on Environmental review may halt giant coal pit mine near Glacier NP for 3 years

Judge halts Alaska’s wolf bounty

A bounty was against Alaska’s state law, and despite calling it an “incentive,” it was still a bounty.

Lack of snow made it hard for the wizards at the Board of Game to see as many wolves killed as it wanted, so the Board of Game and the governor came up with the “incentive” scheme for gunner pilots. They would get $150 for each shotgunned left leg of a wolf.

I wonder if lack of snow in Alaska’s winter made them at all thoughtful about nature?

Story Judge halts “bounty” on wolves. By Rachelk D’oro. The Associated Press

Editorial in the Fairbanks Daily News Miner. A mutiny on the bounty. By John Toppenberg. Even you like the idea of a bounty, bounties rarely work as intended. That’s one reason why most states stopped them long ago.

It looks like the governor is under the thrall of small group of trophy hunters rather than the average Alaskan hunter.

Posted in Wolves. 1 Comment »

Montana Wildfire arsonist receives 10 years

This 19-year-old set the Gash Creek Fire that smoked up Bitterroot Valley, Montana air for about 2 months last summer, and 18! other fires (most of which were quickly put out).

Story in the Missoulian. By Tristan Scott.

Federal judge tosses out new [Bush] rules governing national forests

The Bush Administration rewrote the rules and regulations that implement the laws that tell how national forest plans are to be done. The new regulations exempted the formation of new forest plans from NEPA (the most important forest decisions were regarded as not important enough to merit an environmental impact statement). The new rules reduced public participation and they also downgraded the standards for protecting wildlife.

AP story on the decision.

Most folks I knew thought the new regs were clearly in conflict with the law, and a judge has set them aside. However, this leaves forest planning in kind of a limbo — another Bush Administration mess-up (can I say sort of like the Iraq failure, but applied to the national forests?).

Posted in public lands management. Comments Off on Federal judge tosses out new [Bush] rules governing national forests

Nez Perce Tribe very concerned about Hells Canyon bighorn/domestic sheep mixing in upcoming grazing season

The Nez Perce Tribe issued a news release today expressing concern that in the upcoming grazing season there was a high probably of domestic sheep mixing with bighorn in Hells Canyon where restoration of bighorn herds has gone slowly. The Payette National Forest has promised to solve the problem (because the FS Chief upheld an appeal of their Forest Plan back in 2004), but with the near onset of grazing, it looks to be like they are doing nothing.

When domestic sheep mix with bighorn, the bighorn die of domestic sheep diseases very quickly. It cannot be tolerated.

The Tribe’s news release follows. It is very low key and respectfully written. I’m used to seeing “get your rear in gear, slackers, or we’ll see you court right away.” I hope the tone of the Tribe doesn’t lead the Forest Service and the livestock politicians not to take this seriously.

Read the rest of this entry »

She blinded me with “science” . . . more on Julie MacDonald’s misdeeds at Interior

Read She blinded me with “science” Filed under: Politics, Corruption — Jodi Peterson at 6:26 pm on Thursday, March 29, 2007. In Goat, High Country News blog.

Update. March 31, 2007. The Sagebrush Sea Campaign reports on MacDonald’s manipulations of endangered species. DOI Inspector General Confirms Political Interference in Greater Sage-grouse, Other ESA Listing Decisions

Posted in politics. Comments Off on She blinded me with “science” . . . more on Julie MacDonald’s misdeeds at Interior

An American icon in the crosshairs? Bush’s delisting plans harmful to wolf recovery in Oregon

Few animals stir up as much emotion and heated debate as gray wolves. In many ways these majestic predators are the symbol of American wilderness, of wild places that have not yet been clear-cut or paved over. They were once common throughout Western America, including Oregon, but a misguided policy of using tax dollars to fund extermination programs drove them to the brink of extinction.Today gray wolves represent the beginning of a great American conservation success story. Because of the safety net provided by the Endangered Species Act, and the hard work of countless biologists, landowners and concerned citizens, wolves are making a strong comeback.But in February, the Bush administration announced plans to remove western gray wolves from the endangered species list and hand over management to state governments. The proposal comes as a mixed blessing. On one hand, it means wolf populations are rebounding, at least in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming — there are still no confirmed wolf packs here in Oregon. But it also means the feds will hand the keys over to states like Idaho, which could spell disaster for Idaho’s wolves and wolf recovery in Oregon.This is from a guest opinion in the Salem (OR) Statesman Journal. Read the full story. (Link has been moved or deleted by Statesman Journal)

Three groups ask judge to kill Alaska governor’s new bounty on wolves

Alaska’s offer of $150 for each wolf killed under its predator control program is nothing more than an illegal bounty and should be stopped immediately, conservation groups said Tuesday in court filings. Full story in the Casper Star Tribune. By Mary Pemberton. AP

Alaska’s new governor wants a lot more wolves killed than were killed this winter, so she has implemented $150 for each wolf killed as an “incentive.” The Alaska state legislature revoked all bounties in the state a number of years ago. The groups say calling a bounty “an incentive” doesn’t mean it isn’t a bounty. It seems like the groups are easily correct.

Posted in Wolves. 1 Comment »

Stopping growth in Teton County, Idaho

No one will surprised to learn that growth on the Idaho side of the Tetons is out-of-control.

The linked article by Pacific Northwest political observer Randy Stapilus about enactment of a 6-month growth moratorium in Teton County is interesting here because people keep saying we need to subsidize the ranchers. We need to let them run amuck with their livestock so they won’t sub-divide, but the article makes it clear those against growth management are the ranchers, who want to subdivide because it’s their retirement. New comers are often bad-mouthed, but newcomers are the ones with the idea an area can be kept intact as it grows. It’s the ranchers who will ruin the community to help themselves. I hardly blame them for wanting to retire, but the solution is the national grazing buyout which gives them retirement money, but lets them keep the ranch itself.

Stapilus writes: “The discussion was fired up — definitely some very pragmatic and concerned new comers were pitted against some of the most pissed off ranchers I’ve ever seen.”

Divide Wide Over Mexican Wolf Program

This is bad news for the struggling Mexican wolf program, but the blame is on these rural counties who for years have believed that obeying the law is optional. I am not just badmouthing them, this was heart of county secession, militia movement back in the 1990s.

Story in the Las Cruces Sun News. AP

The fact that the psychologist mention in the story, found that children in the area startled more easily now than before wolf reintroduction and were “clingy” with their parents, is just what you’d expect if their parents were telling them that there were big bad wolves all around ready to gobble them up. I expect scaring the children also results in  reports from frightened children who bring back an exaggerated story to their parents, who then reinforce the cycle of fear and recrimination.

Fear, including this irrational fear, is very contagious. There is social pathology here.

Additional wolf delisting hearing slated for Cody on April 19.

The time and place for the Cody wolf delisting hearing has been set.

Open house, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. (brief presentations about the proposed rule will be given at both 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.), and public hearing, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., will be held April 19, 2007, Thursday, at the Cody Auditorium Facility, 1240 Beck Avenue, Cody, WY 82414.

The purpose, I suppose, is the congressional request from Wyoming motivated to provide an opportunity for anti-wolf forces to muster a majority at one public hearing on delisting. Here is more information

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Delisting, Wolves. Comments Off on Additional wolf delisting hearing slated for Cody on April 19.

Ex-Dept of Interior Auditor Says He Was Told to Be Lax on Oil Fees

Another DOI outrage has been revealed by the new congress.

Story in the New York Times. By Edmund L. Andrews.

You can bet DOI employees were told to be lax on a lot of other things besides collecting fees from the oil companies on your public land!
– – – – – – –

Update. What a day for expose’ of the Department of Interior!

Report Says Interior Official Overrode Work of Scientists. By Felicity Barranger. New York Times. Here is the Inspector General’s report on what Ms. McDonald was up to. 

Posted in oil and gas, public lands, public lands management. Comments Off on Ex-Dept of Interior Auditor Says He Was Told to Be Lax on Oil Fees

Wuerthner: Hunting In National Parks Not Appropriate

This is a guest opinion column in New West.

It is proposed to reduce the obvious overpopulation of elk in Rocky Mountain National Park by hunting. There are other possbilities. Wuerthner doesn’t like the hunting option and explains why. He prefers predation of the elk.

I’d like to see wolves reintroduced too, but they would not very efficient at reducing the elk population in the Park because, as we have seen, wolves most often do not reduce ungulate populations. Rocky Mountain National Park is very small compared to Yellowstone, and in Yellowstone the wolves quickly expanded outside of YNP (as was predicted and desired). So it would really be a wolf reintroduction to Colorado, not to Rocky Mountain National Park alone.

Unparalleled views impress tourists at the opening of the Skywalk over the Grand Canyon

This glass bottomed walk over the Grand Canyon is on the little-visited Indian Reservation part of the Canyon far downstream of where most tourists see the canyon.

There are complaints about this intrusion, but I see it as little compared to the traffic jam of aerial sightseeing over the canyon.

The purpose is to make money for the Tribe, and the whole thing is pretty expensive.

Story in the Arizona Republic by Stephanie Paterik

Posted in national parks. Comments Off on Unparalleled views impress tourists at the opening of the Skywalk over the Grand Canyon

“Montana, Don’t Be Another Wyoming,” says Bill Schneider

Columnist Bill Schneider at New West writes: Earlier this week, the Montana House of Representatives, on a 58-41 vote, passed an appropriation to send at least $150,000 in the hard-earned tax money to a Cheyenne law firm (Budd-Falen) to sue the federal government–at the same time cutting money for programs like all-day kindergarten, assistance for the mentally ill and foster care for Meth babies. Read the rest.

He fears that Montana may go the way of Idaho and Wyoming on wolves because this money would hire a well known far right Wyoming law firm to get Montana involved in Wyoming’s delisting lawsuit.

Folks needs some explanation, however. The Republican Party gained control of the Montana House in the last election by one vote (actually on the vote of an extremist 3rd party candidate who doesn’t even believe there should be public education). The Republicans rewarded him by making him chairman of the House’s education committee! Democrats control the state senate by a narrow margin and the governor is a Democrat.

The Republican majority in the House is mostly bunch of far right wing ideologues and their extremist notions will most likely killed by the Senate and/or the governor. However, it is possible that this appropriation to enter the Wyoming lawsuit could slip through as part of a larger deal to settle the budget crisis the Republicans have created in Montana.

Posted in Delisting, politics, Wolves. Comments Off on “Montana, Don’t Be Another Wyoming,” says Bill Schneider

Groups say coal plant near Gillett, Wyoming, needn’t be so polluting

We hear about the wonders of  “clean coal” technology all the time, but we hear about the actual deployment of dirty coal technology in the everyday world.

We live in the everyday world.

Story in the Billings Gazette. By Matthew Brown. AP

Posted in Climate change, Coal. Comments Off on Groups say coal plant near Gillett, Wyoming, needn’t be so polluting

Fish and Wildlife extends wolf comment period to May 9

Folks will have another month to comment on the proposed delisting of the wolf in Idaho and Montana.

Fish and Wildlife extends wolf comment period to May 9

Posted in Delisting, Wolves. Comments Off on Fish and Wildlife extends wolf comment period to May 9

There is yet another Yellowstone snowmobile rule “finalized,” except that the issue will continue

Park winter divide persists

By Whitney Royster. Casper Star-Tribune environmental reporter Wednesday, March 28, 2007

JACKSON — Yellowstone National Park officials released the fourth, and perhaps not the last, chapter in the debate surrounding snowmobiles in the park Tuesday.

The National Park Service proposal would continue to allow use of snowmobiles in the park, but with significant restrictions — leaving both conservation and recreation interests dissatisfied.

All sides, those for more liberal access to Yellowstone via snowmobile and those in favor of eliminating the use, stopped short of saying they’ll go to court to make their cases. They noted the draft plan was still in the development stage, open for public comment through May 31.

But it was clear that there continues to be little middle ground on the issue.

Posted in Motor vehicles wildlife, national parks, public lands. Comments Off on There is yet another Yellowstone snowmobile rule “finalized,” except that the issue will continue

Sides clash as Sylvan Pass deadline looms.

The Park Service seems to be resisting the organizing in Cody to continue the subsidized winter maintenance for snowmobiles over Sylvan Pass.

It’s hard to believe that Cody businesses may for once have their sense of entitlement to the money you pay to enter the Park slapped down.

Story in the Casper Star Tribune. Sides clash as Sylvan Pass deadline looms. These freeloaders, including ex-senator Alan Simpson, are masters at fuzzing the issue.

Defenders of Wildlife considers fate of grizzly payment program

Defenders never seems to get credit for its program that reimburses ranchers for livestock losses to wolves. Ever fewer know they pay for losses to grizzly bears (except in Wyoming where the Game and Fish Department runs a “gravy train” for ranchers who say the lost livestock to grizzlies).

Should Defenders continue paying for bears in the Greater Yellowstone (in Idaho and Montana) with delisting?

Story in the Billings Gazette. By Mike Stark.

It doesn’t cost them much, but there is the principle of the thing.

With Cellulosic Ethanol, There Is No Food Vs. Fuel Debate

I commented several times on the stupidity of corn-based ethanol as a substitute for gasoline. It’s a very inefficient process and provides fuel at the expense of food. Already ethanol is raising the cost of growing livestock.

However, cellulosic ethanol (alcohol made from the other parts of plants, not from the edible portion) has great promise.

With Cellulosic Ethanol, There Is No Food Vs. Fuel Debate. Science Daily.

Western Watersheds Project says it will sue to keep cattle out of Whiskey Dick Wildlife Area in Washington

I posted an earlier story about the plant to dump cattle on this rare ungrazing wildlife area owned by Washington state. March 23, 2007. Sweetheart deal in Washington State will dump cattle on criticial state ungrazed wildlife area.

One has to wonder what overcame Washington’s governor to sign onto this pointless destruction. The cattle lobby will never vote for her.

– – – – – –

Note here is a little info on the Whiskey Dick Wildlife Area. Seattle P-I.

– – – – – –

The Western Watersheds Project has sent a 60-day notice to the state that they will sue to keep cattle out of the Whiskey Dick Wildlife Area. Here is their news release.

March 26, 2007

Western Watersheds Project Sends a 60 Day Litigation Notice Letter Under The
Endangered Species Act To The Washington Department Of Fish And Wildlife In
Regard To Proposed Cattle Grazing In The Whiskey Dick And Asotin Wildlife Areas
In Eastern Washington.

Bob Tuck: 509-945-7250
Dr. Donald Johnson: 509-923-9367
Dr. Steve Herman: 360-894-0751

Western Watersheds Project (WWP), a regional conservation organization, has sent
the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) a 60-Day Notice Letter,
notifying the Director, Jeff Koenings, of an impending lawsuit under the
Endangered Species Act challenging proposed cattle grazing in the Whiskey Dick
Wildlife Area on the Columbia River near Ellensburg and the Pintler Creek unit
of the Asotin Wildlife Area near Asotin, Washington.

The cattle grazing proposal for the Whiskey Dick Wildlife Area would reintroduce
privately-owned cattle to lands where they were removed over a quarter century
ago so the land could recover. WDFW owns tens of thousands of acres purchased
specifically for fish and wildlife habitat. In many cases federal dollars helped
pay for these important wildlife areas. Read the rest of this entry »

Wyoming Game and Fish says wolves hurting cow:calf ratios in certain areas

Wyoming Game and Fish has released a story claiming for the first time that they have data showing wolves are hurting elk cow:calf ratio.

Story in the Jackson Hole News and Guide.

Here is a link to the WY Game and Fish web site where you can find a link about the study. Unfortunately, it is a Word file, rather than an HTML or pdf file.

At any rate, the claim is that cow:calf ratios are down in 4 of the 8 elk herd areas occupied by wolves. There are 21 herd areas in total in Wyoming.

Update: OK the correct link the the report has been forwarded. Read it at: http://gf.state.wy.us/downloads/pdf/FinalElkCCRatios3-23-07.pdf.

There has been a general negative trend in cow/calf ratios throughout Wyoming since 1980, both in areas without wolves and with wolves.  Of the eight herd units where wolves are present, 4 showed statistically significant changes in the slope of the regression line since wolves were reintroduced. In order of magnitude of change, most changed was the slope for the Cody herd (most change downward), then Gooseberry, Clarks Fork, and Green River. The four herds that did not show statistically significant changes in slope, post wolf, were Jackson, Fall Creek, Wiggins Fork and Piney herd (just southwest of Green River).

Three of the four herds with statistically significant changes are east and/or southeast of Yellowstone Park (one is south–Green River).

Clark’s Fork, and Jackson are the 2 herds that have had wolves for the longest period. In terms of numbers of wolves, the study did not have the data to calculate firm correlations (due to changes in packs size and location). However, it is clear to me that the area east of the Park has had a substantial and an increasing number of wolf packs, more so than other parts of Wyoming.

The study did not rule out competing hypothesis for the decline in cow/calf ratios, but I think the study lends support to the hypothesis that wolves are responsible for some of the decrease in elk recruitment.

I have to wonder why the Jackson herd did not show a statistically significant downward change in regression slope because it has had wolves packs for a long time, and the packs have been large.

There might be important other factors east of Yellowstone Park that affect cow/calf ratios of which I am not aware. If anyone is aware, please comment. Since the Dept. study performed analysis of variance, I wonder if there were any significant interaction terms?

2006 was another good year for hunting in Idaho

Earlier I posted a very long time series of statistics on Idaho hunts.

The news for 2006 has been released, the the elk hunt figures were about the same as the last two years. Hunters tagged 20,257 elk in 2006, down slightly from 21,520 in 2005 and 20,925 in 2004. This success rate was 19.5%; generally regarded as high.

According to state big game manager, Brad Compton Idaho elk population remains at about 125,000, and has been stable over the past six or seven years.

Hunters also tagged approximately 22,000 white-tailed deer. Their population is estimated at about 200,000, and about 30,000 mule deer of a population estimated at about 300,000 statewide, and 1,525 pronghorns were tagged in 2006.

~Note: I do notice some small discrepancies with the figures above and the earlier time series, but they are small and do not change the trend (or lack of one).~

Posted in Deer, Elk. Comments Off on 2006 was another good year for hunting in Idaho

Montana asks Ottawa to review B.C. coal mine. Coal pit endangers river, MT governor warns

Montana officials, were given the bum’s rush in with complaints to the B.C. government about the forthcoming Cline open pit coal mine near Glacier National park inside British Columbia. Governor Schweitzer has taken the matter to the national level in Canada.

Schweitzer is requesting a review under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act saying he has failed to get agreements from B.C. to adequately protect the Flathead River. Montana asks Ottawa to review B.C. coal mine. Coal pit endangers river, MT governor warns Story in the Globe and Mail.

What a coal pit mine looks like (1984 photo) in the Canadian Rockies not far from this proposal (about 20 miles north at Sparwood).

My editorial comment is that if President Bush had the smallest amount of respect in other countries, appeals like this would be given more weight. Meanwhile B.C. and Canadian mining companies are trashing America.

Bush administration reinterprets species law: officials say endangered wildlife will be helped, activists plan to sue

This from over at Carnivore Conservation. . .

Bush administration reinterprets species law: officials say endangered wildlife will be helped, activists plan to sue. Actually I don’t think this is Bush, but rather Kempthorne. As governor of Idaho he even opened an office of species conservation, the focus of which was anything but species conservation. Carnivore Conservation

At any rate, this is a very bad thing because of the species that go extinct, most of the extinctions happen while they are queued up waiting for ESA protection.

Update. Salon Magazine has a long article on this, an expose’. Inside the secretive plan to gut the Endangered Species Act: Proposed regulatory changes, obtained by Salon, would destroy the “safety net for animals and plants on the brink of extinction,” say environmentalists. By Rebecca Clarren.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is maneuvering to fundamentally weaken the Endangered Species Act, its strategy laid out in an internal 117-page draft proposal obtained by Salon. The proposed changes limit the number of species that can be protected and curtail the acres of wildlife habitat to be preserved. It shifts authority to enforce the act from the federal government to the states, and it dilutes legal barriers that protect habitat from sprawl, logging or mining.

Salon Magazine is by subscription only.

Drilling critics get D.C. hearing

The House Natural Resources Committee continues to give voice to interests that were suppressed during reign of the Pombo, the corrupt former committee chair.

Drilling critics get D.C. hearing. By Judith Kohler. Casper Star Tribune.

UPDATE, 3-29 Energy boom hurts wildlife, lands access, advocates say. By Noelle Straub. Billings Gazette Washington Bureau. A diverse group complained of the unnecessary harm done.

MORE, 3-29. As Deer Decline, Energy Development Comes Under Fire. Guest essay. New West.

Landscalping: The Arrogance of Modern Resourcism

This is an essay by Dave Foreman of the Rewilding Institute. It appeared in New West.

Landscalping: The Arrogance of Modern Resourcism

Foreman is correct, I think that some conservation groups have given into resourcism, with the Nature Conservancy being a prime example.

To quote Foreman, the principles of resourcism are:

1) Professionalism—Trained experts are best qualified to manage natural resources and public lands.

2) Progressivism/Optimism—Progress as a secular religion of material, informational, moral, and organizational advances is key to resourcism, as is an intensely optimistic view of the future benefits of wise management.

3) Engineering—The science behind resourcism is manipulative and controlling—not pure science, but rather technology and engineering.

4) Resources for people—Resource management by experts is to result in benefits for everyone. (In principle this standard is still touted; in practice it is corrupted in favor of those with wealth and political power.)

5) Multiple Use—Properly managed lands can produce multiple uses of timber, minerals, forage, water, wildlife, and recreation, often on the same acre.

6) Sustained Yield—Lands are to be managed for the maximum they can produce on a sustained basis without harming the future productivity of the land.

7) Utilitarianism—Resources and the land are here to be used to produce goods and services for humans.

A fair number of people who post here seem to take the principles above as given.

Though Yellowstone grizzlies delisted, griz of NW Central Montana years away

After 30 years, the grizzlies of the Greater Yellowstone are to be delisted, but there are 5 other populations of grizzlies in the lower 48 states. They are years away from delisting, even the largest, those of the Northern Continental Divide ecosystem (Glacier NP, Bob Marshall Wilderness and surrounding lands).

Grizzlies in northcentral Montana might be years away from delisting. By Karl Puckett. Great Falls Tribune Staff Writer

The populations are the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem

The Cabinet-Yaak

The Selkirk

The North Cascades

The Selway-Bitterroot (no grizzlies at present thanks to Idaho’s then-governor Dirk Kempthorne who stalled a proposed reintroduction. The area could sustain maybe 400 grizzly bears.)

Posted in Bears. Comments Off on Though Yellowstone grizzlies delisted, griz of NW Central Montana years away

National Elk Refuge stops feeding elk early

The early spring, which may herald a toasty (meaning burnt) summer, has caused plants to sprout early in Jackson Hole, and the elk, of their own accord, have lost interest in the alfalfa pellets and most have moved off of the National Elk Refuge.

Refuge stops feeding for year. By Corey Hatch. Jackson Holes News and Guide.

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on National Elk Refuge stops feeding elk early

Former no. 2 at Dept. of Interior pleads “guilty” in the continuing Abramoff Scandal

This is from the LA Times. J. Steven Griles, whom Abramoff once called ‘our guy’ in the department, also admitted to lying about a relationship with an Abramoff employee.
By Richard B. Schmitt, Times Staff Writer.

As with the Teapot Dome scandal in the Harding Administration, the Dept. of Interior has been a major center of corruption in the Bush Administration. We have called Griles, “ethically challenged” for years now.

Story in the New York Times.

Sweetheart deal in Washington State will dump cattle on criticial state ungrazed wildlife area

The Western Watersheds Project blog tells the story. Folks in Washington State might want to contact the governor and ask her what she could possibly thinking of, or what kind of deal went down?

Story at WWP blog 

‘Ethanol Binge’ Hikes Corn Prices

Demand for corn to make ethanol has now doubled corn prices in the U.S.

“The diversion of corn to fuel ethanol uses “is creating unintended consequences throughout the global food chain,” a Bloomberg analysis finds – not to mention increased use of pesticides and fossil fuels to grow all that corn. Meanwhile, the U.S. Congress has slapped a 54-cents-per-gallon tarrif on ethanol from Brazil – which is grown from sugarcane.”

Read the rest about this silliness in New West.

500 freeloaders attend Cody meeting on Sylvan Pass

Economic interests in Cody will not be denied continued access across Sylvan Pass in the winter, where Park Service employees risk their lives and waste your tax money for the benefit of a few who cross the pass in snowmobles. The cost per snowmobile is huge — many times the entrance fee.

They are getting well organized and will probably win. It’s almost an axiom in politics that well organized small interest groups with narrow objective defeat the unorganized public interest. Read Mancur Olson’s book. “The politics of collective action” for an explanation of this phenomenon.

Here is the story. 500 attend Cody forum on Sylvan Pass proposals. By Ruffin Prevost. Billings Gazette Wyoming Bureau.

Posted in national parks, politics. Comments Off on 500 freeloaders attend Cody meeting on Sylvan Pass

Groups aim to block grizzly delisting

This is from the Casper Star Tribune. By Brodie Farquhar.

It is important to note that so far all we have seen is the government’s news release. The actual delisting rule has not yet been published in the Federal Register. 

Grizzly bear delisting for Greater Yellowstone is announced

The Department of Interior announced the removal of the grizzly bear in the Greater Yellowstone from the “threatened species list” today.

Recent developments such as the huge die-off of whitebark pine, whose nuts the grizzlies depend heavily upon, make this decision wrong. “Chuck Schwartz, U.S. Geological Survey interagency grizzly bear study team leader, said human-caused grizzly bear mortality is two to three times higher in poor white bark pine years than in good white bark pine years.” In future, of course, they will all be poor white bark pine years. So as is so usual, the government fails to plan for predictable, obvious future change.
Here is the news release from the government

Here is one of the first news stories. Feds to Remove Yellowstone Grizzly from Endangered Species List. New West. By Matthew Frank

Added on March 23 Yellowstone grizzlies to be removed from endangered list. By Mike Stark. Billings Gazette.

Note that the grizzly was never the the “endangered species list; it was the “threatened species list”
Here is the story from the Jackson Hole News and Guide, Grizzlies to be delisted. By Cory Hatch and the AP.

The 112 appeals of the Gallatin National Forest travel plan are rejected by Forest Service

I’ve never heard of so many appeals of a local Forest Service decision, but the travel plans are becoming increasing controversial because of conflicting methods of travel on public lands.

Story in the Bozeman Chronicle. By Scott McMillion Chronicle Staff Writer

madsonriv2below-hebgan.jpg The Madison River on the Gallatin National Forest about 15 miles west of Yellowstone Park.

The Gallatin is one of nation’s top recreational national forests and conflict between people using various modes of transportation is high. Photo copyright Ralph Maughan

Deal made for 178,000 acres of cow-free wildlife habitat east of Grand Teton

The National Wildlife Federation has paid to buy out Stanko’s Bacon Creek grazing allotment on the Bridger-Teton national forest, which is home to very important elk, deer, bighorn sheep, moose and pronghorn habitat as well as grizzly bears and 3 wolf packs.

The buyout was voluntary.

Story in the Billings Gazette. Deal expands wildlife habitat. By Mike Stark of The Gazette Staff

Alaska puts a bounty on wolves

Alan Gregory covers the $150 bounty put on wolves in Alaska. Historically, bounties have always been controversial, and almost never worked as intended, even if you grant the legitimacy of their intent.

 Alaska puts a bounty on wolves. Alan Gregory’s Conservation News.

Posted in Wolves. 7 Comments »

Wilkie v. Robbins

The Supreme Court heard a very important case the other day with profound implications for future public lands management of grazing.

Read about it in WWP blog. Wilkie v. Robbins.

Posted in Grazing and livestock, public lands management. Comments Off on Wilkie v. Robbins

Gore’s testimony before Congress greeted warmly by some members, coolly by others

Al Gore has just finishing testifying before Congress on global warming.  He got mixed, but generally warm reception with a few strong dissenters among Republicans. Story in The Hill.com.

Gore’s testimony greeted warmly by some members, coolly by others. By Kelly McCormack

Gore’s actual testimony (YouTube).

2006 Northern Rockies Wolf Report out. Media makes splash about wolf population growth

The Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery 2006 Interagency Annual Report is out and the mainstream media are playing the story as all about continued wolf population growth and more dead livestock than before.

I haven’t had time to read much of it yet, but some of the MSM statistics seem a bit suspicious to me, so I will need the weekend to read the report before writing extensively on it, but, for example, wolf  “depredations” were up only slightly in Idaho from 2005.  Cattle taken by wolves increased in Montana, but the number of sheep killed declined dramatically. All told only 42 domestic animals were killed wolves in Montana, including 4 dogs. In response 53 wolves were killed — 53 dead wolves for 42 dead domestic animals!

So read the the MSM story, here is one from the Billings Gazette/Casper Star Tribune, and read the report for yourself and decide.

Agenda for the North American wolf conference April 24-26

The draft agenda for the North American wolf conference in Flagstaff, Arizona has been released.

To sign up to attend the conference, go here. Discount rates at the Little America Hotel in Flagstaff are available until April. 1.


Wednesday April 25th

8:00 – 8:30
Welcome: Introductions and Announcements

8:30 – 9:00 Mexican Wolf Conservation in the American Southwest
Terry Johnson, Endangered Species Coordinator, Arizona Game and Fish Department

9:00 – 9:30 Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Update
John Oakleaf, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

9:30 – 10:00 Modeling Potential Mexican Wolf Habitat in the Grand Canyon Ecoregion
Kurt Menke, Bird’s Eye View

10:00 – 10:30 ~ Break ~

10:30 – 11:00 Mexican Wolf Reintroduction: Put and Take Wolf Recovery
David R. Parsons, The Rewilding Institute

11:00 – 11:30 Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Outreach Efforts in the Southwest – Separating Myth from Reality
Shawna Nelson, Arizona Game and Fish Department

11:30 – 12:00 Predator Control and Scientific Chicanery Undermines Mexican Wolf Recovery
Michael Robinson, Center for Biological Diversity Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Wolves. 3 Comments »

Congress Looks at Solutions to Yellowstone Bison Debate

Yesterday in Congress the first hearings in many years were held over bison management in and near Yellowstone Park. The hearing showed that pressure is building to -change the many years of bison harassment and slaughter by the state of Montana and stance of the federal government agency APHIS which uses the club of losing “brucellosis-free” status to keep the bison slaughter/bison confinement program going.

I was able to listen the part of the hearings via audio webcast on the Internet. Although I have been writing about the bison situation since 1996, the hearings told me I had underestimated one aspect of the long controversy — political partisanship. I had located core of opposition to a more rational and more humane bison management program to Montana livestock industry’s attempt to maintain cultural hegemony, but I underestimated the role of the Republican Party.

Testimony on all sides of the issue were given, but the hearing was quite friendly to change on the bison range. However, the most bison hostile testimony was made by Montana’s lone House member Republican Denny Rehberg. Rehberg used essentially every argument ever made against free ranging Yellowstone bison, including even such canards as brucellosis is a potential terrorist agent similar to anthrax.

Although he gave no formal testimony, the committee’s ranking minority member, Republican Rob Bishop of Utah, also struck a very hostile tone.

Montana’s popular Democratic Governor Brian Schweitzer was most cleaver [oops 😉 While he made the traditional bows to things such as Montana’s brucellosis free status, he portrayed the current management was one that wasted taxpayer dollars. These monies could be used instead to vaccinate the several hundred cattle the remain in the Greater Yellowstone area where bison might roam and to buy out the cattle grazing.

One aspect that amused me was the continual reference to Idaho and Wyoming losing their brucellosis free status. Probably more was said at the hearing about Idaho losing its status, than has been written by the Idaho media about the matter over the entire history of its loss. It has been a non-story in Idaho, showing just how unimportant is brucellosis-free status.

As usual, there was little recognition of what keeps the brucellosis infection going. It has nothing to do with Yellowstone Park or Yellowstone bison. It is the winter feeding of elk south of the Park in Wyoming where brucellosis infection rates are much higher than inside Yellowstone Park, and where the bulk of the transmission takes place.

Here is the story in the Jackson Hole Star Tribune. How to manage park bison? By Noelle Struab. Jackson Hole Star-Tribune Washington bureau.

House passes invasive species legislation

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed H.R. 658, the Natural Resource Protection Cooperative Agreement Act, by a large margin, 390-10. This will give the Park Service more authority to combat alien species that are invading the national parks.

Such legislation is needed for the entire country. Invasive species are as big a problem as species going extinct, maybe bigger.

Story by the Nature Conservancy.

Posted in national parks. Comments Off on House passes invasive species legislation

Wolves are finally completely delisted in the Great Lakes states

Wolves in Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin are now fully delisted. However, the state wolf management plans in these states are much more friendly toward wolves than what Idaho proposes and Wyoming (kill them all outside Yellowstone Park). Wolves in the Northern Rockies are NOT fully delisted and litigation is much more likely although litigation is possible in the Great Lakes.

Here is the story about Minnesota, the state with as many wolves as all the other states put together. De-listing leaves wolf management up to the Minnesota DNR. By Marshall Helmberger. Ely Minnesota Tower.

Here is info on Michigan and Wisconsin. Despite more gray wolves, killing them remains illegal. Associated Press. The headline is misleading because now wolves can indeed be killed in both states. No hunts are being planned, however.

A couple years ago, I was amazed to learn that killing the recovering wolves in both Michigan and Wisconsin was illegal, completely unlike Idaho, Montana and Wyoming where federal government killing of wolves was generous from the start and where for the last two years livestock owners have been free to shoot wolves harassing their herds, even though not necessarily attacking them. Note: Wyoming has long been the exception with only federal government killing because the State government of Wyoming refuses to make any concessions at all in its completely anti-wolf stance. Note also that despite ranchers being allowed to shoot harassing wolves and Idaho and Montana, almost all the wolf killing has been done by the misnamed federal agency, Wildlife Services.

Bush appointees “watered down” Greenhouse Science

The Bush administration ran a systematic campaign to play down the dangers of climate change, demanding hundreds of politically motivated changes to scientific reports and muzzling a pre-eminent expert on global warming, Congress was told yesterday.

Read the rest in The Guardian. March 20. “Bush Appointees ‘watered down’ Greenhouse Science.” By Suzanne Goldenberg and James Randerson.

Once again, another great expose’ by the new Congress.

Blue Ribbon Coalition Action Alert. Bridger-Teton NF and Boise NF

The Blue Ribbon Coalition is not one of my favorite groups because of their uncompromising stance in favor of recreational motor vehicles. They also try to get me fired every so often.

I do get their alerts to their members, however. Here is one very relevant to those who care about the Bridger-Teton National Forest, and another for the Boise National Forest. Do as they say, or more likely do just the opposite. Ralph Maughan

– – – – –

Dear BRC Action Alert Subscriber,

Attention Western Wyoming and Eastern Idaho recreationists!

The Bridger-Teton National Forest is working on their new travel plan and as part of that process they will be hosting three OHV Workshops asking the public to assist with development of alternatives to the current Proposal for a Designated Motorized Road and Trail system. A schedule of these meetings is listed below. The proposed system is available for public review on the forest’s website at http://www.fs.fed.us/r4/btnf/projects/travelrevision/proposal/proposal.shtml

The schedule and location of the OHV Workshops: Read the rest of this entry »

Buffalo Field Campaign to Testify Tuesday Before House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands

Here is the Buffalo Field Campaign’s news release on the big congressional hearings on Yellowstone bison management to be held Tuesday, March. 20.

– – – – –

For immediate release, Monday, March 19, 2007
Contact: Mike Mease 406-646-0070 or Stephany Seay 406-848-2130

WASHINGTON, D.C. On Tuesday, at the request of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands, Buffalo Field Campaign (BFC) representatives will testify before Congress on the status of Yellowstone’s wild bison.

The hearing is scheduled for 10 AM, Tuesday, March 20 and can be viewed live at: http://resourcescommittee.house.gov/hearings/hearingdetail.aspx?NewsID=36.

BFC will demonstrate that the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) is failing the United State’s last population of wild bison, which currently numbers fewer than 3,600 animals. The IBMP, signed in 2000, is a state-federal agency plan responsible for the harassment, capture, slaughter and quarantine of wild Yellowstone bison. Read the rest of this entry »

WY Game and Fish says far too many elk in herd just SW of Jackson

Here’s another elk herd in wolf country that is deemed too populous — Wyoming’s Fall Creek herd (just south and SW of Jackson)

On the other hand, there are too few mule deer in the Wyoming Range, especially the buck to doe ratio. Wolves are not tolerated in the Wyoming Range (too far south WY says).

The number of moose in the Teton Wilderness has made a comeback since a three-year closure of three hunting areas in the Wilderness was implemented. There are lots of wolves in this huge Wilderness along the south boundary of Yellowstone Park.

The point is, once again, there are many deer and elk herds inside and outside wolf country in addition to the Northern Range Yellowstone elk herd, which anti-wolf folks always point to with alarm. Hunting rules and the quality of the ungulates’ range are the major factors in the how the elk and deer are doing in terms of population.

Story- State to target Fall Creek elk herd. By Angus M. Thuermer Jr., Jackson Hole News and Guide.

Deal on migrating Yellowstone bison close. Park herd would have safe passage through CUT ranch

My, but the bison hearing set in Washington for tomorrow is already having positive results in Montana. What a different a change in the control of a congressional committee can make! Is a bison solution finally in sight after 13 years of slaughter and confinement to the Park?
Story- Deal on bison travel close. Park herd would have safe passage through CUT [Church Universal and Triumphant] ranch. By Matthew Brown. AP. Billings Gazette.

Idaho’s domestic elk industry avoids all regulation as even weak bill fails.

Sportsmen, conservationists, and the average Idahoan seemed outraged at nearly unregulated proliferation of “elk farms” and “shooter bull” operations in Idaho. Many bills were introduced into the Legislature in January, but they all died.

Given the weak bill left, perhaps it is best that it was finally shot down by a bi-partisan coalition of Republicans who wanted no regulation the Democrats who wanted to tame and sweep back the flood of these “farms,” or whatever they are.

Story in the Idaho Statesman. Elk industry won’t face new regulations: Anti-regulation Republicans, Democrats seeking more oversight combine to bottle up measure in committee. By John Miller. Associated Press.

Next up. . . . probably a try at a ballot initiative.

Posted in Elk, politics, wildlife disease. Comments Off on Idaho’s domestic elk industry avoids all regulation as even weak bill fails.

Finally, a Congressional Oversight Hearing on Yellowstone National Park Bison

Now under new management, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee in Natural Resources is holding a hearing on the Yellowstone bison situation.

The House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands will hold a hearing at March 20, 10 AM EDT. It will be webcast. Go to http://resourcescommittee.house.gov/hearings/hearingdetail.aspx?NewsID=3 on Tuesday and look for the webcast. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Bison, politics. Comments Off on Finally, a Congressional Oversight Hearing on Yellowstone National Park Bison

First signs of change at Montana Department of Livestock. Report by Buffalo Field Campaign

Montana’s Governor Brian Schweitzer has appointed four new members to the board that oversees this state agency that has been so hostile to bison. In the Buffalo Field Campaign’s report below, there finally be some signs the DOL might change. Should we get our hopes up? Read story. Read also about it in the Western Watersheds Project blog. The big news (see story elsewhere) is that House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands is holding a hearing March 20 on the wild bison of Yellowstone, so persecuted by Montana and now the Bush Park Service.

Here is part of BFC’s latest report.

Buffalo Field Campaign
Yellowstone Bison
Update from the Field
March 15, 2007
View BFC Video Footage:
Make a Secure Online Donation to BFC:
Why are they killing the last wild buffalo?
Receive BFC’s updates or press releases.
Send your email address to bfc-media@wildrockies.org with “sub updates” or “sub press release” in the subject line.

In this issue:
* Update from the Field
* BFC to Testify Before House Parks Subcommittee
* Earth in Motion: What the Buffalo are Teaching Us
* March 18: Drumming a Sacred Circle for Life!
* Last Words

* Update from the Field

Dear Buffalo Friends,

Spring has snuck up on us, arriving nearly a month ahead of her usual time. Throughout the Yellowstone region temperatures are rising, melting the snow and soaking the earth. Warm sunshine, little green shoots and a chorus of bird song make evident the changing of the season.

In West Yellowstone, there are still no buffalo outside of the Park. The few far-away bulls we were monitoring are out of sight now, with portions of the Park closed to all human activities to protect waking grizzly bears. Anxious for the buffalo’s company, we await the annual spring migration of mamas heavy with calf, accompanied by yearlings, young bulls and cows, who will head to cattle-free Horse Butte to calve and enjoy the nutritious grasses this massive mound of south-facing earth has to offer. Mothers, grandmothers, brothers, sisters, aunts and young uncles will welcome new members to the herd in the next couple of months. Read the rest of this entry »

Flathead National Forest to crack down on scoflaw snowmobilers

Just weeks after a snowmobiler was almost killed by an avalanche in Jewel Basin in Montana’s Swan Range, closed to snowmobiles, the Forest Service wants stiff penalties for those riding illegally in Wilderness and other closed areas. The increasing number of rescues and fatalities of these illegal riders is both dangerous to rescuers and expensive.

Law-breaking snowmobilers face crackdown. Billings Gazette.

Earlier story about the incident in this blog.

Here is a current, March 18, related story. Flathead National Forest snowmobile use likely headed to courtroom. By Michael Jamison. Missoulian.

Posted in Motor vehicles wildlife, public lands management, wilderness roadless. Comments Off on Flathead National Forest to crack down on scoflaw snowmobilers

Wolf density aids pronghorn fawn survival

I missed this important story earlier.

I wouldn’t say this is proven yet, but the hypothesis is based on the observed fact that wolves actively kill coyotes and reduce their numbers. It is also observed fact that wolves rarely bother with pronghorn fawns, but coyotes prey heavily on them.

Story in the Jackson Hole Planet. Wolf density aids pronghorn fawn survival. By Melanie Stein

After Killing a Record 2.7 Million Animals, Federal Government Hides

This is an important article over at Sinapu.

After Killing a Record 2.7 Million Animals, Federal Government Hides Of course Wildlife Services would rather operate in as much secrecy as possible.

“Birds constituted the overwhelming majority of animals exterminated, with starlings registering the greatest single species death total at 2.3 million. Mammalian carnivore deaths exceeded 101,000 and included 445 badgers, 1,918 bobcats, 397 black bears, 359 cougars, 75,674 coyotes, 3,907 foxes, and 191 wolves.”

As non-native birds that displace native birds, the starlings are no loss. It’s the native wildlife that angers people and the fact that you don’t know who is getting this government largess.

Interpack wolf conflict accounts for 44% of wolf deaths on Park northern range.

The northern range Yellowstone wolf packs are increasing fighting and killing each other according to this article in the Jackson Hole News and Guide.  If you compare the 2005 and 2006 statistics on Park wolves, you may be astonished to see that the natural death and out-migration of adult wolves from the Park has been close to 50% a year.

The more scattered packs of the Park’s interior do not suffer from this rivalry.

As Ed Bang’s says in a quote and I predicted 2 years ago, the Park wolf population has peaked and will likely never again reach the high number counted at the end of 2004.

Read  YNP wolves in mortal combat. By Cory Hatch

“Canned-Hunt” Bill to be even weaker than before

Well it looks like the Idaho legislature is watering down the already weak legislation which would regulate canned elk-hunting operations.  A proposed amendment would require ranchers to “knowingly” violate state law before the state could revoke their license.  Read the Statesman’s article… 

FYI: Pocatello 12 Public TV produced a video entitled “Threat to Idaho Wildlife: Game Farms” awhile back.  As a matter of disclosure – as the title suggests, the video does NOT claim to represent the pro end of this – but it’s an interesting discussion which represents some of the concern I thought some people might be interest inThe online version is available here. 30 min.

Posted in Elk. 34 Comments »

Under the Influence of Ethanol

Ted Williams has written a very interesting article on ethanol. 

“America’s corn-based ethanol program carries high costs in fish, wildlife and tax dollars.”

Check out Under the Influence of Ethanol on Ted Williams’ Conservation Connection.

Posted in Climate change, Fish, Wildlife Habitat. Comments Off on Under the Influence of Ethanol

State wildlife officials protest Beaverhead County mineral leases

The Billings Gazette has an interesting story on mineral leases that BLM intends to auction in Montana despite state wildlife officials protesting the move.  Gas developement could jeopordize quite a bit of habitat and “The development could undercut 100 years worth of conservation efforts across the state.” says T.O. Smith, fish and wildlife planner for FWP.  Read the rest of the Billings Gazette story.

OR wolf said to have been sighted this winter

A black wolf is said to have been sighted in the Wenaha Wildlife Area in Oregon and tracks found all around outside of Troy.  Ralph has posted in the past that There is at least one wolf in NE Oregon and Wild wolves again might be at home in Oregon.  This one seems to be in the same general area.  Read the AP’s story in The Olympian – or KTVB.COM for a longer version with more information.

Posted in Oregon wolves. Comments Off on OR wolf said to have been sighted this winter

Threatened Pygmy Rabbit Released in Wild

Here we have another species that ends up with the short end of the stick with regard to habitat conflicts on public lands.  

Picture: Washington Department Fish & Game

“EPHRATA, Wash. – Wildlife officials Tuesday released 20 Columbia Basin pygmy rabbits that were raised in captivity to a sagebrush-covered area of central Washington state where their ancestors roamed before teetering on the edge of extinction.”   Read More from the Register-Guard…

Gravity Abolition and Canned Salmon

Lawmakers revisit the lower Snake River dam debate and demonstrate the  change-up in Congress.  It’ll be interesting… Read the Statesman’s article

 From Western Watersheds Blog:

“The Idaho Statesman has an interesting article on a new bill that would study the economics of breaching four of the lower Snake River dams.  Idaho’s federal politicians are already fortifying with Idaho economy guru, Bill Sali, introducing a “sense of Congress” resolution – which promises to deliver an enticing analogy.  If Idahoans are lucky, C-SPAN will be there to demonstrate to the world a confluence of phenonena”… more…

Roundup Ready Alfalfa Not NEPA Ready

The Oregonian published a story involving a judge’s decision that federal officials had not properly assessed the environmental impacts of approving a genetically modified alfalfa seed for planting this year.  The claims are that the plants will pollinate conventional varieties of alfalfa. 

Judge Rejects Federal OK of Modified Crop  

Note:  More generally, questions persist about “Roundup Ready” crops and whether this gene might spread into native communities of plants, even weeds. 

Otter halts IDFG deer kill on Jones’ elk ranch

Here’s an ironic one from Wild Idaho News – 

Otter halts IDFG deer kill on Jones’ elk ranch

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter on Thursday questioned the Idaho Department of Fish and Game practice of euthanizing wild game that has come into contact with domestic elk, halting an operation on an elk ranch near Blackfoot.

“After reviewing the situation on Thursday the governor directed that all options short of lethal control be considered carefully before any animals are killed,” Otter spokesman Mark Warbis said. “His preference is to explore every other option that preserves the wildlife.”   [more…]

Scientists’ take on Wyoming Elk Feedlot – Wolf Scare

Perhaps many of you have heard of the WGFDs quick fire-off of the news release below last week.  The argument is that wolves are pushing/disrupting elk off of Wyoming’s large elk feedlots, brought about to entice elk away from cattle in an effort to prevent the spread of Brucellosis from elk to cattle.  We’ve seen Montana use Brucellosis to slaughter and haze buffalo, we’re seeing Wyoming use it to “manage” elk in high-density feed-camps and now we’re seeing it extended to justify inflated antagonism toward wolves.  

The Jackson-Hole News&Guide’s Cory Hatch wrote an article entitled State: Wolves disrupt elk feeding areas on March 7 which includes some biologists’ take on the matter.    

Alliance presents flawed interpretation

This article appeared in The Idaho Statesman March 3. 

by Rabbi Dan Fink  (rabbi for the Ahavath Beth Israel congregation)
   What does the Bible say about how to manage our state’s wolf population?  A recent Statesman article presented the perspective of the Idaho Values Alliance.  The group’s position is based on several verses from the book of Leviticus, in which God proclaims:  “If you follow my decrees, I will remove savage beasts from the land.  But if you do not listen to me, I will send wild animals against you.”  According to the IVA, this passage provides a scriptural mandate to hunt and destroy wolf packs.
   There are, however, several flaws in their interpretation.[…] Read on…


There’s been a lot of talk about ethanol as an alternative to petrol consumption – especially with the President taking some licks from Hugo down South this week.   The Idaho State Journal has an interesting article on biodiesel today, another alternative which seems promising.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m a fervent advocate of conservation first and foremost…

Read the rest of this entry »

As of today, western Great Lakes gray wolves no longer protected by feds

As of today, [western Great Lakes] gray wolves no longer protected by feds

“Lovvorn concedes that there is no longer the kind of anti-wolf sentiment that existed in the decades leading up to the animal’s placement on the endangered list.”

Perhaps some folks on this side of the country might take a hint?

IDFG Wolf Management Powerpoint

Here we have the slides from an IDFG  powerpoint presentation given by Steve Nadeau – IDFG’s large carnivore manager.  The presentation lays out data regarding wolf numbers, distribution throughout the state, and some basic tidbits which may help to better understand how Idaho intends to manage wolves. The presentation illustrates the intention to split up the state into management ‘Zones’ based on biological and ‘sociological’ concerns which will justify the establishment of “No Tolerance” zones. 

“Adaptive Management”, a technique we’ve seen to a larger degree with federal agencies – used to fuzzy the definitive lines of legal mandate, will be used to employ “focused aggressive but overall conservative” management of wolves.  Trapping will be used if needed to meet harvest objectives. 

We are going to have a guest editor.

Hey, it’s Spring Break, and I’m setting here typing instead of outdoors. This is WRONG!  For the next week we will have a guest editor.

He will have to approve the post of anyone who has not posted before (the post goes into a moderation queue first). He might kick some people off if they are unruly 😉

I want to thank BE for taking over.

Close Call For Alaska’s Famous Bears

Posted in Bears. 1 Comment »

Global warming and SE Idaho

The local paper had a big feature on the global warming issue today. The headline is a bit misleading. The article is an overview. It begins with the global-warming organization, I CAN, which evolved from a Bible study.

Group fights global warming. By John O’ Connell. Idaho State University.

Posted in Climate change. Comments Off on Global warming and SE Idaho

Salt Lake Tribune says wolf delisting premature

Editorial. Top predator, Wolf delisting in West is premature. The Salt Lake Tribune. March 10, 2007

Wolves may be pushing mountain lions into more marginal habitat NE of Jackson Hole.

This article is in the Jackson Hole News and Guide today. Although it isn’t firmly established, changes in cougar territory in the area near the Teton Wilderness may be due to pressure from wolves.

Jim and Holly Akenson have already found this to be the case in central Idaho (in Big Creek, deep in the Frank Church Wilderness). They found that wolves occupied the best habitat and cougars moved to the more rocky country. Read “Winter Predation and Interactions of Wolves and Cougars in the Central Idaho Wilderness” One caveat, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission, was compounding the difficulty cougar were having by encouraging a very high human “harvest” of cougar.

Anti-wolf folks don’t take into account the competition between carnivores and assume that all more wolves means is more elk or deer killed as prey in almost direct proportion. This is just plain wrong, especially when other predators are present.

Wolves said to disrupt winter elk feeding in Wyoming

“Wolves are causing a variety of problems on state elk feedgrounds, from spooking the elk and causing them to move from one area to another to killing work animals,” the Wyoming Game and Fish Department said. From Billings Gazette News Services. Read Article.

The entire premise of the article is wrong. There should not be elk winter feedlots! If the wolves disrupt the operations and chase the elk, so much the better, especially in the Gros Ventre River drainage (disruption may be a problem further south near Pinedale, Wyoming where the elk feedlots are near ranches and roads).

The article mentions that the wolves killed a feeder’s dog as though that was unexpected and terrible. Several weeks ago Ed Bangs sent out a much longer description of the event.

Bangs wrote: On the 23rd [Feb], Jimenez [WY FWS] examined and confirmed that a 8-month old male Catahula hound was killed by wolves on one of the Gros Ventre elk winter feedgrounds near Jackson, WY. The feeders stay at the feedground and had 5 pet hounds sleeping outside the cabin. The dog was killed about 200yds from the cabin. The other dogs are fine. The feeders had been previously advised that a wolf pack was visiting that feedground and their dogs might be at risk. No control is planned.

Did the feeders care about the dogs ? They were left sleeping outside next to an elk feedlot frequented by wolves, coyotes, and no doubt cougar as well. This is way back in the mountains, east of Jackson Hole, untamed country.

Wyoming Game and Fish is just plain irresponsible, and these “problems” are to be expected.

The wolves seem to be the only ones in Wyoming actually doing something to reduce the prevalence of brucellosis (by scaring elk off of the diseased feedlots).

Alaska wants helicopters to rescue wolf-kill program

State wants helicopters to rescue wolf-kill program. BEHIND SCHEDULE: Fuel costs, bad weather leave [“biologists”] far short of goal to kill 382 wolves. By Alex deMarban.
Anchorage Daily News.

With the state’s wolf-kill program severely behind schedule — costly fuel and uncooperative weather have grounded many volunteer pilots and gunners — game managers want state helicopters to come to the rescue.

What sorry news.  😉    May the weather remain bad and fuel costs rise higher.

Report on the Spokane wolf hearing

Wolf delisting draws a large crowd at public hearing. By N. K. Geranios. Magic Valley Times News

” ‘Many in the crowd wore buttons saying “More Wolves Less Politics,’ provided by Defenders of Wildlife.”

– – – –

More on the hearing. . .  Bristling kept under control at wolf talks. About 200 attend meeting about taking animals off endangered list. James Hagengruber. Spokesman Review

Did a cow get your elk?

Sometimes there are comments that are just so good, they should be brought to the front as a post.

“BE” decided to calculate how much cattle consumed compared to elk. Remember that these animals compete for forage on the range. Read on. . . Webmaster.

BE wrote:

Interesting facts for hunters who care about elk numbers:

Number of Idaho State AUMs (animal unit months) leased for public lands grazing: 225,000 AUMs annually

BLM + Federal AUMS in Idaho for public lands grazing: 1,800,000 AUMs annually

Total Public Lands AUMs leased for livestock grazing in Idaho (S+F): 2,025,000

Now, the USDA NRCS National Range & Pasture Handbook cites these relative numbers for AUM consumption:

Cow, dry = 0.92
Cow + calf = 1.00
Elk, mature = 0.60
Deer (m) mature = 0.20
Deer, (wt) mature= 0.15

So – an elk needs 6/10 of 1 AUM to survive for a month

crunching the numbers we find that in Idaho alone, the public lands forage being subsidized to cows could annually support:

281,250 elk or
843,750 mule deer or
1,125,000 WT deer or

various combinations depending on where you’re at —

this contrasted against the roughly 13,600,000 AUMs grazed on private land in Idaho (which we could put through the same model, but because these private lands aren’t supposed to be for all of us we’ll omit from elk/deer potential habitat calculations) demonstrates that public lands ranching in Idaho only contributes around 12% of the forage used in Idaho livestock operations (public or private)…

so – public lands ranching robs elk of forage which could sustain above numbers of wildlife – how many do wolves take?… (and keep in mind, wolves kill the weak, diseased, old leaving hunters with bigger stronger game with bigger stronger genes for the next generation of herds)…

elk hunters need to re-evaluate the forces squeezing out our wildlife – and if we authentically care about our kids having the same quality opportunities to spend with their fathers, grandfathers, mothers, etc. on the hunt, we need to be willing to face the facts rather than the red herrings out there.

Puffing Yellowstone hot spot raises Jackson Hole

Earlier I posted an article on the recent studies of the Yellowstone Hot Spot. Yellowstone’s Quiet Power: A Volcano Forcefully Shapes The Land, Even Between Eruptions.

Here is take the Jackson Hole News and Guide did on the study. Puffing Yellowstone hot spot raises valley. By Cory Hatch. The rising plume of magma to the north under Yellowstone is not, as some previously thought, causing the Teton Range to uplift further. Instead it is causing the valley below, Jackson Hole, into (toward) the Tetons.

Posted in national parks. Comments Off on Puffing Yellowstone hot spot raises Jackson Hole

Extra security planned for Spokane meeting on wolves

This story is from the Spokane Spokesman Review.  Was there extra security at the other delisting meetings.

Link to “Extra Security Planned.”  By James Hagengruber.

Note: the Spokesman Review  is a link unfriendly newspaper. Hope the link above continues to work, at least for a while.

US Fish and Wildlife Service issues instructions to biologists in politically correct method of discussing climate change

This is related to the proposed listing of the polar bear, something that has a lot to do with climate change.

The New York Times got a copy of a USFWS memo, and it shows the DOI’s continuing subordination of science to Administration politics — employees need authorization to speak about the issue.

Here is the article in the NYT.

About 50 people show up at wolf delisting hearing in Pendleton, Oregon

The next to the last wolf hearing was held Web. night in Pendleton, Oregon, a state that officially has no wild wolves, although most think one or more do wander the Eastern Oregon backcountry.

The initial news story reads like wolf supporters had a pretty good turnout. Story in the Oregonian. Breaking News.

The last scheduled hearing will be March 8 in Spokane, WA, although another, so far secretive, meeting is expected in Cody, Wyoming.

Record number of arrests in Yellowstone NP in 2006

Record number for arrests in Yellowstone. Jackson Hole News and Guide.

Conservationists issue Western energy agenda

Conservationists issue Western energy agenda. By Judith Kohler. Associated Press writer.

We know the agenda for the West from the Republicans — fossil fuel development forever, but the Western governors, especially the Democrats have had a lot to say lately about a new kind of energy development, and it could be pretty unfriendly to the land and landscape to the West too unless adjustments are made.

It is time conservationists spoke out beyond simply opposing various projects.

Related. Gov Fruedenthal calls for tighter wildlife protection. By Whitey Royster. Casper Star-Tribune environmental reporter.

As gas development in the Green River Basin of  Wyoming has expanded beyond all projects, even Governor Freudenthal is seeking some restraint and modifications

Posted in Coal, oil and gas, Wildlife Habitat. Comments Off on Conservationists issue Western energy agenda

Forest Guardians issue: Wildlands for Wildlife, not Cows

I thought folks would be interested in this because of the focus on the Southwest. I know a lot of people are celbrating the recent victory keeping oil and gas out of the famed Valles Caldera in northern New Mexico, but what they don’t know it that the public is excluded and this exclusionary semi-public land is supported by taxpayers who see little benefit from it.

  Frontline Newsletter Vol. 171 March 7, 2007

Wildlands for Wildlife, Not Cows

No Mas Lobos Muertos Read..

“V” is for Victory Read..

Down in the Valle Read..

Saving Spotted Owls Read..

No Mas Lobos Muertos

This print is all that  remains of M859, a male wolf shot in the Gila Wilderness just  months after he was released. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service—the agency charged with protecting endangered species—has increasingly turned from recovering Mexican gray wolves to systematically exterminating them from their only remaining population. The agency, which has been able to locate just 49 wolves on the ground, has killed six individuals since the beginning of last year. As this death toll continues to mount, the Mexican wolf recovery program has become a recipe for extinction. Because wolves are often removed due to conflicts with cattle, protecting the wolf is a priority for Forest Guardians’ Grazing Reform Program. Read on to find out how we are taking important steps to ensure this species’ success.

Learn more about the ecological impacts of grazing..

“V” is for Victory

M728 is one of the residents  of the Ladder Ranch on the Hermosa Allotment. If cattle are  brought back, this wolf may have to move out. In the struggle for Mexican wolf survival, every victory counts. In response to a recent appeal by Forest Guardians and others, the Hermosa Allotment will remain a wolf-friendly spot on the Gila National Forest. The Hermosa has been cow-free for over 13 years, making it prime wolf habitat and even a wolf release site. The Forest Service’s proposal to reintroduce cattle to the allotment would have drastically reduced the meaningful space available to wolves in their own recovery zone. Our appeal sent the Forest Service back to the drawing board by forcing them to examine the impacts from livestock grazing to all sensitive species on the Hermosa, including the Mexican wolf.

Learn more about our use of litigation to rein in destructive grazing practices..

Down in the Valle

Cattle graze on the Valles  Caldera Preserve, which is supposed to be managed for  aesthetics, wildlife, and recreation. The Valles Caldera Trust turned down Forest Guardians’ $25,000 offer to open the Preserve to people and wildlife instead of cows in 2007. By choosing low income grazing over high yield ecotourism, the Trust seems bent on losing money ’til the cows come home. Though the Preserve is supposed to be managed for aesthetics, wildlife, and recreation, the Trust won’t prioritize these values over grazing- even to turn a profit. Undeterred by the Trust’s rejection, Forest Guardians is dedicated to protecting the Valles Caldera. We will continue to put our money where our mouth is, and look forward to the day when people take precedence over cattle on the Preserve.

Learn more about our efforts to protect the Valles Caldera..

Saving Spotted Owls

Forest Guardians has filed a  lawsuit to protect Mexican spotted owls on the Sacramento  Allotment in southern New Mexico. After doing battle with the Forest Service over Mexican spotted owls for almost a decade, Forest Guardians is back in court with the feds to protect this species on the brink. The agency is mismanaging livestock grazing on the Sacramento Allotment in southern New Mexico, and harming owls in the process. The allotment encompasses more than 110,000 acres, and provides vital, protected habitat for the owls. Forest Guardians seeks to force the agency to re-consult with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service on how grazing is impacting both the owls and their critical habitat, and we’ve asked the federal district court to remove all livestock from the allotment until that consultation has been completed.

Learn more about our protection of Mexican Spotted Owls..

For more information, email Melissa Hailey

Forest Guardians
Forest Guardians
312 Montezuma Avenue, Suite A, Santa Fe, NM 87501

Forest Guardians preserves and restores native wildlands and wildlife in the American Southwest.


Forest Guardians

Posted in Grazing and livestock, Wildlife Habitat. Comments Off on Forest Guardians issue: Wildlands for Wildlife, not Cows

Hibernation is ending for Yellowstone area bears

There have been several very warm days, and the snow is melting fast. The first grizzly tracks were spotted on February 28.

Story in the Jackson Hole News and Guide. By Cory Hatch.

Update: I have been told by a local observer that the bears are out in the Madison Valley (near West Yellowstone) and in the nearby Henry’s Lake Mountains.

Posted in Bears, national parks. Comments Off on Hibernation is ending for Yellowstone area bears

Winter’s bad air still choking Utah: Logan, Salt Lake City pollution levels among highest nationwide

Because I mostly grew up in Logan, Utah, the fact that often has the dirtiest air in America (in the winter) is most discouraging.

The immediate problem is a strong inversion layer. The nearby valleys are snow-free and warm and Cache Valley (Logan) remains with snow and still air that allows the auto exhaust to build up. The longer term problem is too many automobiles, sprawl and lack of public transit. This is in a cultural area where they used to pride themselves on how well the towns and cities were planned.

It seems that only old-timers remember when planning was preached from the pulpit.

Story. Winter’s bad air still choking [Northern] Utah: Logan, Salt Lake City pollution levels among highest nationwide. By Judy Fahys The Salt Lake Tribune

Related story: “As you breathe the muck we Utahns ruefully call air, you might be wondering what your Legislature did to help clean it up. We are happy to report some good news on that front and give Utah’s lawmakers their due for passing three good bills.” Clearing the air: Legislature passed three good bills, dropped a fourth. Editorial in the Salt Lake Tribune.

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Winter’s bad air still choking Utah: Logan, Salt Lake City pollution levels among highest nationwide

The Idaho hearing on wolf delisting plan draws wolf friends, foes

Here is the story on the Boise hearing from the Idaho Statesman. Hearing on delisting plan draws wolf friends, foes: Activists fear money, will to protect predators are lacking, but state vows to manage responsibly. By Rocky Barker – Idaho Statesman. There are other versions of the story appearing on-line.

Tonight will be the Oregon hearing (in Pendleton). The delisting plan being proposed cuts out the likely wolf dispersion zone in Oregon. It’s almost like the USFWS was making a moat of non-protection around Idaho and Wyoming. However, the states does have its “Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan,”

Idaho Governor Howls for Wolf Delisting

This is a good story over at “Wild Again,” underscoring why Idaho cannot manage wolves given the current political leadership.

Idaho Governor Howls for Wolf Delisting. Wild Again (Sinapu)

Today is the Boise wolf delisting hearing

Most folks who are planning to attend, no doubt already know it, but this is a reminder.You will only be allowed to talk for 2-3 minutes, but the most important thing is to let the media know there is wolf support in the crowd.

Here is the schedule of the remaining hearings.

March 6, 2007, at Boise Convention Center on the Grove, 850 W. Front Street, Boise, ID

March 7, 2007, at Pendleton Red Lion Inn, 304 S.E. Nye Street, Pendleton, OR

March 8, 2007, at Oxford Inns and Suites, 15015 East Indiana Avenue, Spokane Valley, WA

In each location, the public meetings will be from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and the public hearings will be from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. A brief presentation on the Service’s proposal will be given during the public meetings at 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. and will be followed by a question-and-answer period. During the public hearing, formal oral testimony will be accepted. Written comments also will be accepted at the public meeting and the hearing.

Here are some talking points-

Today wolves are not ready to lose federal protection because:

-The Wyoming and Idaho plans will not protect wolves. Wolf management should not be turned over to states whose state wolf plans do not provide sufficient protections to ensure wolf populations will continue to exist.

-The FWS should not be including portions of adjacent states into the proposed area for delisting, especially where the adjacent states have asked not to be included. Washington State is just starting the development of its own wolf plan and does not want the FWS splitting off 1/3 of the state for differing levels of protection.

-Because wolves travel easily across state borders, protections in the Northern Rockies should not be lifted until all states (Wyoming, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and Montana) have wolf plans that can provide the continued protections wolves need to survive.

The boundaries FWS drew for including parts of Oregon and Washington don’t make sense for any potential wolf recovery in these states. The FWS has said the areas where federal protections would be lifted would be high conflict areas for wolves, but these are also the very areas wolves must travel through to recolonize elsewhere in the state.

-Robust wolf populations in Idaho and Wyoming are essential to return wolves to Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Utah, which are all part of the gray wolf’s historic range.

-Wyoming would allow wolves to be shot on sight in most of the State, and the Fish and Wildlife Service has rejected Wyoming’s management plan.

-Idaho Governor Butch Otter has said the state will seek to kill 75% of the wolf population; Idaho’s official position (based on Idaho House Joint Memorial 5 which prefaces the Idaho wolf Management plan) calls for removing all wolves from Idaho “by any means necessary.” Idaho has never repealed HJM 5. It is still official state policy.

It is not clear that current wolf populations are adequate to ensure recovery in the region. Human population growth, habitat development and disease (such as mange and parvo-virus) present ongoing challenges to wolf recovery.

Asian pollution drift across Pacific causing stronger winter storms in Pacific Northwest

Several media outlets have this story today.

Here it is in Scientific American. Another Asian Export: Stronger Pacific Storms: the tiny particles spewed by Asian industry have been strengthening storms over the Pacific for the last decade. By David Biello

Posted in Climate change. Comments Off on Asian pollution drift across Pacific causing stronger winter storms in Pacific Northwest

Idaho: Simpson, Crapo again push their wilderness bills

Representative Mike Simpson is reintroducing his Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act and Senator Mike Crapo his Owyhee Canyonlands bill.

Both measures failed in the last Congress, although Simpson’s CIEDRA came close to being sent to Bush’s desk.

Here is the story in today’s Idaho Statesman.Simpson, Crapo again push their wilderness bills. Lawmakers say getting legislation for Owyhees, Boulder-White Clouds passed will take a lot of work.” By Keith Ridler. The Associated Press

Both bills have stirred up a lot of contention amongst conservation groups, with some favoring and some opposing these “wilderness bills.” Many folks believe that both bills will have to become greener to clear the new Democratic congress. Some conservation groups, not to mention the many anti-conservation interests, will continue to oppose them no matter what.

I have a proposal as to how to think about these bills which might be useful for all sides of the issue.

While these two bills are often called “wilderness bills,” both measures contain many side payments to non-wilderness and anti-wilderness interests in an effort to gain their support or at least reduce their opposition. In reality, these 2 bills are a list of changes to the public land laws, not wilderness bills. Designating some wilderness is just one item on the list. That one item attracts the attention of the media, many conservation groups, and die-hard anti-wilderness groups like the Blue Ribbon Coalition.

I think interest groups would do better to list each item in each bill and assign it a + or minus score. For example a conservation groups might figure “over 300,000 acres of designated wilderness, +10;” “the wilderness is split by two off-road vehicle corridors, -2;” “public land is given to Idaho counties for development, -3;” “there is a voluntary buyout of grazing leases, +5,” etc. Each group could come up with their own score. If it is positive, support it. The more positive it is, work harder. The same is true for the negative.

Given that Congress is now greener, conservation groups should insist on a higher net positive score than last year. The additional positive points do not have to be immediately on site. They could be somewhere else in Idaho. For example, last year one payoff to off road vehicle groups was creation of a public lands sacrifice area near Boise, many miles from the White Cloud and Boulder Mountains.

On way of increasing the net positive score on CIEDRA for me would be more grazing buyouts in the general vicinity. To me the biggest problem in the area is livestock grazing in country not really suited for it, or country where grazing detracts more from the area’s value, than it adds in the way of the meager economic activity it generates.

If groups dropped their ideology for or against wilderness and thought about these bills in the way I suggest, I think a resolution might be at hand. However, as long as the groups stand on abstract principles such as “wilderness, land of no use,” or “wilderness, it most not be compromised in any way,” or “there must be transfer of some public lands to private hands simply because Custer County is already 95% public land,” this issue will go on and on and never be resolved.

“Sin City’s” water grab

“KT” has commented extensively on this blog about how Las Vegas is grabbing water from underground for hundreds of miles in all directions so that these environmentally misfit fountains, lakes, and square miles of commerce in the hot desert can continue to grow and grow.

Now Ted Williams has written about it in his blog. Sin City’s Water Grab. By Ted Williams. Ted Williams’ Conservation Connection.

The price the rest of Nevada pays for the Las Vegas water grab will be high, and given the designs of Las Vegas, the underground waters of Utah and Idaho may not be safe either.

Big Burns Vs. Forest Thinning

You have all seen those photos of forest fires that stopped abruptly when they reached a stand of thinned timber. That can be very misleading. There are plenty of times when the thinning made no difference, and George Wuerthner has some of these “politically incorrect” photos.

Wuerthner is on tour speaking in community after community about the realities of wildfire, and countering the years of political propaganda about wildfires motivated by agencies seeking big budgets and the timber industry trying to justify more logging.

I listened to Wuerthner recently. I think he sometimes goes a bit too far in other direction, but given the magnitude of the propaganda machine he faces, his occasional hyperbole is useful.

Thinning forests is not an all purpose way of stopping wildfiires, nor are wildfires necessarily bad. Guest opinion by George Wuerthner in New West.

Posted in wildfire. Comments Off on Big Burns Vs. Forest Thinning

The long life of one wolf [B7M] embodies the story of wolf recovery in Idaho

On Jan. 17, I posted my story on the death of Idaho wolf B7M.

Today Rocky Barker at the Idaho Statesman wrote a long feature article tying this very long-lived wolf (the oldest yet?) into the Idaho wolf recovery story. It is an amazing story! The long life of one wolf embodies the story of wolf recovery in Idaho. By Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman.