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.