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.

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

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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?