Court victory over Bush forest planning rules causes halt in Shoshone National Forest plan

The March 30 court victory settting aside Bush’s new forest planning rules, which trivialized forest plans, and excluded them from full environmental analysis, has caused a temporary halt in the progress of the Shoshone National Forest Plan in Wyoming. The Shoshone is one of America’s most prized national forests for scenery and wilderness.

Planning on the adjacent Bridger-Teton National Forest continues.

The court decision, Defenders of Wildlife, et. al. v. Johanns, which came on a summary judgment, has thrown confusion into the agency, and each forest is too some degree deciding how to procede.

One particularly significant part of the opinion, the judge wrote, “Additionally, because the 2005 Rule may significantly affect the quality of the human environment under NEPA, and because it may affect listed species and their habitat under ESA, the agency must conduct further analysis and evaluation of the impact of the 2005 Rule in accordance with those statutes.” This might provide some additional protection on the Shoshone and other forests for endangered species. However, the judge did not address the content of the new rules, only the flawed procedure by which they were promulgated.

Shoshone National Forest in the Absaroka/Beartooth Wilderness. Photo from Clay Butte Northward toward Montana on the skyline. Photo Copyright Ralph Maughan

Here is the story in the Casper Star Tribune, Ruling halts forest planning [on the Shoshone NF]. By Whitney Royster, Star-Tribune environmental reporter with wire reports.

Mislabled cougar photos cause confusion in Great Lakes States

You might have seen them on the Internet — photos of cougars stalking deer in North Woods of Wisconsin or looking at Michigan children through the windows. At least that’s what the captions to them say.

Sometimes things like a stray sagebrush in the photo reveal the truth that the photos were taken in usual cougar country in the West or even photo-shopped. Every once and a while, however, a photo seems genuine and makes scientists think a few have re-inhabited the Great Lakes states.

Read cougar photo intrigues experts. Green Bay Press-Gazette. Column by Pat Durkin.

Related. Are cougars back in Michigan? Scientists say they’re here but don’t know how many, where from. By Jeff Kart. Kalamazoo Gazette.

The Cougar Network is the best place to find out about these reports and which are credible.

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