May 9th is the deadine for your wolf comments!!


Comments on the wolf delisting rule for the Northern Rockies are due May 9.

One of the best summaries of what you may want to write is at the Sinapu blog. » Action Alert » Government aims to strip wolves in Wyoming, Idaho and Montana of their legal protections.

Idaho state government is very serious about making a big wolf reduction. It wasn’t just a one-day mouth-off by Governor Otter. Idaho Fish and Game recently had a “stakeholders” meeting where they wanted people to sit down and draw circles on areas where hunters would reduce the wolf population 35 to 40%. This is on top of an unspecified general wolf reduction to be carried out by the federal agency Wildlife Services (formerly more appropriately named, “Animal Damage Control”).

Conservationists refused to draw any lines.

Email your comments to Include ”RIN number 1018–AU53” in the subject line of the message.

The more detail you can provide in your comments, the better. The government has to take new information in comments seriously, and no doubt a federal judge will soon see if they have done so. Duplicate comments from a “click here, and send your message site” are useful, but nearly as good as an original email.

At our recent recent North American Wolf Conference in Flagstaff, AZ, a geneticist at UCLA presented detailed DNA analysis showing the genetics of the current wolf pack population in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming is excellent, but she also showed that with wolves limited to Yellowstone Park, inbreeding will increasingly take its toll. Of course, this is the true goal of Idaho Governor Otter and Governor Freudenthal of Wyoming.

Defenders just put up a video on YouTube starring Govneror Otter and that great anti-wolf rabble-rouser Ron Gillet.

If you would rather send in hard copy, the address is: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Western Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, 585 Shepard Way, Helena, Montana 59601. Include ”RIN number 1018–AU53” in the subject line of the letter.

If you want to click and send, here is Defenders action web site.

Posted in Delisting, Wolves. Comments Off on May 9th is the deadine for your wolf comments!!

Cut by loss of timber payments, Oregon counties curb services

Western Republicans should really take a political hit for this, although they probably won’t.

Idaho’s Senator Craig, for example, has been braying how he got money for the rural schools and rural county services (formerly dependent on timber revenues funded). The Bush Administration had wanted to do it by selling off national forest land around the country. A public opinion firestorm stropped that bad idea.

Because the Republican Congress failed to pass a budget for FY 2007 budget, the school funding was about to expire and the only legislative “vehicle” available that would stop these schools from running out of money was the military appropriations supplemental which President Bush just vetoed, claiming it contained a “surrender” date and “pork barrel spending” (spending such as this).

Now the funding is gone, and it won’t come back easily, if at all. How did Senator Craig and the other Western Republicans vote? Yes, to defund the schools and rural counties so the President could continue his occupation of of Iraq.

The New York Times tells part of the story in this article, but it is not just a rural Oregon disaster. Timber (and Its Revenues) Decline, and Libraries Suffer. New York Times.

The Challis Messenger tells the story more directly. Challis is about the most Republican place in Idaho, although they do have one Democratic county commissioner.

School, county road funding again in limbo. Challis Messenger. By Todd Adams.

Note that Custer County got far more than its share of radioactive fallout during the days of open air atom bomb testing in Nevada. Bush also vetoed the money for the “downwinders.” No doubt more pork barrel 😡

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Posted in Logging, politics, public lands. Comments Off on Cut by loss of timber payments, Oregon counties curb services

Wyoming Governor Makes a good Case to Protect the Wyoming Range

Gov makes good case to protect Wyoming Range. By the Casper Star Tribune Editorial Board.

Once the gas companies have a public land oil and gas lease, they have purchased not just the right to drill, but the right to develop; and now they have leases near the Hoback River on the Bridger-Teton National Forest.

To the local residents the gas companies low-ball the chances of hitting a big field, but as the editorial says, to the their investors it is a different story.

Former Forest Service chiefs say fire costs eating budget

The way it is going, fire fighting costs will eat the entire FS budget.

Congress does need to keep fire fighting costs in hand, but the present system could defund the national forest system entirely. This article goes well with Rocky Barker’s recent blog, which received some excellent comments here.

Note: this system was installed by the old Republican Congress which failed to pass a federal budget last year for perhaps the first time in congressional history (I don’t know about the 19th century).

Note also that the FS could easily win fire fighting money by letting some “high end” forest subdivisions burn because “they were out of money.”

Story in the Missoulian by Perry Backus.

Posted in politics, public lands, public lands management, wildfire. Comments Off on Former Forest Service chiefs say fire costs eating budget

Weather, fuel costs favored the lives of hundreds of wolves in Alaska

Alaska didn’t come close to killing the number of wolves it wanted. What a pity.

Weather, fuel costs favored the lives of hundreds of wolves. FEWER KILLS: State’s goal was 664 dead; reports put number at less than a third. By Alex deMarban. Anchorage Daily News.

At our North American wolf conference recently in Flagstaff, the Keynote Speaker was Dr. Victor Van Ballenberghe, a professor in Biology and Wildlife at the Univ. of Alaska. He has twice served on Alaska’s Board of Game. He explained the fundamental problem with the Board is their belief that the historical high populations of moose, caribou, etc. recorded in many areas of Alaska are the normal, usual and expected number. This problem is compounded by 1990s state legislation that mandates “intensive management” for certain “depleted” populations of ungulates deemed important for consumptive use by humans.

What the Board does is play on the natural sympathy for Native consumptive use in setting ungulate population targets, and then adds another generous portion for non-Native hunters.

These ungulate population targets are impossible to obtain. In an effort to do it anyway, the Board is now not only targeting wolves but black bears and brown bears over an increasing portion of Alaska (now 60,000 square miles).

Despite the reprieve for wolves this winter, the Alaskan campaign against all large predators is only going to get worse.

National Park Service to increase entrance fees

Story in the New York Times.

A big question is whether the fees will stay at the Parks, or will they be siphoned off, like the Forest Services fees, to do the bidding of industrial recreation groups who want to close minimal campgrounds and herd people into high end developments that separate them from nature.

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