Kempthorne says he’s scapped big effort to eviscerate endangered species act

The Department of Interior’s plans to completely re-write the rules implementing the ESA were recently exposed by Salon Magazine. Now Secretary of Interior Dirk Kempthorne says he’s done away with that.

Nevertheless, the Department remains hostile as evidenced by its continuing efforts to delist the gray wolf in the Northern Rockies to unprotective state wolf management regimes. See the earlier story on how they caved to Wyoming.

Government Scraps Species Law Changes. CBS News.

Update (May 27). In an article about Secretary Kempthorne in the Idaho Statesman today this quote appears as the paper reported that Kempthorne has scrapped the plans to rewrite the ESA regulations: But White House officials, asked this week about the administration’s position on the Endangered Species Act, referred reporters to a proposal championed by ex-Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Calif., intended to give landowners more rights and reduce litigation. Informed of that, Kempthorne smiled and said, “That’s interesting.”

Big Lost River Whitefish conservation plan affirmed

Whitefish conservation plan affirmed. Plan approved by F&G Commission is specific to Big Lost River subspecies. By Jason Kauffman. Idaho Mountain Express Staff Writer.

The Big Lost River does not drain to the ocean or any other river. It sinks out on the Snake River Plain (actually it is almost always dried up by diversions long before reaching its sinks).

Because of its isolation, a sub-species of mountain whitefish has evolved, and it needs protection because of a multitude of threats (what is good for the whitefish will also be good for trout). Idaho Fish and Game Commission has adopted a plan, but it is unfunded and it needs the cooperation of the US Forest Service and BLM to work (such as keeping cows out of the hard pressed river and its headwater forks and their tributaries). In other words, don’t hold your breath.

The Western Watersheds Project wants more affirmative action to conserve the whitefish. They earlier petitioned for protection under the ESA as an endangered, not threatened species. Here is their petition. In the petition is a lot of information about the Big Lost mountain whitefish.

Posted in Fish, water issues. Comments Off on Big Lost River Whitefish conservation plan affirmed

More on the Montana brucellosis

While this article is a bit repetitive, it shows the evolution of the controversy. The Paradise Valley, in particular the Emigrant cattle ranch, seems not be the source of brucellosis. Some still suspect elk from somewhere, but some are thinking it came from infected cattle from somewhere else. Some folks who have posted have suggested this is completely a cattle industry outbreak, with nothing to do with the wildlife.

Cattle herd tests negative for brucellosis. By Scott McMillion. Bozeman Chronicle Staff Writer.

Governor Schweitzer is pushing his idea (although he did not originate it) that the Greater Yellowstone should be separated from the rest of State of Montana by the federal agency APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) in terms of brucellosis free status. They have the power to do this.
McMillion writes that Montana Cattlemen’s Association backs Schweitzer’s plan, but the apparently more powerful Montana Stockgrowers Association and the Montana Farm Bureau have criticized Sweitzer. “Federal officials have been lukewarm or nonresponsive.” Schweitzer said.

Hopefully, Schweitzer will repeat his earlier call to simply eliminate the few cattle that live adjacent to Yellowstone Park, but the cultural hegemony of livestock requires that people see Yellowstone and its wildlife as a negative thing, as a source of dangerous disease. That may explain the opposition of the more powerful ag political interest groups to his plan.

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Posted in Bison, Elk, Grazing and livestock. Comments Off on More on the Montana brucellosis