Lost River Mountains sure are pretty except . . .

. . . . when you look down at your feet in the meadows.

We went on a range inspection tour Oct. 2, 2007. We inspected the Pass Creek Grazing Allotment. The photo below shows a headwaters tributary of Wet Creek, an important Bull Trout stream.

The little stream (Pine Creek) gradually gained water — burbling and splashing along as it carried a fine mixture of mud and manure down from Pass Creek pass toward the Little Lost River Valley below.

The humps are long lasting features caused by cattle standing on a wet meadow.


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Judge Orders Pygmy Rabbit Endangered Species Consideration

This is pretty amazing because federal judge Edward Lodge of Idaho rarely rules in favor of conservation groups. Once again this shows how compromised the Bush/Kempthorne USFWS is.

News Release

For more information

Katie Fite, Western Watersheds Project, (208) 871-5738
Todd Tucci, Advocates for the West, (208) 342-7024
Duane Short, Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, (307) 742-7978 or (270) 366-3415
Josh Pollock, Center for Native Ecosystems, (303) 546-0214
Bill Marlett, Oregon Natural Desert Association, (541) 330-2638
Mark Salvo, Sagebrush Sea Campaign, (503) 757-4221

BOISE, ID – Wednesday September 26 Federal District Judge Edward Lodge of the District of Idaho struck down a decision from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that the agency lacked sufficient scientific information to warrant Endangered Species Act listing consideration. The judge ordered the Fish and Wildlife Service to reconsider this small sagebrush mammal for listing and to issue a new 90-day finding.

“Under this decision, the FWS can no longer ignore the plummeting pygmy rabbit populations”, said Todd Tucci, attorney with Advocates for the West. “The Service must put politics aside, and let science dictate the outcome of its review.”

The pygmy rabbit weighs about a pound and a half and can fit in the palm of a hand. This unique rabbit climbs high into the branches of sagebrush to browse on the leaves, making it the only arboreal rabbit in North America. Pygmy rabbits require areas of tall, old sagebrush, typically found in valley bottoms.

“The BLM in 2007 is still relentlessly mowing, chopping, burning and herbiciding pygmy rabbit habitats, said Katie Fite of Western Watersheds Project. “Remnant thick and old growth sagebrush is being destroyed in BLM and Forest Service projects dubbed ‘hazardous fuels reduction’ or wildlife habitat projects. In reality, these are the same as the old livestock forage projects that have already obliterated so much of the Sagebrush Sea.”

“Sagebrush dependent wildlife, from pygmy rabbits to sage grouse, are under siege from the dual forces of livestock grazing and cheatgrass-driven fires, turning thousands of acres of the West into a barren moonscape,” said Bill Marlett, Executive Director of the Oregon Natural Desert Association. Read the rest of this entry »

Wolf kills Labrador in Ninemile [Valley]

I made a brief note of this earlier, but the Missoulian did a full story on it.

The Ninemile Wolf Pack goes way back to 1990, well before the wolf reintroduction. This has happened before there. Of course, as time goes by people forget. Most years the Ninemile Pack kills a few livestock or pets. Every once and a while the government then kills a few of the pack.

Fortunately (from my view, anyway), NW Montana wolves are still classified as endangered and are not managed under the once-protective, now not-so-good 10j rule for the reintroduced wolves and their offspring.

Wolves attack dogs because they see (or maybe I should say “smell” dogs) as territory-trespassing wolves.

If a person is outside in the woods with a dog and he/she sees wolves following, they are interested in the dog, not them.

Wolf kills a yellow Labrador in the Ninemile Valley. By Kim Briggeman. Missoulian.

Arctic Melt Unnerves the Experts

Arctic Melt Unnerves the Experts. By Andrew C. Revkin. New York Times.

The rate of melt was faster than almost all the model simulations had predicted. What about the near future?

Rocky Barker’s blog: Roadless rule resolution may wait for next administration

Rocky Barker’s blog: Roadless rule resolution may wait for next administration. Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman.

Barkers writes about the latest chapter in the struggle over national forest roadless areas. This is a battle that has been going on since the early 1970s, but especially since President Bill Clinton gave an executive order to protect all remaining roadless areas over 5000 acres in size on the national forests and President Bush replaced it with a much less protective rule.