Idaho Senate Resources and Environment committee meeting

Idaho Senate Resources & Environment committee meeting by BE.

Perhaps just my feeling, but this tells us so much about the players and their priorities.

Wolves and elk population/hunting in the Upper Clearwater (N. Central Idaho)

The supposed highly negative effect of wolves on the elk populations in the upper Clearwater River area of North Central Idaho has long been a talking point by Idaho Fish and Game and a number of local hunting organizations and public officials.

I predicted wolves would be blamed when the elk population dropped off in the early and mid 1990s. There were very few wolves in the area until about the year 2000, however. They certainly got blamed, however, as well as all other carnivoires. The non-agency biologists I knew said the problem was a severe winter, maturation of the habitat (back to like when Lewis and Clark came through and almost starved to death) and the spread of the noxious non-native pest plant, knapweed onto what winter range remained.

I got this information today from the Wolf Education and Research Center.

As far as the Lolo goes – unit 12 has had a population problem since 1985 – Wolves did not have a foothold (according to IDF&G reports) in the area until 2000
Unit 12 Total Elk Pop 1985 = 4767
1997 = 2667
2006 = 1658
Unit 10 on the other hand has had an increase in elk since 2003 with an increase in c/c ratio to boot.
Total Elk 1989 = 11507c/c = 29.9
1998 = 5079
2003 = 2643
2006 = 3452 c/c = 29.4
This is from IDF&G 2007 Sightability Report that I got out of the Lewiston [Idaho] office from Clay Hickey.
There has been an increase in hunter harvest in the entire zone (units10 &12) since 2000. IDF&G W-170-R-30, 05/06 Elk Survey
1998 total hunters = 1533 total harvest =277
2005 total hunters = 1590 total harvest = 329
Note that “the Lolo” is the part of the area which has been perhaps the most controversial. It is in Unit 12. Unit 10 is adjacent to the west.
Elk today numbers are not anything like the 1970s (when it was predicted this elk decline would happen). However, there doesn’t seem to be an obvious “wolf appearence” effect on harvest or numbers (both have increased).
I understand the South Fork of the Clearwater (Elk City) shows even more improvement for elk.

Editorial: Guv [Bill Richardson] quickly returns to enviro-battlefield

Governor Richardson is back in New Mexico after his failed bid for President and trying the repel the attack by Bush/Kempthorne and the oil companies.

Editorial: Guv quickly returns to enviro-battlefield. The New Mexican.

Posted in B.L.M., oil and gas, politics, public lands, Wildlife Habitat. Tags: . Comments Off on Editorial: Guv [Bill Richardson] quickly returns to enviro-battlefield

No bears for oil

“Why hasn’t the polar bear been granted federal protection? Maybe because the Bush administration plans a last-minute handout of oil leases on its habitat.” No Bears for Oil. By Katharine Mieszkowski. Salon Magazine (may require a subscription to read the full article on-line).

In a related matter, there has been some loss of interest by the oil companies in drilling the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge despite 25 years of trying to get in. Drilling in that country requires frozen ground (permafrost in the summer under the couple feet of melted surface soil). With the rapid warming of the Arctic, the area is turning into a swamp/marsh for a large part of the year.

3 malnourished cougar kittens killed at Pocatello, Idaho

There are a fair number of mountain lions in the mountains around Pocatello (where I live) and nearby. There is a story like this about every 3 or 4 years.

3 malnourished cougar kittens killed in E. Idaho. AP

Update Jan. 31. This action has not gone down well. There have been a lot of LTE against it in the Pocatello paper (these not on-line) and here in the Idaho Statesman.  Letters to the Editor: Cougars 

Park Service: Ely, Nevada coal-fired power plant plan ‘unacceptable’

The National Park Service has come out against the giant coal-fired electrical generating plant planned for north of Ely, Nevada. Now it and majority leader Harry Reid are in opposition as well as it appear local residents.

Park Service: Ely, Nevada coal-fired power plant plan ‘unacceptable‘. Elko Daily Free Press.