Controversy over Bear Lake (Idaho-Utah) hydropower scheme

Proposed Bear Lake pump project has few supporters. Many worry energy project could alter the lake’s natural beauty. By Arrin Newton Brunson. Salt Lake Tribune, and

Local Environmentalist Speaks Out Against Bear Lake Hydroelectric Proposal.

Most folks in SE Idaho and Northern Utah are well aware of Bear Lake, a long and very deep lake straddling the border of the two states. It is also very close to Wyoming.

The lake has always had an unusual, beautiful blue color, and it harbors five rare species of fish. There is the Bear Lake strain of the Bonneville cutthroat trout, Bonneville cisco (unique to this lake), Bonneville whitefish, Bear Lake whitefish, Bear Lake sculpin (found only in Bear Lake).

Recreational use has been grown strongly in recent years, and the vacation home developments are becoming more and more intrusive. Resort plans take shape. Jackson Hole Star Tribune.

Currently, there is much controversy and local opposition to this pumped storage hydroelectric project. Fears are it could change the lake’s color and devastate the ecology and recreation as well as the local economy.

Bear Lake

© Ralph Maughan. Bear Lake, Utah. Photo is to the NE from the foothills of the Bear River mountain Range. the lake really is the amazing blue color in the photo, and conserving that is a big issue.

Delisting could keep wolves from spreading

Delisting could keep wolves from spreading. By Mike Stark. Associated Press.

Of course, that was Dept. of Interior’s goal in drawing the boundaries. Kempthorne, Bush, et al don’t like endangered species, nor any kind of wildlife very much unless it has been turned into a kind of livestock.

More. Let wolves live: Wyoming ‘plan’ is just senseless killing. Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

The plight of Yellowstone bison

I was recently in the Park. The snow is incredibly deep in mid-April (deep even for winter). It is snowfree, however, at Gardiner (typical — strong rainshadow). That is where the wintering wildlife migrate to and then north out of the Park. They all do it, except for bison it is an almost certain death sentence courtesy of the Montana Department of wildlife.

Here are some photos from my trip. Copyrighted by Ralph Maughan

Bison move out of Yellowstone Park
© These bison have just left Yellowstone Park (April 10, 2008). Like the deer and elk, they move out of the deep snow to the generally snow free area north of the Park (it’s in a strong rain shadow). But for bison, it is a capital offense.

About 75 left in a single file as I watched. They next morning, Montana Department of Livestock had all of them loaded into trucks to take to slaughter. This happens day after day. I was so sick that I almost went home.

Read the rest of this entry »