Idaho wolf update July 12-July 27, 2008

The following report is by Idaho Fish and Game Department. It is put out once every two weeks. RM

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To:          Idaho Fish and Game Staff and Cooperators

From:        IDFG Wolf Program Coordinator, Steve Nadeau

Subject:    Status of Gray Wolf Management, Weeks of July 12-July 27, 2008

New: FWS – Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf Status (WY, MT, ID):  The U.S. Federal District Court in Missoula, Montana, issued a preliminary injunction on Friday, July 18, 2008, that immediately reinstated temporary Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountain DPS pending final resolution of the case.  This includes all of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming, the eastern one-third of Washington and Oregon, and parts of north-central Utah. The USFWS is evaluating legal options regarding the Court’s order and the ongoing litigation over the agency’s delisting of the northern Rocky Mountain wolf population.  All wolves in the southern half of Montana, all portions of Idaho south of Interstate-90, and all of Wyoming will be managed under the 2005 and 2008 Endangered Species Act nonessential experimental population 10j regulations.  The State of Idaho Department of Fish and Game will once again act as the designated agent for the USFWS in implementing day-to-day management of wolves under the MOU between the Secretary of Interior and Governor of Idaho signed January 2006. [boldface mine]

You may review past wolf weekly publications on our wolf webpage and links along with all pertinent and updated wolf information and publications at:


Holder (NPT) verified reproduction for a pack in the northern part of the McCall zone, but was unable to see/hear pups.  She then teamed up with D. Ausband (UMT) to conduct a capture operation on the southern part of the same zone; a subadult female wolf was caught and radiocollared.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ron Judd: My heart leapt a little. In a good way, one I almost had forgotten. Seeing those six wolf pups last week

Ron Judd. Seattle Times columnist writes about Washington’s wolf pack.

The Methow’s “Lookout Pack,” as it’s being called, is the first verified litter — emphasis on “verified” — in this state since the gray wolf was hunted to extinction in the 1970s. But the pack, living in the hills above Twisp, Okanogan County, probably isn’t the only one.

Do bighorn sheep roam Idaho’s rugged Pioneer Mountains!

Posted in Bighorn sheep, mountain ranges. Comments Off on Do bighorn sheep roam Idaho’s rugged Pioneer Mountains!

Agency makes it tough to keep tabs on animal kills

Wildlife Services has done away with easily accessible national tolls of the all the wildlife it kills for the livestock industry and others.  Now, you have to tally up the state tabs and do the math yourself yourself – carnivore “controls” keeps trending upward :

Agency makes it tough to keep tabs on animal killsAP

Oil smeared Alaska senior senator, Ted Stevens, indicted.

“Uncle” Ted Stevens, the uncivil, anti-conservation, senatorial spokesman for Big Oil from Alaska, has been indicted on 7 felony charges.

Bye bye to another real villain! He will lose general election or the primary, but he is going to be gone.

Kate Sheppard. Senator Ted Stevens’ (Non-) Environmental Legacy — And The Alaska Senate Race. The Huffington Post. There are many other stories about his indictment elsewhere.

Update. Look at this!!

Alaska’s Palin Faces Probe. Star GOP Governor To Be Investigated For Abuse of Office. By Jim Carlton. Wall Street Journal.

There was talk about Palin (being a woman) as McCain’s running mate.

Wyoming wildfires strengthen

Wildfires strengthen. By Cory Hatch, Jackson Hole News and Guide.

Although the unusually early California wildfires have cast a pall over much of Nevada and Idaho for a month, the wildlfire season in the interior is finally underway.

Posted in Wildfires. Tags: . Comments Off on Wyoming wildfires strengthen

Need a good laugh that isn’t funny? The Elk Vaccination Follies

Need a good laugh that isn’t funny? The Elk Vaccination Follies. By Bill Schneider. New West.

“FWP has doubled the elk quota around Yellowstone with minimal public input and is now talking about capturing 350 elk in the Paradise Valley to test the prevalence of brucellosis, which is commonly believed to be very low.”

Robert Fanning where are you to save the Northern Range Of Yellowstone elk herd now that it needs it? RM

Posted in brucellosis, Elk, politics, Yellowstone, Yellowstone National Park. Comments Off on Need a good laugh that isn’t funny? The Elk Vaccination Follies

States put wolf hunts on hold

Yellowstone Park fire closes part of the Grand Loop road

Fire burns 800 acres, closes road in Yellowstone. By the Billings Gazette Staff and Associated Press.

The powerline caused fire is near LeHardy Rapids. This is the first large Yellowstone Park fire of the season.

Anthrax strikes down 25 of Ted Turner’s bison

25 Ted Turner Bison Die of Anthrax. By Jennifer McKee. Billings Gazette State Bureau

Aug. 5, 2008, update. Anthrax on Turner ranch prompts road closure. By Jessica Mayrer. Bozeman Chronicle staff writer.

Montana DOL, so vigilant about brucellosis has finally decided maybe anthrax is a danger to people!

Outrageous giveaway to public land ranchers in Utah proposed

A push for a West Hermosa Creek Wilderness in SW Colorado

Outdoors enthusiasts pushing for creation of West Hermosa Creek Wilderness. By Dave Buchanan. The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.

A link to the Hermosa Creek roadless area at

The politics of firefighting: “CNN drops”

Air tanker drops in wildfires are often just for show. By Julie Cart and Bettina Boxall, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers

Rocky Barker: Ron Gillette’s anti-wolf drive only had quarter of names needed to get on ballot

Anti-wolf drive only had quarter of names needed to get on ballot. By Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman.

Barker sees Gillette’s new anti-wolf intitiative’s chances as dismal.

Update: Wolf petition is bogus. LTE. Idaho Mountain Express.

Forest fire threatens Red Lodge, Montana

The forest fire season has finally gotten underway in Montana, and the “Cascade” fire is a potential threat to the tourist town of Red Lodge.

Firefighters fear strong winds could send fire toward Red Lodge. By Molly Priddy Billings Gazette Staff

Update July 30, 2008. Wind shift somewhat diminishes threat to Red Lodge. Billings Gazette Staff.

Update July 31, 2008. Ski resort evacuates. By Brett French. Billings Gazette.

Posted in Trees Forests, Wildfires. Tags: . Comments Off on Forest fire threatens Red Lodge, Montana

Public lands as carbon sinks

When a lot of folk think about public lands and the value of these places to serve our efforts to curb global climate change they think development. They think of wind farms or solar arrays. If you think about it you can’t really blame them, that’s all they’ve had to think about – with the endless commercials put on by the big “renewable” industry (usually Big Oil patting itself on the back for diversifying), news reports, and politicians making every promise under the sun that the next shiny technology will save the day and let the public keep its wasteful habits. Unfortunately, this thinking doesn’t do a whole lot of good at reducing global warming gases – that’s because renewable energy technologies don’t replace fossil fuel power plants – thus far, they’re doing little more than to serve future increased demand for energy. It’s more cheap energy so people don’t have to think about how they use it. And the planning ! Well, these huge developments on public lands aren’t any good for wildlife either – usually they go where not a lot else has, opening that up has meant that some of the last critical habitat for many species is coveted by some of the largest economic power-houses.

When you think about public lands and the value that these places have to serve our efforts to curb global climate change I’d like you to consider a new idea that is as old as dirt ~ passive restoration. Yes, I’m suggesting that part of the answer might be to remove our footprint on those places we can – and in doing so – let the land catch it’s breath.

Read the rest of this entry »

Utah BLM isn’t responding to the needs of sportsmen

Utah BLM isn’t responding to the needs of sportsmen. By Dan Potts, Chris Thomas and Joel Webster. Salt Lake Tribune.

That’s because the BLM has been directed to focus on energy more than ever (it’s not they did much for wildlife or recreation in the past).

Posted in Coal, energy, politics, Wildlife Habitat. Comments Off on Utah BLM isn’t responding to the needs of sportsmen

Real estate slump is a boon to conservation deals

Several months ago, we discussed the land purchase opportunities posed by the current real estate slump.  Now here is a new article about the matter.

Real estate slump is a boon to conservation deals. AP.

Grazing on Washington state wildlife lands, and an ugly political deal by governor Christine Gregoire

Washington state’s governor Christine Gregoire (Democrat) open up critical wildlife lands purchased by the state to cattle grazing as a political deal — an effort to strengthen her reelection chances in a part of the state where she is a weak.

This much needed article in the Seattle Times makes that very clear.

What the article doesn’t say is that this “illegitimate political child” shows why she is weak in the area, and her cowpie politics won’t help her — she doesn’t have a clue about the economy or the politics of the area.

She must think half of the people around Ellensburg or Yakima are cattle growers or work in closer associated industries.

First of all, cattle growers are a huge minority of the population in the area. Secondly, they wouldn’t vote for a female Democrat from west of the Cascade if they lined up and told they’d be shot.

All this has done is ruin critical wildlife lands, purchased at great expense, have no perceptible impact on rural subdivisions (price of gas and mortgage availability are many time more important), and alienate her supporters.

Fortunately, the Western Watersheds Project has been busy fighting this insult to her own self-interest.

– – – –

Earlier on the Washington state wildlife lands cattle grazing-

March 27, 2007. Western Watersheds Project says it will sue to keep cattle out of Whiskey Dick Wildlife Area in Washington.

April 18, 2007. Another victory for WWP. Cattle turnout on Washington state Wildlife Areas stopped!

April 19, 2007. Photos and video of cattle in the Joseph Creek Wildlife area. Washington State.
Note if you like the song “Get the cows off our mother’s face,” you can find more from Tim Lengerich at CD baby.

May 14, 2007. Cattle vs. wildlife at Whiskey Dick Wildlife Area

Americans Don’t Believe Bush, Industry Claims on Gas Prices, Poll Shows

There has been some discussion about the rise in recent gas prices and its effect on public support to drill on public lands.  Polls are being tossed around and their results are as diverse as the questions – mostly we’ve seen Oil Industry sponsored polls suggesting widespread support for more drilling.

Ralph has suggested that respondents’ can flip dramatically depending on how a question is asked.  I’ve suggested that polls are often conducted with a normative rather than descriptive aim, e.g. with the shrewd political aim of generating short-term political capital to pass or stop legislation rather than gain any objective understanding of how a population feels.

In short, polls are as easily used as political weapons as social descriptors.  Obviously, the better pollsters go to great lengths to avoid bias.

One couldn’t cast a healthy dose of skepticism on Oil Industry polls purporting that ‘America’s want to drill public lands’ in good faith without imparting a similar suggestion to be thoughtfully critical of polls that claim otherwise.  With this in mind – some good news ! :

Americans Don’t Believe Bush, Industry Claims on Gas Prices, Poll ShowsYahoo! News

Evaluate the questions for yourself – National Survey conducted by Belden Russonello & Stewart

‘Only you’ can change how we deal with fire

Heath Druzin and Rocky Barker discuss fire policy, suppression and keeping your public forests manicured:

‘Only you’ can change how we deal with fireIdaho Statesman

NTY Editorial – A Stay of Execution for the Wolves

A Stay of Execution for the Wolves. The New York Times.

The Times writes: “This deep-set hostility has only a little to do with ranching. It is really driven by the competition between human hunters and wolves for the same game animals: elk and deer. And underneath it all is a false myth — the wolf as a kind of ferocious coward and an indiscriminate killer — that says less about the true nature of wolves than it does about human fear.”

Energy efficiency is the core climate change solution

Energy efficiency is the core climate change solution. Joseph Romm. Grist Magazine.

It is also the least expensive source of new energy, and it is the primary method by which demand will be satisfied regardless of all the talk and action about drilling or alternative fuels, just as was the case during the 1970s energy crisis. RM

Posted in Climate change, politics. Tags: , . Comments Off on Energy efficiency is the core climate change solution

Anti-wolf defendents can’t decide whether to appeal injunction

Foes of wolf protections discuss strategy. No decision yet on whether to appeal district judge’s ruling. By  Associated Press.

If they appeal, the temporary injunction could remain in place for 15 months or longer while the appeal being considered.

Trophic Cascade: Case For Wolves, Part 2

Trophic Cascade: Keeping the Carnivore; Saving the Forest. (Second of Two Parts). By Deb Donahue.

Folks certainly liked the first part judging from the comments. I didn’t know there would be a second part. RM.

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Donahue is a lawyer and public lands law expert

– – – – –

In case you missed it, here is part I.

Cheney had role in YNP East Entrance snowmobile decision

This web site has long condemned efforts to keep the East Entrance of Yellowstone Park open to snowmobiles because of its huge cost, running up to a thousand dollars per snowmobile.

Earlier the Park Service decided to stop keeping the entrance open to save money and for safety reasons, but it recently reversed itself (remind anyone of the reversal on whether Wyoming had an acceptable wolf plan?).

Political pressure was clearly involved, and probably included the master of it — Dick Cheney.

White House played role in Sylvan Pass decision. By The Associated Press

Smokey’s new ad makes ATV users angry

Rocky Barker writes how the Blue Ribbon Coalition (an off-road vehicle lobby) doesn’t like the new Smokey the Bear ad that says ATVs can start wildfires. This is true. Such fires happen all the time.

So do dirt bikes and full-sized vehicles that travel over dry grass. I started one once with my truck is days when the catalytic converters got really hot. Fortunately, it only burned an acre and one conifer.

Smokey’s new ad makes ATV users angry. By Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman.

Montana’s governor attacks Wyoming’s elk feedgrounds

There has been a sudden outbreak of rationality about elk and brucellosis. Good for Governor Schweitzer.

Feedgrounds under fire.
By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole News and Guide.

Opinion Bill Schneider: A Wolf Plan that Works

A Wolf Plan that Works. “It seems as if most people in the New West would prefer to see the wolf controversy resolved, and agencies could quickly do this. Will it happen?” By Bill Schneider. New West.

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Interesting. I don’t necessary agree. RM.

Here is an article on the same subject from today’s Casper Star Tribune. Breeding controversy. By Chris Merrill.

Buffalo Field Campaign Update. July 24, 2008

I’ve haven’t posted a BFC update for a while, and it’s time.


Update: related. State vet: Brucellosis came from elk. By Jennifer McKee. Helena Independent Review State Bureau
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Read the rest of this entry »

DNA tests confirm captured canids in Washington are wolves

The good news has now been confirmed.

DNA tests confirm wild gray wolves in Okanogan Co.. Associated Press (as printed in Idaho Statesman).

Update: there are 6 pups. So a North Cascades pack of 8 wolves!

Update: there are photos in this story. Long-absent wolves denning in Washington. Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Montana’s Board of Livestock to reconsider brucellosis “split-state” proposal

Board brings back ‘split-state’ status. By Matt Gouras. Associated Press.

Thank god! Let’s hope they adopt it. It is only one of the proposals they are considering.

Although oil shale method discredited, Bush pushes rules to develop

Bush proposes rules on oil shale development. Though energy retrieval through the process has been largely discredited, optimists remain. By Patty Henetz. The Salt Lake Tribune.

Folks might recall that Bush’s former Secretary of Interior, Gale Norton, the scourge of our public lands, is now a lobbyists for oil shale.

. . . . more . . . . Statement of the Center for Biological Diversity. On the Bureau of Land Management’s Draft Oil Shale Leasing Regulations. BLM Moves Ahead With Efforts to Squeeze Oil From Rock; Will Do Nothing to Lower Gas Prices.

Hmmm, guess I’m not very positive on oil shale. RM

[Idaho] Livestock leaders object to wolf relisting

Livestock leaders object to wolf relisting. Patricia R. McCoy. Capital Press

This article in a prominent ag newspaper says, among other things, that the Idaho Wolf Plan Plan went through 17 drafts and that the members worked hard and negotiated in good faith. Now those who didn’t like the product have litigated (bad bad!).

They don’t say the Idaho wolf plan was solely the product of the Idaho livestock industry with a couple of other token members. It doesn’t matter if it took them 100 drafts before they got their anti-wolf plan just right.

The members were: Jack Lavin, co-chair; Stan Boyd, co-chair; Ted Hoffman; Dr. Jim Peek, Bob Loucks
Cameron Wheeler, Laird Noh.

Except for Lavin (a Forest Service ex-bureaucrat) and Dr. Jim Peek (excellent), they were all anti-wolf, livestock people with Stan Boyd perhaps the most pervasive livestock lobbyist in Idaho. Read the rest of this entry »

USFWS reinstates rules following Molloy’s injunction

This news release was issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today (July 22) in the wake of Judge Malloy’s decision returning the wolf in the Northern Rockies to the endangered species protections of various kinds (from experimental, non-essential to endangered, depending on the area).

Those wolves in extreme northern Idaho and NW Montana now have the most protection. None of Wyoming is a wolf free kill zone anymore.


Here is the news release-

Read the rest of this entry »

Native Carnivores are scared from Parks by even quiet human use

Feverish natural gas drilling has wreaked havoc on West’s precious natural features

“The industrial takeover of the West is not about oil or the price of gasoline at the pump. Domestic oil production, in fact, has suffered from a shell game.

Nearly all the drilling on public lands is, in fact, about methane: natural gas. The booty at the wellhead is methane and stockholder cash.”

Natural gas drilling is hurting land. By Ed Dentry, Rocky Mountain News.

Bush/Cheney/McCain say “drill and lower gasoline prices,” but most of the drilling onshore in the West is not for oil, but for natural gas (which is mostly methane).

Trophic Cascade: The Case For Wolves

Trophic Cascade: The Case For Wolves. By Deb Donahue.

Missing lynx? Reintroduced Colorado lynx suddenly stop breeding

Missing lynx? Reintroduced cats suddenly stop breeding. By Dave Buchanan. Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.

Ten years ago lynx were reintroduced to Colorado. For a number of years there was a release of lynx each year, and it took a while for survival rates to grow and reproduction to begin. However, for the last 4 years large numbers of lynx kittens have been born and survived. However, the production of kittens has suddenly stopped.

Posted in wildcats. Tags: , , . Comments Off on Missing lynx? Reintroduced Colorado lynx suddenly stop breeding

Yellowstone Park superintendent talks brucellosis

More great wolf news, a confirmed pack in NE Oregon!

Yes!  Yes! The wolves are spreading out. First wolves were recently confirmed in north central Washington and now a pack in NE Oregon. Furthermore, they must be protected by the federal government because wolves in the area are now back on the Endangered Species List. They are also protected by Oregon State law.

Story in the Oregonian. First wolf pack in Oregon confirmed in a century. By Jeff Barnard . The Associated Press

News Release from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Contact: Russ Morgan, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, 541) 963-2138
Michelle Dennehy, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, (503) 947-6022
Rick Hargrave, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, (503) 947-6020
Gary Miller, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, (541) 962-8509
Joan Jewett, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, (503) 231-6121

Wolf pack with pups confirmed in northeastern Oregon

LA GRANDE, Ore.-A wolf pack that includes both adults and pups was confirmed in a forested area of northern Union County on Friday, the first evidence of multiple wolves and wolf reproduction in Oregon since wolves were extirpated from the state back in the mid-1940s.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Wolf and the Moose: Natural Enemies That Need Each Other

The Wolf and the Moose: Natural Enemies That Need Each Other. Scientific American. By Adam Hadhazy.

This is about the 50-year study of moose and wolves on Isle Royale National Park in Lake Superior. The wolves have not wiped out the moose despite the island being a very simple ecosystem, and in fact should the wolves perish, the moose population will be destroyed by overpopulation.

External environmental effects are creeping onto Isle Royale, and I would not be surprised if these two species do vanish in the near future.

Posted in Moose, Wolves, Wolves and prey. Tags: . Comments Off on The Wolf and the Moose: Natural Enemies That Need Each Other

Various stories on the big wolf lawsuit injunction

Of course, media coverage has been intense. Here are a number of stories that hopefully provide a variety of viewpoints.

Regional stories and editorials-


Judge orders wolf relisting. Casper Star Tribune.
Judge restores wolf protection. Jackson Hole News and Guide


Wolves again have federal protection. By Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman.
Back to square one with wolves. By Nate Poppino. Times-News


Molloy restores ESA protection for wolves. By Matthew Brown, Associated Press and the Missoulian
Wolf Protections Restored in Northern Rockies, Hunting Halted. By Peter Metcalf. New West.


Judge Returns Gray Wolves to Endangered List. By Felicity Barringer. New York Times.
Gray wolves get back their endangered species status, for now. Los Angeles Times.


Federal Judge Orders Endangered Species Act Protections Reinstated for Grey Wolves – At Least For Now. The Questionable Authority. By Mike Dunford.

District Judge Reverses Gray Wolf Delisting Throughout Northern Rockies. News release from Defenders of Wildlife.
The long road to victory for wolves.
By Louisa Willcox. NRDC

Barker says, “I blew it.”

Rocky Barker had predicted a day earlier that the plaintiffs in the case were not likely to get an injuction.

Molloy puts wolves back on the endangered species list. Rocky Barker. Letters from the West. Idaho Statesman.

Are the ways forest fires are fought and prevented wise?

As summer advances, debate over the handling of forest fires, is one again on the front burner.

Are the ways forest fires are being fought and prevent “firewise?By Heath Druzin and Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman. “We spend billions attacking almost every wildfire, but scientists say that’s bad for the forest, can put firefighters in unnecessary danger and doesn’t protect communities as well- or as cheaply – as we now know how to do.”

Reporters Druzin and Barker cite USDA’s inspector general who concludes that too many Americans who live to areas prone to forest fires do not join with their neighbors and/or accept personal responsibility to construct and landscape their homes in a way to reduce the danger of being burned in a wildfire. This is due in considerable measure to the federal effort to put out every fire and throw billions into wildfire suppression with no constraints.

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I believe their has been a decline in personal responsibility, but then I might be criticized as sounding cranky.

Note: please read the sidebar on rangefires. They are quite different the forest fires, and there are far too many of them. The result and the cause is mostly the spread of the flammable exotic cheatgrass.

Don’t write to Judge Molloy !!

Dear blog readers, this decison came when I was out of town and just barely had an Internet connection. I am back home now.

I see number of folks have said they will contact the judge and thank him.  I appreciate the sentiment. However, it must be understood that under the law, any comments, arguments, or evidence can only be submitted by the parties to the lawsuit.  This allows other parties to the lawsuit to contest any submissions.  Any letters to a judge about a case from nonparties are inappropriate.

Washington wolves are confirmed. Two are captured

WA biologists capture two wolves. “Washington state Fish and Wildlife biologists and wolf experts from Idaho captured what they believe are two wolves Friday in western Okanogan County, a development that could confirm the first wolf pack in Washington since the animals were eradicated decades ago.” By Shannon Dininny.  Associated Press Writer.

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More great news! What appear to be native wolves are now confirmed in Washington state. DNA testing is being done, but it is unlikely there are hybrids. One wolf is lactating. These animals are not near by the Idaho border, but in north central Washington state.

Giant victory on wolves!!

The state wolf plans have been enjoined by Montana federal district judge Molloy. The wolves are returned to the endangered species list.

We got the news by cell phone while up in central Idaho. It appears to be a giant victory.

Here is the brief AP story. Judge restores protection for N. Rockies wolves. By MATTHEW BROWN.

More . . . .

Update: For those interested ~ The Order ~ be

Quote from the decision :

Congress does not intend agency decision-making to be fickle. When it is, the line separating rationality from arbitrariness and capriciousness is crossed.

Important note:

Read the rest of this entry »

Rey gives some answers on Plum Creek maneuvers

Rey gives some answers on Plum Creek land maneuvers. Senator Tester gives a small amount of restrained praise. Missoulian. By Michael Jamison.

Mark Rey has given a few answers on the closed door deal with Plum Creek timber and his (Forest Service) granting of road easements.

White House puts warming threats on back burner

White House puts warming threats on back burner. It rejects the EPA staff’s findings on greenhouse gases and passes the issue on to the next president. By James Gerstenzang and Janet Wilson, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers.

– – – –

Bush’s popularity is falling towards 20%; nothing can be done. Let’s face it, the Constitution needs to be amended to provide for the replacement of a failed President before the end of his term.

Most other democratic nations allow for “votes of no confidence,” and a new prime minister (probably from the other party or parties) can be brought in with a new cabinet to take over and move in a new direction.

Ralph Maughan

Suit to uncover human hazards of federal wildlife eradication

For Immediate Release: July 16, 2008
Contact: Carol Goldberg (202) 265-7337

SUIT TO UNCOVER HUMAN HAZARDS OF FEDERAL WILDLIFE ERADICATION — Secret Agency Review of Poisonings, Crashes, Explosions and Terror RisksPEER :

Washington, DC — What you don’t know surely can hurt you is the theory behind a lawsuit filed today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) against the federal agency which kills “nuisance” wildlife to force release of information about the inadvertent dangers of its activities to humans. The lawsuit seeks documentation on perils posed by agency operations ranging from stockpiles of high-powered poisons to airplane crashes during aerial coyote hunts.

The agency is Wildlife Services, an obscure, euphemistically-named arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which spent $108 million to kill more than 1.6 million animals in 2006, the latest year for which figures are available. Wildlife Services acts as an all-purpose exterminator for ranchers, farmers, and others by engaging in “lethal removal” of a Noah’s Ark of animals spanning the alphabet from armadillos and beavers to vultures, weasels, and wolves.

Read the rest of this entry »

Druid pups cause great excitement crossing Soda Butte Creek

This is another great report by Kathie Lynch.

Unfortunately, it looks like wolf watching in the Park might now be pretty slow until autumn.

Ralph Maughan

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Yellowstone wolf field notes, July 8 -10. By © Kathie Lynch

The Druid Peak pack finally moved their pups to their rendezvous site! The action happened over three evenings, July 8-10, to the delight of the overflow crowd of watchers in the Footbridge turnout, at the south end of the Soda Butte Valley.

With all of the confusion of pups running helter skelter and struggling to swim Soda Butte Creek, we are still unsure as to exactly how many Druid pups there are. While the highest count by the Wolf Project plane was 14, watchers think there are perhaps as many as18 pups, or maybe even more. With 16 adults, and, hopefully, good pup survival, the Druids are definitely back!

Read the rest of this entry »

Heedless rush by Bush on oil shale (opinion by Senator Ken Salazar)

We’ve seen this heedless rush to oil shale before, just ahead of the inevitable bust. By Senator Ken Salazar. Salt Lake Tribune (reprinted from the Washington Post).

Salazar is a U.S. Senator from Colorado, the state where much of the oil shale lies.

Idaho Fish and Game rules on two of three recent wolf killings

Under Idaho’s you-can-shoot-a-wolf-for-worrying-your-cow-dog-or-whatever law, Idaho Fish and Game has ruled that 2 of 3 shootings were justified.

It says a third is still under investigation.


According to rumors in Stanley, the third was a shooting of a Basin Butte wolf that came down to where the pack regularly hunted ground squirrels only to find the pasture filled with trucked in cattle. The wolf was shot while standing in the vicinity of the cattle.

There has also been a kill order out for another Stanley area pack, the Galena Pack, for allegedly killing a cow calf. This pack too stays low under later in the summer so it can hunt ground squirrels. The Idaho Fish and Game regional manager ordered one wolf taken.

I called him and suggested that instead the pack should have been hazed to its summer range in the higher elevations of the White Cloud Mountains.

After spending several days trying to trap a wolf, our observers noted WS has left the area. Whether they got a wolf is unknown. They may be coming back with aircraft gunships. The cost for the revenge killing of one calf??

Decisions on wolf killing in Idaho have been devolved from the state’s large carnivoire manager, Steve Nadeau to the F & G regional managers; although I get the impression that the federal agency Wildlife Services [as in wildlife killing] makes the call and the regional managers probably rubberstamps WS’s decision.

Same old for 20 more years on most WY Game and Fish elk feedgrounds

The Forest Service did deny the expansion in size of several of them and has imposed a few restrictions.

The Muddy Creek feedlot was the source of infection of elk to brucellosis several years back when Wyoming first lost its brucellosis free status.

Story. Elk feed areas get 20 years. Forest supervisor rejects additions to Fish Creek and Patrol Cabin in Gros Ventre. By Cory Hatch.  Jackson Hole News and Guide.

House passes the FLAME Act

“Diary of a Mad Voter: Joan McCarter”  Wildfires: House Passes Proactive (Really?) FLAME Act

“When it comes to being forward thinking, proactive and strategically-thinking, the last organization that comes to mind is Congress. But this time, with the FLAME Act, they’ve done it.”

By Joan McCarter, New West. 7-15-08

McCarter argues, correctly I think, that the Bush Administration has used wildlifes to starve the Forest Service budget so there is nothing left for recreation, wildlife, etc.

They do it by requesting a meager amount to fight fires. Then when the fire fighting costs “unexpectedly” exceed the appropriations, they take the money out of other Forest Service accounts.

Congress may put an end to this Administration effort to destroy the Forest Service.

Bush On The Environment: Top 5 Stupidest Things Said Today

Bush On The Environment: Top 5 Stupidest Things Said Today. By Olivia Zaleski. Huffington Post.
Five stupid (or at least) wrong things about the President’s plan to increase oil leasing on the public lands (sea bed) off shore.

Ninth Circuit orders Bureau of Land Management to evaluate wilderness values on public lands

Brent Fenty 541-330-2638
Jon Marvel 208-788-2290

Ninth Circuit orders Bureau of Land Management to evaluate wilderness values on public lands

PORTLAND, ORE. — The Bureau of Land Management must rewrite its land use plan for southeast Oregon due to a landmark decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday. The BLM wrongly refused to evaluate impacts to wilderness values on the public lands in the challenged plan, according to the decision, which overturned a district court decision upholding the plan.

The ruling will have a profound impact on BLM’s management of the public lands it is charged with protecting. The court specifically rejected BLM’s disavowal of “the very idea of wilderness” as one of many resources and values for which the agency must manage. Finding that the law, including BLM’s own guidance documents, unmistakably requires BLM to analyze impacts to a landscape’s wilderness characteristics, the court vacated the plan and ordered BLM prepare a new plan.

Read the whole Press Release

UPDATE: Read a Copy of the Decision

Can Las Vegas water grab of Spring Valley still be defeated?

Perhaps it’s not a done deal. We will soon see.

Forces set to resist bid for rural water. Snake Valley — and its ranches, tribes and park — has chance of defeating Water Authority request. By Phoebe Sweet. Las Vegas Sun.

Wheeler Peak in the distance from a spring in Spring Valley, Nevada

Wheeler Peak in the distance from a spring in Spring Valley, Nevada. Copyright © Ralph Maughan

Logging industry is misleading us on forest fires and global warming

The following “guest essay” in New West is by Dr. Chad Hanson,  a Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of California at Davis.

My view is that the logging industry has always used forest fires to try to stampede people into supporting policies that are bad for the forests, the environment, and most people except the logging company executives.

Logging Industry Misleads on Climate and Forest Fires. By Chad Hanson, Ph.D. New West.

The net effect of most logging is to increase the release of greenhouse gases.

Regrowth after a forest fire results in more update in carbon dioxide than regrowth after logging.

Posted in Logging, politics, Trees Forests, wildfire, Wildlife Habitat. Comments Off on Logging industry is misleading us on forest fires and global warming

History and Recovery of Yellowstone grizzly bears: a complete story

The latest issue of Yellowstone Science is completely devoted to articles (five) about the management of Yellowstone grizzly bears from the era of garbage dump bears, desperate bears after the dumps were closed, listing as a threatened species, recovery, delisting and current management.

The issue is filled with photos and interesting tables and graphs. For the grizzly enthusiast, this issue is a must. For example it even has a long discussion of the August 2007 “adoption” of 2 grizzly COY (cubs of the year) by another female grizzly.

Part I of the issue.

Part 2 of the issue.

NYT editorial: Keeping the Reserve in Conservation

Efforts to open up the CRP lands for renewed farming is one of the most damaging proposals in a long time, and we will see the sad results quickly in increased soil erosion, dust storms, and disappearnce of wildlife.  Then there is many billions of dollars paid over the years for this down the drain.

Pressure to open these lands is another sad effect of the mandate to push for corn-derived ethanol.

Editorial: New York Times. Keeping the Reserve in Conservation [Reserve Program]

Earlier on this blog. Judge halts USDA’s cattle-grazing plans on Conservation Reserve Program lands

Tourists not to blame in death of aggressive YNP black bear

Yellowstone Park: Tourists not to blame in bear death. By Noah Brenner. Jackson Hole News and Guide.

Results of 2008 Yellowstone wolf radio collaring

Every year I have published the detailed results of the annual radio collaring of Yellowstone wolves — wolf number, color, weight, pack, the status of the wolf (such as alpha male).

I was slow to do it this year. Those of you who prompted me to get to it . . . thank you!

Here is a pdf file I converted from a spreadsheet.

Wolf radio collaring data for Yellowstone Park, 2008

There don’t seem to be any of those legendary 200 pound “Canadian” monsters of anti-wolf legend. Most of the wolves are 90-100 pounds (note: a kilogram – 2.2 pounds).

Two wolves were 55 kilograms (about 120 pounds). One of these was amazing Yellowstone Delta wolf 126F, the alpha female and one of the oldest wolves in the Park.

The Hayden Pack’s famous “black pup” had grown to 110 pounds by the time he was captured and weighed.

Bush’s hand-picked Sporting Conservation Council fails to follow script

It was supposed to produce results Gale Norton and the President liked. Packed with groups like the National Rifle Association and Safari Club International, Sporting Conservation Council has just issued a report condeming the effects of the Administration on wildlife habitat in wetlands and energy development.

Hunt report hits leasing. Jackson Hole News and Guide. By Cory Hatch.

Howls in Okanogan area signal of wolves’ return?

Wildlife managers are excited by more evidence of a wolf pack in Washington on the west side of Highway 97 ~ still federally protected.

Howls in Okanogan area signal of wolves’ return? Seattle Times

Groups sue to stop drilling in Colorado

Ten environmentalist groups are stepping up to the plate and litigating BLM’s decision to allow drilling of one of so many of the West’s beautiful public lands recently put up to the chopping block :

Enviros sue to block Roan drilling leasesDenver Business Journal

Judge halts USDA’s cattle-grazing plans on Conservation Reserve Program lands

The Conservation Reserve Project has removed many millions of marginal and sub-marginal lands from agricultural production over the last 20 years or so. It has had an enormous beneficial effect on water quality and wildlife habitat in some places. Southeast Idaho, where I live is one of the most important places to benefit.

On the other hand, the monetary payments to these nonproducing farmers have been enormous. As George Wuerthner has pointed out many times, the land could have purchased and become public land easily for the amount of money paid to the owners who voluntarily sign up for this program.

Another one of the irritating aspects of the program is the tendency for various Administrations, including the current one, to open these lands to grazing where there is a drought, or in the present case, simply high food prices. This pretty much defeats the expensive CRP’s purpose.

Fortunately, U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour has just issued and injunction that could stop the renewed grazing on 24 million acres of CRP lands around the U.S.

Story in the Seattle Times. The injunction ordered Tuesday by U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour could affect 24 million acres of conservation lands across the country.

And here is some potentially very bad news. Farmers are pressuring to be let out of their CRP contracts because of the artificially high price of corn that has been created by mandates to produce ethanol from corn. USDA Rule Change May Lead To Crops on Conserved Land. By Joel Achenbach. Washington Post.

These lands were taken out of production because they are generally hilly with soils that flow away with the first rain. Corn is one of the very worst crops in terms of erosion. It is plain to see that corn simply cannot hold the soil in place. Add this then as yet another cost of corn ethanol.

Many people are blaming the huge midwest floods on the land use practices in the area, aggrevated by planting of more corn — this is the kind of additional cost we are talking about.

More on Plum Creek timber: The New Colonialism. Our Forest Legacy

The New Colonialism. Our Forest Legacy. The Flathead Beacon. The Plum Creek matter is a growing issue. Here is another article.

George Wuerthner recommended a link to this article.

Rocky Barker: Yellowstone ’88 fires retrospective moves into high gear

Yellowstone 88 fires retrospective moves into high gear. Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman.

Rocky has written a huge amount of copy over the years about the Yellowstone fires of ’88 and forest fire policy in general.

Posted in wildfire, Yellowstone, Yellowstone National Park. Tags: . Comments Off on Rocky Barker: Yellowstone ’88 fires retrospective moves into high gear

Bush admin opposes federal compensation for losses to wolves

Bush admin opposes federal pay for wolf kills. By Mary Clare Jalonick.  Associated Press Writer

We reported earlier on this when Senators Testor (D-MT) and Barrasso (R-WY) introduced the bill.

The administration’s position complicates things with Defenders getting out of the compensation business, which makes sense to me because they got almost no credit from the politicians for their efforts.

Microburst downs thousands of conifers near Stanley, Idaho

Microburst downs thousands of trees at Redfish Lake. ‘A miracle that no one was killed’ during mountain wind event. By Greg Stahl.  Idaho Mountain Express.

This happened on July 3. There were thousands of people in the area.

California wildfires bring haze to region

California wildfires bring haze to region. By Chelsi Moy of the Missoulian

It looked like this might be the first summer in quite a while that Idaho, Utah, and Montana skies would not be filled with forest fire smoke, then an unusual lightning storm hit California setting hundreds of fires; most still burning.

One day it will be clear then pretty hazy as the winds shift and pump the smoke into one or more of these states.

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Related story. Monsoonal moisture dampens Arizona’s fire season. By John Faherty. The Arizona Republic. Arizona’s fire season is generally early — April through June. Then in most years heavy flow of moisture from the south reduces or ends the fires. It is happening this year.

Obama lambastes closed-door Plum Creek land talks

Yesterday, we discussed this massive burden Mark Rey has just dropped on Montana counties in the form of access to remote second home sites. This is an indication that Obama may be good on land use issues.

Earlier he blasted the Cline Mine and related proposals in British Columbia that threaten Montana’s Flathead River and Glacier National Park.

Obama lambastes closed-door Plum Creek land talks. By Jennifer McKee. Missoulian State Bureau

July 10 more . . . Plum  Creek — a low-hanging fruit. Obama Chimes In on Plum Creek, Forest Service Agreement. By Matthew Frank. New West.

Groups file suit over wolverine protection U.S. wolverines face threats from climate change, other factors, conservation groups say

Groups file suit over wolverine protection. U.S. wolverines face threats from climate change, other factors, conservation groups say. By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole News and Guide.

Once again the Bush Administration is arguing that the wolverine is not threatened everywhere, so it needs no ESA protection. They say that are wolverine in Canada.

We have discussed their probably illegal interpretation of a “signification portion of a [species] range” in a number of other ESA listings.

Hoskins on brucellosis

Robert Hoskins, one of the best informed people who post to this web site, is, of course, active writing in many publications.

Recently he had a good LTE to the Billings Gazette. Brucellosis management has utterly failed.

In Google News comments, he follows up on the Montana brucellosis in great detail.

There Is No Scientific Proof that Elk Infected Montana Cattle with Brucellosis. By Robert Hoskins, Naturalist, GravelBar. Google News. Comments by people in the news.

Waging war on weeds

The Casper Star Tribune highlights an important threat to wildlife habitat – weeds:

Waging war on weeds

The article gives a pretty good indication of the extent to which different weeds threaten wildlife habitat and are an economic scourge – but I will take issue with one statement made in the article :

Native plants have no built-in defense mechanisms against noxious weeds, which spread like a slow wildfire, squeezing out native plants one by one.

This statement is just not true – and it’s a pretty neat thing why it’s not true :

Read the rest of this entry »

More welfare for livestock operators

Read this. You can find it at Thomas

Ralph Maughan

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S. 3211

To amend the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans’ Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act, 2007, to clarify eligibility for livestock indemnity payments.


June 26, 2008

Mr. BAUCUS (for himself, Mr. JOHNSON, Mr. TESTER, and Mr. THUNE) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry


To amend the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans’ Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act, 2007, to clarify eligibility for livestock indemnity payments.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


Section 9002 of the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans’ Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act, 2007 (Public Law 110-28; 121 Stat. 214), is amended–

(1) in subsection (a)(5)(B)(iii), by striking `if such notice applies to a county included under (ii)’; and

(2) in subsection (b)(1)–

(A) by striking `There are hereby appropriated’ and inserting the following:

`(A) IN GENERAL- There are appropriated’;

(B) in subparagraph (A) (as so designated), by striking `due to a disaster, as determined by the Secretary’ and inserting `due to any natural disaster’;

(C) by striking `To be eligible’ and inserting the following:

`(B) INCLUSION- Eligible livestock losses under this subsection shall include the death of livestock in a disaster county due to a natural disaster, regardless of whether the death is related to any natural disaster that is the basis for a natural disaster declaration for the disaster county.

`(C) ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS- To be eligible’; and

(D) by adding at the end the following:

`(D) DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS- To be eligible for assistance under this subsection, producers on a farm shall submit applications for assistance under this subsection not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this subparagraph.’.

Butch Otter wants non-motorized watercraft to register, pay fees

Butch Otter wants non-motorized watercraft to register, pay fees. LA Times.

Fair is fair? Well, the fees all go to facilities used mostly by motorized craft.

The great Yellowstone fires were 20 years ago

Yellowstone fires 20 years later: Back after the burn. By Brett French. Billings Gazette

Posted in wildfire, Yellowstone, Yellowstone National Park. Comments Off on The great Yellowstone fires were 20 years ago

Focus on elk as disease [brucellosis] persists near Yellowstone

What an outrage! The officials who speak for this special interest group need to be put in their place. This should be a national campaign issue.

Focus on elk as brucellosis persists near Yellowstone. By Matthew Brown, Associated Press Writer.

They will have to kill every elk in the Greater Yellowstone, and, of course, every bison. They miss some too, so even their “final solution” will fail. The ecosystem will collapse, all on account of an inconvenience to the livestock industry, one primarily of their own making by failing to adopt a split state status for brucellosis.

The real bad guys here in addition to the Montana Department of Livestock, are the Montana Stockgrowers Association who deliberately shot down governor Schweitzer’s split state status proposal. Then, of course, there are the Wyoming elk feedgrounds/feedlots that perpetuate transmission of the disease among elk.

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Please make sure this story and your reaction to it gets posted to other blogs and sent to candidates for office.

Kathie Lynch: Druid Pups and interesting Hayden/Canyon news

Kathie Lynch is spending the summer in Yellowstone. This is her first report of the summer. The Druid pups have finally been seen, and there are at least nine.

Ralph Maughan

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YNP WOLF Notes, June 16-July 5, 2008
By © Kathie Lynch

Yellowstone’s late spring rain and snow finally gave way to sunny summer skies in mid June. While the glowing green hills sparkled with a spectacular patchwork of wildflowers, raging rivers and muddy creeks spilled over their banks. An unbelievably beautiful carpet of yellow dandelions, studded with peacefully grazing bison, spread across the Lamar Valley floor. Wildlife watchers reveled in the renewal of life as they waited eagerly for news and glimpses of wolf pups.

Read the rest of this entry »

Bad news for outdoors lovers: West Nile mutates in a bad way

The West Nile virus menace has now spread across most of North America, but it abates with frost and hot and dry weather that kills the virus-spreading mosquitoes.

Now it has mutated to be able to better withstand hot weather.

All diseases have their politics, as we have seen with brucellosis, AIDS, avian flu, MRSA, e. coli food contamination, etc.

The failure to develop a vaccine is another failure of the Bush Administration. In fact, the absence of any effort by the President to deal with this menace as it spread was the first clue to me that the weapons of mass destruction argument about Iraq was phoney because the sudden invasion of New York City by the virus by a viral agent given to Saddam Hussein back when he was the Reagan and Bush I Administration’s buddy in the fight against Iran, was the best candidate for a biological warfare attack, aside from the obvious anthrax attack in 2001.

Northern America May Suffer New West Nile Outbreaks. RedOrbit.

Book Review: Where the Wild Things Were: Life, Death, and Ecological Wreckage in a Land of Vanishing Predators

Bill McKibben reviews “Where the Wild Things Were: Life, Death, and Ecological Wreckage in a Land of Vanishing Predators” by William Stolzenburg for the Boston Globe.

[Mexican] Wolf recovery can succeed

Mexican Gray WolfBenjamin Tuggle, Southwest regional director of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) has published an Op-Ed in the Arizona Republic:

Wolf recovery can succeed

The Op-Ed is released, likely to smooth things over, amidst recent controversy in response to inaction on the part of FWS including at least 2 lawsuits and a recent poll demonstrating southwesterners [overwhelmingly] want wolves (77 percent of Arizonans and 69 percent of New Mexicans support wolf reintroduction on public lands).

The Mexican gray wolf is considered by scientists as the most endangered mammal in North America and efforts at restoration have been stymied, the greatest threat to Mexican wolves being predator control actions enforced on behalf of the livestock industry.

Shocker! 45th Parallel sign in Yellowstone wasn’t in correct location

Resort on the face of Bitterroot Range is turned down again

Bitterroot Resort’s latest proposal rejected. By Perry Backus. Ravalli Republic


Wells versus wildlife: Drill plan draws flak. Additional Pinedale Mesa rigs will hurt grouse and deer, pollute air, conservationists say.

Wells versus wildlife: Drill plan draws flak. Additional Pinedale Mesa rigs will hurt grouse and deer, pollute air, conservationists say. By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole News and Guide.

“The new plan would allow year-round drilling to continue. Further, it would allow 15 to 30 percent declines in population numbers and habitat for mule deer, pronghorn, sage grouse and sensitive species before efforts begin to stop any loss.”

Here again is the earlier story on this massive increase in gas wells to be allowed by the Bush/Kempthorne BLM.

Posted in oil and gas, politics, public lands management, Wildlife Habitat. Tags: , . Comments Off on Wells versus wildlife: Drill plan draws flak. Additional Pinedale Mesa rigs will hurt grouse and deer, pollute air, conservationists say.

Idaho wolf weekly news. June 15 -27

Here is the latest news on Idaho wolves as released by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

For your reference, here is the report for the 2 weeks previous to the latest report below.

Ralph Maughan

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –


To:                   Idaho Fish and Game Staff and Cooperators

From:               IDFG Wolf Program Coordinator, Steve Nadeau

Subject:           Status of Gray Wolf Management, Week of June 15 – 27, 2008

Wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains (NRM) were delisted on March 28, 2008.  The USFWS successfully recovered and delisted the population with the help of state, federal, tribal and non government partners.  Management of these wolves now resides with the states of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming.  The 2002 legislatively approved Wolf Conservation and Management Plan along with the March 2008 Idaho Fish and Game Wolf Population Management Plan, as well as the laws and policies of the state now govern wolf management in Idaho.  Wolves are now listed as a big game animal in Idaho and protected under the laws and policies of the State of Idaho.

Read the rest of this entry »

Federal Cash Brings Reward for Information on Illegal Wolf Killings to $50,000

For Immediate Release, July 3, 2008

Contact: Rob Edward, WildEarth Guardians, (303) 573-4898 ext. 762,
Michael Robinson, Center for Biological Diversity, (575) 534-0360,
Greta Anderson, Western Watersheds Project, (520) 623-1878
Daniel R. Patterson, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, (520) 906-2159

Federal Cash Brings Reward for Information on Illegal Wolf Killings to $50,000

SILVER CITY, N.M.— The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has offered a reward of $10,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in the illegal killing of Mexican gray wolves, adding to the $40,000 already pledged by wildlife and conservation groups. In addition, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service confirmed three additional wolf deaths due to illegal killing.

The announcement comes at a time when conservationists are redoubling efforts to end federal killing and capture of Mexican wolves to address ongoing population declines.

Read the rest of this entry »

Solar application moratorium called off

Bush’s BLM had put a moratorium on solar energy lease applications for development on public lands wanting to wait for comprehensive environmental analysis before accepting new applications. The moratorium met an uproar of opposition. Now, the moratorium is dead.

Solar application moratorium called offAP

Read the rest of this entry »

State vets plan to eliminate brucellosis in Yellowstone bison

State vets plan to elminate brucellosis in Yellowstone bison. By Alden Downing, Channel 8 television. Billings, MT

How f–king stupid can you be and hold an office like this!!??

I debated the Idaho State vet once (a different person than the current one). The guy was dumb as mud, and I’ve not bragging about my intelligence when I say that.

The primary brucellosis problem is in the elk, not the bison. Every case of transmission to cattle has come from elk; none from bison.

Tests of the infection rate show that it is far higher south of Yellowstone Park in Wyoming, not inside the Park, and among the bison the big infection rate is the Jackson Hole bison, not the Yellowstone Park bison.

Elminate brucellosis from the bison and the infection in elk will hardly drop. It is the Wyoming elk feedgrounds that perpetuate the disease. All but the Montana brucellosis infection is a cow was clearly associated with winter feeding of elk near cattle.

The vets don’t dare touch this. Therefore, they suggest this offensive nonsense that will be as effective as sacrificing a virgin to a volcano.  In fact it is based on the same kind of thinking — conducting a ritual (killing or vaccinating) the bison with their ineffective vaccine with cause a change when there is no reason to expect a change except when you engage in magical thinking.

Phantom Hill Pack wolf project off to a dramatic start

Phantom Hill Pack wolf project off to a dramatic start. Idaho Mountain Express.

“Last minute reroute of sheep band helps avert ‘train wreck’

Moving a sheep herd onto a pack’s rendezvous site almost always results in dead sheep.

River, Wyoming Range bills move to Senate

River, Wyoming Range bills move to Senate. Jackson Hole News and Guide. By Noah Brenner.

The Wyoming Range bill, sponsored by Wyoming’s Republican senators, would withdraw a big area of scenic, wildlife rich and and unstable soil from oil and gas leasing (contrary to the party’s push to open everything up on public lands).

It should be interesting. The Wyoming Range bill is protected politically to a degree by being part of an omnibus bill.

Western govs to mull ways to cut pollution, slow warming, boost energy

More on the Western Governors Conference being held in Jackson, WY. . .

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Western govs to mull ways to cut pollution, slow warming, boost energy. By Robert Gehrke. The Salt Lake Tribune.

Govs hear water warning. By Chris Merrill. Casper Star Tribune.

As Brian Ertz and others have remarked, politicians dealing with resource issues seem to have stopped debated whether climate change is real, and they are planning for the future (for better or worse).

For example, if the Western governors are truly concerned about diminishing water supplies, they should try to stomp out oil shale development fast, because it will be like pouring huge amounts of water down a black hole in an arid region .

Possible gray wolf seen on northern NM ranch

Possible gray wolf seen on northern NM ranch. AP.

This is on Ted Turner’s huge Vermejo Ranch. A wolf could migrate from Yellowstone this far south.