The message to employees is clear at Idaho Department of Fish & Game (IDFG) – when it comes to development projects on public lands that threaten wildlife – keep your mouth shut.
David Parrish, Magic Valley regional supervisor for IDFG former Magic Valley regional supervisor for IDFG, has a problem – a political problem. Parrish took a demotion after writing a Letter to the Editor suggesting that the China Mountain windfarm project south of Twin Falls “will have negative repercussions on Idaho’s wildlife” responding to the paper’s endorsement of the project and suggesting that they wait until the consequences are understood before making such an endorsement.
Magic Valley Fish and Game supervisor demoted – Times-News
Update . . . more August 8. F&G supervisor suddenly demoted. Agency touts speak-with-one-voice policy. By Greg Stahl. Idaho Mountain Express Staff Write
What are these “number of factors” which made this the last straw ?
For those that don’t remember, the state politicians behind this political purge have had problems with Parrish in the past. For example :
Last year, in response to several hunters complaining about the condition of big game habitat in southern Idaho following their visit, Parrish did his job and wrote the Forest Service asking why sheep remained on an allotment :
We’ve received several calls from hunters today regarding bands of sheep grazing in upper Trout Creek (west side of drainage) and the Walstrom Hollows area. All callers have commented that it appears use is excessive – especially in riparian areas.
Talking with our staff, we were under the impression that livestock were suppose to be removed from that area by early October. This is impacting mule deer hunting and it’s an issue we need to discuss prior to next season.
Oops – that note to the Forest Service made its way to the governor within a letter from the sheepman chastising the IDFG – Parrish’s note was this sheepman’s evidence for the department allegedly conspiring with Western Watersheds Project to boot him off the public land allotment :
it is consistent with our experience to believe that IDF&G may be communicating with Western Watersheds Project with the concerted desire and/or intent of having our sheep removed from all or part of our federal lands, although such motivation may be difficult or impossible to prove.
You can imagine Cal Groen getting an unpleasant phone call.
The sheepman at that time was feeling particularly anxious following WWP’s recent victory preventing domestic sheep trailing/grazing on Forest allotments out of the Hell’s Canyon area to protect bighorn sheep – and rightly so – his allotment in Southern Idaho puts diseased domestics right on top of South Hills bighorns. The governor’s response to the sheepman’s letter kicked off the IDFG’s politicized process of developing the politicized policy of “bighorn slaughter zones” to protect the fewer than 17 sheepmen in the state who hold any meaningful public allotments.
It looks like there were a “number of factors” contributing to Parrish’s demotion. Some of those factors include either a willingness – or political foolishness – to point out the obvious impact to Idaho’s wildlife the blades on China Mountain – and the sheep on Trout creek have. Unfortunately for Parrish – it’s about more than the wellbeing of Idaho’s wildlife and big game – those subjects Parrish kept at the heart of what looks to be a few of his biggest mistakes. These public lands in his region are among lands that promise a whole lot of profit to some of Idaho’s most powerful political leaders should they be developed – and he works for an IDFG that continues its downward spiral of politicization under the limp noodle leadership of the Commission and the Director.