Bush pushes “road map to ruin” for Utah’s public lands at end of Administration

Eighty per cent of Utah’s scenic BLM lands opened at last minute to drilling-

Bush administration rushing to open Utah lands to energy development. By Patty Henetz. The Salt Lake Tribune.

Bush Administration Christmas Gift to Oil Companies Will Be Announced on Election Day. Sale of Pristine Wilderness Slated to Happen Six Days Before Christmas. Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.

Kempthorne announces federal bison initiative

This is a surprise, for sure. What does it mean?

Kempthorne announces federal bison initiative. By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole News and Guide.

It seems to me that on the basis of what JB and others have commented here, that this plan (assuming it to be real) could withstand a petition for putting the bison on the endangered or threatened species list.

More news on this announcement. Bush Adminstration Proposes 2nd Interagency Group for Bison. ENS. “Bison conservationists are not impressed. . . “

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Here is Kempthorne’s announcement.


Secretary Kempthorne Launches Bison Conservation Initiative

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne today announced an initiative that will work with state, tribal and agricultural interests to strengthen bison conservation efforts to help this iconic species recover and thrive.

“One of the classic symbols of the American frontier is the image of vast herds of bison grazing on the western plains,” Kempthorne said. “Americans today still find inspiration in bison ranging freely on the landscape, as Yellowstone National Park demonstrates.”

Read the rest of this entry »

On the the new wolf delisting scheme

Wyoming is the biggest thorn in the delisters side-

As folks pretty much all know, the Bush Administration, mostly likely at the initiative of Secretary Kempthone and cronies, is trying for one last quick stab at delisting the wolf before a new President replaces them.

If folks work hard, they will probably be defeated again; but their era of extremism and backward thinking may not end quite quick enough, so this delisting thing has to get your attention.

Here is the notice from the Federal Register indicating how to send in your comments beginning now. They are all due by Nov. 28.

Notice of reopening of comments on delisting. Federal Register. Don’t be deterred by having to go to regulations.gov to submit your comments.

They claim that if wolf population genetics deteriorates (a major objection from Federal Judge Molloy who shot down their delsiting), now they will shuttle wolves around to Wyoming to improve the genetics.

The have an unsigned MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) on this. Draft MOU. (note that Jeff commented and posted this earlier in a comment).

Because Wyoming needs to make changes, their Department of Game and Fish is trying to engage in some emergency state rulemaking. They just issued this news release.

Game and Fish Releases Draft Revised Wolf Plan for Public Comment. Wyoming Dept. of Game and Fish.

Their emergency rules. Wyoming Dept. of Game and Fish. Hearings are scheduled and soon. This is rush job.

My impression of the emergency rules is that they are not much of a change because the Department can do little without a change in Wyoming’s wolf hostile statute on wolf management. Their state legislature doesn’t meet until January, which would be best time to make Wyoming’s wolf plan acceptable, but the presidential election dictates action now.

Little doubt what Kempthorne wants is to decouple Idaho and Montana, where they manage wolves “so well” from Wyoming — just delist 2 states and let Wyoming wolves limp along indefinitely, maybe with what amounts to a “put and take” translocation of fresh wolves whenever the state kills too many. Kempthorne proposed this to the Secretary of Interior when he was governor of Idaho. Now as the Secretary, this is his last shot.

Do be fooled, however. Idaho has a bad wolf plan and Montana, which had earned some applause,  has been killing wolves this year with a vengeance despite incredibly minor depredations.

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Brief AP news story. Wyoming proposes changes in its wolf plan. By Bob Moen.

Feds Hounding Rocky Mountain Wolves

Backpacker Magazine. Feds Hounding Rocky Mountain Wolves-

The sad truth is the agency (USFWS) that reintroduced the wolves to Idaho and Wyoming has now become their enemy. Only an election victory can alter this, IMO.

Feds Hounding Rocky Mountain Wolves. From Backpacker Magazine’s Daily Dirt.

Global Warming Is Killing Frogs And Salamanders In Yellowstone Park, Researchers Say

Disappearance of ponds in Yellowstone lead to great loss of frogs and salamanders in Yellowstone-

I guess we would call them “old-timers” now — folks like myself — but I remember there used to be many more ponds on the Northern Range of the Park. From the road the loss is especially apparent near Junction Butte, “Little America,” and the lower part of Slough Creek. “Little America” as a place name came from a large pond that had the general shape of the United States when viewed from Specimen Ridge.

How long since there has been water in Phantom Lake?

There are many backcountry losses too.

I don’t know if it is warming per se, but there is no longer any carryover water in the ponds at the end of the year, and there isn’t enough snow in the winter to refill them. They are dry by the end of June if they hold water at all.

Science News has just written a popularized version of the paper Climatic change and wetland desiccation cause amphibian decline in Yellowstone National Park.

How did moose get CWD? Star Valley deer, elk likely have the disease as well.

Damn!! In the Greater Yellowstone and on the Idaho border-

How did moose get CWD? Star Valley deer, elk likely have the disease as well. By Cory Hatch, Jackson Hole News and Guide.

Maybe Idaho should sue Wyoming for wildlife malpractice?

Two grizzly bear cubs shot in NW Wyoming

More grizzly bear deaths. Mortality quota exceeded for male and female bears in Greater Yellowstone-
States can’t manage grizzlies and they should be relisted-

Two grizzly bear cubs shot in NW Wyoming. AP. Oct. 27

The brief article doesn’t mention the ESA implications, but my earlier post certainly leads to the conclusion that both male and female grizzly mortality quotas for the year have been exceeded for the delisted Greater Yellowstone population.

-More- $10,000 offered in grizzly shooting case. Jackson Hole Daily. Oct. 28

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is offering up to $10,000 for information about the shooting of two yearling grizzly cubs near Union Pass Road on Oct. 19.