The View from the Divide

Wyoming wilderness outfitters Tory and Meredith Taylor share a rare treat ~

The View from the Divide: Four Decades in Wyoming Wilderness – Tory & Meredith Taylor

Clearwater Wolves Targeted for First ESA 10(j) Rule Killings


Member of Mollies Pack next to Yellowstone Lake© Ken Cole

Friends of the Clearwater sent out this Action Alert:

In January 2008, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) adopted the revised regulations of section 10(j) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This new rule substantially supports justifications for killing reintroduced, endangered gray wolves to nominally protect herds of elk, deer, and other wild ungulates in the Northern Rockies. Prior section 10(j) regulations, adopted in 2005, allowed states and tribes to kill wolves if they caused “unacceptable impacts” on an ungulate herd or population. The involved agencies were required to document both a decline in ungulate numbers and wolf predation as the primary source of this loss. The revised ESA section 10(j) regulations, however, eliminate these requirements and instead hold as their major criteria only the failure of a wild ungulate population to meet management objectives and wolves as one of the major causes. The new rule greatly expands the definition of unacceptable impacts to include wolf effects on ungulate behavior, movements, nutrition, cow-calf ratios, and other characteristics beyond population size. State or tribal managers are authorized to kill wolves to accommodate “appropriate” ungulate management goals, even those developed to reduce or eliminate predators in areas with plentiful game animals. Moreover, the modified 10(j) regulations allow not just landowners and federally permitted agents but also any citizen to kill wolves caught attacking their livestock or domestic animals. Read the rest of this entry »

Point, Counterpoint : Wolf reintroduction in Rocky Mountain National Park

Buckle up folks, a standoff ! Rob Edward of WildEarth Guardians opines on Rocky Mountain National Park’s (RMNP) overabundance of elk, hoping to jump start a conversation about wolf restoration in the wider ecosystem including Colorado – as opposed to guns.  Vaughn Baker, superintendent of RMNP says it won’t work.  Both featured in Sunday’s Denver Post:

Wolf reintroduction: Guns aren’t the answer to culling elk – Rob Edward, Carnivore Recovery Program Director for WildEarth Guardians

Early this year, officials at Rocky Mountain National Park devised a plan to shoot as many as 100 cow elk within the boundaries of the park. They are taking this dramatic step because the park’s elk have grown too numerous and, more importantly, too sedentary. As a result, elk are browsing aspen and willow to the brink of extinction, leaving biologically important streamside areas trashed and impoverished.

Park biologists spent years studying the decline of the park’s wetland plants, and concluded that the elimination of wolves during the early 1900s had allowed the elk population to become so sedentary they could simply browse the plants to the ground. Notably, scientists discovered that the restoration of wolves to Yellowstone National Park in 1995 dramatically improved the health of young aspen and willow trees, pointing the way to an eloquent solution for Rocky’s lazy elk woes.


Wolf reintroduction: It won’t work here like in YellowstoneVaughn Baker, superintendent of Rocky Mountain National Park.

In an ideal world, Rocky Mountain National Park would contain an intact ecosystem with all its pieces present. However, the park is not a complete ecosystem, and native predators — including wolves and grizzly bears — have long been missing. As a result, the vegetation and other species in the park suffer because of an abundance of elk.

But reintroducing wolves into Rocky Mountain National Park is not the immediate answer.


Barker: Industry rolls over mercury initiative

Idaho Board of Environmental Quality Won’t Even Vote for Voluntary Rules.

Barker: Industry rolls over mercury initiative .
Rocky Barker – Idaho Statesman

Mercury is an element that does not degrade to anything less harmful. It causes developmental problems in children and unborn fetuses and it accumulates in fish and other food sources making them unsafe to eat.

Silver Creek, one of Idaho’s most famed flyfishing streams, has fish with unsafe levels of mercury.

Posted in Fish, mining. 1 Comment »