Good news. Western Watersheds Project Wins Appeal Of Grazing Decision On 412,000 Acres Of Arizona Desert

This helps makes up a bit for the bad news on wolves today-

Tucson, Arizona

Today, a federal judge reversed the Bureau of Land Management’s decision to allow livestock grazing on 412,000 acres of public land managed by the Bureau’s Kingman Field Office. Saying, “Cattle are not ghosts. They are bigger and heavier than any native wildlife,” Administrative Law Judge Andrew Pearlstein admonished the BLM for not sufficiently considering the impacts of cattle grazing on four livestock allotments before issuing the permit.

The judge determined that the BLM failed to justify any economic need for the decision, failed to provide any site-specific information on fences, watering sites and other range developments, failed to consider retiring the area from grazing, and failed to meaningfully analyze the potential environmental impacts of grazing on annual ephemeral vegetation. Western Watersheds Project (WWP) had raised all of these points in its appeal of the decision in October of 2008.

The four allotments – Planet, Primrose, Alamo Crossing, and Crossman Peak- have not been grazed for 18 to 25 years. The area includes two federally-designated Wildernesses, the Bill Williams River, and habitat for desert tortoise, bald eagle, and bighorn sheep. Additionally, hundreds of archeological sites have been recorded within the allotments. The region receives just 3 to 7 inches of rain a year and summer temperatures reach near 110 degrees.

“We’re pleased that the Judge recognized the detrimental effect of livestock on soils, vegetation, and riparian areas. It is great that such a large expanse of desert will continue to be spared those impacts,” said Greta Anderson, Arizona Director of Western Watersheds Project. “It’s also a good reminder to the Arizona BLM that they have a statutory obligation under the National Environmental Policy Act to take a hard look at their proposed actions.”

Western Watersheds Project works throughout the west to restore watersheds and wildlife. http://www.westernwatersheds.org/

Judge Pearlstein’s Order can be found at WWP’s web site at this URL: http://www.westernwatersheds.org/legal/09/az/alj_kingman_decision.pdf

Salazar affirms decision to delist wolves

Will we now see a quick bloodbath in Idaho?

Some stories from other media are now showing up.

3/6 Feds to proceed with wolf delisting. Wyoming wolves will remain listed under the ESA. By Jason Kauffman. Idaho Mountain Express.

3/6 Salazar OKs wolf removal from endangered list. AP. By Matthew Brown and John Flesher.

3/6 Salazar Approves Wolf Delisting. “The Interior Department has decided not to punish Idaho and Montana for lack of cooperation received from Wyoming.”  By Bill Schneider. New West.
3/7. State [Wyoming] still out on wolves. By Cory Hatch.
Jackson Hole Daily.
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NEWS RELEASE

March 6, 2009
Contact: Hugh Vickery, (202) 501-4633
Ed Bangs 406-449-5225, x204
Sharon Rose 303-236-4580
Laura Ragan 612- 713-5157
Georgia Parham 812-334-4261, x203

Secretary Salazar Affirms Decision to Delist Gray Wolves in Western Great Lakes, Portion of Northern Rockies

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today affirmed the decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove gray wolves from the list of threatened and endangered species in the western Great Lakes and the Northern Rocky Mountain states of Idaho and Montana and parts of Washington, Oregon and Utah. Wolves will remain a protected species in Wyoming.

“The recovery of the gray wolf throughout significant portions of its historic range is one of the great success stories of the Endangered Species Act,” Salazar said. “When it was listed as endangered in 1974, the wolf had almost disappeared from the continental United States. Today, we have more than 5,500 wolves, including more than 1,600 in the Rockies.”

“The successful recovery of this species is a stunning example of how the Act can work to keep imperiled animals from sliding into extinction,” he said. “The recovery of the wolf has not been the work of the federal government alone. It has been a long and active partnership including states, tribes, landowners, academic researchers, sportsmen and other conservation groups, the Canadian government and many other partners.” Read the rest of this entry »

Another Coloradoan to Interior

Salazar fills most Interior slots with fellow Coloradoans-

His predecessor, Dirk Kempthorne, former Idaho governor, filled DOI with Idaho people, most of them long time foes of conservation, with scores to settle with Idaho conservationists.

Secretary Salazar’s people certainly have a different policy perspective, but almost all are coming from just one state — not surprisingly his home state.

This brief article is about the appointment of an “economic-stimulus money ‘czar’ ” at DOI.

Hickenlooper aide headed to Interior Department. The Denver Post