Otter must decide bighorn issue by Saturday

Is SB1175 a way to stall so that “research” can be done?

Bighorn Sheep Lamb © Ken Cole

Bighorn Sheep Lamb © Ken Cole

More bighorn ‘the Earth is flat’ madness :

Otter must decide bighorn issue by Saturday – Rocky Barker – Letters from the West, Idaho Statesman

What he and other sheep ranchers really want is more research to determine not only if disease is spread from domestic sheep to wild sheep, which they dispute, but also how the bighorn are dying and if there are ways of stopping the deaths and allowing the bighorns to thrive and grow without forcing the ranchers off of federal lands. They see the bill as giving them time, though an opinion presented by the Idaho Attorney General’s office suggested the bill won’t change the state’s legal position.

Unfortunately, the post does little more than push sheepman talking points, failing to mention that there is very little controversy about the spread of disease from domestic sheep to wild sheep – and the subsequent death of bighorns – in the scientific community, or that the single pumped up (thanks to articles like this) voice of controversy that does exist comes from the President of the Woolgrowers Association.  So we’ll fill in a few of the gaps.

1. The Science

Let’s face it, domestic sheep diseases KILL bighorn sheep. You can read about this here:

A Review of Disease Related Conflicts Between Domestic Sheep and Goats and Bighorn Sheep

You may also read the abstract for an article in the Journal of Wildlife Diseases:
George, J.L.; Martin, D.J.; Lukacs, P.M.; Miller, M.W. In press. Epidemic Pasteurellosis in a bighorn sheep population coinciding with the appearance of a domestic sheep.

WAFWA Wild Sheep Report

You can also see a video segment on the issue here: Oregon Field Guide: Bighorn Pneumonia

And many more …

2. The Source(s)

I was told by Stan Boyd, lobbyist for the Idaho Woolgrowers, that his group has approached Senator Crapo for $900,000 to fund 3 years of Washington State University and University of Idaho research into what is killing bighorn sheep. The problem is that one of the primary scientists who does research at the University of Idaho, Caine Veterinary Teaching Center, in Caldwell is the President the Idaho Woolgrowers Association. Marie Bulgin has repeatedly testified that there is no evidence that domestic sheep diseases kill bighorn sheep in the wild. There is significant disagreement with this assertion as can be seen in this “Letter from David A. Jessup, CA Dept. of Fish and Game to Pattie Souchek, Forest Planner, Payette National Forest re Disease Transmission Between Domestic and Bighorn Sheep (July 31, 2006)

The money has not been appropriated yet, but if it is, will any of it go to the University of Idaho, Caine Veterinary Teaching Center under the supervision of Marie Bulgin?

Another question that comes to mind, couldn’t that $900,000 be better spent on keeping the woolgrowers who will be affected by changes in USFS policy whole? It’s not as if they don’t receive subsidization as it is.

3. Follow the Money

Here are subsidies received by wool growers affected by the likely changes on the Payette National Forest:

Soulen Livestock Co received payments totaling $1,010,401 from 1995 through 2006

Ron Shirts received payments totaling $214,707 from 1995 through 2006

Frank Shirts Jr received payments totaling $775,817 from 1995 through 2006

Guy M Carlson received payments totaling $110,307 from 1995 through 2006

Read the rest of this entry »

Oregon Cattlemen’s wolf bill is dead

Bill to shoot Oregon wolves has died in Oregon legislature-

Wolf bill dead. Written by Ed Merriman. Baker City Herald

The Farm Bureau guy said, ““I understand they have a full plate, with the state economy in trouble, but if something isn’t done about the wolf attacks, this could possibly throw Baker County’s economy in a tailspin,” Browne said. [emphasis mine].

Must be a very fragile economy!

Doug and Andrea Peacock on Montana’s Grizzly Bears, the Late Edward Abbey and the Fight to Save the Wilderness

Democracy Now!, broadcasting from Bozeman, MT, interviews Doug and Andrea Peacock.

Doug & Andrea Peacock on Montana’s Grizzly Bears, the Late Edward Abbey and the Fight to Save the Wilderness
Democracy Now!

JUAN GONZALEZ: Yes. Doug Peacock, I’d like to ask you, you’ve been, in some of your writing and in your interviews of late, critical of the current environmental conservation movement in the country. Could you talk about your concerns about where you see it’s gone wrong?

DOUG PEACOCK: Yeah. Largely, I think it’s tried to be too polite, too nice. It’s tried to work with administrations like the Bush administration. It’s tried to work with corporations and energy companies. And quite frankly, we can’t do that anymore. I mean, the earth is in terrible shape. I mean, the life-support systems of air and ocean and temperature are going to pot in a hurry. And, you know, we’ve seen extinction of species unprecedented. Even during the end of the Cretaceous, when there was the great paleo-extinction that did in the dinosaurs, today’s rate is right there.

Quite frankly, we’re not radical enough. We’re not angry enough. We’re not militant enough. I mean, this should not be just a weekend meeting we go to. This should be the heart of our lives, and that’s a lot to ask, I know. They’re tough times. But the earth just doesn’t need it. We, as a species, our own survival, I believe, is also up for grabs, just like the grizzlies. And, you know, to survive is natural. We humans are so separated from, you know, the saber tooth that used to lurk in the bushes and the grizzly on the mountain, that I don’t think we get what’s in our long-term self-interest for survival.

Amy Goodman from Democracy Now! will appear in Boise, Idaho tonight at a benefit for Boise Community Radio. Tickets are available here:

Western dust storms are increasing

Livestock, off-road vehicles, oil and gas road development are major culprits-

The Western United States is naturally dusty, right?

With the exception of some dry lake beds and parts of very hot deserts this is not true.

Soil is held in place from the wind by vegetation and rock. Anything that reduces the ground cover to dirt will result in it blowing away in the wind. Even deserts where there appear to be wide barren spaces between plants are not naturally bare. Desert soil is naturally covered by a microbiotic crust. This holds the dirt down except in the strongest winds. Unfortunately, hooves and wheels destroy this crust.

Microbiotic crust. Great Basin

Microbiotic crust. Great Basin. Copyright Ralph Maughan

I took the photo above in early April near Pocatello, Idaho, along an old road bed. The road had been closed for 3 years and the area had never been grazed. The road used to produce big clouds of dust. Now that it has largely filled in, it doesn’t.

Story in the Washington Post. Dust Storms Escalate, Prompting Environmental Fears. Increase in Dirt Affects Ecosystems In Western States. By Juliet Eilperin Washington Post Staff Writer

House Holds Hearing on Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act

House Natural Resources Committee has hearing on the ultimate Wilderness bill for the Northern Rockies-

While collaborationism puts the local political power structure first in determining the use of America’s public lands, NREPA does the opposite. It puts the national interest first. This Congress is the first real chance that it could pass.

Bill Schneider reports in New West on the recent House hearing.  “WILDEST BILL ON THE HILL ADVANCES. House Holds Hearing on Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act.
With lots of support, but none from local delegations, NREPA backers remain optimistic. Will it make it out of committee this time?”

Will the (bighorn) “kill bill” mean an end of collaborationism in Idaho?

If Otter signs the bill, many think it will kill more than bighorn sheep-

It seems the preponderance of views in this forum is against collaboration in the Northern Rockies because it doesn’t work to really protect the outdoors and wildlife. Nevertheless, sitting down, holding hands, and talking has a lot or verbal support among Idaho’s media and many politicians.

Rocky Barker, who has in generally supported collabortion, has an article in today’s Statesman indicating the “kill bill” might put an end to this.

Will Idaho’s sheep bill mean the end of collaboration? Otter’s plan to bring all sides together to resolve conflicts over bighorns could collapse if he signs the measure. By Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman. Note: Ken Cole posted this link earlier as a comment.