Pocatello. Don’t let the Army Corps ruin the Portneuf River again!

On Aug. 31, it’s time to defend our river, our recreation, our wildlife, and our property-

Don’t forget the public meeting the City is holding tonight, August 31 at 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM in the City Council Chambers.

Here is a letter from Dr. Chuck Trost. If you are interested in birds and live in Pocatello, you know who he is.

Many people are disturbed about the proposed removal of the trees along the Greenway at North City Park.  This beautiful and shaded walkway will look like a hot war zone without the trees.  I would like to know whether the city plans to remove all the trees on both sides of the river, as well as both sides of the levee?  These trees also keep the Portneuf River cool, which should be one of the goals of the city.

Wolf hunts are on as judge eyes request to stop

Judge ponders rather than rule. Idaho wolf hunt begins Sept. 1; Montana Sept 15-

Idaho’s first wolf hunt will begin as scheduled tomorrow. Judge Molloy heard the arguments and said he’d decide as quickly as he could, but he did not issue an injunction.

Wolf hunts are on as judge eyes request to stop. By Matthew Brown. AP in the Idaho Statesman.

Big hearing on plea for injunction of Idaho and Montana wolf hunts is this morning in Missoula courtroom

Judge Molloy could allow hunts to procede or stop them despite the on-going sale of tags-

I’ve also wondered if some middle ground ruling is possible, given the intense emotion on both sides of the issue. I’d like to see a new delisting rule crafted. The content of the current rules bothers me more than the wolf hunt because as always the real threat to the long term viability of the wolf recovery are the cattle and sheep industries and their captive federal agency, Wildlife Services, that goes around killing wildlife some influential people think are problems.

Story in the Missoulian. By John Miller, AP.

If the hunt is canceled Idaho wolf tags sold (over 10,000) will have to be refunded. There will probably be some illegal or vigilante action this time. Hopefully folks will obey the law. It’s doubtful, however, that enough wolves would be killed illegally to make any biological difference to the states’ wolf population.

Rancher found guilty in sheep-dog case

Sheep dog bit woman while riding her bike and attacked another person’s dog. The dog had not been vaccinated.

It is not uncommon for people to come into contact with sheep guard dogs while recreating on public lands and I have been told many times that these dogs are trained to not attack people. This may be true in most cases but they certainly act aggressively towards people and can be very intimidating. Oftentimes they are not properly vaccinated.

Rancher found guilty in sheep-dog case – The Park Record.

Three charged in connection with shooting of record bighorn ram

Ram was actually shot by an undercover agent. Issue sparks controversy on Internet-

I don’t know if I should post this story, but looks like I did.

Montana: Charges filed in connection with killing of record bighorn. By Michael Babcock. Great Falls Tribune Outdoor Editor.

Coexistence with grizzlies is generally a success in Montana

Feature article says that despite notable incidents and failures, grizzly recovery in NW Montana is successful-

Knowledge to coexist: For most part, industry succeeds in informing people about bruins. By Michael Jamison. Missoulian.

Mountain goat seen/photographed in Wyoming’s Wind River Range

Mountain goats were never native to Wyoming, although they have become established in YNP-

Mountain goat in Wind River Range. By Mead Gruver. Associated Press writer.

Goats are not native to Wyoming and have never been introduced for fear they will compete with bighorn sheep.

Man, 78, mauled by bear in Utah

What is it about the small Utah bear population and Utahans?

Man, 78, mauled by bear. “The man is recovering; the animal was shot and killed.”  By Brett Prettyman. The Salt Lake Tribune.

Earlier Utah bear stories posted here:

Earlier stories this year:

Posted in Bears. Tags: , . 9 Comments »

Anti-wolf anger boils over into bad joke about “Obama Tags”

Rex Rammell jokes he’d buy an “Obama Tag”

Wolves in the state have become an avatar, a pariah.  It often seems that the hatred has little to do with facts, science, or the wolves themselves and more to do with a deep-seated hatred for the federal government that will take any opportunity to emerge.  Rammell’s canned-elk, anti-government soap-box has blown over, now it’s become an anti-wolf, anti-government soap-box :

Rammell howls at Otter for not buying wolf tagTimes-News

After an audience member shouted a question about “Obama tags” during a discussion on wolves, Rammell responded, “The Obama tags? We’d buy some of those.”

Rammell’s Obama ‘joke’ troubles Idaho leaders – Idaho Statesman

Rammell’s got a lot of wacky history in Idaho.  When his domestic elk escaped their pen threatening wild elk with disease and foreign genes, Rammell sought a stand-off, ballooning the incident into some sort of referendum on government and private property rights even as his membership in the Idaho establishment secured him special favors.

Feds To Consider Tortoise for Endangered Species Act Listing

Groups Applaud Finding for Rapidly Declining Desert Icon

Desert Tortoise - photo: USFWS

Desert Tortoise - photo: USFWS

Desert tortoise advocates have been waiting for this good news for a very long time.  Should a listing take place, many human intrusions into the desert tortoise’s southwest desert habitat, including livestock grazing and excessive development, will be largely halted.  The benefit of such will be enjoyed by a great number of desert wildlife species.

Feds to consider protections for desert tortoiseAP

Wildlife officials said the environmentalists’ petition presented substantial information that might warrant listing the species as threatened or endangered. Threats include urban sprawl, off-road vehicle use and livestock grazing. The tortoises’ range includes 8.4 million acres of federal public land in Arizona. Livestock grazing is permitted on more than half that land.

The News Release :

Arizona—Aug 28. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) gave the green light today on a petition submitted by WildEarth Guardians and Western Watersheds Project requesting protection (listing) for the Sonoran desert tortoise under the Endangered Species Act. The finding means that the Service will now conduct a full review to determine if the tortoise warrants being placed on the list of threatened and endangered species.

Read the rest of this entry »

Wolves kill 120 sheep at ranch near Dillon

This is the kind of depredation where the wolves need to be shot-

This is unusual. Furthermore it took place on private land. Assuming there are no important facts left out of the story, these wolves should all be shot.

. . .  a couple sidebars to this. 1. They need to get the pack that did it. This should not be a revenge killing situation. 2. People might think this is typical because of the constant trickle of media reports of a lamb here or two or three ewes there.

Wolves kill 120 sheep at ranch near Dillon. By Eve Bryon. Helena Independent Record.

8/29 Update-Comment by Ralph Maughan

Sheep growers get a permanent disaster fund

Some folks certainly get a lot of helpings at the old government dinner table-

Here’s the obscure news release on what seems to me an incredible program. I wonder which members of Congress were behind slipping this into the 2008 (the last Congress) Farm Bill?

NM man pleads guilty in Mexican wolf death

Rare justice for a dead Mexican wolf-

NM man pleads guilty in wolf death. By Susan Montoya Bryan. Associated Press Writer

Montana Gov: State would fight injunction on wolves

This is hardly news. I won’t bother to put a link, but has anyone thought of this . . .?

What if Judge Molloy allows the hunt, but puts the wolf back on the endangered species list?

This doesn’t have to be an all or nothing kind of decision. The judge could allow the hunt to begin under careful scutiny of the Court and grant the injunction the minute any “funny stuff” starts. The plaintiffs make a number of claims in the lawsuit. It is not just an anti-hunt suit. JB recently posted a list of the total list of the claims the plaintiffs are making in their brief.

As I have written many times, I fear the the cattle and sheep association/Wildlife Services wolf killing machine more than a well regulated wolf hunt. The wolves will probably replenish themselves in a year, but they won’t come back from the Idaho Fish and Game Commission’s stated intent to use minor livestock depredations as an excuse to kill dozens of wolf packs.  Hunting won’t harm genetic diversity, it might make the wolves more wary, it might even spread them to other states — awesome!!  High tech Wildlife Service killers, however, won’t allow any wolves to remain in a pack.

WDOT to build 5-lane highway in winter elk range south of Jackson, WY

Teton County Commission wanted smaller improvements on the 7-mile stretch-

WYDOT: 5 lanes in elk range. Agency rejects commissioners’ plea for smaller highway upgrade from South Park Loop to Horse Creek. By Cara Froedge, Jackson Hole News and Guide.

Idaho Fish and Game Investigating the Death of Six Wolves

The Idaho Fish and Game has issued a press release asking for information regarding the death of six wolves.

Is poison involved? Anyone who plans on visiting the area should be cautious about taking along their dogs.

Here is the press release:

Contact: Jon Heggen 208-334-3738

For Immediate Release

Fish and Game Seeks Information on Dead Wolves

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is investigating the deaths of six juvenile wolves on national forest land north of Fairfield.

Fish and Game conservation officers found the partially decomposed wolves on Friday, August 21.

Preliminary necropsies have been performed. But the cause of death is still unknown. Additional test results are forthcoming.

Anyone with information is asked to the Citizens’ Against Poaching hotline at 1-800-632-5999, or Fish and Game’s Magic Valley regional office at 208-324-4359. Callers may remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward for information leading to a citation or conviction.



Darted grizzly cub died of ruptured jugular vein

Vein was not hit by the tranquilizer dart-

They have been unable to find out how the vein ruptured.

Story in the Daily InterLake. Darted grizzly cub died of internal bleeding

Alaska’s Rat Island apparently rid of its namesake pest

Unfortunate side effect to poisoning effort was the loss of 43 bald eagles and many other birds.

Alaska’s Rat Island apparently rid of its namesake pest
By Erika Bolstad | McClatchy Newspapers

Western Watersheds spreads bighorn campaign to Arizona

Rocky Barker notes this morning the Western Watersheds now is busy trying to prevent the transmission of disease from domestic to wild sheep in Arizona.

. . . some important additional information. WWP now has an office in Arizona. . . also an office in Montana (Missoula), and Wyoming, Utah and California. They have several offices in Idaho.

My view is if you want more wildlife of all kinds in your Western state, donate to the them. An office could come to your area too.

Jury finds agency, DuPont negligent in land case

BLM and DuPont held accountable for killing crops which neighbor public lands by applying Oust in southern Idaho after wildfires.

Jury finds agency, DuPont negligent in land case
Associated Press

Posted in B.L.M., public lands, wildfire. Tags: , , , . Comments Off on Jury finds agency, DuPont negligent in land case

Colorado wildlife experts get aggressive going after smart bears

25 “problem” bears have been killed this year, but to little apparent effect-

Colorado wildlife experts get aggressive going after smart bears
Aggressive tactics weighed to control nuisance bruins
By Bruce Finley
The Denver Post

Bear tags have also been increased by 75%. This, however, seems to target bears that are not nuisances. Time to try something new.

Posted in Bears. Tags: . 9 Comments »

More good news on gas leasing in the Wyoming Range

24,000 more acres won’t be leased-

This is on top of the near million acres in the Wyoming Range, Salt River Range, and Commissary Ridge recently withdrawn from leasing by Congress in the Omnibus Public Lands Act.

BLM cuts energy leasing in Wyoming Range. By Cory Hatch, Jackson Hole Daily.

Posted in B.L.M., mountain ranges, oil and gas, Wildlife Habitat. Tags: , . Comments Off on More good news on gas leasing in the Wyoming Range

75,000 cattle die in the West each year from high altitude

Cattle are similar to people. Many don’t thrive at high altitude. A large number even die from high altitude pulmonary edema-

The article below is about attempts to breed altitude resistant cattle. I’d rather see “slow elk” off  the mountain meadows at 8500 feet or higher.

Cattle focus of high-altitude research in NM. By Melanie Dabovich. Associated Press Writer

Posted in cattle. Tags: . 4 Comments »

Open thread

Discuss what you want-

Bighorn Roundup 8/23/09

After the Marie Bulgin scandal rocked the Bighorn world many of us had hoped that the issue of disease transmission from domestic sheep to bighorn sheep might be largely resolved in the public debate.  Recent news stories suggest otherwise.

Likewise, there continues to be a lot of political posturing and spinning going on.

Below are the recent articles, a general roundup of recent bighorn sheep issues that have hit the news with some added editorial comment – and perhaps a few insights that didn’t make headlines.


Read the rest of this entry »

Wildlife overpass on U.S. 93 Montana latest in series of wildlife crossings

Tribes’ insistence has created most wildlife friendly highway in Montana-

This is the crowning achievement of the reconstruction of US93 through a wildlife rich area in NW Montana. There will be 42 crossings. They are all large culverts or bridges except for this one big overpass.  Recent motion-sensing camera photos show use of the underpasses by many kinds of wildlife.

Story in the Missoulian. Wildlife to Roam Free. By Kim Briggeman.

Clear Lake trail near Canyon in YNP closed due to increased thermal activity

The heat is on: popular Yellowstone trail closed due to thermal activity. Yellowstone Eco-Travel Examiner. By Beth Pratt

I always though of this trail and area as spooky. Maybe because the times I visited I was alone in the afternoon and expected a grizzly around every bend chewing on carcass next to an obscure “mud pot”

Mud pot at the Clear Lake thermal area
A mud pot at Clear Lake thermal area.
Copyright © Ralph Maughan

Posted in Yellowstone National Park. Tags: . Comments Off on Clear Lake trail near Canyon in YNP closed due to increased thermal activity

Grasshopper infestation forces livestock sales in 15 states


We’ve used the examples of how heat and cold can take more livestock in a few days than wolves do in a year.

In following up on our continuing efforts to highlight the absurdly disproportionate media coverage that flares up whenever news of a predator taking a few livestock happens,  I thought I’d post the story below about insects.

Grasshopper infestation forces livestock sales in 15 states

“This year we had a good start but they just took it,” said Tubbs [rancher], 57. “The grasshoppers have taken it down to the dirt. They’ve eaten everything but the cactus.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Reward offered to get killer of huge Montana grizzly-

Size of reward for killer of “Maximus” not specified, but substantial-

Reward offered for information in killing of big Montana grizzly. By Karl Puckett. Great Falls Tribune Staff Writer

Supporters and opponents of pipeline to drain water from Eastern Nevada face off at hearing/vote

Southern Nevada Water Authority and supports face residents of eastern Nevada, conservationists, Native Americans-

“Water war” 25 years out, no end in sight to water pipeline fight. By Stephanie Tavares. Las Vegas Sun


Earlier in this blog (Aug. 8). Nevada’s “water wizard” to ask for vote of confidence in face of opposition to more draining of the desert-

Posted in Las Vegas, politics. Tags: , , . Comments Off on Supporters and opponents of pipeline to drain water from Eastern Nevada face off at hearing/vote

Conservation Groups Challenge Wolf Hunting

A coalition of 13 wolf advocate groups have submitted a motion to Judge Molloy’s court asking for a preliminary injunction to stop the Idaho and Montana wolf hunts.

Memorandum in Support of Motion For Preliminary Injunction (41 pages)

The above memorandum in support of the Preliminary Injunction request is a phenomanal effort – those interested in this important piece of conservation history are encouraged to read it.

The Press Release Follows:

Conservation Groups Challenge Wolf Hunting

Missoula, MT— Conservation groups today asked a federal district court to block fall wolf hunts in Idaho and Montana. The request came in an ongoing lawsuit seeking to restore federal Endangered Species Act protections to wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains until wolf numbers are stronger, the states develop an adequate legal safety net, and connectivity between recovery areas is assured.

Read the rest of this entry »

Top five dangerous creatures near Elko, NV

Most people won’t be surprised, but there are those who try to scare us about wolves, bear, and cougar-

Top five most dangerous creatures in Elko County. By Julie Wooton. Elko Daily Free Press.

I didn’t know about the harvester ant.

All fish caught in test of U.S. waters had mercury contamination

It seems this toxic element is now pretty much in all fish in the inland waters-

An argument for catch and release? 😦  Not really appropriate for a quip. Really bad news!

All fish caught in U.S.-tested streams have mercury. By Elizabeth Weise. USA TODAY. Trout were among the least contaminated species!

Giant, 800 pound grizzly illegally killed on the Rocky Mountain Front

“Someone just indiscriminately shot the bear”

The bear was informally known as Maximus. His decaying carcass was found by a rancher off Fish Creek west of Dupuyer, Montana.

Officials probe killing of giant grizzly on Front. By Karl Puckett. Great Falls Tribune Staff Writer. The Tribune article says that was probably the 2 nd largest grizzly in Montana.

Wolf season rules for Idaho

PDF file on the rules for the upcoming wolf hunt-


Steelhead counts at Bonneville Dam on the Colombia River shatter one-day records !!

Of course, you can’t truly count them until they are in Idaho rivers, but so far a very strong run-

For those not familiar with the Columbia River and its tributaries, Bonneville Dam is first dam anadromous fish have to cross on the Columbia River on their journey home to spawn.

Steelie counts at Bonneville Dam on the Colombia River shatter record. By Roger Phillips. Idaho Statesman.

Killing Bears to Save Bears

Bill Schneider responds on the controversy over taking out “problem bears”-

Killing Bears to Save Bears. Let’s applaud Glacier Park bear managers for killing problem bears. It’s necessary to save the species. By Bill Schneider. New West.

Lie Down With Wolves

Boise State Radio goes out with Defenders’ Phantom Hill wolf/sheep crew

Audio 1

Audio 2. The ranchers have their say.

News stories on setting the Idaho wolf quota

Links to stories on the Idaho Fish and Game decisions to allow the hunt to kill up to 220 wolves-

Idaho sets a limit of 220 for wolf hunt. If hunters harvest that many, the state’s population of wolves could drop almost 25%. By Rodger Phillips. Idaho Statesman.

This headline is a bit misleading because the pups of the next year will replace all, or some of wolves that are killed. I do think the population will drop some over the course to the next year because there will be illegal mortality on top of 220, and the Commissioners made it clear they want Wildlife Services to kill lots of wolves whenever the wolves kill a lamb or a cow calf.

The depredation of livestock will be an excuse.  I hope they don’t bait wolves (and, therefore, bears) by encouraging livestock operators to lead even more dead carcasses around than they do.

Ready, Aim, Fire Up Controversy. Idaho Approves Wolf Hunt, Stirs Ruckus. Wolf advocates decried the decision. By Amy Linn. New West.

Idaho F&G commissioners approve hunt of 220 wolves. By John Miller. Associated Press Writer

The lawsuit needs to go on because the Idaho political establishment wants to keep this issue white hot and kill most of the wolves in Idaho. A real hunt that keeps a relatively stable wolf population and slowly defuses the issue is not what they want.

Added on Aug. 19. Idaho wolf hunt set to begin. F&G officials take more cautious approach in setting 2009 quota. By Jason Kauffman. Idaho Mountain Express.

Pine-beetle epidemic changes debate over logging Montana’s forests

Will it increase support for salvage logging?

Of course it will!

Will it increase support for Tester’s Wilderness plus logging bill? Yes!

Will there actually be an increase in salvage logging? Hard to say.

Some points needs to be made. First, this beetle epidemic is not just a Montana thing. It extends from the Yukon nearly to Mexico among pine trees. Logging of green trees to get ahead of beetle infestation is hopeless. It hasn’t worked anywhere in Canada or the United States because this is an extraordinary event fueled by a series of warm winters.

Secondly you can offer the dead trees for sale, but the timber operator needs to make a profit.  They are presently trying to ramp up the salvage in Canada and the United States.  If demand for a product is stable, an increase in the supply drives down the price. The price offered for lumber or chips from dead pine is already low because of the depressed economy. A ramp up of logging will drive the price still lower.

These salvage sales might find no one who will log them. Fortunately, dead lodgepole pine, left standing, does not deteriorate nearly as fast as dead spruce or fir, so some of these might still be worthwhile 5 years from now.

Finally, these dead forests will not necessarily all burn. Dead pine burns like gasoline while it still wears its dead red needles, but after they drop, the fire danger goes down rapidly in many stands. However, when they topple over in the wind on top of each other, the fire danger goes up again.

Pine-beetle epidemic changes debate over logging Montana’s forests. By Jennifer McKee. Missoulian State Bureau


Here is George Wuerthner’s interesting and detailed  essay, which I mentioned and others too in the comments.

It turns out that yesterday there was an essay in Writers on the Range about the big beetle kill in Colorado. Folks, including editorial writers, need to understand that this is not a Montana beetle kill or a Colorado beetle kill. It is a continental beetle kill.

Idaho Fish and Game Commission sets wolf hunt quota today

Commission will decide today whether an Idaho wolf hunt will be accepted by wolf conservationists or whether a bitter battle begins-

Update: Commission sets wolf quota at 220 wolves.
More information will follow when I get it. Here is some.
Idaho’s wolf hunting limit set at 220
. Idaho Statesman. From what I read, including the comments in the Statesman, it looks like I’m shaping up as a moderate on this one.

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission meets in Idaho Falls today to set the wolf kill quota just 2 weeks before the wolf season begins. Tags will go on sale Aug. 24. In July, Montana set a wolf quota of 75 after seeking public comment and developing computer models of various quotas and their estimated effect on wolf populations.

Idaho hasn’t sought public input. As I write this, how the quota was determined is not clear.  Some indications are they will have a quota as high as 500 to 700 wolves. Idaho has the best wolf habitat in the lower 48 states as indicated by its current population of perhaps 1000 wolves compared to adjacent Montana with just half as many despite having wolves in the state since the 1980s, beginning with natural in-migration from Canada.

Some people think wolf hunting will prove difficult and the quota won’t be filled. Outdoor writers Rocky Barker of the Idaho Statesman is a well know person who holds to this school of thought.  Others believe there will be a slaughter — wolves being easy to find while elk or deer hunting coupled with a very long hunting season. I tend to the latter because of the length of the season and the likelihood that a fair number of hunters will shot two, tag one, and leave the other.

My view is that I am not against a wolf hunt, but a real hunt of any game animal does not as its purpose reduce the population by very much. If the Commission announced they were going to reduce the state’s elk population by half, for example, that would not be a hunt. Of course, they wouldn’t do that.

Because wolves have not been hunted before  in Idaho, and Idaho so much different geographically than Alaska, a lot of information needs to be gathered. It will be important to see if the Commission puts in place a mechanism to gather critical information, especially so that they can see if a wolf hunt (or reduction) has any effect on elk, deer, or moose populations. Will wolves become more wary of humans?

It is also important to see if the hunt has an effect on livestock depredations. Conventional wisdom is that a reduction in wolves will reduce the number of sheep and cattle killed, but others believe that because wolves are a pack animal and learn what is prey from their pack, disrupted packs will send orphaned pups, wounded wolves and subadults into the herds of livestock.

I for one, would not protest a quota of 100 or 200 animals (comparable to Montana), not that I think any hunt is a biological necessity. However, a high quota with lax oversight will spark a bitter battle. It’s all up to the Fish and Game Commission what they want. For those who want the wolf relisted, a high quota with lax enforcement is more likely to yield success in their lawsuit than a more measured approach. Montana’s Commission (Fish, Wildlife and Parks) seemed to sense that.

Idaho Fish & Game to set limits for first wolf hunt. By Roger Phillips. Idaho Statesman.

Idaho officials to set wolf hunt quotas today. Associated Press

Obama Administration will defend the Clinton roadless rule

Administration will defend the Clinton version in the 10th Circuit Court-

President sides with environmentalists to reinstate roadless rule. By Gary Harmon. Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.

Note that while this article emphasizes Colorado, this applies to all the states with national forest roadless areas that have not been designated as Wilderness areas.

I like the roadless rule. One major reason is that it reduces the need to accept bad provisions in Wilderness bills. If you have abusive livestock grazing, and get the “traditional” language when such an area is designated Wilderness, it actually makes it harder to bring abusive livestock operator to account or rid the area of these animals incompatible with real wilderness. That’s because, like proposed Tester bill in Montana, politicians usually grandfather the livestock. They pretend, or don’t know, that cows are not compatible with real wilderness.

In a roadless area, the Forest Service can (doesn’t mean  they will), crack down on the grazing, close the grazing allotment, etc.

There are other arguments to consider, however.  A roadless area might be getting torn apart by off-road vehicles, for example. In many of the past Wilderness designations, the amount of livestock was so small that other arguments for the otherwise strong legal protection a congressional act gives to an area were probably more important.

Posted in wilderness roadless. Tags: . Comments Off on Obama Administration will defend the Clinton roadless rule

The “grizzly-whisperer” and Old Man Lake female

Carrie Hunt has had great success but one “too friendly” griz is going to die-

Michael Jamison of the Missoulian has written a most interesting article about a so far gentle old Glacier Park sow who has resisted all efforts, including the most sophisticated (bear shepherding), to stop approaching people. It may be because the bear was not “shepherded” for two years.

Grizzly sow in Glacier will be killed.  By Michael Jamison.
Added on 8/18/09. Grizzly sow, yearling cub killed in Glacier National Park. By Michael Jamison. Missoulian.

Officers ‘massacre’ 12 bears at northern Alberta landfill

The garbage dump was a popular local bear watching place-

This is a major controversy now in Alberta.

Officers ‘massacre’ 12 bears at northern Alberta landfill. Official defends decision to shoot scavengers at landfill. By Karen Kleiss, Edmonton Journal

Posted in Bears. Tags: . 11 Comments »

Idaho residents announce public demonstration against proposed Idaho wolf hunt

Northern Idaho Wolf Alliance (NIWA) announces two demonstrations for northern Idaho-

What a surprise! Here is their news release.




August 12, 2009


For more information:

Stephen Augustine

Ken Fischman, Ph.D.

Wolf Advocates Announce Public Demonstration Against Idaho Wolf Hunt

The Northern Idaho Wolf Alliance (NIWA) confirmed today that they will hold public demonstrations against the upcoming Idaho wolf hunting season.  The public is invited to join these demonstrations on Friday, August 28th in Coeur d’Alene and on Monday, August 31st in Sandpoint.  The events are aimed to bring attention to the wolf hunting season which begins on September 1.

“Why are we hunting wolves when they just came off the Endangered Species list less than six months ago?”, NIWA spokesperson Stephen Augustine asked.  He added, “We fear that under the guise of wolf management, what’s about to happen is a wolf massacre.”

Some hunters claim that wolves are devastating elk in Idaho. Yet the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has shown that the Idaho elk population increased in each of the last three years to where there are now 115,000 elk.  There are only 846 wolves.

Idaho Fish & Game (IDF&G) has not yet revealed how many of Idaho’s 846 wolves they will allow hunters to kill. “This is ominous.” Dr. Ken Fischman of Ancient Pathways, stated. “We believe that they are trying to hide the true numbers until the last minute because the public will be shocked to know that over half the wolves could be killed.

This is the first time that an animal has ever been hunted immediately after being taken off the Endangered Species list. Minnesota and Michigan will not even consider allowing wolf hunts for at least five years after wolves have been delisted in their states.

Fischman addressed another common myth, “Idaho ranchers say that wolves are decimating livestock, yet they are responsible for less than 1% of livestock depredation. In 2008, feral dogs killed more than four times as many sheep in Idaho than wolves did.”

Augustine concluded, “Wolves are being demonized. Virtually overnight they are going from most protected to most persecuted. This hunt is a reflection of ignorance and animosity toward a predator whose presence has restored needed balance to our wild areas.”

The public demonstration in Coeur d’Alene will take place 11AM – 1 PM, on Friday, August 28th, at the IDF&G building, 2885 W. Kathleen Ave.

The Sandpoint public demonstration will take place from 11 AM – 1 PM, on Monday, August 31st at the County Courthouse on So. First Ave. & Lake St.  At the same time, Northern Idaho Wolf Alliance will also sponsor a wolf education program for families and children at the Sandpoint Community Hall across from the Courthouse.  It will feature informational material, videos and activities for children.


The Northern Idaho Wolf Alliance seeks to raise public awareness and encourages discussion about the essential ecological role of wolves in the balance of healthy forest ecosystems, to educate the public and government officials using fact-based information and current scientific knowledge, and to defend wolves against persecution and prejudice.

Latest government wolf news for Wyoming

Some good Wyoming wolf management news-

The 10j rules under which Wyoming wolves are still managed read that regarding wolf control,  “Artificial or intentional feeding of wolves must not have occurred. Livestock carcasses not properly disposed of in an area where depredations have occurred will be considered attractants. On Federal lands, removal or resolution of such attractants must accompany any control action. Livestock carrion or carcasses on Federal land, not being used as bait in an authorized control action, must be removed, buried, burned, or otherwise disposed of such that the carcasses will not attract wolves…..”

So a bunch of cow carcasses were left in the Upper Green River and USFWS refused to order wolf control when wolves showed up and attacked some living cattle.  It’s good to see livestock operators held to account.

Below are two Wyoming wolf reports. They both arrived today. There is no Yellowstone, Oregon or Washington news included this time. The oldest report is placed first. Ralph Maughan



To:                   Regional Director, Region 6, Denver, Colorado

From:               USFWS Wyoming Wolf Recovery Project Leader, Jackson, WY

Subject:           Status of Gray Wolf Management in Wyoming and the NRM

WYOMING WOLF WEEKLY- August 3 through August 7, 2009

Web Address – USFWS reports (past weekly and annual reports) can be viewed at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov . Weekly reports for Montana and Idaho are produced by those States and can be viewed on the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and Idaho Department of Fish and Game websites. All weekly and annual reports are government property and can be used for any purpose.  Please distribute as you see fit. Read the rest of this entry »

Cattle deaths in Caribou Co, Idaho, attributed to selenium poisoning

Selenium poisoning is becoming a major problem in SE Idaho-

The number of wildlife that die is unknown.

There are many abandoned and active phosphate mines in SE Idaho. A major battle to stop the expansion of one was recently lost by the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. A new state of the art mine that is claimed will produce no selenium runoff at all is about to begin on the edge of  the Blackfoot River. It’s the Blackfoot Bridge Mine. On the positive side, the mine will provide some public access to the Blackfoot River in a stretch where was closed (private property).

I have posted many stories about the selenium. Not many people read them. It seems a bit hard to stir up interest.

Idaho business news
Cattle deaths in Caribou Co. attributed to selenium poisoning.
by Mark Mendiola

Exxon-Mobil pleads guilty in bird case

Natural gas production is ugly for birds

Exxon-Mobil pleads guilty in bird caseCasper Star-Tribune

Exxon-Mobil Corp. has pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Denver to violating the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act in five states including Wyoming during the past five years, the Justice Department said Thursday.

Utah and Nevada agree on Snake Valley water accord

Critics say it will result in dust storms on Utah’s Wasatch Front-

The plan to drain water out of the desert on Utah/Nevada border and pipe it south to fuel urban sprawl around Las Vegas has been made public.

Proposed Utah, Nevada water accord could clear the way for Snake Valley pipeline. Water sharing » Draft calls for monitoring of groundwater withdrawals, delays pipeline decision until 2019.  By Patty Henetz. The Salt Lake Tribune.

From the other day in this blog. Nevada Water Authority shaken by growing push-back to their effort to drain groundwater from under the Nevada desert.

Watershed Sculptures

Made by Man (Active Restoration)

Dan McCormick combines art, ecology, and engineering to build sculptures that simulate a natural process/feature (ex: beaver dam) of a typical watershed that filters sediment, recharges a floodplain, establishes riparian vegetation/wildlife habitat and promotes general watershed health.

When people actively work ~ say, planting willows or spreading seed ~ to restore a landscape, it’s referred to as “active restoration”.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Beaver. 1 Comment »

Conservation could provide 85 percent of power

We’ve frequently discussed the environmental costs of new power generation, including wind and solar on public lands and centralized versus distributed generation.  All energy production has environmental consequences. But while everyone’s talking about the pros and cons of the next generation technology, the Northwest Power and Conservation Council has found that although it may not be as sexy, the real ‘bang for the buck’ is in conservation.

Conservation could provide 85 percent of power

The new plan envisions the Northwest actually using less power in 10 years than it does now, even as the population rises, he said.

Council member Dick Wallace of Washington said conservation measures cost less than half of what new power generation costs, and they don’t add new carbon emissions.

Idaho gets no takers for its wolves

Of course the state didn’t. The bill by Idaho State Sen. Gary Schroeder wasn’t serious-

Before any state would take wolves, there would have to be a long debate. Schroeder wanted them gone now. Wolves also reproduce so fast when they have good habitat that giving them away wouldn’t make any difference in Idaho.

AP story.

Bear probably killed woman who fed local bears

Bear ate 74-year old women at house thought to consistently feed bears-

Coroner: Bear caused death of Ouray County [Colorado] woman. Montrose Daily Press.

Posted in Bears. Tags: . 4 Comments »

Interior chief Salazar visits North Fork of Flathead

Senator Baucus tells Secretry of Interior about the many threats from British Columbia-

The latest threat to the river and Glacier National Park is gold mining.

Interior chief Salazar visits North Fork. Missoulian. By Michael Jamison. BC’s indifference, I think, or at least hope, is mostly an accident of geography because no one lives in the B.C. area just north and northwest of Glacier National Park, and all the water flows into the United States.

Kill order out on Phantom Hill Pack

Some of pack apparently killed 12 totally unguarded sheep-

I may not have a update until late today, but apparently Idaho’s one semi-protected wolf pack killed 12 sheep of an Idaho nobleman. Defenders of Wildlife has had a major project to keep the wolves and the annual invasion of sheep apart in the general area of the upper Wood River.

Earlier I didn’t have time to post the news story in the media. I had to go visit another area where I suspected cattle or sheep growers were poaching the public’s grass. They didn’t disappoint me. They were.

Here is the story.  Wolves kill 12 sheep. Phantom Hill wolf pack could be targeted by F&G. By Jason Kauffman. Idaho Mountain Express Staff Writer. The sheep were on public land in Baker Creek.

♣ Related story posted August 14. This is very interesting story in the way the news is framed

Gooding sheep rancher backs off of wolf kill after herd attacked. Phantom Hill pack took dozen sheep this week. By Karen Bossick. Times-News correspondent

Conservation groups petition for more legal protection for the Mexican wolf

Several efforts underway to save this failing restoration program-

AP Story. Groups push for special wolf protections. By Susan Montoya Bryan.

From the Center for Biological Diversity. Center for Biological Diversity Petitions for Protection of Mexican Gray Wolf

Annual scientific trapping of Eastern Idaho grizzly bears underway

Not for control, but for population monitoring-

There aren’t many grizzlies in Eastern Idaho. They are pretty much confined to the Targhee portion of the Caribou-Targhee National Forest up against Yellowstone Park and Grand Teton Park. Their range is slowly expanding.  For example, grizzlies used to be found only north of Badger Creek up against Grand Teton, but now they are occasionally found all the way to the southern tip of the West Slope of the Tetons.*  They are also slowly reoccupying the Idaho/Montana border (which is also the Continental Divide).

Annual scientific grizzly bear trapping to begin. By Gregg Losinski. River City Weekly (Idaho Falls, ID)

– – –

Actually the southern tip of the Tetons is in Wyoming.

PEER finds the worst federal agency, at least in terms of the environment

United States Section, International Boundary and Water Commission (USIBWC) is arguably the most incompetent and abusive in federal service” PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility).

This agency is supposed to implement boundary treaties with Mexico.

Posted in politics. Tags: , , . Comments Off on PEER finds the worst federal agency, at least in terms of the environment

Throng hails Wyoming’s first wild and scenic rivers law

This was part of the omnibus public lands bill that passed earlier this year-

Throng hails wild river law. Jackson Hole Daily. By Angus M. Thuermer Jr., Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Posted in public lands. Tags: , . Comments Off on Throng hails Wyoming’s first wild and scenic rivers law

Is 55 mph too fast on the Jackson Hole Highway?

Officials think too many large animals are being hit. Speeding may not be the primary cause-

Speed kills? By Whitney Royster. Casper Star Tribune.

BLM rounds up 364 wild horses near Challis, Idaho

135 expected to be released to keep total herd size near 185-

BLM rounds up 364 wild horses. By Todd Adams. Challis Messenger.
Photo of the roundup (from the Messenger)

Posted in B.L.M., Wild horses. Tags: . Comments Off on BLM rounds up 364 wild horses near Challis, Idaho

Rare wolverine spotted in Idaho’s Pioneer Mountains

Rare observation and photo near the top of Idaho’s second highest mountain range-

Hikers see solitary member of the weasel family on east side of range. By Jason Kauffman. Idaho Mountain Express Staff Writer.


The wolverine was near the top of one of the canyons in the distance.
Photo copyright © Ralph Maughan

Kathie Lynch: Summertime 2009 Yellowstone wolf news.

Wolf watching is slow in this summer’s extra green Yellowstone-

While watching has been slow lately in the reconfigured Yellowstone wolf packs, Kathie Lynch has quite a bit of news. Ralph Maughan

– – – – – –

July and August wolf notes for YNP. By © Kathie Lynch
Copyrighted material. Not to be reprinted or reposted without explicit permission

Summer wolf watching in Yellowstone ran the gamut from the great expectations of June and early July to the challenges of late July and early August. Despite eternal vigilance by devoted watchers, the Druid Peak pack somehow managed to spirit their pups away from their traditional den forest to their summer rendezvous without anyone seeing them go. With the Druids’ departure from Lamar Valley, wolf watching took a turn for the worse as many days found us searching high and low just to find a wolf.

What had been a grand spectacle last year when the Druids moved their pups across Soda Butte Creek, this year quietly turned into a non-event. Because the pups stayed mostly hidden in the trees of the traditional den forest and seldom came into view, we never even obtained a solid count. However, the Druids are believed to have had at least nine pups, including five blacks and four grays. Even the Wolf Project’s monitoring flights have not been able to confirm the Druid pup count.

Read the rest of this entry »

Nevada Water Authority shaken by growing push-back to their effort to drain groundwater from under the Nevada desert

Nevada’s “water wizard” to ask for vote of confidence in face of opposition to more draining the desert-

Southern Nevada Water Authority’s boss, Pat Mulroy, thought by many to be the most powerful woman in the Interior West, says she wants a quick vote from Water Authority members [this is a board, not the public] to show they are still committed to plans to pipe groundwater to Las Vegas from the eastern Nevada Desert (including maybe Utah’s desert).

Opposition has been growing rapidly, and there may not be enough water for 270,000 more homes for more sprawl in and near Las Vegas, especially with the rapidly falling water level of Lake Mead on Colorado River.

Nevada Water Authority vote sought on pipeline project. Growing opposition prompts call for vote. By Henry Brean. Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The Crow and the Pitcher

Rooks show there may be some truth to Aesop’s fable ‘The Crow and the Pitcher’ LA Times Blog

From wikipedia :

The Crow and the Pitcher is a fable ascribed to Aesop, number 390 in the classification established by Perry. It is found in the 2nd century AD Greek fable collection by pseudo-Dositheus,[1] and later appears in the 4th–5th century Latin verse collection by Avianus.[2]

In the fable, a thirsty crow comes upon a pitcher with water at the bottom, beyond the reach of its beak. After failing to push over the pitcher, the crow devises a clever plan: it drops in pebbles, one by one, until the water rises to the top of the pitcher, allowing the crow to drink.

Posted in birds. 5 Comments »

BFC/WWP Workshop

A couple of young bulls close by ©Buffalo Field Campaign

A couple of young bulls close by ©Buffalo Field Campaign

Ken Cole and I (Brian Ertz) are going to be tromping around southwest Montana this Tuesday & Wednesday.

You’re invited.

WHEN: August 11 & 12, 10am

WHERE: BFC Headquarters, 14365 Hebgen Lake Road, West Yellowstone, Montana

WHAT: Bring your own food

We will meet at 10:00 am for an introduction and overview then head to a nearby grazing allotment. If you are interested in attending this workshop please contact Ken Cole at ken@westernwatersheds.org. Spread the word!

Read the rest of this entry »

Bighorn Roundup 8/09

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has nearly completed its requirement to develop “Best Management Practices” (BMPs) pursuant to Idaho legislation S1232.  Public land sheep ranchers hope that the BMPs will be sufficient to dissuade the Payette National Forest from shutting down domestic sheep ranching on the Payette Forest, a move necessary to protect bighorn sheep from deadly disease.

Idaho meets deadline for bighorn plans – mostly ~ Rocky Barker, Idaho Statesman

A lawsuit by bighorn advocates forced officials at the Payette National Forest to start a process to decide whether to keep allowing ranchers to graze their sheep in bighorn habitat.

That sparked a response from the Idaho Legislature, which passed a law that says a wild sheep that had come too close to a domestic herd had to be either relocated or killed. It also required Fish and Game Director Cal Groen to certify these separation plans by Aug. 5.

Read the rest of this entry »

Bob Abbey confirmed as the new BLM Director

McCain’s opposition swept aside as new head of Bureau of Land Management confirmed by U.S. Senate-

Senate Confirms Abbey to Lead BLM. The architect of the Great Basin Restoration initiative takes the helm at BLM. By David Frey. New West.

Abbey has generally gotten good reviews from conservation groups.

It’s about time BLM got a new director. It’s 8 months into the new Administration.

More on Aug. 8, 2009. Reno’s Bob Abbey talks about his goals as new director of the BLM. By Erin Kelly.  Gannett Washington Bureau.

Montana FWP study finds multiple factors in wolf-elk relations

Multiyear Montana study shows the relationships between elk and wolves are not simple-

FWP study finds multiple factors in wolf-elk relations. By Rob Chaney. Missoulian

Nowhere are data adequate to ‘scientifically’ assign cause(s) for any declines that may occur,” author-biologists Kenneth Hamlin and Julie Cunningham wrote in their conclusion.”

However, this conclusion certainly does not mean that wolves do not affect elk in many ways, as do wolves and bear together, and each other as well.

The effect of wolves also varies in different parts of Montana despite there being similar densities of wolves, e.g., NW Montana versus SW Montana and Yellowstone.

This is an important study and you can read the 95 page report and/or save as a pdf file.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Shoots Wild Bull Bison in Idaho

BFC‘s Press Release :

Buffalo Bull © Ken Cole

Buffalo Bull © Ken Cole

ISLAND PARK, IDAHO: Federal agents with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture shot and killed a bull bison this afternoon. The bull had migrated to the area from Yellowstone National Park and was grazing to the south of Twin Creek, near the Nature Conservancy’s Flat Ranch property.

According to Buffalo Field Campaign Habitat Coordinator Darrell Geist, who witnessed the shooting, “This is part of the bison’s historic migration. For the past several years we’ve seen bison attempt to access their native habitat in Idaho only to be met with a bullet. As today’s shooting makes perfectly clear, Idaho shares Montana’s intolerance for native bison.”
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Bison. 11 Comments »

Battle Brewing Over Giant Desert Solar Farm

Strong Environmental Laws Used to Promote Fair Paying Jobs, Social Justice

Another proposed energy development on the Mojave Desert prompts criticism from environmentalists concerned about its impact to imperiled wildlife and the landscape. But what’s particularly interesting about this story is that labor groups have finally caught on to the significant leverage that environmental laws can contribute to the cause of fair paying jobs. One labor group in particular has been pushing for huge energy developers to hire with fair contracts. Not suprisingly, energy companies, even those marketing themselves as green, like to keep the costs down whether that means exploiting public landscapes and wildlife – or even labor. Some labor groups are responding by reaching into environmentalists’ toolbox and hitting back.

Battle Brewing Over Giant Desert Solar Farm ~ Green Inc. – New York Times

The labor group, called California Unions for Reliable Energy, sent an attorney and biologist to testify at the hearing. The group has come under fire for inundating developers who decline to sign labor agreements with demands that they conduct scores of costly environmental studies on their solar projects.

Posted in activism, energy, public lands, Solar, Wildlife Habitat. Comments Off on Battle Brewing Over Giant Desert Solar Farm

Clinton Roadless Rule Upheld… Again.

The 9th Circuit just upheld the Clinton Roadless Rule, and slapped down Bush’s amended rule which granted states and local interests undue influence to craft their own roadless rules, rules which ended up being weaker than the Clinton Rule.  Idaho and Colorado were the only states to ride Bush’s timber-train.

Clinton-era Rule Protecting Forests Upheld Green Inc., New York Times

The “roadless rule,” approved in 2001 during the waning days of the Clinton administration, substantially limited road development in national forest lands. The Bush Administration effectively replaced it with another policy that allowed states to establish their own rules on roads in forests.

A Bit of the Backstory

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Utahans killing bears at record rate

Ever since a black bear killed a child in a campground in 2007, bears have really taken the brunt in Utah. This story is about the latest-

Garfield County cabin owner kills large male bear. Wildlife » A spate of such killings this summer has officials scratching their heads. By Tom Wharton. The Salt Lake Tribune.

Have Utahans been permanently traumatized?

Posted in Bears. Tags: , . 28 Comments »

Idaho Fish and Game Commissioner says there may be a wolf hunt this fall regardless of the outcome of the lawsuit

Randy Budge thinks hunters will take matters into own hands-

Budge thinks hunters are so upset some will take matters into their own hands if an official hunt is not allowed. It’s always hard to know whether statements like this are predictions or threats.

Idaho Fish & Game prepares for fall wolf hunt. Commissioner: Some Idaho hunters are ready, whether it’s legal or not. Idaho Mountain Express. By Jason Kauffman.

My personal view is that Judge Molloy will let the Montana and Idaho hunts go forward, but may stop them if they get out of hand. For example, if it becomes clear that the rules or the quotas set are not being enforced.

Wildfires rage in British Columbia, Alaska

Pacific northwest dry and burning as rest of West has a cool and moist summer respite-

We planned to go to B.C. and Alaska this summer. Glad we didn’t. Instead we stayed in Pocatello, Idaho where a very wet late spring and cooler than normal summer has greatly reduced normal fires and given clean skies.

On the other hand much of B.C. and Alaska have been very dry. Massive forest fires burn out of control, and Oregon and Washington too have recently suffered from extreme heat. Smoke from the fires has resulted in dense air pollution to the north, while most of Idaho, Montana, Utah, Colorado and Wyoming have escaped the smoke. The winds are now, however, blowing the smoke down into Montana, Northern Idaho, and across the Dakotas and Great Lakes.

Fires have broken out  in Northern California, Oregon, and Washington, setting the stage for smoky skies further to the south. Some relatively small forest fires are now burning in Idaho and Montana (just updated), although this season will probably not see many large forest fires due to the still relatively wet wood.

You can follow the fires on Inciweb and the National Interagency Fire Center. Note: these web sites are always on my blogroll.

You can follow air quality in North America at U.S. Air Quality. This site has a lot of photos and graphics.

Stories: Workers overwhelmed as B.C. burns. Rod Mickleburgh.  Globe and Mail.

Out-of-state smoke rolls into Montana: Plume from British Columbia fire lingers in area. By Michael Jamison. Missoulian
Wildfires slow to start this year in south central Idaho. By Nate Poppino. Magic Valley Times-News writer

Fires burning wild across Interior Alaska. Smoke: Two expand beyond 800,000 acres; 30 cabins threatened. By  Kyle Hopkins. Well 30 threatened cabins doesn’t sound like a major event, but 800,000 acres in two fires does.

I should add that the desert southwest has suffered from extreme heat (more extreme than the usual during the summer)

Analysis: 2007 legal opinion is a threat to imperiled species

The Endangered Species Act Under Threat

A Bush Administration interpretation of “range” that restricts protections for imperiled species to their current range, precluding protections for historic range could weaken the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Analysis: 2007 legal opinion is a threat to imperiled speciesScienceBlog

researchers say such an interpretation sets the stage for the creation of sporadically located “wilderness zoos” that would reduce protections for endangered species and the habitat on which they depend.

It is pretty universally understood that the Bush Administration was no proponent of the ESA and actively pushed radically minimalist interpretations of the Act administratively and in the courts.  If you think about it, an interpretation of the Endangered Species Act that only protects species where they currently reside would actually incentivize the removal of species from areas before they get listed, or at least could pull a lot of the wind out of efforts to conserve a species in an area before a listing potentially takes place.

As the article notes, what’s particularly troubling is that the Obama Administration has done nothing to reverse Bush’s legal memorandum. Obama’s Interior actually picked up where Bush left off, using the interpretation in its decision to delist wolves.

“The law says listing decisions should be determined by scientists,” Bruskotter said. “Implementing the 2007 legal interpretation, on the other hand, would further limit the number of species listed and the area in which they qualify for protections, ultimately diminishing the government’s ability to conserve threatened and endangered species.”

Stockgrowers sue to protect non-existent cattle from a non-existent threat

Ridiculous lawsuit to show who is boss over everything and everyone in Montana is being heard today.

Montana Stockgrowers Association is suing to make sure bison are removed from the Horse Butte, which is devoid of cattle, by May 15th of each year. They would force the State of Montana to violate private property rights of those who live on the peninsula each and every year.

Cattle are no longer grazed on Horse Butte and there are few cattle grazed in the entire Hebgen Valley.  Even those cattle don’t arrive until late June long after there is any threat of brucellosis transmission.  Even so, bison are hazed, captured, and slaughtered by State and Federal Agencies at taxpayer expense at the cost of $1.5 million dollars per year to protect a few operators from a non-existent threat.

Stockgrowers sue over Horse Butte bison
Bozeman Daily Chronicle

A reminder of the consequences of this policy:

Greater Yellowstone Grizzly Bear MOU between Montana, Idaho and Wyoming

Very important. You can comment until August 12-

Send your comments to Attn: Wildlife
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks
POB 200701
Helena MT 59620-0701

This MOU paves the way for sport hunting of grizzly bears in this large delisted population. This splits the “discretionary” mortality (surplus) bears between the three states. It might be meaningless because there has been no surplus of late. Instead, the grizzly will possibly be put back on the threatened species list in the Greater Yellowstone. It depends on how many more bears are killed this year. On the other hand, if accidental and illegal deaths decline, this could be meaningful.

This has been under the radar for me. Below is the Memorandum of Understanding.



June 2009



Wyoming Game and Fish Commission,

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and

Idaho Department of Fish and Game

This Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is made and entered into by and between the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission (WGFD), Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (MFWP) and Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG), collectively referred to as the Parties.

I.  Purpose

The purpose of this MOU is to define the process by which the Parties will coordinate annual efforts to develop recommendations for the allocation of discretionary mortality, if any, of grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem for hunting consistent with the Final Grizzly Bear Conservation Strategy for the Greater Yellowstone Area and state management plans.

II.  Background

The Final Conservation Strategy for Grizzly Bears in the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA) establishes maximum allowable mortality limits for adult male and female, as well as dependent young, grizzly bears in the ecosystem to ensure the entire population maintains an overall growth rate equal to, or greater than zero.  The Conservation Strategy incorporates state management plans that have different, but compatible, management objectives for the three state parties.  Specifically, the state of Wyoming’s objective is to limit further expansion of the population in size and distribution per “Grizzly Bear Occupancy Management Following Delisting as a Threatened Species” (2005).  The states of Idaho and Montana have an objective of allowing the population to expand into biologically suitable and socially acceptable areas.

The Parties are committed to minimizing the amount of grizzly bear mortality due to conflict with human activities and defense of life and property or other management removals, collectively referred to as “non-discretionary mortality.”  To the extent non-discretionary mortality can be held below the maximum allowable levels for the entire Yellowstone population, “discretionary mortality” outside of the National Parks could be available for allocation to other purposes, including translocation to other ecosystems, or hunter harvest as provided for in the Conservation Strategy, state plans, state laws, and regulations.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Bears, conservation, Yellowstone. Tags: , , , , . Comments Off on Greater Yellowstone Grizzly Bear MOU between Montana, Idaho and Wyoming

Sheep Drive Endangers Arizona Desert Bighorns, Group Says

Bighorn Sheep © Ken Cole

Bighorn Sheep © Ken Cole

Western Watersheds Project sues to prevent deadly disease spread to rare desert bighorn-

Western Watersheds Project has filed litigation against the US Forest Service in Arizona to prevent the trailing of domestic sheep that spread deadly disease over Forest Service lands that harbor bighorn sheep :

WWP News Release :

Western Watersheds Project filed suit in Federal Court in Tucson, Arizona to stop a large domestic sheep trailing operation in desert bighorn sheep habitat on the Tonto National Forest.  Domestic sheep are a source of respiratory illness that can devastate wild bighorn sheep herds.

Sheep Drive Endangers Bighorns, Group SaysCourthouse News Service

The U.S. Forest Service will cause a “die-off” of bighorn sheep by its decision to allow private livestock companies to drive 12,000 domestic sheep across the Tonto and Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests for a month, the Western Watersheds Project claims in Federal Court. The environmental group says domestic sheep “carry disease that is fatal” to bighorn sheep and any contact between the species could devastate the bighorns.

Posted in Bighorn sheep, Forest Service, Grazing and livestock. Comments Off on Sheep Drive Endangers Arizona Desert Bighorns, Group Says

Construction of big WY wind farm put indefinitely on hold

Construction of farm in core sage grouse country presents too many unknowns-

Wind Farm put on hold. By Dustin Bleizeffer. Casper Star-Tribune energy reporter.

It’s good see them taking the sage grouse issue seriously. Folks will recall WWP has a lawsuit on 30-million acres of sage grouse country.

Editorial opinion: Let science lift number of Mexican gray wolves

As a note, David Parsons was director of the Mexican wolf recovery program in its early and more successful years. His Bush boss fired him. Several years ago, he won our “Alpha Award” (awarded by the Wolf Recovery Foundation).

Let science lift number of Mexican gray wolves. By Rich Fredrickson and David Parsons. The Arizona Republic.

Second Washington State wolf pack is radio collared

The “Diamond Pack” is in the state’s NE corner, next to Idaho-

Biologists collar, tag 2nd Wash. wolf pack. Washington state biologists say they have made contact with the state’s second wolf pack and have collared the alpha male.Seattle Times.

Earlier we did a post on this pack, complete with photos taken by a remote camera.