Many more stories on “goodies” in the Interior Appropriations bill

Of course, Interior appropriations are not just for Montana

Here are a host more.

Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill benefits Minnesota. Review-Messenger.

Congress approves $475M to restore the Great Lakes. Deb Price / Detroit News Washington Bureau

Boxer Secures Funding for Key Investments Throughout California. California Chronicle

Funds for North Dakoka. Bismark Tribune.

Schumer: Additional $1 Billion Worth Of Critical Water And Sewer Grants across the country. News Channel 34

Funds for Oregon. My Central

Simpson gets money for Idaho. News release by Mike Simpson. Note that he also voted for a successful amendment not to monitor livestock shit in our air. . . . “Language to prohibit funds from being used to implement EPA rules requiring mandatory reporting of greenhouse gas emissions from livestock manure.  This language will protect farmers and ranchers from burdensome, unnecessary regulations at a time when the agriculture industry is struggling.”

Congress approves $1.9M to research mysterious disease killing N.J. bats. By Brian T. Murray/The Star-Ledger

Congress approves $4M in funding to preserve N.J. Highlands. By Lawrence Ragonese/The Star-Ledger

Folks might want to look this up for their own state and post in the comments. Most states got something.

Obama administration inches away from ‘time out’ for roadless forest logging

Is this a move away from Obama’s previous commitment to the Clinton Roadless Rule ?

In May, the Obama administration announced its intention to give Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack top level oversight over incursions into roadless areas.  The move was said to be Obama’s re-commitment to the Clinton Roadless Rule.

Obama administration inches away from ‘time out’ for roadless forest loggingThe Oregonian

Now it appears the administration is backing away from that directive, if only a little.

This month, the Agriculture Department returned to the Forest Service the authority to undertake certain projects in roadless forests without the secretary’s approval.

Bear Committee turns into jays; scolds Judge Molloy

Results of the Yellowstone Grizzly Coordinating Committee meeting Jackson, WY-

I think we see the real reason they are upset that the judge relisted the grizzly bear in this statement:

“Fremont County [Wyoming] Commissioner Pat Hickerson echoed Schwartz and several other commissioners when he said grizzly bears have begun to expand into areas where their presence is incompatible with activities such as producing livestock.[emphasis mine]. Once again, it’s the local noblemen who are upset.

Story on “the scolds” By Corey Hatch, Jackson Hole Daily.

Rocky Mountain Front, wildlife, and other projects get funded in Montana in Interior Appropriations Bill

Bill includes funding to reimburse for wolf kills, but may also contain money for proactive measures-

From what I’ve read, this sounds pretty good to me for wildlife and outdoors in Montana. Great Falls Tribune.

Mountain lion kills 2 alpacas. Ranch manager declines offer to kill predator

Ranch is between Ketchum and Hailey, Idaho-

Here is something you don’t read about very often, especially in Idaho.  A predator kills an animal on a ranch, and the owner or manager is not drooling for revenge.

Mountain lion kills 2 alpacas. Ranch manager declines offer to kill predator Idaho Mountain Express.

Posted in wildcats. Tags: , . 8 Comments »

Yellowstone Park wolves to decline for second year in a row

27 % decline in 2008 will be followed by another decline in ’09-

At the end of 2007 there were 171 wolves that lived primarily inside Yellowstone Park, but very high pup mortality due to disease (distemper) along with the natural attrition of adult and sub-adult wolves caused a 27% decline (124 wolves). Disease had hit the pups two other years since wolves beginning in 1995 were restored to Yellowstone. In each case, pups and the population rebounded the next year. Not so in 2009.

Once again pup mortality is very high. The Druid Pack lost all 8 of its pups, for example. There is one important pup mortality difference from 2008. This year the poor pup survival does not appear to be due to a distemper outbreak or other obvious disease.

Mortality of adult wolves is increasing from the mange infestation that seeped into the Park. Mollies Pack was the first pack known to have become infested, although Park border packs in Montana in eastward in Wyoming have suffered from the debilitating mite for years now. Doug Smith, Park wolf team leader, told me that Mollies still has mange, but is showing some improvment. Perhaps the most infested pack is the famous Druids. On the northern range, the Mt. Everts Pack also struggles with mange, but the Blacktail Pack, Agate Pack, and Quadrant Packs are mange free. It is expected that at the end of the year there will probably be 6 “breeding pairs” of wolves in the Park (the same as 2008).

For the first time there are more Park packs living south of famous Northern Range. Packs inhabit all corners of the Park, although the Bechler Pack in Park’s  southwest corner lost its only radio collar when its big white founding male finally died this summer. He originally migrated from the Northern Range all the way down. He was born to the once famous Rose Creek Pack, which was slowly driven northward out of the Park by other packs to eventually disappear as a discrete entity.

The decline of Park wolves has management implications for Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. Wolf managers in the states are generally quick to say,”Oh, studies show you can manage for 30% wolf mortality a year” (note that unlike with other animals, the word “manage” when used by state wolf managers always means to kill). Even some non-affiliated biologists say 30% wolf mortality a year and a stable population go together.

Data from Yellowstone Park shows this generalization has one big exception, and it would be wise to expect that more will happen on other places.

In other news, wolves have been visible inside Grand Teton National Park, with the Antelope Pack being particularly out in the open where visitors can watch them.