Idaho Fish and Game will immediately work to transfer wolf management to federal government

New news story has an important change-

Unlike the original story today on Otter’s decision, the story late tonight (Oct. 18) says “Idaho Fish and Game conservation officers will continue to collect information about illegal wolf kills, as they would for any endangered species and transfer it to federal law enforcement officials.” [emphasis mine]

Idaho Fish and Game will immediately work to transfer wolf management to federal government. By Roger Phillips. Idaho Statesman.

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Opinion from the Idaho Statesman. Our View: Wyoming has earned Gov. Butch Otter’s ire, not the feds.  My view is you won’t win votes bashing Wyoming. That’s what the governor figures.

Otter takes Idaho out of wolf management

State will not manage wolves nor control poaching-

Idaho won’t manage wolves under ESA – John Miller, AP

“After talks with the federal government collapsed, Gov. C.L. ‘Butch’ Otter ordered Idaho wildlife managers Monday to relinquish their duty to arrest poachers or to even investigate when wolves are killed illegally.”

From his first day in office, Butch Otter has made wolves his signature issue even as the state of Idaho has drifted and floundered. Otter single-handedly destroyed the grudging acceptance wolf conservation groups were granting the Idaho and Montana wolf management plans.  His threats to kill the first wolf in an Idaho wolf hunt, and bring their numbers down to the bare minimum . . . maybe kill them all . . . are real root of the current antagonism and anger that permeates the region.

When people point fingers about conservationists bringing lawsuits, they don’t need to look much beyond Butch Otter, who made it clear from start he would not listen to them, didn’t care, and wanted trouble.

Now it is up to the federal government to cave to Otter, manage the wolves, or redesignate someone like the Nez Perce Tribe to manage wolves in Idaho. The Tribe did an excellent job, and most of Idaho and Montana’s original wolf mangers were trained with the Tribe and moved into state roles when the states took over. The Tribe is not jumping at the chance to take up wolf management again. Rocky Barker:  Nez Perce Tribe prefers to dodge Idaho wolf job. Idaho Statesman.

Because Idaho is no longer going to arrest poachers and it is currently the hunting season, a slaughter of wolves might be in order unless the federal government quickly brings in law enforcement. Because Idaho is no longer managing wolves, Wildlife Services, which is a federal agency though they rarely act like it, should no longer be killing wolves.

We have to wonder if Idaho Fish and Game will now let the radio frequencies of wolves fall into the hands of the poachers.

We think that gubernatorial politics also figures in this. Otter is facing a stiff Challenger from Keith Allred, a Democrat who is getting support from many Republicans who sense an extremism as well as lack of an economic plan in Otter’s administration. We note the Otter had to bring in Mitt Romney to campaign for him, most likely because Otter is weak with the LDS (Mormon) voters of Eastern Idaho. We don’t seem to see much more than a pro forma Otter campaign in Eastern Idaho. Otter’s opponent Keith Allred, is not a wolf supporter, but is not campaigning as a hothead.

This is a classic political stunt for a politician with a poor record fighting a tough campaign — pick a fight, especially one with a lot of emotion, but one which won’t cost the state money.

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Otter’s News Release

(BOISE) – Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter notified Interior Secretary Ken Salazar today that Idaho no longer will act as the federal government’s “designated agent,” managing wolves imposed on the state under the Endangered Species Act.

Instead, the Governor directed the Idaho Fish and Game Commission to immediately refocus its efforts on protecting Idaho’s deer, elk and moose, and said the Idaho Department of Fish and Game will be submitting applications to the Interior Department for additional flexibility in addressing wolf depredation issues “so we can exercise our sovereign right to protect our wildlife.”

“This directive preserves an individual’s right to kill a wolf in self defense or in the defense of another person. It does not jeopardize the existing flexibility landowners and permittees have to protect their livestock and pets from wolves,” Governor Otter wrote in a letter to Salazar. “Additionally, this approach does not ask Idahoans who continue suffering wolves – especially sportsmen – to subsidize any part of this federal program or bear the risk or burden of inadequate federal funding in the future.”

In his letter, the Governor reiterated that the State of Idaho has consistently proven itself to be a responsible steward of all wildlife – “including your wolves.”

“We also showed that we could successfully manage a hunting season for wolves as we do for other species,” he said. “The State managed wolves as part of the ecosystem, in concert with other species and needs, which was ironically decried by environmentalists who seemingly want wolves to benefit at the expense of other wild and domestic species.”

“I am still committed to finding a path forward for delisting. My goal remains restoring State management under our approved plan as quickly as possible, if for no other reason than to fulfill the promise of our State law that all wildlife within our borders will be managed by the State. To that end, I am encouraged by the efforts of representatives from the three legislatures (Idaho, Montana and Wyoming) to see if there is a path forward for delisting and state management,” Governor Otter wrote to Salazar. “Although we could not agree during the course of our negotiations, I share your commitment to delist the species and restore state management as quickly as possible. It is truly frustrating that we cannot accomplish that shared goal today.”

Obama passed up Grijalva at Interior for more Offshore Oil Friendly Salazar

Representative Raúl M. Grijalva ‘gets it’ before it needs gettin’.  Salazar is an industry apologist

Salazar ♥♥♥ Offshore Drilling

Representative Raúl M. Grijalva issued a press release highlighting a recent Washington Post article describing how his foresight on offshore drilling, a foresight directly pertinent to any hope at having spared the world the worst environmental disaster in history, is the very reason President Obama declined to appoint him Secretary of the Interior, instead choosing industry-friendly Ken Salazar :

Wash. Post: Grijalva Passed Over for Interior Sec. Because of Tough Stance on Offshore Drilling

Tucson, Ariz. – According to a recent featured story in the Washington Post, Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva was passed over for Secretary of the Interior during the Obama transition because of his unwillingness to approve offshore drilling projects without first strengthening Bush-era environmental standards. The story, which ran Oct. 13, indicates that current Interior Secretary Ken Salazar was more in line with the president’s urge toward a “balanced” energy portfolio that included more offshore drilling.

Lifting the drilling moratorium: How politics spilled into policy – Michael Leahy and Juliet Eilperin – The Washington Post

Members of Obama’s transition team for the Interior Department, who were handling the preliminary talks with Grijalva and others, spoke enthusiastically about Obama’s “balanced” energy approach, which embraced new drilling as a transition to a day when “clean” energy could replace fossil fuels.

A dissenting Grijalva told the transition team that it was premature to talk about an expansion of drilling. His first priority, he said, would be correcting the dangerous imbalance he saw between industry and federal regulators. Before he could endorse expansion, Grijalva suggested, Interior would need to regain the upper hand.

Previously, a few of Salazar’s failures at Interior: Read the rest of this entry »

Latest Montana official wolf news. Oct 7-15, 2010

We haven’t been posting these are frequently as we could. Here is the latest. It has quite a bit of news. We have not seen an Idaho wolf news report since June.

Is the American Chestnut ready to begin its restoration?

The first large scale planting blight resistant chestnut is done-

When the chestnut blight hit in the 1950s, there were probably 3 billion American chestnut trees in the United States. Now there are perhaps only about a hundred trees in its natural range. The demise of the chestnut was a blow to wildlife that ate their prolific and reliable nut crop. The current die off of whitebark pine from a blight and bark beetles is a more recent catastrope.

There is now good news for the return of the American chestnut, The mighty American chestnut tree, poised for a comeback. By Juliet Elperin. Washington Post.  Of course, it will take a hundred years for a widespread restoration, one that will have big ecological benefits.

The American chestnut’s blight resistance was created by crossing it with the highly resistant Chinese chestnut in way that retained essentially all the details of the American chestnut. Perhaps a similar restoration can be done for the whitebark pine, although I suppose the preferred method might be direct genetic manipulation of survivors because of a lack of closely related pines.

I think we will need more and more genetic science to keep our ecosystems from unravelling in this rapidly changing world.