Conservationists seek to expand wolf range across U.S.

Center for Biological Diversity seeks to return wolves to West Coast, New England, Southern Rockies and Great Plains

The Center for Biological Diversity has filed litigation in response to the lack of response to their petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to expand protections for wolves across a significant portion of their historical range.

Conservationists seek to expand wolf range across U.S..
Laura Zuckerman – Reuters

Lawsuit Launched to Recover Wolves Across Country
Center for Biological Diversity Press Release.

Idaho senators fail in bid to remove federal protection for wolves.

The wolf bills are probably dead

I’ve rewritten this post as it appears that there is still a chance for a bill to move in the Senate.

The bill that would have removed wolves from the Endangered Species Act has failed and the bill which would have removed protections for wolves in Idaho and Montana introduced by Max Baucus of Montana was not successfully attached to the appropriations bill.

With so much else going on in Washington DC it appears that none of the bills to remove protections from wolves will be successful this congress but there is still a slight chance that the Baucus/Tester bill could move during the lame duck session of congress.

There is another dynamic here to take into consideration, the Baucus/Tester bill, which would require that Idaho and Montana maintain a number of wolves higher than the minimum of 10-15 packs, is opposed by many sportsman’s groups including the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation because it gives wolves even some protection. If this bill is passed it would be considered by some as a win for Tester who is likely to face a very tough reelection battle in 2012. With that, it seems likely that Republicans will try to block it since their whole strategy of late has been to block anything that might benefit Democrats.

That being said, the Baucus/Tester Bill would still set a very bad precedent for the Endangered Species Act. It would set a precedent that would allow delisting of any species if it somehow becomes inconvenient for the powers that be or those who kick and scream the most.

Idaho senators fail in bid to remove federal protection for wolves.
Dan Popkey – Idaho Statesman

State of the species
Anti-wolf bills unlikely to pass before year’s end

By KATHERINE WUTZ – Idaho Mountain Express

Utah bill to delist wolves fails in Senate.
By Laura Lundquist – Magic Valley Times-News

Elk Baiting Poachers Fined, Lose Hunting Privileges.

Cumulatively they lost $9600 and 12 years of hunting privileges.

Another form of poaching that is probably more common than this one incident might indicate. This case shows how difficult it is to convict many poachers. It took two years to catch someone using the bait station after it was first discovered.

Is poaching becoming more commonplace because of the recession and could it be the reason for declines in elk? The recent study in Oregon indicates that the level of poaching is very high there. Could it be just as much of a problem in the neighboring states like Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming? What is going on here?

Elk Baiting Poachers Fined, Lose Hunting Privileges.
Idaho Fish and Game News Release

Conservation groups want Forest Service land near Pocatello closed to livestock grazing

Now, your opportunity to comment on the Pocatello, Midnight, and Michaud grazing allotments-
Comments are due Jan. 4, 2011-

An opportunity like this only comes along every ten years or so.  I know a lot of people have been furious for years about the cattle grazing in the Bannock Range immediately west and south of Pocatello, Idaho.

Western Watersheds/Portneuf Valley Audubon Society new release on the grazing comment opportunity. Conservation groups want Mink Creek closed to cows.

Every ten years or so the Forest Service is supposed to revise its grazing allotment plans. One alternative they have to consider is no grazing. I know a lot of the folks I know here in Pocatello would say, “yes, yes” to reduced or elimination of grazing. There are a few beauty area closed, but about 1200 AUMs graze most of the area from June 1 until Oct. 10 each year (actually until the owners of the cattle bother to pick them up). That only leaves the month of May for an ungrazed experience in this key recreation area on Pocatello’s doorstep.

Here is the scoping document from the Forest Service showing the location of the allotments. PortneufAllotScoping11-22-2010

Send to your comments to Ranger Jeff Hammes, Westside Ranger District at this email address:   comments-intermtn-caribou-targhee-westside@fs.fed.us.  Tell why you are interested, give the information you have about the cows and what you think should be done. The formal name of document being prepared is the Lower Portneuf Grazing EA.

I took the photo below of a cow covered with houndstongue stickers on the Pocatello Grazing Allotment in the summer of 2009. The poor cow’s condition is not unusual, and of course their omnipresence keep the obnoxious weed spreading and spreading.

Houndstongue infested cow. Pocatello Grazing Allotment. Photo by Ralph Maughan. Public domain