Salazar to take preservation nationwide – Interior secretary to use Colorado land-conservation program as model.

This is an interesting development in the DOI agenda under Secretary Salazar with this being his first public comment on his plans for a national preservation program. The questions begin with concerns about whom the actual beneficiaries would be? And just how would this program be implemented by anti-federal regulation interior western extractive interest promoting state legislative bodies? Another concern would be just what the definition of a “working farm” is with regard to such a program and would it really be considered “change”?

Salazar to take preservation nationwide – Interior secretary to use Colorado land-conservation program as model
by Joe Hanel – Herald Denver Bureau

Can Wolves Restore An Ecosystem?

This seems to be a reasonable conclusion made by Dr. Bechta and Dr. Ripple who studied the Lamar Valley’s rehabilitation of cottonwood and willow following wolf reintroduction in Yellowstone NP. These researchers feel that wolves, if returned to the Olympic Peninsula, would help restore the flora as well as a balance in the fauna in the national park. They claim that elk are an obstruction to forest health by feeding on the young trees which appear to be unable to thrive there.

Can Wolves Restore An Ecosystem?

Black-tailed Prairie Dog

Grijalva Declines Ways and Means Appointment

It’s official – Grijalva has declined his appointment to the powerful Ways and Means Committee to keep his influential position advocating for public lands and wildlife.  Press Release 12/16:

the need to continue my work on the Committee on Natural Resources and, more specifically, my Subcommittee Chairmanship is more important at this time. There are several issues that will still need to be addressed, such as uranium mining in the Grand Canyon and the continued preservation of our public lands.

Interior Update ~ Salazar: Cows AND Condos and oil & guns in parks & big ag …

The recent rumors that rancher Ken Salazar is a shoe-in at Interior have flipped on its head many of Obama’s most fervent western supporters’ idea of what the President-elect’s campaign promise for big-‘C’ “Change” might mean.  That campaign slogan’s broad-sweeping allegation had many hopeful that a new outlook, an outlook responsive to Obama’s supporters on the ground, might change for western public land and wildlife issues following the President-elect’s sweeping victory.  

Industry reaction to reports indicating Salazar’s favor give some indication as to how much “change” conservationists might expect.  Colo. senator reported as choice for Interior Arizona Daily Star :

“He’s lived off the land all his life. He understands the system that we have to deal with day in and day out and he would understand the most about how to streamline the system and better manage our public lands,” said Bray, [Arizona Cattlemen’s Association] deputy director for government affairs.

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WWP End of Year fundraising request

End of year donations will keep Western Watersheds Project going strong !

WWP is funded by the financial contributions of our members, and without your help we could not carry out our critically important and successful work to protect and restore western watersheds and wildlife.

Nothing speaks more clearly than a good photograph about why WWP works so hard to change the management of western public lands. Please take a look at this photo taken in October 2008 of a riparian landscape degraded by cattle on Forest Service administered lands in the Little Lost River watershed of central Idaho.

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Posted in conservation, Grazing and livestock, public lands, public lands management. Comments Off on WWP End of Year fundraising request

Cattle ranchers declare a new ‘War on the West’

Rocky Barker takes note :

Two months before Obama’s inauguration, cattle ranchers declare a new ‘War on the West?’

This aggressive political posture in response to the prospect of change has been characteristic of livestock associations throughout the West since the beginning of their history.  The survival of their influence, relative to the public’s interest at large, is stoked by their self-inflated sense of victimization – wolves, coyotes, even bighorn sheep and pygmy rabbits – i.e. the natural world, become a perceived threat to their ‘livelihood’ and exclusive political influence (a hyper-influence Ralph Maughan has aptly likened to a Western anomaly of political feudalism – a closed system of power practiced right here in these ‘democratic’ United States).  The prospect of a president who stands behind a science objectively describing the natural world’s imperiled state is a threat.

Livestock has been Waging war on the West for a very long time

Livestock has been "Waging war on the West" for a very long time

If we’re to be honest about it – Livestock has been waging ‘War on the West’ for a very long time.  Take a look at these photo galleries compiled by WWP monitors – documenting the condition of your public lands this year :

Gallery 1

Gallery 2

Gallery 3

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Congressman Grijalva Issues Report on Bush’s Assault on Public Lands

U.S. Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva has issued a report chronicling a partial list of the Bush Administration’s assault on protections of your public lands:

A Report on the Bush Administration Assaults on Our National Parks, Forests and Public Lands

A couple examples of interest to Yellowstone :

Greatest Slaughter of Bison in the United States Since the 19th Century
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9th Circuit: Risch can be tried for federal civil rights violations

The MSM has now noticed this decision. There is a long AP article today (9-29) in the Idaho StatesmanCivil rights case over Idaho grazing can advance. By John Miller – Associated Press Writer

The 9th Circuit has affirmed an Idaho federal district judge’s decision that individuals of the 5 member Idaho Land Board, including then Land Board member and current candidate for the U.S. Senate Jim Risch, can be tried and held personally liable for violating the civil rights (Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act of 1871, also know as the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871) of Lazy Y Ranch.

The alleged discriminatory denial of Lazy Y’s high bids on state endowment lands calls into question the Land Board members’ willingness to short Idaho’s school children money for their endowment and Idaho citizens the sustainable stewardship of their state lands – apparently to benefit the politically connected special interest in the state.

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Idaho Republicans turning over a new leaf ?

Rocky Barker collects some quotes from candidate politicians and says :

Idaho Republicans going green in red state Idaho Statesman

The League of Conservation Voters collects Idaho politicians’ voting records and says :

Senator State 110th, 1st session Score
Larry Craig (REP) ID 13%
Mike Crapo (REP) ID 13%

Representative District 110th, 1st session Score
William Sali (REP) ID-1 0%
Mike Simpson (REP) ID-2 5%

Names link to voting record on key evironmental issues and politician’s score over their career – namely, WHY their score is the way that it is.

Idaho moves the ball forward on environmental policy

Rocky Barker gives an account of the divergent views expressed at a recent panel in Boise about how to take on environmental challenges in the West.

Idaho moves the ball forward on environmental policyLetters from the West 

The post gives a few quotes that are quite representative of the different models for conservation in the west, with Idaho Conservation League’s Rick Johnson calling for bipartisanship to achieve environmental advance, Advocates for the West’s Laird Lucas suggesting that in such a one-party dominated state it requires conflict/rocking the boat to affect change, and with politicians and activists describing diverse issues and approaches.

What do you think ?  Activism; conflict resolution; or something in between ?

Leave no child inside

With all of the technology and busy parents trying to keep up with this rat-race economy, it can be really easy to forget how much our kids need to be outside enjoying the natural world :

Leave no child insideMissoula Independent Online

It shouldn’t take a rocket-scientist to tell us that outside is better for the kids, even so, studies show it’s true. It’s true for you and I too. For my part, I fall into that busy place all-too often, hell, I’m probably there right now. How about you?

Time to take the kids out…

Drill, baby, Drill

George Wuerthner confronts the “Drill, baby, Drill” mantra with real energy conservation solutions.  George has fired up a new blog which will include his essays of the past as well as those currently under construction.  Check it out :

Drill, baby, DrillWuerthner on the Environment

The Anti-Conservation Mission of the NRA

Wild Bill is taking on the NRA again.

Wild Bill. The Anti-Conservation Mission of the NRA. Will hunters continue to support the demise of their sport by contributing to the National Rifle Association?  By Bill Schneider. New West.

As for myself, I belong the American Hunters and Shooters Association. RM

Huge donation made to benefit Madison Valley

Roger Lang donated close to $4 million for conservation in the Madison Valley – hopes to eventually conserve one million acres

Sun Ranch Owner Donates Millions Toward Madison Valley Conservation. By Lucia Stewart. New West.

Note this is a new link above to replace the now dead one from the Bozeman Chronicle. RM