A rare hydrothermal explosion in Yellowstone!

It wasn’t a big one, but it was photographed-

Moreover, it happened right in front of a group of geologists. In the history of the Park there have been several other small explosions, but in the past some of these have been large explosive events.

Geology group treated to rare pool explosion. By Angus M. Thuermer Jr., Jackson Hole Daily

Posted in Yellowstone, Yellowstone National Park. Tags: , . Comments Off on A rare hydrothermal explosion in Yellowstone!

Wyoming wolf update, including Yellowstone Park, May 18 – May 22, 2009

Weekly report from the USFWS has details about the government killing of YNP wolf-

If you want the details from the government about the first control kill of a Yellowstone Park wolf, it is in this report, along with some other information.

Wolf reports, if any, now with delisting for Idaho and Montana are the responsibility of those states.

Here is the latest report. Ralph Maughan

– – – – – –

WYOMING WOLF PROGRAM
WEEKLY REPORT

  • 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- May 18 through May 22, 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.

Monitoring

A radio collared wolf from the Yellowstone Delta Pack dispersed from the park some time in March 2009. The wolf had been captured and fitted with an Argos GPS collar this last winter. The young female wolf was recently located south of Lander, WY.

Control

Yellowstone National Park

A wolf that had become habituated to people and chased bicyclists on more than one occasion was euthanized Tuesday morning by Yellowstone National Park staff along Fountain Flat Drive. The yearling male wolf from the Gibbon Meadow Pack was first sighted in the vicinity of Midway Geyser Basin in March 2009.  In recent weeks, the wolf had been frequently observed in Biscuit Basin and the Old Faithful developed areas in close proximity to park visitors.  The wolf had reportedly exhibited behaviors consistent with being conditioned to human food. Read the rest of this entry »

All YNP entrances are now open

All the entrances to Yellowstone Park are now open, and this includes Beartooth Pass. Travelling the Pass at this time of year ought to be an awesome experience assuming you can see over the snowbanks.

Posted in Yellowstone, Yellowstone National Park. Comments Off on All YNP entrances are now open

5/14/09 Montana Department of Livestock chasing baby buffalo with broken leg

Last Thursday, Montana Department of Livestock chased/hazed/harassed/played ‘cowboy’ with a mother buffalo and her calf, despite the broken leg the calf sustained – all on behalf of Livestock’s stranglehold over our public land and wildlife management..

Buffalo hazing frustrates the owner of Horse Butte

Galanis’s brought the Butte to help wildlife, especially bison, but Montana DOL hazes the bison away to protect the non-existent local cattle-

Buffalo hazing frustrates property owner. Conservation easement not getting intended use. By Brett French. Billings Gazette Staff.

Ranch north of Yellowstone meant for migrating bison goes unused this winter

All “the action” was at Horse Butte west of the Park-

They were going to let 25 of what I sarcastically called “cyberbison” use the CUT (Church Universal and Triumphant)  land north of Yellowstone Park, but there was no northward migration this winter.

Ranch land for bison sees no activity first year. By Daniel Person. Bozeman Chronicle Staff Writer

The Fate of the Yellowstone Grizzly

It’s Time to Put the Great Bear Back on the Endangered Species List

Grizzly cub near Pelican Valley ©Ken Cole

Grizzly cub near Pelican Valley © Ken Cole

Doug Peacock writes a compelling – and moving – essay in support of restoring ESA protections to the Yellowstone Grizzly :

The Fate of the Yellowstone GrizzlyCounterpunch

The Yellowstone grizzly bear population is once again in serious trouble. During 2008, the bears suffered a double disaster: grizzlies died in record numbers and global warming dealt what could be a death blow to the bear’s most important food source.

Some 54 grizzly bears were known to have died in 2008, the highest mortality ever recorded; this number probably exceeds the extensive killings of forty years ago, when Yellowstone National Park closed down its garbage dumps and bears wandered into towns and campgrounds. The Yellowstone grizzly population sharply declined in the early 1970s and, consequently, the bear was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1975. […]

[…]I’m saying the Department of Interior’s principal public agency responsible for protecting Yellowstone’s grizzlies is currently incapable of doing so. The Interagency Team/Committee has become an insular institution deaf to public opinion; it has pandered to state game departments who speciously argue that “socially acceptable” local opinion should replace the best available science to determine where grizzlies may live.

Sounds familiar …

Bison on Horse Butte Mercilessly Hazed out of Montana

bufffamilia.jpg

Buffalo Field Campaign
Yellowstone Bison
Update from the Field
May 14, 2009

——————————
——————————
In this issue:
* Update from the Field
* The Wild in Us
* Join the Front Lines
* BFC Media Crew Needs a Laptop
* Last Words
* Kill Tally

——————————

Montana Department of Livestock Helicopter violating private property rights.  Photo by Lance Koudele

Montana Department of Livestock Helicopter violating private property rights. Photo by Lance Koudele

* Update from the Field

Though a day early, the dreaded time has come: All the buffalo have been cruelly forced off of Horse Butte.

All week patrols have been documenting the Montana Department of Livestock, Yellowstone National Park, Gallatin National Forest and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks agents carry out massive and relentless hazing operations, harassing and harming America’s last wild bison population.

Helicopter Hazing on Horse Butte.  Photo by Lance Koudele

Helicopter Hazing on Horse Butte. Photo by Lance Koudele

On Tuesday, agents were set to haze bison within Yellowstone National Park to “make room” for the bison that would be hazed off of Horse Butte. But Mother Nature had different plans: one group of bison the agents planned to target consisted of forty bulls who would follow none of the agents’ orders. An incredible hail storm assisted and the haze was called off for the day. But such luck was momentary.

Every day this week agents chased bison family groups, including newborn calves and pregnant mothers, off of the south side of the Madison River, and today they set their sights on cattle-free Horse Butte. In fact, all of the Gallatin National Forest lands where the buffalo roam are cattle free, yet livestock interests insist on assaulting them with mounted cowboys*, ATVs, local and federal law enforcement and the DOL’s helicopter.*

Read the rest of this entry »

Yellowstone Webcam Catches Men Using Old Faithful as Toilet

Six people were apprehended after people watching the webcam called Park officials

picture-14.jpg

Yellowstone Webcam Catches Men Using Old Faithful as Toilet

See PEER’s press release here.

Update: 2 Yellowstone workers fired after watering geyser
Associated Press

Officials defend hazing of bison into park

Bison hazed to make way for livestock grazing

Like a broken record, year after year – Yellowstone Park officials, Gallatin National Forest officials, and Montana Department of Livestock officials – all contribute to the inhumane hazing and killing of America’s last genetically wild bison, all to enable livestock ranchers – on your federal public land – to perpetuate the myth of brucellosis and practice the alchemy of churning our environmental heritage into their private pastures of “feed”.  And year after year we hear the same narrative — ‘we have to haze the bison to make way for livestock’ says the government official, ‘but there aren’t any livestock, there’s been no transmission of disease, and your plan promised to share our public land with bison’ says the bison advocate :

Officials defend hazing of bison into park – Billings Gazette:

“We work to provide a month between the time the bison are on the land and the cows are expected to graze,” Nash said.

And much to the dismay of an outraged public, little changes.  Livestock remains the ‘given’ – and hazing & harassing bison, as if they were livestock themselves, fulfills the cultural pathology of otherwise pencil-pushing bureaucrats’ innate desire to play cowboy …

Brutal harassment of bison west of Yellowstone Park

Whatever happened to the vaunted new May 15 tolerance date?

Supposedly it would be different this spring. Bison would allowed to migrate out of the Park and onto Horse Butte free from harassment until at least May 15. The reality is pretty much like recent years. Brutal Montana Department of Livestock agents and Yellowstone Park personnel on horses are chasing bison back into the Park. Helicopters harass them from above. Not just bison, but all Yellowstone wildlife on the west side of the Park are disrupted.

The whole exercise is pointless because there are no cattle in the area to which the bison can theoretically transfer brucellosis. According to the Buffalo Field Campaign, there remains just one small hobby rancher in the area who won’t have cattle on his ranch until mid- to late-June.

In case anyone has missed it, my view is that the entire point of this yearly outrage is simply to show us who really runs things in Montana, and it’s not the citizens of the state or of the United States.

Please contact President Obama. It’s time to see if our new President cares any more about this than George W. did.

Ralph Maughan

__________

Here is the report from the Buffalo Field Campaign.

~Update from the Field


This mama buffalo and her newborn calf have had a very difficult week.

Chaos is reigning along Yellowstone National Park’s western boundary as the thumping of chopper blades and the shouts of government agents repeatedly harass wild buffalo families and all wildlife near the Madison River.  Nearly 200 buffalo – including dozens of newborn calves, yearlings, and pregnant mothers – have been ruthlessly run off of their spring habitat within the Gallatin National Forest.  Agents are out harassing buffalo as this Update is being written.

Newborn buffalo calves and many pregnant buffalo cows have been run for miles through pockets of deep snow, barbed wire fences, thick forests laden with dead-fall, fast moving river currents, mucky wetlands, and steep, sandy bluffs.  For these babies, it is a terrible and sometimes deadly introduction to the world.  The new and developing muscles of these little ones cannot sustain such abuse. Today, mounted Montana Department of Livestock and Yellowstone National Park horsemen have picked up the hazing operation at Yellowstone’s border, after it left Gallatin National Forest land, and are currently pushing the exhausted buffalo deep into Yellowstone National Park’s interior with the assistance of the Montana Department of Livestock’s helicopter. Read the rest of this entry »

Hazing Begins: Helicopter Harasses Bison, Grizzlies

From Buffalo Field Campaign’s Update from the Field

It has been an intense week for buffalo. BFC volunteers are out in the field and on the road with the buffalo nearly 24 hours a day. If you are able to join us on the front lines, please see our call for volunteers below. The buffalo and BFC need you!

Near Gardiner, along Yellowstone’s north boundary, National Park Service and Department of Livestock agents have been actively hazing various groups of buffalo. Multiple management actions aimed to appease cattle interests have been taking place within this enormous wildlife migration corridor. So far, there have been no buffalo captured. Yesterday, four bulls were hazed back to Yellowstone, and again today, Park Rangers hazed 32 buffalo to just outside the Roosevelt Arch. Other groups of buffalo are around the Gardiner area, including some in town.

On the western boundary, a few bull bison were hazed back into Yellowstone National Park earlier this week by Montana Department of Livestock (DOL) agents. The buffalo’s “crime” was in stepping onto the private land of the Koelzer family, who allows the DOL to operate the Duck Creek bison trap on their property. Like so many other obstacles the buffalo must face, the Koelzer property and other houses with fenced in yards block a migration route favored especially by bull bison.

Bulls_Junction_09.jpg
YoungBull_191_09.jpg

There has been a large bachelor group of bull bison roaming the area near Duck and Cougar Creeks, along Highways 191 and 287 this week; they are massive and incredibly impressive. BFC has been with these bulls every day and through the nights, warning traffic of their presence. Buffalo have no qualms about walking right down the middle of the road, sometimes side by side in numbers, taking the highway over. It’s a beautiful sight; this is their land and they are happy to remind us of it. Numerous travelers can’t help but pull over in admiration; being in the presence of North America’s largest land mammals is truly an awesome experience. It is shameful and sad that these magnificent creatures who have been around for over 10,000 years are forced to abandon their ancient practices, and unwillingly yield to the selfish wishes of Montana’s cattle industry. So far, other than the challenges of fences and traffic, these bulls have been left alone, but we don’t trust that the DOL will leave them in peace for long.
Read the rest of this entry »

Researchers blame grizzly deaths on hunters, climate change

Grizzlies are expanding their range due to the death of whitebark pine and they increasingly get shot-

Researchers blame grizzly deaths on hunters, climate change. By Matthew Brown. Associated Press

Fortunately the evidence seems to be that their population around Yellowstone is still growing.

Study to probe effect of climate change on Yellowstone grizzlies

The less time in the den, the more bears are killed, especially in the fall-

Although grizzlies are now coming out of their dens, quite slowly this year because of deep snow, it may be that recent warm years have delayed the onset of their annual winter hibernation.

Now a study is underway to ascertain the details of den entrance and emergence and compare them to temperature and snowfall.

Autumn is the most dangerous time for the grizzly, doubly so now with the decline in high altitude whitebark pine nut “crop” due to the hot fires of 1988,  the spread of whitebark pine blister rust (a non-native disease) and a general die-off of pines of all species in the Rocky Mountains.

The longer bears are denned up, the fewer are killed during the year.

Study to research effect of climate change on denning. By Karl Puckett. Great Falls Tribune Staff Writer.

37 griz killings spark worry

If last year’s high mortality is repeated this year then Greater Yellowstone grizzlies may go back onto the Endangered Species List

Grizzly cub near Pelican Valley ©Ken Cole

Grizzly cub near Pelican Valley ©Ken Cole

37 griz killings spark worry. By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole News and Guide.

Addition 4/10/2009. Rise in grizzly deaths topic of IGBT meeting. Associated Press.

2008 Interagency Grizzly Bear Report for Yellowstone has been published

Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Investigations 2008. PDF file. Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team.

The report is not just Yellowstone National Park, but for most of the much larger Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

Posted in Bears, Yellowstone, Yellowstone National Park. Tags: . Comments Off on 2008 Interagency Grizzly Bear Report for Yellowstone has been published

Idaho, Cody wolves ‘pair’

Will genes from Idaho and the Yellowstone area finally begin to mix?

Former Idaho wolf B271M has been wandering around the Yellowstone area for over two years now. He had little success finding a mate in the Park, but has paired with a radio-collared female in Sunlight Basin to Yellowstone Park’s east.

So far there has been no genetic evidence that wolves from Idaho or NW Montana have produced offspring with the wolves that were reintroduced to Wyoming.

The Idaho wolf orginally came from a pack on the western edge of the Sawtooth Mountains of south central Idaho.

Story: Idaho, Cody wolves ‘pair’. By Angus M. Thuermer Jr. Jackson Hole Daily.

Park concerned about Sylvan Pass costs

Yellowstone Park’s East Entrance was kept open in 2008-9 winter at the cost of $3500 per snowmobile!

Park concerned about Sylvan Pass costs. By Gazette News Services. Billings Gazette.

– – – – – –

Prior to the season, financially strapped Yellowstone Park wanted to abandon the costly effort to keep this high altitude entrance open. News reports were that VP Dick Cheney personally intervened to overrule the NPS.

Now we see the cost.

Montana Public Radio Evening Commentary: Dan Brister

Dan Brister of Buffalo Field Campaign was featured on Montana’s Public Radio March 27, 2009 with this audio essay

Wild buffalo have returned with the Spring!

Buffalo Field Campaign: Buffalo have returned to Horse Butte Peninsula

Here is an excerpt of today’s Buffalo Field Campaign Update from the Field. You can read the entire update here

Dear Buffalo Friends,

Wild buffalo have returned with the Spring!

Buffalo grazing on Horse Butte ©Buffalo Field Campaign

Buffalo grazing on Horse Butte ©Buffalo Field Campaign

The song of mountain bluebirds is in the air, and tracks of the mighty bison are upon the land once again. After a long winter without the buffalo in Montana, the unspoken question hung in the air: would the buffalo return this year? Wild forces prevail, and on the Vernal Equinox the steady, determined footsteps of approximately fifty buffalo made their way down the Madison River corridor, out to their calving grounds on Horse Butte, heralding the season of rebirth. The buffalo’s return has raised the spirits of everyone at camp. The energy is palpable, and we are once again running full patrols and basking in the presence of these prehistoric wonders.

Read the rest of this entry »

Research shows continuing decline of moose in Jackson Hole

Primary causes are warming, lack of shade and poor nutrition-

It’s obvious to anyone who has spent years living in or visiting Jackson Hole that the moose population isn’t what it was 30 years ago or even a decade. Now biologists are discovering why. Unfortunately for those who want more moose around little can be done to change any of the primary conditions that are causing the decline.

Moose on the decline in Jackson Hole area. By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole News and Guide.

Why We Need Wolves In Our Parks

. . . and about “the Ripple Effect.”

Why We Need Wolves In Our Parks. Todd Palmer and Rob Pringle. The Huffington Post.

Recession stress and Yellowstone’s good tidings

John Muir’s advice rings true in the economic worry of today-

Recession stress and Yellowstone’s good tidings. By Mark Menlove. A commentary in the Salt Lake Tribune.

Wolf mating season on the greatly reconfigured Yellowstone northern range

The Druids are the only northern range pack still intact. New packs and groups abound-

Due to the complexity of the changes on the northern range, I know it took Kathie several weeks to write this. Ralph Maughan

– – – – – – – – – –

Yellowstone wolf report. Feb. 15-22, 2009. By © Kathie Lynch.

A week in Yellowstone, Feb. 15-22, 2009, during the height of the wolf breeding season, provided plenty of action and lots of surprises.

The Druid Peak pack actually was not the main attraction, as they were way up the Lamar River and out of sight most of the time.

However, the Druid’s many dispersers have contributed to the formation and gene pool of quite a few other packs or groups, including: the newly named Blacktail Pack (started by former Druid beta 302M and five Druid male yearlings-grandchildren of the great Druid alpha 21M); 694F’s Group (which includes the two Druid two-year-old females 694F/”High Sides” and “Dull Bar”-both also 21M’s grandchildren); the newly named Cottonwood Group (started by 527F, who was born to 21M and 42F, but dispersed to the Slough Creek pack and then dispersed to form her own pack in 2007); and even the Agate Creek pack (whose long-time alpha female, 472F, was also the offspring of 21M and 42F). The blood of 21M still runs strong.

Read the rest of this entry »

Bridger-Teton National Forest quickly moves to use stimulus money for anti-conservation logging

Traditional logging dwindled on the Bridger-Teton, Caribou-Targhee and Shoshone National Forests because it brought in only pennies on the dollar spent. Stimulus may be used to renew logging at a loss-

The stimulus bill has money for forests, parks, wildlife that can be used in a beneficial or negative way. It appears the supervisors for 3 national forests in the Greater Yellowstone country are quickly moving to use the stimulus money directed to wildfire reduction and forest health to restore traditional logging by means of “salvage” of dead timber. They have asked timber interests for projects. Why haven’t they asked wildlife and conservation groups?

As George Wuerthner points out, stands of dead timber are not particularly flammable. In addition, building new roads into these areas spreads noxious weeds and degrades wildlife habitat. If they wanted to create a lot of jobs, they would hire people to pull the noxious weeds. Because most of the timber mills in the area went out of business long ago, it will be long time before stimulus money will result in new timber mills and trained loggers. Logging is capital intensive nowadays and creates few jobs per dollar spent.

A word to these forest supervisors, use the money to truly improve forest health — eliminate weeds, rehabilitate erosion sources on the national forests, recut overgrown trails, reduce livestock grazing impacts, clean trash out of the forests, improve human degraded stream conditions, repair damaged roads you plan to keep open, close and obliterate vehicle tracks that are degrading the forest.  This is the way to create jobs in a hurry and improve rather than harm the environment.

What is taking place here is a warning to those who love the national forests and want jobs to get involved quickly so that the money does not go to old fashioned projects that create few jobs and actually degrade the forests. Contact your local national forest now!

Remember that forests are more than just the trees.

Story in the Jackson Hole News and Guide. Bridger-Teton asks loggers for wishes. Letter links logging industry, local mills with health of national forests. By Cory Hatch, Jackson Hole, Wyo.

So far this winter bison remain inside Yellowstone Park

No Montana slaughter yet-

Thus far,bison stick to the park. By Brett French. Billings Gazette.

Posted in Bison, Yellowstone, Yellowstone National Park. Tags: , . Comments Off on So far this winter bison remain inside Yellowstone Park

New Yellowstone Country group created to inspire Greater Yellowstone residents

People want to be proud to live in such great country, but they need to be inspired-

It’s a sad day when a small economic activity can such as running cattle on the range can trump wild buffalo, elk, trout, grizzly bears, and can continue to dominate and desecrate the Yellowstone country’s great mountains, rivers, and valleys, and people who love the call of the outdoors usually can’t seem to get together to defend what they cherish.

There is a reason for it — the Hollywood myth that made cowpersons into some kind of icon, when their real goal is to make the West, and Yellowstone as well just as tame as a pasture in the middle of Indiana.

As a Yellowstone Park naturalist and later bear education ranger, young Michael Leach saw how visitors, including local people, would come alive when he helped them open their eyes, ears, hands and hearts to the absolutely unique country they were in.

Seeing the change that usually came over local people when they were given just a little information, Leach left the park service in October of 07 and founded the Yellowstone Country Guardians.

Read the rest of this entry »

Vet urges ranchers to adopt brucellosis plan

Groups sue to stop timber sale on shore of Hebgen Lake

Groups cite harm to habitat occupied by grizzly bears-

Groups sue to stop timber sale on shore of Hebgen Lake. Billings Gazette. AP

Snowmobilers cross YNP boundaries into backcountry. Caught!

$5,000 and up to six months in jail possible-

Given the difficulty of detecting the more serious violations like these, I think it would be nice to see them get the max.

Story: 4 snowmobilers caught. Billings Gazette.

Cattle industry domination over elk and bison

Op-Ed. By Stephany J. Seay. Buffalo Field Campaign. West Yellowstone, Montana

GNF Supervisor Mary Erickson’s morbid sense of humor claims renewal of the Department of Livestock’s permit for the Horse Butte bison trap is a “tool of tolerance.”  It certainly fits with Governor Schweitzer’s interpretation of “more tolerance” for wild bison; all we’ve seen from his Administration is a canned hunt and the largest-scale slaughter since the 1800s.

The private/public Horse Butte peninsula is 100% cattle-free; residents welcome buffalo and oppose the trap and DOL’s presence.  At the dawn of the Adaptive Management Plan (AMP) crafted by IBMP partners, the trap is a serious contradiction.  But, the brucellosis argument is full of contradictions.

Read the rest of this entry »

Study: Chance of brucellosis transmission posed by roaming bison is low

Scientific study pretty much says Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) is a waste of money-

For those of us not connected with the cattle industry the results of this paper coming out in the Journal of Applied Ecology are hardly surprising, but for the cattle bureaucrats it should be a real wake up call.

Study: Chance of brucellosis transmission posed by roaming bison is low. By Matthew Brown. AP. Casper Star Tribune.

Wolf numbers decline in Yellowstone in ’08

Park wolf population declines by 27%-

This is no surprise because everyone who followed the Park wolves this year knew that with the high wolf pup mortality from some disease the population would decline.

I am skeptical that the Park wolf population will ever regain the high points reached twice in the last 5 years because of the decline in the elk numbers. It is possible that the restoration of the wolves resulting in a bit of an overshoot, and this might be true of the restored wolf population in Idaho as well. This is one reason why a big wolf hunt is premature.

Next year the wolf pup population could well recover as it has in the past, but the strife between the wolf packs will probably continue. That will keep wolf numbers down. It is also possible that this disease in not part of the natural regime. It might continue to reduce the wolf population until very low numbers are reached.

Bob Moen, who wrote the article below, uses 2007 data for the total number of wolves in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. However, it’s the 2008 figures, not yet available that will be interesting. Like the Park population we know that the overall wolf population did not grow by 20% as it has for a number of years. We don’t know that it grew at all, especially given what many see as excessive “wolf control” by Wildlife Services in Idaho and Montana.

Wolf numbers decline in Yellowstone in ’08. By Bob Moen. AP; and here is a similar story in the Jackson Hole News and Guide. By Cory Hatch.

Update. NPR story on the decline (audio). http://www.mtpr.net/program_info/2009-01-13-132

USGS to fight fake Yellowstone warning

Alarmist web site uses a fake USGS logo and tells people to evacuate-

USGS to fight fake Yellowstone warning. By Brett French. Billings Gazette.

Park quakes could cause hydrothermal explosions But volcanic eruptions unlikely in Yellowstone, expert says.

Earthquakes were small, but it was an energetic swarm, expert says-

Although the quake swarm seems to be over, it might signify more changes with a small probability of dramatic stuff.

Story in the Jackson Hole News and Guide. By Cory Hatch.

– – – – –

The late Rick Hutcheson, the Park’s geyser expect, told me that he hoped to see a basalt flow in the Park before he died.

– – – – –

Follow the quakes, http://www.seis.utah.edu/

Norm Bishop on wolves and the northern range elk population-

Bishop, below responded to Montana State Sen. Joe Balyeat who has proposed legislation cut off relations between Montana and the federal government on wolves.
– – – – – –
Sen. Joe Balyeat [Bozeman Chronicle Dec. 30] proposes legislation to sever Montana’s ties with federal agencies on wolf management. He fears that allowing the wolf population to keep growing will doom the northern Yellowstone elk population, and elk throughout the state (where elk populations are 14% over goal).

Montana wolves increased to 394 in 2007, but the mid-year 2008 estimate is down 9%, to 360. Northern Yellowstone’s wolf population is down 21% 35% from 81 in 2007 to 64 53 in 2008. As the density of wolves increased in past years, interpack killing joined disease as a limiting factor.

Sen. Balyeat’s rationale for his bill appears to be based on a one-time count he made of the ratio of calves to cows of the northern Yellowstone elk herd. From dozens of peer-reviewed journal articles on the effects of restored gray wolves on their prey in Yellowstone, we can pick two to enlighten us on these complex issues.

Vucetich et.al. (2005. Influence of harvest, climate, and wolf predation on Yellowstone elk 1961-2004. OIKOS 111:259-270) studied the contribution of wolf predation in a decline of elk from 17,000 to 8,000. They built and assessed models based on elk-related data prior to wolf reintroduction (1961-1995), and used them to predict how the elk population might have fared from 1995 to 2004 had wolves not been restored. Climate and hunter harvest explained most of the elk decline. From 1995 to 2004 wolves killed mostly elk that would have died from other causes.

Wright et al. (2006. Selection of Northern Yellowstone Elk by Gray Wolves and Hunters JWM 70(4):1070-1078), documented that hunting exerted a greater total reproductive impact on the herd than wolf predation. The article’s authors were university, federal, and state wildlife biologists working cooperatively. No legislation is needed to improve on that.

Norman A. Bishop
Bozeman, MT

Note: Bishop was a leader and supporter of wolf restoration interpretation in Yellowstone.
He has received numerous awards for his Park Service work with wolves. Among other
organizations, he is a director of the Wolf Recovery Foundation.

Kathie Lynch: end of the year Yellowstone Park wolf notes-

Wolf watching good in cold and snowy Yellowstone-

Once again Kathie Lynch has favored us with her detailed observations of the wolves on Yellowstone’s northern range. The redistribution of the much reduced wolf population continues, with the Druids providing a note of stability.

Famous wolf 302M seems to now, finally, lead a pack, although mating season is upon us and often causes even more wolf pack restructuring.

Here are three previous links to put Lynch’s report in context:

– – – – –

Yellowstone wolf notes

by © Kathie Lynch

The holidays in Yellowstone–a winter wonderland of endless snow, howling winds, temperatures barely above and sometimes below zero degrees F, icy roads, very occasional sunshine (one day in two weeks!)–and wonderful surprises, including a Christmas grizzly and wolves whenever or wherever you could find them. Luckily, the Druid Peak pack, 302M’s Group, the Canyon Group, 471F’s Group, 470F’s Group (the “Everts Pack”), and even the elusive former Slough 527F all contributed to make it a true Wonderland for wolf watchers! Read the rest of this entry »

Ranchers oppose bison relocation

Opposition to restoration of genetically pure bison to Fort Peck once again shows the real agenda-

Ranchers from nearly empty NE Montana are opposing the restoration of bison (derived from Yellowstone) to the remote Fort Peck area.

Once again they cite brucellosis, even those these bison have been quarantined for three years. They obviously think they can ride the fear of this not so fearsome disease another mile or two trying to hide their true agency of showing us all who is really the boss in Montana, including Native Americans who refuse to take their subordinate position.

Ranchers oppose bison relocation. By Tom Lutey. Billings Gazette Staff

– – – –

A reminder on tomorrow’s (Jan. 5) bison rally.

WHO: Buffalo Field Campaign, Buffalo Allies of Bozeman, and everyone who cares about restoring wild bison in Montana
* WHAT: March & Rally in Defense of Wild Bison in Montana
* WHEN: Monday, January 5, 2009. 9:00 am – 10:30 am
* WHERE: Meet at Women’s Park in Helena, located between Neil and Fuller Avenues, then march to the state capitol around 9:30 am.

Link to Buffalo Field Campaign.

Note: I don’t speak for the Buffalo Field Campaign or Buffalo Allies. My opinions about the motivation of ranchers is my own. Ralph Maughan

Yellowstone earthquake swarm . . . biggest swarm in Park for years

Earthquake swarm is near the middle of the caldera.

Yellowstone Earthquake Swarm Puzzles Scientists. By LiveScience Staff

The earthquake swarm begin Dec. 27. The strongest quake has been a 3.9 quake. That could do some minor damage, but the big question is “does it mean anything?” Most questions are about an eruption. This isn’t likely, but changes in the Park’s thermal features are often observed after quake swarms and some big distant quakes.  These changes are often not noticed until the snow melts. Geyser watchers will be very curious to see the outcome.

– – – –

The earthquake swarm continued into Jan. 2. There have been a lot of quakes, including three, 3+ quakes Jan. 2. The strongest today was a 3.5 quake. The quakes are shallow. To me that means related to the magma pool just under the Park.

Jan. 3.  Fewer quakes! Has the earthquake swarm ended or just paused?
Jan. 4.  Few  quakes –6 very small quakes.
Jan. 5.  Just 2 small quakes.
Jan. 6. Two more small quakes”
Jan. 7. No quakes
Jan. 8. No quakes
Jan. 9. Eleven quakes, including a 3.3 (restart?)
Jan. 10 No quakes by noon



Link for data http://www.seis.utah.edu/

Good news for NW Wyoming elk? Agency finds no further chronic wasting disease in Star Valley

Infected moose may have been an anomaly-

Wyoming’s ungulates herds in NW Wyoming, including Yellowstone Park may have dodged the CWD bullet for now.

Wyoming Game and Fish may still have a short time to do away with wintertime elk feeding. Of course, they won’t.

Story: Good news for elk? Agency finds no further chronic wasting disease in Star Valley. By Chris Merrill. Casper Star Tribune.

MT Stockgrowers ask Court to stop new more generous bison arrangement

The Stockgrowers want to stop decision to let bison wanderly freely outside Park near Horse Butte-

In the comments today people are already discussing this lawsuit. So here is the AP article by Matthew Brown.

Court asked to stop Yellowstone bison arrangement. Billings Gazette. By Matthew Brown. AP

Who said the government won’t do something to help the bison?

Yellowstone, bison to be featured on postage stamp-

AP story on the new postage stamp series.

Montana FWP chief OKs deal for bison route north from Park

Do we even have say this is the ultimate in tokenism?

FWP chief OKs deal for bison route. By Matthew Brown. Associated Press

Most bears around Jackson Hole have denned

Two faces on the bear situation in NW Wyoming for 2008-

2008 was good for Jackson Hole bears, and there were few conflicts; but grizzlies took a big mortality hit in NW Wyoming overall. Nevertheless, the total grizzly population grew slightly . . . kind of complicated.

Yellowstone Club goes under. Are we sad?

Saga of the Super-Rich-

Yellowstone Club Returns to Bankruptcy Court, to Sink Further Into Debt. By Robert Struckman. New West.

Degraded land just north of Yellowstone Park to be restored to native prairie

Land at the site of Cinnabar to be restored-

Story in the Billings Gazette. Yellowstone Park land to be restored to native vegetation. By Brett French.

I found this quite interesting. I had seen the name “Cinnabar” on a lot of old maps. I didn’t know what it had been or what had happened.

The article has interesting sidebars.

– – – – –

Update: this land is actually inside of Yellowstone Park. I’ve driven through it many times and marveled at how hard hit it is by wintering wildlife. Without fencing, restoration of any part of it would have no chance.

Pronghorn graze on essentially nothing near site of Cinnabar. Copyright Ralph Maughan

Pronghorn graze on essentially nothing near site of Cinnabar. Copyright Ralph Maughan

Genetic study on Greater Yellowstone grizzlies in the works

GYE grizzlies are probably not very diverse-

Unlike the wolves, which currently have fine genetic diversity, Greater Yellowstone grizzlies are likely not diverse. Nevertheless, a study is underway to see if any unrecognised interbreeding between GYE bears and those from the north has taken place.

Bears to get study. By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole News and Guide.

Grizzlies feasting on gut piles getting too much lead?

Blood levels of toxic lead are elevated in grizzlies eating the remains of the hunt in the Greater Yellowstone-

Lead in grizzly blood during hunt season. Researcher wonders if preliminary results show a danger to bruins from hunters’ bullets. By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole News and Guide.

Bison management riles folks, again

25- 100 bison to be allowed to wander north of YNP this winter-

Most folks will remember this, but if not, last winter a very expensive deal with made to allow a limited number of bison to leave Yellowstone near Gardiner to wander northward.

The female bison will be fitted with vaginal transmitters to warm us of conditions there (“cyberbison? !!”).

Then, to recap, bison will allowed to migrate west of the Park to Horse Butte for the first time.

The deadenders in the Montana Stockgrowers Assn. are suing to try to stop these modest reforms.

Story in the Bozeman Chronicle. Bison management riles folks, again. By Jessica Mayrer staff writer

Bush-Kempthorne geothermal plan won’t protect Yellowstone Park

190-million acre geothermal opening of public lands doesn’t protect Yellowstone-

The other day,  Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne ordered the opening of 190-million acres+ of your public lands in the West for development of geothermal energy.

He claimed national parks were protected, and, in fact, he didn’t open Yellowstone Park to geothermal leasing. However, all the land around the borders of the Park are open to development.

Development near, if not in geyser areas, throughout the world has usually destroyed them. In the guest opinion below Amy McNamara says Congress should protect the boundaries of Yellowstone.

Guest Opinion: Geothermal plan won’t protect Yellowstone. By Amy McNamara. Greater Yellowstone Coalition. Guest opinion in the Billings Gazette.

– – – –
A bit of history, the same thing happened during the Carter Administration back in the 1970s, and a huge battle was fought to protect the boundaries of Yellowstone. This was never resolved.

– – – – –

Related: How the Bush Administration steals your money. This has nothing directly to do with geothermal, but it shows how this Administration is little better than thieves. They just stole an extra $140-billion for the banks. In the meantime President-elect Obama’s tax cut plan for the middle class, said by critics to be too expensive, would cost about $65-billion.

A Quiet Windfall For U.S. Banks. With Attention on Bailout Debate, Treasury Made Change to Tax Policy. By Amit R. Paley. Washington Post Staff Writer

Agencies to let more bison outside Yellowstone

Bison will be able to occupy the Horse Butte area for the first time-

Finally, the bison will be able to leave the Park and occupy this now cow-free area area for the first time this winter.

Conservation groups and the couple who bought Horse Butte have prepared the way, and it looks like the plainly obvious right thing to do will finally be allowed.

One caution, this is still a draft.

Associated Press story. Agencies to Let More Bison Outside of Yellowstone in winter. This is a much longer version of the story than the one first posted.

Kempthorne announces federal bison initiative

This is a surprise, for sure. What does it mean?

Kempthorne announces federal bison initiative. By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole News and Guide.

It seems to me that on the basis of what JB and others have commented here, that this plan (assuming it to be real) could withstand a petition for putting the bison on the endangered or threatened species list.

More news on this announcement. Bush Adminstration Proposes 2nd Interagency Group for Bison. ENS. “Bison conservationists are not impressed. . . “

– – – –

Here is Kempthorne’s announcement.


Secretary Kempthorne Launches Bison Conservation Initiative

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne today announced an initiative that will work with state, tribal and agricultural interests to strengthen bison conservation efforts to help this iconic species recover and thrive.

“One of the classic symbols of the American frontier is the image of vast herds of bison grazing on the western plains,” Kempthorne said. “Americans today still find inspiration in bison ranging freely on the landscape, as Yellowstone National Park demonstrates.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Two grizzly bear cubs shot in NW Wyoming

More grizzly bear deaths. Mortality quota exceeded for male and female bears in Greater Yellowstone-
States can’t manage grizzlies and they should be relisted-

Two grizzly bear cubs shot in NW Wyoming. AP. Oct. 27

The brief article doesn’t mention the ESA implications, but my earlier post certainly leads to the conclusion that both male and female grizzly mortality quotas for the year have been exceeded for the delisted Greater Yellowstone population.

-More- $10,000 offered in grizzly shooting case. Jackson Hole Daily. Oct. 28

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is offering up to $10,000 for information about the shooting of two yearling grizzly cubs near Union Pass Road on Oct. 19.

Yellowstone wolf decline thought to be disease-related

Given a situation like this in the most problematic state — Wyoming — what does this say about delisting?

This article covers some of the same ground as my ealier report on the current situation with the Yellowstone Park wolves. In fact we don’t even know that the decline is limited to the Park boundaries. I doubt that it is.

What a great time to try delisting! Typical Bush-Kempthorne inattention to reality.

Wolf decline thought to be disease-related. By Brett French. Billings Gazette.

Yellowstone Ecosystem Grizzly Population Doing Well In 2008, But Bear Fatalities Pose Potential For Concern

Greater Yellowstone Grizzly Bear population doing OK (but bear mortality up)-
Male grizzly death limits have been exceeded this year-

BOZEMAN – The Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team (IGBST) comprised of state and federal agencies that monitor grizzly bear population trends in the Yellowstone Ecosystem, reports there were 44 unduplicated females with cubs of the year counted in the Yellowstone Ecosystem during 2008.  There were 84 cubs observed with these 44 females during initial observations. Numbers of unique females with cubs tend to decrease in years following good cub production.  Fifty females were counted in 2007, the second highest ever recorded, so the slight decline in 2008 was anticipated.

Population estimates are derived from counts of females with cubs.  This year’s estimate of 596 bears was
higher than last years estimate of 571.  Trend information suggests the population continues to grow at about 4% annually. Read the rest of this entry »

Chronic Wasting Disease issue heats up in Wyoming

Infected moose in SW of Jackson, plus Forest Service renewal of elk feedgrounds and doubledealing stoke the issue-

Wildlife disease debate heats up. By Chris Merrill.  Casper Star-Tribune environment reporter.

I have this feeling that the Forest Service and Wyoming Game and Fish are about as trusty as sub-prime mortgage investments.

Update. Oct. 22, 2008. Groups call for disease action. CWD found in moose in Star Valley a ‘wake-up call’ to Game and Fish, conservation groups say. By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole News and Guide.

Terrible news !! Moose in Star Valley, Wyoming tests positive for chronic wasting disease

First case of “mad elk” (chronic wasting disease) in the Greater Yellowstone area-

Not surprisingly there a several Wyoming Game and Fish winter feedlots in this valley near the Idaho border for keeping elk like livestock and feeding them in the winter.

Moose in Star Valley tests positive for chronic wasting disease. By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole News and Guide.

– – – – –
For more information about CWD in North America, visit the CWD Alliance Web site.

Idaho wolf update Sept. 13– Sept. 26, 2008

As most of you are aware, this is produced by Idaho Fish and Game Dept. There is more actual news in this one, including a new population estimate that shows Idaho’s wolf population up slightly compared to last year’s “end of the year” — official — report.

In this report and others, it is becoming clear the department is concerned about the connectivity of the Idaho wolf population to the Greater Yellowstone, the key to Judge Molloy’s injunction on the delisting. Idaho Fish and Game may be gearing up to let wolves flourish along the Idaho-Montana border, not just between Salmon, Idaho and Missoula, Montana and north, as they have, but although the Continental Divide (Idaho/Montana border) from Salmon to the Park area. In the past the wolves in this area have suffered heavy “control.”

The research component is interesting, and the our organization, the Wolf Recovery Foundation, is putting considerable financial resources into it.

In the report below, the boldface was added by me.

Ralph Maughan

– – – – – – – – –
IDAHO WOLF MANAGEMENT
BI-WEEKLY PROGRESS REPORT

To: Idaho Fish and Game Staff and Cooperators

From: IDFG Wolf Program Coordinator, Steve Nadeau

Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Management, Weeks of Sept. 13– Sept. 26, 2008.

New: FWS – Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf Status (WY, MT, ID): The U.S. Federal District Court in Missoula, Montana, issued a preliminary injunction on Friday, July 18, 2008, that immediately reinstated temporary Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountain DPS pending final resolution of the case. This includes all of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming, the eastern one-third of

Read the rest of this entry »

New brucellosis plan under consideration

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) looks to be working on new regulations to deal with brucellosis:

Brucellosis plan suggests special Yellowstone areaAP

The plan as now envisioned does not call for eradicating brucellosis in wildlife. McCluskey said that would have to be dealt with separately.

McCain, Obama Talk Sportsmen’s Issues with Field & Stream

McCain, Obama Talk Sportsmen’s Issues with Field & Stream. By Matthew Frank. New West.

Some folks will like to hear this . . . “[Obama’s] favorite piece of public land is Yellowstone.”

All in all, too much talk about guns. This should be a minor issue for hunters now that the Supreme Court interpreted the Second Amendment to mean, correctly I think, that yes Americans do have a right to own guns.

The NRA now keeps the issue going because their payroll depends on it. The gun issue also serves to keep hunters on the development and industry side of conservation, which the right-wing NRA supports.

Back to the drawing board on Hebgen Lake repair (Must read)

I notice a lot of people have been reading this story on the gate failures at Hebgen Dam, the news of which was first brought to us on Sept. 1 by “Idahosal.” (Salle)

They thought they had the way to fix the broken headgates at the dam, but it failed.

Oh Oh1 PPL back to the drawing board on Hebgen repair. AP

——-

Sept. 9

The news now is grim. The bulkhead plan did not work. There was too much turbulence at the dam intake for them to place the steel plate and stem the flow. At the moment there does not seem to be a “plan B”. The flow is still at springtime level. They are losing more than 5 inches of reservoir water elevation every 24 hours and this will accelerate as the level drops due to the cone shape nature of the reservoir bed. There are two scenarios that are scaring us at the moment.

Read the rest at http://www.mrfc.com/MadisonRiverMontanaFishing/MadisonRiverReport.aspx

Sept. 11. Remove boats before they are stranded, Hebgen Lake propert!y owners told. AP

Latest. Sept. 16. Progress slow in Hebgen Dam repair.  By Andy Malby, editor. The Belgrade News

Anthrax NW of Yellowstone now killing wildlife

Anthrax NW of Yellowstone now killing wildlife. Bozeman Chronicle. By Jessica Mayrer

The anthrax that has killed about 250 of Ted Turner’s bison is now killing deer and elk in the area. When I think of this and Montana Department of Livestock’s single-minded focus on brucellosis, it makes me furious.

Apparently the anthrax was dormant in the area, not brought in by Turner’s bison.

Posted in wildlife disease, Yellowstone. Tags: , . Comments Off on Anthrax NW of Yellowstone now killing wildlife

Hebgen Lake Dam malfunctioning. Evacuation?

I’ve just learned from Salle E. that something is wrong with Hebgen Dam near West Yellowstone and the area downstream is being evacuated due to flooding flows of the Madison River.

I see nothing on-line yet.

Update. Here is a news story. It looks like a gate is stuck open and a lot of water is flowing into the reservoir from heavy thunderstorms.

Link to Heben/Quake Lake area Google Maps

Update. Sunday. Sept. 7. Apparently this is still not fixed. Engineers are fashioning some steel “bulkheads” and so plug the headgates that became stuck open. Last week they were removing concrete from the water intake tower. After that the bulkhead will be lowered down. I believe the Madison River flows are still about 4 times normal for this time of year.

Note: this post has been superseded. See the more recent one.

20 years after Yellowstone fires: Black Saturday’s lessons still debated

Rocky Barker has written extensively about the Yellowstone fires and fire policy in general with a book (Scorched Earth) on the role of forest fires fighting and the history of the public lands.

Today he has a feature article on how the lessons from ’88 have been learned and applied and also not learned or applied. He discusses the response to the current fires of 2008.

20 years after Yellowstone fires: Black Saturday’s lessons still debated. Response to this year’s blazes shows how policies spawned by the fires of ’88 have been disregarded – or carried out. By Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman.

Gunbarrel fire clears out massive area of beetle-killed timber

Gunbarrel still on fire. Long-term plan uses fire to clear forest of beetle-killed trees. By Ruffin Prevost. Billings Gazette Wyoming Bureau.

The fire is now 50 square miles and serving to clear out a part of the North Absaroka Wilderness that was a deadfall jungle (not that access was ever easy, given the rugged terrain and lack of trails.).

The North Absaroka Wilderness forms a long boundary with Yellowstone National Park.

Posted in Trees Forests, Wildfires, Wildlife Habitat, Yellowstone. Tags: , . Comments Off on Gunbarrel fire clears out massive area of beetle-killed timber

Mad elk disease heads toward Wyoming’s elk feedgrounds

We have been writing about his since 2006 on this blog. Recently, I linked to a site I named “How Now, Mad Cow“on my blogroll. RM

Mysterious, fatal disease bound for elk feedgrounds. A cousin of mad cow, chronic wasting disease is a worry for Jackson Hole’s wildlife economy. By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole News and Guide.

The Gunbarrel Fire moves closer to the Cody-East Entrance road

Winds have blown this backcountry/wilderness fire to the east of Yellowstone Park closer to the East Entrance road.

It was started by a campfire and has mostly burned in very rugged country filled with bug-killed timber, producing a huge plume of smoke.

North winds challenge Gunbarrel fire lines. By Ruffin Prevost. Billings Gazette.

Update. August 6, 2008. Lodges near Yellowstone Park evacuated as Gunbarrel fire expands. By Ruffin Prevost. Billings Gazette.

Need a good laugh that isn’t funny? The Elk Vaccination Follies

Need a good laugh that isn’t funny? The Elk Vaccination Follies. By Bill Schneider. New West.

“FWP has doubled the elk quota around Yellowstone with minimal public input and is now talking about capturing 350 elk in the Paradise Valley to test the prevalence of brucellosis, which is commonly believed to be very low.”

Robert Fanning where are you to save the Northern Range Of Yellowstone elk herd now that it needs it? RM

Posted in brucellosis, Elk, politics, Yellowstone, Yellowstone National Park. Comments Off on Need a good laugh that isn’t funny? The Elk Vaccination Follies

Montana’s Board of Livestock to reconsider brucellosis “split-state” proposal

Board brings back ‘split-state’ status. By Matt Gouras. Associated Press.

Thank god! Let’s hope they adopt it. It is only one of the proposals they are considering.

Rocky Barker: Yellowstone ’88 fires retrospective moves into high gear

Yellowstone 88 fires retrospective moves into high gear. Rocky Barker. Idaho Statesman.

Rocky has written a huge amount of copy over the years about the Yellowstone fires of ’88 and forest fire policy in general.

Posted in wildfire, Yellowstone, Yellowstone National Park. Tags: . Comments Off on Rocky Barker: Yellowstone ’88 fires retrospective moves into high gear

Hoskins on brucellosis

Robert Hoskins, one of the best informed people who post to this web site, is, of course, active writing in many publications.

Recently he had a good LTE to the Billings Gazette. Brucellosis management has utterly failed.

In Google News comments, he follows up on the Montana brucellosis in great detail.

There Is No Scientific Proof that Elk Infected Montana Cattle with Brucellosis. By Robert Hoskins, Naturalist, GravelBar. Google News. Comments by people in the news.

The great Yellowstone fires were 20 years ago

Yellowstone fires 20 years later: Back after the burn. By Brett French. Billings Gazette

Posted in wildfire, Yellowstone, Yellowstone National Park. Comments Off on The great Yellowstone fires were 20 years ago

Focus on elk as disease [brucellosis] persists near Yellowstone

What an outrage! The officials who speak for this special interest group need to be put in their place. This should be a national campaign issue.

Focus on elk as brucellosis persists near Yellowstone. By Matthew Brown, Associated Press Writer.

They will have to kill every elk in the Greater Yellowstone, and, of course, every bison. They miss some too, so even their “final solution” will fail. The ecosystem will collapse, all on account of an inconvenience to the livestock industry, one primarily of their own making by failing to adopt a split state status for brucellosis.

The real bad guys here in addition to the Montana Department of Livestock, are the Montana Stockgrowers Association who deliberately shot down governor Schweitzer’s split state status proposal. Then, of course, there are the Wyoming elk feedgrounds/feedlots that perpetuate transmission of the disease among elk.

– – – – –

Please make sure this story and your reaction to it gets posted to other blogs and sent to candidates for office.

Montana’s Brucellosis-Free Status Lost

Another cow has been found to be infected with brucellosis costing the state of Montana its brucellosis-free status :

Sick Cow Costs Montana Its Brucellosis-Free Status – Mathew Brown – AP

The cow in question was among a herd in Paradise Valley south of Livingston.

NewWest’s coverage reveals the state’s astonishment :

Montana veterinarian Marty Zaluski said the loss of brucellosis free status is particularly frustrating given efforts by livestock producers and the industry to mitigate risks and increase disease surveillance.

“Producers in the Paradise Valley have been involved and diligent, and they have taken it upon themselves to be proactive in regard to managing the risk of brucellosis transmission,” Zaluski said. “In this particular case, the owner did everything right. The cow had been vaccinated twice and was part of a herd management plan.

Read the rest of this entry »

Christian Science Monitor looks at the awful winter for Yellowstone Bison

In Montana, bison plan paused. Ranchers and conservationists are increasingly at odds, as Yellowstone herd numbers plunge. By Todd Wilkinson. Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor.

Actually, I think the genetically pure bison is now in danger of extinction and should be added to the endangered species list.

Utah woman scalded by a hidden YNP hot pool

Utahn scalded by hidden pool. Woman was walking with family members on established dirt trail. By Lindsay Whitehurst. The Salt Lake Tribune

Kathie Lynch: Numerous pregnant Slough females, but just one pup

Kathie Lynch just wrote another of her popular reports on Yellowstone wolves. Very few pups have been seen so far. That doesn’t mean they aren’t there, but in the case of the Slough Creek Pack, they aren’t there.

– – – – – – –

Copyright © by Kathie Lynch. May 30, 2008

Every living thing awakened to the glory of springtime in Yellowstone over Memorial Day weekend. From the green, green grass and aspens just starting to sprout new leaves to a playful little wolf pup and the charm of frisky, newborn bison calves, spring has definitely sprung!

The Slough Creek pack provided the main entertainment as they happily tended what appears to be their only pup. Although a second pup had previously been seen, it has not appeared recently and may not have survived. The whole scenario is mysterious because three Slough females (alpha 380F, beta 526F, and “Hook”) had all appeared to have been pregnant and lactating. We will probably never know what happened to the rest of the pups, if there ever were more.

Read the rest of this entry »

Buffalo Slaughter Continues

The Buffalo Field Campaign Blog is sending out a notice of the Montana Department of Livestock’s intent to slaughter 9 bulls held in the Duck Creek bison trap.

Urgent Action : 9 Bulls in Trap at Duck Creek

Update 5/22 : 9 Bulls Slaughtered by the State of Montana

Groups: Stop hazing bison near Yellowstone

Groups: Stop hazing bison near YellowstoneJackson Hole Daily

It has got to be hell watching what is happening with those bison calves being pushed 20 + miles.

Posted in Bison, Yellowstone, Yellowstone National Park. Tags: . Comments Off on Groups: Stop hazing bison near Yellowstone

The Bison Haze: A Yellowstone Controversy

I found this documentary (The Bison Haze) linked to the Buffalo Field Campaign blog.

Montana promise bison slaughter was over not true. It continues.

This is from the Buffalo Field Campaign. I edited it to put all their links at the end (suggestion, more people will read the news if they find it quickly). Ralph Maughan

_____________________________________

Buffalo Field Campaign
Yellowstone Bison
Update from the Field
May 1, 2008

——————————

In this issue:
* Update from the Field
* Call Out for Summer Volunteers
* Buffalo in the News
* Photo of the Week
* Last Words
——————————
* Update from the Field
This week on the Yellowstone National Park’s western boundary, the largest buffalo slaughter since the 18th century continues, even after Montana governor Brian Schweitzer promised two weeks ago that no more buffalo would be killed this season. The Montana Department of Livestock blatantly ignored the governor’s statement, capturing three bull buffalo at the Duck Creek trap on Monday and shipping them to slaughter without testing on Tuesday morning.

Don’t Help….Yellowstone geotourism map

National Geographic Society’s Center for Sustainable Destinations, in partnership with several conservation and tourism organizations (click here to see full list ), most notably Wyoming Travel and Tourism have launched a giant “geotourism” program for the Greater Yellowstone Region (click here for the main page of the project website). The effort is intended to “celebrate and help sustain the world-class natural and cultural heritage” of the Greater Yellowstone region (click here for the press release).

The project’s centerpiece is, “a community based process will create a National Geographic ‘Geotourism MapGuide’ for the region centered on Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, and including communities and private and public lands in the three partner states.” In sum, National Geographic and their partners intend to give Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho an economic shot in the arm, in the form of well-heeled tourists, many from Europe, visiting the Greater Yellowstone region. Clearly, these three states couldn’t be more deserving, right?

Read the rest of this entry »

Officials halt bison slaughter

The various bison killing agencies have announced they will kill no more bison around Yellowstone this spring.  They did not mention whether they would haze the starving animals off of greening areas such as Horse Butte.

They indicated that although the number had been cut in half, there would be no problem regenerating the herd sizes.

It’s easy to see they regard bison as generic animals where knowledge possessed by the heads, age structure, or genetic diversity are of no consequence.

Story. Officials halt bison slaughter. By Brett French.

News release: Elusive Mountain Bison Fear Humans but Face More Intrusion on Shrinking Range

This is a new twist on the bison controversy most folks are probably not aware of.

Ralph Maughan

Update April 24, 2008: the news release became a story in the Jackson Hole News and Guide. Does mountain bison still roam Yellowstone? By Cory Hatch.
– – – – –
For Immediate Release: Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Contact: Bob Jackson (641) 874-5794;
Carol Goldberg (202) 265-7337

WHY NATIVE YELLOWSTONE BISON STAY IN THE PARK
Elusive Mountain Bison Fear Humans but Face More Intrusion on Shrinking Range

Washington, DC – The original, native bison in Yellowstone National Park shun human contact and never migrate beyond their remote backcountry range. As record numbers of their introduced Plains Bison cousins are slaughtered this year for leaving park boundaries, the Mountain Bison face a quieter threat of human incursion deep into their sanctuaries, according to an analysis released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

Read the rest of this entry »

Photo of Horse Butte

The importance of Horse Butte-

This is a photo of Horse Butte taken on April 13, 2008. The bare slope is extremely critical spring bison range, and Montana Department of Livestock tries to kick the bison off it every spring despite the Hose Butte Grazing allotment being closed and the rest of the Butte owned by people who want to see bison.
Horse Butte in mid April 2008

Gardiner, Montana is the north entrance to Yellowstone National Park.

The area around Gardiner is much lower than the rest of Yellowstone Park, so hungry bison naturally travel downhill from the deep snow seeking the bare ground.

West of the Park, however, the country is flat and almost the same elevation as inside the Park. So why do they leave to the west?

The major reason is Horse Butte, a long low ridge that runs east to west, presenting a long bare south-facing slope to the rays of the spring sun.

In the past Montana Department of Livestock has been adamant that bison won’t get to use this grass although there are no cows to eat it in the spring, summer or fall. Moreover, the people who own the Butte and most neighbors want to let the bison use the butte.

2,400 Yellowstone bison now dead

2,400 Yellowstone bison dead. By Cory Hatch, Jackson Hole News and Guide. Only 1,950 have been counted alive, and many just barely. This news comes out as a new severe winter storm descends on the area.

The Schweitzer news release on bison

Here it is. I can’t discern the details from what is in the release. Ralph Maughan

– – – – –

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, April 17, 2008

CONTACTS: Sarah Elliott 406-444-9725

Governor, Park Superintendent, Church President Announce RTR Agreement

(HELENA) – Governor Brian Schweitzer, Church Universal and Triumphant and Royal Teton Ranch (RTR) President Kate Gordon, Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Suzanne Lewis, and several non-government groups today announced completion of a long awaited agreement that moves the Yellowstone-area Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) through a critical step for protection of both Montana’s cattle industry and the Park bison herd.

“For a decade all parties have recognized a critical piece in solving bison, livestock and brucellosis concerns has been the RTR agreement,” said Governor Brian Schweitzer. “This is a good day for bison, livestock, and Montana. I would like to thank all the folks involved in making this happen.”

The IBMP was signed in 2000 by two Montana and three federal agencies: Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Montana Department of Livestock, Yellowstone National Park, the Forest Service, and USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. The plan’s two central goals are to maintain Yellowstone’s wild, free-ranging bison population, and to protect Montana’s livestock industry from the risk of transmission of brucellosis.

Governor Schweitzer, Lewis, and Gordon jointly announced a draft agreement that contains the nuts and bolts of the deal. Superintendent Lewis announced a commitment of $1.5 million toward the deal, while the state has committed to working with nonprofits to contribute a similar amount to the 30-year grazing lease of RTR property. The agreement provides for tolerance of bison while removing cattle and reducing the risk of disease transmission.

“Considering where things stood just a few short years ago, this agreement is remarkable and historic,” said Governor Schweitzer. I commend Kate Gordon and FWP Regional Supervisor Pat Flowers, and their hard-working negotiators, for their perseverance. I especially want to thank Park Superintendent Lewis and the National Wildlife Federation, Greater Yellowstone Coalition, National Parks Conservation Association, and Montana Wildlife Federation for their help in bringing folks together, and committing to finding the dollars to seal the deal.”

The announcement comes on the heels of the recently released Government Accountability Office report that severely criticized federal agencies for lack of progress toward implementation of the IBMP. “Some thought just having this plan in place was enough, and that we didn’t need to show progress. They thought we could keep managing bison in the same scenario, year in and out and somehow expect improved results. They touted this plan as adequate protection for the cattle industry, but the discovery of a herd with brucellosis-infected animals last May way out by Bridger made clear the error of that sort of thinking,” said Governor Schweitzer. “Today we have made great progress on the disease-risk front, despite the foot-dragging by naysayers.”

“For three years now I have offered ideas and pointed out problems with the current plan. I’ve been concerned about going down the same road as Wyoming and Idaho, with loss of their disease-free status. Now we have a GAO report that echoes my concerns, and with today’s agreement we have the impetus to improve this plan, and improve it we will. We’ll continue to work in partnership with those who come to the table in a straightforward manner, with practical ideas to offer.”

The IBMP was designed to operate in steps, with each progressive step designed to better secure disease risk management and bison herd protection goals. It was originally thought that step two of the plan, the RTR deal, would be reached by the winter of 2002-2003, but the plan remained stuck in step one until Governor Schweitzer asked Fish, Wildlife, and Parks to rekindle negotiations with RTR in 2005.

###
Sarah J. Elliott
Communications Director
Governor Brian Schweitzer
406-444-9725
selliott@mt.gov<mailto:selliott@mt.gov>

Deal could limit killing of park bison

Deal could limit killing of park bison. Purchase of grazing rights from CUT ranch would create corridor for migrating animals. By Matthew Brown. Associated Press.

Finally! This is a good thing. The questions is, is it a little bit good or really good?

Buffalo Requiem: Indian ceremony honors slaughtered bison

Buffalo Requiem: Indian ceremony honors slaughtered bison. By Brett French. Billings Gazette.

The Billings Gazette did a major story on the Native American ceremony to honor the 1500 plus Yellowstone Park bison the Montana Department of Livestock has killed this winter.

Related: Change in bison policy comes slowly. By Brett French. Billings Gazette. This is about Rosalie Little Thunder, bison activist.

The plight of Yellowstone bison

I was recently in the Park. The snow is incredibly deep in mid-April (deep even for winter). It is snowfree, however, at Gardiner (typical — strong rainshadow). That is where the wintering wildlife migrate to and then north out of the Park. They all do it, except for bison it is an almost certain death sentence courtesy of the Montana Department of wildlife.

Here are some photos from my trip. Copyrighted by Ralph Maughan

Bison move out of Yellowstone Park
© These bison have just left Yellowstone Park (April 10, 2008). Like the deer and elk, they move out of the deep snow to the generally snow free area north of the Park (it’s in a strong rain shadow). But for bison, it is a capital offense.

About 75 left in a single file as I watched. They next morning, Montana Department of Livestock had all of them loaded into trucks to take to slaughter. This happens day after day. I was so sick that I almost went home.

Read the rest of this entry »

Yellowstone Bison and the Fate of the Royal Teton Ranch Lease

Yellowstone Bison and the Fate of the Royal Teton Ranch Lease. By David Nolt. New West.

This great plan sounds like a way to give money to this religious cult and continue to kill and harass bison under guise of the brucellosis fraud.

Yes, it is a real disease, but very hard to pass from bison to cattle, and just a minor matter if it is. We’ve been over the matter of brucellosis on this blog a hundred times.

Groups: Stop bison slaughter

Groups: Stop bison slaughter. Jackson Hole News and Guide. By Cory Hatch

Why are Yellowstone bison such an Intractable issue?

Why are the bison of Yellowstone National Park still such an intractable issue? Great Falls Tribune.

A Montana newspaper finally asks some tough, but obvious questions about the bison slaughter.

GAO (congressional agency) report rips the bison slaughter.

Two Women Protest Bison Slaughter In Yellowstone Park

Update. Bison protesters arrested at Yellowstone National Park. Bozeman Chronicle.

This is a news release from the Buffalo Field Campaign. The women have been arrested. Ralph Maughan.

– – – – – – –
Two Women Protest Bison Slaughter In Yellowstone Park. Mammoth Visitor’s Center Temporarily Closed

Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park – Two West Yellowstone women, Miriam Wasser, 20, and Cat Simonidis, 22, locked themselves together around a post inside the Mammoth Visitor’s Center in Yellowstone National Park at approximately 10:30 this morning to call attention to the Park Service’s slaughter of nearly 1,000 bison since February 8. Upon discovering the women, Yellowstone officials closed the visitor’s center to members of the public and the media, including reporters from CNN, CBS, and an independent film maker. The women were extricated, arrested, and taken to the Mammoth jail at approximately 12:30 this afternoon.

Read the rest of this entry »

Anger Over Culling of Yellowstone’s Bison

Anger Over Culling of Yellowstone’s Bison. By Jim Robbins. New York Times.

Finally, coverage of the bison slaughter by the national media — the New York Times.

Governor Schweitzer says Republican Montana US Representative went out of his way to kill the congressional appropriation to buy up cattle grazing on CUT’s Royal Teton Ranch. So the lone Montana US House race could be near term outlet for people’s energy and resources, but it would be unwise to let the Democrats (the rest of Montana’s major politicians) off the hook.

Diamond G Ranch agrees to end grazing in part of the Dunoir Valley

Ranch agrees to end grazing near Park. Depredations pushed Diamond G to accept deal on federal land. Ranch agrees to end grazing near park. Billings Gazette. By Mike Stark.

This is great news! While it hasn’t been in the news much lately, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, this ranch was a hot spot for complaints about wolves. I had written many times about the wisdom of trying to raise cattle in a drainage full of every large predator in North American save jaguar and polar bear.

The Dunoir isn’t really very close to Yellowstone Park (despite the headline). It is adjacent to the Washakie Wilderness.

Wild Bison: BFC Update from the Field 3/20/08

New West is putting up the BFC’s reports now.

Wild Bison: BFC Update from the Field 3/20/08

In this issue (above)
* Update from the Field
* Unfortunate Opportunity: BFC Sees Inside Bison Trap
* Comment by April 2 on Horse Butte Bison Trap
* Church Universal and Triumphant Land “Deal” Bad Deal for Wild Bison
* Photo of the Week
* Last Word

Posted in Bison, Yellowstone. Comments Off on Wild Bison: BFC Update from the Field 3/20/08

Conservationist says federal agencies renege on bison plan

Is there an opportunity for a lawsuit here?

Conservationist says federal agencies renege on bison plan Associated Press in the Great Falls Tribune.

Purchase of outstanding mining claims to put to rest gold mining threat next to Yellowstone Park.

While the New World Mine proposal (once a very serious proposal) above Cooke City was pretty much defeated in 1996-7, there are a group of outstanding patented mining claims that could potentially cause trouble.

These will be purchased by the Trust for Public Land, ending forever the development threat they pose.

Group makes plans to buy up old mining claims. By The Associated Press