Open Letter to Gov. Brian Schweitzer:

Take Back Our Public Lands

Bison on Horse Butte © Ken Cole

Bison on Horse Butte © Ken Cole

By Tom Woodbury, Western Watersheds Project,

Addition by Ralph Maughan. This is also in New West. You can comment there as well as on this blog.

2008 should be remembered as the year of the buffalo. Over 1600 bison were slaughtered in Montana that year, about half of the last wild bison left in the world. This liquidation of wild bison is totally at odds with Montana’s strong conservation ethic, and is against our economic interest as well. In spite of this massive slaughter, Montana lost its “brucellosis-free” status due to repeated transmissions from wild elk to cattle. Also in 2008, the Government Accountability Office released a blistering report on bison management, finding no increased tolerance for bison, as intended by the management plan, and no accountability to those with a stake in how bison are managed, including Montana citizens and the many tribes that hold bison sacred.

The Bison Management Plan was adopted in 2000 “to ensure domestic cattle in portions of Montana adjacent to Yellowstone National Park are protected from brucellosis… and to ensure the wild and free-ranging nature of the bison herd.” It has failed on both counts. Read the rest of this entry »

Mike Hudak’s Podcast: Politics Trumps Science in Rangeland Management

How they do it.

In this 15-minute audio presentation, Mike Hudak explains how ranchers use politicians to intimidate land managers from the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management into providing rancher-friendly livestock management that is often detrimental to wildlife. Hudak cites passages from his book Western Turf Wars: The Politics of Public Lands Ranching that illuminate the topic.

Mike Hudak’s Podcast: Politics Trumps Science in Rangeland Management

Cow flop, beer cans, and cheatgrass.  © Ken Cole

Cow flop, beer cans, and cheatgrass. © Ken Cole (click for larger view)

“Antelope, deer decimating Wyoming’s ‘sagebrush sea'”

As folks know, including the government of Wyoming, which fears a sage grouse listing under the ESA, large continuous areas of sagebrush steppe are in big trouble.

It is fascinating how they blame wolves wolves for too few elk and then say there are too many antelope and deer and they need to have a big hunt to decrease their numbers.

Aren’t these overgrazed sagebrush lands described in the article grazed by cattle and/or sheep as well as deer and antelope?

The one constant in Wyoming politics is ranching and minerals come first, and wildlife gets what’s left except it always gets the blame.

Story “Antelope, deer decimating Wyoming’s ‘sagebrush sea‘” By Jennifer Frazer. Rocky Mountain News.

Note I borrowed the headline from “Headwaters News.’