Quagga mussels escape Colorado River/Lake Mead

Invasive pests are now in northern Nevada-

When quagga mussels were found in Lake Mead, that was the unfortunate first infestation west of the Mississippi, but now some anglers or boaters accidentally spread them to two northern Nevada reservioirs.

Quagga mussel infestation hits reservoirs in Northern Nevada. By Henry Brean. Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Will dryup of Lake Mead prompt Western conservatives to think of climate change?

Secretary of Interior Salazar thinks so-

I don’t think it will, not as the so-called conservatives in office today look at the world.  However, back in the world of facts where Lake Mead isn’t far from the level of “dead pool,” there will be enormous consequences for all the Colorado River Basin states: Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, California.

Salazar: Colorado River issue could push conservatives to face climate change. By Karoun Demirjian. Las Vegas Sun

The Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego places Lake Mead at a 50% chance to run dry by 2020, with its enormous power production inoperative by 2017.  They gave a 10% chance it would be  inoperable by 2014.

Nevada Views: Energy development poses challenge to [Nevada] wildlife habitat

Wind and solar development could be very destructive to Nevada’s wildlife-

Energy development poses challenge to wildlife habitat. By Larry Johnson. Las Vegas Review-Journal.

And unsaid is the continuing bad idea of centralized energy generation, even if it is said to be renewable.

Judge overturns BLM grazing decision

This is what WWP calls “low hanging fruit”

Ely Sheep Grazing Allotments. The orange polygons represent bighorn sheep distribution and the red polygon represents the Warm Springs sheep trail. Click for larger view.

For the last several years I have been appealing grazing decision issued by the Ely District of the BLM and, over and over again, the District only considers alternatives which maintain the status quo even when they have identified problems on the allotments that are either caused by or exacerbated by livestock grazing.

The decision that was overturned and remanded back to the Ely District was for sheep grazing on 8 allotments encompassing 1.3 million acres of the Egan Field Office.  In their decision the BLM only considered two alternatives, one which would have renewed the previous 10-year decision without any changes; and one which would have renewed the permit with very minor changes in seasonal use, and placed very weak utilization standards on different components of the vegetation but kept the exact same number of grazing AUMs.  They didn’t consider a no grazing alternative or an alternative which would have reduced grazing levels at all.

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WWP, CBD and 3 Tribes fight Spring Valley Wind Project

Suit Filed to Protect One of Nevada’s Largest Bat Roosts, National Park

For immediate release – January 25, 2011

Contacts: Jon Marvel, Executive Director Western Watersheds Project, 208.788.2290
Rob Mrowka, Center for Biological Diversity, 702.249.5821

LAS VEGAS, Nev – Two conservation groups and three Indian Tribes filed suit today to protect a pristine mountain valley adjacent to Great Basin National Park in Nevada from a poorly-sited 8000 acre industrial wind energy project, approved by the Department of the Interior with minimal environmental review. The valley is home to rare and imperiled wildlife such as the greater sage grouse, and sensitive species including golden eagles and free-tailed bats. The project area is also a sacred site to Western Shoshone Tribes.

“We hope this litigation will lead the federal government to choose less damaging locations for wind power developments,” said Jon Marvel, executive director of Western Watersheds Project.

“Renewable energy is nationally and globally important for addressing the growing threats from climate change,” said Rob Mrowka, an ecologist with the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the parties in the suit. “But, renewable projects must be properly located with careful consideration of the values of not only the site but also of the surrounding area”.

On October 15, 2010 the Bureau of Land Management approved a proposal by Spring Valley Wind, LLC, a subsidiary of Pattern Energy of San Francisco, to construct the project on public lands in northeastern Nevada just north of Great Basin National Park. BLM approved the project over the objections of state and federal wildlife officials, nearby tribes, and conservation groups. Rather than carrying out a detailed review involving the preparation of an environmental impact statement, BLM instead prepared only a cursory environmental assessment.

“The best ways to avoid negative impacts of renewable energy projects are to carry out a thorough environmental review and site them carefully. Unfortunately, in this case BLM did neither,” noted Mrowka.

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Nevada wildlife commissioners might make it legal to shoot a ‘lone wolf’ though federal fines would remain

Harry Reid gets surprisingly easy victory. Dems keep Senate. GOP wins House big.

Otter reelected Idaho governor-

One tidbit on the wolf issue.  Chet Edwards, a Blue Dog Democrat from Texas, author of the most anti-wolf bill in Congress lost big.  It is doubtful his bill was much of a factor.

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Misc.

Montana ballot initiative I-161 which we discussed for a long time here, passed. It prohibits the current system of outfitter-controlled non-resident hunting licenses.