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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exposure of “predator derby” goes viral, Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife takes down dead coyote photos

Photography web site gives exposure to killing contest, provokes big reaction-

The “predator derby” held annually by Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife is not well known outside of its participants. I don’t know about it until someone brought it up in comments. One web site, however, really took note of it.

A story at iamidaho.deviantart.com about Sportsmen for Fish and Wildife’s carnivore-killing contest apparently went viral. As a result SFW has taken down their photos of dead carnivores killed in a “predator derby” and Nikon has withdrawn their apparent sponsorship of SFW’s webpage. However, the photos are still up at http://iamidaho.deviantart.com/

See more at  http://iamidaho.deviantart.com/journal/28470288/#comments.

The event to see who can kill the most “predators” is still planned for the Pocatello area on Nov. 27th – 28th. For more information on the event and others in Idaho, go to http://www.sfwidaho.org/SFW/Idaho_Predator_Derby.html.

We had no idea this effort to widen knowledge of the event was going on. It certainly shows the power of the web to make folks aware.

Pocatello. Don’t let the Army Corps ruin the Portneuf River again!

On Aug. 31, it’s time to defend our river, our recreation, our wildlife, and our property-

Don’t forget the public meeting the City is holding tonight, August 31 at 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM in the City Council Chambers.

Here is a letter from Dr. Chuck Trost. If you are interested in birds and live in Pocatello, you know who he is.

Many people are disturbed about the proposed removal of the trees along the Greenway at North City Park.  This beautiful and shaded walkway will look like a hot war zone without the trees.  I would like to know whether the city plans to remove all the trees on both sides of the river, as well as both sides of the levee?  These trees also keep the Portneuf River cool, which should be one of the goals of the city.

How sagebrush steppe should look

This area hasn’t been grazed by cattle for many years-

I took this photo in late May on Pocatello’s West Bench at the base of the Bannock Mountain Range. Because it is a mixture of city land and Forest Service and no maintained fences, it hasn’t been grazed by cattle or sheep for many years.

Too many people don’t know what healthy sagebrush steppe looks like. This is an example.*

Late May on Pocatello’s West Bench. Sagebrush steppe.

______________

* The West Bench is hardly pristine, however. It was overgrazed in the late 19th and early 20th century so badly that the hillside was contoured by FDR’s CCC. See photo of the coutours today.

In 1987 much of the Bench burned. The was followed by BLM and Forest Service efforts to “restore” the area. This included planting yellow clover, which now covers large areas and the “more fire resistant” Siberian Wheatgrass (an exotic). For years vehicles have also gradually spread cheat grass and bulbous blue grass into local infestations. You can see some cheatgrass beginning to ripen in the second photograph.

A cougar again on Idaho State University campus (Pocatello, ID)

This winter begins like last with cougars on campus-

The cougars haven’t harmed anyone, but, of course, their presence on campus worries people.

The following announcement came over Idaho State University email Nov. 4.

Idaho Fish and Game officials have set a cougar trap on campus after a possible sighting Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 4.  The trap is set in the area of the sighting, above the jogging trail on Red Hill above Davis Field.  Public Safety is advising people to be careful in the secluded areas of campus between  Red Hill, the cemetery and other areas.

Any sightings should immediately be reported to ISU Public Safety at 282-2515.

Cougars were in other parts of Pocatello last winter.

Why?

I have a pretty good idea. If you travel to the Caribou National Forest and the BLM lands that directly adjoin the city, with the exception of a “beauty zone” along Mink Creek, these public lands have been increasing abused by livestock grazing. There is little for the deer to eat, they come into town (indeed they sleep next to my house) where there is some pretty good forage. Of course the cougars follow.

I am increasingly of the view that we need a major push at change on range on these public lands. If any friends in Pocatello, Chubbuck or Inkom want to help with bringing grazing under control on your public land please contact me. Ralph Mauighan rmaughan2@cableone.net

Mountain Lions Spotted On Idaho State University Campus

Three mountain lions were spotted on the Idaho State University campus the night of March 28-9.

There are a lot of deer in Pocatello, Idaho right now due to the prolonged winter.

Story.

Posted in wildcats. Tags: . 5 Comments »