The biggest gas drilling plan yet for Green River Basin

Encana could add 3,500 gas wells SW of Pinedale, WY-

Already reeling from the massive Jonah gas field, now a new field covering 4 times as much area is planned.  The “Normally Pressured Lance” natural gas field” (Son of Jonah, as some call it) comes at a time when the formerly pristine air of the Green River Basin has wintertime air so dirty it violates the standards.

Encana project could add 3,500 gas wells in Wyo. Mead Gruver, Associated Press

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management needs to asked how new drilling of this huge magnitude can be done until the agency can be sure the residents are being protected from the activities that are already underway.

The Wyoming Outdoor Council has a story on the project too (and a map). Agency needs to protect the residents of the Upper Green River Valley. By Bruce Pendery

In Pinedale, Wyo., Residents Adjust to Air Pollution

Just a generation ago . . . cleanest air the West set against the highest mountains in Wyoming-

It was wonderful to backpack, fish, and climb in the Wind River Mountains in the day when they did not overlook a miasma of gas field air pollution.

In Pinedale, Wyo., Residents Adjust to Air Pollution. By Kirk Johnson. New York Times.

Natural gas drilling proposal in Wyoming Range gets 40,000 comments!!

Wyoming folks love the Wyoming Range and fear fracking-

An unprecedented number of comments came in on the Plains Exploration & Production Co.’s (PXP) plan for up to 136 gas wells south of Bondurant near Noble Basin. Most of the Wyoming and adjacent Salt River Range has been withdrawn from oil and gas leasing/drilling by act of Congress, but the PXP leases slipped through before the leasing was shut down by the Wyoming Range Legacy Act.

My experience in the Noble Basin and adjacent area is of some of the finest elk and moose country in Wyoming.  A domestic sheep beleagered bighorn sheep herd is nearby. The huge number of comments seem to have strengthened the views of new Wyoming governor Matt Mead on the subject of drilling, after maybe fracking the area.

Wyoming Range drilling project garners 40,000 comments. By Environment & Energy Daily in WyoFile.

2010 Northern Rockies Wolf Report released.

NRM population estimate down from 1731 to 1651. Minimum population estimate down significantly in Idaho from 870 to 705.

The 2010 Northern Rocky Mountain Wolf Reports are out and they show a decrease in the overall wolf population. Wyoming and Montana saw slight increases while Idaho accounted the decline seen in the overall population.  It has long been predicted that wolf populations would level out and possibly decrease as seen in Yellowstone but it is hard to attribute the declines to any particular cause.  It could partly be attributable to last year’s hunt which occurred partially during the wolf breeding season and afterwards, a reduced elk population , increased poaching, difficulty in monitoring, and other factors could play a role as well.

Keep in mind that these estimates are minimum population estimates and that the actual population is higher.  All of the discussions I have had with the people who do these counts indicate that they feel that while these counts are not complete, they are within 20% of the actual counts and are probably accurate with regard to the trends that they show.

Wolves of the Northern Rocky Mountains: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Report: Wolf Pack Numbers Remain Steady, Livestock Losses Down
NBC Montana

And from this article:

Sen. Benjamin Cardin, a Maryland Democrat who blocked efforts to take wolves off the list in the last Congress, issued a statement this week to The Associated Press saying he remained opposed to a legislative solution to the issue.

Wolf population dips in Northern Rockies
By MATTHEW BROWN – Associated Press

Read the rest of this entry »

Dangerous snow: Is foot rot taking hold at the National Elk Refuge?

Rot is caused by freeze-thaw cycles in unsanitary snow-

We just have to keep pointing out that persistant winter feeding of elk breeds disease. Now 23 elk have been put down for what is thought to be foot rot. No doubt more will die.

Foot rot suspected in elk deaths on refuge. By Cory Hatch. Jackson Hole Daily.

Latest Wyoming (federal) wolf update- Jan. 7, 2011

Federal wolf update is only official wolf news out there now-

Here is the latest update from Ed Bangs office, the only government folks in the West who seem to be regularly producing data now.  It says it’s for Wyoming, but it also gives Yellowstone Park news, Oregon news and other wolf news. There is a link to Montana FWP and they do have an Oct. 2010 update.  Interesting it shows the estimated wolf population in Montana for 2010 to be only 400 wolves, compared to the final 2009 count of 524 wolves. The number of 400 will probably go up a bit before the final report is issued, but preliminary data absolutely and flat out fails to show any explosion in wolf population even though the 2010 wolf hunt was canceled.

wyoming news-Jan7-2011. pdf file

Wyoming elk population is large despite dire predictions in the past

As Freudenthal leaves office, a reminder of reality-

Freudenthal is on to other things. We don’t know what Governor Mead will do, but over a year ago Wyoming outfitters Tory and Meredith Taylor wrote an excellent story for WyoFile on the true state of affairs with wolves and elk in the Cowboy Energy State.

Barstool Mountain Myths: Wolves & Elk Numbers Strong Despite Dire Predictions. By WyoFile on April 6, 2009