17 May 2010, 11:07am
Latest Wildlife News
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Joseph rancher reports another wolf attack

By Kathleen Ellyn, Wallowa County Chieftain, 5/14/2010 [here]

Joseph rancher Tom Schaafsma discovered a slaughtered calf in his cow-calf pasture Thursday, May 13, and has reported it as a wolf attack. The pasture is on Upper Prairie Creek east of Joseph and was three-eighths of a mile from Schaafsma’s home on Tucker Down Road. Rod Childers, wolf committee chairman for the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, said that Schaafsma reported that wolves had been seen in the area for three days prior to the kill.

The calf has been examined by wolf program coordinator Russ Morgan of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, but the agency has not yet confirmed the kill as wolf predation.

Wallowa County Sheriff Fred Steen reported that wolves were back out near the calves that same evening and ranchers who had come to assist Schaafsma were able to haze the wolves back into the timber. The wolves were back again within a few hours. Schaafsma, who had been provided with a radio receiver to monitor the collared wolves was able to identify one of the wolves as the alpha male of the Imnaha pack, Steen said.

Given the fact that the wolves were seen in the area for three days preceding the kill and continued to enter the pasture after the kill, Steen said he was surprised by the agency’s reluctance to confirm the kill. “We don’t need this nonsense,” he said. “They’re right in the middle of the damn herd of cows. They’ve obviously found a food source. This is something our producers don’t need.”

Imnaha pack wolves are known to regularly run the area. Cattleman Karl Patton, whose ranch is four miles north of Schaafsma’s, chased four wolves out of his home pasture within sight of his home on March 26. “Every time it snows I go back and have tracks of at least one wolf on my place,” Patton said. “I’ve got to move my cows, but I cannot put my cows on my spring cow/calf pasture because wolves are there nearly every day.”

A full report and ODFW decision is expected by Saturday afternoon.

17 May 2010, 10:54am
Latest Wildlife News
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Stelle returns to role as Pacific Northwest’s ’salmon chief’

The Obama administration has picked the chief architect of one of the failed Columbia Basin salmon restoration plans of the past …

By JEFF BARNARD, Seattle PI, May 14, 2023 [here]

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — The Obama administration has picked the chief architect of one of the failed Columbia Basin salmon-restoration plans of the past to implement a new plan it hopes will finally pass legal muster.

Will Stelle takes over June 1 as northwest administrator of NOAA Fisheries Service in Seattle.

He held the post under the Clinton administration from 1994 to 2000, when many of the 13 protected stocks of Columbia Basin salmon were first put on threatened and endangered species lists. The government was also struggling to find a way to make hydroelectric dams, which are an important source of power in the region, less lethal to fish.

In a teleconference Friday, Stelle said he is not surprised none of the salmon that went on the endangered species list have come off. …

Stelle oversaw development of the 2000 plan for balancing dams against salmon, known as a “biological opinion,” which was struck down by the same federal judge weighing the current plan, U.S. Circuit Judge James Redden. Four of the five plans have failed to survive legal challenges.

The 2000 biological opinion acknowledged that it may be necessary to breach four dams on the lower Snake River in Eastern Washington. …

Salmon advocates and Rep. Doc Hasting, R-Wash., were both unhappy with Stelle’s appointment. …

Hastings, who opposes dam breaching, sent a letter to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke asking for detailed disclosures from Stelle about any conflicts of interest that may have developed during the last 10 years he worked as a Seattle natural resources attorney.

“With this selection, the administration has apparently decided to take a step backward into the controversies of the past, rather than selecting a new person who could lead this agency into a fresh start,” Hastings wrote. … [more]

Note: See also Spring Chinook Report April 30th [here] which reports record salmon runs, largely due to changing ocean conditions and having nothing to do with hydroelectric dams.

17 May 2010, 10:43am
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Outfitters licensed to kill wolves in Lolo Zone

Elk’s decline in region prompts Idaho Fish and Game to allow guides to shoot reintroduced predators

By Eric Barker, Lewiston Tribune, May 15th, 2010 [here]

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has authorized four outfitters or their licensed guides to kill as many as five wolves each in the Lolo Zone this spring.

The unprecedented move was made out of concern over the declining elk herd in the rugged mountains in the Upper Clearwater River basin.

“Wolves pioneered into that area and have been unmanaged the last 15 years and we have watched the elk decline to a population of 2,100 and recruitment is not happening,” said Jeff Gould, chief of the agency’s wildlife bureau in Boise. “So this is an effort to improve on calf elk survival and cow elk survival and elk recruitment levels that will result in a population increase.”

Elk in the Lolo Zone have been in decline for decades. The long-term slide was blamed on changes in habitat. The herd’s numbers took a nosedive during the harsh winter of 1996 about the same time wolves were reintroduced to Idaho. Department officials expected the herd to make a rebound after efforts were implemented to improve habitat, black bear and mountain lion populations were reduced and the number of hunters was capped in the area. But as those actions were occurring, more and more wolves moved into the area, and the department now says wolves are the primary cause of elk mortality in the zone made up of hunting units 10 and 12.

Idaho held its first ever regulated wolf hunt last fall through March. The department set a statewide harvest goal of 220. Hunters killed 188 wolves during the seven month season. Many of the wolf hunting zones closed after individual quotas were met. But the 27-wolf quota for the Lolo Zone was not met. Hunters killed 13 wolves there. … [more]

Note: see also Lolo Elk Decline [here]

17 May 2010, 10:35am
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Montana to at least double 2009 wolf hunt quota

MATT VOLZ, AP, May 13, 2023 [here]

HELENA, Mont. - The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission plans to at least double the number of gray wolves that hunters can kill this year.

Commissioners voted Thursday to accept a staff recommendation to increase the quota of wolves in this year’s hunting season. After a public comment period, they will vote in July whether that final number will be 150, 186 or 216 animals.

Last year’s quota was 75.

According to state wildlife computer models, the proposed quotas would reduce the state’s wolf population between 8 percent and 20 percent from last year’s minimum count of 524.

The proposed quotas do not include wolves killed by wildlife officials responding to complaints of attacks on livestock. Some 145 wolves were killed that way in 2009.

17 May 2010, 10:29am
Latest Forest News Tramps and Thieves
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Death on the border

But Washington refuses to act

By ABBY WISSE SCHACHTER, NY Post, May 14, 2023 [here]

A war is raging in Mexico, yet Washington still refuses to make securing the border a priority: It’s more interested in bashing Arizona’s immigration-enforcement law.

Yet it’s not hard to see why Arizonans are afraid. No, the ongoing Mexican drug wars haven’t crossed seriously into the United States yet. But Mexico has seen some 22,743 people killed in drug-related violence since December 2006.

And things aren’t dying down. After one recent bloody attack, Mexico City’s La Reforma newspaper reported, “The situation is becoming more and more like all-out urban warfare.”

The violence is getting closer to us, too. Three people linked to the US Consulate in Ciudad Juarez (just over the border from El Paso, Texas) were shot to death on March 13. An explosive device was used in an attack on the US consulate in Nuevo Laredo earlier this year. Cartel gunmen have stepped up direct assaults on Mexican military squads sent to police the border.

And on March 27, an American rancher, Robert Krentz, was murdered on his Arizona property by someone local law enforcement describes as “a scout for a [Mexican] drug-smuggling organization.”

As if predicting his own demise, Krentz warned of the danger in a 2007 letter to Congress written with his wife about the increased criminal activity along the border across from their ranch: “We are in fear for our lives and safety and health of ourselves and that of our families and friends.”

Last year, the Border Patrol apprehended 241,453 people and confiscated a record 1.3 million pounds of marijuana — in the Tucson, Ariz., sector alone. Nearly a fifth of all those apprehended already had a US criminal record.

The FBI now calls the Mexican drug cartels the most important organized-crime threat to the United States. Nor is the danger limited to the borderlands or to drugs. Human trafficking networks flow from Mexico through states like Arizona to the entire country. Phoenix, Ariz., has become one of the world’s capitals for kidnapping.

The feds can’t even promise to secure the border. At a recent Senate hearing, the best Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Alan Bersin could say was, “We are geared to deter the impact of the increased violence in Mexico.”

You begin to see why Arizona passed its controversial law. Wisely or not, lawmakers were reacting to a real public concern.

Yes, the flow of illegals to the US has slowed by nearly half in the past year — but that’s clearly a temporary ebb, thanks to the recession. And immigration is a separate issue from fears that Mexico’s drug violence will come north.

In Washington, however, President Obama and others are more interested in complaining about the Arizona law than in securing the border.

For years, conventional political wisdom has been that the border problem must be tackled as part of “comprehensive immigration reform” — and the president recently noted a lack of “appetite” on Capitol Hill for tackling that issue. (Obama presumably also lacks the appetite — he was a key vote in killing the last such reform bill in the Senate three years ago.) … [more]

14 May 2010, 8:39pm
Latest Fire News Latest Forest News
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Forest Treatments Under Wildfire Plan Reviewed

By Tammy Gray-Searles, AZ Journal, May 14th, 2010 [here]

A total of 7,416 acres in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests were treated to reduce fire danger in 2009, the Navajo County Board of Supervisors learned Tuesday.

Board members heard a report on fire protection activities that took place in 2009 as part of the Sitgreaves Communities Wildfire Protection Plan, which was created in 2004, after the Rodeo-Chedeski wildfire. According to the report, 90,545 acres have been treated since the plan was adopted, and 6,629 parcels have been assessed for treatment.

The report also notes that $1 million in grant funds were awarded for fire mitigation within the plan area in 2009.

Of the 7,416 acres treated in the last year, 5,023 were Forest Service land, 523 were privately owned and the remaining 1,870 belong to the White Mountain Apache Tribe.

On Forest Service land, 2,961 acres were treated using prescribed fires to eliminate excess fuel, and 2,062 were treated by mechanical thinning.

Part of the fuel removed was used at the biomass plant in Snowflake, which included the removal of biomass fuel from 435 acres.

The report notes that an agreement with Renegy and Future Forest will allow the removal of additional biomass fuel from Forest Service land in upcoming years.

“An important agreement was reached between Renegy Holdings Inc. and Future Forest LLC concerning biomass transport and delivery. Cleaner air will be a major benefit from the agreement. More biomass will be removed from the forest, ultimately resulting in less smoke from prescribed burns and wildfires,” the report states.

A total of 11,000 acres of Forest Service land north of Highway 260 is scheduled for thinning in upcoming years.

On the Fort Apache Reservation, all of the 1,870 acres treated in 2009 were treated through mechanical thinning and none by prescribed fire, but the report notes that the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) has burned “an extensive backlog of slash piles.” Since the start of the plan, a total of 23,515 acres on the Fort Apache Reservation has been treated. The report points out that maintenance is now needed on land that was treated in 2002 and 2003.

All of the private land treated during the last year was also treated using mechanical thinning.

Officials are now looking at ways to maintain treated areas while continuing work in untreated areas. A cooperative agreement is expected to help with ongoing maintenance.

The report notes, “Maintenance of previously treated areas and new treatments are being addressed with a cooperative initiative between the City of Show Low, Homeowners Association Management Company, Arizona Division of Forestry and the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension.” … [more]

Thanks for the news tip to Julie Kay Smithson, Property Rights Research [here, here]

Kerry’s Powerless America Act

Editorial, Investors Business Daily, 05/12/2023 [here]

Call it cap-and-trade or bait-and-switch, but John Kerry and Joe Lieberman continue to tilt at windmills with a bill to restrain energy growth in the name of saving the planet.

The bill introduced Wednesday and sponsored by the two senators is called the American Power Act, an Orwellian phrase if ever there was one. Like President Obama’s offshore drilling program, for every “incentive” there is a restriction. It’s as if Hamlet were to be appointed Secretary of Energy.

The legislation has little to do with developing America’s vast domestic energy supply. It’s cap-and-trade meets pork-barrel spending. It’s about regulations, restrictions and research. It does not deal with exploiting America’s vast energy reserves but with finding ways to mitigate their alleged harmful effect.

To that end, the bill creates some 60 new agencies and projects to eat up our tax dollars and buy support … [more]

Questions posed for Kerry, Lieberman on new climate-energy bill

by Paul Driessen, CFACT, May 12, 2023 [here]

The new Kerry-Lieberman climate bill mandates a 17% reduction in US carbon dioxide emissions by 2020. It first targets power plants and refineries that provide reliable, affordable electricity and fuel for American homes, schools, hospitals, offices and factories – and then, in six years, further hobbles the manufacturing sector itself.

The House-passed climate bill goes even further. It requires an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050. Once population growth and transportation, communication and electrification technologies are taken into account, this translates into emission levels last seen around 1870!

House Speaker Pelosi says “every aspect of our lives must be subjected to an inventory,” to ensure that America achieves these emission mandates. This means replacing what is left of our free-market economy with an intrusive Green Nanny State, compelling us to switch to unreliable wind and solar power, and imposing skyrocketing energy costs on every company and citizen.

Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency is implementing its own draconian energy restrictions, in case Congress does not enact punitive legislation.

It’s time to ask these politicians some fundamental questions. … [more]

Potential cost of Kerry-Lieberman Cap & Tax: $69 - $145 Billion per Year

The Hockey Schtick, Wednesday, May 12, 2023 [here]

The Kerry-Lieberman Cap & Tax bill establishes a price collar for CO2 emissions with a floor of $12 per metric ton (increasing annually by 3% + inflation) and ceiling of $25 (increasing annually by 5% + inflation). According to the EPA, US emissions of CO2 in 2009 were 5787 million metric tons. Thus, if the legislation is applied to all US emissions, the cost would be $69 Billion (floor) to $145 Billion (ceiling) annually, increasing ~6 to 8+% each year forever.

The American Power Act: A Climate Dud

by Chip Knappenberger, MasterResource, May 12, 2023 [here]

“The global temperature “savings” of the Kerry-Lieberman bill is astoundingly small—0.043°C (0.077°F) by 2050 and 0.111°C (0.200°F) by 2100. In other words, by century’s end, reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 83% will only result in global temperatures being one-fifth of one degree Fahrenheit less than they would otherwise be. That is a scientifically meaningless reduction.”

Senators John Kerry and Joseph Lieberman have just unveiled their latest/greatest attempt to reign in U. S. greenhouse gas emissions. Their one time collaborator Lindsey Graham indicated that he did not consider the bill a climate bill because “[t]here is no bipartisan support for a cap-and-trade bill based on global warming.” But make no mistake. This is a climate bill at heart, and thus the Kerry-Lieberman bill sections labeled “Title II. Global Warming Pollution Reduction.”

So apparently someone thinks the bill will have an impact on global warming. But those someones are wrong. The bill will have no meaningful impact of the future course of global warming. … [more]

13 May 2010, 10:47am
Latest Climate News
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Snowstorms kill hundreds of cattle as Cardston County declares emergency

By Jamie Komarnicki, Calgary Herald, May 12, 2023 [here]

Ranchers in southern Alberta’s Cardston County are in emergency mode after a barrage of spring snowstorms killed hundreds of cattle.

Losses are mounting as melting snow reveals calves that succumbed to the winter-like weather of the past couple of weeks, said Reeve Cam Francis.

The county declared itself a “disaster area” earlier this week, Francis said, noting that some ranchers lost more than 100 calves.

“It’s been devastating. A lot of cattle got piled up from the wind, cows got trampled, some cows were pushed into the dugout and drowned,” Francis said.

County officials haven’t tallied the number of cattle lost.

The situation is particularly dire because the snowstorms hit during calving season, when the newborns are especially vulnerable, said Francis.

Shawn Pitcher is still tallying the losses, but figures up to 15 per cent of his 300-head herd was killed.

Furious winds drove the cattle close together, which in turn led to some of the calves getting trampled, he said. Other cows sought shelter in the low-lying areas, which, as the temperature rose, became filled with water. Cows became stuck in the mud or drowned, Pitcher said.

Now, the rancher is dealing with the diseases that have struck the survivors.

“We’re treating calves like crazy, trying to get them over their pneumonia,” Pitcher said. … [more]

Note: the record late snows are sure to have also affected wildlife.

13 May 2010, 10:44am
Latest Climate News
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Hurricane forecaster predicts a top 10 season

by John Kelly, Examiner.com, May 12, 2023 [here]

The 2010 Atlantic hurricane season may rival some of the worst in history with meteorological conditions mirroring the 2005 season, the record-breaking year that spawned the Mississippi/New Orleans devastating hurricane named Katrina.

According to Accuweather.com’s chief hurricane meteorologist, Joe Bastardi, not only will it be a very active hurricane season ahead, but it could even rank in the top 10 most active seasons.

Bastardi is predicting a total of 16 to 18 named storms this season.

If this prediction comes to past, the 2010 hurricane season will rank in the top 10 with only 8 years in 160 years on record with seasons of 16 or more named storms.

He also predicts the season will begin early and remain active well into the month of October.

He cited a rapid warming of the Gulf of Mexico and the collapsing El Nino pattern for the heightened forecast activity. Both situations were characteristic of the busy 1998 and record-setting 2005 hurricane seasons. … [more]

Note: In this day and age there are flurries of weathercasters. Most are no better than coin flippers, but Joe Bastardi is a real pro with a track record of accurate forecasts. If you live in hurricane country, batten down the hatches.

12 May 2010, 10:47pm
Latest Forest News
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Payette Road Closure Appeal Meeting

From: Scott Amos

Regarding: USFS final decision closing backcountry roads near Yellow Pine and Big Creek.

Some folks from Yellow Pine are still not aware that they can appeal the USFS road closures. Therefore I’m trying to set up a meeting in town to help people file appeals.

The tentative date for the meeting in Yellow Pine is on Saturday, May 22. The location and time will be worked out as soon as I can strike a deal with the Silver Dollar Grill or obtain use of the community center. If all else fails I will invite the town to drive up the road to my property which currently has a USFS road closed sign and that would make a fitting setting for a road closure meeting.

In the discussion I will include a form and where any appeals need to be mailed or faxed. I will fax the appeals for individuals if they don’t have the means to do so.

If people are thinking of filing appeals on their own, I’ve found these rules the USFS has for them:

1) You had to submit comments during the allowed timeframe back in August or September and they had to be written comments.

2) You must be specific as to why you’re appealling the decision.

3) Appeals must be filed within 45 days of the posting of the final decision.

I’ve filed appeals based on:

1) No economic impact study was done for Yellow Pine and Big Creek, which violated the 2001 roadless rule.

2) Many of the roads which the USFS is closing are RS2477 roads, which are state and county property by federal law and which the USFS has no jurisdiction.

3) Additionally, the USFS is closing many roads which they did not hold public comment on, which further violates the 2001 roadless rule.

4) The USFS is enacting procedures they want to see that would be granted to them by the 2001 roadless rule. However, the 2001 roadless rule in its entireity has been declared illegal by US district court judge from Wyoming and therefore has not passed into law yet. Any actions under the 2001 roadless rule would currently be illegal.

People wishing to discuss these issues further can call or email me (contact Scott via W.I.S.E [here])

Scott Amos

The Payette NF road closure final decision notice is [here]

Judge declares 2001 roadless rule illegal [here]

Update: the meeting will be held at the Silver Dollar Cafe on Saturday, May 22, 2023 at 4 pm.

12 May 2010, 10:45pm
Latest Forest News
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Unprecedented forest management eyed in Aspen area

Forest Service wants to use fire, mulching to improve habitat on 57,000 acres

by Scott Condon, The Aspen Times, May 12, 2023 [here]

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — The U.S. Forest Service wants to burn and mulch the forest surrounding the Roaring Fork basin at an unprecedented level over the next five years to restore wildlife habitat described by officials as being in “horrible” condition.

The White River National Forest supervisor’s office in Glenwood Springs is considering prescribed burns, mechanical treatment with heavy machinery or a combination of the two on about 57,000 acres. The project sites range from a portion of Red Mountain north of Aspen, to the Nast area in the Fryingpan Valley, the canyons east of Glenwood Springs and the Assignation Ridge area on the west side of Highway 133 between Redstone and Carbondale.

A specific list of projects hasn’t been released yet, but the Forest Service intends to make it available shortly. All of the projects are designed to enhance wildlife habitat rather than deal directly with trees killed by beetles, although that may be an extra benefit in some cases, said Phil Nyland, wildlife biologist on the forest.

White River Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams, who took the top post in the 2.3 million-acre forest last fall, said he was surprised to learn about the condition of wildlife habitat around the Roaring Fork Valley.

“The winter and transitional range is in very poor condition, in a general sense,” he said. “I would describe it as horrible.”

Forest Service officials hope to gain the support of Roaring Fork Valley residents for the projects. But Fitzwilliams acknowledged it could be a tough sell with some residents because it involves putting up with smoke from prescribed burns and temporarily charred or razed hillsides.

“This is definitely breaking new ground” in the Roaring Fork Valley, he said.

The Forest Service is undertaking a special effort to educate the public about the projects and to gauge support. Nyland said open houses will be held over the next six to eight weeks. He will also meet with neighborhood caucuses, and information will be shared through various media. The projects will go through the process required under the National Environmental Policy Act, which means an environmental assessment with a public comment opportunity.

Fitzwilliams said the Forest Service must show residents that sitting by and “letting nature run its course” isn’t a legitimate option. Decades of fire suppression has already blocked nature from taking its course.

“In this valley, vegetation treatment has been non-existent for the last 25 years,” Fitzwilliams said. “It’s vitally important to this valley that we do something. … [more]

8 May 2010, 3:29pm
Latest Wildlife News
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World’s biggest beaver dam discovered in northern Canada

by Michel Comte and Jacques Lemieux, Yahoo News, May 5, 2023 [here]

OTTAWA (AFP) – A Canadian ecologist has discovered the world’s largest beaver dam in a remote area of northern Alberta, an animal-made structure so large it is visible from space.

Researcher Jean Thie said Wednesday he used satellite imagery and Google Earth software to locate the dam, which is about 850 metres (2,800 feet) long on the southern edge of Wood Buffalo National Park.

Average beaver dams in Canada are 10 to 100 metres long, and only rarely do they reach 500 metres.

First discovered in October 2007, the gigantic dam is located in a virtually inaccessible part of the park south of Lac Claire, about 190 kilometres (120 miles) northeast of Fort McMurray.

Construction of the dam likely started in the mid-1970s, said Thie, who made his discovery quite by accident while tracking melting permafrost in Canada’s far north.

“Several generations of beavers worked on it and it’s still growing,” he told AFP in Ottawa. … [more]

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