17 Mar 2008, 10:56pm
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Predator makes kills in Two Dot area

By BRETT FRENCH, Billings Gazette [here]

TWO DOT - Her voice tinged with emotion and the video camera jiggling in her shaking hand, Tonya Martin filmed and narrated the scene she found behind her ranch home March 5 - five sheep had been killed by a wolf and another five were wounded, three of them, as it turned out, fatally.

“In the end, it’s hard to watch what your animals go through,” said Martin, 36, while showing the location of the slaughter on Thursday. “It makes me question what the future will be with them.”

Martin was driving a tractor out to feed her cow-calf pairs around 8:30 a.m. on March 5 when her mother-in-law, Katherine Martin, spotted the big black wolf. The wolf trotted out of the brush, crossed the county road, went under a barbed-wire fence and paused to look back.

“We knew what it was right away,” she said. “Our first instinct was to go after it.”

At the time, Martin didn’t know the wolf had killed five of her sheep. Had she known, the .222 rifle that always rides in the tractor could have been used to legally kill the wolf. It wasn’t until the Martins investigated that they found the sheep flighty and hiding in the barren cottonwood trees along Big Elk Creek. Scattered around the drainage were five dead sheep and five others that were injured.

A veterinarian was called to patch up the five injured sheep, most of them with torn throats, but only two of those survived.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Martin said. “Some were hamstrung, their legs were broken and twisted. I’d never seen kills like it before. The sheep were scared to death.”

“It was a sad day, because I know he’ll be back, and he’ll be back with friends.” … [more]

17 Mar 2008, 5:36pm
Latest Forest News
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Environmental groups blast Idaho roadless plan

More than 50 environmental organizations have attacked Idaho’s proposed roadless plan, saying that if it is adopted by the Bush administration it could set a bad precedent for roadless areas in other states.

In a report released Thursday, the Center for Biological Diversity and other groups looked at how management of Idaho’s roadless areas would change if the 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule developed by the Clinton administration was replaced by the new plan. …

The 2001 rule banned road building and logging on 58 million acres of remote national forests, mostly in the West. Idaho’s total of 9.3 million acres of roadless areas is second to Alaska, where 14.8 million acres are designated as roadless.

The Bush administration in 2005 allowed states to opt out of the 2001 rule. States were told they could petition the federal government with their own plans.

Idaho submitted its plan in 2006. At a January public hearing in Washington, D.C., Lt. Gov. Jim Risch said the Idaho plan would protect remote forests while allowing some activities in areas that should never have been designated as road-free in the first place.

A federal plan for Idaho closely follows the state’s proposal. It could be adopted this fall, said David Hensley, counsel to Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter. … [more]

17 Mar 2008, 5:35pm
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States ready to manage wolves

COEUR d’ALENE — Few animals have been as politicized and socially divisive as the wolves of the Rocky Mountains.

Now in the remaining days before the gray wolf is expunged from the Endangered Species List, state management agencies, stakeholder groups and a menagerie of wildlife groups are getting ready with their responses.

Federal hands have guided wolf recovery efforts for 13 years, but this month the management responsibility of wolves will be passed to the states of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. The rule, posted in the Federal Register in February, will take effect March 28.

Days after the rule was posted, a coalition of 11 conservation groups charged the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with violating the Endangered Species Act.

The groups, which include the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity, argue wolves are not numerous enough in the Rocky Mountains to maintain a healthy, viable gene pool. They intend to challenge the service in federal court.

The lawsuits will likely be ongoing for the foreseeable future, but the states will be granted management as planned, unless the coalition convinces the court to file an injunction. … [more]

16 Mar 2008, 5:42pm
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Green, brown and bloody all over

By Boaz Neumann, Haaretz.com, the online edition of Haaretz Newspaper in Israel [here]

“How Green Were the Nazis? Nature, Environment and Nation in the Third Reich (Ecology and History)” by Franz-Josef Brueggemeier, Mark Cioc and Thomas Zeller, Ohio University Press, 288 pages, $22.95

“The Green and the Brown: A History of Conservation in Nazi Germany (Studies in Environment and History)” by Frank Uekoetter, Cambridge University Press, 246 pages, $23.99

Nazism and ecology? The Nazi party as a green movement? At first glance such analogies seem ridiculous, absurd, outrageous. In 1985, historian Anna Bramwell published a book in which she claimed outright that the Nazi party was a “green party.” She focused on Richard Walther Darre, the agricultural minister of Nazi Germany, and his “Blut und Boden” (”blood and soil”) ideology. Darre, wrote Bramwell, was the head of the “green” faction of the Nazi party, which greatly influenced the thinking of leading Nazis, among them Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler and Reinhard Heydrich. Bramwell called Darre the “father of the greens” for his support of organic agriculture, restrictions on the use of mechanized farming methods, and so on. In its time, if I am not mistaken, the book was quite esoteric.

In recent years, however, a growing number of articles and books, primarily academic texts, have been written on the subject. One of the more dominant titles is “How Green Were the Nazis?” In other words, the question “Were the Nazis green?” has already been answered. Another book with a no-less- provocative name is “The Green and the Brown.” Brown, for those who have forgotten, was associated with the Nazis because it was the color of the shirts worn by their stormtroopers.

So this is clearly a difficult and emotional subject, like all historical and historiographic issues related to Nazism. Were the Nazis “green,” and if so, how green? What does that say about them? Does it change our perception of their crimes? In what light does this place the green movement and ecological activism in the 20th century?

In July 1935, Germany’s Nazi regime headed by Adolf Hitler passed the Reich Nature Protection Law. It was one of the most progressive laws of its time. First of all, it was a federal law that applied to the whole country and not just a local ordinance, as had been customary in the past. It was also unprecedented in scope: The law protected nature and the environment in the name of the German people and for their sake, and prevented damage that might have been caused by economic development in undeveloped areas. Anyone whose actions were liable to harm nature or alter the landscape in any significant way, such as developers and building contractors, had to obtain permission from the Reich nature protection office. This legislation also protected bridges, roads, buildings and other landmarks perceived as having German historical-cultural value. It imposed restrictions on advertisements that marred the landscape and, in some cases, banned them altogether. In Britain, legislation of this scope was only introduced after World War II, and in France, as late as the 1960s. … [more]

Study: Wildfires emit more global warming gases than thought

A new study has found that California wildfires emit more greenhouse gases than previously believed largely through the post-fire decay of dead wood, a finding that is raising questions about how effective the state’s forests are at storing carbon and slowing global warming.

The study by Thomas Bonnicksen, a retired forestry professor at Texas A&M University, found that four major wildfires – from the Fountain fire near Redding in 1992 to the Angora blaze at Lake Tahoe last year – are responsible for the release of 38 million tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, far more than the 2 million tons the state estimates that fires produce on average each year.

“Up until now, we have not fully appreciated the magnitude of the impact of wildfires on climate change,” Bonnicksen said. “This is a very important part of the problem.”

His study, which is not peer-reviewed and has been found lacking by some, is one of a flurry of reports that have begun to explore the critical role that forests play in regulating carbon dioxide, the principal atmospheric gas responsible for global warming. Traditionally, forests have been viewed as green reservoirs of landlocked carbon, soaking up and storing CO2 from the atmosphere in their leaves, needles, roots and soil.

Bonnicksen’s study casts that view into question. Forests today are so overcrowded with spindly, unhealthy trees – partly the result of decades of fire suppression – that as they burn and decay they are turning into an actual source of greenhouse gas pollution.

His study, for example, estimates emissions from just one blaze alone last year, the Moonlight fire in Plumas County, at more than 19.6 million tons, three-quarters of which are expected to occur over the next century as trees killed by the fire decay. That much carbon is roughly equivalent to the emissions from 3.6 million cars for a year.

Overall, California fires are producing so much CO2, he said, that they will defeat the state’s pioneering efforts to respond to climate change by reducing emissions elsewhere.

“No matter what anybody does in California to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as long as these forests are burning, they are wasting their time,” Bonnicksen said. … [more]

For the full text of Dr. Bonnicksen’s reports, see W.I.S.E. Forest and Fire Science [here]

15 Mar 2008, 6:59pm
Latest Forest News
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Ninth Circuit: Still crazy after all these years

By Dick Little, Paradise Post [here]

Once again, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal has gone off the deep end. They ruled the United States Forest Service should not have allowed expedited logging in the National Forests, although Congress approved the process. (This process calls for “thinning” certain areas by taking only a few trees at a time from a given region).

The three judge panel said the Forest Service failed to, ” properly analyze the rule, causing ‘irreparable injury’ by allowing more than 1.2 million acres of national forest land to be logged and burned each year without studying the ecological impacts.”

The Forest Service told the court they took the actions to provide a secure “fire safe” environment, using a program approved by Congress that allowed selective logging (a process where a small number of trees in a given area are cut to thin the forest land so fire will not spread rapidly). The Forest Service told the court their actions saved thousands of homes in Southern California during last year’s San Diego fires, a statement that fell on deaf ears.

Judges on the “Ninth Circus” have shown a callous disregard for the welfare for the people and critters who reside in forested areas of the west including those of us who live in Paradise. The Ninth Circuit Court is the most overturned one in the nation, and hopefully this decision will be quickly reversed. The suit, filed by the Sierra Club, claims the federal government went beyond what the Environmental Policy Act allowed for cleaning up forest land. The three judge panel ruled the Forest Service failed to properly analyze the rules causing what it termed, “irreparable injury.”

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15 Mar 2008, 6:56pm
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Protection sought for snails, slugs in Northwest forests

PORTLAND, Ore. — Conservation groups want the federal government to protect 32 species of snails and slugs under the Endangered Species Act.

Tierra Curry, a biologist for the Center for Biological Diversity, says that since the Bush administration took steps to allow more logging in old-growth Pacific Northwest forests, the snails and slugs are in danger of going extinct.

The petition says they perform a critical role in the food web, consuming forest litter and in turn being eaten by wildlife.

While all 32 species are rare, seven are known to inhabit only one or two locations, making them particularly susceptible to extinction. … [more]

15 Mar 2008, 6:55pm
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Packed house unanimous in opposition to wilderness proposal

by KEITH TROUT, Mason Valley News

An uninformed passerby at Smith Valley High School last Wednesday evening might taken in the throng of vehicles parked outside and wondered if graduation had come early this year.

But the source of the sizeable crowd gathered at the school that night was a planned presentation, held as part of the Smith Valley Advisory Council meeting, on the proposed wilderness area designation for southern Lyon County and parts of Mineral and Esmeralda counties.

And the comments expressed during the more than two-hour session atend by an estimated 500 people, were unanimously opposed to that wilderness designation, including several elected officials who attended the meeting as well.

The presentation was organized by the newly-formed ‘Coalition for Public Access’ and drew a packed house to the SVHS gym. And those attending were not limited to Smith Valley residents, as the crowd drew folks from Mason Valley, Mineral and Douglas Counties, and other areas and organizations beyond.

Representatives of Senators Harry Reid and John Ensign were in attendance, as was another representing Congressman Dean Heller, and each said the wilderness designation was not proposed by the Congressmen, but by the wilderness groups advocating the inclusion of land in the Lyon County/Mineral County lands bill. … [more]

15 Mar 2008, 6:53pm
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Mineral County residents reject wilderness

In a 2 1/2 hour meeting similar to the one in Smith Valley last week, nearly 200 Mineral County residents told three representatives to Nevada’s congressional delegation to “Leave us alone!” when it comes to any wilderness designations in a Lyon-Mineral Lands Bill.

Many of those residents meeting in the convention center in Hawthorne also heard for the first time a resolution adopted the previous day unanimously by the Mineral County Commissioners rejecting wilderness; and an appeal from that same commission to have Lyon and Esmeralda counties join them in such action. (See MC resolution reprinted in this edition of the MVN)

In response to requests from representatives Matt Tuma of Senator Reid’s office, Kevin Kirkeby from Senator Ensign’s office and Verita Prothro from Congressman Heller’s office for public input, MC commissioner and liason to the delegation Jerrie Tipton introduced and read the county’s resolution which drew a round of applause from the audience.

Tipton then pointed to a 1984 resolution in which the county has it “doesn’t need a lands bill” and “thanks, but no thanks” to wilderness this time around as well. … [more]

15 Mar 2008, 6:51pm
Latest Wildlife News
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Wolf population grows by a third

By KARIN RONNOW, Bozeman Daily Chronicle Staff Writer

Montana’s wolf population increased 34 percent over the past year, to an estimated 422 wolves in 73 packs, the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks reported Thursday.

The wolves are nearly equally distributed between northern and southern Montana, according to the agency’s annual wolf report, although the bulk of the population growth was in northwestern and far western Montana, where it increased by about 92 wolves, to 213.

In the Greater Yellowstone area, the population increased by 14 wolves, to 209.

Some of the growth can be chalked up to the birth of at least 163 wolf pups last year, the FWP report noted. But there were other reasons, too.

“Our monitoring is getting better and we have hunters, landowners and many others taking the time to tell us where and when they see wolves or wolf sign,” Carolyn Sime, the FWP’s wolf management coordinator in Helena, said in a written statement.

Wolves are still listed under the Endangered Species Act. Delisting was set for late March, but lawsuits are expected to delay that.

While the numbers are growing, 102 wolf deaths were recorded last year, according to FWP. Seventy-three of those followed livestock killings; seven were killed illegally; and six were hit by vehicles or trains. The others died from a variety of causes common in the wild n from poor health to old age.

“Despite the loss of 102 wolves, the Montana wolf population is still very secure,” according to the written statement on the report. … [more]

14 Mar 2008, 9:48am
Latest Wildlife News
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Gregoire agrees to expand cougar hunts with hound dogs

OLYMPIA — Gov. Chris Gregoire has signed a bill expanding the use of dogs in cougar hunts.

Under the measure, a pilot program allowing cougar hunts with dogs is extended another three years, on top of the four years it has been in place. The bill also allows all counties to join the program, instead of just the five currently enrolled.

Gregoire says the measure addresses safety threats that cougars pose to people and livestock.

Animal-rights activists contend using dogs is cruel and unfair, and that the big cats’ population is declining.

Voters banned the practice in 1996, by passing Initiative 655. [here]

13 Mar 2008, 11:30pm
Latest Fire News Latest Forest News
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Woman found guilty of arson in 2001 University of Washington fire

By Mike Carter and Hal Bernton, Seattle Times [here]

TACOMA — Jurors weighing the fate of Briana Waters struggled with a charge that would have sent the 32-year-old mother and violin teacher to prison for 30 years.

Their verdict, delivered Thursday in a packed federal courtroom, recognized her participation in the 2001 arson at a University of Washington research center, but also her limited role in the crime and the modest prison sentences expected to be given to others involved. The arson was committed in the name of the Earth Liberation Front.

While jurors convicted the Oakland, Calif., woman of two counts of arson, they deadlocked on three other charges, including the most serious, which would have sent her to prison for a minimum of 30 years. Afterward, some in the jury said they were sympathetic because Waters has a 3-year-old daughter.

“It’s fair to say that for a lot of us, it was very emotional,” said one male juror, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “I mean, here was a mom with a kid. It certainly played into the deliberations.”

In convicting Waters of arson, the jury agreed with federal prosecutors who said she served as a lookout for a team of Earth Liberation Front saboteurs who firebombed the UW’s Center of Urban Horticulture because they believed, mistakenly, that a researcher was genetically engineering trees.

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13 Mar 2008, 8:28pm
Latest Wildlife News
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Alaska Wolves to be Shot from Helicopters

ANCHORAGE, Alaska, March 12, 2008 (ENS) - The Alaska Board of Fish and Game has decided that about two dozen wolves from several packs on the southern Alaska Peninsula will be exterminated using aerial gunning to boost the caribou population.

The wolves have been killing newborn calves, said biologist Cathie Harms with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

The herd had an estimated 10,000 animals in 1983, but now numbers about 600.

Harms said Fish and Game staffers will use a helicopter to locate and kill the wolves from the air starting this spring. She said it is the first time since the mid-1980s that such an operation has been authorized.

A survey of the herd in 2006 discovered one calf per 100 cows, according to Fish and Game. That number decreased to 0.5 calves per 100 during a survey conducted last year, Harms said.

The department intends to give calves a chance to survive and restock the herd, which it says is important to subsistence hunters. … [more]

12 Mar 2008, 3:58pm
Latest Climate News
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A Lot of Hot Air

A Guest Post by Neil McCann

I like to fondly think of myself as “a scientist”. I have a Bachelor of Environmental Science (Australian Environmental Studies). I like to think “scientifically”, and this is the first letter I’ve ever written – -just to establish that I’m not a total nutter or media/Internet blog junkie. I feel compelled to speak out about the current green/greenhouse obsession –- in the vein that silly ideas can take on a life of their own when other people do and say nothing.

To the greenhouse/global warming advocates: I am an unbeliever! I find it astounding that the only significant source of heat on the planet, in fact in the entire solar system, is completely ignored or unspokenly assumed to be static and unchanging, and that a minor gas making up a very small percentage of Earth’s atmosphere is declared definitely responsible for a less than 1% temperature change over the last 100 years.

The southern oceans of earth are documented as showing a temperature increase of 0.01 percent. It’s not science to assume C02 is definitely the culprit (human knowledge is littered with false correlations –- it is only a correlation between temperature and CO2, and correlation is definitely not causation), and that the sun, a fantastically enormous ball of fire that I can feel directly on my skin, that must and does vary (think solar flares) is definitely not. That isn’t science, it’s ideology.

Let’s be honest, it’s still only a theory. There is NOT universal agreement, and that’s a fact. Many scientists heavily dispute both the theory and the underlying data. Approximately 20,000 people with science degrees and/or post graduate qualifications recently signed a petition from the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, a nonprofit, non-corporate funded research institute entirely disputing the global warming thesis. Not 50, 100, or 2000, but 20,000. Most people have never heard of OISM; it gets no airtime.

It’s quite possibly a classic chicken and egg -– which came first? — situation. When you boil a kettle, heat comes first, and then comes steam/gas. It’s counterintuitive to reverse this dynamic, as greenhouse believers do, i.e., that instead, add gas first and this causes the temperature to rise. Think about it, if the oceans are warmed, they then release, among other things, CO2. This is primary school physics. The earth is not a greenhouse anyway. It’s an open, not a closed system.
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12 Mar 2008, 12:56pm
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Changes to Idaho Salmon Fishing

BY ROGER PHILLIPS, Idaho Statesman

Salmon anglers could see more salmon and changes to traditional fishing areas this spring and summer when chinook salmon return to Idaho.

Fish are just starting to enter the Columbia River and head upstream toward Idaho, but preseason predictions are for 83,550 hatchery chinook to cross Lower Granite Dam, which is the last dam before the fish reach Idaho. That would be four times more fish than returned in 2007 and the second highest return since 1975.

The bright forecast is prompting F&G to try to open a fishing season in April, well in advance of the fish arriving.

“We would like to open the season as soon as possible so the public can make preparations,” F&G’s anadromous fish manager Pete Hassemer said.

Anglers could see more fishing areas open on the South Fork of the Salmon River and the Upper Salmon, but fewer places on the Little Salmon River.

Private land on the Little Salmon River near the Swinging Bridge area has been posted after a new landowner bought the property. The landowner is still allowing some access on his property but not as much as the previously owner allowed, Hassemer said.

That could mean less access to the river and fewer parking and camping areas.

Changes could also be in store for summer salmon fishing on the South Fork of the Salmon River east of Cascade. Wildfires burned much of the river corridor last year, and Boise National Forest officials have asked F&G to reduce impacts to burned stream banks by spreading anglers over a wider area, Hassemer said. … [more]

  • For the benefit of the interested general public, W.I.S.E. herein presents news clippings from other media outlets. Please be advised: a posting here does not necessarily constitute or imply W.I.S.E. agreement with or endorsement of any of the content or sources.
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