25 Mar 2009, 9:53am
Homo sapiens Wolves
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Wolf Wars Appear Eminent

by Tom Remington, Black Bear Blog, March 25, 2009 [here]

Selected excerpts:

Speaking of gray wolves in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming only, it now appears that wolf wars may be on the horizon. Sportsmen, ranchers, individuals, legislators and other rational thinking people are coming to the end of their ropes on this wolf issue. One item may have temporarily stemmed the tide — Obama’s announcement to proceed with removing federal protection of the wolf. How long will this put off the inevitable?

This means very little to most in the Northern Rockies who have been lied to in the past, promises made and promises reneged on. And now in some areas, sportsmen sit helplessly by as years of money and effort are being flushed down the drain as an unmanaged and out of control wolf pack destroys deer and elk herds.

Momentum seemed to be building for some. Montana Shooting Sports Association had proposed SB 183, the Montana Wolf Recovery Act, in hopes of forcing the federal government to get out of the state and pay for the damages it has created through wolf reintroduction and protection. Yesterday, that bill failed on second reading in the Montana Senate.

Idaho is planning a similar bill and with the failure of the Montana bill, we now have to wonder how this will affect Idaho’s chances. Some believe that what killed the Montana bill was the announcement of the Obama administration to go ahead with wolf delisting, a move I believe was completely political in order to accomplish just what is now happening — avoid legislative embarrassment by the many states, something this administration seems prone to.

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25 Mar 2009, 12:27am
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Montana Wolf Recovery Act Defeated

Gary Marbut of the Montana Shooting Sports Association [here] reports that the proposed Montana Wolf Recovery Act, SB 183, failed on the Senate floor on Second Reading by a vote of 23-27.

We posted about SB 183 [here and here]. Had it passed, it would have:

- Declared Montana authority for wildlife management and challenged federal authority to force wolves on Montana;

- Removed Montana from cooperation with the feds by voiding the cooperative management agreement between Montana and the feds and voiding the fed-driven Montana Wolf Management Plan;

- Declared that federal wolves are not in compliance with Montana wolf policy;

- Established benchmarks that the feds must meet to bring federal wolves into compliance with Montana wolf policy; and

- Established consequences for any period that federal wolves are not in compliance with Montana wolf policy.

Alaskans Feed Themselves from Nature’s Abundance

By Craig L. Fleenor, posted with permission from THE OUTDOORSMAN, Feb-Mar 2009

Craig Fleenor is Director of the Subsistence Division of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Once again Alaska predator management is in the national spotlight. With all of the hype, a very important perspective is often overlooked during this heated debate – that of the subsistence family.

As a young Gwich’in man I grew up in Fort Yukon, depending on wild resources for survival. This life was not a choice but an inter-generational way of life practiced by my family for thousands of years. Like many Alaskans, I was taught that we must manage wolves and bears to protect the local food supply, for safety and to meet other subsistence needs.

Most Alaskans know politics and clever ad campaigns are not what is important. For the subsistence family, acquiring enough food from the land is paramount.

Take the Fort Yukon fisherman who faithfully checks his fish-wheel twice daily, the Anaktuvuk caribou hunter who hopes the herd comes close to the village this year and the Haines moose hunter who spends 12 days hunting. Call it food security, subsistence or even barbarism, but to thousands of Alaskans who live subsistence, it’s about survival.

It’s the fundamental human right of access to high quality, renewable, locally grown, sustainable, affordable food. These needs can only be met if that food is managed for abundance.

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23 Mar 2009, 3:37pm
Homo sapiens Wildlife Agencies
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Three Basic Problems, One 3-Part Solution

By George Dovel, editor and publisher, THE OUTDOORSMAN, Feb-Mar 2009

Problem #1 – Beneficiaries of Expanding Non-Hunting Programs Will Not Support Them Financially

For more than 100 years, North American hunters and fishermen have been footing the bill for wildlife conservation. But for the past 29 years the lobbying group for North American wildlife agencies has been trying to get taxpayers to fund separate management of species that are not normally harvested and used as food by hunters and fishermen.

The term “management” is hardly appropriate as the limited nongame funding that has been made available has been spent to catalog the species and help provide facilities for people to view them, while claiming they are managed. With game and non-game species increasing during the 1980s, wildlife agencies sought funding to hire nongame biologists “to help all citizens enjoy the species that were not sought by hunters and fishermen.”

Back then, everyone recognized that enhancing habitat for deer, ducks, pheasants and rainbow trout provided similar benefits to non-game species. Although Congress passed the “Nongame Act” in 1980, authorizing $5 million in total annual funding, it failed to appropriate any money to fund it.

Bird Watching Usurped Hunting, Fishing

In 1990 the (International) Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies hired bird watcher Naomi Edelson as its “Biodiversity Director” to sell bird watching and other non-game activities to the American people and their elected officials. In the USFS 2005 technical publication, “Finding Our Wings: The Payoff of a Decade of Determination,” (originally presented to a group of bird watchers in 2002) she details how bird watchers have gotten their “agenda to become someone else’s agenda.”

Edelson explained that in 1990, “The States, through IAFWA, made nongame their biggest priority, as it has remained through the decade.” Since 1990 “Partners in Flight” (PIF), with help from high profile bird watchers (including former TNC Chairman - Goldman Sachs Chair - Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson), has substituted its agenda for the “sustained yield of wild game” agenda at every level of government.

Edelson continued, “Now Audubon is back in the bird business in a big way through their Important Bird Areas program (IBA), in part because of all of this bird conservation activity (by [I]AFWA and PIF). If there is one thing we should have learned from our duck friends in all of these years: be part of the movement that gets the money, then you can be part of spending of the money.”

By 1998 IAFWA’s “Teaming With Wildlife” (TWW) biodiversity funding group claimed 3,000 member organizations. Yet its proposal to have Congress fund nongame with a federal excise tax on recreation equipment failed to generate even lukewarm support from either manufacturers or the bird watchers it would have benefited.

TWW then joined forces with parks, historical preservation groups and coastal states’ interests in an intense lobbying campaign for Congress to pass the Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA). Finally the 2000 version, which passed the House but failed in the Senate, would have provided ~$3.1 billion in annual funding – with $350 million of that going to FWS for state nongame wildlife conservation, and up to $900 million appropriated to condemn and acquire private lands.

This massive “pork” bill, which would have used oil and natural gas royalties and monies from offshore oil exploration for funding, had numerous flaws. According to opponents, these included violation of 5th Amendment Property Rights and using money needed to maintain existing federal lands to instead condemn and acquire new lands from private citizens.

The highly watered-down version (substitute) that finally passed as “State Wildlife Grants” allowed the non-governmental wildlife lobby, including bird watchers and an anti-hunting advisor (i.e. Defenders of Wildlife), to determine the criteria for each state to receive a share of the money. Virtually the only federal government criteria is that sportsman dollars, as in P-R and D-J excise taxes, may not lawfully be used as any part of the mandatory 100% state match for the federal SWG funds for nongame and “at risk” species.

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20 Mar 2009, 3:07pm
Endangered Specious
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Endangered Sanity

In our classic essay, Save the Elephino [here], we poked fun at the lunacy of “protecting” bizarre hybrids:

This is wrong (in many respects). If wolfotes and wolfogs are to be “protected,” then sparred (or botted) owls should be, too.

And why stop there? What about beefalos? It seems highly unevolutionary, biologically speaking, as well as inhumane, to sell beefalo meat in grocery stores right next to the salmon, for instance. Shouldn’t beefalos be allowed to roam free and commune with Mother Nature, freaks of nature though they might be?

And what about ligers, zebronkeys, and jackalopes? This old world is big enough for all God’s creatures, isn’t it?

We want our favorite hybrid listed: that rare cross and the answer to nearly every question that can be asked, the elephino.

Life imitates art, as they say. Our favorite hunter-blogger, Tom Remington of Black Bear Blog, send a heads-up: now enviro-wackos want wolfotes and wolfogs put on the Endangered Species list [here]:

Northeast Environmentalists Want To Protect Interbred Canids (Dogs)

by Tom Remington, Black Bear Blog, March 20, 2009

Where will the absolute insanity stop when it comes to efforts by extremists to end hunting, fishing and trapping, close off lands to human use, strip us of our rights and destroy our god given right in the pursuit of happiness?

It has gotten so bad that a group, made up of representatives from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and New York, have petitioned the Department of Interior in order to place protections under the Endangered Species Act for any interbred species of dogs, coyotes, wolves or any combination of the above, claiming these all to be unique species.

The goofy group consists of John M. Glowa and Walter L. Pepperman of the Maine Wolf Coalition, Christine L. Schadler, who has done “research,” Joseph Butera of the Northeast Ecological Recovery Society, and Jonathan G. Way of Eastern Coyote Research. Their Petition to the Government reads, in part:

In accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act and/or the Endangered Species Act, we hereby petition the U.S. Department of Interior and the Service to regulate the commerce or taking, and treat as endangered species in the States of New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts, coyotes (Canis latrans), coyote/gray wolf hybrids (Canis latrans x Canis lupus), eastern wolves (Canis lycaon), eastern wolf/gray wolf hybrids (Canis lycaon x Canis lupus), coyote/eastern wolf hybrids (Canis latrans x Canis lycaon), and coyote/eastern wolf/gray wolf hybrids (Canis latrans x Canis lycaon x Canis lupus) because of their close resemblance to the federally endangered and protected gray wolf.

In accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act and/or the U.S. Endangered Species Act, we also hereby petition the U.S. Department of Interior and the Service: (1) to establish a Northeastern Gray Wolf Distinct Population Segment consisting of the States of New York, Vermont New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts; and, (2) to develop and implement a Northeastern Gray Wolf Recovery Plan.

They really mean a Northeastern Wolfote, Wolfog, and Elephino Recovery Plan.

But guess what? That’s not what the ESA was set up to do. The Petition is not in accordance with reality. Hybrids are hybrids, not endangered species. Even the less-than-perspicacious functionaries of the USFWS know that.

Note: look it up!

Ah well. Sanity is a rare commodity these days, along with common sense, rationality, and the ability to tie one’s own shoes.

Save the Zebronky. Do it today.

18 Mar 2009, 5:25pm
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Laura Schneberger On Ranching With Wolves

My friend and admin of Wolf Crossing, Laura Schneberger, spoke at the Society for Range Management, New Mexico Section, annual meeting in Albuquerque last month. Various scientific presentations were also given, but Laura’s talk was the highlight of the event and made the papers.

Reporter David Bowser of Livestock Weekly wrote an in-depth article about Laura’s speech, and we post it in full below. Livestock Weekly has a website [here], but some features, including this one, are for members only. We were given permission to post it by Wolf Crossing [here].

Failures Of Feds’ Wolf Program Outlined At Range Society Meet

By David Bowser, Livestock Weekly, Mar 10th, 2009 [here]

ALBUQUERQUE — Laura Schneberger says the Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program is not a program that she or her neighbors asked for.

“It’s a government-sponsored program that nobody in the community wanted,” Schneberger says. “Nobody in the community surrounding the whole region wanted it.”

Speaking at the Society for Range Management annual meeting here, she said the people in the area are being made scapegoats for the failures in the program.

Schneberger is a fifth generation rancher. She and her husband own the Rafter Spear Ranch near Winston, N.M.

“I’ve got three children,” Schneberger said.

She has a grown daughter who’s married, a 20 year-old daughter and a 10 year-old son at home.

“We’ve been dealing with this wolf program probably since 1996 when the EIS (Environmental Impact Study) was first begun,” Schneberger said. “We’ve lived in the region of the Mexican wolf program the entire time. Both of our daughters grew up with Mexican wolves out and around the house, and our son was born about the time they did the first releases.”

She said her perspective on the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program is different than that of researchers studying the wolf and its habitat.

“It’s not about just the economic end of it when you have Mexican wolves in your cattle,” Schneberger said. “In the Gila, where I run the local grazing association, the ranches are a lot smaller than they are in Idaho, Montana and even Wyoming.”

The grazing association has about 150 members.

“There are some people who run 50 or 60 head of livestock,” Schneberger said. “That’s what they make a majority of their living on and then, of course, they work outside or do something else to make a living, like build saddles or guide elk hunters.”

The largest ranch in the area, she said, has about 300 to 400 head of cattle.

“The Adobe Ranch and the Slash Ranch put together are probably the very biggest,” Schneberger said. “They’re on the northern end of the Gila, and they’re significant ranges.”

Some research has been conducted concerning the Mexican wolves on those ranches.

Schneberger said it can be devastating to have a wolf pack on a ranch.

“Especially wolf packs that are being managed the way that these are being managed,” she said. “You don’t sleep at night when you know that you’ve got wolves on you and that they’ve started killing. You wake up every time some noise happens outside. Your kids have nightmares. You have nightmares. You can’t sleep. The kids can’t play outside. It can be a real mess.”

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16 Mar 2009, 1:48pm
Bears Endangered Specious Homo sapiens
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ESA Captured By Monkey Wrenchers

$5 Per Gallon Gasoline! Reason: Endangered Species Act

by Tom Remington, Black Bear Blog, March 16, 2009 [here]

The intro to an excellent analysis:

That shouldn’t make a lick of sense unless of course scientists were to discover some rare and endangered species living deep beneath the earth where oil and natural gas reserves lie. But this is what has become of our beloved Endangered Species Act, a legal document devised in 1973 that was intended to help prevent the man-made destruction of animal and plant life.

Last year the Bush administration decided to list the polar bear as a species that is threatened - meaning that there is a possibility that if we don’t pay close attention to this animal, certain circumstances could put the bear in danger of going extinct. We don’t want that but was it necessary?

I guess it depends on whose science we opt to use and how much politicking comes into play. It appears that the Bush administration attempted to play politics instead of opting for science and fighting the battle based on that.

After the listing was announced, the Bush people tried to pull a double whammy political back 2 and one half somersault. They crafted an executive order that said lawsuits couldn’t be filed to stop energy production, or any other carbon emitting project, based on perceived global warming threats to polar bears. This of course makes about as much sense as pouring gasoline on a fire. The reason Bush and Kempthorne claimed for listing the polar bear was because of shrinking Arctic ice caused by global warming. Politics as usual.

Now with Obama in office and having recently overturned that sneaky little attempt by Kempthorne to prevent lawsuits, the door has been left wide open, welcoming with open arms any and every lawsuit known to mankind that might have an affect on polar bears. How creative can you get? … [more]

11 Mar 2009, 11:18pm
Homo sapiens Salmon and other fish
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Upper Mid-Klamath Watershed Council - Citizen and Landowner Survey

The region of the Upper Mid-Klamath Watershed Council is the portion of the Klamath River Watershed from Cade Mountain on the west to the Oregon border, and Siskiyou Mountain Ridgeline on the North, and southerly to the Cities of Yreka and Montague.

Over the past several months the Upper Mid-Klamath Watershed Council (UMKWC) Board has received numerous comments, concerns, and questions regarding the issue of dam removal and/or fish passage on the Klamath River. One of the objectives of the UMKWC is to provide communities within the UMKWC area a forum for outreach and education.

Whether or not the decision is made for dam removal (or alternative mitigation) IT WILL AFFECT ALL OF SISKIYOU COUNTY’S CITIZENS AND PROPERTY OWNERS. The UMKWC believes that any decisions made regarding the existing dams on the Klamath River be based on the best scientific research and data available, and strongly supports the idea that as the investigative process proceeds a neutral scientific peer group be established to review all scientific data that is developed regarding the dam issue. The UMKWC also desires that Siskiyou County government take the lead in the dam planning process and assist the community in responding to the many expressed questions and concerns.

The purpose of this survey is to gather input and summarize the concerns of the citizens and landowners for a presentation to the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors.

Take the survey [here]

Conservation Groups to Sue Over Wolf Delisting

Earthjustice Press Release, 2009-03-09 [here]

… Conservation groups, represented by Earthjustice, will send the Fish and Wildlife Service a notice that the delisting violates the Endangered Species Act when the government formally submits the rule to the Federal Register, presumably next week. If the agency does not reconsider the delisting rule, the conservation groups will again ask a federal court to reinstate federal Endangered Species Act protections for wolves in the northern Rockies until wolf numbers are stronger and the states pledge to responsibly manage wolves.

Earthjustice represented Defenders of Wildlife, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, The Humane Society of the United States, Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, Friends of the Clearwater, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, Oregon Wild, Cascadia Wildlands Project, Western Watersheds Project, Wildlands Project, and Hells Canyon Preservation Council in the earlier suit.

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Screwing the Economy With Polar Bears

Last week the US Senate voted to kill the US economy with polar bear nonsense lawsuits. In a 42 to 52 vote, the Senate refuse to expunge an alteration of Department of Interior rules that in effect limited polar bear lawsuits. Now the door is wide open to sue the bejabbers out of any project that emits carbon dioxide (all of them) on the grounds that CO2 will (allegedly) cause runaway global warming and thus (allegedly) drive polar bears into extinction.

The offense clause is in the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009. It is unknown (to this scribe) why a polar bear clause was inserted into the budget act, or who did it, although I suspect Nancy Pelosi. The clause was in the budget act when it came to the Senate from the House.

But there it is, a hidden little bomb that will blow up into myriad monkey-wrencher lawsuits and put a few more nails in the coffin of the US economy.


Last May Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne, acting on the recommendation of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, listed the polar bear as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act [here].

This was done despite the fact that the world polar bear population has increased 300 to 400% over the last forty years [here, here, here]

Polar bears now number 20,000-25,000 worldwide as compared to 8,000-10,000 in 1965-1973. … The current worldwide population has not significantly declined in recent years.


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that the polar bear population is currently at 20,000 to 25,000 bears, up from as low as 5,000-10,000 bears in the 1950s and 1960s. A 2002 U.S. Geological Survey of wildlife in the Arctic Refuge Coastal Plain noted that the polar bear populations “may now be near historic highs.”

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9 Mar 2009, 5:40pm
Homo sapiens Wolves
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Montana’s Wolf Recovery Act: An Exercise In We The People

by Tom Remington, Black Bear Blog, March 9, 2009 [here]

Selected excerpts:

I’m sure the majority of Americans know absolutely nothing of Montana Senate Bill 183, the Short Title being, “Montana Wolf Recovery Act”. As I understand the proceedings, the bill is up for second reading in Committee as small items get tweaked.

The Montana Wolf Recovery Act may be a preview of more of what is to come in this country as more and more people are becoming completely fed up with the shenanigans that go on in Washington and the takeover of environmentalism. Just today I posted a YouTube video of a reporter in the U.S. Senate building asking Senator Charlie Rangel to explain his current tax cheating, among other things. His response, “Why don’t you might your own god damn business!” It’s this sort of tyranny that is beginning to get to the people. It’s supposed to be “We the people” not mind your own god damn business.

SB 183, if passed as currently written, is a very tough action and I hope that when the lawmakers of that great state debate this bill, they will remain tough and stick to their demands no matter how far it must go. …

SB 183 will declare Montana a sovereign entity and that the United States government has not dealt in good faith with the state concerning the introduction of gray wolves. It has broken nearly every promise ever made and now with a wolf population that far exceeds any number the government promised, Montana is suffering in several ways.

This bill claims that the United States government lacks any legal authority to force wolves upon its people while at the same time forcing protection of wolves resulting in public safety concerns, property losses, economic hardships and loss of hunting opportunities. The presence of the wolf in Montana has put a financial drain on the state in many ways. …

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7 Mar 2009, 12:56pm
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A Ride To Avoid

by John L. Runft

Enacting a “delisted” wolf management plan under the direction of the USFWS is another ride that Idaho should avoid. The appeals will roll on, so will the delay. There will be the “bevy of the incredulous” who will always say we should again wait. When do the incredulous become suckers? Idaho must act now to extract itself from this federally created disaster.

In so doing, one must ask the hard question: What is delisting? What really changes under “delisting”? Why does the federal government want to turn this mess over to the states? Is there any doubt that it is a mess? The feds have not “controlled” the wolves. The number of wolves has increased approximately 10 fold beyond the original delisting goal, and they continue to increase and expand as the elk herds go into free fall. The feds have done nothing but monitor –- not control –- the wolves. Any program to truly manage and control the wolves at this stage without the use of poison will be very expensive and most likely not successful. (The Idaho Fish and Game dithers, tries to limit hunting while requesting the construction of a new building headquarters in Boise.)

The fecundity of wolves renders hunting an inadequate tool and the enviros know this. Hunting could wipe out 30% of the wolves every year, and those numbers would be easily replaced by the next crop of pups. The expense of exterminating a meaningful number of wolves without poison would be very costly, especially given Idaho’s terrain. What kind of political outcry would attend the extermination of, say, 500 wolves? Why should Idaho pay for this cost and take the blame; not only from the wolf advocates for the slaughtering of wolves, but also from Idaho citizens for failing to be able to control the numbers and the immense cost?

“Delistng” is nothing but a label attached to a federal program to shift the federally created problem to the states, get the states to foot the bill of trying to overcome a federal disaster AND to incur the blame for the consequences. Is there really any doubt but that federal funding will dry up, and that the states will end up footing the bill? Is there any doubt about the huge expense that will be involved in trying to control the wolves under the federally mandated limitations and bureaucratic conditions?

So what is wrong about telling the federal government to spend its own money and incur the blame for its own malfeasance? What is wrong with telling the feds to get this matter under control before shifting it off to the states?

The claim that we must delist or otherwise the wolves will continue to expand is to submit to federal blackmail on the belief that the federal government will actually allow this disaster to continue indefinitely. The feds know that something must be done — and soon. They want to hand the hot potato off to the states. The feds cannot do nothing much longer. It is too late for the states to assume this now hugely expensive disaster, and pay for it, and get blamed for the results. The disaster should be clearly left on the feds’ doorstep. Let the feds clean up the mess before considering delisting.

Another very important fact here: by not involving the states in this mess, the focus will clearly be on the feds. The more focus on the feds, the less ability to blame the states. The more focus on the feds, the greater pressure to use fed dollars for control. Let the feds find out how much it will REALLY take to control the wolves –- THEN in any consideration of delisting, demand fully appropriated federal funding in that amount to the state before agreeing to any “delisting” proposal Also, the actual cost and experience that the feds will have in their efforts to really control wolves might well cause a change in the methods available for control, possibly even allowing the use of poison.

In summary, it is too late for “delisting” to even be considered by the State of Idaho. To accept “delisting” as it is now contemplated would be an unmitigated disaster. The feds must get this disaster under control before any delisting is considered by the states and then only on the condition of assured appropriated federal funding. Our job is to make our legislators knowledgeable and therefore responsible for their actions in this regard.

John L. Runft is an attorney with Runft & Steele Law Offices, PLLC, in Boise, Idaho. He has long been involved with legal and legislative aspects of wolf management.

6 Mar 2009, 11:17am
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Rocky Mtn Wolves Delisted Again

U.S. Department of the Interior Press Release, March 6, 2009 [here]

Secretary Salazar Affirms Decision to Delist Gray Wolves in Western Great Lakes, Portion of Northern Rockies

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today affirmed the decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove gray wolves from the list of threatened and endangered species in the western Great Lakes and the northern Rocky Mountain states of Idaho and Montana and parts of Washington, Oregon and Utah. Wolves will remain a protected species in Wyoming.

“The recovery of the gray wolf throughout significant portions of its historic range is one of the great success stories of the Endangered Species Act,” Salazar said. “When it was listed as endangered in 1974, the wolf had almost disappeared from the continental United States. Today, we have more than 5,500 wolves, including more than 1,600 in the Rockies.”

“The successful recovery of this species is a stunning example of how the Act can work to keep imperiled animals from sliding into extinction,” he said. “The recovery of the wolf has not been the work of the federal government alone. It has been a long and active partnership including states, tribes, landowners, academic researchers, sportsmen and other conservation groups, the Canadian government and many other partners.”

The Fish and Wildlife Service originally announced the decision to delist the wolf in January, but the new administration decided to review the decision as part of an overall regulatory review when it came into office. The Service will now send the delisting regulation to the Federal Register for publication.

The Service decided to delist the wolf in Idaho and Montana because they have approved state wolf management plans in place that will ensure the conservation of the species in the future.

At the same time, the Service determined wolves in Wyoming would still be listed under the Act because Wyoming’s current state law and wolf management plan are not sufficient to conserve its portion of northern Rocky Mountain wolf population.

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6 Mar 2009, 1:39am
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Idaho Wolf Counts Show 15 Percent Increase

by Tom Remington, Black Bear Blog, March 5, 2009 [here]

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has officially announce their end-or-the year wolf count for 2008 - 846 wolves in 88 packs, with 39 breeding pairs. In mid-January Idaho officials announced preliminary estimates at 824 wolves in 88 packs. It is important to note that IDFG’s 846 wolf count is an estimated “minimum” number. Many feel this number could even be doubled. The truth is they don’t know.

While even “official” numbers are merely guesstimations, we can’t help but wonder if anyone knows how many wolves there are in what is labeled the Northern Rocky Mountain Distinct Population Segment.

If you will recall in September, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials, namely Ed Bangs Wolf Coordinator for USFWS, surprised everybody and announced that for the first time in 10 years estimated wolf population numbers had declined. Bangs offered nothing more than lame excuses of what, if anything, happened to all the wolves. …

With no real explanation as to why or how, this announcement became fodder for the wolf advocates yelling from the housetops that wolves need further protection because they are now shrinking in numbers. This further supported suspicions the feds were up to no good.

But lo and behold, here we are at the end of 2008 and the Idaho Fish and Game is announcing a 15% increase in their state’s wolf packs. If you factor in the USFWS projected increases, the 15% reduction in wolf numbers has become a 30% increase. … [more]

6 Mar 2009, 1:04am
Salmon and other fish
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Throwing Klamath Ratepayers Under the Bus

Excerpts from an excellent Editorial was published yesterday in the Wallowa County Chieftain [here]

Editorial: Removing dams costly, unwarranted

By Andy Martin, Wallowa County Chieftain, March 5, 2009

Hundred of miles from Wallowa County, across the border into Northern California, Pacific Power operates three dams on the Klamath River. Those dams, along with another just north of the border near Klamath Falls, produce enough electricity to power 70,000 homes.

Under pressure from environmental groups, tribes and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Power has reached an agreement to tear the dams out, thanks in part to the states of Oregon and California paying a big chunk of the cost, and releasing the power company from much of the liability associated with the dams.

Pacific Power fought to continue operating the dams, but after the Fish and Wildlife Service indicated it would require fish ladders that could top $1 billion as part if its Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) relicense, saw removing the dams would be a cheaper alternative.

Now Pacific Power ratepayers, including those in Wallowa County, are being thrown under the bus, being forced the pay for the removal of dams that not only produce clean, affordable electricity, but also provide water storage in drought-stricken Southern Oregon and Northern California. Oregon’s Senate voted late last month to raise power bills to pay for the dam removal. Oregon ratepayers will be responsible for $180 million, while California power customers will have to pay $20 million. The bill passed mostly on party line votes, with Republicans opposed, except for one, Sen. Jason Atkinson of Central Point. Sen. Dave Nelson, R-Pendleton, and Sen. Doug Whitsett, R-Klamath Falls, have been vocal in their opposition to dam removal. So has Rep. Greg Smith, R-Heppner.

Opponents of the dams blame them for poor salmon returns in the river. In reality, salmon populations throughout the West Coast have been struggling. Even rivers without dams experienced horrible fall Chinoook returns last year. The Klamath has actually been a bright spot. This year, 85,000 salmon are expected to return to the river, thanks in part to the hatchery at the base of Iron Gate Dam that the power company provides 80 percent of the funding. You can bet Pacific Power won’t be paying for the annual release of 900,000 salmon smolts and 5.1 million fingerlings once its dams are torn down. These fish fuel ocean commercial and sport salmon fisheries off the Oregon and California coasts. … [more]

Note: for more info regarding the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement see [here]

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