26 Jan 2009, 2:41pm
Deer, Elk, Bison Homo sapiens Wolves
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Secret Meetings, Wolves, Missing Money, and the Next Possible Director of US Fish and Wildlife Service

By Jim Beers, Wolfbites, January 25, 2009 [here]

Many years ago, my mother once observed at the dinner table “you can tell a lot about someone by the company they keep”. The wisdom of that observation has grown in my mind with the passing of the years. It is my belief that it applies even to Presidents as in “you can tell a lot about a President by the appointments they make”.

Amidst the recent picture of CIA Director-designate Leon Panetta’s daughter being hugged by Hugo Chavez to the grinning delight of Daniel Ortega; the radical animal rights agenda of the new Chief of the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs; the spectacle of a Secretary of State whose husband has collected and will continue to collect millions of dollars from Middle East tyrants; and a Treasury Secretary who not only evaded paying substantial taxes for years but was specifically paid money by his employer to pay those taxes: comes a disturbing rumor that should concern every American.

In the late 1990’s the US Fish and Wildlife Service tried to force me to retire and when I wouldn’t they embarked on a hideous campaign to destroy my reputation, harass my family, and make me unemployable. There was no official reason for this because it could not be defended publicly. In fact, it was because of the secret alliance of the then US Fish and Wildlife Service Director and extremist environmental groups and radical animal rights groups.

I had been working for several years here, in Canada, and in Europe to defend the authority of State Fish and Wildlife agencies to administer trapping programs and for American businesses to buy and sell fur and fur products in the face of European Union bureaucrats efforts (on behalf of American/International extremist environmental and radical animal rights organizations) to ban all fur and fur products from Europe that was then the world’s largest buyer of furs. When the US Trade Representative and State Department delegations (of which I was usually the sole fur management and use advocate) prevailed and caused the EU bureaucrats to back down, the Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service was secretly furious because she had been promising her new “secret friends” that we would not be successful. I say “secret” because at that time USFWS was publicly cultivating the fiction that they represented the management and use of fish and wildlife and not the radical agendas of the groups that now control them.

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15 Jan 2009, 11:23am
Endangered Specious Homo sapiens Wolves
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Wolf Delisting Redux a Ruse and a Sham

We reported [here] that the US Fish and Wildlife Service intends to delist Rocky Mountain wolves again, probably at the end of the month. The delisting will include all Rocky Mountain wolves except those in Wyoming.

The rationale for excluding Wyoming is that they have not written an adequate state wolf management plan. From USFWS “talking points”:

• While the Service has approved wolf management plans in Montana and Idaho, it determined that Wyoming’s current state law and wolf management plan are not sufficient to conserve Wyoming’s portion of a recovered northern Rocky Mountain wolf population.

• So even though Wyoming is included in the northern Rocky Mountain DPS, the subpopulation of gray wolves in Wyoming is not being removed from protection of the Endangered Species Act at this time.

Hanging Wyoming out to dry is a ruse, a red herring intended to draw attention away from delisting the other RM wolves.

The simple fact is that Rocky Mountain (Canadian gray) wolves are NOT endangered. The species is not at risk of going extinct. There are more than 60,000 wolves in Canada and the population is growing in leaps and bounds. The wolf populations in the US are also multiplying like crazy, expanding at 25% or more per year. Yellowstone NP (it’s in Wyoming) is saturated with wolves and ungulate (elk, deer, bison) populations are crashing due to wolf predation. In Idaho and Montana game herds are disappearing and hungry wolves are killing livestock in record numbers.

The USFWS attempted to delist RM wolves last year. They were sued and lost, not because wolves are at risk but because of egregiously bad decisions by pseudo-scientific judges. Rather than appealing the goofy judgments, last December the USFWS capitulated and relisted non-endangered wolves.

Now, in the waning moments of the Bush Administration, the USFWS offers up an off-the-wall Delisting Redux. It is shadow puppet theater, however. If the Obamaloids don’t squelch it within minutes of taking office, the usual suspect enviro-hysteric litigation-happy “advocacy” groups will sue.

Decision To Delist Gray Wolves To Be Challenged In Court

by Dee Chisamera, eFluxMedia, January 15th 2009 [here]

Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife, called it a blatantly political maneuver that the Bush administration has been supporting since day one. It is nonsense to rush this rule through when states have plans to kill hundreds of wolves as soon as they’re delisted, he further explained, also adding that the Defenders of Wildlife organization plans to challenge the decision in court.

The Center for Biological Diversity also threatened to take the matter to court. Its representative, Michael Robinson, warned this rule (…) will result in the deaths of over a thousand wolves, and will unravel the natural balance these wolves have maintained. The organization reinforced the idea that the delisting doesn’t fix any problem, but instead it creates new ones that will prevent the gray wolf populations from recovering.

“Natural balance” is a crock of junk pseudo-science, promulgated by wackos in the face of near consensus among wildlife ecologists that “natural balance” is a fairy tale myth. Be that as it may, the wackos will sue and the USFWS will again mount no defense.

According to informed Wildlife and People readers, Delisting Revisited is:

… a ruse designed by the USFWS to demonize the Bush Administration and nail down once and for all that the wolf is to be forever listed as an Endangered Species.

For the past 12 years the attorney generals and governors of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming squandered every opportunity to have this issue decided in federal court based on facts and law. Their foot-dragging incompetence has resulted in laches: they have “slept on their rights” and as a result of the delay have crippled their claim. Laches is a form of estoppel for delay. Equity aids the vigilant, not the negligent. And the attorney generals and governors of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming did it for money, the pittance of Federal wolf funding that has been a handy bag of loot for the state bosses.

State and Federal governments have perpetrated a fraud. Canadian wolves are not endangered. On the contrary, their populations are burgeoning and it is ungulate populations that are crashing as a result. Too many sticky fingers in the till have sold the residents of Rocky Mountain states down wolf river, trampling Constitutional rights like a herd of enraged elephants.

The latest machination from the USFWS is a soft lob to the crazies who will hit it out of the park. Real suffering will result, to both humans and wildlife. It is another shameful episode in an endless parade of shame.

It is past time for states to stand up to the Feds and restore human rights to Americans. The displays of gutlessness and venality of elected officials have gone on long enough. It is time to put an end to predatory offenses against man and nature by sacrosanct, uncontrolled wolves.

Of Mice and Caribou (and Men and Wolves)

Genetic Diversity Is Fool’s Gold and a Foolish Goal

Much ado has been made lately regarding “genetic diversity” in wildlife species. But genetic diversity is, for the most part, a pseudo-scientific concept. Like “cultural diversity” in human societies, genetic diversity is a subjective judgment, not a measurement. It cannot be calibrated and more importantly, genetic diversity has nothing to do with saving species from extinction.

The Endangered Species Act (1973) was promulgated on the assumption that many and various species of plants and animals in the world are going extinct, and the Federal Government had to step in to do something about it. A plethora of dire reports warned of mass extinctions, a loss of “bio-diversity”, and the pending collapse of ecosystems worldwide due to extirpation of the entire “Noah’s Ark” of critters.

Those dire reports continue to this very day (despite 30+ years of worldwide efforts to avert the decimation of Creation). Just one example [here] from a Google search with 6 million hits:

At the present time there are about 5,000 species of animals and more than 25,000 species of plants facing extinction. Some of these are already poised on the brink of completely disappearing and may well be beyond all hope of salvation now whatever attempts might be made to save them. With the human race multiplying at the rate of one million more people every six days; the destruction of tropical rain forests at the frightening rate of 50 acres per minute; and the probable loss of approximately 800 square miles of wild habitat each day to human needs - it is hardly surprising that there are so many endangered species of animals and plants.

The howling about Mass Extinctions was and is deafening, but there is very little actual truth behind the cacophony. As of 2006, of the nearly 2,000 species of plants and animals listed under the ESA, only 9 have gone extinct and some of those were arguably extinct prior to listing. That is, after 30+ years of Mass Extinction dire warnings, it turns out that less than half of one percent of the MOST endangered species have disappeared.

That is hardly a crisis. In fact, extinction is a natural process and has been happening for hundreds of millions of years, as has been evolution and new speciation.

The ESA has spawned a massive bureaucracy however, and given rise to dozens of new species of government functionaries, regulations, taxes, takings, exactions, and entirely new branch of law, and courts, lawyers, judges, and advocates, as well as inflicting economic hardships nationally and worldwide. And contrary to the best intentions, “implementation” of the ESA has damaged ecosystems and extirpated species via “scientific” research.

Yes, sports fans. Researchers have been killing off entire species. Nest robbing, mist netting, bleeding creatures, and outright “collection” of entire populations has and continues to occur.

Museum warehouses, such as those owned by the Smithsonian, are filled with vats, jars, shelves, and drawers of dead animals, pinned, embalmed, or formaldehyded, of now extinct species. Buffalo Bill may have shot a lot of bison for their hides, but at least those robes were used for something. The deathly Smithsonian warehouses are morgues of uselessness. There is no cataloging or curating of the millions of “specimens”.

Those sordid tales are too many to relate in this essay. Our purpose herein is to examine the perversion of the ESA. There has been no Mass Extinction, a troubling defect of prediction which has pushed all the new species of functionaries, bureaucrats, lawyers, etc. to justify their own existence somehow. The solution has been to invent new animal species that never existed before, and to perpetuate the dire reports of extinction based on novel (and imaginary) new critters.

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26 Dec 2008, 10:33am
Homo sapiens
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Corruption, Featherbedding, and Looting the Idaho Treasury

Fancy Footwork with Funding in the Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game

In a stunning expose’, the latest issue of The Outdoorsman details ten years of gross mismanagement, cronyism, and budget shenanigans in the Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game. Beginning in March, 1999, with the firing of Idaho Fish and Game Director and reformer Steve Mealey, subsequent Directors have systematically looted dedicated sportsman funds, hired hundreds of “temporary” employees at exorbitant salaries, and squandered hundreds of millions of dollars on unauthorized and bogus “programs” that do not benefit fish or wildlife.

The Outdoorsman is a newsletter produced by sportsman and journalist George Dovel of Horseshoe Bend, ID. In the Oct-Dec 2008 issue [here] a series of articles probe the latest IDFG fee increases and budget spinning. From Dovel’s own in-depth review of the sorry decline of IDFG, “Lack of Integrity in State Wildlife Management”:

In December of 1996 Steve Mealey was hired as to correct the mismanagement of wildlife and license dollars by former Director Jerry Conley. After several weeks of meeting with agency employees and the various interest groups, Mealey vowed to end the practice of what he termed “combat biology,” and issued a set of working principles to all Department personnel to be followed …

During his second year as Director, Mealey appeared before a joint legislative hearing with his Administrative Chief Steve Barton and promised the legislators he would end the misappropriation of sportsmen license dollars. …

But Mealey was fired during that meeting and his Deputy, Jerry Mallet, promptly re-hired [ousted Administrative Chief Steve] Barton to continue his financial slight-of-hand with dedicated sportsman funds. The three eco-activists on the Commission waited until a new Governor was sworn in to fire Mealey, and Commisioner Burns commented, “This marks the end of wildlife management (in Idaho) as we have known it.”

It also marked the end of the Commission’s effort to restore fiscal responsibility in the State agency. …

The annual salaries of the top IDFG officials now exceed those of the Idaho Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Controller, and Treasurer. That’s the tip of the iceberg, however. Utilizing a loophole in Idaho law, the IDFG has hired hundreds of “temporary” employees who receive wages and benefits in excess of the permanent so-called “full-time” employees with classified job titles.

Not only are the five IDFG employees who share the Director’s duties being paid more than their counterparts in charge of State government, there are other well-paid IDFG executives running various functions in the Bureaus and Regions. And these do not include 12 so-called “Natural Resource Program Coordinators” who draw an average annual salary of $68,000. …

Although these examples reflect an overabundance of high-salaried executive-level employees, they still do not present the full picture of this exploding agency that is currently limited to 528 full-time equivalent positions (FTPs). …

But conflicting definitions in I.C. Sec. 67-5302 allow a State agency to hire unlimited numbers of special “temporary” employees (often referred to as “8-month temps”) who receive all the benefits of FTPs if enough money is appropriated to cover their wages and benefits. Each year IDFG exaggerates both its projected total income and specific non-game expenditures by several million dollars in its proposed budget, which allows it to spend even more money on non-game projects and employees, without having to seek new spending authority (see June-July 2008 Outdoorsman page 7).

In a Nov. 26, 2008 reply to a query from Viola sportsman Jim Hagedorn, Administrative Assistant IDFG Director Bill Hutchinson advised that the IDFG Budget Proposal for FY 2010 (from July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2010) includes 424 benefited temporaries and “many” non-benefited temporaries. Added to the 528 FTPs that Hutchinson said are in that budget, it represents 952 IDFG employees that will be drawing full benefits in the Fiscal Year beginning seven months from now.

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USFWS Reinstates Protection For Wolves In Compliance With Court Orders

Tom Remington of Black Bear Blog has written an excellent review [here] of the court cases that led up to the recent re-listing of Rocky Mountain wolves as endangered species [here]. We excerpt some of Tom’s essay below. Please see Black Bear Blog for the entire article.

By Tom Remington

On December 11, 2008, recorded in the Federal Register, the Department of Interior, more specifically the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, published the final rule that places the gray wolf in nearly all of the lower 48 states, under federal protection of the Endangered Species Act. What this final rule does, I doubt 99.999999% of Americans understand.

How I understand this is that the Department of Interior (DOI) has cranked the clock back in time to 1978. My question now becomes, why stop there? …

What is becoming distinctly clear in all of these cases combined is that the DOI and USFWS have no legal authority to create a Distinct Population Segment for any species.

In the Vermont court case, part of the two lawsuits that essentially rendered the three DPS of wolves in the lower 48 states illegal and a violation of the Act, Judge J. Garvan Murtha’s ruling stated the following:

The definition of “species” includes “any distinct population segment of any species.” 16 U.S.C. § 1532(16). The ESA does not define “distinct population segment” (“DPS”), nor is it a term used in scientific literature.

Judge Murtha recognizes that the “DPS Policy” “allows” for the USFWS to protect species based on the Policy Regarding the Recognition of Distinct Vertebrate Population. This policy takes into consideration the “discreetness”, “significance” and “conservation status” of species. But Murtha obviously doesn’t think creating a DPS for management purposes and in this case, delisting purposes, is legal.

Judge Paul Friedman, who ruled that the WGL DPS was illegal, also stated that there is no definition of a Distinct Population Segment. …

As a result of the three court cases discussed above, I have to ask why the Department of Interior stopped their clock rewinding at 1978? Why not go back to pre-ESA. As we have seen by court rulings of Defenders of Wildlife v. Norton, National Wildlife Federation v. Norton, Humane Society of the United States v. Kempthorne and the twelve parties that sued Kempthorne to put the wolf back under federal protection in the NRM DPS, tells us that creating DPSs is an illegal act. Any reasonable person would now question whether the federal government had the authority to create the first Distinct Population Segment of gray wolves in 1978 when it classified wolves in all the lower 48 states.

The confusing mess this has created now extends beyond just the gray wolf. It involves every species in existence in the United States. This is a clear example of the courts having inadequate knowledge of the issues making rulings that have now put the very species we may be wanting to protect in danger as well as stripping management powers from the USFWS.

I wrote recently of the efforts taking place as we speak to list the Atlantic salmon in Maine as endangered or threatened under the ESA. From this information we now ask, can the USFWS and NMFS (National Marine Fisheries Service/NOAA) create a Distinct Population Segment of Atlantic salmon? The feds are attempting to expand the listing and define critical habitat. This, according to the court’s interpretation, is creating a new DPS within a DPS.

Surely the Department of the Interior, in issuing this final ruling to return the gray wolf protection to 1978 levels, is telling us their hands are tied. They should have taken it one step further and rescinded the original declaration of a wolf DPS within the U.S. from the beginning. (Perhaps they knew that would actually get someone’s attention.)

This also raises some very serious issues with regard to the “Nonessential Experimental Population” of gray wolves in the Yellowstone National Park area and Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Was it a legal act to create these NEPs? The broader question becomes whether the federal government had legal authority to reintroduce wolves into these regions? Surely if they can’t create segmented DPS of a species for management purposes, they have no legal right to dump species into these illegally crafted NEPs. … [more]

15 Dec 2008, 11:20am
Homo sapiens Wolves
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Getting the Message Out

Dear Mike,

I wish you could have listened to the KKOB [Albuquerque, New Mexico] yesterday morning. I think it went really well considering we had a total of about 10-15 minutes to talk about things relating to the NM wolf program.

Terry Q was really great, completely horrified about the situation with the kids and bus stop shelters. I was mainly only able to talk about the kids, the attack on Maggie the dog in the play yard, Brenda McCarty’s kids and the incident that initiated the bus stop shelters. The fact that there were people about every 10 to 20 miles in and around this area they expect wolves to be in and the wolves coming into people’s yards. The PTSD in the kids.

I was able to barely scratch the surface even though I wanted to hit on rabies, lost uncollared wolves and livestock depredation, but then we are going to be doing some other phone interviews in the future too and we all know the situation with our kids is the most important thing.

The talk show host was great, talking about her own experience with an overly aggressive coyote pack that had just killed her dog and were eyeing her. She is an animal loving person, though perhaps not fully informed, she was also completely reasonable about our issues. She was even reasonable about the need for humane slaughter of aged or diseased horses. So there is another opening for some gentle instruction on horse slaughter legislation discussion, which we did get a chance to talk about briefly early on. I was trying to figure out how to slip something in about that but thankfully someone called in early and asked to have it brought up.

Thanks whoever you were. I think we have an opening here to talk about Ag issues a couple times a month, even though some of the extremist greens appear on the show too.

Anyway, I am hoping that others will follow suit and make some effort to do this kind of talk show even when it is only a short interview, because it is easy access to the public, and if you get a host who’s manner is supportive when it comes to realistic management of animals and protecting property and people, you are miles ahead.

My feeling is that there are a lot of people in our various organizations who are much much better spokesmen than I am, especially after three days of convention and no sleep. But I think we need to work on getting our messages out. Ranching is a 2.1 billion dollar industry in New Mexico and best of all, we make the best kids who are productive members of the community. Most important, we are tied to and remain on the land even if the economy is floundering, and we continue to send livestock dollars into our communities, even if we don’t see much money ourselves and have to live off the proceeds of a town job.

Anybody out there, who wants to organize a team of radio spokespeople who can present some enlightening discussion on various stations, really should do it. think it is a good thing to do. Just because you don’t think you have anything in common with a person doesn’t mean you shouldn’t share certain viewpoints. Most people can be taught. The problem is, you can’t teach if you don’t get out there.

I recommended to the host that she should ask Caren to come on, because she is really good on different industry issues. But I also think that several other folks can make a real difference too. There are dozens of others out there and we don’t all have to be professional or perfect spokesmen (like Caren), just interested, informed, and willing to share.

Laura at Wolf Crossing

9 Dec 2008, 10:36am
Deer, Elk, Bison Homo sapiens Wolves
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Beware of Wolves Signs

Mike,

Please let people know about our latest fund- and awareness-raising venture, just in time for Christmas tree cutting season in New Mexico.

We are installing several of these along thoroughfares in NM and AZ. If anyone would like to sponsor a sign, they can order one at Wolf Crossing [here]. We are requesting donations of $100.00 for a 2′x’4′ sign with one photo or $350.00 for a 4′x’8′ with two or three photos. The various types can be seen at Wolf Crossing.

The warnings to tourists and hunters are a public service. People really do need to be aware and take precautions. We have an overabundance of wolves in our fields and backyards, as well as in the back country.

Thank you,

Laura S.

1 Dec 2008, 10:33am
Homo sapiens Wolves
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About Will Graves

Will Graves is the author of Wolves in Russia: Anxiety Through the Ages (edited and Foreword by Val Giest), a Very Important Book about wolves and reviewed in the W.I.S.E. Colloquium: Wildlife Sciences [here]. A short but sweet biography of Graves follows, sent to us by alert spy Sharon B. Thank you, Sharon. Will Graves is a wonderful author, husband, father, and retired public servant. He still serves, by reminding us of the many dangers imposed by wolves.

Maryland Man Aims to Delist Wolf

By ANATH HARTMANN, Southern Maryland Online, November 29, 2008 [here]

WASHINGTON (Nov. 29, 2008) — Will Graves has hunted game in the woods of Kazakhstan, vaccinated cattle against deadly disease in Mexico and done U.S. intelligence work in Germany.

Now the former National Security Agency linguist, whose lanky, six-foot-plus, broad-shouldered frame and thick shock of white hair make him look at least a decade younger than his 81 years, is on another mission — from his home in Millersville.

A 40-plus-year interest in wolves and their impact on cattle health led the Ladonia, Texas, native to pen a book on these topics last year. “Wolves in Russia: Anxiety Through the Ages” has sold 1,000 copies to date and been translated into Finnish.

“(Wolves) are beautiful but their numbers need to be controlled,” said Graves on a recent weekday afternoon, clad in a gray sweat suit and glasses. “The real threat is the parasites. I’m about the only one who’s ever brought that up.”

Graves, whose cozy, pastel home belies a fascination with weaponry and wolves, could be called something of an expert on “neospora caninum,” a parasite that causes miscarriage in pregnant cattle — and which Graves says wolves carry and pass in their feces.

Wolves are not native to Maryland.

A lifelong hunter whose interest in the sport led him to start reading about wolves in the 1950s, Graves recently received a written response to a letter he wrote in September to the U.S. Agriculture Department about wolves as carriers of the parasite. The agency said it would look into his concerns.

The status of wolves as an endangered species in parts of the U.S. has led to an explosion in wolf population in recent decades, Graves said. Cattle track wolf feces through pasture grass, ingest the parasite eggs present in the feces and become permanently unable to bear calves.

“‘Neospora caninum’ is a threat to the U.S. cattle industry,” said Graves, who is now working on a second letter to the federal government about the need to delist wolves in order to ameliorate the parasite problem.

Eric Koens, an acquaintance of Graves’ who raises cattle in northern Wisconsin, said the parasite has long been a problem for him and other farmers in the Great Lakes region.

“We have cattle that are losing their calves at five to seven months (in their pregnancies), so we don’t have any income from those cows,” Koens said, adding that he lost about 70 percent of his calf production to the parasite during the 1970s. “I think (Graves’) book is pretty important because he talks about wolves and what their impact has been.”

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17 Nov 2008, 9:10pm
Homo sapiens Salmon and other fish
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Sophie’s Choice on the Klamath

The following letter is from Ric Costales. Ric has lived and worked on the land and in the woods in the Klamath Basin for 35 years. He is currently the Natural Resource Policy Specialist for Siskiyou County. This letter represents his personal opinions and is not an expression on behalf of the County of Siskiyou.

Dear Green River friends:

I understand from a friend of mine in Rock Springs that there was a recent forum having to do with water issues and the matter of the Klamath Basin was brought up as a solution in progress. Apparently an image was conveyed of happy stakeholders awaiting a New Day. Well, yeah, the Tribes are probably happy for numerous reasons. And, yeah, the big irrigators are probably content thinking they have secured the amount of water that is positively the absolute minimum they can economically live with. And, yeah, environmentalists are thinking they have taken a small step, but a first great step for mankind in “freeing” all the rivers. But that is it. It is not any sort of a rosy picture for the majority of people in the Klamath Basin, especially the small irrigators who are so far left out in the cold. Nor does it come without impact on the future of renewable hydropower and irrigated agriculture in America.

The position of Siskiyou County has been and still is that a decision to take the dams out is premature. Given the magnitude of the irrevocable step being proposed, no compelling argument based on fish or water quality science or economic feasibility has been presented. Neither has sufficient effort been made to investigate the mitigation for negative impacts. This is a shameful rush to judgment for political reasons, plain and simple. Any other analysis of the situation is self-serving, ignorant or both.

We in Siskiyou County are well aware of the flow characteristics of the Klamath River. People are going to be shocked when they see how little water comes down the river in dry years. The dams are the only thing mitigating the flow in those years. They are the last thing between the irrigated agriculture in the Upper Basin and losing the water completely. When (not if!) the salmon fail to rebound if the dams are decommissioned, there will be immense pressure to end irrigated agriculture in the entire Klamath Basin. The farmers who have sold out thinking that supporting decommissioning will somehow guarantee their way of life will have only bought themselves time to live out their lives on their farms. It will be the next generation who will have to live with the final round of “takings.”

To be fair, the big irrigators were faced with “Sophie’s Choice,” having to choose which “child” was “killed.” The dams weren’t in their backyard, so it was easiest to cut them loose. I think they know what they did, and the futility of the bargain they made. Honestly, I don’t know that I would have done differently had I been in their shoes. But the point is, this is not a rosy scenario by any stretch.

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14 Nov 2008, 8:09pm
Homo sapiens Salmon and other fish
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Dam the Torpedoes? Torpedoing the Dams … and much more

by Julie Kay Smithson, property rights researcher

So, the hammer finally, officially fell on the Klamath Basin. Oh, the year 2020 makes it sound somehow less final to most, but the end result is the desired result: The people of the Klamath Basin and their honest, proud way of life are soon to be gone, swept away on the utterly false premise-current that fish cannot live and thrive with dams.

In the timeframe of eternity, the Klamath Project and its young, idealistic, war veterans-turned-farmers are slated to be but an eyeblink. The lotteries that awarded winners the right to fight and scratch and bleed their way to having their own farms, with water guaranteed ‘forever,’ must have been little more than a cruel hoax.

What could the faraway benevolent government possibly have had in mind but the prosperity of its working class people? Didn’t ‘forever’ mean ‘forever?’ If ever there was a binding agreement, the youthful lottery winners thought they had it: The right to water forever, the use of which would coax from the land a plethora of crops that still boggle the mind and delight the palate. Yet today, new crops and varieties of others are developed and tested in the Klamath Basin, not the least of which is the Klamath Pearl, a beautiful little spud with a magnificent texture and even better taste: A gourmet’s dream come true.

What, indeed. Looking from afar at the Klamath Project, the farmers and irrigators and the private property that was theirs through the blood, sweat and tears equity of five generations, was a small group of obscenely powerful bankers with names European. They wanted the land, all right, but they had no intention of actually earning it. No. They’d “award” it by lottery to returning American soldiers and their new brides — youth with the bloom still on and the energy and dreams to invest willingly … yea, eagerly … in the high mountain valley of the Klamath.

From Midland, Dairy, and Lorella in Oregon to Newell in California, people live and die here. They are born and bred here. They grow strong and honest and they love here.

They, unlike the politicos in the distant not-even-a-state “District of Columbia,” are part and parcel of this great Klamath Basin… but they are what make it great.

Without its people, the Klamath Basin is but another empty land. The vast, sky-darkening migrating flocks need not stop here if the crops are no more. Look closely and you will see … the sandhill cranes weep, and the fish are crying.

24 Oct 2008, 10:40am
Cougars Deer, Elk, Bison Homo sapiens Wolves
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Beware of “Natural” Wildlife Management

by Dr. Valerius Geist, posted by Tom Remington at the excellent Black Bear Blog, February 24, 2008 [here]

Dr. Valerius Geist, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Science at the University of Calgary in Alberta, is a renowned expert in wildlife management and conservation practices. In addition to teaching, writing about, and lecturing on the subjects, Dr. Geist has performed years of in-the-field research on big game species. He has authored 16 books, seven documentary films and contributed 40 entries to various encyclopedias.

The management of reintroduced wolves is not merely a matter of wildlife management but a clash of deeply held values. It could be called a rural versus urban clash in which some ecologically based philosophies, if one can call them such, are fostered on the country at large by urban based nature “protectors.”

They proclaim two myths as self evident or as scientific “truths” to the general public: that predators in general and wolves in particular are an “ecological good” no matter how many; and that “wilderness” is the “natural” pre-Columbian state of North America, then presided over by noble natives who selflessly maintained its ecological integrity which ecologically insensitive Europeans subsequently destroyed. In addition, they operate on the assumption that wildlife is a free gift of Nature, a gift of God, and not a resource painfully restored by human hand over the last 80 years in North America.

The wildlife we currently enjoy is not wildlife that was left over from the past, but wildlife restored by a continental system of wildlife conservation that arose after its near destruction a century ago. It is one of the great cultural achievements of North Americans in the 20th Century, the greatest environmental success story of that century, and a highly successful system of sustained development of a natural resource.

Since wildlife was financed on a “user pays” basis, the restoration fell on the fraction of North Americans who hunt. The rest of society got a free ride in their enjoyment of wildlife as an important component of the high quality of life we enjoy.

Few North Americans are aware of the excellence of the wildlife conservation system developed here by the dedicated public-spirited efforts of three generations of their ancestors. Unfortunately, this ignorance extends to professional wildlife biologists as well. Americans are, after all, not keen on history, following Henry Ford in considering it more or less bunk.

I cannot go into great detail here concerning why predators in low abundance are a benefit to wildlife populations, but are also capable of severely depleting such with unfortunate and unexpected consequences. It’s analogous to sugar: a little in the coffee is great but ingested by the pound it becomes a significant health hazard.

Put another way, if someone proclaimed that deer, as predators of plants, eat only the sick and decrepit plants, sparing the vigorous growing ones in order to insure the health and well being of the range, that individual would not be taken too seriously. Moreover wolves, as Siberian immigrants unlike mountain lions or coyotes, are not expected to be co-adapted with North American species and can be incredibly efficient in removing other species.

For instance, wolves that entered Vancouver Island in the early 1970s are spread across the island now. The deer kill by hunters has plummeted from about 25,000 to less than 4,000 today. Deer are found in reasonable abundance only where they live in suburbs and cities juxtaposed to human beings.

Blacktailed and mule deer are notoriously susceptible to pack hunting wolves. It is ironic that wildlife biologists who reported the severe depletion of deer by wolves on Vancouver Island were not considered quite professional by some academic biologists. Ingrained beliefs can be hard to challenge, no matter what the facts.

Now to the wilderness as an argument for letting nature (and wolves) run its course, unimpeded by interfering human hands. The argument is that wolves must be introduced in a hands-off fashion so as to restore aboriginal pre-Columbian wilderness ecosystems.

Current research indicates that pre-Columbian North America was a well settled, quite severely exploited land, with native people practicing highly skilled horticulture. The latter is a development to escape starvation brought on by food shortages in native ecosystems.

Instead of maintaining wilderness, native people manipulated the land to make it yield sustenance, no different from people on other continents. When European diseases devastated native tribes rapidly in the 16’ Century, thus lifting the heavy hand of red man off the land, “wilderness” was the result.

Far from being the natural state of the land, wilderness is an artifact of European colonization. The ecology of North America was not “natural” in pre-Columbian days. Not only because of agriculture and skillful landscape manipulation by fire, but also because native people had all but destroyed the mega fauna in colonizing the continent.

The lesson from this is that we need not be slaves to some pre-Columbian fiction but may do just as pre-Columbian natives did - generate our own land use and conservation practices in which the maintenance of bio-diversity is the only bottom line requirement. Yes it is quite all right to have areas with minimum predation to raise bountiful wildlife for broad public use.

Not less management as wilderness proponents proclaim, but more management is the more desirable state of affairs.

To let predation go unchecked, “letting it be management,” is bound to diminish much more than the game herds that were built up from next to nothing over the past 80 years. It risks our public system of wildlife conservation and the great Public Good that flows from it.

As game herds drop so do license sales and revenue to game departments. The public guardians of wildlife have less and less wherewithal to do their job, and ultimately have no job.

Despite all the controversies about public wildlife management, it is on the whole infinitely superior to private management of wildlife for the marketplace. Superior in conservation achievements and far superior in economic returns or as a creator of wealth or employment.

There is little doubt that with the loss of significant public participation in the harvest of wildlife, most public land will lose its political clientèle and, as sure as the sun will rise, will slide into defacto private ownership. There will be little wolf conservation under private condition, or cougars, grizzly bears, etc.

Letting predators run down game herds will indirectly weaken the framework of wildlife conservation. Together with other opponents of public wildlife such as game farming and the anti-hunting and animal rights movements, this may succeed in destroying the greatest environmental success of the past century - the return of American wildlife.

It would be replaced by a mixture of European, South African and shooting preserve type wildlife management - if one can call it such.

Note: Tom Remington’s Black Bear Blog [here] features the latest news, events, and politics effecting the sports of hunting, fishing, and all outdoor activities in North America.

23 Oct 2008, 3:58pm
Deer, Elk, Bison Homo sapiens Wolves
by admin
1 comment

A History of the Failed “Natural Regulation” Theory Re Wolves and Ungulates

In our last post we preened about publishing at W.I.S.E. Parks Canada extraordinary manager Dr. Cliff White’s review of Utah State extraordinary wildlife biologist Dr. Fred Wagner’s ground-breaking and award-winning book, Yellowstone’s Destabilized Effects, Science, and Policy Conflict.

In that book Dr. Wagner de-mythologizes the failed ecological theory of “Natural Regulation.” Today we posted at the W.I.S.E. Colloquium: Wildlife Sciences [here] another nail in the Natural Regulation coffin, an expert history by George Dovel, publisher of the Outdoorsman, entitled, The Truth about Our Wildlife Managers’ Plan to Restore “Native” Ecosystems.

In his essay Mr. Dovel explores the sad history of Natural Regulation as applied to wolves, moose, deer, and elk. The theory arose in the dreamily fatuous early days of ecological science and was adopted by managers at Yellowstone National Park, with disastrous consequences. The Preface to Mr. Dovel’s excellent history:

In 1935 when Cambridge University botanist Arthur Tansley invented the term “ecosystem” in a paper he authored, he was attempting to define the system that is formed from the relationship between each unique environment and all the living organisms it contains.

Ecologists concluded that these individual systems evolved naturally to produce an optimum balance of plants, herbivores that ate the plants, and carnivores that ate the herbivores. Many accepted this “food chain” theory as a permanent state of natural regulation and a theory was advanced that certain “key” species of plants and animals were largely responsible for maintaining these “healthy” ecosystems.

But subsequent archaeological excavations or core samples of the buried layers of periods in time revealed that these “perfected” ecosystems were actually in a continuing state of change which could be caused by changes in weather, climate or various organisms. They concluded that parasites or other organisms that were not included in their food chain charts often caused radical population changes in one or more of the keystone species.

This essay is a must-read for those interested in wildlife. We cannot depend on Mother Nature to equilibrate wildlife populations, or vegetation types (like forests) either, for that matter. Mother Nature doesn’t work that way.

Instead, history teaches us, it has been the keystone predator and torch-bearing species, Homo sapiens, that has been responsible for wildlife populations and vegetative conditions across North America during the entire Holocene.

And we still are. We cannot defer that responsibility to a mythical Balance of Nature because it doesn’t exist and has never existed. We are the Caretakers of Nature, like it or not. Human beings determine the rise and fall of wildlife populations, either actively or passively, and passive management often results in extreme fluctuations, environmental damage, and local extirpation of animal species and vegetation types.

It would be nice if Mother Nature was a self-regulating equilibrium machine, but She isn’t. Chaotic change is natural, not balance. It’s a jungle out there. The hands-off approach fails in theory and practice. Intelligent human stewardship is best for all lifeforms.

This is an age-old lesson, learned again and again by humanity. Sadly, in some circles, the lesson has to be learned again for the umpteenth time. Happily for us, our best experts are up to the task and gently (or not so gently) are reminding us, again, of what’s what in the world we live in.

Kudos to those experts. Please read George Dovel’s lovely essay [here]. And, if you wish to be Part of the Solution, consider subscribing to the Outdoorsman.

A donation in any amount will help support the circulation of facts in this unique publication and a donation of $25 or more will pay the cost of receiving The Outdoorsman by U.S. mail for one year. Please print your name and correct mailing address on the coupon below and add additional names on a separate sheet of paper. Mail to:

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21 Oct 2008, 4:14pm
Deer, Elk, Bison Homo sapiens
by admin
1 comment

The “Natural Regulation” Debacle at Yellowstone NP

W.I.S.E. is pleased and honored to present a review of Dr. Fred Wagner’s excellent book, Yellowstone’s Destabilized Effects, Science, and Policy Conflict, in our Wildlife Sciences Colloquium [here].

Fred Wagner is former associate dean of the Natural Resources Dept. at Utah State University. The review was written by Cliff White of Parks Canada, Banff, Alberta. Both men are world-recognized environmental scientists, managers, and greatly accomplished experts.

From Cliff White’s (also excellent) review:

For those unfamiliar with the Yellowstone situation, removal of native peoples from the park in the 1800s and reduction in large carnivores in the early 1900s provided favorable conditions for the population of elk (Cervus elaphus), a generalist herbivore, to increase dramatically. After government biologists observed the effects of high densities of elk on soil and vegetation in the 1920s, park rangers routinely culled the herd for over 4 decades. In the 1960s, recreational game hunters lobbied to take over the cull. Given the potential political incompatibility of sport hunting with conservation in one of the world’s premier national parks, the federal government made the decision to cease elk culling. Park managers and senior scientists then carefully selected a generation of researchers to evaluate the revised policy. The result was a new paradigm of “natural regulation” that was underlain by 4 key hypotheses:

1) long-term human hunting, gathering and burning had not substantially influenced the ecosystems of North America’s Rocky Mountains;

2) ungulate populations in Yellowstone were, over the long term, generally high;

3) carnivore predation was a “non-essential adjunct” having minimal influence on elk numbers; and

4) high elk numbers would not cause major changes in plant communities, ungulate guilds, and other long-term ecosystem states and processes.

Although the natural regulation paradigm seems rather farfetched today, remember that it was born in the 1960s, a time of antiestablishment flower children, when wilderness was untrammeled by Native Americans, when biologist and author Farley Mowat’s wolves subsisted on mice (Mowat 1963), and the only “good fires” were caused by lightning. Moreover, an excellent argument can be made that ecological science needs large “control ecosystems” with minimal
human influences.

In the 40 or so years since the implementation of the national regulation policy, both the National Park Service and outside institutions conducted many ecological studies. These culminated in 1997 with a congressionally mandated review by the National Research Council. It is this wealth of research and documentation that Fred Wagner uses to evaluate changes over time in the Yellowstone ecosystem. He provides meticulous summaries of research in chapters on each of several different vegetation communities, the ungulate guild, riparian systems, soil erosion dynamics, bioenergetics, biogeochemistry and syntheses for the “weight of evidence” on the primary drivers of ecological change. This background allows readers to develop their own understanding on the results of this textbook case of applied ecological science.

Wagner clearly shows that most studies did not support the hypotheses of natural regulation. In cases where studies did seem to support a hypothesis, methods and results were suspect. The elk population clearly grew beyond predictions, some plants and animals began to disappear, and the importance of Yellowstone’s lost predators and Native Americans should have become undeniable. However, faced with these incongruities, park managers still supported the natural regulation policy. Some researchers closely affiliated with management then began to invoke climate change as a potential factor for observed ecosystem degradation, but the evidence for this was similarly tenuous. On the basis of the almost overwhelming evidence, Wagner concludes that much of the park-sponsored science on the natural regulation paradigm “missed the mark” and that “Yellowstone has been badly served by science.”

18 Oct 2008, 12:15am
Homo sapiens
by admin
2 comments

Many private landowners nurture public wildlife

By TERRY L. ANDERSON, Opinion, Great Falls Tribune, October 16, 2008 [here]

On the issue of public access, most hunters and fishers are reveling in the recent court decision declaring that bridges in the state are legitimate stream access points. But before sports people get too excited about fishing everywhere without having to ask permission, they would do well to consider what this means for the landowner’s incentive to preserve and improve wildlife habitat.

The bridge in question across the Ruby River will now allow access to a “rich out-of-stater’s” land. This access is valued by anglers because the landowner is a good steward of wildlife habitat. In addition to removing cattle from the riparian areas, he has spent thousands of his own dollars reclaiming the Ruby River and its tributaries on his land. And a similar story flows from the actions of other rich out-of-staters who own the Mitchell Slough, a ditch that was filled with riprap until the landowner invested in turning it into trout and waterfowl habitat.

In both cases the deer, birds, and fish move freely to nearby habitat, public and private.

Whether it is trout streams or habitat for big game and “watchable wildlife,” private landowners provide a plethora of public benefits, sometimes at substantial costs to themselves.

For example, a study from Montana State University estimates that on private land in Montana big game animals consume forage worth more than $31 million — forage that would otherwise go to feed the landowner’s livestock. For this, sports people can thank the private landowner who literally provides a free lunch.

But is it enough to depend on the benevolence of the private landowner? The great conservationist Aldo Leopold thought not. He is known for trying to inculcate a “land ethic” in the private landowner, but he knew this was not enough. As he put it, “Conservation will ultimately boil down to rewarding the private landowner who conserves the public interest.” Unfortunately, many Montana sports men and women resist providing such rewards.
more »

1 Oct 2008, 12:42pm
Endangered Specious Homo sapiens Wolves
by admin
5 comments

Wolf Pop Segments Raise Distinct

The Endangered Species Act not only “protects” species, it also “protects” something the Act refers to as “distinct population segments.” Nobody knows what a distinct population segment is, however, since it has no definition in biology or in the law.

Note that in the above paragraph I placed the word “protects” in parentheses. That is because the ESA does not protect anything. The populations of most listed species have declined following listing. The reasons for that are various, including constant harassment by government wildlife biologists.

In Hawaii, for instance, “researchers” working for the Biological Research Division (BiRD) of the USGS have driven at least two bird species to near extinction by robbing nests and killing the chicks. The Hawaiian crow and the palila (a member of the Hawaiian Honeycreeper family) have been systematically extirpated by nest-robbing “scientists” who climb ladders to access the nests and then man-handle the baby chicks. They snatch the chicks, carry them down the ladders, poke, prod, band, weigh, and measure the chicks, and then carry them back up the ladders to replace them in the nests. Needless to say, the mother birds are totally freaked by all that and abandon the nests and chicks to starvation, or else grab the colorful band and heave it out the nest with the chick attached. The chicks then fall to their immediate deaths or to slow death on the ground, since they are too young to fly.

When the latter case occurs, the BiRD brains refers to such chicks as “jumplings” as if they jumped out of the nests themselves. They opine that the chicks, once shown the freedom of the greater world beyond the nest and the loving inter-specific concern of the Dr. Dolittle-like “scientists,” desire to fly away, albeit prematurely.

Messing with the nests induces a 99% mortality rate of the mangled chicks. That’s the only number worth reporting, but also the only number the “scientists” do NOT report. (All the foregoing is the God’s honest truth, including the “jumpling” designation. I am not making it up.)

Many other ESA listed bird species are also tortured to extinction, such as the condor and the snowy plover. The latter birds are captured and bled, and the blood is taken back to the lab for genetic testing. Why? To “prove” that some snowy plovers are a distinct population segment!

You see, snowy plovers are quite common in certain regions and uncommon in others. By demonstrating that outlying populations are (allegedly) genetically distinct, the US Fish and Wildlife Service can then assume control over birds and the habitat for the ostensible purpose of “protecting” the distinct population segment (DPS). Like vampires, the USFWS sucks the blood of the little birds to convert them to special cult status.

Two days ago, however, Federal Judge Paul L. Friedman ruled that DPS is a meaningless thing [here]. To be sure, the eco-babble phrase “distinct population segment” occurs in the legal verbiage of the ESA. But Friedman called the ESA DPS verbiage “ambiguous” and implies that it has not been and cannot be interpreted:

The DPS Policy does not qualify as a construction to which this Court can defer because the DPS Policy does not directly address the interpretive issue before the Court. The purpose of the DPS Policy is to clarify the meaning of the term “distinct population segment” and to set forth criteria for deciding whether a sub-population should be designated as a DPS. It does not address the propriety of simultaneously designating and delisting a DPS within a broader listing, and the Court finds both parties’ arguments to the contrary strained and unpersuasive. Nor may the Court look to the ESA’s implementing regulations for a Chevron-worthy interpretation. Those regulations largely track the statutory provisions discussed in part III.B and, like those statutory provisions, do not directly address the interpretive issue before the Court.

Note that if the DPS Policy cannot be used to simultaneously designate and delist, it also cannot be used to simultaneously designate and list. That juris-logical knife cuts both ways.

The DPS in question in the case Friedman ruled on was Great Lake wolves. It has been shown [see here] that Great Lake wolves are not pure wolves at all, but are crossed with coyotes. (By the way, the method used was blood sucking, the invasive scientific treatment of choice by the Vampires).

But regardless of the blood analyses, DPS means zip to the Judge. Friedman’s ruling thus calls into question the recent ruling of U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy [here] who opined that genetics are at the heart of the ESA. Of course, Molloy knows absolutely nothing about wolf genetics, as he so egregiously demonstrated. However, he did make “desirable” genetic drift in wolves the key factor in his ruling.

So now we have contrary judicial logic regarding DPS. I suggest a cage match where the judges fight to the death of one or the other, or perhaps both, to settle this question.

But first we should suck their blood to determine which human DPS’s they come from.

Or to discover, scientifically, whether they are (intelligent) human beings at all!

 
  
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