Archive for the ‘Wildlife’ Category

by jhwygirl

Please consider this an open thread

James Conner of the Flathead Memo writes of a loophole in the Forest Jobs and Recreation Act of 2009. It’s an interesting read, in case any of you missed it.

Imagine No Cars, a Missoula blog, recently celebrated its 100th post.

Billings Blog and The Button Valley Bugle have been kicking blog butt on healthcare: here, here, here, and here.

Frankly – there is so much good stuff over at both of those places, I get lost on the intertubes for hours when I start over there.

I’m rarely shocked – but a study which shows that 90% of all U.S. currency is tainted with cocaine sticks out for the high numbers. What city is higher? A few are right up there at 100%, but Washington D.C.? 95%.

These numbers might be a surprise too: Montana numbers on health care reform, Baucus, and his re-election potential.

Feral Cat brings us the news that Mad As Hell Doctors will be coming through both Missoula and Helena this upcoming week….on Thursday, September 10th. Be sure to follow these single-payer doctors from Portland on twitter.

OK, howz about some authoritative outrage over something else that deserves the wrath….

Robert Reich rants on how banking and investment oversight and reform is being proactively ignored by the Treasury department.

Amen, brother.

On that note, The Center for Public Integrity has released its investigative study into the subprime mess. 25 main lenders, who are collectively responsible for nearly a trillion in subprime lending from 2005 – 2007, are now being stabilized by Wall Street banks that are receiving bailout funds.

The super-rich are becoming poorer for the first time in decades.

Doug sums it up well over at The Montana Misanthrope: FWP took a huge crap on Montanans with its handling of a poaching investigation. I have to admit, I didn’t understand the why so many were so upset, afterall, undercover agents sometimes have to commit some crimes to catch the criminals – but when I read author Allen M. Jones’ take on the killing over at NewWest, I found myself disgusted.

The Beaverhead County Democratic Party has been updating its website, and its looking great. They’ve added a page for our infamous congressional Representative Denny Rehberg.

Finally? You really must read this: Recession Resistant Jobs, from the Missoula Independent. HI-larious. Just what are recession resistant jobs? Nurses (check – everyone’s still gonna get sick)….pot dealers (check – people are gonna want their pot, just like their gonna want their beer)…and morticians (yep – the recession isn’t going to stave on dyin’, that’s for sure). There’s more….don’t miss it.

Just one local observation: I was heading out to I-90 the other day, taking the evil Reserve Street exit. Noticed that there is a new (?) Sean Kelly’s Pub up there. Looks like a significant remodel, in the least. How long’s that been open? I don’t remember even hearing about it and I’m sure it didn’t sprout up over night.

Happy Labor Day weekend, everyone. Enjoy, be safe…be kind. Peace.

Advertisements

by jhwygirl

Just over a year ago Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks scrapped a plan to electrify several parks, including Salmon Lake, West Shore in Lake County, and Placid Lake campgrounds, due to public outcry against the project. The Indy’s George Ochenski, a matter of fact, mentioned the fiasco just a few short weeks ago.

Now, here we come barely 15 months later, and FWP is at it again. From the Great Falls Tribune (only story I could find):

The Department of Fish, Wildlife & Parks has renewed plans to electrify campsites at several state parks across Montana.

A similar set of proposals stalled last spring after the agency received dozens of public comments highlighting a rift between traditional camping enthusiasts, who prefer dark skies and natural landscapes while camping, and recreational vehicle users who want to use electrical appliances. Critics also slammed the agency for violating the state’s “Good Neighbor Policy” and competing with private businesses.

The agency is seeking public comment on the proposals to install electrical pedestals and other new developments to campgrounds at Beavertail Hill, Salmon Lake, Lewis and Clark Caverns, Black Sandy and Placid Lake state parks. The plans call for adding 102 electrical pedestals to the state park system, adding outdoor lights and paving roads at a combined cost of about $726,000. Campground fees will increase by $5 at electrified sites, from $15 per night to $20 per night.

Doesn’t the Governor have something called the 20-10 initiative? Something about conserving energy? Using less energy?

Awww…It was just another one of the Good Gov’s jokes!

I know – maybe the electricity FWP uses doesn’t count if it isn’t metered. Because you know these aren’t going to be metered – All You Can Use Electricity, 5 Bucks – Montana, Where a Kw Won’t Cost You What It Costs Us.

The Good Neighbor Policy also requires that the state take care of maintenance backlog before it spend money on development. We’ve got maintenance issues galore with FWP – Montanans could use improved fishing access sites – Montanans could use paving of parks that are near residential areas to reduce dust and air quality issues – Montanans could use more enforcement – Montanans could use some help with portages around the scores of obstructions that line our waterways – and FWP wants $726,000 to electrify 5 state parks? And then charge more to campers that use those sites?

I’m sorry – maybe FWP isn’t aware that 84% of the people who use our state parks are state residents.

Who are we electrifying these parks for? Out-of-state gas guzzling RV’s? That have fridges and microwaves and washers and dryers and televisions and satellite dishes? Those people?

Those people should be staying at a local motel if they need that much stuff – instead of loading up groceries at their local hometown and merely purchasing diesel fuel as they move through the state.

I doubt those campgrounds are sitting empty, either – I know Placid Lake and Salmon Lake campgrounds aren’t. In other words, Montana isn’t needing to electrify its campsites to get people to hang out in our campgrounds.

In a Great Falls Tribune article from last year’s attempt to electrify, former legislator and (then) outgoing Public Service Commissioner Bob Raney had lots to say:

Bob Raney sharply criticized FWP’s plans to electrify campsites at Salmon Lake, West Shore, Placid Lake and Lewis & Clark Caverns state parks in an interview last week. Raney, who fought in the Legislature throughout the 1990s to keep development of the parks at bay, said the proposals send the wrong message about energy conservation, would increase the state’s maintenance costs and electricity bills and eventually would lead to higher user fees.

“Not only are we literally giving electricity away to the people who come to the campgrounds, but we’re also promoting the use of vehicles that get three or four miles to the gallon,” Raney said. “We’ve got a governor who says he wants state agencies to cut 20 percent of their electricity use by 2010, yet his parks department is developing electricity products at campgrounds right in the face of his ‘let’s use less’ program.”

Same holds true today, no?

FWP is seeking public comment on the proposals – following is the list of scoping notices. You might want to copy your local legislator while you’re at it….and maybe even a letter to the editor if you have the time.

West Shore State Park, due August 26th.
Beavertail Hill State Park, due August 10th.
Salmon Lake State Park, due August 10th.
Placid Lake State Park, due August 10th.
Big Sandy State Park, due July 27th.
Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park, due July 24th.

by JC

While I hate an equivocating headline as much as the next blogger, Buffalo Field Campaign saw some good news with Obama’s NPS nomination:

Last Friday, July 10, was a potentially momentous day for America’s only population of continuously wild bison. In a move that could end the National Park Service’s role in the slaughter of thousands of bison, President Obama nominated Jon Jarvis to fill the vacant post of National Park Service (NPS) Director…

In light of the winter of 2008, when the Park Service slaughtered more than 1,400 wild bison from within Yellowstone National Park, it is hard to imagine a more imperiled natural or cultural icon than the bison. In naming Jarvis, President Obama sent a strong signal that the Park Service’s era of pandering to industrial interests at the expense of park resources is coming to an end.

The NY Times weighed in the nomination, calling it “the best news we have heard in the past nine years about the national parks, and called for Suzanne Lewis’ replacement:”

One of the first items he needs to tackle is the question of snowmobile use in Yellowstone National Park. He should begin by replacing Suzanne Lewis, the superintendent of Yellowstone, who is doing the legacy work of the Bush administration by trying to increase the number of snowmobiles allowed into the parks.

Mr. Jarvis and a new superintendent would need to adhere to the clear evidence of every major scientific study and steer visitors to snow coaches, which are better for the air and for Yellowstone’s wildlife. This may sound like a niche issue, but it is a question of whether the parks will be managed by the best guidance of science or the demands of politicians and industry.

Rick Smith had some choice words in the Jackson Hole News&Guide about what the nomination means to the NPS rank and file:

Jarvis’s selection will sit well with Park Service employees, said Rick Smith, a member of the Coalition of Park Service Retirees.

“The Park Service morale was lower than squid shit at the bottom of the ocean during the Bush Administration,” he said.

Lower than squid shit? Can’t get much lower than that. Best of luck to Jarvis and the NPS!

by jhwygirl

I’ll just reprint what I have in its entirety – but please note the deadline is July 15th, which is next Wednesday. Region 2 includes Missoula – and this page includes a little map, showing the entire region.

From the FWP press release:

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) is still looking for applicants to fill four slots on the Region 2 Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC). The deadline to apply is July 15.

The 16-member CAC is a general advisory committee that provides input and guidance to FWP on a diverse array of issues—from wildlife and fisheries management to access, recreation and law enforcement.

The panel of volunteers typically has four to five evening meetings per year in Missoula. Members serve four year terms and can reapply when their terms expire. Meals and travel expenses are provided.

Applicants are being sought to fill vacancies created by term expirations of members serving from Anaconda, Hamilton and Missoula. These members represented parks and recreation, wildlife, fish, private business and landowner/rancher interests.
Residents of those areas and/or with those interests are encouraged to apply for the vacancies, however applicants will be considered from across west-central Montana, including the counties of Ravalli, Missoula, Deer Lodge, Powell, Granite, Mineral and the southwestern portion of Lewis & Clark.

To apply, download an application at fwp.mt.gov/r2 (Select the Citizen Advisory Committee menu button), email or call Vivaca Crowser at vvcrowser@mt.gov, or 406-542-5518. Or, stop by the FWP Region 2 Office in Missoula, 3201 Spurgin Road.

by jhwygirl

Please consider this an open thread

What do you think is going to happen when the Army Corp of Engineers tries this crap here in Missoula??

Ten toxic things you should never discuss on the internet

I think we’ve only discussed 4 of ’em here…

A majority of conservatives think that Colbert is pretending to be joking on his evening show “The Colbert Report”

Still? Even after that famous roast of George W. Bush? Oy vey!

Two action items, folks: Button Valley Bugle reports that FWP is considering allowing the proposed Tongue River Railroad run right through the Miles City hatchery. This railroad is needed to open up the Otter Creek tracts, which the state acquired in some boondoggle scheme to stop gold mining that was never going to happen on the edge of Yellowstone National Park.

The Tongue River, on the other hand, is being called The National Sacrifice Area by the Editor, and sadly they’re quite right. Coal bed methane activities are polluting the precious water resource of the Tongue and salinating wells across the land, and now the Otter Creek tract proposal. A number of environmental affronts would occur should the State Land Board decide to open these tracts to leasing for coal mining – the railroad and not only its large environmental footprint on the landscape and the spreading of pollution it will leave across landscape, but its trampling of private property rights that the eminent domain activities of the state will seek along the way. Clean Coal is a myth, something we’ve written about a number of times…and in case you had any doubts, check out the latest fallacy concerning coal

Well, I’ve tuckered myself out. Looks gorgeous out. I’m hitting the sunshine. What say you?

.

by jhwygirl

One of my very favorite natural resource conservation organizations anywhere is The Blackfoot Challenge. This fine group is a true grassroots organization, born out of local landowners desire to preserve the basic resource of water and the agrarian community that is the Ovando/Helville/Lincoln/Upper Blackfoot drainage area. I’ve written about them before…and there are some truly amazing people up there that have accomplished the massive task of gaining consensus over a wide spectrum of people and uses in both the private and public sector. They’ve got an Adopt-A-Swan program going to help reintroduction of trumpeter swans to Western Montana.Trumpeter Swan Brood

The story of trumpeters in the Blackfoot will tug at the hearts of anyone who loves wildlife. The link, above, to the Adopt-A-Swan program touches on the story, and you can wade through this link (a search of the Missoulian archives) to see dozens of articles related to Montana’s trumpeters.

Lincoln’s Louie Bouma is a bit of a hero in this area – an everyday hero rancher, one of the many involved with the Blackfoot Challenge – and the cygnets he rescued are quite the celebrities in the birding world, as is Susan Patla of Wyoming Game & Fish.

When you are up in the Upper Blackfoot, be sure to look out for these beautiful endangered creatures. I’ve not heard of any sightings down in Ravalli county’s Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge, but I’ve been hoping for years now that one day a pair would make a stop.

I’ve

by jhwygirl

Just last week Wyoming and Idaho slammed federal plans to created a special brucellosis management plan around Yellowstone National Park. Their letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the plan was “hastily contrived” plan would allow the government to “walk away from the issue forever”, without getting rid of the disease.

Idaho, the state that had elk farms? Elk that got loose and have intermingled with wild elk?

Wyoming? Wyoming that operates its own feedgrounds? And champions the federal feed ground that border Grand Teton National Park, which borders Yellowstone National Park, which borders Montana (which has lost its brucellosis-free status)?

Really? You want federal welfare, forever, because of your poor wildlife management decisions even while you continue those poor wildlife management decisions?

Let’s say this real slowly for you all down there in Cheyenne: Brucellosis Can Not Be Eliminated While You Continue To Feed Elk.

Wyoming? You really should know that already…..

I’ve blogged a whole hell of a lot on this brucellosis issue – most recently on recent legislation, and you don’t have to scroll too far down to see posts like So Hey DOL, When Do We Start Slaughtering Elk?….in case you need some background.

July of last year, Governor Schweitzer criticized Wyoming’s operation of feedgrounds. Looks like he has another opportunity to offer some more constructive criticism – this time, to the feds for their operation of the National Elk Refuge.

Just how much money has the State of Montana lost due to the loss of its brucellosis-free status? How much money have Montana ranchers lost?

An April 29th story in the Jackson Hole News & Guide reports that the National Elk Refuge is proposing to increase forage on the refuge by irrigating 3,400 additional acres. And environmental assessment – released on the 27th – is out for comment. Comments can be sent to National Elk Refuge, Attention Irrigation EA, P.O. Box 510, Jackson Wyoming 83001 or nationalelkrefuge@fws.gov with “Irrigation EA” in the subject line.

But an April 28th story reports on $3.2 million going to the refuge for the irrigation project.

So let’s see – how does this work? Weren’t stimulus projects supposed to be “shovel ready”?

Or does releasing the EA the day before cash-fairy Interior Secretary Salazar announces the $3.2 million for said irrigation project make it “shovel ready”?

Is an EA sufficient analysis for irrigation 3,400 acres of federal ground? When the purpose of irrigation is to feed wildlife? When the area being irrigated is adjacent to a National Park

Honest to God – why do we even have laws anymore? NEPA? SCHMEPA.

What are people thinking?

And now the feds are condoning feedgrounds? Expanding them?

You gotta wonder.

by jhwygirl

SB425, which The Editor at the Button Valley Bugle calls “Walleye Welfare” sees its second reading on the floor of the Senate tomorrow, Thursday, at 1 p.m. The Editor put together another thought on it – detailing the shenanigans of the fiscal note drawn up for the bill, in this post, titled Quick Note. Now, we’ve blogged that one here, too – but Button Valley Bugle’s done it much better. If you care about hatcheries across the state, and you don’t want to see the cost of your fishing license go up, contact your senators before 1 p.m. and tell them NO to walleye welfare.

ALSO on the Senate Floor, another bill that hasn’t gotten a whole lot of love – none, frankly – is Sen. Jim Schockley’s SB497, which protects protesters from people that are entering health care clinics. That post had some lively discussion – and so did this one. Be sure to contact your senators on this one, too – for some reason that we’ve yet to figure out here at 4&20, this one sailed through committee 12-0.

For another take on Schockley’s bill, check out Montana’s newest female blogger, 42nd Wave Feminist with her post, titled “We’re in the Friday Feminist Fuck You”.

…and while you’re at it, don’t forget to update your blogroll and your favorites.

Those are the two big ones as I see it, people. Here is Thursday’s entire House floor schedule, and the entire Senate floor schedule.

Here is an easy links-filled page that will help you find who your senator(s) are (me? I’ll contact all of Missoula’s), and help you find out how to contact them also. Me? I like the interactive map.

by jhwygirl

On Thursday, January 29, the House Fish, Wildlife & Parks committee will hear HB253, the Wild Buffalo Recovery and Conservation Act, propose by Rep. Mike Phillips and Rep. Ted Washburn, both of Bozeman.

The House FWP committee meets at 3 p.m.

HB253 is a bipartisan bill which would essentially transfer management of bison from the Department of Livestock, where their method of slaughter-slaughter-slaughter has been both an embarrassment and a colosal failure, to Fish, Wildlife & Parks, and into the hands of wildlife professionals.

I have blogged about brucellosis and the horrible failings of the Department of Livestock (‘encouraged’ by the Montana Stockgrower’s Association) many times. Montana has lost its brucellosis-free status under the tutelage of the misguided management of bison by the DOI. It took two cases of brucellosis in the space of 2 years for Montana to lose its brucellosis-free status. Both cases of brucellosis were the result of transmission by elk to domesticated cattle.

Now, it’s been ludicrous to suggest that bison are a problem. The fact is that the only known cases of transmission of brucellosis to domesticated animals – be it cattle or horses – have come from elk. In the 12 years or more that I’ve been following this issue, I’ve yet to hear of bison being the cause of such transmission, yet while elk roam freely, bison are slaughtered in the name of “management.”

There are 3 goals to HB253:

1.Restore buffalo as “valued, native wildlife in the state of Montana.”

2.Restore Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks’ authority for management of wild bison including fair chase, public hunting

3.Ensure private property rights and livestock are protected, by maintaining cooperation with the Department of Livestock at MCA 81-2-121.

Bison are part of western heritage – and part of Montana’s heritage. We do our state a great service – and the nation – by recognizing this. Property rights must be protected. That means everyone’s – cattlegrowers – around the state.

Please take the time to contact the members of the House FWP committee, including chairman Kendall Van Dyke. Let them know that brucellosis management must both realistic and solution oriented; that bison are a valuable part of Montana and the west’s heritage, and that proper management can be an asset to all interested parties. This year-to-year slaughter endangers the genetic diversity of America’s largest, genetically pure and truly wild buffalo herd. It has to stop.

Kendall Van Dyk (Chair) – kvandyk@mt.gov
Gordon Hendrick (Vice Chair) – hendrickhd14@yahoo.com
Dave McAlpin (Vice Chair) – mcdave94@gmail.com
Dick Barrett = rnewbar@gmail.com
Paul Beck – no email listed
Carlie Bolandccboland@bresnan.net
Joel Boniek – no email listed
Frosty Boss Ribsfrostycbr@hotmail.com
Jill Cohenourutopiamt@prodigy.net
Mike Milburnmmilburn@mcn.net
Mike Miller – no email listed
Jesse O’Hara – no email listed
Ken Petersonkenneth59@bresnan.net
Mike Phillipsmikephillips@montana.net
JP Pomnichowskimikephillips@montana.net
Cary Smithcary@bresnan.net
Ted Washburnted@tedwashburn.com
Jeffrey Welborn – no email listed.

Doug Sternberg is the staffer – please copy him on any correspondence – his email is dsternberg@mt.gov.

You can also call. Call the Session Information Desk at 406-444-4800 to leave a message for as many as five legislators or one legislative committee per call. Your message will be delivered directly to the legislators. The TTY (Telephone Device for the Deaf) number is 406-444-4462.

The Session Information Desk is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

You can also use the online message form.

Remember – this hearing is Thursday. Let these committee members know that sane bison management and a reasonable brucellosis management plan can be accomplished. Together and mutually.

by jhwygirl

Funded with monies from Secure Rurals Schools and Community Self Determination Act, Missoula County and the USFS are forming a RAC to make recommendations on projects that would benefit the National Forest lands withing Missoula County.

The RAC will consist of 15 members, unpaid volunteers, with a variety of backgrounds. The 118 will be chosen from 3 different categories (5 from each category, along with one alternate):

Organized labor or non-timber forest product harvester groups
Developed outdoor recreation, off-highway vehicle users, or commercial recreation activities
Energy and mineral development or commercial or recreational fishing interests
Commercial timber industry
Federal grazing or other land use permit holders, or non-industrial private forest land owners

Nationally recognized environmental organizations
Regionally or locally recognized environmental organizations
Dispersed recreation activities
Archaeological and historical interests
Nationally or regionally recognized wild horse or burro groups, wildlife or hunting organizations or watershed organizations

State-elected office holders or their designee
County or local elected office holders
American Indian tribal representatives from tribes within or adjacent to RAC area
School officials or teachers
Citizens representing the affected public at large

Interested persons can get an application here (the RAC application form is located under the heading, Title II, in the upper left-hand section of the web page) or they can contact Bob Reid at the Missoula Office of Emergency Services at 258-4758 or Boyd Hartwig, Public Affairs Specialist for the Lolo National Forest, at 329-1024.

Try as I may, I can not find a link on the Missoula County website for this important notification. Not on the Board of County Commissioners page, not on the Department of Emergency Services page. If anyone finds anything – or if they add one – it’d be nice for someone to point me to it.

by jhwygirl

I spoke of this fawn I came upon in early October here and here.

Here is the picture. The sheepherder trapper that did this never did report it, as I had followed up on about 2 weeks later. It should have had a quick release. Beyond that, in the particulars of this situation, he was breaking the law.

That fawn could just as easily had been my pet, my friend’s pet, or a neighbor’s pet.

october-fawn

Yeah. Keep that trapping tradition alive. NOT.

by jhwygirl

Otis, an adorable beagle mix – looking a little on the active senior-citizen side – got caught in two traps on Lost Horse Road last week. The traps were 30 feet from the road.

Lost Horse Road is located south of Hamilton, and heads eastward into the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.

His owner, fortunately, was able to free him, but not without panic and several hours in the cold. Considering the severely low temperatures we’ve been experiencing, Otis and his owner are tremendously lucky.

Imagine the torture of an animal – any animal – as it lay caught in one of these traps. Dying, freezing to death. I’m not an overly religious person, but I can not imagine that our Creator would be OK with his creatures treated this way in the name of sport. There was a time and a place and a necessity for trapping. But those days are long past.

Footloose Montana is a local organization that has taken up the cause of educating the public about the dangers of trapping. They are also working to seek legislative and regulatory changes – and recently saw some minor successes late this summer when the FWP Board of Commissioners made some regulatory concessions with regards to setbacks for traps and eliminating trapping from a few high public use areas.

Footloose is still looking for donations to keep a weekly ad running that lists locations of these traps so that pet-owning recreationists know where to be extra cautious. Consider a small donation, as it only takes $80 a week to keep the ad running.

Here is a map of known locations of traps. Some locations:

Gold Creek north of Milltown
The Harris Ranch hunting access site near Victor (really? These guys are so lazy that they just place traps at hunting access sites?)
Nine Mile Creek has seen numerous traps (with two black labs caught in some recently)
Bass Creek
Butler Loop area of Nine Mile

There are so many problems, as I see it, with trapping. One easily cited reason is the fact that these traps easily trap non-target species. They can be bald eagles, the elusive wolverine, or lynx. A trapper isn’t even obligated to report it. Three eagles (two bald, one golden) have been caught in illegal traps in the Clinton area in the last two years.

This past fall I came across a fawn who’s neck had been caught in a snare. The beautiful creature – still with its white spots – clearly had been lying there for more than a day. Death was very quick, but those snares are supposed to release larger animals. This one didn’t. It was set by a sheepherder (who I had passed on the way), to trap coyotes. His gun and three dogs – along with the corral he had his sheep in – apparently weren’t deterrent enough.

The snare was less than one mile from a dozen or more homes. Imagine walking your pet and hearing a yelp, and before you could get to him, he’s gone.

Be safe out there folks. Keep your loved ones close.

by jhwygirl

Bob Gentry over at Left in the West has a great breakdown of the failures of DEQ in permitting the Rock Creek silver mine which has been proposed for the Cabinet Mountains.

Montana Supreme Court threw out DEQ’s permit – remanding it back to the district court that had ruled in its favor – saying that failure to do a comprehensive nondegradation review of water quality and relying on a water treatment facility was a violation of state law. The court went on further to question DEQ’s reliance on a treatment facility that would essentially be needed forever, while failing to recognize that perpetual need. The court continued and even further, criticizing DEQ for placing an arbitrary bonding amount on said treatment facility without factoring in maintenance and the companies ability to maintain responsibility over the treatment facility which was key to DEQ’s original decision to waive off the water quality degradation review.

Aye yi yi…as I’ve said before: It makes me wonder what we don’t hear about.

Meanwhile, a blowout of the Big Dick Mine near Garrison – which happened sometime around Thanksgiving – has officials tasked with a problem to which they really haven’t even been able to grasp since it’s discovery just over two weeks ago.

The Big Dick Mine produced gold, silver, lead and other metals from 1905 until the ’40’s..and may have been opened up again in the ’70’s and ’80’s. In closing the mine, DEQ required that an earthen core be used to close the mine (according to the permit.) It is that earthen core that blew out once pressure built as water built up internally.

The mine is #68 on the state’s Abandoned Mine Priority List. There are over 300 mines on the list.

Check out the thumbnail pictures on the right – the second one from the top shows the force with which the mine blew.

At the first inspection, the force of he mine had destroyed a nearby road, knocked over some nearby buildings, and had contaminated 3 miles of the Little Blackfoot River. A waist-deep channel has been carved into the mountain, and the bright orange crap continues to flow at a rate of 5 to 20 gallons per minute.

Lovely.

The Little Blackfoot is that lovely little river that most people are familiar with as it snakes it way along Highway 12 on the way from Garrison to Helena. Fabulous for fishing, I saw 4 bald eagles fishing its waters this week. There is also a tremendous amount of agricultural activity along the river, with cattle ranchers relying on its waters for their agricultural operations.

Then again, I’ve told ya’all before – don’t kid yourself into thinking that Montana is an agricentric state anymore. We’ve got priorities, and they don’t include water for ag producers.

The blow out of this mine should raise concerns for water quality aficionados from Mineral, Missoula, Granite, Powell, Lewis & Clark and Lincoln counties, just to name a few. How many mines were filled with earthen cores without inspection to see whether subsurface water sources had been disturbed?

As precious metals rise in value, mining has increased in the area. How many of you all know that? How much scrutiny and monitoring is given to these mines? Does DEQ even have sufficient personnel to monitor this stuff?

What is a mine operators responsibility over these issues – and do they have any responsibility, given that the recent Montana Supreme Court decision shed light on DEQ’s arbitrary bonding amount requirements, and even worse, DEQ’s failure to require comprehensive degradation reviews.

It seems to me that ongoing monitoring is needed when someone (i.e., a mine operator) goes drilling into the earth. Water sources can be directly or indirectly disturbed, and without ongoing monitoring – and comprehensive inspection prior to closing – bad things can happen.

by jhwygirl

This is easily one place where just a few bucks can go far, for a very worthy organization.

We’ve blogged here before about Footloose Montana, and it’s a mighty find organization focused on providing public education on issues surrounding trapping and its affects on pets and non-targeted species.

For the record, I believe trapping is a chicken shit way to hunt.

About 2 months ago I can across a fawn caught up in a snare. It still had spots, beautiful creature it was. Death came quickly as it choked the animal. That’s a good thing, I suppose. It was a non-targeted species. The guy had no permit to be trapping where he was – he was a sheepherder snaring for coyotes. It wasn’t trapping season, so he didn’t need a license, and he didn’t have to report his snaring of non-targeted species. His trap was within a mile of homes. This was in the Bitterroot, but still in Missoula County. Snares are supposed to have a quick release. I was told that they don’t often work.

It could easily have been my dog.

Footloose is looking for donations to keep a weekly ad running in Missoulian – and they hope to be able to expand it to the state’s 5 major dailies – and they have Kalispell and Billings ready to go. The ad would identify trap locations so that people would know where to be cautious with their pets, and it would serve to keep trapping issues in the forefront of Montanans.

Running the weekly ad in the Missoulian only costs $82.60 per week. That’s not a lot of Lincolns, people.

The current ad sends out warning of traps set in the following places:
Ninemile Creek near Butler Loop
Rock Creek
Bitterroot River
Bass Creek

If you can help out, donate here.

by jhwygirl

Let’s hope they do the right thing.

From today’s Helena Independent:

Lawmakers are again poised to take on the ticklish issue of public access to state waters from county bridges — a problem they failed to resolve two years ago despite wide public support.

This time, lawmakers of both parties are sponsoring bills intended to resolve the long-simmering issue, but some of the demons that doomed previous attempts still seem to linger: The Montana Stockgrowers Association, one of the most powerful cattle groups in the state, is lukewarm to the idea. And, despite talking about necessary “bipartisan” efforts, Democrats and Republicans who are pushing nearly identical bills, say they haven’t spent much time talking to people across the aisle about their ideas.

Beyond the fact that we’ve got dueling identical legislative bills, which gives me a strong deja vu of 2005 all over again, it’s not surprising to see that once again the Montana Stockgrowers Association has interjected itself into the public access matter once again.

In 2007, the MSA argued against the public access, despite the inclusion of funding grants, via FWP, that would have paid for the modifications needed to fences that block public out.

A briefing of the problem: Numerous public access groups have been advocating for reasonable public access to Montana’s streams and rivers – which are more and more often inaccessible because of private property which has fenced of water frontage areas – by walking down to them via unused public right-of-way which is adjacent to county bridges. Most county road right-of-ways are 60 feet (some are actually larger), while bridges don’t use that much – so there is adjacent areas next to these bridges that would allow for public walk-in access.

The problem is that property owners often fence to the bridges, making difficult if not darn-near-impossible to access rivers. The area is steep, often without vegitation, and can be dangerous to attempt access over and through this fence obstruction.

Now to be fair – this access issue has been ongoing for many years, and there are locations where people have cut or damaged fences to get to the river or stream, which has rightfully infuriated the owners of these fences because often they’re there to keep stock from getting out.

All it takes are a few bad apples in any group…..and that applies to all kinds of groups…

There are areas in the eastern side of the case where sportspeople have held “bridge-in’s” (for lack of any better word) where people have gathered, en masse, to access at specific points. Affected property owners have argued that allowing for this type of public access would create traffic hazards by having traffic parked along roadways.

Jennifer McKee’s piece goes through the recent Madison County case and the ludicrous argument that private property owners attempted to make – that county roadway width was 60 feet, but narrowed to the width of the bridge. The judge rejected that argument, but still allowed fences to be attached to the bridge. I can’t remember the logic, but I’m thinking it was because the public still had the ability to work their way through it (?).

Both bills currently proposed do essentially the same thing – they allow public access through existing fences, but Sen. Mike Cooney’s (D-Helena) bill places the burden of reconstructing any fences that are obstructions on the fence owner, with the assistance of FWP funds. Rep. Ken Peterson’s (R-Billings) bill places the burden of reconstructing any obstructive fences on FWP.

Now – I’ll leave you all to debate the merits of a state agency getting involved in reconstructing what is essentially private property, and in the other the state is merely providing the funds. In both cases, the public already has the right to be there.

But let’s hope some gosh darn common sense public benefit gets done up there in Helena this upcoming legislative session, and let’s hope this gosh darn common sense goal of providing the public reasonable public access along existing public access can make it through the gauntlet of committee meetings and survive the votes necessary to bear it to fruition.

While we’re at it, let’s hope our legislators – Republican and Democratic – don’t forget that outdoor recreation is the largest growing financial sector of economic growth in Montana…and in the West.

Hell be damned to the whining of the Montana Stockgrowers Association.

by jhwygirl

Back just before the election, the Bush Administration announced it would be creating a 2nd interagency group for bison management. That happened on October 29th, and I have to say I was perplexed. The announcement was cryptic – it didn’t really explain whether it was related to the Yellowstone/Montana/Wyoming issues concerning brucellosis – and beyond that, to manage the genetic diversity of bison, the government – whether it be the State of Montana or the Federal Government – can’t be out there sanctioning widespread slaughter of bison under the current interagency bison management plan while another group is out there supposedly trying to preserve genetic diversity.

I wasn’t the only one confused.

In other developments…

Montana FWP has extended the comment period for its draft environmental assessment that would establish a 30-year grazing restriction and bison access agreement with the Royal Teton Ranch outside of Gardiner Montana. The agreement would allow grazing of bison on the ranch, at a cost of $300,000. Bison that leave the park, and often end up on the ranch, would be spared slaughter.

Because slaughtering bison, you know, to manage brucellosis, makes sense, don’t you know?

I mean – just the title of the interagency agreement – the Interagency Bison Management Plan – shows the ignorance in addressing the problem the agreement was initiated to address……

…but I digress….

Meanwhile, on the west side of the park, near West Yellowstone, an agreement is being hammered out that would allow bison to graze near what was the site of last years capture-n-take-’em-to-slaughter facility at Horse Butte. A series of meetings held between state and federal officials over the last few months is expected to result in a formal adoption of the plan next month in Helena. The result would be that bison should be able to roam in and out of the park without slaughter.

Horse Butte is pretty important for bison and preserving their genetic diversity

Still more….

Montana’s state veterinarian Marty Zaluski announced that the governor’s plan to establish a special management zone around the park, designed to restore Montana’s brucellosis-free status and reduce livestock testing costs state-wide, is garnering nationwide support.

Five American Indian groups are seeking to obtain a herd of about 40 bison that have been held in captivity since this past spring – bison that left the park boundaries. These bison have been repeatedly tested, but have not shown signs of brucellosis. The genetics of the Yellowstone bison – Bison bison – are considered superior, and the 5 groups want to use this herd to help bolster the genetics of their own herds who graze amongst domestic cattle. The tribes have until the end of November to submit plans.

Wyoming, which had a cow test positive for brucellosis this past June, has been spared losing its brucellosis- free status. All cattle and adjacent herds that had been tested have been clean.

Anyways..there it is folks – if you got more information, please add it to the comments. I’m cautiously optimistic that the lunacy massive slaughter that we saw of bison last winter may not have to occur this upcoming winter.

How these steps will affect ranchers – both in management and cost – I’ve yet to see much in terms of specifics. The idea of having that second management zone was to isolate costs. How that will translate to what it will mean – or won’t – to those ranchers is at question…and I’m betting I’m not the only one wondering.

Maybe the state can take the money it spent in snowmobiles and labor and gas and pre-mix and trucks and capture facilities and every other bit of the nonsense and put it onto funding the vaccination program that would be imminent.

by jhwygirl

A landmark decision brings hope that Montana’s last surviving prehistoric fish, cut off by the receding of the glaciers, may survive. A most excellent piece of journalism from the Flathead Beacon. Make sure to check out that picture.

The Missoula Humane Society is sponsoring its first annual “Missoula Dog Style” show beginning at 11 a.m. this morning at Jacob’s Island Park. Contests like “most adorable dog,” “best sweater,” and “cutest puppy,” will raise some cash as part of a school project for 9 UM students. Footloose Montana and Dog Spaw will be there too – and Go Fetch! donated all the prizes.

one more animal story….

Who couldn’t love a face like this?pygmy-hippo

A rare pygmy hippo was born in Australia last month. Not much larger than a puppy, staff had to feed it with a dropper – and its herculean effort seems to have paid off. There’s video and a photo gallery.

I want one.

While Australian press must of missed CNN’s admission that it ‘faked’ the election night holograms– even though the faked versions were quite an effort – the story linked to above mentions two actual holograms that have been created.

Anyone watch the show “Bones”? They use a hologram on there, or a fake hologram – but either way, it’s pretty neat.

More DEQ woes – caught by Cesar Hernandez and Missoula Independent journalist Patrick Klemz. When will state elected official – executives and legislatures – stand up and take notice and DO SOMETHING?

DEQ is a mess. It’s due in large part to a terrible lack in staffing. And a reliance on self-reporting (as if!). People point to Wyoming as an industrial wasteland? Hell – take a look around – just the mere fact that Montana has not only the largest but the most EPA cleanup sites is a hint to that which hasn’t even been found. Peruse the DEQ website to get a sense of what we’ve got. The drop-down menu on the right is a good place to start.

When you have the EPA telling you that you aren’t protecting Montanan’s water, you know you’ve got problems, right?

Speaking of water….

Looks like Ravalli and Missoula aren’t the only counties with problems getting to streamside setback regulations. Flathead County is warming up to a showdown of sorts on the issue.

I mean – look at Ravalli County – they just elected a county commissioner (Iman) that sits on the Conservation District Board who campaigned on a theme of killing streamside setbacks. Tell me people aren’t whack about this issue?

I close by repeating: What is Montana without its water..its streams and rivers…its lakes?

Someone make me a bumpersticker, please!

by Rebecca Schmitz

Ken Salazar has his opinion.

Salazar, a Democrat who helped deliver Colorado’s nine electoral votes for Obama, suggested four Western governors: Montana’s Brian Schweitzer or Wyoming’s Dave Freudenthal as interior secretary, New Mexico’s Bill Richardson as secretary of state and Arizona’s Janet Napolitano as attorney general.

What’s yours? Should Brian be part of an Obama Administration? If not, who should repair the damage caused by succeed Gale Norton and Dirk Kempthorne as Secretary of the Interior?

by jhwygirl

Certainly regular readers will remember my outrage here last year regarding the bison slaughter in Montana, outside of Yellowstone National Park, all in the the name of managing brucellosis. There are 9 previous posts, which you can get to by simply putting “brucellosis” in the little nifty search we’ve got over there on the right.

An environmental impact statement (EIS) – the highest level of NEPA review – was issued by the USFS in July by Bridger-Teton National Forest Supervisor Kniffy Hamilton sanctioning, for 20 more years, elk feedgrounds within said National Forest. At the time, the Good Governor Schweitzer fired off a letter criticizing the decision, saying “Montana had done everything in its power to prevent the transmission of brucellosis to its cattle herd. Meanwhile, USDA has insisted upon application of antiquated herd-to-herd regulations for disease transmission in cattle that have nothing to do with transmission from wildlife. As a result, Montana, Idaho and Wyoming at best continue to experience a yo-yo effect with respect to brucellosis status. At worst, the net effect is a permanent loss of status.”

There were, apparently, two appeals to Hamilton’s decision – and in a news brief from Jackson Hole Radio’s Tom Ninnemann gives us the news that Schweitzer was one of the appellants to the EIS. From October 21st:

The Forest Service announced Friday its decision to uphold authorization of National Forest Land to be used for winter elk management activities by the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission. Regional Forester Harv Forsgren upheld the decision made by Kniffy Hamilton, Bridger-Teton Forest Supervisor, after reviewing two appeals received on the issue. Among those speaking out against the activities was Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer. The Forest Service decision is to issue a 20 year special use authorization at five of the seven locations. The decision did not include two of the feedground areas because further information is required. Supplemental feeding of elk has been conducted in northwestern Wyoming since the early 1900s.

Finally, some good common sense is prevailing in the issue.

Schweitzer addressed the issue during the Butte gubernatorial debate last month, with what the Montana Standard described as part of some spirited verbal jollys. (It was a good debate, btw – and the Montana Standards has the debate broken down to 3 audio files, the first which includes Brown’s answer to the brucellosis question, and the second, which includes Schweitzer’s thorough and knowledgeable answer.)

While Brown took to criticizing Schweitzer for his support of the split-state status, Schweizer “jollied” back that he understood “science” and that the science supports evidence that brucellosis is coming from elk, not bison, and that having the entire state’s cattle industry suffer because of it wasn’t reasonable. He went on to say that the previously approved joint-agency bison management plan was outdated given the science and current evidence.

Bravo, Governor Schweitzer.

Brown kinda stood there, obviously uneducated beyond talking points which he fumbled through (“hmmm, let’s see, where is it?” – which drew some laughter – “oh – yes, ‘segregate and slaughter’ policy.”) Even more perplexing is that after fumbling through his criticism of the “segregate and slaughter” comment, he went on to champion the two Department of Livestock members who quit because of their support of the “segregate and slaughter” policy. I mean – does Brown even understand what is going on? All it takes is some newspapers…..perhaps the use of any one of the state’s great newspaper’s search engines?

Schweitzer’s work on this issue began when he first took office 4 years ago – and the split-state status has taken hold with the federal government, who are crafting a new plan which will recognize that brucellosis is found in and around the park, and allow cattle ranchers outside of the “hot zone” to be spared the additional expenses of testing and vaccination. This link, here, will take you to the Department of Livestock’s webpage on the new Draft Brucellosis Action Plan. Comment period, btw, has been extended to November 1st, due to high public interest.

In other developments, the state is forming a 7-member brucellosis task force, which is to include 5 citizens, including two ranchers and one rancher/outfitter, along with 2 “wildlife enthusiast, sportsman or conservationists.”

I give the Governor a big kudos for keeping this issue moving along since the massive slaughter and the discovery of the state’s 2nd case of brucellosis, which resulted in the loss of our brucellosis-free classification by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He’s openly been critical of a key cause to brucellosis – Wyoming’s elk feedgrounds. That took some political mustering. All in all, there’s been a tremendous amount of work done since June….and hopefully it will have an impact this upcoming winter.

I want to mention here that The Missoula Independent’s Patrick Klemz did a fine piece on the brucellosis issue back in September, even daring to put the picture of an elk on the cover, along with the word “brucellosis” – something few media outlets, whether radio, television or print, have been pretty darn shy about doing. It stands as another fine example of The Indy’s fine, thorough and, well, independent report style.

by jhwygirl

This one sounds like FUN – BBQ, bonfire, Ten Spoon wines and Big Sky brews, music by The Pleasure Kings PLUS membership to Footloose Montana, all for 20 bucks?!

There’ll also be games and a fundraising auction.

Thursday night, 6- 9 p.m. at Ten Spoon Vineyard, at 4175 Rattlesnake Drive. Call Anja at 549-6663 or Jerry at 829-3618 if you have any questions. There’s also this link too.

Footloose Montana is a fine organization, founded to help educate people about the dangers trapping and traps present to their pets. It’s not only pets that get caught up in traps – non-targeted species – the words MTFWP uses – are also meet horrible deaths in traps. I first blogged about Footloose here, when a eagle was killed when it was caught in an illegal trap. It was the 3rd eagle killed out near Clinton in just 2 years.

In the short time this organization has been around – only about a year – it has taken time to educate the public with mini-workshops on how to unset these traps. It has lobbied the legislature for change, and it has met with some success with the FWP Commission, most recently, this past August when greater setbacks were required for traps.

Anyways – there’s a Thursday evening in Missoula for you! What could be more fun that great wine and a bonfire, all for a most excellent cause?!

by jhwygirl

Well, this link no longer works – for some reason, The Helena Independent has apparently removed the story from its pages….but after some searching, I found this, from KPAX, Missoula’s CBS affiliate.

(UPDATE: Found this, via Wulfgar!s link, below, from the Great Falls Tribune. Should have known to look there.)

FWP officials euthanized 5 bears in the Smith River drainage last month, after they had become habituated to humans. The habituation was the result of rancher and outfitter Gary Anderson,71, of the Heaven on Earth Ranch near Ulm having fed the bears, repeatedly, with grain. He was hand-feeding them.

In the story deleted from the HelenaIR, a FWP game warden was apparently awaken, while camping, by one bear who was licking his hand.

This kind of irresponsible behavior disgusts me. It goes on, despite the best efforts of FWP, and common sense. How many of those 5 were sows? Ultimately, was it just 5 that were killed, or 3 or 4 generations?

Ultimately this is a crime against all citizens of Montana. I don’t know what the appropriate punishment is – but $135 certainly is not enough.

by jhwygirl

Montana’s FWP Commission voted on Tuesday to reduce the trapping limit for wolverines from 10 (last year’s limit) to 5.

We blogged about this issue here. And if any of you contacted FWP with comments – Thanks!

Montana is the only state in the lower 48 that allows trapping of wolverines. It is a Montana Species of Concern, and a USFS and BLM listed Sensitive species.

FWP Commission Chair Steve Doherty, who wanted a moratorium on trapping of wolverines, opposed the vote – but noted that reduction of the limit is a step in the right direction.

Doherty may get his wish. Opponents filed suit against the USFWS on July 8th, in an effort to have the animals listed as Endangered Species.

KPAX, it should be noted, is the only Montana news source that I could find that covered this story.

by jhwygirl

The Jackson Hole News and Guide gives us the details on Schweitzer’s letter to the USDA, which criticizes Wyoming’s practice of operating elk feedgrounds and Bridger-Teton National Forest’s recent approval of renewing state leases on the National Forest.

“Despite long-standing acknowledgement of the problem, it now appears that Wyoming Game and Fish and the USDA are the only two entities who believe these feedgrounds are not a major contributing factor to the Greater Yellowstone Area being the last remaining reservoir for brucellosis in the nation,” Schweitzer said in the letter.

“Montana had done everything in its power to prevent the transmission of brucellosis to its cattle herd,” he said. “Meanwhile, USDA has insisted upon application of antiquated herd-to-herd regulations for disease transmission in cattle that have nothing to do with transmission from wildlife. As a result, Montana, Idaho and Wyoming at best continue to experience a yo-yo effect with respect to brucellosis status. At worst, the net effect is a permanent loss of status.”

“The Forest Service has taken a firm step to continue franchising the feeding of elk, while [USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services] continues to employ outdated, inapplicable and heavy-handed regulations, and threatens the state with loss of its brucellosis status.”

The Governor’s letter goes to to say that he is considering opting out of the Greater Yellowstone Interagency Brucellosis Committee (GYIBC) memorandum of understanding:

“I am questioning the wisdom of signing this document, when it has not been demonstrated to me that all parties are truly committed to finding realistic solutions.”

Conservation groups have sued to stop the feedgrounds, so needless to say, they are pleased with the Governor’s position.

Considering opting out of the GYIBC MOU is certainly an option that needs to be very seriously considered. Slaughtering bison is not the solution. Not in any way. Montana can not participate in the slaughter of wildlife as a reasonable practice for managing brucellosis.

The GYIBC’s members include the Wyoming Game & Fish, the USDA Forest Service, and the US Fish & Wildlife Service – all agencies which manage, promote and/or have feedgrounds on the lands they manage.

Consider the GYIBC’s goal:

It is the Goal of the Greater Yellowstone Interagency Brucellosis Committee to protect and sustain the existing free-ranging elk and bison populations in the Greater Yellowstone Area and protect the public interests and economic viability of the livestock industry in the States of Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana.

Given the GYIBC’s goal, its members, and their actions, the Governor has no choice: Opt Out – Now.

by jhwygirl

Sent to me by an astute reader, Governor Schweitzer fired off a letter on Tuesday to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, criticizing Wyoming’s elk feedgrounds, which many say are a breeding ground for brucellosis.

Bravo!

This was one of the developments out of Tuesdays Board of Livestock meeting – the other being the revival of the split-state status, in which the brucellosis hot spot around Yellowstone is subject to vaccine and other mitigative measures, leaving the rest of the state without having to subject its cattle to the extra round of oversight. Schweitzer has pushed for this method for years now. Under a split-state status, only 5% of Montana’s cattle would be affected.

Now if he can stand strong and put an end to the bison slaughter for now – either that or start the slaughter of elk too, since they’ve been the root cause of Montana’s last two cases of brucellosis – then maybe now we can move forward to real solutions instead of hysterical political “kill the bison” mentality.

I’ll note, too, that the Board of Livestock story – and the mention of the Governor’s letter to the USDA – was mentioned in Forbes Magazine. It’s that important, folks. People are paying attention.

Thank you, Governor, for a step forward.

by jhwygirl

Saying brucellosis “does not belong in our future,” Suzanne Lewis, the superintendent of Yellow-stone National Park, pledged Monday to work with Montana’s Board of Livestock to eradicate the disease.

That, from today’s Billings Gazette.

…eradicate the disease”? From Yellowstone?

While the Bridger-Teton National Forest, to the south, is approving new leases on Wyoming state elk feedgrounds?

While the National Elk Refuge continue to feed elk?

That’s just plain lunacy speaking, Ms. Lewis. I simply can’t see it any other way. Maybe someone can please – please tell me why I’m wrong to think that.

It’s time for the NPS and Montana and the livestock industry to put pressure on Wyoming (and the USFS and the National Elk Refuge – a branch of the USFWS) to stop feeding wildlife, for Christ’s sake.

Until then, you’ll be pissin’ $$$$$$ into thin air doing anything else – including rounding up elk and bison to slaughter.

I had to add a new category because of this one: Common Sense.

by jhwygirl

Late Friday, right here in Missoula, U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy granted an injunction requested by Earthjustice and 11 other environmental groups.

While those groups celebrated, Idaho and other state officials weren’t so happy. Neither was the USFWS.

Ed Bangs, of the USFWS

“For an injunction, you have to show irreparable harm,” Bangs said. “The hunting of wolves clearly wouldn’t endanger threatened wolf populations. We thought our delisting was a very biologically sound package.”

And I suppose a temporary injunction does irreparable harm? What’s the harm there?

Guess that throws a wrench into FWP’s plans to allow wolves to be hunted this winter. Wyoming and Idaho had also been planning to open wolves to hunting.

by jhwygirl

State veterinarian Dr. Martin Zaluski is nearing completion of the testing of adjacent herds to the infected cow that cost Montana its brucellosis-free status and is encouraged by the results. So far, none have tested positive.

He’s also had this to say:

“All of the testing so far has focused on ruling out cattle as the potential source,” Zaluski said. “As testing eliminates cattle sources, the likelihood that the infected cow contracted the disease from elk increases.”

What’s odd about that statement is that he’s automatically gone to elk.

Why is the state’s veterinarian reaching to elk as the cause when we’ve been rounding up bison and slaughtering them for what – 12 years now? Maybe more?

Then on other fronts, Bridger Teton National Forest Supervisor Kniffy Hamilton reauthorized 5 Wyoming state-run elk feed grounds on national forest lands for 20 years. She held back on one that doesn’t need re-auth until 2011.

Ever wonder why brucellosis only seems to be a problem in-and-around the Yellowstone ecosystem?

The problem is going to get worse before it ever gets better with Wyoming feeding elk and the USFS approving their feedgrounds.

Meanwhile, one Wyoming rancher was content to spay his whole herd rather than submit to testing. Wyoming recently had a cow test positive for brucellosis.

That’s one way to ensure Wyoming won’t lose its brucellosis-free status.

So, hey – as a solution, I suggest we open up 5 extra tags per hunter for the Gardiner/Livingstone and West Yellowstone areas. I’ll take my 5 all for area 313 please. Should make trophies pretty easy to get, don’t you think?




  • Pages

  • Recent Comments

    Miles on A New Shelter for Vets or an E…
    success rate for In… on Thirty years ago ARCO killed A…
    Warrior for the Lord on The Dark Side of Colorado
    Linda Kelley-Miller on The Dark Side of Colorado
    Dan on A New Shelter for Vets or an E…
    Former Prosecutor Se… on Former Chief Deputy County Att…
    JediPeaceFrog on Montana AG Tim Fox and US Rep.…
  • Recent Posts

  • Blog Stats

    • 1,669,657 hits
  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 2,738 other followers

  • May 2019
    S M T W T F S
    « Oct    
     1234
    567891011
    12131415161718
    19202122232425
    262728293031  
  • Categories