Tuesday, April 13, 2004


Bush accord could revive timber wars Recent Bush administration changes to a management plan for the national forests of the Pacific Northwest threaten to rekindle the timber wars of the 1990s by doubling the timber harvest on federal lands in Northern California, Oregon and Washington. To settle a lawsuit by timber companies, the administration agreed to an amendment to the 1994 Northwest Forest Plan, which covers 24 million acres in 19 national forests and six U.S. Bureau of Land Management districts. California's Shasta-Trinity National Forest and Klamath National Forest are covered by the plan, which marks its 10-year anniversary Tuesday. The plan's changes are engendering discord similar to that which marked the U.S. Forest Service's recent unveiling of its "Forests With A Future" campaign, which will increase the timber cut in the Sierra Nevada as a means of reducing wildfire hazard.... Environmental Group Says Wildlife Managers Deceived Public But the recent capture bothers at least one environmental group: Earth First. The group says when Game and Fish and the Forest Service announced they were scaling back the mountain lion search two weeks ago, they gave the impression that no mountain lions would be captured. “There may be some clever language that they used in there, but it doesn’t change the fact that, fundamentally this was a deception,” said Lenny Molina with Earth First.... WWF: Raise 'Pennies for the Planet' on Earth Day Got some spare change for wildlife? Working with WWF's "Pennies for the Planet" campaign is the perfect activity for Earth Day (April 22). Hundreds of kids have already participated in the campaign this year, raising $15,000 in the past 5 months alone, while learning about wildlife and wild places. "Participating in 'Pennies' is a great way for kids to do something meaningful and fun for Earth Day," said Judy Braus, World Wildlife Fund's education director. "The bottom line is that kids can help the Earth, whether they are restoring their local environment, or collecting pennies for on-the-ground conservation in priority areas around the world.".... Wolf meetings scheduled to explain new rules Federal officials will appear here and in Butte this week to explain a proposed loosening of protections on wolves, Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., announced Monday. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in March announced a proposal that would hand some wolf management responsibility to state government. The proposal also would give ranchers and wildlife managers more freedom to kill wolves that cause problems. "The big thing is to get the feds out and the state in," said Ed Bangs, wolf recovery leader for FWS in Montana.... Feds To Pay For Seizing Apache Indian's Eagle Feathers U.S. Interior Department has been ordered to pay $48,818 to a Silver City man for his legal costs in a battle over eagle feathers. U.S. District Judge Christina Armijo ordered the agency to pay Joseluis Saenz, a Chiricahua Apache whose eagle feathers were seized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1996. He uses the feathers in religious ceremonies.... Lawsuit planned to protect wildlife Environmentalists yesterday took their first legal step to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to extend protections of the Endangered Species Act to a bird, three butterflies and eight kinds of pocket gophers found in the Puget Sound region. The Tucson, Ariz.-based Center for Biological Diversity and other groups said the government had found the species warranted protection, but were precluded from it by the Fish and Wildlife Service's workload. The agency has said much of its work stems from suits filed by environmentalists. The conservationists argue that the service has not requested additional money from Congress to carry out its responsibilities.... Reported Cougar Sightings Keep Kids Away from a PA Playground School officials in this Bradford County community are keeping pupils away from a playground because of multiple reports of a mountain lion sighting. Jerry Feaser, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Game Commission, said Friday that wildlife officers in the area were investigating the claim. "At least three credible people saw the mountain lion," Canton schools superintendent Robert Jannone said Thursday. School officials said two people have reported seeing a mountain lion within 100 yards of Canton Elementary School, which has a playground surrounded by a chain-link fence.... MSU researcher recommends bolder response to mountain lions People who encounter mountain lions should respond more aggressively than previously thought, according to a Montana State University-Bozeman researcher. Marc Kenyon has studied hundreds of mountain lion attacks in the Western Hemisphere. His findings indicate that people should charge mountain lions instead of merely standing their ground. They should make loud, continuous noises rather than firing their guns once or twice. "The data supports it well, and we feel confident saying that," Kenyon said.... Wildlife, humans clash on America's urban frontier Home, home on the range, where the deer and the antelope play, eat shrubs, cause traffic jams, and give birth on your front lawn. Whether it is deer in Montana, black bears in New Jersey, mountain lions in California, or bison in Wyoming, wildlife is becoming accustomed to city life, sometimes with tragic results. In Helena, Montana, up to 500 mule deer live within the city limits, and their number is growing.... Cell phone chatterers alter National Park landscape Cell phones have long been virtually unavoidable on city streets and in shopping malls. But they now are showing up in some of the very places people go to get away from it all: national parks. For park managers, this is a challenge. Officials with the National Park Service say they want to meet the needs of visitors and provide for their safety. But they also must protect the park and the visitor experience. And there is no set policy on how to strike this balance.... Dust bowl dry Drought conditions described as being worse than the infamous Dust Bowl of the 1930s have forced Lake Powell to its lowest level in more than 30 years. At the end of last week, the lake's water level was 117 feet below its fill line or at just 42 percent of capacity. Its surface elevation of 3,383 feet above sea level is the lowest it's been since 1970 when the gigantic reservoir, completed in 1966, was still filling.... Timber turnaround The timber sale, dubbed Flea Flicker, began less than a year after a vehicle's hot catalytic converter started a fire last summer that burned more than 80 acres of land managed by the Roseburg Bureau of Land Management. The salvage sale was sold to Scott Timber Co. in February of this year and will yield about half a million board feet. That's the kind of immediate action many in the community would like to see after fires.... Timber Town of Powers, Ore., Sees Its Economy Dwindling Away In the flush days two decades past, log trucks heavy with old growth rolled through town as if on a conveyor belt. Powers, a plucky community in the coastal mountains of Southwestern Oregon, had overcome the closure of its mill and railway spur back in the early 1970s. Just about anyone willing to work had a job. Powers was alive -- and by some measure thriving -- by the grace of timber from the Siskiyou National Forest. The town had a movie house and a roller skating rink, four gas stations and five saloons. A lone police officer restored peace when loggers spilled into the streets for a fight. The bustle is gone now. Enactment of the Northwest Forest Plan in 1994 left logging in the Siskiyou a shadow of the past. Ten years later, many here remain angry.... Teen gets prison sentence for environmental sabotage Decrying environmental sabotage as “extremely troubling” and “arrogant,” a federal judge Monday sentenced a member of the radical Earth Liberation Front to 42 months in prison for a 2002 vandalism spree in greater Richmond that damaged new homes, SUVs, construction equipment and fast-food restaurants. Aaron Labe Linas , 19 , apologized in court for the property attacks – called “direct actions” by ELF, an underground environmental group considered a domestic terrorist organization by the FBI – and said he accepted his punishment. Linas is the first of three former students at Douglas S. Freeman High School in Henrico County to be sentenced for conspiring to cause more than $200,000 in damage to vehicles and structures that ELF views as contributing to greed and environmental ruin. It is the first time in Virginia that such a case has come to trial.... Klamath River could fare better this year This year's water picture on the Klamath River appears to be a bit brighter than in other recent years when farms lost irrigation water and salmon went belly up. Farms in the Upper Klamath Basin will receive full deliveries of water, provided extremely hot or very wet conditions don't set in, said the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. And water being purchased from farmers by the federal government should improve the lot for salmon downstream. The operations plan was released at a Klamath Water Users Association meeting this week. Reclamation is buying some 75,000 acre feet of water -- 24 billion gallons -- from farms in the upper basin for about $4.2 million. That water bank will bolster flows from Iron Gate Dam to the lower Klamath River, flows that might otherwise mimic conditions in the fall of 2002, when 34,000 salmon died in the hot, shallow river.... County attorney mulls DCI wolf report A decision is expected this week on whether Park County will pursue charges against a federal agency in connection with the release of wolves near Meeteetse in February. Park County Attorney Bryan Skoric said the Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) looked into the incident involving rancher Randy Kruger, who alleges four tranquilized wolves were illegally released on Larsen Ranch Co. land south of Meeteetse on Feb. 14. Skoric said DCI Special Agent Steve Herrmann of Powell spent more than two weeks investigating the allegations. Herrmann met with Skoric on Thursday to report his findings.... Cheney:Experts to Discuss Beef with Japan Vice President Dick Cheney said on Tuesday the Japanese government had invited U.S. experts to Tokyo next week to discuss Japan's ban on U.S. beef imports and he hoped this would lead to a resumption in beef trade. Japan stopped importing U.S. beef in late December after the United States reported a case of mad cow disease -- formally known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) -- in Washington state.... It's All Trew: Marbles, jacks, tops were cool in their day Does anyone remember standing at the candy counter in a local store, trying to decide on which "penny candy" to spend your money? Forget about larger denomination coins, candy bars and sacks of candy. Think pennies, jaw-breakers either red or green, hoar hound drops, licorice sticks and salt-water taffy. Hard rock candy lasted longer but that marshmallow peanut or banana looked mighty tempting. For many, this was the first real-life lesson in decision making.... West Side cowboy honored for true grit It's never been about roping or wrestling a steer. It's never been about busting out of the chute and riding a bucking beast until the roar of the crowd drowned out the blare of the eight-second horn. Oh sure, Phil Stadtler did all of those things over the course of his 84 years. But he chose a much grander arena than Oakdale's Saddle Club grounds or San Francisco's famed Cow Palace. Stadtler's arena was bigger than the American West itself. It stretched deep into Mexico, and east all the way to Florida, where he often ventured to buy cattle....

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