Wednesday, March 16, 2005

NEWS ROUNDUP

Wolf trapped, released after 2 calves were killed State and federal officials have released a female wolf that was trapped near Avon after two calves were killed during a 10-day period. The decision was based on a January federal court ruling that restored the classification of wolves to endangered, except for experimental populations around Yellowstone National Park and in Minnesota. But a federal wolf manager said he believes the radio-collared wolf would have been released without the ruling by the Oregon judge. Rancher Tim Quigley, who lost a calf over the weekend, said watching the wolf being released Tuesday morning was frustrating. "The wolves come in, get my calf, we catch it and they turn it loose. Watching it lope across my meadow, knowing it's going to be back among my cattle -- I'm kind of a quiet guy, but this really gets me going."....
Researchers predict lingering drought; warn of fire risk Dry conditions in the Pacific Northwest have the region primed for a severe fire season, according to researchers from the U.S. Forest Service and Oregon State University. In a forecast issued Tuesday, the scientists — who combine global climate models with vegetation databases to project wildfire risk — predict the unusually dry winter to linger into spring. "It is going to become extremely dry in many parts of the Pacific Northwest and northern Rocky Mountain states, and the fire risk is going to be significantly higher than normal," said Ronald Neilson, a bioclimatologist with the U.S. Forest Service and professor of botany at Oregon State. "There is nothing to indicate a wet spring."....
Judge denies emergency halt to Biscuit salvage logging A federal judge Tuesday denied the latest request from environmentalists to impose an emergency halt to salvage logging in an old growth forest reserve burned in the 2002 Biscuit fire. Meanwhile, loggers were able to go to work unhindered on the Fiddler timber sale on the Siskiyou National Forest after the U.S. Forest Service closed off the area to keep out protesters who have interfered with operations three times over the past nine days. Three of the 27 protesters in the Josephine County Jail on charges they interfered with the logging said they were on a hunger strike to protest the criminal charges against them and jail conditions....
Column: A Line in the Ancient Forest On Monday, March 7 industrial logging of massive trees began in "protected" old-growth forest reserves in the Siskiyou Wild Rivers Area of the Siskiyou National Forest in Southwestern Oregon. This is the first time that logging of this magnitude has occurred in old-growth forest reserves (called Late Successional Reserves) since the creation of the Northwest Forest Plan over ten years ago. This industrial logging of old-growth forests is part of the Biscuit Logging Project, the largest Forest Service timber sale in modern history. Thirty square miles of ancient forests and inventoried roadless wildlands will be destroyed as the Forest Service intends to log 370 million board feet of trees, enough to fill 74,000 log trucks lined up for over 600 miles. Nearly 50 citizens have been arrested in the past week in an attempt to delay the logging with peaceful, non-violent road blockades, and as 75 year-old Joan Norman said as she was being arrested, "We have no laws protecting our forests so we will be the law."....
New Fairy Shrimp Species Found in Idaho Biologists with the Idaho National Guard have discovered a new species of fairy shrimp living in the oft-dry lake beds of Idaho's desert. Though they look delicate enough to match their name, they are strong enough to survive, unhatched, for years in the baking heat of summer and the frozen tundra of winter until enough rain falls and the pools return. Once they awaken they live a few frenzied weeks, mating and leaving behind tiny cyst-like offspring, and die. "This is a large, predatory fairy shrimp. This guy is about three inches long. That is huge for a fairy shrimp," biologist Dana Quinney said Tuesday during a press conference announcing the discovery. There are already about 300 species of fairy shrimp worldwide, Quinney said, but only three other species boast the size of the newly discovered ones....
Rep. Cardoza's Critical Habitat Enhancement Measure Receives Strong Builder Support The nation’s home builders today expressed strong support for a bipartisan bill introduced by Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.) that is designed to ensure species’ protection and accommodate the needs of the communities and states where endangered species reside. “We believe that the ‘Critical Habitat Enhancement Act of 2005,’ offers a real legislative solution to the current crisis regarding critical habitat,” said NAHB President David Wilson, a custom home builder from Ketchum, Idaho. “The Endangered Species Act (ESA) has fallen far short of its goals, recovering only 1 percent of the 1,300 protected species. It needs to be updated in order to protect, conserve and recover America’s species, while balancing the needs of the communities in which we live and work.” Noting that House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo (R-Calif.) has been a long-time proponent of ESA reform, Wilson added that NAHB looks forward to working with Reps. Pombo, Cardoza and other members of the House panel to move this legislation forward....
National Park Service urges restraint on new heritage sites A proposed national heritage area in eastern Kansas would highlight violent events that led to the Civil War, a supporter told members of Congress Tuesday. A National Park Service official, however, urged lawmakers to defer legislation authorizing any additional national heritage sites until Congress establishes a uniform system of guidelines for deciding what areas are nationally significant. Sens. Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts, both Kansas Republicans, introduced legislation earlier this year to designate the Bleeding Kansas and Enduring Struggle for Freedom National Heritage Area, which would include 24 counties in eastern Kansas....
Rift widens in pines When Tom Tilford bought the historic Molly Butler Lodge, he imagined peace and quiet and many lazy days of watching the Little Colorado River meander among the meadows here in one of the state's most scenic mountain communities. The furthest thing from his mind, Tilford said, was a scenario like what happened one recent day: His wife walked into the local post office and heard four people talking loudly about how Tilford is a "pillager and rapist of the land" because he sells real estate on the side. That's just one of many examples of the ongoing battle threatening to tear apart this Rocky Mountain-like village, which has a year-round population of 150, because of development fears in one of Arizona's most pristine summer playlands....
Though land is poisoned, Calif water districts lock in supplies But now they have to leave. The land is useless for farming, poisoned by years of irrigation with salty water pumped in from the San Joaquin-Sacramento river delta, more than 100 miles away. "It's the water here. It's bad, salty," said Sixto Rodriguez, who like Gonzalez, has until August to uproot his family and find a new job. Reyes Rodriguez, Sixto's nephew, also is being forced out. On the west side of California's wide and thirsty Central Valley, salt damage is inexorably taking tens of thousands of acres out of production. Some see this as an opportunity to free up the water for other uses. Instead, irrigation districts are quietly renegotiating contracts with the federal government that lock in - for at least 25 more years - control over the same amount of subsidized water they've received for 40 years. What it amounts to, critics say, is a government giveaway, guaranteeing the districts a stream of profits for decades to come - perhaps even after the land involved is no longer farmed....
Las Vegas water officials get an earful about pipeline plan A nearly $2 billion plan to pump groundwater from rural Nevada and pipe it to Las Vegas is logically and morally wrong, according to one member of a Southern Nevada Water Authority advisory panel. "When an area loses its water, it loses its future," said Dean Baker, a longtime eastern Nevada rancher and member of the Integrated Water Planning Advisory Committee. Water authority officials were expected to hear similar concerns during a public open house Tuesday in the White Pine County seat of Ely....
Private fields could open To address diminishing hunting acreage and sporting opportunities for Americans, U.S. Sens. Kent Conrad, North Dakota Democrat, and Pat Roberts, Kansas Republican, have introduced a new version of what is known as the "Open Fields" bill. If successful, the legislation will open millions of acres of private land and water to hunters and anglers while offering farmers, ranchers and foresters a chance to bring new income into their operations. A companion bill was introduced in the House by Reps. Tom Osborne, Nebraska Republican, and Earl Pomeroy, North Dakota Democrat. The bill, officially known as the "Voluntary Public Access and Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program Act of 2005," would fund grants to state and tribal access programs and encourage expansion and improvement of fish and wildlife habitat....
An ag ambassador "How can you raise animals and then sell them, knowing they will be killed?" "Do you have electricity?" "Are there schools where you live?" "I was wondering, how long does it (take) to harvest your crops and send them to the store?" Those were just a few of the questions asked of Jason Williams, 32-year-old Kaycee-area rancher, during a visit to Edgewood Middle School in West Covina, Calif., in January. "It's unbelievable how sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders in urban schools have absolutely no concept of Wyoming or anything about ranch life," Williams said. That's something that he and other members of a new organization called Provider Pals want to change....
Japanese Officials Tell R-CALF Actions Will Delay Re-opening Border R-CALF placed a half-page lobby-type ad in today's Washington Post, thanking the U.S. Senate for passing a resolution (52-46) that would, if it passed the House and was signed into law by President Bush (both unlikely events) do what a district court judge in Billings, Montana (Judge Richard Cebull) has already helped R-CALF accomplish: maintain the closure of the U.S.-Canadian border to live cattle under 30 months of age. The ad urges the House of Representatives to support the resolution of disapproval "against USDA's weakening of U.S. import standards." The ad was paid for by the Ranchers Cattlemen Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers of America (www.r-calfusa.com).It includes R-CALF friendly quotes. What the ad does not say is what some Japanese officials reportedly told R-CALF in a recent meeting with them -- that R-CALF's actions have helped delay the time that it will take Japan to resume imports of American beef. Japanese sources told me that, "R-CALF officials were perplexed when we told them they are part of the problem."....
82 Organizations Support House Resolution to Protect U.S. Beef Supply In a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives today, 82 farm and consumer groups urged support of House Joint Resolution 23, which rejects the Agriculture Department's plan to reestablish live cattle and beef trade with countries that have documented cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). "National Farmers Union and others applaud the efforts of Representatives Herseth and Cubin for introducing this legislation on behalf of U.S. beef producers and consumers," said NFU President Dave Frederickson. "Immediate passage of this resolution should be the House of Representative's highest priority." The full text of the letter and groups follows:....
Rancher Dissatisfied with Chupacabra DNA Results Remember the Elmendorf Beast? That mystery animal a rancher shot dead on his property in South Bexar County? The man who found it is hoping to get new DNA results. Devin MacAnally says he has received the results of a DNA test, but he won't reveal them. He says he’s not happy with the results. Representatives from Texas Parks and Wildlife speculate that it’s a coyote with mange. The hairless beast with sharp teeth sparked speculation that the animal was a Chupacabra of South Texas folklore. MacAnally says he plans to look for someone else to do a new DNA test. He hopes to make those arrangements in the next couple of weeks....

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