Saturday, June 18, 2005


Rustlers on the prowl A little bit of classic history played out under cover of the South Texas stars last month, with someone rustling 22 head of cattle from Peter Loonam's ranch. In the old days, those caught rustling cattle often found themselves running from an armed posse or dangling from the judicial branch of a large oak tree. Nowadays, they're running from a sophisticated computer database and DNA testing. But cattle ranchers around the state are finding that increasing numbers of rustlers are willing to take that chance. With cattle prices up as much as 50 percent and a larger number of "absentee ranchers" unavailable to guard their herds, thousands of stolen cattle are winding up at local livestock markets fetching prices as high as $1,300 each....
Rancher’s plan to slow down trucks hits a bump in road Building a speed bump across a county road without the county’s knowledge is not recommended. A local rancher — frustrated with trucks whizzing past his homestead and ranchlands at break neck speed to a nearby oil and gas drilling site — took matters into his own hands. He built a speed bump to slow them down. Fred Beard, whose ranch is located on County Road 772 (Means Road) south of the city, said he had complained to no avail to the Eddy County Sheriff’s Department on numerous occasions. “I don’t know who reported that I built the speed bump. I would tend to believe it was one of the oilfield trucking companies. I think they had a lot of nerve. They most probably were mad that they had to slow down,” Beard said. “I think the lion’s share of truckers do drive safely, but it’s the few that make it bad for everyone. “It’s not just one trucking company. It’s most of them that come through here that drive too fast,” he said. Beard said when the county asked him to remove the speed bump, he complied, with the help of the county’s road department....
Rancher kills black bear LaMoyne Wahl was sleeping early Tuesday when his wife awoke him to report that their two dogs had gone up a hill near their ranch 8 miles north of Loomis and were barking. Wahl grabbed his rifle and went after the dogs. He found them fighting with a bear. "So I shot the bear once and he turned around and charged me," Wahl said. "Then I shot him again. "I knew I wasn't going to get a third shot off, so I turned and ran," he said. After about 10 steps, the bear bit him in the calf. Wahl sicced a dog named Shaggy on the bear, and the dog distracted the animal by biting into its side. Wahl managed to reload his rifle, put the barrel to the bear's neck and pull the trigger. The bear collapsed....


Two NMSU rodeo athletes have made it to the championship round of the CNFR, where they bring back the top twelve in each event after three complete go rounds.

Nate Mortensen, a freshman from Virden, NM and a heeler, is sitting in third place in the team roping with his partner Chance Means of Central Arizona College.

Wacey Walraven, a freshman from Datil, NM is sitting in fifth place in the tie down roping.

Wish us good luck tonight!


Rainbow Family Blocked in Forest U.S. Forest Service authorities have denied a permit application for the 2005 National Rainbow Gathering, but campers say they are going in anyway. Meanwhile, a U.S. Forest Service roadblock has separated many campers from family, friends and food supplies. When the counterculture group last gathered in West Virginia 25 years ago, two women hitchhiking to the event were murdered in Pocahontas County. Those murders remain unsolved. The Rainbow Family group announced earlier this month that the gathering would return to West Virginia, bringing thousands of nature lovers to a chosen site. Dozens of the group have arrived in the state as part of a scouting group in advance of a major event at the end of the month, expected to bring thousands to eastern West Virginia. The site they appear to have chosen, however, has left them at odds with the U.S. Forest Service over the safety of several endangered species and the permit process. "They (Rainbows) can come out, they just can't return," U.S. Forest Service's Rainbow Family Incident Team Information Officer Steve Stein said. "This is an unapproved site and they need to come out."....
Land Study on Grazing Denounced The Bush administration altered critical portions of a scientific analysis of the environmental impact of cattle grazing on public lands before announcing Thursday that it would relax regulations limiting grazing on those lands, according to scientists involved in the study. A government biologist and a hydrologist, who both retired this year from the Bureau of Land Management, said their conclusions that the proposed new rules might adversely affect water quality and wildlife, including endangered species, were excised and replaced with language justifying less stringent regulations favored by cattle ranchers. Grazing regulations, which affect 160 million acres of public land in the Western U.S., set the conditions under which ranchers may use that land, and guide government managers in determining how many cattle may graze, where and for how long without harming natural resources. The original draft of the environmental analysis warned that the new rules would have a "significant adverse impact" on wildlife, but that phrase was removed. The bureau now concludes that the grazing regulations are "beneficial to animals." Eliminated from the final draft was another conclusion that read: "The Proposed Action will have a slow, long-term adverse impact on wildlife and biological diversity in general." Also removed was language saying how a number of the rule changes could adversely affect endangered species....
Saltwater spills near Fryburg About 42,000 gallons of saltwater byproduct from oil drilling spilled from a ruptured pipeline near Fryburg, in southwestern North Dakota, the U.S. Forest Service says. Some of the saltwater flowed into Frank's Creek, but the Forest Service said the stream does not contain fish. Denver-based Whiting Petroleum, which owns the pipeline, notified authorities on Wednesday. The company has been flushing the area with fresh water....
Fire: friend or foe? John Muir once described riding a horse around Lake Tahoe without once having to remove his hat. The trees were so tall and spread out, not one branch could have knocked it off. Now, because of a century of fire suppression, Tahoe's forests are much different. Once dominated by wide-open, old-growth forest, with towering sugar and Jeffrey pines, it is now composed more and more of dense white fir. Old growth now makes up only 5 percent of the forest. Tahoe's dense forests have many worried the basin will undergo a devastating catastrophic fire. Still, experts contend fire was once an integral part of a healthy Tahoe ecosystem....
Waging war on the weed The U.S. Forest Service on Thursday deployed a special weapon against a tough weed that has infested portions of the Pike National Forest southwest of Denver. In a rocky canyon bottom carved by the South Platte River, biologists unleashed a quarter- million tiny flea beetles to dine on clusters of leafy spurge that have infiltrated the Buffalo Creek burn. Other releases will turn hundreds of thousands more beetles loose on the weed in other areas of the forest. The beetle offensive is part of a concerted war against leafy spurge, one of the most rapacious invasive plants in the West. The weed has taken over almost 3 million acres, costs ranchers up to $45 million a year, and has been a bane to wildlife and native plants....
Editorial: Governor should petition to protect pristine areas The Clinton administration's Roadless Rule, overturned last month by President Bush, protected 4 million acres of Utah's national forest land. A new policy puts the fate of those forests more squarely into the hands of Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. The Clinton rule had its flaws, but the Bush plan could threaten precious water sources and some of the last refuges for recreation and wildlife unless governors make a study of its impacts and petition for continued protection. So far, unfortunately, Huntsman seems content to let the U.S. Forest Service's management plans dictate the future of the forests in Utah. That could lead to more development, primarily by oil and gas companies that, in today's energy market, have a huge economic incentive to move operations into wild areas. We urge the governor to step forward and embrace his role in the far-reaching decisions that will profoundly affect the last of the relatively unspoiled forests that belong to all Utahns and, indeed, to all Americans....
Tadpoles of endangered toad to be released Good news for the endangered Wyoming toad: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to reintroduce several hundred more Wyoming toad tadpoles in Albany County. The Wyoming toad is the only toad in the Laramie Basin, and the basin is the toad's only home. The toad was listed as endangered in 1984 and thought to have gone extinct in 1987, although toads were later found at Mortenson Lake, southwest of Laramie. Thousands of toads have since been bred in captivity and released, with mixed results. The latest release is planned on private land near Centennial and the Mortenson Lake National Wildlife Refuge. It's part of a "safe harbor" agreement between the Fish and Wildlife Service and the owner of the land, a nonprofit group called the Buford Foundation....
Changes for grizzly death levels sought A group of state and federal officials is recommending changing what is considered an acceptable level of grizzly bear deaths in the greater Yellowstone area. Some conservationists fear changing the so-called mortality thresholds for the region's federally protected grizzlies could lead to more dead bears, particularly in Wyoming, a state that's home to many of the bears and of residents who are less than enthusiastic about their presence. But a federal wildlife official said Friday he doesn't expect deaths to rise much as a result. Rather, Chris Servheen said, the planned change is intended to allow wildlife officials to better track how - and how many - bears are dying. "The goal is to do a better job of accounting for mortalities," said Servheen, grizzly bear recovery coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Officials want to change the acceptable mortality limits for bears from 4 percent for both sexes to 9 percent for females and 15 percent for males. A management review would be triggered if the mortality limits were exceeded for two straight years, Servheen said. Servheen said the proposed method, backed by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee, would also track all bear deaths, not just those caused by humans....
National Wildlife Federation sues Corps over Florida snail kite The snail kite population around this troubled lake has been nearly devastated and its designated habitat has become significantly impaired in the past decade, the National Wildlife Federation said Friday. The NWF blames the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the setback because it failed to create a program that would have monitored the effects of changing lake levels on the endangered, protected bird. The group said it plans to sue the Corps because it violated rules established by the Endangered Species Act by failing to protect the bird and its 100,000 acres of critical habitat....
'Privacy' a bar to disclosure of electronic GIS maps by FEMA Electronic maps maintained by the Federal Emergency Management Agency do not have to be given to a non-profit environmental group under the personal privacy exemption of the Freedom of Information Act, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Denver (10th Cir.) ruled Tuesday. FEMA argued and the court agreed that releasing electronic versions of Geographic Information System maps could allow the group, Forest Guardians, to match mapping data with other data to deduce the names and addresses of policyholders under the National Flood Insurance Program. Policyholders' identities are protected by Exemption 6 of the FOI Act, the court said. Forest Guardians first requested the data in January 2001 to geographically trace how federally subsidized flood insurance affects endangered species in New Mexico floodplains. "The government's decision to provide insurance fragments and mars one of our most sensitive and valuable landscapes" by encouraging further floodplain development, Forest Guardians employee John Horning said in an organization news release....
Extra water won't help fish, feds say The federal government is asking an appeals court to throw out a judge's order to spill extra water over Columbia Basin hydroelectric dams to help salmon this summer, arguing there is no hard evidence it will help fish, and claiming that the judge exceeded his authority. The U.S. Department of Justice filed a motion late Wednesday in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco on behalf of NOAA Fisheries, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which operate the dams. The appeal came after a federal judge in Portland found the government's plan for minimizing the harm to endangered salmon by the hydroelectric system in the Columbia Basin violated the Endangered Species Act....
Policy adds protection for salmon A new federal policy issued Thursday puts 131 strains of hatchery salmon under Endangered Species Act protection along with their wild cousins, but allows those raised artificially to still be harvested by fishermen. While counting hatchery fish along with wild fish under the new policy, NOAA Fisheries decided against taking 15 populations of salmon and steelhead off the threatened and endangered species lists, added lower Columbia River coho to the threatened list, and decided to wait six months before deciding what to do with 10 listed populations of steelhead and Oregon coastal coho. Both the review of Endangered Species Act status for all West Coast salmon and steelhead and the new hatchery policy were prompted by a 2001 federal court ruling that NOAA Fisheries could no longer consider the same strains of salmon and steelhead different just because one spawned naturally in the wild and one was spawned artificially in a hatchery....
A Look At The Forests Three Years After The Rodeo-Chediski Fire It’s hard to believe that three years have passed since the devastating Rodeo-Chediski fire burned a half-million acres of forestland. As the third anniversary of the Rodeo fire is Saturday, the Tribune-News looks back to see what happened, and what has changed since then. The Rodeo fire was reported June 18, near the Rodeo Fairgrounds in Cibecue. At that time, it was suspicious, so fire teams had an arson investigator called in to investigate. By nightfall, more than 1,000 acres had burned. By June 19, the fire had burned 53,900 acres, and many in the Clay Springs, Pinedale, Linden and Fools Hollow areas were placed on high alert. By the following day, 70,800 acres had burned, and many residents in the area were hit with another problem, the Chediski fire, started by a lost hiker trying to signal for help....
Column: Elvis, Wolves, and The Death of Environmentalism In a provocative speech delivered last year to the Environmental Grantmaker's Association, Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger declared that environmentalism was dead. Since then, many influential environmental leaders have joined in this "Death Debate." These leaders are disputing the movement's efficacy, especially over the last ten years as anti-environmental sentiment and policy-making have curtailed past environmental gains. Resolution in this debate remains elusive; the only certainty is that environmentalism's death is as questionable as Elvis' but lacks his celebrity appeal. At the same time that environmentalism supposedly died, however, one of the greatest environmental success stories in history was playing out on the landscapes of the rural West. Typical of doom-and-gloom environmentalists, many of us ignored this extraordinary success and focused on other failures. In-so-doing, we missed two things we need most: 1) the lessons our movement's celebrities -- wolves -- can teach us, and 2) hope. The Death Debate has primarily pitted a group of urban think-tank environmentalists against the urban-based leaders of the larger mainstream environmental organizations. While their differences are pronounced, the adversaries are all calling for a realignment of environmentalism with a broader "progressive movement" in America. Pieces of this realignment include more diversity inspired environmental-justice funding, more leftist-inspired anti-globalization campaigns, myriad urban programs focused on transit development and green building, and broad-scale coalitions to address global warming. While debate continues to rage about these urban and suburban issues, participants have ignored discussing rural America and the environmental stories playing out on rural landscapes....


Friday, June 17, 2005


Man Says He'll Leave Treasure Hidden in Desert The family of a man who claims to have found millions of dollars worth of gold and antique guns in a desert cave says he's tired of dealing with the federal government and plans to just leave the cache where he found it. Scott Taylor has been a virtual recluse since news broke this week on two Salt Lake television stations that he allegedly stumbled across a lost fortune while hiking on public land in west Utah about a month and a half ago. Taylor claims he found 280 gold bricks with "U-S Cavalry" stamped on each; two Civil War-era rifles; a six-shooter; and dynamite. But the Bureau of Land Management and others say Scott Taylor is the only who claims to have seen this loot. The Taylors counter the goverment isn't willing to share a finder's fee for the cache. The B-L-M says it's NOT their place to negotiate, and if the gold really has 'U-S Cavalry' on it, then it belongs to the Army....
Feds develop plan to use oil reserve The federal government is launching a process that could lead to oil leases in a reserve encompassing a southwestern section of Alaska's North Slope. The Bureau of Land Management begins a series of public meetings in July to discuss possible uses for the southwestern part of the National Petroleum Reserve Alaska, a Bureau of Land Management official in Anchorage confirmed Friday. The meetings will focus on use of 9.2 million acres in the southwest portion of the 23-million-acre reserve....
COURT ORDERS BUSH ADMINISTRATION TO RELEASE SOME ENERGY RECORDS, BUT SOME TO REMAIN SECRET In a mixed ruling today, a federal appellate court upheld a lower court decision that the Bush administration improperly withheld documents related to fast-tracking federal energy projects. However, the court also ruled that the administration could continue to withhold the records of key staffers of Vice President Cheney's energy task force. The D.C. Court of Appeals found that Ronald Montagna, a Bureau of Land Management official, remained an employee of the Interior Department while serving on the White House Task Force on Energy Project Streamlining. As a result, the court ordered the agency to search and publicly disclose records related to Mr. Montagna's work on that task force. The streamlining task force has aggressively opened public lands to energy development at the expense of environmental protection and public participation, according to NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council). Also in today's decision, the court rebuffed NRDC's efforts to obtain additional documents related to Vice President Cheney's secret energy task force....
New grazing rules mean less down time New rules for livestock grazing on 160 million acres of federal lands were welcomed by ranchers but criticized by environmentalists. The regulations issued Thursday by the Interior Department will require ranchers to either use the grazing lands they lease from the government or give up their permits so others can use them. Any ranchers who leave acreage idle for more than a year could lose their grazing permits, which are generally issued for 10 years. The department’s Bureau of Land Management had been letting people keep the permits as long as they didn’t go more than three years without using the acreage for grazing....

BLM Publishes Final Environmental Impact Study on Changes to Grazing Regulations

The Bureau of Land Management today announced the availability of a final environmental impact study that concludes upcoming grazing regulation changes will produce long-term benefits for public rangelands. An official notice of the study’s availability will be published in the Federal Register on Friday, June 17, 2005. “This environmental impact analysis underscores grazing’s role as a vital use of public lands in the rural West,” said Rebecca Watson, assistant secretary of the Interior for Land and Minerals. “The revisions will improve BLM’s management of public lands ranching, an activity that not only supports rural economies, but also preserves open space and wildlife habitat in the rapidly growing West.” The final environmental impact study, posted on BLM’s national Web site (, analyzes the impact of the upcoming grazing regulation revisions, including their ecological, cultural, social, and economic effects. More specifically, the study examines the impact of a grazing management option that tracks with the provisions of the upcoming grazing regulation changes, as well as the effects of two other management alternatives. The new grazing regulations, to be published next month in the Federal Register, are aimed at improving BLM’s working relationships with public lands ranchers. The revisions also reflect the agency’s commitment to managing the public lands for multiple uses, including grazing, while ensuring the health and productivity of these lands. The revisions will retain key elements of the “Rangeland Reform” initiative that revised grazing regulations nearly a decade ago. Specifically, the regulations will continue the role of BLM’s Resource Advisory Councils, composed of citizens across the West who advise and make recommendations to the agency on public-land issues. The revised regulations will also leave intact the rangeland health standards and guidelines developed by the RACs....

Go here(pdf)to view a Fact Sheet on the grazing regs.

Go here(pdf)to view a Q&A on the grazing regs.

BLM and Forest Service Seek Public Comments on the Fourth Edition of the Gold Book

The Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service (USFS) have released a draft updated version of the Gold Book for public review and comments. The official title of the updated fourth edition is Surface Operating Standards for Oil and Gas Development. The revised edition introduces best business practices (BBPs) to help further improve the processing of Applications for Permits to Drill (APDs) and environmental best management practices (BMPs) designed to reduce the environmental impacts of energy exploration and production. The public will have (30 days) until July 10, 2005, to comment on the draft. The Gold Book outlines procedures for conducting oil and gas operations on BLM- and USFS-managed lands and split-estate lands. The most recent update of the book was more than 15 years ago. The revised version will include updated drawings, photographs, tables, references, policy, orders and regulations. Copies of the draft Gold Book and instructions for providing comments can be found at: Following the public review and comment period, an interagency team will review submissions and incorporate appropriate changes in the final Fourth Edition. The final version will be available on the Internet prior to being printed....


US cow may have rare BSE strain

A rare and puzzling form of mad cow disease that some believe arises spontaneously may have afflicted the U.S. animal that tested positive for the ailment last week, a senior Agriculture Department scientist told Reuters. The USDA has sent a sample of the suspect animal's brain to an internationally recognized laboratory in England to pinpoint if the animal has bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). The USDA said it could take another week to complete final tests. Juergen Richt, a member of the USDA team in Ames, Iowa that already tested the animal, said the unusual test results could point to a relatively new strain of BSE that infects cattle sporadically, instead of from eating contaminated food. But he said it was too early to draw a conclusion about the aging, beef animal was slaughtered last November and incinerated because it was a "downer" unable to walk, and banned from the human food supply. "Nobody knows for sure yet, but the theory is it could be a spontaneous bovine disease," said the veterinarian medical officer. "There are some hallmark signs that this could be an atypical case." Since then, scientists in France, Italy, Japan and Belgium have discovered at least two new BSE strains that differ from the outbreak that swept European herds in the 1980s. Cattle brains infected with the two new strains resemble brains of humans diagnosed with classical Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a rare and fatal form of dementia that infects one in a million people worldwide, researchers said. Some experts believe the new BSE strains could arise naturally within cattle, for reasons that remain unknown. "The jury is still out on this," Richt said. "Is it infectious? That's the $100,000 question." Experts expressed concern about the possibility of an animal developing BSE spontaneously. Richt said a naturally occurring BSE strain would probably infect other cattle. "Sporadic BSE in cattle would most likely be infectious for other cattle, but no one can tell you yet if it's infectious for humans," he said. Scientists were years away from answering these questions, Richt added. But he said any carcasses infected with a new strain should be treated as any other BSE-infected animal and segregated from human and animal feed supplies. Richt considered the current suspect animal a good candidate for the atypical strain, with conflicting test results similar to cases in Japan and Belgium....

World's First Live Cattle Diagnostic Test for BSE

Vacci-Test(TM) Corporation today announced that a simple, reliable and economical diagnostic tool for the detection in "live" cattle of infectious Brain Diseases ("BD"), including Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), will soon be available for use on farms and ranches in Canada and around the world. Designed for the measurement of immunity and the presence of infectious diseases in both humans and animals, patented Vacci-Test(TM) allows for the precise evaluation of the immune status very quickly through a simple blood test. Vacci-Test(TM) BD can determine the presence of a protein marker which identifies brain infections such as BSE in cattle. "A single drop of blood will identify the presence of Protein 14-3-3, the marker for brain infections, including BSE," says Bill Hogan, President and CEO. "This will facilitate affordable mass testing of live cattle in the field with results readable in less than 30 minutes. Furthermore, Vacci-Test(TM)platform can diagnose any kind of bacteria-viruses based infectious diseases in livestock and humans. To this end, we now have 6 additional Vacci-Test(TM)In Vitro diagnostic products ready for commercialization," said Hogan....


Thursday, June 16, 2005


Forest Service ending some recreation fees The Forest Service is eliminating $5 and $10 recreation fees it charges at about 500 picnic areas and trailheads after outdoor enthusiasts and Western lawmakers complained. The fees also could disappear at other recreation areas among thousands operated by the government but will remain at those with parking lots, restrooms and other amenities under a law Congress passed last year. The new law "raises the bar for sites to qualify for charging fees so the public can enjoy more amenities," said Forest Service Chief Dale Bosworth. Nationwide, 61 percent of more than 16,000 sites operated by the Forest Service will be free of charge, officials said....
Songbird found in Calif., first sighting in 60 years A chatty songbird thought to have disappeared from the Central Valley 60 years ago has been spotted nesting in a patch of restored habitat along the San Joaquin River. The least Bell's vireo, a little gray songbird that fits in a closed fist, was once widespread in the Central Valley. It disappeared from the area as the riparian habitat it favors was ripped up to make way for development and agriculture. About 90 percent of the valley's historic riverside vegetation has been lost, said Al Donner, spokesman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The bird was put on the federal endangered species list in 1986, when there were only about 300 pairs left in the low-lying shrubbery along creeks and streams in southern California....
Shooting holes in steel shot myth Roster said approximately 95 percent of all shot fired at waterfowl is steel, so much of the research has focused on steel shot. A long-standing criticism of steel pellets has been it is less dense and loses momentum at longer ranges. Also, hunters feared the harder pellet would damage shotgun barrels and chokes. Roster's conclusion is steel shot is not only an adequate replacement, but is superior to lead in some respects. Research shows steel has better penetration when the shot is the same weight, and actually penetrates better outside of 45 yards. Steel pellets also cause little or no damage to equipment, because the shell wadding is used to protect the barrel from erosion. "Fear not about erosion," Roster said. Roster reminded steel is also the cheapest option, next to lead....
Four Mexican wolves released in Gila Wilderness Federal and state wildlife officials say they have released four Mexican wolves in the Gila Wilderness of southwestern New Mexico. The action comes just before a round of public meetings in the state aimed at reviewing the wolf reintroduction program and considering a one-year moratorium on releases of all but "experienced" wolves. Some area cattle ranchers are upset about the wolf reintroductions, claiming the animals have added to the economic woes of their already precarious industry. "Two adult Mexican gray wolves, one yearling and three pups, were moved to a remote area of the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico this week to increase the number of breeding pairs of wolves in the wild and to add genetic diversity to the wild population," the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and the Mexican Wolf Interagency Field Team say in a joint statement. The pack was moved from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge south of Albuquerque, the officials indicate. The wolves and pups have been in captivity, removed earlier from the Mexican Wolf Recovery Area in Arizona....


Wildlife officials looking for clues in wolf poisoning Wildlife officials say they have no suspects in their investigation into poisoned bait left for wolves in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness in central Idaho. "Poison cases are very hard to make, especially when it's showing up mostly on public land," said Roy Brown, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Servie agent based in Wyoming. "Short of seeing someone put it out, how do you tie it back to people?" On June 3, Fish and Wildlife Service agents confirmed that a male gray wolf found dead last month in the wilderness area was killed by eating meat laced with a gray granular pesticide known as Temik. The pesticide is commonly applied to agricultural crops such as potatoes and sugar beets....
Bill to permit shooting of wolves apparently dead A bill permitting Oregon ranchers to shoot wolves that attack their livestock looks to be dead this legislative session, after some ranchers criticized it for imposing too many conditions. The bill would have relaxed an Oregon law that prohibits killing wolves and would pay ranchers for livestock and dogs injured or killed by wolves. It was a compromise arrived at by some environmental groups, hunters and some ranchers who said it balanced wolf protections and controls. But the Oregon Cattlemen's Association and some others argued there were too many limits on when people could shoot wolves. The plan said wolves could be shot only if they're caught attacking livestock, not before or after an attack....
Fine for illegally killing grizzlies hiked to $8,000 Illegally killing a grizzly bear in Montana will cost poachers a lot more than it used to, but still not as much as a trophy bighorn sheep. House Bill 514 increased the fine for illegally killing a bear from $2,000 to $8,000. The bill went into effect immediately upon passage earlier this spring, so it would cover grizzly bear poachings this year. The grizzly bear is also protected from hunting under both state and federal law. Under federal law, it is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. But most cases of illegally killed bears in the state are prosecuted under state statute. The earlier fine was seen by some bear conservationists as too lenient, considering the fines for killing game animals that aren't threatened....
REPORT SHOWS U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE FAILED TO MAKE PROGRESS PROTECTING NATION’S WILDLIFE The Center for Biological Diversity released a report today demonstrating the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is failing to make “expeditious progress” listing known imperiled species as threatened or endangered as required by the Endangered Species Act. There are currently 286 candidate species that have on average been waiting for protection for 17 years. The Report shows that under the Bush Administration, progress by FWS towards protecting these and other species has crashed to the lowest level since the landmark law was passed in 1974. The report calls for sweeping changes to the listing program, including creating and fully funding a “listing swat team” to protect all of the 286 candidate species caught in the listing backlog in the next five years, and an increase in listing funding to 25 million dollars annually. The report documented that FWS under the Bush Administration has listed the fewest number of species of any Administration, only protecting 30 species for a rate of 7 species per year. This compares to listing of 498 species by FWS under the Clinton Administration for a rate of 65 species per year and 2225 under the elder Bush’s Administration for a rate of 59 species per year. The Bush Administration also is the only Administration to only list species under court here(pdf) to view the report....
Governors seek species act changes Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal joined governors from other Western states Monday in asking Congress to relax the Endangered Species Act. The governors want states to be able to combine federal requirements to deal with several species at the same time, among other changes. The Western Governors' Association has proposed four areas where the Endangered Species Act could be improved to make it more workable and effective: * Increase the role for states. * Increase certainty and technical assistance for landowners and water users. * Increase and stabilize funding for the states. * Streamline provisions in the act, for example, by providing for statewide, multi-species strategies....
Yellowstone grizzlies no longer endangered Federal wildlife officials say they plan to propose ending Endangered Species Act protection for grizzly bears around Yellowstone National Park. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service could make the proposal as early as next month, said Chris Servheen, grizzly recovery coordinator with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He said delisting is being considered because the bear population has been growing steadily and adequate protections are in place for the bears and their habitat. "We're on the verge of doing what we set out to do," Servheen said. "If I wasn't comfortable, I wouldn't be doing this." Delisting would not automatically make the bears vulnerable to hunting. Instead, states would protect and control the bear population under their existing federally approved bear management plans....
U.S. Supreme Court action good news for cave bugs The U.S. Supreme Court's refusal to hear a case involving Central Texas cave bugs has eaten holes in property rights advocates' arguments that endangered species protection is unjustly applied. The case challenged the Endangered Species Act as it is used under the Commerce Clause, which gives Congress the power to regulate interstate commerce. "It's great news," said John Kostyack, National Wildlife Federation senior counsel. "We see this as the final nail in the coffin of the 10-year-long campaign of property rights advocates to have the ESA declared unconstitutional." In the case -- GDF Realty Investments vs. Gale A. Norton, Secretary of the Interior -- property rights advocates argued the clause was being erroneously applied to species found in a single state....
Seventh Circuit Preserves Home Builders' Efficient Storm Water Permit A recent court decision by the United States Court of Appeals’ Seventh Circuit rejected threats to a federal permit that is vitally important to home builders and home buyers. The Construction General Permit, which regulates storm water discharges during the home building process, is viewed by builders as the most efficient available option for achieving the strict requirements for complying with federal storm water rules. “This is a critical victory for home builders because lawsuits like these eat away at housing affordability,” said David Wilson, president of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a custom home builder from Ketchum, Idaho. “Builders want to protect the environment, but we do not want more layers of regulation that cost time and money to fulfill and do little to protect the environment.” Compliance with existing storm water requirements already adds from $1,400 to $4,500 to the cost of every lot, he said. In a unanimous decision, the court ruled that the Construction General Permit does not violate the Clean Water Act’s requirements for public notice and public hearing. The court also held that the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which issues the permit, complied with requirements of the Endangered Species Act and dismissed the remaining permit challenges, saying the petitioner lacked standing....
Colorado governor assails U.S. 'hypocrisy' in mad cow policy Colorado Gov. Bill Owens said Monday it is ``hypocrisy'' for the United States to pressure Japan to lift a ban on U.S. beef over mad cow concerns while banning Canadian beef for the same reason. ``It's this sort of hypocrisy that makes it very difficult for the U.S. to win any sort of trade war,'' Owens said at the Western Governors' Association meeting. Owens and other governors said the U.S. action is encouraging Canada to build its own meatpacking plants, instead of relying on plants south of its border, and taking away jobs in Western states. The premiers of two Canadian provinces told the governors the U.S. ban had gone on long enough....


Wednesday, June 15, 2005


Federal Lands Suffer From Maintenance Backlog & Limited Tax Bases "My district is 72,000 square miles - half of which are publicly owned - and it contains nine national forests and four Bureau of Land Management Districts. As a result, I know that aside from recreational and environmental benefits, publicly owned land provides obstacles for local governments and communities surrounded by these federally owned areas. I regularly hear from community leaders about issues they face in maintaining basic services such as schools, hospitals, libraries, police and fire departments, and other essential programs needed to maintain a viable community". The subcommittee will examine the impacts continued growth in the federal estate will have at the local levels. From FY 2000 through FY 2004, the BLM disposed of 660,186 acres in the continental United States while acquiring 952,703 acres that contributed to a net gain of nearly 300,000 acres. In that same time period the Forest Service had a net gain of nearly half a million acres....
In The Heat Of The Moment The summer of '94 baked central Colorado in a heat rarely seen on the mountains; drought dried out the earth, leaving it gasping for moisture—and prone to ignition. On the morning of July 2, Storm King Mountain began to burn. By July 4 the resulting fire had spread to perhaps three acres, a relatively small and slow-moving blaze—and one, local officials decided, that could wait while they put out dozens of more serious ones. It was not until the morning of July 5 that the first firefighters ventured up to contain it. Less than 36 hours later, 14 of them were dead. Elite members of a caste of itinerant warriors who battle in hardhats and chainsaws against one of humanity's oldest enemies, these ten men and four women were consumed by a wall of fire that moved almost 20 miles an hour. The crisis on Storm King Mountain was not only a natural disaster, it was also the product of human actions. A firefighter named Don Mackey made several of the big decisions—some good, too many of them bad, at least one of them heroic. Mackey was a product—you might even say a victim—of a system that had failed to teach how to make good decisions....
Feds propose killing barred owls invading spotted owl territory Scientists meeting here Wednesday are planning an experiment that involves shooting a small population of barred owls, a species that migrated across the Great Plains and now threatens to displace smaller northern spotted owls. If the experiment shows removing barred owls allows spotted owls to reclaim lost territory, it could lead to shotgunning thousands of barred owls in Washington, Oregon and California. The northern spotted owls, a threatened species that became a symbol of environmentalist efforts to preserve the old-growth forests where they live, are being pushed out by the larger and more common barred owls, which nest in the same places, prey on the some food and even kill spotted owls....
Rainbow Family Gathering Concerns Officials The Rainbow Family group has chosen the Monongahela National Forest as the location for its peace circle, but forest service officials aren't happy about that decision. They tell 12 news the area the group is occupying, is also home to five different federal endangered species, and with more than 10-thousand people planning to attend the gathering the forest service is concerned about the animals' safety. Officials have gone so far as to suggest other sites for the group to hold their annual festival. The forest service requires any organization with more than 75 members, to apply for a permit 72 hours before they gather. The group did so Tuesday, and that permit is still under consideration....
Spotted owl may get increase in protection The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Tuesday it would re-evaluate its 2003 decision to leave California spotted owls off the list of threatened or endangered species, in part because of rule changes that allow more logging in the Sierra's national forests. The agency said it would make a determination by March. Both the subspecies cousins -- the northern spotted owl and the Mexican spotted owl -- are listed as threatened species, designations that engendered heated controversies over logging and management of old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest and the Southwest....
Forest Service on verge of complicated land swap The U.S. Forest Service is set to trade 18,200 acres of publicly owned national forest land for 32,000 acres of private property in a deal that involves six counties and three national forests. Forest Service officials also hope to transfer to public ownership about 60 miles of rivers and streams in Eastern Oregon that harbor threatened or endangered salmon, steelhead and bull trout. Most of the property in the proposed Blue Mountain Land Exchange is in Grant, Umatilla and Wallowa counties. Smaller acreages are spread among Baker, Morrow and Union counties. The proposed land exchange involves public land on three national forests: the Wallowa-Whitman, Malheur and Umatilla....
Learning from Mount St. Helens It’s been a quarter century since the big eruption at Mount St. Helens that killed 57 people and devastated 230 square miles of formerly verdant forest. While much of the devastation remains, what has astounded scientists who gathered to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the May 1980 event is the natural recovery of the lands surrounding the volcano. Indeed, findings from the re-growth in the “blast zone” have influenced management practices in other places, including those ravaged by man-made incursions. Fred Swanson, a Forest Service geologist at the Pacific Northwest Research Station in Corvallis, Oregon, says scientists surveying the devastated landscape following the 1980 eruption were struck by how dead tree snags and fallen logs—so-called “legacy structures”—provided invaluable refuge for the surviving plants and animals while simultaneously serving as base stations for colonizing species. “This dead biological legacy seemed to be performing a wide variety of ecological functions in terms of helping survivors make it through,” says Swanson....
Govenor Huntsman Won't Petition Federal Rule Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman won't petition the federal government to protect Utah's 4 million acres roadless wilderness areas. Huntsman will let the U.S. Forest Service take the lead on roadless issues through a forest management plan revision process already under way in four of the state's six national forests, state public lands policy coordinator Lynn Stevens said. "If their management plans meet the requirements of the state, we may not need to have a petition," said Stevens. "We think most of the state's needs can be met through this process."....


National Energy Policy: Inventory of Major Federal Energy Programs and Status of Policy Recommendations. GAO-05-379, June 10.
Highlights -


Monday, June 13, 2005


As you regular readers know, I'm in Casper, Wyo. with the NMSU rodeo team, attending the College National Finals Rodeo. Here' some background on the team and the CNFR. I'll catch up on the news tomorrow night.


New Mexico State University Placings

Boys Team


Girls Team


Men's All-around

9. Tyle Trammell

Women's All-around

1. Bailey Gow
3. Kayla Weiss
4. Krista Norell

Saddle Bronc Riding

3. Clint Phillips
8. Taylor Smith

Bareback Riding

1. Clay Houston

Bull Riding

2. Justin Sanderlin
5. Daren Albrecht

Tie Down Roping

1. Wacey Walraven
5. Tye Trammell
5. Clay Acuna

Steer Wrestling

7. Frank Krentz

Team Roping Header

4. Victor Perez
5. Jared Evans
6. Dusty Penrod
9. Tye Trammell

Team Roping Heeler

2. Nate Mortensen
3. Matt Garza
5. Kody Gentry
6. Arcel Allsup
7. Dan Whitworth
8. Body Baize
9. Brian Bell

Barrel Racing

1. Wylene Penrod
3. Chelsee Byerley
4. Bailey Gow
5. Kasey Talbot
7. Meghan Jo Frie
8. Krista Norell

Breakaway Roping

1. Bailey Gow
2. Janelle Manygoats
4. Kayla Weiss
4. Krista Norell
10.Katrina Stackpole

Goat Tying

3. Kayla Weiss
6. Krista Norell
7. Bailey Gow
10.Rachael Van Cleve


NMSU To Compete for National Rodeo Honors

Date: 06/10/2005
Contact: Jim Dewey Brown, (505) 646-3659,
Reporter: Darrell J. Pehr, (505) 635-2017,

LAS CRUCES – The nationally ranked New Mexico State University women’s rodeo team will compete for the national crown June 12-18 at the College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyo. Seven members of the men’s team are also national qualifiers.

“It ought to be a really good rodeo,” said NMSU rodeo coach Jim Dewey Brown. “I have high hopes for the women’s team, and the men should do really well.”

Brown’s advice for his team was simple. “Just ride smart and rope smart.”
It has been more than 20 years since an NMSU women’s team has won a national title. Brown said NMSU women’s teams captured national championships in 1975 and 1976, and a team in the 1980s finished second. He attributes the current success to solid recruiting and multitalented athletes.

“The top ranking shows everybody else that we’re growing up and we’re going to be a force,” Brown said.

Those competing at nationals include barrel racers Wylene Penrod of Laveen, Ariz., and Chelsee Byerley of Gallup; women’s all-around competitor Bailey Gow of Roseburg, Ore.; Kayla Weiss of Great Falls, Mont., in goat tying; and Janelle Manygoats of Winslow, Ariz., in breakaway roping.

NMSU men competing will be bareback rider Clay Houston of Seminole, Texas; saddle bronc rider Clint Phillipps of Douglas, Ariz.; bullrider Justin Sanderlin of Morenci, Ariz.; team ropers Nate Mortensen of Virden and Matt Garza of Mesilla Park; and calf roper Wacey Walraven of Datil. Grand Canyon Region student director Arcel Allsup of Duncan, Ariz., can compete in one event for NMSU.

Contact Information: D'Lyn Ford - - phone (505) 646-6528 - fax (505) 646-3513


College National Finals Rodeo

June 12-18, 2005

One of the greatest of all Rodeos on the North American continent, the College National Finals Rodeo is held each year in June in Casper, Wyoming. College cowboys and cowgirls from eleven different regions in the United States and four Canadian Provinces enter the CNFR arena in an effort to win national titles in saddle bronc, bareback, bull riding, steer wrestling, calf roping, team roping, barrel racing, breakaway roping, and goat tying. We also have the honor of crowning the All-Around Cowboy and Cowgirl and the National Men and Women Teams.

This year marks the fifty seventh year for the event. The first was held in 1949 in San Francisco, California, at the famed Cow Palace. The year began with what we term a celebration of collegiate athletics and the western heritage we hold dear.

Student athletes will also be competing for over $200,000 in scholarships from the U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. Scholarship Awards Program.

All performances begin at 7:00 p.m., including the Saturday Championship Round. Slack will be held on Monday, June 13th and Tuesday, June 14th at 7:00 a.m, with a special 'Bulls N Broncs Only' on Sunday June 12th, at a 4:00 p.m.

The Saturday championship round for 2005 will be televised on the College Sports TV network. Check your local listings for times.


Sunday, June 12, 2005


Things you should never say to a horseshoer

By Julie Carter

With the advance in rural living perpetuated by the invention of 40-acre
ranchettes, trail ride associations and urban horse owner playdays, the
horseshoers of the world have found themselves in a completely new
atmosphere of commerce.

Owning a horse is much like owning a thong bikini-anyone can own one but not
everyone should. Owning either should require some sort of an application

Farriers, or horseshoers as we regular rural people call them, have come
from a long dignified line of blacksmiths. Cowboys at the ranch usually shoe
their own until they either are too old or they become financially sound
enough to justify the cost of hiring it done.

Historically, a farrier was a horse doctor. It is only in the last hundred
years that people who shod horses began calling themselves farriers and
history is not clear on how that transformation came about.

It is unknown who invented the first horseshoe. Early Asian horsemen used
horse booties made from leather and plants. During the first century, the
Romans made leather and metal shoes called "hipposandals" and by the sixth
and seventh centuries, European horsemen had begun nailing metal shoes to
horses' hooves.

Around 1000 AD, cast bronze horseshoes with nail holes had became common in
Europe. The 13th and 14th centuries brought the widespread manufacturing of
iron horseshoes. Hot-shoeing, the process of heating the horseshoe before
shoeing the horse became common in the 16th century. All this before the
first horseshoe was ever patented.

The first notable patent in the U.S. went to Henry Burden in 1835 for a
horsehoe manufacturing machine. Burden's machine made up to sixty horseshoes
per hour.

For those that are new to owning a horse and need the services of these hard
working iron-pounders to keep your animal shod, here are some tips of
etiquette or things you should never say to a horseshoer.

. Good Morning. Glad you are here. Can we reschedule? I have a lot
going today.

. Can you bill me? I left my check book in the car.

. I know I said just a trim, but would you go ahead and shoe'em as

. I know it's been a long day. That's why I saved the worst one for

. I don't understand why the shoes didn't stay on. I had them done
four months ago.

. Does it mean my horses have some sort of deficiency when they chew
the paint off your truck like that?

. Opps, wrong horse.

. My weanling colt needs a trim. Maybe you could halter break him at
the same time.

. I've got a new horse whose feet are in pretty bad shape. The
previous owners said their farrier wouldn't work on him.

. I forgot you were coming. I just turned all the horses out.

. My last farrier couldn't finish. They gave me your name and number.

. If he didn't kick like that, I'd trim him myself.

. Can we shoe him in the arena? If he rears in the barn, he hits his

. Can you make it after 6 p.m. or on Sunday? I have to work.

. Good thing you are slow today or he'd have had shoes on when he
kicked your truck.

. If you will just give each of the dogs a piece of hoof, they will
get out from under the horse and quit fighting.

. Most time when he kicks, he misses.

. Can you shoe him so that he doesn't paw?

. If you get done in 30 minutes you'll be making $160 an hour.

Make every week "Be kind to your horseshoer" week. A good one is hard to
find and harder yet to keep.

Copyright Julie Carter 2005


TMDLs: Tall Tale of Fishes and Silt

If streams are found to be “impaired,” federal law requires that a Total Maximum Daily Load of pollutant – sediment in this case – be calculated and applied to restore the stream to its intended use. So the job here is to calculate a load of sediment (TMDL) going into the stream that is small enough to restore the stream and make the fish come back. An updated erosion model was used to estimate sediment delivery to the streams; land use in the watersheds was catalogued and an erosion factor assigned to each land use. The approach was to compare the impaired streams to those in the basin that had plenty of fish, rated as unimpaired. When sediment delivery for the 31 impaired and 42 unimpaired streams was compared, however, there was no difference. Impaired stream watersheds in the Piedmont part of the Chattahoochee basin delivered 0.74 tons of sediment per acre per year; unimpaired streams delivered 0.77 tons per acre. In the Coastal Plain, the corresponding figures were 0.63 tons for impaired streams and 0.88 tons for unimpaired streams. A measure of sediment suspended in the water, turbidity, also did not differ in the two classes of streams. If as much sediment is going into unimpaired streams as into impaired ones, how can sediment be the cause of impairment, and how can setting of a TMDL for sediment on impaired streams correct the situation?....


Color Energy Woes Green

The global economy depends on available, affordable energy. Many place their hopes for abundant energy supplies in yet-to-be-imagined technologies. But while researchers tinker with far-off possibilities, there's something we should do right now to keep our primary energy sources flowing—break the radical environmentalists' chokehold on national energy policy. Regardless of form—oil, gas, coal or nuclear—the Green movement is blocking efforts to harness our accustomed energy sources while leading us down the primrose path of so-called “renewable energy.” The recent increase in gasoline prices is only partly due to higher demand from developing countries like China and India. Price spikes have also been fueled by failure of U.S. refining capability to keep pace with demand. No new gasoline refinery has opened since 1976—thanks to unnecessarily strict government rules and community opposition, both tirelessly orchestrated by the environmental movement....


Bush Should Stay the Course at G-8

As President Bush meets this week with British Prime Minister Tony Blair and prepares for next month’s G-8 Summit in Scotland he should stay the course on global warming, according to scholars with the NCPA’s E-Team project. “Kyoto is an expensive symbol,” said NCPA Senior Fellow H. Sterling Burnett. “After eight years and tens of millions of dollars spent, there has been little if any effect on the environment.” Prime Minister Blair and other signatories are expected to push President Bush once more at the G-8 Summit to adopt Kyoto or acknowledge that global warming is a result of human activity. Wisely, the Bush Administration has charted a different course and for several reasons: ---Kyoto won’t help the environment. Swiftly developing economies, like China and India, are not obligated to cut emissions, even though they produce nearly half of all current greenhouse gas emissions and are forecast to produce as much as 85 percent of future emissions. ---According to Dallas Federal Reserve economist Stephen Brown, Kyoto’s emission cuts will reduce U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) between 3.6 and 5.1 percent by 2010. ---The Department of Energy estimates that Kyoto will cause gasoline prices to rise by 52 percent and electricity prices to rise by 86 percent....

EPA, State AGs Argue Climate Change in Appellate Court

On April 8, 2005, the D.C. circuit court of appeals heard oral arguments in Commonwealth of Massachusetts et al. v. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Petitioners, who include the attorneys general (AGs) of 12 states, are suing EPA, which is being supported by 11 states, for rejecting an October 1999 petition by the International Center for Technology Assessment (ICTA) and several other environmental groups asking EPA to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from motor vehicles. In effect, the petitioners are demanding EPA impose the Kyoto Protocol—a non-ratified treaty—on U.S. automakers. The Clean Air Act (CAA) provides distinct grants of authority to administer specific programs for specific purposes. It authorizes EPA to administer a national ambient air quality standards program, a hazardous air pollutant program, a stratospheric ozone prevention program, and so on. Nowhere, however, does it mention carbon dioxide or climate change prevention, except for one mention in the context of non-regulatory provisions. Moreover, the one provision mentioning carbon dioxide explicitly admonishes EPA not to infer authority for carbon dioxide pollution control requirements....


House Energy Chair Rejects Carbon Regulation

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton (R-TX) told reporters today that the House would reject outright “almost any” global warming language and a renewable electricity mandate if the Senate includes provisions addressing either issue in its version of the energy bill, according to the environmental news service Greenwire. Barton also said he opposes the Senate’s proposed 8 billion gallon ethanol mandate. “We applaud Mr. Barton’s resolve to keep America Kyoto-free,” said Competitive Enterprise Institute senior fellow Marlo Lewis. “The climate bill recently introduced by Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Joseph Lieberman (D-CN), as well as the climate bill soon-to-be introduced by Sen. Jeff Bingman (D-NM), are camel’s-nose-under-the-tent strategies to align U.S. law and policy with the aims and mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol,” Lewis said. “We also applaud Barton’s stance on a renewable electricity mandate and opposition to expanding that trough of corporate welfare known as the ethanol mandate.” Barton’s qualifier—“almost any” global warming language—does not imply a willingness to consider some type of Kyoto-Lite proposal. Rather, as he explained, he was “not familiar” with Sen. Chuck Hagel’s (R-NE) non-regulatory climate bill, and thus had no position on it at this time....