Friday, September 07, 2007


Senate narrowly passes Pinon Canyon delay A week ago, Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar faced a room full of Colorado Springs business people and military officers and said he would "find a way forward" in the bitter dispute over the Army's planned 414,000-acre expansion of the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site northeast of Trinidad. Backers of the expansion left that meeting encouraged, while ranchers fighting the Army wondered if Salazar was abandoning them. The freshman Democrat believes he did find a middle ground Thursday when the full Senate narrowly approved - 47 to 45 - his amendment that would force a year's delay in the Army's expansion effort. Two Kansas Republicans, Sens. Pat Roberts and Sam Brownback, broke ranks to support Salazar, who had the backing of all the other Senate Democrats on hand for the vote. Salazar's amendment may be a preview to changes he is expected to offer later this month to the 2008 Defense Authorization Act, which would require the Army to spell out in detail its justification for wanting more land at Pinon Canyon....
Enviromental group appeals $600K jury verdict An environmental group is asking the state's high court to overturn a jury verdict that it defamed a Southern Arizona rancher and has to pay him $600,000. Attorneys for the Center for Biological Diversity contend they cannot be held liable because the statement at the center of the dispute, and photographs published on the group's Web site and in a news release, were substantially true. That truth, they argue, means James Chilton cannot contend he was libeled. The Tucson-based group also contends its statements are legally privileged. If nothing else, the organization is arguing the $500,000 in punitive damages awarded is excessive, particularly because it is a nonprofit organization. The verdict, and the size of the award, was not only upheld by a trial judge, but the state Court of Appeals refused to set aside the award....
Landowners offer 'safe harbor' to prairie dogs Allen Henri doesn't like prairie dogs — their burrows jam up his farm equipment — but soon, he'll open the gates of his ranch to a whole colony of the foot-high, furry animals. Henri, the first to sign up for a prairie dog conservation project called "safe harbor," agreed to allow the prairie dogs to set up camp in his cattle-grazing pasture in exchange for a new fence and some land improvements. "I'm a long ways from an environmentalist, but they've taken the stance that they need to work with the farmers and make it worth our time to have prairie dogs," he said. "I figured this was good for my ranch and the prairie dogs." Nine different environmental organizations, including the Farm Bureau and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, recently banded together to back the safe harbor program, which focuses on creating alliances with private landowners by offering incentives for letting prairie dogs live on their property....
Mt. Lemmon hiker found guilty for not paying fee A Tucson hiker's battle over her refusal to pay the $5 Mount Lemmon recreation fee ended in U.S. District Court on Wednesday, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office said. Christine Wallace, a legal secretary, was found guilty and ordered to pay the maximum fine of $100, spokesman Wyn Hornbuckle said. The case began two years ago when Wallace went on a couple of hikes without paying the required $5 entrance fee and received two tickets for $30 each, according to an earlier story in the Tucson Citizen. "They weren't parking tickets," Wallace's lawyer, Mary Ellen Barilotti, said earlier. "They were for 'recreating.' " U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles R. Pyle had ruled in her favor, saying the places she parked were not within the area in which a fee should be charged and did not have the amenities, such as restrooms, that fees are used to fund. But the magistrate's order was vacated after U.S. District Judge Chief John M. Roll ruled in January that the Forest Service was justified in ticketing vehicles parked along the Mount Lemmon Highway. Roll held a bench trial Wednesday and found Wallace guilty, Hornbuckle said....
Land managers short on climate change data Federal agencies that manage nearly a third of the land in the United States and more than half of Oregon's land aren't adequately considering the effects of climate change, despite clear evidence that warming already is affecting public lands, the Government Accountability Office said Thursday. Land managers for the Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service and other agencies oversee plans for logging, mining, water use, recreation, environmental protection, fishing, hunting and other activities. But the managers "have limited guidance about whether or how to address climate change and, therefore, are uncertain about what actions, if any, they should take," the GAO said in the report issued to Congress. Climate change is not a high priority for federal agencies, the report said, despite a 2001 Department of Interior order to include it in planning. That's a particular problem in the Northwest, where much of the snowpack is at relatively low elevations....
New tool to fight global warming: endangered species act? Environmentalists may have gained a powerful new legal weapon to fight global warming: the Endangered Species Act. That's the fallout some expect from a settlement last week between environmentalists and the National Marine Fisheries Service. The government agency agreed to protect the "critical habitat" of elkhorn and staghorn coral, the first species to be recognized as threatened by global warming. By protecting habitat, not just species, the federal government could be in a position to fight any threats to that habitat, including possibly, global warming, some environmentalists say. While no one expects the US to stop, say, a coal-fired power plant in the Midwest to save Florida coral, the settlement does expand the leverage of the 1973 law that protects species from extinction. "We think this victory on coral critical habitat actually moves the entire Endangered Species Act [ESA] onto a firm legal foundation for challenging global-warming pollution," says Kieran Suckling, policy director of the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group based in Tucson, Ariz., that filed both coral suits. Indeed, the coral-protection victory may be just the beginning of a push to use the ESA to fight global warming, he and other environmentalists suggest....
Manure causes stink for lawmakers and farmers Manure generated on large U.S. livestock farms, which can later contaminate soil and water, has lead to a fierce debate over whether farmers and ranchers should be held responsible for cleaning up the mess. A lawsuit by Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson against Arkansas poultry companies claims phosphorus runoff from their chicken litter has polluted streams and rivers in Oklahoma. The lawsuit includes Tyson Foods Inc., the largest U.S. meat company. "States like Oklahoma need legal tools to help stop and clean up animal-waste contamination, which is destroying significant and irreplaceable public resources," Edmondson told the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on Thursday. So-called concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are becoming more common in the United States, with an estimated 19,000 in existence, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Benjamin Grumbles, assistant administrator for water with the EPA, said states do "have the right to sue" since they are the ones that carry out the programs overseen by the agency. Bipartisan legislation, introduced in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate earlier this year, would clarify that livestock manure is exempt from the EPA's "Superfund law" created in 1980 to address cleanup of hazardous and toxic chemical spills. Previous efforts to exempt manure from the Superfund law have foundered....
Land-starved livestock get access to grazing areas Federal "grass banks" in five counties have been released for emergency grazing as ranchers struggle to feed their livestock after record wildfires and drought. Ranchers who have taken their land out of production in exchange for government payments will soon be able to open property for their own livestock and their neighbors' cattle in Juab, Cache, Box Elder, Millard and San Juan counties. The number of conservation lands to be released and how long cattle can graze will be determined by local managers, said Bruce Richeson, Utah director for the U.S. Farm Service Agency, which overseas the conservation program. "This is a little bit of help," said Kevin Stanley, Juab County director for the Farm Service Agency. "But in this situation, anything we can do is important." The federal government paid nearly $7 million to landowners enrolled in the reserve program in 2005, and more than $112 million during the past decade, according to the Environmental Working Group, a farm watchdog organization. Government payments to ranchers for land held in the Conservation Reserve Program will be reduced by 10 percent during the emergency grazing period....
More Utah cattle shot with arrows There has been a second incident of cows being shot in less than a week. ABC 4 first reported six cows shot with arrows in Strawberry Valley. This time, a cow suffered similar injuries from an arrow at Hobble Creek in Springville. A cow was shot through the back of her neck with an arrow over the weekend. It’s the latest in a string of cow shootings. Ranchers say they're angry and appalled by this violence. Calvin Crandall, a rancher and member of the Utah Cattlemen’s Association says, “It's like me walking up to you and just slugging you in the arm or hitting you in the nose just because you're there.” Just last week, six cattle near Clyde Creek outside Heber suffered the same fate. Questions are still left unanswered. Who would do this? And why? Crandall says, “I don't know if it's a random act of violence or if they have an issue with livestock up there.”....
Virus is key suspect in honeybee decline Researchers have fingered a prime suspect in a disorder that is causing massive declines among honeybees, a tiny insect with the monumental job of pollinating $14.6 billion worth of the nation's fruit and vegetable crops annually. After freezing bees, grinding them up, extracting the DNA, and using sophisticated genetic sequencing to identify every organism present, the researchers have settled upon a little-known virus discovered in Israel only three years ago. There, symptoms of a mysterious bee malady came in the form of shivering wings. Then the bees became paralyzed and died. Thus, the name: Israeli acute paralysis virus, or IAPV. Researchers don't know how the virus got here. They don't know how to cure it. Nor do they know if IAPV alone can account for Colony Collapse Disorder, which has killed tens of billions of bees since last fall....
Robots May Become Essential on US Farms With authorities promising tighter borders, some farmers who rely on immigrant labor are eyeing an emerging generation of fruit-picking robots and high-tech tractors to do everything from pluck premium wine grapes to clean and core lettuce. Such machines, now in various stages of development, could become essential for harvesting delicate fruits and vegetables that are still picked by hand. "If we want to maintain our current agriculture here in California, that's where mechanization comes in," said Jack King, national affairs manager for the California Farm Bureau. California harvests about half the nation's fruits, nuts and vegetables, according to the state Food and Agriculture Department. The California Farm Bureau Federation estimates that the job requires about 225,000 workers year-round and double that during the peak summer season. More than half of all farm workers in the country are illegal immigrants, according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics....
Texans Make Cabrito Barbecue of Choice as Goats Drive Exports Every part of Texas has its barbecue tradition. In McCulloch County, it's goat. Fifteen thousand people gathered in the county seat of Brady last weekend for its 34th annual goat cook-off. More than 150 barbecuers vied for the champion's trophy and $1,000 prize. Texans aren't the only ones eating goat. Ranches across the state can't keep up with the U.S. appetite for goat meat, fueled by a wave of immigrants from Mexico, the Middle East and Caribbean nations. The ranchers were in trouble 12 years ago, when federal subsidies dried up. Now, goats outnumber people in McCulloch County. ``Consumer demand has gone up,'' said Robert Swize, executive director of the American Boer Association in San Angelo. ``You have ethnic communities within most major metropolitan cities and they desire to return to the foods of their cultures.'' Texas produces more goat meat than any other state, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department. Most of it is shipped east. Immigrants in New York and along the East Coast caused U.S. goat-meat consumption to almost double to 51 million pounds (23 million kilograms) between 1997 and 2003, the latest figures available from the Agriculture Department....

Climate Change: Agencies Should Develop Guidance for Addressing the Effects on Federal Land and Water Resources. GAO-07-863, August 7.

Highlights -

Thursday, September 06, 2007


Bill threatens to delay Pinon Canyon A military funding bill moving through the Senate is unlikely to be popular with Ft. Carson brass, or some local political and business leaders. The bill contains two amendments, introduced by Sen. Ken Salazar, which would bring the Pinon Canyon expansion plan to a grinding halt for one year. It would also demand answers to questions. The main question has to do with the Army's need for more land. "The BRAC commission found the training facilities were sufficient," Salazar said. "They didn't need any additional land. What's changed between 2005 and now? That's a legitimate question. It needs to be asked. It needs to be answered and I direct the Army to answer the question." Reaction to the Senator's amendments have been immediate and pointed. "It is nothing less than hypocritical and irresponsible for us as a state and a community to now deny the Army the ability to do the work it needs to do," State Rep. Bob Gardner said. "He's been getting information from the Army on a regular basis as has all the rest of our elected officials for the last two years, why would we want to proceed with another study trying to justify the expansion when all the information is there already," said Lon Robertson, a rancher who opposes the expansion....
Colorado woman embraces beavers, champions nature's engineers The two caged beavers in the back seat of Sherri Tippie's aging red Isuzu Trooper - affectionately named Bubba - are awash in their own dank musk as ice bags drip down their backs. "I love that smell. Don't you just love it? Nothing smells better to me," says Sherri Tippie, inhaling deeply. "I was born for beavers." As Colorado's lone licensed live trapper and relocator of beavers, the opinionated part-time jail barber from Lakewood has become a legend among beaver lovers. For 22 years, she has battled stereotypes - and centuries of history - that paint beavers as water-hoarding pests worth more as soft hats than wild animals. Tippie has relocated several hundred, maybe even a thousand of the industrious, family-centric creatures. She traps the engineering animals in metro Denver's urban streams and releases them in rural areas where their labor is appreciated for creating wetlands, raising water tables, restoring silty top soil and cleaning water....
Appeals seek to block White Pass plan Two influential organizations have come out against expansion plans for the White Pass Ski Area west of Yakima. The Yakama Nation and the Sierra Club Cascade Chapter are challenging the U.S. Forest Service decision to allow the ski area to double in size by expanding into the Hogback Basin, a haven for backcountry skiers. Both groups, along with two private citizens, filed appeals to the agency's conclusion that expansion should be allowed as a way to reduce ski area congestion and improve safety. The adopted alternative would amend the ski area master development plan to increase the site to 1,572 acres, add two new chairlifts and a midmountain lodge, expand a trail network and expand paved parking....
Way to play the new demand for offsets Free-market advocates have to admire one outcome of the global-warming craze. Many people are now generating new wealth from an industry that was totally nonexistent a mere 10 years ago. The demand for carbon offsets has seemingly just begun. As the Cult of Global Warming ramps up, the hysteria over polar bears and killer hurricanes, increasing numbers of carbon criminals will seek absolution by purchasing carbon credits. We all know that Al Gore and John Edwards purchase a vast number of carbon credits. They can then go on their merry way, traveling by private jet and living in mansions with a huge electric bill. They can certainly afford a few bucks to have their carbon sins forgiven, with their $100,000 lecture fees or their personal-injury legal fees. Please note that I am not against anyone making a pile of money by jetting about and spouting cherished opinions to the faithful. Nor is it a problem when a successful malpractice lawyer owns an outsized mansion that requires 50 times more energy than the home of an average American. High-profile cases such as these help generate demand among socially conscious fusspots for a lifestyle that is "carbon neutral."....
Feds might cut outdoor uses in southern Ariz. Three federal proposals would mean fewer places to enjoy the outdoors in southern Arizona - especially in winter - despite projections that our population will continue to grow. Coronado National Forest is mulling cutbacks of campsites, picnic tables and toilets, and Saguaro National Park is considering closing some popular trails used by hikers and equestrians. Neither proposal is a done deal. Details will come later, and residents will have chances to comment on both proposals. The Coronado National Forest Recreation Facility Analysis, required by federal law, suggests a framework for the next five years. By seasonally closing more campgrounds and trimming some picnic areas and beefing up others, the Forest Service hopes to better align what's there with what people want, spokeswoman Heidi Schewel said. Campers are more rare now than people who use the forest for day trips, and the forest needs to adjust accordingly to avoid maintenance on underused sites, Schewel said....
Study: Trout Restoration Used Wrong Fish A 20-year government effort to restore the population of an endangered native trout in Colorado has made little progress because biologists have been stocking some of the waterways with the wrong fish, a new study says. Biologists called the finding a setback and a potential black eye but said there is still hope for restoring the greenback cutthroat trout because at least four pure populations of the fish have been identified. The three-year study was led by University of Colorado researchers and published online in Molecular Ecology on Aug. 28. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is heading the recovery effort, said it is reviewing the findings. The study said that out of nine populations of fish believed to be endangered greenback cutthroat trout that were descendants of survivors, five were actually the Colorado River cutthroat trout, which look similar but are a separate and more common subspecies....
Forest Service increases patrols to combat pot farms The U.S. Forest Service is doubling the number of law enforcement officers in California to fight illegal marijuana growing operations. By next spring, 160 law enforcement officers, patrol captains and special agents will be patrolling the state's 18 national forests, said Ron Pugh, special agent in charge of the Forest Service region that covers California. The effort will cost $6 million but will help control environmental damage to the forests. The increase comes as the Forest Service is cutting employees elsewhere. It is part of a 10-point plan to deter illegal marijuana gardens on public land. Other steps include better coordination with other state, federal and local agencies and improving intelligence gathering and public education. Still, Pugh said the Forest Service will have a hard time patrolling millions of acres of national forest. He said 160 officers is only about a third of what the agency needs to do the job....
BLM asks engineers to re-examine dam safety The fate of the Little Hyatt Lake dam on Keene Creek remains up in the air. Although U.S. Bureau of Land Management officials last week said they expected to make a decision on Wednesday, they have asked an engineering firm that inspected the dam to take another look. Engineers have concluded the dam, which houses an 11-acre reservoir, poses a safety hazard because of crumbling concrete. The agency wants the engineers to make sure its earlier assessment of the 1923-circa dam, from its structural condition to the cost of shoring it up, was still on the mark, explained BLM Medford District spokesman Jim Whittington. "We want to make the best decision possible with the best information available," Whittington said. "But we want to make it quick because of the safety issue." A petition drive by those wanting to keep the dam, which gathered more than 900 signatures on Labor Day weekend, was not a factor in delaying the decision, he said....
BLM moves forward with Roan road closures The Bureau of Land Management is proceeding with closing nearly 100 miles of routes to motorized vehicles on and surrounding the Roan Plateau. The action follows the federal agency's issuance of a final decision in June on how to manage activities on much of the Roan. Although that decision has drawn attention mostly because it will allow oil and gas development on the plateau top, it also called for the closure of 96 miles in the 73,602-acre planning area to motorized vehicles. Those routes still will be designated for foot and horse travel, and in some cases for limited motorized vehicle access for administrative purposes such as government use. The travel management portion of the Roan plan covers 259 miles of routes across the planning area. That includes 157 miles on top of the plateau, of which 71 miles will be restricted to foot and horse traffic only, said BLM spokesman David Boyd....
Report identifies centuries' worth of unleased coal in Powder River Basin There's enough unleased coal on federal lands in the Powder River Basin to feed the United States' current appetite for coal for 493 years, according to federal figures released Wednesday. Roughly 89 percent of that coal can be mined under certain restrictions and about 11 percent is off-limits from leasing, said the report by three federal agencies. The basin, which straddles the Montana and Wyoming line, contains about 550 billion tons of federal coal, about 58 percent of coal on all federal lands, the report said. That doesn't include the 11.6 billion tons already under lease or applied for. Overall, the basin provides about 38 percent of all of the coal produced in the country. "Were it not for coal mined on public lands in the Powder River Basin, many of the houses in America would not able to turn on their lights," Mike Nedd, BLM's assistant director for minerals, realty and resource protection, said in a prepared statement Wednesday. The report, which examined coal resources across about 8,400 square miles in the Powder River Basin, was produced by the Departments of Interior, Energy and Agriculture to meet requirements of a 2005 law....
Moose makes its way into Pocatello home At least it turns out acts of vandalism by rampaging moose are covered by her insurance policy. Anita Ovard moved to the little cabin near Bureau of Land Management property in Pocatello because she wanted to see more wildlife. But she got a little more than she bargained for when a momma moose made its way inside her home. Ovard pulled into her driveway yesterday to find two baby moose in her front yard and a mother moose bashing through her front door. Ovard ran to the back of the house, opening the sliding glass door, and then ran away as fast as she could. The equally frightened moose ran back out the front, bounding away from the home....
Rabid bear killed trying to enter Garrett Co. home A rabid black bear trying to rip out a window air conditioner lost its tug-of-war with a terrified housewife when her husband blasted the beast with a shotgun, the woman and a state wildlife official said today. The bear rushed the house after Charlotte Stanton yelled out her screen door to try to scare it away from a goat pen. Stanton, 39, of rural Grantsville in Garrett County, said she was losing her tussle with the 134-pound sow when Michael Stanton pulled the trigger. "I finally yelled at my husband, because I couldn't hold on to that air conditioner much longer," she said. "It seemed like forever, but I'm sure it was just seconds." The load of buckshot didn't kill the bear, which lay bleeding and moaning in the yard of the Western Maryland home for about 30 minutes Aug. 29 before a state Natural Resources Police officer arrived to remove it. All four family members -- including daughter Caitlin, 10, and son James Winebrenner, 15 -- will receive a series of rabies shots because of their exposure to the animal's blood and saliva, Mrs. Stanton said....
Guzzlers installed for desert big horns Scores of volunteers and the state have delivered over 30,000 gallons of water to remote areas to sustain desert bighorn sheep this summer. “If we want to preserve our state animal, we need to help desert bighorn along,” said Mike Cox, big game biologist with the Nevada Department of Wildlife. Water developments or “guzzlers” catch and store precipitation and disperse it viadrinking troughs to a variety of animals. Desert bighorn sheep drink at least one gallon of water daily during the hot summer months. With the prolonged drought leaving natural water sources dry, Nevada Department of Wildlife biologists grew concerned. By early summer many guzzlers were low or nearly dry. “Water levels were low going into the summer period,” said Craig Stevenson, NDOW biologist. With just a few phone calls, funding was arranged and volunteers organized to ferry water into numerous water developments....
Wyoming moving forward with wolf management plan The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it plans to release a study next week analyzing its proposal to ease restrictions on killing wolves in the northern Rockies to protect other wildlife and domesticated animals. Ed Bangs, wolf recovery coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Helena, Mont., said Wednesday he expects his agency will release an environmental assessment next week. The public will have 30 days to comment on it. Bangs said his agency has already received hundreds of thousands of comments on aspects of its ongoing proposal to remove wolves from protection under the federal Endangered Species Act possibly as soon as early next year. nvironmental groups have protested the federal proposal and promise legal action to try to block the plan. Wyoming officials, however, say they're pleased with what they see as progress to approve a state management plan for wolves that would allow an end to federal oversight. Wyoming for the past several years has been the only one of the three states without a federally approved wolf management plan in place. The state continues to press a lawsuit over the federal governments' rejection of its original 2003 management plan....
Schwarzenegger administration promotes new dams as delta fix The Schwarzenegger administration on Wednesday dusted off a failed dam proposal as a way to shore up California water supplies in light of a federal judge's ruling limiting shipments from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. But it seemed doubtful that the Democrat-controlled Legislature—long-opposed to new dams—would go along in the waning days of its 2007 session. At a Capitol news conference flanked by city water leaders, farm and building industry representatives, Resources Secretary Mike Chrisman said an Aug. 31 ruling by a federal judge in Fresno could cut water flows out of the delta by about a third while doing little to protect the threatened delta smelt, a small fish that is threatened with extinction. The pumping limitations could leave farmers in the San Joaquin Valley and cities from the San Francisco Bay area to San Diego scrambling to cope with water shortages beginning in December, officials said. "This decision is proof that the delta is indeed broken," said Chrisman. "What it also points out is the need to safeguard our water system." Both Chrisman and Department of Water Resources Director Lester Snow urged lawmakers to immediately reconsider a $5.9 billion water facilities bond plan that the governor offered in January....
Lincoln forest officials plan to spray insects The U.S. Forest Service plans to spray portions of the Lincoln National Forest to control a native caterpillar that has been defoliating trees. Forest Supervisor Lou Woltering signed a finding of no significant impact for the project to control Nepytia janetae — an inch worm that feeds on the needles of conifer trees. Woltering's decision authorizes aerial spraying on about 4,419 acres of national forest land near Cloudcroft with Bacillus thuringiensis, or Btk, beginning in November. The idea is to minimize further spread of the native caterpillar onto private land around the village and to minimize additional defoliation and loss of trees around developed campgrounds, forest officials said. In March, the Otero County Commission declared a disaster and a state of emergency for the Lincoln National Forest because of dead and dying trees. County officials said they were concerned about increased fire danger posed by large numbers of dead trees and about how large swathes of bare trees would hurt tourism in the Sacramento Mountains....
Valles' elk hunted, studied, debated on

In 1907, only 41,000 elk roamed the United States. Today, the National Shooting Sports Foundation estimates a population of 1.2 million. The New Mexico Game and Fish Department calculates about 5,000 elk reside in the Jemez Ranger District and many of them spend most of the year on the Valles Caldera National Preserve. The fact that trophy and general elk hunting produces nearly half of the preserve's annual $790,000 in revenue indicates the wild animals' financial importance to the preserve. Based on hunter success rates around 70 percent, the preserve's autumn elk hunt is the best in the state. James Lucero, a representative for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation personally believes that this hunting is the highest quality in the U.S. However, managing this resource has been challenging because of the unique relationship between the preserve and the Game and Fish Department. "The Department manages the elk herd and we manage the forage," said Dennis Trujillo, the preserve's manager. This means that decisions are jointly discussed and planning is done "on a two-year moving window." The preserve is even more remarkable because Bob Parmenter, the preserve's chief scientist, is producing scientific information in greater volume than in any other area of the state. Parmenter's team measures the size and type of the elk's favorite grass, the number and type of predators, the fat content of harvested animals, grazing patterns, and the ratio of calves per hundred cows-an indicator of the overall health of the herd....
Hooves of Gold, Stomachs of Iron
I was riding my bike over the weekend on the bike path through CU’s Research Park when I came upon a herd of goats. Grazing away in the brush along the creek, hooved and horned, with a dozen or so interested spectators of the human variety. I pulled up and talked to their herder, a weathered, friendly woman named Lou Colby. After we chatted a few minutes I asked her where her permanent base is. “Well, don’t have one right now.” This took a minute to sink in. So, do they live in hotels or what? It turns out Lou is an itinerant goat rancher with a mobile herd of around 145 animals, offering “subscription grazing services” for the control of unwanted brush and weeds. Doing business as Golden Hooves Grazing Services, she’s been contracting with the Grounds Dept. at CU for a few years now, and she moves from job to job across the West, wintering in Arizona. Ms. Colby used to manage a 10,000 acre ranch in SE Montana; now she and her goats and her herding dogs are fully mobile, 365 days a year. She’s thinking about buying a place, though: Life on the road full-time “is getting kind of old,” she admitted....
San Angelo windmill maker doesn't fret new technology Kees Verheul builds Aermotor Windmills that produce water — not juice. Like electricity-generating turbines, they convert kinetic energy in the wind into useful power, although Aermotor mills use that power to lift underground water to the surface. A 71-year-old engineer who has owned the 119-year-old company since 1998, Verheul said he isn't worried about new technology making his windmills obsolete. "It's so simple, it's brilliant," he said, noting that the mechanism's design has not changed since 1933. "It will last 100 years with proper maintenance. Cowboys can fix them." The same can't be said for solar panels that are prone to wearing out prematurely and malfunctioning. Aermotor sold more than 1,000 windmills in 2006, its best year in more than a decade. That represented a 69 percent increase from the previous year. Aermotor parts and mills, with "San Angelo, TX" stenciled on every vane, shipped to all 48 contiguous states last year, plus 13 foreign countries....
Even scientific tests might not quell 'chupacabra' mania Texas' favorite Mysterious Devil Beast is back. This time, a college biology lab will try to end the mystery. The story is all over the San Antonio TV news. A South Texas rancher found four weird, blue, hairless critters dead. Right away, TV reporters said the word that brought crowds rushing to Cuero: Chupacabra. If you think that giant spider web east of Dallas is a big deal, then you haven't followed the TV tale of rancher Phylis Canion, 55, and her roadkill. Canion said something was killing chickens and goats, even sucking their blood. In South Texas, that stirred up the legend of the famous livestock-killing monster, El Chupacabras. Then, on July 14, she found a dead beast on the highway. It weighed about 40 pounds, the size of a coyote, but this was blue and had long fangs. It didn't take long before one of Canion's neighbors told the TV cameras, "It's a chupacabra!" El Chupacabras -- his proper name -- is the Bigfoot of the borderlands, a mythical creature seen from Phoenix to Puerto Rico....
Solid 'Yuma' harkens to classic Westerns The next time you hear someone say they don't make movies like they used to, point to the refreshingly retro Western "3:10 To Yuma" as evidence to counter that claim. While the movie is bloodier and contains more profanity then the classic Westerns of the 1950s and '60s, the 21st Century film still could have been made 50 years ago. In fact, movie buffs might know that "3:10 To Yuma" was made 50 years ago. The 1957 film starred Glen Ford playing against type as a bad guy and Van Heflin as the good guy. That earlier film was a tense, nicely constructed Western that was good but didn't reach the same heights of such classics as "The Magnificent Seven" or "High Noon." The remake falls into the same category. It is a solid, entertaining piece of filmmaking full of strong performances, expertly mounted action scenes and a terrific musical score that has echoes of Ennio Morricone's spaghetti Westerns of the 1960s....

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

September 5, 2007

For Immediate Release:


In a welcome turn of events the Burley Auction Yards, of Burley, Idaho, has refused to sell 31 head of cattle illegally seized by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from Jared and Bruce Bedke of Oakley, Idaho. The livestock were enticed away without due process of law on August 21, 2007.

Nevada Live Stock Association (NLSA) Chairman, David Holmgren, spoke with Merv May, co-owner of the Burley Auction Yards, just hours before the Bedke cattle were to be auctioned off. Holmgren informed May of what had happened here in Nevada under similar circumstances. “I cautioned him [May] that he should be considering the Livestock Marketing Association’s (LMA) stand on his selling BLM seized livestock,” said Holmgren.

“The Auction Yards co-owner, Merv May, after talking with the LMA, personally told me that he and Lance Udy [co-owner] had instructed the BLM to get the cattle out of here [Burley Auction Yards],” said Bedke. “It wasn’t two hours and the BLM took them again even though I had made a written demand for them,” stated Bedke. Bedke and his family and friends were at the auction yards and were prepared to make a plea to the local bidders to not buy stolen cattle.

The NLSA commends Merv May and Lance Udy of the Burley Auction Yards for representing those who sell livestock through their yards.

“There is no mystery here. The BLM bandits are moving these livestock around in the state of Idaho, with no lawful permits under state brand law. Jared and Bruce Bedke have not signed any brand inspections or transport permits for their branded livestock,” said Holmgren.

The BLM has taken the Bedkes’ livestock to the BLM’s Burley Operations and Fire Warehouse according to the South Idaho Press’s August 31, 2007 edition.

The NLSA represents one-third of Nevada’s rangeland ranching families.

# # #

9732 State Route 435, #305
Sparks, Nevada 89436
FAX 775.424.0571
Contacts: David Holmgren, Chairman, 775.312.0019

Kansas cougars? True, says wildlife exec In rural Kansas, nothing starts a wild conversation faster than asking whether anybody has seen wild mountain lions lately. Kansans get crazy about this; it's part of our state mythology. On Tuesday, in an e-mail sent to journalists statewide, Ron Klataske, the executive director of Audubon of Kansas, claimed he has proven that the cats are back. "This shows what a lot of people have seen for years," Klataske said. On his Web site, he posted photographs, shot in 2006 from 200 yards away, of an indistinct-looking creature climbing a Flint Hills ridge; he also posted photos of plaster casts he took from the same area. The casts appear to show a footprint 4 inches wide. The photos were shot by out-of-state guests, he said. He won't say who, or where, though he admits that the photo shows what looks like the steep, treeless Flint Hills near his office in Manhattan. Klataske is well-known as a vigorous advocate for wildlife and conservation. He is sure that this is proof of what hundreds of Kansans have said for years: that a major predator again lurks in shelter belts and cedar groves, stalking deer, watching us....
The next battleground After a short hike, the small group of men and women finally find what they're looking for: a pot of muddy water boiling at the edge of an eroding bank. Chubs, a border collie, is keenly interested in the small ducks bobbing in the mud pot. The people are interested in the bubbling pond itself -- one of a number of methane gas seeps in the area that have intensified in recent years. Some believe the seeps were stimulated by recent coal-bed methane pilot projects, which involve pumping water from the coal aquifer to relieve the hydrostatic pressure that holds the gas in place. But what concerns these people most is the potential wildlife impact of drilling 2,000 new oil and gas wells. The Bureau of Land Management recently approved the Atlantic Rim environmental impact statement record of decision. The agency proudly underscored several compromises that industry rarely concedes. The original scope of the drilling was reduced by 20 percent, for example. Reclamation must occur quickly to maintain a surface disturbance footprint no larger than 7,600 acres at any one time. Yet with those measures, and dozens of other common stipulations regarding wildlife and wildlife habitat, the Atlantic Rim development will still affect wildlife, according to BLM officials. And the impact is serious. The estimated 1,000 miles of new road and 1,000 miles of new pipeline associated with the development area will transform this hunter's paradise "to an industrial setting," according to the BLM....
Global Warming: Man-Made or Natural? IN THE PAST few years there has been increasing concern about global climate change on the part of the media, politicians, and the public. It has been stimulated by the idea that human activities may influence global climate adversely and that therefore corrective action is required on the part of governments. Recent evidence suggests that this concern is misplaced. Human activities are not influencing the global climate in a perceptible way. Climate will continue to change, as it always has in the past, warming and cooling on different time scales and for different reasons, regardless of human action. I would also argue that—should it occur—a modest warming would be on the whole beneficial. This is not to say that we don’t face a serious problem. But the problem is political. Because of the mistaken idea that governments can and must do something about climate, pressures are building that have the potential of distorting energy policies in a way that will severely damage national economies, decrease standards of living, and increase poverty. This misdirection of resources will adversely affect human health and welfare in industrialized nations, and even more in developing nations. Thus it could well lead to increased social tensions within nations and conflict between them....
Pinon Canyon expansion will be debated in Senate this week Colorado's senators will decide this week whether to back a provision in a House-passed military spending bill that aims to block the Army's expansion of the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site. The Senate is expected to spend most of the week on the bill, which funds construction for the military and Veterans Affairs. It includes $500 millions in projects for Colorado. Colorado Reps. John Salazar, a Democrat, and Marilyn Musgrave, a Republican, inserted wording the bill to stop the Army from spending any money next year on its plans to expand the 368-square-mile maneuver site in southeast Colorado to about 1,000. Both the state's senators are signaling that they might propose a compromise rather than backing the House approach, but it's still unclear what they are planning to do. Republican Sen. Wayne Allard hopes a "win-win situation" can be reached, his spokesman Steve Wymer said Tuesday. Ken Salazar, a Democrat, also wants to find "a way forward," said his spokeswoman Stephanie Valencia....
Editorial - A unified stand RECENTLY, SEN. Wayne Allard sent a letter to Army Secretary Pete Geren urging the Army to adopt a temporary moratorium on the use of eminent domain in the planned 414,000-acre expansion of the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site. And Sen. Ken Salazar has told Colorado Springs business leaders he agrees with his Colorado colleague. He actually has the controlling vote over the Pinon Canyon expansion because Sen. Allard already has said he does not support any delays in the Army’s acquisition process, which could begin next year with an environmental study. What we’d like to see is for both senators to join Reps. John Salazar and Marilyn Musgrave in support of a moratorium on funding the process so that more details about the Army’s intentions can be learned. Because of arcane legal considerations, the Army was close-lipped for months, and facts were hard to ascertain. By holding up the Army’s plans, that would give Southeastern Colorado leverage to exact an iron-clad agreement with the Pentagon to not only hold the economy of the region harmless but to enhance it. If great areas of Southeastern Colorado are taken out of ranching, the communities in the area would be hard-hit. What we’re calling for here is balance between the Army’s future training needs and the very livelihoods of the people living in the region....
Invading pike face new round of poisonings A popular fishing lake northwest of Reno was closed to the public Tuesday as officials make another attempt to rid it of a voracious, invasive fish. As soon as next week and a decade after its previous, highly controversial poisoning of Lake Davis, California Department of Fish and Game workers again plan to use chemicals to try to kill thousands of northern pike. With 550 personnel expected to converge at the lake, it's the largest operation ever undertaken by the agency and costs up to $16 million, spokesman Steve Martarano said. "That's how seriously we are taking this," Martarano said. U.S. Forest Service officials closed the lake, shorelines, tributaries, campgrounds, boat launches and facilities within the Lake Davis Recreation Area. The closure will remain in effect for weeks, until the last traces of the chemical rotenone disappear, said Alice Carlton, supervisor of Plumas National Forest. Initial treatment will target Lake Davis' streams and tributaries. Rotenone will be dumped into the lake later in the month, Martarano said. The effort comes 10 years after the state's last attempt to eradicate pike from the popular trout lake. In 1997, a similar project resulted in widespread protests and was unsuccessful, with pike showing up in the lake two years later....
Fall webworms attack Mayhill As if the Lincoln National Forest has not had enough pressure from defoliating insects in the recent past, another species has emerged, evident from Mayhill to the Otero-Chaves county line on U.S. Highway 82. The culprit in this case, while very similar in its infestation behavior to the Western tent caterpillar, malacosoma californicum, is the fall webworm, hyphantria cunea. Constructing large silk-like "tents" for protection during their larval stage from predators such as birds, the insect can literally festoon trees to the point where they appear to have been flocked. "The webworm is a defoliator," said Terry Rogers, U.S. Forest Service entomologist for the New Mexico zone. "But it is not as devastating of a defoliator as the looper or spruce bud worm. The damage the webworm does is, for the most part, aesthetic damage along the sides of roads and highways." The webworm attacks a wide variety of hardwoods including willow, alder, cottonwood, ash, chokecherry, madrone, apple, cherry, aspen and birch....
No More Privies, So Hikers Add a Carry-Along The highest outhouse in the continental United States is no more. High-altitude sanitation is too hazardous a business. Helicopters no longer make regular journeys up the steep-walled canyons in tricky winds while rangers in hazmat suits wait below to tie 250-pound bags or barrels of waste onto a long line dangling below the aircraft. So from the granite immensity of Mount Whitney in California to Mount Rainier in Washington to Zion National Park in Utah, a new wilderness ethic is beginning to take hold: You can take it with you. In fact, you must. The privy, which sat about 14,494 feet above sea level, and two other outhouses here in the Inyo National Forest — the last on the trail — have been removed within the last year. The 19,000 or so hikers who pick up Forest Service permits each year to hike the Whitney Trail are given double-sealed sanitation kits and told how to use them — just as they are told how to keep their food from the bears along the way, and how to find shelter when lightning storms rake the ridges. The kits — the most popular model is known as a Wagbag — are becoming a fixture of camping gear. On high western trails, Wagbag is now as familiar a term as gorp (a high-energy mix of nuts, seeds, dry fruit and chocolate) or switchback (a hairpin turn in the trail)....
Transplant procedure: Scientists, company moving wetland to save it What if there were an ancient vernal pool that supports rare species of salamanders and freshwater shrimp? What if the industry that owns the site did not realize its land contained the vernal pool with its rare eco-community, and had plans to expand operations into the very area of the vernal pool? What if two scientists decided to try to save the vernal pool by transplanting it to an area out of the expansion’s path? And what if their idea won not only the blessing of the industry, but also its assistance in making the transplant happen? That’s what has been unfolding in Piney River....
BLM purchases of Western land parcels The Bureau of Land Management announced Tuesday on their new outlook on a special land conservation fund. According to BLM, nearly three other federal land-management agencies are in the process of obtaining 19 parcels of land in seven Western states with $18 million from a special land conservation fund. Congress established this fund in 2000 and it gives an organization the opportunity to buy private “inholdings” or acres of land managed by BLM, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service. The deputy interior secretary said the $18 million would be used for extraordinary natural, scenic, recreational and historic purposes. Experts said BLM’s purchases of the land would help promote conservation while helping efficient and effective public lands management....
Water-cut challenge A FEDERAL JUDGE'S decision to severely cut back water pumping from the Delta presents a historic choice for California. Either the state builds large new reservoirs or it loses a significant portion of its agriculture. Federal environmental law forced U.S. District Judge Oliver Wanger to order a reduction of about 1 million acre-feet of water being pumped from the Delta to save smelt from extinction. That's enough water to supply 2 million households. The water cutbacks come after a May decision by Wanger that the federal projects that supply water to farms and 25 million Californians were violating the Endangered Species Act. A month earlier, a California judge ruled that the state Department of Water Resources had failed to get a state permit required by the state's endangered species law. As a result of the cutbacks, which could be as many as 2 million acre-feet under some conditions, San Joaquin Valley farms will be forced to idle hundreds of thousands of acres of productive land, probably in the next growing season. Also hit hard will be the Zone 7 Water Agency, which supplies water to 200,000 people in Dublin, Livermore and Pleasanton. Much of the district's water comes from the state water project, which pumps supplies out of the Delta....
Editorial: A judge's landmark ruling roils Delta waters For years, anyone watching the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta has known that a smack-down was looming over endangered smelt. These tiny fish, a bellwether for the ecosystem, have declined over the last decade while water exports from the Delta have been rising. The Endangered Species Act gives judges wide latitude in curtailing government operations that prompt the extinction of a species. And while the smelt and other Delta fish appear to face a variety of threats -- including invasive species, water pollution and loss of habitat -- it's hard for a judge to overlook the impact posed by the massive state and federal pumps that move water through the Delta. That day of judgment has now arrived. On Friday, U.S. District Judge Oliver Wanger issued a landmark ruling that could significantly reduce the 1.9 trillion gallons of water pumped annually through the Delta, largely to Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley. Although Wanger didn't go as far as environmental groups had hoped in restoring flows to the estuary, he issued an order that could fundamentally alter the day-to-day transport of water in California and the ways it is contracted to irrigators and other water users. It's hard to overstate the impact of this ruling. For the first time, the most crucial valve in California's plumbing apparatus has fallen under control of the federal courts. Moreover, this takeover isn't the work of some activist judge. Wanger in the past has issued decisions favorable to irrigators....
State Senate OKs bill on lead ammunition The Senate on Tuesday approved a bill to prohibit deer hunters from using lead ammunition in areas where California condors roam. The action means that, after the Assembly restates its approval within a few days, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will have to decide whether a law is needed to protect the endangered condor from the growing risk of lead poisoning. "It's a great day," said Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara, who has fought for three years to pass a condor-protection bill. The measure would require hunters to use bullets made of copper or some other nontoxic material. Conservationists, backed by the principal manufacturer of copper ammunition, say that nonlead bullets perform just as well and are available in sufficient supply to meet the demands of California hunters. The measure is opposed by hunting and firearms groups, which argue that copper ammunition is more expensive and not available for every caliber of rifle used by deer hunters....
Lawsuit attacks lack of habitat Northern El Paso County, home to the threatened Preble’s meadow jumping mouse, was improperly left off a list of the mouse’s critical habitat, a conservation group says. The Center for Biological Diversity has announced plans to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over decisions affecting 55 threatened and endangered species, including the tiny mouse that lives only along streams on the Front Range of Colorado and Wyoming. The shy, nocturnal rodent, which has a long tail and a dark stripe down the middle of its back, can leap 18 inches into the air. Its habitat has been decimated by development on the Front Range, and it was declared threatened in 1998. At issue is the agency’s 2003 decision to cut the proposed critical habitat area from 57,446 acres to 31,222. In El Paso County, 3,110 acres to the north, east and south of the Air Force Academy were removed from the final listing. Another 12,545 acres in Douglas County were also removed. Much of the would-be protected area in northern El Paso County is near Interstate 25 and ripe for development....
Farming Park Avenue: Farm Subsidies from Manhattan to Montana In early August, Mike Johanns, Secretary of Agriculture, spoke to Nashville farmers and ranchers about the 2007 Farm Bill, which regulates government expenditures for food and farm programs ranging from school lunch funding to farm subsidies. The bill is voted on every five years and is currently in the Senate where it will likely be reviewed in September. After commiserating about the drought and insidious grasshoppers, Johanns discussed proposed changes to subsidies in the Farm Bill and how those will affect farmers and ranchers in this country. According to Johanns, the USDA proposed that if farmers make an annual adjusted gross income of $200,000 or more, producers would “graduate” from receiving the Title I cash subsidies. Even that stipulation would only affect 38,000 farmers. By comparison, he argued that the House version of the Farm Bill, passed in July, will only affect 7,000 people because it will not graduate farmers unless they make $1 million annually. For Johanns this system is inequitable and to highlight the misuse of farm subsidies in the United States, the Secretary turned to a map of Manhattan, the New York City borough in the most densely populated county in the United States where land sells for $1,500 a square foot. Each red dot on the map represents a farm subsidy payment made under the 2002 farm bill with the largest circles representing quarter of a million dollar payments....

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

British Yachtsman Who Counted On Global Warming to Cross Arctic Now Trapped by Ice

In one of the most hilarious cases of being tripped up by dubious scientific hype, British yachtsman Adrian Flanagan attempted to be the first to sail across the arctic north of Russia. He based his hope on the fact that he believed in the Global Warming propaganda that the arctic is rapidly losing its ice thus making his trip possible. One little problem. Cold cruel reality has crushed the Global Warming hype and now Flanagan's boat is trapped by ice in the arctic. To add to the irony, Flanagan who seems to be destined to go down in history as Wrong Way Flanagan, is now pleading with Russian authorities to provide him with the services of a nuclear powered icebreaker to get him out of his embarrassing situation. As recently as August 18, Wrong Way Flanagan's hopes were still high that he could sail across the arctic north of Russia. Moscow News announced his trip in an article ironically titled, Global Warming is Here....

Court gives Navy go-ahead to use sonar off coast A federal appeals court in San Francisco has given the U.S. Navy a temporary go-ahead to use high-powered sonar during nearly a dozen upcoming training exercises in Southern California waters. Friday's ruling puts a temporary stay on an injunction ordered last month by a Los Angeles federal judge to stop the powerful bursts of sonar -- used to detect hostile submarines -- because they could "cause irreparable harm to the environment." Scientists have linked sonar use to mass whale die-offs. A three-judge panel ruled 2 to 1 that U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper did not give adequate consideration to the public's interest "in having a trained and effective Navy." "The safety of our whales must be weighed, and so must the safety of our warriors. And of our country," wrote Judge Andrew Kleinfeld of the U.S 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The ruling Friday is not the final say on the issue. Another 9th Circuit panel will hear more in-depth arguments to decide whether to reinstate the injunction or maintain the stay, which would allow the Navy to continue to use sonar until the lawsuit is settled. That hearing is scheduled for Nov. 5 in Pasadena....
The Endangered Species Act Out of Control Is a salmon born in a hatchery a different species from the same salmon born in the wild? It is hard to believe, but recent Federal court rulings are claiming that otherwise genetically identical fish are separate species, forcing an appeal being announced recently to the 9th Circuit Court. Two court decisions in the last two months show how much is at stake in these questions. In mid-June, Judge John C. Coughenour, of the Western District of Washington, ruled that "human interference" and the "unnatural" way that hatcheries maintain salmon populations was unlawful. The judge then ordered that the Upper Columbia River steelhead remain on the endangered species list. Just this month, Judge Michael Hogan in Eugene reached a similar conclusion. After Hogan's decision, an attorney for the environmental group Earthjustice said "The debate over hatchery fish should be considered [in counting the number of salmon is] conclusively over." These decisions will dramatically affect a lot of people living in the Pacific Northwest. Protecting the salmon will make water much more difficult to obtain, and, without irrigation permits, many farmers and ranchers will have to stop watering their crops and livestock. Large areas of private property will have to be set aside for any species listed as threatened or endangered. The commercial and recreational fishing industries in the Northwest, which generate more than $2 billion annually, will also be affected. Promoting the survival of salmon is a worthy goal, but does it really matter if a fish’s ancestors are from a hatchery or are naturally spawned? As it is, many so-called "wild" or naturally spawned salmon were all but gone and brought back through the use of hatcheries. Given that hatcheries have been around for over a hundred years, it's likely that all naturally spawned salmon have at least some hatchery-spawned ancestors....
APEC Focus on Climate Rattles Members Intent on Trade A plan by U.S. President George W. Bush and Australian Prime Minister John Howard to sign a climate-change agreement at an Asia-Pacific summit may put the leaders at odds with developing nations, who only want to discuss trade. The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation group isn't the right forum to discuss climate change, Malaysia's Trade Minister Rafidah Aziz was cited as saying by state news agency Bernama. ``The `E' in APEC doesn't stand for the environment, it should stand for economic,'' said Simon Tay, chairman of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs. At the APEC leaders' summit in Sydney this week, Bush and Howard, who have been criticized for refusing to ratify carbon-emission caps mandated by the Kyoto Protocol of the United Nations, want to be seen taking a proactive approach as they prepare for elections at home. Leaders of the APEC economies will agree to cut ``energy intensity'' by 25 percent by 2030, according to a draft of their declaration....
114 Groups and Local Leaders Call for End to National Heritage Areas At the very time Senators were congratulating themselves for passing what they termed "the most sweeping ethics reform in history," they approved a series of "national heritage area" bills that significantly increase the potential for self-dealing and corruption, says the National Center for Public Policy Research. In response, The National Center for Public Policy Research brought together 114 policy groups, grassroots leaders, local government officials, sportsmen groups, civil rights organizations, property rights advocates, farmers, ranchers, and individuals to call on Congress not to support the creation of additional national heritage areas or federal funding for heritage area management entities, support groups, or groups that lobby for or advocate the creation of new heritage areas. The letter is being delivered to the House and Senate leadership and the leadership and membership of the respective natural resource committees. National heritage areas are creations of Congress in which special interest groups, whose work at times has been funded through secret Congressional earmarks, team up with the National Park Service to influence decisions over local land use previously made exclusively by elected local governments and private landowners....
Drillers versus killers WYOMING has got rich off oil and gas, as the pace of drilling throughout the Rocky Mountains has accelerated under the Bush administration. The state’s budget surplus approached $2 billion last year. Anyone driving through, as your columnist did in August, will notice that much of the traffic along the main highways consists of huge trucks carrying equipment to the drilling fields (which are themselves occasionally visible off to the sides of the highway). But even at the heart of the energy boom, tensions are building between the drilling and mining industries on the one hand, and ranchers and sportsmen on the other. In August the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, a traditionally Republican pro-hunting group, sued the interior department to protest against the leasing of 2,000 new oil and gas wells in south-central Wyoming, an area favoured by sportsmen and wildlife viewers. “Over the last 100 years, there has been an informal alliance of agricultural industries, sportsmen and the oil and gas industry,” says Jason Marsden of Wyoming Conservation Voters, an advocacy group. That relationship is souring, he says, because of the fast pace of development. Sportsmen want healthy wildlife, to shoot or fish. But the flurry of drilling and mining has fouled rivers with silt and sediment, reduced access to hunting lands and threatened some of the West’s great herds of wildlife....
Grasslands are losing ground On eastern Colorado's grassy rangeland, the dominant plant of the future may be one shunned even by the hungriest of cattle: fringed sage. The unpalatable mint-green shrub increased in bulk by 40 times during climate change experiments conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Colorado State University, the scientists reported last week. "It was a minor species at the beginning of the study, but by the end of four years, 10 percent of the aboveground cover was this species," said Jack Morgan, a USDA range scientist in Fort Collins. "Here's a plant that may be a winner in a greenhouse future," Morgan said. Grassland covers about 40 percent of Earth's land, Morgan and his colleagues wrote in a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and woody shrubs have been moving steadily into most of the planet's grasslands for more than a century. Scientists have attributed that livestock-unfriendly trend to many things, Morgan said, from the suppression of natural fires to overgrazing, drought and climate change. "There's some who would debate if carbon dioxide and climate change were a factor," Morgan said. "But that's what our study shows - clearly."....
No "critical habitat' for jaguar Ten years ago, the jaguar, the largest feline in the Western Hemisphere, was listed by the federal government as an Endangered Species. As a result of that listing, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the federal agency charged with enforcing the provisions of the Endangered Species Act, was to have begun the process of establishing a recovery plan for the jaguar, whose native range once extended well into what is now the Gila National Forest. A large part of any recovery plan is the designation of critical habitat - the actual terra firma necessary for any species on the brink of extinction to be able to recover sufficiently enough that it can, like the grizzly bear and the bald eagle, be de-listed. But, according to a lawsuit filed three weeks ago by the Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity, the Fish & Wildlife service balked at establishing critical habitat for panthera onca arizonensis, the jaguar sub-species that, according to Big Cats Online, once trod these parts. According to a finding released on July 12, 2006, USFWS based its decision to not designate critical habitat on "the fact that U.S. habitat is not essential to the conservation of the species." "There are so many legal and biological problems with that finding that I don't even know where to begin," said Michael Robinson, a Pinos Altos-based conservation advocate for the CBD. At this time, no one even knows for certain how many jaguars there are tromping around in the U.S. The last verified sighting in these parts took place in 1997 between Silver City and Tyrone, the same year the jaguar was declared endangered. There is agreement among New Mexico and Arizona Game & Fish personnel that there are at least six permanent or semi-permanent jaguars living in and around the Peloncillo Mountains in Hidalgo County, New Mexico, and Cochise County, Arizona. Robinson is wary of fielding the inevitable next questions: What happens if there is insufficient natural gene-pooling? Could we see an reintroduction program for felines that can weigh up to 300 pounds, cats that can grow up to twice the size of mountain lions? Could we have jaguars being brought up to southwest New Mexico and Gila Country from Central America the same way wolves are now being brought down from Canada? "I do not know where this will lead," Robinson said....
Pickens seeks Kaufman's help to harness Panhandle's water, power T. Boone Pickens may have found a way to push forward his multibillion-dollar proposal to send Panhandle groundwater and wind-generated electricity to North Texas: Create a special government with the power to bury more than 300 miles of 8-foot-diameter water pipe and electric transmission lines across a dozen counties – whether the counties' leaders or affected landowners like it or not. Commissioners courts in Kaufman County and Roberts County, northeast of Amarillo, are each scheduled to vote Tuesday on a petition for an election to create such a district. If either measure passes, the stage will be set for a handful of the businessman's supporters to vote in November to form a freshwater supply district. Under state law, such districts can fund projects at low interest rates by issuing tax-exempt bonds. They can also exercise the power of eminent domain to use private property anywhere in the state, though they must pay the owners....
New tools map redwood forest Somewhere deep in an unmapped ravine or inaccessible creek bottom in Northern California hides a secret. If it exists - and it might not - it would be as old as the Roman Colosseum, yet it has never attracted much notice. It is the tallest tree in the world, a Sequoia sempervirens - a California coast redwood. And if it remains undiscovered to this day, that may soon change. Scientists with Save-the-Redwoods League are using advanced new tools to literally scan the redwood forests of Northern California, hoping to create an ultra-detailed map of the forest floor. The goal isn't to find the tallest tree of the forest. Rather, the technology aids in forest management, identifying the most at-risk spots in the forest - a problematic former logging road, for instance, or a tract in desperate need of thinning - and allowing Save-the-Redwoods and others to prioritize restoration efforts. Yet the airborne technology carries a bonus feature. As it scans the ground, it also simultaneously maps the forest canopy, giving researchers an equally detailed map and a relatively instantaneous way to separate true titans from mere giants....
Arco trying to get out of Mike Horse Dam removal Atlantic Richfield is trying to extract itself from legal and fiscal involvement in the Mike Horse Dam removal. In documents filed this month in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Texas, lawyers for Atlantic Richfield n also known by the acronym Arco n say that a three-year federal and two-year state statute of limitations for claims ran out long ago. In addition, Atlantic Richfield claims that under the Clean Water Act, only the current facility owners and operators can be held liable for natural resource damages. The lawyers note that Atlantic Richfield “relinquished all property interest and ceased all mineral exploration activities at the site more than 25 years ago.”....
Forest Rangers: Memorials a Growing Problem The synthetic flowers, wind chimes, photos, brass placards and other private memorials to loved ones don't belong in wilderness areas or on the slopes of Colorado's 14,000-plus-foot peaks, forest rangers say. U.S. Forest Service policy prohibits memorials, the scattering of ashes and burials. And while forest officials generally don't know about private ash-scattering ceremonies, they can spot the memorials and want them removed -- even long-standing homages to Elvis Presley and Jerry Garcia at the Aspen ski area. "If we allowed memorials, there would be memorials all over the mountains. That would just be unacceptable," said John Bustos, spokesman for the Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest west of Denver. "Memorials are just not part of the ecosystem."....
Time bomb ticks at old-time resort Listen closely, and you can almost hear the ghostly sounds of four generations of campers awaking in the wilderness: the chatter of kids hauling water to the snug log cabins. The rattle of a battered coffeepot perking away on a cast-iron stove. And, in the background, the steady hum of Squaw Creek tumbling through the forest toward the Rio Grande. At 30 Mile Resort - that's how many miles it is from the great old mining town of Creede - time seems to stand as still as the towering groves of spruce and aspen. But the clock is ticking for Charlotte Trego, the resort's peppery, 76-year-old owner. "I don't know that I'm peppery. I am assertive," Trego says. "As to when the clock starts ticking, nobody's told me." "It already is ticking," says Tom Malecek, district ranger for the U.S. Forest Service. The Forest Service gave Trego 60 days, or until Oct. 17, to bring the resort's old electrical system up to code. It's her last chance to save the eight- cabin resort that her enterprising father launched in 1938....
Wyo roadless case draws attention Wyoming's second court bid to shoot down a Clinton-era ban on development on millions of acres of national forest land around the country is drawing a crowd. The state of Idaho together with groups representing off-road vehicle enthusiasts, mining companies and a conservative legal foundation all recently have filed papers in federal court in Cheyenne supporting Wyoming's position. Meanwhile, the federal government, the states of California, Montana, New Mexico and Oregon and a coalition of environmental groups have all weighed in on the other side. They oppose Wyoming's request that a federal judge find the roadless rule invalid. The four states opposing Wyoming's position argue that even if U.S. District Judge Clarence Brimmer decides the roadless rule is void, he should limit his order overturning the rule to Wyoming....Does anyone know why Bush is defending a rule issued by Clinton, a rule which Bush tried to change but the courts threw out???
Burning Man festival ends in Nevada Thousands of revelers cheered as the annual Burning Man counterculture festival climaxed with two spectacular pyrotechnic shows on the northern Nevada desert. Fireworks erupted as the 40-foot-tall wooden figure known as "The Man," the festival's signature effigy, went up in flames Saturday night and fell to the Black Rock Desert, 120 miles north of Reno. A huge fireball later shot up into the sky after the torching of a 90-foot-plus art piece called "Crude Awakening," billed as the event's tallest structure ever. It also was preceded by a fireworks show. The eclectic art festival was to end its weeklong run Monday after the burning of more artwork Sunday night, including the "Temple of Remembrance."....
Auction refuses to sell seized livestock A livestock auction owner in Southern Idaho has refused to sell cattle confiscated by federal land managers who said the cattle had been grazing illegally on public land. Merv May, part owner of Burley Livestock Auction, declined to elaborate why he refused to sell the 31 cattle on Thursday but said a possible legal battle played a part in his decision. "For what I can get out of the deal, it's better to stay out of it," he told the Times-News. The Bureau of Land Management confiscated the cattle on Aug. 21 after a months-long dispute with Bruce Bedke and Jared Bedke over grazing rights on BLM rangeland about 20 miles south of Oakley. Before the auction, the Bedkes handed out a "Fair Warning Notice" to buyers that read: "The property being auctioned (31 head of cattle from Bruce and Jared Bedke) have been taken without warrant or due process of law. The parties named above could be involved in future federal litigation over this livestock theft. If you bid or purchase any parts of the herds, you could be subject to litigation and might have to return the cattle to their rightful owners, Bruce and Jared Bedke."....
California city may ban oleanders Residents and city officials in Yorba Linda, Calif., are considering a ban on oleanders because of the plant's risk to horses. Oleanders, which have pink and white flowers, can be deadly to a horse if consumed, and many Yorba Linda residents own horses, The Orange County Register reported. The Yorba Linda City Council plans to vote this month on banning the plants. A University of California at Davis veterinary medical publication suggests that horses could suffer heart failure even from eating a small amount of the plant, the newspaper said.
Texan rancher may have found head of mythical animal
Phylis Canion lived in Africa for four years. She has been a hunter all her life and has the mounted heads of a zebra and other exotic animals in her house to prove it. But the roadkill she found in July outside her ranch was a new one even for her, worth putting in a freezer hidden from curious onlookers: Canion believes she may have the head of the mythical bloodsucking chupacabra. Chupacabra means "goat sucker" in Spanish, and the animal is said to have originated in Latin America, specifically Puerto Rico and Mexico. Its name comes from the mammal's reported habit of attacking and drinking the blood of livestock, especially goats. "It is one ugly creature," Canion said, holding the head of the animal with big ears, large fanged teeth and grayish-blue, mostly hairless skin. Canion and some of her neighbors discovered the 18kg bodies of three of the animals over four days in July outside her ranch in Cuero, 145km southeast of San Antonio, Texas. Canion said she saved the head of the one she found so she can get to get to the bottom of its ancestry through DNA testing and then mount it for posterity. She suspects that the animals may have killed up to 26 of her chickens in the last couple of years. What tipped Canion to the possibility that this was no ugly coyote, but perhaps the legendary creature, is that the chickens were not eaten or carried off -- all the blood was drained from them, she said....
It's All Trew: Arizona wild in 1800s Spanish explorers found what is Arizona today, in 1539 and made efforts at colonization in several areas. They made several mistakes in this effort. First, they mistreated the Apache Indians. Second, they introduced cattle, which the Indians loved to eat. And, third, they provided the foot-weary Apaches with horses to ride. As a result, the tribe totally controlled the area, with the exception of the small village of Tucson, until 1848. At this time, an effort at civilization came when the Butterfield-Overland Mail Company began spanning 2,000 miles of semi-desert country from Fort Smith, Ark., to San Francisco. Way stations were located along the way to change teams wherever water could be found. The crude coaches ran day and night, with the trip requiring 21 to 25 days. The accommodations and food were poor and it took a tough traveler to withstand the trip. During this time, the Army finally subdued the Indians and towns began to spring up across the land....

Monday, September 03, 2007


Marc McKinley has purchased a ranch in Oklahoma. They have had terrible floods recently and have lost all fences.

They need someone to come help build fence (for pay) and a lot of fence. There is a house available for families.

If you are interested reply to this email and I will forward all information.

Welda McKinley Grider
Executive Order 13443--Facilitation of Hunting Heritage and Wildlife Conservation

Presidential Documents

Title 3--The President

Executive Order 13443 of August 16, 2007

Facilitation of Hunting Heritage and Wildlife

By the authority vested in me as President by the
Constitution and the laws of the United States of
America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Purpose. The purpose of this order is to
direct Federal agencies that have programs and
activities that have a measurable effect on public land
management, outdoor recreation, and wildlife
management, including the Department of the Interior
and the Department of Agriculture, to facilitate the
expansion and enhancement of hunting opportunities and
the management of game species and their habitat.

Sec. 2. Federal Activities. Federal agencies shall,
consistent with agency missions:

(a) Evaluate the effect of agency actions on trends in
hunting participation and, where appropriate to address
declining trends, implement actions that expand and
enhance hunting opportunities for the public;

(b) Consider the economic and recreational values of
hunting in agency actions, as appropriate;

(c) Manage wildlife and wildlife habitats on public
lands in a manner that expands and enhances hunting
opportunities, including through the use of hunting in
wildlife management planning;

(d) Work collaboratively with State governments to
manage and conserve game species and their habitats in
a manner that respects private property rights and
State management authority over wildlife resources;

(e) Establish short and long term goals, in cooperation
with State and tribal governments, and consistent with
agency missions, to foster healthy and productive
populations of game species and appropriate
opportunities for the public to hunt those species;

(f) Ensure that agency plans and actions consider
programs and recommendations of comprehensive planning
efforts such as State Wildlife Action Plans, the North
American Waterfowl Management Plan, and other range-
wide management plans for big game and upland game

(g) Seek the advice of State and tribal fish and
wildlife agencies, and, as appropriate, consult with
the Sporting Conservation Council and other
organizations, with respect to the foregoing Federal

Sec. 3. North American Wildlife Policy Conference. The
Chairman of the Council on Environmental Quality
(Chairman) shall, in coordination with the appropriate
Federal agencies and in consultation with the Sporting
Conservation Council and in cooperation with State and
tribal fish and wildlife agencies and the public,
convene not later than 1 year after the date of this
order, and periodically thereafter at such times as the
Chairman deems appropriate, a White House Conference on
North American Wildlife Policy (Conference) to
facilitate the exchange of information and advice
relating to the means for achieving the goals of this

Sec. 4. Recreational Hunting and Wildlife Resource
Conservation Plan. The Chairman shall prepare,
consistent with applicable law and subject to the
availability of appropriations, in coordination with
the appropriate Federal agencies and in consultation
with the Sporting Conservation Council, and in
cooperation with State and tribal fish and wildlife
agencies, not later
than 1 year following the conclusion of the Conference,
a comprehensive Recreational Hunting and Wildlife
Conservation Plan that incorporates existing and
ongoing activities and sets forth a 10-year agenda for
fulfilling the actions identified in section 2 of this

Sec. 5. Judicial Review. This order is not intended to,
and does not, create any right, benefit, trust
responsibility, or privilege, substantive or
procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any
party against the United States, its departments,
agencies, instrumentalities, or entities, its officers
or employees, or any other person.

(Presidential Sig.)


August 16, 2007.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Track officials suggest testing

Ruidoso Downs Race Track officials suggest that up to 120 horses stabled at Ruidoso Downs Race Track be tested as a precaution for a virus before they leave the premises during or after the Labor Day Weekend's final racing cards. A potentially harmful, and sometimes fatal, virus was detected in early August in a Texas gelding, Home Run Play, a racehorse stabled in a private barn near, but not on, Ruidoso Downs Race Track grounds. Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) was subsequently detected in the horse, which was removed from the area and quarantined. Conflicting reports have placed the infected horse, trained by Clint Wright, in quarantine near Ruidoso or in Albuquerque. It is reportedly still alive. Six horses stabled next to Home Run Play were tested by the state. "All of those horses tested negative," said Dr. Dave Fly, state veterinarian for New Mexico. By state law, all horses within a 200-yard radius of the infected animal must be tested, as well, usually by the Coggins method. The test, named after Dr. Leroy Coggins, a professor at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, checks for antibodies to the EIA virus in the horse's blood. About 100 horses stabled at the time on racetrack grounds were within that 200-yard limit. Trainers involved returned on a "dark day" (a non-racing day) Aug. 27 and cooperated with the state's veterinarian office in having their horses tested. Among those participating were Dr. Jess Unrue of the New Mexico Racing Commission....
Horse tests positive for EIA near Ruidoso Downs

Ruidoso Downs officials have seen no evidence that a horse who tested positive for Equine Infectious Anemia at a nearby farm has spread the disease to horses at the New Mexico track. Ruidoso General Manager Rick Baugh said the New Mexico Livestock Board informed track officials about the horse on Monday. Baugh said he wished the board had acted sooner because horsemen and track officials had heard about the infected horse several days before the information was passed along. “We have received back tests on the six horses stabled closest to the infected horse and all of the tests are negative,” Baugh said. Every horse at the track will receive the Coggins test, which is used to detect EIA, sometimes referred to as swamp fever. Horse flies and other insects spread the viral disease, which has no vaccine or cure. Acute infection causes fever, depression, and loss of appetite. Ruidoso, which offers Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred racing, is looking forward to its biggest weekend of the year, capped by the All American Futurity for Quarter Horses on Monday. “It’s something that once it was discovered, we acted fast,” Baugh said. “The last thing we wanted was to be placed under quarantine on our biggest weekend of the year.” The infected horse has been quarantined.
It's not easy being frugally cheap
Cowgirl Sass And Savvy

By Julie Carter

His pickup and trailer rig speak of a cheap, well, okay, frugal cowboy who makes do with what he has.

Last spring, Dan the team roper upgraded to a 1993 model.

Being the giving kind of guy he is, Dan donated his old truck, that he'd paid $600 for to a friend who was in great need of it. Together they got it painted and overhauled and it was a gem.

Dan's new truck, the '93, came with chrome wheels. The friend with the old truck, in an effort to save Dan's reputation, offered to trade him the plain rims off the old truck for those chrome ones.

The horse trailer, a single-axle one-horse, is one you have to see to believe.

"Houston red" in color, as it was described to me, apparently denotes the rust because that's what it is front to back, top to bottom. It does have new reflector tape on it in lieu of lights.

Held together with baling wire, literally, you have to admire the horse brave enough to get in it.

When I first saw it, I thought it was a "just go down the road to the neighbors' to practice roping" trailer. I soon learned it was the main rig that travels to the major roping events.

I'm real surprised some of those ultra-fancy Texas arenas would let it in the parking lot.

I'd not be surprised if they asked him to park in the back, which wouldn't matter to Dan. His rig doesn't identify his roping ability.

Dan has his money allocated to specific categories - this much for Copenhagen, this much for beer, this much for horse feed. Whatever is left over is all his.

One time he had been saving for a pair of new boots. The pair he was wearing had been resoled a couple of times and were at their life's end, held together, more or less, with duct tape.

It had been a while since he'd shopped for boots and he soon realized his available cash fund, all $45 of it, wasn't going to cover the cost of new boots off the shelf at the Western store.

The weekly horse sale in Stephenville afforded him the opportunity to take a day off from his ranch job.

On the way, he stopped at an on-going flea market at the edge of town. Sure enough, there was a man with a stack of new boots in boxes.

Dan approached him and asked, "You have any size 13 double-E boots?" Both he and the man with boots were relieved to find one another.

Dan tried on the right boot and it was perfect. The man priced them at $30 and an elated Dan immediately began planning what to do with his leftover money.

He grabbed the boots, paid the man and left quickly before anyone could change their mind.

When he got to the horse sale, he decided to put his new boots on. The right one fit like a glove, but the left one, turned out to be a size 11.

At this point, Dan had to decide if he wanted to go with one new boot and one old, or stay with both the old ones.

His pride and being tired of walking on gravel dictated that one old and one new would work just fine.

It was a couple of weeks before Dan could get back down to the flea market and could get settled up with the right size boots.

After he finally had both boots the same size, they lasted quite well and he's just now starting to think about duct tape.

Visit Julie's Web site at