Sunday, November 04, 2012
Jaguars, NEPA & Coordination
Zoo Masters, NEPA, et al
By Stephen L. Wilmeth
Our oldest granddaughter got her first zoo master software before her fourth birthday. She would be upstairs building monstrous zoo layouts. We’d sit down beside her and she would be so immersed in the construction of the complicated labyrinths in her mind and on the screen she would barely acknowledge our presence.
“Show us was you’ve done,” we would urge her.
She would show us all the wondrous marvels laid out in expansive avenues and theme settings. She would eventually get more sophisticated soft ware. It would even allow her to stock her zoos with dinosaurs and extinct animals. We were amazed at her imagination. That equated, or course, to our assessment of how smart she was.
As we look back now, though, she may not have been the only one building grand imaginary schemes. The environmental cartels were applying the same science fiction to the real world.
October 19, 2012 was an important date. It was the final day comments were accepted for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and those environmental cartels’ proposed critical jaguar habitat in New Mexico’s Bootheel and Arizona’s Jaguar Alley. The first phase of this pipedream includes 838,232 acres of, at best, occasional transient domain of single, bachelor cats in that area.
It is the first phase of a gargantuan real life project. Already, it is known that the Rewilders are pushing for the inclusion of the Gila and Apache National Forests in this critical habitat plan. That would increase the acreage from less than a million acres to about 4.5 million on the American side of the border.
That would dovetail conveniently into the 1.3 million acre Janos Biosphere Reserve already in place adjacent to the proposal on the Mexican side of the border.
But, that is not the real plan.
That plan is 26 million acres in New Mexico and 27 million acres in Arizona or 53 million acres on the north side of the border. If current habitat concepts remain fixed, that would marry into a minimum of 34 million acres in Mexico.
Our once four year old granddaughter would have been mucho impressed!
In comments submitted to USFWS, Terrell Shelley and I assessed our family’s Gila occupation since 1884. We traced 243 ranch years on parallel tracks of history where not a single jaguar was seen, trailed, or killed in what is being described by supporters as favorable jaguar habitat.
It must be remembered those people lived each day starting at sunup and ranched for survival. They managed predators aggressively and most had packs of dogs. For example, the Shelleys would take hounds with them each and every time they rode just to keep the dogs in shape. If there had been a jaguar in the country in all those years, they would have found traces of its existence.
Even the Nat Straw reference to a jaguar on Taylor Creek that adds to nebulous 10-17 cats documented, suggested, discounted, removed or added to the list of sightings in New Mexico since 1825 has baggage. Too many of us have read Nat’s account of how he rode the wrong grizzly bear off the mountain top trying to escape a blazing bear fight in order to save his own life to put full faith in his colorful accounts of life.
But, the jaguar segment of the imaginary world theme park expansion is but one of a myriad of make believe goals being sought. In the last several years there have been no less than eight land designation proposals in southern New Mexico that carry similar implications. That doesn’t include the public battles over forest travel management decisions, forest management of fuel loads, the wolf project, and the egregious step wise loading of Agenda 21 treaty in our community growth concepts. Government assault … environmental assault has erupted in all quarters.
To those who have responsibilities, duties, and investments on the lands under this environmental assault, the realization of our existence has become one of protecting ourselves from our government rather than our government protecting us.
Is that not astounding?
Several weeks ago there was a refresher course in Albuquerque on the implications of the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA). In the detail of that act there was the reminder of what coordination implies. Coordination was clearly intended to be the tool explicit in federal legislation that promises local government equal partnership in federal action that impacts their surroundings. Those governing bodies shouldn’t have to resort to it, but they must uphold their sworn duty and protect their constituencies from the environmental agenda that has been the guiding force in the public land decisions they were promised they would drive.
For too long, local governments have learned of such plans by reading about them in the Federal Register or the local newspaper. In other words, this and similar environmental passion legislation sets forth wording that ostensibly maintained local input at the highest level, but the sovereignty of local input was displaced by a contrived agenda.
The law has been applied in that manner for so long policy and court decisions have moved the spirit and intent of the action. Americans who have duties, responsibilities, and investments on western lands have become outside observers looking inward. They are increasingly vilified, minimized, and assaulted.
In the cattle business, the results of such public lands assault are finally taking a quantitative form. New Mexico State University research of the Gila National Forest now confirms that federal land agency management equates to a continued reduction of cattle at the rate of about one percent per year. That reduction is constant and it does not tie to any market or drought influence. It is Forest Service management that has become dedicated to wilderness and de facto wilderness priorities. The diminishment of revenue yields for cattle is real and no amount of government action has done anything to alter the rate of contraction.
The logging business has suffered even greater casualties. The Gila is again the example. From scores of logging operations in 1960, not a single full time logging operation now exists. The Forest Service proclaims that the lumber business in the American Southwest is no longer viable. Try to find a single piece of research that supports such a claim.
And, mining … the jaguar project threatens the most economically viable new copper extraction opportunity that exists in our country today, the Rosemont Copper Company’s Santa Rita Mountain project. The main objectors are the Forest Service and the juxtaposition cartels.
Yes, Americans at risk must find ways to protect themselves from their government.
Zoo Master 2.013
In the once flowing spring behind our ranch headquarters, we are told that university paleontologists removed a wooly mastodon skeleton. Where it is today is beyond any guess, but it must be within some hallowed institution for an important, tenured scientist to guard. The fact that it was removed from private land for such safe keeping is another story yet, but that is for another day.
The real interest is the DNA archive that the skeleton and others like it present. Can any of us just wait until technology allows the cloning of more Pleistocene fauna?
The real kicker would come with the real grand cat … the saber tooth tiger. Now there was a cat of distinction … ol’ muscle, blood and guts himself! He might even stimulate the fear of the real God in the hearts of the Rewilding crew if they had to share their nature walk with him!
There is every indication that such a wild idea would come to pass if the technology lent itself to such an outcome. Therein, though, resides the growing catastrophe of the improvisation that has given rise to our dilemma. Our world is a dynamic, ever changing arena. It ebbs and flows. It gives and it takes away, and, ultimately, we can control only those things we can touch and manage.
The words we try to arrange to describe what we face in the midst of our government’s action too often don’t even make sense to us.
We are reminded, though, how important local controls are. The outcome of local actions is driven by conditions and constraints that actually exist. They are shaped by the ability of the combinations of local means to support their perpetuation. That is no different from the reality of the jaguar. He doesn’t exist because natural conditions, regardless of the presence of man, disallow his presence.
No amount of manipulation will change that outcome. The message, though, is clear. If we refuse to manage predicated on local conditions, we are all subject to extinction. We see it everywhere we look, and … our government is the willing facilitator.
Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “We must have balance in these schemes. If we must contend with the jaguar, New York City must accept eastern diamondbacks.”