Saturday, August 06, 2016

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1677

This isn't Swingin' Monday, but here's a swingin' gospel tune by Ed BruceDevil Ain't Got A Prayer.  The tune is on his 2007 CD Sing About Jesus

Friday, August 05, 2016

How Uncle Sam Underwrites Coal-Powered Automobiles

by Vanessa Brown Calder

Tesla Motors recently announced that its latest model, the Tesla 3, will be released at the end of 2017. Almost 400,000 pre-orders have already been placed for the fan favorite that boasts a celebrity clientele including Cameron Diaz, Leonardo DiCaprio, and George Clooney. For $35,000 you, too, can be the proud owner of the environmental solution of the future: a coal-powered automobile, subsidized by Uncle Sam. The Tesla 3 stands out in a class of cars that overpromise and under-deliver. The promise? Just by buckling up, you are part of the solution to saving the world from toxic carbon emissions, the compounds that draw the ire of any environmentally conscious citizen. On a daily basis, you, too, can be Captain Planet, a bona fide American hero. Where does it originate? Sixty-eight percent of the electricity generated in the United States is generated from fossil fuels, and half of that amount, or one-third of the total electricity generated, comes from coal. In some states, such as Kentucky and Wyoming, around 90 percent of electricity is produced from coal. And coal-fired power plants are the number-one source of carbon emissions. In effect, Tesla and other electric-vehicle makers have done something clever and appealing: They have replaced carbon emissions you can see with carbon emissions you can’t see, at least not coming out of the tailpipe. In fact, if your electric vehicle is charged with electricity from a coal-fired power plant, it is estimated to emit 15 ounces of carbon per mile, a full 3 ounces per mile more than a similar gasoline-powered vehicle. But that’s just the beginning. Under the hood you’ll also find the wonderful, innovative lithium batteries that Teslas rely on to hold their charge. In 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency described these batteries as having the “highest potential for environmental impacts,” with lithium mining resulting in greenhouse-gas emissions, environmental pollution, and human-health impacts.

Governor Walker Tours King Cove & Calls For Airport Road

On Wednesday, Governor Bill Walker toured King Cove, to witness the urgency of a needed link between the remote Aluet community and the close-by Cold Bay airport. Governor Walker was accompanied by First Lady Donna Walker, and Alaska Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Andy Mack. Our Governor stated in a press release, “I have met multiple times with U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, and on this issue, I know we don’t agree…I won’t give up, though, on pushing for what the residents of King Cove need – a road to access emergency medical care.” Governor Bill Walker added, “An Alaskan suffering a heart attack should not have to additionally brave the elements just to get to a doctor…After having met community members who have had close calls and having seen for myself the great lengths they have to travel just to be medevaced out, I see the urgent need for a solution.” link

Wyden, Brown do the ‘Sidestep’ on monument

by Alan Kenaga

We understand the plight of some Oregon politicians when it comes to the national monument proposed for 2.5 million acres in Malheur County.

We understand that Sen. Ron Wyden and Gov. Kate Brown identify most with Portland and Eugene.
We understand that in the political game there is no need to give a straight answer to any question that offers them no benefit.

But still....

There was a time when even politicians stood for something. That’s how they were elected. They would say what they thought about a variety of issues important to the electorate, which in turn would decide whether to hire them as their representatives.

Oregon politics, however, appears to have mutated into a muddle of ambiguity. This is a world where there are no direct answers, and a “yes” or “no” question is answered with a monologue that dodges the question.

...Wyden was asked whether he supported the proposal.

Wyden said it’s his duty to respect how Oregon residents vote on issues. Malheur County residents voted 9-1 against the monument in a special election in March. He also said that while Malheur County residents have voted on the issue, the rest of Oregon has not.

...Similarly, Brown, who like Wyden is in the midst of an election campaign, has been equally mealy-mouthed.

It appears to us that Oregon’s “leaders” have decided it’s too risky to lead.

Outdoor companies back proposed Utah national monument

A coalition of outdoor sports companies in Salt Lake City voiced support Thursday for a proposed national monument in southeastern Utah that has become a flashpoint in the debate over public lands in the West. Company leaders from a group that included The North Face, Patagonia, Rossignol and Black Diamond said at a Thursday news conference that preserving open spaces is paramount to keeping their industry vibrant and allowing Utah-based companies to recruit top talent. The event marked the latest salvo in an intense back-and-forth between monument supporters and opponents over the last several months in Utah...more

Siskiyou supervisors send letter of support for Utah land initiative

The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors voted on Tuesday to send a letter of support for a Utah bill attempting to address concerns about federal land ownership in that state – a topic often arising in the Western United States. House Resolution 5780, the Utah Public Lands Initiative Act, is a sweeping, approximately 250 page bill that touches on numerous topics, from grazing certainty to wilderness conservation across a large swathe of federally owned land in Utah. Introduced by Congressman Rob Bishop (R-UT-1), HR 5780 is reportedly the result of months of collaboration between numerous stakeholder groups and interested parties, and has been touted as a measure to bring more local control to land use decisions. In its letter to U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, the board of supervisors states, “The Initiative is a proactive approach to managing 18 million acres within seven counties of public land throughout Utah, and outlines management priorities and provisions for Wilderness Areas, National Conservation Areas, and Watershed Management Areas, among others...more

Campaigns courting rural voters

Attendance at the Democratic Convention’s Rural Council meeting last week might have been small, but powerful in perspective. “You are the most important people at this gathering this week,” Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D- N.D., told a crowd of about 60 people sitting in the Philadelphia Convention Center to listen to rural advocates. “Hillary Clinton cannot lose Rural America by 90 to 10 (percent) and become the next president of the U.S.” Heitkamp was one of a number of speakers, including Montana Senator Jon Tester, former North Dakota Rep. Earl Pomeroy, former USDA Deputy Sec. Kathleen Merrigan, National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson and others who made the case over the two-hour session that Hillary Clinton was the best bet for Rural America. And they repeatedly made the case that Democrats need to do a better job getting that message out. “We’re the party that works for everybody and makes the economy and government work for every American, not just the powerful and privileged special interests like Donald Trump,” he added, before handing out a brochure called, “What does it mean to be a Democrat?” While the blue brochure doesn’t include the world “rural” it focuses on strengths from “honest, hard-working people from all walks of life. Hattaway said that the DNC surveyed over 3,000 voters and nine out of ten said that was an important message that they wanted to hear. And they compared it against the GOP messages that were developed after Republicans lost their last presidential race and conducted their “autopsy.” He said they tested the messages against GOP messages and “beat them by 12 points.”...more

State to kill wolves from Ferry Co. pack after attack on cows

State wildlife managers are planning to kill some wolves in a northeastern Washington pack after its members killed at least four cattle this year. Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Jim Unsworth authorized killing a portion of the Profanity Peak pack in Ferry County after investigators on Wednesday confirmed a calf had been killed by a wolf. There are at least 11 wolves in the pack. The department says preventative measures — such removing carcasses or increasing human presence — have not stopped livestock from being attacked, and such attacks will continue if the animals aren’t removed. The agency says it is following guidelines developed with an advisory group on when to remove wolves, including that there be at least four livestock attacks in a year. It’s the third time the department will remove wolves since the predators began recolonizing Washington about a decade ago, The Capital Press reported. There are now 19 wolf packs, all of them east of the Cascades...more

Judge's big ruling on sage grouse looms in Nevada

A federal judge in Nevada could rule any time now on a lawsuit filed nearly a year ago in an effort to block protections of the greater sage grouse across much of the West. Nevada's attorney general and others filed their final briefs in Reno Wednesday challenging land-use planning amendments and a temporary freeze on new mining claims the government adopted to guide future management of lands with grouse habitat. The two sides disagree about whether Judge Miranda Du has the authority at this time to strike the policies down. Opponents claim she does. They say the directives are having a chilling effect on mining and energy exploration, as well as the ability of ranchers and entire county governments to plan for the future. Government lawyers argue they can't be challenged because they offer guidelines but no site-specific decisions.  AP

Bison numbers spur changes in population control measures

Wildlife managers are considering changes to the hunting and slaughter of bison that leave Yellowstone National Park after past efforts failed to achieve population reduction goals set by a 2000 agreement. Roughly 600 bison were killed during the past winter, including through shipments of the animals to slaughter and hunting by American Indians and state-licensed hunters. Despite the hundreds of animals killed, officials told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle that the park’s bison population saw no significant decrease. Montana officials and many ranchers have pushed to curb the park’s bison population, which migrate by the thousands into the state when Yellowstone has severe winters. They can compete with livestock for grazing space and many bison carry brucellosis, a disease that can cause cattle to abort. A 2000 agreement between Montana and federal agencies requires bison kept out of areas with cattle, resulting in thousands of bison captured and slaughtered and drawing condemnation from wildlife advocates...more

Atlantic drilling off table but survey permits pending

While drilling for oil and natural gas in the Atlantic is off the table for now, permits are still pending that could allow seismic surveys to map just how much might be out there. The Obama administration announced earlier this month that the Atlantic will not be included in the next round of offshore energy leases from 2017 through 2022. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said the decision was based in part on local opposition. Dozens of coastal communities passed resolutions opposing offshore drilling worried that oil spills could hurt fisheries and tourism. Two years ago, however, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management opened areas in the Atlantic to energy surveys and eight companies currently have pending applications to use seismic air guns to map the ocean floor. Environmental groups worry the loud sounds from the air guns will harm marine life such as whales and turtles. The advocacy group Oceana released maps Tuesday showing areas where permits are being sought and where they overlap crucial marine habitat. Almost 40 fishermen and others who make their living on the waters off Delaware, Maryland and Virginia also sent a letter to the governors of the three states. “Allowing seismic blasting could disrupt the spawning, feeding and migration patterns that support our fisheries and replenish fish populations from year to year,” the letter warned...more

Lawsuit Filed to Protect Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout as 'Endangered'

The Center for Biological Diversity today sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over its denial of Endangered Species Act protection to the Rio Grande cutthroat trout, a cold-water fish of the headwaters of the Rio Grande, Pecos and Canadian rivers in Colorado and New Mexico. In response to a 1998 Center petition and two lawsuits, the agency determined in 2008 that the rare trout warranted protection due to habitat loss, introduction of nonnative trout, climate change and other factors. But in 2014 the Service reversed course and denied protection to the species. “The Rio Grande cutthroat trout survives only in a few isolated headwaters,” said Michael Robinson of the Center. “Without help from the Endangered Species Act, this fish will disappear forever.” Characterized by deep crimson slashes on its throat, the fish once swam throughout the Rio Grande, Pecos and Canadian river basins from Colorado to southern New Mexico. It is now limited to a small number of tiny headwater streams in only 11 percent of its historic range. Today’s lawsuit not only seeks endangered status for the Rio Grande cutthroat trout, but also challenges a new Fish and Wildlife Service policy of disregarding historic range and instead assessing species’ viability only within their current range, regardless of how diminished that might be from historic levels...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1676

Here's a tune that was banned from some radio stations win first released in 1956:  Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs - I'm Gonna Sleep With One Eye Open.  The tune was recorded in Nashville on January 23, 1955.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Amodei, Hardy want BLM approval for off-road race through national monument

With less than three weeks to go before the green flag is set to drop, Nevada Reps. Mark Amodei and Cresent Hardy are calling on the Obama Administration to approve an off-road race through the state’s newest national monument. In a letter sent Wednesday to Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell, the Republican lawmakers said there is no regulatory or scientific reason to deny a permit for the 20th annual Best in the Desert “Vegas to Reno” race, which is slated to cross a portion of Basin and Range National Monument in Lincoln and Nye counties. The Bureau of Land Management is still conducting an environmental review of the 643-mile race slated to begin Aug. 19 near the Lincoln County town of Alamo and end Aug. 20 in Dayton, just east of Carson City. This year’s proposed route has drawn opposition from conservationists because it includes 37 miles of existing dirt road through the southern half of the 704,000 acre national monument designated by President Obama last year. In their letter, Amodei and Hardy argue that the race could mean up to $40 million in revenue for the rural communities along the route. To deny the race a special recreation permit despite a favorable environmental assessment “would mean the BLM has abandoned its mandate in favor of appeasing special interests,” the letter states...more

Secretary of the Interior Jewell visits Grand Canyon

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell visited the park July 26 and addressed sexual harrassment on the river and possible designation of a Grand Canyon Watershed National Monument among other topics. Jewell introduced Grand Canyon National Park's (GCNP) new superintendent, Christine Lehnertz, and spoke about the National Park Service's (NPS) plans to change a culture of sexual harassment and hostile work environment that was recently addressed at Grand Canyon and led to the retirement of former Grand Canyon Superintendent Dave Uberuaga. Additionally, Jewell spoke about the possible designation of a 1.7 million acre Grand Canyon Watershed National Monument. Jewell said her experiences and work in Bluff, Utah, where she spent four days meeting with three different county councils, tribal communities and business owners to hear concerns and support for a possible designation of the Bears Ears National Monument, indicates her commitment to listen to different points of view before any action to designate or not either the Bears Ears or Grand Canyon Watershed as national monuments. "We have listened in this administration to different points of view," Jewell said. "We have also allowed the legislative process to work itself through but there are times when we've needed to move and we've been very judicious in doing that." Jewell said the Antiquities Act, which allows President Barack Obama to designate national monument before he leaves office, is an important tool used by presidents but said legislation is also an important tool "In the case of the greater Grand Canyon area there is both a legislative proposal for additional protections (and) there are people that are asking for monuments - we have not held any public meetings," she said...more

New Program Pays Central Valley Farmers to Grow Wildlife Habitat

California’s drought is taking its toll on wildlife. Years of sub-par precipitation have cut the amount of water available for wildlife refuges that supply critical habitat and food for waterfowl and other migratory birds. Reduced river flows are pushing endangered fish species to the brink. Riparian forests have also been impacted by the drought, as well as by groundwater over-pumping. As well as the drought, increased development, population growth, pollution and other pressures have almost eliminated most of the vital riparian and wetland habitat that a number of endangered species need to survive. To combat this, the Environmental Defense Fund, along with a partner organization, has launched the Central Valley Habitat Exchange, a voluntary program that gives landowners – farmers and ranchers – incentives to create wildlife habitats on their land. To understand how a market-based system for habitat protection works and who benefits, Water Deeply spoke to Ann Hayden, the senior director of the California Habitat Exchange and Western Water program at the Environmental Defense Fund. Ann Hayden: The Habitat Exchange program we are developing throughout the country is aimed at creating incentives for farmers and ranchers to create habitat benefits on their land while maintaining agricultural productivity. In a sense, they would be getting paid to grow habitat in the same way they grow crops – it’s an additional commodity they would get paid for. We started looking at the Central Valley out of the recognition that over 90 percent of habitat for wetlands and floodplains and riparian habitat-types have been decimated. Since so much of our state is in farmland, it seems like a natural fit that farmers and ranchers should be brought into the fold to help meet conservation goals, and not just rely on land acquisition or looking to conservation banks. Those are valid tools that exist, but we think bringing farmers and ranchers to the table will bring in so much more habitat, while allowing agricultural productivity to be maintained...more

Bison Industry Drives to Recruit Ranchers as Demand Climbs

The U.S. bison industry is trying to draw more ranchers to where the buffalo roam. After collapsing in 2002, demand for bison burgers and steaks from retailers such as Whole Foods Market Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Kroger Co. is rising, sending processors and marketers on a recruiting drive to round up more producers to raise the hulking creatures. One major hurdle to recruiting ranchers: convincing them to handle animals that can grow to the size of a Mini Cooper, and sometimes get ornery. “That’s like sticking bobcats in gunnysacks,” said Lee Graese, a former bodybuilder who raises bison with his wife, Mary, a dietitian, near Rice Lake, Wis. “If you can run into it at 35 miles per hour with your pickup and it’s still standing, you’ve got a pen that’ll hold a bison.” Bison-meat sales topped $340 million last year, according to data from the National Bison Association. This is a tiny fraction of the more than $100 billion in sales of cattle, hogs and poultry produced in the U.S. in 2015. But bison producers say their meat boasts an edge in the marketplace as consumers seek out more naturally raised protein, and sales have grown by 22% over the past five years. Fans say it tastes like beef, but leaner and slightly sweeter. Dave Carter, executive director of the Westminster, Colo.-based Bison Association, says the industry needs commercial-scale ranches like the beef industry has, capable of raising thousands more bison to further build the market. Cattlemen, he said, are natural candidates, beleaguered by a 20% decline in cattle-carcass prices since early 2015...more

National Water Trail designation proclamation ceremony

The city of Piqua is pleased to invite community members and officials from throughout the region to join in recognizing the recent designation of the Great Miami Watershed Water Trail as a National Water Trail System. The water trail includes the Great Miami, Stillwater and Mad rivers and is the only national water trail in Ohio. The National Water Trails System is a distinctive national network of exemplary water trails that has been established to protect and restore America’s rivers and waterways and increase access to outdoor recreation. “Our world-class network of national trails provides easily accessible places to enjoy exercise and connect with nature in both urban and rural areas while also boosting tourism and supporting economic opportunities in local communities across the country,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell...more

Video - More flooding spotted on Dog Head Fire burn scar

A massive wall of water, ash and debris came rolling off the Dog Head Fire burn scar in the Manzano Mountains Wednesday after heavy monsoon rains hit the area. As seen in footage Chopper 4, water sliced through the mountains like a locomotive, clearing a path as ranchers and even cattle try to dodge the deluge. The bird's eye view was bad, but Ramon Gutierrez said the aftermath was worse, a thick putty of ash and water leaving behind just as much as it sweeps away...more

Here is the KOB video report:

Voices: A Texan way of life under assault

by Rick Jervis

AUSTIN – One of my first experiences in Texas came while on assignment seven years ago writing about the withering drought strangling the state at the time.

I visited places like Johnson City, Stonewall and Vanderpool and spoke with cattle ranchers who were selling off chunks of their herds because their land was too parched to feed them. The drought was bad, but ranching had been tough for years, many of them told me, and a lot of their sons and daughters were refusing to inherit the rough life of a rancher.

Texas cattle ranching, it seemed, was steadily fading.

So, I was intrigued by the new movie Hell or High Water, starting Jeff Bridges and Chris Pine, which tells the story of two brothers who rob several branches of the Texas bank that’s trying to foreclose on their family ranch. The film, scheduled to open nationwide on August 19, is based in West Texas and captures the sweeping vistas, grit and inflection of the place. It also highlights another threat facing ranches: predatory banks.

I met with the film’s screenwriter, Taylor Sheridan, at his Austin hotel suite recently while he was in town for a screening. Sheridan was a relatively unknown actor when he decided to switch to screenwriting a few years back. His first script, Sicario, won critical acclaim for its dark depiction and layered telling of violence on the Texas-Mexico border.

A native Texan, Sheridan grew up on a ranch outside Waco. His family ended up losing the ranch, which got him out of Texas and into acting. He got the idea for Hell or High Water while visiting friends in West Texas. Driving through towns like Archer City and Windthorst, Sheridan said he was stunned at the number of empty homes and deserted ranches he saw.
It struck him that the land once ruled by Comanche and snatched by white settlers was, once again, changing hands.

“It’s being resettled with wealth, and it’s being resettled with displacing individuals,” Sheridan told me...

Ranchweb’s newest addition – Ted Turner’s Vermejo Park Ranch embraces the spirit and freedoms of the Wild West

A ranch of nearly 600,000 acres in Raton, New Mexico, which is under the auspices of Ted Turner Expeditions, recently became the newest member of, the world’s leading website for sourcing domestic and international ranch vacations. Vermejo Park Ranch, spanning close to 914 square miles in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado, is the largest Ted Turner Expeditions (TTX) vacation property and one of the premier eco-tourism destinations in the American West. Vermejo welcomes families and groups of all ages, offering unparalleled opportunities to explore nature and to witness herds of elk, deer, pronghorn antelope and bison, along with black bears, mountain lions and Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. Activities include hiking, biking, Nordic skiing, horseback riding, wildlife viewing, bird watching and photography tours. This is also an Orvis-endorsed fly fishing lodge. “Leveraging financial success into the joys of owning a western ranch is an ongoing trend that we are seeing,” says Kilgore. According to, in 2015 Ted Turner ranked second among the list of America’s 100 largest landowners. This list resonates with American titans, some of whom, according to Kilgore, are also in the dude ranch business: Philip Anschutz (Emerald Valley Ranch), James E. Manley (Ranch at Rock Creek), and Arthur Blank (Mountain Sky Guest Ranch)...more

Tax Meat Until It’s Too Expensive To Eat, New UN Report Suggests

Meat should be taxed at the wholesale level to raise the price and deter consumption, says a new report from the UN’s International Research Panel (IRP). This will (supposedly) save the environment and prevent global warming. “I think it is extremely urgent,” said Professor Maarten Hajer of Utrecht University in the Netherlands, lead author of the report. “All of the harmful effects on the environment and on health needs to be priced into food products.” Hajer and other members of the IRP assert that livestock creates 14.5 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. Sneak the tax up on people Rather than taxing the meat at the retail level (in supermarkets and shops), Hajer recommended taxing it at the wholesale level. “We think it’s better to price meats earlier in the chain, it’s easier,” said Hajer. “The evidence is accumulating that meat, particularly red meat, is just a disaster for the environment,” agrees Rachel Premack, a columnist for The Washington Post’s Wongblog. “Agriculture today accounts for for one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions that promote global warming,” says Premack, “and half of those agriculture emissions come from livestock.” “Agriculture consumes 80 percent of water in the US – most of that being for meat, says Premack. “… For a kilogram of red meat, you need considerably more water than for plant products.” “Meanwhile, Denmark is considering a recommendation from its ethics council that all red meats should be taxed,” Premack continues...more

HT: Bill Sellers

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1675

Here's another Country Classic:  Faron Young - Sweet Dreams.  The tune was recorded in Nashville on April 27, 1956.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Feds reclaim control of Alaska gamelands, ban bear, wolf hunts by air

The exiting Obama administration gave animal rights groups a major victory Wednesday, ending predator hunts over 76 million acres of Alaska wildlife refuges and handing hunters, the National Rifle Association and the state's own Board of Game a huge defeat. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ruled an end to aggressive hunts of predators like bears and wolves, nixing hunting by plane and helicopter, baiting, killing mother bears with their cubs and wolves and wolf pups in their dens. At issue was the state's policies of allowing predators to be hunted aggressively and by means some find unethical so that there would be fewer bears and wolves to kill the moose, caribou and deer sought by two-legged hunters...more

Here’s The Devastation Left Behind By Big Sur’s Wildfire

California’s Soberanes fire has more than doubled in size in the past week, scorching more than 43,000 acres along the state’s picturesque central coast and leaving mounds of ashes where homes once stood.  The fire, which has been burning in Soberanes Creek, Garrapata State Park and the area north of Big Sur since July 22, is now larger than San Francisco, the Weather Channel noted Monday. It’s destroyed 57 homes, damaged another three, forced 350 people to evacuate and left one person dead, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Tuesday morning. It’s still only 18 percent contained and threatens 2,000 other structures. “Fire continues to burn in steep, rugged and inaccessible terrain,” the department, known as Cal Fire, said in Tuesday’s update. Californians have become familiar with such catastrophic wildfires in recent years, as nearly five years of drought and record-high temperatures have dried up forests and primed them for massive blazes. Cal Fire said last month it responded to twice as many fires in the first half of 2016 as in that period of 2015...more

Illegal campfire sparked huge Big Sur-area wildfire

A devastating coastal California wildfire that’s destroyed 57 homes and caused the death of a bulldozer driver was sparked by an illegal campfire, authorities said Tuesday as they asked for help finding the culprit. Whoever built and then abandoned the fire around July 22 in the Garrapata State Park could face criminal and civil penalties for sparking the blaze, which has now burned more than 43,000 acres near Carmel, Big Sur and the Pebble Beach golf resort. Authorities said hikers who reported the fire had to first climb up to a ridge top to get mobile phone reception. “We understand the devastation and hardship this incident has caused,” CALFIRE Battalion Chief Jonathan Cox said. “We appeal for anyone who was in the area of origin to please come forward and give any information they have, no matter how inconsequential they may believe it to be. It could be instrumental in this investigation.” The campfire was started about two miles from the main road, in an area closed to camping, state parks officials said...more

BLM Begins Northeast County “Re-Engagement”

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) furthered its ongoing process of “re-engaging” with the communities of northeastern Clark County last week. BLM Las Vegas Field Office Manager Gayle Marrs-Smith made an appearance at the Moapa Town Advisory Board (MTAB) meeting on Tuesday, July 26 and gave a brief presentation to the board and the Moapa residents assembled there. It was the first public meeting attended by BLM officials in the northeast Clark County region since the agency’s standoff with supporters of Bunkerville rancher Cliven Bundy in April 2014. Since that time, BLM personnel have not been allowed to conduct any work or operations in the region due to safety and security concerns. Marrs-Smith said that the past two years have been difficult for the regional BLM staff because of the amount of work that was needed in the region and not able to be done. “It has been a long two years,” she said. “And it has been rough for us. We have gotten way behind on our work. Now we want to go back out and get back engaged. But we want to do it with the communities’ support.” The MTAB meeting was the first in a series of public meetings that will take the BLM officials across all of the communities of northeast Clark County, Marrs-Smith said. Next week, similar presentations will be made to the Mesquite City Council, the Moapa Valley Town Advisory Board and to the Bunkerville Town Advisory Board...more

 "Re"-engagement is probably a misnomer.

County Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick, who was in attendance at the meeting, told board members that she had urged BLM officials to come back and engage in a positive dialog with the northeast county community residents.
“This is a big step for the BLM to come back,” Kirkpatrick said. “I gave my word to work together and collaborate with them for the best interests of the community.”

Local government reached out to the BLM, rather than the other way around.

Let's recall that FLPMA requires the BLM to "coordinate the land use inventory, planning, and management activities of or for such lands" with State and local government.

Drones Drop Fire Balls To Ignite Extreme Controlled Burns

The Great Plains of the American West are becoming a great sea of shrubs—and wimpy manmade fires are at the heart of the problem. That's according to ecologist Dirac Twidwell, who believes controlled burns simply aren't hot enough to control the woody shrubs that are taking over the prairies.  What's needed are "extreme fires," meaning fires that burn hot and are erratic and nonlinear in their movement, Twidwell wrote in a paper published in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. And to help manage these extreme fires, Twidwell and a team of engineers from the University of Nebraska have created drones that can start extreme fires from the sky, a prototype of which we previously covered. In the past, lightening regularly ignited fires in the plains, killing off tree seedlings and shrubs, and promoting the growth of fire-adapted grasses. But decades of fire-control by humans has altered that natural process, allowing woody shrubs to prosper and overtake the grassland. This is a problem for ranchers hoping to maintain quality grazing land for cattle and for wildlife managers seeking to maintain the native ecosystem. The low-intensity controlled burns they've employed have inhibited large-scale wild fires by restricting potential fuel, but in doing so have facilitated the march of the shrubs, which can survive low heat fires...The idea for the fire drones started as a joke between Twidwell and co-author Craig Allen, a researcher with the U.S. Geological Survey. But they quickly realized it had real potential. Twidwell worked with a team of engineers at the University of Nebraska's NIMBUS Lab to develop drones that deploy ping-pong-ball-sized "dragon eggs" loaded with fire-starting chemicals to ignite controlled fires. They're safe and cheap, Twidwell says, taking on a dangerous job normally carried out by range crews and helicopter pilots...more

Managed grazing helps forests, experts say

With California wildfires becoming more frequent and intense, ranchers and other natural resources experts say public policy on livestock grazing as a potential tool to manage fuel and vegetation needs to be reevaluated to allow more flexibility. Despite mounting research that shows well-managed grazing could help reduce wildfire risk and severity, livestock stocking rates on public lands have dropped substantially through the years—and continue their downward trend today. Prior to the 1980s, production of food, fiber, fuel and water was the primary focus on public lands, Tate said, and that affected streams, wetlands and other riparian areas. But by the 1990s, with concerns about riparian habitat and endangered species, grazing policies began to change and conservation became more of a focus, in order to allow public lands to be used for a variety of purposes. These changes resulted in significant reductions of livestock on public lands. Since 1980, the number of animal unit months—which refers to the amount of forage a thousand-pound cow and her calf will eat in one month—on U.S. Forest Service lands dropped by 50 percent, UC researchers found. From 2000 to 2013, total AUMs declined 27 percent on national forestlands and 23 percent on U.S Bureau of Land Management lands in California. Of the more than 700 grazing allotments on Forest Service land in the state, only about 500 are actively grazed, Tate pointed out. At the same time, the number of grazing herds of deer, antelope and other wild animals also has diminished in forestlands, allowing overgrowth of vegetation and increasing fire risk, Snell said...more

FWS working with ranchers to preserve range

...Recently, some public opinion has suggested that livestock grazing may be incompatible with conserving the sagebrush ecosystem, specifically sage grouse habitat.

Your U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Great Basin area State Directors are sharing our perspectives gained collectively through decades of both scientific study and on-the-ground learning from those who live on the land.

There are current and legacy examples of livestock grazing negatively affecting sagebrush ecosystems and sage grouse habitat. However, we are aware of many examples of ranchers grazing livestock in a manner that keeps the sagebrush ecosystem healthy for both wildlife and people.
This fact is important to recognize, learn from and share.

Livestock grazing may be the most widespread, long-term human influence on sagebrush ecosystems in the Great Basin since European settlement. But it is invasive plants, especially cheatgrass, which have changed how the sagebrush ecosystem responds to stress from wildfire and grazing.

Another threat is the degradation of riparian areas, wet meadows and springheads. Avoiding overgrazing – however that may be defined – is key to supporting a healthy sagebrush ecosystem, which includes abundant native bunchgrasses and forbs. These rangelands are less likely to host cheatgrass, have a higher resilience from disturbance such as fire and are less likely to be impacted by grazing.

While we acknowledge that improperly managed livestock grazing can facilitate threats to upland and riparian areas, we have also seen that proper grazing can achieve healthy outcomes.

For years the Service has collaborated with ranchers who have demonstrated an interest in and ability to graze livestock in a way that conserves sagebrush ecosystems and is consistent with objectives in the newly revised federal land management plans. Working cooperatively with the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service and state resource agencies, we are reaching out to ranchers more and asking them to teach us how their successful grazing management is promoting native plants, reducing cheatgrass, and ensuring healthy riparian areas and springs. This collaboration across federal, state and private land ownership is key to removing threats to sage grouse and sagebrush ecosystems.

 Ted Koch is U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service field supervisor for Nevada; Paul Henson is state supervisor for Oregon; Dennis Mackey is state supervisor for Idaho; and Larry Crist is state supervisor for Utah.

Senator Lee hosts standing-room only hearing on PLI

It was standing room only on July 27 as US Senator Mike Lee held a field hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The meeting focused on the Public Lands Initiative and the proposed Bears Ears National Monument. A crowd estimated at 1,000 filled the San Juan High School auditorium and spilled over into adjacent rooms and corridors to hear testimony from five people. Senator Lee heard from Utah Governor Gary Herbert, Congressman Rob Bishop, San Juan County Commissioner Bruce Adams, and local residents Chester Johnson and Lewis Singer. Afterwards, several dozen local residents were able to voice their concerns at a town hall meeting format. The hearing was in marked contrast to a July 16 hearing with federal officials in Bluff, which included Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. At the Bluff meeting, the crowd was roughly equal for or against the national monument. Large groups of people from outside of the area attended the hearing to support the monument, including several large busloads from surrounding states. In Blanding, primarily local residents made a strong voice against the proposed National Monument, with messages written on cars and on signs along the sidewalks. Nearly half of the large crowd were Native American. They presented a united front of local residents opposed to the creation of a national monument. Read more: San Juan Record - Classifieds, Events, Businesses in Monticello, San Juan County, Utah - Senator Lee hosts standing room only hearing on PLI...more

$2.3 Million for Navajo ranchers through Beef Program

The Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise (NNGE) in conjunction with Labatt Food Service and Navajo Nation Leadership is celebrating the continued expansion of the successful Navajo Beef Program three years after its launch the end of 2012. The program now features 23 local Navajo ranching families raising high quality beef, Labatt Food Service distributing it and NNGE purchasing it to serve in its resort, casinos and restaurants. Since its launch November 2012, the program has grown in revenue for local Navajo ranchers, product distributed and customer base and by the end of 2016 is projected to produce $2.3 Million in revenue. “We are proud to partner with local ranchers and improve their quality of life in conjunction with Labatt and our Navajo Nation leadership team,” stated Derrick Watchman, CEO of NNGE. “The Navajo Beef Program is part of our larger commitment to Buy Navajo and allows our properties to better showcase world-class Navajo cuisine to the world while generating much needed revenue and jobs for the Navajo people. We would like to thank the Navajo Nation Council – including Council Delegate Lorenzo Curley – for their efforts to make this visionary program a reality.” In its first year (2012 – 2013) the Navajo Beef Program – through Navajo ranchers – produced 545 head of cattle and generated more than $500,000 of revenue back into the local Navajo community. Growth during its second year (2013- 2014) increased by approximately 15 percent. Revenue generated back for Navajo Ranchers was approximately $750,000 for year two. In year three, additional Navajo ranchers and their families in Arizona and New Mexico are participating and together will earn a projected $2.3 Million with 1,998 total head of cattle...more

Caught on camera: Bear hitches ride on garbage truck

A video and explanation is here.

Brazilian market reopens

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has reached agreement with Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply to allow access for U.S. beef and beef products to the Brazilian market for the first time since 2003. Brazil’s action reflects the United States’ negligible risk classification for bovine spongiform encephalopathy by the World Organization for Animal Health and aligns Brazil’s regulations to the OIE’s scientific international animal health guidelines. Both countries will immediately begin updating their administrative procedures in order to allow trade to resume. U.S. companies will need to complete Brazil’s regular facilities registration process. In a separate decision, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service also recently determined that Brazil’s food-safety system governing meat products remains equivalent to that of the United States and that fresh – chilled or frozen – beef can be safely imported from Brazil...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1674

Today we have a Country Classic:  Ray Price - I'll Be There (If You Ever Want Me).  The tune was co-written by Price and was recorded in Nashville on December 28, 1953 and rose to #2 on the country charts in 1954.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Brick by brick – Small NM town rebuilds its church

Eight years ago, while the small village of Questa, New Mexico, (just north of Taos) slept, the town’s church collapsed, due to old age and years of neglect. The sound of the San Antonio del Rio Colorado’s demise reverberated throughout the village. The majestic towers were broken into bits, as were the hearts of the villagers. Churches in New Mexico are the heart and soul of a community. So when the archdiocese recommended the church be torn down, the community decided to take matters into their own hands – literally. The villagers had virtually no funding. But what they had instead was their willingness to work hard and centuries of traditional building techniques that were passed on from their ancestors. They committed to rebuild the church themselves within six years — so the archdiocese acquiesced. With 100 percent volunteer labor and private donations, the village members, families and friends, set out to rebuild the church — brick by brick, committed to rebuilding and restoring the history of the village. “This project is even more special because we rebuilt this church the same way it was originally built — as a group of faithful community members working together and making decisions together to have a beautiful place to worship,” said Malaquias Rael, former Mayor of Questa and Spokesperson for the restoration committee...more

Americans in the Western States Are Denied Equal Rights

by George R. Wentz Jr & John W. Howard

Over the years, America has seen steady progress on the principle that individuals enjoy equal rights under the law. But that principle is violated daily for the tens of millions of people who live in the twelve western states where most of the land is claimed by the federal government. What does federal control of most of the land within a state have to do with equal rights? The answer may surprise you.

First, consider what the Supreme Court refers to as the “police power.” This is the power to legislate regarding the health, safety, and welfare of residents of a state. As Chief Justice John Roberts put it in NFIB v. Sebelius, the first Obamacare case,

“state sovereignty is not just an end in itself: Rather, federalism secures to citizens the liberties that derive from the diffusion of sovereign power.” New York v. United States, 505 U.S. 144, 181 (1992) . . . Because the police power is controlled by 50 different States instead of one national sovereign, the facets of governing that touch on citizens’ daily lives are normally administered by smaller governments closer to the governed. The Framers thus ensured that powers which “in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people” were held by governments more local and more accountable than a distant federal bureaucracy. The Federalist No. 45, at 293 (J. Madison). The independent power of the States also serves as a check on the power of the Federal government: “By denying any one government complete jurisdiction over all the concerns of public life, federalism protects the liberty of the individual from arbitrary power.” Bond v. United States, 131 S. Ct. 2355, 2364 (2011).

But in Utah, for example, where over 66 percent of the land is claimed by the federal government, unelected federal bureaucrats exercise police power over far more of Utah than the governor, state legislators, and county commissioners do. Citizens of Utah are routinely entangled in vast federal bureaucracies when it comes to issues that “in the ordinary course of affairs” concern their “lives, liberties, and properties.” They must deal with the Bureau of Land Management, the National Forest Service, the EPA, and a host of other federal bureaus, agencies, etc.. Routine local land-management issues quite literally become federal cases. One government — the federal government — has complete jurisdiction over all the concerns of public life in over 66 percent of the state, exposing Utah citizens to solidified “arbitrary power” in a way that no citizen of New York State, for example, ever encounters. There the federal government claims less than one quarter of 1 percent of the land, and New Yorkers can deal with elected local officials to solve the vast majority of their problems. 

Just ask the citizens of San Juan County, Utah, who have had their homes raided by heavily armed Bureau of Land Management agents and have seen one of their county commissioners prosecuted and sentenced to ten days in prison and fined $96,000.00 for riding an all-terrain vehicle on a county water-line-maintenance road that had been unilaterally closed down by the feds. A county sheriff in New York who raided homes or arrested a county commissioner would quickly be voted out of office. The citizens of San Juan County have no such recourse. Instead of exercising their political franchise to protect their “lives, liberties and properties,” they must fight the full weight and unlimited resources of the federal government.

George R. Wentz Jr. is a lawyer with the Davillier Law Group in New Orleans. John W. Howard is a constitutional scholar and litigator in San Diego.

Pearce visits Silver City, speaks on public lands

SILVER CITY — Congressman Steve Pearce was in town Saturday to connect with media outlets and to hold meet-and-greets with his constituents. "About 1½ years ago, I met with 18 Forest Service officials," Pearce told this reporter. "I told them basically that we couldn't continue operating like this, just de facto burning down forests." They said they were doing forest cleanup, and Pearce replied: "Yes, 30,000 acres at a time in a million acres of forest. You'll never catch up." He traveled to Grants about a month ago. He said the community was asking him for help to create the jobs they used to have. "It was the forest. 'We need to cut trees,' they told me." "We get to Grants, and the one mill left in New Mexico is there," Pearce said. "One-hundred-twenty-two mills have closed down in the state." The last mill owner was at the table, and he said he had a stewardship contract and if it lapsed, he, too, would have to close. Pearce said he pushed the Forest Service not to let the last guy shut down, so they gave him a 10-year extension on the stewardship contract, which is not yet completed. "I need to know what you are doing to cut trees," Pearce said to the Forest Service, which replied that it had a 90,000 acre-project on the books that was close to final signatures. "Two days later, we went down to the Lincoln Forest, close to Weed," Pearce said. In a three-hour meeting with the Forest Service, including the Deputy Regional Forester Jim Upchurch, Pearce said he explained the problem for a ranch families. "You're blocking off their water. You're telling them they have to move their cattle to market," but the fence is right up to the mountain on one side and the road on the other, "so the family will have to herd their cattle down the one-way road to get them to market, and people will come flying around the corner and meet a herd of cattle. You're telling me this is what they will have to do. I think we can do better."...more

EPA Watchdog Opens a Criminal Probe Into 2015 Colorado Spill

The Environmental Protection Agency’s inspector general has opened a criminal investigation into last summer’s massive mine-waste spill in Colorado’s Animas River, which was caused after one of its contracting firms accidentally triggered the release. On Monday, Republican lawmakers who had called for the criminal inquiry praised the investigation, which was disclosed Friday by the agency’s independent watchdog arm. Some lawmakers had accused the agency of not moving to hold itself accountable in the Aug. 5, 2015, spill at the Gold King Mine of three million gallons of toxic sludge into the river, which eventually empties into the Colorado River. The sludge turned the Animas mustard yellow for days, forcing thousands of river users to turn to alternate water supplies, as federal officials found high levels of toxicity from lead and arsenic. EPA officials eventually cleared the water for drinking and recreation, but warned that chemicals in the riverbed could be stirred up again and that a full cleanup could take years. The spill has prompted other legal actions in recent months, including a still-pending suit filed in federal court against the EPA by New Mexico over what state officials there call lingering contamination issues impacting its residents...more

River flows to be reduced 35 percent

Federal agencies are reducing flows through Link River Dam this month to evaluate potential benefits to endangered suckers. The Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are expected to begin reducing flows this week. The reduction is intended to decrease the number of juvenile suckers from Upper Klamath Lake that are passed downstream below Link River Dam, into Lake Ewauna, where they may encounter conditions less favorable to their survival, a news release said. BOR Spokeswoman Laura Williams said water deliveries from Upper Klamath Lake to the Klamath Project will not be impacted by the changes. Lost River suckers and their counterpart, shortnose suckers, were given protections by the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1988. Both species are facing a high threat of extinction and are believed to have low recovery potential because most of the juveniles hatched from fertilized eggs don’t make it to adulthood. The adjustments are expected to coincide with peak juvenile sucker numbers observed at Link River Dam. The adjustments will result in a flow reduction of approximately 35 percent for seven to 10 days from the initial reduction date, the release said. The BOR is coordinating the flow reduction with PacifiCorp, which operates the Link River Dam...more

Montana ranch hand fined for chasing grizzly bear in truck

A Montana ranch hand has been fined after authorities say he posted a video on social media of him chasing a grizzly bear in a pickup truck. The Helena Independent Record newspaper reports that Lawrence Kennedy of Browning was fined $400 after reaching a plea agreement with federal prosecutors. Kennedy initially pleaded not guilty to violating the Endangered Species Act but switched his plea under the deal July 5. He was charged with unlawfully harassing a threatened species. link

Rancher's family sad deputies won't be charged

An attorney for the family of an Idaho rancher says their position that he was wrongly shot and killed by two sheriff's deputies hasn't changed since state and federal officials declined to charge them. Boise attorney Charles Peterson said Friday that the family of Jack Yantis was sad after learning the state's attorney general and U.S. attorney for Idaho wouldn't pursue a criminal case against the Adams County deputies. Yantis was killed after one of his bulls was hit by a car and the deputies tried to put down the animal. Peterson says Yantis' wife, Donna, "watched as her husband was gunned down, today's decision doesn't change that." Peterson says the family will finally be able to look at the evidence now that the investigation is complete.  AP

10th defendant in standoff pleads guilty to conspiracy

An Arizona man who took part in a pair of armed standoffs over federal land policy has pleaded guilty to a charge in Oregon and is expected to do the same in Nevada. Joseph O’Shaughnessy, 44, acknowledged in court Monday he conspired to prevent U.S. Interior Department employees from doing their jobs after ranchers and others took over a national wildlife refuge this winter near Burns. O’Shaughnessy said he didn’t participate in the occupation led by Ammon Bundy but felt a duty to provide security for those protesting federal control of public lands and the imprisonment of two Oregon ranchers. “I did support their message,” he said, becoming the 10th of 26 defendants to plead guilty in Oregon. Prosecutors will recommend a prison sentence on the low end of a 12- to 18-month range, and it will be served at the same time as the term he could receive for his role in a 2014 armed standoff with federal agents at a Nevada ranch owned by Ammon Bundy’s father, Cliven Bundy, Assistant U.S. Attorney Craig Gabriel said. Portland defense attorney Amy Baggio confirmed that O’Shaughnessy has a plea deal with prosecutors in Nevada and that resolving the Oregon case was part of the agreement. In Oregon, the 16 defendants who have not pleaded guilty are awaiting their day in court. Half of them, including brothers Ammon and Ryan Bundy, are scheduled to stand trial starting Sept. 7. The rest were granted a trial delay until Feb. 14...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1673

Listeners should know by now that Ranch Radio is not a fan of those soft, syrupy-type love songs. However, every once in awhile one so touches my heart that I must share it with you.  Here is Terry Robbins - I Love You More Than I Love Bacon.  The tune is on his 2015 CD Long Live The Fiddle & Steel.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Homes near wilderness in Idaho, West complicate firefighting efforts

When Boise resident Pat Telleria saw the wind-driven flames from the Table Rock Fire sweeping across the grass foothills toward his dream home on June 30, he picked up the phone. In the middle of the night, he called 911. “I’m next. It’s coming right at me!’ he told dispatchers. “And they said, ‘You’re out of luck. All the resources are allocated.’” That’s when the wall of fire came at them “and it was humming.” Telleria’s home stands on the edge of the wilderness in a landscape that offers pastoral serenity but is also susceptible to wildfires. Some 44 million homes have been built in similar areas of the Lower 48 states, making the properties expensive to protect from flames and draining resources that might otherwise be used to defend forests, rangeland and wildlife habitat. “I fly back and forth across the country and I see it,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell told the nation’s top wildfire managers during a meeting in May at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise. “We should be holding these people accountable, and we’re not.” Most of the homes have been erected in recent decades. More examples can be found in Santa Clarita, Calif., where a wildfire in mountains north of Los Angeles recently forced 20,000 people from their homes. Most residents were cleared to return on Tuesday, but the flames kept burning in the rugged terrain where many houses are tucked into canyon lands...more 

These articles are always about the evil humans, and how they and their homes are responsible for killing firefighters, busting the budget and other transgressions. 

I say they are looking at this bass akwards.  Instead focus on the wilderness - and moving it back from the settlements.  No more endangering firefighters, busting the budget or "complicating" things.  And the resulting products could be sold to replenish budgets and benefit the public.

“I fly back and forth across the country and I see it,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell told the nation’s top wildfire managers during a meeting in May at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise. “We should be holding these people accountable, and we’re not.” 

She's also got it bass akwards.  Quit flying back and forth, and instead, stay at home and make yourself and the other administrators accountable for years of mismanaging the forests.

Friction in the forest

For four miles on a winding two-lane highway through New Mexico’s Gila National Forest, U.S. Forest Service patrol officer Christopher Mandrick contends that he was dogged by a brown Ford truck tailgating his marked law enforcement vehicle. All he could see was the front grille in his rear view mirror until the truck passed him and another car on a blind curve in a no-passing lane on U.S. Highway 180, south of Luna, Mandrick recently testified. He flipped on his siren and flashing lights that wet January afternoon. It took another one and a half miles, he testified, before the driver pulled over – right next to a Catron County sheriff’s deputy parked on the opposite shoulder of the road. “You don’t have any authority to pull me over,” Mandrick quoted the driver as saying when he approached and asked for his identification. Friction between the Forest Service and residents in mostly rural New Mexico counties is nothing new, especially in Catron County in southwest New Mexico. But the traffic stop by officer Mandrick in January 2015 – and the ensuing 18-month legal battle that ended this month – arose at a time when some say there is more hostility than ever toward the federal government in the West. The law enforcement arm of the Forest Service is under attack in Congress and its law enforcement presence in New Mexico is shrinking due to budget cuts. Since 2011, the number of law enforcement officers assigned to protect natural resources and investigate crimes on the more than 8.3 million acres of national forest in New Mexico has been cut by nearly 39 percent. The force of uniformed, armed patrol officers has gone from 15 to 9. The number of criminal investigators, who handle the more complex investigations of illegal tree-cutting and other crimes, is down to two from three. Meanwhile, the ability of federal forest law enforcement officers to enforce state crimes through cross-commissioning by New Mexico sheriffs has been dramatically curtailed – in part because of a New Mexico Supreme Court ruling last year. When civil actions are filed, counties are now potentially liable for other agencies acting under sheriffs’ commissions. Only Bernalillo County and Sandoval County commission Forest Service officers to make arrests under state law...more

An excellent article on a timely subject. Not mentioned, though, is the federal law governing this issue. Section 303 of FLPMA (Federal Land Policy & Management Act) states:

"When the Secretary determines that assistance is necessary in enforcing Federal laws and regulations relating to the public lands or their resources he shall offer a contract to appropriate local officials having law enforcement authority within their respective jurisdictions with the view of achieving maximum feasible reliance upon local law enforcement officials in enforcing such laws and regulations." and "While exercising the powers and authorities provided by such contract pursuant to this section, such law enforcement officials and their agents shall have all the immunities of Federal law enforcement officials."

Congress contemplated that the feds rely to the "maximum feasible" extent on local law enforcement officials to enforce both federal and state law.

Feds Released Dangerous Wolves Into the Wild

Interior Department officials placed the welfare of wolves over public safety, neglecting to inform residents when wolves were roaming and killing cattle in New Mexico, according to a new audit. An official in charge of the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Mexican Gray Wolf Recovery Program, which was established to conserve the species, was found to be protecting wolves she considered “genetically valuable,” even though they posed a danger to residents in the area.  The agency’s inspector general released an audit last month detailing how the former program coordinator covered up complaints against a wolf that posed a “human safety hazard.” Team employees in Catron County “deliberately avoided documenting complaints to protect certain wolves,” the inspector general found. Allegations made by the Catron County Board of Commissioners were confirmed by Fish and Wildlife Service employees...more

The Albuquerque Journal article is here, but look how this story has taken off.  The above is from the Washington Beacon and also see Feds release wild wolves into populated area without informing residents at The American Thinker.

And the public needn't worry, as the USFWS has fixed everything.

Why utilities and environmentalists are teaming up against the solar industry

Environmentalists don't always see eye to eye with Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric, California's two largest utilities. But some of the state's most influential environmental groups have joined forces with the utilities to support a massive conservation and clean energy plan, in the face of opposition from the solar and wind industries. Officials are close to finalizing the far-reaching plan, which would divvy up 10 million acres of federal land in the California desert between conservation, energy development and recreation, including off-roading. The goal is to protect threatened species like bighorn sheep and desert tortoises, while identifying areas where solar and wind farms can be built safely and approved quickly. The biggest development zone is proposed for eastern Riverside County, where several solar farms already rank among the largest in the world. Energy-industry critics say the plan would leave far too little space for solar and wind projects, while doing nothing to speed up development. But many conservationists disagree, and so do the utilities. In a joint letter earlier this month, Edison, PG&E and seven environmental groups called for the plan's swift approval. It's an unusual alliance: Several of the environmental groups have sparred with Edison and PG&E in recent years, on issues ranging from rooftop solar compensation to who should pay for the decommissioning of the San Onofre nuclear power plant. But they've decided their interests align on the desert plan. In their July letter to Neil Kornze, director of the federal Bureau of Land Management, they praised the plan's "landscape approach to balancing conservation and clean energy," saying it will "provide consistency and certainty" for conservationists working to protect ecosystems and energy developers looking to build power plants...more

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1672

It's Swingin' Monday and here's some swingin' bluegrass:   Shadow Mountain BandMonon Railroad Blues.  The tune is on their new 2016 CD Shine.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

Meet me at the county fair

by Julie Carter
It is county fair time across America. Spending a day at the fair is as much a lesson in history and anthropology as it is an excuse to eat homemade pie and see cute bunnies in their best fur coats.

County fairs nuture the roots of rural life. They are one of the few places left that bring the generations of agriculture together to experience a culture and a heritage that has been left behind by most of the population of this country.

Yet the fair is a teaching tool as well. One of the reasons it exists is to provide today's youth with a glimpse into the lives of the generations before them. 

Local 4-H clubs and FFA chapters champion agricultural education and community service. The members work on several projects throughout the year and come to county fairs to show off their accomplishments.

Fair projects can include anything from baking and knitting to crafts and photography, but at most fairs, showing off farm animals the youth have been raising is the focus. The majority of the fair's events are livestock contests in which 4-H and FFA members display their animals and receive prizes based on which animal shows best conformation, grooming and obedience.

Fairs are about families.  You won't find any bawdy acts or provocative contests at any local fair that I’m aware. The raciest event in one county fair was the Momma Lamb and Poppa Pig Showmanship contests. While the term “showmanship” might indicate a serious competition, this one is strictly for fun and what was seen cannot be unseen.

In this contest, full grown, seemingly responsible adults who have youngsters entered in the fair or are FFA advisors and 4-H leaders purposed to make fools of themselves for the merriment of the crowd and the resigned embarrassment of their children. The inaugural event had people laughing so hard they couldn’t walk or talk. It’s been a few years, but it is still talked about today.

What you don’t see when you arrive at the fair is the hustle, bustle, cram, jam and near panic that goes on for the last weeks prior to the fair.

Sometime just after the Fourth of July the fair families look up at the calendar and gasp. Only four weeks until the county fair! They begin to give a serious eye to the livestock that up until that moment simply got fed twice a day and not much else.

Exercise and nutrition plans take on a scientific edge with the only comfort coming from hearing the neighboring 4-H’er say, “I still can’t catch mine.” Then the crunch to get every animal in the county clipped and trimmed before the fair puts the extension agent and the ag teachers on the road 24/7.

You can spot them easily. They are carrying at least one set of hog scales and two trimming racks in the back of their pickup. They spend long days crisscrossing the county to clip the next set of lambs or spend hours fine tuning the coiffure on a couple of fat steers.

Show boxes are sorted and re-oganized, show ring wardrobes planned and the last minute rush is on to finish braiding, welding and baking projects.

Then finally the fair becomes about relaxing, having fun and showing off a little of what has been learned and accomplished. Lifelong memories are made annually as another generation passes through the show ring.

See you at the fair!

Julie can be reached for comment at

Our (Trump) Speech - Given in Absentia

Sons of the American Southern Border
Our (Trump) Speech
Given in Absentia
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

            I stand before you as an endangered species.
I am an American rancher. There are not a lot of us. In fact, less than one percent of every man, woman, and child in this great land is classified amongst our ranks. In my case, you could also say I am an American border rancher because my lands lie within sight of the Mexican border in Luna and Dona Ana Counties, New Mexico.
            Whooey, look at this place!
My goodness, this hall is immense. I’ll bet you could stack 50,000 tons of hay in here if you could stack one. Stacking hay is something we understand. It is a fact of life in our role as the real land stewards of the West.
            If you don’t mind, I am going to leave my hat on while I speak. That is something I normally wouldn’t do. My grandmother wouldn’t approve and I’ll beg her memory for forgiveness in this lapse of etiquette, but I want you to look at me in the image of all my colleagues who couldn’t be here.
             I am here tonight to support the presidential candidate who isn’t owned by the system. I am going to support the one that actually realizes that American citizenry exists or attempts to exist between the 77th and 118th Meridians! I am also going to support the one that understands there is a Constitutional mandate to protect our international borders and particular the one 30 miles south of me, our southern border.
            Let’s talk about that.
            This fellow in the Whitehouse keeps telling us that American border security is better than ever. He’s not telling the truth. We live with the reality of what actually goes on, and any suggestion this border is sealed is utter nonsense. We no longer listen to his rhetoric. Rather, everybody who has investments, duties or responsibilities on this border knows the real truth and we trust only our own community and the information we experience firsthand.
            The conversation between cowboys and vaqueros across the border fence offers much more reliable intelligence. At least it is couched in honesty. The Mexicans know who controls the smuggling corridors. The corridor directly to our south is now reserved for drug crossings. We see very little evidence of large scale human trafficking. It is too valuable to draw attention of elicit human crossings. The Juarez Cartel has dibs on this corridor, the Potrillo Mountains. Designated by the same fellow in the Whitehouse as one of his legacy national monuments this area is becoming a hugely valuable drug trafficking corridor. It has every characteristic of the dangerous Arizona class corridors. It has north/south oriented drainages. It has strategic, high points of observation. It has major east/west highways both north and south of its mass. It has fewer and fewer American ranchers living on its remote locations. It is rural with few numbers of Americans present at any time. It is managed by a federal land agency without any vested risk to federal employees, and, with the new designation with its restricted access rules, it is a mosaic of safe haven and managed wilderness safe zones.
            Ask yourself this. How can private citizenry identify the very characteristics that make this border monument so dangerous and yet our political leadership and our federal bureaucracies operate as if this border is a nature park of pastoral bliss? This is nuts. It is not as if the risk is not there. The state of New Mexico has a policy that when state employees venture into this area to certify livestock scales, those employees must be accompanied by armed escort.
            This area represents a doormat to a national crisis of immense proportions. At any time, there are unit trains parked along its northern boundary awaiting priority clearance east and west. There is also a major east/west natural gas line paralleling that rail line, and, of course, I10 lies immediately north with upwards of 17,000 vehicles a day running east and west.
            Mr. Trump, you need to understand the consequences of this looming disaster!
            Days ago, my neighbor to the south and within the monument found a bundle of carpet slippers used by drug runners to cover their shoes and thus their tracks of entry within a few hundred yards of his home. This was preceded by the discovery of a female corpse at one of his remote livestock waters. He consistently hears cartel ultra light aircraft at night and Border Patrol agents park in his front yard when they unload their ATVs to disperse on patrols. He is increasingly surrounded by illicit activity in the presence of the Border Patrol even though his home is 17 miles north of the line of demarcation where the public has been told the Border Patrol will interdict all invading illegals. We were all told that when the two New Mexico senators tried to get the monument passed as a legislative package. They told us the same thing after the monument was created by presidential proclamation.
            The problem is that was a lie as well. There is no hope that this border will be secured under the conditions of protection imposed on American citizenry and Homeland Security. Like so many other issues, we have become the undeclared enemy regulated from access and defense of the border not the cartels or the human traffickers.
            Mr. Trump, you and the leadership that intends to perpetuate this Union must gain a new perspective. The cornerstone must be this border! The methods of control that have proven to work like boots on the ground, technology to provide surveillance and detection of entry, the authority to go anywhere at any time without restriction, and manifest to allow duty to prevail rather than politics must be granted to the Border Patrol.
            You must also put Americans vested with those investments, responsibilities, and duties back on the border as well. Start with our American ranchers. They have always been the first line of defense. They are the eyes and ears that are constantly on duty. Make them a purpose alongside border protection and national defense when interpreting, improving, or crafting new legislation. You have no idea how important it is to have Americans with investments at risk to be there in support of not only their livelihoods and investments, but the contributory impact they provide for border protection.
            Don’t continue to allow regulatory suffocation and environmental agenda creep to promote the forced departure of these citizens. Support them in their infrastructure improvements for the real benefit for the environment and the humanitarian contributions of their presence. It has always been their water that saves the invading army of illegals. It is their presence that offers sanctuary of life to people who are overwhelmed by the horrific conditions of the expanses of federal lands along the border. Allow them reasonable regulatory relief that at least gives them an opportunity for success and a better future.
            Give them hope, too!
            Allow them to start planning longer term for their investments. Install policy that offers longer horizons for investments and infrastructure improvements. Make it a benefit to be on the border, on the land, rather than an increasingly hostile place to live, produce, and exist for both illegals and legals alike! Recognize the consequences that local communities have suffered under the rules, decrees, and the interpretation of policies by this federal government. The very ingress of drugs and illicit activity are becoming manifest in border communities. This must stop!
            Nobody knows the border better than the Americans who live here and want to be here on the basis of individual and family choice. Again, you must recognize the border is a cornerstone of American rule of law. There is no better place to refocus the originality of our great experiment than right here. We don’t ask for guarantees, but we do expect our government to uphold their obligation to protect our border. At the same time, we ask for a level playing field for our enterprises and our existence. Our presence is not only symbolic it is greatly important. La Frontera is an appropriate term of our view of the Mexican border. Donald Trump, you be the leader that brings law and order to this part of America, La Frontera. Never has this soft underbelly been fully addressed, but never has it been more dangerous.
            Energize your campaign by pledging to these American citizens that you will do your part if they pledge to stand their ground and remain committed to their lives and their historical task of land stewardship in this most critical corner of America. Start right here, right now, and make this the genesis of the great American reawakening!

                Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “A border populated by resident Americans with their cattle and their investments at risk is the best foundation for a defensible border.”