Monday, January 23, 2017

Judge orders destruction of data from illegal Idaho elk/wolf collaring in wilderness

A federal judge has ordered the U.S. Forest Service and Idaho Department of Fish and Game to destroy all the elk and wolf radio-collar data gathered from 120 helicopter landings in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness last winter. The agencies ignored earlier warnings that such incursions of the Wilderness Act would face close legal scrutiny when they mounted the research project last January, U.S. District Judge Lynn Winmill wrote in a decision released Thursday in Boise. The federal law prohibits use of mechanized equipment in wilderness areas. Winmill found the Forest Service failed to justify the environmental impact of helicopter activity and collaring projects on the natural condition of the wilderness area. “The IDFG has collected data in violation of federal law and intends to use that data to seek approvals in the future for more helicopter landings in the Wilderness Area,” Winmill wrote. “The only remedy that will directly address the ongoing harm is an order requiring destruction of the data.” The Forest Service permitted the IDFG project to collar 30 adult elk cows and 30 calves in the 1.7-million-acre Middle Fork Zone of the wilderness along the Montana-Idaho border north of Stanley, Idaho. The state wildlife managers wanted to maintain a 60-elk study group for 10 years, with annual winter helicopter operations to maintain and replace radio collars...more

The decision is embedded below

1 comment:

Dave Skinner said...

Winmill? I'm SHOCKED, SHOCKED, I say. The RUSSIANS collected this!!