Saturday, February 10, 2018

Interior Secretary Zinke signs order prioritizing big game migration corridors

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Friday announced an executive order that would increase hunting of big-game herds in western states, which he said will help preserve the population for animals such as mule, deer, elk, and antelope. The order aims to improve the habitat of the animals, which Zinke says have been harmed by residential development. "​We all know that animals go where animals want to go, and more often than not, that's dependent​ ​upon natural features like watersheds,​ ​rather than whether land is owned by the BLM, state, or private landowners,” Zinke said in a statement. “We need to manage appropriately. ​My goal is healthy herds for American hunters and wildlife watchers, and this order will help establish better migration corridors for some of North America's most iconic big game species like elk, mule deer and antelope.” Easing the way for migration corridors will allow the animals to more easily travel from feeding grounds where they breed to hunting grounds. His order would have the Interior Department work with state and private landowners, through voluntary agreements, to study the migration habits of wildlife across the federal lands of several western states, to find ways to improve their habitats. As an example, Zinke said the federal government could work with ranchers to modify their fences and collaborate with states on on sagebrush restoration. The states partnering on the study are New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Arizona, Nevada, California and Colorado. “These states generally have expansive public lands with established sagebrush landscapes along with robust big-game herds that are highly valued by hunters and tourists throughout the nation,” the text of the executive order says...more

The enviros were immediately critical. Actually, they didn't criticize the program specifically, because this is an approach they have supported for many years. Instead they used this as an opportunity to personally attack Zinke:

The Center for Western Priorities responded to Friday's announcement, saying Zinke was trying to "greenwash" an abysmal public lands record. “There’s no doubt that planning for wildlife migration is important. But there is not a single Interior Secretary in U.S. history who has inflicted more damage to America’s great conservation legacy than Ryan Zinke. Under his leadership, the Interior Department has proposed gutting park and wildlife budgets, undertaken the largest elimination of public land protections in our nation’s history, and undermined the most reasonable safeguards protecting wildlife from the impacts of oil drilling. We won’t allow the secretary and his staff to greenwash this abysmal record with meager policy crumbs.”

The NRA had a different take:

The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) today applauded Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s Order to enhance big game migration corridors. The Order calls on the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and Fish and Wildlife Service to work together with state fish and game agencies to identify and improve these critical habitats across the Western United States.  Private landowners may join these efforts on a voluntary basis. "The NRA applauds Secretary Zinke's decision to prioritize big game corridors and improve wildlife habitat on Federal lands. With this action today, the Secretary is taking steps to protect healthy wildlife populations and recognize that sportsmen are an integral part of modern natural resource management," said Chris W. Cox, NRA- ILA executive director.  "This action will help make certain that future generations can enjoy abundant, healthy game populations.” ​

The order calls for "prioritizing active habitat management." That would mean such  management or projects would have priority over other uses or projects, such as livestock grazing. The order also says it is "crucial that the Department take action to harmonize state fish and game management and Federal land management of big-game winter range and corridors." It will be interesting to see who "harmonizes" who. We know what that has resulted in historically.  Also note the order assumes Zinke's reorganization plan is finalized including management based on regions.                

Sec. Order 3362 is embedded below:

https://www.doi.gov/sites/doi.gov/files/uploads/so_3362_migration.pdf

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

In California, the gas tax is going to be used, in part, for the development of wildlife corridors.... partnering with Caltrans ...a state dept. that's suppose to build & maintain California's highways. Thanks to SB 1.

The new gas tax will also allow them to purchase land, and thanks to SB 50... the state will give itself rights of first refusal to buy... or arrange for another entity to buy... any federal land that comes up for grabs.

Tom Klumker said...

Defund all wolf programs if you want to help our wildlfe.

Anonymous said...

In California, the gas tax is going to be used, in part, for the development of wildlife corridors.... partnering with Caltrans ...a state dept. that's suppose to build & maintain California's highways. Thanks to SB 1.

The new gas tax will also allow them to purchase land, and thanks to SB 50... the state will give itself rights of first refusal to buy... or arrange for another entity to buy... any federal land that comes up for grabs.

Floyd said...

The EO seems mostly positive but it has an undertone of some old political concepts that haven't been in front of us for a while. The wildlife corridor idea has been around a long time and was not intended to benefit people 20 years ago.

Dr. Michael Coffman of Bangor Maine drew a graphic illustration of the proposed wildlife corridors in the mid-1990s all of which connected wilderness areas and limited human occupation. Coffman presented his map to the U.S. Senate and Coffman's testimony with his map was central to stopping the Convention on Biological Diversity in the 1990s.

Treaties established under United Nations efforts drove most of the politicians to think that Agenda 21, sustainable development, the International Council for Local Environmental Initiative (ICLEI), and of course the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) were the best thing since sliced bread. Those are just a few of the efforts which were designed and initiated to reorganize human society throughout the world but especially in parts of the world like ours which still respects national sovereignty.

Fortunately President Trump has already clearly stated that the U.S. is not going to support U.N. efforts of that sort in his administration so I hope that means that the Secretary's EO cannot be hijacked into the social engineering of those U.N. treaties. It was encouraging to see that the EO did not list those treaties as authority for the big game corridors but two of the agencies with the closest ties to various treaties are the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the USGS and they may need close supervision.