Thursday, June 22, 2006

Elk Watch

What’s the state of Wyoming doing for it’s wildlife?

Here’s a few things:

The feedground in the Upper Green River Basin and around Jackson is in full swing. Most experts agree that the operation of feedgrounds will eventually lead to outbreaks of Chronic Wasting Disease.

"This is a very significant concern," said the GYC's Lloyd Dorsey. "The science is clear. CWD affects concentrated populations." Dorsey pointed to reports
by Dr. Markus Peterson of Texas A&M, "There is no question that discontinuing winter feeding now would greatly reduce the risk of CWD transmission among elk" in the Greater Yellowstone Area, Peterson wrote.

Despite strong language and strong evidence, Wyoming Game and Fish's draft CWD Management Plan, approved in February, contains no plan to discontinue the feedgrounds. Instead, it calls for intensive monitoring and culling animals that show symptoms of CWD.

**It takes two years from initial infection of CWD for the symptoms to appear. BLM is planning on waiting until CWD hits the herds, and then just cull, hoping there’s some elk left standing when all is said and done. The same decision has been made for Montana’s elk, as well. When commercial livestock interests are at stake, and clearly, they are behind the BLM’s decision to hang tough on this matter, wildlife and their habitat always seem to get the short end of the stick.

For more on this:

“There are ways to minimize the risk in advance, and stopping the feeding tops the list. In reality, the feedgrounds are no different than game farms, which have been banned in Wyoming since the early 1970s. They concentrate wildlife and create circumstances favorable to spreading the disease. Hoskins, never lost for words or energy to stop the feeding, describes the feedgrounds as ‘petri dishes for spreading disease’.”

These feedgrounds "take the wild out of wildlife, spread disease, and alter their behavior." They will do what they are designed to do: make the herds inherently weak, cull them down, contain them.

In all fairness, this is not just a Wyoming problem. All of the herds west of the Rockies are at risk, and feedgrounds are what, a cattleman's solution? The policies advanced by the BLM are slowly and surely weakening, weakening our wildlife, putting them at needless risk, closing them in.
I'll bet "containment" would be a favorite expression...

Speaking of containment:

Wolf Feedgrounds

"A new way of thinking"
"Wyoming wildlife managers recently restructured and renamed the state-run elk feedground program into a new Wolf Feedground program. By giving the Greater Yellowstone wolf packs access to a guaranteed food supply in the winter, ***statistics have shown a significant decrease in livestock depredations*** at nearby ranches while reinforcing the natural balance predation plays in maintaining elk populations, wildlife managers said".

Really? A new way of thinking? This is starting to all sound like double speak.

Inviting wolves to an elk party. Wow. Maybe they could sell tickets to tourists, bring the whole family. Hell, might as well invite the grizzlies, too. On second thought, they probably won't need an invitation...

Awesome show!

But wait, I've saved the most outrageous gambit for last:

In an effort to completely dupe the public, this just in:

Wind River Mountains Bridger Wilderness Wildlife Sanctuary receives new designation

" Bush Administration and State of Wyoming recently announced the creation and designation of a **pilot program** for a new land use designation unit specifically designed to protect wildlife and wildlife habitat. The first to be designated is the Wind River Mountains-Bridger Wilderness Wildlife Sanctuary (WRMBWWS). Under the new designation, the Bridger Wilderness area will be entirely surrounded with 12-foot tall wildlife fences."

**just a note about BLM's "Pilot programs" - they could be considered pilot programs in the same way as the EU could be considered a pilot program. Once the camel's nose is under your tent, you're in trouble...**

The announcement goes on...

"These [the fences] are designed to create a pristine habitat zone for grizzly bear, wolves, elk, moose, black bear and many other species. For the pilot test program, the area will be treated as a "no human presence" zone. Wildlife managers will monitor wildlife populations and movements via satellite surveillance.

A 12-foot fence to keep humans out?

Researchers will reenter the area at the end of the 3, 5, 8 and 10-year interval in the 10-year study period to do on-the-ground population counts and determine the effectiveness of the non-human interference wildlife ecosystem program. The new plan is being heralded by wildlife groups and environmental organizations as President Bush's finest program yet for the protection of wildlife. "The President finally gets it!" said Maxine O'Hara, Director of the "Give Wildlife Room To Roam" political activist organization."

Maybe the President gets it, but I don't...

Don't the grizzlies, wolves, elk, moose, black bear, and many other species ALREADY HAVE A PRISTINE HABITAT ZONE?

It's called Wilderness.

A 12-foot fence to keep humans out?
It's all starting to sound like a huge theme-park.

Nah, it's to keep the wild critters

(((((CONTAINED)))))

Right, guys? Double-speak. Damn.

- raincrow

Monday, June 19, 2006

Diamonds!

As promised, I’ve been poking around, seeing what’s up in the state of Wyoming. I’m not looking for bad news, but there seems to be a lot of sacrificing of the habitat to get whatever's underground. In this case, the whatever is diamonds. Fremont Lake, located in the Green River Mountain Range,is WAS the second largest natural lake in Wyoming.

The second largest natural lake in Wyoming. Fremont Lake is 12 miles long and 1/2 mile wide. It is the 7th deepest lake in the country (696 feet). Fish up to the 40 lb. range can be found in Fremont Lake! It is one of the few deep lakes which has oxygenated water near its bottom due to the fact that temperature changes cause the water in the lake to turn over twice a year. Summer fishing derbys and winter ice fishing derbys are held on the lake each year. The Pinedale Boat & Yacht Clubs sponsor the Sailing Regatta on Fremont Lake each year in August.”

But wait, wait, hold everything….seems that the Fremont Gas Company, while poking around on the bottom for ahem, more gas, has “discovered an extremely rich find of diamonds under the lakebed”. I haven’t been able to discover the quality of the diamonds yet, but Tiffany & Co. is going to be involved in the diamond mining operation, so I’m guessing gemstone quality. I’ll see what I can find out. But Fremont lake is apparently about to become history.

So here’s the plan: drain the lake (did I mention that it’s 12 miles long and ½ mile wide and 696 feet deep?) – so drain it, displace it into Green River, New Fork, Meadow and Boulder Lakes in order to begin mining of the diamonds. Hmmm.

Ok, now, what about the aforementioned lakes, Fremont first? That’s a whole hell of a lot of water: 12 mi X ½ mi X 696 feet deep. Do Green River, New Fork, Meadow and Boulder lakes NEED that much water? What of the environmental consequences of that much water displacement? Does anybody know? Have any impact studies been done yet? That has to affect a whole range of creatures, both large and small.

Sounds fishy. The Pinedale Boat & Yacht Clubs are gonna be looking at a big, muddy hole. And will it fill back up, on its own? What are the water sources
for these lakes? Runoff, I would imagine. I have a lot of questions right now, and few answers. So I’ll be looking to see what I can find out. If you know any answers, you can add comments to this blog. More to follow.

- raincrow

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Protecting the helpless

Since I’m planning to move to Wyoming in the fall of this year, I’ve taken time out from researching the sinister doings of the ACLU, and the multicultural Marxists, to turn my attention to the doings of the BLM and the gas companies in Wyoming. I do this mainly in self-defense, as I learned from my investigation of SE Arizona, it pays to know who’s playing in your backyard, and what the rules are.

I understand that there must be compromise, when the land has wealth both on and under the ground. And human needs must be met, as our planet shrinks. At least for the foreseeable future, environmental
concerns are going to have to take a back seat to the commerce of the natural gas industry. The gas is there, there are people who want it, and the politicians are going to see to it that they do get it.

The wildlife and habitat conservation of Wyoming’s flora and fauna has been an open debate, on the table for years and years.

What happens when industry and environmental concerns meet is often disheartening. Take this example: Now, I’m sure the folks at BLM and conservation groups foresaw this impasse coming. Yes? No? And yet they “think tanked” this solution?

Come on…

A pronghorn antelope migration route thousands of years old between Jackson Hole and the Green River Valley has narrowed, and narrowed, in the town of Cora Y, until it has become very difficult for the shy antelopes to pass through. Only indirectly a result of gas exploration, this impasse is due to housing development construction. Not to worry though…

Picture this:

On April 1, 2006, according to the BLM’s Pinedale Office, “Wildlife biologists and environmental groups have teamed up to 'think tank' a creative solution (ital.mine) to the Trapper's Point bottleneck problem and help Sublette County antelope …the state of Wyoming has decided to implement a program to assist the twice annual migration of these animals. Each year, in the spring and the fall, wildlife biologists and environmental groups will selectively tranquilize 400 antelope, place them in special climate-controlled wildlife transport trucks, and drive them up to the Wildlife Refuge in Jackson. The animals will reawaken in their new home with no ill effects or memory of the shuttling."

Oh yeah, a bunch of people with dart guns running around, trying to "selectively" shoot 400 wild pronghorns in the butt...with "no ill effects or memory of the shuttling"...yeah, right. Can't you just see this herd 3-4 years down the road, seeing these fuckers pulling up in their trucks and vans for the semi-annual roundup?

"Cost analyses indicate the new migration enhancement program will save the state millions of dollars a year in highway modifications and animal carcass cleanup costs.” Un huh.

My, My. Good to know everybody’s looking out for the pesky antelopes. It’s all part of, “keeping Wyoming’s best kept secret, secret”. So secret, even the antelopes won’t have a clue..

And on the saga of the sage grouse, this just in:

Study: Gas Drilling Hurting Sage Grouse

June 16, 2006, 4:34 AM EDT
BILLINGS, Mont. -- A boost in methane gas drilling in parts of Montana and Wyoming may be a factor in the shrinking population of sage grouse, a ground-dwelling bird slowly being squeezed out of its habitat by development, a study shows. Lead researcher David Naugle, a wildlife professor at the University of Montana, said preliminary findings show the need to find a new way of thinking when it comes to coal-bed methane development and wildlife conservation in the mineral-rich Powder River Basin. "There are going to have to be some tough decisions," he said. While the study also cited loss of habitat, expansion of roads, increased human activity and West Nile virus as other factors that can can hurt sage grouse numbers, the decline in the birds' population -- an estimated 84 percent in the basin since 1988 -- correlates with the period when methane gas development took off in the 1990s. More than 24,800 coal-bed methane wells have been drilled in Wyoming and about 580 methane wells in Montana, officials said. The researchers found that areas in which methane wells are being drilled didn't have the same strong population growth recorded elsewhere in the basin in 2004 and 2005. Given the current pace of drilling in the region, which includes parts of eastern Wyoming and southeastern Montana, "the full extent of suitable habitat" will be developed within the next 20 years, leaving sage grouse with no place to go, Naugle said. So far, the drilling has pushed the birds toward undeveloped habitat, which can leave them more susceptible to disease and more vulnerable to predators, Naugle said. "Avoidance in some people's minds means, 'Oh, good. We didn't kill them,'" he said. The government so far has rejected listing the bird under the Endangered Species Act. Erik Molvar, a wildlife biologist with the Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, said the U.S. Bureau of Land Management protections in place for the sage grouse are inadequate and that current development isn't compatible with maintaining populations. He advocates a wide buffer zone to prevent the habitat from becoming industrialized. Albright said the study yielded no real surprises. He said the federal bureau and other agencies, as well as energy development firms, are helping fund the research, the results of which he expects will be taken into account in planning and other efforts. "We're looking for the best information we can get, because we're trying to manage all the resources out there responsibly," he said.

Now why can’t I just leave well enough alone, mind my own business? This is my business. And it’s yours, too. When the gas price drops, then what?

Friday, June 02, 2006

Changing destinations

When I get still, really still, I remember who I am, and why I'm here on this earth: to find my way back to my Creator, and to love and help others along the way. I just have to ready myself to drive 2000 miles, finding a place to live, and buy a donkey. Or two.

After considering it all, I'm changing my destination from Arizona, to Wyoming, about 1000 miles north of the border. Good luck, Minutemen. I'm gonna pass.
The town in Wyoming, called Riverton, about 10,000 people, has a Foster Grandparent Program, which is what I'm working at now. Arizona only has a FGP north among the Navajos, or in the cities like Tucson or Phoenix, where I have no desire to live. Also, about 40 miles south of the Wyoming town of Riverton, there are 8 million acres of high-desert, called the Red Desert, which should be enough desert for anyone. And around the desert are mountain ranges. Riverton, nestled between mountain ranges, actually has a mild climate. The desert is high and dry, split down the middle by the Continental divide. Nice country. It's calling me.

Of course, there are environmental problems there, too as you might guess. The BLM is doing its damnedest to sink wells willy-nilly all over the desert, to pump out the coal-bed methane gas underneath. And there’s a lot of it. Deserts and its inhabitants don’t recover from such abuse, not in a time frame that I can get around. More about this later.

I read somewhere that in order to be happy, you need three things: something to do, someone to love, and something to look forward to. Sounds right.

I'm going for it.

Raincrow

Monday, May 01, 2006

Leap of Faith


Post to host photo for Flickr link...

Movin' on

This is the start of my blogging days. I knew nothing when I started, how to blog, post, edit, etc. It's taken me awhile to figure this html stuff out. I just want to write about what it's like to retire, move out West, get a donkey, live a simple life, maybe slip a burr under BLM's saddle.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Flickr photos




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