Putting the "Public" Back In "Public Trust"

"The truth is that is one very big lie to Montana’s citizens."
- George Ochenski

I am not a professional fundraiser. Nor do I specialize in the endangered species or try to sell you stuffed animals of them made in China by slave labor of synthetic materials to profit off of their situation. I will not bullshit you or give myself a wedgy straddling a fence. I am a conservation hunter, a researcher trying to protect our public trust from privatization, its access, and network those who also have a heart for Montana. If you would like to further this work,   please click to contribute to EMWH. Thank you.

HB 557 - I find it interesting that Bill Harris, the Republican House Rep. 29 from Lewistown (all 4 Wilks contributed max to), submitted HB 557, an Act Revising what constitutes a legal fence in Montana, adding three-wire+ electric fence to the list of legal fencing. Now these are the Wilks with the fencing issue around and encroaching our BLM Durfee Hills public lands right now.

Harris' original version struck out the height maximum of 44"-48". Rep. Alan Redfield amended it to add that back in, though it was changed to 42"-48".

The additionally disturbing thing is they have added electric fencing to the description. While that may just sound simply like a modernization, Montana public lands, such as DNRC lands follow Montana Legal Fencing. An electrified three or more wire  pasture wide fence can be set up to curtail or direct wildlife on a large scale wit this bill.
A landowner could potentially privatize our wildlife with electric fencing. With the ability of solar power arrays, you can now set up electric fencing in remote areas easier than it used to be. This is an ag law, so it doesnt take wildlife into consideration. But Montanans need to be asking their selves, is that what they want to see happening to our public wildlife?

Bill HB557 has already passed the House Ag Committee and is on to the Senate Ag Committee. Please email the Senate Ag Committee, that we dont want large scale 3+ electric wire added to Montana's Legal fencing that could disrupt our public wildlife migrations and seasonal movements. A landowner could potentially privatize our wildlife with electric fencing, especially during hunting season.

* I have to apologize to the EMWH Newsletter readers. I have never amended a newsletter before. As I have briefly mentioned before, I have a Traumatic Brain Injury that occurred at the beginning of December. I have gaps in my memory that I am trying to restore with cognitive therapy. I have difficulty with composition, getting what is in my head out verbally or on paper, as well as a host of other issues related to TBI's. I have intentionally not written about complex subjects yet, not wanting to inaccurately represent an issue. It was not my intention to be irresponsible in sending incomplete information out.

A reader wrote this morning, in relation to my comments on HB 557. She pointed out that on their ranch they have not had problems with wildlife with their electric fences of 3 smooth wires and pointed out FWP's Wildlife Friendly Fencing handbook. Then it hit what I forgot yesterday. So below is an example of what my concerns are with the 3+ wire electric fencing becoming part of the larger landscape legal fencing description as it is.

I have some ag background, have helped to install electric fencing, have had a variety of small amounts of livestock and understand the benefits of electric fencing as well. I have on my wildlife friendly fencing and crossings page FWPs book on Wildlife Friendly Fencing, have promoted it in the newsletter a number of times and have mentioned the use of electric fencing in some capacity for predator deterrents.

The bill as written states for the electric wire 3 or more.
Concerned with Helena FWP's objectives with elk, I attended, and took audio, as a conservation hunter, all the Paradise Valley elk brucellosis meetings run by their local watershed working group. At the Dec. Elk brucellosis Paradise Valley working group meeting, at the 42:20 mark, dealing with the fencing subject, Rep. Alan Redfield mentions he has 160 acres of hay meadow, all fenced off, about $5,000 a mile, 6 ft. high, 5 wire electric fence, 9,000 volts because of the hollow hair on them (elk). Before the meeting they had a map on the wall FWP had created with the known elk populations and distributions of the area for 3 years (unfortunately the biologist didnt average but put all three years in the same colors, making it look like there is 3x the amount of elk there are). The area to the right in red with 35 circled is Redfields place. He came over before the meeting started and explained that was his area, his type of fence and the fact that it keeps the elk out around his place, the amount is by his choosing, keeps his resident herd small. He said his neighbors might not like it though because it pushes the elk to their properties. Redfield brought this fence up at two meetings.

I am aware not everyone who ranches or has land would install more than 3 electric wires; not everyone has objectives against or to privatize our wildlife, but for those that do and for those with the money to do so or have already exhibited their intentions in that direction, I feel this is a problem as the bill is written. Yes, this is just my opinion, but with attitudes changing, land ownership changing, access being cut off, Block Management and other access threats, harboring issues, etc., I am growing increasingly concerned for our public wildlife's ability to remain naturally on the Montana landscape.

BLM - Your lands, your treasure: Get involved
Montana RAC's
"You can play a role in this. On Feb. 3, the Bureau of Land Management published in the Federal Register a call for nominations to those interested in serving on one of our many citizen-based Resource Advisory Councils. These committees, whose members are appointed by the Secretary of the Interior, provide an opportunity for individuals from all backgrounds and interests to have a voice in the management of public lands."

Tester on timber: The Big Guy tells the Big Lie by George Ochenski
"So how bizarre is it that Montana’s Democratic u.s. Sen. Jon Tester employed that propaganda technique last week and told a whopper on Montana Public Radio when he claimed: 'Unfortunately, every logging sale in Montana right now is under litigation. Every one of them.' The truth is that is one very big lie to Montana’s citizens...

Which brings us to Tester’s statement that is, without question, the polar opposite of the facts about timber sales being litigated in Montana. The truth is quite another story."

Montana senator twice gets his facts wrong on timber sales and litigation - gets 4 Pinocchios
"But when we asked Tester’s staff for evidence to back up the revised statement, they simply directed us to the U.S. Forest Service, rather than explain the data themselves. It’s taken a few days to unravel the numbers, but this is a case of apples and oranges, with a few limes thrown in...

Given that Tester is the senior senator from Montana, his comments on litigation in Montana’s national forests are embarrassingly wrong. In both statements, he was wildly off the mark. He needs to brush up on his facts — and his math — before he opines again on the subject."

Sen. Tester’s gaff could haunt him
" 'It’s not too much to ask that the government’s management of America’s national forests be legal, science-based and include processes that are open, inclusive and transparent,' Koehler said. 'I think it’s high time that Montanans start to question much of the public lands logging rhetoric and instead demand that politicians like Tester and Daines focus on ecological, economic and budgetary facts, rather than just a pathetic knee-jerk reaction of blaming the environmentalists.'

'The problem is that Tester, Daines and Congress never funded the Forest Service to plan any of these new farm bill timber sales,' Koehler said. 'So with 5 million acres of National Forests in Montana available today for fast-track logging — and only 4 out of 97 current U.S. Forest Service timber sales in Montana halted by litigation — Tester and Daines want the public to believe that timber sale lawsuits from environmentalists are the problem? Give me a break.' "

Giving away too much to get wilderness by Joseph Scalia, past president of the Montana Wilderness Association.
"How much has 'compromise' merged into an unwitting compromising of values, and an unwitting compromising of the integrity of the land? MWA should have said 'no' to this bill... MWA must break ranks with its mainstream colleagues, and risk a great sea change within. It must return to its earlier and more subversive roots, to the days before it was beholden to a neo-liberal ideology and spoke first for the land, not only in rhetoric but in ways revolutionary."

FracTracker's Oil and Gas Industry in Montana Interactive Map
You can see the heavier impact on the eastern half of our state.

Private property blocks access to public lands
Ive been waiting for High Country News to unlock this great article, so that everyone could see it, on the growing battle of private landowners cutting off access to our public lands by blocking access of public roads.
Glacier Country
Public lands: Transfer idea a waste of time
"I am appalled by the waste of our tax dollars that is happening and has happened by Sen. Jennifer Fielder trying to take our federal lands and turn them over to the state...
I would like her to drop this whole idea of transfer and actually try to do something that will help the people of Senate District 7 and make our state a better place to live." Mark Sheets, Thompson Falls, MT

The Puppet Show
Senator Jennifer Fielder's staffer
, William Macon Richardson III, is the Utah based "Transferring Federal Public Lands to the States" Montana American Lands Council representative. He goes by William Macon Richardson on his facebook, William Richardson as the Montana Staffer and Macon Richardson as the ALC Montana Coordinator.
Senator's aide asked to leave after registering as lobbyist

Hamilton  March 7 Life on the Rocks Presentation, Bitterroot River Inn conference room

Southwest Montana

Upper Big Hole moose die-offs puzzle researchers
"Lab results are inconclusive as to the cause of six moose deaths in the Upper Big Hole Valley since 2013. But research continues to identify the cause. 'The mortalities were happening in late summer and early fall when the moose are usually fat and happy,' Nick DeCesare, state research biologist, told The Montana Standard this week."
Yellowstone Country
Pictorial of some of the wild bison issues near Yellowstone

GMO Yellowstone Bison?

Over a year ago, I read about a major cattle semen bank in CO,  their attempt to prevent anything catastrophic from happening to heirloom and specialty cattle breeds, as well as serving as a bank for purchasing semen. I found the article accidentally while searching for some data involving bison. This made me wonder if USDA APHIS was collecting semen and eggs from the Yellowstone wild bison they were culling and what they might do with that. I ran this question by some agency personnel that confirmed APHIS was collecting semen and eggs, so I put a FOIA through to APHIS and received some of the data I requested. My concern was they were going to use wild Yellowstone bison genetics to create their politically correct USDA approved bison, while still directing the slaughter of wild bison from Yellowstone, which they are trying to expand to the elk.

The other day I saw this article on my news feed
- Return of the bison. "According to Larimer County board minutes, the project would be part of a conservation effort to 'restore genetically pure, disease-free bison.' This collaboration involves CSU researchers who have been able to remove brucellosis from the pure Yellowstone National Park bison heard."

This article has been edited from when it was originally released, removing the statement of how they are doing this - wild Yellowstone bison sperm and eggs, using surrogate mothers to produce GMO bison, in a sense. So here is CSU's own page on the project to see what was edited and then some. "My team takes semen and embryos from brucellosis-positive bison, runs them through a 'clean-up' step to remove any Brucella bacteria, and uses the semen for artificial insemination or embryos for transfer to surrogate, brucellosis-free mothers. We’ve produced five healthy, Brucellosis-free bison babies. We can use this technique to get the Yellowstone genetics out of the park without the risk of passing on the disease. We are currently working on a project to start a restoration herd on Soapstone Prairie in northern Larimer County using the offspring with Yellowstone genetics from our research. Ultimately, we hope to have enough animals on Soapstone Prairie to begin moving them to new herds on conservation, federal, and Native American lands. If all goes well, we’ll release ten to twelve animals next year. We are also transplanting embryos to bison in the Bronx Zoo herd."

These are not wildlife, they are not wild bison, they are livestock produced by agriculture techniques. They are not born and raised in the wild by wild herds, learning from the herds. They are shaggy domestic livestock. This is a USDA end run around Yellowstone wild bison, using their genetics against them while continuing the lethal attack against our wildlife. Hopefully I can get my concussed brain to function well enough to write up what has been going on with the APHIS hijacked NAS study for this next week, so you will see what APHIS's objectives towards our bison and elk are.

Can we save bison by eating them?
"Today, there are an estimated 500,000 buffalo in the United States — 90 percent of them raised on ranches for meat production. Those livestock herds present a problem and an opportunity for conservationists. Confined by fences and finished in feedlots, they are simply an extension of the agricultural and livestock industries that have decimated the vast majority of the American prairies. But if raised, as they evolved, on open lands to graze purely on native grasses, they could be the key to restoring much of what’s been lost."

Central Montana
ALERT - Give serious consideration to land exchange by Wilks rep.
According to Darryl James, the Wilks rep, at the Billings scoping meeting, their land trade involves the N-Bar inholdings, the Durfee Hills, which the Public commented on before.

Did You Get A Smith Permit? by Greg Tollefson
"It is by now ancient history that once fly fishing and fly fishing in Montana in particular became a growth industry, the Smith became more generally known to Montanans and others from far and wide, and it suddenly was in danger of being loved to death. Overuse, conflicts with the many private landowners along the river, conflicts among river users, increased commercial use, and other factors all led to the regulated system of management and use we see today. There was no choice if the river was to be protected and the rights of the private landowners were to be respected."

Missouri River Country
BLM fixes fences to help pronghorn migrations
The BLM's recent work modifying the fencing is part of a bigger effort by government land and wildlife management agencies and private groups in northeastern Montana to remove obstacles in east-west running fences that hinder seasonal north-south movements of pronghorn.

"We're looking at it on a landscape level," Guevara said. "It's not just a one-time fix."

Southeast Montana
Officials say use caution with Yellowstone fish
"The EPA has levels for all types of chemicals found in fish, such as mercury, but PAHs normally shouldn’t be detectable. Even with the spill Selch said they were surprised to find any detectable level. 'We weren’t expecting to find any (PAHs), so the fact that we did was alarming,' he said."

Bad Ranchers, Bad Cows
"It shows what devotees of grass-fed beef, rotational grazing and holistic management (Allan Savory) spend so much of their careers glossing over: visual proof of what livestock damage looks like—in this case, within a wildlife refuge in Oregon.

The study assessed the effects of livestock in riparian systems at Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge in southeastern Oregon, 23 years after the removal of cattle grazing, using 64 before and after photographs. To see them is to be impressed by how badly cattle are suited to the arid public lands of the West, and how long it takes these sensitive ecosystems to recover once cattle are removed.

Riparian areas are critically important ecosystems located along the banks of rivers, streams, creeks, or any other water networks where cattle congregate (because public lands are mostly arid and not irrigated)...

As it happens, few Americans are aware that cattle—which were brought to this country 400 years ago—originated in lush, wet climates of Asia. They are no more native to the arid West than are alligators (in fact, there are more cattle produced in Florida than on western public lands leased to livestock operators)."

Hart Mountain Restoration of Riparian Areas Following the Removal of Cattle - photo documentary and academic paper

Guns, rods & wilderness: Backcountry sportsmen convene in Spokane
" 'We started around a campfire in Oregon 11 years ago,' said Land Tawney, BHA executive director in Missoula.

'We realized that while there were other good sportsmen’s groups out there, none was focused on the backcountry. We saw this need to promote access and quality habitat and create a sportsman’s voice for wild public lands, water and wildlife.'

BHA has chapters in 22 states and members in all 50 states, Tawney said, noting that Facebook followers have increased from 17,000 last year to 65,000 this year.

'What binds us is a desire for the adventure, solitude and challenges only backcountry can provide,' he said."

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers

Hunting effort key to satisfaction interview with Randy Newberg
" 'I often wonder why hunters and anglers see the world differently (than nonsportsmen),' he said. 'I think it’s because we participate rather than being spectators.' The effort a hunter puts into getting into wild places boosts his appreciation, he suggests.

'But even within the ranks of hunters there are those who see rock and glaciers and say, "What good is that?" If you don’t participate in that kind of hunting, your understanding and values are different than those who do.'

Newberg contends that all sportsmen should be advocates for preserving the backcountry experience. Formidable terrain is nature’s way of preserving wild species, he said."

Hard-Nosed Advice From Veteran Lobbyist: ‘Win Ugly or Lose Pretty’
Richard Berman Energy Industry Talk Secretly Taped
"If the oil and gas industry wants to prevent its opponents from slowing its efforts to drill in more places, it must be prepared to employ tactics like digging up embarrassing tidbits about environmentalists and liberal celebrities, a veteran Washington political consultant told a room full of industry executives in a speech that was secretly recorded.

The blunt advice from the consultant, Richard Berman, the founder and chief executive of the Washington-based Berman & Company consulting firm, came as Mr. Berman solicited up to $3 million from oil and gas industry executives to finance an advertising and public relations campaign called Big Green Radicals.

The company executives, Mr. Berman said in his speech, must be willing to exploit emotions like fear, greed and anger and turn them against the environmental groups. And major corporations secretly financing such a campaign should not worry about offending the general public because 'you can either win ugly or lose pretty,' he said."

Shedding bounty
Sometimes it seems like the public lands around us never stop giving. They give us a good time when we strap on skis, lace up hiking boots or pull out the mountain bike. They inspire us to capture lasting images and ponder fleeting reflections. They also supply tangible rewards found while mushroom foraging or Christmas tree cutting. For many locals, hunting for antler sheds is a popular way to reap bounty from public lands...

Wildlife officials believe most collectors are conscientious and careful, but concerns arise when some search for sheds on noisy, fast-moving ATVs and off-road vehicles. In addition, a growing number of collectors use dogs trained to find shed antlers. When allowed to run off-leash, many of these dogs chase deer and elk, occasionally causing severe injuries and extreme stress. Running from noise and dogs adds to the difficult conditions the animals already endure during winter months...

'That’s just about the worst thing that can happen to them,' said CPW Wildlife Manager Perry Will of Glenwood Springs. 'Any unnecessary movement during the cold weather months causes big game to use up their fat stores very quickly and there’s little chance of replenishing it. This situation leads to their death, or the deaths of their unborn calves and fawns due to poor body condition.'

Wildlife managers remind shed hunters that keeping their distance from wintering big game is the most effective way to prevent animal stress and mortality. Even searching for antlers on foot or horseback can create stressful conditions for wildlife, they say." 

Conservation groups unite to oppose takeover of land
"Among the coalition representing more than 30 sportsmen's conservation groups and outdoor industry leaders gathering at noon Wednesday to protest attempts by some Western states to take over federally managed public lands, don't expect to meet anyone from the American Lands Council."

We’re traveling a road that hurts our wildlife by Todd Wilkinson
"Unfortunately, traditional environmental organizations also are missing in action on calling attention to outdoor recreation impacts. In many cases the groups are staffed by outdoor recreationists hesitant to say anything that might alienate them from their social peer groups or deep-pocketed funders.

Noss cited numerous scientific studies and emerging data confirming the impacts of recreation on wildlife."

"Yahoo, 'Yellowstone Country'! Great job on your newsletter.  Once again, I have to go back to it to click on the links and see all you have made available." - Nancy Ostlie

Thank you,
Kathryn QannaYahu


Wildlife &


Bozeman, MT

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