the "Public" Back In "Public Trust"
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
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:
"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
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
" '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.
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
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
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
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
Can we save bison by eating
"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."
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
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
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
"We're looking at it on a landscape level," Guevara said. "It's
not just a one-time fix."
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
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)."
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."
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
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,'
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
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