Conservation Death By A 1000 Cuts

Putting the "Public" Back in "Public Trust"

"You're goddamn right I'm emotional - if you can't be emotional about a place like this then what the hell can you be emotional about?" 
~ Stoney Burke   
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Death by a 1000 cuts is a sadistic execution, torture method using a slow, deliberate process of making a multitude of non lethal cuts, that prolonged the death of the victim. I see this happening in the US, killing conservation, affecting our federal and state fish & wildlife agencies. One by one, you may not think a particular cut so detrimental, perhaps mentally and emotionally brushing it off, maybe it is not directly affecting you. Cumulatively though, the over all picture clearly shows our Public Trust Doctrine, our North American Model of Wildlife Conservation has been targeted for death.

If you would like to further this conservation work, make documents and science available to all the public, please click to contribute to EMWH.

No, Ted Cruz, Westerners should not follow in Texas' footsteps
"On a campaign stop in Idaho, presidential hopeful Ted Cruz characterized the West's federal land system as a 'historical accident.' The Republican senator from Texas then stoked resentment over federal management of public lands by telling his audience that the government ought to hand its lands over to the states. This would, of course, set public land - which all Americans own - on a path to private ownership.

Cruz pointed to Texas as a counterexample. He's wrong: Texas itself is the real historical accident, and its history offers a cautionary tale, not a model, for Idaho and the rest of the West."

'Quiet Recreation' on BLM Land Generates Billions of Dollars, Supports Thousands of Jobs
"Nonmotorized recreation on U.S. lands overseen by the Bureau of Land Management supports 25,000 jobs and adds $2.8 billion to the U.S. economy, according to the first study devoted to the economic contribution of 'quiet recreation' visitors on BLM lands."

Report: Quiet Recreation on BLM-Managed Lands: Economic Contribution 2014, Final Report March 2016

A Conservative Conservationist
"Whether one believes our Earth was created by God or not, nobody can argue the fact that it is the only one we have. It's our responsibility to be good stewards and ensure our children and grandchildren's children enjoy the same outdoor opportunities that we have...

While there is a lot that separates folks as Republicans and Democrats, there's also a lot that binds us together as Montanans. Preserving and conserving our public land, I think, is one of those values. As Earth Day approaches, I'm calling on my colleagues to work on the things that bring us together.
Let's work toward better stewardship and management so our public land can be enjoyed for generations to come."


There is a growing trend in private landowner/ public access conflicts in Montana, and the explosion of Private Lands Authorized to Licensed Outfitters, another series of bloody cuts. Information from Steve Gallus, Board of Outfitting, states leased acreage is now 18.6 million acres (2012 -  6.79 million acres authorized). I believe there are some serious errors with this map.

With that said,  it is nice to honor those landowners that work with the public, some major advocates of the Public Trust Doctrine and North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.

Governor Bullock Honors Montanans for Their Commitment to Cooperation, Neighborly Land Access, Land Stewardship and Conservation, Community Leadership
The 2016 winners of the Montana Neighbor Award are:
*           Doug Salsbury, Whitehall
*           Neil and Dixie Meyer, Swan Lake
*           Joe and Debby Perry, Brady
*           Randy and Emily Smith, Glen
*           Gerald "Buddy" and Sheila Walsh, Dodson
*           Tim Crawford, Kathy Hansen, Belgrade

Congratulations Deb & Joe Perry, and Tim Crawford & Kathy Hansen, y'all rock! Of course they are friends and supporters of EMWH ;) Joe and Tim were present at the recent Public Lands/Water Access Association annual meeting in Bozeman, where they were publicly acknowledged and thanked.

 See how your legislators voted on these MSA sportsmen's issues.

Montana to get $900,000 in LWCF money
"The members of Montana's Congressional delegation were happy with the announcement and praised it in separate statements. Republican U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke called LWCF a 'critical conservation tool for Montana.' Republican U.S. Sen. Steve Daines said that LWCF increases 'recreational opportunities on our public land,' and Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester said it is a 'boost to Montana's economy, our western way of life, and our outdoor heritage.' "

  Public Land Is Your Land Video by Montana resident Gerald Martin, adding his voice to this necessary Public Trust conversation. An example of an everyday member of the public, taking a wee bit of his time, to fight back against the Public Trust Doctrine death by a 1000 cuts.

Glacier Country

Federal government should not give up control of bison refuge
"Back in February, even before the final armed occupiers agreed to leave the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, officials of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service quietly took part in a proposed takeover of a different kind at another 108-year-old refuge - the National Bison Range National Wildlife Refuge in Montana...  
Yet, even as this is written, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has not released overall information to the general public about the negotiations, the effects necessarily resulting from the proposed actions, or any details of the agency's scheme. So far, the only articles printed on this issue have been limited to a few Montana newspapers." 

I have requested and am waiting on an internal USFWS memo involving the NBR.

There are discussions from a number of perspectives on this issue. We need to ask why we should keep the NBR in Federal Public hands? Or, what are the reasons, if any, why we should divest the USFWS and the Public from the NBR? I am curious what reasons are given for turning the public lands of the NBR over to the CSKT. 
  • US taxpayers have paid the Confederated Salish Kootenai Tribes for these 18,523.85  NBR acres of non-irrigated, unallotted lands 2X (twice).
    I found the Department of Agriculture Congressional expenditures for fiscal year 1910, $50,700 was appropriated for the NBR, $29,896.48 was "appropriated to enable the Secretary of the Interior the pay the Indians and others entitled the appraised value of the land", as well as the additional funds for the fences, and buildings. Much more acreage was involved, besides the 18,523.85 of the NBR. In 1971, the CSKT disputed the original appraisal of the 485,171.31 acres of unallotted lands in 1910, based on sales of land on and surrounding the Reservation during the period 1906-1916 (trial in 1968). 
    CSKT said fair market value was not paid, therefore there was an Eminent Domain taking. In 1971, the U.S. Claims Court agreed, ordered a settlement which included interest. In 1972, the CSKT was paid millions.
  • American Bison Society donated the 40 bison that began the conservation herd -  Bison Source Chart
  • The National Bison Range National Wildlife Refuge is currently under Federal jurisdiction, making it a Public Trust
  • USFWS Primary objective for bison - Long-term genetic conservation for establishing other conservation populations, habitat management, education, research, and meeting the refuge's legislated purpose ("for a permanent national bison range for the herd of bison to be presented by the American Bison Society"), with the original herd purchased with private funds raised by the American Bison Society and then donated to the National Bison Range (NBR).
For anyone interested in the crucial role the NBR bison genetics has played in conserving bison, seeding other conservation herds...
Forest Service Accused of Imperiling Wildlife Habitat with Montana Silver Mine Project
"U.S. Forest Service approval of a 30-year-long mining project puts threatened populations of bull trout, grizzly bears and water resources at even greater risk, and could despoil a wilderness area for a century, environmentalists say in court.

Save Our Cabinets, Earthworks and the Clark Fork Coalition sued the Forest Service in Federal Court on Friday. They claim its approval of a 20-year, 20,000 tons-per day copper and silver mine would defile Montana's Cabinet Mountains Wilderness Area in northwest Montana.

Montanore Minerals Corp. wants to mine just below and next to the wilderness area."

US cancels oil and gas lease on Montana land sacred to tribe
"Facing a 24-hour decision deadline, the U.S. Department of Interior has canceled energy exploration leases on the Badger-Two Medicine roadless area considered sacred by the Blackfeet Indian Tribe.

'After careful review of the record and consultation with the U.S. Forest Service, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, Blackfeet Tribe, leaseholder, and others, the (Bureau of Land Management) concluded the Solonex lease was improperly issued in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historical Preservation Act,' Interior spokeswoman Jessica Kershaw wrote in the Thursday morning announcement. 'Based on those findings and recommendations from the Forest Service and the Advisory Council, the Interior Department and the BLM decided that the pending application for permit to drill should be disapproved, the lease canceled, and any applicable lease payments refunded.' "

Southwest Montana
Forest Service proceeds with Elliston-area timber project
"The Forest Service's final environmental impact statement and draft record of decision for the Telegraph Vegetation Project proposes logging, thinning and prescribed fire on 8,100 acres of a nearly 24,000-acre project area...

'We failed to emphasize enough in our comments about the importance of showing the cumulative impacts of these two joint projects -- Telegraph and Ten Mile,' comments from Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Native Ecosystems Council say. 'They are IMMEDIATELY adjacent to one another, including many harvest units. These could easily be considered one and the same project.'

Helena Hunters and Anglers Association shared similar concerns on cumulative impacts in comments on Telegraph. 'Helena Hunters and Anglers Association is very concerned with the synergistic impact that implementation of this 24,000-acre (Telegraph) project will have on further denigration of wildlife habitat and its concomitant implementation with the 60,000-acre Ten Mile-South Helena Project, that together will stretch across 130 square miles of National Forest land, altering the landscape and its natural inhabitants for decades. This amount of disturbance is staggering.' "
Yellowstone Country

MGW's Your Wild Backyard Presentation Video
Montanans For Gallatin Wilderness sponsored a panel discussion with a Q & A on March 31. The science, which has been missing from so much of the GCC process, making this presentation necessary, was provided by world-renowned Bozeman wildlife ecologist Dr. Lance Craighead; equally renowned bear biologist Dr. David Mattson of Livingston; Bozeman-based conservationist, wilderness advocate and author Phil Knight; retired Forest Service biologist and conservation activist Dr. Sara Jane Johnson of Three Forks, and wilderness guide and author Howie Wolke, Livingston.

Though lighting was dimmed for the standing room filled public to see the screen, I set up video, watched over by Steve Kelly in the back (thank you), while I handled the electronics end of the presentation up front. I wanted to make this video available, so that the public could see necessary information that has been missing in this wilderness study area discussion. 

I especially enjoyed Dr. Sara Jane Johnson's presentation (45:15) about the increasing threats to inventory roadless areas, who brought studies with her to refute the agencies trying to justify certain management interventions. She pointed out the lies behind the justifications, presented science to counter, "because people just make them up, well, they do."
Central Montana

Fergus County Conservation District trying to pull a sly one
Recently, the Fergus County Conservation District tried to go in through a back door to not only prohibit wild bison in Fergus County, but attack the private property rights of private landowners with domestic bison. Yet another of the Public Trust Doctrine death by 1000 cuts.

The Fergus County Conservation District wrote An Ordinance for the Protection of Soil and Water from Wild, Free Roaming or Domestic Bison Grazing in Fergus Conservation District. This is total special interest bullshit.

Not only did bison evolve on this landscape, but they benefit our Montana lands and waters. Thankfully, Ron Moody and Dr. Don Woerner DVM, attended the meeting. Thanks to Ron Moody, I was able to get  audio of the Conservation District meeting to format and upload it, making it available to the public.

Instead of the uneducated fearmongering being propagated, here are some papers/presentations that I have had at the EMWH website, that discuss the patterns/benefits of bison on our landscape and the natural difference between tropical originating domestic cattle and North American bison effects on land and water resources.
Missouri River Country

Protecting sage grouse is good for Montana
"This spring, sage grouse are gathering once again on Montana's remaining unbroken sage landscapes. On their historic leks, or mating grounds, they're performing mating rituals that have been repeated for centuries. Sustaining these sage grouse populations, along with their habitats, is vitally important to both our Montana lifestyle and our economy."
Southeast Montana

1 man's vision to educate all on bison, an icon of the American West
Dr. Don Woerner, DVM, mentioned above in the Central Montana section...
" 'What we did to the bison is very much the same as what we did to the Native Americans, and I think we are still paying the price for both of these things,' Woerner commented. 'I think the more we can adopt the way of life that was natural to this region, which worked for centuries before we came along, the better our chances of creating a sustainable system.'

So a big part of Woerner's motivation for opening this museum is to educate the public, both about the history of bison and also about how these animals need to be treated now. In his experience as a vet, has watched many ranchers try to raise bison with the same methodology that they applied to cattle, and it just doesn't work."

Montana's largest wind farm quietly develops northeast of Colstrip
"The power plant-sized transmission lines connecting coal-fired Colstrip Power Plant to the Pacific Northwest have attracted a new electricity generator to southeast Montana, one with a greener future...

Ann Hedges of the Montana Environmental Information Center said it would be better to find a green-energy future for Colstrip instead of trying to squeeze a few more years out of the existing coal power plants. Hedges specifically cited the Clearwater project as an example of renewable energy possibilities in the Colstrip region."

West & US

An Exclusive Upland Shooting Club Makes a Play for Public Land in Idaho
The European Model, all dressed up and looking for somewhere to go, another Public Trust Doctrine cut. 
"The Idaho Department of Lands has been approached by an entity looking to secure an exclusive hunting lease on public land-and the hunters are expressly prohibited from dressing like a commoner.
In what may be the first collision of British-style aristocratic culture and Idaho's sagebrush desert, the state will decide which is in the public's interest: exclusive leasing of public land or the continued public access to an underfunded resource...

But what makes this case interesting, and possibly precedent-setting, is its implication for the private use of public land... Blixt and Co. reportedly charges its shooters $4,000 a day...

In an effort to combat the potential of an exclusive hunting lease, state Rep. Mat Erpelding drafted a resolution that would oppose any proposal that prevents the public from using endowment lands because of an exclusive hunting lease."

Jewell: 'Major Course Correction' Needed on Conservation
"Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on Tuesday called for 'a major course correction" in the way the nation conserves its public lands, waters and wildlife, saying climate change and other trends threaten natural areas "in existential ways.'

Jewell also denounced an armed takeover of an Oregon national wildlife refuge.
The 41-day standoff this winter 'propped up dangerous voices that reject the rule of law, put communities and hard-working public servants at risk, and fail to appreciate how deeply democratic and American our national parks and public lands are,' said Jewell, who began her fourth year as Interior secretary this month."

Poachers insult legitimate hunters
"We've got nothing good to say about poachers, on any level: Just for starters, it irks us that poachers give a black eye to the vast majority of law-abiding hunters. The illegal actions of poachers also give ammunition to those people who would like to see all hunting banned, a bad idea on any number of levels, not the least of which is that it would eliminate the substantial contributions that hunters (and anglers, to give them their due) make to preserve the habitat that supports game. On those grounds alone, hunters don't get the credit they deserve."

Forest Service says no oil and gas leasing in Bridger-Teton under draft plan
"Oil and gas leasing will not be allowed on nearly 40,000 acres in the Bridger-Teton National Forest under a draft decision released Friday by the U.S. Forest Service...

'After 10 years of standing up for the Wyoming Range, citizens deserve a no-leasing decision,' said Mike Burd, a spokesman for Citizens for the Wyoming Range. 'The Wyoming Range is one of those special places we need to protect today to ensure we pass on this legacy to our kids and grandkids.' "

33 elk died at winter feeding site
WTF example of why you dont feed wildlife!!! State wildlife agencies pulling a knife on our wildlife conservation. Hell, even our MT FWP discourages wildlife feeding for the right reasons - The Reality of Feeding.
  • Wild animals being fed by humans may congregate in unnaturally high numbers, and this is the perfect opportunity for diseases to spread. As populations of deer, raccoons, skunks and others grow unnaturally from being fed, a small number of diseased animals mixed in close quarters with a large group spread the disease to the whole group. Disease such as rabies, distemper and many others which are dependent on high animal populations.
  •  Feeding wildlife, especially prey species such as deer, squirrels and rabbits, often causes a domino or food chain effect. Due to such feeding, the prey densities increase, which in turn attracts predators such as coyotes, bobcats and mountain lions. Example: Increase deer numbers in your yard and you may be inviting a mountain lion for a free meal.
"Thirty-three elk died at an Idaho Department of Fish and Game feeding station in Warm Springs Canyon west of Ketchum this winter-11 killed by mountain lions and 22, mostly calves, that were trampled by other elk or starved after they were unable to get to the feed."

I would like to thank the following contributors for supporting EMWH. Your gift is very much appreciated.
Dwayne Garner, Bob Driggers, Tony Schoonen, Rob Gregoire

If you would like to further this work and research,   please click to contribute to EMWH.
Thank you,
Kathryn QannaYahu


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