Putting the "Public" Back In "Public Trust"

"Surefire Plan For Listing Grouse"

Havent made an EMWH Conservation Postcard in a wee bit, so here is one in honor of Theodore Roosevelt, one of the fathers of conservation - view of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Click on image for larger view.

"Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children's children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance." ~ Theodore Roosevelt

The Theodore Roosevelt National Park began as a recreation demonstration area, followed by the designation of a wildlife refuge, then it became a national memorial park. In 1978 about a third of it was designated as Wilderness and the Parks designation became the Theodore Roosevelt National Park - just one of our treasured Federal Public Lands.

Public Trust Doctrine Under Attack
"In my opinion, of all the threats to our Public Trust, the greatest and most insidious is that from within, those who receive a paycheck of our dollars to manage our Public Trust; instead, they serve the special interests that would seek to rob us of our greatest treasure."

July 9th Environmental Quality Council Mtg
There will be a number of issues addressed that conservationists might want to be aware of or attend and comment on. 8:45 Sage Grouse Management Plan, 9:30 Bison Management Update, 10:15 the SJ15 Work Group bill which Sen. Fielder has been using as a vehicle for her Federal Public Lands transfer to the states agenda, 1:30 FWP Hunting and Fishing Licenses. If you cannot attend, video streaming and taped video is available here.

Brucellosis: On the Montana Brucellosis infection investigation front (see this Newsletter for additional information on the 2007 infection case), despite the Department of Livestock's not filling my public information request, I have located one of my documents that prove one of the bison infection cases here in Montana was from an RB51 vaccine that became an infection - bloomed. I called Turner Enterprises, spoke with their veterinarian who used to work for Idaho Fish & Game, Dr. Dave Hunter. Dr. Hunter confirmed that the infection was the result of the RB51 vaccine. As soon as I get a few more pieces of my puzzle, I will be able to put this all up on an interactive timeline for the public to see what has really been going on in Montana. Perhaps then, a realistic, productive discussion of how to protect Montana's cattle industry and our wildlife can be achieved instead of the politics and special interest targeting of our elk and bison.

Reminder: Statewide Elk Brucellosis Working Group to meet in Bozeman on July 8 to review the results of last winter's activities. 8:30 a.m. at the Montana Fish,Wildlife and Parks’ office in Bozeman at 1400 S. 19th St. The meeting is open to the public and includes time for public comment. For more information on the Elk Brucellosis situation. At last years meeting, they also worked on the 2014 Work Plan, so they may be working on the 2015 at this meeting. As I have stated before, FWP has not conducted an independent review of MT cattle infections to see if elk were actually responsible for those infections and my public information requests to DOL have not been fulfilled. The research involving genetics, as well as information directly associated to each infection case is telling a different story, which is why FWP needs to manage our elk by science, not politics.

Sage Grouse
FWP backs away from statewide sage grouse hunt closure by Brett French
"Comment to FWP following the proposal from residents and nonresidents was “relatively heavy,” according to Quentin Kujala, wildlife management section chief for FWP. Although hunters said some restrictions were warranted, they noted habitat was the bigger issue, he added."

Tough future for Wyoming sage grouse by Dr. Clait E. Braun, with 40+ years wildlife biology, taught at University of Montana and Colorado State University, who has also worked for the Montana USDA Soil Conservation Service and as a research technician for the MT Dept. of Fish and Game. He is considered an expert in sage grouse ecology.

"The core area strategy is a mistake that guarantees that sage grouse will have smaller and fewer areas to try to survive energy development, livestock grazing, and continuing habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation. I agree, we all love the West but we will have less to love as more areas are developed and more species are on life support. The future is bleak in Wyoming and elsewhere if you are a sage-grouse, and Wyoming’s core area strategy does nothing to improve these prospects."

I called and spoke with Dr. Braun about sage-grouse issues. Expanding on the 2 points identified by USFWS as the key threats to the continued survival of sage grouse being:
1) habitat loss, fragmentation, and modification and 2) inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms, particularly in relation to energy and other development; Dr. Braun voiced the opinion that the regulatory deficiency included local counties. He said that there was a lack of political will to really do something. Since Braun's official retirement in 1999 (he is still very much active in sage-grouse research, writing and involvement), he related that about $70 million dollars has been spent on sage-grouse, yet their numbers have not been increased. Additional money is being poured into captive breeding and reintroduction efforts, which is costly and not very successful, citing various examples which have failed. One researchers study I requested the title of, he explained that the researchers results were never published, lamenting, "You don't publish your failures."

Braun related the situation with Canadian sage-grouse, which have a migratory corridor south, after summer, to Montana's Milk River where they feed for the winter. The Canadian Sage grouse numbers are very low. Canada was even supplementing their grouse populations with sage-grouse from Montana. Recently the Calgary Zoo began an effort towards captive breeding and reintroduction which will cost $5.3 million dollars.

So I began researching sage-grouse captive breeding results. Found one paper by USDA where they fed captured sage-grouse Purina dog food when they ran out of sage and other forbes. WTF? With the difficulty of captive breeding, people cant continue on the habitat devastation path that has been occurring, expecting that they can just breed more sage-grouse like domestic chickens and release them to the wild to fix the problem. We need to be proactive in protecting habitat, rather than reactive after an Endangered Species Listing.

Testimony of Dr. Clait E. Braun on public lands and Sage-grouse.
Dr. Braun testified before Congress on H.R. 657, which was co-sponsored by MT Rep. Daines. This bill is also referred to as the Grazing Improvement Act. The House version has not proceeded but the Senate version S. 258 has and was updated May 2014.

"This testimony concerns H. R. Bill 657 which has the title of 'Grazing Improvement Act'. My testimony will focus on native species of wildlife and how the proposed language would ensure at least two species will be listed as Endangered."

A Blueprint for Sage-grouse Conservation and Recovery by Dr. Clait E. Braun, while this is a little bit older (2006), it still has very applicable points.

Feds adopt Wyoming sage grouse strategy for 2.4 million acres around Lander
"The U.S. Bureau of Land Management adopted Wyoming's sage grouse conservation strategy in a new land management plan for 2.4 million federal acres around Lander on Thursday, in a move that offered a potential preview of how BLM intends to approach sage grouse conservation in Wyoming and throughout the West."

Senate majority could rest on the sage grouse
"Environmentalists and the two Democratic senators being challenged, John Walsh in Montana and Mark Udall in Colorado, oppose the idea. They say they don't want a listing, either, but that the threat of one is needed to push states to protect the bird."

Skyline/Anaconda Elk Litigation Fund
PO Box 173, Butte, MT 59701
Skyline Sportsmen and Anaconda Sportsmens Associations lawsuit against FWP & the FWP Commission

Thank you,
Kathryn QannaYahu



Wildlife &


Bozeman, MT

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