MP3 Audio Dec. 18, 2013 Elk Brucellosis local
"work group" meeting that met at the Livingston MSU Extension
Distribution Map This map was created by FWP Wildlife Biologist
Livingston overlaying data from 4 years (2010-2013) onto one map,
making it appear as though there are 4 times as many elk in Park
Co. than there actually are. She proceeded to explain the information,
circled known herds and listed their approx. herd sizes.
20:11 - Steve Kelly, with the
Alliance for the Wild Rockies asks, "Compared to earlier data,
decades, how does this compare?" FWP Wildlife Biologist Livingston
Karen Loveless replied, "Distribution isnt that different.
Concentrations have changed, siz of groups, used to be that most
of the elk were in small groups, now most of the elk are in large
concentrations, thats the main difference." SK, "Aggregate
totals similar?" KL, "Mid 90's numbers were similar."
23:14 - Karen finished with
the map. MSU Extension personnel printed a new map for members.
24:00 - FWP Quentin Kujala (Helena administrator
for this Elk Management Iin Areas WIth Brucellosis) explained the
2014 Final Work Plan applications. NOTE, all Proposed Recommendations
deviate from Montana Code Annotated laws such as Game Damage laws,
which require public hunter access during the general season, to
receive. Under this program, all actions are paid for by sportsmens
dollars with no public hunter access requirement.
Hazing - begin after the general season to June. Small scale fencing
available through out DSA,
year round. Elk Management Removals, EMR's (last seasons Dispersal
Hunts) not to exceed 250 elk in the entire DSA. 10 EMR's in each
action. Multiple EMR can be stacked on top of each other. Kill Permits
- difference, instead of bringing a hunter on board, a landowner
or land owners agent or an agent of the department is authorized
to take that elk. 5 total elk on each kill permit.
33:30 - Quentin begins to address
the fact that this program does not have the public hunter access
requirement, such as Game Damage, directed by Montana Code Annotated,
and never really addresses, getting off into the weeds. "...people
with the experience with game damage, there is by statue an access
requirement in place before a landowner is eligible to receive Game
Damage assistance from the department and so the question becomes,
is that same sort of thing in place for brucellosis risk management?
Its not in place, in the same way, by statutory direction, but by
commission adoption, they clearly have said, let me back up (this
is a touchy area since I have repeatedly brought this issue up with
FWP and the FWP Commission that this requirement is missing and
should be added in, which they have not done. So Kujala is about
to lay this at the feet of the FWP Commissioners and backs up.).
We have heard the Statewide Working Group
(now he is about to lay this omission on the civilian Statewide
Working Group members and shifts direction again) recognized
that concentration of elk that can result from access situations,
restrictions on access is a real thing and they do have potential
to be part of this consideration, part of commingling enhancement
and so they are something that needs to be recognized. They recognized
the issue is a difficult one, it certainly doesnt have it easy,
across the board answer, as to how to engage that circumstance.
So that actually was one of the big topics that
prompted the Statewide Working Group to identify local conversations.
They recognized those things are real, they happen, they're on the
landscape, they're something to think about, local working groups
do that, think about that. The commission, picked that up, went
a little further, and they said, 'hey, in the context of being both
comprehensive and effective, yes, those things are real, and yes,
that statewide working group had a good idea. Make sure that local
conversation identifies those on the landscape.' The intent is to
be comprehensive and effective. And provide some input on how to
proceed today. So thats something we do have to keep in mind, to
say differently, if there are these situations out there, commingling
events, tied to elk concentrations that are associated with limited
or no access. And if there is not a voice, if theres not some recommendations,
some recognition of that circumstance as it contributes to this
situation, I think its reasonable to expect the commission to at
least challenge, if not deny, a management action on that particular
35:50 - Discussed proposals
for new, modified or addition tools/work plan may be to FWP Commission.
36:50 FWP Quentin Kujala mentions
tha the Madison County Elk Brucellosis Work Group, the current dates
are not fitting in their mind. They want extended kill permits and
EMR's as well. Commission proposals can add to or modify Work Plan.
42:20 - Fencing Question -
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).
44:20 - Steve Kelly asked how
these tools tier to the current elk management plan statewide? Quentin
Kujala replies they are not specific to the elk plan, not an amendment
to the elk plan. Steve Kelly then asks about an Environmental Review.
Quentin Kujala replies that they have used commission adoption to
bring these on board, "...there has not been an EA specific
to these elk management actions."
Before the Oct. 2013 Commission meeting, trying
to find some way to encourage the FWP Commissioners to manage for
wildlife, rather than livestock, I dug through the Montana Code
Annotated sections that dealt with the FWP Commission. This is what
I found: Title 87-1-301 (J) FWP Commissioners requirements, "(j)
shall comply with, adopt policies that comply with, and ensure the
department implements in each region the provisions of state wildlife
management plans adopted following an environmental review conducted
pursuant to Title 75, chapter 1, parts 1 through 3." The 2004
Montana Statewide Elk Management Plan, pg. 39 has 5 small paragraphs
on brucellosis, very outdated, none of which deals with managing
elk per the Proposed Recommendations. The Statewide Plan then goes
into Game Damage, beginning on pg. 40.
Title 75 - 1, parts 1-3 require an environmental
review - Title 75, chapter 1, parts 1-3 MEPA
Montana Environmental Policy Act
MCA 87-1-323 Management of viable elk populations
based on habitat acreage, not
So I read off a list
of legal violations this program has committed, to the FWP Commissioners,
at that Oct. commission meeting, no longer calling for an independent
audit, rather an environmental review, as they are required to do.
They passed the 2014 Work Plan. So this is the frame of reference
for Steve Kelly's question.
47:20 - In response to Quentin
Kujala's statement of commission adoption, I, Kathryn QannaYahu,
read off the finding of the Montana Legislative Services Division,
Legal Services Office, Legislative Inquiry into the MT Elk Management
In Areas With Brucellosis finding - "Based on a review
of the foregoing information, it appears that there is no specific
reference in the Montana Code Annotated regarding the Departments's
authority to manage elk for purposes of reducing or preventing the
transmission of brucellosis between elk and livestock."
Dec. 6, 2013 Kujala replies, "The department believes there
is adequate process in place."
48:30 - Quentin Kujala, "And
in fact, a path to that end was initiated the last legislative session."
I asked, "Are you referring to HB 312?" HB
312 is Rep. Alan Redfields Elk Brucellosis test and slaughter
bill. Quentin Kujula, "And that would have specifically identified
50:37 - Going forward with
the meeting agenda, Druska Kinkie suggests that rather than waiting
for a formal plan and losing the window of opportunity, they break
this down into pieces. She suggests they propose a modification
of the 2014 Work Plan end date for lethal actions of April 30th
to May 15th.
The MSU fencing representative brought up studies
that show $1500.00 a mile fencing modifications for materials, 100%
excluded in a high risk pasture.
57:30 Gates and fencing, are
2 modifications this local work group could submit to the commission.
1:00:40 - A gentleman brought
up clarification of transmission of brucellosis, asking elk birthing
dates. Quentin Kujula states June 1 is peak. The gentleman asked
infection time period. Druska Kinkie states bacteria is pretty long
lived, depending on conditions. She then points out that the department
of livestock (Dr. Eric Liska attending) if there are any questions.
Druska asks Dr. Liska about live births shedding the brucellosis
bacteria. Dr. Liska said all he could do is speak in generalities
because a wildlife veterinarian is not here, that he is a veterinarian
for cattle. He states the main concern is not the live birth in
June with sunlight and heat, its more the abortion time. The gentleman
asks if that would be in May? He asks when peak abortion period
1:05:21 - FWP Quentin Kujula,
"I dont know if the wildlife vet, I dont know if thats clear...Ive
not heard clarity on a peak. I have heard connection of January
15th is when research, monitoring and surveillance starts to pick
up abortions, but beyond that, I dont know how much clarity there
is. Quentin Kujula then bring ups the persistence study, stating
83 or 89 days. (Every time he brings this
up in public, I object and clarify what this study is about and
object to FWP using it irresponsibly.) Environmental
Persistence of Brucella abortus in the Greater yellowstone
Area Pg. 4, right column, near bottom, under Results - 81 days.
1:10:56 - I had been waiting
with my hand up, to answer the question that had been asked about
the threat of the birthing period and the abortion risk period,
that 3 FWP personnel, involved with the elk brucellosis program
did not answer. Kathryn QannaYahu, "This is from A Risk Analysis
of Brucella abortus Transmission Among Bison, Elk, and Cattle in
the Northern Greater Yellowstone Area, A Technical Report to the
National Park Service, October 2010, of which Dr. Marty Zaluski,
the Montana State Vet, is a contributor, 'The probability of B.
abortus transmission between elk (or from elk to cattle) is likely
low during calving (May through June) because elk dams segregate
themselves while giving birth and meticulously clean the birth site.
Thus, birth sites are dispersed, and the likelihood of other elk
or cattle encountering infected birth tissues and fluids is low.
However, transmission risk may be higher during the brucellosis
abortion period from February through April when many elk aggregate
in larger groups on lower-elevation winter ranges that sometimes
include ranches'...So thats your time period."
1:12:00 - They go back to the
modifications. Druska brought up that there was only one hazer,
suggested more. Rep. Alan Redfield brought up corridors, pointing
out that his fence pushes elk to one of the neighbors, which they
might not want. The group discussed more of the language of what
they wanted to present to the FWP Commission.
1:22:30 - Quentin Kujula explained
the current 2014 Elk Work Plan process that is available to them
right now, while they set up the technology for the electronic vote.
1:36:35 - FWP Karen Loveless
explains the season proposals for those Elk Hunting Districts. Quentin
Kujula also described the current Statewide Elk Plan.
1:48:05 - On the voting questions,
the majority of the votes were for the extension of the end dates
for kill permits and Elk Management Removals, as well for the fencing
modifications. They decide that another meeting in January is going
to be necessary. They also suggest an individual volunteer to present
the pro fencing argument and one for the against. I did not volunteer
for the against for 2 reasons: 1. I wanted to look into fencing
laws and 2. I wanted to see if the Park Country sportsmen were going
to object about sportsmens dollars being used for this massive fencing,
or any other objection. They did not.
1:59:20 - Kathryn QannaYahu,
"Based on some of the questions, especially from a biological
perspective that came up, I have one question for the group: Have
any of y'all seen the FWP's presentation concerning elk management
in areas with brucellosis? I know Hayes and Lou have, because one
was given at Park County Rod and Gun Club in April, but have any
of y'all ever seen that presentation or a similar one?" It
was asked if that was given by Karen Loveless? "No, the one
in April was done by Quentin and the one that was done in Bozeman,
in December before, was done by Karen and Neil Anderson, both did
that one jointly." Quentin stated, "Kathryn, I dont think
the group has seen that package...they've seen pieces of it."
Alan Redfield explained that they have had Neil Anderson, 4 different
times at meetings. "Thats what I was wondering because there
were some questions dealing, like with the abortion time period
and other things that Eric didnt want to address, being more proficient
in cattle, but the biology, as a representative that could answer
those questions at the next meeting? Because part of what y'all
are discussing here, as far as extending dates, gets into the biology.
There is a reason that FWP has set the dates for the kill permits,
under game damage principles, for the date that they have and its
because of the birthing (and gestation) time periods. Hazing, if
you extend dates, dealing with that, you're potentially causing
an abortion event on a stressed elk cow. So some of this is dealing
with biology and if y'all are asking basic biology questions concerning
the time periods of abortion events, how long...for example a study
was cited dealing with how long Brucella abortus can remain on the
landscape. Well the study that was cited was a worse case study.
And Dr. Tom Roffe, who was part of that study and led it, stated
they never intended that study to be used in the capacity that this
Elk Brucellosis Working Group program has repeatedly used it, because
it negated predation. They put events around it, it could not be
predated, yet at meetings that I have been, where this question
has been brought up and that study has been cited, when you look
at the factors of predation, temperature, sunlight, the relative
risk is minimal. So if you are citing 60-90 days, that is not accurate
for native environment. It was a study environment that was conducted
in. And that never occurs, thats never been documented out in the
wild. So if y'all have got basic biology questions, I suggest you
get someone in here to help answer those questions."
2:00:31 - Druska Kinkie, "I
would say 2 things, just as a point of clarification. There arent
any dates on the hazing tool. Add I think that, in answering Bob's
question, which was, how long can it live? Yeah, we gave it can
do this or it can do that. So it was a worse case scenario as well
as, Quentin said, with predation is much shorter. So, it was a generality.
I dont think any of us are setting our sites on the fact that it
is 90 days out there, we all know that changes."
Here I am going to interject
some information. First, being that the Montana State Veterinarian,
Dr. Marty Zaluski, frequently, publicly states the average life
is 21-26 days. Yet, and I keep addressing this issue, our FWP wildlife
"representative" repeatedly uses the irresponsible science
of a worst case scenario study to further inflame a situation within
the ag/livestock community. Second, Druska Kinkie has appeared in
a short documentary
video, concerning elk and brucellosis, making it appear that
it is a storm or disease and all elk need to be removed from the
land. She states, at the 6:25 mark, "the bacteria has the ability
to live up to 60-90 days, depending on conditions." There is
a reason why I specifically addressed 60-90 days in my statement
above. FWP Quentin Kujula generally states a number between 81 and
100. Oddly, the editor of the film does not have any of the scientists
interviewed, state anything to that effect.
2:06:00 - The group was wanting
a pro fencing advocate and then asked for an against. I asked, "I'd
like to ask a question on this. When you're talking about fencing
on a larger scale, are you talking about fencing your private property
or are you talking about fencing Wildlife Management Areas or other
public lands?" Druska Kinkie explained why they want to fence
without answering my questions of fencing public lands, so I asked
again. "No, I'm understanding your larger landscape question.
What Im asking is, because I know that there are people that have
their livestock on public lands, as leases, are you talking about
fencing out public land leases, specifically..." Again Druska
states the size and I had to ask, "...on private land?"
And she replied yeah.
Steve Kelly asked about public comments and
expressed concern over the public participation, because these meetings
were unknown, and the general public did not have much of an idea
of what was going on.