As we approach the 39th Annual Moscow Renaissance Fair, we’d like to give you an update on some wildland news. In this issue we will talk about breaching the four lower Snake River dams, the Sportmen’s Heritage Act, the Travel Plan for the Clearwater National Forest, the expansion of the Port of Lewiston, public comments for the Idaho Panhandle Forest Plan, and a big thank you to George Wuerthner.
In a recent statement to the media, retired federal Judge James Redden said, “I think we need to take those dams down.” Redden has resided over the decades long court battle to prevent wild sockeye, steelhead, fall and spring Chinook from going extinct in the Columbia River Basin. On three separate occasions Judge Redden ruled that the federal government’s biological opinion was inadequate, and ordered the government to craft a new plan for recovery of the native fish. While millions of tax-payer dollars have gone towards retrofitting the Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental, Little Goose, and Lower Granite Dams, there has been little to no increase in wild fish populations. Read the article and please write a short letter to the editor in support of dam breaching. Send them to email@example.com
The U.S. House just passed the deceptively titled Sportsmen’s Heritage Act, and it will now move into the Senate. The bill, which is masked as being necessary to protect hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting on public lands, including inside national parks, is rather a direct assault on the Wilderness Act. While sponsors of the bill claim that an amendment to the bill forbids the extraction of resources and use of off-road vehicles in designated wilderness, the bill gives federal land mangers and state agencies the discretion to manipulate and harm wilderness. Friends of the Clearwater and Wilderness Watch are closely tracking the bill and will keep you informed. Read more:
Despite appeals from groups in favor of, and opposed to, the Clearwater National Forest Travel Plan, the agency has adopted the management plan that governs where motorized recreationists can go and cannot go. Friends of the Clearwater maintains that despite closing a few trails and restricting cross-country travel on the National Forest, the agency still neglected executive orders and failed to meet it’s obligations under the 1987 Forest Plan to protect wildlife habitat and provide non-motorized recreation experiences in the backcountry. The decision by the Forest Service to adopt this plan may lead to a future lawsuit by both parties.
The Army Corps of Engineers has approved a proposal to expand the Port of Lewiston. The project would double the size of the Port and could facilitate future shipments of megaloads, according to port manager David Doeringsfeld. Despite the approval, Friends of the Clearwater still claims that the federal agency failed to analyze the potential cumulative impacts to other communities besides Lewiston, impacts to threatened fish populations like salmon, the potential deterioration of water quality due to dredging, and the continued increase in sediment in the lower Snake River. Not to mention the fact that the Port has seen it’s shipping volume decrease substantially over the last decade, the Port is a financial burden on taxpayers, and the downstream Port of Wilma has adequate capacity to handle any growth in future shipping. We will inform of you of any future developments regarding this project.
If you have not had the chance to submit a comment on the revised Idaho Panhandle Forest Plan, the deadline for comments is Monday May 7. Speak for stronger protection of places like the Grandmother Mountain and the Mallard-Larkins Roadless Areas.
We would like to take the time to thank George Wuerthner for giving three excellent presentations on predator ecology in Idaho last week. Approximately 250 people attended the programs, which highlighted why the hunting and trapping of wolves in the northern Rockies may lead to an increase in conflicts instead of less. We would also like to thank the Northern Idaho Wolf Alliance and the Kootenai Environmental Alliance for sponsoring the programs with us. Read more:
If you are interested in volunteering to work in our crepes booth next weekend at the Renaissance Fair please contact us at (208) 882-9755 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We have shifts available on Saturday and Sunday.