Big Wild Bi-Weekly December 16, 2010

Dear Wildland Lovers,

The month of December is always hectic and so I do not wish to take up more of your time than I already am. In this issue you will receive a last-minute invitation to our Holiday Potluck, be encouraged to speak for the conservation of Palouse Prairie in the Latah County Comprehensive Plan, receive important news regarding the Upper Lochsa Land Exchange, get updated on the status of gray wolf delisting efforts, learn what’s next in the Highway 12 mega-loads saga, and find out where you can view a graduate student’s perspective on the future of the Lower Snake River Basin.

This Friday at 6:00pm we will be having a joyous and delicious holiday potluck to celebrate all that has happened over the past 12 months. The theme for the party is food and fun, so please bring a story and something yummy to eat! For those interested in attending, please call our office at (208) 882-9755 and we will provide you with directions and folks to carpool with from our office.

At a public hearing on Monday December 20th, Latah County Commissioners will finalize the Latah County Comprehensive Plan. By keeping already established conservation language in the plan, the natural heritage, wildlife habitat and aesthetic beauty of the Palouse Prairie we all cherish will be maintained. The meeting will take place at the Latah County Courthouse, Room 2B, across from Moscow High School. Comments can be sent to pb@latah.id.us. To view the language of the proposed plan go to:

http://www.latah.id.us/planningbuilding/2010%20Proposed%20Comprehensive%….

It appears that the Forest Service will be hosting a series of open houses in mid-January regarding the just released Upper Lochsa Land Exchange Draft Environmental Impact Statement. The location and dates of those meetings have not yet been finalized though. In the meantime, Friends of the Palouse Ranger District have printed dozens of flyers and posters with the hope of educating people on the truths and realities behind the exchange. If you would like to pick up a free copy of these, please drop by our office! We are located at 116 E. Third Street, downtown Moscow. Another excellent source of information is http://www.lochsalandexchange.com/.

Over the past few weeks, there have been numerous attempts by misguided governors and politicians to pass legislation that would permanently delist gray wolves from the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The overlying purpose of this legislation was to prevent species from going extinct and empowers scientists to work with federal agencies to prevent such disasters. Instead, Department of the Interior Ken Salazar is listening to anti-wolf interests, not scientists, in pushing for legislation that would strip wolves of their federal protection and prevent wolves from fulfilling their ecological role on the landscape. Please use this link to tell Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that you oppose any such last minute, lame-duck legislation that would throw wolves off the Endangered Species Ark! http://www.friendsoftheclearwater.org/node/1000.

After 2 long days of mega-load hearings in Boise, contested case hearing officer Merlyn Clark has indicated that he hopes to issue a recommendation to the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) before Christmas. His decision will most likely focus on three things: the 10 and/or 15 minute traffic delay rule, whether or not the agency made public safety and convenience it’s primary consideration when issuing permits, and the discretion used by the agency in studying the feasibility and necessity of U.S. Route 12 as the route of choice.

According to a recent public records request, ITD has given permission to Conoco Phillips/Emmert International to blockade over 40 different turnouts along Highway 12 up to twenty-four hours in advance of the mega-loads moving up the highway. The permit also stated that the mega-loads would be permitted to travel seven days a week. Please consider sending an immediate letter to Clearwater NF Supervisor Rick Brazell telling him that ITD should have no authority in blocking public access to the Wild & Scenic Middle Fork of the Clearwater and Lochsa River corridor. Send your letter to rbrazell@fs.fed.us

Landscape architecture, design and education graduate students from Washington State University and the University of Idaho are displaying their vision(s) for the Lower Snake River Basin at the Sage Baking Company in Lewiston from now until January 31st. The work will display how students perceive “connections between people and place in the Lower Snake River Basin, and the ways these connections are affected by and affect the Lower Snake River Dams.” The Sage Baking Company is located at 1303 Main Street, downtown Lewiston.

Even Wilder in 2011,

Brett

 

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