Hope everyone has been getting out to their favorite places and enjoying the warmer weather. We certainly have been doing our best to get out into the field and away from these computers! In this edition you will receive information about the status of Rocky Mountain fishers, wolf hunting regulations in Idaho, happenings involving the US 12 and US 95 mega-load saga, a possible merger of the Clearwater and Nez Perce National Forest, and a great opportunity to experience the Weitas Creek roadless area.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service recently denied protection for the Rocky Mountain Fisher, despite the downward decline of their population in the region. Defenders of Wildlife, the Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Bitterroot, and Friends of the Clearwater are seeking federal protection for the species under the Endangered Species Act. Trapping along with road building, logging, and loss of habitat in the Northern Rockies has severely diminished fisher populations, which greatly depend on intact old-growth habitat to survive. Today only isolated pockets of the species remain in the wild. Learn more about this native species on the brink:
The Idaho Fish & Game Department (IDFG) just announced that if the state’s wolf hunt occur this year there will be no quota in most areas of the state, and it will be supplemented with trapping. The controversial hunt would begin in August, and allow hunters to kill two wolves each. The trapping season would take place on public lands, begin in mid-February and allow trappers to kill five wolves each. The Idaho Fish & Game Commission is meeting in Salmon on July 27th – 28th to vote on the regulations. Consider calling the Idaho Fish & Game Commissioners to voice your opposition:
The IDFG is also asking folks to participate in a survey to gain feedback on the proposed wolf hunting regulations, or lack there of. Click here: http://www.idfgsurveys.com/idfg/. You may find the survey frustrating or poorly designed, but you can provide feedback or other concerns in the comment section. The survey expires on July 24th.
In a related note, U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy is set to hear oral arguments on Tuesday July 26th and will soon thereafter decide whether or not the legislative rider, which delisted Northern Rocky gray wolves this spring, was constitutional. If Molloy concludes that the Congressional rider was unconstitutional, wolves would be placed back on the endangered species list and all hunts would be cancelled.
Advocates for the West has filed a Petition for Reconsideration with US 12 contested case hearing officer Judge Duff McKee. McKee recently concluded that the arguments put forth by the interveners were not sustained and instead recommended that the Idaho Transportation Department move forward in issuing permits for Exxon/Imperial Oil mega-loads to travel along US 12. Judge McKee has 21 days to respond to the petition. Learn more:
The Idaho Transportation Department just granted permits for Exxon/Imperial Oil to begin trucking “reduced in-size” mega-loads up US 95. The permits are good for five days and go into effect on Friday July 15th. The group Wild Idaho Rising Tide is organizing a “Street Party.” Learn more:
The Port of Lewiston has filed for a permit with the Army Corps of Engineers to expand their dock facilities. Unless an extension is granted, the public comment period will expire on Friday July 22. This is an extremely important project to comment on because expansion of the Port could further threaten the recovery of wild fish in the Clearwater Basin, and simultaneously increase the ability of the Port to handle larger equipment, including mega-loads. Please use this link to help with comments:
Forest Supervisor Rick Brazell just announced that the Clearwater National Forest and Nez Perce National Forest are moving closer to a merger. Because of budget cuts, the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest could become reality by 2014, with headquarters possibly being moved at some point to Kamiah, Idaho. At four million acres the new administrative unit would be one of the largest in the country, and could pose even more challenges to managing the wildlands and wildlife of the Clearwater Basin.
If you wish to experience the magnificent Weitas Creek roadless area, then join us for a relaxing field trip on July 29 – 31. Camping, hiking and historical interpretation will all be part of the weekend and you can stay as long or as little as you like. Learn more:
Lastly, you can follow us on Facebook! We may be wild and a bit primitive, but we also understand the role social media plays in today’s world.
Wild To The Core,