Big Wild Bi-Weekly October 14, 2011

Dear Wildlanders,

With autumn, comes cooler and crisper temperatures on the Palouse. It is also the beginning of the rainy season, and things have certainly been wetter of late. In this issue you will receive an update on the Upper Lochsa Land Exchange, hear an important development involving Exxon/Imperial Oil megaloads, learn about the federal government’s attempt to delist grey wolves in Wyoming, find out where the Palouse Prairie Restoration Roundtable is, and receive an invitation to our Pumpkin Carving Potluck.

The Idaho County Commissioners are hosting a meeting about the Upper Lochsa Land Exchange in Grangeville on Monday October 17th at the Grangeville Super 8 Motel. During the past week, two meetings have taken place, with much of the public up in arms over Idaho County’s proposed alternative to trade away ten of thousands of acres in the South Fork Clearwater drainage in exchange for the cutover Upper Lochsa. The lands being placed on the chopping block by Idaho County contains valuable elk calving and wintering grounds, including habitat for moose, deer, wolves, and black bear. If these lands get into the ownership of Western Pacific Timber, LLC, the intensive logging that would most likely take place could also jeopardize salmon and steelhead habitat.

Last week Montana District Judge Ray Dayton agreed to amend the preliminary injunction that prevented the Montana Department of Transportation from issuing permits to allow Exxon/Imperial Oil to construct new turnouts and haul megaloads along US 12, US 93, and Highway 200. The new route proposed by the oil giant would eliminate the need for constructing new turnouts because the “reduced in size” megaloads would travel along Interstate 90 after reaching Missoula. Judge Dayton has set a permanent injunction hearing for January 6th. No word yet on if and when Exxon/Imperial Oil plans on using US 12.

Coupled with Idaho Transportation’s Department intent to ruin the Northwest Passage Scenic Byway, it is looking more and more like US 12 could be converted into a permanent industrial corridor. The coup de grace is that the Port of Lewiston has applied for a permit with the Army Corps of Engineers to expand their docks so that they can receive larger equipment, like more megaloads. This Wednesday October 19th there is a public hearing in Lewiston to discuss whether or not this project is in the best interest of the public. Please consider attending and speaking at this 7pm meeting: http://friendsoftheclearwater.org/node/1101.

Despite a federal court striking down Wyoming’s Wolf Management plan on two different occasions over the past few years, the US Fish & Wildlife Service has reached an agreement with the state of Wyoming to delist wolves from the Endangered Species Act. To no surprise, the plan would allow wolves to be shot on sight just about anywhere outside Yellowstone National Park. Before it becomes law, a 100-day public comment period and scientific peer review must take place first. Use this link to learn more: http://fws.gov/mountain%2Dprairie/species/mammals/wolf/.

On Tuesday October 25th and Wednesday October 26th the Latah Soil and Water Conservation District will be hosting the Palouse Prairie Restoration Roundtable in the Gold Room at the University Inn Best Western in Moscow. Programs begin at 6:00pm and end at 9:00pm both nights. View the agenda: http://latahsoil.org/.

Trick or treat! Yes, it’s that time of year. Consider coming to our Pumpkin Carving Potluck on October 28th! The event is family friendly and free: http://friendsoftheclearwater.org/node/1102.

And from our friends: Are you one of those people that believe that all things are connected? Click here if you are: http://ancientpathwaystoasustainablefuture.org/.

 

The wilder the better,

Brett

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