Big Wild Bi-Weekly February 9, 2012

Dear Wildlanders,

As wolves approach their denning season, we wanted to give you an update on the numerous campaigns we are working on. In this issue we will talk about the opening of another trapping zone for wolves in the Clearwater region, an upcoming land exchange workshop in Grangeville, the status of the historical Lochsa River Ranger Station, potential gravel mining along the Salmon River, and the apparent tax-payer subsidy for megaloads.

Despite two-hundred-eighty five wolves killed so far in the state of Idaho, the Idaho Fish & Game Department (IDFG) recently announced they are opening Unit 10A, which is part of the Dworshak-Elk City Zone, to trapping.  Both snares and steel foothold traps are allowed. Trapping is open until March 31st.

To compound the situation, IDFG has requested Wildlife Services to implement aerial gunning tactics to kill about fifty wolves in the Lolo Zone. The plan to kill wolves from helicopters is supposed to enable declining elk populations in the region. Call Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and tell him that the aerial gunning of wolves is outrageous and should not be allowed (202) 720-2791.

The deadline for public comments on the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS) of the Upper Lochsa Land Exchange is Thursday February 16th. There will be a letter-writing workshop this Saturday from 12-4pm at the Grangeville Centennial Library. Envelopes and postage will be provided. To read our action alert click here:

http://www.friendsoftheclearwater.org/node/1114.

The Forest Service does not have the money to open the Lochsa Historic Ranger Station on US 12 this summer. The station provides interpretive history of the agency and the region, and receives hundreds of visitors each season. Simultaneously, Clearwater National Forest District Ranger Craig Trulock is proposing that all recreation fee sites on the forest be turned over to private concessionaires for management in 2013. You can share your thoughts with Mr. Trulock at ctrulock@fs.fed.us.

To add fiscal insult to fiscal injury, the Forest Service just announced they are appropriating over three million dollars to the Clearwater Basin Collaborative for a restoration project on the Middle Fork Clearwater and Selway Rivers to “improve habitat and reduce fire risk.” The restoration project received over three million dollars in funding last year too, though little, if any, project work has been done.

The Idaho Department of Lands is considering renewing a state-issued mineral lease and stream-channel alteration permit for a gravel mine adjacent to the Salmon River near Whitebird. The agency is holding a public hearing on February 21st at 6pm in the Senior Citizen Center in Grangeville. If you cannot attend the meeting you can send your comments to jsila@idl.idaho.gov.

To no surprise, the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) has announced that your hard-earned tax dollars have been subsidizing the oil companies for their transport of megaloads on Idaho’s highways. The agency spent $645,000 more than they earned while issuing megaload permits between July 2009-June 2010. The Exxon/Imperial Oil modules didn’t arrive at the Port of Lewiston until October 2010. We’ll let you do the math and hypothesize how much of your money was spent between fiscal year July 2010-June 2011.

Lastly, the Buffalo Field Campaign is delivering a presentation at the University of Idaho’s Borah Theater on Tuesday February 28th. The program will include music by Goodshield and a 50-minute documentary titled Buffalo Battle. Learn more about the group: http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/.

 

Forever Wild,

Brett

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