Time to CUT a deal. For hordes of Yellowstone bison, the difference between life and death is a herd of cattle on land owned by the Church Universal and Triumphant. Buying out the church’s interests might just let the buffalo roam. By: Patrick Klemz.  Missoula Independent.

This is about the proposed deal with the Church Universal and Triumphant to let about 100 bison roam just north of Yellowstone Park. The comment by Glenn Hockett should be read along with the story.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

24 Responses to Time to CUT a deal [on bison]

  1. avatar Buffaloed says:

    The comment that I read from Robert Hoskins about this story is good too. Would you post that here Robert?

    I don’t care who comes up with a solution to this mess but GYC and Bear Creek Council are treading down the wrong road on this. Giving ranchers more money just makes the problem worse. It sets a very bad precedent so that the next rancher down the valley wants their handout along with the next until we’re giving our tax dollars to every rancher when they get a little oweeee.

  2. avatar Bob Ostler says:

    CULT?

    There is no bigger cult on the North American Continent than the BFC. This bozo needs to keep his bigotry zipped up.

    Is there any public winter range north of the CUT property?

    25 or 100 bison. Million$ spent. Who’s running this operation Baghdad Bob?

  3. avatar Ralph Maughan says:

    Bob,

    This is just a gratuitious insult unless I missed something in this thread. Explain yourself or button up.

  4. avatar Bob Ostler says:

    The “insult” was against the the newspaper. Do you think that CUT is a cult? If so, are all religions cults? I favor staying away from this sort of language in public discussion.

    While I am a fan of bison, I am not a supporter of the BFC. They seem to want bison managed by emotion not reality.

    Delete at will. It’s your page.

  5. avatar Robert Hoskins says:

    Here is my letter to the editor of the Missoula Independent regarding this snotty story:

    Editor

    After reading Patrick Klemz’ story in the Missoula Independent about the bison controversy, “Time to CUT a Deal,” I’ve been trying to figure out where Klemz learned journalism. I’ve concluded he didn’t learn it anywhere, unless it was at the Karl Rove school of innuendo and factual flippancy. Of course, perhaps he even didn’t write the story; maybe the press hacks at the Greater Yellowstone Coalition and the National Parks Conservation Association wrote it and Klemz put his name to it.

    The point of the story clearly is to discredit Mike Mease, Darrell Geist, and the Buffalo Field Campaign and to make the “centrist” groups, the GYC, the NPCA, and Carolyn Duckworth’s Bear Creek Council, appear reasonable about the fraudulent CUT deal. It’s not hard to understand the motive. Mike, Darrell, and the BFC have had the indomitable courage and the unerring moral constancy over the last decade to tell the truth about the Interagency Bison Management Plan, while the “centrist” groups fall all over themselves to capitulate to political “reality.”

    The true reality is that the IBMP is a fraud, and deliberately so. Klemz asserts “For good or ill, fear of buffalo-to-cattle brucellosis transmission directs the Interagency Bison Management Plan, which directs the various wildlife agencies to herd, pen, and slaughter bison that leave the national park so they won’t pose threats to nearby ranchers.” Well, those of us who have worked the brucellosis issue for years know that claim is clearly false. Bison don’t pose a threat to nearby ranchers. Instead, bison pose a threat to nearby ranchers’ control of the range.

    In short, the purpose of the IBMP is not disease control, but control of wild, free-roaming bison to prevent bison from ever migrating into and occupying habitat in Montana, regardless of the plan’s so-called “adaptive management” provisions. Montana’s livestock industry intends to keep bison out of Montana, period. Capitulating to CUT’s extortionist million dollar scheme–as GYC, NPCA, and the BCC propose–won’t change that.

    Given the true purpose of the IBMP, I am pleased that the Buffalo Field Campaign refuses to compromise with the livestock industry and its government lackeys. When is the Missoula Independent going to tell that honorable story?

    Sincerely,
    Robert Hoskins

    While I’m at it, here’s a LTE to the Chicago Tribune regarding a bison editorial. it wasn’t published either:

    Editor

    Your editorial of 28 March, “Why the Buffalo Can’t Roam,” got it dead wrong. The reason bison can’t roam in Montana is not because of brucellosis, which biologically is a non-problem for both bison and cattle. No, the true reason bison can’t roam in Montana is because wild, free-roaming bison compete with cattle for grass. Montana’s rancher oligarchy uses the alleged economic threat of brucellosis to cattle to rationalize and cover its control of the range outside Yellowstone National Park.

    The economic threat of brucellosis to ranchers is virtually nil. In 2004, the State of Wyoming lost its brucellosis-free status when cattle caught brucellosis from feedground elk as a consequence of landowner and Wyoming Game and Fish Department negligence. Yet, when the costs to Wyoming’s ranchers of losing brucellosis-free status were added up, they were less than 1 percent of total production costs. Costs statewide were estimated to be between $1.2 and $1.7 million. The rancher-dominated Wyoming Legislature appropriated $1.6 million of taxpayer money to cover these costs.

    What we’re actually seeing in Montana is a 21st century range war instituted by ranchers against wild, free-roaming bison. The solution to the so-called brucellosis problem is not to mismanage bison–to treat them like livestock–but to break the political power of Montana’s ranchers to “call the shots” on bison management. Only then may wild bison roam free in Montana.

    Sincerely,
    Robert Hoskins

    As a former soldier, I have the greatest respect for the undaunted courage that the BFC has displayed over the last decade while fighting for bison while the various “brown” groups weigh their words and actions carefully to keep the foundation money flowing. Consequently, they are worthless.

  6. avatar Pronghorn says:

    Patrick Klemz’s not-so-subtle sub-text in this article was to discredit/disparage Buffalo Field Campaign, and one can only wonder why. I’ve been a regular, weekly reader of the Indy for years; haven’t always agreed with its position on every issue, but always felt it was at least fair. This was the first time I felt truly disappointed with the paper. To wit: “A local barkeep, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Independent that…” Wow, now THERE’S responsible journalism. I could go on, but suffice it to say that the article highlights a call from so-called centrist groups asking BFC to move over, allowing them to take over. It is a call for compromise that benefits everyone BUT the bison.

    Ronald Reagan said something to the effect that it’s amazing what you can accomplish when it doesn’t matter who gets the credit (probably the only thing I ever agreed with him about), and I’ll bet that even BFC agrees with that sentiment, if only the bison are allowed their wildness. But let’s not forget, as Klemz appears to have done, that BFC (which is by no means above fair criticism) has been on the frontlines for over 10 years and, from my observation, through dogged persistence and dedication is solely responsible for bringing this issue to the light of day and to the point where journalists like Klemz can give voice to those who claim BFC should bow out and allow the big kids to take over. You know who they are–groups that stood by while slaughter after slaughter, year after year occurred (and lost members for it, too), perhaps issuing occasional, feeble protests. Now, as the issue is brought to a crescendo, here they are, ready to step in, infinitesimally tweak the status quo, and claim victory while wild bison continue to die by the hundreds. They call for “incremental” change, with their version of victory years in the future. No thanks.

    Finally, has anyone challenged Klemz’s assertion in the sidebar that “It’s estimated that about half of all Yellowstone bison have been exposed to (and possibly carry) brucellosis…”? Is this true? That half the herd is “possibly” actively infected? Who has the stats?

  7. avatar Buffaloed says:

    As a board member of the BFC I agree with the sentiment “t’s amazing what you can accomplish when it doesn’t matter who gets the credit”.

    If I recall correctly, Pronghorn, the stats are SIGNIFICANTLY lower than 50%. Nobody really knows for sure what the stats are now because nobody cares to even look. In years past when they tested for antibodies they had a 50% exposure rate but when followup tests were done to actually test for the bacteria only 10% of those had brucellosis and even fewer were pregnant females which could transmit the disease. Effectively the percentage of animals which could actually transmit the disease is somewhere around 1-2% since calves, non-pregnant females and bulls cannot transmit the disease. This being said, NPS, DOL have killed 1500 buffalo to protect against the ±30 females that could possibly transmit the disease to cattle. Of those ±30 females how many of them could have given birth in an area where cattle could come into contact with infected material? Zero?

    This isn’t about brucellosis.

  8. avatar Save bears says:

    It has NEVER been about brucellosis, it has been the same thing as it has for over 125 years now, I highlighted this in a paper I wrote in 1999, and was told I was crazy, this is pure and simple a land control issue, has always been one and will continue to be one, until such time as we can get people in office that understand that, I railed against Conrad Burns, due to his lack of understanding and lack of compassion…we can’t stop the fight over brucellosis, but as a group we really need to understand what the fight is about!

  9. avatar Pronghorn says:

    Look, I fully understand that it’s not about brucellosis (and I, too, was under the impression that active infections were way, way less than 50%), but shoddy journalism like that must be called out regardless. What was his source for that speculative statement? I’d like to know. Whether or not it’s about brucellosis (and those in the know understand that it isn’t), allowing speculations such as that to be planted under the “authority” of the supposedly investigative press– without challenge–only does more damage in the long run. We may not be able to “stop the fight over brucellosis,” but shouldn’t the fight at least be based on the truth?

    Someone should forward this thread to Mr. Klemz; perhaps he’d like to respond.

  10. avatar Robert Hoskins says:

    Given the tone and diction of Klemz’ article, I doubt he’d like to respond.

    The diagnostic tests are so flawed that it’s not possible to speak of seroprevalence and infectiousness with any degree of certainty or confidence. From the standpoint of science, it’s garbage.

    We’ve all been working on this issue for a long time; my own approach has been to emphasize the politics of brucellosis rather than the science, which no one in the public understands or can understand, which is why the agencies continue to talk in those terms–they talk about hazing, capture, test, quarantine, vaccination, slaughter as if all these things were the most normal things in the world, but they’re things that only the “professionals” can understand, so it’s not for public consumption

    The agencies are scared to discuss the “range war” politics of this. That’s what we have to work on–to get the press to understand that this is pure politics–that the livestock industry is more than happy to slaughter all the bison, elk, wolves, and grizzlies they can just to hold onto their illegitimate powers and privileges while treating Yellowstone as a zoo. The public can understand that.

  11. avatar RE Chizmar says:

    This story continues to make me sick. Notwithstanding the livestock industry’s seemingly unending and overwhelming influence over and against reasonable “Western” solutions (wolves, bison, bears), one must agree w/ that you cannot accede to “those power-brokers” who continue to pursue policies based on exaggerated facts, fiction and/or fear. And inasmuch as “range war politics” dominates the policy decisions that detrimentally affect our remaining large carnivores, bison and ungulates, one should not CUT a deal — obviously veiled as extortion — w/ this “cult” — Mr. Ostler part of the Webster definition of ‘cult” is “a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious,” thus CUT certainly qualifies (and from an atheist perspective all religions are cult-ish but that is another debate) — religious organizations, not unlike governments and private landowners, should be compelled to make decisions that are fair and reasonable especially when it involves this nation’s last treasures.

    I love this webiste, but it’s damn depressing at times, but the information and debate are invaluable — I thank and appreciate all of you who continue to fight for conservation and who are on the forefront of these issues. Efforts must be focused toward this next Administration to make sure things turn more favorably to reason than pure greed and misinformation.

  12. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    if the government can bulldoze my house for a shopping mall or freeway ~ surely they can re-appropriate those DoL & Park Service trailers for use toward cattle-rustling of CUT cattle by DoL thugs. It seems that’d be an activity in line with this department’s integrity and character, but a use of it that serves the public rather than abridges our interest as has been the case for too long.

    You can do it Schweitzer. Rustle cattle, not bison.

  13. avatar Buffaloed says:

    Through a local resident i’ve been told that some of the members of CUT actually refer to themselves as cult members. Not first hand information but reliable from my perspective.

  14. Robert, I lobbied (and received strange looks for it) to have your rather critical letter published this week. I don’t mind assumptions made regarding my motives, but I’m sorry to report that I’m actually pretty disaffected from this issue on a moral and ecological level. What attracted me to this story was the timeliness of the CUT deal–announced today, by the way–and the controversy surrounding it. We’ve run “look what the BFC is doing” stories (Killing Fields, March 9, 2006), but that just wasn’t the angle this time. Keep reading; I’m sure another will one day come.

    Since this is, however, the first place where I’ve seen someone question something factual on the CUT story… “half” is roughly the exposure rate supplied by the DOL (the exact number I have on file). The original version of the sidebar clarified that only (from memory) 12-13 percent are actually infectious, but that whole section got slimmed down big time. The point of the sidebar was just to bring the uninformed about brucellosis up to speed as quickly as possible, not to comprehensively go into the issue. If the BFC folks can prove that that recent brucellosis transmission was definitively the product of interaction with Mexican cattle–and not bison or elk–I would be interested in that evidence (and have told them as much). Otherwise the topic is compelling, but stagnant.

    As far as CUT, I don’t think this is an Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom type deal; I think their cult past is in the past. But, if you don’t believe that there’s some culty history there, hit the archive room or talk to some insiders. It was a pretty serious affair.

  15. avatar Pronghorn says:

    Just a couple of observations following Mr. Klemz’ response. I can certainly understand sidebars getting edited down for space. What I don’t understand is how their factual content changes in the process, going from a 12-13% infection rate in the long version, to the notion that “possibly” 50% are infected in the slimmed-down version. Something is possibly very wrong with the editing process at the Indy, since “bring(ing) the uninformed about brucellosis up to speed as quickly as possible” still (and perhaps even more so) requires factual information.

    As for the recent brucellosis transmission, why would ANYone expect a grassroots (as in, not rolling in big money like GYC, NPCA, et al), nonprofit advocacy group to prove the source of the infection? That’s the job of APHIS and MT-DOL–that is, if they actually cared to look.

  16. You could write a book on this topic and not fit in all the relevant facts. Editing processes are run by people, not machines. People make value judgments.

    Anyway, that’s all I’m going to say. I just wanted to clear up that minor discrepancy. Cheers.

  17. avatar jjordan says:

    Looks like a major Spring Storm may move in this weekend This may mean more starvation for the Bison.

    WINTER STORM WARNING

    …MAJOR SPRING SNOWSTORM TO AFFECT NORTH CENTRAL MONTANA THIS WEEKEND..
    …SPRING SNOWSTORM POSSIBLE FOR FAR SOUTHWEST MONTANA..

    .A PACIFIC STORM SYSTEM ORIGINATING OVER THE GULF OF ALASKA IS EXPECTED TO MOVE SOUTHEAST AND INTENSIFY BETWEEN NOW AND SATURDAY.

    THIS SYSTEM WILL FURTHER INTENSIFY AS IT MOVES INTO MONTANA SUNDAY NIGHT. A CANADIAN COLD FRONT WILL SPREAD SOUTH OVER THE PLAINS TONIGHT AND EVENTUALLY THROUGH FAR SOUTHWEST MONTANA SATURDAY NIGHT. THE INTERACTION OF MOISTURE ASSOCIATED WITH THE PACIFIC STORM SYSTEM AND THE COLD AIR WILL PRODUCE AREAS OF HEAVY SNOW.
    IN ADDITION GUSTY NORTHERLY WINDS DEVELOPING BEHIND THE FRONT WILL CAUSE AREAS OF BLOWING SNOW. THE STORM IS EXPECTED TO WEAKEN OVER SOUTHWEST MONTANA BY LATE SUNDAY AND OVER FAR NORTHERN MONTANA ON MONDAY.

    NORTHERN ROCKY MOUNTAIN FRONT-EASTERN GLACIER-HILL-CASCADE-CHOUTEAU-CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN LEWIS AND CLARK-TOOLE-LIBERTY-EASTERN PONDERA-SOUTHERN ROCKY MOUNTAIN FRONT-EASTERN TETON-JUDITH BASIN-MEAGHER-

    INCLUDING THE CITIES OF…BROWNING…CUT BANK…HAVRE..
    GREAT FALLS…FORT BENTON…HELENA…LINCOLN…SHELBY…CHESTER..
    CONRAD…CHOTEAU…FAIRFIELD…STANFORD…WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS
    515 AM MDT FRI APR 18 2008

    THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN GREAT FALLS HAS ISSUED A WINTER STORM WARNING…WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 6 AM SATURDAY TO 6 PM MDT SUNDAY. THE WINTER STORM WATCH IS NO LONGER IN EFFECT.

    SNOW ACCUMULATIONS OF 8 TO 15 INCHES ARE LIKELY OVER THE PLAINS WITH ACCUMULATIONS UP TO 2 FEET IN THE MOUNTAINS. GUSTY NORTHERLY WINDS OF 15 TO 30 MPH WILL CAUSE AREAS OF BLOWING SNOW WITH THE THREAT OF WHITEOUT CONDITIONS. WIDESPREAD HAZARDOUS TRAVEL CONDITIONS ARE LIKELY TO EXIST BY SATURDAY AFTERNOON AND CONTINUE INTO SUNDAY. THE COMBINATION OF HEAVY WET SNOW AND GUSTY WINDS WILL STRESS YOUNG LIVESTOCK AND ALSO HAS THE POTENTIAL TO
    CAUSE LOCAL POWER OUTAGES.

    A WINTER STORM WARNING MEANS SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW.. SLEET…AND ICE ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. STRONG WINDS ARE ALSO POSSIBLE. THIS WILL MAKE TRAVEL VERY HAZARDOUS OR IMPOSSIBLE.

  18. Yes, a bad storm is coming.

    NPS is claiming 2,300 bison now alive; a report they released actually only counts 1,436. Speculation is dangerous, but 2,300 is an important number in the IBMP. The number may range between the two.

    What will the final number be? Winter is by no means over, even if the slaughter (though not the hazing) is.

    And, whatever it is, already more than one-half to two-thirds of buffalo that were in the fall are now dead. This is an enormous stress on the herds, a stress that would not have been changed one iota by this CUT deal.

  19. avatar Robert Hoskins says:

    Here is a copy of the letter I sent directly to Patrick Klemz this morning:

    Patrick

    This is, I suppose, an odd route (from Ralph Maughan) through which to receive your letter; after all, my email address was on the letter I sent to the Independent.

    In any case, I’ve been writing a long time, and I can recognize a hatchet job when I see it. That was the point of my criticism of your story. I’m not the only one who found the tone and diction of the story not at all objective about the BFC.

    I actually made no comment about the story’s side bar, but I would like to point out that the diagnostic tests used on bison and elk for brucellosis are flawed; they are designed for cattle, and as you might expect, being different species bison and elk are sufficiently different from cattle physiologically that the cattle tests do not demonstrate seroprevalence with much confidence. And, of course, I hope you know that even if seroprevalence could be shown with any degree of confidence, it marks only exposure to the disease, not the disease itself. A tissue culture test is required to show infectiousness.

    The alacrity with which bison are shipped off to slaughter indicates that seroprevalence doesn’t matter. What matters is to kill off as many bison as possible to keep them from migrating out of the Yellowstone “zoo.” That’s the context of the CUT deal, not to mention the end to the slaughter, especially on the western boundary, and that context is pretty glaring to me if not to the press. The government is saying, “oh, we’re now going be magnanimous with bison and let 25 poked, prodded, vaginal-transmitter-implanted cyberbison roam on the CUT property, now that we’ve killed more than half the bison in the Park. See, isn’t that progress?”

    It feels so good when you quit pounding your head against the wall.

    Does this hypocrisy not raise a red flag with you?

    Regarding the Montana brucellosis outbreak, I would also point out that it is not BFC’s responsibility to demonstrate a cattle source; it is the LEGALLY mandated responsibility of APHIS and the Montana DOL to demonstrate the source of infection. After all, it is APHIS and DOL that had legal access to the cattle in question (although in this case, it is interesting that APHIS claimed that failure to get access to the infected cattle was due to respect for the private property rights of the feedlot owner. Imagine that …).

    Having some experience with APHIS here in Wyoming, I can tell you that APHIS’ studied incompetence on these matters is well known. APHIS has absolutely no incentive to demonstrate a cattle source for brucellosis outbreaks in the GYE, and plenty of incentive to claim a wildlife source. It’s happened time after time; you might want to check out pages 44-45 of the NRC study Brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone Area (1998) for a discussion regarding the validity of such claims from APHIS about wildlife sources of brucellosis outbreaks in Wyoming. The recent brucellosis outbreaks in Idaho and Wyoming that were legitimately tagged to elk occurred because of the specific situations of the infection–elk were being fed deliberately and negligently in close and continuous proximity to cattle. In these cases, it was a no-brainer to tag elk.

    As yet, no one has demonstrated that elk were being fed in close and continuous proximity to the Morgan herd. I pressed Marty Zulaski pretty hard on this question in December at the Open House in Bozeman and even he wouldn’t claim that elk were being fed with cattle. All he could do was point to elk on the property, with an estimate of so-called “elk days.” Well, guess what. That doesn’t cut it. We know–to the best degree that we can, given the problem with the diagnostics–that there is a low seroprevalence of brucellosis in Montana elk. Given the low seroprevalence, infectiousness is almost nil. There is good reason to believe, based upon what we know here in Wyoming, that a certain “critical level” of brucellosis seroprevalence in an elk herd is a necessary prerequisite for infecting cattle, and then, only when elk and cattle are being fed in close and continuous proximity. That situation does not apply in Montana. Certainly, neither DOL nor APHIS can make a claim of close and continuous proximity of elk to cattle on feedlines. Without hard evidence, and it appears that there never will be any evidence, due to APHIS “incompetence,” any claim that elk are responsible is pure politics.

    By process of elimination, there is a strong likelihood that cattle were the source of the outbreak, and the Corriente cattle that were shipped up from Texas/Mexico are the best candidates for the source of the infection. I don’t call that fact “stagnant.” What’s wrong is that it’s unreported.

    Regarding the CUT deal, Glenn Hockett’s letter to the Independent is as good a critique as any as to its inherent flaws. I see no reason to cheer this deal; it’s part and parcel of the overall brucellosis fraud. To call it “historic” reminds me of George Orwell’s essay, “Politics and the English Language.” This deal is just the same old shit that we’ve been getting from Schweitzer et al. all along.

    In closing, the so-called brucellosis problem is the brucellosis fraud. The IBMP is a fraud. It is not legitimate scientifically, politically, or morally. It is nothing but an outrageous subsidy to the livestock industry, just as Wyoming’s elk feedgrounds are an outrageous subsidy to the livestock industry. The IBMP cannot be reformed, repaired, or made to work. There’s nothing adaptive about it; it’s designed to keep bison in Park and keep them out of Montana. It needs to be scrapped in toto.

    That’s the story that needs to be told, and I’m pretty damn sick of the refusal of the regional press to tell that story.

    Yrs,
    Robert Hoskins

    P.S. Check out the editorial in this morning’s New York Times, “The Sorry Myth of Brucellosis:”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/18/opinion/18fri4.html?_r=1&th&emc=th&oref=slogin

  20. avatar dbaileyhill says:

    Robert,
    Thank you for sending the letter.

  21. That’s a good new word, Robert, or whowever first used it — “cyberbison.”

    It could make a difference if people are consistent using it.

  22. avatar barb in west yellowstone says:

    this is from an email i sent to GYC on 4/15, which sums up my beef (pun intended 🙂 with their constant accomodation to THE PLAN and the powers behind it:

    i have been staring in awe at this statement from GYC’s April 7th email newsletter:

    “Bison- NYT article – The plight of the Yellowstone bison made the front page of the New York Times in late March. GYC National Parks Program Director Amy McNamara’s hard work in getting agencies to rewrite the Interagency Bison Management Plan, in combination with this winter’s brutal slaughter of more than 1100 bison, has raised the awarenes of this issue nationally. ”

    now can you explain what you have gotten the agencies to “rewrite”?

    oh yes, there was your support for a totally unethical “hunt” where you and GYC gave approval to the concept that it is okay to “hunt” a species before there is habitat and a year round resident herd, a hunt that is under the auspicies of DOL who can order the “hunt” suspended so that they can haze, capture or do whatever the hell they want to …

    and then there is your support, and i assume GYC money, to buy out –for $3 million dollars — a 30 year cattle grazing lease from RTR so that 25 ear-tagged, vaginally-probed, pre-tested, collared and lip-tattooed buffalo can roam NOT-FREE from december 15th to april 15th … a totally useless gesture and a waste of money all to the benefit of the Church Universal Triumphant and not beneficial to buffalo …

    you know i was impressed by your passion at the last real IBMP meeting two years ago as you spoke eloquently, with tears running down your face, about how the agencies had FAILED to do anything to benefit the buffalo and that we were still stuck in Phase 1 of THE PLAN … i remember thinking that maybe, MAYBE GYC, despite the ranchers on their board, really wanted to see buffalo ROAM WILD & FREE … sadly, your actions of accommodation to favored agency heads and the governor’s office have not done one thing beneficial for buffalo

    … geez louise, don’t you think you could have sent an email alert about the renewal of the capture facility permit on Horse Butte weeks before comments were due? but no, in your effort to “re-write” policy, GYC waited until the day before the deadline for comments to inform your supporters … truly shameful.

    barb

  23. avatar Robert Hoskins says:

    Yes, I came up with cyber bison, as an analogue to cyborg. Cybison didn’t sound right, so I added a syllable. People are welcome to use it–I think it reflects the extreme “tech-vet” approach that the agencies are using for bison and elk, not to mention wolves, grizzly bears, etc., any animal that is poked, prodded, collared, implanted, etc. to meet some human need.

    RH

  24. avatar Darrell says:

    I usually don’t have time to read all the blogs, but I saw the dialogue here was worth contributing to. Before I jump into this and post some comments I’ve been sharing today, we should pause and note and ask just how many wild buffalo are left from this season’s bloody slaughter.

    As public affairs doesn’t want to correct Yellowstone National Park’s estimate of how many bison are left in the Yellowstone herd (and their 4_1 to 4_15_08 IBMP report appears to be in error or incomplete showing only 1,436 bison remaining), I spoke with Yellowstone National Park biologist Rick Wallen, a reliable source, April 18 about the status of the Park’s bison count.

    Rick informed me that Yellowstone National Park conducted an aerial survey last week that counted approximately 1,950 bison. The Park’s population estimate model adds a couple hundred bison to their projection of how many bison have survived. The total bison herd is below the 2,300 threshold in the IBMP where the agencies can and “may” take steps to stop any further slaughter of bison. The Park’s ungulate winter kill surveys are not complete, winter kill is starting and underway and will be influenced by climate and snow pack conditions in the coming days and weeks.

    The April 10 emergency petition to stop the bison slaughter (http://www.buffalofieldcampaign.org/stoptheslaughter.html) also noted this: The Federal RoD includes another contingency provision to mitigate total removal of bison due to exigent circumstances arising from severe winter conditions. Federal RoD at 34. Under this provision, when the total bison population declines below 2,300 within a single winter, the agencies may, on a temporary basis for that winter, increase implementation of non-lethal management measures to provide management flexibility and reduce the total management removal of bison from the population. Federal RoD at 34. If the total bison population declines below 2,100 within a single winter, the agencies will, on a temporary basis for that winter, increase implementation of non-lethal management measures. Federal RoD at 34.

    And so it is that the Park Service can’t count and don’t even bother to proof their own reports on what they are doing to Yellowstone’s distinct bison populations. That is astounding to note as over half the total bison population is wiped out and the Park Service hasn’t even reported on how this has affected each distinct bison population. Our informants tell us that the Central range herd has take tnhe brunt of this season’s slaughter, migrating along snow packed roads into the Gardiner Basin, while the Northern range herd has made good use of the Lamar valley where less snow accumulates and more grassland is available.

    Given bison’s near extinction, and the severe, repeated slaughters of one-half to two-thirds of Yellowstone’s bison herd, I just don’t share the Park Service’s assurances that the distinct breeding populations or even the herd as a whole can continue to rebound.

    The Yellowstone bison herd represent one of the few if not the last and only herd that can make a significant contribution to the evolutionary potential of American bison as a wildlife species. Yellowstone is the last stronghold for buffalo, and that source of survival is unraveling under Superintendent Suzanne Lewis, and Gov. Brian Schweitzer.

    Onto the deal.

    This is at least the second press announcement (third, if you don’t count the 1999 land deal) of this “breakthrough” deal on the Church’s cows. Neither the announcement in 2007 nor the one made yesterday had an actual deal in writing.
    http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/2007-07-27-1450014900_x.htm
    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/W/WST_YELLOWSTONE_BISON_DEAL_MTOL-?SITE=MTBOZ&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

    From the statements made publicly, it appears hard wired to the tiered step bison plan the agencies have been stuck in for eight seasons. Had the Church Universal and Triumphant and US Forest Service lived up to their taxpayer funded $13,000,000 agreement in 1999 to provide a “safe haven” for bison west of the Yellowstone River, the inter agency bison plan may have “tolerated” 100 or more untested bison on Church/U.S. Forest Service public lands this season.

    Given that the bison’s winter range is severely restricted and cut off in the Gardiner Basin, another bison slaughter of this season’s magnitude could readily happen again with or without the $2,800,000 deal to remove cattle for 30 years from Church lands. The simple fact is the Church and its cows block the bison’s migration west of the Yellowstone River. This situation is not helped by the public grazing allotments permitted on Gallatin National Forest lands in the basin. On the east side of the Yellowstone River, there still remain some domestic cattle on private lands, the bison quarantine pens at Corwin Springs and Slip N Slide that comprise some of the better bottomland habitat with access to the creeks and nooks the bison like to roam in.

    Another multi million dollar taxpayer funded U.S. Forest Service land deal the bison will not benefit from under the interagency plan is on the 3,265 acre OTO Ranch up Cedar Creek east of the Yellowstone River (it’s in zone 3 – a drop dead zone for buffalo). All of these areas I’ve described are winter range, migration corridors, and native habitat for wild bison.

    On the day the dignitaries held their press conference at the Bozeman airport, Buffalo Field Campaign’s Gardiner patrol reported a group of approximately 20 bison were intercepted by Park Service rangers on horseback and forced off Church lands on Devil’s Slide towards Stephens Creek. I guess those bison will have to wait til next year to be captured, tested, and fitted with telemetry devices to make the cut on the latest deal.

    Here’s what the Park Service put out:
    National Park Service
    U.S. Department of the Interior
    Yellowstone National Park
    P.O. Box 168
    Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190

    EMBARGOED UNTIL 1:30 PM MDT
    April 17, 2008 08-024
    Al Nash or Stacy Vallie (307) 344-2015
    —————————————————-
    YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK NEWS RELEASE
    —————————————————-

    NATIONAL PARK SERVICE HELPS FUND GRAZING RESTRICTION AND BISON ACCESS
    AGREEMENT
    Deal increases tolerance for bison north of park by removing cattle for 30 years

    (Bozeman, MT) – The National Park Service has agreed to provide federal funds in support of a grazing rights and bison access agreement which will allow the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP) to move forward. The deal was announced in Bozeman this afternoon by Yellowstone National Park Superintendent Suzanne Lewis, Church Universal and Triumphant, Inc., President Kate Gordon, and Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer.

    Under the IBMP, the park works with other agencies to conserve a viable, wild bison population while cooperating to protect Montana’s brucellosis-free status. That means keeping bison separated from cattle present on land outside the park.

    The State of Montana and the Church Universal and Triumphant have reached an agreement which removes cattle from the Royal Teton Ranch (RTR) for a period of 30 years. It would allow some bison to move onto and across RTR property and onto national forest lands covered under Step 2 of the IBMP.

    Step 2 of the IBMP allows an increasing number of sero-negative bison on land between the northern boundary of Yellowstone National Park and Yankee Jim Canyon, at the southern end of the Paradise Valley.

    Under a cooperative agreement, the National Park Service will give the State of Montana $1.5 million to help fund the federal portion of the agreement. The balance of the funds will be provided by the State of Montana and its partners.

    Because of significant bison movement across the park’s northern boundary this year, the Church removed all cattle from the RTR Monday morning to reduce the risk of transmission of brucellosis from bison to cattle.

    Removal of cattle from RTR property adjacent to Yellowstone National Park was called for in Step Two of the IBMP, to provide increased tolerance for bison outside the park’s northern boundary. The need to complete this agreement was reinforced in the recent Government Accountability Office report on bison management.

    This is the eighth winter the IBMP has been used to guide brucellosis risk management actions. Nearly 1,300 bison have been shipped to slaughter from the Stephens Creek bison capture facility on the park’s northern boundary this year as part of brucellosis risk management actions under the IBMP.

    The five cooperating agencies operating under the IBMP are the National Park Service, the U.S. Forest Service, the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the Montana Department of Livestock and the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

    http://www.nps.gov/yell
    ,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,.,

    Public Affairs Office
    Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190
    (307) 344-2013
    Yell_Public_Affairs@nps.gov
    http://www.nps.gov/yell

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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