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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.

29 Responses to Open thread

  1. In the post above about high altitude and cattle, once again we find a major source of mortality many times greater than wolf depredation.

    I had never even heard of it among cattle. The media needs to be made aware of this.

  2. avatar Maska says:

    Nor had I. Thanks for the tip on the article. I’ve forwarded the link to a bunch of folks concerned with the number of cattle carcasses on the landscape in the Mexican wolf recovery area. Many of the carcasses are left where they die, attracting the lobos to scavenge, and all too often, to continue to hang around the cattle and depredate.

  3. Maska,

    Because HAPE puts carcasses at an elevation we often think of as relatively safe for carnivores from Wildlife Services, This would seem to me to be a doubly serious problem.

  4. The Missoulian has another article on the grizzly and cub that were killed in Glacier recently.
    http://www.missoulian.com/news/local/article_47c1ccf7-901d-5351-8ebc-8f01c085831d.html
    If you read the article carefully, it seems the hazing they did in past years on the grizzly Was effective. The sow disappeared for two years before returning to Oldman Lake this year.
    $1.00 for a couple of bullets must have penciled in better in the budget than the cost of hazing the sow and her two cubs this year. The park service spin on how sad they were to remove the three grizzlies from the ecosystem looks a lot like crocodile tears.

  5. avatar Ron Kearns says:

    Kofa NWR, Yuma, Arizona; Mountain Lion EA

    Please consider commenting on the Draft EA, which is open until Oct 2, 2009. The PDF is available at the Kofa NWR website entitled: Draft Environmental Assessment for Limiting Mountain Lion Predation on Desert Bighorn Sheep on the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge

    http://www.fws.gov/southwest/refuges/arizona/kofa/

    ——-

    There are 3 Alternatives. I suggest that you strongly consider the No Action Alternative A as the best option to save the greatest number of lions for the longest possible time. There may be modifications of Alternative A that you might suggest that could further enhance the longevity of research data from GPS-collared Kofa mountain lions before they are killed once they leave the refugium of Kofa NWR.

    The current GPS-collared tom lion—KM04—is scheduled to be shot by Arizona Game and Fish Department staff once he leaves the boundary of Kofa NWR. Lion KM04, similar to the previous 2 collared Kofa lions that were killed, will be easily tracked down to a general area by satellite GPS location data. Then the final pinpoint location for the kill is achieved through the collar’s accessory VHF transmitter beacon sending location signals that are picked up by a handheld, VHF frequency antenna by the shooters on the ground. Sometimes there is the additional assistance of a VHF antenna affixed to an aircraft that provides the ground crew with updated locations of the lion.

    Thank you,
    Ron Kearns
    Retired Kofa NWR Wildlife Biologist, USFWS
    Former Federal Collateral Duty Refuge Law Enforcement Officer, USFWS

  6. avatar Save bears says:

    Larry,

    Just ran across this article in the Interlake in Kalispell, seems the dart did not have anything to do with the cub’s demise.., apparently it had a lacerated Jugular vein..and bled to death…

    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/M/MT_GLACIER_BEARS_KILLED_MTOL-?SITE=MTKAL&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2009-08-24-17-49-57

    Of course perhaps the person doing the necropsy and the NPS people could be in cahoots to perpetuate a “Cover Up”

  7. avatar Ryan says:

    Here is a follow up, please write comments and save the spill. Salmon and steelhead = Healthy watersheds.

    We are all extremely excited about the huge bump in steelhead numbers over Bonneville dam. What folks may not know is thanks to Court-ordered spill, these adult returns had the lowest percentage of barged and trucked juveniles in recent history. (yeah, I know…. trucking fish to the ocean is part of BPA’s strategy!!)

    While we were fighting BPA and NOAA for summer spill to protect Snake River Fall Chinook, one of their big excuses to defeat our argument was that steelhead are better off barged! Seriously.

    Fortunately, in Redden’s River summer spill was provided and now the steelhead are telling their own story. Of course the ocean plays a big role, but there has always been ocean variability. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that sockeye are outmigrate with similar timing and outcomes as well.

    The current plan in front of Judge Redden reduces summer spill up to 25%, and for those of us who fish, this is unacceptable. If you’d like to tell this to NOAA Fisheries, you can write to Barry.Thom@noaa.gov He is the acting regional director.

    FOR IMMMEDIATE RELEASE:
    PRESS STATEMENT
    August 19, 2009

    Contact: Liz Hamilton, nsializ@aol.com, 503.631.8859 or 503.704.1772

    Increased steelhead run encouraging, but recovery at risk under proposed NOAA plan.

    Said Liz Hamilton, Executive Director of the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, in response to the large number of steelhead returning over Bonneville Dam this week:

    “We cannot equate one good year with true recovery. Most Columbia River wild fish populations are no further from extinction today than when the first populations were listed for protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) more than 15 years ago.

    This year’s bonus returns are largely the result of spilling more water over dams when these fish were migrating out to the ocean as juveniles. U.S. District Court Judge James Redden ordered those in-river improvements after conservation and fishing groups fought to have them instituted — over the vehement objections of federal agencies.

    Alarmingly, the 2008 Bush plan, which is still pending in court, rolls back this salmon protection measure and federal agencies continue to state that steelhead prefer barges to migrating naturally in the river. The fish are telling us an entirely different story: since Judge Redden ordered spill, we’ve seen the best in-river steelhead survival since we started documenting it. And now we’re seeing the best returns too. And not only has this bolstered steelhead returns, but this has helped fall chinook and sockeye, which fuel sport, commercial and tribal fisheries from the Columbia River to ocean fisheries across the Pacific Coast. We are counting on Judge Redden to insist on maintaining these vital fish protection measures.

    In addition to having stronger runs because of Redden’s spill, this week’s surge is in part due to exceptionally warm river temperatures, which causes fish to hang back in cooler water before heading up to the warmer reservoirs behind the dams.

    What this year’s strong returns tell us is that we still have hope to recover endangered Snake River salmon and steelhead. When rivers are allowed to run just a bit more like rivers, salmon and steelhead are resilient enough to surprise us with their ability to rebound. Favorable snowpack and ocean conditions, combined with the court-ordered spill and river flow mandates, have done wonders for Snake River fish. Imagine what could happen if the four largest obstacles in their path, the four lower Snake River dams, were removed.

    The future of these iconic fish along with their cultural and economic benefits hinges on the long-term recovery efforts we put in place. Thankfully Judge Redden’s foresight has bought us some time, but we have to make bold changes now to ensure that we continue to see wild salmon and steelhead returning to our rivers. A federal plan that turns back these protections just falls too short of what we in this region are capable of if we all sit down together.”

  8. avatar Jim from Wisconsin says:

    A couple things….I have camped in the Nicolet National Forest in northern Wisconsin for the last five summers and just want people to know that I heard more wolves this year than ever before. I have been in the same spot each time and at least where I was – there seemed to be quite a lot of activity! Secondly, Ralph or anyone else – any updates on the Yellowstone Cutthroat spawning counts in any of the creeks which feed Yellostone Lake? Just curious – haven’t heard much on that subject this year. Thanks.

  9. avatar Salle says:

    Heard a news report this afternoon that wolf hunt tags went on sale in ID today but that the actual hunt is still uncertain due to the lawsuit. The early hunts are set for Lolo (two units) and Sawtooth (sounded like six or seven units) with other areas opening later including wilderness areas.

    But… this news was followed by a report that the judge, Malloy I believe, has called for a hearing within the week, maybe today, they said it was set for Monday… not sure whether they meant today or next week. I’ll see if I can find a written version, I heard it on the radio.

  10. avatar Salle says:

    It is scheduled for Monday, August 31 in Missoula at the federal courthouse before Judge Molloy.

  11. avatar jdubya says:

    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_WOLF_LICENSES_MTOL-?SITE=MTBOZ&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

    This is the best line: “Brent Martell, a 40-year-old Meridian resident who has hunted near Idaho’s Sawtooth Mountains for nearly three decades, said he’s ridden his dirt bike 1,500 miles this year on backcountry trails here and has yet to see a live elk. He’s seen wolves three times.”

    Must be the wolve’s fault those elk don’t like the sound of dirt bikes.

  12. Save Bears-
    I Knew a IDFG biologist that killed a bighorn ram by hitting it in the jugular with a dart and it bled to death. The ram whirled to face the helicopter as he fired and the dart penetrated the jugular and the windpipe and the ram bled out into his lungs. That biologist owned up to the tragedy.
    The cub had an internal laceration of its’ jugular and bled to death inside? Somehow the story that the darting had nothing to do with it sounds a little farfetched. From the ranger’s story, the sow went down immediately from the two rifle bullets. There is nothing in there to indicate the sow slashed at the cub. The cub died after being darted, not before. The rangers made no attempt to use cracker shells or rubber bullets when they found the bears. They shot to kill. If hazing the sow previously made her leave for two years, it seems that hazing should have been tried again.

  13. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    Jdubya, didn’t you know that elk used to love the sound of dirt bikes? Those damn wolves killed them because they could sneak up on them. 🙂

  14. Ryan-
    I stopped at the Stanley fish Hatchery last month and they were giving a tour so I went along. When someone asked what they did with the spawned out salmon, the tour guide said they sell them to be made into fish food. I had thought they would be distributed out along the river to provide nutrients for the wild salmon. Will the spawned out steelhead be ground up for fish food also? Is this some kind of money saving practice at all BPA funded hatcheries? I thought one of the reasons for wild salmon and steelhead having problems was the lack of nutrients in many streams today, because of the low runs and the resulting lack of dead spawners.
    The tour guide also said they had enough returning salmon this year that they were giving away one out of every eight returning fish. Can’t these extra fish be used as planters in nearby streams that have low runs?

  15. Something to relax: I´d like to recommend a nice web site from Italy (in English) with lots of great pictures of the Italian wild wolves and the environment they live in. Not your „everyday wolf web site“. It´s a clean, modern Web 2.0 thing, if sometimes a bit difficult to navigate. Browse all the pages for pictures. The link is http://www.wolfside.eu/home_en.htm
    Enjoy

  16. Thank your Peter, and thank for continuing to comment despite our often parochial concerns.

  17. avatar Ryan says:

    Larry,

    Those carcasses should be dumped in the head waters of salmon producing streams to add nutrients back to the ecosystem. Natures intended them to be the fertilizer for the watersheds. As for dumping the excess salmon back into watersheds, I think it would be fine if there was no chance for interbreeding with wild fish as hatchery fish some hatchery fish seriously lack genetic diversity. As for the steelhead, some die in their natal watersheds but most attempt to wander back out to sea to return again.

    I encourage you all to write to Barry.Thom@noaa.gov and tell them to keep the spill going. This makes the columbia a moving river instead of a giant smolt killing lake.

  18. Ryan,

    I think you are absolutely right about this.

    Can you explain why writing to Barry.Thom@noaa.gov would help?

  19. avatar Ken Cole says:

    Larry, Ryan,

    When I worked on the South Fork Salmon River we dumped all of the carcasses used for spawning back into the river to provide nutrients. Also, we donated a large number of the surplus (not-spawned) fish to food banks and tribes like the Sho-Pai in Duck Valley which had no treaty rights to the fish. The Nez Perce and Sho-Ban tribes were always given a percentage of the surplus as well due to treaty rights.

    I agree with Ryan, hatchery fish lack diversity and also are behaviorally different, they adapted to hatchery conditions rather than wild and in just a few generations can lose genetic traits which help them in the wild. It would be bad to dump them on top of struggling runs of wild fish which are particularly suited to their own streams unlike the hatchery fish. There are plenty of strays which supplement wild runs.

    Another issue that comes to play is disease. Hatcheries are petri dishes for Bacterial Kidney Disease and others. We injected all of the hatchery fish that were used for spawning and wild fish that we passed upstream with antibiotics that are not EPA approved for human consumption. The same would have to be done with any transplanted fish.

  20. avatar jdubya says:

    We have a nice fight setting up in Utah. The Green River below Flaming Gorge dam has been home to thousands per mile of trout, plus river otter. The otter have done so well that the DWR has decided to spend a little money on non-consumable wildlife by planting otter back into the rivers they used to occupy before they were extirpated. Since the otters and trout co-exist so well on the Green, why not the Provo and other rivers? Otters ain’t dumb: they like to eat the slowest of fish, which usually means carp and the ilk, or diseased fish. Trout actually make up only a small part of their diet.

    So the DWR is now in the process of putting otters in the Provo river, between two dams (Deer Creek and Jordanelle) and the fishing guides are going NUTS!! They claim that the otters will eat all of the trout and put them out of business. The ordinary Utah anglers, on the other hand, welcome the addition of the otter as the re-constitution of part of the river system that should have never been lost. I, for one, am quite pleased the river gets back a top predator like the otter. A catch and release fishery needs predation to keep the fish from stunting (especially brown trout).

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out: angler versus guide. Most of us that fish the Provo have had multiple unpleasant encounters with guides trying to hog the river and push us off. I would be much happier sharing the river with an otter than the usual fishing guide.

  21. avatar Ryan says:

    Ralph,

    Barry Thom is the Northwest regoinal office acting regoingal administrator. Emailing him will encourage him to require BPA to continue the spill.

  22. avatar Ryan says:

    Ken,

    In the lower river hatcheries the fish are sold to bio plants and to the highest bidder. These carcasses belong in the river to replenish the nutrients. This nutrient dump ensures the survival of ecosystems. Rivers where the salmon and steelhead are all sold instead of returned to nature always seem to be lacking abundant trout native salmonoid species due to the smolts eating most of the availaible feed and no adults there to replenish the nutirents. I believe there were expirements done on river in Canada where they actually fertilized the rivers with a mixture similar to what salmon carcasses put off. They had good results to my knowledge.

  23. avatar timz says:

    BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho Department of Fish and Game says six juvenile wolves were found decomposing on U.S. Forest Service land north of Fairfield.

    Officials at the state wildlife management agency Tuesday hadn’t determined what killed the 35-pound wolves, but they’ve sent tissue samples to an Oregon laboratory to be analyzed.

    Jon Heggen, head of Fish and Game enforcement, says it could be several days before test results are available.

    There were no outward signs of injuries or bullet wounds. Heggen, who wasn’t certain to which pack these animals belonged, says viruses like parvo have also been ruled out.

    The animals were found last Friday in various stages of decomposition.

  24. avatar Layton says:

    jdubya,

    I found another comment in the story really interesting — the one that said

    “The groups insist the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service illegally delisted the animals without properly evaluating factors such as whether wolves’ survival will be threatened if animals are prevented from successfully interbreeding with members of other packs. Hunting, they said, will only makes things worse.”

    “interbreeding” and here for all these years I thought only the Alphas from each pack did the breeding. Are the Alphas pursuing some sort of a “swinger” game?? 8)

  25. avatar Cobra says:

    Layton,
    I heard you could tell an inbred wolf by his little banjo and tobacco stains on his collar. They also have a longer drawn out howl. Have you seen or heard any of these during your hikes?

  26. Layton,

    It is now well known that many members of the packs mate outside their pack if possible of the pack during January. What we could call “incest” within a pack is rare. Female pack members that are daughters of the alpha male will fight him if he tries.

    Read some of Kathie Lynch’s reports written in about January each year.

  27. avatar Layton says:

    Ralph,

    Kathie Lynch’s reports are one of the the reasons I entered the comment.

    It would seem that some of the more fanatical wolf supporters need to read them. She kind of blows some of the more popular theories about “who’s doing whom” into the wind.

  28. Somthing totally different from today´s news: I am somehow relieved that the unmanned Indian space mission found and photographed traces of the historic Apollo mission on the moon surface. I am glad that one of the most thrilling moments of my younger days was not just a Hollywood stunt. America sometimes disappoints – but this time: Well done!

  29. avatar ProWolf in WY says:

    To start a different topic: has there been any word on the wolf recently found dead in Colorado and on the wolves that were near Casper?

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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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