Jamie Rappaport Clark: Wolf delisting imperils the ESA and wolves

Clark was the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from 1997 to 2001-

If the president’s pledge to restore scientific integrity to the Endangered Species Act, and to improve the law, is to be fulfilled, action must be taken immediately. The interior secretary should withdraw the flawed legal opinion on which his delisting relied, restore federal protection to gray wolves in the Northern Rockies and engage all stakeholders in developing a plan to ensure that one of our nation’s greatest conservation successes, the restoration of gray wolves to Yellowstone and the Northern Rockies, will not be lost.” Clarke in Washington Post opinion beginning the new decade.



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  1. Salle Avatar

    Right on Jamie!! Or is that “write on”…? I was hoping to see some opinion from her ~ although sooner, she’s a very important voice in these matters, and a voice from the top at that.

  2. jerryB Avatar

    This is excellent…would like to see more of this coming from “Defenders”.

  3. Cindy Avatar

    What a great story to start off the New Year. Let’s hope 2010 really does bring good news for our Western Wolves, Bears, Mountain Lions (just had one lose his young life in a guys front yard, while munching on Llama steaks for Christmas,!), Coyotes, Foxes, of course all our ungulates (the Moose and Elk I’ve seen this week all look nice and healthy) and all the little critters too numerous to mention, and our winged ones as well! Judge Molloy’s yellow legal pad had better be well worn by now!

  4. Salle Avatar

    I think this is a personal opinion, though she mentioned that she is now employed by DoW, she doesn’t make her case based on that position. She does have to state it somewhere to disclose that as she may be seen as holding some bias. The importance of her statement is based on what she did prior to her employment at DoW, which in my opinion, is far more indicative of her authority in presenting this opinion.

    Don’t know if the org, DoW, will come out with such dialog since they are plaintiffs in the legal issue, Ms. Rappaport-Clark is writing this as an individual. Perhaps her position with the org has caused her to remain silent until now.

    I have met this lady on several occasions and admire her intellect and understanding of the issues we discuss here. I hope she stands out a little more publicly this year.

  5. kt Avatar

    Obama’s absymal environmental record in just one year is worse than Bush managed to achieve for several. Seriously.

    I think what is going is that the Obama admin, as the health care debacle showed, disdains the public – and anything public of any kind. Especially that big body of “worthless” public domain and Forest land with lots of minerals, with water that would be better off put in pipes and controlled by city-sates like Las Vegas, and where Goldman-Sachs and the usual Wall Street Ponzi schemers are setting up the next big Investment Bubble: Industrial renewables – to tear up everything. Wolves, sage-grouse, you name it – are an IMPEDIMENT to whole-scale development – and ultimate privatization of the pubic lands.

    It is ironic how the “sportsmen” groups have been “played” by industry in shouting for wolf de-listing. De-iisting wolves frees public lands from one of the pesky impediments to development, incremental privatization, and ultimate loss of hunting opportunities.

    Of course, then there are the Sportsmen groups that have’;t been “played”- they were actually set up as fronts to help the process along. Like Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife. Don Peay (sp?) , and Larry Craig’s ex-aide in Idaho – a front for ranching and other industry – rousing the rabble … to help facilitate the demise of predators, elevate the dominance of industry (ranching that serves as a pretty face on “commodity” use and other profiteering on the public lands), facilitate essentially “farming” public lands for deer and elk, etc.

  6. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    The rule:

    (Just a side note, there is one more year in the decade, 2010. just sayin)

  7. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    Jeff E is indeed right to complete the decade we must go through the 10th year of that decade, we have only just completed the 9th year of the decade.

  8. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    But also, it depends on how you count years, if you count 2000 at the first year, then we have completed the 10th year of the decade.

    I remember this all coming up back in 1999, different people interpret time in different ways.


  9. Jay Avatar

    Jeff, draw a timeline, start at zero, then go up to 10. Count the years completed through the end of 09. That adds up to…10. Jan. 1 2010 is the beginning of the next set of 10.

  10. Cindy Avatar

    Hey Ralph – looks like from the above comments on the “decade discussion” we’re once again up and running for 2010:):) I can’t wait.

  11. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    Except we use the Gregorian calendar with the Anno Domini (AD) system. Hence we start counting at (1). In this system there was no year zero. 1AD was preceded by 1BC not zero.
    Sorry, that is just the way it is.

  12. Save bears Avatar
    Save bears

    As I said,

    It depends on how you interpret time.

    That’s just the way it is..

  13. JimT Avatar


    Thanks for posting Jamie’s op-ed. The more folks who read it and put pressure on Salazar and Obama, the better. I can assure people that DOW is working very hard on the wolf issue and others, not always visibly because DC has its own culture and ways of doing things, as maddening as that can be for those of us who see the issues as needed more immediate attention by DC and our politicians. It may be a wishful thinking kind of thing, but if enough pressure can be brought on Salazar for his basic re-issuing of the Kempthorne decision without doing any kind of separate analysis, he will withdraw the de-listing decision before the hearing in late January. I still think we will win the lawsuit, so Salazar may see an opportunity to gain brownie points with the greens by taking that action and really risking little political capital. Of course, he would tick off his ranching compadres….

  14. Jay Avatar

    The Gregorian calendar started 1852, not year 1. He may have indicated that time would start at 1 (BC system), but the ISO (international organization for standardization) 8601 corrected the omission of 1 year from timeline to make it mathematically correct. Subtract 2000 (200 decades) from 2000, what do you get? Zero.

  15. Jay Avatar

    1582, sorry…

  16. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    “Of course, he would tick off his ranching compadres….”
    Oh the horror!
    Tick em off. if we do anything to start of the new year let’s get rid of WS and knock the livestock industry off it’s pedestal.

  17. jdubya Avatar

    In reading this piece, it occurs to me that maybe Salazar is just more active in protecting his own than we realized. By keeping a tight lid on the total numbers of wolves in Montana, Wyo and Idaho, it inhibits excess wolves from migrating into additional states to relieve population pressures, Colorado being one such state. Is the best way to keep wolves away from his and his neighbor’s livestock to just keep them on the edge of extirpation in the more northern states?

  18. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    except that accounted for “year zero” on the BC side not the AD side. Even then it changed the zero to 1BC, so we still start counting 1AD or 1 BC regardless of ISO:8601
    ISO 8601

    ISO 8601:2004 (and previously ISO 8601:2000, but not ISO 8601:1988) explicitly uses astronomical year numbering in its date reference systems. Because it also specifies the use of the proleptic Gregorian calendar for all years before 1582, some readers incorrectly assume that a year zero is also included in that proleptic calendar, whereas that is unusual. The “basic” format for year 0 is the four-digit form 0000, which equals the historical year 1 BC. Several “expanded” formats are possible: -0000 and +0000, as well as five- and six-digit versions. Earlier years are also negative four-, five- or six-digit years, which have an absolute value one less than the equivalent BC year, hence -0001 = 2 BC. Because only ISO 646 (7-bit ASCII) characters are allowed by ISO 8601, the minus sign is represented by a hyphen-minus.

  19. JimT Avatar

    Salazar’s ranch is in southern Colorado, so the wolves would have to go a hell of a distance across some pretty settled terrain before they would theoretically hit his part of the state.I think it is a simple as we all wrote when he was first appointed..he is a fence straddler when it comes to politics; he is not a friend of the ESA, he is first and foremost a rancher, and he is tight with the extractive industries–coal, mining, oil and gas. He is just another in a long line of Western politicians running Interior to the tune of the vested interests.

  20. kt Avatar

    They won’t respond to pressure of the kind “The Public wants the wolves to be left alone”.

    The only chance we have is exposing that these suckers are out to loot the public lands and waters and don’t give a damn about wildife.

    They are after things like power and water and the control of both by powerful people and corporate interests. And wolves, sage-grouse, etc. might stand in their way of this kind of thing:


    Wolf packs and their habitat, grouse leks, you name it – anything that stands in the way of looting the hinterlands, or SNWA’s aquifer mining in the Great Basin, or the behind-the-scenes Carlyle Group involvement in industrial wind in the West.

    JeffE is right – Wolves are to be kept confined to the smallest “reservation” possible.

    Salazar et al. are doing all they can to limit the nuisance wildlife impediments. Salazar is fronting for much larger interests than just ranchers right now (ranchers are the pretty face on/justification for much of the killing)… BUT Mr. Renewables in a Cowboy hat is the Yes-man/puppet for the real string-pullers.

  21. Jay Avatar

    Jeff, I get that the G-calendar says start at 1, but that is arbitary and capricous–it could’ve set 3.5 as the beginning date, and therefore we wouldn’t be having this discussion until June 2013. Starting at one is like saying you’re born at age 1. Logically, mathematically, discrete units of time begin at zero, regardless of what a Pope decided back in 1582.

  22. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    or regardless of what ISO said in 1988.
    the modern world uses the Gregorian calendar.
    That calendar for better or worse starts counting at 1 not zero.

  23. Jay Avatar

    Good enough Jeff, I guess you start next year, I’ll start with the millions that recognize mathematical logic:

    If you want to rigidly hold to an arbitrary start date, you might remember that they also considered the earth flat in those times. It is 2010, we have improved upon things a bit since 1582.

  24. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    lets change the calendar then. I don’t discount your argument, I’m just sayin that the recognized world standard, Gregorian, ISO, or Astronomical. is what it is.
    In any case Happy New Year

  25. Jay Avatar

    Likewise, you do the same. It is a silly argument, after all…

  26. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    I apologise for derailing this thread.
    I believe that the subject of the thread is vitally important as it speaks directly to the Bush-Kempthorne-State of Idaho/Montana/Wyoming attempt to change the intent of the ESA.

  27. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    New years eve in Garden City:
    You go into a bar late on a New Years eve. On stage is a male in the midst of some sort of a bacchanal dance. there is apparently some sort of contest in progress as there are a number of similarly dressed men in the bar. You don’t think much about it as you have been to this bar before and know that it is not “gender specific”. You step up to the bar and next to you are two of “contestants”. The nearest turns to you and says “Hi, My name is Butch, this is my friend Larry, what’s yours’?”

  28. gline Avatar

    LOL, JeffE

  29. jon Avatar

    Hello Ralph, I understand there are 3 more months hunters will be allowed to hunt wolves. After that, will there be another hunt in 2011? Will wildlife services still be killing wolves after march? It doesn’t make much sense to me in having a hunt in the first place. Wildlife services are prolly doing a better job at killing wolves than hunters.

  30. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    If the wolves are not delisted, what we see now will continue, although I suspect Idaho and Montana will add wolf trapping to the hunting season.

    I think the legal hunt and the size of its quota is more important a factor in Montana than Idaho. Montana is not nearly as rugged and timbered as Idaho (though the shape of its mountains are more classic and familiar to the masses).

    In Idaho, Wildlife Services is the biggest factor, and the true danger to wolves, especially wolves in places where anyone can see them, like the Sawtooth National Recreation Area.

    Montana has a more balanced wildlife commission. Montana’s even has a former wolf researcher of long ago on it — Bob Ream. Idaho, of course, has Gary Power, who is a smart man with actual Idaho Fish and Game department field and administrative experience, but I haven’t seen any of his influence in the ID F&G Commission.

  31. jon Avatar

    So what happens when march comes around and if hunters don’t meet the quote? Do they extend the hunt for another 3 months?

  32. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    I’d say its for certain, they won’t extend the hunt in Idaho come the end of March, but watch Wildlife Services between now and then and after. They would probably like to kill some packs with new pups, giving a real setback to wolf recolonization in the areas with the most powerful land barons.

  33. jon Avatar

    Yeah, you’re most likely right Ralph. It doesn’t matter if the hunt ends in march. You’ll still be seeing wildlife services gunning down innocent wolves just trying to survive. These people must not have a conscience.

  34. jdubya Avatar

    Ralph, this is why blogs such as yours are so important….


  35. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    Yes, that is one reason why I do this. There has been such poor coverage by the MSM, which seems to be collapsing anyway. Many of the good environmental reporters (and those with other specialties) have been laid off.

    I am amazed that this blog, which is not an overtly political blog, averaged a rating of being in the top 3 political blogs in Idaho.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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