Archive for the ‘Congressional Support’ Category
Big Dollars for Predator Control in Utah
Two bills before Utah’s legislature aim to use sportsmen and public/private partnerships to address challenges in mule deer fawn survival. Under these bills, sportsmen will once again be the key to fixing Utah’s Mule Deer herd. These bills would place over $1 million dollars in bounties and other incentives for private coyote removal. The bill S.B. 87 is entitled, “Predator Control Funding” and is sponsored by Senator Hinkins. S.B. 87 places a $5 dollar surcharge on big game tags to raise money for coyote removal by trappers and hunters. It is estimated that this S.B. 87 surcharge will raise an additional $500-600,000 for predator control.
The other bill, S.B. 245, is entitled “Mule Deer Protection Act” and is sponsored by Senator Okerlund. This bill provides a $750,000 state general fund match to the sportsmens dollars provided by S.B. 87. $500,000 of the S.B. 245 dollars will go to DWR and $250,000 will go to Wildlife Services to help fund a new helicopter for predator control work aimed at fixing Utah’s Mule Deer herds. These bills are yet another illustration of how the state of Utah and hunters cooperatively are contributing dollars for mule deer restoration. Collectively, these two bills provide $1-$1.1 million dollars of ongoing funding to fix mule deer populations in Utah. Funding will also be directed to USDA Wildlife Services to augment existing removal efforts in mule deer fawning grounds.
Bounties in Utah
Currently 12 of 29 Utah counties provide bounties to private individuals for coyote removal. These bounties are typically $20 or $25 dollars per coyote and are administered in various ways in the different counties. We suggest that coyote bounties be increased to $50 dollars and be implemented statewide in a consistent fashion to incentivize greater efforts by hunters and trappers to take more coyotes. Let’s make sure these dollars are being spent on Utah coyotes. It will be the responsibility of concerned sportsmen to not only make sure these dollars are utilized, but to ensure that these dollars are used to fix Utah’s mule deer problem.
Federal Removal Efforts
Currently, USDA Wildlife Services re
moves approximately 4,500 coyotes statewide. This important program targets coyotes impacting agriculture and mule deer fawns. This program is administered in cooperation with the Utah Department of Agriculture and Utah DWR using almost $950,000 in private and state funds. At an estimated cost of up to $600 per coyote on mule deer areas, due to the cost of these control efforts, consistent removal is not provided annually in most problem areas. By providing funding for a second helicopter, existing control efforts can be increased and mule deer and agriculture control work can be performed on the same days in different areas.
The Value of Private Removal
Hunters and trappers remove 8,000 coyotes annually from Utah landscapes in addition to coyotes removed by USDA Wildlife Services. At a cost of $20-25 per coyote (or in many cases at no cost), sportsmen actually remove more coyotes in this state than by any other program. If greater incentive dollars are provided to cover costs associated with private removal work, our goal is that this greater funding for private efforts will allow sportsmen to spend more time and effort on coyote removal, especially in mule deer fawning areas. Let’s make it our goal to remove approximately 20,000 coyotes annually. Just as importantly, these bills recognize key role of sportsmen in maintaining predator/prey balances and provide economic help and incentives provide more consistent private efforts. With targeted efforts in mule deer impact areas, dramatic increases in fawn survival and reductions in overall mule deer mortality are aimed at growing Utah’s mule deer herd.
Predator Control Coordination
Utah DWR is also exploring the possibility of employing two full-time coyote removal specialists to help administer these programs and dollars for maximum impact for mule deer. These individuals would be tasked with focusing full-time on finding ways to use predator control to increase mule deer fawn survival and overall population growth. Additionally, the specialists would be tasked with helping direct the effort of sportsmen to provide the greatest value to mule deer recovery. These specialists would also work to ensure that trouble areas are being targeted every year and to minimize overlap with the efforts of federal wildlife services. It should be noted that in some instances, collaborative efforts with federal wildlife services may prove to provide the most dramatic increases in fawn survival.
We are not ready to give up on Utah’s mule deer. It is time to once again have over 400,000 mule deer in the state of Utah. Not only is this a sustainable minimum population goal, but 400,000 mule deer will allow for more real hunting opportunity for families and more big bucks, even in general season areas. We owe it to Utah’s mule deer. We owe it to our kids, grandkids and future of wildlife conservation in Utah.
Minnesota is ready to take over management of wolves. That is great news for many Minnesota residents.
Here is a great quote: “We are pleased with the final decision to delist wolves in the region,” said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. “This is a great success for the Endangered Species Act. Minnesota is ready to assume management of wolves under the guidance of the state’s wolf plan.” Later Landwehr explains, “Today’s announcement by the federal government reaffirms the fact that the wolf is not threatened or endangered in Minnesota.”
To read the full release: http://news.dnr.state.mn.us/2011/12/21/minnesota-ready-to-assume-state’s-wolf-management-again/
News of Oregon’s traveling wolf are amazing. This particular wolf traveled 730 miles from Eastern Oregon to Western Oregon. The story is not new, but it’s attention overseas is making headlines.
Here is a quote from the article:“It’s not every day you see a wildlife biologist pictured next to the future queen,” Dennehy said. The Italian paparazzi (or at least an Italian photo agency) emailed for a photo or video of the wolf “traveling along Oregon to find his love,” she said.
As many of you are aware, it appears that a wolf delisting bill will very likely pass this week in Congress. The wolf delisting language is included in the continuing resolution to keep the government funded. We expect that this bill will pass by the end of this week.
So what does the language mean: In summary, the language will be a victory primarily for Idaho and Montana, though portions of Utah, Oregon and Washington are also included in the delisting. Important language was also added yesterday to preserve Wyoming’s court victory in support of important aspects of its wolf management plan.
Here is the relevant language of the bill:
SEC. 1713. Before the end of the 60-day period beginning on the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Interior shall reissue the final rule published on April 2, 2009 (74 Fed. Reg. 15123 et seq.) without regard to any other provision of statute or regulation that applies to issuance of such rule. Such reissuance (including this 19 section) shall not be subject to judicial review and shall not abrogate or otherwise have any effect on the order and judgment issued by the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming in Case Numbers 09–CV–118J and 09–CV–138J on November 18, 2010.
(Here is a link to the full text of the CR “aka H.R. 1473″ : http://rules.house.gov/Media/file/PDF_112_1/Floor_Text/FINAL2011_xml.pdf . You can find the wolf delisting language on page 290.)
You may have noticed, that the word “wolf” was not even mentioned. The mechanism that is used to provide wolf delisting by this language is that the language codifies by statute the April 2, 2009 wolf delisting rule. The language also makes clear that this rule supersedes any other provision of law. It further takes the step of making the reissuance of the rule immune from judicial review.
Here is a portion of the text of the 2009 rule:
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
Fish and Wildlife Service
50 CFR Part 17
[FWS–R6–ES–2008–0008; 92220–1113– 0000; ABC Code: C6]
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Final Rule To Identify the Northern Rocky Mountain Population of Gray Wolf as a Distinct Population Segment and To Revise the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife
AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: Under the authority of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act), we, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), identify a distinct population segment (DPS) of the gray wolf (Canis lupus) in the Northern Rocky Mountains (NRM) of the United States and revise the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife by removing gray wolves within NRM DPS boundaries, except in Wyoming. The NRM gray wolf DPS encompasses the eastern one-third of Washington and Oregon, a small part of north-central Utah, and all of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. Our current estimate for 2008 indicates the NRM DPS contains approximately 1,639 wolves (491 in Montana; 846 in Idaho; 302 in Wyoming) in 95 breeding pairs (34 in Montana; 39 in Idaho; 22 in Wyoming). These numbers are about 5 times higher than the minimum population recovery goal and 3 times higher than the minimum breeding pair recovery goal. The end of 2008 will mark the ninth consecutive year the population has exceeded our numeric and distributional recovery goals.
The States of Montana and Idaho have adopted State laws, management plans, and regulations that meet the requirements of the Act and will conserve a recovered wolf population into the foreseeable future. In our proposed rule (72 FR 6106, February 8, 2007), we noted that removing the Act’s protections in Wyoming was dependant upon the State’s wolf law (W.S. 11–6– 302 et seq. and 23–1–101, et seq. in House Bill 0213) and wolf management plan adequately conserving Wyoming’s portion of a recovered NRM wolf population. In light of the July 18, 2008, U.S. District Court order, we reexamined Wyoming law, its management plans and implementing regulations, and now determine they are not adequate regulatory mechanisms for the purposes of the Act.
We determine that the best scientific and commercial data available demonstrates that (1) the NRM DPS is not threatened or endangered throughout ‘‘all’’ of its range (i.e., not threatened or endangered throughout all of the DPS); and (2) the Wyoming portion of the range represents a significant portion of range where the species remains in danger of extinction because of inadequate regulatory mechanisms. Thus, this final rule removes the Act’s protections throughout the NRM DPS except for Wyoming. Wolves in Wyoming will continue to be regulated as a non- essential, experimental population per 50 CFR 17.84(i) and (n).
The full April 2009 rule can be found at: http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/mammals/wolf/74FR15123.pdf
So what does this all mean?
First, the entire states of Idaho and Montana are delisted, along with portions of Oregon and Washington.
Second, the bill stops short of returning full state management authority back to these states, including Idaho and Montana. So USFWS remains in a supervisory role.
Third, If USFWS does not interfere and allows the states do their job, a wide variety of wolf management activities can be resumed by these states. The unintended consequence may be that USFWS may begin interfering or imposing additional restrictions that could once again lead to frustration. Many sportsmen do not have much confidence that the Federal Government will allow for proper wolf management to occur. This is a very important point for future consideration.
Fourth, most states did not get delisted by this proposal, including Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, Colorado etc.
Fifth, Wyoming is not delisted, but some important language was included so that the state would not have lost some recent progress in obtaining approval of its wolf management plan.
Here is why that was necessary: The language in the 2009 rule that says that in Wyoming “the species remain in danger of extinction because of inadequate regulatory mechanisms.” This Congressional legislation may very well have superseded an important legal decision in favor of Wyoming’s management plan. As a result the language in the CR that says, “Such reissuance…shall not abrogate or otherwise have any effect on the order and judgment issued by the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming in Case Numbers 09–CV–118J and 09–CV–138J on November 18, 2010.” The court case referenced, was decided by Judge Johnson in favor of many important aspects of Wyoming’s wolf management plan contrary to the findings of the 2009 rule. As a result, this language clearly leaves in place Wyoming’s victory in favor of its plan in the Judge Johnson ruling.
In summary, while this bill clearly shows that Congressional action is not only possible, but also necessary to delist no longer endangered wolf populations. It also falls short by: (1) failing to restore primacy of states to make their own wildlife management decisions; and (2) by failing to delist a bunch of states that clearly need wolves delisted.
Efforts are already underway to do nothing more than this delisting. Clearly this will be a major problem for most states. It is important that every sportsmen, rancher and person who cares about the future of healthy wildlife herds help finish this fight.
Thanks for your efforts,
National Director, Big Game Forever
As a leader in the conservation community over the last 30 years, I was privileged in building a team that grew one of the largest, most dynamic, successful, and most effective single species conservation organizations in the world.
Our team often worked ‘outside the box of conservation’ on key issues that were negatively impacting our rich hunting heritage. Projects, such as fighting and funding the efforts against the cities and municipalities who were suing and bankrupting the firearms and ammunition manufacturers of our great country. It took bold, decisive, and fearless leadership, rallying our conservation troops and our partners to victory.
With the success of science-based wildlife restoration and management, we’ve been spoiled, in that we are enjoying the ‘Golden Years’ of hunting today. I’m writing because our big game hunting days are numbered in the West and Upper-Midwest, if we don’t take immediate action.
Winning the ‘Wolf War’ is our only option, if we want to preserve what remains of a decimated population of elk, mule deer, and moose in the Greater Yellowstone Basin and beyond. It must be won in the hearts and minds of the American hunter and in the Halls of Congress…Soon!
The fight is a culture war launched against our basic freedoms…freedoms that our forefathers died for and young warriors lay their lives on the line for, this very moment. It is very exciting to see the broad support of the hunting, ranching, and business community come together on this issue. Our leaders are battle hardened and tested in the politics of conservation and they are winners. It is my hope that every sportsman will join Big Game Forever today, and dig deeply and support the effort with a donation, or in the ongoing email and public opinion battles with the Animal Rights Extremists.
With your help over the next six months, we will help preserve the spirit of our first conservation President, Teddy Roosevelt, and we will honor the real heroes who have fought, bled, and died for our freedoms. Hunting is one of those freedoms that has been and will continue to be cherished by millions of Americans for many years to come, but only if we act swiftly, decisively, and smartly.
We must act now and we beg you to rally the troops of our sportsmen family across these United States of America. Please join us by signing the petition at www.biggameforever.org right now.
Thank you for helping preserve our rich hunting heritage.
In Case You Missed It: Rehberg Bill to Delist Wolves Has Broad Support – In Congress and Beyond
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Montana’s Congressman, Denny Rehberg, today released the following statement responding to the overwhelming support his legislation is getting from Montanans, in Congress and around the country.
“It would be a shame to reject a good bill that has broad national support just because it’s got my name on it, but it looks like that’s exactly what a few Senators have decided to do,” said Rehberg. “Senator Hatch introduced my companion bill, and Montana’s Senators had an opportunity to support it. I’m happy to look at the wolf legislation they introduced yesterday, although I’ve already heard concerns from stakeholders in Montana that it just doesn’t go far enough. Yesterday, Senator Baucus said, ‘Montanans don’t need D.C. bureaucrats telling us how to manage wolves in our state.’ Wyoming and every other state don’t need D.C. bureaucrats telling them how to manage their wildlife either—that’s why a national approach is so essential. In the mean time, support is snowballing for my comprehensive approach that will finally put this to rest once and for all. If we don’t do this right, we’ll be right back in this situation next year.”
Rehberg’s legislation, the American Big Game and Livestock Protection Act, has bipartisan support from twenty six states, especially in the West and Great Lakes region, where wolves have decimated populations of deer, elk and moose, and where livestock depredations are on the rise.
It also enjoys the enthusiastic support of countless national and state organizations. Some of them are listed below.
1. American Farm Bureau
2. American Sheep Industry Association
3. Big Game Forever
4. Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation
5. Mule Deer Foundation
6. National Association of Conservation Districts
7. National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
8. National Rifle Association
9. National Shooting Sports Foundation
10. National Trappers Association
11. Public Lands Council
12. Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
13. Safari Club International
14. Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife
15. U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance
16. Wild Sheep Foundation
17. Arizona Cattle Feeders Association
18. Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association
19. Arizona Wool Producers Association
20. California Cattlemen’s Association
21. California Public Lands Council
22. California Wool Growers Association
23. Citizens for Balanced Use
24. Colorado Cattlemen’s Association
25. Colorado Wool Growers Association
26. Florida Cattlemen’s Association
27. Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd
28. Georgia Cattlemen’s Association
29. Idaho Cattle Association
30. Idaho Wool Growers Association
31. Independent Cattlemen’s Association of Texas
32. Kansas Livestock Association
33. Lobo Watch
34. Maryland Sheep Breeders Association
35. Michigan Cattlemen’s Association
36. Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation
37. Minnesota Lamb and Wool Producers Association
38. Minnesota State Cattlemen’s Association
39. Montana Association of Conservation Districts
40. Montana Association of State Grazing Districts
41. Montana Farm Bureau Federation
42. Montana Public Lands Council
43. Montana Stockgrowers Association
44. Montana Trail Vehicle Riders Association
45. Montana Woolgrowers Association
46. Montanans for Multiple Use
47. Nebraska Sheep & Goat Association
48. Nevada Cattlemen’s Association
49. North Carolina Sheep Producers Association Inc.
50. Oregon Cattlemen’s Association
51. Oregon Sheep Growers Association
52. Treasure State ATV Association
53. Utah Cattlemen’s Association
54. Utah Wool Growers Association
55. Virginia Cattlemen’s Association
56. Washington Cattlemen’s Association
57. Wyoming Stock Growers Association
Denny Rehberg and Jim Matheson have written a formal letter looking for more cosponsors to the bipartisan American Big Game and Livestock Protection Act. Download a copy of the letter here.
Wolves are a recovered species, and the science is there to prove it. Unfortunately, environmental extremists have put politics in front of science, wrenching control from states with responsible wolf management plans. With states unable to control the predator, populations of deer, elk and moose have plummeted, and livestock depredations are on the rise. We need to call attention to this abuse and solve an issue that should have been put to rest years ago.
Monday, October 21, 2010
Dear Montana Congressional Delegation,
We write to express our support for H.R. 6028 sponsored by Congressman Denny Rehberg and Congressman Chet Edwards, to remove wolves from listing under the Endangered Species Act and return wolves to state management. We also support the Senate version of H.R. 6028, S. 3919, sponsored by Senators Hatch, Crapo, Risch, Barrasso and Enzi. We applaud the efforts which have resulted in obtaining broad based bi-partisan support for this important legislation.
The experimental reintroduction and explosive growth of wolf populations across the Northern Rockies and Upper Midwest, and in particular in our own state of Montana has become of great concern to the Montana livestock industry, wildlife organizations and sportsmen’s groups. Wolf populations reached delisting criteria as early as the 1970’s in Minnesota, 1993-1994 in Wisconsin and Michigan and 2002 in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. The decisions by both the Bush and Obama administrations to delist wolves have been repeatedly challenged in an ongoing effort to stop any wolf management in the lower 48 states and to undermine state management of its wildlife and grazing resources.
Notwithstanding the best efforts by the state of Montana and the explosion of wolf populations far beyond established delisting numbers, legal and political maneuvering has prevented the promised return of wolves to state wildlife management. Montana is not alone. The states of Idaho, Wyoming, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan are experiencing similar challenges. It has become clear that saturated wolf populations are now doing significant damage not only to wildlife populations in some of our most important wilderness areas, but also threatening the economic health of livestock producers across much of the Northern Rockies. We feel the future of the livestock industry and wildlife populations in Montana depend on the passage of these two important bills.
We join with our counterpart organizations in the states of Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Arizona and New Mexico in support of these bills. We strongly oppose any efforts that would: (1) delist only portions of the United States wolf population; (2) leave the door open to ongoing legal challenges by anti-grazing and anti-hunting groups that could further delay needed wolf control activities; or (3) that would undermine the authority of state fish and game agencies to manage wolves or other wildlife populations.
Given the importance of this legislation to the state of Montana, we urge each of you to dedicate whatever resources are needed to enact this legislation. Additionally, we ask you to apply the political capital with members of Congress across the country to obtain the remaining votes needed for passage of S. 3919 and H.R. 6028. While we understand that Congress has many important matters to address, no legislation is more important to the future of wildlife and livestock in Montana.
Thank you for your leadership on this important management issue.
Bob Hanson, President
Montana Farm Bureau Federation
Montana Stockgrowers Association
David L. McEwen
Montana Woolgrowers Association
Alan Merrill, President
Montana Farmers Union
Kim Baker, MCA, President
Montana Cattleman Association
David Allen, CEO
Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
Marshall Johnson, Regional Director
Mule Deer Foundation-Montana
Bill Merrill, President
Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife and Wildlife-Montana
Safari Club International
George Cobb, Regional Representative
Safari Club International-Montana
Friends in BIG, WONDERFUL, WYOMING,
I am very proud of you for your tenacious fight on the wolf issue. The
article in the Salt Lake Tribune shows how your plan is right, and
when we pass the HR 6028 legislation early next spring, Wyoming can manage
wolves how you want.
I don’t care what your plan had been, Judge Malloy would have found an
excuse to put them on the list.
So, here is what we ALL NEED TO DO:
1. YOUR US Senators Barasso and Enzi and Congresswoman Lumis are all on
Board, Co-sponsors of this legislation that simply removes wolves from the
ESA. Thank them. Ask them to fight hard to get this legislation finally
passed in early 2011.
2. Thanks Governor Frudenthal for supporting HR 6028, which gives Wyoming
the right to manage wolves according to YOUR PLAN.
3. Go to www.biggameforever.org and sign up, and most importantly get your
friends who live in other states to sign up, so when the final congressional
vote push comes, we can get them to contact their Senators and Congressman
at the right time.
4. Make a financial contribution. This can be done on the
www.biggameforever.org website. It is going to cost us a few million bucks
to win. You can also track the daily blog on that website.
We have a clear target to shoot at. Straight up or down vote, with us or
against us. EVERY WYOMING SPORTSMEN AND RANCHER should get behind this
Click on the link below to read more:
Thanks for all you do, spread this far and wide !!!!!!!!!!!!!