December 18, 2017

Draft Supplement to the Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Draft Supplement to the Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan: Habitat-Based Recovery Criteria for the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of a draft Supplement to the Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan: Habitat-Based Recovery Criteria for the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE). The draft supplement, which will be appended to the Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan upon finalization, proposes to establish habitat-based recovery criteria for the NCDE grizzly bear population. In addition, the Service hereby gives notice that a public workshop will be held to review the habitat-based recovery criteria for the grizzly bear in the NCDE. The workshop will allow scientists and the public to submit oral and written comments. The Service solicits review and comment from the public on this draft supplement.

An electronic copy of the draft Supplement to the Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan is available at http://www.regulations.gov in Docket No. FWS-R6-ES-2017-0057, and also at http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/es/grizzlyBear.php 

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Possible Effects of Court Decision on Wolves, on Grizzly Bear Recovery in the Conterminous United States

WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), are seeking public comment on a recent D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, Humane Society of the United States, et al. v. Zinke et al., 865 F.3d 585 (D.C. Cir. 2017), that may impact our June 30, 2017, final rule delisting the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) grizzly bear Distinct Population Segment (DPS). In Humane Society of the United States, et al. v. Zinke et al., the court opined that the Service had not evaluated the status of the remainder of the listed entity of wolves in light of the Western Great Lakes (WGL) wolf DPS delisting action and what the effect of lost historical range may have on the status of the WGL wolf DPS. We also describe in this notice our strategy to recover grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) in the lower 48 States of the United States and provide a brief recovery update for each ecosystem.<<<Read More>>>

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Final Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan, First Revision

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the availability of our Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan, First Revision (Recovery Plan). The Mexican wolf (Canis lupus baileyi) is listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA), and is currently found in the U.S. States of Arizona and New Mexico, and in Chihuahua, Mexico. The recovery plan includes specific recovery criteria to be met to enable us to remove this species from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife. The first Mexican wolf recovery plan was completed in 1982. ADDRESSES: You may obtain a copy of the recovery plan from our Web site at http://www.fws.gov/endangered/species/recovery-plans.html or the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program Web site at https://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf/.

Background A primary goal of our endangered species program and the Endangered Species Act (ESA) (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) is recovering endangered or threatened animals and plants to the point they are again secure, viable ecosystem members. Recovery means improving listed species’ status to the point at which they no longer meet the definition of threatened or endangered and listing is no longer appropriate under the criteria set out in in section 4(a)(1) of the ESA. The ESA requires developing recovery plans for listed species, unless such a plan would not promote a particular species’ conservation.

The Service has revised its approach to recovery planning; the revised process is called Recovery Planning and Implementation (RPI). The RPI process is intended to reduce the time needed to develop and implement recovery plans, increase recovery plan relevancy over a longer timeframe, and add flexibility to recovery plans so they can be adjusted to new information or circumstances. Under RPI, a recovery plan will include statutorily required elements (measurable criteria, site-specific management actions, and estimates of time and costs), along with a concise introduction and our strategy for how we plan to achieve species recovery. The RPI recovery plan is supported by a separate Species Status Assessment, or in some cases, a species biological report that provides the background information and threat assessment, which are key to recovery plan development. The essential component to flexible implementation under RPI is producing a separate working document called the Recovery Implementation Strategy (implementation strategy). The implementation strategy steps down from the more general description of actions described in the recovery plan to detail the specific, near-term activities needed to implement the recovery plan. The implementation strategy will be adaptable by being able to incorporate new information without having to concurrently revise the recovery plan, unless changes to statutory elements are required.

The Mexican Wolf Recovery Plan, First Revision, represents one of the first products the Service has developed using RPI. On June 30, 2017, the Service made the draft Recovery Plan available for a 60-day public comment period during which we received more than 100,000 comments (82 FR 29918). The public comments and additional materials related to the Recovery Plan are available for public review online at http://www.regulations.gov in Docket No. FWS-R2-ES-2017-0036.

In addition to the recovery plan and implementation strategy, we completed a Biological Report describing the Mexican wolf’s current status. The Biological Report supports the recovery plan by providing the background, life-history, and threat assessment information. The Biological Report and Recovery Plan were independently peer-reviewed by scientists outside of the Service. As with the implementation strategy, we will update the Biological Report as new species status information becomes available.

Recovery Plan Strategy

The overall strategy for recovering the Mexican wolf focuses on improving the two populations’ resilience (i.e., population size) and genetic representation, one focused south of Interstate 40 in Arizona and New Mexico in the United States, and one focused in the northern portion of the Sierra Madre Occidental in Mexico, across an adequate ecological and geographic range of representation within each population. The strategy involves carefully managing the captive- breeding program, releasing Mexican wolves from the captive-breeding program into the wild, and translocating Mexican wolves from the Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Area in portions of New Mexico and Arizona to Mexico, to ensure two genetically and demographically viable populations are extant in the wild for redundancy.

Another key component of the strategy includes working with Federal, State, Tribal, local partners, and the public, to improve Mexican wolf tolerance on the landscape.

Authority: We developed our recovery plan and publish this notice under the authority of the Endangered Species Act, section 4(f), 16 U.S.C. 1533(f).

Dated: October 24, 2017.

Amy Lueders, Regional Director, Southwest Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. [FR Doc. 2017-26041 Filed 12-1-17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333-15-P

 

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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries Solicit Public Input on Conservation Agreements Policy under the Endangered Species Act

Press Release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:

November 21, 2017

Contact(s):

Ivan Vicente
703-358-1730
ivan_vicente@fws.gov


 

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the NOAA Fisheries are actively working to engage conservation partners and the public in the search for improved and innovative ways to conserve and protect imperiled species, even before they are listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The agencies are committed to strengthening the delivery of voluntary conservation tools, such as Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances (CCAA), by making it easier to work together on conservation efforts, thus are soliciting public review and comment on whether to revise the existing CCAA policy and accompanying regulations.

Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances are designed to provide an incentive to landowners to implement specific conservation measures for declining species that are not currently listed under the ESA. To participate in a CCAA, non-federal property owners can voluntarily implement specific conservation measures that reduce or eliminate threats on their land to species covered under the agreement. In return, they receive assurances that they will not be required to undertake any additional conservation measures nor be subject to additional resource use or land use restrictions, even if the species becomes listed under the ESA.

In order to improve the process for working with states, tribes and private landowners, the Service and NOAA Fisheries finalized a revision of the CCAA policy on December 27, 2016.

The policy and regulation revisions did not change landowner requirements for participation in the program, but rather clarified and simplified the standard for approving CCAAs. These changes were designed to encourage more landowners to participate in these agreements, and to speed up the approval process, by making the approval standard simpler and clearer. However, these changes have been interpreted in different ways by some members of the public, with some interpreting it to be a higher standard while others considered it to be a lower standard than the previous policy.

Based on comments received, the agencies will decide whether and how to revise the policy and regulations. The notice will publish in the Federal Register on November 22, 2017. Written comments and information concerning these notices can be submitted by one of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments to
    • FWS/NOAA Fisheries policy notice at Docket No. [FWS-HQ-ES-2017-0074]
    • FWS regulations notice at Docket No. [FWS-HQ-ES-2017-0075]
  • U. S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: [FWS-HQ-ES-2017-0074] or [FWS-HQ-ES-2017-0075]; Division of Policy, Performance and Management Programs; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 5275 Leesburg Pike – MS: BPHC Falls Church, VA 22041-3808.

Comments must be received within 60 days, on or before January 22, 2018. The Service will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means the agency will post any personal information provided through the process. The Service is not able to accept email or faxes.

For more information, please visit: https://www.fws.gov/endangered/what-we-do/ccaa-policy.html

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Wolves and Chaos

A Talk Given at the Annual Agri-Women Conference

Bloomington, Minnesota

18 November 2017

 By

 Jim Beers

 

It is an honor to be invited to speak to you about wolves in the Lower 48 States.

Your 2005 Veritas Award hangs in my office.  This talk, that I expect will have some far-reaching national impacts, has been composed with my appreciation for that Award in mind. What I say about wolves is equally true about federal grizzly bears, spotted owls, smelt, suckers and frogs that have evolved into tools destroying Rural America in so many ways.  This is the result of a federal law, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that has created unaccountable bureaucrats and their bureaucracies that work with extremist environmental and animal rights groups to enact a multitude of hidden agendas that deeply trouble Rural America today.  It is with this in mind that I hope what I say here about wolves and the remedy I propose will be of use to not only those with wolf problems but also to those that realize the need for reform of the ESA and several other environmental and animal rights laws that are eroding rural life, rural families and rural communities throughout our country.

I assume some, if not most, of you are troubled by wolves to some degree and it is to you that I am directing my observations.

  1. History – After more than two decades of speaking and writing about wolves I have learned one sure thing.  That is that despite:

–       Wolves are ubiquitous and number in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions considering the difficulty of counting them and the vastness of Asia and the tendencies of European and Lower 48 bureaucrats to manipulate unchallengeable numbers.

–       The millions of dollars stolen by federal bureaucrats, that were never even admonished, from Excise Taxes intended for state wildlife programs in order to trap, transport, introduce and protect initial wolf introductions (something that Congress had refused to authorize or fund) in the Upper Rockies.

–       The preposterous collusions between federal bureaucrats and radical NGO’s (one of which hired an agency Director as a top Manager after she had appointed them to “manage” livestock “compensation”) to create the illusion of “compensating” farmers and ranchers but not dog owners for animal property killed or maimed by wolves.

–       The impacts on sheep and cattle operations from higher costs (for protection), increased stress on agriculture families, animal losses, and lower land values as with a New Mexico rancher that could neither sell his ranch nor give into his son because of persistent wolf predation thereby making it a cheap target only for government purchase or easement.

–       The steady federal progress in claiming increasing authority over state wildlife jurisdictions that was enabled by federal exclusive ESA authority over the wolves and their interfaces with all manner of human activities from ranching and hunting, to dogs and human safety.

–       The official denials of human history with wolves from Plato to the present regarding wolf attacks and wolf impacts on humans, their property and their rural societies in general.

–       The denial of what is an increasingly common phenomenon; cross-breeding between wolves, coyotes and domestic dogs in North America and Europe.  Wolves also opportunistically breed with and produce viable offspring with dingoes and jackals.

–       The denial and cover-up of both recent human attacks by wolves and the dangers posed by over 30 deadly and debilitating diseases and infections from Rabies and Brucellosis to Foot-and-Mouth, Parvo, Distemper Mad Cow carried and spread by wolves.

–       The reduction of big game herds (Minnesota lost so many moose as wolves increased that moose hunting was suspended with no indication of ever being resumed) and the sizeable revenue losses supporting wildlife programs due to the losses of hunting opportunities and the myriad businesses they support in rural communities.

–       The losses of hunting (bear, cougar, rabbit, bird, etc.) dogs, watchdogs, pet dogs, tracking dogs and guard (livestock) dogs to wolves and the resulting further loss of hunters and the benefits (economic, social, traditional, cultural, etc.) of their hunting and things such as the availability of trained hounds for tracking problem bears, cougars and missing persons.

–       The fact that wolves are now present and spreading in over half the Lower 48 States; an area they find rich in food, space and low to non-existent human harassment; does not preclude the time when wolf densities will eventually exceed the available garbage, game and domestic animal food sources causing human attacks, livestock losses and disease problems to multiply to the annual levels sustained to great human life and property loss in Asia for centuries.

–       I could mention more such wolf impacts like diversion of millions from state wildlife managementcover-up of dollars spent, being spent and estimated to be spent both federally and state-wise on wolvescorruption of Universities and academics for grants, future academic recognition and resulting tenure for providing necessary justificationsappalling “nature” myth indoctrinations taught in schools such as the “necessity” of wolves in “the ecosystem”, the “necessity” of “restoring native wildlife”, and the “reasons” children and the elderly should not fear wolves in the settled landscapes of the Lower 48 States.

Despite all of the above; the “one sure thing” I learned is, no one except those being directly impacted really cares.  The politicians get votes from urban dreamers; the NGO’s get donations and subscriptions to accomplish their hidden agendas from free-roaming buffalo in agricultural areas to transferring rural private property to government land control; academic grants and tenure; and the bureaucrat raises, promotions, bonuses, and larger retirements.  It is fair to say that increasing areas of rural America and numbers of rural Americans find themselves caught between a rock and a hard place regarding wolves.

  1. Today– Wolves are present today in over half of the Lower 48 States.  There is really only one wolf but federal bureaucrats proliferate imaginary “breeds” (like dog breeds) by declaring “red” wolves in the Carolinas and “Mexican” wolves in Arizona and New Mexico over strenuous local opposition for decades.  Wolves in MN, WI and MI are now called “Great Lakes” Wolves. Wolves in the NW, though descended from wolves trapped at undisclosed locations in N Canada are simply called grey wolves.  Promised low wolf levels in “restorations” were blown through by bureaucrats and NGO’s like Bonnie and Clyde blowing through a roadblock and there is still no agreement about either “too high” or “too low” populations and distributions; tolerable methods (if any) of controlling or managing wolves; or the losses sustained or stresses endured by rural residents forced to live with wolves..

Wolves are federally “Listed” under the ESA in nearly all Lower 48 States.  Urban-controlled states like CA, IL and WA also protect them under strict state laws while rural states like UT and ND try to keep them out. Other states like MN remain quiescent explaining moose declines as due to climate change and an attack on a sleeping camper in a USFS campground as due to a wolf with a “deformed brain”.  The majority of all states with wolves publish questionable data, cover-up attacks and damages, and generally divert funds and manpower clandestinely as they attempt to navigate these political rapids with their feet in two canoes – one belonging to powerful urban political pro-wolf lobby groups; the other belonging to those rural residents putting up with one wolf outrage after another as wolves (like dogs and coyotes) learn to evade controls, expand their territories and find new food sources in the “food-rich” and “unused-to-wolves” settled landscapes of the Lower 48.  I have met rural mothers that no longer let their sons go camping or on Scout overnights where wolves have been seen or have killed dogs, especially where federal government-introduced and protected grizzlies are also now present in the Lower 48 States.

Some states like ID, MT, and WY have exerted political pressure to have “Wolf Management Returned to the State” and others like WI are pursuing similar relief as politicians play with them by offering “proposed” legislation passed in a Congressional Committee as a sign of progress or “Management Agreements” that are little more than dictates from federal overseers to be maintained and paid for by state agencies with money from wherever they can find it.  Wolf-advocate-NGO’s, bureaucrats and certain Congressional staffers then undermine it, using money and political lobby machines in Washington with varying intensity that is no more than a reflection of the Administration and Congressional temperature du jour.  But as appealing as that sounds to those dealing with wolves, “Returning Management” whether by an “Agreement” or a legislative exception is merely a placebo with no lasting effect meant only to quiet anti-wolf complaints and currently keep the wolf issue low on the radar as the complaints of the last few years die down and now as the Trump phenomenon tears at the federal establishment.

Those states “gifted” “their” wolf management by federal bureaucrats and politicians must:

–       Maintain federally-dictated levels and distributions of wolves.

–       Pay millions annually with wildlife program revenues and resources such as facilities, equipment and manpower to control, census, administer, enforce, study, defend (in court), compensate owners, justify wolves as they impact hunting, ranching, farming, rural life, rural economies, etc.

–       Publicly depend on initially high wolf “license” sales that are inadequate to begin with for managing wolves.  Over time the sales of wolf licenses decline as the combination of low harvest numbers (wolves are difficult to hunt or trap) and large numbers of license buyers that become discouraged.  This causes a fallback to looser regulations for rural people to kill wolves whenever problematic that is intolerable to federal overseers and a steady clandestine diversion of state funding from wherever it can be grabbed without complaint.

–       The costs of “managing” wolves in accord with federal mandates are truly astronomical and divert current state wildlife program efforts to degrees and cost levels hidden by state and federal bureaucrats.  Not too far into the future, a backward glance by taxpayers and (former) state wildlife program beneficiaries will expose a diminishment of wildlife funding and effort from license sale revenue declines due to increased hunter declines; a tax burden increase on state general revenues for wildlife annual and specific control demands to “compensation” claims for livestock and dogs that will be unsustainable. Increases in wildlife problems from livestock depredation increases to sustained human safety and health concerns alone will be well beyond state or federal sustained attention given the loss of hunters, trappers, trained dogs and both the usefulness and benefits from revenue and animal controls they once provided rural America

Keep in mind that these things, after the past two decades, are currently relatively quiet where wolves are expanding.  Relatively quiet federal bureaucrats are watching the hustling and dissembling state bureaucrats’ striving to please the powerful NGO’s while misleading rural Americans simultaneously.  The NGO’s are ready to pounce with lawsuits about killing too many wolves, humane law violations, poor documentation, and government land closure claims.  New laws, amendments and regulatory tweaks are always being discussed behind closed doors but there is a prevalent note of caution as the danger of overreaching in this period of political reform and turbulence calls for bureaucratic patience.

IIIThe Problem  State wildlife agencies, like their federal counterparts, are now majority employees that cannot (because they are “educated” in Universities that oppose it) “manage” wildlife or plant environments: they can and will only “save” and close an unending procession of lands and human activities as they build a Brave New World of “saving” everything in Rural America except human society.  Wildlife biologists no longer manage wildlife for human benefit just like today’s “forester” no longer manages timber for human benefit and the “range manager” no longer manages “the range” for human benefit.  Both the bureaucracies and the Universities that formerly taught these sciences have become islands of ideologues arrayed against and not with the Rural America that they intend to vacate and then claim.  Behind the carefully-designed persona of USFS, BLM, USFWS, EPA, et al lays bureaucrats with the power of Soviet Commissars and agendas that are truly dangerous to Rural America.

What applies to wolves, applies to grizzly bears, spotted owls, Delta smelt, Ivory-billed Woodpeckers and a host of similar select wildlife species.  They are grist for a myriad of hidden agendas not least of which is the personal and organizational enrichment of bureaucrats; politicians; academics, environmental extremists; and allied conservation and human use organizations like those representing hunters, dog owners and animal husbandry businesses.

I will state here unequivocally that if you think you have trouble with wolves, you are mistaken.  Your basic problem is not with wolves: your basic problem is with government. Unless and until you resolve this government aspect of the wolf problems; you are doing only what Neville Chamberlain did when waving a piece of paper and saying that his meeting with “Mr. Hitler” had brought “peace in our time”. Unless and until you limit the authority being exercised by federal bureaucrats under the ESA; things with wolves and other wildlife will only get worse to degrees and in ways I hesitate to mention because of the disbelief it would engender.

If you think I exaggerate, consider how far this bureaucrat empowerment has come in the last two decades:

–       Federal bureaucrats can steal millions from state programs with no consequences.

–       Federal bureaucrats can introduce wolves despite Congressional refusal to authorize it, again with no consequences.

–       Federal bureaucrats can name and rename “species” and “populations” in ways that further extremist agendas without challenge.

–       Federal bureaucrats can “take” (with “Habitat” claims) Private Property; decimate rural economies; destroy rural communities, local governments and rural tax revenue without any responsibility.

–       Federal bureaucrats can get “secret” appropriations for clandestine operations as USFWS did over a decade ago with $14M to find a bird extinct for 70 years, the Ivory-billed Woodpecker.

–       Federal bureaucrat appointees head up multi-million dollar organizations when Administrations change and they resign.  It is so common and routine in today’s world of transferring retirement accounts to new jobs that the “musical chairs” between Federal, State, NGO and Academic players in these issues for full-time, part-time and after-retirement grants and positions that business card stores are keeping busy.

–       Federal bureaucrats exercise discretion such that oil companies with modest sludge pits that kill a few grebes are publicly prosecuted, fined and pilloried while wind turbine farms killed millions of protected birds for decades with impunity free from prosecution and publicity only to be granted future carte blanche bird kill permits even including hundreds of eagles.

A government problem, i.e. unfettered bureaucratic power, can only be resolved by a government solution as was learned by Americans fed up with the effects of Prohibition in the early 1930’s.  All the “ecosystem” arguments and all the denial of history and all the faux science about willows along streams and “Alpha” wolves, etc. are simply window dressing to make you feel good and to encourage urban voters to ever-greater oppression of rural residents and their communities in the name of “biodiversity” and “native species”.

  1. The Solution– As a retired wildlife biologist with 30+ years of federal bureaucracy; a year as a Congressional Fellow on Capitol Hill; and as a writer and speaker on these matters for over 15 years: I believe there are only two solutions that hold any hope and we must choose one of them if there is to be any hope for rural America.  Unless and until the arbitrary and unfettered power of federal bureaucrats to manipulate animals like wolves (deadly, destructive, ubiquitous and not even a species) and other wild animals as they wish; and unless the unjust and ruinous aspects of the authority and jurisdiction of federal power simply absorbing State and Local government roles and Constitutional responsibilities under the shadow of the ESA (and other such federal laws (not just regulations) like – The Airborne Hunting ActAnimal Welfare ActMarine Mammal Protection ActNational Forest Management ActNational Park Service ActNational Wildlife Refuge Administration ActWild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros ActWilderness Act; the broadened and abused Executive Order aspects of the Antiquities Act, and the federal drafting and use of UN Convention Mandates to manufacture increased federal authority over everything from takings and guns to wildlife, rural land use and state and local government roles in general.

Choose one:

  1. Amend the Endangered Species Act to redirect federal authority back into line with Constitutional precedence and understanding.  This would require that all ongoing and future federal Endangered Species activity in every state (planning, funding, land acquisition, property easement, public land use changes, compensation, wildlife control, introductions, habitat modifications, human activity regulation, private property controls, etc.) must have the participation and a signed approval on a five-year basis from the Governor of the State.  I would recommend that State laws be simultaneously amended or drafted to give those Counties directly affected by any proposed Endangered Species activity preferential status in any state approval process.  For instance require that the Governor MUST have the agreement of 50(?), 75(?) percent of the Counties DIRECTLY AFFECTED BY THE PROPOSED FEDERAL ENDANGERED  ACTIONS and that there must be at least three public hearings on the proposed actions before the Counties affected are asked to approve or oppose the action.  It is no more right for federal bureaucrats to oppress rural communities with lesser political clout than it is for the Madison/Milwaukee, Wisconsins or the Portland/Eugene, Oregons of the USA to oppress their less numerous rural neighbors, their economies and their “ways-of-life”.  Assuring state approval and involvement in any federal endangered species activity returns a very real check on currently unchecked federal bureaucratic power.  Assuring a serious rural voice in any and all state approval action brings a balance to those voiceless rural Americans often harmed unknowingly by urban neighbors with “no real dog in the fight”.  Making the point that, unlike the supporters of Sanctuary Cities and Sanctuary States, those of us harmed by and opposing effects of an onerous federal law believe in changing that law to eliminate the harms while providing for achieving the original intent of the law.

Or:

  1. Repeal the Endangered Species Act and restore the historic American jurisdictional roles regarding wild animals.  This might well be the best solution for wildlife as well as rural Americans.  Let those noticing and concerned about the diminishment of a wild species or population first look to their own funding and conclusions.  Let them hire academic specialists to confirm the status and make recommendations, if necessary.  Let them raise money and if private funding or voluntary modifications cannot be generated, let them turn to state government for funding or to ask the state DNR/F&G for help.  Absent sufficient support, let those concerned seek to build a partnership between their counterparts in nearby states to institute beneficial activities.  Absent success in that regard, let them appeal to their federal representatives through a planning process like that outlined under #1 above complete with state approval for presentation to the Appropriate Congressional Committees.  That is the American way and a recent example of the success of this approach is the discovery of and application of biological controls to limit the national expansion of Purple Loosestrife by several state wildlife agencies utilizing the Excise Taxes collected on arms and ammunition for state wildlife programs.

Neither solution requires pages of complex gibberish or defies understanding by the general public.  Each is simple, saves money and enhances Rural American life in more ways than we have time to list here.  Only when one is accomplished can any state, through its local governments take the pulse of those living with wolves and begin to implement:

  1. If, and if so where, wolves will be tolerated?
  2. What state legislation, if any, is required?
  3. Are capable employees available, trained and willing to carry out these tasks?
  4. How many wolves will be tolerated?
  5. When and how wolves will be controlled and by whom, at what cost?
  6. How will tolerable wolf levels be achieved and how will they be maintained?
  7. What methods and circumstances will be tolerated or banned?
  8. How much is the cost; where does it come from; and who pays it?

These are all fertile subjects for a talk when next you invite me to speak.

  1. Chaos as Opportunity– I sense an exasperation and hopelessness that I have encountered for many years, in many locations.  If this is even possible and the two answers could fit on a postcard; how come it has not been done already?  The answer is, your level of frustration and hopelessness has never been so high, so widespread, and your level of understanding about where all this is leading has never been as thorough.

Something else has changed that makes what has been believed to be impossible, possible.  It is called Chaos and it may be our chance to make the unmentionable, mentionable and to reverse the rule of bureaucrat commissars to restore the Constitutional rule of free men and women by a limited government as envisioned in the Constitution.

Consider the following historic results from Chaos.  Remember that some are good, some are bad, but all were unforeseen and significant thanks to the advantages presented by chaos and the ability of supporters to capitalize on that chaos:

–       From 1773 (Boston Tea Party) to 1781(Yorktown) we fought a hard and divisive Revolutionary War.  Six years later in 1787 we united under a bitterly-argued Constitution no one really anticipated and that has been uniquely functional to this day.  Absent the tumult and chaos of those years, it is unlikely that any such document and nation would have ever existed.

–       In 1865 Lee surrendered to Grant at Appomattox.  From 1864 to January 1959 14 states were admitted to the Union, of those, 12 (Alaska, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, etc.) were admitted with large percentages of the state (unlike MN, IL, MI, MS, etc.) withheld by federal fiat in defiance of existing federal legislation and precedence under the Property Clause of the US Constitution and the Northwest Ordinance.  This reserved land formed the nucleus of today’s “federal” estate and the land managing agencies roaming out of control today.  Much of the motivation for withholding was the residue of a federal victory over the states and the feeling that states should not be so powerful again.  That federal hegemonic view has become an ideal for modern environmentalists and federal bureaucrats that ignore Local governments and simply corrupt State governments.  I submit this would have not been possible but for the chaos of the Civil War.

–       During 1913 to 1921 Woodrow Wilson was President and the 16th Amendment (Federal Income Tax) & 17th Amendment (direct election of Senators) were passed; Federal Reserve was founded; US Military and Civil Service were segregated; World War I; invasion of Mexico and Haiti; Russian Revolution; collapse of European Monarchies, and finally, the 18th Amendment (Prohibition) passed.  I suggest that the chaos of those years made the passage of this latter very bad CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT (not a law) possible and advocates took advantage of that chaos to gain passage.

–       The period 1929 to 1933 saw a Stock Market Crash, Bank failures, inflation, Depression and the beginnings of the Dust Bowl and the collapse of US agriculture and much of rural America.  One of the key platforms that elected Franklin D Roosevelt in 1933 was Repeal of the 18th Amendment (i.e. Prohibition) that then took place when he was elected.  Would Repeal of a 15 year-old Constitutional Amendment (a much higher bar than a “law”) have been possible without all the chaos of that period?  I think not.

–       The chaotic 1960’s and 70’s consisted of Free Love, open drug use, Vietnam, anti-War riots and the Watergate fiasco.  As President Nixon navigated the Vietnam withdrawal, Watergate and Resignation: and as President Ford sought election in his own right, there was an orgy of federal environmental/animal rights legislation and an explosion of bureaucracies and bureaucrats to “save” fill-in-the-blank and gain sympathetic votes.  This included the ESA, AWA, MMPA, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Coastal Zone Mgt. Act, Estuarine Act, Noxious Weed Act, F&W Coordination Act, USFS Organic Act, Fisheries Conservation Act, Fur Seal Act, NEPA, NPS Act, RF Recreation Act, River and Harbor Act, Water Bank, Wilderness Act, Wild Horse & Burro Act to name but a few.  Add in new Bird Treaties entered into to expand US federal authority over more bird species like pelicans, certain hawks and owls, and cormorants; plus UN Conventions on everything from Culture and Heritage Declarations to International ES Trade and Polar Bears and all the federal offices, agencies and their costs exerting all these new authorities and one wonders how any private property, state environmental responsibility or especially rural communities still exists. I strongly believe that this environmental “awakening” would not look anything like it is were it not for the 60’s and two desperate Presidents in search of those big voter blocs in US cities to save their Administrations by giving unaffected voters imaginary benefits “out there”.

–       Finally we have the Chaos of today.  I speak here not of the chaotic sharpening of Party animosities; the turbulent and unexpected-by-many election results; the politicizing of sports; or the knock-down drag-out issues before Congress.  Let us focus on two things.

First, there is the proliferation of “Sanctuary Cities” and even “Sanctuary States”.  These cities and states vowing to give no cooperation to federal Immigration Laws and personnel are, almost without exception, the very vote-rich Cities and States Nixon and Ford looked to for support.  They are the hotbeds of the “more wolves”, “more smelt”, “more grizzly bears”, “more government land control authority” and “more rural-oriented federal regulation” coalitions.  Consider the irony here.  They are enamored of using their federal voting majorities to oppress rural Americans and rural communities while simultaneously justifying their defiance of federal laws they don’t happen to like such as immigration.

Second, consider the outrage in high-tax states like NY, CA & NJ against the potential loss of the federal tax write-off of State taxes as federal taxes are being “reformed”.  These high-tax states’ political representatives might be amenable to rural and low-tax states’ cooperation in return for cooperation in resolving the Endangered Species “problem” as tax reform, debt control and American businesses are front-and-center politically.

I suggest these two issues, among others, might be used to our advantage.

  1. Taking Advantage – We are entering into a contentious political period where incumbents, upstart challengers and extreme political philosophies will be vying for your vote with great intensity.  If we were to form alliances with like-minded groups and lobby for something simple, straightforward and understandable such as either of the two proposals I have mentioned; is it not possible that chaotic circumstances might invite in a Repeal or Amendment movement as an issue much like FDR’s Repeal of Prohibition emerged in the midst of complex turbulences and political opportunity?

Would not urban candidates and incumbents be able to explain their support for Repeal or Amendment of the ESA (and other such harmful laws?) necessitated by the corruption, economic and other impacts from human safety to ecosystem diversification losses it has spawned, as comparable to the way city dwellers have reacted to and view Immigration enforcement issues?   Could not a wide, national coalition support one of these straightforward proposals when they understand what the alternatives are in light of what we know today?  Would not most Americans support a change that empowers their state government’s authority and revenue, while reinvigorating Local government revenue and authority?  Wouldn’t such change enhance the power of State and Local governments to protect and enhance rural communities, their businesses, and their “domestic Tranquility” and “general Welfare” to quote the Preamble to the Constitution?  You might even learn some things about “your” representative lobby group as you seek to make changes that really matter.

Imagine, if all the hunting, trapping and fishing “Forever’s”, “Unlimited’ s”, “Associations” and “Foundations” allied themselves with the Cattlemen, the Timber industry, the Farm Bureau and Farm organizations, the many Dog organizations, Agriculture businesses and many rural society organizations from churches and community groups to local political organizations and Scout groups to advocate a simple message.  If they were to begin telling the media; the school teachers; their Local, State and Federal politicians; their Political Party; their friends and relatives; their Universities; and the entire world that they demand change.  Not that they request change or that something like it would be nice and we would be so grateful.

That change is simply that we in Rural America, like many of our urban counterparts, will no longer tolerate a federal law (the ESA) that harms our families and communities like several States and many large Cities perceive current immigration laws.  Unlike those States and Cities, we want to either Amend or Repeal the onerous Endangered Species Act.  Either we:

  1. Amend the ESA to provide for public input by requiring that any and all ESA activity must be done under a species specific 5-year Plan with the participation of the Counties directly affected and Approved by the Governor of the State; or
  2. Repeal the ESA and allow species-specific concerns for wild plants and animals to receive attention first by grass-roots advocates and then only when failing to resolve the problem through a progression of appeals and proposals through Universities, national organizations of all stripes, local governments, and State governments; as a last resort appeal to the US Congress with a specific proposal that, like the Amendment proposed above, can be developed with Local participation and Governor approval on a 5-year basis.

This is a truly American solution to a problem vexing a particular segment of society and would be good not only for rural communities but better for the wildlife since locally-supported wildlife communities are good for both people and wildlife in the long run.  Depending on which (1 or 2) tack is chosen, at an opportune time demand a State law that states the Governor must have the approval of 51% or 60% of the County governments in those Counties directly affected by any federal Endangered Species activity before approving such federal actions.

Who can oppose Local participation?  Who can oppose a voice for the rural communities faced with often onerous federal actions not necessitated by national defense?  What could be more simple and understandable to the general public or even politicians?  If not now, when?

The next three, and possibly seven, years are our best chance to correct the anti-rural government problems we face. The upcoming (in one year) mid-term elections will be important opportunities but the next Presidential election in three years is a golden opportunity complete with plenty of time for preparation.  Depending on 2020, the following 2-year and 4-year elections may well be the greatest and perhaps even last golden opportunity presenting itself to us to straighten out these problems. Problems everyone tells us are settled and unchangeable (where have we heard that before?) but that are suddenly open to change and potentially resolvable.

Just as the Founding Fathers emerged from Colonial status into the most powerful nation in the world; and corruption-fighters emerged successfully from the nightmare of Prohibition thanks in large measure to a chaotic period involving unrelated issues: we can take advantage of this chaos we find ourselves in to improve a wide array of government environmental abuses in order to make a better Nation for ourselves, our environment and our descendants.

Thank you for this opportunity to speak to you about what I believe is the paramount issue facing Rural America today.

We have time for a few questions.

Jim Beers

18 November 2017

If you found this worthwhile, please share it with others. Thanks.

Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC.  He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands.  He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC.  He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority.  He is an advocate for a Rural American Renewal that benefits rather than ruins the culture, economy and surroundings of rural communities and families.  He resides in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife of many decades.

Jim Beers is available to speak or for consulting.

You can receive future articles by sending a request with your e-mail address to:   jimbeers7@comcast.net

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RMEF Enabling Perpetuation of GI Wolves

*Editor’s Note* – Below is a press release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. It is the announcement of a $50,000 grant to the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks for wolf management. The presser states that half the $50,000 will be used for “wolf collaring and management actions for problem wolves.” The other half for  “developing what’s called the Patch Occupancy Model (POM) for estimating wolf populations.”

The Federal Government and their totalitarian NGOs, took on a criminal enterprise to force wolves onto the landscape which included the Montana region. Once they strong-armed their “GI Wolves” onto the public, they then forced the Montana taxpayers to now pick up the bill to continue their criminal enterprise. Can you spell extortion? So why is the RMEF enabling the continuation of this criminal enterprise?

Instead of spending $25,000 on collaring problem wolves, why not just kill the damned things and get rid of them? In addition, only a moron thinks that a computer-driven, outcome-based, fake “model” can more accurately tell fake managers how many wolves there really are. The only thing fake computer models will do is manipulate an already rigged system that can be used to con organizations, like the RMEF, out of $50,000 to further perpetuate their criminal activities.

RMEF should use the $50,000 to pay hunters and trappers to kill the wolves and in return this action will please members of the RMEF who are tired of seeing their money spent so that more wolves can be grown which, in turn, further erodes their hunting opportunities. How many elk tags have been taken away from hunters since the proliferation of GI Wolves?

This makes absolutely no sense at all. RMEF needs to rethink their policies.

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

RMEF Grant to Benefit Montana Wolf Management

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) a $50,000 grant to assist with wolf management in the state of Montana.

“Montana’s wolf population is more than three times larger than federally-required minimum mandates,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “This funding will help FWP get a better grasp on wolf numbers as a benefit to wildlife managers tasked with seeking to balance predator and prey populations while doing so in a more cost effective manner.”

Half of the grant funding will go toward wolf collaring and management actions for problem wolves. The other half will assist a joint effort by FWP and the University of Montana in further developing what’s called the Patch Occupancy Model (POM) for estimating wolf populations.

POM incorporates data on territory and wolf pack sizes along with hunter observations and known wolf locations to get to a more accurate estimation of wolf populations. It is a much cheaper undertaking than previous efforts since it incorporates data analysis rather than direct counting efforts.

Montana’s 2016 wolf report shows a minimum of 477 wolves which is down from 536 wolves counted in 2015, however it does not necessarily reflect a reduction in wolf numbers, but rather a reduction in counting effort.

“Though the minimum count is down, we’ve long held that these minimum counts are useful only in ensuring Montana’s wolf population stays above the federally-mandated minimum threshold. The minimum count is not a population count or an index or estimate of the total number of wolves,” said Bob Inman, FWP carnivore and furbearer program chief.

RMEF also provided grant funding to FWP in 2015 for development of the Patch Occupancy Model.

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Panel: Bipartisan Bills Enhance ESA Protections, Boost Hydropower Reliability

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 12, 2017 –

Today, the Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans held a legislative hearing on H.R. 3144 (Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-WA) and H.R. 3916 (Rep. Ken Calvert, R-CA), the “Federally Integrated Species Health Act” or “FISH Act,” bills to improve the recovery of Endangered Species Act (ESA) listed fish while providing certainty for water and power users.

Clearly, the ESA process is broken and the status quo isn’t working for species, farmers and ranchers and rural communities that depend on our natural resources. Under the status quo, American taxpayers and ratepayers in the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere in the West spend literally billions of dollars each year resulting from conflicting or duplicative federal regulatory or judicial edicts under the guise of the ESA. These bills represent bipartisan, pragmatic solutions,” Subcommittee Chairman Doug Lamborn (R-CO) said.

The current hydropower system along the Columbia-Snake Rivers is held hostage to litigation and unpredictable federal rulings that could impose tens of millions of dollars on taxpayers and Pacific Northwest ratepayers with little additional benefit to endangered salmon. H.R. 3144 creates a more reliable and cost-efficient regulatory framework by providing federal agencies that operate Northwest hydropower dams with statutory clarity in the enforcement of the ESA, in line with a collaborative plan deemed scientifically sound by the previous two administrations, several states, tribes, utilities, ports and other stakeholders.

The dams of the Columbia-Snake River system are multipurpose in that they provide hydropower, flood control, navigation, irrigated agriculture and recreation. The benefits of the dams cannot be measured by megawatts alone but in the overall value they provide the region,” United Power Trades Organization President Jack Heffling stated. “[Keeping the current federal plan] continues the programs that have proven extremely successful in migrating fish survival.”

“Eighty percent of PNGC’s power supply comes from the Bonneville Power Administration… PNGC values the clean, carbon free, flexible hydropower resources that BPA provides,” PNGC Power President and CEO Beth Looney stated“If BPA’s rates continue to climb at their current trajectory, they will likely not be competitive with alternative power supply choices in the region at that time… as an electric cooperative, we have a responsibility to supply power to our members at an affordable rate whether that comes from Bonneville or elsewhere.”

The four dams along the Snake River produce enough renewable energy to power 1.8 million homes annually or the equivalent of two nuclear, three coal-fired or six gas-fired power plants.

Acting Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation Alan Mikkelsen expressed support to reduce litigation and refocus resources on the current operation plan while working towards “a quality long term [Federal Columbia River Power] System solution.”

The need to balance the ongoing operations of the [Federal Columbia River Power] System and achieving compliance with environmental laws is what H.R. 3144 seeks to achieve,” Mikkelsen added.

H.R. 3916, a concept supported by President Obama in 2011,  also eliminates redundancies and regulatory confusion across federal agencies related to ESA enforcement.

H.R. 3916  is [an] important step in reducing wasted time and money and represents a practical, common-sense change… that we strongly support,” Executive Director of the Family Farm Alliance Dan Keppen stated. The FISH Act provides an opportunity to enhance protections to threatened and endangered species by improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the federal government’s approach to species protection through better decision-making.

[SOURCE]

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Bills to Modernize Endangered Species Act Advance Through Committee

Press Release from the House Committee on Natural Resources:

*Editor’s Note* – It is highly recommended that readers take the time to read the full text of each proposed bill. Links are provided. A synopsis, as is provided, often only relays what the author wants readers to read and not what a bill actually says and does, or does not do.

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 4, 2017 –

Today, the House Committee on Natural Resources passed five bills to reform the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) issued the following statement:

The ESA is a landmark statute created with noble intent. It also includes fatal design flaws that inhibit greater success and handicap state-led, science-based recovery strategies. These flaws must be addressed and the law must be modernized. This slate of bills provides a framework for this discussion that we will build upon in coordination with the Senate, Trump administration, states and all interested stakeholders. I thank the bill sponsors for their work on these important pieces of legislation and look forward to our work ahead.”

H.R. 424 (Rep. Collin Peterson, D-MN), the “Gray Wolf State Management Act of 2017,” reissues the final rules from the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to delist the gray wolf in the Western Great Lakes region and maintains effective state wolf management in Wyoming. The bipartisan bill passed by a vote of 26-14.

H.R. 717 (Rep. Pete Olson, R-TX), the “Listing Reform Act,” allows for the consideration of economic factors in threatened listing decisions. It also provides flexibility to agencies’ prioritization in processing listing petitions, which relieves FWS from excessive litigation and allows more resources to be used for species conservation and recovery. It passed by a vote of 22-13.

H.R. 1274 (Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-WA), the “State, Tribal and Local Species Transparency and Recovery Act,” fosters greater cooperation between the federal government and states by ensuring state, local and tribal scientific data is factored into ESA species listing decisions. The bill passed by a vote of 22-14.

H.R. 2603 (Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-TX), the “Saving America’s Endangered Species Act” or “SAVES Act,” removes duplicative permitting requirements for interstate movement of nonnative endangered species enhancing opportunities for conservation. The bipartisan “SAVES Act” passed by a vote of 23-16.

H.R. 3131 (Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-MI), the “Endangered Species Litigation Reasonableness Act,” combats the recent proliferation of ESA-related litigation by capping attorneys’ fees to the same reasonable levels allowed for other types of citizen lawsuits against the government. It passed by a vote of 22-16.

Click here to view full markup action.

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Canada Lynx Are So “Endangered” They Play on People’s Decks

While the moment is presented as a unique opportunity for a photographer in Alaska to take pictures of a family of Canada lynx hanging out on his deck, it also shows the inanity of the U.S. Federal Government, and the useful idiots who enable them, spending millions of dollars protecting a species that doesn’t even come close to being endangered or threatened in any way.

But, we are living in an insane and post normal existence now.

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Rockholm Video: The Real Wolf Story

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