Gallatin Wildlife Association

                          Action Alerts:

 

 

                  Wilderness Under Threat

Photo taken by Clint Nagel, July 2017.

 

There are probably no greater threats to wildlife than the threat to wilderness. The Gallatin Wildlife Association is probably more conscious and fights for more wilderness issues than many other large NGO(s) that proclaim to be "wilderness organizations". The reason: because wildlife are more likely to congregate and survive in those areas that are "roadless". But as this mailer from Wilderness Watch indicates, our existing and our WSA(s) are totally under the gun as far as viability and integrity are concerned. Several alerts from other organizations have been pulled together to form this list of "bad wilderness bills". This forward summarizes many of the proposed legislative bills in Congress that would harm wilderness areas.

 

 

Many of these same issues are also found singularly below on this GWA webpage providing more information. 

 

The following links in this section will take you to the Wilderness Watch website to petition our Congressional Delegation.

 

In order to assist with our efforts with Congress, we are calling on Wilderness supporters to urge their senators and representative to oppose the most egregious, anti-Wilderness bills!

 

As you know, the list of anti-Wilderness bills in Congress is long. We’re focusing on the following bills:

 

  • The so-called "Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act"(H.R. 3668) an NRA/Safari Club International-backed bill that is nothing more than a thinly disguised measure to gut the 1964 Wilderness Act and the protections afforded to every unit of America’s 110 million-acre National Wilderness Preservation System.

 

  • The “Wheels in Wilderness Bill” (H.R. 1349), which would amend and weaken the Wilderness Act to allow mountain bikes, strollers, wheelbarrows, game carts, survey wheels and measuring wheels in Wilderness.

 

  • A couple of terrible “Border Bills” that purportedly deal with border security, but would actually threaten all of America's Wilderness areas within 100 miles of the southern border with Mexico and within 100 miles of the northern border with Canada, including the border between Alaska and Canada.

 

  • The so-called “Protect Public use of Public Lands Act" (S. 2206), which would release 450,000 acres of America’s Wilderness Study Areas in Montana and potentially open up these wildlands to logging, mining, motorized recreation and road building.
  • Then of course we have Representative Gianforte's recent introductions of  H.R. 5148, H.R. 5149.

One of Rep. Gianforte’s bills (H.R. 5148) is a companion bill to Senator Steve Daines’ S. 2206, which would open up the Big Snowies, the Middle Fork Judith, West Pioneers, Sapphire, and Blue Joint wilderness study areas – a half-million acres in all – to hard-rock mining, oil and gas development, and expanded motorized use.

 

His other bill (H.R. 5149) would do the same to 24 more wilderness study areas, including the Terry Badlands, the Centennials, and six areas within the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument. According to a press release he issued last week, these areas comprise "over 240,000 acres ... that the Bureau of Land Management found not suitable for wilderness designation by 1980."

 

  • Any Senate companion bills to H.R. 3905 and H.R. 3115, two bills that promote new mining near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota. H.R. 3905 and H.R. 3115, two bills that promote new mining near the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Minnesota. 

 

TAKE ACTION

 

Please Act today!

               Custer Gallatin National Forest 

                     Forest Revision Plan

                       Proposed Action

Photo taken up Hyalite Canyon by Clint Nagel.

While the public commenting period is over on the CGNF's Proposed Action (ending Mar.5th), the public still has ample time to comment on the process gowing forward. We are still in Phase II of the Forest Plan Revision. By reviewing the timeline as issued by the U.S. Forest Service, the next step should be some Proposed Plan community meetings during the winter and spring of 2018. The next public meeting on the Forest Plan Revision will be on April 21 here in Bozeman. Stay tuned for details on further information.

 

https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/custergallatin/landmanagement/planning/?cid=fseprd518908

 

After that the CGNF should be developing some conceptual alternatives to the Proposed Action. GWA urges all to remain in the process and continue to comment throughout. GWA's comments on the Proposed Action are available for all to read at this link here.

 

https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public/ReadingRoom?List-size=25&project=50185&List-page=1&SearchResultsPerPage=25

 

There is nothing that will be affecting the quality of wildlife or their habitat more than how federal lands, public lands are administered. For more information, you can click on the Forest Service links below. 

 

Here is the Plan itself: 

                       https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd567788.pdf

 

On the attached page, there are some notes provided by a friend of ours George Wuerthner. These specifically deal with wilderness. Please feel free to use if needed. To view please see the link above entitled "Notes on CGNF Proposed Action" or click:

 

              http://www.gallatinwildlifeassociation.com/action-alerts/notes-on-cgnf-proposed-action/

 

Please send your comments to Senator Tester https://www.tester.senate.gov/contact/ 

 

Senator Daines https://www.daines.senate.gov/connect/email-steve 

 

and Congressman Gianforte https://gianforte.house.gov/contact

 

1. Senate Bill 2206, the “Protect Public Use of Public Lands Act" needs to be defeated.

Crystal Lake, Big Snowy Mountains, Lewis and Clark NF, Montana by George Wuerthner

 

As if our natural world hasn’t been under enough attacks lately, Senator Daines has proposed one more in recent months. The Gallatin Wildlife Association (GWA) would like to address the proposed “legislative deal” the Senator announced last month; his support for “The Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act” in lieu of legislation to remove wilderness study area (WSA) protections from 5 WSAs within the state of Montana. 

 

That legislation is known as Senate Bill 2206, the “Protect Public Use of Public Lands Act". In spite of what the name implies, the bill would actually remove protections from five (5) wilderness study areas. The five WSAs in question include the 151,000 acres of the West Pioneers, 94,000 acres of the Sapphire Mountains WSA, 81,000 acres from the Middle Fork Judith WSA, 32,500 acres of the Bitterroot’s Blue Joint WSA and 91,000 acres of the Big Snowies.

 

As a non-profit volunteer wildlife conservation organization, GWA cannot support such action. We represent hunters, anglers and other wildlife advocates in Southwest Montana and elsewhere. Our mission is to protect habitat and conserve fish and wildlife. The removal of wilderness study area protections from these 5 existing WSA(s) is in contradiction to that mission. We support the Montana constitution which states: “the opportunity to harvest wild game is a heritage that shall forever be preserved” and that “the legislature shall provide adequate remedies to prevent unreasonable depletion of natural resources.” This proposal also contradicts that mission.

 

West Fork Rock Creek, Sapphire Mountains, Beaverhead Deerlodge NF, Montana George Wuerthner

It is GWA’s position that removing existing protections would only open up these lands for further exploitation and road building. This would increase the need for more management, more government, and more dollars spent. There is already a serious maintenance backlog on public lands which need the full attention of resources and financial dollars. His proposed legislation would exasperate the problem, but yield nothing in return which would increase the protection of public use. His past actions regarding public lands indicate emphasis on resource extraction and on local control largely for economic benefits, at the expense of diverse regional and national interests. We disagree with the expansion and prioritization of local controls on our federal lands. It is the conservative approach to downsize government; your proposal contradicts that effort. He should focus on other areas in government that could be used to streamline and make government more efficient. It is in this regard, GWA believes that all “inventoried roadless areas” need protection for it is those areas that are critical for wildlife habitat and minimizes the need for more government action.

 

Below is a link from the Billings Gazette. It is their guest opinion piece that states that these WSAs should be protected, not disbandoned.

 

http://billingsgazette.com/opinion/columnists/guest-opinion-defending-montana-s-wilderness-study-areas/article_54a0d5f3-b3a5-5c0b-bdff-f1a8f8edca02.html

 

We urge all members and non-members alike to write Senator Daines and tell him to support the Yellowstone Gateway Protection Act with no strings attached. And in the same effort, he should pull his legislation S. 2206 from the Senate floor and use his leadership ability to work toward finalization and protection of these lands rather than open them up for future exploitation and resource extraction.

 

Hiker above Blue Joint drainage, Bitterroot National Forest, Montana George Wuerthner

2. The SHARE Act is a bad Bill:

 

If it seems like the Share Act has been around for a long time; it has. First announced and voted on in early 2016 of the 114th Congress, it was known as H.R. 2406. The bill was reintroduced in the fall of 2017, known as H.R. 3668 in the 115th Congress. Like many bills as of late, many bills introduced have appealing sounding names, but their names have the opposite effect. The SHARE ACT, otherwise known as the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act, is no different. All that being said, the bill, the idea is devastating for wildlife. It also sets bad precedent for wilderness. 

The long list of devastation in which the SHARE Act offers includes provisions you see below:

  • Undermine the ESA and the rule of law by legislatively delisting wolves in the Great Lakes region and upholding a recent court decision to delist wolves in Wyoming while barring judicial review of these decisions;
  • Allow wildlife trapping for the first time on many U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands;
  • Interfere with federal agencies’ ability to protect marine and coastal wildlife habitat – including sea turtle and seabird nesting beaches; and
  • Open pristine wilderness to road construction, allowing for the construction of "temporary" roads in Wilderness Areas,
  • Remove Wilderness Act laws that prohibit motorized vehicles and other activities that would degrade essential wildlife habitat,
  • Give hunting and fishing resources priority over the protection of wilderness characteristics in these areas,
  • Exempt the above activities from National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review

 

The SHARE Act’s avalanche of anti-wildlife, anti-ESA provisions are only “generous” in their unabashed attempts to undermine wildlife conservation.

 

Please contact both Senator Daines and Tester today and urge them to OPPOSE the SHARE ACT (H.R. 3668).

 

https://www.tester.senate.gov/?p=email_senator

 

https://www.daines.senate.gov/connect/email-steve

 

We must defeat the SHARE Act.

3. Protect the Smith:

 

 

 Tintina stumbles over first regulatory hurdle: Much more to come.

   While the DEQ has approved Tintina's application for a permit, the process is only beginning. Make your voice heard today.

   What can you do?


  1. Write the Governor by clicking the take action button below
  2. Post your support for the Smith on your social media channels, tagging Governor Steve Bullock, the Montana DEQ and Tintina.
  3. Donate to
Montana Trout Unlimited to help continue the effort to protect the Smith.
  4. Contact Colin Cooney,
ccooney@tu.org, for your free Smith River koozies and stickers.
 

4. Devastating Trump Forest Legislation Moving in Congress

 

The link below and alert was copied from our friends at Cascadia Wildlands. They are warning us of another in a long line of threats to our wildlands and ecosystem. It never hurts to write letters protecting what we love. We urge all of you to do the same.

 

The link to their website and to this article can be found here.

 

http://org2.salsalabs.com/o/5868/t/0/blastContent.jsp?email_blast_KEY=1396865

 

 

Your voice is urgently needed to protect old-growth and clean water in the Pacific Northwest.

 

Hi Cascadia Wildlands Supporter,

 

The horrible forest legislation that we have been anticipating from Congress after the election of Trump has arrived. The "Resilient Federal Forests Act" (HR 2936) has already passed a full House vote. It now moves to the U.S. Senate. The bill guts federal environmental protections for our beloved backyard forests and paves the way for rampant clearcutting.

 

Take action today to help us stop this reckless Trump bill.

If enacted, HR 2936 would immediately remove critical protections provided by the Endangered Species Act, National Forest Management Act, the Northwest Forest Plan, and the National Environmental Policy Act.  All existing forest plans that have sought to balance timber production and public values, including clean water, imperiled species habitat and recreation, will become advisory and unenforceable, and public opportunities to prevent illegal logging from moving forward are eliminated.

 

This is truly a horrible bill, certainly the worst since the notorious Salvage Rider of the 1990s, and it would have tremendous implications for forests, rivers, species and carbon stores in the Pacific Northwest. A tidal wave of public opposition is needed right now to prevent this bill from moving forward!

Please take a second to support our old-growth forests and urge your Senator to VOTE NO on HR 2936!

 

Please use the contact links on the home page to write your Senator.

 

Thank you for helping us keep it wild!

 

Picture above was provided by:

 

(Juvenile northern spotted owl
photo by James Johnston)

 

 

 

   

5. Threats to the Endangered Species Act

 

In conjunction with the article below, the Gallatin Wildlife Association is proud to be one of 425 co-signers on a letter to the political leaders in Washington D.C. We urge all of you to contact our Congressional Delegation as well as those listed to show maximum support for the ESA. The thank you letter from the Endangered Species Coalition as well as the link to the actual letter sent to Washington D.C. is below. The letter was addressed to those 8 members of House and Senate who you see listed.

 

 

From: Endangered Species Coalition
Sent: Friday, July 07, 2017 8:01 AM
To: Gallatin Wildlife Association

Subject: Thank you for supporting the Endangered Species Act

 

Thank you to all of you who have signed on to this letter in support of the Endangered Species Act. With your support, we surpassed our goal of 200 signers and wrapped up the letter with a total of 425 groups representing all 50 states!

 

The release and letter are here:

 

http://www.endangered.org/overwhelming-support-for-the-endangered-species-act/

 

The full letter to Senate and House leadership can be read here.

 

Please share on social media and with your networks as possible.

 

Thank you,

 

Tara Thornton
Program Director
Endangered Species Coalition

 
 
 

 

The Honorable Mitch McConnell

Majority Leader

United States Senate

 

The Honorable Charles E. Schumer

Minority Leader

United States Senate

 

The Honorable John Barrasso

Chairman

Environment and Public Works Committee

 

The Honorable Tom Carper

Ranking Member

Environment and Public Works Committee

 

The Honorable Paul Ryan

Speaker

United States House of Representatives

 

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi

Democratic Leader

United States House of Representatives

 

The Honorable Rob Bishop

Chairman

House Committee on Natural Resources

 

The Honorable Raúl Grijalva

Ranking Member

House Committee on Natural Resources

 

In February of this year, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works had conducted a hearing on proposed legislation called the "Oversight: Modernization of the Endangered Species Act". This hearing was chaired by Senate Chairman, Senator John Barasso of Wyoming.  His position is that “the Endangered Species Act ‘isn’t working today’ and it needs to be modernized, hence the name of the legislation. Modernization of this legislation is a code word for repeal and replace. In a few weeks, Senator John Barasso of Wyoming will most likely propose legislation which could very well gain wide spread support by the current administration and from anti-wildlife and anti-environmental groups.

 

It is safe to say that the Endangered Species Act has been and is our nation’s most effective law for protecting wildlife and plants in danger of extinction.  The ESA is the bedrock law protecting wildlife. Weakening of the ESA could threaten the existence of over 1,600 plants and animals under current protection. The ESA has been successful at keeping 99 percent of species listed from going extinct since its enactment. And without the ESA, it is estimated that 227 species would now be extinct. The Endangered Species Act is intensely popular by the majority of Americans as it represents the heart of all of our American principles. The Act’s effectiveness is reliant on a foundation of peer-reviewed, best available science in its listing; in its consultation, recovery and delisting decisions. It is the reliance on the understanding science of ecosystems and on the science of understanding wildlife, wildlife behavior and habitat that has helped ensure successful prevention of extinction.

 

Senator Barrasso’s effort to rewrite the ESA must be stopped. We need to tell him to drop his support for his legislation and tell our Senators not to support the “Oversight: Modernization of the Endangered Species Act”. Whatever happened to the promise we made to our children and grandchildren that we would pass our wildlife treasures on to future generations?

 

https://www.daines.senate.gov/connect/email-steve

 

https://www.tester.senate.gov/?p=email_senator

 

https://www.barrasso.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact-form

 

 

6.Threats Still Exists to Our National Monuments:

 

As you know, there has been a massive outpouring of support by the general public to protect our National Monuments and the Antiquities Act. A threat by the way as a result of an effort by this administration and the current Secretary of Interior, Ryan Zinke. Fortunately the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument seems to be spared by any changes, the same cannot be said for the other 26 monuments on the chopping block. Yesterday, the 24th of August, Secretary said that he had recommended that they downsize several national monuments. Although he did not specifically elaborate which ones, the Washington Post has reported on at least three of these national monuments to be altered are Utah's Bears Ears, Grand Staircase-Escalante and Oregon's Cascade-Siskiyou national monuments. The thing is; an attack on one is an attack on all public lands.

 

It didn't seem to matter that 2.7 Million people have commented through the formal and proper channel to protect our National Monuments. And 9 out of 10 people have commented in favor of the Bears Ears National Monument.

 

 

Even though the official comment period is over as of July 10th, it does not hurt to voice your opposition to this change in public lands. Even though the Trump administration did not heed the voices of the American public, Congress needs to listen to the these same voices. We need to tell our Senators and Representatives to keep hands off from eliminating or altering in any way the boundaries of exisitng national monuments and not to weaken the Antiquities Act. Trump will need Congressional approval to do this horrible act. We can't let that happen.

 

1. Senator Daines can be contacted at this link.

 

https://www.daines.senate.gov/connect/email-steve

 

Steve Daines' local office is 406-587-3446.

 

2. Senator Tester is strongly in favor of protection, but it does not hurt to reinforce his opinion and thank him for supporting our National Monuments and the Antiquities Act. His email link is:

 

https://www.tester.senate.gov/?p=email_senator

 

Jon Tester's local office is  406-586-4450 .

 

 

3. Greg Gianforte can be contacted at this link.

 

https://gianforte.house.gov/contact

 

       Greg Gianforte's DC office is 202-225-3211.

 

 

 

7. The Latest on Grizzly Bear Delisting

 

Sad to say, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has delisted the iconic species, the grizzly bear. Even though the grizzly has made a comeback in numbers from where it was at one time, the bear is still in danger, perhaps even more so today due to the diminishing food supply, the threat of hunting, and the lack of protection in wildlife corridors. These corridors are essential to maintain genetic diversity of bears of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem with the bears of the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem. For the latest read this most recent link dated today, June 22, 2017.

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/22/science/yellowstone-grizzly-bear-endangered-species-list.html

 

 

 Finally Some Good News on Grizzlies:

 

 The lastest from Michael Garrity, Executive Director for the Alliance for the Wild Rockies.

 

Date: August 23, 2017 12:26:41 PM MDT
 

Press Release
August 23, 2016

Contact: Mike Garrity, Executive Director, Alliance for the Wild Rockies, 406 459-5936

Federal District Court rules in favor of Alliance for the Wild Rockies’ effort to save Cabinet-Yaak Grizzly Bears from extinction

The Federal District Court in Missoula ruled in favor of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies yesterday in its lawsuit challenging the federal government’s refusal to provide enhanced protections for imperiled Cabinet-Yaak grizzly bears in northwest Montana. The Court agreed with the Alliance and vacated the newly-issued “not warranted” status, reinstated the 2013 “warranted but precluded” status, and remanded the issue back to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Background:

After being reduced to only two percent of their historic range, grizzly bears in the Lower 48 states were listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act in 1975, sparking efforts to recover the species, which have had positive outcomes in some areas.  However, in the Cabinet-Yaak ecosystem in northwest Montana, which is isolated from other grizzly bear populations, grizzlies continue to teeter on extinction primarily due to human-caused bear fatalities, habitat destruction, and motorized intrusion into core grizzly areas.  There are fewer than 50 bears in this area; mortality rates are high; and the population chronically fails all recovery goals.

Since the early 1990’s, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has admitted every year that this small grizzly population should be upgraded to ‘endangered’ status,” explained Mike Garrity, Executive Director of the Alliance for the Wild Rockies. “But for almost a quarter of a century the agency has used administrative loopholes to avoid making that formal designation, which would require the agency to delineate federally-protected ‘critical habitat’ that is essential to the recovery of these grizzlies

In 2014, conservationists filed suit to challenge the agency’s 20-year delay listing this population as an endangered species, and in response, the agency abruptly changed course to issue a determination that the upgrade to “endangered” status is no longer warranted for this imperiled population.  “The agency’s cursory one-paragraph decision that the Cabinet-Yaak grizzly bear no longer qualifies as ‘endangered’ fails to cite a single scientific paper or other source of evidence to support its rationale,” Garrity said. “But in sharp contrast to its public statements, internal agency documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by the Alliance found that the agency had no intention to issue a ‘not warranted’ decision and, in fact, found the isolated and small population and excessive human-caused mortalities warranted uplisting to ‘endangered’ status.   Once we filed our first lawsuit, however, the agency issued the ‘not warranted’ determination as a strategy to render our first lawsuit as moot.”

After the first lawsuit was subsequently dismissed as moot due to the agency’s strategic and manipulative decision to issue a “not warranted” finding, Alliance filed a second lawsuit that argued that the “not warranted” finding itself was arbitrary and capricious.  Yesterday, the federal court agreed, finding that it was arbitrary for the agency to apply a new policy redefining “endangered” at the eleventh hour.  Because the agency’s decision relied on the new policy without sufficient explanation, its decision was arbitrary and unlawful and was vacated by the court.

“The facts present a stark picture,” Garrity explained. “Since 2007, the agency’s estimate for this population has dropped from 47 to 41 bears.  For the bears native to the Cabinet Mountains, the population estimate has dropped from 15 to 5 bears – with the other bears being transplants.  Added to that is the fact that the total mortality rate for the bears has tripled from 0.9 per year from 1982-1998 to 3.1 per year in the period 1999-2014.”

Garrity pointed to the agency’s monitoring report published in January 2015 which found:  “The two periods (1983-1998 and 1999-2013) correspond to a decline in long term population trends beginning in 1999.  Grizzly bear survival of all sex and age classes decreased from 1999-2013.” Garrity noted that “the population also consistently fails all agency targets for recovery.  Grizzly bears fared no better in 2015, with at least six reported mortalities, including a mortality of a female, radio-collared bear in the Cabinet Mountains.”

“"It has been 24 years since the Fish and Wildlife Service first decided that this this small grizzly population should be upgraded to ‘endangered’ status, including over 20 years under a federal recovery plan.  But the population of Cabinet-Yaak grizzly bears is simply not recovering,” Garrity said.  “Instead, mortalities are increasing and we believe the population is actually dropping.  That’s why we had no choice but to file our recent lawsuit seeking to force the uplisting of the Cabinet-Yaak grizzlies to ‘endangered’ status, which would ultimately allow the bears to obtain the “critical habitat” designation that “endangered” status requires.

“Since the court just struck down this latest excuse to not list them as ‘endangered’ the Fish and Wildlife Service should do its job, list the Cabinet Yaak grizzlies as ‘endangered,’ and designate critical habitat so that the population will finally recovery," Garrity concluded.  “Until the agency takes those vitally necessary actions the Alliance for the Wild Rockies will continue to fight in both the courts and the public arena to recover the Cabinet-Yaak grizzlies.”

GWA Meets New FWP Director

Several board members of GWA met with the new Director of Fish Wildlife and Parks on June 13th in Helena. We were pleased that new Director Martha Williams found time to discuss with us the issues of the day as they pertain to wildlife, wildlife  habitat, policy matters and funding of FWP. Glenn Hockett, Jim Bailey, Alex Russell, Clint Nagel and John Meyer and Keatan Williams of Cottonwood Environmental Law Center, met with the Director and Ken McDonnel of FWP.

 

Issues discussed concerned the department trying to gain additional support financial and otherwise, using science to guide policy decisions and recognizing corridors for wildlife migration. She said she is beginning to see a vacuum of responsibilities by the federal government, a vacuum that states may need to fulfill.

 

Print Print | Sitemap
© Gallatin Wildlife Association