Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

BP Update from Montana Audubon

February 27, 2012

Restoring the Gulf after the BP Oil Spill
The Gulf Coast supports migratory birds from all across America. This week Congress could provide essential funding – stemming from oil spill penalty fines – toward the largest ecological restoration program ever.

We need to ensure penalty fines actually go to the Coast (and not treasury). Our Senators matter and they could vote on THE RESTORE ACT this week.


Audubon President David Yarnold explains why the time in NOW.


A Beggar Wolf…I Hope This Is Rare

October 13, 2011

I wanted to report a wolf that became a roadside beggar corrupted by people it was shot by a ranger at Fishing Bridge in Yellowstone National Park…a sad day…a corrupted wolf…I hope this is a rare occurance.

Top 10 Books

October 10, 2011

These are my top 10 favorite books…You might like these also.

1)Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold.

2)On Human Nature by E.O. Wilson

3)The Snow Leopard by Peter Matheson

4)Track of the Grizzly by Frank Craighead

5)Song of the DoDo by David Quamen

6)The Weathermakers by Tim Flannery

7)Hot, Flat and Crowded by Thomas Friedman

8)Guide to Birds by David Sybley

9)Silent Spring by Rachael Carson

10)Coming Into The Country by John Mcphee


Ice Shelves Melt In The Canadian Arctic

September 30, 2011

Two large ice shelves almost entirely melted near Elsmere Island in the Canadian arctic. The meltings appear to be an artifact of global climate change leaving behind large icebergs; a threat to oil wells and ship traffic.

More On Pine Beetles and Grizzly Bears In the Yellowstone Ecosystem

September 29, 2011

I do not want to use my blog to quibble; especially with friends that I know to be way pro-bear, but I see the presence and activity of the mountain pine beetle, in the Yellowstone Ecosystem a bad thing very related to a changing (getting hotter) climate. I do not see this as happening overnight but I do see this as happening over the next few decades. Lets say some of the whitebark seeds regenerate trees and beetles or blister rust do not get these trees, by the time cones are produced species like the grizzly bear will be shot out by managers or hunters trying to keep hungry bears off of their elk carcasses and out of good smelling hunting camps.

Ghost Forests near Yellowstone National Park

September 24, 2011

I saw what are called White Bark Pine ghost forests by binocular in Porcupine Creek, Buck Creek and on Selpulcher Peak all in the Yellowstone Ecosystem.

What I learned

September 23, 2011
    Birds are migrating through and it seems to me at a trickle. It is an average of 15 degrees hotter than normal.

    The best thing I have learned this week is about the NRDC book, Empire of the Beetle by Andrew Nikiforuk.

Wolves, Caribou, Tar Sands and Canada’s Oily Ethics a blog in the Huffington Post by Chris Genovali

September 22, 2011

On this Canada has some very oily ethics.
In Western Canada wolves are blamed for the demise of everything from marmots to mountain caribou. Given that attitude, we at Raincoast Conservation Foundation are appalled, though not surprised, by Canada’s proposed strategy to recover dwindling populations of boreal forest caribou in northern Alberta’s tar sands. Essentially, the plan favours the destruction of wolves over any consequential protection, enhancement, or expansion of caribou habitat (“Federal recovery plan for caribou suggests thousands of wolves stand to die,” Winnipeg Free Press, September 12, 2011).

Clearly, the caribou recovery strategy is not based on ecological principles or available science. Rather it represents an ideology on the part of advocates for industrial exploitation of our environment, which subsumes all other principles to economic growth, always at the expense of ecological integrity. Owing to the breadth of the human niche, which continues to expand via technological progress, the human economy grows at the competitive exclusion of nonhuman species in the aggregate. The real cost of Alberta’s tar sands development, which includes the potential transport of oil by Northern Gateway and Keystone XL pipelines is being borne by wolves, caribou, and other wild species. Ironically, the caribou strategy also unintentionally confirms what government and industry have long denied — that tar sands development is not environmentally sustainable.

Consistent with Canada’s now well deserved reputation as an environmental laggard, the caribou recovery strategy evolved over several years and many politicized iterations, carefully massaged by government pen pushers and elected officials who did their very best to ignore and obscure the advice of consulting biologists and ecologists. So, the government should quit implying that the consultation approach provides a scientifically credible basis for decisions. Apparently, scientists can lead federal Environment Minister Peter Kent to information but they cannot make him think.

Egged on by a rapacious oil industry, the federal government has chosen to scapegoat wolves for the decline of boreal caribou in a morally and scientifically bankrupt attempt to protect Canada’s industrial sacred cow — the tar sands. Yet, the ultimate reason why the caribou are on the way out is because multiple human disturbances — most pressingly the tar sands development — have altered their habitat into a landscape that can no longer provide the food, cover, and security they need.

The relentless destruction of boreal forest wilderness via tar sands development has conspired to deprive caribou of their life requisites while exposing them to levels of predation they did not evolve with and are incapable of adapting to. Consequently, caribou are on a long-term slide to extinction; not because of what wolves and other predators are doing but because of what humans have already done.

Controlling wolves by killing them or by the use of non-lethal sterilization techniques is biologically unsound as a long-term method for reducing wolf populations and protecting hoofed animals (ungulates) from predation. Lethal control has a well documented failed record of success as a means of depressing numbers of wolves over time. Killing wolves indiscriminately at levels sufficient to suppress populations disrupts pack social structure and upsets the stability of established territories, allowing more wolves to breed while promoting the immigration of wolves from nearby populations.

At the broadest level, the caribou strategy favours human selfishness at the expense of other species. Implicit is the idea that commercial enterprise is being purchased by the subversion of the natural world, with one set of ethical principles being applied to humans and another to the rest of nature. The strategy clearly panders to the ecologically destructive wants of society by sacrificing the most basic needs of caribou. In doing so, it blatantly contradicts the lesson Aldo Leopold taught us so well — the basis of sound conservation is not merely pragmatic; it is also ethical.

Simply, the caribou strategy is not commensurate with the threats to the species’ survival. What is desperately needed is a caribou strategy designed to solve the problem faster than it is being created. Protecting limited habitat for caribou while killing thousands of wolves as the exploitation of the tar sands continues to expand will not accomplish this goal. Yet, against scientific counsel to lead otherwise, politicians have decided that industrial activities have primacy over the conservation needs of endangered caribou (and frankly, all things living).

Tar sands cheerleaders try hard to convince Canadians that we can become an ‘energy superpower’ while maintaining our country’s environment. They are of course wrong. Thousands of wolves will be just some of the causalities along the way. Minister Kent and his successors will find more opportunity to feign empathy as Canadians also bid farewell to populations of birds, amphibians, and other mammals, including caribou, that will be lost as collateral damage from tar sands development. The most difficult ministerial message, we suspect, will be this government’s need to issue ongoing apologies for the scores of species that will continue to be poisoned, persecuted and dispossessed because of tar sands development. This raises many difficult questions; in particular, how much of our country’s irreplaceable natural legacy will Canadians allow to be sacrificed at the altar of oil industry greed?

This article was co-authored with Dr. Paul Paquet, Raincoast Conservation Foundation senior scientist, and Dr. Chris Darimont, Raincoast’s science director.

A Highway Through The Serengeti Is Off For Now-YEAH

September 6, 2011

The Friends of the Serengeti wrote that for now a highway across the Serengeti is off. Instead their will be an alternate route around the Serengeti and the Tanzanian Government says the proposed new route, that does not travel through the Serengeti, is better for Tanzania’s economy…I say for now close call…WHEW!

Grizzly encounters and other reasons for federal regulations In The Christian Science Monitor By Walter Rodgers

August 19, 2011

I see this bear as a brown bear and not an interior grizzly…but the point of the article is well taken…
My Alaska encounters with fly fishing and grizzly bears reveal how much America benefits from federal regulations. Without them, this pristine wilderness would likely not exist, and neither would many protections for consumers and workers

Imagine standing 40 yards across a river from a good-sized Alaskan grizzly bear emerging out of willow scrub. There is no tree to climb.

We regard each other, yet both of us go about our business. The grizzly is fishing for spawning sockeye salmon. I am trying to raise a meaty rainbow trout or a Dolly Varden on a fly resembling a salmon egg. We share 100 miles of the Kanektok River because the Togiak National Wildlife Refuge is strictly regulated by both the federal government and the state of Alaska. I encounter two, three, and sometimes more grizzlies a day. There are plenty of fish for all of us. This is the tundra as God made it.

But, absent federal regulation, this primordial wilderness would likely not exist. It was saved in 1980 when President Jimmy Carter and Congress worked to preserve Alaskan wilderness refuges, creating enclaves the size of California.