Monday, October 4, 2010

Mexican Wolf Impacts on Ranch Economy

“Adaptive management” has been a common phrase used for the Mexican wolf recovery program, presumably because scientific data would be used to guide management decisions.... However, there has been very little scientific research on the Mexican wolf since its release into the wild, and virtually none has been made available to local producers to help them manage their livestock in the presences of wolves.

From New Mexico State University's Range Improvement Task Force Report 80: Reestablishment of the Mexican Gray Wolf: The Economics of Depredation (PDF file)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The New Environmentalism

Environmental groups have learned a new tactic: Now they accept bribes get paid off work with potential defendants to not block projects via lawsuits. Brilliant. $22 million dollars buys a project two new environmental groups - more money for "environmentalism" and the project still goes through.

Does this look a little fishy to anyone else? Is there any environmental group left that actually does environmental improvement?

"Western Watersheds Project and the Oregon Natural Desert Association agreed not to challenge the El Paso pipeline project in exchange for establishing two new nonprofit funds… The Sagebrush Habitat Conservation Fund, established with Western Watersheds, got $15 million from El Paso. A fund set up with the Oregon Natural Desert Association got $7 million. The money will go for conservation easements and land purchases and to voluntarily retire grazing permits."

Read about it:

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Catron County: the new tribal reservation of our age

An extraordinary and accurate article about the impacts of environmentalism on Catron County, NM. A must-read!

Wilderness’ Economic Revolution – Catron County
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

....Could it be that Catron County has been for years the new tribal reservation of our age? It is there that those from afar dictate what is best for its residents. It is there that organized management of the commons is all encompassing. It is there that the voices and deeds of its citizens are suppressed by state and federal leadership that seem to be in an ever tighter lock step with the absentee environmental movement.

There is, though, something in Catron County that some special leader must recognize. It is there that the model of modern wilderness must be reinvented . . . or the West is in a much bigger dilemma than can be imagined.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tadpole rescue

(Two days later) No, I did not rescue any tadpoles, but my rain gauge says I got about a quarter of an inch this afternoon - enough to fill up the main rut in the road to overflowing. Amazingly enough, at least some of those tadpoles made it to swim another day. What a beautiful demonstration of the resiliency of Mother Nature and spadefoot toads, as well as a lesson in the wisdom of evolution. Those survivors are truly tough, theirs are the genes that will contribute to species survival... if the rains keep coming.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

When Frogs Go Wrong

Copyright © 2010 C. R. Edmunds

I got to my gate this afternoon and noticed that the muddy water in the biggest rut had just about dried up. In the few shallow pools left, tadpoles were wiggling around, struggling to survive and sure to fail because there’s no rain coming today or probably even tomorrow.

Some toadly mom made a bad choice.

OK, before I go any further, I know some of you are going to tell me that the tadpoles in the ruts and arroyos of my ranch aren’t going to grow up to be frogs, since they’re spadefoot toads. But guess what – spadefoot toads aren’t even true toads, but are a burrowing frog after all. Confused yet? That’s OK, so are the rest of us.

Back to Mrs. Spadefoot Toad, who made a bad choice for her tads. There were a bunch of those little critters, some frantically wiggling in the few piddling pools of water remaining, some already stranded in mud, their gold bellies exposed, their little mouths open and closing, gasping for air. Well, not air, I guess, but water to flow over their gills. A sad sight, I’ll tell you.

I confess yesterday I rescued three or four stranded tadpoles from another puddle. I felt monumentally stupid, but I was very pleased to see them right themselves and wiggle off, apparently no worse for the wear. I poked at the few desiccated-looking bodies left in the mud but there was no response. I don’t know how many froglets had been growing in that puddle, but it had been a lot more than just the few I’d rescued.

Who’d have thought that this morning's big water-filled rut, home to so many more tadpoles than yesterday’s puddle, would lose six inches of water in just the few hours since I’d left earlier?

I was formulating a plan of action: Operation Toadlift. I’d need something like a plastic cup to scoop them up – the soft tadpole bodies might stick to the sides of an aquarium fish net. I’d need a bucket. I’d need some mosquito repellent – the little bloodsuckers sure do breed when the monsoon rains come. I looked around for a suitable arroyo with plenty of water – after all, I didn’t want to be doing this over and over.

And then I stopped. What the heck was I doing, interfering with nature like this?

The spadefoot toad mom produces hundreds – even a thousand or more – eggs each mating season. The tadpoles in my arroyos and ruts have just a month to eat, grow and transform into little froglets. They eat plant stuff, bugs and other invertebrates - critters without spines - including each other (but interesting enough, apparently not their siblings). For all they look like squishy, spineless, fragile things, Mother Nature has made them pretty darned tough; still, most of any batch of eggs doesn’t make it to adult froghood.

Of course, if every one of those hundreds of spadefoot toad tads survived, walking around my ranch would be a pretty icky proposition, what with the ground being carpeted with hundreds of thousands of froglets hopping around. When Mrs. Spadefoot Toad lays that many eggs it’s her gamble that at least a few will make it – the more that do, the more the likelihood of her genes being passed on. It’s the way nature works with frogs and toads and pretty much everything that doesn’t take part in the raising of its offspring: You have loads of babies and some survive, or you have only a few - or even just one at a time - if you will be there to care for them till they can care for themselves.

I’m sure you know about the survival of the fittest thing –the weak are weeded out and the strong live to reproduce, ensuring (as sure as anything can be in the world) that the species survives.

Note that the species is the survivor – not the individual. Mother Nature didn’t intend for every tadpole to survive – only the strongest, the most fit for the environmental conditions. My saving four tadpoles might have made me feel a little better, but it probably wasn’t in the best interests of spadefoot toad species survival. Mother Nature always has the last say, though - not only did our Mrs. Spadefoot Toad, who laid her eggs in a shallow rut in a driveway, make a bad choice, but my Operation Toadlift came to nothing either. The second puddle will be dried up by now and all those tadpoles – include my “rescued” ones – will dry up, too. There won’t be any risk of passing on the kind of genes that makes for bad decisions about which body of water to lay eggs in, so that’s good for the species.

And maybe that’s a little lesson about environmentalism for a do-gooder, too.

An end to subsidized enviro lawsuits?

Citizens for Balanced Use reports:

Wealthy activist groups that sue the government and then force taxpayers to pick up the tab for their attorneys’ fees would now have those taxpayer subsidies disclosed to the public under legislation jointly introduced by Republicans and Democrats in the U.S. House this week.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tax cuts create jobs, ‘stimulus' does not

July 6, 2010
Welcome to the Double-Dip Recession
By Louis Woodhill

Whether or not the National Bureau of Economic Research ultimately agrees, we are now entering the second dip of a double-dip recession. This is because jobs are what really matter to most Americans, and the employment situation is getting worse, after a scant four months of getting better. More....

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Obama vs. Arizona

It's a sorry thing when the federal government sues a state - taxpayers lose no matter who wins. You can bet that this lawsuit will cost millions. Feds are pretty free with taxpayer money in these times of economic crisis.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Government Gone Whacko - USFS

Not that most of us need any more proof our US government has gone around the bend, but here's one for your consideration: USFS El Dorado National Forest, Georgetown District, has slapped a $4,230.53 "recovery fee" for processing the Gold Country Endurance Riders' permit application.

The USFS says they estimate it will take in excess of 50 hours to do that processing. Let's see - $4,230.53 fee for an application that has been processed by that same office for the past 17 years - same ride, same trails, same camp? Does this seem like padding the bill to you?

Has USFS gone whacko?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

AZ immigration law

Copyright © 2010 C. R. Edmunds

AZ signs the toughest immigration law ever and people – not from AZ mostly – protest. This is so typical of the way things work in the US these days. People think “democracy” means we all have to be the same and that The Many have the right to determine how an individual lives (nods to Mr. Spock).

Democracy just ain’t so. We have a constitution that sets rules that are just as much about protecting individuals from government (that means The Many) as anything. Not that anyone in government pays attention to the Constitution any more.

Anyway, this AZ immigration thing is a good example of how democracy has gone sour. The people who protest strong state laws for immigration or other issues (Mexican wolf, anyone?) generally have no idea of what the local conditions are that prompt local laws.

We may all be equal under the law, but life doesn’t work that way. In AZ the problems that legal citizens experience because of illegals are monumental and little like what any of those who protest can imagine.

Here’s a description from a friend of mine who lives in what has become the middle of an invasion zone:

“We are about 40 minutes away from the Kranz family [Kranz and his dog were murdered by illegals] as the crow flies but longer to drive. I know the family through horse deals. We have been hearing lately about how all the unattended vacation and local homes are being broken into, how the locals are putting bars on all the windows and doors and they have been telling us that the illegal problems have escalated hugely in just the last year. People beaten and tied up and robbed, etc...Folks are moving out if they can afford to. What used to be remote and beautiful and quiet is not so tranquil now. People are afraid to leave, and afraid to stay! We are looking to move, too, and we’re looking far away from here.

“Sure Kranz murder is in the news now, but no one really cares. We have had this type of activity here for years, and more you do not know about, and no one north seems to give a shit. The Minute Men were fantastic, but like other good things citizen-organized they were vilified and put down by the press. We had two years of feeling like someone cared and was out there to help us, and they did. Their leader was a good friend of mine from Tombstone and he caught hundreds of illegals just on my roads alone.

“Housewives and mothers are beaten and robbed at bus stops for their cars, kids are in great danger, we have lost half a dozen women and children to the drug trade out of Tombstone (meth) and I mean these people just disappear, period, never seen again. But because they are poor or disadvantaged they are forgotten. A good friend of mine who is a business owner in Sierra Vista had a daughter my age that was living in Sunsites, she was seen buying dog food at the feed store and completely disappeared right afterwards, never made it home, her car was found in Klondyke of all places, with her purse and money in it and no clue as to where she went. Heartbreaking.”

“A Marine taught me that we do not get to choose when and where we are attacked, but to survive we must be ready. I am always, ALWAYS armed with a .45. I live with my guns. I never go out to the shop the barn the greenhouse the garden, out to the fence line, to check my gates without my guns and a cell phone. There is no relaxing.

“Last year I was driving home from Bisbee at 12:00 noon towards the San Pedro and slowed down for a 90 degree curve and three guys dressed in solid black jumped out of the bushes and tried to stop me by standing in the road. They had black hair and very coppery colored skin. I just gunned it and aimed for the closest one and they jumped out of the way. I was told by a rancher friend that they were FEDERALES from Mexico. This was five miles from the border line. Was I mad, hell yes! This is NOT AMERICA, it is MEXICO now. Safety is an illusion perpetuated by the government. These criminals are running amok doing what they please.

“I am definitely moving as soon as we can. But many cannot. Like us they have spent years paying off their ranches and now they are stuck here. Illegals leave mountains of trash, burn our forests, scare people out of the woods all the time here, have caused horrible traffic accidents killing innocent people every year speeding north, and it still goes on. Yet the current president kissed Mexico's ass last time they met. It's ridiculous!”

So what I want to know is, those folks who protest AZ’s stronger immigration laws: Why is it more important to protect an illegal than a citizen? And also – can you really sleep peacefully at night?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Mexican wolf lawsuit notice

PO BOX 566
Ed Wehrheim, Chairman

Contact: Ed Wehrheim, Chairman FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Phone 575.533.6687

Claims violation of NEPA provisions for Endangered Species Act

RESERVE, N.M. Americans for Preservation of the Western Environment, the Gila Livestock Growers Association, the Board of County Commissioners of Catron County, New Mexico and other plaintiffs have jointly sent notification of an intent to file suit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Department of the Interior, and the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, for management actions and policies that violate the provisions of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Plan and the Final Rule issued under Section 10(j) of the Endangered Species.

The letter states that instead of following the procedures and process set forth in the Final Rule issued under Section 10(j), the Fish & Wildlife Service, the Department of Interior and the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish have embarked on a procedure of developing ad hoc management practices and procedures for dealing with depredations and removals, all of which have been put in place without following appropriate procedures under the Endangered Species Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Additionally, the letter states that the agencies’ demonstrate intent to continue to violate the express findings in the FEIS and Final Rule.

“The point of this letter is to give the agencies the opportunity to come into compliance,” said Ed Wehrheim, Chairman of Americans for Preservation of Western Environment, a citizen-based group claiming overwhelming support throughout New Mexico.

“In a time when we’re cutting back on teachers, health care and other vital programs, the Mexican wolf program, which is now costing over $400,000 per wolf, is insane.”

# # #

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Rocky Mtn Elk Foundation Turns Up Heat on Pro-Wolf Groups

Pro-wolf groups were admittedly “surprised and disappointed” when the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation publicly challenged their mischaracterizations of the real impacts of wolves in the northern Rockies and are feeling even more heat today. Their recent call for a truce has been met with a scathing letter from RMEF President and CEO David Allen, who says Defenders of Wildlife, Western Wildlife Conservancy and others are party to what may become “one of the worst wildlife management disasters since the destruction of bison herds in the 19th Century.”

Allen said, “These animal rights groups seem to think that every individual wolf is worth filing another lawsuit to protect, but the decimation of local elk herds is unimportant. What is truly ironic is these folks claim protection of the Canadian gray wolf under the Endangered Species Act. However these wolves are not endangered. There are thousands of them throughout North America. The ESA is being manipulated far beyond its intended purpose.” One can find the text of both letters here:

Letter from Defenders of Wildlife to RMEF

Letter from RMEF to Defenders of Wildlife

Factual examples cited in Allen’s recent letter:

  • The Northern Yellowstone elk herd trend count has dropped from some 19,000 elk in 1995 before the introduction of the Canadian Gray wolf to just over 6,000 elk in 2008. At the same time the wolf numbers in this same area are on a steady increase.

  • Yellowstone’s Madison Firehole elk herd trend count has fallen from 700 to 108.

  • The Gallatin Canyon elk herd trend count between Bozeman and Big Sky, Mont., has declined from 1,048 to 338.

  • Wolf numbers in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming have far exceeded the original goals of 30 breeding pairs and 300 total wolves. Population estimates now exceed 1,700 wolves. And yet and others want to push the total up to 2,000 to 5,000 wolves.
  • Studies show that wolves kill up to 23 elk per wolf from November through April alone or up to 40,000 elk in just six months. A smaller but still significant number are killed from May through October; with total annual elk kills by wolves just for food potentially greater than 50,000 at the present level of wolf population. This accounts for only the elk needed for food, not surplus killing, which are elk killed by wolves and not eaten, which also occurs. The majority of all these kills are not elk that are sick or old.

  • Elk calf survival rates where wolves (and bears) are present are extremely low in specific herds, resulting in a survival rate of 10 percent or less—too low to sustain the herd over the long-term. RMEF points out this is a major issue as elk numbers going into the future, where wolves are concentrated, will suffer even greater losses and replacement becomes out of balance.

“Pro-wolf groups like to cite statewide elk numbers because it glosses over the ongoing annihilation of local elk herds,” said Allen. “They like to say that elk and wolves evolved together and would coexist now if man would just leave them alone, which completely ignores the fact that this is no longer the Old West and millions of us live here now. Habitat is shrinking at a rapid pace and the wildlife that lives here must be carefully managed. Man must manage wildlife and we have done so very successfully for over a century. We’re long past the day when wolf populations can be left unchecked. Right now this is simply a wolf amnesty program and the results are becoming alarming.”

“Managing wildlife in the courts, as opposed to science and the proven expertise of state conservation agencies, is a recipe for continued disaster,” stated Allen “These groups do not want states to manage the wolves as they manage other wildlife including predators. Why? It is curious that Defenders of Wildlife and others now boast about the statewide elk management numbers, which are managed by the states; but they do not trust those same states to manage wolves. Again, one should ask why?”

In late February, Allen sent letters to legislators and newspapers across the West calling out Defenders of Wildlife, Western Wildlife Conservancy and others for misleading the public through disingenuous use of current data on wolves and elk. In late March, group representatives accused RMEF of polarizing sportsmen on the wolf issue, and, ironically, to ask for collaboration rather than conflict.

In his letter Allen challenged Defenders of Wildlife and the others to meet face to face. “ I invite you to come to my office and let’s personally resolve this issue for the sake of those responsible hunters and those responsible non-hunters. Enough of the legal maneuvering and posturing, let’s resolve this now,” Allen said in his letter.

“We will collaborate with those who believe in sound wildlife management, not promoting one species over others for what we believe are hidden agendas. There is no one proposing annihilation of the wolves, yet Defenders and others like to act as if such a threat exists. It helps their fundraising efforts but does little to solve the issue. Constantly moving the goal line and ignoring the future consequences are just two reasons we do not collaborate with such groups,” Allen added.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is located at 5705 Grant Creek Rd, Missoula, MT 59808.

Monday, February 15, 2010

NM HJM 48 progress

New Mexico House Joint Memorial 048 has passed out of the House Energy and Natural Resources Committee and goes to the House floor. Your continued support of this memorial for fair compensation for our ranchers is vital.

More at

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Global Warming or Global Hoax?

Professor Phil Jones, whose raw data is crucial to the theory of climate change, has admitted that for the past 15 years there has been no "statistically significant" global warming.

Jones told the BBC that the recent warming trend that began in 1975 is not at all different than two other planetary warming phases since 1850, that there has been no statistically significant warming since 1995, and that it is possible the Medieval Warm Period was indeed a global phenomenon thereby making the temperatures seen in the latter part of the 20th century by no means unprecedented. He also said that the cooling trend since 2002 is also not statistically significant.

Given his core position in what global warming alarmists are now forced to refer to as "climage change" (it's hard to argue for global warming when everyone is freezing), you have to wonder when the whole scam will just fall apart. Maybe it's time for those environmental litigation groups to get sued themselves, for using false science to push their agendas. That would be after we all get done shoveling ourselves out of the snow.

Friday, February 12, 2010