SCI “In the Crosshairs” e-Newsletter June 22, 2012

Congressman Calls For Wildfire Investigation: “U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., is calling for an investigation into how federal roadless area policy related to bark beetle-killed trees may have contributed to the spread of the 46,600-acre blaze, The Fort Collins Coloradoan reported on Monday. But the congressman’s statements are drawing fire from his opponent in the Fourth Congressional District, Colorado Senate President Brandon Shaffer. There are at least 39 published studies on how beetle-killed trees influence wildfire behavior and many of them are contradictory. University of Idaho scientist Jeffrey Hicke and researchers from the U.S. Forest Service analyzed all of them and found some agreement but major disputes over key issues.” (Source: RealVail.com)  http://bit.ly/NUdbhp

Wolf Hunt Opponents Forgo Appeal To U.S. Supreme Court: “BILLINGS — Wildlife advocates say they decided not to appeal to the Supreme Court to keep wolves on the endangered list in Idaho and Montana after their arguments were rejected in lower court rulings. Congress ordered the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to take gray wolves off the endangered species list last spring. That triggered lawsuits from wildlife groups and environmentalists who argued state-sponsored hunts could again drive wolves towards extinction. But after two lower courts sided with the government, the plaintiffs let the 90-day deadline for appeal to the Supreme Court pass this week without action.” (Source: Missoulian.com) http://bit.ly/MvN92c

BlueRibbon Coalition Criticizes U.S. Forest Service Proposed Rule: “POCATELLO, ID — The BlueRibbon Coalition (BRC) today strongly criticized a U.S. Forest Service proposal to exempt major ground disturbing activities from environmental analysis and public comment. The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) today began accepting public comment on a proposed change in regulations that would allow certain activities, including road obliteration, to be exempt from any public comment or analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).The proposed rule would allow the agency to bypass normal environmental review for projects that remove, replace or modify water control structures and remove debris and sediment after natural or human-caused events including floods, hurricanes and tornadoes. The rule would also exempt road decommissioning efforts such, as stabilizing slopes, restoring vegetation, blocking the entrance to the road, installing waterbars and removing culverts. However, the proposal would also exempt major ground disturbing activities such as completely eliminating the road bed by restoring natural contours and slopes.” (Source: Off-Road.com) http://bit.ly/KnndSj

EAC Member States Create Structure For Managing Transboundary Resources : “Dar es Salaam, Tanzania – Partner states of the East African Community (EAC) have begun working on a common structure and road map for promoting, developing and coordinating conservation of transboundary natural resources for the region’s economic growth. Officials from the five member countries –  Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi – are meeting for three days at the EAC headquarters in Arusha, northern Tanzania, to hammer out an agreement on transboundary ecosystems conservation in East Africa.” (Source: Afriquejet.com) http://bit.ly/LiQbcb

Conservation Clinches Markhor Award: “WINDHOEK – The Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) and the Namibian Association of Community, Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) Support Organisations (NACSO), jointly won the 2012 Markhor Award for Outstanding Conservation Performance. The International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation recognised the outstanding conservation performance of Namibian communal conservancies as a jointly supported programme of the ministry and of NACSO.” (Source: NewEra.com) http://bit.ly/LF7r6f

Colo. Firefighters Make Progress On Large Wildfire: “BELLVUE, Colo. –  Firefighters are making progress on a 93-square-mile wildfire in northern Colorado that has destroyed more homes than any other in state history, but more residents were warned Tuesday to be ready to leave because of a spot fire that ignited near the main fire. Meanwhile a fire burning on an estimated 250 acres of private land west of Craig was threatening structures and prompted an unknown number of evacuations Tuesday night, Bureau of Land Management spokesman David Boyd said. The larger blaze west of Fort Collins was 55 percent contained after firefighters labored in temperatures in the 90s to extend lines around the fire Monday. Cooler temperatures were expected Wednesday, with a chance of isolated thunderstorms Thursday.” (Source:FoxNews.com) http://fxn.ws/MxJEGr

Lizard Decision Gives Williamson Officials Hope On Salamanders: “A rare decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service this week to pull its proposal to list a lizard in West Texas and New Mexico as an endangered species has Williamson County officials hopeful that they’re taking the right steps to keep Central Texas salamanders off the list too. National officials credited the change of opinion on the dunes sagebrush lizard to proactive conservation efforts by landowners and the oil industry that profits off the species’ habitat, which includes the oil-rich Permian Basin. The stakeholders agreed to protect the habitat — 70 percent of the lizard’s Texas land is protected under the agreement — on their own to avoid the additional federal regulations the listing would bring.” (Source: Statesman.com) http://bit.ly/KB4DLn

BLM Sage Grouse Workshop In Bend: “BEND, Ore.As part of the BLM’s National Sage-Grouse Planning Strategy, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is holding an interactive social and economic public workshop Tuesday, June 26, from 4-7 p.m. at The Riverhouse Hotel and Convention Center in Bend. The workshop will provide an opportunity for interested individuals to offer information regarding the use of public lands resources, how public lands may influence their quality of life, and their social or economic values to the local area. The BLM is preparing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Oregon sub region, which will be used to amend Land Use Plans (LUPs) throughout the bird’s range in Oregon to provide conservation of Greater Sage-grouse habitat. The workshop will guide interested partners on how to contribute social and economic information in the development of the EIS.” (Source: KTVZ.com) http://bit.ly/LHnqFO

Lions Speared: Kenya’s Human-Animal Conflicts Grow: “ILKEEK-LEMEDUNG’I, Kenya (AP) — Crouching at dawn in the savannah’s tall grass, the lions tore through the flesh of eight goats. Dogs barked, women screamed and men with the rank of warrior in this village of Maasai tribesman gathered their spears. Kenya Wildlife Service rangers responded to the attack, but arrived without a veterinarian and no way to tranquilize the eight lions and remove them from Ilkeek-Lemedung’I, a settlement of mud and stone homes not far from the edges of Nairobi National Park. In the end, the Maasai men — who come from a tribe renowned for its hunting skills — grew tired of waiting, said Charity Kingangir, whose father’s goats were attacked Wednesday. The men speared the lions, killing six: two adult lionesses, two younger lions and two cubs. The lions had killed eight goats, each worth about $60. Wednesday’s killings highlight the growing threat to Kenya’s wildlife posed by the rapid expansion of its capital. A week earlier, residents from another village on Nairobi’s outskirts killed a leopard that had eaten a goat. Last month, wildlife service agents shot and killed a lion moving around the Nairobi suburb of Karen. On Thursday, three lions attacked and killed three goats outside Nairobi National Park. Rangers chased the lions back to the park.” (Source: YahooNews) http://yhoo.it/KBC2ph

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